Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

drum being conveniently placed for filling, in- , little elevated above the brute, and but for their ferior figs are first placed as under-layers, and instinctive care of their young, being more inthose being duly packed, an upper coating of telligent, seemed only remarkable from their fruit, superior in size and appearance, is placed greater readiness to beg! Altogether the visit over all, each particular fig being kneaded and to the slave-market was not an interesting or pulied, and manipulated by the packer before instructive one, and I am happy to say that, being bruised and pressed into its place. From having since again visited Smyrna within the last the fig-packing we went to the slave-market, ex- two years, I learned that the market in question pecting to see some such scenes as those described was totally done away with. in “Uncle Tom's Cabin !" None such, however, Nothing now remains to be noticed in a awaited us. An enclosed space, with den-like descriptive account of Smyrna but the bazaars. compartments, was that pointed out as the slave. Having, however, already described the Conmarket ; and the appearance was rather that of stantinople bazaars, it is only necessary to say a series of sheds for animals than a place that those of Smyrna were in many respects designed for even the temporary residence of similar, but inferior as to number and imporhuman beings. These sheds were of wood, and tance. The same pipes, cherry-wood stems, the only inhabitants of them were a few people and amber-mouth pieces; the same dressingof colour, such as would be employed in the gowns, robes, red caps, and parti-coloured lowest domestic service; and I must say they girdles ; the same otto-of-rose, musk, rats' tails, did not seem to feel their degraded position in and sandal wood beads; the same broad inlaid the least. Some two or three women, as many blades, cumbrous firelocks and barbaric pistols, children, and I think one or two men, were to be seen here as in every large bazaar in youth just passing into manhood, were the only the east. If to the above catalogue be added slaves to be seen on the occasion of our visit, the presence of Turkey sponges in rare and the last-mentioned individual seemed to be perfection, the picture will more immediately the only one evincing any striking evidence of apply to Smyrna, a city whose claims upon the ntelligence. The women, as it is natural to notice of travellers are, though treated of, by no expect of that class in the east, seemed but' means exbausted, in the chapter.

one a

LEAVES FOR THE LITTLE ONES.

BY LILY SHORTHOUSE.

THE ROSE-BEARERS.

engaged in a hopeless undertaking, “He is seeking the source of the river."

It seemed as if no one else ever would go,

and there was a great outcry in the town, one No one knew whence the river came that day, when Liuchen Dorner's seat in church washed the walls of Eiserheim, nor why the was empty, and her aunt answered the neighcurrent ran so fast along one bank and crept bours' inquiries with the news that she was 80 slowly by the other, as if it wanted to steal, gone to find the source of the river. Poor unseen into the sea. Strangers, sometimes, Liuchen! how they all pitied her! gone on that stood and puzzled over it; but the townspeople dangerous journey alone, while she went on her thought nothing of the wonder-it had been so way, little dreaming how many prayers and in the time of their fathers, and this was enough good-wishes followed her, thinking that no one for them. To be sure, the water was clearer would miss her in the old town that she had and more sparkling than any other ; it watered left behind. Perhaps, if she had known the their meadows and made their town great, and, truth, nothing would have tempted her away; as long as it did all this, about its source they but we walk blindfold among our friends, and cared nothing.

