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moment. The competition for it at the auction was so great that I was compelled to bid five-and-twenty louis-d'ors for it."
"I could have saved you that expense," replied the lady, "if you had asked my advice first. If I mistake not, the potter still lives who made it for me for a florin."
"You jest," said the professor, peevishly.
The counsellor laughed with mischievous joy, and requested an explanation.
"It is a long history, and there is a piece of innocent deceit connected with it, which I aided a friend of mine to practise. I have not thought about it for a long time; but your holy graal now recalls the whole to my mind. A friend of my mother's, who had greatly aided her in bringing me up, resided with her husband, who was an Amtman, in a retired cloister, which had been converted into an Amthaus for his abode. The country around was very agreeable, and I passed a good deal of time there with much pleasure. The only drawback to my friend's comfort was the very limited extent of the habitable part of the building, though it was otherwise spacious enough. Her husband was like some professors and counsellors of my acquaintance-a great admirer of antiquities and graals; and found in the old convent an inexhaustible fund for the indulgence of his favourite pursuit. For this purpose he scrupled not to crowd his family into the smallest possible space, and propped up the tumbling walls with beams in every direction, because he could not resolve to have the old house repaired, or a new one built. All our remonstrances were vain; and finally he carried it so far that no domestics would remain in the family for fear the house should tumble down and bury them in its ruins. At length, to our great joy, we heard that a commission was appointed, and the place was to be examined; but as the Amtman knew well that if an inspection were to take place, he could not prevent a new building being ordered, and he should be deprived of his hobby-horse, he made a journey to the capital to protest against the commission for a new edifice. My friend, with whom I happened to be at the time, was inconsolable over her disappointment, when a secretary, an acute and sensible man, suggested to her, in jest, a remedy, which however she eagerly seized on, as it was founded on an event very likely to happen, and we all agreed to assist her in the execution. This secretary remarked that the first great storm would most probably blow down the house and bury many people in its ruins; but if we were to remove all the props, it would tumble of itself; which could be done by night, after first taking care that every body and all the animals were removed to a place of security. So we chose a time when the Amtman was absent on a journey. We had only to select clever and discreet people to help us; and when it was done, we agreed to tell him that a gust of wind in the night had, we supposed, overthrown the old place, or that it had fallen of itself. My friend was delighted with this scheme, and we made every preparation accordingly. We removed all the valuable furniture, and especially all the curiosities of the master of the house. The messengers, who dwelt in the ruinous part, were instructed in our intentions, and even helped us in our labour; the uninitiated we sent out of the way on different pretences; every thing was ready; the
props were bound round with strong ropes, which were to be pulled by horses to draw them suddenly from under the roof and walls, and we only waited for midnight; but while we were thus busy a coach drove up to the door, and the expected commissioner made his appearance. But I really believe you are laughing at me and my story, which is very uncivil-well, I will keep it to myself."
"Quite the contrary," said the professor; "your story is very interesting to us, and I beg you most earnestly to continue; our laughing was occasioned by a similar history we heard no great while ago." "Oh, you must tell us that!" exclaimed the lady.
"Afterwards," replied the professor; "but first permit us to hear the conclusion of your adventure."
"You left off at the arrival of the commissioner," said the counsellor.
"Ah, true," replied his lady, smiling; "I had more business to perform yet, that evening. He was a young and handsome manwhat was his name? let me recollect--oh! Ettmüller."
"The Herr Ettmüller!" exclaimed her husband, gaily.
a young and handsome man! Why he was a dry, withered old fellow, who died five years ago in his eighty-sixth year.'
"What then?" observed she, "that must have been another person; this commissioner, I tell you, was a well-formed man about your size ; and, as I recollect, his voice resembled yours very much; so you may imagine I was not a little taken with him-but, professor, you make me quite angry with your laughing; and you, too, are beginning again, my dear you are both of you making a jest of me." :
The professor deprecated, the husband flattered, and both begged her to proceed with her story.
