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A Night on the Borders of the Black Forest

A NIGHT ON THE BORDERS OF THE BLACK FOREST

BY AMELIA B. EDWARDS

AUTHOR OF "BARBARA'S HISTORY," "DEBENHAM'S VOW," ETC.

NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY 1890

CONTENTS.

A NIGHT ON THE BORDERS OF THE BLACK FOREST THE STORY OF SALOME IN THE CONFESSIONAL THE TRAGEDY IN THE PALAZZO BORDELLO THE FOUR-FIFTEEN EXPRESS SISTER JOHANNA'S STORY ALL-SAINTS' EVE

A NIGHT ON THE BORDERS OF THE BLACK FOREST.

My story (if story it can be called, being an episode in my own early life) carries me back to a time when the world and I were better friends than we are likely, perhaps, ever to be again. I was young then. I had good health, good spirits, and tolerably good looks. I had lately come into a snug little patrimony, which I have long since dissipated; and I was in love, or fancied myself in love, with a charming coquette, who afterwards threw me over for a West-country baronet with seven thousand a year.

So much for myself. The subject is not one that I particularly care to dwell upon; but as I happen to be the hero of my own narrative, some sort of self-introduction is, I suppose, necessary.

To begin then--Time: seventeen years ago.

Hour:--three o'clock p.m., on a broiling, cloudless September afternoon.

Scene:--a long, straight, dusty road, bordered with young trees; a far-stretching, undulating plain, yellow for the most part with corn-stubble; singularly barren of wood and water; sprinkled here and there with vineyards, farmsteads, and hamlets; and bounded in the extreme distance by a low chain of purple hills.

Place--a certain dull, unfrequented district in the little kingdom of Wuertemberg, about twelve miles north of Heilbronn, and six south-east of the Neckar.

Dramatis Personae:--myself, tall, sunburnt, dusty; in grey suit, straw hat, knapsack and gaiters. In the distance, a broad-backed pedestrian wielding a long stick like an old English quarter-staff.

Now, not being sure that I took the right turning at the cross-roads a mile or two back, and having plodded on alone all day, I resolved to overtake this same pedestrian, and increased my pace accordingly. He, meanwhile, unconscious of the vicinity of another traveller, kept on at an easy "sling-trot," his head well up, his staff swinging idly in his hand--a practised pedestrian, evidently, and one not easily out-walked through a long day.

I gained upon him, however, at every step, and could have passed him easily; but as I drew near he suddenly came to a halt, disencumbered himself of his wallet, and stretched himself at full length under a tree by the wayside.

I saw now that he was a fine, florid, handsome fellow of about twenty-eight or thirty years of age--a thorough German to look at; frank, smiling, blue-eyed; dressed in a light holland blouse and loose grey trousers, and wearing on his head a little crimson cap with a gold tassel, such as the students wear at Heidelberg university. He lifted it, with the customary "_Guten Abend_" as I came up, and when I stopped to speak, sprang to his feet with ready politeness, and remained standing.


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