Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

The promises of peace, which for many months had been depending, came at last to be fulfilled. The army returned home; with seriousness and solemnity they entered once more the liberated and wonderfully rescued capital.

It was on a Sunday morning. Since day-break, young and old had been pressing through the streets towards the gates. The guards could with difficulty keep any degree of authority in the storm of unrestrained and irresistible joy

Crowded, squeezed, and as it were, twined and twisted through each other, stood this expectant assembly; and as the wished for moment approached, became the more deeply and inwardly affected. There was scarcely a sound audible in the multitude, when at last the powerful yet melancholy voice of the trumpets gave their first greetings from afar. Then tears fell from a thousand eyes ; many a breaking heart was chilled; and on the lips of

become his guests. He, meanwhile, took off his schako*

• The square cap worn by the Prussian Lancers.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

all, low and anxious whispers trembled. Now shone the first gleams of armour through the open gates.-Scattered flowers and garlands flew to meet them; for every tree had paid its tribute ; every garden had granted a share from its variegated treasures. A lovely child, stationed in a high bow-window, raised its round white arms on high, and receiving from its weeping, turned-away mother, a coronet of leaves, threw it down among the passing troops beneath. A-lancer, who happened to be the first to notice this occurrence, good-humouredly took up the wreath on his lance, while he playfully nodded to the fair little angel above. He had his eyes still directed in this manner, when his commanding officer, riding on, exclaimed, “Ha!

S-a cypress wreath! How came you by such a thing -it may be thought

an unlucky omen!” Wolfe put the crown on his right arm, however, and not without some discomposure rode on!

After a long tedious delay, employed in putting up the horses in the regimental stables, giving them water and provender, the quarter-billets at last were distributed. Wolfe

, on receiving his ticket, had the mortification to perceive that it directed him to the house of a well-known rich butcher! His comrades wished him joy-rallied

him on the good eating which awaited him; and profited | by the opportunity of inviting themselves frequently to

Wolfe!

so

in silence, twisted the billet among its golden tassels, and twice passing his hand through his luxuriant locks, he said, not without considerable vexation, “this, forsooth, is rare luck! No doubt the rich miser is well enough known !--I heartily wish, however, that I had been quartered anywhere else!” “ Ha, ha! what a silly fellow you must be !” cried a bold knowing comrade “ what is it to you, pray, if your host is a miser or a spendthrift? Only let him be rich enough-then a sol-, dier is sure to be well off. However, you must begin with politeness and address-every thing depends on good management.” That is very true, I grant you !” said Wolfe, as he threw his knapsack over his shoulder-“but there are a set of people in the world on whom all politeness is thrown away, and who have no heart nor feeling for man nor beast. If ever I meet with a butcher's waggon in the streets, full of miserable animals tied and bundled together, and see how the poor beasts lie there over and under one another, groaning sometimes, so that, it cuts one to the heart, and mark how the fellows plod on behind the cart in utter indifference-whistling perhaps all the time, I have much ado to withhold myself from falling on, and beating the scoundrels heartily! Besides, to say the truth, I have had enough of blood and slaughter, and begin to be disgusted with the whole trade!

"Oh !” cried his laughing companions, “ Wolfe cannot bear the sight of blood—thou chicken-hearted fellow!

shaded over by coal-black bushy projecting eyebrows ; the small eyes, devoid of intellect, appeared to watch the rolling vapours of a short pipe.-One hand was placed in the waistcoat-pocket, the other seemed to dance up

and down the silver knots of the pipe, which rested ever

teously, and, with a modest bow, showed him his billet,

inwardly,

-- And when did this terror come upon thee ?”—“Don't talk nonsense,” replied Wolfe angrily—“in battle, when man stands against man, and besides, when there are different motives for action, (laying his hand on his iron cross), one looks neither to the right nor the left, but in a soberer mood—well then, I shall not deny it, whenever I pass by a butcher's stall, and see the bloody axe, and hear (or fancy that I hear) the groans of agony, I feel

as if the fibres of my heart were torn—and therefore I do wish that I had been quartered any where else!"

His comrades began to laugh at him more than ever, though they did not venture it till he had gone a little way. He then looked round at them, and shook his lance, half jesting, half angry. They made faces at him

return, but soon began to disperse, and Wolfe proceeded on the road to his quarters.

He had not gone far when he found the street and the number. Already at a distance he saw a gigantic man in his shirt sleeves, standing under the door-way. His countenance of a dusky yellow complexion, was quite

[ocr errors]

in

and anon on his goodly person. Wolfe saluted him cour

VOL. I.

х

upon which the man squinted at him sideways, and without attending any further to his guest, he pointed, with his thumb bent backwards, to the house--at the same time adding, in a gloomy and indifferent tone" Only go in there, sir! my people know already.” Wolfe bit his lips, and entering somewhat abruptly, his sabre that rattled after him, happened to inflict a pretty sharp blow across the legs of Mein-herr John, his landlord.

" What the devil in hell!” grumbled the butcher. Wolfe, however,

did not allow himself to enter into any explanation or dispute, but passed on, and came into the court. He found there a pale and sickly-looking girl carrying two buckets of water. Wolfe, drawing near to her, inquired if she was the servant of his landlord ? The girl remained silent, and as if terrified, standing before him. She had set down the two buckets on the ground, and looked on him with large rayless eyes unsteadily. Her complexion seemed always to become more pale, till she resembled a marble statue more than an animated being. Meanwhile, as Wolfe renewed his question, she let her head sink upon her breast, and taking up the buckets again, she said, with her eyes fixed on a short flight of steps that led by a servant's door into the house, “Come

and immediately at the first door on the right hand you find your chamber.”

Wolfe looked after her a while quite lost in thought, then climbed up the narrow stairs, and found all as she had told him. The room was small and dark ; the air op

up here;

will

« PreviousContinue »