never know that they were so till we have lost Strange stories were told of those who had, them. in time past, attempted to find it; some had It was easy to follow the river in its windbeen lured away by the Elle-maid and other ings near the town, but when it left the measpirits of the woods that skirted its banks for dows, and plunged into the dark woods, of some distance; and others had been drowned whose dangers so many tales had been told, in the marshes by the malicious water-goblings Liuchen stood awhile and hesitated, for she was who had offered to guide them; but the towns- little more than a child after all. Still, her people were grown far too wise for this; they determination was stronger than her fears, and shook their heads gravely when any inquisitive she went on. The woods were pleasant, too, boy talked of making the journey; and, indeed, in the day-time, for the sun had been scorching it had become a proverb respecting any one poor Liuchen, and now she was safe in their cool shade ; but, when evening came, and I would save you, Liuchen! You are weary and strange faces peered at her from behind the thirsty ; sit down beside me, and drink.” gnarled tree-trunks, or dim shadows fitted to Liuchen looked wistfully at the speaker, and and fro in the grey distance. sbe recalled the at the cup offered; then stepped forward to take old stories and shivered with fear, lest she it; but at that instant a lizard darted out of the sbould be carried away. Strange figures came grass at her feet, and she involuntarily paused, to her in her dreams, too, sometimes smiling, and looked down to see where it had come from. sometimes frowning, and, when she started It had crept out of a scull lying close to the from her sleep, their white robes would melt bower which Liuchen had at first sight misinto the night-mist that hovered above the river, taken for a stone overgrown with moss. or vanish in the spray of one of the little cas- She started away from it with an exclamation cades with which the woods abounded. She of horror, and her sudden movement revealed knew that they were not always birds that the truth. The lady of the bower had risen to fitted through the branches overhead, nor field-welcome her guest, and, before she had time to mice that rustled among the moss and leaves resume her seat, Liuchen saw that the figure at ber feet. Every leaf in the woods was qui- which had charmed her was hollow, like a mask; vering with life: only in the river was the quiet and the bracelet, slowly uncoiling itself, dropped of eternal repose : still the woods had their at her feet with forked tongue and lifted crest. cbarms for her as well as their terrors, and she It was the terrible Elle-maid herself. One kiss would willingly have lingered; but, for the task from those lips, and one draught from that cup, that she had undertaken, she could have been had beguiled thousands to death, whose bones content to spend her life there.

lay hidden under the moss and leaves of the Poor child ! she could not have lived many forest-some, indeed, scarce covered yet, like days in this haunt of spirits and elves, where the scull which had warned Liuchen of her every moment brought her near some creature danger. Recovering from her fright, the girl whose breath had power to chill her, and whose filed away from the temptress, followed far down lightest touch would have made her heart stand the wood-path by a burst of mocking laughter, still for ever. Poet, painter, sculptor, all on which seemed to be caught up and prolonged, whose foreheads the star of deathless genius from time to time, by her sister Elle-maids of blazed, had trodden these paths before; but the forest. Many a bridegroom bad broken his they were men, and could gaze steadily on the vows for that offered kiss, and gone home a rav, strange shapes of the forest; while, in spite of ing maniac to die: many youth who had tarried her steadfast will, the girl's heart almost choked to drink deep of the cup into which those fatal her with its wild throbbings, as they came and flowers shed poison had died at her feet; and went before her eyes. But Liuchen, standing in many a maiden, whose lips that fatal kiss had the midst of danger, knew little of it, “ Another sealed, had drank in there the deadly heart-sickday and the woods will be past,” she said, ness that only death can cure. None ever esmournfully, wandering down an avenue of caped who entered that bower : sooner or later lime-trees, for in the distance she could see they were her victims. glimpses of the open country beyond.

Friendly faces came to Liucben in her dreams “Stay with me in the woods, Liuchen,” said that night to charm away her terror, and she a sweet voice almost close beside her. It came rose from her mossy pillow in the morning with from a bower formed of twining flowers a little no fears for her journey, although the path lay to the left of the path, and the girl turned through the marshes which had swallowed so eagerly, quickening her pace to obtain a view many travellers. At a distance they looked like of the speaker. She leaned against a tree like green meadows; but the grass and rushes conone asleep, her eyes shaded by their long lashes, cealed black inky water and mud, in which the and her face by the bright hair that fell in traveller was in momentary danger of sinking. masses of glistening gold on a robe of misty Yellow pond-lilies spread their leaves over the blue : one hand rested on a golden cup filled treacherous surface; here and there vast sweeps with wine, into which some of the hanging of rushes broke the level, and birds waded in blossoms of the bower dipped their graceful and out amoug them, turning their long necks leaves; the other arm bung listlessly by her side, wonderingly in the direction of the stranger ; and round it was a rich bracelet of glistening and, further off, gigantic water-lilies lay like green and gold.

