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EXTRACT FROM A NOTE-BOOK.
Our nice travelling chariot, with all its trunks, cases, pockets, down-cushions, and delightful appliances, that we had thought such a purchase two days before at Frankfort, gave out just as we approached Heidelberg. One of the axle-trees heated, the wheel refused to turn round, and for two hours we were standing in the road, surrounded by peasantry that the postillion had assembled together, endeavoring to get the wheel off
, pouring cold water upon it, and talking to us and about us in an unknown tongue ; for although my friend and myself mustered five modern languages, German unfortunately was not one of them, and we knew nothing whatever of the patois of these honest people.
After consultation with a mechanic at Heidelberg, and finding that the defect was not to be remedied there without great delay, we resolved upon a partial repair, and to return as best we might to Frankfort and seek redress from the warranty of the party of whom we had bought the vehicle. We paid our visit to the incomparable ruins of the castle, and then proceeded to retrace our steps; and examining our wheels at every post-house, reached the Hotel d'Angleterre at Frankfort at the close of day in August last.
It is always depressing to be turned back upon one's path; and these reclamations and bargainings for redress are the most uncomfortable things in the world; so that M. and I looked blank at one another as we entered again the streets of that busy mart. We determined to say nothing of the matter until morning, and I longed heartily for some refreshment that should banish it altogether from my mind in the mean time.
* Is there no music in Frankfort to-night ?' I inquired.
* I beg your pardon,' was the reply; 'there is the finest. Monsieur Liszt, the pianist, performs this evening at the theatre.' • Is it far from this ?'
Quite the contrary, fortunately, for the performances must have begun.
Show me the way.'
In a few minutes I had passed through the boxes into the pit of a small theatre. It was well filled, and yet the number of performers and amateurs on the stage seemed hardly less than that of the audience. The entertainment had opened, and was continued for some time with alternate instrumental and vocal music. The latter was composed of those strong, brassy, male voices, that satisfy the ear by their correctness and force perhaps, but make no approach toward the heart.
There was then a pause of some minutes, and a movement of expectation throughout the house; and presently a pale-faced, lightcomplexioned, loosely-constructed middle-aged person made his way through the artists and assistants, saluted the audience in a shambling and gauche manner, and seated himself without notes at a piano that was near the front of the stage.
Until he reached the side of this instrument, he seemed like part
of a man, wanting support and confidence ; but as he took his place, the existence became complete, and joy passed over his countenance as he laid his hand upon the keys. It was one of the faces of Thorwaldsen, an express indication of the deep interior spirit; and expectation rose high when the piano breathed as it were under his touch. He ran through a delicious voluntary, that there might be no doubt of the exactness of each note, and we all felt the perfection of his fingering ; clear, distinct, round, precious, full — a shower of pearls upon a table of porphyry.
It was now all stillness, the intense stillness of watchfulness, throughout the house ; for his performance was to commence; and although the moment if measured by a clock might have been short no doubt, we divided time by a different metre; and a wild waste had in our imagination extended itself around him, when he calmly raised his hands to their utmost height, and with blow after blow upon the instrument with bis whole force, successively planted large columnar masses of sound over the extended plain, and a scene like that of the Giant's Causeway rose like enchantment before our astonished and delighted senses. Hardly had he sketched the vision before us, when a storm began, such as I have seldom witnessed. The instrument rained, hailed, thundered, moaned, whistled, shrieked round those basaltic columns, in every cry that the tempest can utter in its wildest paroxysms of wrath. It was almost too powerful and ungoverned at the last; and at the instant that this thought entered into the mind, the wind lulled, the elements were spent, the calm came; the brooks and water-courses took up
of exultation; the air was refreshed, the birds chirped, the sun put forth, and 'the young leaf lifted its
head.' We now accompanied him through a small valley with precipitous banks, such as one finds in Piedmont, where the large leafed tree grows beside the mossy rock, and the vine tries vainly to envelope both, and shade and light and repose are the glory of earth. Young clouds were forming on the upper heights, destined to paint the skies of Italy, and struggled hard in their ascent at every jutting rock and leafy huttress to remain adhering to their native cliffs, against the repeated bidding of the sun; as if preferring, even to the cerulean heaven, a world so verdant and so fair! We
e were thus borne along by the strain through countless beauties of rock and sky and foliage to a grotto, by the side of which was a fountain that seemed one of the Eyes of the Earth, so large and darkly-brilliant was it, so deep and so serene; reflecting on its retina with magical distinctness every surrounding object, whether distant or near.
Here we listened for some moments to the voices rather than the songs of birds, when the music by degrees again diminished, and then fluttered, and then ceased.
It was not immediately that the audience gave forth their demonstrations of rapturous applause; and as I looked round, I saw on all sides that eyes, in tears, both smiled and wept.' I walked home almost upon air, and every pulsation on the way was a throb of grati. tude to Him, who for our solace and delight hath planted the ear,' and opened all hearts to the inspiration of the truly gifted master of this wonderful art.
Thus far, dear Editor, is the extract, which would never have been offered to your regard, but that being some days afterward in the society of an accomplished lady, herself no mean musician, and describing to her the effect produced on my mind by this remarkable performance, she surprised me by saying that she bad been present at it, and that the same imagery had passed with slight variation before her as she listened, that I have here endeavored faintly to preserve.
I was charmed at the assurance, for it confirmed me in the belief that this was not a inere flitting of the rainbow spirit across the imagination, rearing in its passage a fabric of happiness — beautiful at times as a palace of the Genii, and alas ! as illusory - but a substantive and truthful joy, to be recalled at will; to be remembered in solitude ; to be dwelt upon for the enrichment of the soul; and — may I entertain the hope ? — in some degree perhaps even to be imparted.
