Timar's Two Worlds, by Mór Jókai

Chapter vii.

The Corpse.

With the last days of March the hard winter of this year came to an end. Balmy south winds and rain softened the ice of the Platten See, which broke up during a strong north wind, and drove over to the Somogy shore.

Among the floating ice the fishermen found a body. It was already in an advanced stage of decomposition, and the features were unrecognizable; but yet the identity of the individual could be ascertained with the greatest certainty. These were the mortal remains of Michael Timar Levetinczy, who disappeared so suddenly after the memorable capture of the fogasch-king, and for whose return those at home had waited so long. On the body could be recognized clothes belonging to that gentleman — his astrakhan pelisse, his studs, and his initials marked on the shirt. His repeater was in the waistcoat-pocket, with his full name enameled on the case. But the strongest proof was afforded by the pocket-book, which was crammed with bank-notes, whose number could still be deciphered, and on which Timéa’s hand had embroidered “Faith, Hope, Charity;” while in the side-pocket were four other letters tied together, but the writing was completely obliterated, as they had been four months exposed to the action of water. About the same time, the fishermen at Fured found Herr von Levetinczy’s gun entangled in a net. Now all was explained.

Old Galambos remembered all about it. The gracious master had said to him that if foxes and wolves came down on to the lake in the night, he would go out with his gun and have a shot at them.

Many others then remembered that on that night a snow-storm had passed across the lake, which only lasted a short time. No doubt, to this was due the accident to the noble lord. The snow blew in his face; he did not notice the ice-rift, fell in, and was sucked under.

When Timéa received the first news of the event, she went at once to Siosok, and was present in person at the judicial inquiry. When she saw her husband’s clothes she fainted away, and could only with difficulty he brought back to consciousness; but she held her ground, she was present when the disfigured remains were laid in the leaden coffin, and specially inquired for the ring of betrothal, which, however, was lost — the fingers were gone.

Timéa had the dear relics brought to Komorn, and interred in the splendid family vault, with all the pomp which is permissible by the rites of the Protestant Church, to which the deceased had belonged. On the black velvet coffin, name and age were marked with silver nails. Senators and deputies carried him to the hearse. On the coffin lay his knightly sword, with a laurel crown, and the decorations of the Hungarian Order of St. Stephen, the Italian Order of San Maurizio, and the Brazilian Annunciata star.

The pall-bearers were Hungarian counts, and on each side of the hearse walked the dignitaries of the city. Before it marched the school-children, the guilds with their banners, then the national guard in uniform and with muffled drums: behind came the ladies of the town all in black, and among them the mourning widow, with the white face and with weeping eyes. The celebrities of the country and the capital, the military authorities, even his majesty had sent a representative to the funeral of the venerated man. With them went a countless multitude of people, and amidst the tolling of all the bells the procession moved through the town. And every bell and every tongue proclaimed that a man was gone whose like would never be seen again: a benefactor of the people, a pillar of the nation, a faithful husband, and the founder of many a generous endowment.

The “Man of Gold” was carried to his grave. Women, men, and children followed him through the whole town to the distant cemetery. Athalie too was in the procession. When they bore the coffin down to the open grave, the nearest friends, relations, and admirers of the deeply mourned followed him into the vault.

Among them was Major Katschuka; in the crowd on the narrow steps he came in contact with Timéa and — with Athalie. When they came up again, Athalie threw herself on the bier and prayed to be buried too: luckily Herr Johann Fabula was there, and he raised the beautiful lady from the ground, bore her back in his arms to the daylight, and explained to the astonished crowd how much the young lady had loved the dear deceased, who had been a second father to her.

After the lapse of a few months a splendid monument was erected on which might be read this inscription in letters of gold:—

HERE LIES THE HIGH AND NOBLE LORD, MICHAEL TIMAR LEVETINCZY.

Privy Councilor, President of Committees, Knight of the Orders of St. Stephen, St. Maurice, and the Annunciata. The great Patriot, the True Christian, the Exemplary Husband, the Father of the Poor, Guardian of the Orphan, Supporter of Schools, a Pillar of the Church.

Regretted by all who knew him, eternally mourned by his

FAITHFUL WIFE TIMÉA.

On the granite pedestal stands a marble statue of a woman bearing a funeral urn. Every one says this statue is a faithful likeness of Timéa.

And Timéa goes every day to the burial-ground to deck the grass with fresh wreaths, and to water the flowers which smell so sweetly within the railings of the tomb: she waters them with showers of cold water — and burning tears.

 

Theodor Krisstyan could never have dreamed that he would be so highly honored after his death.

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:11