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66 The law must take its course. I cannot prevent it,” Fairlie said, in an inexorable voice.
"Do you tell me this?" Clare cried, raising her head, and regarding him scornfully.
“Well then, I won't prevent it if you will have the truth.” Clare made an effort, and arose. “ Farewell, father!” she said; “we meet no more in this world.”
“Sit down, girl-sit down,” Fairlie cried. “I entreat-I command you. It is for you, and you alone, that I have laboured to acquire a fortune. I have no other child-no other object of affection. All will be yours one day. Why should my gains be wasted on a prodigal?"
“Give him back his own. I will have none of it."
He must have a severe lesson. It may do him good, and perhaps some plan may be devised for aiding him hereafter.”
“ And meanwhile he is to be thrown into prison by your privityby your contrivance.”
“By my privity—by my contrivance, Clare?” “Yes, you make yourself a party
to the wrong by not preventing it. But I have said my say. Farewell !" “No, no, girl—we must not part thus.”
“I will only remain on your consenting to discharge Gage's debts."
“Well, if I agree to do as you would have me—though against my own inclination-against every dictate of common sense-will you show yourself more tractable in future?"
« In all reasonable matters."
“ I have far other thoughts than those of marriage, father. -Have you made choice of a husband for me?”
“Two gentlemen aspire to that happiness—Sir Randal de Meschines and Mr. Freke."
“I would rather be led to the grave than wed either of them.”
“ Nay, I but said this to try you," Fairlie cried, alarmed by her increasing paleness. “Be assured I will never sacrifice you to a gambler or a rake, and both these gentlemen are such. I have other designs in regard to you.”
« Trouble yourself no more about me. Let me go."
And she tottered towards the door, but ere she could reach it her strength utterly failed her, and she sank upon a chair.
“What ails you?” her father cried, springing towards her, “A sudden faintnese,” she replied. " It will pass off soon.”
Just then there was a noise of hasty footsteps without, and in another instant the door flew open, and Lettice Rougham rushed into the room.
Oh, Miss Clare!" Lettice screamed, “ it has happened just as we expected. They've arrested him."
“Peace ! hold your tongue, hussy!”. Fairlie cried. “Don't you see your mistress is ill. Bring something to revive her.”
“Here, miss, smell at this bottle. Oh dear! dear! what will become of him? I won't be silent," she said to Fairlie. Mr. Monthermer is arrested, miss. They're going to take him
“Arrested !” Clare cried, looking at her father.
“Yes, miss; and the servants say it's Mr. Fairlie's doing. They all cry shame upon him—and well they may. I cry shame,' too. Nay, you may look as angry at me as you please, sir. I ain't a bit afraid.”
Clare seemed to regain her strength as suddenly as she had lost it.
She arose. “Give me your arm, Lettice,” she cried, “and help me forth. I will set him free.”
“You! how will you do it ?” Fairlie exclaimed.
“But you must-you shall!” Lettice cried, laying hold of his hand, and dragging him along. “ Your presence is necessary.”.
Fairlie would have resisted, but his daughter's looks compelled him to accompany her.
As soon as the coast was clear, the two eavesdroppers issued from their respective hiding-places, and met face to face. They stared at each other in silence for a few moments; and then both burst into a roar of laughter.
“What! were you there?” Beau Freke asked, pointing towards the back of the screen.
“And were you there?” Sir Randal rejoined, pointing to the closet. “I thought you were gone; but I find you
have as much curiosity as myself. Well
, we have had listeners' luck. We have heard ourselves called gamblers and rakes; but at the same time we have learnt something it was expedient to know. Fairlie has duped us, and means to cast us off. So far as I am concerned, he shall find this no easy task.”
“ If he thinks to get rid of me, he'll find himself mistaken. I'll stick to him like a leech."
“ Marriage with his daughter is of course out of the question, after what we have heard. But we will find other means of bringing him to book. If he proposes to enjoy his ill-gotten gains in quiet, he must pay us a heavy per-centage as hush-mofey."
"Exactly,” Beau Freke replied, laughing. “He shan't easily get out of our toils, that I promise. But let us see what they are about. A hundred to one he don't pay Gage's debts.”
“I take you," Sir Randal replied, as they left the room together.
