The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07 eBook

The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 07

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
ILLUSTRATIONS—­VOLUME VII1
THE LIFE OF GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL1
GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL11
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY[1] (1837)11
THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (1832)50
THE STATE50
THE CONSTITUTION53
THE POWER OF THE PRINCE54
THE EXECUTIVE56
THE LEGISLATURE57
PUBLIC OPINION60
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS61
MEANING OF WAR63
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS64
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF ART (1820-21)65
THE MEANING OF ART65
THE CONTENT AND IDEAL OF ART68
SYMBOLIC ART71
CLASSICAL ART72
ROMANTIC ART73
THE PARTICULAR ARTS76
ARCHITECTURE76
SCULPTURE77
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROMANTIC ARTS78
PAINTING79
MUSIC79
POETRY80
SUMMARY81
THE LIFE OF BETTINA VON ARNIM81
GOETHE’S CORRESPONDENCE WITH A CHILD (1835)86
LETTERS TO GOETHE’S MOTHER86
IMMERMANN AND HIS DRAMA “MERLIN”103
MERLIN:  A MYTH107
KARL LEBRECHT IMMERMANN113
CHAPTER I113
CHAPTER II118
CHAPTER III125
CHAPTER IV128
CHAPTER V132
CHAPTER VI133
CHAPTER VII135
CHAPTER VIII142
CHAPTER IX144
CHAPTER X146
CHAPTER XI150
CHAPTER XII154
GUTZKOW AND YOUNG GERMANY160
KARL FERDINAND GUTZKOW167
TRANSLATED BY GRACE ISABEL COLBRON167
PREFACE OF THE AUTHOR167
SWORD AND QUEUE169
SWORD AND QUEUE170
SCENE I170
SCENE II171
SCENE III173
SCENE IV175
SCENE V176
SCENE VI178
SCENE VII179
ACT II181
SCENE I181
SCENE II182
SCENE III182
SCENE IV183
SCENE V184
SCENE VI187
SCENE VII188
SCENE VIII191
SCENE IX193
ACT III195
SCENE I195
SCENE II199
SCENE III201
SCENE IV204
SCENE V205
SCENE VI206
SCENE VII206
ACT IV208
SCENE I208
SCENE II208
SCENE III210
SCENE IV213
SCENE V215
SCENE VI215
ACT V220
SCENE I220
SCENE II221
SCENE III222
SCENE IV223
SCENE V224
GERMAN LYRIC POETRY FROM 1830 to 1848226
NIKOLAUS LENAU232
242
TRANSLATED BY FLORENCE LEONARD242
THE JEW’S BEECH-TREE (1841)279
FERDINAND FREILIGRATH313
THE SPECTRE-CARAVAN[42] (1835)316
MORITZ GRAF VON STRACHWITZ322
EMANUEL GEIBEL324
FOOTNOTES: 328

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ILLUSTRATIONS—­VOLUME VII

Arco.  By Benno Becker

Georg Wilhelm Frederich Hegel.  By Schlesinger

Royal Old Museum in Berlin.  By Schinkel

Bettina von Arnim

The Goethe Monument.  By Bettina von Arnim

Karl Lebrecht Immermann.  By C.T.  Lessing

The Master of the Oberhof.  By Benjamin Vautier

The Oberhof.  By Benjamin Vautier

The Freemen’s Tribunal.  By Benjamin Vautier

Lisbeth.  By Benjamin Vautier

Oswald, the Hunter.  By Benjamin Vautier

Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow

The Potsdam Guard.  By Adolph von Menzel

King Frederick William I of Prussia.  By R. Siemering

King Frederick William I and His “Tobacco Collegium”.  By Adolph von Menzel

Anastasius Gruen

Nikolaus Lenau

Evening on the Shore.  By Hans am Ende

Eduard Moerike.  By Weiss

Annette von Droste-Huelshoff

The Farm House.  By Hans am Ende

Ferdinand Freiligrath.  By J Hasenclever

Dusk on the Dead Sea.  By Eugen Bracht

Death on the Barricade.  By Alfred Rethel

George Herwegh

Emanuel Geibel.  By Hader

Journeying.  By Ludwig Richter

THE LIFE OF GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL

By J. Loewenberg, Ph.D.

Assistant in Philosophy, Harvard University

Among students of philosophy the mention of Hegel’s name arouses at once a definite emotion.  Few thinkers indeed have ever so completely fascinated the minds of their sympathetic readers, or have so violently repulsed their unwilling listeners, as Hegel has.  To his followers Hegel is the true prophet of the only true philosophic creed, to his opponents, he has, in Professor James’s words, “like Byron’s corsair, left a name ’to other times, linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes.’”

