The Specter Bridegroom





BY WASHINGTON IRVING









On the summit of one of the heights of the Odenwald, a wild and romantic

tract of Upper Germany, that lies not far from the confluence of the

Main and the Rhine, there stood, many, many years since, the Castle of

the Baron Von Landshort. It is now quite fallen to decay, and almost

buried among beech trees and dark firs; above which, however, its old

watch tower may still be seen, struggling, like the former possessor I

have mentioned, to carry a high head, and look down upon the neighboring

country.



The baron was a dry branch of the great family of Katzenellenbogen,[3]

and inherited the relics of the property, and all the pride of his

ancestors. Though the warlike disposition of his predecessors had much

impaired the family possessions, yet the baron still endeavored to keep

up some show of former state. The times were peaceable, and the German

nobles, in general, had abandoned their inconvenient old castles,

perched like eagles' nests among the mountains, and had built more

convenient residences in the valleys; still the baron remained proudly

drawn up in his little fortress, cherishing with hereditary inveteracy,

all the old family feuds; so that he was on ill terms with some of his

nearest neighbors, on account of disputes that had happened between

their great-great-grandfathers.



The baron had but one child, a daughter; but nature, when she grants but

one child, always compensates by making it a prodigy; and so it was with

the daughter of the baron. All the nurses, gossips, and country cousins

assured her father that she had not her equal for beauty in all Germany;

and who should know better than they? She had, moreover, been brought up

with great care under the superintendence of two maiden aunts, who had

spent some years of their early life at one of the little German

courts, and were skilled in all branches of knowledge necessary to the

education of a fine lady. Under their instructions she became a miracle

of accomplishments. By the time she was eighteen, she could embroider to

admiration, and had worked whole histories of the saints in tapestry,

with such strength of expression in their countenances, that they looked

like so many souls in purgatory. She could read without great

difficulty, and had spelled her way through several church legends, and

almost all the chivalric wonders of the Heldenbuch. She had even made

considerable proficiency in writing; could sign her own name without

missing a letter, and so legibly, that her aunts could read it without

spectacles. She excelled in making little elegant good-for-nothing

lady-like nicknacks of all kinds; was versed in the most abstruse

dancing of the day; played a number of airs on the harp and guitar; and

knew all the tender ballads of the Minnelieders by heart.



Her aunts, too, having been great flirts and coquettes in their younger

days, were admirably calculated to be vigilant guardians and strict

censors of the conduct of their niece; for there is no duenna so rigidly

prudent, and inexorably decorous, as a superannuated coquette. She was

rarely suffered out of their sight; never went beyond the domains of the

castle, unless well attended, or rather well watched; had continual

lectures read to her about strict decorum and implicit obedience; and,

as to the men--pah!--she was taught to hold them at such a distance, and

in such absolute distrust, that, unless properly authorized, she would

not have cast a glance upon the handsomest cavalier in the world--no,

not if he were even dying at her feet.



The good effects of this system were wonderfully apparent. The young

lady was a pattern of docility and correctness. While others were

wasting their sweetness in the glare of the world, and liable to be

plucked and thrown aside by every hand, she was coyly blooming into

fresh and lovely womanhood under the protection of those immaculate

spinsters, like a rosebud blushing forth among guardian thorns. Her

aunts looked upon her with pride and exultation, and vaunted that though

all the other young ladies in the world might go astray, yet, thank

Heaven, nothing of the kind could happen to the heiress of

Katzenellenbogen.



But, however scantily the Baron Von Landshort might be provided with

children, his household was by no means a small one; for Providence had

enriched him with abundance of poor relations. They, one and all,

possessed the affectionate disposition common to humble relatives; were

wonderfully attached to the baron, and took every possible occasion to

come in swarms and enliven the castle. All family festivals were

commemorated by these good people at the baron's expense; and when they

were filled with good cheer, they would declare that there was nothing

on earth so delightful as these family meetings, these jubilees of the

heart.



The baron, though a small man, had a large soul, and it swelled with

satisfaction at the consciousness of being the greatest man in the

little world about him. He loved to tell long stories about the dark old

warriors whose portraits looked grimly down from the walls around, and

he found no listeners equal to those that fed at his expense. He was

much given to the marvelous, and a firm believer in all those



supernatural tales with which every mountain and valley in Germany

abounds. The faith of his guests exceeded even his own: they listened to

every tale of wonder with open eyes and mouth, and never failed to be

astonished, even though repeated for the hundredth time. Thus lived the

Baron Von Landshort, the oracle of his table, the absolute monarch of

his little territory, and happy, above all things, in the persuasion

that he was the wisest man of the age.



