Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

5 articles on this Page

A TANGLED SKEIN,

News
Cite
Share

A TANGLED SKEIN, OR WIFE AND WOMAN, By L. HAIDHEIM. "Ti-e sCocls exchange "Is a fierce battle-field," he continued "tactics and knowledge, allied with success, are all powerful; but—it requires nerve to wage this kind of warfare. We are accustomed to it, but I would encourage no one to under- take the conflict unless I could rely upon his strength. Beautiful ladies, above all, should lnve nothing to do with it." As if your daughter were not a thousand times r.'ore interesting through this knowledge than ail other Iadie3 said Ulrica eagerly. Rahel Lindenlov smiled and bowed the com- pliment evidently flattered her. I; Good heavens, now you tell her so, too, Madame, and you know that praise from a woman's lips is truth to women. But pray let us t-rop the subject. I am obliged to hear so much about it that it's a real pleasure to me to escape into other surroundings, obtain other ideas. I am like great virtuosos they can't endure to hear the word music in society it's just the same to me v. ic h business." When the banker at last took leave with his !■ a: shier, he said to the baron-Helene could but she noticed her husband's excited > r— • j. nan think of it. I am determined to under- pin enterprise. Your name, your co-opera- tion will be very valuable to me. I have made iny propositions, and believe, after the proofs I have shown, that there will be norisk for you; there is none for me, as have I confidence in my men. I can give only a short time for considera- tion, but consult with your friends; you'll find Baron von Bargleben and Baron von Rudenfeld leady to invest a still larger amount of capital. We must raise fifteen millions immediately. Hero are the plans, here the calculations, here the opinions, etc." "As I said," he continued, I have given you a delay do what you think best. I shall not persuade; I would not on any account. And don't hesitate if you wish to refuse. I have already mentioned the other gentlemen I should choose in your place." Yes, yes, I must have time to think of it," the b¡ ron answered, thoughtfully. The evening was so beautiful, so still. The baroness was longing for rest and a conversation with her husband. They had taken a long walk almost every evening but now, when she took up her cloak, sure that Wittichhofen would accom- pany her he drew her towards him, and kissing her fondly, said: "I must talk with Wivlis- burg, Helene forgive me, dear, for not accom- panying you." Ho looked so troubled, so excited, that she was more than ever strengthened in her belief that debts were oppressing him. The gentlemen went out. The professor seated himself in a neighbour- ing arbour, with his cigar and a newspaper. Helene took a chair under the roof of the verandah, and Ulrica paced restlessly to and fro in the open space before it. Come down, Lena; don't sit dreaming there, I beg of you 1" she at last called to the baroness, and when the latter rose, obeying her wish, said eagerly: "I am perfectly furious with this Jewess, Lena. How these people speak of money, and how in. different Rahel seemed to her enormous wealth. Isn't it exasperating that one of our circle must use the greatest caution in expenditure, while these people throw thousands about ? Oh I am furious To be loaded with debt and unable to live in the capital because one can't pay-for these wretched tradesmen must be paid or they do nothing but slander one What an existence for a Countess Czaslovska, nde Countess Starkenhof Dear Ulrica, of course there are richer people, but-" "But poorer ones, too; oh! yes!" the coun- tess interrupted angrily. Yes, that is an un- deniable truth. But why must I with my aspir- ing mind, my lofty thoughts, princely tastes and requirements-for I can't help having been born with the soul of a princess or a millionaire-go through life like a poor little mouse while this Rahel is rich as Crcesus ? I really can't answer that question, dear Ulrica," replied Helene with a good-humoured laugh-in her happiness she had forgotten every cause of resentment against her friend-" but I think you exaggerate your poverty and Rahel Lin- denlov's wealth." Indeed ? cried the countess, still more wrath fully. Indeed ? That shows you are a good little country woman, otherwise you would know that Rahel Lindenlov's jewels alone might arouse the envy of empresses When she goes to a ball, she affects the utmost simplicity, never wears even the smallest ornament, but the whole world knows that her black diamonds are unique in their way and priceless in value. And she has only the rarest gems. People say she has a mania for collecting them. A magnificent cabinet in her i ouse is asid to be fitted up exclusively for these treasures, every part lined with blue satin and velvet—a thousand draweis and cases