The Bijou

The Bijou;

or Annual of Literature and the Arts

compiled by William Fraser

London: William Pickering,


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The Ritter von Reichenstein
By Unknown

The Ritter von Reichenstein1

THE great hall in the royal castle of Linz resounded with kettle-drums and trumpets, while King Ferdinand and his Queen sat at the banquet table, rejoicing that the siege was now raised, and Austria once more victorious. The banquet was given in honour of the young Baron von Reichenstein, who then, for the first time, appeared as the King's guest. He had the good fortune to bring the welcome tidings that Solyman, after beleaguering the city for many weeks, and being repulsed in every attack, had at last suddenly desisted from his undertaking, and retreated by quick marches. Of the distinction now conferred on Reichenstein his own noble conduct during the siege rendered him eminently worthy, nor could the favour have been bestowed on any one who would have valued it more highly, for pride and ambition were indeed his leading characteristics.

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The lively monarch banished for the time all political cares, and gave himself up to the festivity of the moment, heightened by the consideration that the good news came unexpectedly, as Vienna was then, in truth, but ill provided with the means of defence, and the Sultan, at the head of three thousand men, had vowed never to return till he had conquered both Hungary and Austria, where the Christian sway should be terminated for ever. Merrily coursed the brimming goblets round the table, and in the joy of his heart the King proposed the health of his country's brave defender, the heroic youth, Philip Palsgraf of the Rhine, and of the veteran warrior, Count Nicholas of Salm, whose locks had now grown grey under arms. The mirth became louder, and the applause more vehement, till the Queen commanded silence and attention, for she too had prepared a little entertainment to celebrate the termination of that campaign which had threatened so much misfortune; well knowing that on such occasions her illustrious consort did not disdain to exchange the homage to Bacchus for a sacrifice to the Muses. Of this Monarch, indeed, it is recorded that when a certain Colonel of his Life Guards once ventured to hint that he bestowed too many favors on the learned, to the neglect of the ancient nobility, the Colonel next day received a great packet of old and important parchments, with an order that he

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should read them through, and in a few hours return a written abstract of their contents; the Colonel, of course, brought them back, declaring his incapacity for the task. "Good friend," said the King, smiling ironically, "you will for the future spare your animadversions on our patronage of the learned, for you perceive that if noblemen and warriors only were to be raised to office, the duties of the state would be fulfilled yet worse than heretofore."

On a signal from the queen a red silk curtain at the bottom of the hall was suddenly drawn up, and revealed an altar from which a clear flame rose flickering, and illuminated the arms of Austria wreathed with laurel and gorgeously emblazoned. Before the altar sat a female form, beaming in such luxuriance of beauty, that she might well indeed have been deemed one of the muses descended from Mount Olympus. Her long white robes though rich in folds could not conceal the exquisite symmetry of her form; round her waist she wore a gold embroidered girdle, while from her shoulders waved a short mantle of blue velvet studded with golden stars. Her features were of the noblest Grecian mould; round her temples was bound a laurel wreath, and her glossy chesnut hair flowed in profuse curls round her blushing cheeks, down into her snow-white neck and bosom. In her arms she supported a harp, and accompanying her voice with powerful chords, sung

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a fervent hymn in praise of the brave men by whose courage the threatening danger had been averted, and the proud plans of the Pagan invader defeated. Impassioned eloquence or music alone is enough to move irresistibly every feeling heart, — but how much is that effect encreased , when the tones flow from lips so beautiful, when such eyes beam with the sacred fire of inspiration! — A watchful silence prevailed in the hall that was before so loud with voices; the guests had eyes and ears only for the seraphic musician, who exercised her power like an enchantress even over the roughest veteran warriors "albeit unused to the melting mood," for she recalled to them and presented as if in a magic mirror the fairy dreams of their youth. How vivid then must have been the impression on younger auditors! Involuntarily all hearts were attracted and won by the lovely performer — every eye glistened with pleasure, and when she had finished her triumphant song, every tongue was busy in her praise — even the proud and haughty Baron Reichenstein was deeply moved. 'Till now, the attention which had often been bestowed on the young warrior by susceptible beauties of the capital had failed to excite any other sensation but that of gratified vanity. Now, however, when the songstress in her chaunt alluded to him as the announcing messenger of that that victory which he had assisted to gain, he could

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no longer look proudly around, as he had been wont to do. On the contrary a deep blush came over his features; his proud heart beat anxiously, and his fiery eagle eyes were humbly fixed on the ground.