snow on the clear water. Here and there was "She is sleeping, and I dare not wake her,” a little green island on which stately swans remurmured Liuchen, regretfully. “I must go posed, and flocks of ducks and other water-fowl 00,"

swam in the river farther away. The sleeper opened her eyes, and smiled. Liuchen took off her shoes and stockings to “Stay with me, Liuchen!"

wade through the spongy grass and rushes, "I cannot,” said the girl, sorrowfully; “I sinking over her ancies at every step, and wonmust follow the river."

dering how she should pass her nights in this "To die in the swamps!" said the silver wilderness of swampy water. voice, in a tone of mockery. “It would kill When night came she was very weary; the you to look on the evil spirits of the marshes, moon had not risen, and there was no light to child! I have seen many go to their fate, and I continue her journey or guide her, as she

races.

looked anxiously round in the twilight for some others biding among the rushes or pond-lilies, island on which to rest till morning. There leaving the marshes as silent and dreary as bewere many in sight, but between them and her fore their revelry had begun. lay stretches of swamp that defied all attempts With daylight Liuchen resumed her toilsome to find a passage, and the only resting-place near march, slipping from root to root and tuft to was the trunk of a fallen tree, on which she lay ruft, often sinking knee-deep into the mud; and, down to sleep. The sun had long eet, and recovering herself with an effort, and still looksurrounded by a sea of mist through which the ing heedfully in spite of all her danger, tbat she trees of the wood loomed in the distance like the did not for an instant lose sight of the river. vanguard of a giant army. The creeping damp That night she sheltered on a little island, made her shiver as she turned on her uneasy under an old willow-tree, in less danger, but pillow, and woke from time to time with a start with little more peace than before, for with the as a cold hand was laid on her cheek or twined darkness the water-goblins recommenced their round her neck; but the spirits of the woods pranks, roosting in the branches of the tree had often disturbed her slumbers, and she was overhead, pinching her hands and pulling her not too terrified to settle to sleep again. A hair with their thread-like claws, hanging down sudden gleam of bright light roused her effectu- tiny lanterns which almost touched her face, ally, and she rose, eager to catch a glimpse of and sometimes running over her in their mad the bearer, some human being to be her com

A few more such nights of watching and panion in this wilderness of waters. The mists fright would have killed her ; she felt that she had dispersed leaving the night clear, and the could willingly plunge headlong into the marsh light shone with steady brightness, but from to hide herself from her little tormentors; but what direction she could not tell. Now it she was not destined to perish there. seemed to come from the woods, now from the Three days and nights went by, and on the river, sometimes from the marshes on the right, morning of the fourth day the dry land sometimes before her.

spread before her once more, and the marshes Liuchen telt dazzled and bewildered, perhaps were past. And her journey, too, was coming it was sent to guide her out of her present peril; yet to an end. The river was no longer the broad she dared not trust herself to it-it might only flood that washed the walls of Eisenheim: it be a wandering light after all. An hour's was deeper, and still more rapid, as it narrowed patient waiting convinced her of this. She saw to its source: one mass of irregular rocks alone it shining immediately over some of the most seemed to obstruct her view of the place, where dangerous places of the marsh, and although the it issued from the mountains that now towered bearers continued invisible, she felt sure that overhead. A narrow path led round the foot of they were the cruel water-goblins endeavouring the rock, and in a few moments she stood by the to lead her into their haunts.

mouth of a little cave, from which flowed the She turned away with a sigh of disappoint- river, displaying in its rise the same peculiarity ment, and, laying her head down once more, tried which had first attracted her attention when she to sleep. Instantly the vagrant light reappeared dwelt in Eisenheim. in front of her, shining broad and clear from the She sat down by the mouth of the cave, letting opposite bank of the river, and revealing a scene the water ripple through her fingers. Was it her that effectually chased sleep from her eyes. fancy that the spray made her shiver? it might

