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parable to it in point of solemnity, unless it is the dissolution of this mortal life. Mr. Diehl, will you have Miss Gunzenhauser for your lawful wife?'
Sigmund not understanding so much English, his sister whispered him to say, “Ja,' and accordingly Sigmund responded 'Ja,' forcibly.
‘Miss Gunzenhauser, will you have Mr. Diehl for your lawful husband ?' inquired the Justice.
Ja, your honor,' answered Katarine.
This conclusion of the ceremony by the Justice was rewarded by a dollarbill, which Sigmund passed into his hands, and the twain, having been made one flesh, went on their way rejoicing.
Having thus introduced the proprietor and one clerk, and by courtesy their ladies, the next presentation should be the remaining clerk, and then the reader will be on recognizing and speaking terms with the personages of Carl Almendinger's office. The personal appearance of John Lampertz forms a striking contrast with Sigmund Diehl's. His head is covered with an abundance of dark hair, and he has the softest of hazel eyes; not soft at intervals, and on some occasions, but so at all times and under all circumstances. His forehead is high and well developed, his nose prominent, his lips full and sensual, and his chin firm but not protruding. His sallow and impassive face is fringed with heavy, dark whiskers, kept in proper trim. The general expression is thoughtful and rather melancholy. His easy and gentlemanly manner cannot fail to impress you favorably. The ladies have often been heard to say, that if Carl Almendinger and Sigmund Diehl were so terribly ugly, John Lampertz was certainly handsome enough to compensate for their deficiencies. So he was. It is strange what a power he was capable of exercising over the opposite sex. They appeared completely fascinated by those languishing eyes, which gazed at them so fondly, and never once drooped their lids. Were a thunderbolt at any time to descend at the feet of John Lampertz, it is doubtful whether one could have detected the slightest discomposure in that carefully-guarded, impassible face. Were the news to come that his father had died, or his mother or sister, who loved him so well, the hazel eyes would still beam brightly, his facial muscles would not twitch, nor would his color vary.
Some women loved him, others admired him, while he was a general admirer of women. Whether it was that they felt he was superior to them in that soft repose of manner, or whether he attracted them by those melancholy eyes, as the ancient mariner' charmed the wedding-guest; or whether the whole man realized the feminine standard of manhood, I know not. In this beautiful Apollo head, however, reigned lust, revenge, and malice. Had those ladies who admired him known this at first, it is possible they would have shrunk hurriedly away from the handsome clerk who sought to obtain their gentle suffrages.
Had Mrs. Almendinger, for instance, known the utterly unprincipled character of Lampertz, she would never have paraded her pleasing arts for his entertainment when they first met, nor have gone so far as to commend him to the favorable notice of her husband, as a well-bred gentleman, who reported him
self a Hungarian refugee, and who would be only too proud to boast Mr. Almendinger's acquaintance. •At the first presentation, Carl eyed him with an inquisitorial scrutiny, while a thrill of horror electrified his blood. “He looks like him, but it can't be he. The dead cannot come to life. But like the ghost of Hamlet's father, he assumes such a questionable shape that I must speak to him.' Thus thought Carl in that moment of rushing thoughts and obscure associations; he therefore spoke to Lampertz, and endeavored to learn his history. Lampertz observed his discomposure, but he was careful to preserve his own equanimity; and his demeanor was so modest, and his tongue so oily, that Carl at once dismissed the hallucination from his mind.
In doing so, he apologized to Lampertz for his rudeness, saying that a reminiscence connected with his imprisonment in the fortress of Buda had just then shot athwart his brain, and that he felt as if awakening from a dream ; it was but a mere nervousness, however, and he was really delighted to meet another Hungarian. Ever and anon, however, Carl would involuntarily feel his brow darkening, and baleful fires leaping from his eyes; but momently the sunshine reäppeared, and he smiled graciously on his guest. They afterward met on different occasions, and the impression gradually lost its vividness. Carl having occasion to employ another clerk in his office, Lampertz told a pitiful tale of his destitution, and besought Mr. Almendinger for the place; and Mrs. Almendinger favoring his suit, the clerkship was accorded to him. Pro tected by that lady, he began to run the giddy rounds of social life; and Cupid's darts flew fast and thick from his basilisk eyes. Carl was always pleased to see his friends, but seldom went into society; so that Mrs. Almendinger was delighted to have a prompt and obliging escort in the person of Mr. Lampertz, who now took up his abode in the Almendinger mansion, and was in every way treated as a member of the family. After all, however, Sigmund was Carl's confidential clerk, who deposited his money, drew his checks, and did the most responsible part of the office business.