So the festivities of the banquet were closed, and the evening of that happy day was spent in dancing and games of chance. For neither of these amusements was Baron Reichenstein disposed. Leaning against a pillar of the Gothic Hall, he followed with watchful eyes every movement of the Demoiselle Appollonia von Santi, — for so the beautiful songstress was named. Descended from a noble Greek house, and left in early youth an orphan, she had been brought to the Court of King Ferdinand, and there educated as one of the queen's maids of honour. Her beauty, — her eminent talents for music, and but still more the unpretending modesty of her demeanour excited universal attention, and every one spoke with respect of the beautiful Lady Appollonia. No sooner had she made her appearance in the ball-room than Reichenstein saw that the young and old crowded around her, to express their thanks for the delight which her music had afforded, and afterwards as she whirled past him in the walk, supported by some gay and brilliant courtier, he was racked by a feeling of the bitterest envy; yet he who had before known fear scarcely by name, had

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not the courage to approach her. With rapture he remarked, that even during the dance, his eyes often encountered hers, and when she seated herself for refreshment and rest, her looks again followed him as if she would say — "And you alone determined not to share in the pleasures of these fleeting hours?" So at last he mustered resolution, humbly approached the victorious enchantress, and in a faultering half audible voice begged that he might have the honour of her hand for the next dance. Appollonia blushed and courtesied her consent; the warlike hero made an awkward bow, and retreated, not daring to say more, 'till the music recommencing called them to their places. Reichenstein, who was usually a good waltzer could now scarcely keep in time, while his lovely partner seemed to partake of his embarrassment, yet this was but for a few minutes; her sparkling eyes and approving smiles soon roused him to self-possession. Even the musicians seemed inspired; they played louder, and with more precision. Envied by many a youth in the numerous assemblage, he flew down the ranks, with the peerless Grecian on his arm, and all allowed that there never was seen a more beautiful couple. On returning to their seats, Appollonia challenged her partner to give her some account of the Blockade. Reichenstein had now recovered from his awkward timidity, and contrived to tell his story with un-

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wonted eloquence, enlivened and rewarded all the while by the approbation which he read unequivocally in the bright eyes of his auditress. Appollonia's attention was indeed so absorbed that she forgot the dance, and the presence of the court, so that the marshal was obliged to remind her of her duty, for the queen had already proposed to break up the party.

Henceforward Reichenstein saw the young lady almost every day, and continued always to discover new charms and fresh virtues, — and this at length drew from him a confession of his love, and a request for her hand in marriage. Appollonia in answer explained to him that her fate depended on the king, who had hitherto acted towards her as a father, and who therefore possessed the full parental authority. Reichenstein heard this with fear and trembling; for he suspected that Ferdinand might have other views for his fair adopted daughter. He knew how much the king delighted in Appollonia's talents, by which his mind was often exhilarated after the cares of public business, and with which amusement it could not be supposed that he would willingly dispense. It was necessary therefore to watch for some favourable opportunity, when the king should appear in especial good humour, before the subject could be broached, and ere long, such a fitting occasion presented itself to the anxious lover.

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The disaffected Bohemians, whom Ferdinand had a few years ago severely chastised, happened to lose by an accidental fire great part of the national archives, and their most important charters or deed of immunity. Conscience-stricken, and fearful that advantage might be taken of this event, whereby they might be deprived of many valuable privileges, they sent a deputation to Linz, in order to treat with their monarch on the subject. Scarcely had Ferdinand heard their preamble, when he exclaimed angrily — "Your charters may be destroyed, but our imperial promise, and principles of integrity, are not destroyed along with them. All the rights and privileges of which this fire has robbed you, we shall renew; and, where there is doubt, rather than give you less, we shall make your advantages greater than before." Of that scene Reichenstein was a witness. "No," said he to himself, "it is impossible that a sovereign, who is thus so mild and equitable, should be harsh to me alone." And no sooner had the ashamed representatives left the audience-hall, than he threw himself at Ferdinand's feet, and stammered out his request. For a few moments he was, indeed, kept in agonising suspense, while the king looked at him silently and with a very grave aspect. At length he made a sign for the supplicant to rise, and said, "I cannot conceal that I shall be very unwilling to part with Mademoiselle de Santi. In

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her delightful music I must lose one of the best enjoyments of my life; — yet far be it from me to interfere on any selfish principles, with her future prospects or yours; — take her then, and be happy."

