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and twenty-five of them pay for the still, one thousand-florins is a very loans they obtain only one kreuzer, i.e., different matter. one-fifth of a penny; while about five When the time comes for a man to hundred more pay rather less than a redeem the pledge he has given, it may penny. And this is every farthing these happen, of course, that he has not the people contribute to the working ex- money wherewith to do so. In this case penses of the institution, the cost of he may, if he choose, repledge it. In the storing their goods, etc. Needless to course of the year 1893 no fewer than say, the offices, far from deriving any 91.079 pawns were repledged. If, howbenefit whatever from their business ever, at the end of ten months from the with this section of their customers, are time for which he pawned his possesthe poorer for every visit they receive sion he have neither redeemed it nor from them. Their kreuzer clients, repledged it, it is put up for sale at a whether one kreuzer or four-are in fact public auction. Should the sum for the recipients of their charity; for not which it is sold be greater than that for only do they work for them gratis, but which it was pledged, the difference is they deal out doles to them-in fractions handed over to the original owner, proof a penny.
viding he claim it within three years. In addition to the six hundred Otherwise it becomes the property of and twenty-five clients who
the institution. One of the most redirect burden on their resources, the markable facts in connection with the offices have some hundreds more-ex- working of the offices is the very small actly how many it would be impossible number of cases in which the pawnto say-by whom they neither gain nor tickets are allowed to lapse. In the lose. The interest these persons pay on course of the year 1893, 866,015 artitheir loans is enough, though barely cles were pledged, and 818,562 were reenough, to defray the expenses incurred deemed. It is notable, too, that the on their behalf. Thus the offices do not unredeemed pledges consist almost enclear one iota of profit by tueir trans- tirely of jewellery. actions with the majority of their cus- The present financial condition of the tomers; what money they make is made Imperial Pawn Office is on the whole entirely by their loans to the minority. satisfactory, considering the terms on And this minority consists, in part at which business is carried on there. Not least, of persons who are driven to only are these institutions entirely selfpledge their goods not much by supporting, but at the end of every year poverty, as by some sudden embarrass- they find themselves richer than they ment. They have backed the wrong were at the beginning. It must not be horse perhaps, or have lost more money forgotten, however, that no interest is at cards than they can afford, or some paid on the capital invested in them, bill may have fallen due before they which now amounts to some £315,000. are quite prepared to meet it. At the In 1893 their income was 318,678 florins, offices they can obtain money more and their expenditure 256,558 florins; easily, and at a cheaper rate, than else- thus their net gain for the year was where; they can obtain it, too, without 62,120 florins. The directors of the any fear of being subjected to sharp offices have only half of the profits at dealing. And this even though they be their disposal; as, owing to the fact that women who know no more about busi- the greater part of the original capital ness than flies. Such clients as these of the undertaking was supplied by the are a regular source of income to the Gross Armen Haus, they are obliged to offices; and it is they who supply a hand
the other half to the goodly portion of the means by which Municipality of Vienna for the relief of the work is carried on there. Ten per the poor. Their own share of the cent, interest on a loan of one florin is money is devoted to extending their hardly worth considering; but ten per business. The expense of starting the cent. on one of one hundred-or better Feldgasse Office was defrayed out of
the earnings of that in the Dorotheer- of the official valuers are, however, as gasse; and, at the present time, the the laws of the Medes, and this she eviunited profits of the two offices are dently knew; for she made no attempt being allowed to accumulate with a to induce them to give her more than view to a third being opened, as soon they offered. A great rough workman as the necessary capital has been saved. stepped into her place, and drew out of
