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A GERMAN LEGEND.
For the Olio.
ation of a few dacats. Report, too,
said that he was rich; and this, perhaps, THE HEADSMAN OF MENTZ. of all things, tended to place the vender
of simples in a situation at once disagree
able and dangerous. But he possessed By J. Y. A
the characteristic shrewdness and cun
ning of his countrymen, and avoided the Ar the commencement of the fifteenth many traps that were laid for him, to the century, there dwelt in the famous city great mortification and disappointment of of Mentz or Mayence, an aged man, an his enemies. Among those who looked Italian by birth, named Castruccio. "He upon the old man with an evil eye, were was a being of singular and eccentric Franz and Ruprecht, the two sons of the habits
, and lived ostensibly by selling governor, whose dissolute habits had simples gathered and classed by himself
, rendered 'them needy and reckless, and though it was whispered by many that they mutually resolved to seize upon their he had dealings with customers of a more victim, and make him
disgorge the treadubious character than the honest Bur- sure he was supposed to be the possessor ghers of Mentz. Perhaps the best an- of. swer to these gratuitous slanders It was late ou the evening of a Sep. the quiet and inoffensive habits of Cas-tember day, that a tall and martial looktruccio, who seldom went abroad, ex- ing man, wrapped in a huge cloak, which cept when he attended mass ; yet there completely shrouded his person, strode were some who scrupled not to say that down one of the narrow and most conthe Italian would engage to serve a cus- fined streets in Mentz. After looking lomer with a drug that would rid a man about him to the right and left, he knockof his neighbour, for the trifling consider- ed at or rather rattled an iron ring, which A
was affixed to a rudely constructed doorced in the voice of one of the governor's by means of an iron staple. Here lived sons. His head, therefore, quickly disGortz, the public executioner of the city, appeared, upon discovering his mistake, a man whose dexterity in the use of that and he hastened to the door, half clad as tremendous weapon, the German two- he was, to meet his visitor. handed sword, had been shown on num- “ Ah! Herr Ruprecht, is it you,” exberless occasions for many years past in claimed the headsman, holding hisiron lamp the market place of Mentž. The first aloft to take a full survey of his disturber.
unattended, when the He was about to mutter some apology for knocking was repeated until the street re- the uncourteous reception, when he was echoed with the noise, for he who knock- interrupted by Ruprecht, who bade him ed applied the toe of his boot to the pur- dress with all possible speed and follow pose of a knocker, and banged and rat• him. Gortz knew too well the fiery temtled until a heavy footstep heard within per of his visitor, to offer to remonstrate, the gloomy dwelling assured him that its and therefore stept up stairs, slipped on inmate was roused. A moment after the the remainder of his clothes, took his grisly head of a man protruded from a two-handed sword from the wall, and window or loop-hole above, and a gruff throwing his red cloak around him, voice cried out
departed with Ruprecht, who bent his “The fiend rive thee in tatters, thou steps towards the city prison. At a sig. graceless bird ! what would'st thiou with nal given by Ruprecht, they were in. me at this hour ?"
stantly admitted, and Gortz was conduct. Gortz supposed that he was bestowing ed down into a spacious vault, containthis anathema upon some of his drinking ing a huge table, and a lamp which companions, and was therefore somewhat cast an uncertain and flickering light surprised at hearing his name pronoun- around, and shewed that part of the tiled floor was fresh screwed with saw-dust. scene was worthy of the pencils of Rem-“Ha!" cried the headsman, as his brandt or Albert Durer. eye glanced on these unequivocal prepa- “Down on thy knees, old drugger," cried rations, “here is some more night prac- Franz, and commend thy soul to thy patron tice, another to be sent on his journey saint." The Italian obeyed this order; but without priest or prayer—who can this as he did so, he cast an impressive look be ?"
on his lormentors, and his aged face was "Hold thy peace, Gortz,” said Ru, illumined by a smile, which they could precht, sternly, “and wait here until I not divine the meaning of; for it seemed return to thee.” He disappeared as he to them somewhat strange, that he who spoke through a small door on one side had pleaded so earnesily for his life but of the vault, and presently the headsman a few moments before, should now meet heard the voices of men in altercation. death with apparent resignation. Cas.