"But then let no one laugh again!" threatened the fair narrator, "else I am quite mute. Well, this handsome commissioner arrived; but he was by far too polite; for he prated such fine things to my friend, about her romantic abode in the old convent, and his own fondness for these fatal antiquarian researches, that she lost all hope that he would be opposed to her husband, and report the necessity of a new building. She, therefore, desired me to superintend the remaining preparations, whilst she entertained her guest; but I presume she was little edified by this antiquarian commissioner, for she soon had him conducted to his room, and came to assist us in our arrangements for our work.
But we were not a little frightened as we were going about the court to look after the workmen, who were already chopping at the props, that they might give way the easier, to see a light in one of the windows of the very part of the house about to be precipitated; and in the instant it occurred to us that the stupid servant Peter, who was ignorant of our intentions, had conducted the stranger into the former state-room, which was at that instant expected to fall; we instantly called to the workmen to stop, and ordered the horses to be unfastened from the ropes; but the question now was, how we were to get the guest out of the tottering building without betraying all. My friend was so agitated by fear that she could hardly stand; I do not know how, but I mustered courage enough to determine to call him myself. Let him conjecture what he will, thought I, so he be once rescued. I accordingly ran to his
chamber, and knocked at the door, and when I heard him move I quickly withdrew; but, as I saw nothing of him, I knocked again; the come in" which he called out lustily, frightened me away again; I now felt the floor begin to shake under me. In my terror, I forced open the door and was about to enter, when he approached me with a light. He may, I dare say, have taken me in my white dress for a ghost, or for a nun come back again, but I was very glad to see him up, and to hear him follow me, as I hastened back again; he continued to pursue me till I got into a little court at some distance; I returned by a shorter way to the workmen, and upon my giving them a sign that the stranger was in safety, the old walls with a tremendous crash fell in. I took care not to be seen by him again, as he might have recognized me, and that would have betrayed our roguery; but I would not willingly experience the anxiety of that night's adventure again."
"And is it then really possible," exclaimed the counsellor, clasping his wife to his breast, "thou didst really venture into the tottering and nearly falling building to become a protecting angel to that stranger?" "Oh, there was nothing to wonder at," replied the lady; "the danger overcame every other consideration. But really I do not understand this, am I betrayed? you look at me, my love, with such particular affection, and the professor there is laughing again like a wild man,—what does all this mean?"
"While you were
"You shall soon know," replied the counsellor. absent, I told the professor, for the sake of convincing him of the error of his incredulity, how once a protecting spirit had conducted me out of a house, which I had no sooner quitted than it fell down; and now I find that this spirit was no other than that dear angel, who soon after began to accompany me through life in a corporeal form, my Antonia." "How," exclaimed the lady, were you then that commissioner ?" 'Exactly. Ettmüller, who was unwell at the time, commissioned me to execute that business for him."
“Oh, this is indeed delightful," embracing her husband affectionately. "The professor would indeed now triumph, if these brave Cosaks had not embraced your cause against his unbelief."
"You may give up my cause," said his wife smiling; "I had very good grounds for my foreboding respecting the visit of this night. My brother, as you know, is with the Prussians in the neighbourhood. He sent me, this morning, a letter for his wife, with a secret injunction to deliver it this evening to a Cosak who would ask for it; but if no one came, I was to burn it directly. The address on it was, I conclude, merely to deceive. The Cosak was true to his commission, and had the letter and something to drink besides. My brother will excuse himself for making this a secret to you."
"Bravo! admirable," shouted the professor; " and so can all visions and marvellous stories be elucidated, I doubt not."
"I heartily agree with you," said the lady, "and can fulfil your expectation on the spot as to your holy graal. You may remember I told you my story originated in my seeing that, and now in justice I must return to it. The Amtman, my friend's husband, was quite inconsolable for the loss of his treasures; for though we had preserved the greater part in safety, yet we had not saved all, for we poor ignorant folks could not appreciate the inestimable value of some of the old
pottery; but nothing grieved him so much as the loss of one vessel of inconceivable rarity, and my friend, who was heartily tired of his end⚫ less lamentations, wrote to me to get something antique like it for her directly, which might banish from his mind the recollection of his loss. I knew not where to find such a curiosity; and so, that nothing might be wanting on my part, I went to our potter, or as he chose to call himself, to the master modeller, and ordered, according to a design I gave him, a cup to look as like an antique as was possible. The man was highly flattered by the commission, and must needs put his name and title at length on the vase, which of course rendered it useless for my purpose; he was therefore obliged to begin it over again, and I failed not to enjoin him from putting his name, as the vase was intended to pass for the work of a master who had been dead more than a thousand years. Nevertheless, as I now find, he must have promised himself immortality from his labours, as he could not refrain from inserting his initials at least, under the handle, to hand them down to posterity."—"The devil!" cried the professor, with rather a clouded brow. "So it is," continued the lady. "Look here as I read it, your inscription proves 'Adam Stephen Graal did it.'" The counsellor burst out into a laugh, but the professor would not give up his graal yet. "You jest, Madam! Ay, ay, this is all an invention of your own. Very good, upon my word." "It is perfectly true, nevertheless," replied she, "you may convince yourself by my friend Graal's first essay, which I fortunately have preserved, and where the inscription is legible at full length. I shall be happy to present you with it as a new curiosity for your museum.”