The modus agendi at the offices is his pocket, in a somewhat shamefaced simple in the extreme. The part of the fashion, a meerschaum pipe. “I shall building into which the public are ad- want it out again in a day or two," he mitted consists of long corridors, which remarked grufily, as he went on his have, opening out of them, a series of way. Then a little old woman, who little windows of the same kind as those looked a thousand at least, presented turough which in England we buy our with a thin, trembling hand a silver railway tickets. Within each window Crucifix. She watched with undistwo officials are stationed, valuers and guised anxiety the faces of the valuers ca-hiers at alternate windows. Who- as they examined it, and heaved a sigh ever wishes to pawn anything passes it of relief when she head how much they into the office by one of the valuers' were willing to give her. A smartly windows, if it be not too large, other- dressed young person-a lady's maid wise by a door. The first valuer ex- one could see at a glance-was the next amines the article, notes on paper what to come forward, and her pledge was a he considers its worth, and hands it to diamond ring of considerable value. the second, who in his turn writes down She made some whispered communicathe amount at which he appraises it. tion to the valuer as she handed it to They compare their notes and then de- him; she was acting, it seems, for her cide how much may be safely advanced mistress. The whole morning long the on the security offered. This sum, or office was thronged with clients, for one smaller if the owner prefers it, is they who are in want of money are al. inserted in two vouchers, and a number ways legion. A poorly clad, middlecorresponding to the number on them is aged woman, who looked too tired to affixed to the pledge. The thing is then live, slipped through the window a handed over to the storer, while the baby's coral. It was rolded neatly in pawner betakes himself to the cashier's cotton wool, and she gave it a kiss be. window, where, in return for one of his fore she let it go. The valuers seemed vouchers, he receives the money due to in doubt at first about accepting this him. The whole proceeding does not, pledge, it was such a poor little thing: as a rule, take up three minutes.
but they ended by certifying that it A few months ago a chance visitor was enough security for one gulden. passed some little time in the Dorotheer. Once the rustle of silk was heard, and gasse Office, just within of the there appeared at the window a lady windows through which the pledges whom the officials seemed to recognize, are handed in to be valued. This in spite of her thick black veil. Perspecial window is reserved for the élite haps they knew her by her voice, which among the pawners, i.e., those who have was singularly low and sweet. She had jewels, or other “precious things,” to brought with her a beautifully-wrought offer in exchange for money. The first Indian necklace, and was anxious to to appear there that day was a girl who raise on it the very largest sum possibrought with her quite a formidable ble. A poor old woman burst into tears array of silver ornaments, brooches, when she heard that her three little bracelets, and a necklace. Her face spoons were worth only five florins: flushed with anger when she heard the while a girl-she was hardly out of her value set upon them. The things had teens--who was told that her silver cost her more than three times as much, thimble was of no value at all, broke she declared and they were as good as down completely. As she turned away, new, every one of them. The awards a man advanced with quite a jaunty air,
and asked for a loan on a much-be dozen or so of little huts inhabited by battered old watch. The thing was of the vassals of the baron and by the no use to him whatever, he announced; laborers of the four vineyards which and that was why he was pawning it, constituted his estate. From the village not because he wanted the money. He to the castle, one climbed by many a treated the whole proceeding as a joke, steep acclivity which terminated in a yet his hand trembled as he clutchea moat with a drawbridge. This moat the vouchers, and there was something
was filled with water which came from in his face that made one think of a
a branch of the Eber half a league to wolf. This institution is a depressing the north of the fortress; a brook, growresort, it must be confessed.
ing deeper as it ran and turning into a The Emperor Josef I. certainly de- noisy torrent as it plunged into a wideserves to rank as a benefactor of his spreading river. kind, if for nothing but the fact that he
Built also upon an inaccessible flank founded the Imperial Pawn Office. of the mountain, separated from the Hardly a day passes but some man or
castle by this torrent of water, and like. other finds there the means wherewith the castle itself, perched over the Eber, to ward off the ruin that threatens him. there was another rock, much smaller, EDITH SELLERS. crowned by a cabin and a little garden,
built there by the daring hand of man.
A wide walnut plank served as a bridge between castle and cabin, so
that, if it were impossible to reach the Translated for THE LIVING AGE.
first, the drawbridge being removed, it A GREAT CATCH.
was also impossible to reach the second, Covered with glory and with many the plank being taken up. wounds, but without a penny in his
We have already said that Don Jaime pocket-something that often happens Mequinenza lived on the feudal rock, to heroes—the noble Baron of Mequi- but we have not said that a fisher of eels nenza returned one day to his dis- lived upon the feudatory rock, and, mantled castle to eat in peace the poor moreover, the man was becoming rich, garbanzasl entailed with his title.
thanks to his daring thought of placing Two words about the warrior bold and his home in that lonely, exposed place. two more about his den.