Between her and the river an innumerable have been only a breath of chill mountain air; multitude of fantastic creatures ran, flew, and but our presentiments are often truer than we crawled, some so unsubstantial and shadowy, are willing to own. Liuchen felt sure in her that she could clearly see the river and its heart that it was indeed the bright sparkling water banks through their bodies as they danced which had given her such a death-like chill, and along; others thin and thread-like, with arms once again her home in Eisenheim rose before and legs like whipcord, eagerly, chasing the her, while the temptation to return terrified frogs and lizards that inhabited the stronger than ever. swamp; some bristling with quills like porcu- Poor Liuchen, it was not too late then ; she pines flew over the water, occasionally pouncing might have gone back, to live and die in peace down on their slower companions with exulting under the shadow of the old cathedral; but she screams ; while others bounded from island to put the thought away from her, and told herself island like India-rubber balls, sometimes pass- that it would be time enough to return when she ing over Liuchen in their transit, sometimes had explored the secrets of the cave. Guided alighting on the trunk where she sat, and there by a distant gleam of light, she entered, and slowly uncoiling themselves, shooting out their discovered a flight of steps cut in the rock, beforked tongues, wagging their long tails, moving sides which the water fell in a small cascade their horns and making unearthly grimaces at sparkling in the light that streamed down the the terrified girl. Their dark bodies glimmered rocky steps. Liuchen ascended slowly, and with faint electric light, as they darted to and looked round, almost bewildered by the magfro in the darker parts of the marsh, with their nificence of this strange retreat. The pavement spark-like eyes bent on her, and all seemed by was all of misty blue studded with golden stars, their gestures to be jeering and mocking at poor waving and undulating like the waters of a lake: Liuchen. As morning approached they all at one end of the lofty chamber grew a large vanished, some sinking into the water, and I tree, whose branches spread far and wide, form

was

ing the roof of the apartment, and through its , but must wander on, over mountain and valley, foliage she could distinguish a hall beyond, alone, till you meet one who wears a rose like adorned with marble statues. Almost beside her that I give you. If the bearer of the rose is stood a marble figure, resting one hand on a free, he will wed you; but if he is wedded to vase of crystal, which followed the stream that another, you must return to me with the rose formed the waterfall.

and lay it here. It will open when you wear it The light which had guided Liuchen to the on your heart, and where it once hung like a chamber came from a pyramid of roses in the bud it must be brought back to blossom in its centre, flowers such as she had never seen be- full beauty." fore, whose leaves sparkled like living diamonds, “And I ?" asked Liuchen, with paling cheek. and Liuchen guessed that these were the full- “ You can never return to the valley again, blown blossoms of the marvellous tree, on Look here ;” and, as the river spirit spoke, the which she could see only closed buds sparkling spreading branches of the great tree parted, relike stars among the dark green leaves. vealing the hall of the statues beyond. Old and

She did not wonder now at the brightness of young were there, men, women, girls, and the river, for those roses had been reflected in youths; some standing, others sitting, but all it, and their light sparkled on its waves till the so life-like that it seemed as if some spell had river was lost in the sea.