A general laugh from every one present put an end to the conversation; and they all unanimously agreed neither to be superstitious themselves, nor to blame credulity too hastily in others.
On the Influence of Fancy upon Mythology.
Has seen the ocean's King afar,
And that superb, immortal smile,
Which, where it lingers, lights the wave-
To be the Nereids' distant song
Around their Monarch's path of pride!
And there, as slumber heavier falls,
Fond Fancy still his eye beguiles;
With Nymphs, he treads the blue deep's halls,
Allusive to the beautiful superstition of the Fortunate Isles, in which the departed great and good were imagined to re-exist in a state of elysian happiness.
CRESCEMBENI AND THE ARCADI.
Gro. Mario Crescembeni was born at Macerata in 1663, of a noble family. When very young, he was distinguished among his companions by a total indifference to every kind of childish amusement, and an enthusiastic admiration for the poetry of his country. This inclination was first observed by his astonished father, when having placed an edition of Ariosto, remarkable for the beauty of the engravings, in the hands of the child, it was returned to the bookcase with pencil marks on the margin of some of the most admired passages. So clear an indication of discernment and taste, was not overlooked by the parent, who provided the best masters to cultivate the budding talent of his son. After having gone through the usual routine of classical instruction, Crescembeni, at the desire of his father, who was a lecturer on law in the university of Macerata, directed his mind to the attainment of proficiency in that science, otherwise very uncongenial to his own disposition. Assiduous attention, however, combined with an honourable emulation of tracing the footsteps of his father, overcame his natural repugnance; and he so far succeeded in that intricate and rugged study, as to obtain the degree of doctor of laws in 1679. A few years afterwards, he was chosen by the Consiglio di Credenza, public lecturer on the institutes of Justinian. It was soon thought advisable that the young lawyer should repair to Rome; and thither he went with the full expectation of his friends that he would be distinguished in the Curia Romana. The usual fatality, however, which seems to hang over the profession, and happily prevents the squandering of invention or imagination on its dull and narrow-minding pursuits, had chalked out a very different path of honour to the young Crescembeni. His uncle, at whose house he lived, soon discovered, that his clients were all notorious votaries of the Muses, that his desk, instead of containing notes or observations on the pandects or the code, possessed a much larger assortment of sonnets and canzoni, on subjects of less solidity; and apprehensive that this propensity might cloud his prospects in his profession, he strictly forbade any public display of his poetical talents. On the death, however, of his father, at whose instigation he had at first entered on the uninviting path of the law, he seems to have almost deserted the courts, and to have devoted himself entirely to literary pur
About this time, the Academie degli Umoristi degli Intrecciati ed Infecondi were celebrated at Rome, and in them Gio. Mario maintained a very honourable distinction. But he soon perceived that the productions of the members of these societies were formed upon depraved and vicious models, and conceived the idea of forming a new institution which should correct the prevalent deterioration of taste. Several of his literary friends concurred in this idea, and they were for some time accustomed to assemble at evening, to recite their poetical compositions. On one of these occasions, a member exclaimed unthinkingly, "Ecco per noi risorta Arcadia," an observation which, though made with little consideration at the time, proved afterwards the germ of a great and celebrated association. When the meeting of that evening was concluded, Crescembeni proposed to his associates the establishment of a new academy, bearing the name of Arcadia, a proposal which they all