At the time of which my story treats, there was a great family gathering

at the castle, on an affair of the utmost importance: it was to receive

the destined bridegroom of the baron's daughter. A negotiation had been

carried on between the father and an old nobleman of Bavaria, to unite

the dignity of their houses by the marriage of their children. The

preliminaries had been conducted with proper punctilio. The young people

were betrothed without seeing each other, and the time was appointed for

the marriage ceremony. The young Count Von Altenburg had been recalled

from the army for the purpose, and was actually on his way to the

baron's to receive his bride. Missives had even been received from him

from Wurtzburg, where he was accidentally detained, mentioning the day

and hour when he might be expected to arrive.



The castle was in a tumult of preparation to give him a suitable

welcome. The fair bride had been decked out with uncommon care. The two

aunts had superintended her toilet, and quarreled the whole morning

about every article of her dress. The young lady had taken advantage of

their contest to follow the bent of her own taste; and fortunately it

was a good one. She looked as lovely as youthful bridegroom could

desire; and the flutter of expectation heightened the luster of her

charms.



The suffusions that mantled her face and neck, the gentle heaving of the

bosom, the eye now and then lost in reverie, all betrayed the soft

tumult that was going on in her little heart. The aunts were continually

hovering around her; for maiden aunts are apt to take great interest in

affairs of this nature. They were giving her a world of staid counsel

how to deport herself, what to say, and in what manner to receive the

expected lover.



The baron was no less busied in preparations. He had, in truth, nothing

exactly to do; but he was naturally a fuming bustling little man, and

could not remain passive when all the world was in a hurry. He worried

from top to bottom of the castle with an air of infinite anxiety; he

continually called the servants from their work to exhort them to be

diligent; and buzzed about every hall and chamber, as idly restless and

importunate as a blue-bottle fly on a warm summer's day.



In the meantime the fatted calf had been killed; the forests had rung

with the clamor of the huntsmen; the kitchen was crowded with good

cheer; the cellars had yielded up whole oceans of Rheinwein and

Fernewein; and even the great Heidelberg tun had been laid under

contribution. Everything was ready to receive the distinguished guest

with Saus und Braus in the true spirit of German hospitality--but the

guest delayed to make his appearance. Hour rolled after hour. The sun,

that had poured his downward rays upon the rich forest of the Odenwald,

now just gleamed along the summits of the mountains. The baron mounted

the highest tower, and strained his eyes in hope of catching a distant

sight of the count and his attendants. Once he thought he beheld them;

the sounds of horns came floating from the valley, prolonged by the

mountain echoes. A number of horsemen were seen far below, slowly

advancing along the road; but when they had nearly reached the foot of

the mountain, they suddenly struck off in a different direction. The

last ray of sunshine departed--the bats began to flit by in the

twilight--the road grew dimmer and dimmer to the view; and nothing

appeared stirring in it but now and then a peasant lagging homeward

from his labor.



While the old castle at Landshort was in this state of perplexity, a

very interesting scene was transacting in a different part of the

Odenwald.



The young Count Von Altenburg was tranquilly pursuing his route in that

sober jog-trot way in which a man travels toward matrimony when his

friends have taken all the trouble and uncertainty of courtship off his

hands, and a bride is waiting for him, as certainly as a dinner at the

end of his journey. He had encountered at Wurtzburg a youthful companion

in arms with whom he had seen some service on the frontiers: Herman Von

Starkenfaust, one of the stoutest hands and worthiest hearts of German

chivalry, who was now returning from the army. His father's castle was

not far distant from the old fortress of Landshort, although an

hereditary feud rendered the families hostile, and strangers to each

other.



In the warm-hearted moment of recognition, the young friends related all

their past adventures and fortunes, and the count gave the whole history

of his intended nuptials with a young lady whom he had never seen, but

of whose charms he had received the most enrapturing descriptions.



As the route of the friends lay in the same direction, they agreed to

perform the rest of their journey together; and, that they might do it

the more leisurely, set off from Wurtzburg at an early hour, the count

having given directions for his retinue to follow and overtake him.



They beguiled their wayfaring with recollections of their military

scenes and adventures; but the count was apt to be a little tedious, now

and then, about the reputed charms of his bride and the felicity that

awaited him.