containing tho most superb jewels." "But surely, dear Ulrica, Rahel Lindenlov cannot indulge in such manias, which are only fit for princesses of the highest rack Herr Linden- lov wouldn't allow his money to lie idle, if he is a good merchant." "Pshaw! What do you know about it? I could weep to think I must lead such a wretched life If 1 only had three or four thousand, I'd follow Rahel's example and double it in a few weeks." It was late in the evening before the baron returned with the Major. Helene sat waiting for him by the open window of her room. The first glance at his face told her that he had now become more at case. Approaching, he took her in his arilig and kissed her tenderly. What a. joy it was to feel herself beloved, and be able to show her own aff ti n freely and without restraint. How change everything was within and around her! Life h< turned another shape, and in this new atti iiere fresh strength of mind and heart daily dt pud. She l become a different creature Now that sht. Knew exactly wherein she had erred, why she uad seemed charmless to her husband, why she had been able to inspire him with no sympathy, she was completely transformed, or, rather, she had had tha good fortune to find her true seli again, and was very anxious to show no trace of the sentimentality or silent irritation of former days. Therefore she did not betray any anxiety even by a word. The baron drew her on his knee, and she threw both arms around his neck. Would any one suppose we were so childish ? Helene cried, looking up at him with a joyous laugh. He tried swin gay and easy, but his thoughts i were far At la> i left him, went to her desk, took out ft sm,dt box, and retwned with it. "Listor., Albrecht! s'lij-sawl. forcing herself to assume a jesting tone, H.i\kel taui infected me and Ulrica. Please take my money way, or I shall throw it into the jaws of the M loch of the Stock Exchange, that devours all v. o do not know him, as Rahel Lindenlov says. Or else Ulrica will persuade me and get it to do the same thing I Mil afraid of trying myself." 0 Why, Helene, you are joking. What can I do with your money?" he asked, in surprise. Dear Aibrecht, am I not your wife, and isn't all I have yours ?" she replied, pressing the little box into his hand. He gazed at her in surprise. She flushed scarlet, then summoning all her courage, said eagerly T. I know you are anxious, perhaps owe Herr Lmdeolov more than you can pay at this moment. Here is my dowry it belongs to you; pay the banker with it, and—" H But, my darling, what idea have you taken into your head ?" Helene told him what she thought, and that her money be'onged to him. 0 But that is not the case, my dear Helene," he interrupted. Your property Wonga to you, and I have not the slightest right to It." But if I make over my rights to you ? ahe APS-wered. That would be a different thing, but I won't allow it and besides, my darling, I am not an- xious. True, I have debts, more than I wish but I'm not at all annoyed by them and besides, to- day Lindenlov offers me an opportunity to make myself a rich man." He drew her towards him again, and told her all that occupied his mind. "But if Herr Lindenlov is so rich, why doesn't he work the mine alone ?" she asked. Helene was very ignorant in regard to such things. The baron was obliged to explain as if she were a child. At last she understood. Oh yes, and you gentlemen are to put your money together, and others lend you more, and you call this a stock company ?" He assented. "And the more money you advance, the more you will make ? Right, my little wisdom." Have you the amount ? "Not as much as Lindenlov expected, but enough." "Then take my money, too, you foolish man. You can pay me again she eagerly exclaimed. "No, Helene, your money is inviolable, I will take nothing. If the enterprise is successful you can think of it later," he answered. "But why must you buy Ellerfeld, Albrecht? Gunther was so anxious to have it," she asked. That is the troublesome part he said thought- fully. So long as Gunther is a minor, I ought not to allow even a penny of his property to be invested without sufficient security." "But you are going to invest your own money -you don't mean that there is the slightest doubt ? Pray don't do it she exclaimed. The baron explained as well as he was able that the enterprise would unquestionably be safe, but that the government very strictly dofined the manner in which guardians could use property, and these rules would not permit Gunther's to be invested in this stock. Well, Gunther is rich enough without it, and will be of age in a year, then he can do what he pleases. But it would be charming if you could make a larger fortune for Nanna. She is very poor for a Fraulein Wittichhofen to be sure, I shall give her my money, but that isn't much," replied Helene. "You little spendthrift! First you throw all