Between Carl and his clerks there was no undue familiarity. Each one knew his place, and was expected to keep it. There were no unusual confidences given or required, the intercourse between them being at once polite and dignified. Carl was a great stickler for proprieties in such relations, and would
Take but degree away, untune that string,
And hark! what discord follows !
Had Carl been more observant and suspicious, he might have discovered that an alienation of feeling existed between his two clerks, and furthermore divined the cause. He might have perceived that Sigmund's marital relations were being embittered by an intriguant in his own office.
But Carl's own purity of life blinded his eyes. He did not see that John Lampertz was attempting to victimize Katarine Diehl. He did not see that she was almost beguiled into the snare of the charmer. Will she not pause before the fatal plunge ? Probably not, for what cares she, ignorant creature that she is, for VOL. LIX.
creeds or confessions of faith, so she can only have John Lampertz to love her: John Lampertz, with his soft brown eyes, and dark silky hair ?
And is not Mrs. Diehl the wedded wife of Sigmund ? Will not that thought hasten, like a winged Mercury, to extricate her feet from the snare ? No. Sig. mund is ugly and bald; he minces his steps too much when he walks ; wears unfashionable coats ; he is near-sighted; he is bashful ; Katarine does n't like him. Katarine has become acquainted with John Lampertz. Katarine likes soft brown eyes, that look steady and clear down into the depths of her own, though they be the eyes of a rascal and a libertine. Sigmund had long observed the good understanding which existed between his wife and Lampertz. He intimated his distrust to Mrs. Diehl, and reproved Lampertz for the bare-faced cordialities which were evinced between them. Still the soft brown eyes and silky hair continued to attract the infatuated woman. Still the charmer plied his arts. The breach was every day widening between husband and wife, and an awful gulf yawned at the feet of Katarine Diehl.
There, from day to day, sat in the same office Sigmund Diehl and John Lampertz, breathing the same air, within hearing of one another's voices, while the worst of feelings cankered at their hearts; the one justly regarding the other as the destroyer of his peace of mind, and all his hopes of domestic happiness; the other seeking some method of removing the only impediment that stood in the way of the gratification of his desires. How often does such a juxtaposition occur in real life! Men sitting face to face, speaking to one another on apparently friendly terms, (passing papers to one another, it
may be, in co-partnership ;) while one has done, or is doing, the other a grievous wrong, and they both know it! The ties of business only hold them together. An ordinary spectator would not suspect any estrangement, but a shrewd observer might now and then detect the sinister eye, the sullen brow, and the clenched teeth. Not that John Lampertz's face gave any such indications of passion or disturbance. Those brown eyes have ever the same languishing softness, and every feature retains its studied repose.
Crimination and recrimination daily took place in the family of Sigmund Diehl, but now an event occurred which precipitated a crisis. Sigmund, distrusting his wife, had informed her that, having some business which would require his absence from the city for a few days, she need not expect him home before a certain time. Toward nightfall he took a position, where he could discover any ingress or egress from his house. Sure enough, John Lampertz soon knocked at the door, and was received by Mrs. Diehl with every demonstration of welcome, and the door was hastily shut. Sigmund, without taking his usual pains to mince his steps, proceeded on a brisk run toward the rear entrance of the house. Hearing laughing and talking in the front-room, and finding his way unobstructed, he crept noiselessly into a closet, which had a communicating door with the room where the lovers were seated. This door was slightly ajar, so Sigmund could not only hear but see every thing within.
"O John! my dear love, I am so happy to see you. Sigmund won't be back for three days, the horrible old creature. Won't you stay with me while he is gone?'
These were the words that fell upon the ear of the listening husband, while the mutual endearments of the pair but too well revealed their guilty passion to the horrified Sigmund.
‘Suppose old Sigmund should come in now, my dear, what would he say?' continued the thoughtless woman. And, as the words fell from her lips, Sigmund, like an apparition, rushed through the door, and at once began rapping at the Don Juan's head with a little cane, with which he had provided himself. John Lampertz as usual was little if at all startled. Mrs. Diehl shrieked; she soon, however, recovered herself sufficiently to make common cause against Sigmund with every available weapon she could find, and in the skirmish Lampertz made his escape.
The crisis had come. Katarine could no longer share the bed and board of Sigmund Diehl. They agreed to separate, and separate they did. As Sigmund was a non-combatant on principle, except on sudden impulse and great provocation; as he was sensitive, and did not wish to have his domestic unhappiness made public by a judicial investigation, which would only end in disclosing his wife's infidelity, he consented to keep silent, to bury his sorrows and wrong in a common grave, with any affection which he had ever felt for her ; and henceforth she was to be to him as the foul leper, whose very sight he would avoid.