fallen on them living and fixed them there for Again and again she tried to take one flower ever. Liuchen could have fancied that they from that dazzling pyramid to carry away in her were alive, but for the star that blazed on each bosom ; but an invisible net-work interposed forehead with such unearthly glory. between her and the roses, and, growing weary “ Each of these has borne away a bud, Liuof fruitless efforts, she sat down under the tree, chen,” said the spirit ; "some have been many leaning her head against the trunk, as she years, on their journey, others only a few looked wistfully at the glittering buds. Gradu- months; but all have returned to give up the ally her eyes closed, and she dreamed of roses and their lives together—they are changed journeying back to Eisenheim : her heart was to marble, and remain in that temple for ever !" heavy with some grief she could not tell what; The girl shivered in spite of herself ; but still but she longed to hear her aunt's kind voice extended her hand for the radiant blossom. speaking comfort to her. Then she stood in the “Think again, Liuchen," said the spirit, street by their old home, and stretched out her pityingly; "you may wander far before you arms to her aunt in the doorway; but Aunt meet him who wears the rose, and if he cannot Anna turned from her like a stranger, and wed you it will be a weary journey back, and the Liuchen, sorely grieved, wandered to the river- rose will lie very, very heavily on your heart. side, and, looking into it as she had often done, Go home, child: it needs a man's heart to risk saw, not the little maiden who had gone away, such a fate : why should you cast away life for but a tall lady shrouded from head to foot by such honours as I can give?” a veil of glittering frosted gauze, and, with a start “I will venture," said Liuchen, bravely: "but of surprise, she woke. Her eyes opened on the will he know me when we meet ?' marble figure, with the conviction, that it had “Unless his eyes are blinded by another's changed its place during her sleep, and she be- beauty,” said the spirit, sadly, "then he will gan to suspect that this was no statue, but the pass you by, and your rose will grow heavier and Lady of the Cave slowly advancing towards her. heavier every hour after that meeting until you Never, as long as Liuchen lived, could she tell lay it here with its sisters.” what that face resembled: she could remember The Lady of the Cave plucked one of the the long dark hair, the tall, graceful figure, whose loftiest buds as she spoke, and, first breathing on robes rested on the blue pavement'; the large it, placed it in Liuchen's bosom. The flower white wings that hung 'drooping from her wrought a strange transformation in the wearer. shoulders, and the crown of spotless lilies, The girl's step was more stately, and her eyes dropped with diamond dew, that she wore in her brighter than before : it seemed as if the roses hair; bat, far brighter than either flowers or dew, had thrown some of their lustre on her, and with was the light that burned in her eyes. Liu- that glow on her face she departed. chen's earnest look met them, and their bril- Her path through the fatal marshes was an liance dazzled her : she cast her eyes down, and easy one now. The swamp dried up wherever stood silent.

her footsteps fell, and when night came the What is it, Liuchen?" asked the Lady of marvellous bud lighted her on her way, while the Cave, kindly.

the water-goblins shrank fearfully from its “One rose," said the girl, looking wistfully radiant beam. She could gather the great at the glittering pyramid.

water-lilies now that had been so far out of her "Those are not even mine to give;" replied reach, and the water-fowl came at a call, clusterthe spirit. “No mortal hand may ever touch ing round her--no wonder Liuchen felt like a them again."

queen. Even the spirits of the woods were at “Give me then a bud from the tree,” pleaded her command, and she summoned them at will, Liuchen, earnestly.

talking long hours with them in the language "Do you know what you are asking, child ?” which had been so mysterious to her when she said the river spirit. "'If you wear that bud in threaded the woods before. your bosom you can never return to your home ; The Elle-maid turned pale with envy as she

[ocr errors]

was

saw the girl return safe, in spite of all the bridge, looking down on the broad river, atteinpts to destroy her, for the temptress knew now flashing with countless lights from the ilwell that the diamond rose a charm all lumination of the city, and listening to music powerful to protect the wearer from her wiles. from the palace, where the wedding banquet was Nor bad Liuchen need to hesitate when the being held. At last her reverie was broken by woods were past, and she found herself in the a burgher's wife, who, pitying the lonely stranger, open country. She had only to follow her beam offered her a shelter for the night. Tears of light cast by the bud and this grew brighter started to Liuchen's eyes as she turned to thank continually, for it was fast unfolding, and would the kind woman, but she could not stay; alsoon be as brilliant as those which formed the ready she should have been far on her way; pyramid in the river-spirit’s cave.

and, wrapping her mantle round her, she left “ Is that Liuchen Dorner p" exclaimed some the city, walking with feverish haste to atone of the market-people, as they met her not far for her delay. Outside the walls she seemed to from Eisenheim. “She could not have grown breathe more freely; but night was coming on, so beautiful!"