What language could adequately describe the rapture of the lovers! Soon after, their marriage was solemnized with princely magnificence, and Reichenstein took his young bride to the family castle from which he derived his title, and which was situated in Upper Austria, in one of the most attractive districts of that beautiful country. Then, from far and near, flocked visitors to pay their homage at the festal mansion, more attracted, however, by the wondrous musical talents of the bride, than by the hospitable manners of the castle's lord. The young noblemen of the neighbourhood, especially, were numerous and unwearied in their attentions; and their admiration of the Lady von Reichenstein's improvisator songs was beyond measure fervent. The baron's pride was at first flattered by such universal applause; but that feeling soon yielded to another very different emotion. He began to fear that it was not merely the delight they experienced from her music, but much more their admiration of Appollonia's personal charms, which shone in the eyes of these gay and idle youths, so that by degrees jealously more and more deeply fixed her serpent stings into his very

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heart. Yet far too proud to confess that he had become the prey of a passion so despicable, and sensible that her conduct was too scrupulously correct to warrant his avowal of any suspicions, he concealed his irritability as much as possible, though many times, by gloomy silence, or short monosyllabic answers, did he betray his inward discontent. Appollonia, conscious of her own innocence, was completely at a loss to fix on any cause for this change, and enquired anxiously the reason of his distress, — whereupon the proud baron, instead of imparting at once the source of his grief, and thus, for ever banishing the demon that haunted his house, was either moodily silent as before, or ascribed his depression to a transient attack of illness.

Love is sharp-sighted. Appollonia thought that she had at last found out the real cause of his displeasure; and under the pretext that their present mode of life was far too fatiguing, she begged him to dismiss their guests, in order that they might henceforth live in retirement: but how could Reichenstein's haughty spirit submit to the idea of having appeared as a jealous husband? He insisted that the castle of his ancestors must remain open to every guest; and when Appollonia, under various pretences withdrew to the solitude of her own apartments, and the visitors with regret commented on

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the absence of their beautiful hostess — but especially when ironical hints and conjectures were whispered round the festal board, regarding the reasons for her disappearance, his pride was more than ever wounded. He therefore entreated Appollonia, nay, commanded her, to appear as formerly at every banquet, and to enliven his guests by the exercise of her magic art. Under these circumstances, concluding that her former suppositions had been altogether erroneous, she obeyed him willingly, without disguising that the incense of praise lavishly bestowed was welcome and acceptable to her female heart. Reichenstein's gloomy discontent now increased visibly from day to day, and it was only in the presence of strangers that his jealousy was overcome or concealed by the determination to appear gay and unembarrassed. In vain did his affectionate wife enquire into the cause of such inexplicable conduct. Two whole years thus passed away, during which that abode of his ancestors, where the spirit of domestic happiness should have woven for him the richest and brightest wreaths, was changed by his own imperious temper, and haughty and foolish reserve, into a cell of torment and ceaseless disquietude.

Meanwhile Solyman, in order to revenge himself for the loss and disgrace which he had encoun-

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tered, prepared to renew the war more formidably than ever, and made such an attack on Styria and Austria, that the Emperor Charles, in person, at the head of a considerable army, came to the assistance of the king, his illustrious brother. Ferdinand at the same time hastened to collect around him his faithful troops, and the rumour of these proceedings having reached the secluded castle of Reichenstein, the baron determined that he would immediately resume the duties of his station in the army. He had not yet been summoned; but alas! in his home there was no longer any domestic happiness that could induce him to remain there. In his wayward self-delusions he had cast it away; and in the tumult of the battle-field he best hoped to forget his vexations.

The news of this approaching separation struck fearfully on the already wounded heart of Appollonia. When the dreadful hour of parting arrived, her anguish was indeed most sincere and overpowering, yet her foolish husband imagined that her tears and complaints were but a mask under which she concealed her joy at the prospect of being able in future to follow her inclinations without restraint. Unmoved, therefore, and sternly, he tore himself from her affectionate embraces, and galloped away, spurring his foaming charger, even as the

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demons of jealousy and distrust goaded him on in his insane career.

Now the once gay castle of Reichenstein became silent as a hermitage; — and like a widow mourning the death of a beloved husband, Appollonia withdrew from all society, living only for the care of his property, and ceaseless prayers for his welfare and preservation. Often at the midnight hour her attendants found her still at her earnest devotions, or listened with respectful sympathy as she touched her harp, and with tearful eyes expressed her grief, and even her prayers, in low faultering melody.

