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ter. Soon after this tragic event, the of hill and vale, of the distant bighhostile knights met in the forest, and ground in Silesia, and the lofty sumthe fatal combat ensued which you mits of the Giant mountains, some of have seen depicted in the hall. This which were capped with snow, and redismal tale is still a popular legend in fected in glowing and rosy tints a our valleys ; the peasants will tell you splendid sunset. that the unfortunate Leah rests not in Fascinated with the picturesque siher grave, and that the shades of her tuation of these apartments, and deslain father and unhappy husband sirous to behold from their windows wander nightly in this castle. It has the glories of a summer morning in long been rumored, too, that the clat- this mountain region, I begged pertering of swords and armor, the chant- mission to occupy this delightful beding of nuns, and the sound of fearful room during my stay. My aunt apgroans and lamentations, have been peared to find a gratification in the occasionally heard here at midnight idea that I should sleep near the tomb by the shepherds, when seeking stray of her Cecilia, and willingly consented; sheep amidst the ruins.”
promising that she and Julia would During this detail we had retraced join me to an early breakfast in the our steps, and at the other end of the tower the next morning; and, on our corridor we entered the large round return to the house, ordered my old tower or keep, from which the whole play-fellow Caspar, the game-keeper, castle derived its romantic appellation. to carry my luggage after supper to The spacious circle had been divided the castle. Fatigued with several into two roomy apartments, of which days of travel in a still infirm state of the outer one had been elegantly fitted health, I left my aunt and cousin beup as a parlor of Gothic design. On fore eleven, and walked with old Casthe wall hung the portraits of my late par to the ruins. The day had been uncle, and of the lovely girl whose intensely hot; some menacing clouds mortal remains reposed in the vault in the southern horizon indicated an beneath. The picture of my cousin approaching storm, and, as we as. had been painted a few months before cended the staircase leading to the her death, and represented a blondine, corridor, the deep, low muttering of blooming with health, innocence, and distant thunder was audible from the beauty. Her fine auburn hair cluster- mountains. ed in glossy ringlets round ber angelic “And do you really mean to sleep features, and a white rose adorned her every night in the · Robber's Tower,' bosom. The resemblance to her sis- Major ?” said the old man, as he ter was striking, and would have been placed my portmanteau, sabre, and perfect, had not the darker eyes of pistols, on a chair in the Gothic parJulia given to her lovely countenance lor. a character of greater intelligence and “ Certainly, my good Caspar! and vivacity. “That is my sainted cou- why not?" I replied. sin," I said, in a voice subdued by “I would only say,” answered he, emotion into a whisper.
" that you must have more courage “Such she was, but two months than I have ; and yet a Bohemian back ;'' replied the agonized mother, gamekeeper is no coward. Many a " and now "
dark night have I passed alone in the Her sobs impeded farther utterance; mountain woods, in spite of old Ruand to change the current of her bezahl and his imps, and the Wild thoughts, I requested her to show me Huntsman to boot; but in this tower the inner apartment. Here I found I would not sleep alone, for all my an elegant bedroom of Gothic design, lady's broad lands." and commanding from three windows - What, Caspar !” I exclaimed, in the half-circle described by the “ an old woodsman, like you, afraid Wall, successive and boundless views to sleep where my aunt and
cousins slept every night last sum- eternity. I closed it, and opened mer ?"
another, entitled, “An Essay on - Ay, ay, Major !” muttered the Death." A third was, “ The Solace old man, “ the castle was quiet of Old Age and Infirmity.” This enough then ; but since the death of was a most unpalatable collection for my Lady Cecilia, strange sights and a reader in quest of worldly associa
sounds have been heard here ; and tions; but at length I discovered a * you may take my word for it, that the small volume, curiously bound in
Lady Leah; who murdered her child, black velvet, and containing more is not yet quiet in her grave.”