In this way they had entered among the mountains of the Odenwald, and

were traversing one of its most lonely and thickly wooded passes. It is

well known that the forests of Germany have always been as much infested

by robbers as its castles by specters; and at this time the former were

particularly numerous, from the hordes of disbanded soldiers wandering

about the country. It will not appear extraordinary, therefore, that the

cavaliers were attacked by a gang of these stragglers, in the midst of

the forest. They defended themselves with bravery, but were nearly

overpowered, when the count's retinue arrived to their assistance. At

sight of them the robbers fled, but not until the count had received a

mortal wound. He was slowly and carefully conveyed back to the city of

Wurtzburg, and a friar summoned from a neighboring convent who was

famous for his skill in administering to both soul and body; but half of

his skill was superfluous; the moments of the unfortunate count were

numbered.



With his dying breath he entreated his friend to repair instantly to the

castle of Landshort, and explain the fatal cause of his not keeping his

appointment with his bride. Though not the most ardent of lovers, he

was one of the most punctilious of men, and appeared earnestly

solicitous that his mission should be speedily and courteously executed.

"Unless this is done," said he, "I shall not sleep quietly in my grave!"

He repeated these last words with peculiar solemnity. A request, at a

moment so impressive, admitted no hesitation. Starkenfaust endeavored to

soothe him to calmness; promised faithfully to execute his wish, and

gave him his hand in solemn pledge. The dying man pressed it in

acknowledgment, but soon lapsed into delirium--raved about his

bride--his engagements--his plighted word; ordered his horse, that he

might ride to the castle of Landshort; and expired in the fancied act of

vaulting into the saddle.



Starkenfaust bestowed a sigh and a soldier's tear on the untimely fate

of his comrade, and then pondered on the awkward mission he had

undertaken. His heart was heavy, and his head perplexed; for he was to

present himself an unbidden guest among hostile people, and to damp

their festivity with tidings fatal to their hopes. Still, there were

certain whisperings of curiosity in his bosom to see this far-famed

beauty of Katzenellenbogen, so cautiously shut up from the world; for he

was a passionate admirer of the sex, and there was a dash of

eccentricity and enterprise in his character that made him fond of all

singular adventure.



Previous to his departure he made all due arrangements with the holy

fraternity of the convent for the funeral solemnities of his friend, who

was to be buried in the cathedral of Wurtzburg near some of his

illustrious relatives; and the mourning retinue of the count took charge

of his remains.



It is now high time that we should return to the ancient family of

Katzenellenbogen, who were impatient for their guest, and still more for

their dinner; and to the worthy little baron, whom we left airing

himself on the watch-tower.



Night closed in, but still no guest arrived. The baron descended from

the tower in despair. The banquet, which had been delayed from hour to

hour, could no longer be postponed. The meats were already overdone; the

cook in an agony; and the whole household had the look of a garrison

that had been reduced by famine. The baron was obliged reluctantly to

give orders for the feast without the presence of the guest. All were

seated at table, and just on the point of commencing, when the sound of

a horn from without the gate gave notice of the approach of a stranger.

Another long blast filled the old courts of the castle with its echoes,

and was answered by the warder from the walls. The baron hastened to

receive his future son-in-law.



The drawbridge had been let down, and the stranger was before the gate.

He was a tall, gallant cavalier mounted on a black steed. His

countenance was pale, but he had a beaming, romantic eye, and an air of

stately melancholy.



The baron was a little mortified that he should have come in this

simple, solitary style. His dignity for a moment was ruffled, and he

felt disposed to consider it a want of proper respect for the important

occasion, and the important family with which he was to be connected. He

pacified himself, however, with the conclusion, that it must have been

youthful impatience which had induced him thus to spur on sooner than

his attendants.



"I am sorry," said the stranger, "to break in upon you thus

unseasonably----"



Here the baron interrupted with a world of compliments and greetings;

for, to tell the truth, he prided himself upon his courtesy and

eloquence.



The stranger attempted, once or twice, to stem the torrent of words, but

in vain, so he bowed his head and suffered it to flow on. By the time

the baron had come to a pause, they had reached the inner court of the

castle; and the stranger was again about to speak, when he was once more

interrupted by the appearance of the female part of the family leading

forth the shrinking and blushing bride. He gazed on her for a moment as

one entranced; it seemed as if his whole soul beamed forth in the gaze,

and rested upon that lovely form. One of the maiden aunts whispered

something in her ear; she made an effort to speak; her moist blue eye

was timidly raised; gave a shy glance of inquiry on the stranger; and

was cast again to the ground. The words died away; but there was a

sweet smile playing about her lips, and a soft dimpling of the cheek

that showed her glance had not been unsatisfactory. It was impossible

for a girl of the fond age of eighteen, highly predisposed for love and

matrimony, not to be pleased with so gallant a cavalier.



