Balsamo the Magician by Alexander Dumas
A mystery and romance set in 1770. by Alexander Dumas.
On the left bank of the Rhine, near the spot where the Selz rivulet springs forth, the foothill ranges rise of many mountains, of which the bristling humps seem to rush northerly like herds of frightened buffaloes, disappearing in the haze. These mountains tower over a deserted region, forming a guard around one more lofty than the rest, whose granite brow, crowned with a ruined monastery, defies the skies. It is Thunder Mount.
On the sixth of May, 1770, as the great river wavelets were dyed in the rainbow hues of the setting sun, a man who had ridden from Maintz, after a journey through Poland, followed the path out of Danenfels Village until it ended, and, then, alighting and leading his steed, tied it up in the pine woods.
"Be quiet, my good Djerid (javelin)," said the horseman to the animal with this Arabian name which bespoke its blood, and its speed; "and good-bye, if we never meet again."
He cast a glance round him as if he suspected he were overheard.
The barb neighed and pawed with one foot.
"Right, Djerid, the danger is around us."
But as if he had made up his mind not to struggle with it, the venturesome stranger drew the charges from a pair of splendid pistols and cast the powder and bullets on the sward before replacing them in the holsters. He wore a steel-hilted sword which he took off with the belt, and fastened it to the stirrup leather so as to hang from the saddle-horn point down.
These odd formalities being done, he ungloved, and searching his pockets produced nail-scissors and pocket-knife, which he flung over his shoulder without looking to see whither they went.
Drawing the longest possible breath, he plunged at random into the thicket, for there was no trace of a path.