Idole d'un coeur juste, & passion du Sage,
Amitié, que ton nom soutienne cet ouvrage;
Règne dans mes écrits, ainsi que dans mon coeur,
Tu m'appris á connoitre, á sentir, le bonheur.




THE Baron of Lichtfield was High Chamberlain and Minister of State to the King of Prussia. "Caro­line," said he to his daughter, as they one day sat at break­fast, "tell me, (the Baron had an insinuating smile as he spoke, with somewhat of penetration in his look) tell me, dear Caroline, is thy heart free?"


Caroline did not immediately comprehend his meaning.

"It is two months since I brought thee to court, from the retreat in which thou hadst been educated; and hast thou seen nobody in that short space, no young courtier, to whom thy heart would give a preference?"

Caroline was but sixteen, and the question was of that kind that usually embarrasses, when addressed to a virgin of sixteen. Caroline, however, might reply without dread or hesitation. Her young bosom, as pure and tran­quil as in the serene and jocund days of infancy, had ne­ver sighed, except for pleasures innocent and pure as it­self. A new blown rose, a favorite bullfinch, or a fairy tale, had, hitherto, been the general limits of her hopes and fears. These pleasures, indeed, since she had come to court, had been somewhat superseded by a ball, a con­cert, or a new-fashioned cap; but that man might influ­ence the happiness of her life had never yet entered her imagination. Those who were the best and most inde­fatigable dancers, certainly, gave her the greatest satisfac­tion, while at an assembly; but, the ball over, Caroline could sweetly sleep twelve hours together, awake with a song, and prepare for a new appointment, without think­ing of the partner with whom she last had danced.

[Page 4] [...] [...]erefore rather surprised than confu­ [...] [...] a short silence, she replied, "Your [...] very singular!"

[...] natural, my dear," said the Baron: "and moreover, I will endeavour to shew you it is likewise very important. Listen to me seriously, Caroline," con­tinued he, drawing his chair closer to hers, and tenderly clasping her hand. "You have the misfortune to be the only daughter of the High Chamberlain of Prussia, and heiress to twenty-five thousand crowns a year."

The mixture of irony and satisfaction visible in his countenance, though unseen by Caroline, while rehears­ing his titles and estate, proved, too powerfully, that these his misfortunes were his supreme pleasures. But it was necessary to his present purpose to assume a philosophic, a disinterested, and a sentimental air, thereby to inspire [...], and, by affecting the passions, to read the heart, and induce obedience. This was the more easy for him to ef­fect, in that he was not only perfectly a courtier, but had a degree of natural eloquence, which supplied the want of a sound understanding, or a feeling heart. Besides, it is not easy, at sixteen, to discover the face of honesty from the mask, especially when a father speaks.

The word misfortune, however, had somewhat surpri­sed Caroline; who, thinking she perhaps had misunder­stood, repeated, smiling, "Misfortune, papa!"

"Yes, misfortune, my child," replied the Baron▪ ap­parently affected. "I see, with pleasure, you know not as yet all the consequences of these seeming blessings, for this informs me you still remain such as I could wish you to be."

A thousand confused ideas were crossing and combating one another in the mind of Caroline. Misfortune and herself had never before been united in her imagination: the idea for a moment made her melancholy, and she stood with downcast eyes, unconsciously plucking the leaves of a rose, which she held in her white and virgin hand.

"Yes, my dear daughter," said the Baron, rising, and gravely walking the room, "it is often one of our greatest misfortunes to be born of noble parents, and to be posses­sed of vast domains. The chain, I ow [...] is gilt, but is not the less heavy, or the less a chain. (The Baron was charmed to hear his own wit.) "Yet I hope," added he, [Page 5] assuming a cheerful smile of benig [...]ty, "I hope, my Ca­roline, the chains that thou shalt [...]ear shall hang lightly, and be ever worn with grace and pleasure."

The Baron paused, and Caroline looked up, vainly en­deavouring to comprehend to what this his preface tend­ed. He continued:

"My dear girl, the first wish of my heart has ever been thy felicity. Long have I foreseen (the Baron sighed, but the Baron was a courtier), long feared, that not on me, but on a Monarch, whose power is absolute, and must not be controverted, thy destiny would depend — No, not on a tender father! To avoid, therefore, heaping on thee the distress, the torment, of combating affections which may not be consulted, ever since the death of thy mother I have committed thy education to a friend, whose care and retired situation have preserved thy heart free. I have sacrificed the sweet pleasure of living with my child, of superintending her education, and being myself delighted with her progress, to her future happiness; and if I have secured this happiness, my self-denial will be more than repa [...]d."

"Ah, my dear dear father!" cried Caroline, kissing the Baron's hand, which she moistened with her tears, unable to express her sensations. Somewhat she would have added, but he interrupted her.

"The moment is arrived, my daughter, in which the success of all my precautions must be ascertained. Two months since (thou we [...]t then at Rindaw) the King told me he should with pleasure behold thee united to the Count of Walstein, his known favorite, and his present ambassador to Petersburgh. Notwithstanding that this marriage might even exceed the utmost wishes of a fa­ther, I alleged thy great youth, in hopes to see the ce­remony deferred, and longer to enjoy thy company, longer to behold thee a part of myself.

"The King replied, thy society I might and should enjoy as soon as thou wert married. Caroline, said he, must now be sixteen; it is time she should come to adorn my court, and make my Walstein happy. He will re­turn immediately from his embassy; send, therefore, for your daughter, and the nuptials shall as immediately take place.

[Page 6]"I could make no reply to a command so precise; and, is thou knowest, I directly came and brought thee hither. But scarcely had we returned before I learnt the Count was fallen dangerously ill on the road, and that his arrival and our intents were, for a while sus­pended. I, therefore, thought it useless to speak to thee of a marriage which, perhaps, might never take place; and I was willing to see thee enjoy, for a moment, the sweet illusions of youth. Yesterday evening, how­ever, the Count returned, recovered from his illness, and the King sent instantly for me, presented my future son-in-law, and bade me prepare for this marriage with all possible speed. Thou seest I could no longer delay to inform thee of the will of my sovereign: thou seest, my child, thy destiny is fixed. My fear was that, during the two months thou hast been at court, thy young heart might, unfortunately, have selected some one of the youths thou hast seen there. Thus, what should have been thy happiness would then, have been thy misery; but I see, with transport, thy heart is yet untouched; thy present simplicity and innocence are certain proofs, and my Caroline may now comply, may give me her pro­mise, that she will willingly become the Countess of Wal­stein, and the Ambassadress of Russia. Wilt thou not, my Caroline? Wilt thou not, my child?"

These fine titles, emphatically dwelt on, dazzled the young fancy of Caroline. Astonished, taken by surprise, and conceiving nothing so wonderful and so charming as all at once to become an Ambassadress, and a Countess, she raised her charming blue eyes, and looking at her fa­ther, while they sparkled with pleasure—

"What," said she, in the simplicity of her heart, "shall I be all that, papa? Indeed I am exceedingly glad to hear it!"

Her natural good sense, for she had abundance, immedi­ately reproved her: she felt she had rather spoken from the fulness of her heart than from prudent reflection; again her eyes were cast down, and the blood rose blush­ing to her cheeks, till they resembled the rose leaves she had just been scattering. After a moments silence, she timidly added, still with downcast eyes,

"But I have never seen the Count, papa; and if I should not love him?"

[Page 7]"You must marry him, notwithstanding, my child," instantly replied the Baron. "We only ask your hand; there is no authority, royal or paternal, which can com­mand the heart."

This moral sentiment was, no doubt, a very strange one to come from the mouth of a father; but the Baron, we may well conjecture, had his reasons for being thus relax.

Caroline replied, with surprise, "Indeed, papa, I do not understand you. Give the Count my hand and not my heart! No, really, papa, I do not understand you!"

"You will do before you have lived six months at court," replied the Baron, as he rose. (Another proof, this, that the Baron was a courtier.) "But this is noth­ing to our present purpose. Give me thy promise, thy solemn promise, my Caroline, that thou wilt fulfil the engagement I have entered into in thy name. I am wait­ed for at court; I will announce thy consent, dine there, and return, this evening, with the Count. Go, dress thyself, and prepare to receive the man who is shortly to be thy husband."

After having received the solemn promise of the gen­tle and tractable Caroline, and tenderly kissed her, he departed, well satisfied with his negotiation.

The reader, perhaps, may expect that the sweet Caro­line, left alone, would then, immediately, have abundance of serious reflections on all that had passed; and particu­larly on the approaching marriage. For six-and-twenty these would have afforded sufficient subject for a whole morning's contemplation; but, at sixteen, the mind does not dwell so long on the same subject. Truth, however, obliges us to remark that Caroline, after the departure of her father, remained full ten minutes in the same place and attitude; which certainly was a thing somewhat ex­traordinary.

At length, finding she had so many things to think on that she could absolutely think on nothing, and that the rushing ideas floated and whirled into confusion, she sud­denly started up, ran to her piano forte, and played co­tillons and country dances, presto prestissimo, for a full half hour.

Now, while she was playing, it happened naturally enough to strike her active imagination, how delightfully [Page 8] the Count would dance them all with her; "and it will be quite charming," said she to herself, "to continually have a partner at one's command."

Dance!—His Excellency dance!—Yes, to be sure; his Excellency dance: for the Baron had been very careful to inform her that, notwithstanding his high rank, great dignity, and that he was also an Ambassador, he still was not above thirty; which circumstance, it is very probable, pleased her full as much as all the aforesaid titles, dazzling as they were: for though this was nearly twice the age of Caroline, she had remarked that men of thirty, and wo­men of sixteen, are a kind of cotemporaries.

Thus, forming the project of dancing everyday, as soon as she should be the mistress of her own house, she ran to the garden to gather a nosegay. There, as she plucked the flowers, she saw several beautiful butterflies wanton­ing from bud to bud▪ and, delighted with the restless va­grants, and their various hues, and vivid tints, began, with ardour, to pursue them: till, somewhat heated and fatigued, without having had the good fortune to catch a single fugitive, she consoled herself with supposing the Count, more [...]ble and active than her, would catch them for her. "Besides," said she, skipping back to­wards the house, "we shall be very unfortunate, indeed, if we can't both of us entrap them."

The hour of dressing succeeded, and, while at her toil­et, the idea of jewels, new dresses, equipage, balls, ope­ras, and assemblies, presently made her forget the butter­flies: for, with the lively, the innocent, and the happy Caroline, one pleasure came but to efface another.

"O yes," said she, "I well know Ambassadors' ladies are invited every where, are dressed like queens, and are envied by the whole world. Instead of simple flowers, I shall have clusters of diamonds adorning my hair; my dresses shall be all the most fanciful and elegant ever be­held, and I will put them on with a grace that shall charm every eye, and win every heart."

Thus, the conjugal felicity of Caroline, founded on dress, dancing, and butterflies, seemed to her the most certain of all certain things: she already beheld herself the happiest of women, employed every moment to embellish her person, and enchant her Ambassador, and expected [Page 9] him with an impatience unchecked by any fear, except that of not appearing sufficiently handsome in his eyes.

As for him, she was well assured he would please her infinitely; for, innocently thoughtless as she appeared, she still had her moments of reflection; and, all circum­stances again and again considered, had fully persuaded herself the Count was the most charming man in the world.

He was the King's Favorite! Her father had told her so; and the word Favorite was most extensive and sig­nificant to the imagination of Caroline. She, in the country, had likewise had her little court, and her little Favorites; there was her favorite bird, her favorite lap­dog, her favorite lamb, and these were all the prettiest creatures of their kind, she had ever beheld; wherefore, there could be no doubt but the Favorite of a King must be the Phoenix of Nature.

Of all this she was so perfectly convinced, so happy, and so rejoiced to think she should see him, that, when her maid came to tell her he was come, and that her father waiting for her, she made but one skip from the glass to the door; where finding the High Chamberlain, who earnestly bade her to remember her promise, he took her by the hand, which trembled with pleasure and emo­tion between his, and, exorting her to be very prudent, and behave with great propriety, led her to the apart­ment in which was the Favorite of the King.

They entered, Caroline looked, and no sooner saw, than, instantly hiding her eyes with her hands, she gave a piercing shriek, and disappeared like a flash of light­ning at midnight.

Now, while the father follows, while he employs the whole force of paternal eloquence to calm and make Ca­roline return, let us give the outline of the picture that thus had terrified; let us justify the young and innocent Caroline.

The Count of Walstein was, in f [...]ct, little more than thirty; but an enormous fear on one cheek, a counte­nance excessively meagre and of a livid yellow, round shoulders, and, instead of hair, a periwig, made him ap­pear at least fifty. His large black eye was fine; but, alas! it was single; he had but one, the other a bullet had extinguished. Nature designed him for a tall and well-proportioned man, but a habit of stooping had prevented [Page 10] her intent. He had one very good leg; but this husband, who was to dance from morning to night, and aid Caro­line to catch butter-flies, walked with difficulty, and limped exceedingly on the other.

Such was the exterior appearance of Walstein, and we shall hereafter see how far the mind corresponded with the body, We have said enough, at present, to paliate the emotion and the flight of Caroline. Perhaps, we will not say but that, had she taken time to consider and examine, she might have found an air of grandeur, and a somewhat of benevolence, characterizing this uncouth fi­gure. But she saw only the fear, the one eye, the round shoulders, the periwig, and the limping gait. She had received the first impression, and, almost fainting in her apartment, Caroline scarcely heard her father's menaces and prayers to return. Her only answer was a torrent of tears, and her struggles to overcome the shock, rather increased than repelled her disorder.

Her father, finding it impossible she should appear again at present, left her, and went back to the Count. He re­flected that this would certainly be the wisest course, and that his daughter's sudden illness would be sufficient ex­cuse.

He found his intended son-in-law exceedingly agitated at his reception, and too truly suspecting the motive. But the High Chamberlain was so eloquent, so persuasive, when he had any purpose to obtain, and his oratory was so powerful on the present occasion, that the Count was appeased; fully convinced that a violent head-ach, the consequence of the preparations of that busy day, which had suddenly seized Caroline, had been the sole occasion of her exclamation and her flight. It may be, even, that he feigned conviction. Who dare be responsible for courtiers? Historians, the most exact, by them may be deceived.

Be these things as they may, he took leave of the High Chamberlain, hoping to find the young lady recovered, and not liable to the same disorder on the morrow; tho' it is very certain, Walstein found himself a good deal af­fected by what had passed. Not that we will suppose him in love with Caroline, whom he had scarcely seen, but that this marriage was in many respects exceedingly suita­ble to his wishes and his views; insomuch that he thought [Page 11] the future happiness of his life depended on it; not to mention the will and pleasure of the King. This latter might be as strong a reason for the Favorite as for the High Chamberlain; and the latter undoubtedly thought it irresistable. We must own he would have been wise to have pre-informed his daughter of the person of the Count. He felt all this, and deeply regretted his want of foresight; but it was too late. He imagined it best to extort a pro­mise from which she would not dare to recede. Little had he foreseen the effect of the first interview, or the terror of Caroline, which was doubled by the imaginary and beautiful picture she had formed of the Count.

The moment he was alone, he returned, and found her just as he had left her. She had still, however, suf­ficient strength to fall at his feet and implore his mercy, conjuring him, by every tender appellation, not thus to sacrifice his child.

The High Chamberlain saw her emotion was too vio­lent for her to hear reason at that instant. We would not have the reader think it too strange, but he was even affected himself, raised her with tenderness, beg­ged her to be calm, and to assure herself that her happi­ness was the utmost of his hopes, and that he would speak with her on the subject the next morning; and, again exhorting her to be tranquil, leave weeping, and go to rest, quitted her apartment.

The drowning wretch, 'tis said, will catch at straws. Caroline ardently seized this ray of hope, and her fears were almost hushed to peace. Ah! thought she, how good is my papa! How dearly he loves me! How desi­rous is he to see me happy! Surely then, since it is his wish, he will not unite me to a monster who has but one eye, whose legs do not pair, who is humpbacked, and who wears a periwig!

Caroline saw defects ten-fold defective: but such is the nature of youth; its propensities, its passions, its love, its friendship, its aversions are all extremes. At first she thought herself lost beyond recovery; at present she ima­gined herself freed for ever from the Count, and as sud­denly recovered the gaiety that had so suddenly fled.— Somewhat wearied, however, she went to bed, reflecting on the strange and singular taste of Kings in the choice of their Favorites, and protesting that, were she a Queen, Walstein never should be hers.

[Page 12]As sound was her sleep, and as gentle were her dreams, as if nothing had happened; and when the morning ap­peared, no stronger impression remained than that which an ugly vision sometimes occasions. Presently her father entered, and found the same smile, the same sweetness, the same infantine graces with which he was daily recei­ved. Nay, she was fonder, more attentive, more eager to oblige than usual; and thanks for his condescension, of which she entertained no doubt, were in every motion and in every look; though she dared not retrace the past, her heart was all gratitude and joy for the future. Her father's behaviour increased it; for, instead of reproach­es, his looks were all good nature, and kindness and smiles accompanied every expression.

Lovely girl! Sweet emblem of innocence, that, kno [...] ­ing not sorrow nor guile, knoweth not suspicion, enjoy the flattering illusion! Thou hast been but two months at court, and how shouldest thou be acquainted with the heart of a courtier? Thou, who art thyself all sensibility, how shouldest thou suppose it shut to every tender feel­ing? Thou thinkest thou hast a father, a tender father; thou art to learn that he is only a Minister of State and a High Chamberlain!

Let us, however, be just: except his titles, his places, and his pensions, of all things in the world the Baron certainly loved his daughter the best. Not to mention that he really thought, for such was his manner of think­ing, he was laying the foundation of her future happiness by so high an alliance, so magnificent a marriage! made immediately under the auspices of the King! and by or­der of the King! and to the Favorite of the King! and with the daughter of the High Chamberlain of the King!

Determined, therefore, to accomplish his purpose, by prayer or by power, he thought it best first to try how far affection and tenderness might win. Taking, therefore, his daughter's hands, and tenderly clasping them between his own—

"Caroline," said he, "dost thou love thy father?"

"Do I love him?" replied she; falling with enthu­siasm o [...] her knees, and kissing his hands; "Let him only permit me to live with him, and for him, and he shall then and how much gratitude, respect, and filial affection [...] perform!"

[Page 13]"Of all these I have no doubt▪ but thou wilt give me a farther proof?"

"Any! every! all you can desire, my dear, dear papa! except—"

She was going to add, "marry the C [...]nt;" but the Baron, assuming a momentary and patern [...] austerity, put his hand upon her mouth.

"No exceptions, Caroline; and the first proof of love I shall ask will be to listen to me silently and attentively.

"What wouldest thou do, my child?" (The Baron changed his countenance; it was now all sentiment; it was an appeal to the best affections of the heart,) "What wouldest thou do, Caroline, if the life of thy father were in thy hands?"

"His life! The life of my father! Save, preserve, cherish it, at the expence of my own. Can my father doubt it? But how—Wherefore, my—"

"I expected no less, my dear girl," replied the Baron, taking care to stop her in due time; "and thou thyself shall decide between us.—Yes, my life, my very life de­pends upon the alliance. Think not I would survive my dis [...]ce! and, unless my engagements with the Co [...] of Walstein are fulfilled, that is inevitable! Terrified by thy repugnance for this marriage, yesterday, I left thee went instantly to the King, and threw myself at my So­vereign's feet, entreating and even imploring him to re­store us our promise and our freedom. Thus daring had my affection for thee, Caroline▪ made me.

"Your daughter is a child," said the frowning mo­narch; "a baby who knows not what pleases, or what is proper, and with whom you ought to [...]t according to your own prudence, not her caprice. You may, howe­ver, act as you please. If she persist in this her refusal, you will re-conduct her to her country retreat; and you will, likewise, remain there yourself. It is impossible so feeble a father can be a good Minister of State."

"He turned away, and spoke no more to me during the whole evening. Imagine, Caroline, what are my present feelings? I saw the malicious joy of my enemies, they had marked my Sovereign's frowns, and, with the smile of malignity, prophesied my approaching fall, dis­posed of my places, and, imitating their master, scornful­ly turned from me. Oh my child! my Caroline! wilt [Page 14] thou, the darling of thy father's heart, be the cause of this his misery? What talk I of misery? His certain, his instantaneous death!"

The trembling, the tender, the affectionate Caroline, a thousand times more terrified by this idea than she even had been by the aspect of Walstein, shuddering, flung herself into her father's arms.

"I will obey, I will obey," repeated she sobbing. "Lead me to the altar this moment; lead me, if so it must be! Cause your death! I! God of Heaven forbid! Oh! my father, go immediately, tell the King to dispose of me as he pleases; only let him restore his favour and friendship to my father. Yes, I promise, solemnly pro­mise, to submit to his will; but do thou, also, my father, promise me not to die."

So strongly had the idea of her father's death seized upon her imagination that she feared lest a moment's de­lay might make it certain. She would willingly have gone, even herself, and told the Count she was ready to be his; and ceased not to intercede with the Baron to depart, in­stantly, to the King; again engaging herself, by promi­ses the most positive and unlimited, to be in all things obedient.

Once more left alone, she thought no more of court balls, cotillons, or chasing butterflies. With one hand hiding her eyes, mournfully resting upon her elbow, and agitated by a thousand struggling sensations, she remained motionless; incoherently dreading lest the least change or movement might precipitate her into the gulph that seemed gaping to receive her, and in which she were then eternally sunk. Filial affection, at length, came to her aid. Once more erect she sat, with self-approbation rai­sed, when she recollected that, by suffering herself, she should save her father. "I shall preserve his honour, and, with his honour, his life," said she, with affection and admiration mingled: her own heroism inspired the latter; and which a sentiment so virtuous ever must in­spire in a noble mind.

"Yet how dear must I pay for this!" continued she, "and what shall my life be?"

Straight the image and figure of the Count presented itself, and the father vanished. Caroline shuddering, re­coiled, and doubted whether yet she should keep her word.

[Page 15]In this attitude, in this agitation, she continued, when her father suddenly returned, Joy excessive brightened in his countenance. Scarcely could he tell, so out of breath [...]ith haste and transported was he, that the King himself and the Count were coming. "Yes, the King! The King in person!" repeated he: "Publicly coming! and those who yesterday rejoiced at my disgrace, may now retire and weep. May their own envy be their only com­forter. See, my Caroline, my child, my darling, what obedience is, and what shall be its reward."

Caroline, alas! thought not of rewards, but of pun­ishments, and of the confirmation of the fearful sentence she herself had pronounced. Her father reproved her for not having employed the time of his absence at her toilette. The day before, she herself would have been very sorry to have been caught by Majesty in her present dishabille; but, at present, this was become a trifle beneath thought; and she waited, in expectation of her august visitor, without once casting a look towards the glass.

The Baron was in his fourth repetition of the manner in which she should comport herself, when he was inter­rupted by the rattling of the coach wheels. Up he started, ran to receive Majesty, and left the trembling Caroline to the assistance of salts, and as much fortitude as she her­self could collect, for this interview of constraint and dread. The Monarch entered, followed only by his Favorite and his High Chamberlain, elate with joy, and instated with self-applause.

"Beauteous Caroline," said the king, as he advanced and presented the Count, "be thou the recompense of the man who has rendered me so many important services; and do thou, dear Walstein, receive, from my hand, this lovely bride, whose worth, I am certain, thou wilt well know how to estimate."

The Count drew near, and, taking the half retiring hand of Caroline, begged her, with a low and timid ac­cent, kindly to confirm his happiness.

Had the riches of the whole world, and all its Mon­archs, been prostrate at the feet of Caroline, she could not have articulated a single word. Perhaps, had she raised her down cast eyes, and looked at the bridegroom, she might have had sufficient power to have said no. But this she very prudently avoided. She made a most respect­ful [Page 16] courtesy, and, at the king's desire, sat down in silence. This command was well timed: had she been longer re­quired to stand, the scene of over-night might again have been repeated. A universal tremor had come over her; she was obliged to have recourse to her salts, and might still, perhaps, have betrayed her feelings by a fainting fit, or a deluge of tears, had not a glance of her father, him­self almost fainting at seeing her agitation, restored her all her fortitude: she even forced a smile, to quiet his fears, and collected the resolution to answer the King's conde­scending interrogation, by saying, she was very well. Every thing was then placed to the account of country education and virgin timidity.

She hoped the company would retire, or, at least, change the subject of conversation; but she was deceived. To respect the feelings of their subjects is one of those things that Kings understand the least; and his Prussian Majesty, delighted with the marriage he himself had made, could talk of nothing else. Totally inattentive to the suffering Caroline, he dwelt circumstantially on particu­lars, first naming the day, then the hour, and then the place of performing the ceremony.

Unable to support this any longer, Caroline, at length, made another effort, and begged permission to retire. Her prayer was granted, and the Monarch did not neglect, as she made her reverence, to salute her by the title of the Countess of Walstein.

The youthful and wretched Countess, alone in her apartment, gave a full flow to affliction. Finding, how­ever, that tormenting reflection could not change her des­tiny, that now being fixed beyond the power of reprieve, she wisely concluded submission was her only course; and to take such advantage as her present situation might afford her best expedient.

Let no one be astonished to hear [...]hat a young girl of sixteen could reason thus prudently. Misfortune is a most able master; and a few hours of affliction, trouble, and terror, had taught Caroline more than years of tran­quillity. She heard the coach of the King depart with much less emotion than she felt at its thundering approach; and her father had the satisfaction to find her tolerably calm and resigned, when he came to acquaint her with the royal arrangements.

[Page 17]The marriage was fixed for that day week; the Count had desired it might be as secret as possible, and celebra­ted at his country seat, six leagues from Berlin; and, moreover, that the rejoicings, visits, bride-favours, and presentation of the Countess at court, should not take place till the ceremony was over.

Caroline highly approved the Count's plan, and beg­ged her father's permission to pass the intervening time in retirement. So well pleased was the Baron with her doc [...]lity, that, except breaking off the marriage, there was nothing she could have asked he would have refused; he therefore promised, and kept his word. Her solitude was uninterrupted, except by a few visits from the bride­groom; and him the Baron undertook to hold in conver­sation. Thus, while they were deep in politics, debating on matters of high moment, States, Empires, and Kings, Caroline was silently determining to execute the projects she had formed.

We shall not follow her through the many and melan­choly ideas which occupied her mind, during this peni­tential week; it is sufficient for us to observe that she might, truly, be said to have thought more, in that space of time, than she had done in the whole course of her life. With the result of all this thinking we shall pre­sently become acquainted.

Time passes away as well in pleasure as in pain. Be­hold then the redoubted day, on which the sate of Caro­line was irrevocably to be fixed. She was prepared for it, and appeared perfectly resigned. Her father was in ecstacies, for he was now at the height of all his happi­ness and honours. Majesty, in person, intended to ac­company his daughter to the altar. The High Chamber­lain, good man, would have been happy to have had the whole world spectators; but two Lords of the court, and their wives, were alone appointed assistants. He conso­led himself, however, with the idea of the many fine things he should have to relate on his return to Berlin. Off they set, for the country seat of the Count; and the tender bride, more thoughtful than melancholy, not only supported the journey exceedingly well, but even the marriage ceremony, which was immediately performed on their arrival: the Baron, wondering at, and blessing him­self [Page 18] for, the dexterity and address with which he had in­sured the obedience of Caroline, had, at length, the in­expressible gratification of presenting her to the King by the title of the Countess of Walstein!

This was the only moment in which the fortitude of Caroline had nearly forsaken her. Affected, agitated, by the caresses of the High Chamberlain, who was unbound­ed in his panegyric, she owned she deserved not all this praise, and earnestly supplicated him to spare her. Ca­roline had a delicate heart, on which every praise the Ba­ron bestowed inflicted a fresh pang.

They were to return that evening to Berlin, there to in­stall the young Countess in her new dignity, as Lady of Walstein House; and they were already preparing to depart, when, taking advantage of the moment when the Count was standing alone, concealed by the projecting of the window, she went up to him, presented a paper, en­treated him to read it with indulgence, and retired into an anti-chamber, where, she told him, she would wait for his answer, and his orders. Surprised as much as man could possibly be, the Count instantly opened the letter, and read:

"My Lord,

"I have obeyed. The absolute commands of my father and my King have given me to you, and yours at present I am; wholly yours; I acknowledge no other master▪ You only have the right to dispose of me, and from you I dare ask and hope benevolence, indulgence, and gene­rosity. Yes, it is from him who just has sworn to make me happy I now presume to ask what may ascertain my happiness, and, no doubt, his own. You know not, my Lord, cannot imagine, how much the young creature, to whom you but this instant gave your hand, is unworthy of that honour; how little reasonable she is, and how much a child; how much it behoves her to pass whole years in that retreat where she has been educated, and with that dear friend who has been to her a mother. Oh, consent! I conjure you in mercy to consent and suffer me this evening to return to Rindaw; there to wait till my reason has so far conquered prejudice that I may submit, without expiring, to engagements I have formed. By doing this, you will ensure gratitute inexpressible, and, perhaps, accelerate that event. Your refused on the [Page 19] contrary—Yes, be certain, your refusal will, equally, and forever, deprive you of the wretched Caroline.

"I feel, most forcibly, the just reproaches I merit by acting thus. This letter should not have been sent now; but, had I explained what my sensations were before our union, I should have hazarded the life of my father: at present I only hazard my own. He swore, solemnly swore, he could not survive his disgrace; and his disgrace was inevitable if I did not become yours. Yours, there­fore, I am, and the King now will rest satisfied: for I dare hope that, should he make my father responsible for my conduct, and should this conduct offend him, you will have the justice to save my father, and inform him, that I alone am culpable. But certainly the King cannot com­plain of his want of zeal, or the unlimited obedience with which he is devoted to his will; neither will I complain, if you, only, will have the goodness to grant my present request."

This letter, the offspring of a hundred, which had been written and torn during the preceding week, had been finished that very morning before they left Berlin. If ever man was astonished, confounded, thunderstruck, it was the Count of Walstein. He could not believe what he beheld. What! a young creature so timid, and so submissive! Had she a will of her own? And could she declare what that will was with fortitude like this?

Again he read the paper, and pity presently succeeded to surprise. He then saw she had been the sacrifice of despotism and ambition; and mortally reproached himself for being the object and the cause. Though we all may be somewhat deceived respecting our own personal attrac­tions, and though the Count, like others, might not be wholly exempt from self-illusion, he still did himself the justice to imagine he certainly had not been married for his beauty; but, from the positive assurances of the High Chamberlain, and the apparent resignation of Caroline, he supposed, at least, it had been witho [...] [...]gnance, and without constraint. The moment that [...] deceived him, or, rather, told him he had been deceived, was no doubt to him a dreadful one; but he did not hesitate an instant concerning how it was proper for him now to act. Desirous to relieve Caroline from her fears, he, with his pencil, wrote thus on the cover of her letter▪

[Page 20]"Lovely and unfortunate victim of obedience! you, in your turn shall be obeyed. Instantly I will go and ob­tain the King's compliance with your request; instantly will repair, as much as in me is possible, the wrong done you; the tyranny of which I am the cause, without being the accomplice. Should I be refused, depend on me for restoring you that liberty of which you have been so cru­elly deprived. I feel the inestimable value of the confi­dence you place in me, and will endeavour to deserve it, by renouncing my own happiness! Though, not so; for still shall I be happy, if any conduct of mine can render me less odious to her by whom it would be felicity su­preme to be"—

Beloved, Walstein would have added; but it was a mo­ment of most trying affliction. A mirror hung over the table at which he wrote; he looked in it and durst not. Half opening the door of the anti-chamber, where Caro­line waited the sentence of life or death, he gave in his short answer, which she tremblingly received, and instant­ly disappeared.

The first sensation of Caroline, when she attempted to read, was dread; but this, as she proceeded was presently dissipated, and when she had ended she was so surprised, so affected, so grateful, that she had almost an inclination to recall the Count; but unfortunately for him, as she looked through the window, she saw him walking in the gardens with the King. Walking and broad day-light are little favourable to a man who limps in his gait, and whose face is disfigured by wounds. Could she have read his billet, and forgot his person, the effect would have been different; her favourable ideas would not have been so easily effaced, nor would she, so instantly, again have felt that impatient desire of returning to her former retreat. Besides, indeed, she recollected it was too late; that she had gone too far to recede, without appearing capricious and weak. While thus she reflected, still looking through the window at the Count, his billet crumbled away be­tween her fingers, and, like the impression it had made, was no more.

While Caroline was thus employed, the generous Wal­stein was using all his influence with the King, over whose mind he had a wonderful ascendency, persuading him to consent to the request she had made. He shewed [Page 21] his Majesty the letter, who, instead of anger, found him­self interested and affected by the style and resolution of a girl so innocent and so young.

"There is energy in this young lady's character," said the monarch, as he ended, and looking at the Count as he returned the letter.

He looked, and could not help acknowledging that his Favorite did not, altogether, possess that kind of form which the hoping fancy of sixteen loves to contemplate. The recollection came a little too late, but the moment was favourable to Caroline, and he added—

"You are right, Walstein. You must overlook this whim. She is a child, whom it will be best to indulge. She will soon be tired of her retreat; and as to the thing most essential, the fortune, it is yours. A man has al­ways enough of his wife's company."

The Monarch was frank; but, state secrets excepted, Monarchs take little trouble to disguise their thoughts. Accordingly, the sentence pronounced, the High Cham­berlain was sent for, this new project communicated, and his daughter's letter shewn. He was, certainly, in a very high passion, but the presence of Majesty made him, apparently, somewhat calm: and, after hazarding a few objections, which were silenced, he was all acquiescence. The King, indeed, who had never before seen him of a different opinion, thought it exceedingly strange, and, likewise, somewhat presuming, he should be so at pre­sent; which thoughts he did not take the least trouble to conceal. Whereupon the High Chamberlain, a little affrighted, made a most profound and reverential bow, supplicated pardon, and begged his Majesty would dispose of his daughter just as his Majesty should please.

The conclusion of this consultation was that Caroline should return, that very evening, to Rindaw; where the Baroness and Canoness of that name, by whom she had been educated, lived. Here she had permission to remain as long as she pleased, concluding she would soon be glad to return. A clause was, indeed, annexed, which seemed to render a long stay impossible; and this was, that the most profound and absolute secrecy must be kept concerning the marriage. The King did not give his reasons; indeed, Reason to Kings is a superfluous thing, Will is sufficient. It has, moreover, been said, he was [Page 22] fearful lest this history should cast some kind of ridicule either upon his High Chamberlain, or his Favorite, or, perhaps, even upon himself; but, we must own, this assertion is too improbable to be true.

Leave we these in the uncertainty in which we found them, and let us add that it was his Majesty's command Caroline should still pass by her own name, and that no individual should know she was the Countess of Walstein. He went so far as to declare that, the moment the least breath transpired, she should again beome subject to con­jugal power, and that her indiscretion should ensure the loss of his favour. All this he said, looking stedfastly at the High Chamberlain, who could not get the words out fast enough to inform his Majesty of the eternal silence he himself should keep.

The King, likewise, pressingly, recommended secre­cy to those who had been present at the ceremony; who readily promised obedience, and who readily did not tell it—to above some thirty of their friends; and that under the most solemn promises it should go no farther. Ah, happy Berlin! that thus, for a whole week, was plen­tifully supplied with behind-fan whispers and corner con­versations!—"Do you know that Count Walstein has married the High Chamberlain's daughter!—Is it possible?—Oh! the King himself was present!—Indeed! —Fact, I assure you! I had it from the first hand; but don't mention it; don't let my name appear," &c. &c.

Thus ran Rumour, or rather, thus she flew; but as there was no farther confirmation of these whisperings, as Caroline did not appear, as the Count returned quietly on his embassy to Russia, as the High Chamberlain was discreet, and as, moreover, new secrets made the old for­gotten, it was, at length, either not believed or not re­membered.

Behold, then, the nuptial day concluded in a very different manner from▪ what might have been imagined. The Baron was required to inform his daughter that her request was granted, and that she had le [...]e to live retired at Rindaw. He was, likewise, to have conducted her thither himself; but Walstein, fearing he should ve [...]t upon her that wrath which had been so much curbed by the King, was desirous to bereave his young bride of so disagreeable a travelling companion. He therefore, ea­sily [Page 23] pursuaded his dear father-in-law that it was most essen­tial to his interest not to leave the Court, in this critical conjuncture; and as the High Chamberlain had not the same taste for retirement with his daughter, he thought proper to confide her to the care of trusty servants, and to send a letter by her to his dear friend the Baroness and Canoness, for she was both, of Rindaw.

This Canoness, with whom we shall soon become ac­quainted, was a most excellent lady in her way. She had formerly been deeply in love with the High Chamberlain who likewise, had himself been as much in love with her as it was possible for him to be; but reasons of conve­nience, wealth, and ambition, ever decisive with the High Chamberlain, had determined him to marry the mo­ther of Caroline. The affectionate, the tender, and con­stant Baroness, thus crossed in love, had vowed celibacy, became a Canoness, retired totally from the fashionable world, and lived privately at her chateau. To meditate on her perfidious High Chamberlain, renew her vows of eternal fidelity, read novels and romances from morning till night, imagine parallels between herself and the hero­ine of the tale, to faunter in her gardens, and muse for hours in lonely arbours, had been her mode of life for several years. This passion, so strong, might be said, at last, to perish of inanity and want of food. Therefore, when her dear Chamberlain, become a widower, offered to recompense her constancy by marriage, she was prudent enough to refuse, alleging she had totally lost the habits of high life, and all relish for courts: which indeed was very true: but, pleased with the proposal, she promised eternal friendship, offered to take his daughter under her care, and educate her till the time of her marriage. We have before seen the motives which determined the Baron to accept this offer; and the rather, modestly added he, because he really knew nothing of the education of a daughter.

It might be presumed, our romantic Baroness knew, perhaps, as little as himself of the matter; but no; a few ridiculous singularities excepted, she did not want under­standing, and was really, and earnestly, desirous to fulfil the duty she had undertaken. She had read much, had addicted herself to various useful studies, and had become very capable of instructing her pupil, and of forming her heart and mind.

[Page 24]Some remains we own there were of ancient habitudes; of a sentimental and Quixote imagination: and this was the more pleasant by being a singular contrast to her natu­ral character, which was indiscretion personified; though she had an inexhaustible goodness of heart. But it has been remarked that these two qualities are very frequently companions, and the Canoness was an instance of its truth. She was so frank, so unsuspicious, so confiding, and lo­ved so much to talk, that it was not possible for her to keep a secret above half an hour. And, as for friends, eve­ry person she saw might soon become her dearest intimate.

Her reputation was so well known, even at court, and her indiscretions so indubitable, that there was an absolute prohibition laid on Caroline not to tell her the secret, as well as on the High Chamberlain. Caroline, who dread­ed daily remonstrances and persecutions, was happy at the interdict.

The obedient Baron, ever submissive to his Master's will, wrote, by his order, to the Canoness, that the pro­jected marr [...]age of his daughter being deferred for some time, he again confided her to the care of his dear friend, the Baroness.

Caroline, provided with this letter, took leave of her father kneeling for pardon and benediction. The High Chamberlain, well satisfied, High Chamberlain to remain, granted both the one and the other with a tenderness that did not come truly from the heart. He saw her depart for Rindaw, which was only seven or eight leagues thence, and soon after, returned himself to Berlin, with the King and the Ambassador.

Caroline could not help being somewhat surprised, at first, at seeing herself alone in one of the Count's carria­ges. Affected by her father's farewell and the quick succession of events, it would be difficult to describe ex­actly what passed in her mind; all there was tumult and disorder, and she scarcely knew whether it were better to rejoice or weep: all things happened as she herself had desired; but, perhaps, though she did not confess that to herself, she expected to meet with more resistance; and Caroline was not the only person to whom the facility of obtaining a blessing had diminished its value.

Perhaps, too, her self-love, or her vanity, if any such quality could reside in a breast so pure, would have been [Page 25] more flattered, had a greater desire to detain her been de­monstrated. "Here I am," said she to herself (and with a small tincture of sorrow was it said), "Here I am, all alone, left by myself; I said but a word, and my father, the King, and the Count, all three are agreed I may go as soon as I please. Is this indifference, anger or generosity?"

In the midst of these meditations she recollected the short billet she had torn, and endeavoured again to recall every expression, and every word. She saw the action of the Count, at last, in the most amiable, the most generous point of view; a tear started into her eye, and she sighed and said, "What a pity it is he should not be handsome!"

Her thoughts, mingled with regret, turned, occasional­ly towards her father also, whom she had forsaken, whom she had afflicted, and a little, likewise, on the pleasures she had abandoned, and the sounding titles she might have borne. My Lady, the Coun [...]ess of Walstein! The Rus­sian Ambassador's Lady! The Lady of the Favorite of the King! All these she might have been: she was simply Caroline. At certain moments her head was half out of the coach to bid them drive back to Berlin; but these might be called moments of forgetfulness; the image of the Count returned, presented itself, she shrunk back, hid herself in the corner, and, congratulating herself on her escape, "No, it is impossible," said she, "it is impossi­ble I ever could support! I should die with apprehension: and to see him every day, and all the day, and all the night! Oh! no, it is impossible!" Then did she applaud her fortitude, and the manner in which she had fulfilled her duty, saved her father's life, and preserved her liberty.

With these ideas, and such as th [...]se was her full heart occupied for two thirds of the [...]ou [...]e, but the nearer she approached to Rindaw the feebler grew [...]r regret; she, presently, thought only of the pleasure of again seeing her dear Mamma; for thus she called the Canoness, who, really, to her, had been a mother, and a tender mother.

This Lady idolized her pupil, and seemed to have transferred the tender affection she once felt for the father to the child. When the Baron had come for Caroline, and had told the Canoness his intention to marry her, so great was her despair, and so violent the efforts of separa­tion, that her health was injured; she had been ill ever since; mirth, pleasure, happiness fled with Caroline. Far­mers, [Page 26] peasants, servants, the whole village, whose dar­ling and friend she was, ceased not to speak of her, to sigh for her, and to say they had lost their angel and their protector.

Imagine, then, what was the joy of all these good peo­ple, when, one evening, by the clear light of the moon, a coach drove through the village (a thing that seldom happened, at Rindaw), and stopped at the Chateau, and as it stopped, and as the eager inhabitants crowded to see what and who it was, Caroline, their beloved, their ado­red Caroline, appeared. Enraptured to behold her, for the smile and the flush of joy on Caroline's countenance acted with sympathetic magic on them all, they knew not what to say, how to testify then feelings.

"Are not you glad, my dear friends," said she, "that I am come again to live among you; again am one of yourselves Are you not glad to see me once more?"

Eager enthusiasm and tumultuous rapture spoke, but they spoke in confusion; and, their cries reaching the ear of the Canoness, she ran out to see what all this noise meant. She ran, and she beheld—Yes, it was Caroline— Her beloved! Her child! Her darling! She was in her arms, and the sweet tears of sensibility, unrestrained, flowed plenteously.

"Mamma! Mamma! My dear Mamma, your happy Caroline is returned, never to leave you more!"

The Canoness was the daughter of Sensibility: her frame was slender, her habit sickly, and her nerves deli­cate. Caroline was alarmed to see her so much affected, her joy amounted almost, to suffocation; but the effects of joy are not often fatal. She recovered by degrees, and began to inquire of her beloved pupil what enchantment had conveyed her thither. Caroline, without further ex­planation, gave her the letter of the High Chamberlain; she read it, and wanted further information concerning this marriage deferred just at the moment of its conclusion.

"The last post," said the Baroness, "brought me a let­ter from thy father, which informed me the day was fix­ed—The day fixed!—Yea, it was this very day, I believe —Let me see—Yes, it was this very day—This is very strange!—I declare it is the most singular adventure I ever heard of, and I delight in singular adventures—Tell me, tell me the whole, how was it? Thou knowest thou may­est rely on my prudence, I'll not say a word; if there is [Page 27] any secret in the affair, depend upon me."—Caroline knew just the contrary, yet was she obliged to use consi­derable efforts over herself, not to tell her dear friend every thing she thought, who, till then, had ever been the partner of all her joys and griefs; her innocent heart, unaccustomed to dissemble, ill could perform the task; and, had it not been for the severe, the absolute prohi­bition imposed upon her, and the fearful condition an­nexed to her imprudence, she certainly had told all.

To come as near the truth, however, as possible, for falsehood and Caroline were natural foes, she confessed that she herself was the cause of delay, that she could not en­dure the deformity of the Count, for which reason, said she, "they have granted me a respite, but I am certain I shall never change."

She then, by way of excuse, gave her friend a portrait of Walstein, which she undoubtedly did not much em­bellish. The Baroness scarcely could let her finish, so highly was she provoked that they should ever once think of marrying her sweet Caroline to such a monster.

"The High Chamberlain has certainly lost his under­standing!" said she. "But be comforted, my dear child, thou knowest I have some ascendency over him, and ei­ther this ascendency is entirely gone o [...] this absurd marri­age never shall take place. I give thee my promise, de­pend upon me, make thyself easy, thou never shalt be Countess of Walstein. The wife of the lame and the blind! What, thou! No, no, we will find as good a husband as he who shall be able to see thy beauty with both eyes; aye, and they shall be fine eyes too, and I warrant thee he shall walk upright. A charming spouse they had chosen thee, truly! It was just the same with me, when I was thy age; I must be married without ever being consulted; but they were mistaken; I saw my Gentleman squinted most frightfully, and never would hear another word on the subject. I own, I loved thy father to distraction at that time, and there is nothing inspires fortitude like love. My grand system is that young people should be most passionately enamoured with each other before they marry, for what else can make us support the duties, fatigues, and pangs of the marriage state? Yes, my child, marriages of pure passion are the only happy marriages; for which reason, I refused all [Page 28] Chamberlain, after thy mother's death, it was in support of my system, and because I felt I had only a tender friend­ship and not a passionate affection for him, which is so essential to happiness. Love, love, mutual love, 'tis that that makes the house of Hymen the house of joy."

Caroline, embarrassed, and burthened with her secret, with downcast eyes, silently listened to this inun­dation of words; and the happy Canoness, who for three months past had been deprived of the pleasure of spea­king at her case, took ample revenge and did not wait for an answer; she only paused a moment for breath, and then, with an air of penetration in her eye, thus continued:

"But I believe, my child, it is not love that gave thee this fortitude and this resistance—Is it?—Tell me, make me thy confidant; come, own thou hast seen some one who has found the way to please thee better than the Count."

"Alas!" replied Caroline, with innocent simplicity, "all men can please me better than the Count."

"All! That is saying a great deal, indeed. But didst thou never distinguish any one in particular? Hast thou never seen the man for whom thou wouldest wish to live, and with whom thou wouldest wish to die? Has no one yet found a place in thy heart?"

"No, indeed, Mamma," said Caroline, sighing, "I am in love with nobody, nor is any body in love with me."

"Well, that is very singular! There are certainly then no longer men so handsome as thy father at court. But have patience, my dear, all in good time, the man will be found, I warrant; as for this Count, never let me hear his name mentioned, for thou never shalt be his wise, that I am determined."

The poor young Countess again replied only with a sigh, kissed her dear Mamma, said her friendship was all she asked, and retired to her old apartment to repose after the fatigues of a very trying day.

In the morning she awoke, looked round, and scarcely knew where or what she was▪ "Good God!" said she, collecting her ideas, "Is it true, or is it a dream? Am I a wise? Is my faith plighted, my hands chained▪ never more to be free? Do I but enjoy the shadow of a liberty of which the very next moment I may be deprived, and for which I am indebted to the generosity, only, of him to whom I appertain? Appertain!—Do I then apper­tain [Page 29] to some one, and have I forever lost the hope of dis­posing of myself!"

Not all the flow of spirits natural to her age, not all that sweetness and happiness of temper natural to herself, could, for some time, banish this corroding idea from her mind: it empoisoned her pleasures, it robbed her of that gaiety and those enlivening graces with her, formerly, so habitual. The indulgent Canoness, attributing her melan­choly to the privation of town pleasures, feigned not to perceive it, and redoubled her cares and caresses to make her retreat supportable. Not only the Canoness, but the servants, individually, and even the very animals, testifi­ed their joy at the return of their favorite, and the reci­procal attachment they felt for her who had so often felt for them. The tender heart of Caroline was the very op­posite to insensible, and the secret charm which fancy af­fixes to those haunts in which the sports of childhood have past, added to the soft delight of being beloved by every person around her, soon had their usual effect; she fell into her former habits, and her daily occupations be­came as pleasant now, as before her residence at Berlin. Her flower garden, neglected while she was absent, again flourished under her eye, and was enamelled with a thou­sand various bads, and ten thousand tints and dyes. A­gain her aviary was re-peopled, and the new-mown hay, the yellow harvest, the distant mountains covered with flocks of sheep [...]e browsing cattle, the sports o [...] [...]he green [...] [...]ic flageolet amused and delighted her as m [...]s [...] had seen the spectacles of Luxury and the feasts [...]e. These far-fetched pleasures had been but moment [...] and had rather dazzled than intoxicated; while those of Nature, simple but real, and always pre­ferred by the unadulterated heart and the elevated mind, ever various and ever sublime, are beheld without weari­ness, and enjoyed without felf-detestation.

She seldom heard from Berlin. Her father, whose cherished anger was only smothered, and who was, be­sides, totally occupied by his court dignities and state employments, seldom wrote, and her husband never. The High Chamberlain had another motive, indeed, for his silence; he hoped dulness would soon make her tired of her retreat; and Walstein, remembering only how much pain it must cost her to reply, was silent lest he [Page 30] should distress. Neither did he well know in what man­ner to treat a lady so young, whom he knew not, by whom he was unknown, and who he might well suppose thought him little less than an odious tyrant. Hoping every thing, therefore, from time and maturity of reason, he patiently waited their effects, and returned to Petersburg and his duty. There, multiplicity of business and affairs of great importance occupied him so entirely, that we will not pre­tend to affirm he did not even think the caprice of his young bride very fortunate; since, without laying a con­straint on her inclinations, it placed her in that kind of retreat, during his absence, which he himself would most have desired, without, perhaps, daring to ask.

The result of all this was, that Caroline had scarcely remained three months at Rindaw before all that had pas­sed appeared but as a dream; which she scarcely could, and never wished perfectly to recollect. She was even careful to banish all ideas from her mind that were any way relative to the Count, and no one sought to make her remember them.

Her friend, perceiving that at the very name of Wal­stein her countenance was clouded and her mind disturb­ed, was careful never to pronounce it; and thus, at length was this union so far effac [...]d from her mind, that had any one asked her if she was married, the probabilities were th [...] she would, in the first moment of forgetfulness, very s [...]rely have answered, No.

None of the ideas she brought fr [...] [...]mained, except an earnest desire of becoming [...]k [...]dge, and in grace, to some few distinguished [...] she had there beheld; and, to effect these purpose [...]he winter was employed in music, drawing, the st [...] of English and Italian, for the French she had already been taught. In these, by the help of good masters, she made great pro­gress. Undisturbed by passion, much time, a strong de­sire for instruction, an unincumbered memory, and a ge­nius of the first order, were advantages by which she pro­fited surprisingly. Reading was not neglected, and her natural good taste led her to a proper choice of books. Her person kept pace with her mind, and advanced to angelic perfection. Each succeeding day seemed to be­stow some new grace, and, all beautiful as she was one month, she was evidently more beautiful the next. She grew taller, and her shape was so fine, each limb and fea­ture [Page 31] so proportionate, her colour was so blooming, the white so pure, the red so transparent, her eyes so mild, so large, so expressive▪ so innocent and yet so animated, that it was a delight to look upon her. Virgin timidity she had, but no ill-timed bashfulness that makes even the form of beauty unmeaning: if the sympathetic tale of feeling were told, the precious pearl of sensibility would brighten in her eye, and fall on her cheek; and if the poet, with sublime hand, touched the lyre, genius would instantly rush on her imagination, animate her form, and illuminate her countenance.

Her voice too she learnt to modulate, and it acquired a sweetness and flexibility that, when she sang to the harp, or Spanish guitar, it was not possible to resist those mild emotions, those delicious sensations, which she so well could feel, and so powerfully inspire.

To these, her talents, her graces and her gifts, she ad­ded another; which, though perhaps not so esteemed, is still more uncommon, and not less captivating. There was an elegant simplicity and an air of dignity in her dress that seemed to make grace itself more graceful. These, added to her bright auburn ringlets, profuse in growth and flowing on her neck and shoulders, made her a crea­ture such as the imagination scarcely can conceive, and such as tongue or pen must never hope to describe.

Yes, such, and still more beauteous, was Caroline, at sixteen, while all these blooming sweets seemed doomed to wither in the desert air, unseen, except by the homely village swains, unadmired, except by the good Canoness.

She, it is true, was all ecstacy, and never ceased regret­ting the happy times of knighthood, and enamoured che­valiers, when Caroline would have, undoubtedly, been the paragon of courts, the arbitress of tilts and tourna­ments, and the reward of valour that never had been equalled. How often did she vow, as she beheld her, silently appealing to every sacred power, that the Count of Walstein never should be master of such a profusion of charms! How unappeaseable, how enraged, how furious would she have been, had she known she was already his, and that Caroline was thus improving, thus embellishing for him alone! A Prince, at least, she deserved; but might the Canoness have chosen, it should have been a husband of romance, beauteous as Astolpho, faithful as Amadis, and tender as Celadon: neither could she help [Page 32] being astonished to find that they did not come in crowds to Rindaw, to dispute the hand of the lovely Caroline.

As to Caroline herself, she was astonished at none of these things, and only desired to remain where she was. Ever peaceable, and ever busy, happiness seemed incapa­ble of increase, except that, sometimes, when she was [...]one, and even in the midst of those occupations she most delighted in, she would feel a kind of mild melancholy come over her, or rather a dream, a reverie without sub­ject, and without end, of which she knew not, nor sought the cause. This was a very different sort of sensation from that which her marriage had occasioned; the one was painful and oppressive, the other so pleasant, that, were it not for the efforts she occasionally made, she could have remained whole hours in that kind of gentle trance which the guests of heaven only are supposed perfectly to enjoy.

In these happy occupations and still happier dreams did winter glide away, for nothing makes time so short as employing it well; and the return of spring began to add to her pleasures, which, however, were cruelly inter­rupted. Her good Mamma, who so long had been lan­guishing, at last fell dangerously ill. To know how sin­cerely she was attached to the Canoness, to express the greatness of her fears, and to imagine all the duties, cares, and attentions she paid her, one must have the heart of Caroline. During her illness, which lasted almost a month, she never quitted her bedside, and it was with difficulty they could get her to repose a little while, oc­casionally, in the same chamber. Let no one imagine that the fear of again falling into her father's or her husband's power, if her friend should die, occasioned this severe grief. However natural such a thought might be, it ne­ver once entered her mind. Harassed by apprehension, absorbed in sorrow, wholly occupied by nursing, and solacing, and searing for her friend, Caroline never once thought of herself.

No; had it been necessary, to restore life to the Ca­noness, that Caroline must have yielded hers to the Count, she would not have hesitated a single instant. But, hap­pily, to this cruel proof she was not put. Heaven, touch­ed by her tears, attentive to her prayers, which never saint offered more sincere, preserved the life of her friend; the good Canoness recovered by degrees, to which reco­very the tenderness of Caroline did not, perhaps, con­tribute [Page 33] less than the prescriptions of the physician; at least, so the Canoness thought, and so said, and therefore redoubled, if it were possible, her former attachment to the lovely girl who gave such unequivocal proofs of af­fection.

During her illness she received a visit from the High Chamberlain. Alarmed, as he protested, at the dange [...] of his dear friend, he had flown to Rindaw. Some peo­ple have pretended this was not his motive, but that he had hoped to take back his daughter, and with her own consent. Continually controverted in all his schemes, he, unfortunately, found the sick lady somewhat better, and the attentive Caroline never out of her sight, never leaving her for a moment, more powerfully fixed at Rin­daw by her love for the Canoness than even by her fear of the Count. This, certainly, was not the time to mention returning, nor yet the place; wherefore not a hint was dropped, nor was the name of Walstein once pronounced, who was still at Petersburg.

The Canoness, indeed, would have pronounced it if she could, that is, if she had been able to express all the indignation she felt at this marriage; but alas! she was too weak, she only just told the High Chamberlain that his daughter was an angel, that her life was preserved by her affection and care, and that she would, therefore, consecrate her life to her happiness. The Baron soon departed, informing them he should pay them [...] second visit in autumn. It was then he expected the return of the Ambassador, and he told his daughter he hoped to find her perfectly reasonable and prudent.

At any other time a visit from her father would have most powerfully brought to mind what Caroline most wish­ed to forget; but she was then too much occupied by her cares for her friend, and had lately been too much agitated concerning her, to think of any thing else. Pre­sent danger effaces, or, at least▪ or feebles the fear of future and Caroline was too happy to see the Canoness recovering to imagine she ever could be miserable.

Not but that, at the Baron's departure, the autumnal visit he anounced with so much solemnity occasioned a kind of dread she could not overcome; and, without re­membering the emotion she might cause her convalescent, she fell on her neck, kissed her checks, bathed them with her tears, and exclaimed, "O my dear, dear Mam­ma, [Page 34] now you are restored to me, never will I leave you more, but live and die with you." Her friend, affected even to excess, returned her caresses, and promised that, if possible, they would never separate.

The fear of the moment over, peace again took pos­session of the soul of Caroline. She presently forgot the [...]tumnal visit which was at so prodigious a distance. Is it for sixteen to fear an evil six months before it shall happen? Not to mention that she had something else to do than think about any such thing. As soon as the Canoness was sufficiently recovered, she ran, morning and evening, about the garden, from flower to flower, and from arbour to arbour, enchanted and amazed at the progress which nature had made during her month's re­treat, that the sorrows of a suffering friend had not con­tributed to enliven. Never before had the return of spring made such an impression upon her; for, indeed, this was the first time of her life she had remarked and felt the growing charms of the reviving earth in all their infant varieties; then, when each returning day Nature assumes a newer, and still a fresher face; still bequeaths other, and more abundant blessings to man; and, with her pure breath, inspires pleasure, plenty, and gladness of heart!

What a contrast, this, to the close Chamber, the bed of pain, watered with tears, the distracting complaints of her dear friend, and the dread of being left desolate; for, if her friend died, who should comfort Caroline! Yes, these mournful objects, these fearful apprehensions were exchanged for the cowslip meadow, the budding grove, the lilac, the violet, honeysuccle, and the rose of May, to which succeeded the hyacinth, the ranunculous, the ane­mone, and the tulip, enamelling the earth and perfuming the air. At day-break was heard the warbling of ten thou­sand birds, and at the setting sun the nightingale and the linnet again began their song, responsive from tree to tree, in sounds melodious, wild, and sweet.

Nothing was indifferent to, nothing lost, nothing un­observed by Caroline. She felt all, all enjoyed, enjoy­ed with rapture; believed she inhabited an enchanted world, and her happiness remained uninterrupted. The season, reviving to nature, gave new life and health also to her friend, and she recovered rapidly. A weakness i [...] the hams and a disorder of the eyes made her still keep [Page 35] her chamber, but she could breathe the pure air of spring in the balcony; she could see her Caroline course along the gardens, collect the flowers, support those that droop­ed, and water and preserve them from weeds; she could hear her sweet voice mingle with the song of birds, and thus enjoyed the pleasures and the sports of Caroline.

Another very interesting incident was added to thi [...] rural happiness of the youthful Countess. She wished to raise some monument consecrated to her friend, and the happy epocha of her recovery. Desirous of causing an agreeable surprise, she took advantage of the time during which the Canoness was still held recluse in her chamber, to erect a small temple without her knowledge. For which reason, she chose her spot in an angle of the garden, and at the far end of it, towards which the windows of the Canoness did not look. On this spot was a wild irregular arbour, full in foliage. The beech tree, the hazle, the woodbine, and the j [...]ssamine, were there abundant; a­mong them the path that led to the arbour winded, and beside them a small clear bro [...]k ran murmuring.

The Canoness had planted this arbour during the time her unfortunate passion was at its height; the name of the persidious High Chamberlain had been traced on every tree by her beauteous hand; and she had always preserved her former predilection for this spot, the score of her sor­rows, her tenderness, and truth.

Caroline was pleased with it likewise; the thick shrubs and uninterrupted security made it the delighted haunt of the red breast, the wren, the finch, and the linnet, and the Baroness and Caroline had, many a summer, passed delicious moments amid the refreshing foliage. At the farther end, of this favoured asylum did she resolve to erect the Temple of Friendship. Caroline informe [...] her father, secretly, of her project, which he willing [...]y for­warded by sending her the necessary workmen. A door which opened to the road gave them free egress and re­gress, without being perceived from the chateau, and Caroline was too great a favorite among the servants to fear their indiscretion. The Canoness, confined to her apartment, suspected nothing of all this; Caroline might, perhaps, have betrayed herself, had this happened six months sooner, but she had learned to keep one secret, and the second was certainly far less burthensome. Nei­ther care, assiduity, nor money were wanting; her zeal [Page 36] communicated itself to the workmen; she furnished ideas, drew plans, and was always the first in the morning at the building, which went forward with excessive rapi­dity, and which was finished in less than a month.

As soon as the temple was ready for the reception of her friend, she was most earnest in her entreaties to go [...]here. "The air of your arbour, Mamma, is so cool, so refreshing, so pure, the foliage is so abundant, and the flowers so sweet, you will be delighted."

"I have no doubt of it, my dear, but thou knowest I cannot walk so far."

"If that be all, I will carry you thither, myself, Mam­ma."

Caroline was so pressing, that the Canoness, who could deny her nothing, suffered herself, at last, to be carried in her arm-chair, and was well rewarded for her conde­scension, by the surprise, the pleasure, and the new mark of affection thus testified by her adopted daughter.

This little temple, or pavilion, was an octagon; the architecture was exceedingly simple. Eight columns of white stucco left an open space, which was paved in Mo­saic, with black and white marble. In the middle was an altar of white marble ornamented with festoons of most elegant sculpture; upon the altar stood a bust of the Ca­noness, modelled after an exceedingly good portrait in the possession of Caroline. In her youth she had been beautiful; and, when the High Chamberlain was her lo­ver, he had more than one rival. It gave her pleasure often to remark, that she was thought greatly to resemble the statue of Cleopatra. Though grief and years had stolen the roses from her cheeks, and destroyed somewhat of this resemblance, her features were still sufficiently regu­lar for a very agreeable bust.

Caroline was very desirous of engraving some verses on the base of the altar, indicating to whom it was consecra­ted: but, as she determined not to borrow, it was neces­sary to write them herself; and, as the talent of poetry is not, however it may be supposed, intuitive, but requires long application and severe study before it can be good, Caroline was not a good poet. She made the attempt, however; for when the feelings are strong and the ideas flowing in abundance, the expression of them seems, be­fore trial, to be exceedingly easy; but, when the [...]ssay [...] made, is found to be exactly the reverse. Caroline wro [...] [Page 37] and effaced, interlined, tore, began again, and, at last, wrote some verses, which might be, once, heard with pleasure, but which did not deserve to be engraved in marble. At first she was enchanted with them, but pre­sently recoiled at recollecting they should always remain there, and would be read by every one. Renouncing poetical same, therefore, she caused a simple inscriptio [...] in letters of gold, to be written, beneath the bust, indi­cating the day, the month, and the year in which the Canoness was snatched from the grave, herself restored to happiness, and this Temple dedicated to Friendship.

A double stair case of white marble led to an upper apartment of the same dimensions and form with that be­neath, that is to say octagonal, but walled in and lighted by four large windows. The ceiling was a lofty dome, painted with such art that it perfectly imitated a most se­rene and crystal sky. Round the walls, between the windows, were paintings, emblematic of the person to whom the temple was dedicated. In one of the partitions was Caroline, kneeling to Esculapius, ardently invoking his aid, and pointing to her expiring friend. In the second Caroline was assisting her as she rose, while little Genii sported around her, scattered flowers, overset the table on which phials and physical remedies were placed, and broke the javelin of Death who was seen flying in the back ground. In the third a pavilion was building, Caro­line placing the bust upon the altar, and the Genii of friendship and gratitude engraving the inscription. In the fourth and last, Caroline was leading, and sustaining with one arm, the Canoness, whose attitude expressed surprise and joy, and extending the other towards the temple she had been building, and which she there pre­sented to her.

The partitions were wainscot, and had doors, behind each of which was a recess for a small library; a table stood in the middle, and cabriole chairs round the room.

In short, nothing was forgotten, yet all was planned and conducted by a young girl of sixteen; but this girl was inspired and informed by friendship: her heart over­flowing with this affection, and, totally ignorant of any other, loving by nature, without other object of attach­ment than this her dear and only friend, to her the effu­sions of sensibility were all directed, and the dread of lo­sing her had rendered them still more creative, more pow­erful, [Page 38] and more profuse. Genius likewise begins to show itself at her age, and the mind and imagination have then an ardor that must find employment, a fire that will have fuel. Independent of the pleasure she should give her friend, that which pertained to herself, alone, was far from small. To build was in some sort to create, each new [...] was a new enjoyment, the execution and the effect of which gave her momentary rapture. Caroline, perhaps, never enjoyed greater felicity than while she was thus employed; so has she since frequently acknowledged, and never, afterwards, beheld this monument of affection and friendship, without emotion.

Let the reader, if the reader can, imagine the ecstacy of the sentimental Baroness. It was the denouement of a romance, an incident of surprise so unexpected, and so perfectly conformable to her ideas and taste, that it seemed imagined and contrived purposely for her—a tem­ple built by enchantment by the wand of a Fairy, or the talisman of a Genius. Behold her clasping the lovely Sylph in her arms to whom she is indebted for this pro­digy! and lo! Caroline kneeling, kissing her hands, and expressing her multitudinous sensations by looks and si­lence incapable of speech! see them mingle their tears, each contending for superior gratitude and love!

This was the moment in which Caroline felt happi­ness unmixed, free from the slightest shade of pain, and as pure as it was innocent. Happy age! existing but for the present moment, forgetful of the past, and regardless of the future! Rindaw was the world to Caroline, and her pavilion the Temple of Felicity. So enamoured was she of it, that she p [...]sed her whole time there, when she was not with her friend. The moment she left the Ba­roness she slew to the pavilion, and she scarcely could quit it without regret. The lofty dome was most excel­lently adapted to [...]us [...], the sound was echoed, lengthen­ed and increased; and [...]cordingly, all the instruments were carried thithe [...] [...] that, presently, it was impossible to play or sing any [...] but in the pavilion.

The clear light was equally excellent for drawing; for, by means of the four windows and Venetian blind, the light might be disposed in what manner the painter plea­sed; and pencils, ballets and colours were all transported thither.

The place was so tranquil, so undisturbed so free from [Page 39] noise and interruption, that it was the properest in the world for reading, and Caroline's whole library stole thither by degrees. Caroline scarcely had any other a­partment; she never entered her own room, except to sleep, or hastily arrange her dress, and often in that of her dear mamma she felt a kind of impatience to be gone. Novelty is a pleasure which habit soon renders absolutely necessary.

Let us, however, do justice to Caroline. She was all impatience that her friend should so far recover her strength as daily to come and live with her in her dear pavilion and so charmed was the Baroness to see Caroline thus happy, that she contributed every thing in her pow­er to continue the sweet delirium. How long it was to continue, how long she was to love her pavilion for itself alone, we shall presently see.

Hitherto, the tranquil existence of Caroline has glided away untroubled in its progress, except the now forgot­ten week at Berlin, unmolested by love or hatred; for her repugnance to Walstein, her dread of living with him, was not hatred; and if, by chance, she thought of him, the remembrance inspired gratitude for the pre­sent liberty in which she lived. But this was, indeed, a kind of chance that seldom happened; seldom, indeed, did the recollection of the Count intrude itself, and the enjoyment of present pleasures effaced his image from her mind almost to total forgetfulness. Her freedom she en­joyed as though it had been absolute, and did not ill re­semble a bird secured by a thread winging the air, warbling, and fancying itself as free as the feathered songsters that vault from bush to bush: its forgotten captivity is not perceived till the hand that retains it draws gently back, catches, and carefully again incloses it within the cage.

Caroline had lately received some new music from Ber­lin; among it was a collection of lyric compositions, some of which she was delighted with, and one in particular. The air suited her voice, and the words her feelings; she sang it from morning to night, accompanying herself al­ternately on the guitar, the harp, and the piano forte, and each time of repeating it, finding a wish and a plea­sure to repeat it again.

It is necessary to this our history that we should insert this song and, perhaps, our readers will not be displea­sed to see words that gave Caroline so much delight.

