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shine cut out of the trees, and dozens of brown châlets, the lower ones the peasants' dwellings, the more distant hay-sheds, or Almhütte. The cattle were all in their higher pastures, and very sweet and Arcadian it all looked in the bright evening light. Gladly we hailed the emerald-green spire of the village church far below us: the tired horses hastened forward, and we reached Zell about seven, where we were warmly welcomed by the very affable old Wirthin, and while supper was preparing thankfully rested our worn and weary bodies, listening later for an hour or two to some pleasant Volkslieder and jodelling choruses, with a musical accompaniment from Zither and guitar, and a wonderful wooden instrument called Holzgeliichter, which at each touch of the little sticks gave out sweet clear notes, indeseribable, alas ! except in the thought that an angel in pattens was singing somewhere. And so, with an interchange of friendly talk and conjuring and sketch-books on our part, and singing from the peasants, our day drew to a close ; and while we slept, too soundly even to dream of its misadventures or fatigues, we woke to bright sunshine and glad plannings for another happy day amongst the hills.

A late breakfast at the luxurious hour of eight, a quiet drive through the pleasant country in a good carriage,—blessed be the man who invented springs !—a soft air scented with new-mown hay and crushed flowers drying on the high crossed poles that made the fields look full of great bears holding out embracing arms, or meek Capuchins standing with bowed heads, brought us to Mayrhofen, where we found a little room perched in the balcony, very cool and airy, with lattice-work sides, through which we looked down on an amusing little world below :—fat blue-eyed children toddling about with the inevitablo big baby, peasants resting with their cattle, smoking and ruminant, an investigating cow endeavouring to establish itself in a cosy stable, from which it was driven by a young Tyroler with ironical hootings, to the dismay of the fat children among whom it immediately plunged, an alarming guggle from the baby premonitory of a scream, bringing an anxious mother from a wash-house, whose sturdy arms speedily routed the enemy and restored peace. Our guides, who had followed us in an Einspanner, appeared, elevating an alpenstock on which hung, waving in the breeze, “ a banner with a strange device” in the shape of F.'s knickerbockers—which, having been thoroughly washed during the night after his tramp down the mountain, had now to be

dried en route.

That ride to the Karlsteg was one never to be forgotten. Great rocks piled one upon another in chaotic confusion made the path, marked by a long slide here and there on the smooth stone where a hoof had beguin a glissade. If it had been all up hill or all down, one might in time bave become reconciled to the movement, but the hillocks were so small that each unfortunate beast formed an arc of a circle, and the still more unfortunate rider was first thrown forward almost on its head and then jerked over the tail. The path was in places so narrow that though a mule could pass, panniers, or anything so insignificant as the feet of the riders, had not been taken into account. After escaping being crushed between the rocks in a narrow defile, with a sudden lunge the animal Fodd turn a corner and stand panting, its foreleg slipping on a loose store edging the path, and your boots hanging over a precipice. A pleasant position, truly, for those who cannot keep their seat at any given angle of saddle or steed!

Lovely clematis with bright blue blossoms hung from the rocks; the woods, as ever, were full of the sweet spring fragrance ; birds sung in the trees, and the torrent roared with a mighty voice as the masses of water fell with a great leap into the hissing cauldron below, and rocks and hill-side showed out dimly through the whirl of spray. It is only with an effort that the mind can so far triumph over matter as properly to appreciate such a scene, when the boots belonging to it are in the uncomfortable position mentioned above.

There is but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous," and in the course of our travels how many bursts of eloquence have not been est short by a sudden slip or stumble on the part of the most promising. looking steed or most sure-footed of humans !

As the echo caught the roar of the water it sent it to us mockirglę, as though a hundred spirits of the stream laughed back at us, and oh Kuhleborn himself might have grown out of the mist and steam ani defied us, as we passed on to find the still bed of the river higher Ep; and eat and drink, and profane those quiet places by mortal hunger and wonderment and laughter. Pleasantly the old Folk-lore grows into its own surroundings, and we have time to muse over it as we rest idly by the water, sheltered from a sudden shower by the strong roof of the old bridge, picturing to ourselves Undine's sweet white face smiling out of the spray, or fading away, pathetically mournful, as the wind sung her dirge through the pine-boughs; and up through the gorge, as night falls and clouds gather black and threatening, may still come, for anght we know, the weird Erl König or the Wild Huntsman and his spectral hounds. The dark hollows of these very rocks were full once of litlə gnomes and demons: good little gobbos, some of them, who to pretty maidens, and wreaked fell judgment on prosperous iniquity

. We had read all these stories long ago, in those sweet old days when everything was truth to us; and for the sake of that happy time we spokə of the old myths reverently, sighing because we were wiser and perhaps somewhat sadder also.