her eyes were heavy for tears and sleep, and, Liuchen only smiled, as she thought of her forgetting all else in utter weariness, she threw dream: she was changed indeed, so the river had herself down among the blue-bells, and slept. told her; but her heart was light and her bros The morning sun was high overhead, when unclouded, and the sorrow of the dream had not she woke with a crushing weight on ber heart, fallen on her.

the diamond rose was full-blown now, and And she did not go home—the light of the Liuchen's tears fell thickly on its glittering leaves, rose led her on far beyond Eisenham, to as she turned to take a last look at the royal a stately city that she had never seen before. city which should have been her home, before The same bright river washed its walls and following the road to Eisenheim. Poor Liuchen! strayed on through the meadows; but there every tear made the rose heavier still

, for they were no such stately palaces in Eisenheim as turned to gems and hung flashing in the sunthose which were inirrored here in its broad light as the wearer walked wearily on, never waters, and she paused on the great bridge to lifting her eyes from the grass, although the look down at the reflected city with wondering splendour of the haughty ladies, who passed admiration, The city was astir with some great her in their Court equipages, paled and faded rejoicings, flags were floating from the towers, before her beauty, and even the labourers in the bells were ringing, while the streets were hung field quitted their work and ran to gaze on her with garlands, and rapidly filling with people. as she passed. She knew her powers, but Liuchen had not long to wait for an explanation. honours are hard to bear with an aching heart, “ They are coming !—they are coming !” was and she would gladly have given her empire heard on all sides, and the crowd divided to over earth and air to have lified that leaden make way for the coming procession.

weight from her bosom and gone her way in “Who is it?" asked Liuchen, of a woman peace. who stood beside her.

Slowly and wearily the days went by with "The Prince and his bride,” was the reply, her until the spires of Eisenheim rose in sight, and all eyes were turned to the approaching and, standing on the opposite bank of theriver, she carriage, drawn by four white horses and fol- lifted her eyes to the old cathedral, and stretched lowed by a brilliant train of nobles and ladies. out her arms with an irrepressible longing to The people scarce looked at the Prince, hand- take refuge in her old home. One day'8 delay some as he was; all were gazing at the bride, would matter little, she thought; surely she whose pretty features and fair hair were only might go and bid Aunt Anna farewell'; but partially shrouded bv her veil. Her dress was while she stood wavering, the memory of her one blaze of diamonds, the very orange-flowers dream came back with cruel distinctness, and of her wreath were drupped with diainond dew; she looked down involuntarily at the river. but as the carriage passed Liuchen the light of The dream was realized: a veil of delicate the rose fell on some of the bride's jewels, and frostwork shrouded her by reflection from head to they crumbled to ashes. The Princess did not foot; and Liuchen understood that this veil, unsee it, she was whispering an enquiry to her seen till now, and unfelt by herself, separated husband about the strange girl who stood her from others, and that it would be worse than among the crowd with such queenly grace. He useless to go back a brilliant stranger to seek turned to look ; but Liuchen shrank back her kin in Eisenheim. She could not return among the crowd, alımnost as soon as his eyes now, even if she might have thrown aside the met hers, and the carriage passed on through diamond rose and the glittering veil. Aunt the cheering people. Many admired the star of Anna's quiet home would have been no place the Prince's new order; but only one in that for her, fresh from a life of wandering and marcrowd knew that it was a diamond rose that the vels and danger. She would have pined in bridegroom wore on the breast of his surtout. time to come for the days when the spirits and

He had passed her by, and all hope was water-elfs came at her call, anditwas better now gone; yet she uttered no cry, but stood still, that she should go on her way alone. wita one hand on her heart, like one whom Liuchen knew it, too, and still she lingered ; Azrael's wings have fanned.

the sun was setting, and the vesper-bell ringing Evening came and found her still standing on from the cathedral tower before she went on her

« ZurückWeiter »