mundane matter. It was a historical E The old man then lighted my ta- detail of the Order of Knights TemE pers with his lantern, commended me plars, 'printed in ancient black letter;
cordially to the protection of Heaven, and, according to the title-page, from
and departed, leaving me considerably a rare and curious manuscript of the * less pleased with my quarters than thirteenth century. Having been al
when I had seen them by the rich and ways prone to the study of history, cheering light of sunset. The con- this little book would have been a sciousness of utter solitude, at such prize under any circumstances ; but as an hour, and in such a place, began to the solace of a sleepless night, in this + infect me with the superstitious fears lonely tower, it was above all price,
' of old Caspar, and the solemn still- and I sat down with eager impatience, Erness of the lofty and dimly lighted to peruse it. Opening it accidentally
Gothic room, interrupted only by an at the chapter describing the ceremo-occasional and distant roll of thun- nies of the order, I recognised with
der, made me feel something very surprise and delight the name of a vaI like repentance, that I had exchanged liant ancestor of my own, whose deeds
the modern mansion of my aunt for shine brightly in the history of Ger* this old robber's nest on a mountain many's middle ages. I knew not,
crag. During the struggle which re- however, that he had in middle life leased Germany from the iron grasp become a knight of this order, until I of Napoleon, I had stared death in the here discovered a detailed account of face too often to fear any danger from an imposing funeral service, performed human agency, and a liberal education over his remains at Prague in the in Prussia had raised me above any year 1190. To be reminded of this apprehension of supernatural sounds great man's death, and to read of his and appearances ; but as I sat alone funeral at such an hour, and in a near midnight, in this old tower, and place fraught with sepulchral associarecollected my immediate vicinity to tions, were somewhat singular coincithe sepulchre, and the baron's hall, dences, and with strong and growing the grim picture of the dying Bruno, excitement, I read the account of the and the still inore appalling portrait of funeral ceremonies till I came to the the pallid nun and her bleeding in- following sentence : fant, I felt the necessity of banishing « The Grand Master now raised an from my thoughts a crowd of images iron hammer, struck with it three which would inevitably murder sleep; heavy blows upon an iron cross, placa and, exchanging my tight uniform for ed at the head of the coffin, and calla light dressing gown, I bolted the ed aloud, Open the gates of Death !!” door, snuffed my candles, and looked No sooner had I read this, than I around for a book, with which to be- heard three knocks, which sounded guile an hour, and induce a more seemingly from the corridor. I starttranquil train of thought. In a smalled, closed the book involuntarily, and recess between the windows I disco- listened long and anxiously, but all vered a few books, one of which I was silent. “It was delusion,” eagerly opened, and found a collec- whispered common sense ; “my heattion of hymns, treating upon death and ed imagination carried me amidst the
57 ATHENEUM, VOL. 1, 3d series.
Templars, and the blows of the ringing like the blows of iron upon iroa, Grand Master's hammer struck not and so loudly audible, that I could do my outward, but my fancy's ear.” longer doubt the evidence of my Determining to place this probable senses, nor reason down my apprehenconstruction on the mysterious sounds, sions that either earthly mischief, a, I again opened the little book, which possibly, unearthly agency, was busy had laid a strong hold of my curiosity, near me. The knocks were again and continued to peruse it, till I had succeeded by low sounds of lamentafinished these words :
tion and groans, followed, as before, « And again the Grand Master by a quick and sobbing respiration, struck the iron cross thrice with his which I could compare with nothing hammer, and the brotherhood knelt but the death -rattle. I struggled around the grave, and kissed the earth hard with a growing suspicion that in silence.”
