« ZurückWeiter »
was a great deal of heart and good feeling in the count's manner and reception, and evidently extraordinary efforts had been made to produce effect, and arrange every thing for our gratification, and I rejoiced the rain had not prevented our day's expedition. I found the count as amusing and agreeable as ever.
We took our leave soon after dinner, and went on to Eisenstadt, where we arrived at about ten o'clock, very tired, and went to bed. This splendid possession is certainly the principal seat, and ought to be the principal residence, of Prince Esterhazy. The house is of immense size, the gardens, drives, pleasure-grounds, stables, chasse, &c., are all centred here, and are in the most princely state. This extended pile of buildings is capable of containing four hundred visiters, and we were shown a baronial hall where six hundred had dined.
A little carriage waited to take us over the grounds. The gardens are of great extent, and close to the house. The hothouse range is between six and seven hundred feet long; three hundred and eighty large and healthy orange-trees had just been taken in, and to give an idea of the profusion of plants, in one house were two hundred and fifty different heaths. The gardener was a German, and spoke a little English ; and after he had shown us all his department, to my amazement he mounted a long-tailed, prancing black charger, and guided us through the grounds, which are very extensive. Here and there we admired the beautiful views of Forchenstein and Esterhazy in the distance, surrounded by extensive vineyards.
The Marie temple is in the grounds, situated on a commanding eminence; but the Leopoldine temple, near the house, is more interesting, from containing a beautiful statue of the Princess Leopoldine, executed by Canova, when she was only eighteen. It is graceful and lovely, though unfortunately there are some spots in the marble.
Shortly after our return to Vienna I went one evening to a small party at Princess Metternich's, to hear Thalberg play. The women formed a circle round him, and the men stood in a group by themselves. The piano was placed in the middle of the room, and after the performer, who seemed a gentlemanlike, shy young man, had been presented to me, the music began. He played three pieces; the last and most admired was the prayer in Rossini's “ Mose in Egitto," with extremely difficult variations. Prince Metternich said he preferred Thalberg to Lizst, though the latter did things that were more astounding.
« Il fait," said the prince, “ des impossibilités, et il est romanesque; tandis que Thalberg est toujours classique."
The princess's dress was original, but very pretty. Her gown was black, and a Turkish shawl of black and gold was folded round her; on her neck immense emerald drops fell from a slender line of diamonds, and a flat Persian cap of gold and embroidery lay on one side of her head, while an enormous tassel of Aoss silk, that hung from it, served as her plaything during the evening.
BARAK JOHNSON; OR, THE BLIND WITNESS.
BY AGXES STRICKLAND.
There was in the parish of Woodfield a stern and solitary man named Barak Johnson, who was generally respected for the strict morality of his life, though the austerity of his manners rendered him an object of dislike to the young and thoughtless. He was a native of Cumberland, and spoke with a strong northern_accent, which made his naturally harsh tones peculiarly unmusical to East Anglian ears. He had once been engaged in trade, but having joined himself to a society of dissenters whose opinions tended in no slight degree to fanaticism, he considered bimself called upon to avoid the snares and temptations with which mammon daily besets his votaries, and therefore retired from business. His frugal habits enabled him to live comfortably on his little savings, and he commenced a course of life conformable to his professions.
Prayer-meetings were held at his house once a week. He became a subscriber to all religious societies, passed all his time in theological studies, and he was esteemed by those of his own peculiar tenets as an eminently pious character. His mind was, however, strongly tinged with gloom and bigotry, to which was added no slight tincture of spiritual pride'; and while he looked upon three-fourths of mankind as vessels of wrath, formed and fitted for destruction, he considered himself as one of the favoured few who were chosen and predestined to eternal blessedness, and that it was impossible for him to stumble, much less to fall, from the state of grace to which he had attained.