THE COURT, ARISTOCRACY, AND DIPLOMACY OF
AUSTRIA.* The highly important and very interesting “ Memoirs of the Court of Austria," now first presented to a British public, are the English version of the corresponding part of the series published by Dr. E. Vehse, under the title of “ History of the German Courts since the Reformation.” In so far as Austria is concerned, they extend, therefore, from the founder of the Austrian monarchy as an European power, Maximilian I., to the reign of Francis II. Rodolph of Habsburg, the first of the dynasty, had, it is true, laid the foundation of the family estate of the house of Austria ; but it was, under Maximilian, by three fortunate marriages, raised to the rank of the first empire of the civilised world.
With Maximilian, the middle ages were buried. He substituted the rule of the law for the old law of arms, and planned a constitution, which, had it been established, would have prevented the schism in the German Church, by a national reform of the existing ecclesiastical abuses. A united Germany might have successfully made head against the Pope, who would as little have denied his assent to the accomplished fact of enacted decrees in this instance, as he did in the case of those of the Council of Basle. “ Maximilian's form fades away in the bright evening sun of the expiring poetical middle ages: Charles V. meets our eye, stern and melancholy, in the dawn of a new, matured, and coolly calculating age.” The greatest question of the sixteenth century—the Reformationwas looked upon by Maximilian as a mere priest's quarrel : to Charles V. it appeared as a dangerous rebellion; and he opposed the movement of the new religious spirit, against which the Pope bad hurled the spiritual thunderbolt of his anathema, with the ban of the empire, and with all the worldly expedients of the new system of polity. Neither Maximilian nor Charles comprehended the true importance of the religious question, or recognised the necessity of placing themselves at the head of the movement, to guide it, and to carry it out in a national German spirit, and for the interest of Germany. Maximilian, in his gay carelessness, underrated its importance : Charles, in his melancholy scruples, overrated it. He saw in the new heresy only the great danger to the ancient political system of the German empire; and on this ground he tried to wage a war of extermination against it. Neither of them was equal to the idea that a new system was to be introduced, a compact unity of Germany, a unity in that form which England alone, of all the states of Europe, has succeeded in establishing. As Napoleon said in 1813, “ If Charles V. had placed himself at the head of the Reformation, he would have obtained absolute rule over the whole of Germany.
The end of such a man was in keeping with his life ; already, at the battle of Mühlberg, he was a spectre, clad in a full suit of glittering armour, with gilt helmet and cuirass, and adorned with the red goldstriped Burgundian badge; grey from the tortures of the gout, his limbs
* Memoirs of the Court, Aristocracy, and Diplomacy of Austria. By Dr. E. Vehse. Two Vols. Longman and Co.
THE COURT, ARISTOCRACY, AND DIPLOMACY OF AUSTRIA. 455
were as if paralysed, his face pale as death, and his voice scarcely audible. The Protestants had for some time looked upon him as a dead man. “Like a mummy, like a spectre," says Ranke, “he advanced against them." The cloister-life of this vindictive enemy to freedom of conscience has been narrated in the picturesque pages of Mignet. Dr. Vehse's narrative is founded upon the manuscripts of a friar of the convent of Yuste, disinterred from the archives of Brussels by Van der Bronk, and it agrees in all the main particulars with the details given by Stirling and by the French academician.
If Charles was grave, taciturn, sedate, and ailing, his brother and successor, Ferdinand I., was as ardent as the sun of Castile, gay, exceedingly communicative, disdaining neither the pleasures of conviviality nor the relaxation of music and dancing, and enjoying the most robust health. His son, Archduke Ferdinand, of the Tyrol, became famous for his morganatic marriage with Philippina Welser, considered the most beautiful woman of her time. Her skin is said to have been of such transparency, that when she drank red wine the blushing fluid was seen through her delicate neck. A portrait, representing this " fact, is still extant at Nuremberg. The thing is impossible ; but Dr. Vehse was so carried away by the rich materials for romance presented by the earlier history of the House of Austria, that he seldom stops to investigate statements with a very critical eye. Speaking, for example, of the death by poison of the brave, ingenious, and agreeable Don John of Austria, he says, “ His heart was found quite dried up, and his skin as if singed with fire!”
Maximilian II. was in his youth the “ Prince Hal” of his dynasty; yet he was the favourite of Charles V., and the last German emperor who, as such, placed himself at the head of an army of the empire, and took the field in person. Unfortunately he was too partial to Hungarian wine, which made him suffer terribly from gout, and having taken an elixir of reported miraculous virtues, he survived its effects only a few days.