The feelings of attraction to Hegel or repulsion from him do not emanate from his personality.  Unlike Spinoza’s, his life offers nothing to stir the imagination.  Briefly, some of his biographical data are as follows:  He was born at Stuttgart, the capital of Wuertemberg, August 27, 1770.  His father was a government official, and the family belonged to the upper middle class.  Hegel received his early education at the Latin School and the Gymnasium of his native town.  At both these institutions, as well as at the University of Tuebingen which he entered in 1788 to study theology, he distinguished himself as an eminently industrious, but not as a rarely gifted student.  The certificate which he received upon leaving the University in 1793 speaks of his good character, his meritorious acquaintance with theology and languages, and his meagre knowledge of philosophy.  This does not quite represent his

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equipment, however, for his private reading and studies carried him far beyond the limits of the regular curriculum.  After leaving the University he spent seven years as family tutor in Switzerland and in Frankfurt-on-the-Main.  Soon after, in 1801, we find him as Privat-Docent; then, in 1805, as professor at the University of Jena.  His academic activities were interrupted by the battle of Jena.  For the next two years we meet him as an editor of a political journal at Bamberg, and from 1808 to 1816 as rector of the Gymnasium at Nuremberg.  He was then called to a professorship of philosophy at Heidelberg.  In 1818 he was called to Berlin to fill the vacancy left by the death of Fichte.  From this time on until his death in 1831, he was the recognized dictator of one of the most powerful philosophic schools in the history of thought.

It is no easy task to convey an adequate idea of Hegel’s philosophy within the limits of a short introduction.  There is, however, one central thought animating the vast range of his whole philosophic system which permits of non-technical statement.  This thought will be more easily grasped, if we consider first the well-known concept of permanence and change.  They may be said to constitute the most fundamental distinction in life and in thought.  Religion and poetry have always dwelt upon their tragic meaning.  That there is nothing new under the sun and that we are but “fair creatures of an hour” in an ever-changing world, are equally sad reflections.  Interesting is the application of the difference between permanence and change to extreme types of temperament.  We may speak loosely of the “static” and the “dynamic” temperaments, the former clinging to everything that is traditional, conservative, and abiding in art, religion, philosophy, politics, and life; the latter everywhere pointing to, and delighting in, the fluent, the novel, the evanescent.  These extreme types, by no means rare or unreal, illustrate the deep-rooted need of investing either permanence or change with a more fundamental value.  And to the value of the one or the other, philosophers have always endeavored to give metaphysical expression.

[Illustration:  SCHLIESINGER Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel]

Some thinkers have proclaimed change to be the deepest manifestation of reality, while others have insisted upon something abiding behind a world of flux.  The question whether change or permanence is more essential arose early in Greek philosophy.  Heraclitus was the first one to see in change a deeper significance than in the permanence of the Eleatics.  A more dramatic opposition than the one which ensued between the Heracliteans and the Eleatics can scarcely be imagined—­both schools claiming a monopoly of reason and truth, both distrusting the senses, and each charging the other with illusion.  Now the significance of Hegel’s philosophy can be grasped only when we bear in mind that it was just this profound distinction between the permanent and the changing that Hegel sought to understand and to interpret.  He saw more deeply into the reality of movement and change than any other philosopher before or after him.

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Very early in his life, judging by the recently published writings of his youth, Hegel became interested in various phases of movement and change.  The vicissitudes of his own inner or outer life he did not analyze.  He was not given to introspection.  Romanticism and mysticism were foreign to his nature.  His temperament was rather that of the objective thinker.  Not his own passions, hopes, and fears, but those of others invited his curiosity.  With an humane attitude, the young Hegel approached religious and historical problems.  The dramatic life and death of Jesus, the tragic fate of “the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome,” the discrepancies between Christ’s teachings and the positive Christian religion, the fall of paganism and the triumph of the Christian Church—­these were the problems over which the young Hegel pondered.  Through an intense study of these problems, he discovered that evil, sin, longing, and suffering are woven into the very tissue of religious and historical processes, and that these negative elements determine the very meaning and progress of history and religion.  Thereupon he began a systematic sketch of a philosophy in which a negative factor was to be recognized as the positive vehicle in the development of the whole world.  And thus his genius came upon a method which revealed to him an orderly unfolding in the world with stages of relative values, the higher developing from the lower, and all stages constituting an organic whole.