The late hour at which the guest had arrived left no time for parley.

The baron was peremptory, and deferred all particular conversation until

the morning, and led the way to the untasted banquet.



It was served up in the great hall of the castle. Around the walls hung

the hard-favored portraits of the heroes of the house of

Katzenellenbogen, and the trophies which they had gained in the field

and in the chase. Hacked corselets, splintered jousting spears, and

tattered banners were mingled with the spoils of sylvan warfare; the

jaws of the wolf and the tusks of the boar grinned horribly among

cross-bows and battle-axes, and a huge pair of antlers branched

immediately over the head of the youthful bridegroom.



The cavalier took but little notice of the company or the entertainment.

He scarcely tasted the banquet, but seemed absorbed in admiration of his

bride. He conversed in a low tone that could not be overheard--for the

language of love is never loud; but where is the female ear so dull that

it cannot catch the softest whisper of the lover? There was a mingled

tenderness and gravity in his manner, that appeared to have a powerful

effect upon the young lady. Her color came and went as she listened with

deep attention. Now and then she made some blushing reply, and when his

eye was turned away, she would steal a sidelong glance at his romantic

countenance and heave a gentle sigh of tender happiness. It was evident

that the young couple were completely enamored. The aunts, who were

deeply versed in the mysteries of the heart, declared that they had

fallen in love with each other at first sight.



The feast went on merrily, or at least noisily, for the guests were all

blessed with those keen appetites that attend upon light purses and

mountain air. The baron told his best and longest stories, and never had

he told them so well, or with such great effect. If there was anything

marvelous, his auditors were lost in astonishment; and if anything

facetious, they were sure to laugh exactly in the right place. The

baron, it is true, like most great men, was too dignified to utter any

joke but a dull one; it was always enforced, however, by a bumper of

excellent Hockheimer; and even a dull joke, at one's own table, served

up with jolly old wine, is irresistible. Many good things were said by

poorer and keener wits that would not bear repeating, except on similar

occasions; many sly speeches whispered in ladies' ears, that almost

convulsed them with suppressed laughter; and a song or two roared out by

a poor, but merry and broad-faced cousin of the baron that absolutely

made the maiden aunts hold up their fans.



Amidst all this revelry, the stranger guest maintained a most singular

and unseasonable gravity. His countenance assumed a deeper cast of

dejection as the evening advanced; and, strange as it may appear, even

the baron's jokes seemed only to render him the more melancholy. At

times he was lost in thought, and at times there was a perturbed and

restless wandering of the eye that bespoke a mind but ill at ease. His

conversations with the bride became more and more earnest and

mysterious. Lowering clouds began to steal over the fair serenity of her

brow, and tremors to run through her tender frame.



All this could not escape the notice of the company. Their gayety was

chilled by the unaccountable gloom of the bridegroom; their spirits were

infected; whispers and glances were interchanged, accompanied by shrugs

and dubious shakes of the head. The song and the laugh grew less and

less frequent; there were dreary pauses in the conversation, which were

at length succeeded by wild tales and supernatural legends. One dismal

story produced another still more dismal, and the baron nearly

frightened some of the ladies into hysterics with the history of the

goblin horseman that carried away the fair Leonora; a dreadful story

which has since been put into excellent verse, and is read and believed

by all the world.



The bridegroom listened to this tale with profound attention. He kept

his eyes steadily fixed on the baron, and, as the story drew to a close,

began gradually to rise from his seat, growing taller and taller, until,

in the baron's entranced eye, he seemed almost to tower into a giant.

The moment the tale was finished, he heaved a deep sigh and took a

solemn farewell of the company. They were all amazement. The baron was

perfectly thunder-struck.



"What! going to leave the castle at midnight? Why, everything was

prepared for his reception; a chamber was ready for him if he wished to

retire."



The stranger shook his head mournfully and mysteriously; "I must lay my

head in a different chamber to-night!"



There was something in this reply, and the tone in which it was uttered,

that made the baron's heart misgive him; but he rallied his forces and

repeated his hospitable entreaties.



The stranger shook his head silently, but positively, at every offer;

and, waving his farewell to the company, stalked slowly out of the hall.

The maiden aunts were absolutely petrified--the bride hung her head, and

a tear stole to her eye.



