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ruptly terminated some time before his disappearance; the actress had afterwards quitted the town-for what quarter was unknown.
Promising as these explanations at first sight appeared, they were not found materially to advance the enquiry. Who was this Herr von Breisach ? The name was totally unknown in the district; it was not to be found in any of the registers of nobility; the arms upon the seal-ring, though shown to many, were not recognised by any one: both name and arms might be the mere assumption of an adventurer.
A fortunate chance, however, removed the difficulty which had baffled enquiry. The name of Breisach hap pening to be mentioned in a private circle, in the presence of an ex-diplo matist distinguished for his skill in heraldry, he remarked that there might be a mistake in the writing of the name; that he knew a noble family of the name of Preussach, and was himself in possession of their coat of arms. The remark was communicated to the official persons who were engaged in the enquiry, and the stranger was requested to exhibit to them the arms of the noble family to which he had alluded. They corresponded in the minutest particulars with those engraved upon the seal-ring.
One branch of this family it appeared was settled in the province of B the alleged birthplace, it may be recollected, of the personage who, towards the close of August, had disappeared from K.
The Ober-Procurator immediately put himself in communication with the government of that province, and in a short time a written answer was received from a Ferdinand von Preus sach, who announced himself as the second son of the old Baron Anselm von Preussach, proprietor of an entailed estate in that quarter.
The eldest son, Hermann, had gone abroad about two years before, and for a considerable time past the family knew nothing as to his residence.
Every thing," continued Ferdinand von Preussach, "every thing indicates that the deceased is my brother Hermann. The family are deeply interested in the ascertainment of the truth. I am the next heir to the family estates; for my brother left but a single daughter, the fruit of his short marriage. I shall present my
self personally before the court, and afford every information which may tend to throw light on this melancholy event."
In January 1817, Ferdinand appeared in Hainburg. He read the documents which contained the result of the investigations which had taken place; and expressed his unhesitating conviction that the dead man was his brother Hermann. He applied to the court for an attestation of Hermann's death, which would open the succession to him on his father's death-an event which he regretted to think could not be far distant ;-but he was given to understand that, however little doubt they might entertain as to his testimony, the evidence of a single witness, and that too the person most interested in establishing the death, would not justify the granting of an official certificate to that effect. He was advised to place his case in the hands of an advocate of the court, and as the readiest means of obtaining his end, in the event of any clue being found to the perpetrator of the deed, to appear in the criminal proceedings for his interest as private complainer.
Ferdinand accepted this advice, and chose for his counsel the advocate Senkenberg, a man of great ability and activity, whose local knowledge and numerous personal relations in the district peculiarly fitted him to advance the views of his client. The importance of the task assigned to him, and the rank of his employer, concurred to stimulate the zeal of the advocate.
Whether it was owing to chance, or that the exertions of one personally interested were more effective than the operations of the police, certain it is that, with the appearance of Ferdinand, light began to be thrown on several points, which, but for his activity, might either have remained undiscovered, or at least their bearing upon the case but imperfectly appreciated.
Ferdinand's first visit was to K. the last residence of his brother. After some hesitation, the effects belonging to the deceased were removed from the place where they had been sealed up, and exhibited to him. He examined with eagerness every paper that might help to throw light upon his brother's fate. Among others, a page of paper in the form of a letter came into his hands; the address was
torn away, but the contents, which
Preussach transmitted the document thus found to the Ober-Procurator, to whom he at the same time stated the view he entertained as to its connexion with the subject of the investigation.
"The tribunal," he observed, "had hitherto gone on the idea of robbery. Such had never been his belief. Any circumstances that might seem to countenance such a notion were the result of artificial contrivance to disguise the truth. The hand which dealt the blow, he was persuaded, was a wo man's. Several passages in the precognitions alluded to a woman's having been seen in the neighbourhood of the chapel about the time in question; fragments of a shawl had been wrapped round the body; a woman's glove found in the neighbourhood; the handwriting of the letter of 21st July was decidedly that of a woman; it spoke of a decisive interview; the interview had taken place near the chapel, too decisive unfortunately for the deceased.