The method which the young Hegel discovered empirically, and which the mature rationalist applied to every sphere of human life and thought, is the famous Dialectical Method.  This method is, in general, nothing else than the recognition of the necessary presence of a negative factor in the constitution of the world.  Everything in the world—­be it a religious cult or a logical category, a human passion or a scientific law—­is, so Hegel holds, the result of a process which involves the overcoming of a negative element.  Without such an element to overcome, the world would indeed be an inert and irrational affair.  That any rational and worthy activity entails the encounter of opposition and the removal of obstacles is an observation commonplace enough.  A preestablished harmony of foreseen happy issues—­a fool’s paradise—­is scarcely our ideal of a rational world.  Just as a game is not worth playing when its result is predetermined by the great inferiority of the opponent, so life without something negative to overcome loses its zest.  But the process of overcoming is not anything contingent; it operates according to a uniform and universal law.  And this law constitutes Hegel’s most central doctrine—­his doctrine of Evolution.

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In order to bring this doctrine into better relief, it may be well to contrast it superficially with the Darwinian theory of transformation.  In general, Hegel’s doctrine is a concept of value, Darwin’s is not.  What Darwinians mean by evolution is not an unfolding of the past, a progressive development of a hierarchy of phases, in which the later is superior and organically related to the earlier.  No sufficient criterion is provided by them for evaluating the various stages in the course of an evolutionary process.  The biologist’s world would probably have been just as rational if the famous ape-like progenitor of man had chanced to become his offspring-assuming an original environment favorable for such transformation.  Some criterion besides the mere external and accidental “struggle for existence” and “survival of the fittest” must be furnished to account for a progressive evolution.  Does the phrase “survival of the fittest” say much more than that those who happen to survive are the fittest, or that their survival proves their fitness?  But that survival itself is valuable:  that it is better to be alive than dead; that existence has a value other than itself; that what comes later in the history of the race or of the universe is an advance over what went before-that, in a word, the world is subject to an immanent development, only a comprehensive and systematic philosophy can attempt to show.

The task of Hegel’s whole philosophy consists in showing, by means of one uniform principle, that the world manifests everywhere a genuine evolution.  Unlike the participants in the biological “struggle for existence,” the struggling beings of Hegel’s universe never end in slaying, but in reconciliation.  Their very struggle gives birth to a new being which includes them, and this being is “higher” in the scale of existence, because it represents the preservation of two mutually opposed beings.  Only where conflicts are adjusted, oppositions overcome, negations removed, is there advance, in Hegel’s sense; and only where there is a passage from the positive through its challenging negative to a higher form inclusive of both is there a case of real development.

The ordinary process of learning by experience illustrates somewhat Hegel’s meaning.  An individual finds himself, for instance, in the presence of a wholly new situation that elicits an immediate, definite reaction.  In his ignorance, he chooses the wrong mode of behavior.  As a consequence, trouble ensues; feelings are hurt, pride is wounded, motives are misconstrued.  Embittered and disappointed with himself, he experiences great mental sorrow.  But he soon learns to see the situation in its true light; he condemns his deed and offers to make amends.  And after the wounds begin to heal again, the inner struggles experienced commence to assume a positive worth.  They have led him to a deeper insight into his own motives, to a better self-comprehension.  And he finally

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comes forth from the whole affair enriched and enlightened.  Now in this formal example, to which any content may be supplied, three phases can be distinguished.  First, we have the person as he meant to be in the presence of the new situation, unaware of trouble.  Then, his wrong reaction engendered a hostile element.  He was at war with himself; he was not what he meant to be.  And finally, he returned to himself richer and wiser, including within himself the negative experience as a valuable asset in the advance of his development.

This process of falling away from oneself, of facing oneself as an enemy whom one reconciles to and includes in one’s larger self, is certainly a familiar process.  It is a process just like this that develops one’s personality.  However the self may be defined metaphysically, it is for every self-conscious individual a never-ceasing battle with conflicting motives and antagonistic desires—­a never-ending cycle of endeavor, failure, and success through the very agency of failure.

A more typical instance of this rhythmic process is Hegel’s view of the evolution of religion.  Religion, in general, is based on a dualism which it seeks to overcome.  Though God is in heaven and man on earth, religion longs to bridge the gulf which separates man and God.  The religions of the Orient emphasize God’s infinity.  God is everything, man is nothing.  Like an Oriental prince, God is conceived to have despotic sway over man, his creature.  Only in contemplating God’s omnipotence and his own nothingness can man find solace and peace.  Opposed to this religion of the infinite is the finite religion of Greece.