In person and manners Barak Johnson was singularly unprepossessing. He was dark-complexioned, approaching to swarthiness, and his features were harsh and strongly marked. His figure, though athletic and powerful, was ungainly, and his deportment solemn and ungraceful. His tem per was irritable, and he was by nature a man of violent passions, which in the perilous season of youth had betrayed him into occasional excesses, but latterly he had so greatly mastered his perverse inclinations, that he was wont to boast of having completely trampled Satan under his feet, and that he trusted he should be enabled to resist all his devices, in whatever form they might assail him.
The house in which Barak Johnson lived, in the entrance of the village, did not front the street, but looked into a pretty little gården, belonging to an adjoining dwelling, of which his windows commanded a view, and were in turn commanded by those of the aforesaid tene
When Barak Johnson first settled in the neighbourhood, the next house was tenanted by a serious family, with whom he lived on terms of friendship, but after some years the property passed into other hands, and the house was let to people of a different way of thinking.
Barak Johnson was uneasy at the change. His new neighbour was a widower, with two daughters. The name of this person was John Waters, and he carried on the business of a ladies' shoemaker, in which be was assisted by bis eldest daughter, Sarah, who bound and trimmed the shoes, and attended to the domestic affairs. Phillis, the younger, who was remarkably pretty, and considered herself the belle of Woodfield, pursued the more elegant and lucrative business of a milliner, by which she was enabled to gratify her inordinate love of dress. Her manners were marked with more than the usual flippancy of her calling; she was, moreover, a finished coquette, and was wont to boast “That she could command the attentions of a different lover for every day in the week, and two for a Sunday.
It may easily be imagined that the vicinity of such a neighbour was any thing but agreeable to Barak Johnson. Indeed the first sight of Phillis in her Sunday finery filled him with indignation, and he considered it a buffet of Satan's own inflicting, when he found he should be exposed to the impertinent curiosity, ogling, and overlooking of a damsel of her appearance. Phillis was no less disgusted with the manners and exterior of the stern and solitary recluse, whom she contemptuously denominated a sour old puritan, and resolved to take every opportunity of tormenting, acting much as the Jezabel in the Spectator is described to have done in order to captivate the Templar lodger in the opposite house.
Whenever Barak Johnson was at home, Phillis was sure to establish her work-table at the window of her little parlour, or to take that opportunity for tending her geraniums, which were ranged in neat order on a green stand in the garden ; bestowing on them a far greater portion of her time than Barak considered by any means necessary.
Then she had a Barbary dove in a cage, which she hung just outside the glass-door that opened on the little grassplot, and she would sometimes visit this pretty captive to caress and talk nonsense to him half a dozen times in an hour, to the infinite disturbance of her ascetic neighbour, who was an unwilling observer of all her follies. He bestowed the severest censures on Phillis whenever her name was mentioned, and always concluded by declaring "that if he had not rashly made purchase of bis house he would remove to a distant quarter of the village to escape the hourly annoyances to which he was subjected by this yain and carnal-minded daughter of Belial.
These observations were not long in reaching the ears of Phillis, and in the pride of conscious beauty she resolved to make him feel the power of the charms he had contemned. In pursuance of this design she continued to assail him from every possible point of attack. St. Kevin was not more pertinaciously pursued by the fair Cathleen “ with eyes of most unholy blue," than was Barak Johnson by the persevering intrusions of his provoking neighbour. He could not come to the window for a moment without being exposed to the whole artillery of her airs and graces. She deliberately tried the effect of every cap and bonnet she made on him, as soon as completed, by placing it on her own head, and then turning her fair face towards his window, and asking his opinion of it in dumb show. If he either maintained a stern, immovable countenance, or replied to these impertinences with gestures of reproof or contempt, she would shake her head and make an ostentatious display of altering the disposition of the bows, and then trying it on again, silently demand his suffrage.
Barak Johnson, though little skilled in the wiles of female flirtation, began to entertain something like a suspicion that all these caps were impudently set at him.