Day after day, week after week dragged on, but no news arrived of Reichenstein, though she had earnestly requested that he would write to her. At length she found herself quite unable any longer to bear the racking pains of suspense, and dispatched her Castellan, a man of years and experience, with orders that he should make his way to the royal army, and by no means to return without some intelligence of her beloved husband. The interval of her messenger's absence she spent in continued prayer, and in acts of charity and benevolence.

When the Castellan's return was announced, he was summoned immediately to her presence, but alas! — his features wore an expression of deep grief

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and disappointment. "Merciful God!" cried she, "my worst fears are then realized — and I shall never see him more!" She fainted, and not without great care and skill could her attendants restore her to self-possession — then it seemed that by direful and heroic exertion she had resolved to conquer her emotion, yet her bosom heaved convulsively, and her lips and eyelids quivered. "Speak on," said she in a hollow voic — "relate all that thou know'st." "Forgive me," noble lady, said the messenger — "but I fear you are not well enough now to hear such tidings." "I know already that which is most appalling," answered she, "thou canst not tell me aught that could wound more deeply — say then, how and where did he die?" "Die!" exclaimed the Castellan — "God forbid that he should die — no, of this much be assured, your noble husband lives." "Lives!" exclaimed Appollonia, in a voice like that of the condemned victim on the scaffold, in whose ears for the first time sounds the voice of pardon, and who fears he may yet be deluded. — "Lives — saidst thou — lives?" "Aye indeed," said the Castellan, "but the Baron von Reichenstein is now a Turkish prisoner." "Oh, heaven be praised!" cried the enraptured wife, "his life then is yet spared;" and she fell on her knees, uplifting her clasped hands in fervent gratitude to the Giver of all Good for his

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mercy. Thereafter she listened with calm attention to the Castellan's narrative. Reichenstein had been placed with a corps which was destined to oppose that of Michael Oglu, who was forcing his way with the van of the Turkish army over the Sommering mountains. In the heat of battle the Baron had advanced too far; he was quickly surrounded, and after a brave resistance, taken prisoner, and dragged away by the repulsed and fugitive Turks. Intelligence had been subsequently received by means of deserters, that he had fallen into the power of the Bassa of Belgrade, who, in consequence of his severe wounds, had obtained permission to return home, and had taken with him to his own country all his prisoners. "So then he lives — he is at Belgrade," cried Appollonia, "and there is hope that I may yet again call him mine!" With these words her tears flowed more freely than ever, but they were now tears of joy.

For the rest of that day she remained shut up in her chamber, she would not speak with any one, nor accept of refreshment, but in the evening the castle chaplain was summoned to her presence. To him she explained that some affairs of great urgency and importance obliged her to go forthwith to the Queen's Court at Linz, and as the Castellan must attend her on the journey, the chaplain should, in their absence,

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use every means in his power for the due guardianship of the castle. The grey-headed priest not knowing the purpose of her journey, did not venture to remonstrate, and only implored that as her affectionate servants and vassals would deeply grieve for her absence, she would not long defer her return. With visible emotion she then took leave of her domestics, and at the earliest dawn of the next day, followed by the old castellan, and the blessing of all the Baron's vassals, she departed, taking with her only her harp, and wearing apparel.

Meanwhile, the Ritter von Reichenstein was obliged to fulfil menial drudgery as a slave in the gardens of Ibrahim, Bassa of Belgrade. At that time it happened that in his Harem there prevailed great affliction; Fatima, the most beautiful and beloved of his wives, had been driven to distraction by the death of her first-born infant child, and the violence of her sorrow had given way to an apathy and indifference which amounted to insanity. The unhappy Ibrahim offered the largest rewards for assistance, and tired every method to save his favourite from that untimely death to which the continuance of her malady would certainly lead. The most skilful physicians had recourse to all expedients of their art, but in vain; so that with an almost broken heart, Ibrahim saw that she was rapidly sinking into the grave.

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One evening when he was under the dominion of these painful reflections, it was announced that a Grecian youth had made his appearance at Belgrade as a harp player and singer, with whose music every listener had been enraptured, and who had begged permission to prove his talents before the Bassa. Ibrahim gladly availed himself of the opportunity to obtain some diversion from his own gloomy thoughts; he desired that the stranger should be admitted forthwith, and was so much delighted with the youth's performance that as long as the music continued he quite forgot his usual sufferings. Thereafter the question occurred to him whether that magic art which had such influence over his emotions might not also alleviate the malady of his beloved Fatima. He imparted this idea to the stranger, who encouraged his hopes, and assured him that many instances were on record of insane persons being altogether restored to health by the power of music. "Should'st thou succeed in this attempt," cried the rejoiced Bassa, "then demand what thou wilt — no reward is too great, when the service performed is the preservation of my dearest Fatima."