Man in Greece stands in the centre of a beautiful cosmos which is not alien to his spirit.  The gods on high, conceived after the likeness of man, are the expression of a free people conscious of their freedom.  And the divinities worshiped, under the form of Zeus, Apollo, Aphrodite—­what are they but idealized and glorified Greeks?  Can a more complete antithesis be imagined?  But Christianity becomes possible after this struggle only, for in Christianity is contained both the principle of Oriental infinity and the element of Hellenic finitude, for in a being who is both God and man—­a God-man—­the gulf between the infinite and finite is bridged.  The Christian, like the Greek, worships man—­Jesus; but this man is one with the eternal being of the Orient.  Because it is the outcome of the Oriental and Greek opposition, the Christian religion is, in Hegel’s sense, a higher one.  Viewing the Oriental and the Hellenic religions historically in terms of the biological “struggle for existence,” the extinction of neither has resulted.  The Christian religion is the unity of these two struggling opposites; in it they are conciliated and preserved.  And this for Hegel is genuine evolution.

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That evolution demands a union of opposites seems at first paradoxical enough.  To say that Christianity is a religion of both infinity and finitude means nothing less than that it contains a contradiction.  Hegel’s view, strange as it may sound, is just this:  everything includes a contradiction in it, everything is both positive and negative, everything expresses at once its Everlasting Yea and its Everlasting No.  The negative character of the world is the very vehicle of its progress.  Life and activity mean the triumph of the positive over the negative, a triumph which results from absorbing and assimilating it.  The myth of the Phoenix typifies the life of reason “eternally preparing for itself,” as Hegel says, “a funeral pile, and consuming itself upon it; but so that from its ashes it produces the new, renovated, fresh life.”  That the power of negativity enters constitutively into the rationality of the world, nay, that the rationality of the world demands negativity in it, is Hegel’s most original contribution to thought.  His complete philosophy is the attempt to show in detail that the whole universe and everything it contains manifests the process of uniformly struggling with a negative power, and is an outcome of conflicting, but reconciled forces.  An impressionistic picture of the world’s eternal becoming through this process is furnished by the first of Hegel’s great works, the Phenomenology of Spirit.  The book is, in a sense, a cross-section of the entire spiritual world.  It depicts the necessary unfolding of typical phases of the spiritual life of mankind.  Logical categories, scientific laws, historical epochs, literary tendencies, religious processes, social, moral, and artistic institutions, all exemplify the same onward movement through a union of opposites.  There is eternal and total instability everywhere.  But this unrest and instability is of a necessary and uniform nature, according to the one eternally fixed principle which renders the universe as a whole organic and orderly.

Organic Wholeness!  This phrase contains the rationale of the restless flow and the evanescent being of the Hegelian world.  It is but from the point of view of the whole that its countless conflicts, discrepancies, and contradictions can be understood.  As the members of the body find only in the body as a whole their raison d’etre, so the manifold expressions of the world are the expressions of one organism.  A hand which is cut off, as Hegel somewhere remarks, still looks like a hand, and exists; but it is not a real hand.  Similarly any part of the world, severed from its connection with the whole, any isolated historical event, any one religious view, any particular scientific explanation, any single social body, any mere individual person, is like an amputated bodily organ.  Hegel’s view of the world as organic depends upon exhibiting the partial and abstract nature of other views.  In his Phenomenology a

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variety of interpretations of the world and of the meaning and destiny of life are scrutinized as to their adequacy and concreteness.  When not challenged, the point of view of common sense, for instance, seems concrete and natural.  The reaction of common sense to the world is direct and practical, it has few questions to ask, and philosophic speculations appear to it abstract and barren.  But, upon analysis, it is the common sense view that stands revealed as abstract and barren.  For an abstract object is one that does not fully correspond to the rich and manifold reality; it is incomplete and one-sided.

Precisely such an object is the world of common sense.  Its concreteness is ignorance.  There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of by common sense.  Its work-a-day world is not even a faint reflex of the vast and complex universe.  It sees but the immediate, the obvious, the superficial.  So instead of being concrete, it is, in truth, the very opposite.  Nor is empirical science with its predilection for “facts” better off.  Every science able to cope with a mere fragmentary aspect of the world and from a partial point of view, is forced to ignore much of the concrete content of even its own realm.  Likewise, art and religion, though in their views more synthetic and therefore more concrete, are one-sided; they seek to satisfy special needs.  Philosophy alone—­Hegelian philosophy—­is concrete.  Its aim is to interpret the world in its entirety and complexity, its ideal is to harmonize the demands of common sense, the interests of science, the appeal of art, and the longing of religion into one coherent whole.  This view of philosophy, because it deals with the universe in its fulness and variety, alone can make claim to real concreteness.  Nor are the other views false.  They form for Hegel the necessary rungs on the ladder which leads up to his own philosophic vision.  Thus the Hegelian vision is itself an organic process, including all other interpretations of life and of the world as its necessary phases.  In the immanent unfolding of the Hegelian view is epitomized the onward march and the organic unity of the World-Spirit itself.

