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angry at the summary punishment I bad inflicted on her little favourite.
'On my visiting her the following day, I was pained to find that she looked feverish and agitated. She motioned, on my entrance, her maid to leave her, and then, approaching me with a look sadly serious, she said, " Frederick, I thought you stopped away today beyond your usual hour."
'" It is not yet twelve," said I.
'" True, but I have been unhappy—"
"'Unhappy!' I interrupted.
'" Yes," she continued, "I have been with my physician, and learned, from his lips, that the delightful dream of happiness in which we have so fondly indulged must now terminate."
'" You surprise me! Piay, Bertha, what do you mean?"
'" This," she replied, holding her taper finger, slightly lacerated," is a barrier to our hopes. Pompey was rabid when he inflicted this wound."
'I involuntarily shrunk hack: my ideas became confused, and an apprehension of evil, amounting almost to certainty, rushed upon me. My agitation, I have no doubt, had the very worst effect upon Bertha; and when I became sensible of this, which was very quickly, I endeavoured to rally, and affected to treat very lightly the cause of her alarm. She heard me with a resigned composure, which showed that her mind was made up for the worst; and when I had concluded, she detailed very minutely the nature of her interview with the physician. Unfortunately, though an able man in his profession, the doctor was totally devoid of discretion. Indulging in his habits of garrulity, instead of endeavouring to hanish all apprehension from the mind of his patient, he entered fully into the history of the malady, the incipient symptoms which accompany it in dogs, and the uncertainty of being able to expel the virus whenit enters into the human system through the means of a wound. He assured her that her application had been made at too late an hour for him to re
Tol. i. May, 182V, x
sort to any cotrsteraciiBe ressedies, aid he concluded,
frith a thoughtless iiJiumaiuty, by savin? that ber case was extremely distressing: she might escape; but still he could not be certain that the malady might not aeize on bet to-morrow or next day—tfcat day week or that day twelvemonths—all was uncertainty
'The indignation which the conduct of this professional pedant excited, served to arouse me from tbe stupor into which the poor girl's first declaration had thrown me. I gave way to an honest fit of indignation; seizing Bertha in my- arms, as she stood the pictuve of melancholy before me, I pressed ber to my heart. A flood of tears came to oar mutual relief; and, after a momentary silence, I said, "Tbe wretch has imposed his ignorance on you for professional skill; the dog was not rabid—be was only sulky; and, for my sake, for your own sake, think no more of the doctor's horrid surmises; dwell upon the future, think of our approaching nuptials, and let ns not embitter our happiness by the anticipation of what can never take place.'
'"Alas! Frederick," she veplied, turning on me her mild expressive eyes, now suffused with tears, "the good doctor, against whom you appear so angry, was but too candid. I feel that be told me but too much truth; for I cannot relieve myself from a conviction that the animal has transferred the virus of the malady from his veins to mine."
'She could no more; her breast heaved violently, and with a softened confidence, which filled me with a strange happiness at the moment, she sank upon my breast; I gently aroused her, and using the freedom which her love allowed me, I implanted a fervent kiss upon her polished forehead.'
* " .Frederick," she said, disengaging herself from my arms with intense emotion, accompanied by a look of alarming wildness, " I have a fearful prescience of coming misery ; 1 admit your love—oh ! j ust Heaven, bear witness how I prize your affection—and would return it tenfold, but I must not make the man dearest to my heart unhappy, because I am doomed to be miserable. You must forget me—leave me—never inquire after my fate, and think no more of Bertha!"
* " Heaven forbid!" exclaimed I, seizing her agitated haud.
'" Heaven," she said, solemnly repeating my words, "will not forbid; the miserable Bertha can never be the wife ofFrederick Palowski."
"" And why not. Bertha?"
< " Because," she replied, " I can never consent to appear hateful in your eyes."
'" Hateful in my eyes!"