your wealth at my head now you give it to Nanna thank Heaven, such remarks have no legal value. Wait and see whether the future will not make other arrangements natural," answered the baron, laughing gaily. Then he talked a long time with her about the great plan. Wivlisburg, according to the barou's account, was all enthusiasm, but wished first to make all proper inquiries, so the two gentleman were going to the city themselves to talk with Messrs. Swindlestone and Yellow bee, speak to other gentlemen, in short, duly weigh the matter But it was almost certain that each of the directors would gain a large sum the very first year Lindenlov's plan had been a surprise to the baron, and therefore not instantly assumed substantial shape. His usual calmness had given place to feverish excitement, awakened by the banker's eagerness, as he advanced Ws bold plans with a firmness and ease that seemed surprising but this excitement soon passed away, enabling him to discuss the matter with his wife quietly and calmly. It was still a wonderful novelty to him to have a creature to whom he could thus open his inmost heart, reveal his whole world of thought. He did not understand how he could have so undervalued this dear, loving woman, who gazed so earnestly into his eyes to be able to comprehend and follow his words And what unhappy hours he had prepared himself! How wretched she must have been with him He often spoke of this repentantly, and how deeply the humility with which she took all the blame on her own shoulders touched him. He lay thinking of all these things long after Helene was asleep then his thoughts wandered farther and farther. He admired the intelligent woman, who so quickly understood matters never known before. Her eagerness in offering her pro- perty charmed him he had never thought of her fortune, which, though not large, was a nice little sum. The money was secured to her by the marriage contract it must be hers and her children's property. If Helene had another son, he would inherit the entailed estate; but any other children must share with Nanna. the remaining property, in which Nanna would indeed be poor according to the ideas and claims of her rank and Helene's inheri- tance divided into several portions, was not worth mentioning as a support for the children she still might have. The baron's thoughts began to wander restlessly this question had never forced itself on him before. Suddenly it seemed very close at hand, and Helena herself had said it would be a great piece of good fortune if Nanna's dower could be incrt-ased. Liiidcniov'a plan suddenly seemed to the sleep- less man like a sign of coming good fortune. The speculation must undoubtedly seem very promising to the banker, or he would not risk so large a. sum himself. Hu had stated that he would be obliged to withdraw this amount from other profitable enterprises, which he only did when he could obtain greater gains. But in case Lindenlov risked so much, there was no danger, the major said emphatically. Wivlisburg intended to invest about half as much as Wittichhofen. He was not rich, but he thought if it were possible for him to borrow the same amount he would do so, and give Lin, denlov the sum, which would undoubtedly bring in twice as much interest as he, the major, would be obliged to pay. Wittichhofen wondered where he could obtain more money it was certainly mad- ness to let such an opportunity pass unused. Helene had wished to give him hers, but her pro- perty must not be touched, no, no It belonged to her children, and gladly as the baron would have doubled the riches of these children, for whom he now ardently hoped, he did not venture to touch it. True, there was no probability of failure, for Lindenlov had the business in his own hands but the devil might interfere-no, Helene's money must not be touched on any account. Yet it would be delightful to obtain the largest possible share of these certain profits. Where, where could he borrow as much as he had at his disposal ? All he had was not enough; no, ;t, was a mere ti ifie; Lindenlov had shrugged his shoulders and looked at him almost in astonish- ment when he said that was all he had at com. man J.< These thoughts whirled like a mill-wheel in the baron's head his blood pulsed more and more swiftly through his veins vainly he tossed and turned a hundred times vainly he counted again and again, but always, ere he reached fifty, went back to Lindenlov, the coal mine, and the new machines that accomplished wonders, and, above all, drew this wealth from the earth. Completely exhausted, without having had fifteen minutes' sleep, the baron at last rose. The cold bath he took every morning cleared his brain he sent to rouse the major, and a short time after both gentlemen>were on horseback. (To be continued.)

[No title]

Advertising

PASSENGER TRAINS. BARRY RAILWAY.…

Advertising