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The first that beld watch on that wonderful night,
He approached and addressed them with undaunted brow, « Say what are these rites that ye celebrate now?"
The spectre replied to this questioner bold, “ The Black Dragon's bridal with Hermes we bold.
Depart hence, rash Ulric, this warning I give, “ No mortal can look on these mysteries and live;
He carelessly answered, “My fire's on the wane, “ So give me a brand to re-light it again."
They comply, and he thrust his spear-head in a brand,
In vaig he essay'd his cold fire to relume,
But the spectre thus steru the intruder addressed :“ If thou come back a fourth time, 'twill cost thee full dear,"
And again the wild laughter rang loud on his ear,
The demon approached, and addressed him in scorn-
Tho' dying, he rose, shook his fist in disdain,
It was a lovely Italian evening, when with admiration at the beautiful builda young German merchant, named ings, and still more so at the lovely Richard, entered Venice, the widely ce- tenants, whom he frequently beheld, lebrated seat of traffic and commerce. peeping from their lattices. At length In consequence of it being then the he arrived at a magnificent mansion, period of the thirty years war, all Ger at whose windows he saw some ten many was, at that time, a scene of or twelve charming girls. dissension ; no wonder, therefore, if the “ Now, would to heaven,” exclaimed young merchant, who was a gallant the captivated German, “ that I had but more inclined to banqueting and luxu- the opportunity of saying a few words rious indulgence, than feats of chivalry, to one of those rare creatures!" was not greatly displeased at his affairs
, calling him for some time towards Italy, “ and that be all, you have only to step where things wore a less hostile ap- out, and go boldly into the house at pearance, and where too, he had heard, once : your time, I warrant me, will that there was no lack either of the pass pleasantly enough.” richest wines, or the most delicate fruits “ It may be pleasant enough, friend, -to say nothing of fascinating beau- to thee, to put thy jeers upon strangers; ties, in which latter article our gallant | but dost thou suppose that I am such piqued himself on being no ordinary an errant loon as to follow thy knavish connoisseur.
counsel, and to venture where I should Seated in his gondola, he traversed not only be hooted out, but receive too the various canals of the city, struck a sound drubbing into the bargain ?"
“ My good master,” replied the rendered still more gloomy, by the visiother, “ do not think to teach me the ble uneasiness that sat upon them. Still customs of our city ; only follow my his presence was endured, as he was a advice, and, if you are not welcomed man of rank and wealth, and one too with open arms-why then I am well who regarded lightly the expense of content to lose my labour and my fare.” treating his friends evening after
The youth now began to think the evening. experiment worth trying ; and soon Richard, in the meanwhile, although found that the gondolier had not im- less liberal of his purse than on the posed upon him. These beauties, he first evening of his arrival at Venice, quickly discovered, were far from being found his finances rapidly decreasing; prudish or tyrannical ; on the contrary, and reflected with no small sorrow, that they were of that courteous sort, who this gay and joyous kind of life, must are never backward in shewing hospi- quickly terminate. His associates were tality to the stranger, but ready to ex- not slow in observing his melancholy, tend their complaisance to the utmost, or in divining the cause of it, this for the trifling consideration of some being, by no means, the first instance fifty ducats. “ This same Italy,” thought of the kind, that had occurred within the unwary youth, intoxicated by their their society,-neither did they spare voluptuous caresses, “ is assuredly the their taunts upon the occasion, so that most delightful place beneath heaven;" our hero was fain to venture among for he did not fail to impute the flatter- them the last precious relics of his ing reception he had experienced, in purse. At this prosperous period of no small degree to the comely person, his history, the Spaniard called him, with which nature had favoured him. one evening, aside, and, with unexpectThe demand, however, that was made ed courtesy, requesting that he would upon his purse, soon dissipated some accompany him abroad, conducted him of these pleasing reflections, as he dis- to a lone and retired spot. The poor covered, that instead of having made a youth, was at first, rather alarmed ; but conquest of some princess, he had only at length, he somewhat quieted his apbeen entertained by a courtesan, who prehensions by reflecting, that his comnow, made a demand that nearly drained panion well knew that he had little his
purse. Yet did he not lose all his about him of value, save his skin, patience, since he was a gallant that did and in that he was determined a hole not consider the cost bestowed upon his should not be picked without returning pleasures, Aung away: he therefore the compliment. retired with as good a grace, as he could The Spaniard, however, having first muster on such an occasion, and repair- seated himself on the ruins of an old ed to a tavern for the sake of diverting building, and compelled his compahis spleen.