Damian, as the fisherman was called, Don Jaime de Mequinenza, baron of had conceived the idea of fastening to the same name, a captain who had
the little bridge two huge nets which fought in the interests of Louis XIV., formed bags. The cascade foamed and was, at this time, a man of thirty-five bubbled behind them and served as a years, tall, handsome, brave and very
sort of bulwark against the force of the enterprising, not fond of letters but ex
waters. By this artifice, all the eels tremely fond of a quiet chat with the having gone out of their way, were pretty village maidens. Add to all this obliged to make this jump to return to that he was an orphan, an only child, the Ebro, their cradle, and thereupon and a bachelor, and the reader may found themselves imprisoned in Daform an idea of our Aragonese hidalgo, mian's nets. By catching the fish in As for the castle, it his living this easy way, he was able to undersell image, except in strength, for solitude, all the other fishermen. Now that we poverty and loftiness. It was half know the scene of our story let us pass built, half hewn from a rock which was
on to other investigations. lapped by the waves of the river Eber, We have said that Damian was growon one side, and protected on the other ing rich with such heavy nets, but we by a lofty mountain whose summit have forgotten to say that Damian, like towered high in the clouds.
many another man, had been stupid At the foot of this cliff, there were a
enough to marry a very pretty girl who 1 A kind of pea.
was fond of dress and was a natural
coquette. Carmela, that sweet varia- the side of the abyss. Therefore, the tion of Carmen! (He called her Car- admirer for whom Carmela longed so melita) was a rustic daughter of the ardently could only come through the little village. She did not know how to air, that is, supposing always that she read nor did she care one jot, but she wished to have an admirer. would have tempted St. Anthony him- "Then Carmela did not love her husself if that worthy anchorite had not band!" some one exclaims. been aided by the grace of Heaven-and How do I know? I can only say that she had the grace of el Diablo.
she was very pretty and that she lived She was a blonde, as generally hap- alone, for Damian spent the greater pens in such cases-petite, slender and part of his life selling eels in the margraceful as a fawn. What a throat! kets. Moreover, he had forbidden her What shoulders! What a pretty head! to go down to the village during his How gracefully she walked! Her com- absence, and she obeyed her husband plexion was as white as snow, as rosy implicitly-the Church demands itas an afternoon in May and as fresh as and the dainty señora did not care for the pure air of those mountain heights. the rustic, uncouth countrymen. But She had a droop of the mouth that you will say that Damian was also a would have inspired a poet. Ay! Car- rustic, uncouth countryman, and there. men, Carmela, Carmelita! what could fore I intend to say that Carmela did poor Damian do but adore thee and hide not care for him. Well then, she did thee on the summit of a rock, where not care for him. Why should she care thou wast defended from the world by for a rough, badly dressed man, with a feudal castle, where no one could visit hardened, calloused hands, sunburnt, thee by day without being seen by all weatherbeaten and smelling of fish at the village, nor walk around thy cabin a yard's distance, while she was by night, except five hundred feet be- dainty, so elegant, and as presumptious low it.
as a Madrilena. It is true that if the But, like many other women of equal poor fisherman paid little attention to merit, Carmela dressed for her own his personal appearance, his beautiful pleasure when she could not arouse wife paid a great deal to hers. It is also the admiration of her neighbors, so true that if the husband had toiled less, that, in spite of living alone and not in order to care for his hands, the wife being seen by any one, except on the would have had to work more, thus losfew nights her husband was at home, ing the delicacy of hers. It is true that she spent a good part of the money with the fish with its disagreeable odor, gained by selling eels, in aprons, the sweet smelling soap is bought, but basques, earrings, and other things what woman cares to reflect, especially which poor Damian never noticed, al- a woman of nineteen years, as pretty, though the rogue wore them before his light and graceful as the seven colors very eyes.