* " When," she continued with great emotion, regardless of my exclamation, "the fell disease shall revel in my veins, and these features, which you have flatteringly commended, shall be distorted into all the hideousuess of the worst insanity—my memory economy intellect insane—my s0ul maddened into the vilest rage, and the whole woman a thing of ferocious violence—oh, God!" she cried, with piteous vehemence, "would Frederick then love—then caress his Bertha 1"
'" He would! he would!" I exclaimed, seizing that form hi my arms which seemed to tremble under the effect of her own imaginings: "even then you would be dear, doubly dear to me. It would be happiness to be allowed to mitigate the evil, to watch over you, even in death—to die beside you! But this is all folly! your apprehensions are groundless; come, come, forego these ideas of improhable misery, and let us be happy."
* " Alas!" she said, " I cannot forego these ideas; they have become, as it were, part of my being; and I shudder at the mere prohability of an event which I obtest Heaven to avert, and if it should occur"—
* " If it should," I interrupted, '* we can die together: think not, Bertha, that I could survive you."
'" Say you so, Frederick V she said eagerly, and fixing her eyes vividly on me, with an expression of deep suspense, she continued earnestly, "then you would not suffer your Bertha to endure the agony of the worst malady—you would not permit her to become a thing of vulgar pity—a soulless, senseless thing of rage—you would save her from the torture of the foul disease—you would anticipate the hand of death?"
'" Willingly," I cried; " I should then die happy."
'"You swear it!" she said, her agile form trembling with a frightful emotion.
'" I swear!" was my solemn reply.
'"Then," said she, her eyes turned to heaven, and her hands clasped together, " I am once more happy."
'Here her guardian was announced : he came to inform us that the necessary preparations for our nuptials had been made, and that, if we were agreeable, the ceremony should take place on the ensuing day, rather than on the one first appointed.
'" I long to see you both happy," said the good old man, " and as I must leave Weimar on Monday next, for a week or two, I would gladly see the silken knot tied before my departure."
'Bertha was silent, and I willingly assented. I then took my leave, and spent, you may be assured, a most miserable evening. The night was to me a sleepless one, and in a state of mind extremely vague and feverish, I prepared next morning for my union with the best and loveliest of women.
'On my arrival at the house, I found her prepared for my coming; never did she look more lovely: the anguish of the preceding day had left a tinge of melancholy on her cheeks, not unbecoming the timidity of a bride, and I had not been three minutes in her society when I felt myself once more joyous and happy. The subject which had made us miserable seemed to have vanished from our minds, and we set out, in apparent gladness, for the church of Santa Maria. As we approached the altar, Bertha whispered in my ear, "Frederick, remember your promise of yesterday."
'Her words startled me, but I quickly forgot them, and soon relapsed into the felicity of the occasion. I shall not detain you with the details of our wedding festival. Our numerous friends were happy ; and during the first week nothing occurred to remind me of the wound on Bertha's hand. She seemed to regain the wonted tranquillity of her mind; and even hinted that her physician might have been mistaken. I hailed this symptom of returning composure with delight, and did all in my power to promote' it; hut, alas! Providence had ordered it otherwise: an incipient hydrophobia was then burning through her veins. One evening, while we were walking in the garden attached lo her guardian's house, she expressed a desire to have something to drink. A servant was summoned and desired to fetch a glass of water; she raised it eagerly to her head, and as quickly withdrew it: a second effort was more successful; but she appeared to drink with difficulty. On handing the glass to the servant, she turned to me with looks of the utmost alarm: she was pallid and agitated ; and, having .spoken to her a hurried word of comfort, I sent for a physician. He was a man of great humanity and professional experience. His skill then averted the threatened danger, and, in private, he assured me that a second attack would undoubtedly prove fatal. To avoid it he recommended the dissipation of travel.
'I lost no time in carrying his advice into execution: Bertha, having taken her resolution, was perfectly resigned, and, lest the fatal event which we so much dreaded should come to pass, we agreed to obtrude as little as possible of our private history on those with whom we should associate. We nattered ourselves that we derived a certain happiness from the supposition that none should hereafter, if our deaths were premature, be acquainted with the circumstances of our case.
'The tour of Germany was soon made, and we were about to penetrate farther into France when we were so agreeably detained by the social attractions of Lyons. Since our arrival here you know our history: our minds were constant^' the abode, at the same time, of happiness and misery: our mutual affection, which every day served to strengthen, was a source of increasing delight, but the rising joy was constantly being dashed