[Page 40]
Gentle Eugenia, lovely maid,
Supine on flow'ry bank was laid,
She and the year alike were in their spring;
Of Love she oft had heard the name,
Of Love she ne'er had felt the flame,
Gentle Eugenia thus was heard to sing;
"Peaceful Indiff'rence, let me know,
"Of Bliss art thou the friend, or foe?
"Love lives and breathes in every part
"Of Nature's works, except my heart;
"Each bosom heaves, save mine, with melting sighs▪
"Ah, why this apathy, this calm?
"If Love be Nature's sovereign balm,
"Why should not I with Nature sympathize?
"Indiff'rence, thou, if this be so,
"No friend of bliss art, but the foe.
"Yet lo, the butterfly and bee,
"From bud to bud, inconstant flee;
"On sweets they surfeit, first, and then forsake;
"And thus to rove and riot prone,
"Has Love, like them, been ever known
"Of selfish pleasures eager to partake.
"Ah! dear Indiff [...]rence, thee I know
"The friend of Bliss, and not the foe.
"Disloyal, and devoid of truth,
"Full many a virgin, many a youth,
"Thou, Love, to sighs and tears, untold, dost doom;
"While I can peaceful sit and smile,
"As free from sorrow as from guile,
"Can view the young lambs sport, the flow'rets bloom.
"Yes, dear Indiff'rence, thee I know
"The friend of Bliss, and not the foe."
Thus sang the maid, and Love, who long,
Had angry listen'd to the song,
Straight vow'd revenge, and seiz'd the pointed dart;
And ere the sound had well expir'd
'Twas whirl'd, and as it fled it fir'd;
The virgin felt it glowing in her heart:
Eugenia sigh'd, "Yes! now I know
"Indiff'rence is of bliss the foe!"

[Page 41]As she was singing this song, one day, in the pavilion, and, as it this time happened, accompanying herself with her guitar, she expressively repeated

Yes, dear Indiff'rence, thee I know
The friend of Bliss, and not the foe,

when she heard another voice, as sweet and melodious as her own, but deeper and more sonorous, that sung, as a second,

Listen to Love, and thou shalt know
Indiff'rence is of bliss the foe.

The accent, the voice, the expression, were very dif­ferent from the rustic songs to which she was accustomed, and gave her infinite surprise. She left singing, listened, but heard the voice no more; she then again began to sing, but in a softer tone, and an accompaniment less loud; and distinctly heard, as she wished, the voice once more. With her guitar in her hand, she ran towards the casement to look towards the high road, where she saw a youth, beauteous, finely formed, and arrived at full manhood, in a hunting dress, leaning on his fowling-piece, with his eyes fixed on the temple. This, no doubt, was the per­son who sang. Caroline, however, had but a glance of him; for the moment she beheld him, confused and asha­med of having been heard and seen, and of her own cu­riosity, she instantly retired to the farther side of the pa­vilion, where, standing on tip-toe, and stretching for­wards, she looked, with all her might, through the win­dow from which she had fled; but it was too far distant, she could see nothing. She would have begun again to sing, only to see if she should again have been accompa­nied; but her voice failed her, she could not, or durst not, force out a single sound, and scarcely, and but light­ly, could she touch a few chords on her guitar. Thus she remained for some time; at length, no longer able to subdue her curiosity, after having advanced eight paces and retire [...] took courage, and went up to the window. [...] the [...] [...]sman, the youth, w [...] [...] proceeding along the road, an [...] [...], every moment, anxiously towards t [...] [...]

[...]; perfect­ly [...] [...]ences. [...] [...]owly [Page 42] erected, and decorated with taste. He saw, remarked it, and heard most sweet music as he stood; he listened, and yielded to the desire of joining in sounds so delightful. He then beheld a charming virgin approach the window, and it was very natural he should look at her. What, in­deed, could be more natural? And yet was Caroline oc­cupied, the whole day, by reflecting on these incidents, as if they had been the most extraordinary possible.

We own that to Caroline, who saw each succeeding day but like the day before, a common incident might seem strange, and any being who should interrupt solitude, so continued and so absolute as her's, might well appear singular. Of this youth, therefore, she often thought, and as often wondered who he might be, or why he should travel a road where beings like himself were so seldom seen. Of these her cogitations, however, she said not a word; for she felt some vague idea of dread lest her dear pavilion should become an interdicted place, and this, to her, would have been worse than death.

On the morrow, therefore, she flew with more early haste even than usual, and, after having possed an hour, looking through the window towards the road, and well assuring herself, by examining every way, that no one could either see or hear her, she took her guitar, sat down with the sash thrown up, and sang her favourite song from beginning to end; and, though she always had liked the last verse the least, it this time so far took her fancy that it was repeated: she next sung it to her harp, and after­wards to her piano forte. At this, however, she did not long remain; for it stood at the far end of the pavilion, and Caroline found the air so pure, so mild, so refreshing, that she could not possibly sit any where but at the win­dow. She had written down the second that she had heard, and repeated in every kind of mode

Yes, dear Indiff'rence, thee I know
The friend of bliss, and not the foe;

which, alas! no one came to contradict.

Tired, at length, and, for aught we know, somewhat chagrined to sing so long by herself when there were peo­ple in the world who so harmoniously could bear a part, she threw down her music, laid by her instrument, ran in­to the garden, plucked some flowers which she tossed with­out order into her flower-basket, and, for want of other amusement, again returned to the pavilion, took up her [Page 43] pallet and her pencil, and carelessly began to imitate the tints and beauties she had been collecting. It was with difficulty, at first, she could any way fix her attention, and she looked oftener toward the window than the pan­nel on which she painted; but her work by degrees drew her attention, and wholly occupied her. The flowers, which from her traces took birth, pleased her; each new touch was happy, and gave a new effect; the powers of genius were roused and high in action when, suddenly, the clattering of a horse's h [...]ss were heard at a distance.

This noise, though of a very different nature, was lit­tle less surprising than the melodious sounds of the even­ing before; it bore no resemblance to the slow and heavy step of the beast of burden or the village horse. Accord­ingly, the pencil was thrown by, and Caroline, in a mo­ment, was at the window, looking every way. She pre­sently beheld, and not far distant, a fine handsome man, mounted on a gray horse that champed the bit he seemed to disdain, and foaming obeyed the restraining hand of his graceful rider.

How observant, how piercing, how exact is the female eye! Scarcely had Caroline seen the stranger of over-night▪ who was in a green sporting dress; the present youth wore a uniform; the one was on foot, the other on horse­back; the first sung, the latter galloped. How little did these things resemble each other! and yet did Caroline, instantly, recollect these two to be one and the same per­son. It was not possible to resist that curiosity that desi­red to know if this youth could ride as well as he could sing. He, or rather his horse, advanced, for the proud animal was difficult to detain, and not easy to manage; yet was he forgotten the moment his rider had a glance of Caroline; the hand quitted the bridle for the hat (for what cavalier would forbear to salute an angelic creature who appeared to be the goddess of the temple?) and the impatient steed, profiting by momentary liberty, and, per­haps, somewhat frightened at the sudden motion of the rider, gave a prodigious plunge, which would have un­horsed a rider less firm and daring, and set off, full speed, regardless of every effort of the cavalier, and quick as lightning, was out of sight.

Caroline, greatly terrified, gave a piercing shriek, and followed the horse and his rider with looks of anxiety and dread as long as she could, which, however, was but a mo­ment; [Page 44] they were gone, but her fears remained, and again, and ardently, she looked, though nothing was there to be seen. Fear, like other beings, propogates and multiplies, and Caroline saw the noble cavalier falling from his horse, rolled in the dust, wounded and trampled on.—If the dangerous beast would but run towards the village, he might there, perhaps, be stopped, the people might come to his master's aid, and they might bring him back, if wounded, to the chateau. For a moment she thought to have sent the servants after him, but after whom? She herself knew not. And which road? for there were se­veral at leaving the village. Besides, it was not easy to overtake a horse full speed. And then how could she give these orders? It seemed so particular, at least so she feared it would seem. No, she never could resolve, and, therefore, remain she must with all her anxious in­quietudes.

These she endeavoured to calm by recollecting how firm, how graceful the officer sat, and how certain he seemed of his power before that vexatious salutation, for which she wholly reproached herself; having no other person to salute, she hoped the horse would lose his fears, and the cavalier regain his command; and even that she should be happy enough to see him again on the morrow; "and really," said she to herself, "he ought to come merely to quiet my apprehensions."

The agitation of Caroline had totally deprived her of any desire any longer to sing or paint; so, after a few turns in the garden, still thinking on the youth who, like an apparition, had twice suddenly appeared, and twice as suddenly vanished, she returned to keep the Baroness company; to whom, however, she did not mention a syllable of what had happened; fearing, no doubt, to terrify her as much as she had been terrified herself. She went to bed impatiently wishing for the morrow, and ardently hoping she should either see the stranger, or, at least, be certified he had escaped un­hurt. Yesterday, simple and pure curiosity had engaged her to think of him; to-day, humanity was added▪ for the life of a man was endangered. After many reflec­tions on the subject, and after being very angry with un­ruly horses, that will not suffer cavaliers to be polite, and take off their hats to ladies, Caroline, at last, fell asleep.

On the morrow—Why on the morrow it ruined, in [Page 45] torrents, from morning to night; it was a day that might well have been a day during Noah's flood; it was as im­possible to go to the pavilion, as it was to suppose any one could ride out on such a day. Caroline, baulked in all her expectations, sound the day intolerably tedious, and, tired, and vexed to death, could find no mode plea­santly to employ her time; her books, her music, her drawings, all were at the pavilion; her heart was at the pavilion, also, and she herself most impatiently wished to be there, but, ah! it was impossible.

Conversations with her dear Mamma, concerning rain and fine weather, and most sincere wishes for the return of the latter, singing the burthen of Peaceful Indifference, and imagining the second, remembering the galloping horse, and again hoping for the morrow, where the best means Caroline could find of passing the day. The mor­row—why this good for nothing morrow was as bad as the former one; the rain was worse and worse, and the clouds seemed all to have made an appointment to meet at Rindaw. It was too much for nature to bear, and Caro­line, for the first time in her life, was really out of tem­per, and shewed she was so. "Is it not intolerable, Mamma, that one cannot so much as step into the pavili­on? There is my flower-basket, which I had begun to paint! The flowers will be all faded, and those in the gar­den will be beat down and deluged by this good-for-no­thing unceasing rain! I shall find the leaves all torn from the roses, and nothing but the thorns remaining."

Alas! poor Caroline! the thorns already are in thy heart; thy gaiety, before so uniform, is now no more; that cheerful void of care, happily improvident, which gave thee smiles and songs, as [...] [...]th the gloomy as the golden and the azure sk [...], [...] those are fled.

So impatient was Caroline [...] old the daz­zling brightness of the [...] on this second day, every barometer [...] the house; every moment was looking [...] [...]uds were likely to disperse; but no, they [...] for ever emptying and for ever increasing. Although, however, in the evening, a purple cloud, st [...]king the horizon, gave some small hopes: a fresh wind sprang up, and they were confirmed; and in the mo [...]ning, when Caroline waked, she had the pleasure to perceive the sun's rays illuminating her cur­tains, and the shining ardor of day enlightening her apart­ment. [Page 46] The disappointment of the time past augmented the pleasure of the time present, and scarcely would she wait till the path was dry before she flew to the pavilion.

Not her flowers, so much regretted, not her books, for which she seemed to sigh, nor yet her music, which might enliven the dulness of dark and cloudy weather, were the things that first drew her attention: it was the window and the road, uniform and inanimate as such objects may seem, that attracted and riveted the eyes of Caroline. She looks this way, that way, and every way; she listens and fears to breathe; yet nothing sees, nothing hears; she examines the humid green swerd, and the gravel-path, trying if she can discover the new-made traces of a horse's hoof. "Ah! could I only know he had passed this way, that he were safe, that no accident had happened, how tranquil, how perfectly contented should I be! For, cer­tainly, I was the cause of his misfortune. If I had left the window, he would not have pulled off his hat, and his horse would not have been frightened; but only let me get the least glimpse of him once again, and I will withdraw instantly, that he no more may be tempted to salute me." Thus to herself said Caroline.

Now, so it happened, just as thus she had said, she not only had a glimpse, but a full view of a caval [...]er, wearing the same uniform, mounted on the same gray, unruly horse, and advancing, full trot, towards the pavilion, from which he was as yet at some distance. Well then, there he was, safe and unhurt, and Caroline, no doubt, was made per­fectly easy; and, no doubt, she will retire, as she promised herself, and think of him no more.

But wherefore the tremor which suddenly has seized her? Wherefore this quickening pulse, this palpitating heart, this spreading suffusion that dyes alabaster scarlet, and gives the rose of the cheek a deeper hue? I know not wherefore these things were; I only know they were, and that Caroline was all agitation. She was going to leave the window, but just at that moment, for things will some­times happen oddly, her handkerchief, on which she had been leaning, fell, and was borne (no doubt by Zephyr [...], for they are apt at wanton and malicious tricks), yes, it was borne into the middle of the highway.

Caroline was absolutely in despair: the act was most surely involuntary, yet so it might not seem; not forget­ting that this was still more dangerous to the cavalier than [Page 47] the salute she meant to avoid; for it is certainly less dif­ficult to take off one's hat, on horseback, than to pick up a handkerchief from the ground. This was a very just conclusion, but so was not the next she made; she sup­posed the cavalier still so far distant as to give her time to run down, open the pavilion door, sally forth, pick up her handkerchief, and re-enter before he should arrive. The idea she thought excellent, it seemed to be the only possible expedient of clearly demonstrating that the hand­kerchief had not been purposely thrown out of the win­dow for the cavalier to pick up; nor was there time to lose in reflection; away, therefoer, she flew to the door, opened it, and was stepping out at the very moment that the young officer, after alighting from his horse, was him­self in the act of taking up the handkerchief.

With a graceful and dignified manner the youth ap­proached, and, in an elegant compliment returned his prize; while Caroline, disconcerted and unable to reply, extended her timid hand. The youth, with infinite mo­desty, begged permission to see the garden and pavilion, which, he said, appeared most charming. Understanding the silence of the trembling Caroline as consent (cavaliers will so understand), he presently hung the bridle of his horse to the pavilion door, and followed her.

The latent feelings of Caroline told her she ought to have denied his request; but which way? Caroline was naturally all benevolence, and there is something pain­ful in denial. Neither did she perceive any infinite evil which could thence result. Her own innocence, her to­tal ignorance of the world, concealed the danger that might lurk thus under the form of a youthful soldier. Beside, his uniform spoke him a gentleman, and the no­ble ease of his manner of no mean birth: his politeness was so natural, so graceful, so familiar, the tone of his voice, his modest confidence, all confirmed him perfectly well bred. The symmetry and beauty of his form made not all that impression which might naturally be expect­ed, because Caroline durst not look at him; and yet she had seen sufficient to find that his full fine eyes were most expressively intelligent, and she very soon could have informed us that his teeth were white and regular, his smile enchanting, his nose acquiline, his visage oval, his eyebrows markingly arched, his stature tall, his dark com­plexion animated by the warm glow of youth and health, [Page 48] and that his open and frank countenance inspired confi­dence and friendship the moment they were beheld. All these things had the furtive beauteous Countess presently remarked. This might, perhaps, in part, excuse that sa­cility with which she suffered him to walk up into the pavilion; unless it should be thought more natural to cast the whole blame on absolute Innocence, too secure in its own simplicity. But whether this or that excuse were best, there he is, there looks, there admires, there praises with ecstacy, and yet with propriety, void of exaggera­tion, the taste and the talents which had decorated the temple. The altar and paintings particularly fixed his attention. He asked an explanation; it was given, and thus he gained a happy opportunity of learning to whom the place belonged without the indelicacy of interrogation, though neither the names of the Baroness of Rindaw or the High Chamberlain Lichtfield made him more polite, more attentive, or more respectful; for that was impossible.

The song and the guitar were lying on the piano forte, which, with a gentle but submissive smile, led him to mention the second, and to ask pardon for that teme [...]ity which had suffered him to mingle his voice with the har­monious sounds he had heard, and which, he added, he should be most happy again to hear. He saw the propo­sition augmented the confusion of Caroline; he said not a word more concerning it, therefore; but spoke of music, its effects and charms, like one who felt them, and was the first to propose quitting the pavilion and walking in the garden.

The fortitude of Caroline began to return: the stran­ger's conversation was so agreeable, so unaffected, and yet so animated, that it could not long leave her under any constraint; and, after a turn or two in the garden, Caro­line spoke to him as naturally as if they had been acquaint­ed all their lives. With the most perfect simplicity did she relate the terror with which she had been seized at the impetuosity of the unmanageable horse, and tell all her fears and apprehensions during those two dreadful days of rain. Desirous, however, as she was to learn the name of the cavalier, this was a thing she durst not ask; she only understood he was captain in the guards, and her country neighbour, which both gave her pleasure; for the one informed her he was a proper visitor, and the other that she should certainly see him again.

[Page 49]A quarter of an hour, which, short as it was, seemed still infinitely shorter, they thus conversed; when the steed, neighing and pawing at the door, became so impa­tient that his master was obliged, however unwilling, a­gain to mount. "Really," said Caroline to him as he threw the bridle over his neck, "were I in your place, Sir, I should not like a horse that would neither permit one to take off one's hat nor walk in a garden."—Ah! how in­finite are the charms of Innocence! The stranger with a smile half restrained, assured Caroline his horse should be better taught, and that, indeed, he had played him to many malicious tricks, of which he should be corrected; then, lightly vaulting into the saddle, after a thousand repeated thanks to Caroline for her condescension, he departed, as slowly as possible, curbing the haughty ani­mal to obedience. Caroline, as slowly, returned to the pavilion, as soon, that is, as he was out of fight; her head, aye and her heart too, wholly occupied by the departed cavalier.

"How amiable his person! how soft, how attentive his manners! Oh that Heaven had given me a brother like him! How dearly would he have been beloved!— But wherefore may I not love this youth as I should love a brother, or as a friend, sent by Heaven to make soli­tude cheerful? Yet how do I know if ever I shall be­hold him again?"

Thus meditated Caroline; and what the thought was which, added to this latter, so might move her we know not, but Caroline felt a sudden oppression at her heart, and the tear rose glistening in her eye. Sensible of this, and somewhat alarmed, she was desirous to divert her at­tention to other objects, and sat down to her music; but the two days rain had put her harp and guitar out of tune, and she was obliged to lay them by; the piano forte was less affected, and she played an adagio, which but augment­ed melancholy. To painting she had next recourse, but with no better success; and reading was still lets amusing than either: she opened books, but they seemed dull and ill written before she had finished a period. Some change must certainly have taken place, for objects that before gave pleasure, at present gave distate, or painful lassitude at best.

Caroline returned to the garden, and took the same [Page 50] round she lately had gone with the cavalier, stopped at the same places, and recollected every expression, every at­titude, and every look. The grand question now remain­ed to be determined; that is to say, whether she should or should not, tell all that had happened to the good Ca­noness. Silence was disagreeable, and to mystery Caroline was naturally averse; yet she seemed more averse to speak or [...] occasion. She knew not how to speak, nor [...] [...]p [...]k; and, supposing there to be nothing wrong in keeping the secret, there was nothing difficult in it; for secrecy was, at present become habitual, and she her­self, it may be, less communicative. Beside, what should she say? "Why mention a person, whom, perhaps, I shall never see again, whose name I know not? It will be time enough if he should return. And then should the Baro­ness blame me for having admitted him into the garden, forbid me the pavilion, and not suffer me any more to look out of the window!"

Caroline half shuddered, as thus she meditated, and re­solved not to tell what had happened. When, however, she returned to her friend, she could not forbear asking a thousand questions concerning the neighbourhood, for two leagues round. As the Canoness never was visited, Caro­line knew none of the neighbour [...], nor had she ever, be­fore, made the least enquiry; though her good friend made a merit of knowing the genealogy of all their fami­lies through every branch. To question her concerning the characters and affairs of her neighbours was taking her on her weak side; and poor Caroline had a hundred his­tories to hear, while the only on to which she could have listened with pleasure was unrelated. Not the least cir­cumstance could she learn that had any reference to the stranger. Here lived an old Baron who had retired from the army, with his wife as old as himself, shut up in their chateau; there a young couple, with several children, but they were infants, and all girls. Yonder, as you en­tered the village, an ancient commander of the Teutonic Order; very infirm, very avaricious, and on very good terms with his gouvernante. A little farther, an old dowager, with an only son of five and twenty.

Caroline, who was half asleep, no sooner heard of the only son of five and twenty, than she was as perfectly a­wake as ever she had been in her life; but to little purpose [Page 51] half an ideot, with no other employment that what hunt­ing and drinking afforded, and who, notwithstanding his great riches, could pursuade no woman to become his wife. Ah! thought Caroline, that is not my cavalier.

The Baroness continued, for it was not easy to inter­rupt her, and she was inexhaustible. At last Caroline, quite wearied, and learning nothing of what she most desi­red to know, wishing to be alone, took advantage of a slight head-ach, and retired sooner than usual. "He is not my neighbour, then," said she sighing. "And has he deceived, could he deceive me? If so, I shall never see him more. Well then I must forget, never think of him more."

Moncrief has said that the very act of determining to forget makes us remember. Thus, Caroline, fortifying herself in this her noble resolution, forget the cav [...]lier by recollecting every word that had passed; and, thus rumi­nating, dropt asleep. No doubt the project of thinking on him no more was her first on waking the next morn­ing. She rose, and resolved not to go to the pavilion all the forenoon: habit was very strong, and was with dif­ficulty vanquished, yet vanquished it was: she raised her drooping flowers, examined her aviary, and sat down to her embroidery, every moment repeating, "I must think of him no more," and as often looking towards the pa­vilion. "Dear pavilion▪" said Caroline, sighing, "I am never happy but when I am there; I must pay it a visit, but it shall be very very late, when I am sure no person is walking. I will not go, at soonest, before four o'clock in the afternoon."

The day appeared exceedingly long, and Caroline persuaded herself it was already far advanced, as she sauntered near the pavilion, when she heard, in the very court-yard of the chateau, the trampling of a horse and the sound of hoofs she began to think she recollected, which made her heart palpitate. In a moment a servant enters and announces the Baron of Lindorf. The asto­nished Baroness recollects to have heard the name, and gives orders for his admission; when the charming stranger of the pavilion, with all his grace and gentle­ness, appeared.

Poor Caroline, what was thy emotion! How bitterly▪ didst thou reproach thyself for not having mentioned him to [...] friend! How [...] are thy blushes at thy [Page 52] own dissimulation! For, whether he speak or whether he do not, thou art, equally, afraid of his indiscretion and his silence.

Lindorf chose the latter; a glance at Caroline, who, tremblingly confused, alternately pale and red, had cour­tesied to him with downcast eyes and timidity in every feature, in a moment informed him how it was proper to act. He returned her salutation as if it had been the first time he had seen her; and addressing himself to the Ca­noness, congratulated himself on the happiness of being her neighbour, with self-reproaches for not having sooner profited by this advantage.

The Baroness, to whom this youthful cavalier was a to­tal stranger, asked an explanation, and learned that the commander of the Teutonic Order had, like herself been ill, but had not, like her, recovered; for he was lately dead, and the Baron of Lindorf, his nephew and heir, was come to take possession of the mansion and estate of Risberg, which was adjoining to the Barony of Rindaw. He had at first intended not to make a long stay, but the country had pleased him infinitely; and he had very lately come to a resolution to pass the remainder of the summer there. His first wish was to be acquainted with his lovely neighbours, to present them his duty and his homage, and to solicit permission these occasionally to renew.

All this was said looking towards Caroline, who, with her eyes fixed on her work, which she was industriously spoiling [...]pt a profound silence. Thanks, however, to the good Canoness, the conversation was not therefore interrupted; she gave the history of her whole illness, then reverted with great pity, to that of the Commander, and lamented his death, of which she had been wholly ignorant. "It was but yesterday," said she, "I menti­oned him to Caroline, who had asked me who were my neighbours."

Lindorf did not recollect himself soon enough totally to suppress a smile, and Caroline was absolutely ready to faint with shame and vexation.

The Baroness proceeded with compliments to the heir, and enquiries concerning the estate and property, which must from the character of the Commander, be consider­able. After which came interrogatories concerning the degree of kindred in which the deceased and the youth [Page 53] stood, all which she answered herself. "Oh! I am ac­quainted with every branch of the family. Your name is Lindorf, is it not? Yes, yes, your name is Lindorf; and you inherit in right of my Lady, your mother. She, yes, she was Baroness of Risberg, own sister to the Com­mander, as I think; yes, yes, I am sure she was. To be sure, I was not personally acquainted with her, but one of your lady aunts was educated in the very convent I was, and she told me of this marriage of her sister with your father. Aye, with the Baron of Lindorf, I remem­ber it as well as if had only happened yesterday. There was a mutual passion, real and true love, and I was ex­ceedingly affected by the story. Your aunt was in my confidence also; I told her of my passion for the High Chamberlain. Upon my word, all this seems as if it had happened last week, and here I see a fine young gentle­man—the [...]ldest of the family, I suppose—Were there many children?—Is your father still alive; and my Lady your mother too?—Ah! they still adore each other, no doubt. Love, love, only, can give happiness; and my dear friend, your aunt, whom I just now men­tioned, is she dead? Is she married? It is so long since we saw each other, and I have lived retired here so many years, that I have quite lost sight of former friends."

These questions succeeded each other with such rapi­dity that Lindorf, surprised at the voluble haste with which they were delivered, scarcely could find opportu­nity to come in with a yes; or no; I am an only son; I had the misfortune to lose my parents: with like an­swers, as concise as possible. But his eyes, continually fixed on Caroline, would have said many things to her if Caroline would have attended to them. She, seemingly observant of nothing but her work, had not ventured a single word, when the Canoness desirous of doing ho­nour to her friendship and affection, asked her to show the young cavalier her pavilion; and, not foreseeing the least obstruction, began, without waiting her reply, to give him its history; why it had been built, by whom the altar, the bust, the inscription, the painting, the sur­prise, and every thing; all which he knew as well as herself; though by his manner, it might well have been supposed he had never heard it before.

To a heart undisguised and sincere by nature, a heart [Page 54] like Caroline's this was too much; she could support it no longer; and when her friend, surprised at her back­wardness to go to the pavilion, repeated her command, she scarcely could articulate that a sudden and strange in­disposition had seized her, and that it was impossible she should go. In reality her voice was so affected, her face so pale, and her whole form so altered, that her indispo­sition was sufficiently visible, and made the Baroness very uneasy, "Dear child, what can be the matter?" said she, laying her hand on her forehead. "Yesterday even­ing I particularly remarked, when you came in, you seem­ed absent, and your mind wholly occupied; and, for se­veral days past, you have not only retired sooner than or­dinary, but have been particularly melancholy and agita­ted. My Caroline, Sir, certainly has a fever; 'tis that vile pavilion that kills her. I assure you, Sir, she is quite infatuated with it; and lately, more than ever; for, notwithstanding the humidity of the earth and the air, the moment it had ceased raining she would be gone, by which means she has caught cold."

Lindorf, without being remarkably vain, had heard sufficient to imagine himself a party somewhat concern­ed; but, suffering with the suffering Caroline, and most desirous of relieving her from pain, he shortened his vi­sit, took leave of the ladies, and hoped the indisposition of Carolin [...] would have no bad consequences.

Caroline made no other answer than by courtesying, and the Baroness, repeatedly, entreated Lindorf to take advantage of their near neighbourhood and come fre­quently to the chateau of Rindaw.—"It is but a step," said she. "The poor Commander was gouty, and during three parts of the year, never stirred abroad; but you, Sir, are young and agile, and it will be only a short walk to our house. Miss Lichtfield will not always be indis­posed, and some other day will shew you her pavilion: she tells me it is most excellently adapted to music; you, no doubt are a musician, and you may play and sing in concert."

It only wanted this last trait to complete the confusion of Caroline, and the Baroness seemed not willing any thing should be wanting. At length the cavalier depart­ed, and the Canoness was silent. Caroline, however, was not greatly relieve [...] [...]ning on her great chair, her face hid by both her hands, with difficulty she restrained the [Page 55] tears and sobs that rose thronging for passage. The Ca­noness attributed all to her indisposition, and begged her to go and lie down. Caroline was glad to profit by the permission. Her chagrin, however, went with her; but, being alone, she could now abandon herself to grief, and again and again repeated, "Good God! what must he think of me!"

The Canoness, alone also, was occupied by ideas much less melancholy; the handsome, the amiable Lindorf had obsolutely gained her heart; he was precisely the hus­band she wished for her dear Caroline. And how happy should she be to have her near her, at least for a part of the year; and to see her so well, so properly, and so high­ly married! The young officer united in himself every thing she wished; youth, beauty, wit, birth, fortune; for, without mentioning his own wealth, of which he was before in possession, being an only son and his pa­rents deceased, the inheritance of the avaricious Com­mander must have been, immense. Already high in rank in the army, every thing that ambition could hope he seemed formed to obtain.

The advantages of Lindorf were great, yet her dear Caroline was in no respect inferior: first, Caroline was an angel, and as to fortune, that of the High Chamberlain was not to be disdained; to which she should add all her own; and, together, they would be vast. No match, in short, could be every way more proper; and the pro­tested Caroline should be Baroness of Lindorf, or her en­deavours should be strangely frustrated. She even fixed on the epocha for celebrating the wedding; the autumn following she determined on, when the High Chamber­lain was to pay his promised visit.

In thinking all this she resolved carefully to conceal her projects and ideas even from Caroline. It would, cer­tainly, be very difficult to be silent, but her passion for every thing romantic was still stronger than her inclination to talk. She imagined what a pleasure it would be to ob­serve the effects of sympathy; to follow it through the progressions of two young hearts; day after day to see p [...]s [...]on augmented by hope and fear; and, at last, to make them happy at the very moment when they expected to be eternally miserable. Oh! what delicious pleasure, this for the Baroness! But this she could not obtain ex­cept by keeping her secret.

[Page 56]As to the projected union with the Count of Walstein▪ she troubled herself little concerning it; she thought it impossible not to make the High Chamberlain understand reason; for he, most certainly, knew, by his own heart, the influence of mutual passion. "I need only—(the Baroness was almost as simple and innocent as Caroline) I need only to recall to memory how much we suffered for each other, and he will yield, with melting tears, to the happiness of a pair of true lovers. On this condition, too, I will leave Caroline all I possess. Beside, when the High Chamberlain shall see the youthful Lindorf, all per­fect as he is, can he, for a moment, make comparison between him and a monster? No, no; leave we sympathy, love, and paternal tenderness to their natural effects, and the happiness of my dear Caroline is for ever fixed."

While the good Canoness was composing her little ro­mance, and enjoying, by anticipation, the tender scenes at which she should be present, and the sweet delight of making two beings happy, Caroline was abandoning her­self to grief and self-reproach, for having acted so impru­dently, and given Lindorf an idea so much the reverse of her real character. Every word the Baroness had said, though unintentionally, had made a wound; every word a thousand times recalled the blushes and confusion of Ca­roline. "I will leave Rindaw," said she, "never more to return. Yet to fly-would be to confess my guilt; and to confirm the idea, the cruel, distracting idea, that I am dissembling, false, and artful. Oh! impossible!"

Then did she search for and imagine all imaginary means of self-justification; but found not one which did not increase, instead of eradicate suspicion. So troubled were her thoughts that all night long she lay, restless, and dis­turbed by ten thousand fears and suspicions; and, for the first time in her whole life, sleep fled from the eyelids of Caroline. How long, how painful was this night, and yet how much was her agitation increased, the next morn­ing, when a letter, addressed to her, was brought by a servant of Lindorf's, who was waiting for an answer! The offended Caroline had almost instantly returned it uno­pened.—"What," says she, "does he write to me pur­posely to demonstrate how much he despises me? Nothing but the idea he must have entertained of me, for my re­prehensible conduct, could have emboldened him to take such a liberty. Yet is not this his excuse? And am not [Page 57] I alone guilty? How polite, how respectful was he before the unfortunate visit of yesterday! Yes, I myself, alone, am to blame."

But what was to be done with the packet? To open it was impossible; to return it unopened was very severe. Beside, who could tell what his thoughts, or what his style might be? The letter was held and turned in the hand, and looked at again and again, in every possible form, as if the eye wished to penetrate the paper and pur­loin the contents. At last, a ray of light broke in upon the mind of Caroline; she determined to run to the cham­ber of her dear Mamma, open her curtains, fall on her knees, and there, with tears and penitence, make a full confession of all that had passed between her and Lindorf.

The execution was as prompt as the resolve; the se­cond, the run-a-way horse, the handkerchief, the walk in the garden, every circumstance was related, even to the avowal of the secret reasons of her silence, for which she had been so severely punished.

"Judge, Mamma," said Caroline, "what I suffered during his visit! I really thought I should have died! And he to be totally silent, as if it had been a plot agreed on between both; while you, Mamma, every moment, unconsciously, was piercing my very heart! Can you, can you forgive me for having acted thus? No, load me with your reproaches; I well deserve them all, and they will be less cutting, less painful, than those with which I load myself."

Alas! the good Canoness, all emotion, all tenderness, and tears at her recital, thought of nothing less than re­proach. She had been dreaming all night on her pro­jected marriage, on which the more she thought, the more she was enchanted; her sole fear had been that Lindorf, so long an officer, so long in commerce with the gay world, might have formed other engagements; but the history of Caroline, and the manner in which she had related it, had quieted all her fears; the Baroness saw, or imagined she saw, that sweet sympathy of souls which re-established all her hopes, and gave certainty to all her schemes; she raised Caroline, tenderly kissed her, and declared she never, in her life, had heard any thing so interesting.

"Ah! if I had but known it!—To be sure, I should not have said many things I did say; for these men are [Page 58] so self-sufficient, so ready to believe well of themselves, and that we women are enamoured of them!—However, I must do Lindorf the justice to say he is very different from men in general; his modesty, his politeness"—

"Ah! Mamma," said Caroline, shaking her head, and interrupting [...]he Baroness, "I have but too much cause to fear he is like the rest. Has he not had the audacity to write to me this morning?"

"Write to thee child! Quick, quick, quick! Show me the letter, read it, let me hear his style, his sentiments; I can imagine all his ardour."

"Alas!" said Caroline, taking the packet from her pocket, "here it is; it would not have been proper, Mamma, for me to have opened it. You will do with it what you please." And the pleasure of the Baroness was, instantly, to break the seal; for her curiosity was stronger even than that of Caroline, which was much di­minished by fears of what might be the contents of the letter. The first thing they came to was a polite card, in the usual style, in which the Baron of Lindorf "present­ed respectful compliments to the ladies, inquired after their health, and, in particular, concerning the indispo­sition of Miss Lichtfield."

But all this was a mere pretext; and, certainly, needed not to have been so closely sealed up; wherefore, this laid by, a paper, folded up and placed under the card, was eagerly seized and opened. Caroline, trembling as she unfolded it, after slightly running it over to herself, read aloud as follows:

"I am about, Madam, to commit a new impropriety, to aggravate former errors, and, perhaps, increase anger which I had but too justly raised, by a new offence. Now, while I write, I imagine your indignation, feel the effects of your resentment, behold myself punished for my te­ [...]erity, yet have not the power to forbear. If, Madam, you will but deign to read this letter, and surmount that first emotion which should bid you tear or send it back unopened, you then, at least, will understand my motives, and confess that to you, alone, could I, with propriety, address myself.

"You know not all my offences. No, Madam, you know them not; and yet you treat me with as much se­verity as if you were acquainted with my whole guilt. Since, then, I am not benefited by your ignorance of it, [Page 59] I will make a free confession; hoping that my sincerity may obtain a generous pardon.

"Four times did I, yesterday, pass your pavilion, each at a different hour, hoping to find you there and ask per­mission to pay my respects to you and the Baroness: but continually were my hopes deceived; you appeared no more in that pavilion so dear to you, and in which you had before that time unceasingly dwelt; while I, far from suspecting the truth, far from accusing you as the cause of this absence, cast the whole blame on Madam the Ba­roness; she, thought I, informed of my temerity, not knowing who the person was who had dared to obtrude into your asylum, had forbidden you to go there any more. Vain and weak as I was, I even imagined you might obey with regret; I thought myself certain that, when I was known to Madam the Baroness, she would no longer lay you under the like restraint, and, therefore, did not hesitate to com [...] and pay her my respects in the afternoon. Alas! Madam, how severely, and how justly have you punished my presumption! Your reception of me, so very different from hers, instantly informed me how much I had been deceived; and that it was you, alone, who thus had renounced the unfortunate stranger. You did not permit me to entertain the least doubt, the least hope; the illusion was wholly destroyed; I instantly saw that Madam the Baroness, whom I had imagined so severe, was ignorant even of my existence, and that the youthful, the ocauteous Caroline, whom I had supposed obedient to her commands, to the counsels of, perhaps, a too rigid friend, had been subject only to her own pru­dence, uncommon and unexpected as it was in a lady so young. I had been happy had this prudence only been extended to a stranger who might himself have been an improper person, or have had improper designs; but, though this doubt was removed, though I was named and known, I could not obtain so much as a look of pardon. Your determined silence, Madam, your refusal to shew me the pavilion, your apparent anger at the invitation of the Baroness, all informed me that I, personally, had gi­ven irreparable offence. However, Madam, whatever my errors may have been, whatever I may endure, I will not again offend by visiting at Rindaw without your per­mission; yet suffer me to supplicate this permission, and be assured, Madam, I will endeavour hereafter to deserve [Page 60] it. You were a witness to the obliging manner in which Madam the Baroness was pleased to desire I would fre­quently visit at Rindaw. What answer am I to make to a request so kind, and which I so earnestly wish to profit by? You, Madam, must decide. On you my conduct must depend. Must I neglect the civilities of Madam the Baroness, and submit to that sentence of condemna­tion which you have silently pronounced; or may I dare entreat you to revoke it? I wait your commands, and so­lemnly vow, whatever they be, to me they shall be sacred. Yet permit me, for a moment, to hope you will not be inexorable; and that he, whom your respectable friend has deigned to honour with her protection, may, being thus protected, obtain a pardon which is become absolute­ly necessary to the future happiness of his life."

While Caroline was reading this letter, which was da­ted from the chateau of Risberg, she felt a confused mix­ture of sensations so opposite to each other as to be almost indesinable. At first, utter astonishment at perceiving, without ever suspecting herself to be thus consummately prudent; afterwards, that kind of shame which a sincere mind feels at receiving praise it does not merit; and, next joy of the most pure and perfect kind to learn that she was still esteemed and still respected. Yet, on re­flection, she was somewhat uneasy concerning the poor young gentleman, the embarrassment he was under, and the means of removing it, without destroying the high opinion he entertained of her.

These different affections were alternately visible in her countenance; pleasing sensations, however were predo­minant, and her heart felt eased of a most insupportable burthen. When she had finished the letter, she could have pressed it to her lips; but she forbore, laid it on the pillow of the Canoness, seized one of her hands, and on that bestowed her kisses and her tears. Again the Baro­ness took the letter, again desired Caroline to read it, and again was in raptures.

"Did not I tell you this young gentleman did not re­semble other men? I saw it instantly. What a delicate turn has he given to your silence and embarrassment, which he had understood to proceed from anger! Is it possible to be more modest, or more respectful? One of your court fops would have interpreted the whole of [Page 61] Well, really he is a most charming youth, and we must instantly put him out of pain. Get the pen and ink, my dear, sit down and write; come, come, make haste."

"I! Mamma," said Caroline, blushing. "I thought you would have been kind enough to answer his letter."

"You know my dear girl, it is with difficulty I can write, at present. (The Baroness had a disorder in her eyes, the consequence of her illness, and her sight daily became worse.) But no matter; you shall write in my name, and I will dictate." Caroline obeyed, and, hav­ing taken pen, ink, and paper, the Canoness, after consi­dering a moment, thus began:


"Your letter came most seasonably to the relief and consolation of Caroline; she had all night lain in the most desperate affliction—"

"Really, Mamma," said Caroline, stopping her, "I cannot write what you bid me; for, though I own it [...] partly true, it would absolutely contradict all his pr [...] favourable thoughts concerning me."

After a short contest, the Baroness owned Carolin [...] right; the paper was torn, another sheet taken, the Ba­roness again began to think and to dictate.


"Miss Lichtfield is most exceedingly glad to find you entertain so high an opinion of her, her joy cannot be expressed—"

"Upon my word, Mamma," said Caroline, throwing down the pen, "this is worse than the other; let me beg you will neither speak of my joys nor griefs."

The Baroness was now absolutely vexed, and said she would have nothing at all to do with her answer; and that she might write it herself. Caroline began to think this the wisest way, and after considering in her turn, and, in her turn, tearing two or three sheets of paper, she had the good sense, at last, to recollect that the sim­plest and most unaffected mode is always the best; she therefore wrote,

"We thank you, Sir, for the concern you are kind enough to take in the health of your neighbours. My indisposition is gone off. Madam the Baroness is depri­ved, by the disorder in her eyes, of the pleasure of an­swering your letter, the contents of which I have just [Page 62] communicated to her; she has therefore desired me to inform you, Sir, that your visits will always be well re­ceived at Rindaw; the Baron of Lindorf, when known, never can doubt of a proper reception. "C. L."

The Canoness thought the style of this exceedingly common and trivial; there were a thousand things to say, a thousand sensations to commun [...]cate, according to her; but Caroline was firm, and would not change a word, and, at last, by caresses and coaxing, prevailed on the Baro­ness to let the letter be sent.

As to the epistle of Lindorf, we have been assured, from the best authority, that it was read and re-read at least a hundred times that day; and that, before the even­ing there was a person in the world who could have re­peated it by heart. It is likewise affirmed that these re­peated readings had dissipated every remaining trace of [...] over-night's chagrin. Yes, Caroline, by being thus [...]uently told of her uncommon prudence, at last belie­ [...] real; still, however, owning that she never could [...] [...]agined her absence from the pavilion, and her se­ [...] with her friend, could have been productive of such excellent effects. It was very certain, nevertheless, that the thought was her own; wherefore, gaining her own self-esteem by degrees, no longer having any reason to blush for her mysterious conduct towar [...] the Baroness, and being assured of the respect of Lindorf, Caroline lost both her sorrows and her fears.

Nobody will doubt but that Lindorf was very careful to avail himself of the permission granted, and to pay his respects in the evening. Caroline had foreseen this, ex­pected him with somewhat of impatience, saw him arrive with joy, and not without emotion. He himself was ra­ther disconcerted, but a gentle smile from Caroline pre­sently restored him all his former ease; they both became perfectly unconstrained, to which the Baroness did not a little contribute; she, with pleasantry which she highly enjoyed, ran over every incident of the stranger, the se­cret, and the letter; and thus saved Caroline explana­tions which she was most happy to avoid.

Lindorf was cautious and penetrating; he read the feelings of Caroline: they went together to the pavilion, and he said not a word that had the slightest reference to what had passed, except that he entreated Caroline to [...]. She c [...]seated, and Lin­dorf [Page 63] accompanied her on the piano forte; but, though he was an excellent musician, he was often out of time; and Caroline herself made several mistakes. Notwithstanding this, the song pleased him so much that he asked permis­sion to take and copy it; which granted, Lindorf, on re­ceiving it, had the courage to kiss the hand by which it was presented, and to pronounce, in a half whisper, "How good, Madam, are you to-day, and how different are my present feelings from those of yesterday!" The ingenuous Caroline was on the point of declaring that she herself was much easier and happier, but she just had the recollection to refrain. They returned to the Canoness, and Lindorf, shortening his visit, begged permission to repeat it on the morrow.

The morrow and the morrow, and every succeeding morrow, each resembled the [...]her; and this was the his­tory of their lives. Again Caroline inhabited her pavili­on, in the morning; and again Lindorf took his u [...] ride. The horse, formerly so unmanageable, was b [...] quite docile; so that he would sometimes stand qui [...] half an hour, under the window of Caroline, with w [...] he began to be acquainted, and which, when he came to, he instinctively would stop at. Every afternoon Lindorf came betimes to Rindaw, where he often remained to sup; and every night, after he was gone, the Canoness, more and more transported with his conduct, spoke of him with enthusiasm. Caroline listened, and modestly approved, and each went nightly to bed declaring he was the most amiable of men: nay, Caroline it is said, would sometimes repeat it in her sleep; and as for the Baroness, her nocturnal dreams were all concerning the marriage she had imagined, and which she thought nothing could frustrate.

Well, but Lindorf?—Why Lindorf had his dreams likewise; for he loved with an ardour which he sought not to oppose, and with a sincerity that gave dignity to affection, which every day grew stronger. Born with great sensibility and strong passions, he had not lived till five-and-twenty without a knowledge of love, or, at least, without a supposed knowledge. But how different were his former tumultuous sensations to those he at present felt! His thoughts all tender, delicate, and pure, had no other object but Caroline▪ happy in her sight, happy to hear the sweet sound of her [...]ce, infinitely happy in her pre­sence [Page 64] and that sweet familiarity which country retirement authorises, he could not imagine superior bliss; and if, when alone, which walking, music, and the infirmities of the Baroness occasioned them often to be, he sometimes were like to betray himself, and risk an avowal of his sentiments: timidity, respect, and dread of destroying that share of felicity of which he was in present possession, always made him silent. Such ever are the effects of true and sincere love. Caroline too confided all her thoughts to him with such innocence, such security, he was so perfectly convinced that she no way suspected either what passed in his heart or her own, that Lindorf, whose deli­cacy equalled his affection, would likewise have thought it a crime to disturb that happy ignorance before the mo­ment in which he himself should be at his own disposal, which he could not then be perfectly said to be.

Beside, what could he gain by the confession? A know­ [...] [...] that his love was returned. And could he doubt of [...] Certainly not; for, though the penetration of man [...] not that of women in this respect, Caroline was so frank, and so little understood the art of dissembling, of concealing her feelings, that it was impossible for him to doubt. She alone was ignorant of them. She supposed her love for Lindorf was the love of a sister, and her af­fection the affection of friendship; she even applauded herself for daily finding fresh occasion to love him more, nor had the slightest idea that an attachment so pure, as she felt hers to be, could, in the least, become injurious to engagements which she held sacred, but of which she seldom thought. How, indeed, could she? Was there time to think on any thing but Lindorf, when Lindorf was present? And he was ever present, either ideally or really; for, the moment he was gone, either the pleasure of having seen him, impatience to see him again, or his image in every attitude, under every aspect in which it had so lately been beheld, occupied her whole thoughts. Lindorf to Caroline was every thing, and, the Baroness excepted, she knew not of, thought not of, any other being in the universe.

This imprudent Baroness still added, by her enthusiasm, to the fascination of Caroline. From infancy accustomed to think as she thought, and to see as she saw, her autho­rity would have been fully sufficient to fix the attachment of Caroline on a person for whom the Canoness had a pre­dilection [Page 65] so absolute, and so continually augmenting. Of­ten did the Baroness, when she could find opportunity by being left for a moment with Lindorf, suffer her se­cret half to escape; clearly enough did she give him to understand that it depended on him, only, to obtain the hand of Caroline; and that she already looked upon him as her son.

Thus the happy Lindorf, encouraged by one, adored by the other, and, perhaps, in more full and delicious enjoy­ment of happiness than if he had been a declared lover, thought himself certain of prevailing the moment he should speak; and for which moment he waited a little impatiently. Engagements he had, by which he had [...]n restrained; and from these it was necessary to be free before he could honestly avow his passion for Caro­line, and make an offer of his hand and heart. He had been very busily employed in removing these obstacles; and for some time past, his agitation and short symptoms of melancholy betrayed something of his inquietude and fears.

One evening, as he left Rindaw, he informed the la­dies he was fearful lest he could not have the pleasure of seeing them on the morrow; he was obliged to go, him­self, immediately to Berlin, where he expected to find letters that were to him of the utmost importance. "But," added he, with a tone of voice more than usually animated, "I hope, in compensation for a day thus lost to life, I shall be permitted to return early the morning after."

The Canoness immediately invited him to breakfast, and Caroline accompanied him to the garden, where they took leave of each other as if it were for a long farewell, and separated, impatiently wishing the morrow over. The next day, which for two months had been the only one passed without Lindorf, appeared exceedingly tedious to both the ladies, The good Baroness loved Lindorf so entirely, that, had not her friendship for Caroline inter­vened, which we must do her the justice to acknowledge was always predominant, he might, in all probability, if so he had pleased, have even banished the High Chamber­lain from her bosom. She acknowledged that Lindorf continually brought him to her recollection, and made her remember the happy days of their former loves. "Yes," said the Baroness, "the High Chamberlain was just so fine, so sweet a youth."

[Page 66]"My father, then, is surprisingly altered," said Ca­roline.

"Ah! yes, my dear," replied the Baroness, "what­ever he may be at present, he was then a most charming man—If thy mother had not been so rich—But, alas! my dear High Chamberlain was ever ambitious."

"And is still," mournfully thought Caroline; "he is not altered in that respect; his poor child is the victim of that unrelenting ambition, to which every other feeling has been sacrificed."

This conversation, this gloomy retrospect, naturally led her to think of the Count, and of her union with him. The absence of Lindorf, and the certainty of not seeing him all the long long day, had disposed her mind to languor and melancholy: in the evening she walked in the garden, when these sensations and gloomy ideas accompanied her: the image of the Count, particularly, tormented her; in spite of every effort to remove it from her imagination, and to think on something else, it con­tinually recurred, and with encreasing pain and disgust. A dry and yellow leaf fell from one of the trees at her feet, and approaching autumn immediately rose to me­mory; her heart shrunk at the thought, and an oppres­sive weight, almost to suffocation, came over her; tears at length began to flow.

"And is the summer, this happy summer, already passed? It has endured but a moment, and it will return no more: with it ease and content are fled from Caroline. Autumn approaches, it is here, and my father is coming to tear me from these beloved haunts, to separate me from my good Mamma; and, if the Count my husband pleases —My husband!—My husband!—O Lindorf! friend, brother, every thing that esteem holds most dear, must I never see thee more!—Alas! poor Caroline, wherefore hast thou known him if thou must so soon be separate from him!"

This was the first time she had ever made the reflection, and it was so cutting, so dreadful, and affected her so much, that it absorbed every other afflicting thought.

Intent on this idea, and absent to every other, she walk­ed till she came to the door of the pavilion that led to the road. It was open: opposite it was a wood. Caro­line was alone: the thick foliage was adapted to the pre­sent temper of her mind; it was dark and gloomy, and [Page 67] almost shut out day. During the summer she had often wished to walk in this wood, but with Lindorf it would have been improper; the recollection of this wish slightly returned; there was no present restraint, and she crossed the road. As she entered the wood, she felt herself highly affected by objects which were new to Caroline. It was a glorious evening; the rays of the setting sun with gold and purple beamed over the horizon through an immense space of clouds, which seemed almost on fire, and the red & ardent colours of which were seen through the branches of oaks whose antiquity appeared almost coeval with Na­ture. The evening song of the birds was loud, melodi­ous, and universal; to which the monotonous chirping, of the swarming grass-hopper gave variety.

If it be imp [...]le for a feeling mind ever to enter a forest with indi [...]ce, what emotion must the young heart of Caroline, an [...] in its present disposition, receive from objects so vast and so magnificent! She took the first path she saw, and which apparently led through the wood; she followed it, for a considerable time, without thinking or perceiving how far she had strayed; at length, some noise suddenly drew her from the profound reverie in which she was plunged; she looked up and saw before her, at no great distance, a grand and elegant chateau; she had not much time for reflection; there was an avenue that led to that chateau, and in that avenue was—Lindorf.

The lover instantly leaped the wall that separated them, for he had seen Caroline; and already he is by her side, already testifying, more by looks than words, his aston­ishment and joy at finding her almost at his own habita­tion. Caroline, confused, amazed, blushed even to the finger ends, and durst not look on Lindorf, but, stam­mering, said she had lost herself!—She was absolutely ig­norant of—She had supposed Risberg lay another way!

Lindorf saw, by her manner, she had supposed so, and, far from pressing her to stay, far from desiring her to walk into his gardens and repose herself, he had the delicacy to offer to re-conduct her to Rindaw immediately. The offer was instantly accepted, and Lindorf, to vary the walk of Caroline, took another path, still, as he said, more agreeable, still more pleasant.

Lindorf, undoubtedly, by the pleasantest understood the longest, and the distance was doubled. Caroline [Page 68] could not but remark it, and was so fatigued at last as to be obliged to accept an arm she had at first refused.

"This way must be greatly round about, Sir?"

"It is; I ask pardon, but I was willing you should know what I do every day."

"How do you mean, Sir?"

"When I go to Rindaw, I take the shortest way, through the wood; but when I return home I go this, which is the most round about."

Caroline blushed, and made no reply.

Whether it was a continuation of the reflections of the day, or whether it was her e [...]rrassment at finding her­self at Risberg, the presence of Lindorf had failed of its usual effect; far from dissipating, it but increased her pre­sent dejection of spirits; tears stood brim full in her eyes, and she felt that if she had but spok [...] [...]ingle word they must have overflowed.

Lindorf, on the contrary, had, when they first met, seemed more than usually pleased and contented; joy un­mixed enlivened his countenance, and gave animation to every feature and every express [...]on. He had spoken with rapture of the beauties of the country, and the delight of living there with the person on earth the most beloved. Caroline scarcely could give the shortest answers, such oppression was there at her heart; Lindorf could not help remarking the change; he was silent, and observed her with eyes alternately expressive of tenderness, hope, and fear. He appeared as if he had something to say which he durst not utter. The moon rose, and her soft clear beams, glimmering on their silent path, still increased their mutual emotion.

At last, Caroline, having recovered herself sufficiently to pronounce a few words, asked Lindorf if he had recei­ved the letters he had so impatiently expected.

"The letters! The letters!" repeated Lindorf, with passion in his words and looks, "O, yes! I have recei­ved them!—You know not, dear Caroline, cannot ima­gine, how essentially these letters may influence my fu­ture happiness!—To morrow morning I will come, will communicate their contents.—Yes, charming Caroline, gentlest and dearest friend of my heart," to morrow you shall read that heart which burns with impatience to ex­pand, to unburthen itself, and pour its most secret thoughts into your bosom—Every thing I think, every thing I feel, [Page 69] all I have thought, and all I have felt, to morrow you shall know; and my destiny shall be eternally decided!"

These words, and particularly the tone and manner in which they were uttered, roused and terrified Caroline: they tore off the veil which had already been half raised. Without the power of replying a single word, she still had the force to disengage her arm, which Lindorf pres­sed with ardour, and, looking up, found herself precisely opposite the garden door, which she precipitately enter­ed; saying, with words that almost choaked her as they obtained passage, "Farewell, Lindorf!—To morrow— I will, also—tell you something—You shall hear"—

She could contain no longer; her head fell on her bo­som; her tears, too long withheld, streamed down her cheeks; a universal tremor seized her, and she was obli­ged to sit down [...] grass bank.

And Lindorf?—Why Lindorf follows. Lindorf is at her feet. Lindorf is pressing with transport her lily hands, and stooping to kiss them, while Caroline is unable to re­sist; he dares even clasp her in his arms; and the languid head of Caroline, reclining, droops upon his shoulder.

"My dearest, my best beloved," said Lindorf; "Oh! suffer me to assuage, to dry those precious tears, pledges of my approaching happiness.—Adored lady! Oh calm thyself, fear not; 'tis thy friend, thy lover, thy future husband, who thus conjures thee."

This word, this dreadful word, recalled Caroline to animation and herself. She rose, terrified, broke from Lindorf, would have spoke, but could not articulate a word, and, shuddering at her present danger, felt that flight alone could retrieve, could save her. Lindorf re­mained, for a moment, half amazed at the terror of Ca­roline, and doubting to what motives it ought to be attri­buted; while she escaped, ran to her chamber, threw herself into the first chair she found, and was so affected, for some time, that she lost all coherency of thought.

She remained not long in this state; and that which succeeded was much more dreadful. Happily for her, the Baroness had gone to bed before supper, as she some­times did, and was in a sound sleep: her appearance, therefore, was dispensed with; and, that she might with freedom yield to her present feelings without a witness, she likewise determined to go to bed and dismiss her maid.

As soon as she was sufficiently collected to reflect, not [Page 70] [...]apathy, but something more calmly, on her present [...]ation, she felt the absolute necessity of informing Lin­dorf she was no longer free, and of determining never to see him more. The sentence was indeed most severe. Virtue pronounced it; but the heart of Virtue herself must bleed while it was pronounced. Caroline no longer could, in the least, deceive herself respecting the nature of her feelings. Love stood confessed, arrayed in all his tyranny; his arm was pitiless, and his power unbounded. Sorrow sharpened his arrows, and Despair shot them; yet Despair itself only confirmed Caroline in her resolution; Dishonour threatened her, and she did not hesitate a moment.

But how was she to inform him?—How speak the dreadful tidings?—The scene of the evening was too re­cent and too painful to risk renewin [...] [...]nd she felt it im­possible to be herself the narrator. A letter was the only means, and she was all night mentally occupied in wri­ting it; but a letter, on such an occasion, and with sen­sations like hers, was not easily written; each word, each phrase, appeared either too cold or too passionate. At length, when she had imagined nearly the manner and the turn she should give it, she was impatient for day-break, that she might rise and write. Every minute did she open her curtains, hoping to discover the first rays of morning; and no sooner had she discovered them than she left her bed, put on a morning gown, and prepared to begin this most painful task.

We have already seen that every thing Caroline most delighted in had found the way to the pavilion; and so had her ink-stand, and writing-desk, along with the rest. There was nothing in her chamber wherewith she might trace a single line; patience, therefore, was her last re­source, and waiting till the servants were up and should open the doors. But, as none of these had a lover to dismiss, they slept a full hour longer. This hour Caroline passed at her window, and it depended wholly on her to have enjoyed the most sublime of sights, and no doubt, for the first time in her life. The retiring of darkness, the gradual increase of light, and the sun rising in all its splendour and animating great Nature, made no impres­sion on the wretched heart of Caroline. Lindorf, whom she was forever to forbid her presence, whom she was to render miserable; Lindorf, whose love she had been ig­norant [Page 71] of, and ignorant also how dear he was to her till the very moment when they must separate forever; Lin­dorf obscured every object, she thought of him only, him only she saw. The bright colours of the morning, the sun's rays, and the revival of Nature, were to her, all dark and inanimate.

No sooner could she go out but she ran to the pavilion. It was necessary that Lindorf should receive her letter before his arrival at Rindaw; and Caroline had no doubt but he would be there as soon as possible.—Mournfully, then, she took her way towards the pavilion; but what were her thoughts, what her emotion, when, as she en­tered, she saw, or thought she saw, Lindorf himself, seat­ed at the far end, pale, dejected, his hair all in disorder, leaning on his elbow, and apparently plunged in the most profound reverie!

We say thought she saw, because, for the moment, she supposed it to be an illusion of a mind that had lately been most liable to illusion, and of an imagination that beheld no other object. She looked and shrieked, but she could not any longer doubt it was Lindorf himself, when, as she shrieked, he rose, flew to catch her, fell at her feet, and uttered with an impetuosity it was not in her pow­er to stop, "Oh! pardon, pardon, Caroline, pardon one who adores you! Think not I have forfeited my word. Yesterday, when I left you, I went home, but, think not I passed the night in sleep; no, at day-break I rose; hither my wishes bore me; the door was open; in short I scarcely know how I came in this place, but this place never will I leave, Caroline, no never, by every sacred power I swear, never, till thou hast told me what my des­tiny is to be; or, at least, Caroline, till thou hast suffered thy happy lover to interpret thy silence and emotion in his own favour. A smile will suffice. Certain of thy consent and the consent of our dear friend the Baroness, I will fly to obtain that of thy father.—To-morrow, yes, perhaps, to-morrow, thou mayest confess, without blushing, thou lovest!"

This, no doubt, was the moment to have spoken. A word would have been enough, would have instantly de­stroyed the lovers dearest, sweetest hopes, but, oh! how painful was it to pronounce a word like this! It stopped short as it rose to the lips; Caroline wished but could not utter it. Lindorf, prepossessed by former appear­ances, [Page 72] interpreted this silence in his own favour; it was attributed to modesty, embarrassment, timidity; and, wishing to oblige her to speak, he precipitately rose, ran, and snatched his hat as it lay on the piano forte.

"Dear Caroline," said he, as he seized it, "I would not lose a moment when happiness so supreme is in ques­tion! I will no longer demand a confession which I see distresses you so much to make; I will fly instantly to Berlin, and as instantly return; I hope, with a better claim to request this confession."

Longer delay was now impossible. Caroline, terrified, collecting all her force, stopped and held Lindorf.— "What are you going to do?" said she. "Alas! you know not—But learn"—

Lindorf himself no [...] partook of the terror of Caroline. "Learn what?" said he.

"A secret."

"What secret! Speak▪ Caroline, release me from this dread."

"I—I—I am"—

"You are"—


The bolt of thunder could not have struck more effec­tually—"Married!" repeated he, with the accent, or ra­ther with the shriek, of terror.—The most profound silence followed. Caroline, trembling, sat down, and hid her face with her handkerchief. Lindorf remained petrified: at last, starting wild, and striding about the room, he repeated again, "Married!"

Silence again ensued.—And again striking his fore­head, "No, it is impossible, absolutely impossible; you deceive me, Caroline, you impose upon a wretch whom you have driven mad. Ah! cease, cease a sport so cruel. Say, tell me, you are not married."

"It is but too true that I am," replied Caroline, al­most fainting.

"But the Canoness?"—

"She is ignorant of my marriage, I told you it as a secret."

"Oh! Caroline, Caroline!—Fatal secret! And I a confirmed and everlasting wretch!"

For some minutes he was in an agony that approached the wildest phrensy; he sat down, rose, tore his hair, [Page 73] groaned, gnashed his teeth; every action denoted the fury and tempest within.

"Be calm, Lindorf, dear Lindorf, be calm! In the name of Heaven be calm! Do not thus give way to pas­sion! Am not I, also, still more unhappy?"

"You! You unhappy! Caroline?"

Affection and tenderness rose at the supposition, and tears—ay, bitter tears scalded the manly cheek, and gave a little ease to the heart.—"Caroline," said he in a softer tone, "explain this secret, the discovery of which is thus fatal. Who is this unknown, this inconceivable hus­band; who thus can leave, thus neglect, the supremity of mortal bliss?"

Caroline, who scarce could speak, somewhat, however, consoled, to see Lindorf more tranquil, gave a succinct relation of her marriage with a nobleman whom she did not name. She respected the secret of Walstein, and gave not any indications by which he might be known. She only said that invincible repugnance for a match to which she had submitted, in obedience to her father, had occasioned her to entreat a separation, at least for some time, which had been granted her, under condition of keeping it a secret. "Perhaps," said she, "I forfeit one of my duties now by revealing it; but I trust I shall care­fully fulfil every other, whatever pangs it may cost my heart. Farewell, Lindorf, we must see each other no more. Fly this fatal place, and if possible, forget the unfortunate Caroline."

"Fly! Forget you!" replied Lindorf, whose counte­nance was somewhat changed by a ray of hope during the short recital of Caroline.—"No, never, never!—I still see a possibility, I still dare hope for happiness!"

"Lindorf!—Be careful what you say; grief cer­tainly has disturbed your reason!"

"No, if thou wilt deign but to consent, bliss may still be mine—My dearest Caroline, hear me—I know thy heart pleads in my behalf, in vain wouldst thou forbid it; to me it appertains, by the ardour, the purity of affec­tion have I deserved it, and my rights are far more sacred than those of a tyrannical husband, who thus has abused paternal authority; grant me but thy permission, and these hated bands shall be broken; yes, they shall; I dare affirm they shall. The King is just, he loves me, will [Page 74] listen to me. Beside, I have a certain resource, a friend, a support that cannot fail."

"Unhappy Lindorf!" interrupted Caroline; "yield not to these chimeras. The King himself has forged the chains which no power can break; for who is there whose interest may, for a moment, outweigh that of the Count of Walstein?"

Again Lindorf stood the statue of amazement and dread! Again, the moment he could respire, he echoed— "Caroline!—The Count of Walstein!"

"The name has escaped my lips," said Caroline, "and my only dependence is on your discretion. Judge then, what your hopes must be, since it is he, Lindorf; yes, it is the Count of Walstein who is—my husband!"

Lindorf remained with his eyes fixed on the earth, his arms crossed, his faculties wholly absorbed, and in thought so deep as to seem almost lifeless; long he remained; but recovering, at length, from apparent stupor, "Caroline," said he, fetching a deep and almost endless sigh, and with­out looking at her, "I must leave you, Caroline, but I will return to-morrow morning; it is essentially necessary that I should speak to you once more. To-morrow, here, in this same place, at this same hour, tell me, will you meet me?"

"Yes," answered Caroline, scarcely knowing what she said.

"To-morrow, then," continued Lindorf, making a step to approach Caroline, but instantly recoiling, and seizing his hat—"To-morrow"—He could say no more, but suddenly fled.

Imagine what the condition, what the feelings were of Caroline, and what the crowded and confused ideas that assailed her heart. The first, however, was the promise that she should see him once more. What could he have to say which he might not then have said? Wherefore, so earnestly, and with such solemnity, entreat an inter­view to-morrow? She almost repented of the consent she had given; and yet, could she have refused? Beside, it was possible he had not abandoned the hope of obtain­ing a divorce, for he did not say he had; it therefore was necessary to meet again, that she might dissuade him from all useless efforts, which could only end in discovering their affection, and in rendering the miserable Caroline still more miserable.

[Page 75]The reflection determined her to be punctual to the ap­pointed time, and at the appointed place. She afterwards began to think how difficult it would be longer to con­ceal the truth from the Canoness. What would the ab­sence of Lindorf lead her to suppose? Caroline felt too how great the consolation would be of giving her sorrows vent, and shedding her tears in the bosom of a friend so tender and so indulgent. Yet the promise they had re­quired of her had been so strong, so positive, and the me­naced punishment was so terrible, that without permission, she durst not speak. Her having betrayed it to Lindorf was enough, nay, too much; and nothing but the motives on which she had acted could justify her to herself. Yet the more she reflected, the more she saw the necessity of informing the Baroness; she therefore determined, be the consequence what it might, to write to her father, and beg permission to inform her. "It was no longer possi­ble," she said, "to dissemble with her dear Mamma, or to conceal her marriage. The ignorance of the Baroness, concerning that event, exposed her to most painful con­versations, and which were continually repeated. Every moment ready to betray herself, she most humbly suppli­cated permission to confess a secret which say too heavy on her heart, and which was an offence to the gratitude and friendship she owed the Baroness. And what was there to fear? The ill health of the Baroness, her love of retirement, her absence from all society, made discre­tion certain; for to whom could she speak; since nobody she saw?—Beside," added Caroline, willing to prevent the visit and the persecution she dreaded, "determined as I am not to leave her, so long as she lives, is it not a shocking thing to be forbidden to speak truth, and to open my heart to the dear friend who has been to me a mother? —Believe me, dear, dear Sir," continued she, "to afflict you will doubly afflict myself; or to deprive you of a child, who, if so you had pleased, never would have forsaken you, but to you would have consecrated her life, in proof of her affection; but you, Sir, thought proper otherwise to ordain: permit me, dear Sir, in my turn, to enjoy that liberty which my husband and King have granted, which was, that I might remain at Rindaw as long as I pleased; for such was the sentence, which I shall never forget. My resolution, Sir, is to remain here so long as my only friend shall live, to whom my cares and attentions may [Page 76] be useful, and so long as my heart and my reason shall re­volt at the ties I have formed."

Such was the substance of the letter, which after ha­ving copied and sent, Caroline found herself somewhat relieved; her secret became less burthensome by the hope of being permitted to reveal it; and the idea of not be­holding the Count, for years to come, somewhat consoled her for the dreadful one of never beholding Lindorf more. It was, indeed, too much to feel the double torment of [...]nouncing the man she loved, and living with the man she hated; persuaded that her fortitude would rid her of the latter misfortune, she felt recovering strength to sup­port the former.

"I [...]hall see him no more," said she; "but though I see not him, I shall be troubled with the sight of no one else; and of him I may think unceasingly, here, in these groves, in this pavilion, which his presence has rendered so dear to memory."

Thus fortified, Caroline was able to support the con­versation of the Canoness and her questions, afflicting as they were; for she every moment was inquiring if Caro­roline did not imagine Lindorf would come to-day, every moment was repeating her astonishment that he had not been punctual to his promise. The disorder in her eyes, which still increased, prevented her from seeing the ef­fects of her inquiries on the countenance of Caroline, whose cheeks were flush and pale and continually varying, affected by a continued variety of distress, but this the Baroness saw not; she spoke of nothing but the dear youth, was fearful lest some misfortune had happened to him, and, in the evening, determined to send the next day to make inquiries.