some supernatural intelligence was at At this moment I again heard three work here, and yet my reason equally knocks more distinctly than before, rejected the possible contingencies of succeeded, too, by a low sound of robbers, or midnight frolics. Thieves mingled muttering and lamentation. I would not thus announce their predistinguished both sounds with a sence, and it was utterly improbable clearness which no excitement of my that my afflicted relatives, or their atimagination could supply, and I ob- tached and sympathising domestics, served that the three knocks resem- would amuse themselves by trying bled the ringing sound of iron upon midnight experiments upon my couriron. I gazed in alarm at the door age. I had clearly distinguished that which opened on the long corridor, these mysterious sounds proceeded not from whence the noise had seened to from the sepulchre beneath me, but proceed; and with growing horror, I from the hall or corridor. « Can it now heard a clearly audible and long be,” wbispered my excited imaginacontinued sobbing, like the last strug- tion, “the unquiet spirit of the murgling breath of a dying man. At this dered Bruno, or of his suicide daughinstant the thunder again reverberated ter, the unhappy Leah ! Or, can it in long echoes from the mountains- be the shade of my ancestor, the longthe book dropped from my trembling departed Templar? Or,” it suddenly hand-I felt a sudden shivering of the occurred to me,“ is it not rather some extremities, and all the blood rushed benighted traveller, attracted by the to my heart, which beat with audible light in my window, knocking at the violence. I now fancied that I heard gate for admittance ? It is, it must the sound of distant footsteps, and be some helpless wayfarer," I exseizing the candle, I approached the claimed, clinging to this preferable door and listened, but no sound was solution of the sounds whicb had distinguishable. “Nonsense!”I ex- alarmed me. Transferring one of my claimed, assuming an indifference I candles to a lantern which I found in did not feel ; «'tis nothing but the the book-closet, I seized my sabre, rising storm-gust, howling in the long and was hastening to the door, when passages and wide chimneys of the suddenly the sound of solemn music castle.” I resumed my book and floated through the apartment. The .chair, determined to finish the curious tones were harp-like, and gradually recital, and retire to bed. Buton rose with a sublige swell, which, at reading the account of that part of the such an hour and place, seemed to me ceremony where the coffin was gently more than earthly. The soaring and slowly lowered into the grave, and swell was succeeded by a gradual and the Grand Master, again raising the iron dying cadence, which melted away in bammer, struck the iron cross three the distant night-breeze; I paused tiines, I was again interrupted by the and listened in still astonishment-but sound of three knocks near my door, all was silent. I endeavored to per
suade myself that it was another de. ample dressing-gown. Screened by lusion of my fevered brain, and that a luxuriant hedge of evergreens, I the ill-cured sabre-wound on my head reached a point commanding a view of had contributed to the successive hal- the interior, and beheld by the light of lucinations of the night; but the me- four tapers, held by as many figures lody had been so distinct and peculiar muffled from head to foot in dark drathat I could repeat every note. At pery, a spacious and lofty sepulchre, this moment I heard the clock of the in the centre of which, on a marble neighboring convent of St. Clara basement, stood an open sarcophagus, sound the midnight hour from the vale containing a richly-decorated coffin, below; it was accompanied by a long- from which the black-silk pall had drawn wailing gust of wind through been partially rolled back. A female the corridor, and the deep-toned bell form, attired in white and flowing struck on my saddened ear like the garments, was kneeling on the baseknell of some one I had loved and ment; her hands were folded as if in lost. Soon the music rose again as if prayer, and her forehead was reclinfrom the vault beneath, and I distinct- ing on the margin of the sarcophagus. ly heard the sound of harmonious She was a lovely blondine, her hair, of voices, singing with impressive and silken texture, and in color the brightperfect modulation, the following est auburn, fell in graceful abunwords from the fine opening of Mo- dance over her shoulders ; the visible zart's Requiem :
portion of her face was of an ashy Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine! paleness, and on her bosem I observed Et lux perpetua luceat eis.
a white rose. The music had ceased A rich and powerful soprano then sang before I reached my concealed station, in thrilling tones the solo
but the dead silence which had sucTe decet hymnus Deus in Sion,
ceeded was now interrupted by loud Et tibi reddetur votum in Jerusalem. tokens of the approaching storm. A After which, all the voices and the gust of wind shook the mighty oaks harp, in fine accord, and in a louder on the adjacent slope-the kneeling strain, resumed
figure turned her face towards the Exaudi orationem meam,
grating, and by the glare of a bright Ad te omnis caro veniet.