The baron followed the stranger to the great court of the castle, where

the black charger stood pawing the earth and snorting with impatience.

When they had reached the portal, whose deep archway was dimly lighted

by a cresset, the stranger paused, and addressed the baron in a hollow

tone of voice which the vaulted roof rendered still more sepulchral.



"Now that we are alone," said he, "I will impart to you the reason of my

going. I have a solemn, an indispensable engagement----"



"Why," said the baron, "cannot you send someone in your place?"



"It admits of no substitute--I must attend it in person--I must away to

Wurtzburg cathedral----"



"Ay," said the baron, plucking up spirit, "but not until

to-morrow--to-morrow you shall take your bride there."



"No! no!" replied the stranger, with tenfold solemnity, "my engagement

is with no bride--the worms! the worms expect me! I am a dead man--I

have been slain by robbers--my body lies at Wurtzburg--at midnight I am

to be buried--the grave is waiting for me--I must keep my appointment!"



He sprang on his black charger, dashed over the drawbridge, and the

clattering of his horses' hoofs was lost in the whistling of the night

blast.



The baron returned to the hall in the utmost consternation, and related

what had passed. Two ladies fainted outright, others sickened at the

idea of having banqueted with a specter. It was the opinion of some,

that this might be the wild huntsman, famous in German legend. Some

talked of mountain sprites, of wood-demons, and of other supernatural

beings, with which the good people of Germany have been so grievously

harassed since time immemorial. One of the poor relations ventured to

suggest that it might be some sportive evasion of the young cavalier,

and that the very gloominess of the caprice seemed to accord with so

melancholy a personage. This, however, drew on him the indignation of

the whole company, and especially of the baron, who looked upon him as

little better than an infidel; so that he was fain to abjure his heresy

as speedily as possible, and come into the faith of the true believers.



But whatever may have been the doubts entertained, they were completely

put to an end by the arrival, next day, of regular missives confirming

the intelligence of the young count's murder, and his interment in

Wurtzburg cathedral.



The dismay at the castle may well be imagined. The baron shut himself up

in his chamber. The guests, who had come to rejoice with him, could not

think of abandoning him in his distress. They wandered about the courts,

or collected in groups in the hall, shaking their heads and shrugging

their shoulders at the troubles of so good a man; and sat longer than

ever at table, and ate and drank more stoutly than ever, by way of

keeping up their spirits. But the situation of the widowed bride was the

most pitiable. To have lost a husband before she had even embraced

him--and such a husband! if the very specter could be so gracious and

noble, what must have been the living man! She filled the house with

lamentations.



On the night of the second day of her widowhood, she had retired to her

chamber, accompanied by one of her aunts who insisted on sleeping with

her. The aunt, who was one of the best tellers of ghost stories in all

Germany, had just been recounting one of her longest, and had fallen

asleep in the very midst of it. The chamber was remote, and overlooked a

small garden. The niece lay pensively gazing at the beams of the rising

moon, as they trembled on the leaves of an aspen-tree before the

lattice. The castle-clock had just tolled midnight, when a soft strain

of music stole up from the garden. She rose hastily from her bed, and

stepped lightly to the window. A tall figure stood among the shadows of

the trees. As it raised its head, a beam of moonlight fell upon the

countenance. Heaven and earth! she beheld the Specter Bridegroom! A loud

shriek at that moment burst upon her ear, and her aunt, who had been

awakened by the music, and had followed her silently to the window, fell

into her arms. When she looked again, the specter had disappeared.



Of the two females, the aunt now required the most soothing, for she was

perfectly beside herself with terror. As to the young lady, there was

something, even in the specter of her lover, that seemed endearing.

There was still the semblance of manly beauty; and though the shadow of

a man is but little calculated to satisfy the affections of a love-sick

girl, yet, where the substance is not to be had, even that is consoling.

The aunt declared she would never sleep in that chamber again; the

niece, for once, was refractory, and declared as strongly that she would

sleep in no other in the castle: the consequence was, that she had to

sleep in it alone: but she drew a promise from her aunt not to relate

the story of the specter, lest she should be denied the only melancholy

pleasure left her on earth--that of inhabiting the chamber over which

the guardian shade of her lover kept its nightly vigils.



How long the good old lady would have observed this promise is

uncertain, for she dearly loved to talk of the marvelous, and there is a

triumph in being the first to tell a frightful story; it is, however,

still quoted in the neighborhood, as a memorable instance of female

secrecy, that she kept it to herself for a whole week; when she was

suddenly absolved from all further restraint, by intelligence, brought

to the breakfast table one morning, that the young lady was not to be

found. Her room was empty--the bed had not been slept in--the window was

open, and the bird had flown!