At length she retired to her chamber, as did Caroline gladly to hers, in which she passed the night as she had done the night before. At the appointed hour she was at the pavilion; but Lindorf was not come. She waited half an hour, which seemed half an age, and yet he came not. She opened the window, went out on the road, went to the entrance of the wood, and looked every way as far as she could look; at length, she beheld him co­ming. She just had strength enough to gain the pavilion, where she sat herself down, unable to rise when he enter­ed, and could only return his salutation by a slight incli­nation of the head.

[Page 77]Lindorf observed her excessive paleness and dejection: he advanced, tremblingly, and without speaking a single word. When he was near her, he kneeled on one-knee and presented her a packet, sealed up, and a box contain­ing a miniature picture. He bowed and, rising, recover­ed sufficient strength to say, in a low and half suffocated voice, "Accept these from a friend.—Farewell! Ca­roline, farewell! may you be happy!" Then, respect­fully, though not without passion, twice kissing her hand, he rose, put his handkerchief to his eyes, and left the pavilion.

Had not the packet and the box remained, Caroline would have imagined she had seen an apparition, so sud­denly and so strangely had he disappeared. With wild stupor her looks followed Lindorf; and no sooner was he gone than, her arms instinctively extending themselves towards the door, Caroline exclaimed, "Oh Lindorf! Lindorf!"

Lindorf heard her not, Lindorf saw her not, Lindorf, alas! was no longer there. She rose precipitately, let the packet and the box fall from her lap, on which they had been placed, and ran to the window, where she saw Lin­dorf as if flying from an enemy, or struck with panic fear. He was presently out of sight, and the tears of Caroline began abundantly to stream down her cheeks. It was well they did; for, in all probability, they prevented fainting, and, perhaps, worse consequences.

"It is past," said she, "I shall see him no more. To me he is forever lost."

Her sobs interrupted speech, and almost respiration; and again her tears began to course each other with greater violence. At length she remembered the packet and the box, which Lindorf had left, and which were lying at her feet. In these, no doubt, she would find something that might explain this singular and mysterious farewell; she took the box up first. It is his image, the portrait of Lindorf, thought she, as she was endeavouring to open it. "And thinkest thou I have need of such aid to recollect thee, Lindorf?"

Yet was it a consolation to possess his picture, the value of which she fully felt, and the recollection made her open the box witn eagerness.—How great was her sur­prise!—It was the uniform of Lindorf, it was a Captain [Page 78] of the guards, it was a most handsome man, but it was not her lover; a person entirely different from Lindorf, and to her entirely unknown. She instantly shut the box again, threw it with anger on the table, and took up the packet.

"Let us see," said she, "if this incomprehensible man has explained what this may mean. Whose is this por­trait? Wherefore leave, why give it me?" The seals of the packet were presently broken, and in it she found a manuscript in the hand-writing of Lindorf. Caroline was so much affected that she began to read without at all comprehending what she read; at length, however, her scattered thoughts were somewhat collected, and, seating herself at the window, she took up the manuscript, and again began to read.

The MANUSCRIPT of LINDORF. Dated at the chateau of Risberg, the evening after he had quitted Caroline; and at the conclusion was written,

"GENERAL WALSTEIN, father of the Ambassador, having travelled to England in his youth, he there saw Lady Matilda Seymour, whom he loved, whose hand he asked in marriage and obtained, and whom he brought to Prussia, where he made her the happiest of women. Two children were the sole fruits of this union; the first a son, the present Count, and the only remaining male of the family, which, if he dies childless, will, with him be­come extinct. This son was, therefore, the greatest bles­sing Heaven could bestow on his parents. Twelve years after he was born they had a daughter, whose tardy and unexpected birth was the death of her mother. The event threw the General into the deepest melancholy; he had adored his lady, and remained faithful to her memory; for, though still young, he vowed never again to marry, but to consecrate the remainder of his days to the service of his country and the education of his children.

"The daughter, to whom the name of Matilda had been given, was committed to the care of the General's sisters, one of whom had married the Baron of Zastrow, a Saxo [...] gentleman, but living then at Berlin; so that the child [Page 79] was still under her father's eye. His son, conducted through the paths of honour and virtue by himself, gave signs, in earliest infancy, of what he should one day be­come, and inspired his tender father with the sweet and certain hope of hereafter fully recompensing all his cares.

"But, alas! this happy father lived not to the full enjoyment of a pleasure so supreme. War broke out be­tween Austria and Prussia. The General commanded a part of the victorious Prussians, and the King had already distinguished him as one of his greatest generals, when he had the happiness to prove his unbounded attachment and zeal to his Majesty, by sacrificing his own life, at the bat­tle of Molviez, and saving that of his Sovereign. The King, depending wholly on his courage, and neglecting his safe­ty, was in the utmost danger; pursued by several Austrian hussars, his horse had been wounded and could not fly, and himself ran the risk of either being taken or killed. General Walstein was the sole person who saw the danger attended by his son, then in his sixteenth year, and ma­king his campaign, in the company of his father, as a simple volunteer. The general intercepted the hussars; the young Count flew to the king with his horse, while his father wounded, or put to flight, the pursuers, and himself received the mortal blow which else, perhaps, had descended on the Monarch.

"Some officers came up, among whom my father was, who was the General's most intimate friend, and they and young Walstein bore his father to his tent. The King, in consternation, followed; and the surgeons, having examined the wound, declared he had only a few moments to live. His son, kneeling by his bedside, gave way to grief the most unbounded; and incessantly repeated, "Oh! my father, my dear father, why was it not me they killed!" The general collected the little remaining strength he possessed, to console and recommend his son to the King. "I commit him, Sir," said he, "into your hands; he has partook my peril and my glory; and he, like me, will learn to live and die in the defence of his King and country. You will be to him a father, be faithful to you as I have been, and thus both to you and him I shall be replaced.—And for you, young man, weep not; shew more fortitude, and envy the glorious death I die. Instead of grieving, think of deserving, by your courage, the august father to whom I dying confide you."

[Page 80]"Yes," said the King, exceedingly affected, clasping the young Count in his arms, "I will be a father to him, and never, so long as I live, will forget that for my sake he lost his own. He shall henceforth be my son and friend; and, to prove it, I now, instantly, give him a commission in the guards, which will fix his residence near me, during his youth, and which is but the beginning of the good I intend."

"The young Count, wholly devoted to affliction, an­swered not; perhaps, did not hear what the King had said. Gratitude and happiness however again were visible in the countenance of the expiring General, and anima­tion once more to those eyes which the shades of death had half obscured; he stretched out one hand to his King and the other to his son, and, making a last effort, said to the latter—"My son—your sister—my dear little Matilda— to you I confide her and the care of her future happiness —Poor girl!—But you will love, you will be a father."

"He could say no more. The young Count would have replied, but incessant sobs choaked up utterance; he only could kiss the General's hand, which he did with such an enthusiasm of affliction as might well assure the dying fa­ther of the love and obedience of the son. Alas! that hand was already cold, and the next moment the breath departed from the General, who lay reclined in the arms of my father, to whom, likewise, expiring, he said, "Lin­dorf, you love my children. Oh! my King, my son, my friend, grieve not for me, for I die the happiest of sub­jects and of fathers."

"Perhaps, Madam, these affecting incidents are not unknown to you, but, if so, I still thought it my duty, on the present occasion, to recall them to your memory. Yet I have reason to suppose you wholly unacquainted with them, and that they will make the same impression on you they did on me when my father, a witness of this affecting scene, has taken pleasure in recounting it to me. How has it warmed my heart! How has it incited admi­ration and a desire to emulate the young hero who, at so tender an age, had saved the life of his King, and disco­vered so much courage and sensibility! With what ardo [...] did I desire to become acquainted with him, attach myself [...] to him, and imitate his virtues as far as for me imitation was possible! How often have I entreated my father to take me to Berlin, that I might solicit the King to permit [Page 81] the young Count of Walstein to come and pass some months at our house!

"My father's ill health had obliged him to quit the ser­vice a few years after the death of the General; since which time he constantly remained at an estate which lies in the farther part of Silesia. Several years were passed there before the passionate desire I had to see the Count could be gratified; I was too young to appear at court, and being engaged in my studies, these could not be in­terrupted; nor could my father, notwithstanding his fre­quent solicitations, prevail on the King to suffer his a­dopted son out of his sight, for whom his attachment daily increased.

"Never, perhaps, was there so great a favourite, and never, perhaps, was there so deserving a one. Far from profiting by their partiality of his master, and accumulat­ing wealth and honours to himself, he sought only to make others happy; and, instead of being envied, was adored. The name of the young Count of Walstein was never pronounced without affection and praise; every father proposed him as a model to his sons, and every mother wished him the husband of her daughter; though few, indeed, might flatter herself with such a hope. The King openly said he himself would give him a wife, and the King destined the most amiable of women for Wal­stein.

"Oh, Caroline! Caroline!—Yet, have I a right to murmur?—No, you ought to appertain to the best of men; you, only, could reward the virtues of Walstein, and Walstein, only, could merit you.

"At last, the long-wished for moment of meeting the Count arrived. Returning from a most fatiguing cam­paign, young Walstein, having need of rest, added his entreaties to those of my father, and supplicated per­mission of the King to pass apart of the summer at Rone­bourg, the estate at which my father resided. The King had not the power to refuse him any thing, and his re­quest was granted, though reluctantly. I heard the news with transport. He came, and I found that Fame, in­stead of having exaggerated, was still far beneath the truth. The Count was in the very prime of life; he was then four-and-twenty, and to the most dignified figure, and features the most beautiful, he added a countenance incredibly expressive; his eyes were the very mirror of [Page 82] his mind; in them were painted benevolence and sensi­bility, and, whenever any trait of virtue or of courage was related, they perfectly flashed with animation and pleasure; he was tall, his legs were remarkably handsome, nor is it impossible to convey the pleasing sensations that the symmetry of his person and his whole appearance in­spired.

"I see your surprise, Caroline—Yes, such was your husband, and such your husband would still have been, if—O, Caroline, I implore your pity; never did wretch stand in greater need of compassion.—You cannot ima­gine the horrible tale I have to tell; you cannot have the most distant conception of the pangs I fell at recollecting that, perhaps, in a moment, you will detest me—Yet, no; the good, the gentle, the tender Caroline will weep over my destiny, will pardon, and, I hope, forgive; for, though great have been my crimes, yet, surely, great is my pre­sent punishment."

Tears and contending passions took possession of the soul of Caroline, obliged her to rest, and the manuscript dropped from her hands. She cast her eyes on the box th [...] contained the portrait, comprehended whose it once was, reached out her arm to take it, and, without daring to touch it, as suddenly drew back. The palpitations of her heart were violent, her ideas disordered, her imagi­nation bewildered, and it was necessary to recollect her­self, for a moment, ere she could again begin reading.— She sighed profoundly, dried up her tears, once more glanced at the box, again turned her eyes away, took up the manuscript, and continued with an emotion that aug­mented at every line:

"I was in my nineteenth year when Walstein came to Ronebourg, and, notwithstanding the difference of age and situation, his kindness outran my hopes by the most delicate offers of friendship, which, to me, was as neces­sary as it was flattering; for I then stood in the utmost need of a friend. My heart panted after some one who could understand it, to whom it could open itself, and who could participate its feelings. I was distractedly in love—Yet, no, it is profanation so to use the word. I loved not. I have since too well known what love re­ally is, so to confound the two sensations—But I was ardently, inordinately, desirous of obtaining a young wo­man of absolutely obscure birth; yet, whose beauty might [Page 83] have placed her on a throne. Yes, Caroline, Louisa was indeed beautiful; she must have been, otherwise, I could not think her so now, could not tell you so at this moment."

The heart of Caroline had undergone such variety of trials, and so severe, that it is not wonderful she felt her­self affected at this place. She leaned back, for a mo­ment, on her chair; had recourse to her smelling-bottle, and, when she was somewhat recovered, again went on:

"Louisa was the daughter of an invalid serjeant (my father held it a duty to maintain a certain number of in­valids) and one of my mother's maids. The old couple lived a quarter of a league from Ronebourg, on a small farm, which my parents had given them as a reward for past services. During my childhood I was continually with them, continually in the arms of the good Cicely, who had nursed me, and who loved me as dearly as she did her own son, Fritz; who, in these my boyish days, was my intimate friend. Louisa, younger by some years than he, was still dearer to me; for I could not quit the farm of the good Josselin, her father, nor live separate from her a moment; and when they sent me to the University I shed as many tears at taking leave of Cicely, Josselin, and, particularly, the little Louisa, as in quitting the house of my father.

"I obtained permission to take Fritz with me. I was ignorant, then, that this [...]d was, naturally, as vile and de­ceitful as his parents were honest; or, I should rather say, his baseness was not at that time come to maturity. I saw him acute, active, faithful, and zealous for my ser­vice and my interests. He was the son of my nurse, the brother of Louisa. How many claims, therefore, had he on my confidence and love! They were not forgotten, and he was esteemed rather as a friend than as a domestic.

"Some years stay at Erlang greatly enfeebled the re­membrance of the farm, and the pleasures of childhood; yet were they occasionally revived by letters that Fritz received from his sister, and shewed me. These always contained some short article concerning her young mas­ter, which was so tenderly expressed, and she recommend­ed Fritz so urgently to love him, to serve him faithfully, asked so earnestly concerning his health and welfare, that I melted while I read them, and felt great impati­ence again▪ to see her by whom they were written.

[Page 84]"Among them came one which informed Fritz of the death of his mother, my good and dear nurse. The grief of Louisa was real and affecting, and painted with so much sensibility, an energy so powerful, and so native to a no­ble heart, that, at hearing it read, the most rugged na­ture must have been moved. I too, was sincerely afflicted for her who, ever since my birth, had bestowed the most tender attentions on me. I wept her death more than Fritz, and was far less easily consoled. I have since re­collected that one day, when I spoke of my sorrow for the death of his mother, a phrase escaped him which I did not then interpret as I do now. "You may see Lou­isa with much less difficulty," said he. Had age and ex­perience better taught me, this would have sufficiently unveiled his odious character; but I, at that time, preser­ved that sweet innocence which suffers us not to suspect evil.

"A short time after I was recalled home. I returned to Ronebourg, and arrived there some months before the visit of the young Count of Walstein took place.—The very next day I ran to the farm of Josselin, accompanied by Fritz; but, good God! what were my feelings when I beheld Louisa, and saw the amazing change which a few years had made in her person! Never before had I beheld a being so beauteous. She was in mourning, and her black vest, while it marked her ele [...]t form and shewed her slender shape more slender, gave a fine contrast to one of the finest complexions Nature ever bestowed. Her cheeks glowed with animation and pleasure at the return of her brother and young master; her large dark eyes were powerfully and affectingly expressive; and her hair, black as the ribband by which it was decorated, falling in large tresses on each side, made freshness look more fresh, and added brighthess to the vivid colours of youth.

"Pardon me, Caroline for thus dwelling on circum­stances which, to you, cannot be very interesting; and which now, to me, are become only indifferent, except as they may prove some alleviation to excesses into which a most ungovernable passion hurried me; for never can my crime find forgiveness, unless in the superiority of that beauty by which it was inspired; its effects, alas were the most sudden and the most deplorable!

"When I set out for the farm, I had resolved, in the gaiety of my heart, to let Louisa guess which of the two [Page 85] was her brother; and had, therefore, dressed myself nearly like him; but the ecstacy, the trouble, the desires, of my soul, presently betrayed me. Fritz laughed, and saw, with joy, the impression his sister had made on me. Louisa ran with open arms and pleasure in her eyes; but, suddenly stopping when she came to me, she made me a rustic courtesy, which I thought all grace, and, falling on her brother's neck, melted into tears.

"I was as much affected as she, and the good old Jos­selin came to add to our emotion. He received me with tenderness and respect; we went into the house, and there he spoke to me of Cicely, the manner of her death, the greatness of his affliction, and recited all she had said, in her dying moments, relative to Fritz and me. I wished to answer, but I could only behold Louisa and weep with her. Josselin, afterwards, talked of his children, and asked if I was satisfied with his son, "As for Louisa," said he, "she is a good girl; she takes care of me and the household affairs, and supplies the place of her mother better than could be expected; so long as she continues prudent, and her brother behaves well, I shall be easy and happy, and, after a while, shall, in my turn, again go and meet my dear Cicely. When I am gone, I trust to God and my Lord the Baron to take care of my small family, in whom, my children, I hope you will find consolation for the loss of your poor old father."

"Louisa ran into hi [...] arms. Fritz, also approached, but he appeared to me but feebly moved: or, rather, I beheld Louisa, the beauteous, the affectionate, the tender Louisa; and I could have wished, like her, to have kneeled to the old man, to have called him my father also, to have taken his hands and have pressed them to my lips. The father of Louisa was to me, at that moment, the most respectable of beings.

"It was time that a scene so affecting should finish. My heart was overcharged, and might not contain all these thronging sensations, and I left the farm, bearing, in this captivated heart, the image of Louisa and the fever of love. Fritz perceived all this, because he waited and wished it all. A connection between his sister and me made him suppose my favour certain, and his own fortune made. Perhaps, his ambition went farther still, and flattered him he might become the brother of his master. His base and interested mind regarded not the dishonour [Page 86] of his family, or of mine, if he only could receive benefit thereby; he, therefore, took every means in his power to blow up the flame by which I was devoured, and in which he succeeded but too well.

"Is not Louisa, well grown and exceedingly hand­some, Sir," said he, "What a pity would it be if some stupid lout should possess such a treasure of charms? For my part, I verily believe I should rather see her the mis­tress of a great Lord, like you, than the wife of a rustic who would never know half her worth."

"This, and other similar conversation, disgusted me not, though it would have done, no doubt, before I had seen Louisa. The dear idea of possessing her, no matter by what means, transported me; and I, every day, swal­lowed deeper draughts of the poison by which my feeble heart was infected; every day went to the farm, under the pretext of coursing or shooting, and was always kindly received by Josselin and his daughter, when they were together. As soon as I arrived, Louisa would run to the dairy, fetch me a bowl of milk, cut me some brown bread and sometimes eat with me. The good Josselin would recount his ancient exploits and campaigns, while emp­tying his bottle of beer. I feigned to listen, while my eyes were continually searching Louisa, and devouring her beauties; and never could I leave the place without an increase of passion.

"If I found her alone, all her former pleasing atten­tions, all that air of friendship and satisfaction were gone, and a marked embarrassment was ever apparent. She be­gan a sentence and left it unfinished; sometimes seemed affected, and ready to weep; then, no longer master of myself, would I approach her with ecstacy, venture some little liberties, and recal to her mind the sports of our in­fancy. But she ever rep [...]lled me with so firm, so seri­ous, so decided a tone, that it awed my audacity, and in­spired headstrong passion with fear.

"When I returned home I would complain to Fritz of his sister's reserve, conjure him to see her, to speak in my favour, and to prevail on her to grant me more of her friendship and confidence. He would laugh, and assure me I was beloved, passionately beloved, that he knew it well from the confusion in which Louisa always appeared when we were alone, which was a certain proof. "But [Page 87] these young girls," said he, "who, in fact, only wish to yield, wish to have some excuse for yielding."

"Emboldened by this hope, I would return to the farm. If Josselin was present I was received with every possible kindness; if not, the same continual embarrass­ment took place, and, if I became pressing, the same re­sistance. This conduct drove me to despair, and my love, at length, knew no bounds.

"Such was the trouble and effervescence of my pas­sions when the Count of Walstein came to Ronebourg. Louisa was the whole world to me, for Louisa only I ex­isted, and 'Louisa I must possess, or die,' was the conti­nual exclamation of my heart. The very reputation of the Count for prudence was sufficient to deter me, for some days, from making any avowal of my passion. At first I was afraid of his over powerful reason, but the Count knew so well how to conceal his own superiority that he himself seemed unconscious of it. His mind, while it was strong and sublime, was so gentle and affec­tionate, and to a ripened wisdom of age he so naturally added all the graces and vivacity of youth, that after a short acquaintance, all fear and constraint were gone.

"His indulgent nature was so conciliating, so winning, that, one day, as we were walking together, and he was rallying me on the absence, the apparent distraction of my thoughts, I ventured to inform him of the cause, and to open my whole heart. To him I made a recital much like that you just have read; I omitted no circum­stance, and all was repeated with that warmth, and en­thusiasm which well were descriptive of the passion by which I was devoured, while he seemed to listen with the utmost emotion and concern. When I had ended, he took me by the hand, and clasping it with all the sym­pathy of affection, "O Lindorf," said he, "my too youthful, too tender friend, what a mountain of affliction art thou heaping on thyself!"

"He was proceeding to give me some advice, but I in­terrupted him. "It is not advice," said I, "dear Count, that I ask; it is compassion and indulgence, it is your consent to see my Louisa, and, till you have seen her, not to pass judgment on me." So saying, I forcibly drew him towards the farm.

"Louisa was alone, and very melancholy. She appear­ed as if she had been weeping, but this only made the [Page 88] greater impression on me; the surprise of seeing a stran­ger, as we entered, spread her beautiful face with modest blushes; and her timidity and embarrassment heightened her charms. She recovered herself, and received us as well as possible. I observed she often looked at the Count, and that sighs occasionally escaped her which she endeavoured to repress. As for Walstein, he beheld her with astonishment, and turned, afterwards, and looked on me with eyes of affliction.

"We took a walk round the little kitchen garden of Louisa. There were a few flowers intermingled, and she gathered each of us a violet. I could not help observing she gave the finest of them to my friend; but, certainly, this was nothing more than politeness, and I could not be jealous of the Count, whom she had never seen be­fore; no, I was only pleased that she behaved so as might best obtain his good opinion. Nothing, I observed, es­caped him; the good order of her little garden, the neat­ness of her person, and the cleanliness of her house; he saw them all, and felt them all.

"We took our leave, and, at a little distance from the house, met Josselin who was returning from the fields. His long white hair and venerable figure struck the Count. "This," said I, "is the father of Louisa." Jos­selin came up, and spoke some time with his usual good sense; after which we parted, and continued our way. I walked beside the Count without uttering a word, my anxious and inquisitive eyes endeavoured to penetrate his thoughts, but he likewise kept silence. At length, I could forbear no longer—"Well, my dear Count, tell me, am I so very culpable for adoring Louisa?"

"Not, at present," replied he; "you are yet only un­fortunate; she deserves to be adored"—Then tenderly embracing me, "No, you are not culpable," added he, but, perhaps, another day, and you may be—Fly dear Lindorf, fly that dangerous girl; there is no other possi­ble resource. If the most sincere, the most tender friend­ship may any way soften the pangs of love, mine shall be wholly yours. I will not forsake you, will go with you to Berlin, or take you to my own estate, or, in fine, wherever you please, provided it be far enough from Ronebourg."

"Fly!" said I, "Fly Louisa! Live without Louisa! No, never, never."

[Page 89]"And what, in the name of heaven," replied the Count, with ardour, "do you think of doing? What are your hopes? Do you mean to marry her?—Remember your parents, and think whether you also mean to mur­der them.—Do you wish to seduce her? I cannot suppose you would entertain an idea so dishonorable, so abhorrent. Louisa is the picture of virtue and innocence. And her respectable aged father, who esteems, who loves, who receives you as if you were his own son, would you betray the confidence he reposes in you by bearing that from him which of all things on earth is to him the most precious? No, Lindorf, you never can be guilty of an act so atrocious. Lindorf will listen to the voice of ho­nour, of reason, of true friendship, and if he shed tears, they shall not be the distracting tears of guilty remorse."

"The features, the voice, the eyes of the Count as­sumed an expression and energy which are impossible for me to convey; and with conviction irresistable assailed the heart. A Deity seemed speaking! A supreme intel­ligence, descended from heaven to enlighten and save! Every word he pronounced was so different from what I daily heard from Fritz, and I had been so little accus­tomed to behold my passion under so criminal a point of view, that I was absolutely struck speechless, and stood before him abashed. The Count observed me, knew what was passing in my mind, and, tenderly taking me by the hand, I see," said he, "the reasons I have urged have made some impression on you, and that virtue will soon regain her empire. Come, my friend, come with me, and ask your father's permission to travel awhile. We will depart to-morrow."

"To-morrow!" cried I, in all the pangs of returning passion, "depart to-morrow! From Louisa! See her no more! Ignorant whether I am beloved, whether I ever may see her again! No, Walstein, no; hope it not; it is too much; it is at once to plunge a dagger to my heart." Then, leaning my head against a tree, and shedding tears, I added, "I feel the force of what you have said: it is but too true. Ah! wherefore had I not a friend like you in the beginning of this fatal passion? But it is now too late, a devouring fire scorches me up, and now I feel, too powerfully feel, there is no alterna­tive but Louisa or death—Yet I will endeavour, in part, [Page 90] to follow your advice; to remain some days without see­ing her, without going to the farm; but let me have the consolation of being near her.—Alas! dear Sir, I am a sick man, to whom nursing and precaution are necessary, and whom a remedy too violent would immediately kill."

"The Count owned I was right, and mildly endea­voured to calm and console me. He remained satisfied with the promise, which I repeated, of not going for some days to the farm, and no doubt hoped, by degrees, to bring me to consent to a longer absence.

"In the evening I complained of not being well, that I might thus impose an obligation upon myself of keeping my chamber; for I felt, if I should leave it, my feet would, instinctively, conduct me to Louisa; but a feign­ed sickness would deprive me of the liberty of going. Yet could it not be said to be feigned; for I, for several days past, had had an inward fever, the usual consequence of violent passions. I slept little, and ate less; this ex­cessive change alarmed my parents, but I assured them a few days rest and proper care would presently restore me. Walstein failed not highly to praise my fortitude, left me but seldom, and, while with me, took every means to increase and give force to reason, and greatly relieved the torment of passion; but the moment he left me it as suddenly resumed its empire, to which Fritz, indeed, was continually aiding, by his insinuations and discourse.

"He had perceived, from some few words he had heard, and even from what had escaped me myself, that the Count opposed my love for Louisa; and this fellow was, therefore, only the more industrious to keep it alive and enflamed. Nor were any great efforts necessary; for no sooner was I ever alone with him than I began, in spite of all my endeavours to be silent, to speak of his sister. He assured me she secretly moaned my absence and my indisposition, and that, for four days, during which she had not seen me, she had done nothing but weep. "Poor girl! 'tis quite piteous to see her, my Lord; she loves you to distraction; and then she keeps it all to herself; no soul but I knows it, but I does all I can to comfort her; I tells her she is not the first country lass that has loved a great Lord, and I says, how happy she would be with you; for, to be sure, you are so good, and so generous, that, certainly, you would never for­sake her."

[Page 91]"These kind of conversations, continually repeated, too potently contributed to increase passion and enfeeble fortitude. One day, the fifth or sixth of my retreat, the Count having left me to go a shooting, and Fritz having spoken for a whole hour of Louisa and her love for me, unable any longer to resist, I broke loose, like a child whose guardian had left him to himself, and flew to the farm, hoping to be back before the return of the Count.

"Josselin was gone to the field, and Louisa left alone in the house. Her wheel stood by her, yet was she not spinning, but, leaning on her elbows, she had covered her eyes with her handkerchief. At first she did not perceive me, but, hearing the noise the shutting-to of the door made, she looked up, and exclaimed, blushing, "Good God! my Lord, is it you? I was told you were very ill, and am exceedingly glad to see that"—

"I did not give her time to finish her sentence; the affection which I imagined these few words contained, her blushes, and her eyes, red and humid with tears, all confirmed me every thing Fritz had told me concerning her love was true. Enchanted, in ecstacies, at seeing her again, and at seeing her thus soft and tender, I flung myself at her feet, and knew not what I said. No long­er master of my reason, I expressed myself with such en­thusiasm and fire, that Louisa was terrified, but she could neither stop me nor break from me; I had seized both her hands, which, with great agitation and force, I held, while I devoured them with my kisses.

"Just at this instant the door opened, and in came the Count—I know not which of the three seemed most confounded. The surprise of being thus caught made me quit Louisa's hands, who, the moment she was free, fled precipitately; I rose, but durst not look up at Wal­stein—At length, "Are you here, Lindorf?" said he, "I left you in your chamber, and I find you at the feet of Louisa?"

"Then you did not come to seek me?" replied I; with amazement still superior to his own.

"I know not what passed at this instant in my mind; I certainly did not suspect the Count; no, I did not; and yet could I no way account for this his unexpected arrival at the farm. I had, at first, supposed that, ha­ving been home and not finding me in my chamber, he [Page 92] had mistrusted where I was gone; but the surprise he discovered had wholly eradicated that idea.

"No," said he, recovering himself, "it was not you I came to seek; I wanted to speak to Josselin; I will tell you on what subject." Then taking me by the arm, he brought me away before I could again see Louisa.

"As soon as we were out of the house, he told me his serjeant was recruiting at the neighbouring village, that he had just been speaking to him, and finding he had enlisted several young men, with whom he supposed Josselin to be acquainted, he had come to make enqui­ries concerning them. This appeared plausible, and half dissipated the vague kind of inquietude, I had invo­luntary felt.

"And now," said the Count, "permit me to ask you, in your turn, what you were doing there; and what saying, to Louisa, in an attitude of such supplication, and a tone so vehement? Forgive me, Lindorf, but you have granted me your confidence, and of this confidence I should be most unworthy if I did not endeavour to protect you from the worst of dangers. You promised me to remain a week without seeing Louisa; what then could be the intention of this secret visit?"

"To convince myself that I am beloved, and in that case"

"Well! what then?"

"Why, then,—to sacrifice every thing to Louisa; to renounce all for her; family, country, fortune, friends: she to me would be all, with her would I fly to the end of the world, if so it were necessary. I have offered her the choice of a secret marriage or an elopement; and I am determined on the one or the other. I ask not the Count of Walstein to assist me in this enterprise, but I depend upon his discretion."

"And has Louisa consented?" said he, with emotion.

"She has not answered me; you suddenly, came in; but she was greatly affected; her tears, her manner, every thing spoke her tenderness; beside, I am very certain I am beloved."

"It is possible you may deceive yourself," said the Count. "I think I am more certain that Louisa loves another."

"Loves another!" repeated I with phrensy—"But, no, it cannot be; Louisa is all innocence; she never is from home, she sees only her father, brother, and me."

"And one more," replied the Count, a young peasant, [Page 93] called Justin, as I believe; nay, I am assured he and Louisa have been lovers these three years, and that Jos­selin has refused his consent to the marriage only because Justin is poor. If, however, he be beloved"—

"Unable any longer to listen, my blood boiling in my veins, and jealousy maddening in my eyes, I seized the Count by the arm, looked steadily at him, with wild dis­traction, and demanded from whom he had his informa­tion—My countenance was so frantic, to which my voice was so correspondent, that Walstein was alarmed.

"In the name of Heaven! Lindorf," said he, taking me by the hand, "be calm; dear Lindorf, recover your­self; I may have been misinformed or deceived; I will inquire, however, and particularly; that I promise; ere long I will let you know from whom I received my in­formation, and whether it be or be not exact. But, in­deed, Lindorf," added he, in a tone of the deepest afflic­tion, "you rend my very heart; there is nothing I would not do, or suffer, to restore you to yourself and happi­ness."

"Happiness!" said I, in a low voice; happiness exists not without Louisa."

"The friendship, however, of the Count, and his af­fecting and tender manner made me somewhat more com­posed. I fancied he had been ill informed; I knew this Justin, and never had had the least suspicion of him; he was a poor orphan, whose sole advantage seemed to be a good person hid under a dress so mean that it was an attestation of his extreme poverty. Educated by charity in the parish, he had been made shepherd to the village. I had often heard speak of the activity, honesty, zeal, and even courage with which he did the duties of his place; the flocks all prospered under his care, and he knew how to cure most of their diseases; he could de­fend them, likewise, and had, already, killed several wolves which came to attack them. The country peo­ple vaunted of his talents. He worked prettily in osier, and carved with his knife, for he had no other tool; his voice was fine, and he played exceedingly well on the flageolet, untaught, except by nature, and perhaps love. I had often, while out a-shooting, stopped to listen to him; but never had it entered my imagination that the poor shepherd, Justin, could be my rival. Louisa had appeared to me so very much above him; though, indeed, [Page 94] to me, she had appeared above the whole world. Yet, led now to reflect on these circumstances, I could not help remembering their birth was equal, and a trifling dif­ference of wealth the only distinction. Justin, too, was a handsome lad, and I well recollected that, in my con­tinual visits at the farm, I had often met Justin and his flock in the vicinity; but he was always with them, and never had I seen him at the farm; nay, I had often spoken of his songs and flageolet to Louisa and her father, but they always had appeared not to pay the least attention.

"Thus by turns, tortured and relieved, I knew not what to think; though a rival like Justin was too humi­liating not to make me endeavour to doubt. No sooner was I alone than I called for Fritz, who, intimate with his sister, and very often at his father's, ought to know some­thing of this affair. I interrogated him, very seriously, concerning Justin, his intercourse with Louisa, their pretended love for each other, and the secrecy with which it had been kept from me.

"At first, he appeared greatly confused; but after­wards, denied every thing; spoke of poor Justin with the utmost contempt, assured me his sister thought like him, and would be exceedingly offended at such re­ports; and concluded by asking me from whom I could hear such a falsehood. I had the imprudence to name the Count!

"My Lord, the Count," answered Fritz, shaking his head, "knows very well what he is about; he takes care not to [...]ell you it is he himself who loves Louisa; and that this very morning—but one must not tell all one knows."

"He pretended to be going to leave the room; but I commanded him to stay, and, after pressing him repea­tedly, he told me that, ever since the first day I had brought the Count to the farm, he had become passion­ately in love with Louisa; that, while I kept my cham­ber, not a single day had passed on which the Count had not come to the farm, and endeavoured to seduce her by the most flattering and advantageous offers; nay, that very morning, that he, Fritz, had caught him with her, and that the Count had tried to bribe him to secrecy. "Perhaps," added Fritz, "I should have said nothing, because, to be sure, I don't like to vex my Lord: but since I see he wishes to scandalize my sister, by pretend­ing to talk of her loving a beggar, like Justin, I can no [Page 95] longer hold my tongue. To be sure, I would wish to consult my Lord thereupon; for, though I know Louisa is a very virtuous body, and that she loves my Lord too much to love any body else, yet who can answer for these young girls? My Lord the Count is so rich and so pres­sing; and, besides, he is his [...]wn master; he has neither father nor mother, and these are plaguy great tempta­tions. Then, if he should go about to run off with her, for he loves her so desperately that he would do any thing to get her, would it not be better for us to be beforehand with him? If my Lord pleases, we will put her out of his reach in a twinkling; for my part, I have always said, and always shall say, I would rather my Lord had her than any body else."

"My agitation while Fritz was speaking was exces­sive; I walked, or rather strode, about my chamber, not knowing what to think of the Count; my esteem for him was so rooted, that I could not persuade myself he might be guilty of such perfidy. Were what I heard true, his persuasive, his affecting, his powerful eloquence, which seemed the effusion of the purest friendship, would have been nothing more than deceitful artifice to remove me from Louisa, and snatch from me this object of my adoration. I could not support the horrible idea; it ap­peared wholly incompatible with the known character of the Count, and, sternly looking at Fritz, I commanded him to leave my presence, and no longer insult my friend by falsehoods totally undeserving belief.

"I did more, I intended to go to Walstein, and un­disguisedly inform him of what I had heard; certain that a single word from him would presently efface every re­maining trait of suspicion. I went; but I found my father with him, who did not leave us the whole even­ing, and before whom such a conversation was impossible. Theirs turned on the duties of society, morality, and true honor. The Count said many things, on these subjects, so strong, with such natural conviction, expressed himself with such a noble energy of mind, and such a purity of heart, that I inwardly blushed for having a moment doubt­ed of his virtue, and promised myself never to doubt more. I resolved, likewise, not to speak to him on the subject; for to suspect a man lik [...] him of such an action, I was convinced, was equally foolish and disgraceful. Beside, to have mentioned it I must, in some measure, [Page 96] have made my footman his accuser, which was too de­grading; I was, therefore, determined to be silent my­self, and to make Fritz silent also, whom a false zeal for my service might have deceived.

"But, while repelling from my memory all his accu­sations against the Count, I still was resolved to profit by his assistance in carrying off his sister. I admired the principles of Walstein, without the power of imitating them; or, rather, I wilfully shut my eyes on the conse­quences of the act. I imagined my benefactions would console the aged Josselin. Madman, that I was! as if gold could console a father for the loss of his child; and a child, too, like Louisa. But I was incapable of reason. Fatal and terrible effect of the passions, how much are they to be feared, since they can lead a naturally upright and virtuous heart thus dreadfully astray!

"Walstein came the next morning to my chamber be­fore I was up; he was dressed and booted. "Lindorf," said he, "I am going to the village to meet my serjeant and examine my recruits. I do not ask you to go with me, because I intend to call at the farm. I want to speak with Josselin. After your scene of yesterday, I suppose both you and Louisa would be eq [...]ally embarrassed in the presence of a third person; and I inform you that I am going," added he, smiling, "in order that, should you once more escape from yourself, you may not be once more surprised." After affectionately pressing my hand, he left me.

"This visit to the farm, of which he spoke so open­ly, ought rather to have removed than confirmed my fears. He could not know what Fritz had been saying to me; therefore, there could be no insidious mystery; and yet I was very uneasy; tormented by suspicions of I know not what; suspicions which, notwithstanding, I could not wholly subdue. I rang my bell, Fritz was not to be found, but one of my father's servants came i [...] his stead; he was a native of the village, where he went every day, and I asked him, with all the indifference I could assume, whether the serjeant of Walstein was there, recruiting. He answered in the affirmative, and more­over, that one of his own brothers was enlisted; as, like­wise was that Justin, who the Count had pretended was the favoured lover of Louisa. "My Lord the Count," [Page 97] said he, "is so good a nobleman, and so kind an officer, that all the young men wish to serve under him."

"This simple panegvric made me blush at my own doubts; tranquil, therefore, respecting the Count and this Justin, I thought of nothing but carrying off Louisa, and living and dying for her. This idea was for ever fermenting in my head and my heart; and, at twenty, when devoured by a passion so unconquerable, youth is not apt at imagining reasons which should counteract it, nor at foreseeing difficulties; seconded by Fritz, all things appeared possible, and I waited for him with im­patience, that we might hold consultation together.— Fritz, however, came not, and the Count returned.— Wholly occupied by my own projects, and held in re­straint by his presence, he observed the difference of my manner, and very unaffectedly told me so. I saw he wished to penetrate my thoughts, and, unwilling to de­ceive him more than necessary, I spoke as little as possible, yet enough to let him understand I persisted in the design I had mentioned the evening before.

"After dinner, he left me, as he said, to go to his apartment and write some letters; and, after they were finished, we were to ride out together. Anxious to take advantage of the moment, the only one, perhaps, I should have to myself, I would have instantly flown to Louisa to have obtained her so much desired consent to go off with me; but I might find her father with her, and my going would have been fruitless. A letter, therefore, which I could privately convey to her, would remove this inconvenience, and I immediately sat down to write. The disorder of my mind was visible in every line. My propositions of flight were renewed; eternal love was avowed; promises of compliance to all her wishes repeat­ed and sworn to with all the exaggerations of passion. I requested an answer, and referred her to her brother for our mutual arrangement.

"I had folded up my letter▪ and was got to the door, when Fritz, whom I had not seen all day, entered my chamber, hastily. You, yesterday, Sir," said he, "treat­ed me as an impostor. Where do you suppose my Lord the Count this moment is?"

"My blood instantly ran cold—"In his own chamber," answered I. "Why that question?"

[Page 98]"Not in his own chamber, but in my sister's, where I just have seen him with my own eyes."

"Take care what you say—Walstein!—Impossible!"

"You may convince yourself, Sir; only go, and you will find him, either there or in the garden, waiting for Louisa, for she was not at home, nor my father either. The Count sent a boy to seek Louisa, instantly; I heard him, he did not see me, and came, immediately, to tell you Sir, that you may be convinced I am no lyar."

"As Fritz proceeded, my rage increased, till it was soon ungovernable. To be imposed upon with so much perfidy and baseness!—And by whom? By the man I venerated, the man in the world I most respected, and the friend to whom I had confided the secrets of my soul!—I sent Fritz away, and, almost mechanically, seiz­ed my pistols, loaded them with ball without perceiving they were loaded before, and, putting them in my pocket, went out with a fury that approached madness, and was presently within sight of the farm.

"It was necessary to pass by the far end of the garden, where, the hedge being low, I saw the Count, impatient­ly walking, and incessantly looking towards the garden door, which was opposite to where I stopped. Before I had time to determine how it was proper for me to act, the garden door opened, and Louisa, the timid, the mo­dest Louisa, from whom I never could obtain the smallest favour, ran, with open arms to the Count. who opened his to receive her, kissed his hands, pressed them between hers, and on him fixed her fine eyes, sparkling with love and pleasure.

"I scarcely know how I recovered, for I felt as if I had received the stroke of death. A cold, a mortal cold, froze up my blood; my strength abandoned me, and I was obliged to support myself by leaning against a tree. Rage presently again brought me to life; again my eyes were cast towards the fatal garden; the lovers, for I no longer doubted they were so, were expressing themselves with all the warmth of sensibility; the countenance of Wal­stein shone, as it were, with bliss, and never had I be­held it so illumined. I could not hear their discourse, but, by their gestures, it seemed as if he ardently entreat­ed something which Louisa feebly refused. At last, the Count took out a purse, which appeared full of gold, [Page 99] presented it, which, after another moment's hesitation, Louisa received with a half confused half tender air.

"The Count kissed her, and both together re-entered the house, just at the very moment I was going to leap the hedge, and perhaps immolate two victims to revenge. I was no longer master of my actions, and should certainly have taken away my own life, if I had not immediately seen the Count leave the farm, with all the tranquillity of innocence and virtue, which I interpreted into the tri­umph of successful love.

"Defend thyself," said I, "traitor," running up to him with my pistols; presenting him the handle of one and the muzzle of the other to his heart; "Deprive me of the life which thou hast rendered miserable, or let me rid the world of a perfidious monster!"

"He would have laid hold of my arm, and have spo­ken to me. "I will hear nothing," said I, "defend yourself! I am capable of any mischief!"

"So saying, I clapped the mouth of my pistol to my own forehead. Happy, most happy, had I been had I drawn the trigger! But the Count prevented me, and, taking the pistol—"You are determined," said he; then, drawing back a few paces, fired it in the air. Mine was discharged at the same moment; but mine (for ever cursed be that moment!) took a fatal, an abhorred direction. I saw my friend stagger, and fall, bathed in his own blood, and saying, "Alas! poor Lindorf! when you shall know—Ah! how much more will you be to be pi­tied than I!"

"All my rage instantly vanished. I cast the murder­ous pistol from me; and, running up to my friend, en­deavoured, with my handkerchief, to stop the blood that bubbled from the wound. One ball had struck him on the face, and, he said, he thought he felt a wound in the knee, but was convinced that neither of them was mortal. I dragged him to the tree, and placed him a­gainst it, where I gave him all the succour in my power; for I was so totally beside myself that I had even forgot the farm, which was not forty paces distant. I remem­bered not so much as the cause of this miserable affair; at that moment of horror the danger of Walstein was all I remembered: I kneeled behind him; he leaned against my breast, and, notwithstanding the universal tremor of [Page 100] my limbs, I bound up his wound with our two hand­kerchiefs.

No sooner had I finished, than recollection suddenly [...]t [...]r [...]d. "Oh God," said I, "Wretch! accursed [...]e [...]ch that I am! it is I who have committed this dread­ful▪ this murderous act." My groans could not find ut­terance. I hid my face in the dust, and added nothing but inarticulate cries and exclamations.

"Lindorf," said the poor wounded Walstein, "Dear Lindorf, be calm, listen to me. There is one way, still, of repairing your wrongs, of preserving, nay, even of augmenting my friendship. Yes, dearer to me shall you be than ever, if you will pledge your honour to perform what I am going to request."

"I had no doubt but it was to renounce Louisa; but the atrocious crime I had committed had wrought so instant a revolution in my feelings that I did not hesitate a moment to promise, by the most sacred oaths, to per­form all he should require.

"Well, then," said the most generous of men, "I require, absolutely, without reserve, that this affair, for­ever, remain a secret between you and me; happily, no one has seen us; let me tell the story my own way; and beware, Lindorf, how thou contradictest me. Thou hast sworn, and I repeat, on this condition, only, can I pardon and love thee still. A sole word will for ever deprive thee of my friendship."

"I would have spoken, but sobs and groans prevent­ed me. I could only take his hand and press it to my heart, which was rent by the most cruel remorse. In despite of all my cares the wound continued to bleed; Walstein, with my aid, endeavoured to rise, but he soon perceived the wound in his knee was much worse than he had supposed. One of the balls had taken a different direction, and, we feared, the knee-pan was wounded, for he could not bear the least weight on it, but again sunk down on the ground.

"I detested, I cursed, I prayed, I almost shrieked with agony, I prostrated myself at the feet of my friend, while he continued to yield me every consolation.

"At last said he, "Go to the farm, and endeavour to get assistance; you will there find a proof that I was not, as you have supposed, the basest of men. Go, but remem­ber your oath; if you break it, I never will see you more."

[Page 101]"I could not reply, but ran to the farm, and, as I precipitately entered, immediately beheld in explanation of the conduct of Walstein, and irrefragable reasons for holding my own in still more utter, more damnable ab­horrence! O! pardon—Mine was the guilt of fiends! The shepherd, Justin, new clothed, was seated beside Louisa, holding one of her hands between his, while she was leaning on his shoulder, and looking up at him with every speaking sensation that tenderness and happiness could inspire. The old man, Josselin, sat opposite to them, contemplating a scene so affecting to the heart, and holding the purse the Count had given Louisa, and which I had supposed the price of her dishonour, On the table was another, equally large. Every circumstance was a dagger to my heart, and, insensate as I had been, devoured by passion, I can solemnly attest that remorse, bitter, inexpressible, and almost intolerable, was the only feeling of which I was conscious, or capable.

"Oh! my friends," said I, as I entered; "come with me, fly to succour the Count; he is here, just by, wounded, come, instantly." My sudden appearance, my paleness, the blood on my clothes, and the intelligence I brought, were each a subject of terror.—"Good God!" exclaimed Louisa and Justin, "our dear benefactor wounded!"

"I led them to the place where I had left the Count. Pain, and the loss of blood, had so enfeebled him that he was almost insensible. Louisa ran for water, and vine­gar. He came a little to himself, and, with difficulty, related that a pistol, with which he had been amusing himself, having burst as he fired it, had occasioned all this disaster, and that my coming by was the effect of chance.

"It was necessary to bear him to the Chateau, and Justin slew to the farm, and brought back a kind of hur­dle, and a mattress, on which he was laid. Justin, in the prime of youth, and animated by gratitude, not, like me, weighed down by guilt, was most useful and active. Louisa and her aged father gave us all the assistance in their power, and we began our march. It was long, and most painful; and, as we proceeded, several things that Justin and Louisa said to each other gave me to under­stand they had long been lovers, and that the Count, that [Page 102] very day, had removed every obstacle to their union, by giving Justin a considerable farm, at his estate of Wal­stein▪ under the sole condition that they should marry, immediately depart, and that Josselin should go with them.

"Criminal, indeed, most criminal, did this relation make me; but my passion for Louisa was so perfectly cur­ed by this dreadful event, that I heard, even with a kind of horrid pleasure, she was to be gone, and that I should see her no more!

"We arrived, at length, at the Chateau; and the hurdle being placed in the hall, and servants called to assist, my first care was to take a horse, and ride, with all possible speed, to the next town in search of surgeons. It was more than three leagues distant. I made, how­ever, so much haste that I returned with them by dusk. I found every person in the most fearful consternation. The manner in which my father received me, tenderly embracing me, melting in tears, and praising my zeal, proved that he was totally ignorant of the part I had had in this dreadful affair. His despair was such that, had he known it, he certainly could not have survived such tenfold addition of misery. The recollection of this, more than my oath, kept me silent; but I may truly say the silence was a burthen to my heart, and that nothing could so effectually have given it ease as to have proclaim­ed my guilt, and thus have rendered me as detestable to the whole world as I was to myself.

"The surgeon, after the operation of extracting the balls, and probing the wounds of Walstein, declared they were not mortal, but that, it was to be feared, he would lose one eye, and the use of his leg; and they even spoke of amputation. The Count, who somewhat doubted of their skill, resolutely opposed this, and sustained, with fortitude, almost incredible, the dressing of the wounds, and the afflicting intelligence they had communicated. I could not support being present; but, when the sur­geons had done, I again entered his chamber, and solemn­ly swore never to quit it but in company with Walstein. I know not how it happened that my excessive grief did not betray our secret. It was, indeed, most profound. My tears flowed continually; while the suffering victim of my hateful crime unceasingly endeavoured to calm and comfort me. He said, and protested, that he looked on the event as fortunate; that his inclination and abili­ties [Page 103] had always rather led him to study than to a military life; that he had devoted himself to the latter, in obedi­ence to his father and his king; and that he should be exceedingly glad of so fair a pretext to forsake it, and yield to his love of literature and political and legislative researches. "Beside," added he, "you are now cured of your passion; the remedy, it is true, has been somewhat violent, but it has had its effect, and I most unfeignedly return Heaven thanks for all that has passed."

"Yes, it had had its effects; but I should ill deserve the sublime friendship of Walstein if I did not lament and execrate them everlastingly. I was cured of my love; for, three weeks after this misfortune had happen­ed, I heard, without the least emotion, unless it were an emotion of joy from the mouth of Justin, who came every day to enquire concerning the health of his benefactor, that he had married Louisa, and that they were ready to depart for their new habitation.

"The Count now entered circumstantially on that subject; delicacy had, hitherto, kept him silent; but, so­licited by me, he informed me that the morrow after the visit we had together paid at the farm, alarmed by the violence of my passion, he most seriously reflected on the means of avoiding effects so fatal; that his serjeant brought him a young man whom he had just enlisted; this was the poor Justin; his handsome person, intelligent coun­tenance, and profound melancholy, gained the attention of the Count, and he questioned him concerning what induced him to enlist. The sincere and simple Justin did not endeavour to disguise his motives. Passionately enamoured of Louisa, her lover for several years, but without the least ray of hope, rejected by Josselin, mena­ced by Fritz, he wished only to die; but he wished to die like a brave fellow, combating the enemies of his King, I should die all the same," said he, "with grief at seeing Louisa the wife of another; and this misfortune must be mine, for her father has sworn I shall never be her husband."

"The Count asked him if he were beloved by Louisa. "To be sure, I certainly am," answered he; "if I were not, I might not, perhaps, have been true to her for so long a time. But, poor dear Louisa! I yesterday saw her never to see her again, and we both wept so much at parting that we thought we should have died with grief."

[Page 104]"I recollect, dear Lindorf," said the Count, "that when you first took me to see Louisa her melancholy struck us both."

"But, I hope," continued Justin, "that, when I am gone, Louisa will be less unhappy▪ her father, and her brother in particular, ill treat her every day on my ac­count; and that is the reason why I am determined to become a soldier. I wish, indeed indeed I do, she may forget me; but her I shall never forget; no never never to my dying day."

"Walstein was extremely affected by the sincerity; honest intentions, and passion of Justin; and instantly conceived the project of rendering two lovers happy, and rescuing me from the worst of dangers. He mentioned nothing of his intentions to Justin, being first desirous to speak to Louisa and know if he had told him the exact truth. He went twice to the farm before he could find her alone, but watched his opportunity so well that at last he spoke to her in private. He had little difficulty in bringing her to confess her love for Justin; her heart was full of nothing else; and she had done nothing but weep since he had enlisted. She was desirous of recom­mending him to the Count; and, therefore, glad of find­ing him alone, she told him their love had commenced long before the death of her mother; that ever since she bad each day gone to meet him at the pasturage, and Jus­tin had taught himself to play on the flageolet, purposely that he might not only give her the signal to come and join him, but accompany her likewise when she sung. To gain her favour, also, he had learned to make basket-work, spinning-wheels, bobbins, to twine the osier, and to carve in wood. Louisa shewed the Count two little groups of his sculpture exceedingly well carved, the one representing Louisa and the other Justin himself seated at her feet; both the figures were sufficiently like to be known. In another carving, still better executed, the young shepherd was combating a large wolf; for it was for the sake of Louisa, also, that he had first given proofs of his courage▪ by killing the wolf which was bearing off one of the [...]en of Josselin.

"How might the tender and grateful Louisa refuse yielding her heart to him who so well had merited the gift! "Yes, my Lord, said she to the Count, with all the enthusiasm of legibility, "I love him with my whole [Page 105] soul, and shall for ever love him, though I never should see him more.—One hope, alas, we had, one sole hope. I often said to Justin, when he bewailed his poverty, "Be comforted, dear Justin, only wait till our young master returns, he will speak for us to his father, and, I am well persuaded, will have us married. Our young master is returned, but"—

"Louisa stopped—"Finish what you had to say," said the Count.—"I very well perceive," said she, blush­ing and looking down, "I was wrong; and I should even be very sorry, at present, if he knew I loved Justin: for my brother has assured me he would kill him, imme­diately. When Justin is out of his reach, I then will tell him, the first time I see him; and if he wishes to kill one of us, let it be me."

"Walstein comforted Louisa, promised her she should soon be happy, that Justin belonged to him, at present; he might dispose of him, and he would make him the husband of Louisa. Scarcely could she believe what she heard, and the very hope appeared but like a dream. Walstein, however, assured her it should be realized im­mediately, for that he had spoken to Justin, and that he would directly speak to Josselin.

"It was that very day, dear Lindorf," continued the Count, "when, after having arranged every thing with the young shepherd, after having enjoyed the purest of pleasures, and spoken to Josselin concerning the marriage of his children, that I found you kneeling to Louisa. The poor girl, conscious of what I had been doing, and who was waiting for me with all the impatience of love, was exceedingly ashamed of being surprised with you in that manner. I confess, I also was disconcerted, inso­much that I scarcely could conceal my feelings; which, perhaps, first gave rise to your suspicions▪ I myself was not free from them; I was fearful lest Louisa had decei­ved both Justin and me; lest you and she understood each other; and, anxious to know the truth, questioned you. Your answer was but half satisfactory; it, how­ever, convinced me of the great danger you were in, and that, at all events, it was necessary to tear from you the object of that passion to which you were ready to sacri­fice every moral duty. You may remember, Lindorf, I in part informed you of the love of Justin for Louisa; imagining that, perhaps, your passion would decrease if [Page 106] you knew the love of Louisa was divided. Had you re­ceived this intelligence with more moderation, I then should have told you all; but your phrensy was too visi­ble. Reason had lost every hold over your mind, and your actions had somewhat convulsive about them that made me shudder. I saw this was not the proper oppor­tunity to proceed further. I had said too much, and all I had to do was to smother the fire I had kindled.

"I, therefore, endeavoured to calm your mind, bring you to yourself, and promised to make farther enquiries; hoping, thereby to gain time for Louisa and Justin to depart, and thus prevent your rash project of marriage or elopement. In order to hasten the wedding, I went the next morning to Josselin; after having told you where I was going, purposely that you might not come and interrupt our conversation. I was alone with Louisa but a moment, but this was enough to convince me of the wrong I had done her, by suspecting any concerted treachery between her and you. The idea had torment­ed her all night, and her inquietude, grief, and ingenu­ous answers removed every remaining doubt.

"She left the room as her father entered. I spoke first of my recruits; and taking out the list, read over their names. When I came to that of Justin, I saw the old man was highly pleased.—"Ah!" said he, "is that knave enlisted? Heaven be praised! we shall now be rid of him."

"Knave! what knave, Josselin?" said I. "I will have no knaves in my regiment; and I will give him his discharge."

"Oh! do not do so, by any means, my Lord," repli­ed Josselin. "To be sure, I ought to speak with more respect before you, and not have called him a knave, for there is not an honester lad in the whole village, nor is the King himself a braver fellow. He will make nothing of killing you a wolf, you may suppose then what he would do with a man; and you cannot have a better sol­dier; but to tell you the truth," added he, lowering his voice, "he has taken it into his head to fall in love with our Louisa, and the poor little fool, with consent or without consent, would fain marry him; a fellow without a shilling, educated by charity; but no, I would rather follow her to the grave. God be praised! he must now soon leave the country, and I hope we shall never hear [Page 107] of him more. And yet, it is a pity too; for he took great care of all our flocks; he saved me a fine sheep; and the lad wants neither courage nor ingenuity—if it was not for that devilish love."

"And do you not wish to marry Louisa, to console her for the absence of Justin?"

"Ah! would to Heaven she was married! Girls are nothing but torment. I no sooner find myself relieved, on one hand, than I am attacked on the other. Our young Baron is always haunting, now, about the house: so long as she had her Justin she was well guarded. I did not stand on ceremony with him; but, at present, I do not know what may happen; for I cannot forbid my young master my house as I did Justin; and, then, one cannot always be at home. I should be happy if I could but see her once well settled, but there is not the least appearance of it. The people of our village are all poor, and Louisa is not rich."

"Well, Josselin, if you consent, I myself will mar­ry her to one of my farmers; an honest young man and above want. He possesses a good grass farm, on my es­tate at Walstein; some days journey from this place; larger, I believe, than this of [...]ours; and, as I esteem him very much, I will give him a purse of fifty ducats, on the wedding day, and as much to your daughter, to defray the ex [...]tence of the nuptials, and begin housekeep­ing. If you think this a proper match, say so, and it is a bargain."

"Josselin, all amazement, would have fallen prostrate. "A proper match! my Lord▪" said he: "I cannot for­bear weeping with joy and gratitude. All my fear is lest he should not fancy Louisa; and if he should hear of her love for Justin"—

"Fear nothing, he will not be jealous. Justin is his friend, and the more Louisa shall love her husband the happier will Justin be."

"The good old Josselin opened his eyes, staring, as it were, after the meaning of what I had said. An ex­planation, therefore, was necessary; and this threw him into still greater astonishment. But he the more joyfully confirmed his consent, because his daughter, by this means, would be happy.

"The only thing I stipulated for was that they should immediately depart for my farm; and to this there was [Page 108] no objection. Josselin proposed even to remove himself, and live with his children. I desired him to inform Lou­isa of what had passed, and left him to go down to the village. I there gave Justin his discharge, signed the gift of the farm, and left him the purse of fifty ducats which I had promised. After this I returned to you. Your air and manner, sometimes absent, sometimes agi­tated, sentences half pronounced, and the disappearance of Fritz, who had been away from the castle all night and all day; these, collectively, made me fear you had con­certed some project; the execution of which might, per­haps, be more prompt than I suspected.

"I resolved, therefore, to hasten the marriage, and the departure of the young people, as much as possible; and, for this purpose, I again returned to the farm. This was the only injunction I had to lay on them, for the be­nefits already conferred, and the purse I intended to present to Louisa.

"What followed, dear Lindorf, I need not relate. You know how much you were deceived by appearances. Louisa had been, all the day, at the village with a relation, in order, most likely, to avoid another visit from you. Her father, impatient to inform her of her happiness, had gone in search of her. They had met the happy Justin, who came along with them; he had shewn them all his treasure. A boy, whom I had sent in search of Louisa, told her I was waiting for her; she, unable to repress the first emotions of her joy, ran, out of breath, to testify her gratitude in the manner by which you were so cruelly deceived.

"Yes, Lindorf, I can imagine myself in your place, during this terrible moment; can suppose all the dreadful ideas and sensations by which you were assaulted. Sure­ly, you cannot doubt, then, that I can forgive you. A little more openness on my part, a little less passion on yours, and this misfortune had never happened; and, let me add, it will be no real misfortune to me so long as you shall remain unsuspected of being in any manner an accessary."

"This recital was made at various times, as his strength permitted, and continually excited in my bosom the most painful remorse. I listened, and, in my turn, informed the Count how entirely that vile fellow Fritz had de­ceived me. I never saw him since the fatal day on [Page 109] which he disappeared from the chateau, and I learned from his father he had listed for a soldier: since when I have never heard of him more.

"The day after these fearful events, my father thought it his duty to go himself to Berlin and inform the King; and, leaving Walstein to my care, he undertook this melancholy journey. The King was most sensibly affect­ed when he was told, and immediately sent his own sur­geons to Ronebourg, informing my father he would come himself as soon as Walstein should be out of danger.— The surgeons of Berlin confirmed all the others had said; except that they hoped the wound of the knee would be less prejudicial than had been supposed, and that the Count might preserve his leg, though he certainly would become somewhat lame.

"I had a bed brought into his chamber, never leaving him a moment day or night, and incessantly endeavouring, by attention and care, to prove how deeply I repented; Walstein seemed as sensible of, and as grateful for, these by attentions, as if I had not been the person who occa­sioned him to stand in need of them. To amuse and di­vert his mind I read to him, as soon as the surgeons would permit me. Till then, my youth, vivacity, want of thought, and the fatal passion I had conceived for Louisa, had prevented my application to study. I now learned the charms of this occupation, which communi­cates knowledge, amends the heart, and ornaments the mind. I could easily perceive that, in his choice of books, his purpose was rather my instruction, and a wish to give n [...] a taste for reading, than his own amusement. When I had ended, he made the most just and profound reflections on what had been read; which, to me, were so many rays of light. Whenever the subject happened to be the duties of a sold [...]er, he described them with en­ergy, proved how they were compatible with morality and true honour, and how far courage might be allied to humanity and sensibility.

"Excellent Walstein! If, at present, I have any vir­tues, to thee am I indebted for them. Thou hast made me such as I am, and the two months I lived in thy chamber, after a crime for which any other man would have held me in everlasting abhorrence, and have been appeased only by my blood, by thy benolence and wis­dom [Page 110] I gained more knowledge, and was better taught the duties of man, than by all my preceding education."

We have forborne to interrupt a narrative so interest­ing by any remarks on what the feelings of Caroline were; and our reason for this forbearance was, that every reader might judge from his own heart, and imagine the passages at which the manuscript was laid down or taken up; or where it dropt from the hands of the wife of Wal­stein; those at which her heart palpitated more or less, or where some strong exclamation was involuntarily ut­tered. It is very certain, however, that she did not read thus far without interruption; and, moreover, that, at this particular place, an emotion, prompt and instinctive, made her snatch up the box. She only half opened it, and shut it again, with a kind of respectful fear, as if it had been profaned by her looks: after which, laying it close to her elbow, she again took up the manuscript.

"A month after the accident, the King, learning that his favourite could rise, came to Ronebourg, with few attendants. Walstein, then, presented me, for the first time; and the King gave me assurances of his good will and future protection. Alas! what was my confusion, what my shame, when I heard him praising me for the proofs of friendship I had given, on this melancholy oc­casion, and the uninterrupted attention I had paid the Count! Had it not been for my father's presence and the recollection of the pangs he must have suffered, I really believe, I should have fallen at his feet, have confessed how little I deserved his eulogiums, and have owned the whole enormity of my guilt.

"The King, after remaining a few moments in the chamber, desired to be left alone with the Count. They were together for some time. At last my father was call­ed in; and, presently afterwards, I also. As I entered, I found my father kneeling to the King, and kissing his hand. "Come hither my son," said he; "come and kneel with me, to thank the best of Monarchs, and the most generous of friends.—The Count has resigned his commission in the guards, and, at his entreaty, his Ma­jesty has graciously bestowed it on you. Lindorf! my son! if it be possible, merit this distinction, by equalling your predecessor!"

"To Walstein I would have kneeled, in his bosom would have hid my confusion, if I might; and so strong­ly [Page 111] was I affected, that my father, thinking me half dis­tracted with my joy, was obliged to recall my attention to the King, who raised me with affability, and, like my father, exhorted me to imitate the Count.

"Imitate him!" said I, approaching him and seizing his hand, which he held out to me. "Is it possible for man to acquire virtue so sublime? Can I, wretch!"—

"Walstein looked at me, and immediately put his hand on my mouth.

"Oh, Caroline! such is the man to whom you are united; such is he to whom, no doubt, you are proud, at present, to appertain, and whom you are now wishing to make happy—And, oh, how exquisite must be his felicity! So exquisite, that he alone, I confess, can be worthy of it!

"The King departed, the same day, for Berlin, and soon after sent me my Captain's commission. At length, I found myself alone with Walstein. My heart was full, almost to suffocation, and I wished to express some part of what I felt. But no! Expressions could not be found! Words were too feeble! and I could only testify my gratitude as to a Deity!

His friendship for me seemed to increase every day. "Good young man," would he often say, when he saw me stand with my eyes fixed on his wounds, "do not suppose these a misfortune. Believe me, for it is a truth, we both are gainers; and I, especially: a friend, such as thou wilt be, merits well to be purchased with the loss of an eye. Had I a mistress," added he, smiling, "per­haps I should be less a philosopher; yet, such as I shall be, I do not despair of finding a woman rational enough to love me. Love has been the cause of my misfortune, and love ought to make me reparation."

"Behold, how just Heaven is, Caroline! Love will make him reparation, and I alone, as I ought, shall be unhappy.—Yet, no! I ought not, I shall not be, while I am a witness of the felicity of two persons so dear to my heart! Oh! that I may but accomplish the ardent wish I have that these two persons, so worthy, should be fully known to each other!

"As soon as he was sufficiently recovered to travel to Berlin, I joined my regiment, which lay there, and which I found most excellently disciplined. Walstein, yielding to his inclinations, retired to continual and se­vere [Page 112] study; which, added to want of exercise, was de­trimental to his health. He became meagre, and his in­cessant application to reading and writing gave him that stoop in the shoulders which you, no doubt, have obser­ved; but he had no longer pretension to beauty, and he was become passionately fond of study. The laws and policy of nations, which require knowledge so extensive, were the researches to which he was most addicted. In two or three years he was capable of undertaking the most difficult negociations, and of filling, with the greatest dignity and success, the brilliant employment he now holds.

"When we arrived at Berlin, he introduced me to his aunt, the Baroness de Zastrow, with whom the young Countess Matilda, his sister, had been brought up.— Long a widow, and without children, the Baroness look­ed upon her niece as her daughter, and sole heiress. The Count, also, was fond of his young sister, and was as careful of her education and future happiness as the most tender father could have been. He had often sp [...]en of her to me, at Ronebourg, and made it no secret that he should behold with pleasure a probability of our union, and thus add another tie to friendship. I thought her charming, but she was scarcely thirteen. She was still but a lively girl with whom I could play with pleasure, but who did not inspire the same sensations I had felt from the company of Louisa.

"My heart, however, being perfectly free, and the company I found at the Baroness de Zastrow's exceeding­ly agreeable, I went there, regularly, every day; where I was received as the intimate friend of Walstein. Ma­tilda, particularly, took a thousand opportunities of do­ing me little favours. She called me her brother, and told me, laughing, she hardly ever saw her own, since he was become so ordinary and so learned; therefore, she thought it was my duty to come in his stead. I, in the same kind of sport, called her my dear little sister, and behaved as if she really had been so. Although she was very handsome▪ and daily became more formed, I felt no other sentiments for her than those of friendship, or brotherly affection. The kind of beauty she possessed, however seductive it might be to others, was not, pre­cisely, that which I should prefer. It was neither the regular and striking features of Louisa, nor the enchant­ing [Page 113] countenance, the look celestial, which penetrates the hidden sentiments of the soul, the lip of innocence, the angelic voice, the—

"Another word, Caroline, and you must never behold this manuscript! Let me speak only of the Count, him only see, think only of him; let my mind be wholly oc­cupied by that sublime idea, and forget every other.

"Where was I?—Speaking, I believe, of the young Countess Matilda. You, I suppose, have never seen her. She was at Dresden when you were at Berlin, where she remains, with Madam de Zastrow, who has there fixed her residence. She no way resembles what her brother was before his misfortune. Instead of his benevolent and dignified presence, Matilda's features are delicate and small; the character of her countenance is that of mirth and vivacity. The symmetry of her person is ex­act; her arm is round; her feet exceedingly pretty; her wait small; her nose turned up; her eyes blue, and intel­ligent; her rose-coloured lips are always ready to laugh, and add dimples to her cheeks; and her whole form con­veys the idea of what we call sports and smiles; but ne­ver any thing of tender sentiment. She seems even in­capable of such sensations; so that one may play with her without the least danger either to her or one's self.