The Greek youth was duly instructed in the cause and symptoms of the malady, and undertook its cure. The attempt succeeded even beyond expectation. At first he was concealed behind a veranda, and ventured only to sing the most melan-

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choly lays in soft and long protracted notes, to which for some time Fatima seemed, as usual, indifferent, but by degrees her attention was roused, and she listened with visibly increasing interest. While the music continued, her beautiful features were once more animated, a slight tinge of colour rose into her cheeks, and a lambent fire shone in her eyes, but as the tones died away into silence she declined again into her wonted mournful apathy. By degrees she began to watch every word of the youth's songs, which like the music were plaintive and desponding, till her bosom heaved, and she wept unconsciously. Thus the trial was repeated for several successive days, and as often as the hour drew near which was appointed for the musician's attendance, she expressed anxiety and impatience; nay, once when by some accident he had been detained, she enquired if they intended to deprive her of her only remaining consolation. These words were the first that she had been heard to utter for many weeks, and from henceforward the Greek, at her request, came earlier, and remained longer. By degrees, too, he ventured to introduce songs that were less mournful, and the listener seemed even more gratified than before, till at length she begged to see the wonderful musician by whom she had been thus delighted; and even requested that he would give her instructions in his divine art. He obeyed

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willingly, and Fatima had soon learned a few simple ballads, which she practised passionately night and day, thus forgetting her misfortunes, so that she was ere long restored to perfect health.

The Bassa, rejoiced beyond measure at this result, did not fail to send for the musician. "Thou hast fulfilled thy promise," said he, "now demand thy reward, in order that I also may behave honourably. Be not afraid to ask too much, for Allah has made me rich by his exceeding bounties, but for the preservation of my best and dearest treasure I am indebted to thee." "Sir," answered the youth, "there is in the gardens of your Harem a noble German soldier, the Ritter von Reichenstein, a captive who now labours there as a slave. It so happens that I have been deeply indebted to his house, and therefore if you are pleased to give up to me the liberty of this man, I shall be amply and richly rewarded." "Take him hence then," said the Bassa, "and along with him, if thou wilt, ten of his fellow soldiers, who have hitherto shared his fate. Moreover, it shall not be said that the Bassa Ibrahim sent any man out into the wide world to find his way home as a mendicant; he shall therefore be amply provided for; and thou, too, modest youth, shalt not leave my palace unrewarded." Hereupon Ibrahim summoned the overseer of his slaves, commanding him to lead the Greek youth into the prison of the Christians, to

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inform the Baron and his companions that they were free, and present to them the noble Greek youth as their deliverer. In vain did the humble minstrel strive against this — the Bassa's resolution was inexorable, "for it is no more than justice," said he, "that these Christian dogs should learn to know their benefactor, and offer him due thanks for his disinterested benevolence."

Miserable embarrassed, the young Greek followed the overseer, and entered a gloomy prison, where the captives were seated on the damp ground, strewed with rushes. No sooner had the overseer announced the purpose of his message than the overjoyed exiles threw themselves at their deliverer's feet, even kissed the hem of his garment, and wept in their excess of gratitude. "Be thankful to God," said the youth, in a faultering, scarce audible tone, "and may Providence guide you on your homeward journey!" "Stay, noble stranger," cried Reichenstein, as the minstrel would have hastily retired — "if you will not listen to our humble protestations of gratitude, yet at least accept from my hands this insignificant ring. Should you, or any of your friends ever come to Germany, and pass near the castle of Reichenstein, this little token will open for the traveller a new home, and make him an acknowledged inmate of a noble family, whose last remaining chief you

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have thus contributed to uphold." "We shall meet again," stammered the youth, with obvious emotion, and taking the ring, rushed from the prison as though he dared not trust himself in any farther colloquy.

The Bassa's promises were faithfully fulfilled. Enriched by valuable presents, and attended by a secure escort, Reichenstein, along with his companions, left Belgrade. They arrived in safety at the Christian camp, and were all most kindly received by King Ferdinand, especially Reichenstein, who still expressed his wish and resolution to remain with the army. "In the first place," answered the King, "it is our will and pleasure that you should appear before her Majesty at Linz. Should your inclinations alter when there, which I hope may be the case, you shall have free leave of absence from your military duties, for after the oppressions you have undergone, this indulgence is but just and necessary. If however your determination should remain unshaken, the presence of so brave a soldier as the Baron von Reichenstein will always be welcome to our army."