The astonishment and concern with which the intelligence was received,

can only be imagined by those who have witnessed the agitation which the

mishaps of a great man cause among his friends. Even the poor relations

paused for a moment from the indefatigable labors of the trencher, when

the aunt, who had at first been struck speechless, wrung her hands, and

shrieked out, "The goblin! the goblin! She's carried away by the

goblin!"



In a few words she related the fearful scene of the garden, and

concluded that the specter must have carried off his bride. Two of the

domestics corroborated the opinion, for they had heard the clattering of

a horse's hoofs down the mountain about midnight, and had no doubt that

it was the specter on his black charger, bearing her away to the tomb.

All present were struck with the direful probability; for events of the

kind are extremely common in Germany, as many well-authenticated

histories bear witness.



What a lamentable situation was that of the poor baron! What a

heart-rending dilemma for a fond father, and a member of the great

family of Katzenellenbogen! His only daughter had either been rapt away

to the grave, or he was to have some wood-demon for a son-in-law, and,

perchance, a troop of goblin grandchildren. As usual, he was completely

bewildered and all the castle in an uproar. The men were ordered to take

horse, and scour every road and path and glen of the Odenwald. The baron

himself had just drawn on his jack-boots, girded on his sword, and was

about to mount his steed to sally forth on the doubtful quest, when he

was brought to a pause by a new apparition. A lady was seen approaching

the castle, mounted on a palfrey, attended by a cavalier on horseback.

She galloped up to the gate, sprang from her horse, and falling at the

baron's feet, embraced his knees. It was his lost daughter, and her

companion--the Specter Bridegroom! The baron was astounded. He looked at

his daughter, then at the specter, and almost doubted the evidence of

his senses. The latter, too, was wonderfully improved in his appearance

since his visit to the world of spirits. His dress was splendid, and set

off a noble figure of manly symmetry. He was no longer pale and

melancholy. His fine countenance was flushed with the glow of youth, and

joy rioted in his large dark eye.



The mystery was soon cleared up. The cavalier (for in truth, as you must

have known all the while, he was no goblin) announced himself as Sir

Herman Von Starkenfaust. He related his adventure with the young count.

He told how he had hastened to the castle to deliver the unwelcome

tidings, but that the eloquence of the baron had interrupted him in

every attempt to tell his tale. How the sight of the bride had

completely captivated him, and that to pass a few hours near her, he had

tacitly suffered the mistake to continue. How he had been sorely

perplexed in what way to make a decent retreat, until the baron's goblin

stories had suggested his eccentric exit. How, fearing the feudal

hostility of the family, he had repeated his visits by stealth--had

haunted the garden beneath the young lady's window--had wooed--had

won--had borne away in triumph--and, in a word, had wedded the fair.



Under any other circumstances the baron would have been inflexible, for

he was tenacious of paternal authority, and devoutly obstinate in all

family feuds; but he loved his daughter; he had lamented her as lost; he

rejoiced to find her still alive; and, though her husband was of a

hostile house, yet, thank Heaven, he was not a goblin. There was

something, it must be acknowledged, that did not exactly accord with his

notions of strict veracity, in the joke the knight had passed upon him

of his being a dead man; but several old friends present, who had served

in the wars, assured him that every stratagem was excusable in love, and

that the cavalier was entitled to especial privilege, having lately

served as a trooper.



Matters, therefore, were happily arranged. The baron pardoned the young

couple on the spot. The revels at the castle were resumed. The poor

relations overwhelmed this new member of the family with loving

kindness; he was so gallant, so generous--and so rich. The aunts, it is

true, were somewhat scandalized that their system of strict seclusion

and passive obedience should be so badly exemplified, but attributed it

all to their negligence in not having the windows grated. One of them

was particularly mortified at having her marvelous story marred, and

that the only specter she had ever seen should turn out a counterfeit;

but the niece seemed perfectly happy at having found him substantial

flesh and blood--and so the story ends.





FOOTNOTES:



[2] The erudite reader, well versed in good-for-nothing lore, will

perceive that the above Tale must have been suggested to the old Swiss

by a little French anecdote, a circumstance said to have taken place at

Paris.



[3] I. e., CAT'S-ELBOW. The name of a family of those parts very

powerful in former times. The appellation, we are told, was given in

compliment to a peerless dame of the family, celebrated for her fine

arm.





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