"Yet, however, did she, sensibly, begin to lose a part of the thoughtless gaiety by which she seemed to be cha­racterized. She still laughed, but the laugh often seemed forced, and was sometimes followed by a sigh. By de­grees she ceased to call me her brother, or let me assume the privilege of one. If I offered to kiss her, she would draw back and blush; and, when I called her my dear little sister, she very gravely would reply with a—Sir; which, at times, she had some difficulty to pronounce. The Count perceived the change sooner than I did.— "Either I am much deceived," said he, "or the heart of our young siste [...] begins to take part in my project; but tell me, dear Lindorf, what says yours? May I here­after call you brother?"

"I was too sincere to endeavour to conceal that I had hitherto felt nothing farther than friendship; "But certainly," said I to the Count, "my heart, already ex­hausted, is no longer capable of love, and since the charming Matilda fails to inspire passion, I shall never [Page 114] feel it more." Ah, Caroline, how much was I de­ceived!

"You are mistaken," replied he, "Lindorf; at three▪ and twenty the heart is never satiated with love: nor have you ever known love; for your passion for Louisa was rather an effervescence of the senses than love itself; its excess was a proof of my assertion, and I desire no better than your meditated elopement. When a lover, Lindorf, prefers his own enjoyment to the interest of the object beloved, you may be certain his heart is but feebly affected. My utmost wish is, that my sister may make you feel the difference between your passion for Louisa and the delicious sentiments of refined love. She is still sufficiently young to give me hope that this may happen; and, perhaps, it is her great youth that retards the desired event. You think her only a girl; but when this girl shall discover sensibility, there will be but another step to inspire you with similar sensations."

"I embraced the Count, and assured him I had already love enough for Matilda, to think with pleasure on the time when I should love her more, and when I might add the name of brother to that of friend; but that I had still many errors to repair and to efface, and that his charm­ing sister merited a heart wholly hers, and capable of feeling her worth.

"A short time after this conversation happened, Wal­ [...]n was appointed Ambassador to Russia. Our farewell was tender, and affected me greatly. Since the commis­sion of my crime (for what other name can I give it?) I never could behold the Count without a renewal of af­fliction and remorse. That countenance, so beautiful, that walk and figure, so noble, that look, which express­ed so much, all incessantly haunted me. The Count seemed to recollect nothing of this, nor to entertain the least regret. Before we parted, I entreated him to give me his picture, such as it was when he came to Rone­bourg. I knew he had one, and I wished he would be­queath it to me; that my own fault and his generosity might continually be recalled, and that I might be certain time should not enfeeble the remembrance of them.

"This he absolutely refused. "No, dear Lindorf," said he, "you shall have no portrait of mine, neither past nor present. I would have them forgotten as totally by you as they are by me. I never would have them men­tioned [Page 115] more. I wish you only to remember our friend­ship, which is, and ever shall be inviolable."

"I did not persist in my request, because I saw him determined, and because I had another resource. The young Countess, Matilda, had a miniature picture in a bracelet; but which, after his accident, she no longer wore; and which, I believe, he himself had forgotten. I had no great difficulty in prevailing on her, under a promis [...] secrecy, to suffer a copy to be taken. It is this which I have now left with you, Caroline, and which I beg you to accept. You are the only person to whom I would have given that picture; but you, I am certain, will know its value. Look at it often; and, while you look, remember the beauteous mind which animated that once beauteous form still exists, with still improving beauty, and increasing purity. "Yes, the change of his features gives Walstein new lustre, nor should the remaining scars make you hold your husband in horror.—Ah! Caroline, you must detest his wretched assassin, but forget not his remorse; remember his re­pentance! Think on what he suffered while he was making this his confession, and conjuring you to love another; banishing himself for ever from your presence. An expiation like this ought, almost, to make the crime forgotten, and to obtain a generous pardon.

"The Count, at parting, promised to write to me, as often as the multiplicity of affairs in which he was going to engage would permit. Wholly devoted to his duty, he had little time for a correspondence of pleasure, or even friendship. Soon after his arrival, however, at Petersburg, I received the letters which I enclose in this packet; you will find them numbered according to the order in which they came. Read them, Caroline; your spouse is a much better painter of himself than I am."

Caroline took the letters, looked for No. I. and has­tily opened it. The hand-writing recalled to recollection the short penciled billet of the antichamber; the only one she had ever received from Walstein, and the im­pression of which had been so strong, yet so little dura­ble. She felt the anguish of remorse; and, for some moments, her tears impeded her sight. At length she began to read. The letter was dated from Petersburgh, the year before her marriage, and was as follows:

[Page 116]

No. I. The Count of Walstein to the Baron of Lindorf.

'The letter I received, yesterday, from Matilda, con­firmed what I long suspected. Yes, you are beloved, dear Lindorf: her innocent and pure mind is itself asto­nished at the new ideas which affect it, and has not had the art to conceal them from the penetrating friendship of a brother. Each phrase, each word, in her letter, be­trays her secret; and I think myself guilty of no treason in revealing it to her husband—Yes, her husband, dear Lin­dorf!—In vain would your delicacy longer decline what friendship so ardently desires; it now ought to yield to what I shall say, or rather to what I shall repeat. I have reflected a good deal on our last conversation. Because you do not love my sister with the same transport, with the same burning raptures you felt for Louisa, you ima­gine yourself unworthy of her, and conclude you never shall love her. Yet, you acknowledge, and I believe you have the tenderest friendship for Matilda, and that she is the woman you at present would most prefer, and the only one concerning whom you are any way interested. What more is necessary, dear Lindorf, to happiness? Does a sensation so sweet to the soul leave any thing far­ther to wish? And, when to these are added the grati­tude you would feel for the love she bears to you, do you suppose it possible you should not make her perfectly happy? For my part, I think her happiness much more certain, this way, than if you had a violent passion for her, which consumes itself in its own flames, and leaves only regret and a painful void. Ever since I have thought of this union, which to see accomplished, would, I own, be one of the greatest pleasures of my life, I have studied the characters of you and Matilda much more attentively than you imagine; and each remark I have made has con­firmed and even convinced me you were born for each other. Without perhaps being so beauteous as Louisa, or, even, as many other women, my sister has somewhat in her figure which every day pleases more, because it every day is gaining some additional grace; and because it con­sists in that varied and animated play of countenance which is more pleasing than a regularity of features, that are but too apt, by their sameness, to lose their charm.— Perhaps, you will tell me she wants sensibility, and that [Page 117] you have too much. But shall I surprise you, nay, shall I not vex you, dear Lindorf, when I say I believe Ma­tilda has at least as much feeling as my friend himself? Under the apparent thoughtlessness of childhood, if I mistake not, I have discovered the tenderest, the most affectionate heart, and the most capable of a strong and lasting attachment. You see, already, this little insensi­ble has understanding enough to know your worth, to love you, and, I think, Lindorf, you will never have any complaints to make of her want of tenderness. Her mind, likewise, has those propensities which best please and fix the attention of yours. Her amiable vivacity, her uninterrupted gaiety, are qualities that will preserve you from dulness; which, of all the plagues of a conju­gal state, is one of the worst. Her gentleness and good temper will meliorate that natural warmth which so often overpowers you, and, in your own despite, carries you beyond the bounds of moderation. I hear your reply, dear Lindorf. "Yes, my own happiness, I see will be certain; but what will become of that of Matilda?" Be not unhappy on that account, my friend, for, once again I tell thee, I am not; and that, when I press thee to marry my sister, I foresee how thy heart, perhaps the most excellent I have ever known, will act. Yes, Ma­tilda must be happy, and I defy thee to prove the con­trary. Besides, she loves thee, and therefore without thee, Lindorf, must be wretched; and, whatever thou mayest say, thou hast more love for her than thou sup­posest. Love, my friend, is nothing more than a lively friendship founded on reciprocal esteem, and improved on a difference of sex. Matilda has inspired this friend­ship already; and what shall it be, when mutual interest and children give it additional strength? Lindorf, thou, like me, must feel how dear to a man must be the mother of his children. Oh! my friend, that kind of sensation which you experience when thinking of my sister, will, then, daily increase, daily acquire new powers, and con­firm you both in happiness. Renounce, therefore, these vain scruples, and prepare every thing for this happy u [...]ion. Speak to Matilda, speak to my aunt; with the first your efforts need not be very great. My aunt, per­haps, may not be so complying. She wishes her niece to marry a nephew of the late Baron de Zastrow, the heir of the title and estates; but I will write to her, and she [Page 118] loves my sister too well not to yield when she thinks her happiness at stake; besides which, she is acquainted with you, Lindorf, and your reception at her house, may well make you suppose she will not reject you for a nephew.

'Adieu, write to me immediately, I am impatient to know whether I have convinced you, you are such as it is requisite you should be, to become the brother, the be­loved brother, of your dear friend,

EDMUND, Count of Walstein.

'P. S. The steward of my estate at Walstein being lately dead, it has given me pleasure to bestow his place on the honest Justin, who manages his farm excellently. I yesterday received his answer, which is written with such simplicity of heart, and affords so fine a picture of happiness, that, I am certain, you will be pleased to see it; for which reason I have enclosed it.—Perhaps you would rather have seen that of Matilda; if so, dear Lin­dorf, be certain you may marry her without dread or apprehension.'

Whether the letter from Justin was by chance enclos­ed in that of the Count, when sent by Lindorf to Caro­line, or whether purposely put there, does not greatly matter; but there it was, and we imagine our readers will be glad to read it, and once again recollect the beauteous Louisa, whom certainly they have not yet forgotten.

The LETTER of JUSTIN. 'To his Excellency, my Lord, the Count of Walstein, Am­bassador to the Court of Petersburgh.

'My Lord,

'I am certain, for I know my Lord's goodness, his heart would have been right glad if his Excellence had seen how happy his Lordship's letter made us all; nay, more happy than we were before, which, if any body had told us that such a thing might be, I am sure we should have said it was impossible. To be sure, I did not think that ever the poor Justin could have arrived at the honour of being my Lord the Count's steward; tho' at present I feel, I am sure, I can do my duty in the discharge of that high office, of which I am as proud as if I were a King; and though I be not learned, I am certain I can do any thing to serve my good and dear Lord; and I hope, when it shall please God to send him back, that he will be satisfied, and find every thing in good order.

[Page 119]'We have been in the steward's apartment, at the chateau, for these two days past. My dear Louisa, at first, was sorry to leave the farm; but she tells me, now, she finds as she shall be happy every where with me; tho' be this said with all respect to my Lord the Count, for I know one should not brag of one's self; but when one is the husband of Louisa, and the steward of my Lord the Count of Walstein, one may well be a little proud. Our good old father, too, is as proud as I am, and so gay of heart that he seems younger by ten years. He calls me nothing but my Lord the Count's steward; and he drinks a glass of wine more, every meal, to the health and honour of my Lord. All of us, even to our two dear little poppets, are quite overjoyed at being at the cha­teau; and they are so pleased to play in the gardens of my Lord the Count! The eldest can go any where, the sturdy little rogue; and his young brother, who is not yet weaned, already begins to lisp the name of my Lord the Count, for that is the first word we teach them; and when his grandfather drinks the health of my Lord he always takes off his bonnet. To be sure they are two charming little knaves, and almost as beautiful as their mother.

'I should never dare to presume to tell all this to my Lord the Ambassador if he had not commanded me to write him word of every thing that concerned our good old father, my dear Louisa, and our little boys.—I had almost forgot the flageolet, but Louisa, who knows my Lord the Count's letter by heart, made me recollect it; and so I continue, as aforetime, to play to Louisa, to amuse her while she gives the breast to the little one, and so the biggest dances all the while I play, for this your Lordship knows is like the birds in their nests; the male sings while the female is sitting; and so my Lord the Count will very well perceive I am the happiest man this day on God's earth. Every thing goes its gait; all we undertake succeeds; and when we are in the mea­dow we see our four calves, three hens, and their broods of chickens, and I know not how many sheep, goats, and lambs, without reckoning our little boys, all playing a­round us; and all this my Lord the Count has given us, and so it is my opinion that my Lord the Count is as hap­py, or perhaps even happier, than we are, because he has done the good, and we have only received it: but it [Page 120] ought to be so; he wants nothing but a Louisa, which may the good and bountiful God give him! We pray every day for my Lord the Count; for truly, my Lord has, after God himself, the first place in our hearts. Wherefore, may God grant my Lord all his wishes and a long life to enjoy them in, which is the most sincere prayer of his most humble servants and superintendants of his estate at Walstein.


"You hear the prayers of these good people, Caroline, and Heaven has been pleased to hear them likewise.— Walstein has a Louisa! No, not so; he has a still superior angel!

"I answered the Count's letter by the next courrier. Gratitude, the pleasure of being still dearer and nearer related [...]o him, an ardent desire to merit the good opini­on he entertained of me, certitude of my own happiness, and a promise to make Matilda happy; these my letter expressed, and these my heart dictated. The only thing omitted was love; but the Count had just shewn me love was not necessary to happiness, but that it would be more certain from that kind of attachment which I felt for his sister. Walstein had too great an ascendant over me not to convince, and I was the more easy to persuade from the belief of being beloved, which gave a degree of force to the favourable sentiments I had for the lovely Matilda. I no longer saw her without emotion; and this became sufficiently strong to make me perfectly easy; when af­ter a conversation of some length held with her, she gave me permission, though not without deep blushes, to ask her aunt's consent, and endeavour to gain her over to the views of her brother.

"I thought it best, however, to wait, before I spoke to the Baroness, till I had written to the Count, and re­ceived his promised answer. This I told Matilda, who thought it very proper; and we no longer endeavoured to conceal an affection thus authorized by fraternal autho­rity.

"I continued, therefore, my daily visits at the Baro­ness de Zastrow's, and very assiduously paid her my court, tho' with very little success. After the departure of the Count her conduct to me had been wholly changed; al­ways polite but always distant, she affected to receive me [Page 121] with great ceremony, and took her measures so well that I seldom had an opportunity of speaking a word in pri­vate to Matilda. These impediments and contradictions might natually have been expected to augment love; and, I own, I was secretly vexed, which did not pass unob­served by Matilda, and which consoled her for her aunt's behaviour by persuading her she was beloved; and so, no doubt, she was; friendship, gratitude, attached me to her, and, had I then obtained her hand, I might myself have been well persuaded my affection was much stronger than it has proved.

"I waited, however, without any violent impatience the effect of the Count's promises and letter to his aunt. He wrote me word 'he had not yet been able to gain the consent of that lady, for she tenaciously adhered to her design of marrying Matilda to the young Baron de Zas­trow, then on his travels. Yet that he, however, was still more tenacious of his own, which certainly should be effective; for which reason he conjured me not to take offence, but to wait with patience. A considerable estate,' he said, 'depended on this aunt, which requi­red some caution; but that, by one means or other, he would obtain his end, and that he already regarded me as his brother.'

"I wished to shew Matilda this letter, and immedi­ately went to the house of the Baroness. I found it shut up! No porter, not a single servant, was there to whom I could speak! This circumstance appeared extremely singular; for, the very evening before, I had been re­ceived as usual, without the least mention of a removal. I inquired in the neighbourhood, and was told the coach had set off very early in the morning; but could learn nothing more. While I was remaining in the utmost astonishment, I saw Matilda's maid coming to me. I ran to meet her, and was going to question, but was prevent­ed by her telling me to ask nothing, for that nothing she knew. "I cannot tell you where they are," said she. "Yesterday, as soon as you were gone, I heard my lady speaking very loud, and Miss Matilda weeping▪ All night long there was nothing but packing up, scolding, and crying; and, at last, I was paid my wages, dischar­ged, and they set off in a coach; but Miss Matilda, when she bade me farewell, slipt this into my hand."

[Page 122]"The maid then gave me a rumpled paper, addressed to me; which, taking, I directly opened, but without at first being able to comprehend a word of its contents. It seemed an inventory of chairs, tables, and furniture. At last, I discovered that what regarded myself was interlin­ed, and was as follows:

'Oh! Mr. Lindorf, we are going to depart for Dres­den, presently; and we are to stay there a long, long while; perhaps forever. What will you think when you shall come to-morrow and find your poor young friend gone? Will you grieve as much as she does? I hope you will be a little sorry; yet do not afflict yourself too much; for I promise you my thoughts will be the same at Dres­den as they were at Berlin, and so they will forever conti­nue to be. Besides, have I not a brother, a dear good brother? Write to him immediately; and, should you wish to send a word in answer to this, let it be under cover to him, for there are no other means of its arriving at me. No, if you write to me▪ your letter; must first go to Russia. But what of that, if I but get them at last?— I wish I were as sure this would come to your hands. I could contrive no means of writing to you, but, luckily, my aunt gave me an inventory to copy. When she looks at me, I set down a figure, and the moment she is gone▪ write a line. When it is done, perhaps, I may give it to poor Nancy, whom my aunt intends to turn away, be­cause she might assist us, and because she loves you. I am sure she will give it you, faithfully —I am vexed to be obliged to write thus clandestinely and deceive my aunt; yet she has had no remorse at deceiving me. Till this very night I knew not a word of our departure; no, I protest to you, I did not know a word of it. Is it not a shocking thing to set off without seeing you? I scarcely can write for crying, and I hear my aunt coming. My paper is no more like an inventory, so I must hide it, and begin another. Farewell, Mr. Lindorf, I will re­member you and pray for you continually; and do not forget the poor Matilda, and do not think ill of her be­cause she has written to you first.'

"Such was the letter of Matilda, on reading of which it was impossible, without any violent love, not to be af­fected at the native simplicity of the niece, and piqued at the behaviour of the aunt. I felt both these sensations in their full force, and returned to my chamber, where I [Page 123] immediately wrote an account of all that had passed to Walstein, and of the unworthy artifice that had been used. I believe anger was stronger than regret, for I in­sinuated to the Count that I looked upon our project as impracticable; and, since Madame de Zastrow was so de­termined, to renounce it appeared to me the wisest way, I enclosed a copy of the letter from Matilda, and my an­swer, desiring her brother to send it to her; and I re­ceived a letter from the Count, by the return of the post, as follows."

No. II. The Count of Walstein to the Baron of Lindorf.

'I am exceedingly angry, dear Lindorf, at the trick out good aunt, de Zastrow, has played us; but her ef­forts are fruitless, Matilda shall be yours. I declare, nay, have sworn, my sister shall not become the victim of her obstinacy. I have nothing to allege against the young Baron de Zastrow, whom I have not the honour of know­ing, and to whom I wish all manner of happiness, except that of being the husband of Matilda. You, Lindorf, has she selected, and you, already, doth her young heart pre­fer. No, that innocent and open heart, which spoke all its secrets with such ingenuous confidence to me, shall not be deceived in its wishes; shall not have to combat a passion to which I myself may be said to have given birth; nor shall she have to blush for having first written to any other man than her husband. Poor dear girl! how much did her billet affect me! I will write immediately, to console her, and afford her no very distant prospect of felicity: a little perseverence and we shall conquer. I will enclose your letter, likewise, which, I believe, will be more effectual than mine. By the same post I will write to my aunt, and, if necessary, assert the rights a dying father bequeathed to me over my sister. To you I confide her and the care of her future happiness; nor, oh! my father will I betray this trust. Matilda and Lindorf shall be one, and your dear girl, then, cannot fail of be­ing happy! Take courage, therefore▪ my friend, and be assured our project shall succeed. Matilda is yet but fif­teen; in three or four years she will be more formed, more capable of happiness, more worthy of herself and you. My only fear is that, you being separate from her, that heart, so suddenly become cold, insensible, that heart, [Page 124] no longer susceptible of love, as you have supposed, may, in the mean time, stand convicted of its error, and find that it never yet knew the passion. If, dear Lindorf, this misfortune should happen, promise me, swear to me, you will neither sacrifice yourself nor my sister to engage­ments which, from that moment, will cease to exist. I am desirous of this union no farther than as I am persua­ded it will not be a misfortune to either party, and would rather have to comfort Matilda for the loss of a lover than for the indifference of the husband of her heart. There­fore, Lindorf, the very moment she would no longer be the wife you would prefer to all others, the very moment you are convinced some other woman may render you more happy, have the fortitude to inform your friend of this change, and be assured that, instead of diminish­ing, by this conduct, you will redouble his esteem. I think violent love no way necessary to conjugal felicity. I have said so in my former letter▪ and I persist in the opinion; but I am still more effectually convinced that a husband and wife ought, at least, mutually to prefer each other to the whole world, and never know regret at the remembrance of being united for life. I think it necessary that that agreement of taste and feeling, that entire confidence, that bond of affection, should be found which cannot exist if one of the two love another, and be obliged to conceal the thoughts by which he or she is most occupied.—These considerations, I own, have hi­therto hindered me from marrying and yielding to the wishes and entreaties of my family, which, with me, will become extinct. I dread lest my present rank and favour might engage some woman, to whom I might address myself, to marry me, though she really loved another. I fear acquiring rights which I shall find are usurpations, and over a heart that has other engagements. I dread being the unconscious cause of misery to two lovers, and being myself still more miserable when I shall have made the discovery. You know me too well, dear Lindorf, ever to imagine I can mean to reproach when I thus speak my secret sentiments. You know my manner of thinking relative to the accident that has altered my per­son; it is ever the same; and, I again protest, I every day congratulate myself on the present opportunity I en­joy of indulging my most prevalent inclination, and fol­lowing the studies in which I most delight; happy in [Page 125] having had the means, in my former station, of giving those proofs of courage and zeal in the service of my King which I most wished; and, in my present, of ser­ving him, as I think, much more effectually. A good minister, Lindorf, is still a greater character than a good general. It is my greatest pleasure to fulfil the duties of the office to which I am appointed; and this office, I repeat it, is much more agreeable to me than the life of a soldier; therefore I can have nothing to regret; nothing, nothing—Yet I must do myself justice. I may not now hope to inspire love, nor do I make any such weak pretences; and, perhaps, it may be for that reason I persuade myself that love is not necessary to happiness. But I wish, at least, to find a woman who has no partiality for another. I do not even shrink from a slight repugnance, at first; that is natural, and what I ought to expect. My endeavours must be to dispel it by degrees, and make myself beloved first through gratitude, and afterwards from habit. The eye would soon accom­modate itself to my person, and my sole study should be to make it forgotton by my actions. Is it possible that a woman must not, at last, love him who exists but to ren­der her happy; who would prevent her wishes, to which his own would be ever subservient, and who would be grateful for the smallest marks of attachment which she might bestow! Such, my friend, are the loved illusions of my heart, and which I yet, one day, hope to behold realized. I foresee all the obstacles, but they discourage me not. I know how difficult it is to find a woman whose heart is entirely free, without which my whole scheme would be frustrated; for comparisons would incessantly be made between me and the regretted, the beloved object. I should be looked upon as a monster. Partiality and bitter remembrance would poison life.— But, could I meet some young heart, such as I wish, and such as I shall incessantly [...]n [...]eavour to find, simple and innocent, unacquainted with love and with little know­ledge of the world; if such I find, it shall be mine, even though I should oblige her to marry me; for I would render her happy in her own despite. I am sensible that I should at first be accused of want of delicacy; but my secret motives would justify me in my own eyes. I have no other means of enjoying a felicity my heart most [Page 126] ardently desires; that of being a husband and a father, and ending my days in the arms of my children. Sacred ties! Connections of the soul, which double existence! without which man is desolate; alone, in the wide world, as in a desert; dragging a useless life and dying without regret!—Yes, such intimate relations will con­stitute my happiness. Never can I think of them with­out emotion, never can read the letter from Justin, a copy of which I sent to you, without shedding tears.— How happy are those good people! He wants nothing but a Louisa, which may the good and bountiful God give him!—Yes, honest Justin, the prayers of a heart so pure as thine, ought to, and no doubt will be heard. I shall find this companion whom already I adore; though I know her not. She and Walstein, Lindorf and Ma­tilda, Justin and Louisa, and there will be three happy couples in the universe! What say you, Lindorf, to my prophecy? For my part, I am in raptures at the idea, and have faith in perfect bliss.—But what is it you men­tion about the loss of inheritance? Should my aunt be unjust enough to deprive Matilda of hers, is she not suf­ficiently rich at present; and does more or less influence happiness when we have more than sufficient for the enjoyment of life? Will not your wealth and hers be enough? However, as plenty is not an evil, and as it is best that what is done should be done with a good grace, let us wait awhile, my friend. I would not affirm I should not be jealous were you happy while I remain single [...] and my dear wife is not yet found. I shall soon, how­ever, seriously begin the search. At present, I have too many affairs on hand. I fear I shall not often have the pleasure of writing to you, for which reason I take full revenge of the present opportunity.'

The remainder of the letter related only to political affairs, and accounts of Russia, which Caroline skipped over, or read unconsciously; her thoughts had other em­ployment, and her heart was not capacious enough for her own affairs. She seemed as if transported into ano­ther world, of which, till then, she had no idea. This last letter particularly struck her. She read it again, and with sensations somewhat painful. The prediction of the love of Lindorf, the excessive fear of Walstein, lest he should marry a woman whose heart was pre-engaged, made a severe impression on her. When she came to [Page 127] Walstein's project of happiness, and to the motives which had induced him to marry her, she found herself, notwithstanding her repugnance, so affected, that, at the moment, she thought she loved him only in the world; or, rather, she did not herself understand her own feelings. She remained with her eyes fixed on this letter, without remembering that the manuscript was not ended. Her enthusiasm, at length, vanished by de­grees; the idea of the Count was effaced, and the image of Lindorf regained a part of its former empire. The letter was laid down, and the manuscript once more ta­ken up.

"Time fails, Caroline, and the four-and-twenty hours I have dedicated to this painful work are almost ended. I already perceive the first rays of day, of that day on which, perhaps, for the last time I shall behold her, to whom, yesterday, at the same hour, I hoped to devote my life. How happy was I then! How did the sweet chimeras of hope and love flatter my heart! A single moment has destroyed them all, has plunged me into an abyss of despair!—Yet what complaints are these? Ought I thus to employ the few remaining minutes in which I would conduct you to happiness, by pointing out the road? Yes, Caroline, you will be, must be hap­py; and the certainty of this will be the sole consolation of my future existence.

"The whole year passed without the least change of circumstance or situation. Matilda remained at Dresden, the Count in Russia, and I at Berlin. An uninterrupted correspondence maintained our mutual connections, but that of Dresden, passing first by Petersburg, was neither very frequent nor very animated. Matilda, educated in restraint, and even with severity, durst not indulge her feelings; and, at the utmost, expressed friendship only. My answers nearly assumed the same tone; yet, determi­ned to espouse her as soon as her aunt would consent, and preferring her to all the women I then knew, I care­fully avoided every occasion of meeting objects who might eradicate these ideas, and take place of her in my heart.

"To deprive myself of the pleasures of courts cost me but little. Ever since the unfortunate adventure of Lou­isa and the Count I had preserved an habitual melancholy, which well accorded with my future intentions. Whol­ly devoted to my military occupations and paying my [Page 128] duty to the King, I employed the remainder of my time in riding, music, or reading.

"An unfortunate event happened which disturbed my tranquillity and increased my melancholy. My fa­ther, who remained at Ronebourg, had an apoplectic fit; my mother, who had long been in a feeble and ill state of health, scarcely could support her grief and terror. I was instantly sent for, and found them both, on my ar­rival, in great danger. The sight of me appeared to ani­mate them; my mother especially, who loved me with most affectionate tenderness, found herself sensibly bet­ter, which she attributed to my presence and cares; but the state in which she still remained required every atten­tion I could bestow. I wrote to court to obtain leave of absence. My motive was too sacred for me to be refused, and I devoted my whole time and faculties to my parents.

"It was during this absence, Caroline, that you came to embellish the Court I had quitted; and it was then also the Count had that unfortunate sickness which de­tained him so long on the road, and which I heard of by accident. At any other moment I should have flown to his assistance; but I was then detained at Ronebourg, by duties too sacred, and too dear, to admit even the idea.

"Some time after, I had the pleasure to learn, from himself, he had recovered and arrived at Berlin. His letter had an enigmatic and mysterious turn, which I re­marked when I read it first—'He would have given,' he said, 'the whole world to see and speak to me. The cruel event which detained me at Ronebourg, was the more distressing to him, because he absolutely could not come thither, on account of the distance (Ronebourg is at the farther end of Silesia, and four long days journey from Berlin) and the little time he had to remain in Prussia, during which every moment would be occupied. He then spoke of Matilda, was grieved at the perversity of her aunt, but was determined, he said, the instant I should be at liberty to leave Ronebourg, to exert his au­thority and terminate our marriage.—He had a new mo­tive for hastening the affair.—Perhaps he was himself on the point of being happy—of obtaining what he so ar­dently desired; but he could not enjoy perfect content unless I enjoyed it also.'

"I paid less attention to this letter than I should have done at any other time; for scarcely had I time to read [Page 129] it, nor have I, till now, hardly recollected it since. I received it on the very day on which my father, after having languished four months, expired in my arms, re­commending my mother to me, and commanding me not to leave her.

"Alas! my heart had already fore-run the command, which was itself to me a law. Already had sworn, to the tenderest of mothers, that her son, her only son, would not abandon her in the hour of her affliction!

"As soon as I had rendered my father the last duties of humanity, I wrote to the Count to inform him of my loss, and to entreat he would obtain a renewal of my leave of absence; and the King not only permitted me to re­main at Ronebourg, but deigned, likewise, to approve the motive that made me wish to stay.

"The Count, in his answer, wrote in a style of me­lancholy that did not surprise me. I knew how sensibly his heart was affected by, and partook of, the afflictions of his friends; beside, he himself had a strong attach­ment to my father. He made no references to the subject of his former letter, which had been mislaid in the grief of the terrible moment in which it was received, and I had almost forgot its contents▪ He only said he should go immediately to Dresden, being desirous to see his sister before he returned into Russia; he added that, if it were possible, he would also come to Ronebourg, but durst not promise; and, in fact, did not come.

"Wherefore, Oh! where [...]e did he not then confide to me the fatal secret? Yet, no doubt, his delicacy would not suffer him to increase my present pangs, by informing me of an event of which I could not help knowing my­self to be the original cause.

"Three months more passed away, still more sorrow­ful, still more painful than the preceding. I had but one object of attention▪ filial affection was, now, solely attach­ed to my mother, whom I beheld daily decline, without other hope, other consolation, than that of soothing her last moments. At length, I lost her, also. Her pure soul quitted its terrestrial residence, and rejoiced at the hope of once again meeting her husband, and expiring in the arms of her son.

"Pardon, Oh Caroline! this gloomy narrative. I have need of the support of former misfortunes to enable me to endure the present; and am obliged to retrace antece­dent [Page 130] losses, now, when I suffer one which might have consoled me for them all. It is necessary for me inces­santly to remember that man is born to be unhappy, and that misery is his portion; that he is successively to lose every object he held most dear, and for whom he only wished to live. No, happiness is not for man—at least only for one man—and his virtues, perhaps, make it his right. I, certainly, ought not to murmur.

"After the death of my father, I fled from Ronebourg; it was become a hated place, as well by the double loss I so lately had sustained as by the act of barbarity I former­ly had committed there. I returned to Berlin and Po [...]s­dam, where I passed the remainder of the winter, and lived still more retired than the year before. The Count wrote seldom, and, when he did, his style seemed em­barrassed and gloomy; and, at length, I began to perceive there was something which lay heavy at his heart. I told him so, he owned it, but deferred a full explanation till he should see me in person. This was to be in the following autumn, which was the time, also, he had fixed for my marriage with his sister. 'Thy destiny and mine,' said he, 'Lindorf, will then be finally determined. Oh! may they be happy! Or, if I myself am obliged to re­nounce bliss, may, at least, the felicity of my sister and my friend supply the loss of what I dare not hope!'

"I supposed he had a passion for some Russian lady, and that he found insurmountable obstacles; but, respect­ing his secret, I ceased my inquiries. I likewise occasi­onally received short letters from Matilda, which always were first sent to her brother. Her aunt remained fixed in her opinion, and had written for the young Baron de Zastrow to return from his travels. Her inheritance was only to be Matilda's on condition this marriage took place; but the generous girl was ready to forego every advan­tage, and asked me, with an affecting openness of hearts▪ whether it were not a thousand times better to have less riches and more happiness. For my part, I little regret­ted the loss of Madam de Zastrow's fortune; for my own, by the death of my parents, had become considerable, and was very largely increased by the decease of the Commander of Risberg, my maternal uncle. He lived, like a hermit, on the estate I at present inhabit; would never see me while living, and left me all his wealth at his death, under the condition, however, that I should [Page 131] marry within two years, and give the name of Risberg to my eldest son. My engagements with Matilda made the fulfilling of this clause apparently easy; and, perhaps, to this motive might have contributed to decide Ma­dame de Zastrow in my favour.

"Since that time, Caroline, how kind have I thought the obligation laid on me by my uncle's will! How sweet has the idea been of marrying within much less than the time prescribed! How many future joys did I dare ex­pect, and how sincerely did I bless my uncle's memory! —At present, I renounce, for ever renounce his gift. I pretend not to wealth to which I have no right; and will quit an estate, to-morrow, to which I am never to re­turn. What to me are riches and estates? Or what, alas! can I suffer now?—I have nothing to lose!

"Oh pardon! pardon! Caroline! How may the vows of a wretch whom it is your duty to forget affect you? I add to my crimes by continuing to adore you; and the purpose of this writing is to make reparation.

"Determined no longer to remain at Ronebourg, which retraced sorrowful thoughts, only, and heart-rending re­collections, and which, beside, is too far distant from the capital, I was delighted with the acquisition of Risberg, and came to take possession, at the beginning of the sum­mer, a short time after my uncle's decease.—Caroline —It is here, at this place, at this moment, that I have need of all my fortitude to continue the fatal recital.— Angel adored! can I speak to you of yourself, and of what my feelings were, and are, and not expire!

"Sacred and pure Friendship! Thou who shouldest expiate the crimes Love hath committed▪ thou who, henceforth, only shouldest find place in my heart, return and animate my zeal; once more return, and sustain re­lapsing Nature!

"I was charmed with my new abode, yet did not in­tend to stay here long; and was, therefore, desirous of examining the neighbourhood. The evening before that day on which I first beheld you, at the window of the pavilion, I had accidentally passed and heard those sweet and harmonious sounds, that affecting and angelic voice, the impressions of which have since been so powerful, and the effects of which, indeed, I felt the very moment they first were heard. Never before had I heard a voice of so much sensibility. I listened for some time after you [Page 132] had ceased to sing, and still thought I heard sounds [...]o correspondent to the feelings of my heart. Nay, I con­tinued to hear them, even at a distance; and, the next day, impatiently visited the same place.

"Passionately fond of music, to that alone did I attri­bute that irresistible attraction by which I was led thither. I will, however, confess I was, indeed, most desirous to see the person of her whose power over the heart I found so great; but this I attributed to curiosity. I imagined that, by singing with you, I might bring you to the win­dow; and the stratagem was succcessful. I beheld you! Though but for a moment; but that moment was sufficient. The impression it made never can be forgotten; and my first wish was I might have beheld you ever.

"Wherefore, Oh! wherefore may I not dwell on incidents once so dear to memory? Wherefore not re­trace each circumstance, recount each rapturous event of time which fled so swift away; and which has left me­mentos so fatal in my heart! Ah! happy I! when, my soul absorbed by sensations of bliss so pure, sensations of which, till then, I had been wholly ignorant, I existed only at Rindaw, forgotten of the world beside! Ah how happy! when, leaving you in the evening, my sole idea was that of seeing you again on the morrow; and while that idea was so vast, so perfect, that it excluded every other! Not those burning, resistless and tumultuous sensa­tions that Louisa inspired; nor yet that monotonous tran­quillity, that indolence of heart, and apathy of sense Matilda gave, did I feel. No; the charm was new, delicious, exquisite! It was another world which Ca­roline embellished! I beheld her in every surrounding object; or, rather, I beheld no other object but her.— The only letter I wrote, during two months, was to ask permission to pass the summer at Risberg, which I ob­tained, and I thought those two months an eternity! The past forgotton, to the future blind, the present was Heaven, for Caroline was present!

"Yet wherefore seek to redouble my torments, by painting happiness foregone? Alas! I had forgotten that I ought no more to speak of myself; forgotten that Caroline is the wife of the best, the sublimest of mortals! Yes, of him I will speak, of him only.

"About a month since, I received a letter from him; and this letter first awakened me from this inebriety of [Page 133] pleasure. He complained of my silence, at which Ma­tilda, likewise, was not less surprised. Matilda!—The very name rent my heart, and made me feel it was whol­ly Carolin [...]—I laid down the letter, and it was long before I had the fortitude again to read. At length I took it up once more, and the following passage restored me to life."—'Have you,' said Walstein, 'changed your opinion, either respecting Matilda or our future destinies, and do you fear to own it, Lindorf? All you have to fear is to leave us either in incertitude, or error. I [...]fer you to the letter I wrote, last autumn, relative to this subject: read it again, and recollect well that the only thing I never could pardon would be your having de­ceived, and sacrificed your happiness to me. Write to me immediately, Lindorf, and be careful to let me know the true state of your heart, as the only means by which you can prove it has suffered no change in friendship:' &c.—"This was a ray of light to my bewildered mind, and, at once, informed me what my sentiments for Caroline were▪ and what my duty towards the best of friends. Alas! I thought to fulfil them all by placing the most entire confidence in him; by relating the truth, and entreating him to dispose of me at his will. How might I know that this very confidence was an outrage, and that I asked his consent to ro [...] himself of the most precious of Heaven's blessings?—Impelled by some dreadful fatality, I seem destined to offend in every man­ner, and at all times this most noble of men. Oh! Wal­stein! Walstein! might thy greatest enemy have injured thee as I have done!—Yet should this writing have the effect which I expect, and even hope—Yes, hope— If she who reads it can feel the inestimable value of a soul like thine, what shall I then have to lament?

"I here add a copy of the letter, No. III. Which I sent to the Count, the very day I received his. Conde­scend to run it over, it will be the last time you will have occasion to remember an unfortunate man, who himself entreats you would forever forget him; yet, as some small alleviation, wishes you to see how infinitely▪ you were once adored."

No. III. Copy of a Letter from the Baron of Lindorf to the Count of Walstein, Ambassador at Petersburg.

'You have but too truly divined my dear Count, what are the present feelings of my heart. I have a secret to [Page 134] relate, the relation of which is become the more painful by having been so long delayed. Yet, believe me when I declare, it was your letter that first informed me what my feelings truly were: and that, till the mo [...]ent I re­ceived it, I remained in unconscious security; or, rather, in the enjoyment of sensations the most congenial my soul has ever known, without once enquiring whence they o­riginated. —Love, that true, that pure love, of which you, my friend have so often spoken, and which I never [...]e [...] [...]efore; love is the secret, love the source of this my happiness; the only happiness of which man is capa­ble! Ah! did you know how the two last months have glided away! They have been but as a moment, and yet have I volumes to write concerning them, though not a single incident which Walstein will not approve.—Oh, my friend▪ in her are united every talent, every grace, and every virtue. Beauty is the least of her advantages; for, infinite as this is, it is remembered no more when the sound of her voice is heard, when her fingers touch the chords of harmony, or animate the lifeless canvass. She alone seems ignorant of the wondrous pleasure she her­self cro [...]es. Did you hear her sing, Walstein! Oh! did you listen while she reads our best poets, adding a mean­ing more profound, and feeling superior even to what they themselves imagined; did you, especially, see how she is adored by all around her; were you a witness of her affectionate attentions to an infirm and blind friend; what a blessing she renders life to one, who else, might find life her severest affliction; were you where I am! —Yes, I might have my fears, but not that you would blame my choice.

I feel too well any longer to doubt that, without her, for me there cannot be happiness. She only taught me to know what it was, nor, till her I knew, had I any conception of that sweet peace of mind which I imagined so incompatible with love. I am no longer the same. It is she who has wholly changed me. The headstrong, impetuous Lindorf, happy in her sight, happy when she speaks, most happy in the progress he daily makes in her affections, dares hope he is beloved though he has never dared to ask, having been too much enraptured with pre­sent enjoyment. 'Thus might I have passed a whole life away had not your letter awakened me from this trance of beatitude! I feel, at present, without the consent of [Page 135] my friends, will not be injurious to that of others, this my vision of bl [...]ss must end! Can Matilda, the generous, the tender Matilda, preserve esteem and friendship for one who could see yet and not adore her; and who, cer­tain of bein [...] [...]lessed in her possession, if so his way ward heart had pleased, knew [...] d [...]nd himself against tyrannic love [...] ▪ And can you, [...] Walstein, pardo [...] and esteem me still; me whom you had befo [...] [...] so much reason to detest, whom yet you destined to [...] brother; and who renounces a name so endearing? [...] no, I do not renounce it, but refer the decision of what I am to be to you. Be you umpire; for, here I vow, whatever you determine, that w [...] become. If the husband of Matilda, I cannot promise to forget my pas­sion, it is too much a part of myself; but it shall remain for ever hidden in the most secret corner of my [...] Ay, so that even you yourself shall forget its [...] This involuntary and concealed wrong, far from [...]juri [...] ▪ shall but increase your sister's happiness. Remember this and reflection it well, [...] Walstein, before [...] [...]te, however impatient I may be so [...]an answer▪ [...] [...] ­stein, remember it is the sentence [...] that, after it is pronounced, I will either [...] more, or kneel at her feet, and consecrate to her my [...] [...] ture life! Till then I will be silen [...] [...] [...]he [...] remain ignorant of how much she [...] seein [...] her every day, and every d [...] [...] more enchanting, I have yet [...] [...]p [...] [...]t, think you not, if you require it, [...] [...]ep [...] I shall behold her no more? [...] [...]ains it never shall escape my lips, if I find [...] to renounce her; not even you, Walstein, [...] know her name; it shall remain buried in my bosom▪ and never once rise to my lips; if; on the contrary, I obtain your consent, with transport will I inform you of one who merits the adoration of the universe. And most delighted shall I be to hear a friend, like Walstein, applaud my choice and participate my joys; but again, I repeat, these joys cannot exist should they cost a Matilda a tear, or her brother so much as a sigh.'

"Such, Caroline, was my letter, and thus did every thing contribute to blind me, even to the omitting in­forming my friend of your name; one single word and you had been known to the Count, which at least would [Page 136] have prevented the declaration I have made to you of a criminal passion. I had been less guilty, but I thought this a respect due to yourself; for what right had I to name a person to whom I was not certain of being at liberty to offer my hand? Another motive, also, made me silent. Your i [...]ns [...] fortune, at the remembrance of which I have, [...] than once, grie [...] and which wo [...] even have prevented me from declaring my sen­ti [...] had my own been less considerable, might have in [...]enced the Count in his decision, and I wished him to be wholly free from influence. It was enough, nay, indeed, too much, to own that my future happiness de­pended on this decision, and I waited in expectation of his answer with excessive anxiety. Sometimes, relying on his generosity and principles, my heart yielded to all t [...]tte [...]ies of hope; at others, knowing how tenacious he was [...]he project he had formed, and his great affec­tion for his sister, I dreaded he would require the sacri­fice of my passion; and this sacrifice, to the performance of which I had pledged myself, seemed beyond my stre [...].

[...], so powerful were the mild sensations you in­ [...], it [...] only when absent from you I ever found [...]elf tormented by these apprehensions of horror. The [...]ment I b [...] [...]u they disappeared; and the same [...]ranquilli [...] [...] the same dreams of bliss, again recu [...] [...] [...]quietude gave place, and it see [...] impossible [...]ppiness, so pure, so permanent▪ could suffer interr [...]. The tender friendship which you, with ingenu [...] [...] [...]eserved, testified for me; the evident and par [...] [...]ness of the Baroness; the dis­course she he [...]el [...] in your absence; all aided the deception, and contributed to make me fancy myself the most blessed of mortal men. But so, indeed, I was, and three months of joys so heavenly, so unspeakable as these, well might compensate for an age of torments, did not the certainty that they never can return, empoison the remainder of a wretched life.—Yes, whenever this wretchedness shall become too oppressive for nature to support, th [...] will I return to Rindaw, and say, here did I pass three months, with Caroline, and can I com­plain of being miserable?

"At length I received the answer so much dreaded, and so much desired. My impatience too, daily had be­come [Page 137] so great that I was every moment in fear lest my se­cret should escape my lips. I rode, therefore, myself to Berlin, to inquire at the post-office, and found the let­ter lying there. So great was my tremor at receiving it from the post-master, that he imagined I was ill, and asked if I wanted aid. I begged him to let me retire to a chamber and read it, and when alone, I remained al­most a quarter of an hour without daring to touch the seal, Yet how could I justify this excessive emotion? Did not I know Walstein? How, indeed, unless presaging nature was informing me of my involuntary crime? In fine, my agitation increased so much that I left the room without opening the letter, resolved not to read it till I came home. I therefore mounted my horse, but had scarcely got an hundred yards out of town before I sud­denly alighted, hang my horse to a gate, and broke the seal which enclosed my sentence, resolved, had it been such as I feared it might, never to return to Rindaw more. My project, in such a case, was immediately to depart to the Count at Petersburg, and seek from him that fortitude I found not in myself. But Fate, to make my punishment the greater, suffered my delusion to con­tinue and increase. Oh! Caroline, imagine what my raptures were when I read the letter I have here inclo­sed."

No. IV. From the Count of Walstein to the Baron of Lindorf, at Berlin.

'Love, dear Lindorf, of her and love; think of these, and remember not aught else the universe contains. Or, should Love grant a moment to Friendship, employ that moment to assure thyself that a friend participates thy joys.—Happy Lindorf! Thou lovest and art beloved! Thou hast found the mate of thy heart, the sympathizing mind which the supreme Creator modelled after thy own, his fiat formed ye for each other. And fearest thou then I should oppose a decree so immutable; that I should tear thee from her who was written thine in the first re­cords of eternity? Thy letter has removed all doubts; not a phrase, not a word is there which does not breathe love. It is a passion thou knowest too well how to de­scribe, not both to feel it and inspire. In thee I behold [Page 138] that supreme felicity the seeds of which have been depo­sited in my own heart, and of which I have sometimes doubted the actual existence. Something of it I beheld in the loves of Louisa and Justin, but this I attributed to country simplicity, and supposed it impossible to be found elsewhere. Oh! how grateful is it to my heart to know that this felicity has been realized by my friend, to have proof it is not wholly banished this earth; and of these proofs thy letter is full; even to that sacrifice which thou with such sincerity offerest, but which I should be a barbarian to accept. My affection for my sister, were yours, Lindorf, out of the question, would ensure my refusal. You are a man of honour, and I know you sincere, when you assure me, you would be careful never to let Matilda perceive she was not the wife of your heart; but how might you keep this fatal secret? Alas, my friend, I am convinced it is impossi­ble so to deceive a woman, and the misery of both would be the inevitable consequence of a discovery.

'No Lindorf, I wish your delicacy and conscience to be wholly at ease, respecting our dear Matilda. I own she is strongly attached to you, and that you are the first and only man who has made any progress in her affec­tions. But, whether it be the effect of character, educa­tion, or of youth, her sensations are not of that profound and determined species on which the happiness or misery of life depends; nor am I certain that we ought to give them the name of love.

'It has seemed to me that her feelings are rather the effect of a fervid imagination, than of the heart, which, perhaps, have been heightened by opposition; and that friendship has been mistaken for love. During my late visit at Dresden, I was struck with the levity, and even gaiety, with which she supported your absence and her own chagrin. It is true, she always speaks of you with infinite tenderness, but she laughed and cried both in a breath; and a moment after she had vowed eternal love for you, would begin to sing and dance. I was not un­easy on this account, because, I own, I partly foresaw what has happened; and, supposing I had been deceived in this, I, for my part, was well pleased with this kind of passion; if you were united it might become every thing you wished, and, if not, Matil [...]a [...]ght easily re­ceive consolation, and be glad to hear of your happiness▪ [Page 139] elsewhere. The young Baron de Zastrow is returned, and, as I am informed, is a handsome youth. He, per­haps, may contribute to her tranquillity; but, be it as it may, make not yourself uneasy; rest assured both bro­ther and sister will find their happiness in yours. I, therefore, release you from every obligation, dear Lin­dorf, and only have to blame you for having supposed it possible I could do otherwise. Fly, the moment you have received this letter, and pay your homage to the lady you love, and who, if I may judge from your de­scription, so transcendantly deserves to be beloved; nor, have I any cause to doubt it, for, with all the enthusiasm of passion, you seem to have preserved the coolness of reason. How impatient am I to judge for myself! To see, hear, and, as you yourself say, to applaud your choice! Nor will it be long before I shall enjoy this pleasure. Preparations are made for my return to Berlin; you must direct no more letters to me at Petersburg. I shall be on the road when you receive this, and soon af­terwards in your arms. We shall then, dear Lindorf, no longer have any thing to conceal from each other, for hitherto we have mutually had some reserve. I shall learn who your beloved is, and you will then be inform­ed of a secret which, hitherto, a combination of circum­stances has obliged me to keep; nay, indeed, to have afflicted you would but have added to my own grief, for my sorrows were of a kind that admitted not of allevia­tion. When I return, they, perhaps, may cease, and perhaps, also, I may then be destined never to enjoy that felicity, which I do not envy you, Lindorf, but which I yet most ardently wish to partake. Oh! my friend, there is another She, another beloved, in exist­ence, who, when you shall know, will not a little sur­prise you.—But not a word of this till I see you. I hope to find you either happy or on the point of becoming so. This, at least, is a certain bliss; and with this, if so my destiny should decree, I must endeavour to rest content. Farewell! Should you mention your friend to the mistress of your heart, should you tell her she has superseded his sister, tell her likewise she has gained a brother, nay, perhaps, a sister also, of whom may she become the friend, and whom may she render as much alive to love as she herself is. That she may, however, love you▪ Lindorf, equal to your deserts, is the ardent prayer of

[Page 140]

P. S. 'Were you not in love I scarcely could pardon you two thoughtless omissions; the first, not having dated your letter, so that I neither know how long it has been coming, nor where you at present are; I suppose at Ber­lin, and, therefore, have directed as usual; the second, your not having said a word of your late uncle, the com­mander, nor his will. You find I have heard of it, tho' I congratulate you on this addition to your fortune.— The clause by which you are obliged to marry within two years will not be the least impediment to your suc­cession. Once more, farewell, I am impatient till we meet, and till I have said the thousand things I have to say.'

"You know the rest, Caroline: I have done. It is not for words to tell you either what I felt after reading this letter, or after finding how presumptuous and culpa­ble my hopes had been. I began this manuscript the moment I got home, yesterday. The time has been short; my wearied hand and eyes scarce have power to trace an adieu which my tears would efface; or to supplicate your pardon for an unfortunate man who has disturbed your future tranquillity. Oh! may he be wholly forgotten by you, and may you recover that pe [...]e, that serenity of soul without which happiness may not be. Oh! Caroline, believe the friend who knows your heart better, at this moment, than you yourself, and who knows, also the man to whom, henceforth, it is your duty to consecrate this your heart, your life; it is with him, only, by mak­ing him as happy as he deserves, that you can find hap­piness yourself. But you have read, and justice and love by this time must have passed sentence. This sentence cannot but be in favour of Walstein, and I have nothing more to add.

"I have not yet come to any determination respecting myself; I neither know what I shall do, or what say, to Walstein. I ought, perhaps, to tell him all; but a word which escaped me in my letter, a word I would redeem with my life, has for ever sealed my lips."

"No, Caroline, never shall these lips, or this heart pronounce your name. I will even deprive myself of that consolation. Farewell Caroline, farewell—for ever! —Ay, for ever; for never more must I see you, unless I could cease to love you. Oh! might this love become so sanctified, that I might only behold, in you, the wife of Walstein. Oh! might I restore each of you a friend [Page 141] worthy of yourselves!—This or death is all I have to hope!—Adieu, adieu! I fly to give you this; once more to behold you—No, not to behold. I will not look on Caroline! You are the wife of my friend; the Countess of Walstein. Yes, to the Countess of Walstein I am bringing these papers, this picture. Caroline is no lon­ger in being; not Lindorf's Caroline!—You are now at the pavilion, I fly. Oh! Heaven grant me fortitude, sustain me in this fearful moment!"

We shall not attempt to describe what were the sensa­tions of Caroline after what she had read. Who may ex­press all that passed in a heart divided between love, re­morse, admiration, and, perhaps, even a tincture of jea­lousy? Louisa and Matilda, by turns, drew her attention; she read again the passages that related to them. What fire, what enthusiasm did she find in Lindorf's expression of his passion for Louisa, compared to the feelings she had observed when in company with herself! She was tempted to believe that the latter were little more than the result of tranquil friendship. As to the young Ma­tilda—how happy was she, who dared love Lindorf and own her passion!—Ay▪ but how much to be pitied; not to be beloved again! Charming Matilda! Generous Wal­stein! Ye merit not ingratitude from others!

Caroline well recollected, that during the week pre­ceding her marriage, the Count had mentioned his sister, and the hope that Caroline and she would become friends! but, as she was then wholly absorbed in meditating on the means of separation, she had paid little attention to his discourse. But ah! how bitter was the remembrance of having injured this Matilda, this sister; injured her be­yond reparation; robbed her of a heart over which her claims were so numerous, and so legitimate! It was true she did not seem sufficiently to know the value of this heart, thought Caroline, as she again perused the letter of the Count to Lindorf; and though the apparent want of sensibility in Matilda was in every respect a subject of consolation to Caroline, yet could she scarcely pardon her.

Deep in thought, on the many and strange events she just had read, sat Caroline, and perceived not that it was noon, when a servant came from the Baroness to seek her. She hastily gathered up the papers that were spread open around her, and locked them up in her bureau; but, as she was going, she perceived the box, containing the por­trait, [Page 142] still on the table; this she slipped into her pocket, and ran to the Baroness.

Caroline found her with a note she had received from Lindorf, which she could not read. Here, my dear, said the Canoness, as she entered, open this, and let me hear what our dear young Gentleman says, whom we have not seen for these two days; we shall learn why he is absent; I cannot tell thee how much I miss him. The melan­choly Caroline, expecting what the contents would be, sighed, raised her eyes to Heaven, and took the note. It contained compliments to the ladies; informed them, he, Lindorf, was forced to depart, immediately, on very es­sential and pressing business; could not have the honour of seeing them again; assured them, however, he never could forget them, and earnestly hoped a continuance of their esteem and friendship.

Yes certainly, Caroline, knew, before she read the con­tents of this note; it was no surprise to her; yet was she so affected as scarcely to be able to pronounce a word. The conviction she should see him no more, that all inter­course between them was over, the cold and studied con­trast of this billet, compared to the manuscript she just had read, the words esteem and friendsh [...]p, traced by the same hand, that so lately had painted, with such enthusi­asm, the strongest sensations of the soul, the constraint she was under by the presence of the Baroness, all conspired to render her situation almost insupportable. Might one easily suppose her distress could suffer augmentation?— Scarcely had she finished the note, suppressing her sobbs, tho' the tears ran incessantly down her cheeks, when tak­ing her handkerchief out of her pocket, the box, which she had just put in it, and which was then far from her thoughts, fell at her feet, and, laying open on the ground, presented that form, and those features which she had be­fore feared to look on. The accident was a very trifling one, yet did it make an incredible impression on Caroline; ay, as great as though the Count him [...]elf, in person, had stood before her and reproached her [...]or infidelity. Her exclamation was almost a shriek. She stooped for the box, turned away her eyes, as she picked it up, and hastily ran from the chamber, without knowing why or from whom she fled—she presently recovered, returned and found the Canoness surprised at the cry she had uttered, and her sudden flight; and still more affected at the▪ [Page 143] farewell billet of Lindorf, and this his so unexpected de­parture.

The disorder in her eyes was a cataract; which, daily increasing, had too far injured her sight to see the picture. Caroline might say what she pleased, and it was much more easy to avoid an explanation concerning that, than to answer the questions, suppositions, and lamentations of the Baroness on the departure of Lindorf, which were unceasing. It broke all her measures, disconcerted all her projects, and absoutely threw her into despair! Ca­roline, afflicted as she herself was, yet was obliged to ex­haust her imagination to comfort her friend. The best mode, no doubt, would have been to have proved, by confessing her marriage, how chimerical all these her projects were. Caroline, who, at last, perceived what her views had been, in encouraging the visits of Lindorf, wished to make this confession; but it was now become so painful, so difficult, she had not the power. How might she so much as pronounce the name of the Count! How relate his wrongs! I am the source of misery to the most virtuous of human beings, the most sublime, most worthy of felicity; and then, when I ought to have held myself blest, beyond the lot of women, then did I yield to antipathy, the most unreasonable, the most unjust.

Thus reasoned Caroline▪ nor was this antipathy the only sensation for which she had cause to blush. The name of Lindorf was as painful to pronounce as that of Walstein; she resolved, therefore, to wait the answer of her father, and the effect of time, ere she spoke, and to support, as well as she was able, the regret of the Ba­roness, for the absence of Lindorf. In fact, she regret­ted it too much herself not to find her heart in unison with that of her friend; and, however painful this con­tinual subject of conversation might sometimes be, yet was she so interested in it, that she seemed to listen as though it were fascination to her ears. She became still more assiduous in her attentions to the Baroness than be­fore, who, being deprived of sight, had still more need of her cares. She went no more to the pavilion; her books and treasures were, one after another, brought back to her apartment! though her musical instruments and painting utensils were the last. The mind must be at ease before it can wholly devote itself to, and coolly [Page 144] consider any subject. Caroline, whenever alone, was constantly reading her manuscript and letters, rumi­nating on the beauteous Louisa, the young Matilda, and the Count; sitting lost in a multitude of unconnected ideas, which were usually succeeded by a flood of tears. She likewise, become so familiar with the picture, that at last, she was never easy but when looking at it, and never beheld it without emotion; nay, even not with­out pleasure. Great God; would she say with her eyes fixed on the features, if, to so many virtues, a person so noble and a countenance so expressive were added? what mortal might be worthy of him? If?—Why do I say if? Who at present is worthy of Walstein? Am I? Oh! no, no; the best of men deserves the best of wo­men; deserves a heart devoted to him, and him only!



Idule d'un coeur juste, & passion du Sage,
Amitie, que ton nom soutienne cet ouvrage;
Règne dans mes écrits, ainsi que dans mon coeur,
Tu m'appris á connoitre, a sentir, de bonheur.




LEAVE we, for a time, the lovely Caroline to reflect, weep over, and alternately read the manuscript of Lindorf and the letters of Walstein; and let us see what became of the two friends. Indeed, the profound soli­tude of Caroline, the monotony of her present life, and the struggles of her heart, would but weary the reader. Not that it was dulness by which she was tormented; no, it was a state of continual agitation; the least noise she heard made her whole frame tremble and her blood run cold. Her imagination, incessantly employed on Lin­dorf and the Count, persuaded her that one of the two would arrive at Rindaw. What! might she think that Lindorf, who had banished himself for ever from her presence, would return? No: when she reasoned with herself, read his manuscript, and recollected the obliga­tions he was under to Walstein, she would exclaim, with conviction, Never, never shall I see him more. But love and imagination do not always reason; and, unconscious of it herself, perhaps she thought, more than once, he would not have the fortitude to keep his resolution.

She was deceived. At the farther part of Silesia, in his melancholy mansion of Ronebourg, Lindorf re­pented of his involuntary crime with tears and groans, and thought the expiation of a life scarcely sufficient a­tonement. Alas! how often was he tempted to termi­nate that life he no longer could consecrate to Caroline, and which had hitherto been so fatal to the best of friends! But he knew them both too well not to be certain that such an act would for ever destroy their happiness and tranquillity. He read the Sorrows of Werter, but they produced a very different effect to what might have been expected. The despair of Charlotte, of Albert, the friend of Werter, were terrible; and, more generous than the latter, Lindorf would rather live and suffer, than empoi­sen the felicity of those he loved.

[Page 4]During the first part of his residence at Ronebourg, life was become so odious to him, and the pain of sup­porting it appeared so great, that he thought thus, by en­during this pain, to make some reparation for his wrongs, which idea was his only consolation. We must likewise observe if his passions were violent they were the less likely to be eternal. Notwithstanding his subtle distinc­tion concerning the different species of love, he had a­dored Louisa; and, though he had not the same extreme passion for Matilda, yet, had she certainly, began to make a considerable impression on his heart, when she was car­ried off. We have since seen to what excess he loved Caroline; hope we then that time, or some other pas­sion, may cure him of this unfortunate love. His heart is too honest, his affection for Walstein too sincere, to make him endeavour to cherish sentiments he knows to be criminal.

He had been a recluse, more than a month, at Rone­bourg, and his cure was not very far advanced, when, one day, attempting a second time to write to the Count, without well knowing what to say, he beheld the Count himself, enter his chamber, and run into his arms. Sur­prised, at his arrival from Petersburg, not to find Lin­dorf at Berlin, and learning from the servants he had left there, he was gone to Ronebourg, where he was alone; Walstein, who dreaded some unexpected misfortune, waited only to pay his duty to the King and his good fa­ther-in-law, the High Chamberlain, and immediately de­parted to learn what might be the motives of this his sin­gular retreat, at the very moment he supposed him in the full enjoyment of happiness. No sooner were the first transports of surprise, emotion, and joy over, than the Count began his interrogations. They were dictated by the fears and affections of friendship. "Tell me, in­stantly, dear Lindorf," said he, "wherefore do I find you here, alone, melancholy, with some secret malady at your heart, which your countenance but too plainly be­trays? Unfold the cruel mystery, my friend. What is become of the lady you loved? Why is she not with you? Why not united to you? Wherefore is not my friend happy?"

The Count might have continued speaking; for Lin­dorf, ignorant of his coming, unprepared to answer ques­tions so terrible as these, kept a mournful silence. Wal­stein [Page 5] was silent also; but he pressed the hand of Lindorf, while his countenance, expressive of the feelings of his heart, seemed to demand his confidence. At length, "What!" said he, "Lindorf, will you not tell me? Am I no longer your friend; the faithful guardian of your bosom secrets, and have I not a right to read what passes there?"

"Yes, yes," cried Lindorf, "you have every imagi­nable right over me; you are my friend, the best of friends, and never did I feel it more powerfully than at this moment, in which I am obliged to refuse you what you ask." The Count, amazed, fell back some paces. Lindorf continued, "Oh! my dear Walstein, recoil not from your unhappy friend, condemn him not too lightly. Silence is not my choice, but the effect of absolute neces­sity; and, did you know, you must approve my motives. Restrained by honour, oaths, every thing most sacred, I may not betray a secret which regards not me alone. Ask no more concerning this unfortunate affair, but pity him who is deprived of the melancholy resource of dividing his griefs."

The Count again went up to Lindorf, again took him by the hand, and his looks proved how much he was af­fected. "Restrained by honour and oaths!" said he; "my questions, then, all are ended; too well, myself, I know how far a secret promise is obligatory, and I am an­swered—Yet is the misfortune without a remedy? Have you no hope?"

"None, none," replied Lindorf, with vehemence, "I have forever lost her whom I adored; she exists no more"—Lindorf stopped; he was going to have added, for me, but was fearful of saying too much, and the Count exclaimed, "Good God! Lindorf, exists no more! What, has death deprived you of her? Ah! dear and unfortunate Lindorf, how infinitely do I pity you!"

Lindorf wished to undeceive him, yet his fears again kept him silent; he dreaded lest Walstein should divine the truth, and, on consideration, was not sorry he had thus misunderstood him. His silence, therefore, con­firmed this idea of death, and would destroy every suppo­sition that might have alighted on Caroline, Walstein, however, had none: never had it entered his thoughts that his own wife was the woman so much beloved, so [Page 6] much regretted. He had been absent from Prussia, was equally ignorant of the situation of Rindaw, where he had never been, and of Risberg; nor did he even know that Lindorf had lived there, or there had formed the connec­tion so fatal to his repose. He knew, likewise, Caroline was living, and well, and remained persuaded that some tragical event had robbed Lindorf's mistress of life. The gloomy despair in which the latter remained, after this conversation, confirmed the idea. Walstein endeavoured to calm and console him, and asked if he would not re­turn to Berlin.

"To Berlin!" cried Lindorf, with terror; "No, no, dear Walstein, never, never.—I must quit this country; I must travel for some years: oppose not a resolution ab­solutely necessary and fixed. On your friendship I de­pend to obtain permission, and the conclusion of peace makes me hope it will not be difficult to obtain. Should the King refuse, I must resign my commission; I must depart, I must leave this country."

Ignorant of his real motives, the Count judged he had very urgent reasons for quitting Prussia, and was the less ready to search for objections, because he thought a few years travelling might remove his anguish. He, therefore, promised to obtain the leave he desired; and, a few mi­nutes after, added, "It is very possible, dear Lindorf, I may go with you. [...] —"You Walstein?"—"Yes, I my friend; I, as well as you, perhaps, may have reasons for wishing to quit my country. We will go together, and we shall be less unhappy."

"Unhappy!" cried Lindorf, "may you, may the Count of Walstein speak of unhappiness!"

"I understand your surprise," said the Count, drawing nearer, "but it is time it should end; time it is that I should reveal a secret I have too long kept hidden. Can I, Lindorf, blame you for mysterious conduct, when you shall know that I have been married these six months?"

Lindorf affected not surprise; it was impossible, on such an occasion especially, to feign what he did not feel; but his embarrassment, the red flushings of his countenance, and his real sensations, there so marked, gave him the appearance of surprise. The Count continued.

"Yes, my friend, I am united to the most angelic of women; and yet am I far from being happy! I will re­late all my mournful story; at present it will be some [Page 7] consolation, and may I bring that conviction home to you which I myself begin to experience; that in friendship, only, man ought to seek felicity."

Then did the Count enter on a narrative, bitter to the soul of Lindorf, which he had foreseen, and which, of all tortures, he most had dreaded. The recital confirmed his misfortunes, his remorse, and lacerated his heart. What must be the impression, on that agitated heart, of the name of Caroline, repeated every instant; a name so deeply engraven there, and of which he was obliged to dissemble ignorance? Surely, if Lindorf had been guilty of invo­luntary wrongs, to this the most worthy of men; what he now suffered was sufficient to expiate all his errors. The Count began his narrative far back; told Lindorf it was the King, who, knowing the rich inheritance of Caroline, first projected this marriage, and had written to him con­cerning it while in Russia. "The motive," said Wal­stein, "and even the will of my Sovereign, who was ve­ry warm on the subject, less influenced me than the age and the kind of education of the young lady."

"Caroline of Lichtfield, still very young, having li­ved recluse in the country, and never seen any man who had made an impression on her heart, seemed exactly the woman I had so long desired. You know my system was founded on an ignorance of the world, and of love. I certainly shall find means, said I, to allure and attach this young heart; if not by love, at least, by friendship so powerful, and gratitude so tender, that they may well supply the want of this passion. First appearances will be against me; but succeeding trials and better acquaint­ance will ascertain our mutual happiness. Full of this dear, this flattering idea, I answered the King with rap­ture, assuring him I should esteem myself too happy, might I but obtain the hand of the young Baroness of Lichtfield. His Majesty delayed not to reply that he had obtained the promise of the High Chamberlain, and commanded me to return, immediately, and conclude the marriage.

"I began my journey, but was obliged to remain at Dantzi [...], ill of a violent fever, which brought me to the brink of the grave; while you, dear Lindorf, were then fulfilling the first and most sacred of duties to an expiring parent. It was two months before I was well enough to continue my journey. I arrived at Berlin, and had the disappointment to find you were not there. I heard also, [Page 8] with anxiety, that my young bride had passed the two months of my illness at court. Ah! how many impedi­ments might these two months have thrown in the way of happiness! How might they have deranged my whole plan! I strove not to conceal my fears from my Sove­reign, who consoled me with his usual goodness: He had often, himself, observed Caroline, and had always found the same air of innocence and cheerful sprightliness, which shewed the hear [...] to be at ease. "At leaving her retreat, I gave sufficien [...] intimation," added he, "of what my intentions were purposely to keep all our young cour­tiers at a respectful distance; and, though your bride is an angelic young lady, not one of them have attempted to pay her the east attention, more than politeness requi­red; and Caroline herself, without distinguishing one man above another, has sought her own amusement only." The same evening I was introduced to the Baron of Lichtfield, my future father, and, on the morrow, to the lovely Caroline."