“ They are wringing a confession from truccio calmly bowed his neck to receive the poor wretch,” muitered Gortz, as he the fatal stroke; and one of the bro. moved towards the dungeon and applied thers giving a signal to Goriz, the headshis ear to the door. " Have mercy on man stepped up to the side of his victim, me, and I will disclose all," said a feeble and unsheathed his tremendous weapon, voice within. “Quick then," replied which flashed brightly in the lamp light. the voice of Ruprecht, " for one waits Another moment and the headless trunk without who will render all thy riches of the old man fell convulsed upon the valueless, if thou art obstinate.” Goriz floor of the dungeon, while the head ilkept his ear still closer to the door, that self rolled 10 the feet of Franz, the eres he might lose not a word of what the pri- remaining open, and the courtenance still soner should disclose, and heard the same retaining its dubions expression. feeble voice reply thus :-"Genilemen, “ Pshaw !” said Franz, spurning the I protest before God that what wealth Í miserable relic with his foot, “this old possess is not worth your acceptance; rogue hath died as firmly as St. Paul but such as it is it shall be at your dispo. himself; let us away, Ruprecht ; and yon, sal, so that you will suffer me to depart Goriz, get ye home,-here is a purse for to mine own country to-morrow.
thy work." ** We have sworn it to thee," replied " I thank your honour," said the exeRuprecht and his companion, whom Gortz cutioner, taking the money,
" and I hope knew to be his brother Franz.
the job was done to your satisfaction." " Then hearken to me," said the same " Shrewdly performed,” said both the faint voice, “ye know the ruired chapel brothers. in the valley on the opposite banks of the Gortz departed, his head filled with Rhine ?”
the singular confession which he had “ We do !"
overheard in the dungeon. He proceed"Against one of the broken pillars ed homeward and returned to his bed, stands a tomb; within it are placed what from which he had been so lately roused, few valuables I feared to keep in mine but not to sleep, for his thoughts were own dwelling.'
bent on the treasure that the Italian had “Good," said Franz, with bitter em- spoken of. He ruminated upon the subject phasis, “ thou hast made thy confession, until morning, when he bethought himand thou canst not die at a better time; self, that by visiting the place that evenprepare thyself, old man, for thou hast ing he might probably anticipate the bro. but a few moments to live.” A faint thers, whổ would not depart upon the excry of distress, followed by a noise of pedition until after dark. But then if struggling, obliged Goriz to quit his sta- they should detect him in the act of tion and return to the middle of the bearing away the treasure, his life would vault
. He had hardly regained it, when be sacrificed to their fury. Still 'twas the door of the dungeon opened, and worth some risk, and if he succeeded in Franz and Ruprecht appeared, each hold- his enterprise á few hours hard riding ing an arm of Castruccio, the vender of would carry him over the frontiers, far simples. The poor Italian's frame was beyond the reach of their vengeance. He palsied on belolding the grim figure of resolved to risk every thing; and in the Gortz, who stood with his red cloak evening, before the city gates were shut, hanging over one shoulder, and his hands Gortz departed upon his expedition, well resting on his two-handed sword. His armed with sword and dagger. From a countenance, at all times fierce and un- peasant who lived at a short distance prepossessing, was not improved by the from the city, he borrowed a wheel-barglare of the lamp, and the unearthly bue row, and an iron bar 10 force open the which it received from the reflection of tomb, together with a pickaxe and a his filame-coloured cloak. The whole spade. He was soon wafted across the
