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The friend could not help smiling a little at the wild heroism of the unwarlike Anselmus. The latter, however, could not see this, as it was dark; and after a few moments' silence he proceeded as follows. "You have all of you often said that a peculiar planet which presides over me has a manner of bringing marvellous matters about my path on occasions of importance, matters in which people do not believe and which often seem to myself as if they proceeded out of my own inner being, although there they are, outside of me also, taking form as mystic symbols of that element of the marvellous which we find all about us everywhere in life. It was so with me this day two years ago in Dresden. That long day had dragged itself out in dull, mysterious silence; everything was quiet outside the gate not a shot to be heard. Late in the evening it might have been about ten o'clock, I slunk into a coffee house in the old market, where, in an out-of-the-way back room into which none of the hated foreigners were allowed to penetrate, friends of like minds and opinions gave each other reassurance of comfort and hope. It was there where, notwithstanding all the lies which were current, the true news of the engagements at the Katzbach, Culm, &c., were first received, where our R. told us of the victory at Leipzig two days after it happened, though God knows how he obtained his knowledge of it. My way had led me past the Brühl Palace, where the Field Marshal was quartered, and I had been struck by the unusual lighting-up of the salons, as well as the stir going on all over the house. I was just mentioning this to my friends, with the remark that the enemy must have something in hand, when R. came hurrying in, breathless, and in great excitement. 'Hear the latest thing, he began at once. 'There has been a Council of War at the Field Marshal's. General Mouton (Count von der Lobau) is going to fight his way to Meissen with twelve thousand men and four-and-twenty guns. He marches out this morning. After a good deal of discussion we at last adopted R.'s opinion that this attack, which, from the unceasing watchfulness of our friends outside, might very probably be disastrous to the enemy, would very likely force the Field Marshal to capitulate, and so put a period to our miseries. "How," thought I, as I was going home about midnight, "can R. have found out what the decision come to was almost at the very moment it was arrived at?" However, I was presently aware of a hollow, rumbling sound making itself audible through the deathly stillness of the night. Guns and ammunition waggons, well loaded up with forage, began passing slowly by me in the direction of the Elbe bridge. "R. was right then," I had to say to myself. I followed the line of their march and got as far as the centre of the bridge, where there was at that time a broken arch, temporarily repaired with wooden beams and scaffolding. At each side of this construction was a species of fortification, constructed of high palisading and earth-works. Here, close to this fortification, I took up my position, pressing myself close to the balustrade of the bridge so as not to be seen. It now seemed to me that the tall palisades began moving backwards and forwards, and bending over towards me, murmuring hollow, unintelligible words. The deep darkness of the cloudy night prevented my seeing anything clearly; but when the troops had crossed, and all was as still as death on the bridge, I could make out that there was a deep, oppressed breathing near me, and a faint, mysterious whimpering or whining one of the dark, scarcely distinguishable baulks of the timber was rising into a higher position. An icy horror fell upon me, and, like a man tortured in a nightmare dream, firmly fettered by leaded clamps, I could not move a muscle. The night-breeze rose, wafting mists about the hills: the moon sent feeble rays through rents in the clouds. And I saw, not far from me, the figure of a tall old man with silvery hair and a long beard. The mantle which fell over his haunches he had cast across his breast in numerous heavy folds. With his long, white naked arm he was stretching a staff far out over the river. It was from him that the murmuring and whimpering proceeded. At that moment I heard the sound of marching coming from the town, and I saw the sheen of arms. The old man cowered down, and began to whimper and lament, in a pitiful voice, holding out a cap to those who were coming over the bridge, as if asking for alms. An officer, laughing, cried, "Voil