The next day Sigmund Diehl and John Lampertz were again in Carl Almendinger's office, transacting their routine of business as usual ; and not a word was said as to the previous night's difficulty. Carl Almendinger was not informed, for Sigmund would have felt disgraced forever, had it come to the knowledge of his employer. Had Sigmund promptly informed his master of his domestic trials and the cause, Carl would doubtless have dismissed Lampertz at once, and perhaps matters would never have reached their present state.
Mrs. Diehl thereafter, at least for some time, lived much more luxuriously than when under Sigmund's humble roof. She dressed more gayly, and seemed to delight in flaunting her silks wherever her husband could see them. To him with the hazel eyes, so soft and languishing, and the hair so fine and silky, was she indebted for her replenished wardrobe. (John Lampertz rented her a room, paid her bills, and made himself generally agreeable.). Katarine congratulated herself on the happy change. She was so short-sighted as to think it might continue. She would dare the wrath of HEAVEN, and the frowns of outraged society, if she could only bask in the smiles of John Lampertz. The wrath of HEAVEN indeed! Was not her lover an atheist, and did she not believe as he did ? But God may yet make of her an example, and the name of her Johnny become a hiss and a by-word.
By-and-by her finery became less abundant. Lampertz forgot to replenish her wardrobe. Her silks were getting faded and out of fashion. Her purse was empty. At length Katarine had to go to work, to earn a subsistence, which John Lampertz no longer furnished. Their positions were now reversed.. She was importuned by him for every pittance she could save from hard labor and drudgery. He was exacting, and would have it, to enable him to appear to advantage in society, and enhance the effect of his handsome person and graceful manners. She would sometimes hesitate to comply with these demands, but she still loved him, and would finally give all her scanty earnings.
It was occasionally intimated to Carl that Lampertz was not the fair character he seemed to be, and that he had been guilty of a grievous wrong against Sigmund; but Carl manifested an incredulousness on the subject, and rather repelled than invited such communications. It was a characteristic of his not to pry into the affairs of others, particularly their domestic concerns. His mind was full of real-estate speculations, especially the interests of Blackberry; and nothing annoyed him more than to have some factitious object divert his thoughts from his specialty. Moreover, Mrs. Henrietta Amelia Almendinger sought every opportunity to fill to repletion the mind of her lord with rehearsals of the kind attentions of Mr. Lampertz, his polished manners, his purity of heart, and the universal favor with which he was received by her fashionable friends. It must be so, thought Carl. Mrs. Almendinger's judgment would countervail with him a thousand anonymous rumors. He would not bring odium upon his own household by giving additional currency to any degrading report against a brother Hungarian, who daily partook of the hospitalities of his house, and whose life had been so exemplary while under his roof. If any thing were wrong, it would not have escaped Mrs. Almendinger's shrewd observation. Madame Rumor had lied, as was her wont. Yet, in spite of this charity, the thought would sometimes steal upon him : ‘Buda's Castle! Is he a Hungarian ? Does he not resemble - - ? Nonsense! The dead come to life!' Then Carl, as if possessed of a demon, sought to exorcise it by laughing at his odd conceit, whistling as he walked, and redoubling his attention to legitimate matters of business.
Real estate had risen incredibly in and around Chicago. Eastern capital had come hither for investment, and was building fine brick and stone edifices. Bridges were beginning to span the forked Chicago river. The hiss of steam was making daily music at the wharves and upon the circumjacent prairies. The sagacity of the Kinzies and Doctor Wolcott was apparent at last, or rather so soon. Gentlemen of wealth and taste were erecting palatial residences upon Michigan and Wabash Avenues.
Why should not Carl Almendinger cement his brick or stone pile, and look out upon the waters of the lake, as well as others ? Would it not gratify the aesthetic tastes of Mrs. Henrietta Amelia Almendinger ? Would it not gratify her ambitious desires ? Even so. Therefore, in the year 1849, click went the artisan's hammer, slap went the mortar, and on a lovely site on Michigan Ave. nue rose another structure, brick within, stone without, the delicate creamcolored Athens stone, native to the prairies of Illinois, and unsurpassed in beauty. There was no one but rejoiced in the rising fortunes of the Magyar refugee, Carl Almendinger; no one, we venture to say, unless some miserable slave of the house of Rodolph-Hapsburg, who happened to recollect how gallantly Carl had fought at the storming of the fortress of Buda, when he ran up the tri-color in the place of the black-and-yellow flag of Austria. Speedily the building assumed its proper proportions; then it was furnished; next, Mrs.