Here the Count related the manner of his first visit, which we have before circumstantially described; the a­version of Caroline, which she could not dissemble; and confessed that, no doubt, it would then have been more ge­nerous, more delicate, to have abandoned his intents, and that he even had thought so to have done; "but," added Walstein, "it is easy to delude one's self. Imagine, my friend, that this very flight, this emotion, so natural, so open, so unrepressed, which ought perhaps to have ter­rified, gave me, on the contrary, great pleasure; and, on full reflection, made me more ardent to obtain her. In them I thought I beheld indubitable proof of that candour, that innocence of early youth, which I had feared lest her residence at court might have tainted. Had she been more artful she would certainly have better concealed this first sensation of terror, and I inwardly thanked her for flying me thus. The moment I beheld her, the moment she entered, led by her father, her ingenuous open, and beautiful countenance, and the graces that were in every motion, and in all her form, made their full impression. She was exactly the person whom, had I the beauties of the world assembled, I should alone have selected."

"If I did not absolutely believe that I no way contri­buted to the sudden fear and flight of Caroline, it was not the fault of the High Chamberlain. I listened, how­ever, [Page 9] with pleasure, to his protestations; and particular­ly, when he declared, on his word and honour, she had, that very morning, assured him her heart was free, and that she was very willing to be mine. "I have laid no constraint on her," said he, and confirmed it with an oath; and to-morrow, if her health permit, she herself will "tell you so."

"Alas? my friend, how readily does the heart believe what it ardently desires! I departed, almost convinced; and the morrow, and the future morrows, confirmed the illusion. I observed the young lady; she appeared ex­ceedingly timid, but shewed not the least repugnance.— Our marriage was fixed, by the King, for that day week, and she consented without asking any delay; nay, once, when delay was mentioned, she begged it might not take place. (The reader will no doubt here recollect the arti­fice of the High Chamberlain, and the fears of Caroline for her father's life.) I should have employed the inter­mediate time in endeavouring to gain her confidence and friendship; but, during the few visits I make, the Baron supposed etiquette required he should not leave us alone. (Here Walstein likewise mistook the High Chamberlain's motives.) She spoke little; but that little had meaning, and was well timed, and discovered a mind that made me more and more enraptured with her, till I imagined my­self the most fortunate of men.

"The evening before the ceremony was to be per­formed, I thought, however, I perceived marks of grief on her lovely countenance. Her eyes were red, her heart seemed heavy, and one might see she endeavoured to stifle her feelings. I was much affected at observing this, and, seizing the opportunity of a moment when we were un­observed, I, tenderly approaching her, said, "Beauteous Caroline, am I any way the cause of grief to you? Is it in my power, by any means, to give you ease?" She tim­idly, looked down, and was silent. At last she softly an­swered, "An engagement for life will occasion fears; but I believe you, Sir, to be good and generous, and that hope cheers me: on you, alone, my happiness will de­pend."

"I knew not how to interpret the manner in which she said this, and was going to reply, but her father came up; she then assumed her natural tone and manner, and seemed no longer to dread the approaching moment.— [Page 10] How, then, was it possible I should divine her meaning; or presage the dreadful stroke that awaited me?"

The Count, then, relating all that had passed on the day of the marriage, took from his pocket-book the letter which Caroline had given him, and which has before been read. "Here, my friend," said he, to Lindorf, "take this; read, and see the dreadful reverse; behold the fearful traits of the fallen thunderbolt."

Lindorf had occasion for all his fortitude. With a trembling had, and with vague and absent eyes, he took and run over lines traced by her he adored, in language most affecting, natural and eloquent. He would have said something to the Count, as he returned it, but could not articulate a word. He flung himself into the arms of Walstein, pressed him to his bosom, and a tear, he [...]ould no longer detain, fell down his cheek.

Had the Count had the least suspicion of the truth, this excessive emotion might well have given it confirmation; but none he had, for none he sought; his heart was a sanctuary too holy for a guest so vile, and he beheld noth­ing but sympathetic sensibility, heightened, perhaps, by sympathy of situation.

"De [...] Lindorf," said [...]e, when he was a little calm, "you feel too strongly the distress of your friend; and I even fear I have unconsciously torn the bandage from your own wound. Some explanation, some stroke equal­ly afflicting you may have sustained.—I see—I see I ought to have been silent, ought still to have concealed this fa­tal secret; your own pangs are sufficient, and I did you injustice when I supposed mine might afford you conso­lation. I perceive, on the contrary, they do but aggra­vate—Pardon, pardon, dear Lindorf. This proof of thy friendship, this too strong sensibility of what my feelings are, penetrate me to the very heart."

"O Walstein, Walstein," exclaimed Lindorf; and, sinking under the oppressive weight of remorse, hid his face with both his hands. He was going instantly to have discovered the real cause of this his emotion, but he re­membered Caroline, and the oath he had made never to reveal what might, to her, have consequences so fatal; this▪ [...] of duties, suddenly was recollected, and this stopped him short.

The Count, seeing him so deeply affected, wished to change the subject. His feelings, ever delicate, were [Page 11] ever averse to give others pain.—"Come, come, my friend," said he, "let us take a walk in your park, and we will speak on these matters another time." Accord­ingly, they went out together, and the Count discoursed on the country and the court he had so lately left, and entered into the most interesting and curious discussions; for his genius, naturally penetrating and observing, his rank, and the flattering distinctions paid him by the Em­press, who highly respected him, gave him the power and the means of seeing and of judging.

This conversation, which Walstein prolonged, and gave all the animation to in his power, purposely that Lin­dorf might recover himself, had the effect intended; he insensibly became calm, and afterwards highly delighted. No person had the art of captivating the ear and under­standing like the Count of Walstein; his mild and per­suasive eloquence, the tone of his voice, which spoke to the heart, and his happy choice of words, rendered his conversation inexpressibly sweet and agreeable: great knowledge, without pedantry or seeming consciousness that he possessed it, happy expressions, perspicuity, and connection in all he said, and that kind of honest insinu­ation which adapts itself to, and draws forth, the powers of others, rendered him, indeed, a most instructive com­panion. No person could be in his company without having learnt something, nor without being exceedingly well satisfied with himself. Since his marriage, the Count had lost much of the gaiety of early youth, which even his accident had not before robbed him of; but it was re­placed by a strong imagination, an energetic fire, which appertained to him only, and which could only by hearing him be perfectly conceived. While he spoke no auditor remembered his person, and, more than once, at Peters­burg, it was his fault that the ladies did not entirely for­get it. Let us add, now we are on the subject, that his person, so ill-treated, was so much improved that Lindorf himself was surprised, and Caroline, who had seen him after a two months illness, would have been still more so, had she beheld him now. His hair, which had come off after the fever, had grown again in abundance, was of a fine colour, and well disposed. The scar on his face, greatly filled up, was scarcely apparent; he was no longer meagre, but had an appearance of youth and health, very different from the yellow and livid tints his malady had [Page 12] left, at the time of his marriage▪ a bit of green silk, and a ribband, properly disposed, removed that disgust which the loss of an eye might, at first fight, have caused; and a little attention to himself had considerably corrected his habit of stooping; so that his shape seemed remarkable only by an easy and negligent attitude, much preferable to upright formality. It is true, he still limped, but he was oftener seated than walking; hence we may well imagine, that with exceeding fine teeth, and infinite ex­pression in his countenance, the Count of Walstein, then little above thirty, was not much an object of aversion. Had he been the same some months sooner, Caroline would not have fled, her letter would not have been written, nor would this history have existed. Every thing there­fore is right; let us return to our two friends.

Their walk continued till dusk, and Lindorf, highly pleased with the company of his friend, and fascinated by his conversation, presently recovered himself perfectly. Impatient to know what were the resolutions of Walstein respecting Caroline, he intreated him to finish his history. "It is finished," answered the Count; "things remain just as they were. You know me too well, dear Lindorf, to imagine I should refuse a request made in terms so strong, so affecting, and even so reasonable, as was that of Caroline. I obtained, but not without some trouble, permission for her to return and live at Rindaw, with the friend by whom she had been educated. The King, not very well pleased, I suppose, that a match of his making should have this kind of conclusion, exacted the most profound secrecy."—

"But ought not I to have been an exception?" said Lindorf, suddenly interrupting the Count—"Have I not cause, my friend, to reproach you for this secrecy? What! conceal the most interesting event of your whole life from me!"

"I own it was wrong, dear Lindorf, and often have I reproached myself; but the King had commanded, and both my duties and obligations have given me the habit of paying the most scrupulous attention to his orders: yet, had we met, I should certainly have told you; but the fear of a letter miscarrying, and the conviction that my distress would have grieved you, were additional mo­tives to secrecy; and, in fact, my friend, by your present feelings, I find it is happy you were not acquainted with it sooner."

[Page 13]Lindorf made no reply, though he felt the exact contra­ry most forcibly; but he did not expect what was coming.

"Yes, my friend," added the Count, smiling, "you have youth and sensibility, and the Countess of Walstein is an angel; you would have asked permission to visit her, nay, I myself should have requested you so to do; you have since been in love, but your heart, then, was free, and might have been put to trial so severe that I cannot but be happy to think you have escaped it. I own your sufferings from love may be the same; but what, Lindorf, would have been the excess of that wretchedness, had the object of that love been the wife of your friend? Nay even Caroline herself would have been too much exposed to danger. I own my dear Lindorf," said Walstein, tap­ping him on the shoulder, "though I love you as a friend, I should fear you as a rival."

Poor Lindorf!—Happily it was twilight, and in a dark room; nay, perhaps, Lindorf had chosen this situation and hour, purposely, to renew the conversation. As soon as he could recover his speech, "I hope," said he "Wal­stein does not think, cannot imagine, I ever might be his rival. I hope he will do me the justice to believe, that the title of his wife would be pledge sufficient for my faith."

"Yes, if any faith might be kept with youth, grace, wit, and beauty," replied the Count. "But do not un­derstand that seriously, dear Lindorf, which is not seri­ously meant; and which I should not have said, had there really been any danger.—At present you are but too much out of the power of love; besides, you are not likely to see the Countess; nay, perhaps, even I myself."—

"You yourself!"

"Dear Lindorf, I know not how to act. Perhaps the impediments I have found m [...]y heighten sensations which a week's acquaintance ought not to have rendered ve [...]y passionate; yet do they unceasingly assault me. I more han ever feel my happiness depends on living with Ca­roline, for Caroline, and by Caroline to be beloved, as much as a man like me may be beloved; yet never had I less hope of attaining these my so ardent desires."

Lindorf listened with downcast eyes. "She still re­mains at Rindaw," added the Count, "which, since our separation, she has never left; there living in a most pro­found [Page 14] retreat, unseeing and unseen, and debarred of all the pleasures she has every right to enjoy, and which her short stay at court may, most probably, have taught her to regret. Indeed, I have been told she seemed exceed­ingly fond of dancing; yet, might it be believed, all these pleasures, these wishes so natural at sixteen, have been less powerful with her than the dreadful antipathy she has conceived to me! This has given her force and fortitude incredible, and Caroline, with pleasure, buries her youth and her charms in solitude, to avoid living with a hus­band she hates!"

The generous▪ the philosophic, the capacious heart of Walstein himself, scarcely, could contain its sorrows. While thus he spoke the deep and lengthened sigh heav­ed in his bosom, and silently escaped, while the tear was with difficulty detained and repelled.

"Have you heard of her since your return?" said Lindorf, in a low voice. "Are you certain she persists in this unjust separation?"

"Too certain," replied the Count, seeking among the papers of his pocket-book. "Here is a letter from her to her father; he has lately received, and sent it inclosed to me. You there will find she declares her determina­tion to continue at Rindaw, and that her heart and her reason still revolt at the ties she has formed."

Lindorf took the letter, read it as be had read the pre­ceding one; but remarked the date, saw it had been writ­ten the very day on which he wrote the manuscript, sigh­ed with bitterness of spirit, and gave it back.

"The High Chamberlain," continued the Count, "has said, in his letter, that he had written such an answer as became him. The phrase made me tremble; for his an­swer, no doubt, was harsh and despotic. Caroline, per­haps at this instant, drowned in tears, accuses me anew of tyranny, and her hatred increases. My only happi­ness is, that this her hatred is not caused by a passion for any other man.—Oh, Lindorf! speak, aid, guide me; tell me how I ought to act in a situation so delicate; from you I hope salutary advice."—"Advice," said Lindorf, hesitating; "Walstein ought to take advice only of his own heart."—"I understand thee, my friend," said the Count, "and my heart, already, has dictated what it be­comes me to do."

What this was we shall know hereafter; at present, [Page 15] leave we Lindorf to breathe, who had sufficiently suffer­ed during this painful conversation; leave we the Count to recover from the fatigues of his journey, and let us re­turn to Caroline.

The terrible answer of her father she had received. Not only did he permit, but he commanded her to inform the Canoness of her marriage; and prepare, immediately, to quit her and return to inhabit Walstein house. "Too long," said he, "has this obliging husband allowed you to indulge a whim which his absence only could make me tolerate; 'tis time it should end. The Count is come back, and does not chuse to be deprived of his wife; he claims his rights, and, for my part, be certain you shall for ever remain deprived of those you have to my affec­tion, and likewise to my wealth, if you make the least difficulty about returning. Expect no one to support you: I speak in the name of a King, a Husband, and a Father equally angered by your long and obstinate disobedience."

This was not true; the High Chamberlain acted on his own authority, and had neither received the command or the advice of any person for this fulminating letter; but he wished to try if he might not obtain from terror, an effect which kindness, reason and retirement had not pro­duced. He was, beside, outrageous at this unforeseen perseverance of his daughter. A witness of the honours the Count received at returning from his embassy of the friendship the King had so openly testified for him, and of the high and unrivalled favour he enjoyed, he impa­tiently burned to proclaim Walstein his son, and partici­pate his glory. It was during a sit of this counteracted passion that he had written to his daughter; but Caroline, not suspecting it was possible to alter or disguise the truth, understood all he wrote litterally: the a [...]r of the King afflicted, and that of her spouse, especially, because she saw not the generous Walstein, whom the manuscript and letters of Lindorf had shewn her in this tyranny; and whom, from being obliged to admire, she began a little to love. But this sensation gave place to fear and dislike, the moment she thought it possible he should abuse his power.

"Alas!" said she, while again she read his letters to Lindorf, and opened the box to look at his picture, which she as suddenly shut again in displeasure, "alas! his cha­racter is changed as much as his person. If he be already [Page 16] so much irritated at this my resistance, what will he be­come when he shall learn the fatal secret of my heart, and that it has yielded wholly to his friend? Of this he can­not long remain ignorant, nor can he but know I love when he shall be told I am acquainted with Lindorf."

Despair redoubled at the thought. The supposition of living with a husband already prejudiced against her, per­haps jealous, and undoubtedly despotic, since he had commanded her to return, was revolting. She no longer felt herself obliged to his condescension for suffering her to depart, and consenting that she should remain at Rin­daw all the time he was absent; "He was no doubt glad I might there remain shut up while he was at Peters­burg; and proves, but too incontrovertibly, delicacy and mild complaisance were not his motives.—Ah! Lindorf, friendship deceives you; the Count of Walstein possesses not those virtues you imagine."

To all this anguish was added that of having to relate her story to the Canoness. As often as she endeavoured to speak expression expired on her lips; never could she determine so to afflict that tender and unfortunate friend, so at once to excite her anger and her grief, by informing her of the secret she so long had kept from her, and of the approaching departure of her dear pupil. The loss of her sight had rendered the company of Caroline her sole consolation; and often did she repeat that the moment she was deprived of that would be the moment of her death; wherefore the idea of being obliged to quit her, added in­crease of pangs to the affectionate Caroline; nor could she resolve to plunge the poignard to her heart by speak­ing of this dreadful separation, though she thought it in­evitable. Yet did she hope it might for a time, be defer­red. Her fa [...]h — [...]ad fixed no day; he only had command­ed her to hold herself ready against he should come to take her away; accompanied, no doubt, by Walstein, her formidable husband.

To them she left the office of informing the Canoness, and daily waited their coming, in trances of despair; ha­ving no other hope but that of dying in the arms of her dear Mamma, with grief of being thus torn from her. In this inquietude, this continual agitation was she, which considerably affected her health, when she one day recei­ved a letter. The hand writing and the arms on the seal were instantly recollected, and caused an emotion, a con­traction [Page 17] of the heart, which scarcely can be imagined. It was from the Count himself. She trembled as she open­ed it; and was near fainting when she saw at the top, it was dated from the castle of Ronebourg, the mansion of Lindorf.—"Merciful God! He is with Lindorf!"— Caroline was obliged to pause awhile, and collect all her fortitude, ere she could read what follows.

Fro [...] [...]he Count of Walstein to Caroline.

"SHOULD I be so unfortunate as that the receipt of this letter might occasion any sensation of apprehension or dread, let me conjure her to whom it is addressed to dispel all such feelings; kindly to read, and firmly to be­lieve, that he who wrote it would rather perish than give her heart the slightest pang.

"Yes, Madam, for alas! I dare not call you by a name more tender; think me, what I am, your friend; at least what I wish to be; and, as a tender friend, permit me thus, a moment, to converse with you, on that which, of all things in the world, I have most at heart, the happi­ness of Caroline; nothing is there I will not do, may I but hope to contribute to this happiness. Deign to give me your commands; think not of my ease, for willingly will I suffer, and my sufferings shall even become my pleasures, so, Madam, that they may be but for your sake.

"The Baron, your father, no doubt, has written to you. What the contents of his letter may be I know not; but, be they what they may, should they impose the least constraint on Caroline they belie the heart of Walstein. No, Madam, you are free; absolute mistress of your own destiny and of mine. For me, suffer me here to lea [...]e the decision of what I shall hereafter become to yourself; for here I solemnly vow to submit to the sentence you shall pronounce. Yet, how can I entertain the most mo­mentary hope? Have I not, now, before my eyes, the letter in which you have declared, to your father, your heart is still the same; that your unfortunate husband is still the object of worse than dislike, and that your sole wish in to live separate from him? Alas!—But be it so, Caroline; you shall be obeyed: your wishes to me are laws; beforetime I was too eager to gratify my own, and thus have fettered you for life. Myself I ought to pu­nish, [Page 18] and endeavour to merit both your esteem and gra­titude by absenting myself so long as you shall please so to ordain.

"No, Caroline, you shall not be doomed to live se­questered, me to avoid. The Court shall not be deprived of its brightest ornament, nor your father of a daughter who of all his honours is the highest. Return to this fa­ther, enjoy those innocent pleasures whi [...] [...]ou so well are formed to enjoy; nor fear to have th [...] [...]mpoisened by my presence. My resolution is fixed. I am hero with a friend, whom an unhappy passion obliges to travel for some years, and I am determined to travel with him, my company will alleviate his sufferings, and my own will be relieved by the sweet hope that you are more hap­py, your heart more at ease, and that I am repairing, as far as repair I can, all the wrongs I have done you. To you, Madam, I leave the choice of the name you shall bear, if mine be odious, if you still would wish the world should call you Caroline of Lichtfield, and if you would rather reside with your father, I ca [...] easily obtain permis­sion from him, and from the Kin [...] that your marriage shall still remain a secret. But if, as it appears by your letter, a secret like this would be too painful a constraint on a mind so frank and ingenuous, if you consent to ac­knowledge me for your husband, when you come to Ber­lin, assume the name, the title, and the rank of the Coun­tess of Walstein. This kind condescension, by satisfying your father and your King, may probably increase your freedom and happiness. You will inhabit Walstein house, you will command my servants; pardon me, Madam, not mine, yours; you will prevail on this tender and respect­able friend, whom you wish, and whom, indeed, it is your duty never to forsake, to come and live with you. As for me, I here engage myself by promises the most sa­cred and solemn, never to return to Berlin till you your­self shall please to recall me; happy, too happy, if you but let me perceive a possibility of our future re-union. I rely on your virtues, your principles, your generosity, and will wait, not without impatience, but without fear and without complaint, the day you shall please to fix.— This day will come; yes, I dare hope it will; you will, sometime hereafter, feel the want of a sincere and bosom friend! and never, Caroline, no, never, will you find one more sincere, more affectionate than a husband who [Page 19] adores you, and whose whole happiness will consist in the desire, and the endeavour, to make you happy.

"I wait your answer before I depart. Direct it to Ronebourg, at the Baron of Lindorf's, who is the friend whom I before mentioned, and of whom I shall hereafter often speak, if you will deign to permit me to correspond with you, which will indeed, be to me a great consola­tion. Fear neither the King nor your father. I will take care to give a plausible pretext for my travelling and absence; which perhaps, may be very, very long; but the real motives of which they never shall know.

"Farewell, Madam; you, most likely, will approve of this my arrangement—Alas! it is very, very different from what I formed when I asked your hand; but, if your felicity be thereby ensured, the end I proposed is still obtained.

EDMUND AUGUSTUS, Count of Walstein."

The letter was ended; but what were the sensations of Caroline! Surprise, admiration, remorse, affection? Who can answer? All! all mingled and together confounded. She herself knew not what! Long she remained motion­less, her eyes rivetted on that paper which had so entire­ly reversed all her opinions, and the contents of which were so unexpected. Recovering from this kind of an­nihilation, her first impulse was to rise, open her bureau, assemble all the papers Lindorf had left, run to the cham­ber of her dear Mamma, and there bring her acquainted with this wonderful man! There inform her of the ties by which they were united, and seek, in her friendship, that aid of which her heart at present stood so much in need! This husband who so lately had been an object of such dread, assumed a form so wholly different, displayed a mind so congenial with her own, that she now could gladly have clasped him to her bosom. Her fetters, so heavy half an hour ago, now scarcely fetters seemed.— "Ah! Walstein," said she, "generous Walstein; No; thou shalt not go; thou shalt not make thyself my victim!"

She stopped short, fearing to engage herself too far. Her affections were struggling; her mind was still op­pressed, but by idea [...] [...] less afflicting. When she came to her friend she had not the pain she before felt in pre­paring the mind of the Baroness for the secret she was about to disclose; though this preparation was exceeding­ly necessary, so infinitely far was she from imagining what [Page 20] she was about to be told.—Caroline, her dear Caroline, so long married, and she never to suspect it! This was so singular an incident, so surprising and so little foreseen, that all the tragedies, comedies, novels, and romances she had ever read, afforded not one more strange, more asto­nishing.

After various preparatives, therefore, and many tender caresses, her pupil, at last, explained all these seeming mysteries in, as well as the reasons for, her conduct.— When the good Canoness had exhausted her surprise, an­ger, and reproach; after she had, by turns, been vexed and affected; after she had plentifully wept and murmur­ed; after she had a thousand and a thousand times repeat­ed, it was abominably monstrous they should be afraid of trusting her with the secret, and still more monstrous that they had sacrificed her poor girl; Caroline begged for, and obtained, half an hour's silent hearing. This she em­ployed to recapitulate every circumstance that had passed with Lindorf; this was the most painful part of her task, but now she was permitted to tell, she was resolved to have no reserve, nothing concealed from her friend.

"No, dear Mamma," said she, affectionately, "your Caroline will have no more secrets for you; she has suf­fered too much already by those she was obliged to keep. Only for these few days have I had the liberty to speak, and but for a few moments the fortitude; for this I am indebted to the Count. Yes, to him do I owe the hap­piness of daring to open my heart to you, and to have nothing painful to relate. Oh! Madam, when you shall know what an angel he is, and how great have been my wrongs, you will not any longer pity your Caroline; she asks only a little indulgence, and the patience to hear a long recital; for nothing, hereafter, Mamma, will I hide from you; no, nothing, nothing."

Caroline kept her word, nor did she surprise the Cano­ness by confessing her love for Lindorf.—"Alas! I saw it well enough," replied the Canoness; "and I, poor silly woman that I was, congratulated myself on the discovery. I intended—Yes, yes, I had a great many intentions; had contrived every thing. See what an error your fine se­cret has led me into! Am not I acquainted with the ef­fects of the passions! Amiable people meet, and, because they are amiable, fall in love. We are formed for love, and to love eternally; for first impressions are never effaced."

[Page 21]"Ah!" exclaimed Caroline, with enthusiasm, "I hope, Mamma, you are mistaken; I hope they sometimes are effaced; at least it shall not be my fault if they are not. No; it shall not."—"Fault, poor girl, it would be no fault of thine; but thy struggles will all be in vain.— What! surely I know! The more you combat love the more it increases. For how is it possible to cease to love?"

"Very possible, Mamma, when love renders us guilty. Oh! dear, dear Madam, you know not, cannot imagine, how guilty we both were; I for offending the best of hus­bands, and Lindorf a friend such as man never had before."

Caroline then began to read her manuscript, and thought she never could have got through it, so incessantly was she interrupted by the exclamations of the good kind hearted Canoness. At first she was in raptures with the brave General, who died to save the life of his King.— Then too did the young Count interest her, but still her dear Lindorf lay at her heart. "How charmingly he writes," said she; "how tender, how feeling his style! Ah! how sorry am I! He would have been the husband for my Caroline." When however they came to Louisa, her friendship suffered considerable abatement.—"What praises does he bestow on this girl! Is it for a gentleman and a Baron to notice whether or not a village lass be pretty!"—But when she beheld him seriously in love with, and desirous of marrying her, she could contain her anger no longer; nay, so great was it that Caroline felt somewhat sorry for having given it birth.—"Speak not a word in his defence," said the Canoness. "Oh! how has he deceived me! Love a peasant's daughter! Intend to marry her! And, after that dare to pay his addresses to Miss Lichtfield! 'Tis abominable! and thou oughtest to think thyself most happy for having been married, and not made the successor of this his Louisa. The second love, truly; and the first for a poor villager! How have I been deceived in that man; and who hereafter may one confide in!"

Caroline, more affected than humbled at having been the object of a second passion, made no reply, but sighed, and again continued to read, as soon as the petulant Ba­roness would permit. In proportion as the fickle Lin­dorf sunk in here esteem, did Walstein rise; and he soon became her entire hero. His dignity, energy, and noble mind enchanted her. "You are too happy," repeated [Page 22] she to Caroline, "to be the wife of such a man! What tell you me of his not being handsome? You are wrong; he is as handsome as an Angel, and his sentiments are the sentiments of a God!—How did he speak to that di­minutive Lindorf? You do not find him in love with a village girl."

Yet she knew not what to think, for a while, of his behaviour to Louisa; but, afterwards, when she came to the dreadful catastrophe, when she saw the Count wound­ed, disfigured, and heard to what excess he had carried his generosity and friendship, she was suffocated, abso­lutely unable to restrain herself, her tears, or her excla­mations. Lindorf was a monster and Walstein a deity, before whom mere mortals ought to fall prostrate! Her enthusiasm increased in every line, and his letters to his friend made it astonishment! She protested Heaven had created this man, purposely for her Caroline: his soul was not of this age, he was a Cyrus, an Oroondates, every thing she had heard, read, or could imagine, of sublime. "As to your Lindorf, you see he merely resembles the present race; you will find he still loves Matilda; nay, that he could love a dozen at a time. To be sure, as to this Lady, she is a Countess, but never will I forgive him his Louisa. I make no doubt but he will return to Matilda now; but I sincerely hope she will act towards him as I did to the High Chamberlain, when he came to offer me his hand after the death of thy mother, and that she, like me, with noble pride, will give her refusal."

"I hope not," cried Caroline, and the hope came from the bottom of her heart; even she herself was surprised at it; never before had she truly felt so anxious a desire that Lindorf again might love Matilda, and that to her he might henceforth be no more than a brother. Walstein, indeed possessed a soul so superior, so transcendant, one to whom it was so honourable to be allied, that Caroline actually felt her attachment for Lindorf was not, at this moment, the strongest attachment of her heart. It was a moment of enthusiasm, we own; and which the strong and sympathetic feelings of her friend had increased; but we may leave the task of still increasing them to the care of this friend.

When she came to the last letter, which Caroline had received that day; the letter in which the Count spoke of her, thought of her, and confirmed her in the hope of [Page 23] for ever living with her dear Caroline; when she heard the phrase, You will prevail on your tender and respectable friend, whom you wish, a [...]d whom, indeed, it is your duty, never to forsake, to come and live with you; she no longer could moderate her transports; she kissed Caroline again and again; called her, her dear friend, her lovely Count­ess, and while the tears trickled down her cheeks, added, "We must not let this angel depart, must we, my child? Must he go?"—"No certainly," replied Caroline; "I should be the most ungrateful of women, were I to give my consent. Permit me to go and answer his letter, im­mediately; for the courier returns this evening."

Caroline left the good Baroness all amazement, all rap­ture at what she had heard; and with matter sufficient to employ her thoughts without dread of dulness from being alone. The very idea of writing to the Count would have petrified Caroline, had it been proposed the even­ing before; while, at present, nothing seemed more easy; her heart overflowing with gratitude and admiration could not have found an employment more accordant to its feelings; her rapid imagination dictated a thousand things, and as she entered her apartment, she ran to her bu­reau. The first object which presented itself, as she open­ed it, was the box containing the miniature picture of her husband. During her anger against him, to which the letter of her father had given birth, she had concealed the box under the manuscript which she had that day remo­ved; instantly she took it up, opened it, and fixed her eyes on those fine features, that countenance so noble and so mild; and, as she looked, felt a sensation which never till then had she known. She forgot how much his per­son was altered, [...]magined she really beheld him, and was astonished how she could have refused her heart to the original of such a portrait. Insensibly did she become affected, tears rose in her eyes, and with great emotion she pressed the picture to her lips.

Thus was she in a most excellent disposition to answer Walstein; and, had she written at that moment, the an­swer would have been much more tender than he had dared to hope; but desirous of confirming these her new sensa­tions, which were the more pleasing because unaccompa­nied by remorse, she would read once more the letter from the Count. Ah! what ungrateful, what cruel idea then suddenly entered her mind! It was that he, Wal­stein, [Page 24] required this long, and, perhaps, everlasting sepa­ration; he who proposed it, he who seemed to insist on its taking place!—His reasons were evident; he dread­ed living with a capricious, unjust woman, who suffered herself to have been so easily prejudiced; a child, obsti­nate, wilful, and void of reason; for thus, said Caroline, I must appear to him; thus have I deserved to be thought.

The phrase in which he mentioned Lindorf, and which before she had scarcely remarked, made also an unfortu­nate impression. "A friend whom an unhappy passion obliges to travel. I am determined to go with him."— How might the Count be ignorant of the object of this passion? Though Lindorf should not have told him, he must, himself, have divined it; it was impossible to be otherwise. Beside, does he not say he is "determined to go with him?"

We are alike easy to suppose what most we wish or most we fear should happen, has happened. And now is the active imagination of Caroline busily labouring to paint every object black; and now, the more she reads that letter, which at first appeared so tender, so flattering, the more is she convinced that the generosity of Wal­stein, only, has dictated his expressions, and that he ar­dently desires to live from her. For what probability was there, were not such his motives, that he would thus re­nounce his country, his employments, the Court, and the favour and friendship of his Sovereign? Had he had the least wish to live with her, would he not have made the attempt? Would he not first have seen her and en­deavoured to find what her present thoughts were, before he would make so cruel a determination?—"Ah!" said she, mournfully laying down the letter and the picture, "I had a momentary dream of almost happiness, but it is vanished. Happiness is not for me!—How dearly would he have loved me! But how may I now hope that should ever happen, since he wishes not to know me, since he despises, nay, perhaps hates me! And, yet, how great is his generosity, his benevolence! But does it be­come me to abuse this generosity, and after having sinned against him so unpardonably, must I likewise banish him his country? No, never; I am determined how to act; I will here pass my life far from him, far from the world; he shall be at liberty to remain at court, to benefit his country by his virtues, to make those happy who depend [Page 25] on him, and shall not himself be made miserable by Caro­line; he will forget perhaps, that she exists.!"

In the full persuasion that all these suppositions were real, she immediately took pen and paper; and, as imme­diately, wrote what follows.

From Caroline to the Count of Walstein.

"No, my lord, I will not delay to write the answer you require; happy if this my promptitude may any way prove how grateful I am, how infinitely obliged to the first, the most generous of men! I shall not here discuss what the motives were which might induce you to make the propositions your letter contains; yet, believe me, I feel their generous tendency. I hope you will pardon me for refusing my consent to your design of leaving your country and friends: an absence like this might ruin all your future prospects, yet could not change my destiny. Of this you have had the goodness to leave me absolute mistress, and I am determined, happen what will, here to remain. My absence from Berlin injures no one, interests no one; that c [...]ty has cer [...]ainly forgot­ten a young creature whom it scarcely has seen. As for my father, he has ever been accustomed to live without me; the Baroness of Rindaw, my dear friend, or, rather, my tender mother, is the sole being in this world to whom my existence and my presence may be both useful and a­greeable. I neither can quit her, nor wish her to forsake that retirement in which she has lived so long. Permit me, therefore, to consecrate my life wholly to her, to render her declining years the same kind and continued cares she took of me in early and helpless infancy. Your letter insures your consent; and, provided we are sepa­rate, wherefore should this separation be at a distance so immense?

"I wished to live here forgotten, and, if that be pos­sible▪ in tranquillity, but for you my lord, you owe your talents to your country and your King, nor is there a mo­tive on earth which should sway you to renounce em­ploying them for the good of weaker, and less wise mor­tals. And is it for Caroline to throw the least impedi­ment in the way of purposes so noble? Alas! then should I indeed be guilty, and the bitterness of reproach would make life wretched! But no, I wish to be just, and will [Page 26] submit to my fate; nor ought I to grieve at it since I am permitted to live in the bosom of friendship, and in that peaceful retreat in which I have ever lived. The plea­sures of which you speak are eff [...]ced from my memory, or, at least have left a recollect [...]on so faint, so shadowy, that I neither wish for nor regret them. Alas! I have no re­gret but that of not having made the first of mankind happy, and wish I have none, but that of hearing in this my retirement, that he enjoys the felicity he so infinitely deserves. To this it is my duty to contribute, and this I dare promise I have the fortitude to perform. Soli­tude has nothing fearful for my imagination; on the con­trary, it is the boundary of my wishes, and since I am convinced it is your desire I should live happy, I do not fear you will give them any opposition—The Count of Walstein at Berlin and Caroline at Rindaw will each be stationed as they ought.

"My friend has this morning been informed of our marriage; and since you consent I should bear your name, that shall henceforth be my ambition; therefore, hereaf­ter, to those few persons whom I may see, and those to whom you wish to confide the secret, I shall ever remain

CAROLINE, Countess of Walstein."

Had Caroline refused the title of Countess of Wal­stein, which she began to have some value for, the Ca­noness would by no means have acq [...]iesced in this same kind of self-denial; for while Caroline had been writing, her good Mamma had taken care to send for all the ser­vants and inform them that Caroline was Countess of Walstein, with a strict injunction to call her my Lady, in future. She was punctually obeyed, and, in the space of a few minutes two or three of the maids, and as many footmen, entered, under different pretexts, purposely to repeat my Lady. "What will my Lady please to have? What are my Lady's commands?"

No sooner had my Lady ended her letter than she ran to read it to her dear friend. "Yes, Mamma," said she, when she had done reading, "I have taken a firm resolu­tion to live and die here, and never love any body but you·" A few months before, this project would have en­chanted the tender Canoness, but she had now far differ­ent views. Her imagination was at the highest pitch of enthusiasm in favour of the Count of Walstein, and his re-union with Caroline, the accomplishment of which [Page 27] was how the object of every wish. But, as it was a part of her plan to leave the young Countess ignorant of the manner in which she was determined to act, she pretended to approve her letter. Nay, perhaps, she took no little pleasure in retaliation (for there is no age or character that will not indulge revenge which they believe innocent) and, in in her turn, having her secret also. The letter was, therefore, sealed and directed to the Count of Wal­stein, at the Baron of Lindorf's, and some have pretend­ed that a sigh escaped Caroline as she wrote the direction, though she, at present, protests not; and if there did, we may well believe it was the last.

And now, not only this day, and the next day, and the day after that, but every day, the Count was frequent­ly present to the imagination of Caroline; and the more she thought of him, the more she delighted to think; all his letters were read, and read again; and she every time thought she discovered new proofs, which had not before been remarked, of the superiority of heart and under­standing of this excellent man, whom she had known too late ever to be able now to merit. The picture was taken from its box, tied to a ribband, and hung round the neck of Caroline▪ which it no more quitted. Twenty times a day would she take it from her bosom, gaze on it with tenderness, and put it back with a sigh. But the more she was convinced Walstein would have made her a most happy woman, the more did generosity, and, perhaps, vanity, applaud the resolution she had taken, well per­suaded he wished not to live with her. There was some­thing, likewise, in her heart, which told her she would much rather have him at Berlin than traversing distant regions with Lindorf. Indeed the supposition of herself being the cause of the exile of these two friends was in­supportable. "Let one, at least," said she, "remain happy in his own country." And thus to sacrifice, in part, her own felicity to that of the Count was, in part, to expiate her own wrongs, and to obtain her own pardon.

While Caroline thus meditated the Canoness was not idle. All her reflections tended to find what might be the best means of re-uniting the husband and the wife. Seve­ral very natural ones presented themselves to her mind, and which might easily have been put in execution.— Such, for example, as to have a letter written to the Count, inviting him to come to Rindaw; or to take [Page 28] Caroline to Berlin, under some feigned pretence, and there contrive Walstein should meet her, or, which might still have been better, to have reasoned with the young Countess, and, by degrees, induced her to a re-union, which she herself was too desirous of long to have refu­sed. But all this was much too simple for the Canoness of Rindaw, too trivial for the end of a romance, in which she was quite in raptures to be one of the dramatis perso­nae. Surprise! Gratitude! Tears! Faintings! If these were wanting the scene must have been insipid. Read, therefore, what her prudent head imagined and brought forth.

One day (it was within a week after the letter of Ca­roline had been sent) the Canoness said she had long had a desire to visit her Chapter, and to pass some time there; "A duty," says she, "I have too long neglected, and which I wish once more to perform before I die. I will therefore set off to-morrow morning, and beg, my dear, you will accompany me." Caroline, surprised at so un­expected a resolution, represented but in vain that her age, her infirmities, the permission she had long obtained to live at Rindaw, all made this an unnecessary journey. The Canoness was so positive Caroline could not long contradict her. Beside that she herself really took plea­sure in imagining a change of scene; it would retard her interview with her father, remove her for a time from a place which brought too many past incidents to memory, and thus relieve her melancholy. Another motive was added. Long had she desired to form an acquaintance with some young lady, to whom she could reveal her sensations and her thoughts, and who might become her friend. The Baroness of Rindaw, it was true, was a friend; but the respect ever preserved for a person by whom we have been educated, the great difference of age, and the infirmities which made her in continual dread of her death, and thus of being left in solitude, without a friend on earth, all increased an ardent desire to find another, whose soul and sentiments were correspondent to her own, whose age was nearly the same, and with whom she might freely speak, or to whom she might as freely write all she thought and all she felt.

"This," said she, "would give a charm to the retreat in which I am doomed to pass my life. Ah! had I only such a friend as I can imagine, how should I love her, [Page 29] and how would she love me! She should live in my heart, and presently would I forget othe [...] and stronger passions; forget that the man to whom, had I known him better, or better known myself, this heart would have been wholly devoted, now wishes to possess no place there!"

When they sent her new books from Berlin, in which she found a correspondence between two friends, she would sigh, and sorrowfully say, "Poor Caroline, thou hast no creature, no friend, to whom thou mayest write all thou thinkest! Thou hast no letter to receive!" This to Caroline was a real grief, and when the Canoness pro­posed the before-mentioned journey, she imagined she might surely find, in the cloister, young ladies of distinc­tion, some one of whom would be worthy, would be ca­pable of friendship. At length, therefore, she very wil­lingly yielded to the project of the good Canoness, and prepared for her departure on the morrow.

In these her schemes of future confidence and friend­ship, Caroline did not forget her precious manuscript and the letters, which were become the daily subject of con­templation; and still less her dear little picture, which never quitted her bosom, except to be kissed, and with which she every day grew more and more enamoured. Till the expected friend was found this picture held the place of one, and was become the confidant of her most secret thoughts; to this she confessed all her regret and grief for having lost, past return, the esteem and friend­ship of its counter-part; while the expressive, the com­prehensive countenance seemed, though dumb and mo­tionless, to hear, understand, and answer. The happiest moments she enjoyed were those in which this mute con­versation passed.

Early the next morning the Canoness, Caroline, and their maids were in the carriage. The former was all cheerfulness, she was ready first, and seemed to take ex­cessive pleasure in the journey. As she saw nothing, and had, therefore, no outward object to employ her thoughts, she talked much, and wanted a description of every place by which they passed. The first objects, after leaving the court-yard, were the pavilion, the window where Caroline first had seen Lindorf, the door through which he first had entered, and the road along which he had [Page 30] passed when he departed never to see her more. A little further were the turrets of the chateau of Risberg; they had passed the wood in which Caroline had wandered, and came to the park where Lindorf had leaped the bar­rier to meet her; the difference between her former and her present sensations was very great; her heart did not palpitate now, but it felt a painful contraction. Instead of fixing her imagination on places that might retrace an obliterated passion, or, at least a passion remembered only with repentence and self-reproach, she turned her thoughts on the wrongs she had done her husband, and mournful was the reflection. We may rest well assured, however, Caroline did not lead the communicative Baroness to speak on such a subject. The journey was performed without any accident, and her friend, infirm as she was, preserved her cheerfulness, though she no longer called her dear Caroline, but dear Countess, and that, too, at every instant. She often attempted, likewise, to speak of the Count; but Caroline, more prudent, and restrain­ed by the presence of the maids, equally fearing the Ca­noness might say too much or too little, took good care to turn the conversation on other subjects.

The place to which they were going was some days journey from Rindaw. Caroline supposed they were al­most there, and was wishing to arrive just as she saw the coachmen drive down an avenue that led to an antique and large chateau, the weather-cocks of which she had perceived at a great distance. Caroline was surprised, and so told the Baroness, who, with significant satisfaction in her countenance, answered, "the servants had obeyed her orders, for that she meant to call and visit a friend who lived there." Caroline had not time to ask questions concerning this friend, of whom before she had never heard mention made, for they were already in the court-yard. The Canoness called the footman, and bade him inquire if the Count of Walstein was there, and if two ladies of his acquaintance might have the pleasure of speaking with him.

Caroline could not believe her senses! "The Count of Walstein!" echoed she, with a cry scarce articulate, "Great God! Mamma! Did I hear you right! Where are we? Whither have you brought me?"

"We are at the chateau of Ronebourg," replied the [Page 31] Baroness, with infinite pleasure, "and I have brought thee to thy husband, my dear."

Poor Caroline scarcely hears the end of the phrase: sense and feeling have forsaken her, and she droops, mo­tionless, with her head on the shoulder of her imprudent friend! Her maid raises and sustains her, informs the Canoness of the fearful state into which Caroline is fallen, and calls for salts and hartshorn, which, in their flutter, are not to be found! And now the Canoness, in despair, repents, too late, of what she has done. Caroline conti­nues lifeless, moves not, breathes not, betrays not the least sign of existence!

All this passed in the coach, and in the middle of the court, in the front of the chateau, while the footman was gone to deliver his message, and while the servants of the house went in search of the Count, who was walking in the park with Lindorf.—Walstein is found, but cannot imagine who these unknown ladies are; for the Canoness, always in search of surprise, forbade the footman to give in her name, and the Count was very far, indeed, from imagining it was her, and his wife, from whom he had so lately received a letter. He, therefore, hastens to re­ceive the ladies, and, followed by his friend, arrives. The first object he beholds is Caroline, senseless, with her lace cut, her hair loose, her bosom bare; they are lifting her out of the coach in which the Baroness sits weeping, and raving, and summoning the whole universe to the assist­ance of Caroline, of whose death she accuses herself, vow­ing not to survive her.

If a spectacle like this well might affect the Count, in­explicable and strange as it must be, what effect may it be supposed to have had on Lindorf, who, the moment he saw, knew Caroline? Scarcely could he believe his eyes! Scarcely credit the strong emotions of his heart! "God of wonders!" cried he, as he ran up to the car­riage, "can this be?" He could not doubt.

The livid paleness of Caroline, her closed eye-lids, the cries and groans of the Baroness persuaded him she had just expired, and he himself was presently almost lifeless. Walstein, who comprehended nothing of what he be­held, saw Lindorf reel, and just had time to catch him in his arms. He revives, and beholding Caroline still the same, in all the agonies of despair, exclaims, "It is she! It is Caroline! Your Caroline! My Caroline! Her [Page 32] whom I adored, her who now lies breathless, and whom I will follow to the grave!"

So saying he tore himself violently from the arms of Walstein, who stood speechless and confounded! The exigencies of the moment recovered him from his stupor: he made way through the crowd of servants, whom the cries of the Baroness and the strangeness of the scene had drawn together, and went to the assistance of Caroline. Exposed to the open air, she had begun a little to reco­ver; her half-opened eyes endeavoured to move, and her woman, seated on the ground, supported her till an arm chair was brought, in which she might be placed, and carried more conveniently. The poor distracted Cano­ness, still in the carriage, paid dear for her imprudence; she wept, exclaimed, called for the Count, and was un­appeasable till they told her he was there, and that Caro­line was recovering.

Too true it was. Walstein was there; but Walstein knew not whether all he beheld was or was not a dream. Caroline at Ronebourg, and brought thither with vio­lence! For wherefore should she, else, be expiring at her arrival? Lindorf in despair, and fled, uttering words of dreadful import, that still resounded in the ears of Walstein. It is she! It is Caroline! Your Caroline! My Caroline! Her whom I adored! —Ay? Caroline?— Was it Caroline, whom Lindorf loved; and by whom he was again beloved? The Count endeavoured to doubt, to persuade himself that his friend, distracted by grief, by the melancholy turn of his mind, had been deceived; but the Count could not so elude his fears.

Not the change which a year had made in the person of Caroline, nor that her present illness caused, could make Walstein mistake her. He silently fixed his eyes on her for some momen [...]s, then, kneeling at her feet, caught her hands, and pressed them with ardour to his lips. The eyes of Caroline moved, but not as they were wont. They had no intelligence; she knew not where she was, or whom that man might be she beheld prostrate before her. Unable to articulate a word, she gently with­drew her hands, joined them together, leaned her face upon them, and shed a torrent of tears. The Count, still kneeling by her, endeavoured to calm and convince her she had nothing to dread, but was disturbed by the repeated cries of the Canoness, who incessantly called for [Page 33] him, as she sat in her coach, and who began to be very impatient that he did not come. At last she called so loud that Walstein was obliged to leave Caroline and go to her. He went with the hope of learning what might be the meaning of this strange adventure; but the poor lady was so affected, so agitated, and said so many things at once that to understand any one of them was impossible. The Count, beside, was himself in a reverie. When he came up to the Canoness he perceived she was blind, and this was a new incident of information; he instantly re­collected the blind relation of whom Lindorf had spoken, in his letter to Petersburg, and to whom the lady he lo­ved devoted all her cares. Could he have doubted of the fearful meaning of Lindorf's late exclamations, this would have removed his doubts. Alas! they were certainties.

The Count helped the Baroness out of her carriage, and led her to Caroline, whom they had now seated in a chair; nor could she be convinced she was still alive till the dear girl said, with a feeble voice and a gentle mix­ture of reproach, "Ah! my dear Mamma, what have you done?" By little and little Caroline recovered her senses, but she was still so weak, and so ill, as to be whol­ly unable to walk; the Count, therefore, ordered them to bear her gently into the house, and, giving his arm to the Baroness, followed.

They concluded it was proper to put Caroline to bed; as she herself, indeed, desired they would. The Cano­ness was determined to remain with her, and Walstein, after having kissed her hand, which she no longer with­drew, retired from her apartment and hastened into that of Lindorf, concerning whom he was become very anx­ious. He entered, but no Lindorf was there; as he look­ed round the room, however, he saw a letter, lying seal­ed, directed to himself. He took it, opened it with emotion, and read what follows, which had been traced by a trembling hand, expressive of the great disorder of the writer.

"A most strange, unexpected, and incomprehensible event has discovered the fatal secret which I meant to have borne with me to the grave. I was not master of myself; to behold Caroline dead, or dying, and to remain silent was beyond human possibility. Yes, Walstein, it is she, she herself, whom I adored without knowing, that you had the most distant claim to her. I call Hea­ven [Page 34] to witness that, the very moment I learnt she was yours, I fled with a determined and unshaken resolution never to see her more. How was it possible I might fore­see that here, in this retreat, at my own house—Oh God! this only was wanting to fill up the measure of my crimes; to complete my fatal destiny; this, only, of giv­ing a new and incurable wound to him I had before so irreparably injured!—Yet, let me hope not. Oh, Wal­stein! Caroline is a miracle! She alone is worthy of you, and you the sole man on earth deserving of her! May you be long happy!—I will deliver you from a wretched friend who seems to exist only for your torment. One favour, only, let me ask; it is the last; suffer your Lady to remain ignorant that I have seen her, and that you are privy to this my guilty passion. Much am I deceived if she herself do not soon inform you of it; she will not long have any secrets for you. To learn it from her own mouth will be a most pleasing proof of her confidence in you, and she will not suspect I have been despicable en­ough to betray her secret. Walstein! Caroline! Fare­well! Dear possessors of a heart alike torn by love and friendship, for ever, farewell! Forget, but do not hate, the miserable Lindorf!

" P. S. You will command, at Ronebourg, as at your own house; I have left orders for that purpose. When I come to any fixed place of abode, I will write once more, Walstein, that I may be certain you pardon me and are happy; and happy you certainly will be, since Caro­line is yours.

" I promise not to attempt my own life; but must live far distant from you both."

This letter had been written with so much haste and emotion that it was scarcely legible. Having once run it over, the Count immediately went in search of Varner, the valet de chambre of Lindorf. H [...]s intention was to send him off, immed [...]ately, after his master, to entreat him to return; but he presently found this was impracti­cable. As soon as Lindorf had found his fears were false, and that Caroline was only in a fit, not dead, he instantly ordered his servants to saddle an excellent English horse▪ while he wrote the above letter, after which he departed full speed. He had told Varner to follow, with such baggage as was necessary, and meet him at a place which he himself would take care to indicate; recommended [Page 35] every possible attention and obedience to the commands of the Count, and his guests, and instantly disappeared, forbidding him to follow.

As soon as the Count found there were no hopes of overtaking him, at present, he made Varner promise to inform him the first intelligence he should receive, where his master was; then again perused the letter, which brought tears into his eyes. Walstein now became im­patient to learn what could have been the motive of this strange visit, and sent to know if he might speak with the Canoness in a private apartment. She came immedi­ately, with the messenger, being as impatient to speak as the Count was to hear. After informing him the Coun­tess was fallen asleep, "though," said she, "the catas­trophe has not happened exactly as I could have wished, are not you exceedingly obliged to me, Sir, for having brought you Lady Walstein?"

"Before I can testify my gratitude, Madam, I must be certain she was not brought against her will."

"Against her will, my Lord! Surely you cannot sup­pose it! Against her will! You do not know me. Do you think I would force the dear girl to any thing? No, my Lord, she was quite pleased at the journey; nor has she been so cheerful for this many a day as she was on the road—Quite impatient to arrive"—

"This is very strange; unaccountably strange," inter­rupted the Count; "I imagined her fainting▪ her tears, what she said to you with a tone of reproach, were all"—

"All amazement, at finding herself so unexpectedly here—The agitation of a first meeting—I know not what —young persons are so timid. I own it would, perhaps, have been better to have prepared her for it; but then, on the other hand, where would have been the surprise? And, if ever your history should be written, this will be the most interesting event in your whole life.

The Count, who knew not the romantic turn of the Canoness, astonished at so strange a remark, gazed with wonder, requested an explanation, and learnt, at last, that, though Caroline was not brought to Ronebourg a­gainst her will, it was without her knowledge; which proceeding he was very far from approving, and as frank­ly told the Canoness so, who excused herself by her ar­dent desire to see them united, and the fear of not suc­ceeding so well by any other means. "Yet," said she, [Page 36] "had I supposed—But, I confess, I had totally forgotten all that."

"What! What!" replied the Count.

"Oh, nothing—Nothing, nothing—Something I must not mention; though it was certainly the cause of that fearful emotion and fainting—But, a propos, my Lord: I understand we are here at the house of the Baron of Lindorf—that this seat is his—'Tis true, I ought to have known it; but I mistook, or forgot, for my memory is become so weak lately—I believed, though I know not why, that Ronebourg belonged to you."

"No, Madam; but it is the same thing; I am at home, here; the Baron of Lindorf is my most intimate friend, and begged me, in his absence, to command his house and servants."

"In his absence! What, is he absent then?" "He is," answered the Count, who, could he have smiled, have smiled he must, at the prudent Canoness, who, with such simple cunning, told all she knew.

"Absent! I am quite happy at that! It is the luckiest circumstance!"

"Why lucky, Madam?"

"I—That is—I—Because—he will not be afflicted— I mean troubled"—

The poor lady knew not what to say; she was sorry to find she had thought aloud, though that was by no means a new thing with her, and she trembled lest she had dis­covered a secret which she suppposed it was of the utmost importance carefully to keep. The Count incr [...]ased her embarrassment.

"You mean to say, Madam, the Baron has avoided the ceremony of receiving strangers; he not having the pleasure of being acquainted with you?"

Notwithstanding she wished to do it, the Canoness could not tell a falsehood with that intrepidity the occa­sion seemed to require.—"No—Yes—That is—we are not wholly unacquainted; he happened to be one of our country neighbours; his estate of Risberg joins to mine, at Rindaw and we used to see him every day: nay, indeed, he is, as I may say, one of our friends; though I think him a little given to change; a—a rover."

Walstein, who thought the Baroness and this conver­sation very singular, was going to defend Lindorf, when repeated cries from Caroline's bed-chamber alarmed him. [Page 37] she had just awaken in a burning and delirious fever; and every symptom indicated the beginning of a very se­rious and dangerous illness. Her maid, whom she did not know, unable to hold her, was obliged to call for help. The Count, deeply affected, went up to her bed, out of which she absolutely would get. "Let them take me back to Rindaw," said she; "I won't see him, he will kill me; I will depart alone on foot; I will fly, to avoid him, to the world's end."

Her imagination, at other moments, full of Lindorf, made her take the Count for him; and, pushing him from her, she conjured him to fly; reproaching him for being the cause of all her misery. Then, again thinking she spoke to the Count, she exclaimed, with the utmost ten­derness, "Oh thou whom, for my happiness, too late I have known, thou whom I love, whom I shall forever love, wherefore dost thou fly me? But I will follow, will supplicate, will force thee to see and hear me."

Knowing only so much as Walstein at present knew, it was impossible he could suppose Caroline thought of him while she spoke last, or of Lindorf in what she had said before. But, afflicted as he was for himself, he was still more so for Caroline. He would not leave her, but remained in her chamber all night, after having, with much intreaty, prevailed on the Canoness to sleep in ano­ther apartment. Caroline continued in the same agitation and delirium. The Count, mean time, sent to the nearest town for the best physician the place could afford; and, likewise, sent a courier, post, to Berlin, for the first men in the profession. He also thought it prudent to send for the High Chamberlain; but, not wishing to alarm him, he only said, in his letter, he intreated him to come immediately, to Ronebourg, on an affair of the utmost importance.

The Count never quitted his post, by the bedside of Caroline, except when obliged, and then reluctant­ly. At day-break the country physician arrived, and Walstein was greatly alarmed at perceiving his ignorance. He pronounced it to be the small-p [...], though the Cano­ness affirmed Caroline had had it in her infancy, as Rin­daw, and even told were pock mark [...] remained, which put it out of doubt. Her fever and delirium increased, and on the third day she seemed to be in the utmost dan­ger. [Page 38] Imagine what were the feelings of the Count, [...] removed from all efficacious aid; for, let the cou [...]er make what haste he could, it was impossible the physician from Berlin should arrive before the seventh or eighth day. These were days of cruel anxiety to Walstein, [...] were passed in momentary dread of seeing her he adores expire. Her sickness, by increasing his feelings, increa­sed his attachment: the assiduous and tender cares he bestowed on her, the patience and gentleness she disco­vered at those intervals when she was not delirious, the character her maids gave her, and the real grief they shew­ed, certain proofs how deservedly she was beloved, all strengthened his affection. To the dread of losing her was added the reproach of being himself the cause of her sufferings. He was convinced the stratagem made use of to bring her thither, which was equivalent to violence, her dread of living with him, her passion for Lindorf and the natural struggles of love and duty, had thus en­dangered and might rob her of life. In one of these mo­oments of grief, affection, and remorse, prostrate at her bedside, he took a solemn oath, should heaven be plea­sed to preserve her from the grave, be his sufferings what they might, to make her happy.—"God of mercies!" said he, with hands upraised to heaven, "Save this unfor­tunate victim of tyranny and love! Deign to hear the vow I make of resigning her to the man who possesses her heart!"

Caroline was incapable of understanding, or, perhaps, she would have intreated him to have been less ready to yield her to another; but she had lain totally senseless du­ring the last four-and-twenty hours. Happily, the King's first physician arrived that night. He did not dissemble the extreme danger in which he found the patient, and his whole dependence was on her youth. He adminis­tered, however, such assistance as had been too long de­layed, and said if she outlived the ninth and thirteenth days he then should have some hope; but till they were past could not pretend to give any.

The Count, though a prey to the most severe affliction, was obliged to dissemble his feelings; for the Canoness suffered so fearfully that her inquietudes were not the least of his distresses. The loss of her sight made it easy for those who had no respect for truth to impose upon her; but not for Walstein. Her questions were inces­sant, [Page 39] and she was never satisfied unless she heard the most exact and circumstantial account. After he had been carefully attending on Caroline, and, overcome with fa­tigue, had retired to take a little repose, she never failed either to come to him, or send to beg he would come to her. When he was absent it was with the utmost diffi­culty they could keep her from Caroline, whom she might disturb but could not aid; the Count was the only per­son who had any power over her, and she was never sa­tisfied unless he was conversing with her. Thus was Walstein often torn from the pillow of Caroline, though he was wretched if he trusted her but for a m [...] to the care of others. He supported all this wi [...] [...] ­tience, fortitude, and mildness, of which he [...] capable, and thought himself well rewarded for all his pangs by the melancholy pleasure of watching the most adorable of women. Then it was he felt a real gratitude towards the Canoness for having brought her; for he supposed her present illness had a more remote cause than the agitation her arrival had occasioned; this might have hastened its crisis, but he attributed it wholly to her pas­sion for Lindorf and her affliction at the supposed impossi­bility of union. In this conjecture every circumstance confirmed him, and her determination to pass her whole life in retirement was not the least. Again and again did he read the letter he had received from her, and in it could perceive nothing but a continued sacrifice of love to duty. Solitude has nothing fearful for my imagination; on the contrary, it is the boundary of my wishes.—"No, dear Caroline!" said he, "thou deceivest thyself; or ra­ther virtue deceives thee. I were the most barbarous, worst of men, were I longer to remain an impediment to the happiness of two people to me equally dear, and who, for my sake, are both descending to the tomb. O Caroline! O Lindorf! Wherefore do you not hear me? Wherefore may I not this moment bestow you on each other?"

Neither did he doubt but that her tender exclamation, Alas! I have no regret but that of not having made the first of mankind happy! was, at least, as much addressed to Lindorf as to Walstein!—"Happy," said he, "sove­reignly happy, ought to be the man whom thou preferrest; and happy he shall be.—Can I flatter myself with being this man? Oh! no; too well I know the contrary. [Page 40] But should it be too late, should Caroline be torn [...] us, should remorseless death prevent the reparation I owe her, ah! what then must become of me?"—The thought was distracting, and yet this thought was every moment renewed.

The High Chamberlain did not arrive till the day after the physician; nor, perhaps, would he have been there so soon had not the letter of the Count found him ready to set off for Rindaw; he, therefore, had only to take a different road, and see at once his son and daughter; though this, or the cause of his being sent for, he little sus [...]. His coming happened to be on one of the da [...] [...] [...]s. Walstein had not left Caroline a moment. a [...] [...] anxiety, had wholly forgotten his father-in-law▪ [...] the latter, but half informed by the servants, from [...] he had only heard that the Count was with his Lady, entered the chamber precipitately, saying aloud as he opened the door, "My daughter, the Countess of Walstein, here, and I not know it! Where is she that I may embrace her?"

"Alas! my Lord, behold where she is;" answered the Count, pointing: "she seemed something better, and we began to hope—But I doubt lest your entrance"—

In fact, the patient, disturbed at the noise, opened her astonished eyes, looked round her, saw herself in a strange apartment, her father and her husband both by her bed­side, knew them, and, unable to support so many emo­tions at once, fell into a more alarming delirium than she had been in before. The physician came, and insisted every body should leave the room, and the Count con­ducted the High Chamberlain, in the midst of his con­sternation, to the apartment of the Canoness. Unable to remain long absent from Caroline, he left them together, hoping, at least, that the Baron would release him from the care of attending on the Canoness; but this hope was of short duration. Scarcely were they alone a minute before they mutually began to reproach each other. The lady that she had been so long left ignorant of the marriage of her dear pupil, and the High Chamberlain that she had not informed him of her having undertaken this journey. Thus, proceeding from complaint to complaint, and from one cause of vexation to another, they at last were both so angry, and spoke so loud, that the Count was obliged to go and keep the peace. He found them both highly [Page 41] [...]i [...]ted, and reciprocally saying the most bitter things; though still calling each other from habit, My dear High Chamberlain! and My dear Baroness!

It is possible that, at some moments, such a scene might have been amusing; but not with Walstein's present tem­per of mind. He endeavoured to put an end to it, and re-establish harmony, which he could no otherwise effect but by recalling to mind their former passion, at the re­collection of which the poor Canoness melted. The High Chamberlain was not quite so soft; but the Count having reminded him of the obligations he had, and might still have, to his friend, he was, almost immediately, so moved that he could not express his feelings; he went up to his dear Baroness, and begged her to excuse his warmth of temper; was sorry, very sorry, exceedingly sorry; while she with dignity and affection gave him her hand to kiss, telling him he abused the power he had over her. After the High Chamberlain had devoutly paid his respects to this once fair hand, peace was restored, and the Count returned to his beloved patient.

Where is the reader who is not by this time acquainted with the character of Walstein? Who will not easily imagine, although it be not circumstantially related, the deep affliction of these his days of incertitude and dread? The more he thought the greater were his terrors; and, during the latter part of this severe illness, he could not leave his Caroline, day nor night; he never quitted his arm chair, which was placed by her bedside; and if, at some moments, over-wearied nature exacted a short and painful sleep, he soon waked and started, with the mortal dread of no more finding her who was now become the only object of his thoughts. The thirteenth day at length arrived, which the physician declared was to be the cr [...] of her fate, and a dreadful day it was. The Count wish­ed singly to support its horror; he neither told the High Chamberlain nor the Baroness that, perhaps, at midnight, their friend and daughter would be no more. He deter­mined to sit up alone with her; and oh! how ardent were the prayers he sent up to Heaven for her relief! With what agonizing affection did he press that feeble and burning hand to his lips and to his heart! How often did the tears swim in his eyes while fixed on those of Caroline, to which the fever still gave motion, and which, perhaps, ere morning would close eternally!

[Page 42]This last crisis was so violent that the alarmed physici­an said nothingless than a miracle could make her live over the day. The distracted Count, sunk in grief, un­able longer to sustain the sight, or to tear himself from the dying Caroline, had still the farther pang of being obli­ged to prepare the father and the friend for the fearful catastrophe. He had so continually endeavoured to com­fort them, and inspire hope, that, far from suspecting, they were lulled into a kind of security which must ren­der the information tenfold horrid. The Count had pro­mised to inform them how Caroline was, but, terrified himself at what he had to communicate, he stopped, for some moments, in the anti-chamber, to calm his own mind and collect all his fortitude. "Ah," thought he, "if this unfortunate father feels, as I do, all the weight of remorse; if to the recollection of having sacrificed his daughter her death be added, how may he support his sorrow?—Oh! my Caroline, thy executioners weep, and thou diest! Yet wilt thou not die unrevenged; for, sure, the torments I suffer are far worse than death."

While he was thus hesitating, the valet de chambre of Lindorf, seeing him, came up hastily, and told him he wished to speak to him; he had received a letter from his master, who was waiting for him at Hamburg, whence he was to embark for England. Varner intended to set off that very night, and only waited the commands of the Count. Instead of giving an answer, Walstein stood silent; absorbed in thoughs little short of distraction: at length, suddenly starting, he bade him wait, and went into his closet, without himself knowing what he intended.

"Write to Lindorf! And at a moment like this! What shall I say to him? Shall I take the dagger, reeking from my own heart, and plunge it into my friend's? Shall I desire him to return, only that I may behold him expire on the tomb of her he adores? Yet," said he, with in­stantaneous recollection, "might not Caroline, might not love work a miracle, which, perhaps, is reserved for love alone?—Were there but time!—If Lindorf were but present!—God of Heaven! who hearest my prayer, grant yet a few days, and Caroline, perhaps, may be restored!"

However vague might be the hope, that, just then, seemed to enlighten his imagination, he listened to [...] with pleasure, and, snatching up the pen, instantaneously wrote the following words:

[Page 43]

"Lindorf, wait not a moment; set off; travel day and night: should you not meet me, come immediately here; and, if meet me you should, I shall have something to communicate. We shall never return to Ronebourg more.


The Count himself took this short letter to Varner, commanded him instantly to set off, never to stop, except to change horses, and, as he hoped for future favor or af­fection, not to mention a word of the illness and danger of the Countess, fearing lest the dreadful tidings might wholly incapacitate Lindorf for the journey. Should he have the misery to lose Caroline before the arrival of Lindorf, and to survive her death, Walstein was deter­mined to go and meet him, that they might together leave this land of wretchedness and despair, and, in a foreign country, together hear, together endure, their griefs and their regret.

This was destined to be a day of trial to the Count. As he was returning to see how Caroline did, a letter was brought him which had just arrived. At any other time the very sight of the hand writing would have inspired pleasure. It was his sister's, the young Countess Matilda, from whom it was long since he had heard; and, impa­tient as he would have otherwise been, he was then so wholly lost in sorrow that he opened the letter almost me­chanically; yet, having read, it was impossible to remain insensible to its contents.

"I have been assured my dear brother is returned, yet cannot believe the intelligence true: I know his heart, it would soon have brought him to his poor Matilda, or he certainly would, at least, have written to her, and hi [...] letter, and the certainty he was no longer in another country, almost another world, would have been some little consolation. Ah! my dear brother, how many sor­rows have I known while you have been in that vile Rus­sia!—What would you have said if you no more had found your poor sister?—For, I assure you, I would rather die a thousand times than ever consent to their wishes. The Baron de Zastrow is a fine young gentleman, an ami­able person, polished manners, and adores me. With such like discourse am I persecuted from morning till night. And, if it all were true, what would that be to [Page 44] me? The Baron de Zastrow is not the Baron of Lindorf; and, therefore, is nothing—nothing to me.

"Alas! my dear, my tender brother, you see your sister knows how to love, knows how to be constant, and that her levity is not in her heart. But ah! that levity is all vanished; that slighty mirth, concerning which you checked me so much, when you were here, and which made you suspect I had no affection, is all gone. I pre­served it as long as I could, because sorrow is no cure for love, and is, beside, very troublesome; and, being deter­mined, certain of the love of Lindorf, of your support and my own fortitude, I thought I had nothing to fear. I now find my error, and my only hope is in my dear bro­ther. The Baron teases me, my aunt torments me, and Lindorf writes to me no more; nay, even you, my bro­ther, seem to have abandoned me: but into your arms I throw myself; to you I appeal for succour and support. Come and protect a passion to which you gave birth, and which never, while I have life, can end. Is it not to you that I owe my dear Lindorf? Remember how often you have said to me, My dear sister, love Lindorf, love him as you do me. And oh! how willingly did I obey your injunction! For I love him, not only as I love my bro­ther, but, as the man with whom, of all the men on earth, I would wish to live and die. I will not believe his si­lence is any proof either of inconstancy or forgetfulness. You were on your return, and he did not know by what means to send me his letters. No, I will not add to all my other griefs that of suspecting Lindorf; for that is an affliction I certainly could not find strength to support.

"Adieu, my dear, dear brother!—Ah! did you see your poor Matilda, you would not know her; she neith­er laughs nor sings, but cries all day long, nay, seems as if she would not much longer be pretty; her cheeks are not now as round as an apple and as red as a rose, as you so often have kissed and called them. Ah! return, return, my brother, and give me back all I have lost. If you come, my cheerfulness, my felicity, my love, and the roses of my cheeks will all come with you. Ah! would you were married! With what joy should I leave this place to live with you and your lady! And why are you not? Make haste then and get married, and make two poor girls happy, your wife and your

[Page 45]

P. S. Once more let me conjure you to come to [...]resden, there to defend and preserve me for your friend, [...] the man of your choice and of mine, or I will not answer for what may happen."