"I would not willingly cast suspicion on the innocent," he proceeded; "but I cannot disguise what no stranger can be so well acquainted with as myself. Sensual and unbridled passion was a prominent trait in the character of my otherwise estimable brother. This was the cause of separation after his short marriage; his excesses afterwards, when he was left without control, involved him in difficulties which had more than once threatened a tragic termination. In K-, report spoke of his connexion with an opera dancer, who had disappeared from thence nearly at the same time. The point as to the presence of a woman in the neighbourhood of the scene of action about the time of
the murder, ought to be more narrowly enquired into."
The Ober. Procurator was struck with the justice of some of these obser vations. The enquiry at which Ferdi nand pointed was resumed, and the following additional particulars were the result. They related to the 24th of August, the day on the morning of which the deceased had left the forest inn, and which the witnesses were enabled to recollect, as being the birth. day of one of the reigning princesses, which had been celebrated by fêtes in the neighbouring villages.
A Swiss youth of twenty, but of weak intellect, who had occasion to ascend the path leading to the Raubstein for the purpose of cutting wood for the village bonfire, early in the forenoon, had seen a man and woman at some distance before him in the wood; the man in the dress of a Jäger, the woman in a particoloured gown with straw-hat and parasol. The particular colours he could not describe. They disappeared among the underwood. He caught sight of them only once more. They were then close to the Raubstein, behind one of the projections of which they were soon concealed.
The information given by the bathkeeper at Schlingin, a small village almost connecting with the outskirts of the watering-place of Hilgenberg, was more distinct and important. About noon a lady, finely dressed, tall and slender, with a pleasing countenance, but pale and worn out, with dark hair falling down in curls, entered their house, and begged the bath-keeper to dress a wound on the palm of the right hand, which she held covered with a handkerchief. The bath-keeper dressed and bound up the wound, which was broad but not deep, and apparently caused by a sharp in strument; and his wife, at the stran ger's request, furnished her with a clean handkerchief. The lady placed a ducat in his hand, and hastily retired. At the garden-gate she was received by an old man in the garb of a woodman, in company with whom she took the path towards Hilgenberg.
A neighbour who, from behind the hedge of his garden, had witnessed
"I grant you this interview on condition that it be decisive. Your threats will never terrify me. I can defend myself with the weapons with which honour and vir tue will supply me. This is my last. The secret correspondence must terminate."
the interview between the lady and her guide, before she entered the bathkeeper's house, described her as expressing, with a burst of tears, the deepest anxiety and alarm; to which he heard the old woodman distinctly reply
"God in Heaven! be calm. Weeping will not bring him to life againwith me you are safe. I shall be silent-silent as the grave!"
The dress of the lady, according to their recollection, was a green silk gown, a straw hat with flowers, and a parasol of light-coloured silk.
Preussach was well satisfied with the result of these enquiries. "We shall have light soon," " said he to Senkenberg. "The glove is a strong piece of evidence. It is clear the wounded lady must have lost it. It is for the right hand. We have the glove, we shall have the hand presently."
The active Senkenberg again set the police in motion. He procured a description of the suspected operadancer; which, as is generally the case, suited tolerably well with the description given by the bath-keeper and his wife. At last he was fortunate enough to discover her place of residence. But the anticipations of Preussach were not in this instance to be realized. The opera-dancer was in a condition to establish an unquestionable alibi. Her passports and certificates were completely en regle: she was proved to have left K- by the middle of July, and to have never been in that neighbourhood since.
The glove, which she had been requested in the course of the investigation to put on, was found to be far too small for her hand. It was with difficulty, indeed, that it could be drawn off without tearing. But in doing so a circumstance came to light which showed that the investigations had not been made with such minuteness but that more might yet be discovered. In removing the glove it was turned inside out, and close to the sleeve was discovered a name stamped upon the leather, Wilh: T.. ffe. The intermediate letters were illegible.
Attention was now, of course, directed to the discovery of the person whose name was thus stamped upon the glove. The name might be that of the pro prietor, or it might be that of the maker of the glove; but even in this last case, it might lead to farther dis.
coveries. With this view the glove was put into the hands of a confiden. tial agent of the police, for the purpose of making farther enquiry among the dealers in such articles as to the name.