flash of lightning, I saw the whole unI heard every word as distinctly as earthly visage. Gracious Heaven ! if the singers had been at my elbow; it was the sainted Cecilia—the white and, convinced that they were no spi- rose in her bosom-in short, the perrits, but human choristers chanting in fect semblance of her portrait in the the sepulchre beneath me, I opened room above. the window, and saw a blaze of light The lantern dropped from my tremstreaming through the bronze latticed bling hand, and I gazed on this appalgate of the vault, over a small flower- ling group of figures in speechless horgarden, which embellished the ap- ror, aggravated by the howling of the proach to Cecilia's tomb. After a blast, the creaking of the branches, and brief pause, the solemn strains pro- the endless echoing of the thunder in ceeded, when, unable to repress my the mountains. My blood ran cold with curiosity, I called aloud, “Who is nameless apprehensions, but soon the there ?" But no answer was returned, tide of feeling took an opposite direcsave from the echoing rocks, which tion. Maddened with this inexplicaresponded " Who is there?-there?" ble succession of alarming incidents, I with startling accuracy. Determined determined to sever at once the Gorto unravel this mystery, I sallied forth dian knot, and, rushing forward with with sword and lantern into the corri- desperate resolution, I seized and dor, descended the stair-case, and shook the bronze gates with maniacal cautiously approached the bronze vehemence, shouting, in the voice of one gate, concealing the lantern under my possessed, “Oh, Cecilia ! Cecilia !”
“ Jesus Maria!” ejaculated the pal- was obscured by heavy clouds, and all lid figure in white, turning upon me a was midnight darkness. During a pair of large blue eyes, which appear- short interval between the whistling ed glassy and lifeless. In a moment blasts, I thought I could distinguish every taper disappeared, and a horrid the sound of a light footstep; and, scream rang through the vault, suc- looking more intently, I saw, by a ceeded by a crash which seemed to faint gleam of lightning, a figure in shake the massive tower above the white drapery turn hastily round an sepulchre.
angle of the ruins, and disappear under Overwhelmed with terror and sur- the trees. I was vainly puzzling myprise at the strange termination of this self to account for this new incident, awful scene, I plunged through the when the appalling knocks of iron updarkness, explored with difficulty my on iron, again sounded in the corridor. way to the stair-case, and ascended Rousing by a sudden effort my droopit with headlong velocity. While ing courage, I hastened to the door, feeling the way to my apartment along and opening it, listened with renewed the wall of the corridor, my attention horror to the agonizing groans of some was roused by a noise at the other dying sufferer. While rooted to the end, resembling the creak of a heavy spot with nameless apprehensions, a door when moving on rusty hinges. burst of loud and horrid laughter Turning round, I saw a faint gleam of struck suddenly upon my startled ears. light shoot athwart the deep gloom of It proceeded, I thought, from the arthis long passage, and with inexpressi- mory out of which the mailed knight ible astonishinent I beheld the iron had issued, and the tones had a brazen, door of the armory gradually opened, gong-like reverberation, to which no and the losty figure of a knight in human organs could possibly have gircomplete armor, issue from it, with a en utterance. This monstrous peal naked sword in one hand, and a small of merriment was succeeded by the lantern in the other, which he held up clash of swords and armor, and I as if to explore the intense darkness plainly heard heavy blows descending of the corridor. Congratulating my- upon helmets, shields, and corslets. self that my person was concealed in No language can describe the perplexthe deep shadow, I gazed in utter ity with which I listened to this apperplexity and terror upon this spec- palling uproar, which now seemed to tral figure, until I saw it turn round resound from the baron's hall; and, and retreat into the armory, the door under the insane impulses of fear, I of which, opening, outwards, immedi- gradually yielded to a belief that the ately closed, as if impelled by a ghosts of Bruno and Gotthard nightly spring. Soon as I could regain the visited the castle to renew their deadpower of volition, I returned to my ly conflict. “ Surely all the powers apartment in the tower, more perplex- of hell are in league to-night against ed than ever with the rapid succession me!” I exclaimed, as I retreated into of extraordinary and startling inci- my apartment, barred the door in undents which I had encountered in this utterable anxiety, and began to weigh mysterious old castle. “ Surely," I whether it would not be advisable to began to think, “if the dead are per- return to the comfortable mansion of mitted to revisit this earth, this is the my aunt, and leave the « Robber's very hour and place in which to ex- Tower" to its infernal tenantry. Sudpect them.” My wonted freedom denly, however, a suspicion flashed from all superstitious fancies still, upon me, that this old castle, haring however, struggled with this thicken- been for some months unoccupied by ing evidence of supernatural agency, the family, had become the haunt of and, opening the window, I looked out gipsies or robbers, and that the mysto observe if any light was again visi- terious sounds and appearances which ble from the sepulchre ; but the moon had alarmed me, were the ingenious