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bines, smoking-bags, and sportsmen's pouches, which were arranged, not without taste, as trophies of the chase. The ceiling was supported by large beams, dingy with smoke and age; and on the sides of the room were long benches, covered and padded with dark cloth, and studded with large brass nails; while round the dinner-table were placed several arm-chairs, also of an ancient date. All bore the aspect of the "good old times," of a simple patriarchial life with affluence. Edward felt as if there were a kind welcome in the inanimate objects which surrounded him, when the inner door opened, and the master of the house entered, preceded by a servant, and welcomed his guest with courteous cordiality.
Some apologies which Edward offered on account of his intrusion, were silenced in a moment.
"Come now, Lieutenant," said the Baron, "I must introduce you to my family. You are not such a stranger to us, as you fancy."
With these words he took Edward by the arm, and, lighted by the servant, they passed through several lofty rooms, which were very handsomely furnished, although in an old-fashioned style, with faded Flemish carpets, large chandeliers, and high-backed chairs everything in keeping with what the youth had already seen in the castle. Here were the ladies of the house. At the other end of the room, by the side of an immense stove, ornamented with a large shield of the family arms, richly emblazoned, and crowned by a gigantic Turk, in a most comfortable attitude of repose sat the lady of the house, an elderly matron of tolerable circumference, in a gown of dark red satin, with a black mantle and a snow-white lace cap. She appeared to be playing cards with the chaplain, who sat opposite to her at the table, and the Baron Friedenberg to have made the third hand at ombre, till he was called away to welcome his guest. On the other side of the room were two young ladies, an elder person, who might be a governess, and a couple of children, very much engrossed by a game at lotto.
As Edward entered, the ladies rose to greet him; a chair was placed for him near the mistress of the house, and very soon a cup of chocolate and a bottle of tokay were served on a rich
silver salver, to restore the traveller after the cold and discomfort of his drive in fact it was easy for him to feel that these "far-away "people were by no means displeased at his arrival. An agreeable conversation soon began among all parties. His travels, the shooting-match, the neighbourhood, agriculture, all afforded subjects, and in a quarter of an hour Edward felt as if he had long been domesticated with these simple but truly well-informed people.
Two hours flew swiftly by, and then a bell sounded for supper; the servants returned with lights, announced that the supper was on the table, and lighted the company into the diningroom-the same into which Edward had first been ushered. Here, in the background, some other characters appeared on the scene the agent, a couple of his subalterns, and the physician. The guests ranged themselves round the table. Edward's place was between the Baron and his wife. The chaplain said a short grace, when the Baroness, with an uneasy look, glanced at her husband over Edward's shoulder, and said, in a low whisper
"My love, we are thirteen-that will never do."
"This idea is not confined to the mountains. I know many people in the capital who think with the Baroness," said Edward. "Although in a town such ideas, which belong more especially to the olden time, are more likely to be lost in the whirl and bustle which usually silences everything that is not essentially matter of fact."
"Ah, yes, Lieutenant," replied the Baron, smiling good-humouredly, "we keep up old customs better in the mountains. You see that by our furniture. People in the capital would call this sadly old-fashioned."
"That which is really good and beautiful can never appear out of date," rejoined Edward, courteously; "and here, if I mistake not, presides a spirit that is ever striving after both. I must confess, Baron, that when I first entered your house, it was this very aspect of the olden time that enchanted me beyond measure."
"That is always the effect which simplicity has on every unspoiled mind," answered Friedenberg; "but townspeople have seldom a taste for such things."
"I was partly educated on my father's estate," said Edward, "which was situated in the Highlands; and it appeared to me as if, when I entered your house, I were visiting a neighbour of my father's, for the general aspect is quite the same here as with
answered the Baron; "but it consists of only a few apartments sufficient for my family and these gentlemen; the other portion of the building is half in ruins, and dates from the period when men established themselves on the mountains for greater safety."
"There are some who maintain," said the physician, "that a part of the walls of the eastern tower itself are of Roman origin; but that would surely be difficult to prove."
"Yes, here, almost more than anywhere else," continued the chaplain, "I think we excel all other mountaineers in the number and variety of our legends and ghost stories. I assure you that there is not a cave or a church, or, above all, a castle, for miles round about, of which we could not relate something supernatural."
The Baroness, who perceived the turn which the conversation was likely to take, thought it better to send the children to bed; and when they were gone, the priest continued, "Even here, in this castle
"Here!" inquired Edward, "in this very castle?"
"Yes, yes! Lieutenant," interposed the Baron, "this house has the reputation of being haunted; and the most extraordinary thing is, that the matter cannot be denied by the sceptical, or accounted for by the reasonable."
"And yet," said Edward, "the castle looks so cheerful, so habitable." "Yes, this part which we live in,"
"But, gentlemen," observed the Baroness, you are losing yourselves in learned descriptions as to the erection of the castle, and our guest is kept in ignorance of what he is anxious to hear."