Meantime, a singular circumstance occurred. The festival of St Anne was at hand, and the clergyman of Hoffstede, according to his usual custom, had gone up to remove from the little chapel the offerings which had been deposited through the year in the poor's chest. The box on this occasion contained an unexpected addition;-a green purse, damp and mouldy as if it had lain there for some time, containing a good many silver and a few gold coins. A stripe of paper was fastened to the purse, on which was written in pencil, and apparently in a disguised hand, with large and straggling characters, the words"Bury the dead as a Christian and a Catholic. God will reward you."
The clergyman communicated the fact to the authorities; they recollected the statement of the landlord as to the purse belonging to his guest: he was again summoned, and declared that the purse now shown to him closely resembled that worn by the stranger.
"I saw from the first," observed Preussach, when this new circumstance was made known to him, "that robbery was out of the question; gold and silver no robber would cast aside. Some other passion, jealousy perhaps, or revenge for disappointed love, guided the murderer's hand; remorse followed the act; the same hand which dealt the blow was now employed to obtain Christian burial for the victim ; and these lines were assuredly written in the hope that they would be found at the same time with the body."
In the mean time, letters from home arrived which obliged Preussach for some time to leave the further prosecution of the enquiry in Senkenberg's hands. Decisive steps had now become urgently necessary with regard to the civil consequences of Hermann's death; for the old baron was visibly dropping into the grave. Ferdinand was advised to repair in person to the capital, where it was thought likely that his personal influence with the central power might remove those obstacles to the obtaining a formal judicial recognition of Hermann's death, which in the provincial court were found to be insurmountable. In this object at
least-however little cordiality otherwise subsisted between the families he was likely to be assisted by the relations of Hermann's wife; since, upon the death of Hermann being ascertained, the widow would step into the enjoyment of an annual income from the estate, considerably exceeding the allowance which had been made to her after her separation.
The idea of this renewed intercourse, however, with a family with whom, since the separation, now three years past, he had had no communication, was any thing but agreeable to Ferdinand. His sister-in-law he had never liked, and the stern obstinacy of her father, Colonel Siegfeld, who had steadily repulsed every attempt made by Hermann towards a reconciliation with his wife, had sorely wounded the pride of the house of Preussach. There remained, however, no alternative; and in August 1817 Ferdinand set out for the capital.
Shortly after his arrival he announced himself at the residence of Colonel Siegfeld. Albertine, the widow, was not at home; his reception from the colonel and his wife was at first of the coldest character. The intelligence, however, which he brought, produced an immediate change. The honourable character of the colonel, and the refined feelings of his wife, made them receive the melancholy tidings with that sympathy which, in noble minds, overpowers every hostile feeling. The colonel readily promised his aid in promoting the object which Ferdinand had in view; and Preussach was about to take his leave, when Albertine's carriage drove up to the gate. The mother had just time to entreat him to conceal from Albertine on the present occasion the death of her husband, promising to break the matter to her as soon as they were alone.
Albertine entered. She paused a moment at the sight of Ferdinand, who was advancing respectfully to meet her; then, as if suddenly recognising him, she became deadly pale, staggered back, and, without a word of salutation, disappeared in the anteroom. Her mother followed her. Preussach felt deeply annoyed at this public and unequivocal indication of dislike-a feeling which, in his own heart, he was conscious of reciprocating; but which at least, he thought, need not be manifested so very open ly. He stood before the old man
silent and confused. The colonel hastened to relieve him from his embarrassing situation, shook hands with him, as if to give him a hint of departure, and said, "We shall see each other frequently; let us do what we have to do as men, calmly and considerately." He laid a strong emphasis on the words "as men," and "calmly," as if he felt annoyed that Ferdinand should have been a witness to this recent display of female irritability.
Three days afterwards the colonel returned the visit, but the intelligence he brought was by no means encour aging. In regard to the succession to the Preussach estates, two courses only were open; either to procure a formal judicial attestation of Hermann's death, proceeding on strict legal evidence; or to go through the form of edictal citation of the deceased, who, after the expiry of the legal period, would be legally held dead. This, however, would require an interval of years; and should the old baron die in the mean time, the estates must be put under a provisional management, an arrangement which the family naturally felt would be extremely disagreeable. The colonel had, with a view to the interests of his daughter, employed his utmost interest at court to have the proceedings shortened; but had little hope that the prince, who entertained strict notions on such matters, would be induced to interfere to obtain any relaxation of the rules of law in a particular case.