In the royal palace of Linz, after an interval of three years, the baron once more sat in the great hall at the banquet table, though now the party was less numerous, consisting only of the queen, her maids of honour, and some old coutiers. He

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again beheld the same golden framework of the folding doors, and the same red curtain which had formerly risen at the queen's signal, and afforded the first view of that peerless beauty, whom afterwards he was so fortunate as to call his own. With bitter regret he thought of that happy day, and all the fairy visions that had shone so brightly, and were now fled for ever. He sighed deeply, and the queen observing his distress, interrupted his contemplations with the words — "If I interpret your looks aright, that curtain revives recollections of the good fortune, which was here unexpectedly prepared for you, and I can well explain that sigh with which your longing heart has reverted to home and a beloved wife." A cloud came over Reichenstein's expressive features, and a yet deeper sigh was his only answer.

"Nay, then, perhaps you have received some disquieting letters," said the queen, "and I doubt not that Appollonia's grief at your long absence — "

"Appollonia's grief, indeed!" interrupted the baron with bitter irony; "your majesty must forgive me if I venture to doubt that any such cause — "

"Nay, nay," answered the queen, "we must hear no more of this. I shall not allow myself to believe that unworthy suspicions could ever find harbour in your bosom. For the present, let us hear

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minutely how you contrived to escape from the Turkish prison?"

The Ritter went through his narrative accordingly.

"But your deliverer," observed the queen; "that noble-hearted Greek — have you then never seen him since your meeting in prison?"

"Alas, no!" answered the baron; "and the manner in which he then took leave obliges me to fear that I shall never in this world be so happy as to see my generous benefactor again, in order to prove how deep and sincere is my gratitude."

"While there is life there is hope," said the queen; "could you have believed, three years ago, that yonder curtain, which you no doubt looked on with contempt, concealed the beautiful songstress, who was destined to be your loving wife? What should you think, if its mystic folds should once more expand, and reveal the person of your kind deliverer?"

"Your majesty is pleased to jest," said the baron with a melancholy smile.

"Let us try," said the queen, "whether it is impossible to convert his infidel;" and at her signal the curtain was again drawn up. Again he saw the altar from which a bright flame rose and illuminated, not the Austrian arms, but those of the noble house

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of Reichenstein; while beneath stood the Grecian youth, his large hat slouched over his features, and leaning on his harp.

"Is it possible? my deliverer! my benefactor!" cried Reichenstein, and then rushed up to the apparition. At that moment the pilgrim's hat fell off; the grey-coloured dress was thrown aside; and Appollonia smiling in all her wonted loveliness, while tears of joy shone in her eyes, presented to him the ring which he had given as a token to the wandering minstrel. He stood silent and confounded.

"Yes," said the queen in a solemn voice, "she it was — your affectionate and faithful wife, whom not all the fatigues and dangers of so long a journey could deter from her undertaking, to redeem out of wretched thralldom that still beloved husband, who, too haughty to confess the injustice of which he had been guilty, had destroyed her happiness and his own."

Reichenstein meanwhile throwing himself prostrate on the ground, and forgetting all his wonted pride, had hidden his face in the folds of her garment. Appollonia would have raised him up, but he exclaimed vehemently, though in a voice broken by his emotion — "Never more dare I lift up mine eyes to her whom I have thus injured! No penance no humiliation can atone for that guilt which now

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cleaves to my conscience and of which the stain will never be effaced."

"Nay," said Appollonia, "knowst thou not that of all duties in this world, there is none more easy for true love than to forgive, — that the fond heart may indeed be wounded and broken by faults, mistrust and injuries, yet will never thus be alienated from its idol?"

So the happy couple rushed into each others embrace, forgetful of the spectators and all the world — nor was there one individual present, who did not sympathize in their emotion; even the queen herself burst into tears. Henceforward, Reichenstein cherished no other pride but that founded on possession of the most beautiful and faithful of wives. The Bassa of Belgrade's gifts might increase his worldly wealth, but not his happiness, for in the tried attachment of Appollonia, he had secured the richest of all earthly treasures; mutually placing unbounded confidences in each other, their path of life was evermore cheered by sunshine and strown with flowers.

from The Bijou, 1828, pp. 114-138
TEI-encoded version

1. [Note to "The Ritter Von Reichenstein":] This Austrian story has its foundation in fact. The ruins of Reichenstein Castle are still visible in the district of Muhl, on the river Ens; and in the chapel is the Baron's monument, finely executed by an Italian master. [Fraser and/or Author.] Back