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sisted, prayed, threatened — carried her off! As a matter of courtesy, he demanded an immense ransom for her release. Weldimar was unable to pay; the Baron protested he would not 'bate a jot; Weldimar swore his whole estates, castle and all, would not make up the amount; and Cristella became the wife of Baron Von Gliffen.
By this union there sprang an heir to the Osnabruck barony, whom they christened Von Redder, a name contracted from Red-Hair ; the most prominent peculiarity about the child. This flaming omen presented fine work for the astrologers, necromancers, and others versed in occult sciences. Herr Twaddle, the greatest metaphysician and most famous necromancer in Germany, being present at the birth of Von Redder, took the child in his arms, described divers hieroglyphics in the air, muttered incantations to the dark spirits, and pronounced with becoming gravity the doom of his subject. Much good was skilfully mixed with the evil: but on the whole the young prodigy was certainly born for deeds of blood, as was evident from the sanguinary color of his hair. Der Fuddle, another sage in necromancy, was called upon to predict the fortunes and misfortunes of the heir. This miracle of profundity commenced exactly opposite to his compeer. He took the child by the heels, and swore, from the lines on the soles of the feet, that nothing was more certain than eternal happiness to the successor of Baron Von Gliffen; a prediction ill-naturedly accounted for by Herr Twaddle, whose prognostications of evil were scantily paid for, and abundantly doubted. A host of others, deeply skilled in these matters, predicted divers destinies, according to the quality of gold upon which their efforts were based; those who obtained nothing, of course read ominous things in the stars; and those who received kicks and cuffs, produced incontestable evidence that the heir was designed for eternal perdition.
Dark and incontinent as was the character of Baron Von Gliffen, his own bade fair, from the cradle upward, to excel him in blackness of heart, thirst for distinction in crime, and in all the wild and reckless exploits of a monster in the age of barbarism : so that when Von Redder had attained his twentieth year, he was as finished a vagabond as his father could wish. Highway depredations were his favorite amusements; feuds and bloodshed his delight; heresy, rape, and schism, things to boast of, and laugh at; midnight carousals bis gentler Occupations; and open depravity his characteristic trait. This prodigal course of life caused repeated demands on the purse of the old Baron, whose own extravagance had nearly drained it. The hopeful son would take no refusal. The Baron stormed, the heir repeated his demands. Baron Von Gliffen sternly refused to support his extravagance; and for several years this sort of wrangling and contention between them was the topic of the country. Cristella, under the brutal treatment of Von Gliffen, and the unnatural and depraved conduct of her son, pined away, till death released her from their influence. Indifferent as the Baron was, during her life, he deeply felt this stroke; and to drown remorse, doubled his potions, and hunted more than ever. The chase, to be sure, was merely a softened name for predatory excursions and highway robberies ; but where custom and the laws of the land countenanced the term, it mattered little about the meaning,
In one of these peregrinations, Baron Von Gliffen, accompanied by his band of stout henchmen, made a descent upon the Castle of Stokenborg, then the strong-hold of a nobleman renowned for his wealth and prowess. The defender of gold made a gallant resistance: the Baron, at the head of a chosen corps, rushed onward; a terrible battle ensued : fortune seemed to declare at one moment in favor of the besieged, at another of the besiegers; when at length the Baron was driven back, and the lord of Stokenberg shouted victory. While this cry still
rang in the air, a gigantic follower of the Baron, named Melifleur, made a sudden and desperate rally; one and all the besiegers rushed to battle ; and overpowered by skill and force, the noble foe yielded to the conquerors, whose armor, shattered in strife, dripped with the blood of the slain. This victory was gained by the ferocious valor of Melifleur, who, less blood-thirsty than avaricious, claimed the greater part of the booty. Enraged at his insolence, the Baron struck him in the face: Melifleur, writhing with pain and rage, swore he would have a sure and terrible revenge.
Two months passed away, and Baron Von Gliffen suddenly disappeared. As it was doubled by none that he had been murdered, or slain in single combat by the giant henchman, the strictest search was made for his body, but without success. No clue could be discovered to its mysterious disappearance. None was more active in the search, and no one more grievously shocked at the death of the Baron, than Von Redder, to whom the estates and title of the deceased passed without a murmur. Melifleur underwent a rigorous examination. His threats in the presence of the Baron's benchmen, his confusion and perturbation at the charge, and the evidence of certain witnesses adduced by the young Baron, convicted him to the satisfaction of all; and without farther ceremony, he was swung up on one of the castle turrets, where his bones bleached and rattled for many a day, as a warning to the evil-minded in the service of the living Baron.
Twenty years had been measured from the lawless and criminal career of the heir of Osnabruck, and the death of the Black Baron ceased to be thought of, and even remembered, by many who had acted conspicuous parts in the search and trial. Preparations for an evening of joy and festivity going on in the castle, evinced that the occasion was one of unusual importance, since the gloomy Von Redder seldom indulged in anything so congenial to the taste of his dependants. In fact, the Baron had wooed and won the most beautiful heiress in the province, and this festival was in honor of his marriage. However limited was the number of his sincere friends, he had many who were no wise backward in proffering their company and services on occasions of this sort; and the castle was soon crowded with noble rakes, prodigal sons, ruined barons, ladies of high fame, though not inaccessible virtue, and dependants of every description, from selfstyled relatives to henchmen and vassals. In due time the guests were ushered into the largest ball in the castle, in which a banquettable extended from end to end. At the head presided Baron Von Redder, beside the most exquisite bride imaginable, and ranged in
due order, according to their various rank and degree, sat the merry company.