From the colonel's conyersation, Preussach farther gathered that the intelligence of the death of her husband had been communicated to Albertine, and that she had been more deeply affected by it than her father seemed willing to allow.
In the course of the tedious proceedings and audiences of ministers which the affair demanded, Prenssach had occasion to be more than once in company with Albertine. She appeared in a widow's dress--a mark of respect for the memory of her late husband, for which he could not but feel indebted to her. Nor, with all the deep-rooted dislike which he felt for his sister-in-law, could he disguise from himself the ex quisite beauty of her face and form, attired in all the bloom and fulness of youth, and set off to advantage by the mourning garb she wore; the grace and elegance of her movements; or the refined gentleness of her manners,
though her bearing towards himself was reserved and formal.
In September he received a letter from Senkenberg. "I have a novelty in its way to communicate to you,' the advocate wrote, "in regard to our painful enquiry. Our well-known glove has found its fellow-the left. It resembles the blood-spotted one as one twin does another; the stamp is the same, though more legibly impressed. The name is Tieffe. It is generally supposed to be the name of the maker; but it has led to what I have now in a few words to communicate.
"In the course of his enquiries the police agent had occasion to exhibit the right hand glove to a milliner here Madame Lax; one of her customers, a lady Madame Zeltwach-who had seen the glove in her possession, and had learned that it formed the subject of some enquiry by the police, took it up and examined it. Madame Lax must, in the course of conversation, have mentioned my name; for, two or three days after wards, Madame Zeltwach waited upon ime, and presented me with its counterpart, the left hand glove. She is intimate, it seems, with the family of the Protestant clergyman in Blumenrode, about three leagues from hence. On a late visit there with her daughters, and in the course of some cabinet council among the young ladies as to matters of dress, the second daughter of the clergyman happened accidentally to pull out from her drawer this left hand glove;-there was some gesting as to the name, Wilhelmine Tieffe, The name had struck Madame Zeltwach, so that she had immediately recollected the incident when the right hand glove was shown to her by Madame Lax. She had since pressed the clergyman's daughter for an explanation how she came by it. Her account is, that she had received it from the waiting woman of a lady who had been on a visit to the baronial family in the neighbourhood the summer before.
"This took place yesterday. Today the clergyman-his name is Rauch with his daughter Adelaide, appeared before me. They were both anxious and distressed at the idea that they might be suspected of any unfair acquisition of the unfortunate glove. I begged the girl to tell me in the minutest manner how she came by it. She told me, with perfect simplicity,
that she had it from a third party. A young widow from the capital, a Madame Sussfeld, had been long on a visit at the house of Baron Kettler, in the immediate neighbourhood of the parsonage: Adelaide, who had a turn for music, had occasionally played with the lady, and had formed an acquaintance with her waiting-woman. On Madame Sussfeld's departure, Adelaide had assisted the attendant in some of her preparations: in a small dressing-box, among other odds and ends, lay this single new glove, which the waiting-woman, not thinking, it worth while to take with her, as its fellow was wanting, had thrown upon the floor. Adelaide, pleased with the fineness of the work, had taken it up, and said, in jest, she would keep it as a remembrance-which she had done.
"I am inclined to believe the story, both because Mademoiselle Rauch is a girl of good character, and also because some things led me to the conclusion that your unfortunate brother had some connexion with Blumenrode.
"Under the apocryphal French letter found at K, you well remember the letters Bi- and an A. Strangely enough, however, the Christian name of the waiting-woman, to whom the glove belonged, was Agatha, her surname Roger. An A and a French name. She is described to me as tall and slender, (Adelaide is neither.) As to the lady, I have learned nothing more than that she was a young widow, of high connexions, and resident at court.
"You have often manifested, in this melancholy investigation, a penetration which I readily acknowledge: you are possessed of information as to your brother's course of life, with which I am but imperfectly acquainted. Possibly you may find the clue where to me the connecting links are awanting."
Preussach laid down the letter with indifference. 66 Strange!" he could not help saying, "that the cautious Senkenberg should attach such weight to this discovery. If the stamp be but the signature of the firm, how many hundreds of such gloves, exactly resembling each other, must be now in circulation through the world! I shall write him to that effect, after I have paid my last visit at the colonel's, on the subject of this wearisome succession question."