of the rainbow? Impressed, perhaps, by her lofty sta- Ah, gratitude is a sentiment little tion in the world, Carmela adorned her welcomed by a person infatuated with self every day as if for a ball, then she herself, and justice is an idea too se. seated herself at the door of the cabin. rious for a girl who laughs by herself, There the birds gazed upon her, the and Carmela liked to laugh by herself flowers and the heavens, but nothing in front of the glass. This all signifies more. However, she quietly awaited that the fisherman's beautiful wife had the hour of her destiny. The castle, the fallen in love with Don Jaime de only dwelling near the cabin, was com- Mequinenza from the time it was noised pletely deserted (we refer to the state about in the village that this gentleman of things before the return of Don had returned, victorious, to his ancesJaime de Mequinenza), and from the tral castle. Don Jaime had indeed revalley the fisherman's wife looked like turned, and as he already loved her en a huge, brignt colored flower, clinging to
1 Native of Madrid.
especie, as a great scholar once put it, he be repeated--the hour in which we rehad only to see her to adore her. member the beings we have known and
Damian, in the mean while fished for loved and who have passed from us, eels. Nevertheless, ever since the re- and we feel ashamed of living a life turn of the baron, a vague uneasiness they have left. had awakened in the soul of the jeal- Carmela and Damian gazed at the ous husband. Although for many years setting sun whose last rays tinged the there had been implanted in his heart sky with a sort of prophetic light, in a deep respect for the lord of the castle, which their perturbed spirits might be he could not help thinking that Don said to be reflected. Uncultivated and Jaime was a gallant gentleman and that rough as they were by nature, both felt, Carmela was very pretty. Moreover, at that moment, perhaps on account of from the castle to the cabin it was not the agitation in their souls, that the so far as from the cabin to the village, setting sun of that day ought not to be especially if one considered the walnut regarded with the indifference of other bridge.
days, that this was for them a critical So it happened that Damian, pretend- and predestined hour, an hour of mysing to have rheumatism in his foot had tery and fatality. Perhaps for this hired a boy to sell the fish and scarcely same reason, their limited natures did left the cabin.
not permit them to give account of what Don Jaime and Carmela were already they felt nor to analyze the unformed tired of telegrams, as they say to-day, images of life and death, of foreboded and were madly in love with each other pains, which seemed to be piled up in -something sure to happen between the East as the sun sank to rest. Great two who look at each other and cannot was the terror of these guilty ones who speak. Platonism had become insup- kept silence, fearing to reveal their portable, the distance immense and the secrets. They did not look at one anbridge passable. They waited with other, nor wonder at this reciprocal anxiety for Damian's first trip to mar- reserve. ket, in order to have an interview alone. It sometimes happens in certain All this had been arranged by signs and tragic moments that a power is awaka divination.
ened in us, more clear than the intelIt was a beautiful afternoon in May. ligence itself and utterly independent Husband and wife were seated at the of the will; and this faculty, conceived door of their cabin watching the sunset. and executed by itself alone, had That sun which was sinking behind the established already, between the wife horizon, a century and a half ago, is the who intended breaking her marriage same sun that we see to-day. That vows and the jealous husband who was afternoon it sank behind the mountains planning an assassination, a sort of inwith as much solemnity and majesty as tuition which served as a tacit agreeif it never intended to rise again. It ment, or unpremeditated complicity was one of those sublime moments in that neither the one nor the other should which it seems as if time itself had be astonished at a silence so long and stopped. One of those fêtes of nature unjustified at first. not handed down to history, one of When the sun had disappeared from those radiant and glorious days in sight, both breathed more freely as if which it seems as if the world had they had finished a task of many hours. reached the height of her beauty and The contract was signed. The resoluthat all past time had been a period of tion of the two was as irrevocable as adolescence, just as all future time would the death of that day. be a descent, a painless old age which They finally looked at each other would end in nothing. It was that without fear or reserve. Damian did melancholy hour in which the soul takes more. He raised his eyes to the castle part in the tragedy of the death of a day, and saluted the señor baron who was as if it were a new spectacle, never to looking fixedly at Carmelita, who, in