"Merciful providence!" said the Count, as he ended, "must every sensation that ought to add to my felicity become my torment!"—He deferred answering his sister's letter, and reflecting on her situation, till he could find a more tranquil moment, if such he might ever find, and once more entered the chamber of Caroline, where all former ideas were effaced at the sight of what he beheld. The Canoness, out of patience that the Count returned not, had obliged them to lead her into the sick chamber, where, unable to see, she had seated herself at the side of Caroline, had taken one of her hands, and was entreating and conjuring her to give some sign of life and recollec­tion. But Caroline, feeble, inanimate, and apparently surrounded by the shades of death, answered not, made not the least motion, while her unhappy friend yielded to all the dreadful sensations of horror and despair.

On the other side of the bed stood their two maids, weeping, and a little farther, the High Chamberlain, sunk silent in an arm chair, with his hands spread over his face, and overwhelmed with grief. For the first time in his life, he felt that riches and honours were not sufficient to make his child happy. The physician, in equal con­sternation, sat by his side, a mournful spectator of this scene of sorrow, and without apparent hope of ever re­calling Caroline to life.

The sight, as the Count entered, the different attitudes and behaviour at the different persons, made him con­clude that all was over, and that the most angelic of wo­men was no more. All fortitude and philosophy no [...] forsook him, his ioy blood froze in his veins, and seemed to give him hopes he soon should follow; he flung him­self on the bed of death, and fixed his lips on the cold lips of Caroline without perceiving that she still breathed.— "Dear and beloved victim," said he, rising with distrac­tion, "thou soon wilt be revenged."

The Count was going to quit the room in all the phrensy of remorse and despair, which might, perhaps, have induced him to make some rash attempt upon his own life, had he not been intercepted by the High Cham­berlain and the physician. The latter assured him the [Page 46] Countess was not dead, and that he even had not lost in hope. "She lies at present," said he, "in a kind of trance, the natural consequence of the fearful struggle she just has had, and she will pass from this state into a sound sleep, which will decide her fate; for, if she a­wakes, I can then pronounce her recovery more than probable; but, considering her present weakness, I must own I think her awaking very uncertain."

"Oh God of benevolence!" exclaimed the Count, looking with fervour up to heav [...]n, and afterwards clasp­ing the physician's hands, "is it possible, Sir! is it pos­sible!—May she still live? Can my fortune, can my life suffice?"—

"At present, Sir, my art is useless, and every other human aid; to nature we must leave her, and to that con­stitution which must have been naturally good, or she would have been dead before this. The cares of the lo­ver and the husband may be more efficacious than mine; to those we will commit her. Come, Sir," said the phy­sician, turning to the High Chamberlain, "go to your apartment, and set your son an example of fortitude."

They were about to quit the room when another strange scene of affliction and death drew their attention. Well might they have been surprised at the silence of the Ca­noness, while all this passed; but, alas! the poor lady, whether her powers were too weak to resist the terrors of the moment, or whether heaven had ordained that to be the period of her life and infirmities, a sudden stroke of apoplexy had, unpe [...]ceived by every person in the room, seized her; she was reclined on one of the pillows of Caroline, weeping, as they had imagined, but most unable to weep, though some signs of life still remained. The servants instantly carried her into her own apart­ment, and every immediate assistance was given, but in­effectually; she expired in a few minutes, without ever recovering her senses.

An event like this might well draw off attention, for a while, from the first object of their grief. The Count himself, [...] moment, in new astonishment and afflic­tion forg [...] [...]e old; but, suddenly recovering recollection, he [...] [...]e Baroness, whom he thought more happy than himself in not being able to survive the friend she loved▪

As for the High Chamberlain, he stood wholly astound. [Page 47] [...] the sorrow of losing his ancient mistress was added the fear of following her; he was the oldest of the two, and her sudden death had so much affected him that he imagined he had only a few moments to live. To behold, in the short space of ten minutes, his daughter expiring, her husband ready to attempt his own life, and his friend actually give up the ghost, might well terrify an old man who was tenacious of life in proportion to his attachment to his great wealth and high dignities. He every moment repeated, "I feel I am very ill!"

Walstein, roused by accumulating terror to recollec­tion, saw the illness of the High Chamberlain was not dangerous, yet recommended him to the physician's care, left the corps of the Canoness to that of her women, and, after having shed tears of sincere affection to the memory of her who had educated Caroline, and whose friendship for her had apparently brought her to the grave, again en­tered the apartment of his dying lady. He sent away the attendants, and approached her bed with feelings that seemed the ha [...]bingers of horror. Caroline still continued in that state of stupor or profound trance in which he had left her; the excessive tranquillity of her sleep was terri­ble; a motion of the bosom, almost imperceptible, was the only proof she still was alive, and this motion Wal­stein imagined he every instant saw diminish. As he sat beside her bed, the tears fell from his eyes, unperceived by himself; incessantly did he place the downy feather on her lips to find whether she still respired; and so doubtful was it that he raised his hands to heaven, and instinctively exclaim, "Why, O! why, cannot I die also!" Sometimes he fixed his eyes on her pale, yet ever charming [...]ce, the features of which still preserved their enchanting form, and felt sensations of love, grief, and regret, so forcible that the most beautiful women in the bloom of health seldom have inspired their equals.

"Angel of bliss," said he, pressing his lips to one of her hands, "pure and celestial spirit, and shalt thou die then, and never know how infini [...]ely thou art adored by the cruel husband who has been thy assassin! Shalt thou die without pardoning him, without knowing that thou thyself mightest still have been happy!—And thou, wretched Lindorf! where, where art thou now, while thy Caroline is expiring? Thou mightest have restored [Page 48] her to life; and, by yielding her to thee, to thee sho [...] I have been indebted for more than mine, also!"

Then would he rise, after meditations like these, so overwhelmed with affliction as to be absolutely without any distinct ideas, and almost on the verge of distraction, would walk around the chamber with phrensy in his countenance; till, suddenly recollecting himself, w [...] reproach for having an instant quitted her, fearing l [...]t her last sigh should escape and he not present, again with impetuosity would he approach. And thus was passed this dreadful night, which, notwithstanding all he suffer­ed, appeared to him very short. The rays of morning were the messengers of terror, the fearful moment ap­proached, and the sentence of the physician was conti­nually present to his imagination; incessantly sounding in his ear, If she awake, I can then pronounce her recovery more than probable; but, I must own, I think her awaking very uncertain. This dreadful incertitude was every moment increasing; for her sleep, while it was lengthened, seem­ed every moment more profound, so that, at last, he no longer had the least hope.

While the Count was standing in this state of dread and despair, he heard her respiration suddenly increase, ap­proached, and saw her breast begin to heave; and, pre­sently, a deep sigh, almost a groan, escaped.—Ah! It is her last!—So fears Walstein. The dreadful moment is arrived! He utters an inarticulate cry, throws himself on the bed, and clasps her in his arms, as if to snatch her from the grasp of death, or himself die with her.

But Oh! blest surprise! Oh happiness unhoped! It is not an inanimate corpse; it is a living creature! that moves and endeavours to aid itself! The head, that hung helpless, attempts to rise; the extended arms approach each other; the bloodless cheeks and lips once more as­sume the feeble tints of reviving nature; and her eyes, which he thought forever closed, now gently rool.—Ca­roline lives! Caroline breathes, looks around, tries to recollect herself, and fixes her attention on the Count, with somewhat of astonishment, but without the least indication of fear; no, it was with a gentle smile, such as the awakened infant gives its affectionate mother. She stretches out one hand, which he with rapture receives! Oh! who may paint his feelings!—In a moment did he pass from the pinnacle of distraction to the heaven of [Page 49] bliss! Bliss he could scarcely conceive real! His whole soul in his eyes, that, voracious, devour every motion of Caroline; he presses his hand to her heart, kneels at her side, and exclaims, again and again, in a delirium of joy, "If she awake, her recovery is more than probable—Oh! God of mercies! Oh! Caroline! Art thou, art thou re­stored to us? Speak dear Caroline! Speak but a single word; convince me, let me hear thy voice, tell me, is it possible thou canst have recollected that husband—I mean that friend, who would but exist to render thee happy?"

"Yes, Sir," said she, faintly, "I recollect you per­fectly; there is no other person on earth who is capable of so much kindness, so many cares, and of such unsha­ken generosi [...]y!—But where am I?—Where are we? —At whose house?—For that I cannot recollect."

"Dear Caroline, think of your health; think only of your health, for our sakes, and be tranquil; you are at the house of a friend, ye [...] ▪ a friend, Caroline; but let me entreat you not to speak; permit me to call the physician."

He was going to ring the bell, but Caroline stopped him by laying her hand on his arm.—"Only one word, Sir, and I have done. I promise to be docile, but I must ask you—Where is my dear mamma, my friend? Where is the Canoness? Is she well?—How unhappy must she have been on my account!—And my father? I have some confused recollection of having seen him, somewhere, not long since."

"He is here; and you will see him again, as soon as it is proper."

"But my dear mamma?"

"She has left us."

"Then she is at Rindaw, I hope?"

Infinitely as Walstein detested a falsehood, yet, this was no moment to hesitate; the life of Caroline was at stake. "Yes," said he, seizing the clue she had given, "she is at Rindaw, undoubtedly; have no fear for her; she is well, she is happy, she is ignorant of your present danger.—But, dear Caroline, let me conjure you to think only of your own recovery, and how much the safety of all your friends depends on that; I am sure this, to you, will be a sufficient motive."

He rang, a servant came; he gave orders to call the [Page 50] physician, drew the curtains close, sat down by the bed­side, and, notwithstanding the excess of his joy, was si­lent. And now, even at this happy moment, did the tender and preventive Walstein begin to revolve how he might best execute the melancholy task of preparing Caroline for the death of her friend, so as to give her the least affliction possible. The thing first and most neces­sary was to conceal it from her till she had fully recover­ed her strength. While he was thus reflecting▪ the phy­sician entered and confirmed all his hopes. The pulse, though very feeble, was excellent; every unfavourable symptom had disappeared, and recovery was certain, pro­vided proper care was taken. This must be incessant; but could this be wanting while Walstein was present?

"Caroline is so good, so generous," said the Count, that she herself, I am sure, will be wholly obedient to your injunctions. Duty, friendship, love, all are suppli­ants; certain of being favourably heard by her sympathe­tic and affectionate heart."

"Yes," said Caroline, softly, do not fear, I will do every thing I am bid."—A tear that started to her eye proved how much she was affected by the tenderness of Walstein, and she was going to have added more had not the physician imposed silence. The Count and he went out together, and the physician insisted on the absolute necessity of concealing the death of the Canoness from Caroline; for the least emotion, he said, must indubitably have the most fatal effects. The Count shuddered at the supposition, and immediately went with him to the High Chamberlain to consult the means of concealing this e­vent. A long sleep, out of which he had just awaked, had somewhat dispelled his late fears of death, and the resurrection of his daughter gave him still higher hopes; especially when he remembered, which he very expedi­tiously did, she was certainly left the sole heiress of her friend. The Count, fearing some imprudence on his part, and no way averse to rid himself of a man whose cold and selfish character gave him continual disgust, en­deavoured to persuade him that etiquette required he should accompany the corpse of the Baroness to Rindaw, and there see the last duties of humanity performed. This gloomy ceremony was not at all to his taste, but Wal­stein, desirous of determining him to go, told him that the will of the Baroness was, no doubt, in favour of his [Page 51] family, and that his own interest required him to be pre­sent at Rindaw, where this will must be left, to take pos­session of the lands and wealth bequeathed. This was so unanswerable an argument to the High Chamberlain, that he never attempted to make another objection; he only required to see Lady Walstein, for thus he always called Caroline, before his departure. They therefore conclu­ded to tell her that the High Chamberlain was going to Rindaw, to inform the Baroness of her recovery; and, when he was there, it would be easy to prepare Caroline, by degrees, in his letters, for the melancholy news of her friend's death.

Her father, therefore, was introduced into her cham­ber, where he told her, after his manner, how happy he was to see her so well, and to leave her with a husband to whom, and for whose cares and attentions, she could not be too grateful: on which occasion he informed her of circumstances she knew not before; and when he told her the Count had neither undressed himself nor once quitted her chamber for several successive nights, the tears swam in Caroline's eyes, and, with tenderness and remorseful recollection, she said, "Oh my Lord! how superior, how noble is your mind! Ah! what would you do for a wife whom"—

She durst not add "whom you should love," and the Count gave a very different interpretation to her break: he added "who could love you." And thus did two hearts, naturally so concordant, mistake each other, and prepare themselves new vexations, new torments. Every time that Caroline, uneasy for the health of the Count, conju­red him to take rest, and protested she did not want as­sistance, he, persuaded she desired his absence, imagined that, to a good and feeling heart, the kind attentions of love it could not return, were each a dagger wounding Gratitude: and this painful, this distracting thought, would sometimes make him abruptly leave her, which she, on her part, attributed to indifference. Each, pas­sionately in love and convinced they were not beloved, attributed all those actions to generosity, or to friendship, at the utmost, which sprang from a very different sensa­tion. But let us not anticipate; return we to the High Chamberlain.

We have beforetime seen he was not scrupulous to ex­cess, concerning telling the whole truth, and nothing [Page 52] but the truth, on certain occasions: he, therefore, so well played his part, that his daughter, very unsuspectingly, a thousand times thanked him for his kind attention to her dear Mamma, and a thousand times intreated he would make haste to Rindaw. And so many affecting expressi­ons did she use, concerning that dear friend, who no longer existed, that Walstein, unable to suppress his feelings, intreated her to speak no more, but to recollect the severe injunctions of the physician.

"Well, well, I will be silent; only tell her, my dear father, that it is for her, for her alone, and to see her, once again, Caroline wishes to recover. Tell her, also, that the most generous of men"—

He stood by her side, and interrupted her by gently laying his hand upon her lips.—She was prompted to have given that dear hand a kiss; nay, the first movement was made, nor do we know by what fear she was restrained, nor what her feelings precisely were. We only know a slight tremor seized her, and that the Count, perceiving it, was far from imagining its true cause. He hastened the High Chamberlain away, and saw him get into the post-chaise with pleasure. The corpse of the Canoness was to follow by night, and her women, and the servants she had brought, to which were added others by the Count, were to escort it: Caroline's maid and footman staid at Ronebourg, to attend on their mistress.

The physician, whose affairs required he should not long be absent from Berlin, was desirous to return; but the Count, however, by his earnest entreaties, and the liberality of his presents, prevailed on him to stay a few more days, and not to quit his patient, while the most distant possibility of danger or relapse remained. Nor was this a distant period, each new day bestowed new strength; already she began to sit up, and to walk across her room, leaning on the arm of the Count. Her reco­very, at length, could no longer be doubted, and the doctor departed for the capital, rewarded, beyond his hopes, for his skill and care.

And now behold the Count alone, at Ronebourg, with his Caroline.—His Caroline?—Was she his? Alas! he durst not regard her but as the sacred pledge, the de­posit of friendship. His last short letter to Lindorf was recollected; the lover must soon arrive, and should he send for this unfortunate lover only to make him a wit­ness [Page 53] of the woman he adored being in possession of ano­ther? And must Caroline, the tender-hearted Caroline, whom the struggles of passion had brought to the brink of the grave, must she see him again, again to lose him? No; Walstein never had so cruel a thought. More and more determined not to violate the oath he so solemnly had pronounced, when he beheld her dying, but to break the arbitrary chains that had bound her his, and unite her to Lindorf, he only waited the arrival of the latter to inform them both of his generous intentions, and the happiness he was preparing for them. Fearing, however, lest the excess of this happiness might, at present, be too much for Caroline, he would not abruptly tell her what he meant to do; neither would he lay that grateful, that affectionate heart, under obligations which would be too oppressive; still less would he suffer her to suspect the pangs his own heart felt in thus renouncing, thus yield­ing her to another. "She believes at present," said he, "she owes her life to me, and, I know, would willingly sacrifice that life to my happiness; but, no dear Caroline, no, never such sacrifice will I exact; I, I alone wish, I alone ought to suffer, nor shalt thou ever suspect how in­finitely I should be miserable; never shalt thou imagine how ardently I adore; friendship only shalt thou see, even when affection is the strongest; and if I, in return, may obtain thine, if I may make thee and Lindorf happy, shall I be so wretched as I suppose?—Oh! Caroline, Caroline; yes, strange parodox! I feel I may be wretch­ed even while I am virtuous!—To yield thee to another, and not to die, I must no more behold, no more have intercourse with thee!"

And according to such suppositions did Walstein form a plan of conduct from which he promised never to de­part, till the arrival of Lindorf. Not daring to trust the health of Caroline with any other, and unable, himself, to abstain from the pleasure of administering those aids that might restore her to health, he still continued them with all his former assiduity; but he took care seldom to be alone with her; or, if so, by chance, he found him­self, he took up a book and read, or played on the flute, of which he was a master, to amuse her. And when he read, and when he played, there was such sensibility, such passion in every tone, in every sound, that the melt­ing [Page 54] soul of Caroline was all rapture. Her mind, more susceptible by her late sufferings and present recovery, which gave a new charm to every object, became each day, each hour, more and more attached to that amiable husband, so kind, so complaisant, so deserving of being beloved. Her inclination for Lindorf had but given la­tent passions action, had but roused sensibility and dormant love, of which, till now, she had only felt the sorrows and the remorse; but, at present, authorized by duty, it had a charm, a fascination; the words happiness, love, and husband, were united, and she could not but hope he loved her, and had granted her pardon. Never did she tire of making her maid repeat the various proofs of affection he had shewn, during her illness; the nights passed in watching over her; the despair so frequently visible when he supposed her recovery impossible; while each circumstance augmented passion till love seemed un­bounded, although she durst not give it an epithet more tender than gratitude.

Attentive to the least actions of Walstein, to every motion, and every word, she was not long before she re­marked the uneasy constraint he laboured under, and the care he took to avoid all private and particular conversa­tion relative to themselves. At the very beginning of her recovery he had told her his friend Lindorf was on the road, that he would not be long before he would ar­rive, and that he, in the mean while, had his house and servants at his disposal. The best of motives was Wal­stein's, when he gave Caroline this information; but she, too weak at that time, to enter into explanations, could not hear the name of Lindorf, and, especially, his in­tended return, without a painful sensation, an inquietude sufficiently evident, which but confirmed the Count in his suspicions and intents. She, on the contrary, sup­posed he meant to try her; and, therefore, was the more confused. How often did she, afterwards, reproach her­self for not having seized the opportunity of the moment to open her heart; for not confessing her former and her present sentiments! Yet had she a right so to do?— When Lindorf fled and sacrificed himself for Caroline, might Caroline be permitted to risk the loss of his friend; to rob him of a protector; who, at last, might tire of an attachment which, to him, had been so fatal?

To these reflections others were added, by which she [Page 55] was restrained. How might she be the first to tell the Count she loved him, while she doubted of his love for her, and while this doubt every day increased? His pre­sent conduct was the very reverse of what it had been, during her illness; and she knew not how to account for either the one or the other. If he love me not, thought she, incessantly, whence that mortal dread of losing me? Whence that despair which had nearly deprived him of life? Or, wherefore those raptures, so affecting and so dear to memory, on the hopes of my recovery? Still I behold his tears of joy, still I hear those expressions so kind, so affectionate, which love alone could dictate.— But wherefore are those expressions heard no more? Or why, now I am able to hear and answer, is he silent? Wherefore does he avoid me thus? Alas! it was compas­sion which agitated his capacious and benevolent mind, and which I misinterpreted love, and now, pity gradually decreasing, resentments succeeds—Oh! my Lord, and husband, didst thou but know my heart, my love, my re­pentance, surely thou wouldst not remain unmoved; sure­ly thou wouldst pardon, nay, perhaps, mightest love, and we might still be happy."

Then did she bestow her kisses and her tears on the picture which her woman had taken from her neck, when she fainted, on their first arrival; and which had been carefully concealed. This picture she had asked for at the beginning of her recovery, and it was become to her the most precious thing on earth. At length, unable any longer to support incertitude so distressing, she resolved to oblige the Count to come to some kind of explanation, by testifying her own desire to quit Ronebourg. Nor was this desire feigned; with regret she saw herself in a place she had so many reasons to dislike, and which so continually brought to recollection an error she could not pardon herself. What the Count had said, likewise, concerning the return of his friend, alarmed her. She could not comprehend the motive of this return, but, be it what it might, to be found at Ronebourg would be equally painful to him and her. She knew not how far the Count's knowledge of former transactions extended, for he neither spoke of Lindorf, himself, the letter he had received, the letters he had written, his design to travel, nor of the place where he intended to leave Ca­roline. In fact, he was wholly silent. Unremittingly [Page 56] employed, by his endeavours to amuse and please her, his attentions were the attentions of love, his language the language of indifference. Sometimes, when he read [...]assg [...] of sensibility [...] played an affecting movement [...] of sympathy would stand in both [...] the moment the Count saw those of Ca­rolin [...], he would tear himself away, that he might conceal emotions he could not always conquer.

Then would Walstein bury himself in the recluse for­est covert, or shut himself up in his cabinet, that he might freely utter his complaints, and vent feelings by which he was oppressed. Happy Lindorf! would he say; thou knowest not all thy bliss; knowest not my loss. Come, Oh! come, and dry the tears of Caroline, which flow at thy remembrance, that I may behold her happy ere I die!

Sometimes he would reproach himself for suffering her to remain ignorant of her approaching felicity; for not saying to her, Lindorf, the regretted, the beloved Lin­dorf, shall be your husband. But how might he say this, unless he were more certain he could fulfil his promise? Lindorf came not, wrote not; and how if death, sparing Caroline, had struck his friend! How, if Lindorf was no longer a living being! His blood froze at the thought— Merciful God! said he, thou hearest my prayers for Ca­roline! Oh! hear them, also, for my friend! Let him return, let him be happy, and I, only, miserable!

The situation of his sister was an additional grief. De­ceived by her cheerfulness, her levity, which was but the levity of infancy, and mistaken in the perseverance of her character, he had supposed her love for Lindorf very feeble, and that the Baron de Zastrow would presently efface the fleeting sensations. But her letter shewed him his error, proved her passion real and lasting, and wound­ed him to the heart for having given it birth, unable as he was, honourably, to give it consummation. Matilda, like himself, was in love, and, like himself, was wretch­ed; he knew he had but to intimate a wish and Lindorf would marry her, would thus ascertain to him the posses­sion of Caroline; Lindorf would refuse him nothing, and Caroline was too much attached to her duty for him to doubt she would any longer testify her former repug­nance. But it was not for Walstein to selfishly take ad­vantage of the generosity of others, and abuse the power gratitude gave. Not his own, no, not his sister's happi­ness [Page 57] would he thus acquire; nor, indeed, was happiness possible, unless it were mutual. The supposition of her being united to a man whose heart another possessed was not to be borne; he, therefore, resolved, without explain­ing a secret which not only required too circumstanti [...] a relation for a letter to contain, but, by coming so sudden­ly might have a fatal effect, to prepare her for the loss of Lindorf, and, therefore, thus he wrote.

"Yes, dear Matilda, I am returned; your brother and your friend again are yours; and, surely, you know, by sympathy you know, his sentiments are ever the same.— They are a part of his being, and fraternal love, the most mild, most durable of all love, is not liable to change; but, on the contrary, a thousand circumstances and consi­derations ought to continue and increase it. The friend which nature first gave us should have the first place in our affections. I did not think, dear Matilda, it was pos­sibl [...] I should love you more than I ever have done; yet your last letter has interested me so much that it seems to have produced this effect. No longer do I love a sweet little girl because she is my sister, and because she is amia­ble, but I now find a friend, a tender friend, whose feel­ings I participate, to whom I am obliged for the confi­dence she reposes in me, and who, in return, merits mine; for I, like her, have need of counsel and consolation.

Ah! Matilda, your brother's prospects of happiness are as few as yours. Yet, if I am not deceived, I hope, by affording each other mutual aid, by uniting our reason and our fortitude, we, perhaps, may rise superior to the misfortunes that threaten us, and create a species of hap­piness for ourselves, founded on self-approbation, and the grateful remembrance of having sacrificed our own feli­city to the felicity of our friends.— You understand me not. Well then, I will explain myself, as far as the bounds of a letter will permit. The circumstances, and they are many, shall be related when we meet, which will be ere long.

"My melancholy story, Matilda, is more similar to yours than you imagine. I, like you, love, and with no less violence; and I am of a sex that has not the habit of holding the impetuous emotions of passion in due sub­jection. My love is unbounded, and yet—Be you the judge whether it becomes me to renounce it. I need but [Page 58] speak a word, a single word, and the woman I love is mine; but must I seek my own happiness at another's expence? Her heart is not mine. The man she loves is worthy of that distinction, and his passion equals her's. On me, and me only, it depends for ever to separate or unite them. Alas! dear Matilda, how feeble are reason and virtue, where the heart is subject to the imperious mandates of passion! Only imagine that the brother of Matilda is undetermined what to do; yet, I hope, he will not disgrace his sister. But Oh! my dear, my ten­der friend, I stand in need of your support; to be sus­tained by your fortitude, nay, perhaps by your example. Tell me, were you in my place, how would you act? And that you may the better decide, the better feel for me, suppose that you yourself were in the same precise situation; suppose it to be Lindorf you love, who is be­loved, whose destiny is in my power, and that I may bestow on him, or for ever deprive him of the object of his passion and mine. Ah! Matilda, already I hear you pronounce sentence; I see my dear and tender sister set me an example of fortitude and generosity; she rejects such partial happiness which to herself must bring re­morse, and to the man she loves regret, grief, and perhaps detestation.—Regret! my dear Matilda? The happy mortal who possesses th [...]e, ought to have far different sensations; nor will ever present thee to one who knows not how to esteem [...]hy worth, and who cannot love thee, and thee only.

"And why may not the Baron de Zastrow be this happy man? Why may not he love thee? Thou wil [...] answer, and I acknowledge, it is equally necessary thou shouldest love likewise. I shall shortly come myself, and, perhaps, shall find thou hast been too severe in thy judg­ment. Thou seemest to own he is handsome, amiable, and adores thee. These are no common advantages, Matilda; and remembering how highly thou wilt please thy aunt— Yet be not terrified, I first would know whether he de­serves thee; and if thou really canst not love him; for, if so, thou art free. Yes, I promise thee, no earthly power shall force thy affections, while I exist.—Take courage, therefore, my dear girl, if Love should have pangs in store for thee, Friendship, I hope, may allevi­ate them; for my own part, I will not complain while in my sister I find a friend. Lindorf is in England; do [Page 59] not expect any letter from him; but I hope he will soon return, and then I shall immediately come to Dresden, shall then open my whole heart, and then shall read thine. Shouldest thou persist in refusing the young Baron, I have another proposition to make, which, perhaps, may please thee better. It is to come and live with a brother who loves thee, till thou shalt have made another choice. But, whatever thy design maybe, rest assured thou hast a friend whose affection cannot be expressed.—Adieu, dear and lovely Matilda, thou, I feel, mayest yet heal the wounds of my heart. Adieu, and think me ever the most affectionate of brothers.

EDMUND, Count of Walstein."

With this letter he sent another to his aunt, Madam de Zastrow, in which he told her that certain reasons obli­ged him no more to think of the union of his sister and his friend; and that, therefore, he should be happy could she be induced to favour the Baron de Zastrow; but he conjured her not to be precipitate, and by no means to use the least violence. He further said he should soon come to Dresden, and intreated his aunt not finally to dispose of his sister till his arrival.

These two letters being sent, and thus being more tran­quil, relative to the fate of Matilda, the Count applied himself wholly to the plan he had formed, in order to ascertain the happiness of Caroline. He had desired the High Chamberlain to come to Ronebourg, so soon as his daughter should be informed of the death of the Baroness. It could not be long before Lindorf must arrive, and the Count was determined to set off for Berlin the moment he came; pretending to have received an order from the King, and to leave Lindorf at Ronebourg, with the High Chamberlain, that he might obtain a divorce from his Majesty, and his consent, also, for the marriage of Lin­dorf and Caroline. He then intended to write and inform them of their happiness; and, without seeing them, to depart for Dresden. From Dresden, he meant to go to England with Matilda; or without her, if she determined to marry the young Baron de Zastrow; and to reside there with his mother's relations. He felt sufficient fortitude to make Caroline and his friend happy, but not to be a daily witness of their loves; and this plan, once fixed, he held to be unalterable.

Alas! he knew not yet all the power of love; had yet [Page 60] not felt all its vengeful effects. The more he struggled with passion, the deeper was it rooted in his heart. How often, when beside Caroline, unable to restrain his feel­ings, was he ready to kneel at her feet, confess his affec­tion, his internal struggles, his despair; appeal to her generosity, recall to mind the sacred bond by which they were united, the vows they had mutually made, and em­ploy every resource, of pity and of passion, to supplicate her consent to live and die with the husband by whom she was adored. By slight only could he obtain a victory over himself, on these occasions. Once out of her sight, and virtue, delicacy, and friendship, again were ascen­dant. Love ceded to duty; and he had the fortitude to imagine Caroline in the arms of another, and not expire at the thought! Then would he remember Lindorf, ba­nished from his country, dragging an unhappy being through foreign climates, deprived of his mistress and his friend, without consolation and without hope; and, re­membering, shudder and detest his weakness: again re­new his oaths to subdue it, and, fearing to expose himself to future dangers, deprive himself of the pleasure of see­ing Caroline; who, ill interpreting the cause of his ab­sence, would, on her part, weep and afflict herself at conduct which she supposed to be the most unequivocal proof of indifference.

In her moments of vexation and despair, she strength­ened herself in the resolution of returning to Rindaw, and of intreating, nay, of absolutely requiring his consent, should he offer any opposition. "Alas! would she re­ply to this doubt, "far from opposing, he will gladly seize the means of living separate from Caroline.—Sepa­rate!—What, am I no more to see him, to hear him no more? And, when I quit this place, must a lasting se­paration ensue? And must I ask it; must I myself pro­nounce the fatal sentence? No! never shall I acquire force adequate to a task like this! When he shall have the cruelty to command, submission will surely be suffici­ent punishment."

Yet did her friendship for the Baroness, at some mo­ments, make her even desire th [...] [...]e [...]ation [...] and vanquish her fears of quitting Walstein. The High Chamberlain, as had been concerted with the Count, endeavoured to prepare her to support the death of her friend. In his first letters, he spoke of remedies she had taken, to [...]eco­ver [Page 61] her sight, which were powerful and somewhat dan­gerous. He afterwards wrote word her blindness was past cure, and that it afflicted her so much she had fallen ill. Caroline no sooner heard this than she wished to fly to attend and console her; but she herself was yet too feeble for the fatigues of such a journey. She wrote the most affecting letters, both to her friend and her father; and, every returning courier, hoped to hear of her recovery. At length the letters of the High Chamberlain became so alarming, and affirmed so positively the Baroness of Rindaw was in the utmost danger, that Caroline immedi­ately determined to set off; and sent to beg the Count would come and speak with her.

He found her with her eyes swimming in tears, and well divined their cause. "Oh! Sir," said she, the moment he entered, "read here what my father has [...]rit­ten! My dear mamma is very, very ill; nay, perhaps, worse than he says. Let me intreat you to give imme­diate orders for my departure; for I will instantly be gone to Rindaw. Never shall I forgive myself for hav­ing de [...]yed so long. Should I be too late, should I never more behold the tenderest, dearest of friends—"

The Count, finding this idea had presented itself to her mind, and that the apprehension had had half its effect, thought this the time to inform her of the truth: beside that her resolution to depart, immediately, made secr [...]y any longer impossible.—"Dear Caroline," said he, seat­ing himself beside her, and taking one of her hands, "let me intreat you in the name of Heaven to be calm; think of the injury you may do yourself! Scarcely recovered from a most dangerous illness, can you sustain—"

"Yes, any thing, every thing! It is my duty to devote my returning strength to the service of the friend who has been, to me, the best and tenderest of mothers. I feel how much I have neglected this duty, and shall, indeed, be most happ [...], may I but have the means to repair my wrongs."

She was going to rise and make preparations, but the Count again detained her. "A moment, dear Caroline, be appeased for a moment, I conjure you, and listen to me—I have also received a letter from your father."

"Merciful God!" cried she, turning pale, and pre­saging what was coming; "a letter to you! Tell me! I [Page 62] beg you, instantly, tell me its contents. Has my father concealed any thing?—Oh! Sir,—" Her oppressed heart could no longer resist the violence of agitation, and her sobs interrupted speech. The silence of the Count, his downcast eyes, the timid compassion of his counte­nance, and the vague answers he returned, confirmed her fears, and her despair became excessive. "Oh God! Oh God!" exclaimed she, "I perceive, I perceive, I no longer have a friend, no longer have any thing in this world! My dear Mamma no longer exists, and I have lost my all!"

"Not so, dear Caroline; there still is a friend in the world, who hopes to prove how dear you are to him, and how much he is interested in your happiness."

Caroline loved this friend too well herself to be wholly insensible of that consolation he wished to impart; and to those new proofs of tenderness which she no longer had dared to hope. Her tears still flowed, abundantly flowed, but less bitterly. In the assaults of violent grief, the feeling and impassioned mind experiences relief by the company of a beloved object, and in the alleviations of love. She grieved, but the Count grieved with her, felt as she felt, and partook of her affliction. In these their moments of melancholy, their souls were in unison. Caroline had lost the tenderest of friends, but the very moment in which she was informed of this misfortune was that which gave her the sweet hope of being beloved, by the husband she adored; for, in this first transport of despair, which softened fortitude and shewed Caroline still more lovely, the Count was not able wholly to re­press his passion. The sorrow of Caroline demanded every care and consolation friendship could afford; and Walstein, while he endeavoured to assume the form of friendship, had all the tenderest actions and looks of love. Caroline, thus, in the midst of affliction, had a glimpse of a happy futurity, and mourned that her friend was not to be a witness of her bliss.

She desired to be informed circumstantially of her ill­ness and death; but the Count, who understood nothing so ill as dissimulation, referred her to the High Chamber­lain, who would soon return; ye [...], to quiet her remorse for having too long delayed going to the aid of her friend, he told her she had died some time since, and when it was impossible for Caroline to have gone to her assistance. [Page 63] No sooner was the High Chamberlain informed that his daughter knew the truth than he returned to Ronebourg, and told her, himself, she was left sole heiress to the Ca­noness. She had made her will anew, afte [...] she had been informed of her marriage, and it was to the Countess of Walstein she had bequeathed all her possessions: she had indeed left a legacy to the Count, purposely, as she her­self had worded it, to prove how highly she was satisfied at his union with Caroline. She recommended, in most affecting terms, the happiness of this her beloved pupil, to Walstein; and to Caroline that of the best and most sublime of men.

The reading of the will drew many tears from Caro­line; nor was the Count less affected. The High Cham­berlain, alone, read it with perfect satisfaction, and com­prehended not how an augmentation of fortune could become the subject of sorrow. Caroline, alas! found on­ly new motives, in these benefactions, to regret a friend so tender and so generous. Walstein, distracted by a thousand contrary sensations, could not hear of union and happiness, which he so soon was to renounce, without extreme emotion. When the Baron came to that article, he suddenly kneeled to Caroline; "Yes," said he, with vehement transport, "yes, by honour, by love, by every thing sacred, I swear, you shall be happy, Caroline"— He could not continue; and Caroline, affected to excess, tenderly stretched out her hand to raise him, while she felt, more powerfully than ever, that on him only, of all the world, this her promised happiness depended, and on the sentiments he should entertain for her.

Had they been alone, perhaps she might then have told him what hers really were; perhaps this might have been the happy moment of an explanation too long delayed; but the presence of the placid High Chamberlain checked such effusions of the heart. He, with wonderful tran­quillity, continued to read his will; which contained nothing farther, except legacies to servants and vassals. The Count, unable to support the continuance of his present emotion and the tears of the compassionate Caro­line, left the room and walked into the park, whither all his feelings went with him. He began no longer to un­derstand his own proceedings; and, sometimes, asked himself wherefore he thus should wilfully be forever mi­serable. Wherefore should he yield the possession of her [Page 64] on whom he had so many claims, and without whom it was impossible to live? "She begins," thought he, "to be accustomed to me; nay, I even think I behold expres­sions of affection in her eyes. Alas! I know it can be but friendship, esteem, gratitude; yet may not these sen­sations, in a mind like hers, well supply the place of love? Or may I ever hope to inspire others? Does she not already grant more than I could ever expect?— But, while I know, past doubt, her heart wholly apper­tains to another, to Lindorf!—Lindorf? Alas! perhaps he no longer is in existence; perhaps he has sunk under his grief, under the grief of Caroline, by which my own heart has been so often wounded, and which must be re­newed, with such excess, should she hear tidings so fatal!"

The Count shuddered while he imagined he himself might be the messenger to inform Caroline of the death of the man she loved; that he himself must then be con­sidered as the cause of his death. The silence of Lindorf after the short letter he could not but have received, ap­peared to him a certain proof his fears were but too well sounded; and so much did this and such like fears tor­ment him, that scarcely could reason sustain the conflicts of the heart. At one moment he would passionately wish the return of Lindorf, and dread it worse than death the next; equally fearing to see him arrive, or to hear he was no longer in existence. Thus did a man so philoso­phic, so sage, so wholly till then master of himself, at length, feel the empire of passion and its tyrannic pow­er; and, while thus he felt, terrified at its effects, again swore to vanquish it, to devote himself, if it were not too late, to the felicity of those he loved.

From one of these tormenting terrors he was, at last, relieved. He received a letter from Varner, the valet de chambre of Lindorf, to whom he had given his short and pressing letter, written to conjure his friend to re­turn. "The good Varner entreated his Excellency not to be uneasy at not having yet received an answer to this letter, for that, when he came to Hamburg, his master was not there; he had embarked, a few days before, for England, with a Saxon gentleman: and he, Varner, de­tained three weeks at Hamburg by contrary winds, had neither been able to join his master, who expected him at London, nor, consequently, to remit to him the letter his Excellency had confided to his care."

[Page 65]The first pleasure of the Count was to learn that Lin­dorf still lived, and by being able to travel, was in good health. Nor was this pleasure single; Lindorf had not received his letter; his return was therefore deferred; and this short delay, which likewise deferred the moment when Walstein should be obliged to quit Caroline, cede her to another, and live for [...]ever from her, was to him an age of happiness. He hastened therefore to her chamber, that he might not lose moments so precious. Her father was with her. "My dear Count," said the High Cham­berlain, as he entered, "my daughter here, is exceeding­ly desirous of quitting Ronebourg, but dares not speak to you on the subject. For my part, I can see no reason in the world why you should remain longer here; for, at present, the Countess is sufficiently recovered to under­take the journey. The King may complain of your long absence; he commanded me to hasten your return to Berlin, and in a tone that will not admit of longer delay; and I must certainly be gone; for my presence is absolute­ly necessary at court. If, therefore, your Excellency shall think proper to give orders, we will incontinently depart together."

The Count made no reply, but fixed his eyes on Caro­line; in order to enquire of her countenance what was passing in her heart, and whether she really wished to leave Ronebourg. Caroline blushed, looked down, and, by her silence, seemed to approve. Yet was the embar­assment of the Count beyond description great. He could not be ignorant how much the King desired his return; for, since his arrival from Russia, he had only remained four-and-twenty hours at Berlin; and had had but one short interview with his Majesty. To the friend­ship of the Sovereign, only, was he indebted for his pre­sent long absence; and frequent couriers brought him pressing letters from the King; or rather from a man who reclaimed his friend. Walstein knew, likewise, that his marriage with Caroline was then become public. The High Chamberlain, who so long had laboured with this secret, had told it to the whole world, as soon as his daughter was gone to Ronebourg. The King himself, knowing the Count and Countess were together, had openly spoken of their union; wherefore longer mystery was impossible. Yet how might the Count, with his present intentions, take Caroline to Berlin as the Coun­tess [Page 66] of Walstein, and there present her at court, and to every body, by a name she so soon was to quit?

He then felt how much the delay of his letter to Lin­dorf deranged all his projects. He no longer could refuse the request of the King, which might every moment be changed to a command: he could not think of leaving Caroline, alone, at Ronebourg; and still less of taking her to Rindaw, where every thing must tend to nourish and increase affliction. While reflecting, in this dilemma, how he must act, Caroline, pressed by her father to con­firm her desire to depart immediately, said, "she should, with pleasure, accompany my lord the Count to Berlin; but that she hoped, both he and the king would have the goodness, for some time, to dispense with her seeing com­pany; and that, while she remained in mourning, she might be permitted to live retired."

Walstein eagerly caught the idea; and the health of Ca­roline, not yet sufficiently re-established, together with her deep mourning for a friend whom she had loved as a mother, were, in reality, excellent pretexts for comply­ing with her request, and neither receiving nor paying visits, at Berlin, for some months. In less time than that Walstein well might hope his future fate would be de­cided. Caroline, mean while, would live almost unknown, at Walstein-house, where she would see only her father, and himself; which, to him, was a most pleasing reflecti­on. It was some alleviation to despair not to be obliged to quit her before the dreaded hour of final separation should arrive. The sage in love is but a man. The Count no longer saw impediments. Caroline living in his house, and in his sight, was perfection of bliss; and, though he still destined her for a man he supposed she loved, though still determined carefully to conceal his own passion, he could not refuse himself this intermediate enjoyment of happiness; which, beside, would remove every difficulty, relative to where Caroline should remain.

The day of departure was, therefore, fixed; and the tender Caroline beheld it arrive with rapture. She should no longer live in the mansion of Lindorf: it was now determined she should for ever pass her life with the hus­band she adored, and she thought herself certain of soon effacing from his memory, by offices of tender affection, the capricious and erroneous conduct which her heart, at present, disclaimed; and which she herself could never [Page 67] pardon. Walstein, attentive to every action and look o [...] Caroline, perceived she went with pleasure; but this pleasure he ascribed to virtue, and to the desire she had, henceforth, of avoiding every thing that might bring Lin­dorf to memory. His esteem, consequently, his affecti­on, were redoubled; but, thinking thus, he was but the more strongly confirmed in his determination of reward­ing the virtue he so much admired.

Behold them, then, at Berlin, and alighting at Wal­stein-house; a place of so much former terror to Caroline. She entered it with all those gentle sensations, those mild hopes, so sweet to the soul, and which seemed a prelude of the felicity she was about to enjoy. To these succeed­ed the recollection of her bridal day, her behaviour to the man she now adored, the mixture of hope and fear con­cerning the real sentiments of the Count, and the melan­choly reflection on the death of her dear friend, whom she wished a witness of her present happiness. These, all conspiring, contributed but to augment that emotion which she no longer could conceal, and which brought the tears into her eyes. The Count saw those tears; his heart melted at the sight; he attributed them to a very different cause, and would instantly have given her every assurance that cause should be removed; but we have be­fore seen the motives by which he was withheld. He would not give her a prospect of bliss as yet uncertain; nor would he have to combat with her delicacy and gene­rosity. Neither, indeed, had he the power to pronounce I yield Caroline to another. No, he might have acted; but, on such a subject, he could not have spoken!

The High Chamberlain supped with them, and retired inflate with joy at beholding his daughter now established Lady of Walstein-house. When he was gone, the Count led Caroline to the apartment which had long been destin­ed to receive her; at the time of his marriage, and while he was far from pre [...]ging the events that were to succeed. He had furnished it with all possible taste and magnifi­cence, in the dear expectation that his young and beaute­ous bride was soon to become its inhabitant. This expec­tation, at last, was realized. But how? In what manner? And at what moment? How much might he well regret past suspense, and the hope which, during uncertainty, he had cherished!

"This, dear Caroline," said he, as they entered, "i [...] [Page 68] the apartment which has long been reserved for you."— Caroline, who supposed a latent reproach was lurking in these few, words, looked down, and alternately blushed and turned pale. Walstein [...]aw this, but saw not the true motive. Eager to deprive her of her fears, "You," said he, respectfully kissing her hand, "are absolute here; queen of this apartment, neither I nor any one else shall enter it, without your free permission."

Hastily the Count retired; had he rem [...]ned a moment longer, he, perhaps, had forgotten Lindorf and all his oaths—"Ye powers of friendship!" cried he, as he en­tered his own chamber, "sustain my fortitude. Caroline, dear adored Caroline, Lindorf, my friend, appear, be ever present to my imagination, there incessantly repeat you cannot be happy asunder!"

Thus did the whole night pass in mourning over and lamenting his destiny, and the rigid sacrifice which virtue, principle, friendship, and even love itself, loudly demand­ed. Caroline, though more tranquil, yet slept but little and reflected much. Though her chaste simplicity felt not all the singularity of Walstein's conduct, yet could she not be wholly ignorant that her spouse had a right to partake of her apartment; and she thought her own wrongs too many, and too great, not to attribute his leav­ing her thus too well-founded resentment. Succeeding evenings but confirmed the idea; Walstein, fearing again to encounter dangers he found himself so near sinking under before, not only forbore to accompany Caroline to her apartment but began, as he had done at Ronebourg, Before she knew the death of the Baroness, to absent him­self as much as possible, and never be with her, except in the presence of her father, or her women; and even then he had an air of constraint, of anxiety, so visible, he fear­ed so much to meet her eyes, or to approach her touch, that she no longer doubted of his indifference; nay she even dreaded it was aversion.—This conduct, far from irritating, sensibly affected Caroline. Herself, alone, and her forme [...] [...]ap [...] [...] she accuse. Perhaps he sought to punish them▪ and he had good right; or, rather, her un­just slight, and [...]he [...]e she so long had testified, had at length wholly incurred his hatred. Yet his tender and continued c [...]es, his mild and gentle attentions dur­ing her illness, [...]nd her grief, what were they? —Ge­nerosity, natural benevolence, sympathy, compassion; [Page 69] which ever are inherent in the noble mind, But she [...]o [...] plainly saw, at present, the chains by which he was re­ [...]ned were become detestable: yes, he groaned over that fatality by which they had been united. She recollected his travelling design, and doubted not but he still intend­ed it should take place; she even, for a moment, thought to prevent his being again at the pain of proposing her return to Rindaw; and thus, by voluntarily absenting herself from the Count and the court, restore him the li­berty of which she thought him so ardently desirous.— But this proposal was become much more difficult to exe­cute than when she wrote her letter at Rindaw. At pre­sent she loved him, passionately loved him; and never could she collect the fortitude to abandon the object of this her most tender affection.—Therefore, her design was no sooner formed than forsaken; and to that succeed­ed the resolution to try all possible means of regaining the heart of her husband, and, by love, obliterating the re­membrance of former wrongs. While she meditated she hope [...] "He is so benevolent, has so much sensibility, is so little inclined to revenge injuries," said she, "that, when he shall behold how infinitely I love him, will he refuse to return my love; or will he not, at least, grant me his friendship?"

Thus did the noble and sympathetic heart of Caroline cling to her Walstein▪ thus teach her how to estimate his worth; and thus did hope, wi [...]h mild and benignant im­pulse, bid her seek his society with greater assiduity than ever he sought to avoid hers. Observant of this new ar­dor, the Count, far from imagining himself beloved, at­tributed all the attentions, all the thousand kindnesses of Caroline to systematic gratitude, and duty; which a soul so feeling, and so virtuous, as hers, had imposed upon it­self. Momentary appearances confirmed the suspicion. Caroline, young and timid, feeling sensations she thought she had not the power to communicate, reproaching her­self for, and even exaggerating former errors, fearing by officiousness to displease a husband prejudiced against her, often had an air of reserve and constraint, which persua­ded Walstein her heart was acting contrary to its most ar­dent desires. Sorrowful at the ill success of her endea­vours to inspire affection, often would she suffer melan­choly to invade her mind; often would retire to her chamber, and on her lovely cheeks leave traces of tears [Page 70] which the Count imagined to be the bitter tears of duty▪ shed in lamenting the severity of fate, that separated her from the man she loved.

Him, day after day did Walstein wait for; him, the lover and the friend, for whom felicity so supreme was held in reserve; nor could he comprehend wherefore he did not return. Beside the letter he had sent by Varner, he had also written after his arrival at Berlin; and his letter, under cover to, and recommended to the care of Lindorf's banker, at Hamburg, by him to be forwarded to England, must have reached him if he were not alrea­dy on the road, coming back. This letter was more pres­sing than the former. Without fully expressing all he meant, he used every argument to hasten his return. "On this his own happiness, and the happiness of those he most loved, depended; if prayers and entreaties were not sufficient, he absolutely exacted a compliance.—Re­collect, dear Lindorf, how often you have given me the right of disposing of your future destiny. This right, which I hold from friendship, and, perhaps, from grati­tude somewhat too enthusiastic, I now claim. Yes, I now recall to memory every circumstance which may make you hold yourself my debtor, to tell you the hour is come when it depends on you to cancel them all, and, by one single act, place all obligation to my account. I can only add, if in a month, at farthest, I have not the pleasure to embrace you, at Walstein-house, you will give me reason to doubt of an attachment which I think I deserve, and to suppose I no longer have a friend!"

This letter, so strong, so pressing, remaining unanswer­ed, gave room to imagine, and even to believe that, in fact, Lindorf had set out for Berlin before it arrived at England; and that consequently he must soon be there. Dreadful as this moment was, in which a separation from her he adored was to take place, still Walstein waited for it with a kind of impatience, arising from a conviction it would ascertain the happiness of Caroline, and from a wish of being himself freed from that inquietude which suffers the soul to wander among illusive chimeras, which an instant might destroy, and to which misery itself is some­times preferable.

How, indeed, was he to defend himself against the phantoms of hope, seductive and dear as they are to the heart, and whose spells each day became more irresistable▪ [Page 71] Nothing, indeed, but the modesty and present error of Walstein could have prevented him from perceiving they were not phantoms, were not illusive. Far from desist­ing, Caroline was still more affectionate, more attentive, mild and tender. The happiness of her existence was the prize for which she contended. And how might she perform too much for a husband like Walstein, whom she so long had offended, by aversion most unjust; to whom her heart had been unfaithful, and which had so many errors, nay, to Carol [...] ▪ crimes to obliterate? Re­pulsing diffidence, therefore, and hoping every thing from perseverance and affection, a thousand kind arts were employed to draw and attach him to her, of which love alone is susceptible, and to which love alone can give such wondrous force.

The Count was exceedingly fond of music, and Caro­line was incessant in her endeavours to arrive at excel­lence. Often did she intreat him to accompany her on the flute or violoncello, which he played equally well; often did she sing, with all the charms of sensibility, the most expressive and melting airs, and such as most were likely to make impression on a soul like Walstein's. The Count had a taste and talents for drawing, but other oc­cupations had prevented him from making any great pro­gress in the art. Caroline, on the contrary, educated in retirement, had applied herself with infinite success to that delightful art, which can people solitude, and, in despite of wintry frost, retrace nature's beauties, create meads, rivers, mountains, and forests, and make perma­nent the fleeting and perishing beauties of Flora. Caro­line was particularly successful in flowers and landscapes; which also was the species of painting the Count most preferred. She offered to instruct him▪ direct his essays, and correct his errors; in return for which, she entreated him to select books, and superintend studies which she was desirous to engage in, but which are too generally neglected in the education of women. While he was drawing by her side, sometimes would she read, and her former custom o [...] reading aloud to her dear Mamma, added to the native intelligence and feeling she possessed, rendered her indeed a most excellent reader. Walstein, when he saw her fatigued, would read in his turn; and while her countenance, obedient to the powers of genius, assumed the passion, or imbibed the wisdom of the wri­ter, [Page 72] her skilful and delicate fingers would knit, or knot, or embroider, the garter, the purse, or the waistcoat; all of which were destined pledges of affection for her Wal­stein. Ever desirous of finding new sources to give him pleasure, every action had that for its object. For him only did she exist, and continually would she invent pre­texts either to go into his apartment, or invite him into hers. Though she saw no person but him and the High Chamberlain, who supped with them almost every even­ing, never was she dull for want of company. Far from that, she continually refused the solicitations of the Baron to present her at court, seemed most desirous of prolong­ing her retreat, and, with mild and timid eyes turned to Walstein, said "never before had she been so happy!" Yet, notwithstanding all the thousand hourly-repeated proofs of love which Caroline no longer ought to hide, still did the Count, fascinated by fear, and dreading to yield to the sensations by which he was continually as­saulted, repel truth, and retain foregone and chimerical conclusions.

"Not for me," would he say, "is it to be beloved. No: the affectionate, the tender, the adorable Caroline has the art of giving to friendship—alas! what did I say? Not even to friendship, but, to simple gratitude▪ all the appearance and expression of love. It is not the presence of Walstein, but the remembrance of Lindorf, by which she thus is animated; and to him, doubtless, doth she se­cretly address all those affecting attentions, those tender speeches, and those sweet looks, which may not have me for their true object—What! know I not that she loves Lindorf! Nay, that him she ought to love!—Yet, should it be true!—Should it be me!—Should my pre­ [...]ent intents, which distract and rend my heart, make me the most ungrateful of men!—Should that bliss of angels, which I am reserving for another, be destined by Caro­line for me!—Alas, it cannot be.—Oh! Caroline! Ca­roline!—Yet, how may I know what passes in her heart, without acquainting her with the secrets of my own; without discovering the passion by which I am consumed? And yet, how may I make this known, certain, as I am, that duty, generosity, and compassion would dictate her answer? Though she love me not, her present actions and manner prove she would not an instant hesitate to sa­crifice her heart and her happiness to me."

[Page 73]Thus tormented, thus agitated by hope and fear, did the Count make both himself and the tender Caroline miserable. But sensations so violent cannot long endure: Lindorf comes not, nor will the Count find, [...]ither in delicacy or friendship, the power to resist love that thus is industrious to convince him it is mutual.

One evening, when the High Chamberlain was detain­ed at court, the Count supped alone with Caroline, who was more tender, more endearing, more enchanting than usual. If she said not I love, it was almost impossible to misunderstand her actions. The emotion, the agitation of Walstein augmented every moment, and he must either betray his feelings or fly the danger. He just had strength sufficient to perform this painful task, but it was the last effort of reason. Shut up in his own apartment, he re­flected on his present state, his love, his claims, and the conduct of Caroline.

"No," said he, "it is not, it cannot be illusive. I am beloved. I no longer have cause to doubt. If I touch her hand I feel it tremulous; or if she takes mine she gently holds and presses it, unwilling it should be with­drawn; if I quit her with mournful looks her eyes fol­low me; and, this very evening I beheld them moisten­ed with her tears. All the animation, all the tenderness of affection, were painted in her countenance; and yet I left her; yet I forbore to kneel at her feet; yet I for­bear to tell her how infinitely I adore her; neglect to supplicate a confirmation of my happiness, and of that love which every incident tends but to confirm."

Never had the idea presented itself to him with so much force and certainty: it enrapt him so far that, no longer listening to aught but sweet hope, he determined to return, confess his passion, and obtain from Caroline an avowal of hers, of which he no longer doubted. All his oaths, resolutions, and projects disappeared; all were annihilate; he forgot that Lindorf had existence: Caro­line, only, he beheld! His Caroline! To him united, by him beloved, and him loving; nor was there longer mortal man who should bear away this treasure of his soul!—In an instant, Walstein, again, is in her apart­ment. He sees her not, but he hears her guitar, hears the melody of sounds that vibrate to his heart; he ap­proaches, softly, a door half open, that leads to a small chamber, whither Caroline had retired. It was her fa­vourite [Page 74] apartment; there she passed an hour, every even­ing, before she went to bed, reading, singing, or playing. Caroline was half undrest, reclining in an arm-chair, and gently touching her guitar as she sang. The air was me­lancholy, and she seemed deeply affected; stopped occa­sionally, and put her handkerchief up to her eyes; then again continued, with less power, but more passion in her voice. Walstein thought he had known all her fa­vourite songs, yet this was new to him. He listened with mute attention, earnest to hear the words. Caro­line sang so low that he could only catch now and then a a line, one of which, however, struck him, and he lis­tened still more eagerly. At last he distinctly heard the following part of a stanza:

Ah! wherefore, love, or whither fly,
In search of bliss I'd fain impart?
If thou forsak'st me, how may I
Hope cherish in this bleeding heart?

The expression, the marked tenderness▪ with which she sang, were sufficient proofs that Caroline's complaint had reference to a real, not an imaginary lover. But who was this lover? Was it Lindorf? Was it Walstein? Diffidence and doubt again possessed his hea [...]; he looks, he listens, and presently the shadowy pleasure of doubt itself vanishes. Caroline laid her guitar in her lap, and untied a black [...]bband which she always wore around her neck. Till then the Count had supposed it was only an ornament; but he saw with surprise [...] minia­ture picture was pendant to it, and which Caroline had always carried concealed in her bosom. Too far off to distinguish the features, he yet could see, as she put it to the candle, that it was the uniform of an officer in the Prussian guards; it was therefore, the uniform and the portrait of Lindorf! Caroline, at first, fixed her eyes upon it, then pressed it to her heart, and next to her lips, with extreme passion. The tears ran down her cheeks, and fell upon the picture; she carefully wiped them off, again looked and sighed, laid it on the table, took up her guitar and sang another stanza of the same song, which the Count distinctly heard.

The sole, the sovereign balm I find,
Dear emblem of my Love is thee;
Thou bear'st his features, but his mind,
Ah! who shall paint its energy?
[Page 75]Then wherefore, Love, or whither s [...]y,
In search of bliss I'd fain impart?
If thou forsak'st me, how may I
Hope cherish in this bleeding heart?

When she had ended, she once more took up her ple­sure, gave it another kiss, tied it round [...] and, as she put it down her bosom, said, with [...] of tenderness and chagrin, "Thou, however, [...] forsake me▪" then, taking up her candle, passed i [...] her bed-chamber, after having rung for her attendants, without so much as looking towards the half open door. The action of rising, the removal of Caroline, and the darkness in which Walstein was left, awakened him from a kind of stupor into which he had sunk; from a dream of terror, which, as he awoke, instead of vanishing was con­sumed! All his imagined happiness was fled, and again he was ingulphed in wretchedness at the very instant imagination had conducted him to the ultimate of bliss! Yet, ever generous, even in the horrors of despair, his first intention was, when he had somewhat recovered him­self, to go immediately to Caroline, not to intercede for himself, but to assure her Lindorf, her fugitive, her be­loved, should return, should be hers. The arrival of the maids, however, prevented him from executing this his design, and he presently afterwards felt he no longer had the fortitude, personally, to tell her he would for ever yield her to another. His heart palpitated with such vi­olence that such a declaration seemed as if it must have cost him his life; and he even shuddered lest, had he seen her at that moment, instead of acting as friendship and justice required, he, in his delirium, should suffer passion to invade the rights of love.

No, he would see her no more! He might not, could not, durst not see her more! He still found sufficient virtue to fly, to restore her to liberty, but never to bid her an eternal adieu; or again to gaze on those impassion­ed eyes, the danger of which he had so recently proved. He returned therefore to his chamber, where he passed some hours in a state of undescribable anguish; incapable of determination, of all certitude whether love or gene­rosity, Lindorf or Walstein should prevail. He wrote letter after letter to Caroline: in one he claimed his rights and endeavoured to move her compassion: detesting his tyranny, and tearing this, he began another, in which [Page 76] he bade her for ever farewell, without the least mention of his own excruciating pangs. "What," said he, again, with increasing agitation, tearing the paper, "shall she even remain ignorant of the adoration in which I hold her? Shall I die without so much as exciting her com­passion?" He began once more; once more painted his love in all its enthusiasm, and the sacrifice he was about to make in all its horrors. Still less satisfied than ever, he tried anew to write with more moderation; and again and again he tried, and was each time alike unsuccessful.

At length, however, the fatigued and exhausted spi­rit sank into a gloomy calm, and Walstein came to a firm and irrevocable determination.—This was to go the King, who never was in bed long after day-break, and to whom he was never denied admittance, to obtain, immediately, without further let or delay, a divorce; to send it instant­ly to Caroline, and as instantly to leave Potsdam, retire to his estate at Walstein, and there make proper preparations for travels which he knew not when he should end. The more he reflected on present circumstances, and the con­trary passions by which he supposed himself and Caroline tormented, the more did he persist in this project, and deeply regretted not having put it in execution immedi­ately after his arrival at Berlin; instead of suffering him­self to be thus seduced by the fascinating pleasure of li­ving with Caroline. "Long since," said he, "would she then have been easy, and I myself perhaps less wretch­ed; I then should not have known the enchantment of her smiles, the irresistable allurement of her friendship, and the bewitching influence of her attentions: or, at least, I should have known them but in part; attentions which I interpreted into love, and which might have supplied its absence, had I remained ignorant that she loves another, over whose memory she in secret mourns. —Mourn! Does Caroline mourn? Caroline! For whom I would sacrifice a thousand lives! And shall I hesitate then to yield up my happiness?"

The thought was most natural and appeasing to the noble heart of Walstein. He wrote, or rather began to write a letter to send Caroline when he should have ob­tained a divorce. He afterwards wrote also to the High Chamberlain, to give this transaction such a colouring a [...] that he might not impute it to his daughter, or Lindorf. These letters he put in his pocket, and, aided by his v [...] ­le [...] [Page 77] de chambre, made every necessary preparation for his travels. As he supposed he was no more to visit Berlin, he passed the rest of the night in putting his papers in order, and collecting certain of them, which he meant to take with him. As soon as day appeared, he set off for Potsdam, where the King then was, and entreated a secret audience.

How, in the mean time, was poor Caroline employed? —She awoke from a sweet sleep, which had calmed her inquietude, and already began to be impatient again to see that dear and cruel husband who thus fled her embraces, and whom she yet had hoped to win by affection and per­severance. Nay, indeed, she had lately flattered herself with success, and that there was very little of the extra­ordinary in his conduct. He seemed pleased to be with her, seldom left her during the day, and had all those little preventive cares which are so peculiar to love; she often caught him looking passionately at her, and, once, surprised him ardently kissing a ringlet of her hair. What more was necessary to Caroline? Educated in the utmost innocence, without friendship or other conversation than that of the chaste Canoness, never having read other books than what she recommended, she was most happy when in the sight and hearing of her husband.—To suppose herself beloved, to pass her life in his company, was bliss supreme; and when he quitted her, at night, her only chagrin was that of being separated from him till the mor­row. These, likewise, were the only moments in which she no longer doubted of his love; "for," said she, "he might stay, if he pleased; we still could converse a little longer; o [...] read, or sing; and then, when I awoke in the morning, I should have the dear pleasure of seeing him immediately. For why might he not as well sleep in my chamber as in his own? Oh! that I durst but tell him so!—But he does not love so much to be with me as I do to be with him; he pines not as I do when we are asunder."

Then would Caroline weep without knowing why; then would she gaze on her little picture, kiss it, repeat those tender things she durst not say to the original, com­mit it again to her bosom, go to sleep with it, and, on the morrow, when she met the Count, no more remember any thing but the pleasure of being in his presence.

[Page 78]This was nearly her diurnal history; though, on the evening we have been describing, she was more than usu­ally moved by the emotion of the Count; and, particu­larly, by his sudden retreat, which came so unexpected, and which, by the manner of it, had produced this effect. She, then, began to reflect there was something extreme­ly singular in the conduct of her husband; such frequent inequality of behaviour, so many contradictions, and cir­cumstances she knew not how to explain, raised her at­tention. Was she beloved, or was she not? To answer this question she endeavoured to recollect every incident that had any relation to Walstein, from the moment after their arrival at Ronebourg. While thus ruminating, a song she had composed, at the time the Count endeavour­ed to avoid her, and when she imagined herself hated by him, was recollected, and the recollection affected her; she sung it, and her tenderness was redoubled. Then it was that the Count had overheard her, unfortunately, as she was ending the song, which was as follows:

When now no longer starting fears,
With boding ills, disturb my peace;
Now love and duty dry my tears,
And bid my former terrors cease;
Ah! where, my Love, or whither fly,
In search of bliss I'd fain impart?
If thou forsak'st me, how may I
Hope cherish in this bleeding heart?
Thy daily sorrow, nightly care,
Each word, each look, to love I gave;
Love drove away the fiend despair,
[...]nd flew to snatch me from the grave.
Then wherefore, now, or whither fly,
In search of bliss I'd fain impart?
If love forsak'st me, how may I
Hope cherish in this bleeding heart?
But if, deceiv'd▪ not love had aught
In what so we [...] with love agrees,
To life, ah! wherefore am I brought,
To perish by a worse disease?
Ah! wherefore, Love, or whither fly,
In search of bliss I'd fain impart?
If thou forsak'st me, how may I
Hope cherish in this bleeding heart?
[Page 79]
The sole, the sovereign balm I find,
Dear emblem of my love, is thee;
Thou bear'st his features, but his mind▪
Ah! who shall paint its energy?
Then wherefore, Love, or whither [...]y,
In search of bliss I'd fain impart?
If thou forsak'st me, how may I
Hope cherish in this bleeding heart?

Had the Count heard the first stanzas he must have known they related to him; but the latter and, especi­ally, the address to the picture, wholly led [...] into error. His portrait it could not be; and the energy was the energy of Lindorf, who, flying, thus sacrificed his hap­piness to his friend.

As to Caroline, having sung, wept, and kissed her pic­ture, she went to bed much relieved and more tranquil. "He loves me," thought she; "I am sure he loves me; but he believes he is not beloved. He remembers the repugnance which I so unjustly, so unkindly, shewed on the day of our marriage. And can he suppose I still am unjust and unkind? But I will undeceive him, will for­get my fears, will commit all the secrets of my heart to the bosom of my husband, and prove how totally this froward heart is changed. To-morrow, yes, to-morrow I am determined I will tell him all; tell him every day, and every moment that I adore him, and we then shall see whether he will fly from me thus each evening after supper."

This resolution made her perfectly calm; she slept in peace, had delightful dreams, awaked with the purest sensations of pleasure, and was more than ever determin­ed to execute the project she had conceived on the over night. No more she felt the same fears, the same diffidence of herself. Walstein loves her; she is convinced he loves her. Doubts and recollections of the past are the occasion of his continued reserve. Unable any longer to support these, she, with a word, will expel them all. Yes, she will, will prove to him, by a thousand incidents, that he is the sole object of her affection; that he lives and reigns [...]ingly and wholly in her heart. Poor Caroline! that heart of thine, so innocent, so tender, may not contain its transports, while, in this delirium of bliss, thou remem­berest it shall no longer have a thought concealed from [Page 80] thy beloved Walstein; from that noble husband to whom thou art indebted for thy life, and to whose happiness this life thou meanest to consecrate. But, ah! that heart not yet knows half it has to suffer!

Timidity is natural to youth, and especially to youth educated as Caroline had been. The superior virtues and wisdom of Walstein commanded a respect which not even the most mild benevolence could wholly obliterate. It was therefore that Caroline had been silent so long; and even now, determined as she is, she knows not what means are best, how to behave, or what to say; and the more the moment approaches, the more her embarrassment is increased. Oh! how does she regret her dear mamma, who, had she lived, would, long since, have been her faithful interpreter; the voluntary pledge of her truth and tenderness! But how might she herself explain them? Should she write?—She began, but her emotion was too great, her hand trembled, she could find no expressions that could convey her feelings; no words were adequate to her ideas; she could not frame a single phrase—"No," said she, "it will be better to go, to run to him, to throw myself into his arms, to say—Perhaps, I may not say a word, but surely he will understand my silence; surely he will not be able to look at me without imagining what I wish to say; he will pardon me, will dispel my fears; reserve, diffidence, and doubt, shall vanish all; he shall be wholly mine, and I wholly his; the happiest of wives and of women!"

The thought inflames her ardour, she kisses her little portrait to increase her courage, and flies to the apartment of the most beloved of husbands! She enters—But no husband is there! He seems not even there to have slept! —A large trunk, in the midst of the chamber, in which are various other packets, seems to announce a removal, or a journey.—Caroline shakes from head to foot! Scarce­ly has she strength to ring the bell! A footman appears; tremblingly she asks—"Where is my Lord the Count?"

The footman, surprised at the question, answers, 'I thought my Lady had known'—

"Known, what?"

'That my Lord set off betimes this morning.'

"Set off!—God!—"

'William, his valet de chambre, has been up all night, making ready. He has left orders that this trunk and [Page 81] these packets should follow. He does not know where my Lord is going, but he believes to England.'

"England!—Leave me!"