Rodolph II., a gloomy, wayward prince, acquired some fame by his antiquarian, alchemical, and magic hobbies. There were always living at his court a number of clock and instrument makers, with whom he used, like Charles V., to work; as also a host of astrologers, who had to draw horoscopes; and he kept up a constant intercourse with alchemists, Rosicrucians, and adepts of every sort, whose ranks comprised not a few impostors, quacks, and needy adventurers. These conjurers undertook to prophesy_from magic mirrors or boiling water; they promised to find for the Emperor the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone; and even more than this, they gravely engaged in experiments to produce men, actual human beings, in the crucible, and to resuscitate mummies.
Dr. John Dee, the celebrated English alchemist and necromancer, was one of the most conspicuous characters among this motley crowd. Rodolph at one time had the very highest opinion of Dee. Each looked upon the other as a great magician, and they were not a little afraid of each other. Even a man like Count Khevenhüller fully believed that Rodolph saw in his magic mirror the remote future, and that he was able by means of his magnets to read the most hidden thoughts of persons living at a distance. When, in 1598, Count Adolphus Schwarzenberg had taken Raab from the Turks, and sent Colonel von
Buchheim to convey the report to the Emperor, the colonel was not a little surprised at finding that his Majesty was already cognisant of it. “The Emperor," Khevenhüller writes, “ told him that they had known it by means of an art, taught them by an Englishman, of giving signals at a distance by moonlight with two mirrors and a magnet; and that Schwarzenberg had had a mirror thus prepared, and his Majesty another.” Dee returned, in 1509, to London, where Queen Elizabeth gave him a pension. As James I., being a despiser of the “art sublime,” stopped the payment of the pittance, Dee prepared to leave his country a second time, when death prevented him. He died at Mortlake, in 1608, at the age of eighty-two.
Edward Kelly, a friend and coadjutor of Dee, was less lucky with Rodolph. The Emperor at first created him a baron of Bohemia ; but when afterwards the adept was either unwilling or unable to produce gold, he was, in 1590, by the order of his Imperial patron, imprisoned in a Bohemian castle, where he remained for six years. Queen Elizabeth, at the entreaties of Dee, interceded for him, but in vain. At last Kelly tried to gain his liberty by his own efforts, lowering bimself from the castle by a rope; but he broke his leg in the attempt, and soon after died of the consequences of the fall.
Two Italians, who during the last half of the sixteenth century were the astonishment of the whole of Europe - Marco Bragadino and Hieronymus Scotto-lived at Rodolph's court in great style. The first made gold, and was accompanied by two black bulldogs, to show his power over spirits. His deceptions having been found out, he died in the Bavarian capital, on the gallows, in 1590. The second was also an alchemist, and a base intriguer. Rodolph never married, because Tycho de Brahe had declared from an horoscope drawn for him that danger was threatening him from his nearest relation, his own son.
The latter part of Rodolph's life was what might be expected from the gloomy superstitious turn of his mind. He became, in fact, little better than a madman.
IIalley's comet, which made its appearance in 1607, strengthened his fear of murderous designs from his family, which the awful meteor seemed to him quite unmistakably to prognosticate. In vain the learned and sensible Keppler tried to turn him from these apprehensions. His mistrust grew to such a height, that he listened to all the slanderous gossip and denunciations of his lowest menials. He went so far as to cause all those who approached him to be searched whether they had any arms concealed about their persons. Even his numerous mistresses had to submit to this regulation. Fear made him seclude himself in his castle at Prague. His bedroom was like a fortified place. He would often jump out of bed, and order the governor of the palace to search, in the middle of the night, every nook and corner of the Imperial residence. Precautions were taken everywhere against the possibility of a surprise. Whilst attending mass, which he now only did on the highest festivals
, he sat in a high, covered pew, the front of which was very closely latticed. For greater security during his promenades, he had long and spacious passages built on purpose, with narrow sloping apertures like loopholes, through which he need not fear to be shot at. These passages led to his magnificent stables, where he liked to be, and where, consequently, he passed much of his time. There he used to meet his mistresses; and there lie kept his special pets, a number of the most splendid horses; but only for the pleasure of looking at them, as from fear for his life he never ventured out on horseback.
And again, after relating the embassy of Robert Shirley, the Englishman, from the Shah of Persia, Dr. Vehse adds,
Whoever wished to secure an interview with Rodolph-even ambassadors