Immense dishes of lamb, beef, fatted sheep, and other savory solids, disappeared with miraculous celerity; and these seemed but to whet the appetites of those who did such wonderful execution. At length came the wines, to the great satisfaction of others inclined to prowess in toping. The rejoicings were great; the noise and revelry loud. Even the gloomy Von Redder became facetious; he laughed for effect, and uttered some execrable jokes, which of course received universal applause. The fair bride was pensive and happy; for she knew little of the character of her lord, and that little was of his better traits. He was now in the prime of life : his person, though somewhat ruffianly, was fine and commanding; bis eye keen for conquest ; his smile affable ; his countenance manly; bis bravery undoubted ; and such qualifications were sufficiept, in the days of chivalry and romance, to make
deficiencies in the moral department. In the fulness of his heart, the Baron pledged his bride, who responded to the toast with admirable grace. The conversation then turned on the excellence of the wine.
• To me,' said the Baron, it has a peculiar richness in the flavor : how dost thou like it, fair Ismeena ?'
.0, 't is admirable ! - so sparkling and pungent !'
"No doubt, my lady, it has many virtues,' chimed in the old seneschal ; ‘for, according to the best of my recollection, it is this night twenty years old.'
• How ! whence came it!' demanded Von Gliffen.
• Merciful God! what have I done! Nay, I meant nothing. I had a slight pain. .. It is all over.'
The guests turned pale, and stared. The bride sickened at the thoughts that whirled through her brain ; and all became convinced that there was a mystery in the words of the Baron. His brow grew dark as the storm-cloud; his lips quivered; his cheeks blanched to an ashy hue; and he darted a suspicious eye on the guests. In a loud and angry voice he demanded, “What means this confusion !' None dared to answer; the haughty Von Redder sat down, and mysterious whispers, and shakes of ihe head, were all they thought proper to display. Annoyed and alarmed at the general commotion, the Baron darted a scowl at the seneschal, and left the room. The ancient retainer quickly acquired the use of his tongue, and entranced the company, in spite of the silent threat of the Baron, with an ominous account of the dark and bloody end of Baron Von Gliffen.
• Twenty years ago,' continued the venerable seneschal, 'a henchman of the Black Baron was hanged for this mysterious murder. I had my own suspicions concerning the matter; but as they were without any certain foundation, I kept them to myself. Immediately after the disappearance of the unfortunate man, the heir, our present Baron, brought me to the wine-vault, where snugly stored was a stock of wine, in which Bacchus bimself might rejoice, for you must know the deceased baron was a reputed toper; and assuming a
- you are ill !
countenance so dark and lowering that I shall never forget it, he pointed to a black hogshead, in a remote corner of the vault, and said: *As you value your life, never draw from that hogshead! This caution had a great impression on my mind, but I knew.too well the determined character of the Baron, to incur any penalty by my curiosity; and I never touched the forbidden wine until this day. I found myself growing old ; I knew my thread of life would soon be severed ; and this, together with the harassing thought that I was accessary to some mysterious crime, induced me to try an experiment, which would either be my ruin or my salvation. I drew the wine, and managed to place it before the Baron, my master. The effect you have all seen. I solemnly believe there is a doubly-dark deed in the affair ; and as men and Christians, I beseech you to follow me!'
Many of the guests shrank back at the proposal; but others, more courageous, followed the seneschal, who led the way through passages and dark chambers, to a flight of stairs, leading to the winevault. Having procured a torch, they descended the dim and gloomy recess. The walls were black, and covered with slime and moss ; the air dank and chilly; and the hollow sounds of the vaults caused the stoutest hearts to quail. Passing on through several subterranean chambers, the seneschal led the way to a capacious cell, stored to the ceiling with casks and tuns of wine. In the gloomiest corner stood a black hogshead, exactly as he had described. Beside it lay an axe, with which, after infinite labor, the hogshead was broken open.
A cry of horror burst from the group. In the bloody wine lay the remains of the Black Baron! His scull was shattered, his limbs frightfully mutilated, his body stabbed and gashed in several places, and the whole bearing evidence of a horrible death. A groan was heard among the by-standers : it was the voice of Baron Von Redder, the bridegroom and the parricide.
• Monster !' cried the guests, you have foully wronged the henchman! You are the murderer. You have shed, you have drunk, your father's blood !'
The man of guilt staggered back, stupified with horror. •Seize him !' shouted the seneschal; seize him!'
Baron Von Redder was secured. The avengers bore him to the top of the castle, where still swung the mouldering skeleton of the henchman. In the summary manner of the time, he was bound to the skeleton, and cast over the turret; and to and fro swung the dying and the dead. The wind whistled mournfully against the chains; the clouds seemed to gather at the moment; and ere the executioner had left the walls, a raven was tearing the flesh from the dead Baron of Osnabruck.
Many a dark legend is still extant, relative to the fate of the bride. The favorite one is to this effect: when the Baron retired from the banquet, she also left the room, and sought the solitude of her chamber. Night closed in. Weeping and sad, she flung herself on a couch, where sleep soon relieved her of her terrors. At midnight a rustling noise and a clanking of chains awoke her. With a cry of horror, she started from the couch. Before her stood the Baron, his
face blanched and gory, his eyes sunk, his step uneven, and his person wasted to a shadow. In a voice too sephulcral and unearthly for life, he demanded a fulfilment of the marriage rites. The bride, horrorstricken, endeavored to elude his clammy grasp : a curse and a shriek rang throughout the castle ; and when morning dawned, the retainers beheld, still swinging by the skeleton henchman, the corse of the Baron; and repairing to the bridal chamber, a sight equally horrible met their eyes. On the floor lay the widowed bride, weltering in blood; full soon to be a thing
This fish is a subject so dainty and white,
* A translation of AD-DIK-KEEM-MAIG, the Indian name for this fish.