The footman goes, and Caroline sinks in the first chair she can stagger to; where, for the second time in her life, she feels all the affliction, all the torture of despairing love. A second time sees the man she loves neglect, abandon, fly from her!—But what a difference between the pre­sent and the former flight! When, at Rindaw, Lindorf left her, it was necessity, it was virtue, it was her own wish; the separation was a cruel one, but the reflection that she had done her duty was, indeed, the most effective consolation! Beside, she knew she was beloved, and that he who fled partook of all her affliction. Far different are her present pangs, which every circumstance but aug­ments. Not a clandestine lover but a beloved husband flies, in whom every hope of future felicity centres. A husband that hates her; or could he abandon her in a manner like this?—At what a moment too!

"Oh God! Then when I flew to him with open arms, when I imagined how unspeakable his joy would be; then to depart, without mentioning the least word of his intent, without seeing me once again! This must be hatred, or a most cruel, most unconquerable indiffer­ence! Yet, yesterday evening, how did he look at me! With what tenderness did he take my hand, and press it to his heart!—It is true, he repulsed it again with terror, and instantly left me!—For ever left me!—No, no; it cannot, it shall not be. He is no dissembler. Walstein is not the most barbarous of all human beings.—It is er­ror.—The servant is mistaken; he will return; yes, he will, he must; and here will I wait his return."

Scarcely had the poor distressed Caroline indulged this momentary glimpse of hope, which somewhat recovered her sunk spirits, before the footman re-entered, and brought her a packet of papers sealed up.—"It comes from my Lord the Count; the courier is this moment ar­rived from Po [...]sdam."

Caroline had just sufficient strength to receive it, and, by a sign, bid him retire. And now behold her alone, holding the packet she durst not open. Life or death lies there sealed up. It was large, and addressed to the Countess Caroline, Baroness of Lichtfield, in her Hotel—It was strange this; most strange!—"What! will he not [Page 82] call me by his name? God of Heaven! Is it possible?" Her trembling fingers break the seals; and, as the cover is torn, she finds, first a parchment deed, next three let­ters, an unsealed open paper, on which her eyes are ri­veted.

Souls of sympathy, that now with Caroline remain in fearful suspence, imagine a paper, a fatal paper, signed by the King, sealed by the King; imagine a deed, or ra­ther a declaration of divorce, by which the King consented to the dissolution of the marriage of Edmund Augustus Wal­stein and Caroline of Lichtfield, decreed it null and void, and the parties free to contract elsewhere!

Yes, the eyes of Caroline were riveted, wild, yet shed not a single tear! Thus, a while, she stood▪ at length, the writings dropped from her hands, a dark cloud enveloped her, a cold sweat overspread her pale face; she sees no more, breathes no more, a universal palpitation seizes her; her last thought is a hope that the hand of death is upon her, and she sinks into insensibi­lity!

Thus did she some time remain; and, when nature began somewhat to revive, she imagined she had been in a fearful dream: but not long did this deception conti­nue; the chamber, the trunks, the letters, the paper were there, witnesses of the reality of her wretchedness. She looks at the direction of those letters. The first is to her father, the second to Caroline, and is rejected with horror—"What can he say, while thus he murders me, while thus he himself dissolves our union?"

She examines the third, and what is her surprise! It is directed to the Baron of Lindorf, at Walstein-house, Berlin; and at the bottom of the direction is written, I conjure Caroline to give this letter with her own hand, to my friend, the very moment he arrives, which must be soon—"To Lindorf, exclaimed she▪ an [...] at his own house! And to me the letter entrusted! Oh God! Oh God! what can be the meaning of this? Lindorf here!—Could he be capable!—is he the cause of?—Oh! would to God it may be jealousy! How easily shall I be able to prove it groundless!"

Caroline eagerly takes up the rejected letter, addressed to her, opens it, begins to read, and hope revives in her heart.—No! not jealousy, not hatred, not indifference, not resentment are there; but generosity, delicacy, love▪ [Page 83] passionate love, tender, excessive, heroic love; and in an instant Caroline passes from the depths of misery to the purest heaven of bliss. "He loves me! He loves me!" said she, "he loves me! and our marriage is not dissolved! Soon shall he know Caroline loves him also; will be his, and his only; will exist for him, with him, by him, and never, while life endures, will leave him more!" Blessed as this letter was, scarcely could she end it, so eager was she to give orders, instantly to prepare the post-chariot; but, while it is preparing, again she reads, again she devours its contents. The words are hosts of angels, and the small paper the infinite regions of bliss.

"Dear and tender Caroline, cease to grieve, cease to subdue your feelings; not [...]o a tyrant has the care of your happiness been committed. The tears I have so lately seen shed, on the picture of a regretted lover, shall be the last which for this reason you shall shed—Oh! may my prayers be heard, and m [...]y the God of goodness grant, as an ample reward for my own sufferings, that her whom I adore may be henceforth, and forever happy! Then shall I, though separate and far, far from her, though knowing her another's, still be able to support ex­istence. Yes▪ angel of my soul, be happy; be his whom your heart hath selected, and who merits, at least as much as mortal may, a blessing so supreme. No longer shall your sensibility, by virtue tortured, lament a union which your soul abhors; no longer shall you shed those secret and corroding tears, which I would rather perish than be the cause of. Love and duty shall be allied.

"Oh Caroline! still do I hear those moving, those passionate sounds, d [...]ctated by grief, and addressed to the object of your tenderness. But complain no more; no more reproach him with an involuntary absence which he to friendship thought he owed. He shall be restored to your arms, Caroline; you shall see him, kneeling at your feet, and presently shall both of you forget your for­mer pains.

"Pardon, Oh! pardon, Caroline, that I so long have neglected to give you happiness and joy. From the mo­ment that first I learned your secret, that fatal moment when I saw you expiring, when I felt there was a degree of misery superior even to that of resigning you, I then swore to unite you to each other. Caroline, thou thy­self canst witness how sacred I have held the wife of my [Page 84] friend, the beloved of Lindorf—yet will I own, blind­ed by my passion, I have had momentary illusions, have thought it possible I myself might be ineffably b [...]d, have misinterpreted the efforts of duty and virtue into softer sensations, and had almost prepared the iron scourge of never ending regret for myself, and pining grief and melancholy for thee. But it is past, the charm is broken, and I feel it is time to fly. Yes, in a delirium of hope was I almost lost; but, with the first rays of returning day, I will depart to obtain what shall ever banish all such future rash hopes, to which I have too, too, weakly yield­ed. I go to restore you to yourself; or, rather, to the original of that picture you hold so dear. Farewell, Ca­roline; I perceive I say what I ought not; I shall give a pang to your generous and tender heart, by exposing the weakness of my own. At length, however, dear Caroline, know me for what I am. Know that, be my misery what it may in quitting you, in renouncing you thus eternally, it still would be infinitely greater were I to remain and usurp those rights which are due to love alone. To possess the person of Caroline and to know that another possesses her heart, to be equally an impedi­ment to her happiness and the happiness of a dear and respected friend, this were impossible to support! But to be a spectator of, or, at least, to imagine, your mutual fe­licity, would spread a gleam of comfort over desponding life. Caroline will owe that felicity to me, will think of me with tenderness and gratitude; and thus, while I live, I shall live certain of her friendship, and when I die she will shed a tear on my tomb.—Farewell!—Ca­roline, farewell! I fly to merit the friendship I so ear­nestly covet.

"P. S. Dated at Potsdam, ten o'clock, and after having had an audience with the King.

"All is over, the chains which have ever hung so heavy on Caroline are broken. She is free, and shall soon be Lindorf's. Oh! tell me, tell me, Caroline, that you are happy. Let me have this consolation—My friend is ignorant of the bliss that awaits him. I know his ge­nerous friendship, and the same feelings that drove him from Rindaw and his country, may, perhaps, still make him refuse this felicity. This must not be: for this rea­son I have written a letter, addressed to him, which will end all his scruples, and prove that he only can contribute [Page 85] to the small degree of happiness of which Walstein is now capable by making himself and Caroline happy.

"I still have a favour to ask, and, surely, Caroline, in a moment like this, will not by refusal, increase my griefs. No, I know her heart too well.—It is to accept the house she at present inhabits. You like its situation, Ca­roline; your apartments please you; they were designed for you, furnished for you, and never shall any one but you inhabit them—You will not, surely you will not, by a cruel denial, make your wretched friend still more wretched.

"Again and again, farewell! Dear and adored Caro­line, farewell.—And is it true, then, that you are no long­er mine, that I no longer have the least right? What talk I of rights? I never had any; those the heart only can accord, and, at present, I shall be certain of your pi­ty and esteem. Ah would you but sometimes write to me, would you but describe your happiness—But no, it can­not be: never must I write to the wife of Lindorf. If Caroline of Lichtfield will for once deign to answer me, only once, before she bears another name, her letter will reach me at Walstein, where I shall remain eight days, before I set off to Dresden, to visit my sister.

"I am going to depart!—And shall I never see you more? Shall those heavenly hours, which by your side, I have passed, never return? Shall I never more listen to your sweet voice?—Caroline, I [...]ave; for never, while thought remains, will you be absent from my imagination. Whatever hospitable, or inhospitable, land may contain my body, my soul will be ever present with you.

"Herewith I send the King's confirmation of your liberty, a letter to your father, one to—to your husband, and the deed of conveyance of Walstein house. Let m [...] know, at least, that you have received those papers; let me, once again intreat you to tell me you are happy, and all the purposes of this world are ended with


Again this dear letter is read till the chariot is ready, except just for a moment that Caroline runs into her own apartment to fetch the manuscript of Lindorf; the pic­ture, that principal cause of mistake, is warm in her bo­som. And now she departs, entreating, conjuring the postillions to be expeditious, and, notwithstanding all [Page 86] their endeavours to oblige so sweet a petitioner, still she finds they go but slowly. The Count was some hours before her, and yet, so great was the diligence she used, he had not been very long at Walstein before she arrived. Shut up in his closet, a prey to the most violent grief, insensible of every thing but the loss of Caroline, whom he never was more to behold, dead even to the consola­tions of virtue, he there had retired from the world, and the sight of human being. A momentary gleam of com­fort had come over him when he first was met by his vas­sals and servants. Louisa, Justin, and the aged Josselin, had been at the head of them, had fallen and clasped the knees of their benefactor, had presented their two litttle boys, and with blessings and prayers▪ and smiles and tears, had given him salutation. Louisa was pregnant again, "Oh! my Lord," said she, "your arrival is the fore­runner of happiness. I shall have a little girl, for which so often I have prayed; and now my Lord is married, if my Lady the Countess will but have the goodness to stand Godmother, and let my child be christened after her, I shall never be thankful enough for the favour."

The grateful Louisa spoke daggers! The Count could not support it.—"Alas! child, I am—I am no longer"— Walstein was obliged to break off abruptly and fly to con­ceal the bursting efforts of nature.

These good people still were assembled in the court, and with them some of the villagers, who all were la­menting the grief in which they had seen their good lord, when Caroline arrived. She opened the door, sprang from her chariot, and, without seeing or hearing person or object that surrounded her, exclaimed, "Where is he? Where is the Count?"

William flew!—"Here is my Lady the Countess!"—

"Yes dear William, here am I! Where is he? Lead me to him instantly!"

William ran before her, pointed to his master's closet door, and retired. Caroline opens it, runs, falls into his arms, and in a broken voice exclaims, "My Lord! My Husband!—Wherefore hast thou quitted thus thy Caroline, who adores thee, who loves thee and thee only in all the world, and whom thou wilt kill shouldest thou abandon her?"

The haste with which she ran, her eagerness, her sobs, all cut speech short and interrupted respiration; her head [Page 87] reclined on the shoulder of the Count, her arms hung round his neck, and her tears fell into his bosom. Wal­stein was not less agitated than herself; at last, taking her in his arms and placing her on a sopha, he falls at her feet.

"Caroline!—Caroline!—Is it you, Caroline?—Is it, or is it some pitying angel who has assumed your form? Can what I have heard be possible!"

"Doubt it not, doubt it not! Here, here, (Caroline untied the ribband and took the portrait from her bosom) look, behold the picture I love; nay, look at it well; say whose likeness it is; behold who thus entirely pos­sesses my heart, and for whom alone I would live and die!"

Walstein looked!—with astonishment looked!—It was he!—Good God! he himself! At least such as he himself had been; and Caroline proved she still beheld him as he had been, and that, to her, he had undergone no change. True it was, indeed, that he every day be­came more like his portrait, and that, at present, the likeness even could not be mistaken. But by what ma­gic, what miracle could this portrait, of the existence of which the Count himself was ignorant, fall into the hands of Caroline, be worn next her heart▪ and become the object of her dearest her tenderest caresses? He looks, he falters; he is ready to sink under the excess, and yet cannot he believe it real! It is a heavenly dream out of which he fears to awake! Few are his words—but those few all are expressive of rapture, astonishment, and re­maining doubt. As soon as passion would permit, Caro­line, blushing, drew from her pocket all the letters and the manuscript which Lindorf had left her—"Take these," said she, "read, and you will know all. No more will I have any secrets for my Walstein; they have already made me too wretched.—Yes, I loved Lindorf; at least, I had sensations that bore some resemblance to those I feel at present. What the difference is you yourself shall judge. When Lindorf left me at Rindaw, I wept; yes, wept; and not a little; but my grief soon found alleviation, soon subsided, and soon did this small picture become dearer to my heart than Lindorf. This morning, on the contrary, I wept not, when I received the fearful sentence of separation. Not a tear escaped: but I thought either death or distraction must have been [Page 88] the instantaneous effect, and should you persist in that your dreadful design it would be as though you were to say to me Caroline, I wish thee dead—But, Oh! rather say, Caroline, I wish thee mine, and mine thou ever shalt be—Here—here is the paper! The—the divorce! Look how insignificant it is at present!"

It was torn in a thousand pieces, and Caroline cast it with indignation into the fire—Walstein could not utter a word! He gazed, he wept, he took her hand, pressed it to his lips, to his heart—He gazed again, and excla­mations, without connection, without meaning, succeed­ed each other. He took up his own picture, and, in his delirium, kissed it with transport! It was the sacred proof of the affection of his dear Caroline!

Caroline pressed him once more to read the manuscript, but this he could not: this would have been to have ta­ken his eyes off her, and have robbed himself of moments the most precious, the most ecstatic the human heart knows.—"No, dear Caroline, do not, do not ask me to read now. I do read, I read your heart, I there find I am beloved; and what farther knowledge can I want?"

"But you know not the history of the portrait." "No matter; I know it dear to you, and that is all I wish to know."

"Nay, but hear, at least, that it was Lindorf who taught me to estimate the worth of Walstein; who first inspir­ed admiration, which was afterwards productive of love."


"Yes, let me do him justice; to Lindorf you are in­debted for the heart of your Caroline."

"To Lindorf!—Generous Friend!"

"To you he owes every thing."

"No, no, I am indebted to him for more than life."

Walstein then took the manuscript and read, and Ca­roline presently saw the struggling efforts of sensibility; often was he obliged to stop, and endeavoured to stifle his tears, and as often did he tell Caroline, with a broken and passionate voice, that Lindorf most merited her affec­tion. Caroline, with her angel hand, stopped his mouth, and obliged him to continue his reading. He passed ra­pidly over events which were already familiar to his me­mory; but when he came to the epocha of the first meet­ing of Lindorf and Caroline, his very soul seemad a part of the paper, each syllable, each phrase was devoured, and [Page 89] he read with his eyes only, for circumstances like these might not be read aloud. Caroline, with fixed looks, continually endeavoured to discover the different sensa­tions by which he was agitated.

When he had ended, he gave her back the manuscript in a manner that shewed how much he had been moved. "I see," said he, "I have a wife and a friend such as ne­ver man had, and that they both have sacrificed their own felicity to mine—Ah! wherefore, Caroline, did you ob­lige me to read this manuscript? Why not leave me in that blessed dream into which I so lately had been lulled?"

"A dream? Unkind Walstein! Is that an epithet for feelings such as mine? Do you forget that this is your picture?—The word picture, pronounced with the utmost affection, was convincing, and restored the Count all his confidence and bliss.—"And now," said she, "that you have read your own story, and that of Lindorf, listen to the history of my heart."

Caroline, then, circumstantially, related all that had passed from the moment of their marriage: the innocence with which she supposed she loved Lindorf as a brother, and her terror at first imagining a lover; the scene of the garden, of the pavilion, her grief, her tears, her regret, her struggles, all were told. She next informed him how, induced by esteem and admiration at reading his letters to Lindorf, she had begun to think of him, to look at and love his portrait; spoke of what she felt on receiving the letter in which he proposed to leave his country, and of the delicacy, the sensations, and the mixture of chagrin that had occasioned her answer. When she came to the court-yard of Ronebourg, "I protest, I vow," said she, "it was agitation only at finding myself so unexpectedly in the presence of a husband whom I had so cruelly wronged, and by whom I had so much cause to be hated; it was not Lindorf. No, you long had utterly effaced every impression he had made upon my heart."

The Count listened in rapture. He was enchanted, and took care not to give her the least interruption. With what enthusiasm, what truth, what eloquence, what af­fection, did she speak! How did she dwell on every cir­cumstance of her recovery at Ronebourg, of her hopes and fears since their arrival at Berlin, and her continual intention of explaining her feelings; of the timidity by [Page 90] which she was restrained; of her desire to please him, to win his affection, to attach him wholly to herself, and make him happy; of her grief at her ill success, her reso­lution, that very morning, of speaking, and her extreme affliction at finding him gone; of her despair at receiving the fatal packet, and of the joy that succeeded when she was so fully convinced, from his [...]tter, how dearly she was beloved by her husband. All was expressed with that rapidity, that persuasion, that passion, which so entirely remove doubt—"At present," added she, you are as per­fectly acquainted with Caroline as she is with herself; I have nothing more to relate, except to paint how happy I am. Oh! but how? It is wholly impossible! I love, am beloved, and may, without a blush, receive and re­turn all the most endearing proofs of love! Yes, my dear Lord, our hearts are now acquainted with each other, and estimate mine by your own."

Walstein would have replied, would have entered into explanations concerning his own conduct, but he was in­terrupted by the arrival of William. He entered, saying that the villagers, having heard the beauteous lady they had seen was the Countess, were very unwilling to go without being permitted to see her again, and very ear­nestly entreated she would let them pay their duty to her, if it were but for a moment. Caroline, led by Walstein, descended into the court, and was received with redoub­led cries of Life! Happiness and long life, to my Lord and my Lady!" The Count ordered wine and money to be distributed, and Caroline, clasping his hand most affecti­onately, whispered, "These good people, my Walstein, know not that they really celebrate our bridal day, the epocha of happiness confirmed!—Would you but permit—"

"Permit, Caroline!—Speak, command."

"See what a number of young people here are. Do you not think there are some lovers, among them, who wish to marry, but whom poverty keeps asunder? Ah! let us make them as happy as we are ourselves!"

The Count kissed her hand with transport.—"Dear, adorable Caroline!—Let us do still more; let us perpe­tuate the memory of this fortunate day, since it is the day when Caroline is given to my arms. Let us, here, in this scene of bliss, annually bestow six marriage portions, and do thou, my Caroline, inform the good peasants of the institution."

[Page 91]Caroline again pressed the hand of Walstein, spoke to [...]he people, and new acclamations, new benedictions were [...]ttered with redoubled fervency: in the midst of these [...]umultuous transports, the voices of young lovers were [...]till louder and more ardent than the others, and their prayers that God might for ever bless their good Lord [...]nd Lady reached the skies!

Walstein, perceiving Louisa and Justin in one corner▪ of the court, with their little family, called, and present­ed them to Caroline. "Here, my love," said he, "are some good people with whom you are already acquaint­ed." "Ah!" said Caroline, "this is the beauteous Lou­isa."—Louisa blushed and became more beautiful; for, though childbearing and the duties of her station had somewhat faded the roses on her cheeks, she still was ex­ceedingly handsome.

"Oh! yes, my Lady," said Justin, with his open ex­pressive countenance, which at once bespoke the capacity of his mind and the honesty of his heart: "You are ve­ry right; this is my beauteous Louisa; there's not a man in the world, it's my opinion, has so handsome a wife, except my Lord the Count; and that is but just. It is the recompense of Heaven for having bestowed Louisa on the poor Justin."

It was now Caroline's turn to blush! She caressed the two boys, who were fine little fellows, and, perceiving the pregnancy of Louisa, prevented her petition, by of­fering, of her own accord, to stand god-mother to the child. Louisa would have knelt at her feet, if Caroline would have suffered her: but Justin nothing could re­strain; he kissed the hem of her robe, and, rising, said, "Surely God loves me, for he hears and grants me all my prayers! No▪ sooner did I ask him to give me Louisa [...] he put it into the heart of my Lord to make her mine▪ and then I again begged a Louisa for my Lord▪ and be­hold he has found one! Well then, I next will pray him to grant my Lady two little boys, as handsome as ours; nay and I have no doubt but they will soon be here."

Caroline turned away, stooped to the children, and gave each of them a kiss and a ducat, while Walstein af­fected, shook Justin by the hand, and threw his purse in­to his hat. To escape thanks and prevent the efforts of gratitude, which, when beyond expression, are always painful, he asked Caroline to walk in the garden▪ to which [Page 92] [...]he instantly agreed. It was then the month of Decem­ber, the air was piercing, the earth covered with snow, and the waters with frost, yet neither frost nor snow were seen, nor was the sharp air felt by Caroline and Walstein. Never did walk in spring appear to them so delicious. Long has it been known that love can embellish all things, and that, where the beloved object is present, their is nei­ther winter nor summer, spring nor fall. Indeed, the gardens, were remarkable for their beauty, extent, and the taste with which they were disposed; and, as such, were visited by travellers. Caroline had seen something of them, on her other bridle day, and perhaps more than she saw at present, though she now walked all over them.— At length, the Count, fearing the effect of the cold, brought her back to the Chateau. Here they found a collation such as the rustic hoards of Louisa could afford. She had been busy in providing cream, new cheese, ches­nuts, honeycombs, and a part of the kid that Justin had killed. "How fortunate it was," said Louisa, "that I had it ready dressed to regale our good old father!"

"What Josselin!" cried Caroline; "nay then, Louisa, you must go and bring him to eat with us." Louisa ran to seek him, and in the Sire came, supported by Justin, and tremulous still more with joy than old age. The Count and Caroline rose, both went to him, and each tak­ing him by an arm placed him in a great chair; after which the Count, filling him a bumper, said, "Drink this, my brave Josselin, to the health of the happiest of mortals!"

"And this," said Justin, "to him who well deserves to be the happiest!"

Josselin would have spoken, but he was so much affec­ed he could only utter parts of sentences, and raise his hands and eyes to heaven. After, however, having drank a third glass to the health of my Lady the Countess, and after a long look at her, he suddenly exclaimed—"Bles­sed be God for having made so beauteous a Lady purpose­ly for our good Lord! Oh yes! you are beautiful, madam, and very, very good! I can see, I am sure you are; but you have an angel for a husband! Did you know what he has done for us, how he preserved, how he provided for, my Louisa!"

And now the good Josselin, animated by wine, and having once begun to speak, was not willing to be silent. He recounted the whole history, to Caroline, of the mar­riage [Page 93] of his daughter; and how he would not hear of Justin, and how my Lord the Count came round him, and how he gave them a good farm, and fifty ducats down, and how he had the misfortune to wound him self as he went from their house, and how they carried him on hur­dles to the Chateau of Ronebourg; and a thousand other hows which Caroline knew as well as he, yet would she not interrupt him; the pleasure the old man felt in talking was a pleasure to Caroline; nay, she even listened with delight to this simple but natural village eloquence; it flowed pure from the heart, and never thought of well-placed words or studied expressions; and particularly to the praise of Walstein which was incessantly repeated, and which drew the sweetest tears of sensibility to her eyes. She looked up to this dear, this beloved husband, and saw his heart in sympathy with hers; she stretched out her hand to him with a soft smile, an expression which no words can convey. Love, virtue, and happiness were united, and this single moment would have been a large compensation for an age of pain.

Josselin drank, talked, and became more and more animated. He spoke of his house, his family, the care his children took of him, of his dear Justin, who was the best of sons, of husbands, and of fathers. "An it were to do again," said he, "I would give him my Louisa if he were not worth a groat. Not, my Lord, that your bounty has done any harm. And then when I see these two little urchins, playful, capering round me— Ah! how does it rejoice my very heart! It makes me young again; and if my dear Cicely were still living, I should be happier now than ever—But, pray, my Lord, what is become of our master's son, the young Baron of Lindorf? I can remember him less than either of these. Many a time have I had him in my arms: nay, I am his nurse father, and shall always love him. I was told he was going to marry the sister of my Lord, and right glad we were to hear it; for such honourable noble souls ought to marry. Is it true, my Lord? Is he your brother?"

"Not yet," said Caroline, rising, and returning Lou­isa's youngest boy to his other, whom, till then, she had held in her lap. Justin and Louisa understood by this it was time to retire, and Louisa hinted as much to her father; but the old man was so happy, in his arm chair, with the Count, the Countess, and the bottle, that he [Page 94] could by no means resolve to leave them. "Let me alone, my child," said he, "it is the happiest day I ever beheld, and, at my time of life, one has not much hap­piness to lose."—"But we are troublesome, father," said Louisa, "to my Lord the Count."—"Not in the least, I tell thee; thou art a foolish girl; I know him better than thou dost; why it is his delight to see others happy: is it not, my Lord? Am not I right and is not she wrong? But our children, now-a-days, will be wiser than their fathers."

Walstein smiled, and Caroline again sat down, and made a sign to Louisa; while the old man, more happy than a monarch, began to sing. He could not finish his song. "So it is," said he, "I am good for nothing now; but I have a heart for all that. Ah! madam, if you had but heard me give the word of command! But come, son Justin, it is now thy turn. Where is thy flageolet? Play madam a tune. Louisa shall sing, and the little apes here shall dance. Pshaw, what simpletons you are! you think of nothing: an it were not for me, here would you leave my Lord and Lady to yawn themselves to sleep."

Caroline having signified she really should be glad to hear Justin play, he took out his flageolet and played some allemandes, to which the little ones danced with much more grace and meaning than could have been ex­pected, while their mother watched every motion, and the old man chuckled as he looked at the Count and Countess. "Did not I tell you," said he, "it was worth your seeing? And now, Louisa, do thou sing the song thy husband made a few days ago."

"How! cried Caroline; "is Justin a poet too!"

"No, Madam, no poet," said Justin: "I only write a couplet now and then for my Louisa." He then play­ed a wild pleasing melody, by way of symphony, on his flageolet, and Louisa, with the timid simplicity and sweet­ness of the village voice, sung as follows.

The marriage honey-moon, they say,
Grown languid on the marriage day,
Now scarce, alas! that day outlives;
But, ah! Louisa, thou dost prove
How little such folks know of love,
Who thus describe the joys it gives!
[Page 95]
Poor silly people! Wherefore tire
Of bliss which I so much admire,
Taste each returning day so pure;
A [...] feeling how I still adore,
Still each returning day am more
Convinc'd it ever shall endure?
I hear of kings and mighty men,
I know no kings, and, therefore can
No fancies form of kingly joys;
But this I know, not lands or towns,
No, I'd not give for globes or crowns
My dear Louisa and my boys.

Louisa ended, and Justin laid down his flageolet. He had supposed it possible that, as he himself loved so much to hear his Louisa sing, others might wish to hear her sing likewise; foreseeing therefore this occasion, and overflowing with gratitude at the return of his Lord▪ while the Count and Caroline had walked into the gar­den, Justin, anxious to make this gratitude known, had composed the following stanza, which, modestly advan­cing a few steps, he himself now sung.

Ah! might my artless song but show
How much to my kind Lord I owe;
Might I but half I feel impart;
I then, to all my former store,
Should add one grateful pleasure more,
And ease my now half-bursting heart.

Justin sung with as much feeling as he wrote, and the Count and Caroline, aff [...]cted and astonished at his talents, gave him all the praise he merited. The modest and the simple Justin said it was Louisa who had taught him every thing, for had it not been for the pleasure he took in pleasing her, he should have known nothing. "But," said Caroline, "have you composed this last stanza in­stantly, and without having thought on it before?"— "Not entirely," replied Justin; "though I do think, my Lady, I could undertake, ay, and perform too, a more difficult thing for my Lord the Count."

The heart of Caroline was full, or rather overflowing. During the song, the good Josselin had fallen asleep, but his children awaked him sufficiently to get him away, and as soon as Caroline was alone with the Count, she gave vent to the sweetest tears she had ever shed. The old man, the happy couple, the veneration and love they all [Page 96] had for the Count, which extended itself to her, had all [...]ogether such an effect upon her feelings, and imagina­tion, that her husband appeared a supernatur [...] [...]g, a benevolent deity, whom it was her duty to [...] and whom, in reality, adore she did. As soon as her [...]ind was a little calm, "Permit me, my dear Lord," said she, "to ask you the same question that Josselin asked some time since. Will not Lindorf become our brother?"

"Would to heaven he might!" answered the Count; "but you forget, my love"—


"That it is not Matilda, now, who could make Lin­dorf happy?"

"And why not?"

"Because, for some months, he was in love with Ca­roline of Lichtfield."

"But that Caroline no longer exists; he will never see her more; in her stead he will find Caroline of Wal­stein, who never can inspire any thing but fraternal friend­ship, which cannot any way impede his love for Matilda. Let him but see her, once again, and he himself will not be able to comprehend how he might, for a moment, for­get her. I wish I were certain that Matilda's affections have undergone no change; there is a word in one of your letters which gave me a little uneasiness. Do you suspect she does not love Lindorf, and that the Baron de Zastrow"—Walstein smiled, pressed the hand of Ca­roline, and interrupted her by taking out his pocket book and giving Caroline the last letter he had received from Matilda to read—And Oh! how much affected was she as she read! How often did she repeat, "Dear girl! Charming Matilda! Lovely sister! Yes, thou shalt live with us, shal regain thy lover, thy brother, and the tenderest of friends. But why," added she, as she returned the letter to the Count, "did not you, my Lord, immediately fly to Dresden, to give aid and ease to this dear sister?"

"I will tell you why, my love—My Caroline was dying, and while she was in danger could I leave her?"

"Well, but you answered Matilda's letter?"

"I did; though at present I wish I had not; and con­fess I begin to be uneasy at her silence."

"Good Heaven! How you must have grieved her! Dear Matilda!"—Then, suddenly rising, Caroline, [Page 97] with clasped hands and ardent impetuosity, went up to the Count, and, with a tone of most earnest supplication, added, "My dear, dear Lord, let me beg, let me con­jure you, not to refuse the favour I am about to ask. Let us depart to-morrow morning for Dresden, to relieve Matilda; I burn to be acquainted, to live with her, to give her consolation, and I hope happiness. Only read her letter again, and you cannot have the least hesitation. She is now, perhaps, in tears, is this moment in distress, when I am so happy! And have I, then, dear Matilda, have I robbed thee of thy lover, and deprived theeof thy brother? Oh! how many wrongs have I done thee! No, no, never, never shall I be truly at ease, till I see thee as blest as myself am." Caroline spoke with so much energy, her eyes and features expressed so well her sensa­tions, and she herself was so beautiful, that Walstein fell involuntarily on his Knee before her, where he long re­mained with his lips fixed on her hand, without the power to answer a word—"Tell me, my Lord," added she, with earnestness, "shall we, are we to depart to-morrow?"

"Lovely, adorable Caroline!" cried the Count, "how well thou knowest my heart! My absence from my sis­ter, and the apprehension that she may be unhappy, were the only things that could possibly interrupt my present felicity; but to leave you, Caroline, or to propose a jour­ney in the depth of winter, and during such severe wea­ther, was more than I could undertake."

"Nay, my Lord, now you surely joke. I thought it was always fine weather when one went in search of a friend in the company of a lover. We shall pass through Potsdam; shall you see the King?"

"By all means, my love; it is a duty I cannot neglect; and, if I might venture, I would ask, in my turn, whe­ther Caroline would—" Caroline perfectly under­stood the Count, and blushed; she had not seen the King since the day of her nuptials, which was now above a year; and, feeling how much cause he had to be dissatis­fied with her conduct, she trembled at the thought of be­ing presented. While she was last at Berlin, her mourn­ing and her health were sufficient pretexts to obtain de­lay, and the Count, we have seen, had his reasons for wishing to indulge her in this delay. At present, he per­ceived [Page 98] her inquietude, and stopped short; but she im­mediately recovering herself, answered with an enchant­ing smile, "It is high time my Lord, is it not, I should no longer remain childish?—Well, lead me, take me to him; I will kneel at his feet; I suppose he will scold me; he will do very right; for I have well deserved his anger; but, when he has ended, I, however, will scold him in my turn."

"You! my angel."

"Yes, I; and very severely, too, for having signed that dreadful paper, this morning."

Each word Caroline uttered transported the Count with happiness and love, even to intoxication, dispelling every shadow of remaining doubt, if doubt might remain after the frank and natural manner in which she had spoken of Lindorf, and her desire to see him and Matilda united. But, no, Walstein had no doubts; the ingenuous and affectionate Caroline knew not dissimulation; she expres­sed her feelings too forcibly, and with a conviction that deceit cannot assume. Had she been silent, indeed, her eyes, her smiles, the pleasure painted in her countenance, would all have spoken: her lips knew not falsehood, a [...] her features were the organs of a pure and angelic soul. When Caroline said I love, no protestations, no vows, were wanting; and this she had said so often, during the course of that fortunate, that blissful day, that the Count might well remain persuaded of her truth.—They supped on the kid that Justin had killed so a propos; for the Count, when he set off for this estate, was too deeply af­flicted to think of food; and this simple repast was the most delicious either of them had ever made. Our his­tory does not inform us, whether long habit made the Count, as usual, leave Caroline's apartment after supper; the reader must, therefore, suppose what he pleases on the subject; but in the morning Caroline made the Count promise they should soon return to this charming estate; for, added she, with a softened voice and downcast eyes, "I shall love it as long as I live!"

In proportion as they drew near to Potsdam, the fears of Caroline augmented: this the Count perceived, and endeavoured to inspire her with fortitude. He related a thousand traits of the King's goodness to him, "who," said he, "is more than my King, he is my friend. Yes, dear Caroline, it is to my friend I am going to present [Page 99] one who will make life a continued dream of felicity, and one whom I received from himself. Had you heard him yesterday morning, how long he persisted to refuse the cruel favour I came to beg, and when, at last, he yielded to my persecutions and signed that fatal paper, had you seen him return it to me, you would have no fears.— 'Reflect, think again dear Walstein,' said he. 'I am truly grieved at your determination. I wished to make you happy, and still I think you might be so; it is with infinite regret I have signed the paper, and I sincerely hope you will make no use of it.' Such, Caroline, is the monarch who soon is to be a witness of the felicity of his friend."

By this time they were in the court of the palace, and the Count, alighting, less Caroline in the carriage. The King, according to his custom, was mounting his horse to ride round the fort and exercise his troops. He per­ceived Walstein and stopped—"Ah! are you there, Count?" said he; "I am glad to see you; I thought of you all day yesterday, and, though I saw the High Cham­berlain, did not mention a word of what has passed. Do not be rash, let me, myself, speak to Caroline. I scarcely can consent—"

"My gracious Sovereign, she is here!"


"Caroline! My wife! My lovely, my adored wife! The wife your Majesty bestowed on me, and who is now more beloved, more dear than ever!"

"Are you in your senses, Walstein?"

"Perfectly, Sir; it was yesterday morning that I was frantic; but Caroline has restored me to reason, life, and bliss! She loves me, wishes to be mine, and once more I throw myself at your Majesty's feet to beg her as the greatest of all blessings your royal bounty could grant!"

Yes, the Count was kneeling to the King; who, him­self, not perfectly understanding how a woman might be the cause of all this delirium, laughed, bade him "rise and explain." The Count obeyed; related the despair of Caroline, her arrival at Walstein, their present intend­ed journey to Dresden, for which he now asked the King's permission, and, afterwards, earnestly entreated his Majesty's confirmation of their union before their de­parture. Both were willingly granted, and the Monarch himself went up to Caroline, who was still waiting in [Page 100] her carriage till the Count's return. She was a great deal affected at seeing the King approach, and would have descended from the coach, but the King said to her,— "Stay where you are, Lady Walstein, stay where you are; all is well; forget what is past. I am satisfied, live happy, and let me have as many subjects as possible like yourselves. Walstein, make no delay, depart, return as soon as you can, and bring with you the lovely Matilda." His Majesty then took the Count by the hand, saluted Caroline, and left them both exceedingly moved by this benevolent condescension, which Kings are so seldom disposed to bestow. They set off immediately for Berlin, made preparations for their journey, and were soon on their road to Dresden, anticipating, the mutual pleasure the meeting with Matilda would occasion. The Count foresaw many difficulties which might arise from his aunt and young De Zastrow, but was determined to overcome them all, and bring Matilda to Berlin. He concealed his fears from Caroline, whose hopes ran high, and hap­piness was great, in thinking she should gain a sister and a friend. We have before related how desirous she was of a blessing so necessary and so precious; and to have the sister of Walstein for this friend, with whom she might converse, while he was absent, of all her past and present feelings, certain of being heard with an interest almost equal to her own was to double this blessing.

To love is not sufficient; friendship, to whom love may unbosom itself, is also necessary: and Caroline, already, felt the delicious transports of telling Matilda how dearly she loved her brother. In this their impatience, for the Count was as desirous as Caroline of being at Dresden, they travelled the two first days with all possible speed, making no stay, by day, except to change horses, and at night only taking two or three hours repose. But the strength of Caroline by no means equalled her wishes, and the second evening she found herself so fatigued, she was was obliged, when they came to a small village, to entreat the Count would go no farther that night. Wal­stein, it may well be supposed, readily consented; but, suspecting the accomodations would not be very good, he sent a servant before to procure a bed. At last they were met, at the end of the village, by the servant, with the landlord of a small indifferent inn. Our host, judging by the attendants his guests were great people, and fear­ing [Page 101] to lose the promised harvest, came himself, to make it the more secure. He had only two bed-chambers, each with two beds, and both these were in the possession of a young gentleman and his lady, who had arrived the evening before. The husband had a wound in his arm, which, by the motion of the carriage, had been opened; and this was likely to detain him some days longer: for which reason, to make certain of the two chambers, he had paid for them beforehand. This, however, did not much embarrass our host, who was a merry, unpolished, country fellow.

"I warrant me." said he, "they will let you have one of the chambers, for what occasion have they for two? They are so loving, and so handsome, that they are never asunder all day; and why may they not as well be toge­ther all night? No, no; they will not be vexed at that."

The host kept talking till they came to the inn, but the Count, however, thought it necessary to go himself, and entreat the strangers to suffer the Countess to lie in one of the beds. Meanwhile the hostess shewed Caroline into her own chamber. The Count went up a dark stair­case and wanted the landlord to introduce him; but he, little used to the forms of good breeding, led him into a kind of entry, at the far end of which was a door open, and, telling the Count he would find them there, left him to introduce himself.

Walstein advanced, and saw a young lady at the farth­er part of the chamber, elegantly dressed, and tying a black scarf round the neck of a young gentleman, so as to support his arm. As her white and charming hand pas­sed his cheek he employed his other arm to seize and kiss it with rapture. The picture was interesting, and the Count durst not disturb the young couple, whom he silent­ly beheld, remembering his own happiness. Fearing to be thought rude, after standing a moment, he was going to retire; but the young lady, happening to look towards the door, saw him, gazed for a moment, flew to him with open arms, and, with astonishment in her countenance, exclaimed, "It is my brother! my dear dear brother!"

Lindorf (Yes! it was Lindorf himself!) forgot his wound, and instantly rose—"Heavens! Is it possible! Can it be Walstein?"—Walstein it was, and Lindorf pressed him to his bosom; while Matilda, hanging round [Page 102] his neck, kissed and kissed, and knew not whether to weep or dance for joy.

Need we say the Count was astonished?—Matilda and Lindorf! His sister and his friend both in his arms! Had his senses refused belief his heart would have convinced him it was truth; and, though unable to comprehend by what miracle he might find two such people in such a place, he, nevertheless, yielded to all the transport the prodigy inspired. For some time, Lindorf! Matilda! Brother! Sister! Friend! Interjections, and exclamati­ons only were uttered, only were heard—The Count ad­ded the name of Caroline, and, at length, said, "She is here, dear Matilda, here, with me, let us go to her."

"Here! Caroline here! My sister here!" cried Ma­tilda.

Light and swift as the young greyhound at his return­ing master's voice, Matilda flies down stairs and already is in the arms of Caroline, who, presently, knew her; more indeed from her affectionate caresses, and the repeat­ed epithet, of "dear dear sister," than from the portrait of Lindorf. The gentlemen followed, and the surprise of Caroline increased; but surprise and pleasure of the purest nature were her only sensations. Lindorf is her brother, and her friend, and she hesitates not to kiss him with that frank and natural tenderness by which true and simple friendship so well is characterized. "And may I, then, call you brother!" said she; "may I tell you I love you! Oh! yes, I know not how much I shall love the husband of my dear Matilda, and the friend of my dear, dear, dear Walstein!"

This open ingenuous manner would have taught Lin­dorf, had he himself been insensible of, his duty. He certainly feared to meet Caroline: the scenes that had so lately passed could not be totally ob [...]iterated from his ima­gination; but the manner in which she received him, the tone of voice in which she uttered those few words, in the presence of Walstein and Matilda, wholly deprived him of all dread, either of himself or her. He was sur­prised to find that the redoubted Caroline was no more than the wife of his friend and the sister of Matilda; and for whom he felt no sensations beyond these tranquil and legitimate bounds—"Yes," answered he, with fortitude and enthusiasm, "yes, Caroline, I am your brother, your friend, the friend of Walstein, and I feel myself worthy [Page 103] of these titles, which are become so dear, so inestimable!" Then, seizing the hand of Matilda—"Dear Count," said he, "you invited me to return, and promised me happiness. Here, as the ultimate happiness to which I aspire, let me receive this hand, which once was promised me from my Walstein, I think my future life will prove I know its value."

The Count was not long in considering an answer, and his reply was accompanied with an earnest wish to hear what strange circumstances had united them; if they were yet married; what had occasioned the wound of Lindorf; where they were going, whence they came; and, in fine, the full explanation of what, at present, seemed so whol­ly enigmatical. We are not without our hopes that the reader, in some degree, participates the Count's curiosity; and that he now imagines himself in the rustic chamber of a rustic inn, in company with four persons, the most happy the earth contained, feeling all that love and sweet friendship can feel, seated round an antique chimney, speaking all at once, and each asking a thousand questions without yet waiting for a single reply.

And now behold the lovely Matilda weeping and laughing both at once, kissing her brother, embracing Ca­roline, holding out one hand to her dear Lindorf, and then, suddenly, with a mighty grave face, and serious tone, commanding silence! "Yes, silence! For one full quarter of an hour, I impose silence on you all," said she, seating herself erect; "for, I assure you, I am not a little vain of having a story to relate. It is almost as singular," said she to her brother, "as the fine tales you used to tell me when I was a very little, little girl."— Silence being thus obtained, and the eyes of the rest fixed on Matilda, she, addressing herself to the Count, thus began:

"There was a bird-catcher—"

"A bird-catcher!" exclaimed they all at once.

"Yes, a bird-catcher," replied she, with great gravity. "Before I begin my history I first intend to relate a little fable and put a question to my brother. Do not be im­patient, I shall soon have done—There was once a bird-catcher who, by his tricks and artifices, enticed a poor little bird into his nets. Ah! how wretched was that poor little bird! How did it beat its wings in its con­finement, and call all its friends to its assistance! But [Page 104] the bird-catcher took care not one of them should hear its cries. At last came a linnet, and flew round the net in which it was entangled. 'Poor little bird,' said the lin­net, 'thou wouldest lament still louder if thou knewest all the mischief that awaits thee. To-morrow they will clip thy wings, for ever deprive thee of thy liberty, shut thee up in a cage with a bird thou dost not love, and forever prevent thy meeting the mate thou hast left at freedom in the groves.' Then did the little bird, at hearing this, cry still louder; and the linnet was so mo­ved that it said, 'Let us try if there are no means to save thee.' Whereupon they both began to peck at the threads of the net, and, crack, by and by one of them was broken; so that the little bird got first its head out, next one of its wings, at last both, spread them, vaulted aloft in air and flew, right joyous, again to find its friends and former happiness.

"And now tell me, dear brother, whether was the bird-catcher, who thus tried to deprive the poor little bird of its liberty, or the poor little bird, that endeavour­ed to regain this liberty, wrong?"

"The bird-catcher, my dear girl," cried the Count, enchanted at the art, simplicity, and grace she had min­gled in her apologue. "The charming little bird will never be wrong if it appeals to me; for I am certain my heart will approve what even my reason may condemn."

Matilda, instantly, clasped the neck of Walstein, and with tears of joy exclaimed, "I have found my brother; he is still the same, ever benevolent and ever good, and I no longer dread either his reproaches or my own.— Surely I did right in quitting those malicious people, who made me doubt his friendship."

"Doubt my friendship! Dear Matilda, let me beg you to explain your meaning."—"Yes," continued she, with vivacity, "they have had the cruelty to say, nay, even to prove, you no longer loved me, wrote to me no longer, and would see me no more: that you for­bid me to think of Lindorf, commanded me to marry the Baron de Zastrow, had departed for Russia, and, in fact, that I had no longer any brother, for it was the same thing."

Matilda could not proceed, and the tears ran down her lovely rosy cheeks [...]; yet, while she wept she smiled: it was a summer shower which refreshens nature and inspires new pleasure.

[Page 105]"What a child am I!" said she; "I knew it was all false; I enjoy your company, here you are, you love me, and yet you see the supposition makes me weep: but no, I will laugh; and now—there, now will I relate the full and whole history of the poor little bird."

Before she began, the Count asked several questions concerning what they had told her against him, and found his aunt had intercepted and concealed the letter in which he had promised his sister soon to come to Dresden, and set her free. She managed so as to make Matilda believe the Count had written to her, his aunt. His wish that she might marry the Baron de Zastrow was changed into a positive command, and the voyage of Lindorf into Eng­land was a love affair, and a project of marriage with an English lady. The letter of the Count, instead of Rone­bourg, was dated at Petersburg; and the innocent Matil­da, being shewn her brother's hand-writing, was the dupe of all these artifices. The arrival of the Count, it is true, would soon undeceive her; but they hoped to have Ma­tilda married before that happened, and since the Count had wished, he certainly would easily be brought to par­don, the marriage.

Had Matilda been of a less determined character her aunt would, no doubt, have obtained her end; but she found an opposition, a fortitude which nothing could shake. It seemed inconceivable to young De Zastrow; for never, till then, had he supposed it possible to resist the elegance, the graces, and the charms he had acquired in his travels. A year's residence at Paris, his acquaint­ance with certain noble and fashionable gamesters there, and his success with actresses, who had made most heavy demands on his purse, had so convinced him of his irre­sistible merit, that he had imagined nothing more was necessary, in order to conquer, than to appear. To his aunt he left the care of courtship, and thought Matil­da had every [...]ight to yield when he had declared, upon his honour, she was as handsome as an angel; that her shape was quite charming; that there was something of a French cast in her countenance: that she was almost as desirable as Mademoiselle du The, of the Opera-house; that she sung nearly as well as Mademoiselle du Gazon, of the Theatre Italien; and that when she was his wife, he would incontinently take her to Paris, where there was [Page 106] no doubt but she would strike. All which he said look­ing at himself in the glass, admiring his leg, displaying the brilliant on his finger, and, occasionally, interrupting himself to expatiate on the merits of certain fashionable baubles he had brought from France.

"Such," said Matilda, "is the being with whom my aunt is so enraptured; to whom she was determined to marry me; and of whose person, wit, and passion, she was continually vaunting. I own that, for my part, I could see nothing but a very fair complexioned, very mincing, very delicate, very vain, very self-suffiient young gentle­man; who loved only one person in the whole world, himself, and who only did me the honour to think of me because I was the sister of the King's favorite, and the [...] of M [...] de [...]astrow. I by no means endea­vour [...] to conceal my thoughts, concerning either him or I in [...]o [...], from my aunt; she well knew I disliked the one as much as I loved the other, and her whole endea­vour was to make me reverse this manner of thinking. "You see," said she, "your brother has changed his opi­nion."—Yes, madam," answered I, "but his opinion has not changed my heart."—"Your Lindorf no longer loves you."—"And must I punish myself for his infidelity?" "You will never see him again."—"I may love him, ne­vertheless, and keep my promise."—"But his inconstan­cy releases you."—"Not in the least; his inconstancy releases himself, but if I am not inconstant is that my fault? Or can he, or you, or I myself, or any other being in the world, make me forget to love him and teach me to love another?" (What did Lindorf feel as thus Matilda spoke!)

"These conversations usually ended in ill-humour. I was, by turns, scolded, caressed, flattered and menaced: and notwithstanding all my firmness, was almost driven to despair. At length, I determined to write; not to you, brother, for I supposed you still in Russia, and they might have married me again and again before I could receive your answer; beside I was somewhat piqued at your neg­lect and silence; therefore, I say, once more, not to you, but—to Lindorf I wrote."

"To Lindorf! In England! How did you know his address?"

"Know? I knew not, perfectly, if he were there; for I sometimes would flatter myself they had been telling me [Page 107] falshoods; though many circumstances led me to think he was, and I wrote. Writing was a momentary ease and consolation, and though my letter remained in my pocket­book after it was written, I still imagined myself less un­happy. I had some small hopes of discovering if Lin­dorf really were in England, and, perhaps, of [...]i [...]ing him this letter, and you shall hear on what these hopes were founded.

"When I arrived at Dresden, Mademoiselle de Man­teul, an amiable girl, but somewhat older than I, had been exceedingly polite to me, and the intimacy of the family at my aunt's occasioned me to see her often. She long had lost her mother, and lived with an old gouty father and younger brother; therefore, enjoyed a liberty which ren­dered her house and acquaintance exceedingly agreeable, and she was continually, either with me or inviting me to visit her.

"Flattered by the friendship of a young lady of five-and-twenty, I returned her politeness, and we became as familiar as circumstances would permit. Somewhat ti­mid, on account of the differance of our age, which she, however, endeavoured to make me forget, I, though most desirous of a confidante, durst not tell her the secret of my heart. She had a kind of—of forwardness in her manner, owing to her education, and was, likewise, most intimate with my aunt, to whom she assiduously paid her court; beside which she had an evident partiality in fa­vour of the Baron de Zastrow, so that I feared making an additional enemy, instead of a friend. I could with much greater ease have confided my thoughts to her bro­ther, whose age was nearer my own, and whose mild and manly character might render him more indulgent; but he also was the friend of the young Baron, and, indeed, rather seemed to avoid than to seek being alone with me, and it was not long before he informed us he was going to travel for some years.

"Oh! how did my heart palpitate when I heard Eng­land was to be the first country he visited! How then did I wish to tell him my secret, entreat him to seek out Lindorf, and conjure him to take charge of my letter! But no opportunity could I find. He was too busy in preparing for his departure, and seemed sorrowful at be­ing obliged to leave Dresden and his family. I seldom saw him, and when I did found myself abashed. If ever [Page 108] I approached, with intent to speak of his voyage Eng­land, and to add a word relative to [...]ha [...] la [...] [...] my heart, I trembled, knew not what to say, and re­mained silent; blushing as if I had spoken, or as if the world had read my thoughts. Mademoiselle de Mante [...]l was generally a third person, and, seeing my embarrass­ment, increased it by her pleasantries.

"At length, this brother departed, while I still was seeking the means to induce him to take my letter and give it to Lindorf; and I was left in the utmost despair at having missed so favourable an opportunity.

"One resource still remained; my friend might send it to her brother. But then it was necessary to make a full confession, and interest her in the success of my pas­sion. The better to lead to this I continually spoke of England, her brother, the letters she would receive from him, and the dear pleasure of having a correspondence with a person one loves, though I yet had not dared to pronounce the name of Lindorf. She came to me one morning, and threw a letter into my lap. "There," said she; "you who think it so sweet a pleasure to re­ceive letters; I make you a present of that, which, indeed, ought to have been addressed to you; for my brother, though he has written to me, has spoken only of you."

"Of me!"

"Yes, of you, little witch. You are the cause of his absence, you have robbed me of my brother; read, read, and return it quickly."

"Nothing of what this meant could I comprehend; but, beginning to read, was soon better instructed. The poor youth had spoken to his sister of sentiments which I neither suspected nor could return, and for which I was much afflicted, and, therefore would not have read be­yond the first page. But, Oh! what a pleasure was I about to deprive myself of! My friend obliged me to go on, and I turned over with vexation and sorrow. Scarcely had I cast my eyes on this second page before I saw, at the bottom, a name!—a name!—Oh! how instantly did grief give way to pleasure, to joys the most ecstatic! It was the name so dear to my heart, so ever present to my thoughts; yes, it was the name of Lindorf; the Baron of Lindorf, Captain of the Guards.

"No deception is there; it is he, he himself, and al­ready have I read every syllable, have uttered a hundred [Page 109] [...]lamations▪ have pressed the letter to my lips, to my [...] [...]wept and laughed as if [...] w [...] ­ [...] [...] raptures, folly and phrensy. [...]acking up, however, and seeing the astonished air of Mademoiselle de Manteul, I ran into her arms, and hid my emotion in her bosom. Gently raising, she asked me what it meant. "Matilda!" said she, "my dear Matilda! Why are you thus overjoyed? What is it that thus can agitate you?"

"Ah! read, read—read yourself," said I, pointing to a certain passage in the letter; "this will be my explana­tion;" and while she read, again I hid my face in her bosom.

"I have had the happiness," said M. de Manteul to his sister, "to meet with the Baron of Lindorf, at Hamburgh, a captain of the Prussian guards, and hope we shall be­come intimate friends.—We have been shipmates toge­ther, and lodge in the same house. We are seldom asun­der, our tempers and dispositions accord wonderfully, for he, like me, is melancholy, apt to be absent, and re­grets his country. Without being his confidant, I dare pronounce his heart is not more free than mine."

"Ah! exclaimed I, raising my head and joining my hands, "it is not true, then, that he loves an English la­dy, or that he has been six months married! My heart told me it was not!"

"But who, who are you speaking of? Do you know this Baron of Lindorf?"

"Do I know him!"

"Ay, do you know him? Do you love him?"

"Love him! Better than life! Beyond all thought!"

"And thus, from question to question, Mademoiselle de Manteul became the confidante of all my secrets, and fully informed of my situation. I related your friendship, my dear brother, with Lindorf, and your desire to see us united; but, as one must always reserve a little of one's wealth for one's self, I did not tell her that you had changed your opinion; though I let her know my doubts and fears concerning Lindorf, which her silence seemed to confirm. Yet was it possible, and I endeavoured to persuade myself it was true, that the difficulty of convey­ing his letters to me was the reason why I received none. My brother was no longer in his interest; he, no doubt, knew it, and that melancholy, that absent air, his regrets [Page 110] for his country, and his enslaved heart, had each made its impression, and reanimated all my hopes.

"My friend had [...]d with an evident concern, and, when I had ended, affectionately kissing me, said, "My poor, dear Matilda, why did you not tell me all this sooner? How great would have been the pleasure of the confidence you have refused me!"

"I feared lest you should take the part of young de Zastrow."

"Me! Oh, no! —So far from that I perfectly approve your resistance, and am only afraid lest you should yield at last."

"Never! Never!—While I live, never will I love man but Lindorf!"

"Add, also, none other you ought to love; for, in reality, you are as much betrothed as if actually married, and to espouse another, would be guilt, perjury!"

"It would, it would!"

"But what is Lindorf doing in England?"

"Alas! I know not; cannot comprehend. I have not heard from him these six months!"

"And why do you not write?"

"I have written."

"And where is your letter?"

"In my pocket-book."

"Mademoiselle de Manteul burst into a laugh. "It must produce wonderful effects," said she, "while it re­mains there. Oh! what a child you are! Give me your letter, and your lover shall have it in a week."—How did I kiss Mademoiselle de Manteul!—And yet her brother's love of me somewh [...] damped my joy; though I admired his sister's goodness, thus to sacrifice his interests to mine. I was even fearful of abusing it, and shewed some hesita­tion.—"The task," said she, "I own is a little cruel; but we must cure him, and this I think will be an infal­lible means. Give me the letter."—And soon the letter was taken from my pocket-book and in her hand: It was sealed.—"You positively promise, my friend," said she, as she received it, "to be only Lindorf's; never to mar­ry de Zastrow."

"Positively! Positively!

"Very well, that will set my conscience at ease; for I now shall be serving a persecuted, married pair. Leave the management of every thing to me. We must gain [Page 111] time till you can receive an answer, and take care to leave me with the young Baron, as often as possible. I will flatter and coax him, and thus relieve you from the pain of practising deceit."

"Oh! I cannot deceive. I have always told him, and always shall tell him, I will love none but Lindorf."

"And what is his answer?"

"That he has no faith in eternal constancy."

"He has not! I understand him. But we will prove what women are capable of; shall we not, my dear Ma­tilda?"

"I most sincerely promised we would, and left her, more than ever determined on unshaken constancy and resistance."

Walstein, here, smiled; and whispered something to Lindorf, which the latter returned with like significance. The ladies, and especially Matilda, desired to know what they said.—"Oh! I promise you, you shall know by and by; but go on, my dear girl, with your story. You were telling us of the tender friendship of Mademoiselle de Manteul."—"I was," replied Matilda, with ardour; and never, perhaps, was friendship like hers; as you would have said, had you heard her speak, seen her eagerness, and her zeal. You would have supposed the secret he [...] and that her happiness, not mine, was at stake. Every means did she take to increase my fortitude. I might, perhaps, have suspected myself; but my friend was five- and twenty, was therefore prudent, and, certainly, would not give me ill counsel. Determined, therefore, with all possible obstinacy, not to yield, I waited, but not with dread, for the answer of Lindorf; persuaded he would tell me truth, and, if I found I was no longer beloved, my resolution was taken."

"Why, what would you have done?" said Caroline with vivacity.

"Every thing I could to have forgotten him; but, at the same time, have kept the vow I made, never to marry, never to trust a perfidious sex, capable of loving twice."

This was very innocently said, but it was a dagger to the feeling heart of Caroline. She blushed excessively, cast her fine eyes on the ground, half looked up at Wal­stein, and, as instantly, again looked down. He saw her charming confusion, enjoyed it for a moment, tenderly, kissed her hand, then, addressing himself to Lindorf, said, [Page 112] "You, my friend, no doubt, approve Matilda's mode of thinking, and, perhaps, you are right; but each person has his opinion. I think nothing can be more flattering than to be the second object of the attachment of a deli­cate and tender heart; and I should think this attachment more durable▪ and more certain, than that of a heart that never had occasion to suspect and be aware of itself."

"How!" exclaimed Matilda; "does my brother Wal­stein preach inconstancy?"

"I do not think a second passion deserves the name, and I only admit of being twice in love."

"Ah! No oftener?"

"No, certainly; no oftener," said Caroline, faintly, and pressing the hand of Walstein to her bosom.

"Well, for my part," replied Matilda, "I find the first time once too often, and that women are very silly creatures ever to love, since love has so many pangs for them and so few for the men. Here was this good gen­tleman amusing himself, in all tranquillity, at London, while I was scolded, persecuted, and despairing from morning till night—(Lindorf with a look petitioned mercy; Matilda smiled and continued)—I found myself, however, much less unhappy since I had gained a friend, [...] whom I might tell all my griefs; and this friend was so kind, understood so well all my feelings, approved so highly of my love and constancy, and spoke so well of Lindorf, and so ill of de Zastrow, that my obligations were infinite. Nay, she was even complaisant enough to admit his visits and endure his conversations, for whole hours, to serve me, and advised me to invite him to come on those evenings I was to visit her. "That will be the means of amusing him and not exposing yourself," said she; "and, likewise, of pleasing your aunt. I promise never to leave you; for, indeed, there is nothing I would not do to serve you."

"My aunt now became very good-humoured, teased me no more, and I hoped, thus, to gain time; but it is now three days since she brought me two large sheets of paper, commanded me to read them, sign which I pleased, and left me in utter astonishment. They seemed like two large contracts! And was I then permitted to choose be­tween Lindorf and de Zastrow? Such for a moment were my hopes; but I soon saw they both related to the odious de Zastrow, whom I hated more and more. One [Page 113] of them was what I had suspected, a marriage contract with him, to which nothing was wanting but my signature, and by which I was made heiress to my aunt. The other was a deed of conveyance of this in [...]ce to the Ba­ron de Zastrow, should I refuse to sign the first. Oh! how happy was I thus to be left to my choice! How in­stantly did I sign the conveyance, and run with it, joy­ously skipping, into my aunt's apartment! Her nephew was with her. "There, there, there!" said I; "it is done; I have signed it, most willingly." Young de Zastrow, as vain and self-sufficient as ever, had not the least doubt but it was the marriage contract, and, kneeling, returned me a thousand thanks for my condescension. "I am quite delighted, Sir," said I, laughing, "to see you so pleased, though really, you owe me no thanks, I not having the least merit, for I have only followed my own inclina­tions."

"His transports now redoubled, and I was malicious enough to repeat, with great solemnity. "Yes, sir, I as­sure you I have wholly followed my inclination—to re­main free—beside, my aunt has a right to bestow her be­nefactions were she pleases; nor have I ever wished to enjoy wealth which seems to be put in competition with the greatest of earthly blessings, the right of bestowin [...] my heart and hand."

"Imagine the look and manner of de Zastrow as he rose—My aunt saw which paper it was I had signed, and her eyes spoke her feelings; but, before she had time to give them utterance, I fell, and, kissing her hands again and again, said, "My dear, dear aunt, do not be angry; every thing is well as it is; neither mention marriage nor an inheritance which I never desired, nor ever once thought of; only let this contract be destroyed; (as I said this I tore it in a thousand pieces) leave the deed of gift in the possession of my cousin de Zastrow; men have more occasion for riches than we have, and I covet no­thing but your friendship, the friendship of my brother, and the love of Lindorf, or, at least, the liberty of loving him all my life. The Baron de Zastrow will find many women who will be proud to be distinguished by him, and who will not be in love with Lindorf; who, there­fore, might afford him that happiness I cannot; and when you should see your poor Matilda lying dead of a broken heart, who then could restore her to you?"

[Page 114]"I thought my aunt seemed affected and was about to yield to my entreaties; for she tenderly raised me, pressed my hand, and, turning towards de Zastrow, said, "You [...] her, nephew▪ [...]hat do you think?"—De Zastrow was striding furiously about the chamber. "Think, Ma­dam," answered he, with a tragic terror in his voice and features, "I cannot think. Death or Matilda must be mine!" At the same moment he drew his sword; yes, I assure you, he drew his sword, and seemed determined to kill himself. I sprang to him and seized his arm; my aunt cried out like a person expiring, and said she was very, very ill! I knew not which of them to attend, nor could I calm either, till I promised to do every thing they pleased; while I myself was so much agitated, and terrified, that I scarcely could utter these few words, which, however, produced an astonishing effect. The sword was in its scabbard again, my aunt came to herself, kissed me, caressed me, and earnestly begged me immedi­ately to sign.

"Luckily for me, however, I had prevented all sign­ing for that night; as the torn contract, scattered about the floor, informed them. It was, therefore, deferred till the morrow; but they required me to renew my pro­mise. The moment my terror was gone, I shuddered at [...] had passed, and at the engagement I had entered into without knowing what I did; and when I was de­sired to confirm this engagement I was so much affected that I fainted away. They were obliged to carry me in­to my chamber, and lay me on a bed; the motion some­what brought me to myself, for, though I could not speak, I heard what they were saying. They thought me still in a fit, and my aunt said to the Baron, "Do not be alarm­ed, nephew, this will soon be over; we have terrified her a little too much, but the greatest difficulty is conquered, she has promised; to-morrow she shall sign, the next day you shall marry her, and her brother may then say what he pleases. At present we must leave her undisturbed."— After which they quitted the chamber, recommending me to the care of my woman.

"Oh! what infinite matter was here for reflection, when I came perfectly to myself; which this contributed to effect! I considered and reconsidered every word, nor was there one that did not give either surprise, an­ger, fear, grief, and even joy. I presently dismissed my [Page 115] attendant—We have terrified her a little too much! repeat­ed I. And so they have been playing▪ s [...]ene, in which I have been the dupe of the comedy: A tri [...], con [...]ert­ed between my aunt and this self-killing cousin, to obtain my consent!—I despised the artifice, and, from that moment, held myself free; yet I s [...]runk back with hor­ror when I recollected She has promised; to-morrow she shall sign, and the next day you shall marry her—"No; I will die first," repeated I. What followed gave me a ray of hope. Her brother may then say what he pleases— We shall no longer fear him. "So they stand in awe of this dear brother, then, whom I thought in the interest of my persecutors, but he is not! They have deceived me in that too; and I still have a protector, a friend, who will not forsake me."— Alas! in my joy of having again this friend, this good brother, I forgot how far distant we were, and that the next day my fate was to be determined.

"I remained thus, agitated by a thousand different thoughts, when Mademoiselle de Manteul entered. The moment I saw her, I held out my arms, and, weeping, exclaimed, 'Oh! come, come to the assistance of your wretched friend!' Yet little did I imagine all her friend­ship was capable of performing! She was as pale, trem­bling, and affected as I myself—"I know every thing," said she; "I have just left your aunt. What have you done, Matilda? You have promised to marry de Zas­trow."

"He was going to kill himself."

"Kill himself, silly girl! Men are not so ready to kill themselves. But what do you mean? Do you in­tend to keep this fatal promise? Do you recollect all those you have made to Lindorf?"

"Ah! can you think I have forget them?" passion­ately answered I. "No: they are all engraved on my heart, and ere they are effaced they shall tear that heart from my bosom! Yet what am I to do? How may I free myself from this detested marriage I Speak, tell me, dear friend; can you imagine any means of delay till I write to my brother, till he can return and protect me? For, from what I have just heard, that I now am sure he will. Oh! if he were not in Russia, I know what I would do."

"Why, what would you do?" said Mademoiselle de Manteul, who seemed deep in thought; "what would you do?"

[Page 116]"I would escape; fly to him for safety."

"And have you the courage?" said she. "How I admire you, my young friend! This is, in reality, the sole means left. I myself thought of it, but durst not make the proposition."

"Alas!" answered I, "the thing is impossible; my brother is in Russia. I never shall find the means of go­ing thither."

"I own it is difficult; but have not you a maternal uncle in London?"

"I have; my Lord Seymour."

"Suppose you were to put yourself under his protec­tion?"

"What! fly to England and Lindorf there! Can you imagine—"

"No; I should not have imagined that would have been a reason to avoid England."

"Ah! my dear friend," said I, shaking my head, "if you have no other proposal but this to offer I am undone. Rather would I go to Russia, impossible as it is, and seek an asylum from my brother, than to act with such impru­dence." I spoke this with so firm a tone that she offered no reply, but asked me what it was I just had heard. I then repeated my aunt's conversation; and, suddenly in­terrupting me, she exclaimed, "If they have deceived you in one respect they may have in another, and, it is my firm opinion, your brother is not in Russia, for I re­collect to have heard something as well as you— I will go immediately to your aunt, and, if I am not mistaken, presently discover the truth. We then shall know what we have to do."

"She went, and it was not long before she returned. Pleasure sparkled in her eyes. "I was right in my con­jecture," said she, as she entered; "they have imposed upon you; your brother is at Berlin, married to a lovely lady; his letters have been intercepted, he is soon coming to Dresden, but they are determined to marry you, with or without your consent, before his arrival. To-morrow you will be forced to sign the contract; nay, they will even guide your hand, if you will not sign it willingly, and the day following you are to be married. All this has your aunt told me in secrecy."

"My niece has promised," said she, "and she shall keep her promise."

[Page 117]"Oh! my God! my God!" cried I, "what shall I do? And you tell me these things with apparent pleasure."

"Why I really thought it would please you to hear your brother is at Berlin, and that you may, if you please, free yourself from their tyranny."

"Perhaps I might—but—"

"But—What, and is all your courage gone so sud­denly?—Ah! poor Matilda! I perceive you never will have the resolution to remain firm. Lindorf has got your letter, is returning, or, perhaps, returned▪ and what will he say when he shall find you are married?"

"Cruel friend," replied I, with chagrin; "is this your consolation?"

"What would you have me say to a feeble and timid child, who does not know her own mind? Those evils we want the fortitude to rid ourselves of we must endure; and I can assure that, in two days, if you are at Dresden, you will be the Baroness de Zastrow."

"Never, never," answered I, with enthusiasm— "Never shall that hated name be mine. I will prove that this feeble and timid child has more resolution than you suspect; nay, has enough to face even death itself."

"Die! pshaw! Who would die, when they may live, and live happily?"

