Famous Stories from Foreign Countries/The Elopement

Sándor Petöfi4025402Famous Stories From Foreign Countries — The Elopement1921Edna Worthley Underwood




Alexander Petöfi, the great lyric poet of the Magyar race, was born the first day of January, 1823. His was a true poet’s life—brief and stormy. Only twenty-six years were his in which to live and purchase fame. Despite the fact that he took an active part in the wars which were numerous during his brief day, and was active as an editor and politician, he found time to write some of the finest lyric verse of his race, and tales in prose, and to leave a considerable correspondance with the distinguished men of the period.

His best prose work is the novelette, The Hangman’s Knot.


“But where shall we go?”

“To Buda Pesth.”

“To Pesth?”

“Of course!”

“Why there?”

“It’s the safest place.”

“Very well.”


“I’ll be ready—early.”

“Use every precaution.”

“Do not worry.”

“On no account be late.”

“No; of course not !”

“Good by, Anna dear—!”

Poor Andrew von Csornay! And at this moment in the club he is saying “Checkmate,” with an air of triumph to his opponent, just as if he himself had not just been checkmated in life, for Anna is his wife, and Carl his nephew.

A few days later they talked of nothing in the little village where this happened, but the elopement of Madame Andrew with her nephew, Carl von Csornay.

“It served the old fool right! Why did he marry such a young and beautiful girl?”

“That’s too much for me! I can’t solve the problem. Probably because they were so much in love with each other.”

“True—I suppose.”

“But I’m sorry for the old man. I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if the grief killed him.”

“Poor fellow!”

“And the unfortunate scandal—”

During the time conversation like this was common in the little village, Carl and his beautiful young aunt, had met in Pesth. While their carriage was on the way to the hotel, another carriage started from there.

“Oh!” screamed Madame Anna, in terror.

“I hope he’ll lose his eyesight,” thought Carl von Csornay to himself, throwing a hasty glance in the direction of the other carriage. They both wrapped themselves up in their cloaks as well as they could. The man who saw them was a merchant from their home town.

“He did not recognize us,” declared Carl reassuringly, when they entered their room in the hotel. “If he had, he would have spoken to us.”

“Thank heaven for that!”

“Now you belong to me, Anna,—wholly—wholly! To me belong the beautiful brown hair, the red, sweet lips, the glowing, black eyes, the proud, swan-like neck—”

“Yes—yes—I belong to you Carl!”

And they were happy—for a little while. But the love of the senses is an intoxication from which one awakens and when they awoke and came to their senses, they both exclaimed:

“In the name of goodness what are we going to live upon? We have no money! We have nothing to eat.”

They had not finished speaking, when some one knocked at the door and a stranger entered.

“Have I the honor to address M. Carl von Csornay?”

Carl listened confused and frightened, because he felt that they had been discovered.

“You do not answer,” continued the stranger, “but your surprise proves that you are the one I seek. I beg you to sign this little piece of paper. Exactly one year from to-day I will come to see you again. Do not forget—in just one year. Good by.”

The mysterious stranger went away. It was difficult to say which was greater, the surprise or the joy of the lovers. The paper which the stranger gave him, was draft for a sum of money sufficiently large to enable them to live in luxury for a year. According to the written demand of the stranger, the money was paid to them promptly.

“It is incomprehensible,” declared Madame Anna, looking at the money.

“I should say it is incomprehensible,” agreed Carl.

“Gold falls upon us just like manna from Heaven.”

Now they could live happily. They had no material cares to worry about. And they thought now of course that the merchant did not recognize them. If he had, would he not have told M. Andrew von Csornay?

“And at the end of the year,” explained Carl, “the stranger will come again, and we shall have more money. Is not that what he said?”

“Yes, indeed.”

Six months after the departure of Madame Anna with her nephew, a young man appeared suddenly in the home of old M. Andrew von Csornay. His face expressed suffering and a decision reached in a mood of despair.

Old M. Andrew had just returned from his club, in a rather melancholy frame of mind. He was either sad over the disappearance of his young wife, or because the priest had beaten him again at chess.

When the young man entered, the old man, white and trembling, sank back in his chair. The young man seized his hand and implored:

“Uncle—Dear Uncle—what shall I do to be forgiven? I am ready to do anything!”

“Where is she—the woman?”

“She—she——is not here.”

The old man drew a deep breath of relief.

“I am going to tell you the whole story,” declared Carl. “You will see then that you ought to pity me, and not take revenge upon me. I can’t tell you how I have suffered. My happiness did not last long. I lived in a veritable hell. Your wife has the face of an angel—but all the devils there are, dwell in her heart. She is the worst tempered woman I have ever known in my life. I could not stand it a day longer—I had to run away and leave her—”

“My poor nephew—I do pity you from the bottom of my heart. But you ought to pity me; she only remained with you six months, while she remained an entire year with me.”

“You, too, Dear Uncle?”

“You are surprised, I suppose, are you not? Every one thought we were happy. But you should have seen us when we were alone! Then—you would have learned a thing or two. When I think of her it makes me shudder. When I found you had eloped with her, I blessed you. No one could have done me a greater kindness. In order to reward you—as soon as the merchant told me where you were—I sent you a yearly allowance,—so you would have no inclination to come back, and no hinderance where money was concerned—”

 This work is a translation and has a separate copyright status to the applicable copyright protections of the original content.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1929.

The longest-living author of this work died in 1961, so this work is in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 62 years or less. This work may be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.

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