Rhine, and just as the moon was rising was thrown over by the vigorous arm he ascended the hill, and entered the ruin of Ruprecht. described by the old man. The evening • Now," thought Gortz, “if I had was serene and beautiful, not a breath my espadon here, I would cleave thee to of air rippled the clear stream of the the chine and seize upon the treasure ; Rhine below, and the full orb of the but the bodkin I have with me is of no moon shed a holy light upon the waters, service against one so well skilled in and glistened on the damaged tombs and fence." pillars of the ruined chapel, where a long At that moment Ruprecht entered the forgotten, race had for many years min- tomb, and Gortz expected to see him gled with their kindred dust. The heads- quickly issue from it with the treasure, man knew that no time should be lost, when lo ! a report as of a piece of heavy 80 grasping his iron bar, he was just ordnance broke the stillness of the nighi, about to commence his work of spoilation and a huge column of smoke ascended when the sound of voices in high dispute from the tomb into the clear moonlight, caused his blood to chill and his whole while a heavy mass fell close by the lerframe to shake like one in an ague fit. rified Goriz. The headsman could no To hide his wheelbarrow and tools be- longer remain concealed, and starting hind a tomb, and to crouch himself be- from his hiding place he rushed out and hind another, was but the work of a mo- stumbled over a human body; he looked ment; and lucky was it for the heads- down and beheld the scorched and man that he acted so promptly, for he blackened carcass of Ruprecht, his aphad scarcely concealed himself when the parel still burning, and his features so figures of Franz and Ruprecht appeared horribly mutilated, that 10 identify them in the moonlight.
would have been impossible. “ I tell thee, Franz,” said one, I will not part with the share I have ap- Alarmed by the report, and guided to portioned to myself but with my life. Am the spot by the dense cloud which float| not thy elder brother ? did I not first ed over the ruins, the affrighted pea. broach the scheme to thee, and did I santry proceeded to the scene of blood; not
but no one could explain the catastrophe 6. Thou art a fool, Ruprecht-ay, a save Gortz, and he had taken care to fool and a cheat; one who can pick out disappear from the spot with all possible tasks of danger for others, but who fears celerity. It will be unnecessary to add to act himself. Greedy dog, by this that the wily Italian had deceived the light I shall henceforth be ashamed to brothers, and obtained his revenge by call thee, brother."
directing them to this tomb, which he “Sirrah,” cried Ruprecht, passion- had charged with combustibles for that ately, “I cannot brook this from thee. purpose, either himself or by means of Silence, or by the Three Kings I shall a confidential agent. The good Burbe tempted to chastise thee on the spot." ghers of Mentz marvelled at the strange
A contemptuous “Pish!" was the fate of the brothers ; but the truth was only answer to this threat ; but ere the not known until the death of Gortz, about echo of it had subsided, Ruprecht rais- twenty years afterwards, who in his ing his hand, smole his brother to the last moments gave a minute account of ground with great violence. Franz, the whole business, and with his life however, quickly raised himself, plucked yielded up to another the office of Heads. his sword from its scabbard and rushed MAN OF MENTZ. furiously upon Ruprecht.
Their weapons met with a clash so loud that the
A FAREWELL TO THE YEAR 1829. owl, which sat upon a wall above them,
For the Olio. flew to a distance with a loud scream of affright.
The fight continued for Farewell to the year !—it has vanish'd : some few moments, during which Gortz From the call-book of Time it is banish'd;
Its beauties lie low in the tomb: kept his eye upon the combatants, whose
Its successor has come into bloom. figures he could easily distinguish as the May the sorrows that crowded around it, moon was fast ascending the heavens. On the bed that it presses recline !
Ho! the greeting of parting come sound it! At length, Franz fell pierced through the
Farewell to the year twenty-nine ! body, and after a few struggles, lay dead at the feet of his brother. Wiping Farewell to the year! It is shining his bloody sword upon his brother's For slaver, who had met it repining, cloak, the fratricide sheathed his
Walk'd free ere it sped through its youth ! and proceeded to force off the top of the Though its death-shroud is studded with tears, tomb. The iron rang loudly against the And Hibernia echo with cheers,
Yet round smiles of freedom may twine ; head stone, and presently the huge slab 6. Farewell to the year twenty-nine !"