"I see no means; it is impossible. I cannot go by my­self to Berlin. I should lose myself a thousand times; neither should I ever have the strength to get thither."

"Mademoiselle de Manteul could not forbear laugh­ing.—"Poor girl! And so you thought I meant to send you to Berlin, alone, and on foot, a fugitive h [...]ine, in disguise, no doubt, with a bundle in your hand, and a large straw had tied under your chin, beneath which should be discovered a certain dignified and noble air, which some piteous stage coachman perceiving should give you a place on the box. This, no doubt, would be vastly cle­ver and interesting, but the way I mean to propose is much less dangerous and more simple. One of my former maids is married to the post-master of the city. She is entirely devoted to me, and her husband will not only furnish a chaise and horses but drive you himself; will accompany you till you get safe to your brother, and, if you please, you may now escape, and wait at their house till you set off. You have your choice to do this or marry de Zastrow; for there is no alternative; you must determine for the [Page 118] marriage or the elopement; and, if you let the moment slip, it will be impossible for me to serve you."

"My choice is made," said I, instantly, "and, sure, I am most fortunate in a friend. I will fly to my brother, who will protect me for my Lindorf—And yet it is a great crime to deceive my aunt."

"Your aunt thinks it none to deceive you, most un­worthily."

"But suppose I were to try, once more, to move her once more—"

"Your trial would be [...]ain. Tears, prayers, persecu­tions, and even faintings, are expected, which, far from being moved at, they perhaps will profit by."

"I will be gone," cried I; neither scruples nor re­morse shall stay me. I am shamefully treated, and I have no longer any other inquietude than that which the fear of escaping in safety gives."

"Nothing is easier. Take my gown, [...]o [...]k, and veil; they will suppose it me, and leave me to follow you.— Wait for me at our house, I will presently be with you."

"Mademoiselle de Manteul is not very scrupulous," said the Count, smiling, "You cannot imagine half her zeal," continued Matilda. "I myself was incapable of either acting or thinking; but she, in a moment, got eve­ry thing ready, helped me to put on my disguise, opened [...] door, kissed me, pushed me forwards, and said, "Go, go, dear Matilda; you have not a moment to lose: they may be coming here the next minute, perhaps; fly, or farewell all hope." Fear gave me courage, and I had got to [...] bottom of the staircase when I recollected I ought to write a note, and leave it on my table, for my aunt; that she might be certain, at least, I was not dead. I returned, and Mademoiselle de Manteul, terrified at seeing me, thought I had met some one on the stairs.— Scarcely had I begun to tell her what brought me back before she interrupted me. "You are mad," said she: "Write a letter! Give your aunt time to come and catch you! She told me she was coming up presently—Be­gone, begone! They are not so easy to be persuaded peo­ple are going to kill themselves as you are!"

"The fear of being caught made me compliant, and I got out without being perceived. I had not far to go, nor was it long before my friends came to me. "We have a whole hour to take our measures in," said she; [Page 119] "they think you are asleep, and I advised them to leave you in peace, at present. The first thing you have to do, therefore, is to go to the post-house; for, should they find you absent, they will come to seek you here immediately. You will there remain in safety. If you want any money I can assist you."

"Thanks to your goodness my brother, I did not want this kind of assistance. My friend, therefore, went with me to the mistress of the post-house, who consented to every thing she proposed, and with whom she left me. It was very probable they would come to seek me at the house of Mademoiselle de Manteul, and, therefore, ne­cessary she should be at home to avoid suspicion.

"No sooner was I alone than I began to be deeply af­fected at the terror of my aunt, when she found me gone and was wholly ignorant what was become of me. Dis­obedience and slight were sufficient offences, and needed not aggravation. I, therefore, resolved to repair them, as far as was in my power, and, having called for pen, ink, and paper, wrote nearly thus:

"I have just been informed, my dear aunt, my bro­ther is at Be [...]n, and am so impatient to see him that I have gone without asking a permission which, in all pro­bability, would have been refused, and have thus spared myself the regret of a denial and again being disobedient. I am already sufficiently afflicted for having displeased you by my resistance to your will. Ah! why, my dear aunt, have you forced me thus to displease, thus to refuse com­plia [...]ce, thu [...] [...]o [...]ly from you? How happy should I have been could I have contributed to your felicity! The Baron de Zastrow must have sufficient delicacy to feel that a promise, extorted by terror and disowned by the heart, is not binding. I hope he will no more think of killing himself, for I am no longer there to catch his arm▪ I would earnestly advise him to live, and, above all, to live happy without Matilda."

"I gave this note in charge to one of the landlady's children, and bade him deliver it to the porter, without saying who it came from. More at ease, now I thought my aunt would be so too, I waited with tolerable patience for Mademoiselle de Manteul, who had promised to see me again before I set off, and who, at length, came.

"You have not a moment to lose," said she, "you must depart at day-break; the Baron is searching you through [Page 120] every house in town; he has just left ours, and I encou­raged him to continue his search, which will give you time to get the start. It was exceedingly lucky you did not write, as your silly whim would have made you."— I durst not confess I just had wrote, but I now felt my imprudence, and the fear of being pursued was so strong that I was unwilling to go. My friend employed all her eloquence to encourage me; she described the anger of my aunt, the necessity I should be under of confessing where I had been, and who had assisted me, the ascendant which my elopement and return would give her over me; told me there would be no possibility of appeasing but by obeying her, and that, if ever I entered her house again, she was certain I should be married within two hours—"I will go," said I, "I will go instantly: the die is cast, and, be the event what it will, I will go; and accordingly orders to get the chaise and horses ready were immediately given. Mademoiselle de Manteul, fear­ing I again should relapse, would not leave me. She was under no apprehensions about her father, whose gout kept him at home; she sent him word that she should sup out, and remained with me till the moment of departure. Of de Zastrow, of my brother, of Lindorf, of every thing that might encourage me to keep my resolution, she spoke. "Depend on me," said she; "I will go, in the morn­ing, to de Zastrow, and lead him to suspect you are flown to England. He shall not easily get away from me, and by that time you will be so far on the way to Berlin that all pursuit will be in vain." This gave me a little confi­dence; or, rather, it was now too late to listen to fear. To recede was no longer possible, and I beheld the mo­ment of departure arrive with pleasure. Unable to ex­press my gratitude, except by my kisses and tears, while my friend was enraptured to see me, as she said, escape so many dangers, I got into the chaise and—"

"Alone!" interrupted the Count.

"No; the mistress of the house, who is now with me, and who, formerly, as I said, had served Mademoiselle de Manteul, whose husband conducted us—"

"But where is Lindorf?" replied the Count, again stopping her short. "It seems that Mademoiselle de Manteul, not he, has carried you off."

"And did you think it was Lindorf?"

[Page 121]"I own, I am glad to find it was not; though there seems something incomprehensible in all this!"

"A little patience, brother, and you will not hereafter judge of your Matilda from appearances.

"And now, behold me in the post-chaise, with the good Marianne, for that is her name; escorted by her husband, on horseback, stopping only to change horses, tossing ducats into the postillions' hats, and taking each bush for the Baron de Zastrow. My companion did all she could to inspire courage. Mademoiselle de Manteul was her oracle, and she, every minute, repeated "There was nothing to fear, for Mademoiselle had told her so." These assurances made me more tranquil: and, having travelled the first day without interruption, I thought myself in perfect safety. Just, however, as we came yes­terday to the post-house I, very imprudently, put my head out of the carriage, and presently heard a voice, I thought I knew, cry, " [...] [...]s she! It is she herself! Pos­tillion! Stop! On your life stop!" And I presently saw young de Zastrow, at the side of the chaise, with a thou­sand menaces in his countenance."

"De Zastrow!" cried the Count and Caroline.

"Yes; De Zastrow, and without the help of witch­craft. What, you suppose some malicious fairy has winged him through the air? Nay, to say the truth, I supposed so myself, at first; but, alas! I soon found this good for no­thing fairy was neither more nor less than my own impru­dence. The note I had written had indicated the road I should take, and the Baron had not lost his time in fur­ther search at Dresden. He supposed I had, no doubt, written it in the carriage▪ and that, by setting off immedi­ately, he should easily overtake and bring me back; and this supposition made him depart two or three hours be­fore me. I imagined myself pursued while, on the contra­ry, I was full speed pursuing, and, unfortunately enough, overtook him at his post-house, where he was waiting for horses. How great must have been the surprise of my dear friend, Mademoiselle de Manteul, when she found, in the morning, he was gone! And how excessive her inquietude and fears for me! At present, however, I hope she is easier."

"Yes, yes," said the Count, smiling, "she is easy enough, never fear. But go on with your story, it is quite romantic."

[Page 122]"Romantic, indeed! I assure you, I think it a very extraordinary story! But we are not half at the end of it yet—Let me see—The terror, fright and consternation, at the sight of de Zastrow. Yes, yes; I was there—Well, then, I shri [...]ked, and hid myself in the corner of the chaise, while Marianne screamed to the postillion to go on. De Zastrow threatened and bade him stop, his servants came up, and the crowd increased. Something must be done, and I thought it best to speak to the Baron, to ask him by what right he interrupted me, or pretended to deprive me of my liberty, and to tell him, openly, I would rather die than either marry him or return to Dresden. Accordingly I again looked out of the chaise, and there I saw—!

"Now, if you please, you may talk of witchcraft, fai­ries, and romances! any thing, or every thing, you can suppose miraculous and inconceivable; for there did I see—Lindorf! Yes, Lindorf himself; who, instead of in England, was there, beside the chaise, as much asto­nished as myself—Matilda!—Lindorf!—These excla­mations were mutual and instantaneous, and I really be­lieved heaven had sent him to my succour; therefore, leaping out of the chaise—

"I cannot go on," said Matilda, "you must finish the story, Lindorf; you know the remainder better than I do." Then, with her head reclining on the shoulder of Caroline, she whispered, "I hope he will not tell how I sprang into his arms and clasped him in mine with all my strength."

"Aye, aye, let me conjure thee, dear Lindorf, to go on," said the Count, impatiently; "p [...]ithee, explain by what strange chance thou camest, just at the precise mo­ment, on the Dresden road, and in company with the Ba­ron de Zastrow."

"I had returned," said Lindorf, "to answer, in per­son, the charming▪ the tender letter I had received at London. My being there at this moment was accidental, but I was not in company with the Baron de Zastrow. It was chance, or, rather, my guardian genius that brought me to the post-house just then. I was unacquainted with the Baron, but I saw a young man of quality, impatient to obtain horses, and quite furious because none were to be found. He enquired, at the same time, if a young lady, whom he endeavoured to describe, had not lately passed [Page 123] that road. They answered, No, and he again began to swear it was false, she must have passed, and again to be­stow his curses on the postillions and the post-master. As soon as I alighted from my chaise, for I was going to Dresden, he came up and said, "You, certainly, Sir, must have met a young lady, alone, driving full speed!"

"No, Sir, I assure you, I met no such lady; nor, in­deed, any lady that I remember."

"This is very extraordinary!" said he, stamping— "Perhaps the note was a new trick!—Excuse me▪ Sir, for questioning you so abruptly. I am pursuing a woman I adore, who promised me her hand yesterday, was to have married me to-day, and who [...]loped last night!"

"The misfortune is the greater," answered I, "Sir, because you do not seem that kind of person the ladies would fly." My compliment seemed to please him, and acquired me his entire confidence. He bowed, and with much self-sufficiency, which he endeavoured to render modest, replied, "I own, Sir, it is not the first time I have been told so; and there have been ladies who have gone farther than telling; but you see how different tastes are; and, certainly, that of women is very often very capricious. Is it not quite extraordinary that she I am pursuing is not yet eighteen; and that, notwithstanding, she has a whim of romantic fidelity for a lover who has forsaken her, and whom she will never see again? I am unacquainted with him, but should suppose personal ac­complishments not infinitely in his favour; and, as to birth and fortune, in these I yield to no man."

"All this, Sir, I make no doubt, is true; but if your rival has the advantage of being beloved—"

"Beloved or not beloved," said he, "it is equal to me; he is absent, will see her no more; if I can overtake her she is mine, and shall be obliged to adore me."

"This conversation passed before the post-house, and I was amazed at the facility with which this indiscreet and vain young man spoke to a stranger, as well as at his total want of delicacy, and silently approved the fugitive lady. Just then a chaise came up, full gallop, from Dres­den, and interrupted us. He did not seem to have the least suspicion, and looked towards it from mere curiosity, till, the chaise stopping, a lady looked out. I had but a glimpse, and did not know it was Matilda, but my gen­tleman instantly exclaimed, "It is she! It is she!" While [Page 124] the lady drew back, exclaiming, in her turn, "It is he!" The maid bid the postillion drive on, while de Zastrow, with uplifted cane, threatened to knock him off his horse if he moved a step. I hesitated, for a moment, what part I should take. The frankness of the youth had, in some measure, laid me under an obligation; and yet I felt my­self affected for the unfortunate lady, whom they were going to marry against her consent. My first intention was to become a mediator, if possible, and to inspire the terrified lady with fortitude, for which purpose I ap­proached the chaise, far from imagining how deeply I myself was interested in this adventure. As I came up I heard my own name repeated in an accent of amaze­ment! The door opened, and out flew Matilda, whom I instantly knew, notwithstanding the finished beauty, al­teration, and growth of her person! The charming Ma­tilda placed herself by my side, took me by the hand, and said, in a voice which terror and joy had rendered faint, "Dear, dear Lindorf! God has surely sent you to the assistance and defence of your Matilda! They want to rob you of her, but they never, never shall! She will be yours, and yours only!"

"No sooner did the Baron hear my name than, throw­ing away his cane, drawing his sword, and arrogantly ad­vancing, he exclaimed, "Lindorf! What treachery is this?" Then addressing himself to Matilda, said "I en­treat, Mademoiselle, you will go into my post-chaise. I have the positive commands of your aunt to bring you back to Dresden, and I dare say the Baron of Lindorf will not think proper to oppose those commands."

"That we shall presently see, Sir," answered I coldly, while I supported Matilda, whom so many contending passions had occasioned to faint in my arms. I gently carried her into the post-house and laid her on the first bed I found; then, recommending her to the persons presents, telling them they should be answerable for her forthcoming, I immediately left her, and went in search of the Baron de Zastrow. I found him demanding en­trance, and forcibly withheld by two or three men, who let him go the moment I appeared. We walked toge­ther to some distance, and went into an enclosed garden. "You have accused me of treachery, sir," said I, "and appearances may give some small justification to the sus­picion; but I assure you, on my honour, that chance, on­ly, [Page 125] a most lucky one it is true, has brought me here.— When I spoke to you, I was ignorant both that you were my rival and that Matilda had fled. If you think this sufficient satisfaction, and will leave the young Countess of Walstein absolute mistress of herself, I promise you to abide by her decision, and here offer you my future friendship and esteem; if not, I will defend my own pre­tensions and her liberty at the hazard of my life."

"Defend them, then, traitor," replied he, attacking me with so much impetuosity that, being off my guard, I received a wound in the left arm. It was not dangerous, and only roused my anger; and the Baron took so little care, thinking himself certain of victory, when he saw me wounded, that I easily disarmed him. His sword flew out of his hand, and as it fell, I set my foot on it—"Your life," said I, "is now in my power; I am wounded and you are not: but, disregarding this small disadvantage, I am ready to restore your sword, and, again, put it to the chance of victory, if you do not renounce your pretensi­ons to Matilda, and promise to depart for Dresden, im­mediately, without seeing her."

"He hesitated, and I saw, by the change of his coun­tenance, my manner of acting had made some impression. Pride still struggled, but honor, at last, was conqueror, and he presented his hand. "Recollect," said he, "sir, you have, on these conditions, offered your esteem and friendship. I feel, at present, I shall be proud of and will, therefore, endeavour to merit them, by prevailing on my aunt to confirm that happiness which is justly your due. Forget the past, and make my peace with Matilda. I pretend only to her friendship; though," added he, with a mixture of former self-sufficiency, "I am not ac­customed to disdain; nor do I know by what fascination I so long have supported hers." I embraced him, said she would certainly be the last cruel beauty he would find, and that, had not her heart been pre-engag [...]d, she could not possibly have resisted so many accomplishments and so much merit; after which we parted the best friends in the world.

"As soon as I saw him get into his chaise, I hastened to Matilda, concerning whom I was very uneasy. Her fainting, however, was most happily timed, since it de­prived her of the knowledge of a transaction that might [Page 126] have occasioned dreadful terrors. She began to recover and, looking round her, asked where she was, as I enter­ed; then, resuming all her accumstomed grace, "Dear Lindorf," said she, "and is it not a dream? Is it true that I have once more found thee, and that we never shall forsake each other again?"

Scarcely had Lindorf finished his phrase [...]re he felt the white hand of Matilda upon his mouth. "Fie, fie, young gentleman," said she, "I see no occasion to repeat all that passed so literally. My dear brother, and my dear, dear sister, do not believe a word he says. For, what if I had thought all that, can you suppose I would have spoken my thoughts? And, even if I did, you know I was fainting. Who can tell what they do after so strange a meeting, pressed by one lover, protected by another, and amongst rencounters and battles, and all this hurly burly? One may be allowed to be a little extravagant and silly, on such occasions; but, at present, I assure you, I am as prudent as"—Matilda smiled, with malicious pleasure, on Lindorf; then, suddenly clasping his hand, added, "Well then, I say again and again, every thing I said yesterday: And I hope we shall never forsake each other more!"

Matilda was so charming, as she said this, and there was such a mixture of rapture, pleasantry, and confusion in her countenance, that Lindorf imagined he loved her dearer than ever he had loved woman, and expressed him­self with so much enthusiasm and fire that every body thought the same. Caroline was transported, she kissed the Count, and said, "Was I wrong when I told you how dearly he would love her?" Walstein beheld Lindorf with astonishment, nor yet could comprehend, perfectly, all he heard and saw. To reason and friendship he had attributed the attachment of Lindorf to Matilda; for well he recollected to what excess he had adored Caroline; nor could imagine how a passion so energetic might so soon change its object. Yet was there every appearance of sincerity in his manner, and words; and Lindorf was no hypocrite. Beside, the Count was so accumstomed to read his thoughts that, had he been under any real con­straint, it could not have escaped him, and he could ob­serve nothing but sincerity. Lindorf, on his part, guessed what was passing in the mind of the Count, and whisper­ed, "When we are alone, dear Walstein, you shall hear my story, and your surprise will then not be so great. In [Page 127] the mean time, do not imagine your friend has acquired a facility at feigning; or that he does not feel all he ex­presses." The Count clasped his hand, and entreated Matilda to finish her story. There was not much to say, but the least circumstance was interesting to the Count and Caroline. Matilda replied, "You forget, brother, that Lindorf is the historian, at present"—Lindorf thus continued:

"I found a village surgeon to dress my wound, and hoped I might have concealed it from Matilda, as well as my contest with the Baron. I, therefore, only told her he had listened to reason, departed for Dresden, and pro­mised to appease his aunt. She was most happy at the intelligence, and, being equally impatient to see our friend and brother, we presently departed. The motion of the carriage, and, perhaps, the emotion of my heart, soon dis­turbed my wound, and Matilda was greatly agitated when she saw the blood. It was impossible any longer to con­ceal the cause, and we were obliged to stop here to dress it again. It was found deeper than had been imagined, and I was condemned to take four-and-twenty hours re­pose. In vain did I solicit my lovely partner to conti­nue her journey, and leave me in this wretched inn; no entreaties could gain consent."

"No, to be sure," interrupted Matilda, with vivacity. "I know my duty better. Who ever heard of a heroine of romance abandoning her wounded knight, who had de­fended her against a ferocious ravisher? I even thought it necessary, according to custom, to dress that wound myself, and bathe it with my tears. Did not I, Lindorf? And I hope you will own I tied the scarf with tolerable grace. Were not my attitude and manner affecting, brother?"

"The very picture of a princess of the age of Amadis."

"No; one of the mistresses of the famous Galaor," said she, glancing at Lindorf.

"It was the mistress, then, that fixed the rover," re­plied he, kissing her hand.

"So said Galaor to every mistress, and they believed him; but I," continued Matilda, "am not so credulous, and mean to put your sincerity to the proof—In those times, a woman, with vast sang froid, commanded her lo­ver not to pronounce a single word for two years, and he obeyed, Oh! happy age! I, though I only shall impose [Page 128] rest and silence on my wounded hero till to-morrow, am certain to find him disobedient!"

"Never, never," said Lindorf kneeling; "and there will be some merit in my submission, for I have many things to tell my Walstein."

"And so you would have passed a whole night in chat­tering, mean while the fever and the wound—I reiterate my absolute command! Silence and rest till to-morrow!"

Exact obedience was promised, though not without reluctance. The friends were both impatient to commu­nicate their sentiments; and particularly the Count, who was doubly interested to find the heart of Lindorf cured of passion for Caroline, and capable of making Matilda happy. It was, therefore, agreed that, in recompense for this their silence; they should travel, on the morrow, in the chaise of Lindorf, and leave the coach of the Count to the ladies. This arrangement was equally acceptable to Caroline, who was herself most desirous the friends should mutually explain their feelings, that Walstein might be convinced of the exact truth of all she had told him, and inform Lindorf of her present love for her hus­band. Matilda, perhaps, might have preferred the care of her wounded knight; but, Matilda dared not say so; and her brother having mentioned sending his servant to Dresden, with letters for his aunt, she also retired to write, both to her and Mademoiselle de Manteul, to whom she sent back the servants and chaise.

She presently returned with her two letters. The Count read that to Madam de Zastrow, approved it, ad­ded a few lines from himself, and, perceiving Matilda concealed the one she had written to Mademoiselle de Manteul, said, smiling, "I suppose you express your gra­titude in strong terms to your zealous friend."

"I express it as I feel it; and, I think, that is saying a great deal. You, who are one of the heroes of friend­ship, ought, certainly, to be delighted to find such an in­stance of its effects; especially in a woman."—The Count continued to smile.—"And a pray now, what is the meaning of that ironic air? What, you are incredulous? Sister Caroline, I hope you will take the part of the sex."

"We will both take its part," answered Caroline, "and prove how capable women are of frendship."

"I never doubted it," replied Walstein; "my, I even believe that pure dis [...]terested friendship is less [...] [Page 129] among women than it is supposed. It is a sensation whol­ly accordant to their gentle and tender nature; but you will forgive me for not imagining Mademoiselle de Man­teul one of its models."

"Brother!—After so many proofs!"

"I am almost sorry, dear Matilda, to rob you of that happy credulity which so well proves the innocence of your heart; but, I must own, I have strong doubts con­cerning those proofs. Mademoiselle de Manteul ap­peared greatly affected; but was it for you or for herself? Was it to serve a friend or to get rid of a rival? Every circumstance, I think, bespeaks the latter."

Matilda was confounded. A thousand little incidents were recollected, and a thousand others rushed forward to prove her brother was right; yet could she not instant­ly give her up, and replied with vivacity, "Surely you must be deceived, she dislikes, nay, detests the Baron; she was always speaking ill of and turning him to ri­dicule."

"Right, right; to augment your repugnance. This is the very cause why I say she is not a true friend. Had Mademoiselle de Manteul, the victim of an involuntary passion, opened her heart to you, and given you secret for secret: had you together concerted the means of avoid­ing a marriage that must render you both unhappy, I should have faith in her friendship, and even be far from blaming her; but all this artifice at her age, is odious: she only had herself in view, by prompting you to an imprudent step, which the event has justified, but which might have been your destruction."

Lindorf here took up the subject.—"You are too se­vere, dear Walstein; be the motives of Mademoiselle de Manteul what they may, she has served me so essentially that it becomes me to undertake her justification, and I see nothing in all this but artifice which may well be per­mitted to love; besides, while she was serving herself, she was, also, saving her friend from inevitable misfortune,"

"No doubt," said Matilda, who took courage at see­ing herself supported; "for, one day longer, and I had been forced to marry that odious Baron."

"And do you not perceive, my dear girl, that, I be­ing on the road, one day longer and you had been for [...]ver freed from tyranny, without that violence which is [...]ver prejudicial to a young lady's reputation, and without [Page 130] offence to an aunt to whose cares you are certainly much indebted? Your only error, dear Matilda, was that of suspecting my friendship▪ of supposing, for an instant, I could abandon you; and of blindly confiding in an im­prudent young lady, tho', I own, she is rather to blame than you."

"Dear, dear brother," cried Matilda, all in tears, and running into his arms; pardon us both. Ah! how do I reproach myself for having mentioned, for having given you an ill opinion of her! But so far w [...] I from suspect­ing it, that I supposed you would admire her conduct and her zeal."

Lindorf joined Matilda and chid his friend for his se­verity. Caroline clasped Matilda to her bosom, and while she dried her tears, wept in concert—"Think not I wish ill to Mademoiselle de Manteul," said the Count, exceedingly affected. "No, to her I owe the happiness of beholding those I love united. So freely do I pardon her, that I sincerely hope she may marry de Zastrow, and will even speak in her behalf to my aunt. And now, Matilda, do thou pardon me for having afflicted thee, and undeceived thee. It will be a lessen to thee, my dear, and the last I shall ever give thee; for, from this moment, I commit thy conduct and thy felicity to Lindorf. Thou knowest how ardently I have desired to see thee his.— Oh! Caroline, Oh! my sister, Oh! my friend, scarcely can my heart contain its joys, the sweet sensations this happy moment brings!"

Matilda a thousand times thanked her brother for his sincerity, and for the instruction it contained; "though," said she, "I scarcely can repent my imprudence, since it has made us all happy a day sooner;" and added that she would, in a postcript, let Mademoiselle de Manteul pleasantly understand tha [...] at present, she was acquainted with her motives.—The Count was not at all deceived in his conjectures, for Mademoiselle de Manteul had been solely prompted by her passion for the young Baron de Zastrow, who had paid her some attentions before he went on his travels, and who, she hoped, would have married her on his return. The arrival of Matilda at Dresden, the wishes of her aunt, the attachment of the young Baron to the amiable spouse destined him, all re­pelled hopes which the confidence of Matilda once more animated. She had only sought her friendship to have [Page 131] an opportunity of seeing the Baron revive his former sentiments, discover those of Matilda, and, if possible, turn them towards some other object. At first she had had her brother in view, and, therefore, had shewn Ma­tilda his letter▪ but her joy was excessive when she learn­ed this lover already existed, and that her young rival was determined on the most peremptory resistance. This it was her advantage to encourage all in her power; but this alone was not sufficient; the best means of obtaining her own end, she supposed, would be to remove Matilda from Dresden. This might best be done by engaging her to take some step which should absolutely break off the in­tended match. She it was who persuaded Madam de Zastrow, and her nephew, that, by terrifying Matilda, they might obtain her consent; and what the consequence of this terror and the success of her schemes were, has al­ready been seen. Yet was she but little benefited by her artifice, for the young Baron, recognizing, in the post-chaise, the former maid of Mademoiselle de Manteul, and being convinced she had favoured Matilda's flight, was irritated at the perfidious trick that had been played him. But this perfidy was the consequence of affection! and when the vanity of man is flattered, he is generally in­dulgent.

Return we to our happy travellers. The wound of Lindorf healed apace, so excellent a balsamic is happiness, and they set off for Berlin; Caroline and Matilda in one of the carriages, and the two friends in the other. Leave we these lovely ladies to speak of those they held most dear, to congratulate each other, to form plans of future delight, and to vow eternal friendship. Leave we them frequently to look out of the carriage after the post-chaise that followed, wishing impatiently to arrive, and let us examine how Walstein and Lindorf passed their time.

They partook of the impatience we have mentioned; but man feels not so sensibly those short privations which are subjects of such real uneasiness to the tender heart of woman. Perhaps, on great occasions, the former may be more ardent, more passionate, more capable of risking every thing for the object of their love; but the daily proofs, the intervening fears, and all the shades of a de­licate and constant passion, are much more peculiar to women; few men are susceptible of them, nay, few know their value. Our travellers, indeed, had not time to [Page 132] think of them; yet had they been in the chaise some time without entering into any conversation. They sat silent, for Lindorf knew not where to begin, or what to say to the husband of Caroline, and the Count feared lest the most trifling question might bear the aspect of reproach: he, however, was the first to speak, and told his friend how much he had been afflicted by reading the manu­script he had left with Caroline. "I have not the least fear or scruple," said he, in confiding the happiness of a sister to the man to whom I am so infinitely indebted, and who, loving and beloved by the most angelic woman the world contains, could not only sacrifice his own passion, but endeavoured to inspire her with the love of another. Ah! dear Lindorf," said he, "while to you I owe the heart of Caroline and the felicity of Matilda, is it possible I ever can acquit myself of the wondrous debt? Yet speak, explain how this sudden revolution in your affec­tions, which yet I understand not, has happened. Is not all you testify for my sister another sacrifice of gene­rous friendship? Endeavour not to impose upon your­self. Can Caroline—"

"Dear Walstein," interrupted Lindorf, instantly, "I would utter oaths if I did not know the word of your friend were sufficient. Believe that friend, then, when he assures you he is worthy of becoming your brother; and that nothing has he expressed that he has not felt. I love Caroline, no doubt, but it is as I love her husband, with friendship as pure and strong as it is durable; but I love my dear Matilda as the sole woman on earth who now can make me happy—You are surprised, but hear what I have to say. Learn what has passed in the heart you yourself have formed since last we parted."

The Count was most desirous to hear, and sat attentive while Lindorf thus continued:

"Since you have read my manuscript, Walstein, you are informed of my first acquaintance with Caroline, and what were the sentiments she inspired. I shall attempt no justification of myself. You can judge whether it be possible to see her with indifference. I protest, however, before heaven, that notwithstanding all her beauty, all her charms, she would have been totally indifferent to me had I had the least suspicion she was your wife. But this how might I have? You were silent; Caroline, then so young, [...]o [...]e not your [...] the good Canoness [Page 133] gave evident marks of wishing to see us united. Every circumstance told me she was free and that I might dare to love her—Oh! wherefore, my friend, that fatal [...] re­serve!—Yet let us pass this over. Ignorant in my guilt, I offended the man for whom I would willingly have sacrificed my life; he has seen some faint picture of my grief, my remorse, and the resolution I took, the in­stant I discovered my crime, to fly. I thought I might, in some measure, repair the involuntary wrong I had done by shewing Caroline who and what the husband was she fled. I knew her soul congenial to yours, capable of estimating its worth, and that you were formed to admire and adore each other."

"It was thy noble friendship," exclaimed the Count, "which alone could draw me with such noble features and such colours as could affect the heart of Caroline. Yes, dear Lindorf, to thee alone I owe that heart and all the ex­quisite felicity I enjoy. No, had it not been for that pas­sion with which thou so continually reproachest thyself, Caroline, perhaps, never had loved me. But go on, dear friend, I long to be convinced thou art equally happy, and that thou thinkest Matilda a proper recompense for the sublime efforts thou hast made to conquer a passion which could dictate the manuscript thou leftest at Rin­daw and banish thee from Caroline."

"I left her," replied Lindorf, "determined never to see her more, till by wholly subduing my fatal passion, I were worthy her and you; and far was I from foreseeing this blissful moment was so near. The solitude of Rone­bourg augmented my love and gloomy melancholy; in­cessantly did fancy transport me to the pavilion of Rin­daw, incessantly was Caroline present. I saw her, heard her, conversed with her, and when the sweet illusion va­nished, despair and remorse acquired additional strength, and they were tried to the utmost by your arrival and conversation. You loved Caroline, your happiness de­pended on being beloved by her, and again I renewed my vow of surmounting my passion; or, rather, of forsa­king my country, and carefully concealing from you I had been your rival. This vow had been held sacred; never had the name of Caroline escaped my lips had not she, like an apparition, appeared at Ronebourg, the oc­casion of which I yet understand not, and deprived me [Page 134] of reason. Excuse me from describing all I felt while I thought I beheld her dying, but imagine what it must be when it could make me betray the secret of my heart, and inform you that a friend, towards whom you had acted with such magnanimity, was the guilty lover of your wife!

"My determination was to take vengeance [...]n myself, and follow her whom I thought dead; but signs of return­ing life prevented me: she was restored to you, and I wished not to interrupt your happiness by the horrid spec­tacle of suicide. I went into my room, wrote the letter you found, mounted my horse, and rode full speed, with­out knowing whither I went, or taking so much as a sin­gle servant with me. The first day I suffered my horse to take which road he pleased, and, at night, stopped at a wretched inn; I endeavoured, however, to collect my ideas, and resolved to follow my first intention, which was to go to England. I had written to court and obtain­ed permission for that purpose, my servant and baggage might soon follow, and I immediately took the road to Hamburg where I meant to embark. I rode post day and night, and this continual change of scene corresponded with the agitation of my soul to which repose was insup­portable. I wished to find a vessel ready to sail to Ham­burg, and to step into it as I got out of my chaise; but, happily, there were none ready. Some hours after my arrival, I was seized with a burning fever, which lasted several days; the physician, whom my host called in, had m [...] bled so abundantly that excessive weakness was the consequence, and retarded my departure. Obliged to re­main at Hamburg till I gathered strength, I wrote to my valet de chambre to come to me there. My sickness was the natural consequence of my feelings, and the fatigues of my journey, and was certainly a fortunate one. It calmed the violence of my transports, and obliged me to follow the plan I myself had laid down, as soon as I knew you to be the husband of Caroline.

"At present, when I no longer feel this weakness, I may own that more than twenty times on the road was I tempted to return to Ronebourg, and from your hand de­mand Caroline or death. Had I been obliged to remain at Hamburg without falling ill, perhaps, I should have been overcome, and for ever have rendered myself un­worthy your esteem and friendship. My fever, and its consequent weakness, shewed me objects under a different [Page 135] point of view; and, whether the organization of the body influences the mind, whether it was the result of reflections incessantly made, or whether friendship really triumphed over love, certain it is my passion, each day, became feebler; or, rather, reason became stronger. I still adored Caroline, but I adored her as a deity, without daring to suppose I again might see her. I shuddered even at the idea, and, far from wishing to return, I wished to remove farther off, and therefore waited impatiently for Varner.

"Such was the temper of my mind when the young Baron de Manteul arrived at Hamburg, and came to lodge in the same hotel: my host immediately informed him of my illness, exaggerated the danger I had been in, the care he had taken of me, the slow recovery of my strength and inspired him with a wish to become acquainted with me. He sent up his compliments, and, as his was a Saxon family well known, I received him with pleasure. His appearance gave me a favourable impression, which was confirmed by his conversation. He was equally pleased with me, and in a few hours we were old friends. He, likewise, was going to England, but could not stop more than three days at Hamburg: hearing I intended to cross the sea, he earnestly entreated me to embark on board the same ship. My health, which daily grew stronger, per­mitted me to depart, and I willingly consented to a request by which I should gain such an agreeable companion. I left a letter of instructions for my valet with the host, and in two days we left Hamburg, mutually congratulating each other on this lucky rencounter: we further agreed to live together, at London, and take lodgings in the same house.

"This young gentleman was the more agreeable to me for being almost as melancholy as myself, and we often sighed in sympathy: he first made the remark. During the voyage we were alone on the deck, each absorbed in his own ideas, and each preserving the most profound si­lence. Manteul at length spoke; "I think," said he, "I have discovered another conformity between us. Is it not true, dear Lindorf, that your heart is engaged, and that you deeply regret some person whom you have left in your own country?" I not choosing to give a direct answer, retorted the question on himself, and told him he had made the confession.

[Page 136]"I own it," replied he; "and, did you know the person I regret, you then would have some knowledge of what my feelings are. When I quitted Saxony, I ima­gined I fled from the danger of loving the most charming woman in the world; but, now I see her no more, I feel the mischief is done, and that I fled too late."

"I owned my heart was as much enslaved as his, but added nothing farther; I rather endeavoured to turn the conversation, by making reflections on the pangs and ef­fects of love.

"We had a good voyage, and arrived safe at London. The novelty of this vast city, its riches, the multitude of its inhabitants, and that peculiarity of manners which distance and a government so different produce, greatly relieved my melancholy; and, as I most sincerely desired to be wholly cured of it, I myself ardently sought amuse­ment. I recovered health and strength apace, and even a part of my natural cheerfulness, yet did Caroline occu­py my heart and thoughts, and, whenever I was alone, I found they turned wholly on her; but, as I dreaded the dangerous recollection, I took every possible means to re­move it, and remained alone as seldom as possible. Man­teul seldom left me; he found, each day, his attachment increase, and seemed to fear we should part too soon.— He told me he had received letters from Dresden, which had lain at his banker's, waiting his arrival at London, that gave him vast pleasure. "My return," said he, "may be much sooner than I supposed; but the event that will then call me back will be so happy a one I shall only have my friend to regret." I could easily perceive he wished to open his heart to me, but that would have required a reciprocal confidence, and I was determined never to re­veal my criminal secret, nor ever once to pronounce the name of Caroline; I, therefore, forbore to ask him who the object of his attachment might be, or to put any one question which might lead him to speak.

"We had been presented, by our ambassador at Lon­don, to several English noblemen; and, among others, we one day dined with the Earl of Salisbury. After din­ner the toast went round, as you know, Walstein, is the custom in England, and the health of the favourite lady given by each guest. When the toast came to me, my heart named Caroline, and the word rose to my lips. I forbore, however, and begged they would excuse my na­ming [Page 137] the lady whose health I drank. They joked me on my great discretion, and drank to the health of the fair incognita.

"I shall not be so discreet as Lindorf," said Manteul, when it came to his turn; "I am proud to drink the health of Matilda, Countess of Walstein."

"The name struck me so forcibly that I scarcely could believe what I heard real; but it was repeated round the table so often that I could no longer doubt it was that same Matilda by whom I had been so tenderly loved, and whom I had so cruelly offended, it is impossible I should paint the agitation I was in; though, but a moment be­fore, I should not have supposed any human power could have pronounced a name, except Caroline, that might have made an equal impression. Manteul sat too far off for me to ask▪ whether it was Matilda whom he loved; yet, how might I doubt when I beheld his animated countenance, as he repeated, himself, and heard others repeat her name? I looked and thought him handsomer than usual; he seemed to possess all the qualities of a lo­ver, and, certainly, said I, he is beloved. The letters which gave him such pleasure are, certainly, from Matil­da, and his quick return to Dresden, which is to render him so happy, is also, as certainly the consequence of her command; he is then to receive her hand whose heart he already possesses!

"These ideas ran in my mind all the afternoon, and accompanied [...] play, whither I was dragged in spite of myself. I wished immediately to have conversed with Mante [...] to have learned his secret; reproached myself for having missed the opportunity, and feared left it might not return; at last, finding myself uneasy in the play-house, where I neither heard nor saw, I determined to quit it and come home. I there waited the arrival of Manteul with an impatience wholly unaccountable to my­self. It was not long before he came; my going had alarmed him, and scarcely did I give him time to tell me so, before I asked if the lady whose health he had drank were the lady he loved, and if she were sister to the Count of Walstein, Ambassador in Russia."

"Ay, certainly," replied he, with transport; "she, she herself, your charming countrywoman! Are you acquaint­ed with her? It is some time since she left Berlin."

[Page 138]"I know her brother," replied I, eluding his question. "The Count of Walstein has been to me more than a friend; a father, a saviour, the man in the world most dear to my heart."

"Ah! dear Lindorf," said Manteul, embracing me with rapture, "if you are upon these terms with the Count of Walstein, I may owe all my future bliss to your friendship. She has often protested that her brother, alone, had a right to dispose of her hand; and to him you may speak for me; you may engage him to favour my pas­sion.—Say, will you, Lindorf, will you?"

"Doubt it not, my friend. Should Matilda, also, find this union that which her heart desires, I then will use all the power of my friendship with the Count to en­gage him in your interest. But I thought Matilda, in some measure, contracted to the Baron de Zastrow."

"Alas! it was that projected marriage which alone de­termined me to leave Dresden. I was the friend of de Zastrow, and would not become his rival. I then was ignorant how much Matilda disliked him; but the letter from my sister, which I found waiting my arrival here, informed me of it, and has given me the most flattering hopes."

"And had you none before you received that letter?"

"None, none, Matilda never testified any thing more than esteem for me, and that friendship which I thought the consequence of her intimacy [...]y sister; she did not seem even to perceive how m [...] [...]erred her to every other woman. Before I left her, I myself knew not the strength of my own passion; but [...]ster's letter, by making happiness possible, has made me feel how much I adore that lovely lady."

"I most ardently wished to get a sight of this letter he mentioned, and my wish was gratified; he gave it me to read.—"Here, take it, my friend," said he, "and see if I have not some reason to flatter myself I am beloved." —I accordingly took it, and, with great emotion, began to read.

"Mademoiselle de Manteul blamed her brother for departing, not following her advice, and openly paying his addresses to the young Countess. The Baron de Zas­trow had no right to be affronted; he was hated, and the marriage would never take place. Every thing, on the contrary▪ proved to her that her brother was beloved; [Page 139] she had remarked it before he left Dresden, and she now had not any doubt. Matilda was very sorry when she heard he was gone, she had even shed tears; her former cheerfulness had forsaken her, and what convinces me, said she, your absence causes her melancholy, is, that it redoubles whenever England is mentioned. She yester­day said, in a pet which made her look more lovely, 'I wonder why the men are all so eager to run to that good for nothing England!' This brother, I should think a tolerably favourable symptom, and, if you want a still stronger, I must tell you she herself has begged me to show her your letters. Profit by this information. You have still time enough to repair the folly you have com­mitted in leaving Dresden. Write me a letter immedi­ately; not by way of answer to this, but seem to confide the secret of your passion for my young friend to me; entreat me to sound her thoughts; say fear alone occasion­ed you to go, but that the least ray of hope will bring you back; she will read the letter in my presence; I shall see what impression it makes, and I dare believe the secret of her heart will not escape my penetration. I hope soon to give you more certain information which shall hasten your return."

"This letter seemed to me a clear proof that Matilda loved young Manteul, and I felt a painful sensation, a spasm of the heart, which I could not account for, and which I endeavoured to conceal. I returned the letter, and confirmed [...].—"I have written to my sister," said he, exactly as she prescribed, and I impatiently wait her answer: [...] as she thinks, it should be favourable, and if Matilda will permit me to aspire to the honour and happiness of making her mine, you, dear Lindorf, may be serviceable to my interests with the Count, her brother. I may owe my felicity to you, and my friendship for you will thus be increased."

"This I solemnly promised, but not without a sensa­tion that seemed very like jealousy, which the description he gave of the lovely Matilda augmented. I could not deny I had often seen her before she left Berlin, and he added, "You would not know her Lindorf; no, you would not know her. You cannot imagine how much she is altered, how much improved. I know not whe­ther it be possible to find a more beautiful woman; but a more graceful, a more charming one the world does not [Page 140] contain: she has every thing that can seduce and awe the heart. Her features have not a tame regularity; no, each has an expression peculiar to itself; her countenance is continually varying, and is the mirror of a most excellent heart, and a most amiable mind. Never long the same, she is playful, sportive, forward, cheerful, pretending to take pet, and laughing at the deception she has occasioned. She inspires joy and pleasure in all around her. At other times, mild, fond, and full of sensibility, she would melt the coldest or the hardest heart. Such I beheld her every day; and how might I resist so many allurements; or what shall be my happiness should she become mine?"

"My secret regret for having wilfully cast this happi­ness from me was the answer my heart returned to Man­teul. And had I!—had I been beloved by this charm­ing lady! And did it once depend only on me to have made her for ever mine! Oh! how little had I merited a gift the value of which too late I knew! What! had she not a right to forget the man who repaid her affect on with the blackest ingratitude; neglected, abandoned her, and, on the very first occasion, yielding wholly to the love of another, repelled the heart which fondly had be­stowed itself on him, and obliged it to seek a mate more worthy?—These ideas rapidly succeeded each other in my mind, and gave me an absent and gloomy air, at which Manteul might well have been surprised; but he was too much interested in the subject of the conversation to per­ceive it; was too desirous of continu [...] to speak of his dear Matilda, and his future hopes. It was not possible, however, for me to hear him unmoved▪ I, therefore, pretended I was not very well, and withdrew.

"No sooner was I alone than I began to inquire what my sensations were, and how I might feel this strange emotion concerning an event which I ought to have fore­seen. Since I had not loved Matilda, since I had re­nounced her heart and hand, what were my rights?— Ought I not to be happy that another had been more just, and made reparation for my wrongs? Alas! so far, was I from being happy, from thinking thus, that it seemed as if Manteul bore away a treasure which appertained to me alone; nay I was inconsistant, unjust, enough to accuse Matilda of want of constancy, guilty as I myself had been! I recollected every circumstance of our acquain­tance, those tender promises, so ingenuous, so often re­peated [Page 141] in her letters, to love me, and me only, and ex­claimed, All women are inconstant; as if I myself had not been an example that men have, at least that I had, very little reason for these reproaches!

"I next reflected on the situation in which I stood with Manteul, and that folly which, a second time, had made me the rival of a friend. Yet durst I not allow myself to say I was his rival, but promised, if he were beloved, as every thing gave me reason to suppose, I would serve him with all the ardor of friendship: this I presently assured him of, and we waited, with equal im­patience, the answer of his sister, which was to contain his sentence."

"Well, but Caroline? Is she wholly forgotten; al­ready effaced from that heart where she had reigned with such unbounded sway?"

"From my own experience, Walstein, I am convinced the heart, when it absolutely loses hope, loses, in part, its pain; not, perhaps, in every instance, but in most; and, where love is the passion, whenever a new object is found, that, by any concurrence of circumstances, be­comes interesting, the former is presently forgotten; at least, so far forgotten as not to be remembered with the same restless and tormenting sensations. I thought of Caroline, Countess of Walstein, but not of Caroline of Lichtfield, and was most happy to encourage the mutabi­lity; my imagination no longer wandered in the gardens of Rindaw, or dwelt in the pavilion, but saw Caroline at Berlin, there in company with the best of husbands, and enjoying her felicity. Happy was I when thus I might remember her without remorse, and, whenever her name rose to memory, the name of my friend was, also, present; while that of Matilda, which Manteul was incessantly repeating, gave me an emotion, the origin of which I, who had had so much experience, could not mistake.— Thus, my friend, you see my cure is far advanced; and you soon will learn in what manner I was perfectly re­stored.

"On our first arrival in England, we designed to have travelled through the different counties; but, supposing we should remain there all winter, intended to have de­ferred our journey till the spring. Manteul, determined to depart immediately, should his sister's letter recall him to Dresden, entreated me now to go with him and, a [...] [Page 142] least, visit the most famous places. Since I had learned his secret I was ill at ease, and little inclined to rest long in one place. A journey, I imagined, would be some relief, and I willingly consented. We set off, therefore, passed through various counties, and a part of Wales, stopping to examine what was held most curious and in­teresting. This, dear Count, is not the moment to give you a description of a country, where peace and liberty produce abundance, where the productive fields, culti­vated by wealthy farmers, are not, like ours, the scenes of bloody battles, and all their direful attendants. Cer­tain of finding them nourishment, the inhabitants fear not to marry and beget children. The towns, villages, and cities are extremely populous, and every person seems happy; and, as the English nobility pass one part of the year at their country seats, where they contribute to the prosperity of their tenants, those beautiful country seats are built with an elegance, and preserved in a style of grandeur and taste, very different from the gloomy mag­nificence of our antique chateaus. If we wish to form an idea of the beauties of nature, and the inexpressible charms of a country life, we must go to England."

"You augment the wish I have to see that country," said the Count; "I intend to take my dear Caroline thi­ther; but till that happens, shall be glad of farther infor­mation."

"I know not whether I am capable of affording you any," replied Lindorf, "for we travelled with too much rapidity, and our hearts and minds were too much pre­occupied, to remark the numerous things deserving no­tice. I have only just mentioned what must necessarily strike every foreigner who beholds England for the first time.

"Impatience to receive news from Dresden made us soon turn our faces towards London: I certainly was more uneasy than Manteul. The hope he had conceived contributed much to his happiness, which I rather envied than participated; and the more cheerful and animated I saw him, the more did my secret chagrin and gloom in­crease. I spoke to him, however, continually, concern­ing Matilda, led him to repeat the most minute circum­stances, and was as inexhaustible in my questions as Man­teul was in replies. This was our chief subject of con­versation, and, every moment, grief, regret, jealousy, and [Page 143] I may add love, acquired new force. Manteul found no letters when we came to London; but, two days after our arrival, as I was rising, intending to breakfast with him, his servant brought me a letter, with my address. Surprised at this, I immediately was going to him, but was informed he was gone out, and would not be at home before dinner. My astonishment increased, and I open­ed the letter, not without emotion, which still became more forcible when I saw the cover inclosed a letter that had been opened, addressed to Manteul, with the post­mark of Dresden, which, by its size, seemed still to con­tain another. This I supposed to be the answer of his sister, and a letter inclosed from Matilda. But wherefore not bring them himself? In spite of my impatience to see it, I began by reading the few lines Manteul had written in the cover. "Here it is," said Lindorf, taking it from his pocket-book, "and imagine what was my surprise:"

"I know not whether to the best of friends or most traitorous of men I enclose the letters I have just recei­ved: while I thus absolutely cede to the former opinion, I shall prove I wish to find I am not mistaken, however appearances may say the contrary.—And is Lindorf then the lover of Matilda? By her beloved? The husband of her choice, selected by her brother, and acknowledged by her heart? The man to whom she would instantly sacrifice the homage of the adoring world; and is it from herself I learn all this?—Oh! Lindorf, what motive can you have had for the inconceivable mysteriousness of your conduct? I cannot think you capable of base trea­chery; yet I had some right to your confidence and sin­cerity.—I am lost in doubt, and own I fear the conse­quences of meeting you at this moment. Send your an­swer to the Orange Coffee-house: there can be no reason for longer dissimulation, for, since you are beloved, you no longer have a rival.


"It is impossible to tell you what I felt.—Was I still beloved by the charming, the constant Matilda? Was it for me, ungrateful as I was, that she refused the addres­ses of de Zastrow, of Manteul, nay of the whole world! I opened the letter and found one addressed to me; the hand was well known, and an emotion, almost involun­tary brought it to my lips. I was about to open and en­joy [Page 144] the excess of my happiness when a sudden and bitter reflection stopped me. Again at the expence of a friend must I be happy; and this friend has reason to suppose me perfidious. I could not endure the thought. You, dear Count, are capable of imagining what my feelings were, and the increase they suffered by recollection. This was the second time love had assaulted friendship, and a second time was I desirous friendship should be victori­ous. I would not read the letters till I first had justified myself to Manteul, and till I had his free consent to read them: I locked them up, and instantly went in search of him to the coffee house, where he had not yet been, and where the most probable way of meeting him would have been to wait: but waiting at this moment was impossible. I ran to seek him elsewhere. I rather chose speaking to him than writing a letter long enough to have explained all the reasons of my conduct, which little suited my im­patience; but as we might miss each other in the search, I left a line at the coffee house, saying "he did me jus­tice in believing me incapable of perfidy; that, certainly, I had many things to reproach myself with, but not that of treachery towards him. Matilda only had a right to complain. I begged him to wait at the coffee-house, and pledged myself to give him every explanation he could require, assuring him I should not take a moment's rest till he had heard me▪ I had not read, nor would not read, a line in the letters he had sent me, and hoped to prove how highly I valued his esteem and friendship!"

"After giving this note to the waiter I continued my search, went to the Prussian Ambassador's, into the Park, to all our acquaintances, but missed him every where; and returning to the coffee-house, found to my great vex­ation, he had been there and was gone, but that he had left a note for me, which was this. (Lindorf read it to the Count.)

"I wish to see and speak with you, dear Lindorf, but it is not possible. Lord Cavendish has requested me to accompany him to Newmarket, he is setting off im­mediately, and I scarcely have time to write a word. You know how desirous I am of seeing those famous ra­ces, and I was the more ready to accept the offer because my mind is at present in great need of relief. Your note, and especially your eagerness to see me before you have read your letters, tell me all that at present I wish to [Page 145] know. Read them, dear friend, and if you are not, in half an hour, on the road to Dresden, you do not merit your happiness. Could any thing disturb, or alter, my esteem and friendship for you, it would be to hear you were in London at this time to-morrow. Farewell, dear Lindorf, and be as happy as you deserve; as happy as you must be with the most lovely of women. I will seek ano­ther like her, if possible, and whose heart is free. Should the company and sports of Newmarket have the effect I hope, you will soon hear from me. I doubt not but you will write and give me the account you promise, not by way of explanation, it is not requisite, but in the confi­dence of friendship, and to one who is infinitely interested both for Lindorf and Matilda. She, you say, only has a right to complain—Happy Lindorf!—Fly, behold her, and she will not have that right long.


"Scarcely had I finished before I flew to the house of Lord Cavendish, hoping still to find him; but they were gone post, and I hesitated for a moment whether I should or should not follow; but motives so strong, and a desire so ardent drew me elsewhere that I could not long resist. I once more read the note of Manteul, and finding he a­voided me, 'Why,' said I, 'should I force the sight of a happy rival on him in the first paroxysm of grief?' Was I in reality beloved by the generous Matilda? Manteul, only, yet, had told me so, and I longed to see the confirm­ation. I, therefore, returned home, and read the two letters I am going to shew you. You will begin by read­ing that of Mademoiselle de Manteul, as I did, tho' most impatient to see the other, which, addressed to me, made my heart palpitate. I trembled to open a paper where each word, traced by the hand of Matilda, must be a re­proach to this inconstant heart. She, perhaps, knew not my infidelity; but was I, therefore, less culpable?—Ah! when I did read, how did her ingenuous and affectionate soul, which infused itself into the paper, augment my wrongs, and make me more self-odious! "I began with this," said Lindorf, giving it to the Count.

"Mademoiselle de Manteul first asked a thousand par­dons of her brother for having given him false hopes. De­ceived herself, she had believed the thing she wished to be was true, and that he had been the secret object of Ma­tilda's love. It was your letter," added she, "that very letter I requested you to write, and from which I expect­ed [Page 146] effects so very different, that destroyed all my hopes. No, brother, you are not the beloved man. Matilda has long since yielded her heart. She refuses the homage of de Zastrow, of you, and of the whole world, for the sake of your new friend, that very Baron of Lindorf of whom you speak. She saw but his name in your letter, and in­stantly her secret was betrayed: yet it can now be no se­cret to you, for, being thus intimate with that gentleman, he, by this, has certainly made you his confidant; cer­tainly, his told you he has long since been contracted to the young Countess of Walstein. Her brother, the most intimate friend of Lindorf, promoted this union, and their hearts were accordant to his wishes. Matilda declares no­thing can break this tie but death; for, though Lindorf shall prove inconstant, she never will. Your passion, therefore, dear brother, for your own sake, you will van­quish, and I think I know you sufficiently reasonable and generous to rest assured it will change to friendship, and that you will take a pleasure at once to serve Matilda and her lover. This you may do by giving him the inclosed letter, which the poor young lady had no means of send­ing. It is not she that requests this, but I; thinking it the best means of effecting your cure. Tell this Lindorf that his mistress is persecuted by her aunt, who will o­blige her to wed de Zastrow, whom she hates; that this will certainly occasion her death: prevail on him to depart instantly, that he may console, deliver, and carry her off, if necessary; and, indeed, I see no other means. What can he have to fear, since he is authorized by her brother? You well may suppose, Charles, I should have been hap­py had you been the man; but her heart was bestowed be­fore she came to Dresden. Endeavour, therefore, only to contribute to her happiness; and, perhaps, to your sister's likewise."

This latter phrase, which had escaped the observation of Lindorf, made the Count smile, and confirmed him in his former opinion of Mademoiselle de Manteul. He re­turned the letter to Lindorf, who then gave him that from Matilda—"Read," said he, "and think what must be the impression it made on me!"

"Dresden—Yes, Mr. Lindorf, Matilda writes to you. Your friend Matilda. She does very wrong to be sure; she ought not to be the first to break this excellent silence. Oh! yes, yes; I know I do wrong; but I like­wise [Page 147] know I cannot help it. There are certain moments in life when the heart speaks louder than reason, and compels it to silence, and my heart says so many things that I am obliged to listen and do whatever it pleases. It tells me, for example, I shall be less unhappy when I have related all my sufferings to my friend; and I already feel it tells me truth. Since I have begun to write it seems as if my griefs were all changed into so many pleasures; but, alas! these will presently vanish; and no soooner will my letter be ended than my torments will re-commence. My brother still in Russia, Lindorf still in England, de Zastrow still at Dresden, and poor Matilda still persecuted. —My aunt requires impossibilities. Have I two hearts that I may bestow one on de Zastrow? And if I had a thousand, should not I give them all to—to—. Ever since I have begun to write this letter, nay, ever since I first thought of writing it, have I been incessantly torturing my imagination for the best manner of telling you what I feel, and how I might say all I have to say; but the more I think the less I succeed. It will be impossible you should understand me—I will think no more on the mat­ter; I will suffer my hand and my heart to go their own way. I require sincerity, and have a right to give the example—Yes, M. Lindorf (see! see! I am still think­ing about the manner). Well then, dear, dear Lindorf! I love you, and shall love you as long as I live!—And be assured, I will live and die either Matilda Walstein, or Matilda Lindorf—Do not be terrified at this any eter­nal constancy. No, dear Lindorf, it does not entail itself on you: far am I from supposing you under the same ob­ligation. With myself only, not with you, have I entered into this engagement. I have heard men may change as often as they please, without becoming less estimable in their own eyes, or even in the eyes of the women; and it must be true, since my brother, the wisest and the best of men, has changed, nobody knows why, and seems no longer to love his poor sister.—Ah! Lindorf, dear Lin­dorf, do you supply the place of this brother, who for­sakes me; he is so far off I have no means of reclaiming his friendship; but, certainly, yours, Lindorf, will come to my aid. Advise, tell me how I may avoid a marriage I detest; preserve me for—Alas! if not for Lindorf, for myself.—If it be true he loves another—I ask no questions I shall know it soon enough; yet it will not alter my pre­sent [Page 148] manner of thinking, no [...] her with respect to you, the Baron de Zastrow, nor all the men on earth, for never [...]ong them all will I choose more than one. This I know, and what farther knowledge do I want? Only tell me you will remain the friend of Matilda; the word friend will ascertain your sincerity; which will be still farther confirmed by your frankness, and eagerness to an­ [...] [...], to relieve me from the cruel inquietude your silence that of my brother, and the absence of you both occasion; from that neglect which resembles offence, for­getfulness, and death, and which certainly will be death if it continue much longer, to Matilda Walstein.

" P. S. I know not how to direct this letter, nor where to send it. Alas! I know not whether you or my bro­ther neglects me the most; but you both are—What in the world I love the best! Which, I am afraid, is as much as to say, ungrateful."

The Count was affected at reading this letter, and se­verely reprehended himself for having suffered his passion for Caroline to make him so far neglect his sister. He ought not to have been satisfied with writing a letter; he should have supposed it might be intercepted, and have gone himself. He began to imagine he only was in the wrong.—"You may think," said Lindorf, "what I felt from what you yourself feel."—The Count was going to give back the letter.—"No, keep it," said Lindorf, "and if I ever should be wretched enough to forget it, or give my Matilda a moments grief, shew me but that letter and I shall instantly repair the wrong."

"I did not hesitate a moment, after I had read it," con­tinued he, "concerning how I must act. To fly to her, to console her, to entreat her to forgive the injuries I had done her, to tear her from the arms of tyranny, and to de­dicate my life to her happiness, was the first wish, the vow of my heart. I clearly saw they deceived her, since she still supposed you in Russia. They, no doubt, had inter­cepted your letters; she was beset with snares, and by people devoted to de Zastrow. The danger was so pres­sing that I determined immediately to depart; the recol­lection of Mant [...]ul only could have prevented me, and this his note counteracted. Could any thing disturb, or alter, my esteem and friendship for you, it would be to hear you were in London at this time to-morrow. I determined, however, not to leave England till I had removed every [Page 149] doubt respecting my own conduct, and the mystery I had made of my engagements with Matilda. I, therefore, sat down and wrote a circumstantial account of what my mo­tives and intentions were, in which I concealed nothing but the name of Caroline, and owned that what he had said of Matilda had more than revived my former inclina­tion for her; but that, feeling she had every right to for­get me, I was resolved to make her every reparation I might, by aiding her in this her supposed new passion. My letter was long, and I was still writing when the ser­vant, whom Manteul had taken with him, returned. He, on recollection, had sent him back with another note, which was but a sort of repetition of the preceding one, fearing lest it had not come to hand, and that my depart­ure was thereby deferred. He added new and stronger motives to hasten me, and, that I might not have the least uneasiness on his account, assured me, "he looked on it as a lucky event; too young, at present, to marry, (he is not twenty) no woman [...]ut Matilda [...]ould have excused his entering into the marriage state. The suspicion of be­ing beloved by her had led him wild, [...]ut the conviction of the contrary had restored him to reason and liberty. By these he would profit, would study, and travel for some years, and hoped, when we met again, to find me the hap­py husband of the most lovely of women. Whatever my motives might have been for forsaking her, he was certain I no longer should be inconstant the moment I saw her. He knew me too well to believe I should not immediate­ly fly to her assistance, though it were but from motives of friendship, and if I even was incapable of love. He concluded by telling me his servant had orders to return to him as soon as he had seen me get into the post-chaise."

"I sent back the voluminous letter I had written, and his servant departed for Newmarket, at the same time that I left London. The wind was favourable, and we had a quick passage. I found Varner at Hamburgh, where he had been several weeks, detained by contrary wind, and at which he had been much afflicted. He gave me your short note, and my banker, the same d [...]y, delivered the succeed­ing letter; both were equally pressing, both requested my immediate return, without explaining your motives. Of this there was no need; the request of Walstein need not fear disobedience, and had I not been returning, I instant­ly [Page 150] should have set out. Yet how must I confess that my heart made me take the road to Dresden instead of that to Berlin! I have no excuse unless it were a presentiment. I endeavoured to persuade myself that a few days delay could not give you any pain, though it might be of the utmost consequence to Matilda. I was anxious to see her, to persuade her to come with me, and bring her to her brother. Nay, I even interpreted your two pressing let­ters into positive orders that related solely to Matilda, and concluded I best was answering your intentions by flying to her aid before I saw you. I therefore stopped at Ham­burg only till good horses and equipage could be found. The rest you know; my rencounter with de Zastrow, and my surprise at seeing Matilda leap out of the post-chaise: though I have not yet ventured to tell you, before her, how much the alteration in her person affected, astonished, and enchanted me; how superior she was to the Matilda I had formerly known, to her Manteul had described, or even to what my imagination had supposed. Oh! Wal­stein, how beauteous! how angelic did she seem, embel­lished as her countenance was by the emotions of her heart! The first words she uttered had something of tenderness, of feeling, of soul, which it is impossible to convey. I see her now fly from the carriage, run wish open arms, and hear her utter, Lindorf, dear Lindorf, they want to steal your Matilda from you, who is, and only will be yours!

"Her native innocence is above all suspicion; she loves, herself, and thinks it most certain she is, herself, beloved. Not a year's silence, not [...]ll that others have said, nor all that I have done, could shake her constancy. The mo­ment she sees me they are all forgotten, and not a shadow of doubt remains. Ah! when fainting and feeble she sunk into my arms, pale, inanimate, and with half closed eyes, how interesting was it to my soul! With what ardor did I swear to live with her, and her alone! On her lips, as I bore her into the house, I pronounced the vow which I never can forget, no more than I can the rapturous sen­sations I tha [...] moment experienced.

"My affair with de Zastrow, my wound, the tender care she has taken of me, her understanding, her grace, her ingenuous mind, all have augmented my passion. Yet will I own I felt some emotion at the sight of Caroline; but it was of a very different kind from what I had for­merly known. I saw with pleasure, yes, Walstein, with [Page 151] infinite pleasure, you were beloved, and Caroline was to me as a sister, the wife of my friend and brother. And now, dear Count, you know my inmost heart, and I hope will not delay to bestow that happiness I so ardently de­sire, which present conviction tells me I deserve, and which will make felicity perfect."

"My felicity," replied the Count, tenderly embracing him, "will not be perfect till I behold Matilda and Lin­dorf as happy as I myself am; nor shall it be long before these new bonds of affinity and friendship shall be formed, which will leave me nothing farther to wish."

Walstein then related all his past scenes with Caroline. Lindorf shuddered at the idea of the divorce. "Good God!" said he, "could you suppose I would be accessary, to such a sacrifice! That I would see happy at the ex­pence of Walstein!"

"It was the happiness of Caroline that was in contest, and neither you nor I, Lindorf, ought then to recede. The letters I wrote, and which thou wouldest have found on thy arrival, would have removed every scruple: friendship and delicacy must have yielded to motives more decisive. My reasons were good, and my measures well taken, and thou couldest not but have acted accord­ingly."

"Ask me not how I should have acted," replied Lin­dorf; "I, fortunately, have not been put to the proof. I am proud of being your brother. You only could de­serve Caroline, and she alone could equal your virtues. Matilda, perhaps, is, by temper and nature, better suited to your friend Lindorf."

"She does not know," said the Count, "that Caro­line has been her rival?"—She knows every thing," replied Lindorf, with vivacity. "She has a right to know every thing. My heart were unworthy of her had I any secrets. In justice, I was obliged to account for my coolness, my silence, my voyage to England. Might I deceive her? No, impossible; and had I even so in­tended, no such intention could have been kept. Her noble frankness, her open candour, would irresistibly have ensured like confidence and like sincerity. No sooner were we alone in the post-chaise than she spoke of you and your marriage; and asked if I knew her sister. A full confession of all that had passed was my answer; and, far from feeling jealousy or vexation, I found, as I [Page 152] spoke, she became attached to Caroline, was desirous of her friendship, and determined to imitate her best quali­ties and virtues.—Oh! how dearly," said she, "shall I love [...]is charming Caroline! How happy will she make my brother! And how gladly shall I learn, from her, to reclaim and fix my rover, my Lindorf!"—Since Matilda has seen her, she has told me, with a tone of sincerity that leaves no doubt on the mind, "Ah! Lindorf, how perfectly are you justified in your passion! I never could have pardoned you had you seen Caroline with indiffer­ence!" Such, dear Count, is your sister; and judge whether I ought not to adore her."

Arrived at Berlin, the first care of the Count was to present his friend and sister to the King, and request his approbation of their marriage; which obtained, the hap­py family went to the Walstein estate, where Caroline had fled from her husband, on the bridal day, and to him on the morning of the projected divorce, and of which Justin was steward. There, in the Count's chapel, was the marriage celebrated, without other witnesses than Walstein, Caroline, the tenants of the Chateau, and some of the villagers. As they left the church, Louisa came to pay her respects to Lindorf, to whom she was present­ed by Caroline. He beheld both those lovely women, who formerly had raised such commotions in his breast, with perfect tranquillity; and, pressing the hand of the Count, who stood next him, "I feel at this moment," said he, "I am worthy to be the brother of Walstein. I was distracted for Louisa, Caroline I adored, but Ma­tilda I love, and shall for ever love!"


TO those who wish to be informed of every thing that passes we shall further say, that Lindorf continued thus to think; that he made his lovely lady happy, attained to the highest rank in the army, and distinguished himself on several occasions. That Edmund, Count of Walstein, was a pillar to the throne, a friend of the King, a pro­tector of the people, a supporter of the wretched, and that he found, in the constant affection of his dear Caroline, and the good conduct of his children, the full recompense of his virtues; while Caroline, the adored, the beloved [Page 153] Caroline, meeting the admiration she merited, was the happiest as she was the most angelic of women.

We shall likewise add that the young Baron de Za­strow, admiring his Parisian graces, engrafted on a German trunk, finding he pleased only Mademoiselle de Manteul, who pleased not him, returned to Paris and his gaming friends, pursued his theatrical conquests, and made such good use of his time, money, and constitution that, in less than a year, he was ruined, diseased and dead. His aunt, perceiving Matilda had had good reason for her refusal, pardoned, and left her all her wealth.

Mademoiselle de Manteul retired, at first, into a con­vent; after which she obtained the place of a lady of honor, at court; where, exercising that spirit of intrigue with which she was so liberally endowed, she became perfectly competent to her post.

Her young brother, the well disposed and amiable Manteul, for whom we have been interested, and whom we saw set off to Newmarket, met with Lady Sophia Seymour, who was cousin german to the Count and Ma­tilda, and who greatly resembled the latter. Manteul now found he was far from having suffered a loss, inas­much as Lady Sophia, no wise inferior to her lovely cousin, loved him with all the ardour with which Ma­tilda loved Lindorf. The Count, in a voyage he made to London, in company with Caroline, had the pleasure of forming this union, and making two more lovers happy.


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