nion to do the same, addressed him as · Having commenced his affairs in so
follows: notable a manner, the wild youth con- “ I cannot help imagining, my dear tinued daily to indulge in revels, and in young friend, that you stand greatly in the society of mirthful faces. In all need of that which has long become a the company of brave gallants, with burthen to myself-namely, the power whom Richard now constantly asso- of procuring whatever sum of money ciated, there was but one countenance you choose, and whenever you please. overcast with gloom. It was that of a This power, such as it is, l'am willing Spanish captain, who, though he never to dispose of to you for a trifling consifailed to be present at these scenes of deration, besides some other advantages riot, rarely bestowed a word upon the into the bargain.” company, while his dark features were “ What occasion," enquired. Richard,
" can you possibly have for money, if ducat, to day you may be hankering you wish to part with the power of ob- after mine." taining it yourself ?"
“Excuse me if I do not chastise thee “ The case stands thus,” returned the with a cold steel for this insolence :captain, “ I know not whether you are that I do not do it, is because I still acquainted with certain little spirits, that hope that you will help to rid me of are called “ Bottle-Imps ;" they are my bottle-devil. Besides it is my insmall black devils, inclosed in a little tention to perform penance, which would phial. Whoever possesses. one of these, only be rendered still heavier thereby. can command from it whatever worldly Might we not, at least be favoured possession he desires most, especially with some specimen of the thing's abundance of gold. In return for these abilities :" enquired the wary merchant. services, the soul of the person who “ How may that be ?” answered the possesses the imp becomes forfeit to other. “ It will not remain with any Lucifer, in case he die without having one, nor aid any one, save him who previously disposed of him. But this has fairly purchased and paid for it." can be done only by receiving a less The youth could not help feeling some sum than that which he first paid for the alarm, for the place where they were spirit. Mine cost me ten ducats :- sitting, seemed a particularly lone and for nine it is yours.”
gloomy spot, although the Spaniard While the youth was reflecting on assured him, that he would not employ this extraordinary offer, the Spaniard compulsive means. Yet, in spite of his continued, “ I could, if I pleased, fears, his imagination dwelt upon the easily get rid of the thing, by palming enjoyments that would be in his power, it upon some one as a mere curiosity, should he once become possessor of the in which manner a kuavish fellow in- little spirit: he determined, therefore, veigled me to purchase it. But I wish to try whether he could obtain the barDot to have the weight of such an ill- gain at a cheaper rate. deed upon my conscience, and there- “ Witless fellow that thou art," exfore, very honestly and fairly, acquaint claimed the Spaniard with a laugh, you with the bargain. You are still " it is for thy sake, and for the sake young and high-spirited, and will not of those who shall come after thee, that fail to meet with opportunities enough I demand the highest sum I can, that I of disposing of your purchase, when- may delay, as long as possible, the time ever you may become as weary of it, as when it shall be purchased for the I am even now.”
smallest coin possible, and the purchaser “ My noble Sir,” replied Richard, thereby become inevitably forfeited to # If
you would not take it ill at my the devil, even because he cannot sell hands, I could inform you how often it again at a lower price." I have been imposed upon already, in « Well” said Richard, with a tone of ibis good city of Venice.”
delight, “ let me but have it. I warrant " Why thou foolish varlet,” exclaim- me I shall not be very eager to get quit ed the enraged Spaniard, “thou need'st of my purchase in a hurry. If, therebuat call to mind the brave entertain- fore, I could have it for five ducats" ment I gave last evening, to judge “ It is all one to me," returned the whether I would cheat thee for the sake Spaniard, “ but remember you are has of a paltry nine ducats !”
tening on the minute when the evil "Who spends much, wants much;" spirit shall claim the last unhappy posgently observed the young merchant, sessor as his own." " and the longest purse we know has a With these words he delivered up to borom, although not a golden one. If, his companion, in return for his gold, therefore, you yesterday spent your last a small glass phial, wherein Richard