Soundly we slept that night in the big rooms at Zell, and load, demonstrative was the good Wirthin at parting. We gave her a packet of our English tea-so called in contradistinction to the dried hay or carefully preserved twigs with which we had been favoured at many good hostelries. Her admiration of our teapot was boundless: she evidently regarded it as a valuable piece of family plate, as C. always carried it in a chamoisleather case and polished it carefully each morning; and E.'s statement of its having cost less than three Gülden was regarded as a vague

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totally destitute of truth, or too intimately connected with the conjuring of the night before, which had driven the good woman from the room with a cry of,

“ Was für Hexerei !" Madame and the little Kammermädchen quite clung to us at parting, bringing us bouquets of sweet fresh flowers and imploring us to return.

“Wollen Sie nicht gewiss zuruckkommen, oder jedenfalls uns recommandiren; nicht wahr ? ” with a sudden eye to business and a tender pressure of our hands.

The bugles had sounded merrily and the Freiwillige were ranged in order before the door as we drove away. Of those great brave awkward peasants, how many may not have fallen, silently gathered in by the grim Prussian death, before the grass they had been mowing that early spring morning had turned dry and golden under their old roofs at home!

The Tyroler in these mountain valleys are an honest people, strong in their simple beliefs and diligent in prayers. Often we heard them chaunting a solemn thanksgiving round the great table on which a mighty stew of beans or polenta waited the onslaught of their wooden spoons : masters and herdsmen and the women of the house, each in their place, as in the good old Saxon times, when churl and hind ate plum-porridge . at a festival, sitting below the salt.

Good faithful hearts, true to “Gott und Kaiser,” fighting vainly for a broken cause and a fatal creed! God grant that from that baptism of blood a new fatherland may arise, strengthened and purified, and worthy of its great destiny in the future !

586

Stone Edge.

CHAPTER I.

THE LONE MOOR.

On one of the highest, dreariest, coldest and bleakest of the -shire hills stands a little old grey “Hall.” When it was built (the date 1630 is over the door) the whole hill-side must have been moorland; but the ugly squares of field surrounded by bare stone walls, with their scanty crops of barley, and onts, and rushy grass, are encroaching fast on the purple heather which constituted its only beauty. The almost interminable ascent which leads to it across the lone moor, never steep,-lorg, slow, and tiresome—was merely a track with deep ruts, almost impassable in winter. Yet it must have been a house once of some pretension: the advancing gables with their stone balls and heavy coping had each its double-mullioned six-light window; there were carved mantelpieces and oak wainscoting within, and without an elaborate balustrade surmounted the irregular old wall and flanked the very handsome massive stone pillars with their great globes which shut in a little paved court opening on the lane.

It was within a stone's throw of some of the most splendid scenery in that beautiful county. From the top of the Edge was a magnificent view over hill and dale, rock and hanging woods. In a steep cleft & mile or two from the house ran a deep valley, whose cliffs and .tors' rose sheer from the tumbling river at the bottom, with beautiful foliage fringing the precipitous walls of rock,-a dale which tourists came from all parts to see; but the little grey old house turned its back sullenly on it all, crept sufficiently down the hill on the wrong side as if to shut out the siew, and turned savagely to contemplate its own dreary hill-sides, base and high without grandeur, cold and exposed without gaining anything by its elevation.

In the early days when it was built, it must have been easier than now to maintain a family of distinction;" for on the estate, by no means very large, to which Stone Edge Hall belonged, there were no less than three of these little old manor-houses, each with its once Catholic chapel attached to it, now turned into a barn or cowshed, possessed once by a family whose pedigree was to be found in county chronicles and old monuments.

It was the end of October, but the wretched little crop of half-ripe oats was still uncarried. In those bleak regions, before the days of draining, the corn was often overtaken by snow before it could be reaped.

“ It's a scratting world we live in," said the old farmer who inhabited the Hall, coming in from the vain attempt to rescue it, and throwing

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