I would not intrude upon your notice this huinble effusion of my rustic muse, but for the thought that perhaps in your impartial eye, a wild flower of the forest may sometimes relievo the bright things nurtured in the gardens of taste; that a casual sprig from the wild-wood may yet be fragrant with the aroma of nature.
I MARKED the young rose-buds unfolding in spring,
"We're passing away!'
I loved the old oaks when a play-loving boy;
We're passing away!
By the side of the streamlet how oft did I go,
"We're passing away!'
Amid the deep woods, in the fall of the year,
"We're passing away!'
Ye hours, long departed, to bless me no more,
They're 'passing away.'
In the grave-yard, lone on the still Sabbath eve,
"You 're passing away!'
Yes, passing away! -- and who would remain,
I would be away!
AS A B BATH
IN THE COUNTRY:
OR A FEW DESULTORY REFLECTIONS, ENDING IN A TRIBUTE TO THE MEMORY OF AN
INDIAN MAIDEN WHO LIKE SAPPHO DIED FOR LOVE.
One of our warmest Sabbaths, at our very warmest season of the year, chanced to find me in country quarters, boarding at a farmhouse on a hill overlooking one of the fertile valieys of Massachusetts : such a scene, by the way, of beauty, of peace, and plenty, as Miss Martineau may have loved to look upon from her country quarters in the same state. I viewed it early in the morning, while the air was yet fresh and racy from the dews of night; but I saw the coming heat in the vapors that hung on the distant hills, and dimined the atmosphere, long afier the red sun had risen from his furnace to tyrannize over the church-going world.
The hour arrived. The bell sounded from the neighboring village, and the worthy farmers came forth fresh from their Sunday morning toilettes, and seemed, with their working day attire, to have thrown aside all traces of the severe labors of the harvest field, excepl the mark which bright Phæbus' leaves on their honest faces. And now horses and carriages appeared and disappeared, leaving clouds of dust in their wake; and our house, as in custom bound, gave forth its share of country gentry, and such town-bred nymphs as happened to be sojourners therein. But I held back; the carriages looked full enough without me; and in the midst of such heat, in a crowded country meeting-house, I feared that my soul would not be properly .atuned to prayer and praise.' So I entered my chamber, and took upon myself the luxury of solitude — the most blessed rest a siuless soul can enjoy and endeavoring to adore the Great Father through his works, I threw open the blinds and looked out on the verdant lawn, with its broad overshadowing trees, and far over the misty plain beyond, and saw that peace and tranquillity had settled on the scene, the rest of a sultry Sabbath.
On all sides this beautiful valley is bounded by hills - nay, mountains — such ‘wood-crowned heights' as Massachusetts alone can boast; and there as they now stand in majestic beauty, in solemn repose, so must they have rested ages back, before the blessings of civilization or the lights of christianity were spread over the land :
'Ere the sound of a church-going bell
These valleys and rocks ever heard,
Or smiled when a Sabbath appeared.' Yet the all-seeing eye looked down with the same mercy on the poor savages with whom it pleased Providence then to people this beautiful land, as on their successors, by whom the same wisdom has decreed the beloved hunting-grounds of those red wanderers should be converted into fertile pastures and waving corn-fields : and then I thought of the fearful struggle, the deadly strife, with which they gave up their wild inheritance; and my heart began asking my head
strange questions which my head could not answer, without those touches of sophistry that puzzle the heart, and make it long for more understanding than is vouchsafed to fallen woman – since through knowledge her first mother fell.
Happily for the equanimity of my head and heart, on that very warm Sunday, my doubtful musings were interrupted. The glaring sun came round, obliging me to close the blinds; but not before I had caught a glimpse through the trees of the bare, bold cliffs of a rocky height, called Monument Mountain, at five or six miles distance, of which I had heard the legend, from which it derives its name, of a poor young Indian maiden, who threw herself from the summit of the precipice, and was buried on the spot where she fell. A monument of loose stones was piled over her grave, by the mourners of her tribe, who for years after visited it, each paying a tribute to her memory, by casting a stone ou the monumental pile. It is related that unhappy love led to this fatal catastrophe, and the spot on which it occurred has long been a place of resort to the inhabitants, as well as to strangers visiting in the neighborhood. Though the height is considerable, and the ascent somewhat difficult, bevies of Christian ladies climb up to look from the precipice, as near as they dare approach the last, last verge,' where the poor Indian maid gave proof that the same heart-rending passions can burn beneath the dusky bosom of a savage, as those which too often lie concealed, 'like a worm i’ the bud,' in their own hearts ; that, however wide the difference in point of time and circumstances, and the thousand varying influences of civilization and refinement, still is human nature ihe same in the depth of its tenderest affections — the strength of its wildest emotions.
I visited this celebrated cliff myself; and though I would not fatigue the reader by describing what has been so often visited, and so often described, I may be excused for relieving some of the tedium of a sultry Sabbath, by penning the tribute which my muse paid to the memory of the Indian girl, who having misplaced her affections, rashly preferred death - and such a death !-- to the shame and sorrow of unrequited love :
Where a bare mountain rears its head,
A bold and craggy steep,
To take the fatal leap.
By tangled bush and tree,
And near her humm'd the bee :
Waving their branches high,
With low, persuasive sigh.
Was strong to woo her back,
That steep and stony track.
Shame, grief, and cankering care,
To moanings of despair.