"Indeed, madam," replied the chaplain, "this is not entirely foreign to the subject, since in the most ancient part of the building lies the chamber in question."
Where apparitions have been seen?" inquired Edward, eagerly.
'Not exactly," replied the Baroness; "there is nothing fearful to be seen."
"Come, let us tell him at once," interrupted the Baron. "The fact is, that every guest who sleeps for the first time in this room (and it has fallen to the lot of many, in turn, to do so), is visited by some important, significant dream or vision, or whatever I ought to call it, in which some future event is prefigured to him, or some past mystery cleared up, which he had vainly striven to comprehend
"Then," interposed Edward, "it must be something like what is known in the Highlands, under the name of second sight, a privilege, as some consider it, which several persons and several families enjoy."
"Just so," said the physician, "the cases are very similar; yet the most mysterious part of this affair is, that it does not appear to originate with the individual, or his organisation, or his sympathy with beings of the invisible world; no, the individual has nothing to say to it-the locality does it all. Every one who sleeps in that room has his mysterious dream, and the result proves it truth."
"At least, in most instances," continued the Baron, "when we have had an opportunity of hearing the cases confirmed. I remember once, in particular. You may recollect, Lieutenant,
"Forgive me," he continued, while he leaned forward and pressed his companion's hand; "I grieve that a thoughtless word should have awakened such deep sorrow. I had no idea of his death; we all loved the handsome young man, and by his description of you were already much interested in you before we had ever seen you."
The conversation now turned entirely on Hallberg. Edward related the particulars of his death. Every one present had something to say in his praise; and although this sudden allusion to his dearest friend had agitated Edward in no slight degree, yet it was a consolation to him to listen to the tribute these worthy people paid to the memory of Ferdinand, and to see how genuine was their regret at the tidings of his early death. The time passed swiftly away in conversation of much interest, and the whole company were surprised to hear ten o'clock strike, an unusually late hour for this quiet, regular family. The chaplain read prayers, in which Edward devoutly joined, and then he kissed the matron's hand, and felt almost as if he were in his father's house. The Baron offered to show his guest to his room, and the servant preceded them with lights. The way led past the staircase, and then on one side into a long gallery, which com
During this discourse they had arrived at the door of the famous room. They went in. They found themselves in a lofty and spacious apartment, so large that the two candles which the servant carried only shed a glimmering twilight over it, which did not penetrate to the furthest corner. A highcanopied bed, hung with costly but old-fashioned damask, of a dark green, in which were swelling pillows of snowy whiteness, tied with green bows, and a silk coverlet of the same colour, looked very inviting to the tired traveller. Sofa and chairs of faded needlework, a carved oak commode and table, a looking-glass in heavy framework, a prie-dieu and crucifix above it, constituted the furniture of the room, where, above all things, cleanliness and comfort preponderated, while a good deal of silver plate was spread out on the toilet-table.
Edward looked round. "A beautiful room!" he said. "Answer me one question, Baron, if you please. Did he ever sleep here?"
Certainly," replied Friedenberg; "it was his usual room when he was here, and he had a most curious dream in that bed, which, as he assured us, made a great impression on him."
"And what was it?" inquired Edward, eagerly.
"He was a superior man," answered the Baron, "whose memory will ever be dear to us. But now I will detain you no longer. Good night. Here is the bell" he showed him the cord in between the curtains-" and your servant sleeps in the next room."
"Oh, you are too careful of me," said Edward, smiling; "I am used to sleep by myself."
Still," replied the Baron, "every precaution should be taken. Now once more good night."
out in relief from the darkness. Ed. ward gazed, and thought, and specu. lated. It seemed to him as if something moved in the furthest corner of the room. The movement was evident -it assumed a form-the form of a man, which appeared to advance, or rather to float forward. Here Edward lost all sense of surrounding objects, and he found himself once more sitting at the foot of the monument in the garden of the academy, where he had contracted the bond with his friend. As formerly, the moon streamed through the dark branches of the fir-trees, and shed its cold pale light on the cold white marble of the monument. Then the floating form which had appeared in the room of the castle became clearer, more substantial, more earthly-looking; it issued from behind the tombstone, and stood in the full moonlight. It was Ferdinand, in the uniform of his regiment, earnest and pale, but with a kind smile on his features.
He shook him by the hand, and, followed by the servant, left the room.
Thus Edward found himself alone in the large, mysterious-looking, haunted room, where his deceased friend had so often reposed-where he also was expected to see a vision. The awe which the place itself inspired, combined with the sad and yet tender recollection of the departed Ferdinand, produced a state of mental excitement which was not favourable to his night's rest. He had already undressed with the aid of his servant (whom he had then dismissed), and had been in bed some time, having extinguished the candles. No sleep visited his eyelids; and the thought recurred which had so often troubled him, why he had never received the promised token from Ferdinand, whether his friend's spirit were among the blest-whether his silence (so to speak) proceeded from unwillingness or incapacity to communicate with the living. A mingled train of reflections agitated his mind; his brain grew heated; his pulse beat faster and faster. The castle clock tolled eleven-half-past eleven. He counted the strokes; and at that moment the moon rose above the dark margin of the rocks which surrounded the castle, and shed her full light into Edward's room. Every object stood
"Ferdinand, Ferdinand !" cried Edward, overcome by joy and surprise, and he strove to embrace the wellloved form, but it waved him aside with a melancholy look.
"Ah! you are dead," continued the speaker;" and why then do I see you just as you looked when living?"
"Edward," answered the apparition, in a voice that sounded as if it came from afar, "I am dead, but my spirit has no peace,"
"You are not with the blest?" cried Edward, in a voice of terror.
"God is merciful," it replied; "but we are frail and sinful creatures; inquire no more, but pray for me.'
"With all my heart," cried Edward, in a tone of anguish, while he gazed with affection on the familiar features; "but speak, what can I do for thee?"
"An unholy tie still binds me to earth. I have sinned. I was cut off in the midst of my sinful projects. This ring burns." He slipped a small gold ring from his left hand. Only when every token of this unholy compact is destroyed, and when I recover the ring which I exchanged for this, only then can my spirit be at rest. Oh, Edward, dear Edward, bring me back my ring!"
With joy-but where, where am I to seck it?"
Emily Varnier will give it thee herself; our engagement was contrary to holy duties, to prior engagements,
to earlier vows. God denied his bles sing to the guilty project, and my course was arrested in a fearful manner. Pray for me, Edward, and bring back the ring, my ring," continued the voice, in a mournful tone of appeal.
Then the features of the deceased smiled sadly but tenderly; then all appeared to float once more before Edward's eyes-the form was lost in mist, the monument, the fir grove, the moonlight, disappeared; a long, gloomy, breathless pause followed. Edward lay, half sleeping, half benumbed, in a confused manner; portions of the dream returned to him-some images, some sounds-above all, the petition for the restitution of the ring. But an indescribable power bound his limbs, closed his eyelids, and silenced his voice; mental consciousness alone was left him, yet his mind was a prey to terror.
As he did so,
and sprang out of bed. he heard something fall with a ringing sound; the servant stooped and picked up a gold ring, plain gold, like a wedding-ring. Edward shuddered; he snatched it from the servant's hand, and the colour forsook his cheeks as he read the two words "Emily Varnier" engraved inside the hoop. He stood there like one thunderstruck, as pale as a corpse, with the proof in his hand that he had not merely dreamed, but had actually spoken with the spirit of his friend. A servant of the house. hold came in to ask whether the Lieu. tenant wished to breakfast in his room, or down stairs with the family. Edward would willingly have remained alone with the thoughts that pressed heavily on him, but a secret dread lest his absence should be remarked, and considered as a proof of fear, after all that had passed on the subject of the haunted room, determined him to accept the last proposal. He dressed hastily, and arranged his hair carefully, but the paleness of his face, and the traces of tears in his eyes, were not to be concealed, and he entered the saloon, where the family were already assembled at the breakfast-table, with the chaplain and the doctor.
At length these painful sensations subsided-his nerves became more braced, his breath came more freely, a pleasing languor crept over his limbs, and he fell into a peaceful sleep. When he awoke it was already broad daylight; his sleep towards the end of the night had been quiet and refreshing. He felt strong and well, but as soon as the recollection of his dream returned, a deep melancholy took possession of him, and he felt the traces of tears which grief had wrung from him on his eyelashes. But what had the vision been? A mere dream engendered by the conversation of the evening, and his affection for Hallberg's memory, or was it at length the fulfilment of the compact?
There, out of that dark corner, had the form risen up, and moved towards him. But might it not have been some effect of light and shade produced by the moonbeams, and the dark branches of a large tree close to the window, when agitated by the high wind? Perhaps he had seen this, and then fallen asleep, and all combined had woven itself into a dream. But the name of Emily Varnier! Edward did not remember ever to have heard it; certainly it had never been mentioned in Ferdinand's letters. Could it be the name of his love, of the object of that ardent and unfortunate passion? Could the vision be one of truth? He was meditating, lost in thought, when there was a knock at his door, and the servant entered. Edward rose hastily,
The Baron rose to greet him: one glance at the young officer's face was sufficient; he pressed his hand in silence, and led him to a place by the side of the Baroness. An animated discussion now began concerning the weather, which was completely changed; a strong south wind had risen in the night, so there was now a thaw. The snow was all melted-the torrents were flowing once more, and the roads impassable.
"How can you possibly reach Blumenberg, to-day?" the Baron inquired of his guest.
"That will be well nigh impossible," said the doctor. "I am just come from a patient at the next village, and I was nearly an hour performing the same distance in a carriage that is usually traversed on foot in a quarter of an hour."
Edward had not given a thought this morning to the shooting-match. Now that it had occurred to him to remember it, he felt little regret at being detained from a scene of noisy festivity which, far from being desirable, appeared to him actually distasteful in his present frame of mind.