The technical formulation of this view is contained in his Logic.  This book may indeed be said to be Hegel’s master-stroke.  Nothing less is attempted in it than the proof that the very process of reasoning manifests the same principle of evolution through a union of opposites.  Hegel was well aware, as much as recent exponents of anti-intellectualism, that through “static” concepts we transmute and falsify the “fluent” reality.  As Professor James says “The essence of life is its continuously changing character; but our concepts are all discontinuous and fixed ...  When we conceptualize we cut out and fix, and exclude everything but what we have fixed.  A concept means a that-and-no-other.”  But are our concepts static, fixed, and discontinuous?  What if the very concepts we employ in reasoning should

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exemplify the universal flow of life?  Hegel finds that indeed to be the case.  Concepts we daily use, such as quality and quantity, essence and phenomenon, appearance and reality, matter and force, cause and effect, are not fixed and isolated entities, but form a continuous system of interdependent elements.  Stated dogmatically the meaning is this:  As concavity and convexity are inseparably connected, though one is the very opposite of the other—­as one cannot, so to speak, live without the other, both being always found in union—­so can no concept be discovered that is not thus wedded to its contradiction.  Every concept develops, upon analysis, a stubbornly negative mate.  No concept is statable or definable without its opposite; one involves the other.  One cannot speak of motion without implying rest; one cannot mention the finite without at the same time referring to the infinite; one cannot define cause without explicitly defining effect.  Not only is this true, but concepts, when applied, reveal perpetual oscillation.  Take the terms “north” and “south.”  The mention of the north pole, for example, implies at once the south pole also; it can be distinguished only by contrast with the other, which it thus includes.  But it is a north pole only by excluding the south pole from itself—­by being itself and not merely what the other is not.  The situation is paradoxical enough:  Each aspect—­the negative or the positive—­of anything appears to exclude the other, while each requires its own other for its very definition and expression.  It needs the other, and yet is independent of it.  How Hegel proves this of all concepts, cannot here be shown.  The result is that no concept can be taken by itself as a “that-and-no-other.”  It is perpetually accompanied by its “other” as man is by his shadow.  The attempt to isolate any logical category and regard it as fixed and stable thus proves futile.  Each category—­to show this is the task of Hegel’s Logic—­is itself an organism, the result of a process which takes place within its inner constitution.  And all logical categories, inevitably used in describing and explaining our world, form one system of interdependent and organically related parts.  Hegel begins with an analysis of a concept that most abstractly describes reality, follows it through its countless conflicts and contradictions, and finally reaches the highest category which, including all the foregoing categories in organic unity, is alone adequate to characterize the universe as an organism.  What these categories are and what Hegel’s procedure is in showing their necessary sequential development, can here not even be hinted at.

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That the logical development of the categories of thought is the same as the historical evolution of life—­and vice versa—­establishes for Hegel the identity of thought and reality.  In the history of philosophy, the discrepancy between thought and reality has often been emphasized.  There are those who insist that reality is too vast and too deep for man with his limited vision to penetrate; others, again, who set only certain bounds to man’s understanding, reality consisting, they hold, of knowable and unknowable parts; and others still who see in the very shifts and changes of philosophic and scientific opinion the delusion of reason and the illusiveness of reality.  The history of thought certainly does present an array of conflicting views concerning the limits of human reason.  But all the contradictions and conflicts of thought prove to Hegel the sovereignty of reason.  The conflicts of reason are its own necessary processes and expressions.  Its dialectic instability is instability that is peculiar to all reality.  Both thought and reality manifest one nature and one process.  Hence reason with its “dynamic” categories can comprehend the “fluent” reality, because it is flesh of its flesh and bone of its bone.  Hegel’s bold and oft quoted words “What is rational is real; and what is real is rational,” pithily express his whole doctrine.  The nature of rationality and the nature of reality are, for Hegel, one and the same spiritual process, the organic process of triumphing over and conquering conflicts and contradictions.  Where reality conforms to this process it is rational (that which does not conform to it is not reality at all, but has, like an amputated leg, mere contingent existence); the logical formula of this process is but an abstract account of what reality is in its essence.

The equation of the real and the rational, or the discovery of one significant process underlying both life and reason, led Hegel to proclaim a new kind of logic, so well characterized by Professor Royce as the “logic of passion.”  To repeat what has been said above, this means that categories are related to one another as historical epochs, as religious processes, as social and moral institutions, nay, as human passions, wills, and deeds are related to one another.  Mutual conflict and contradiction appear as their sole constant factor amid all their variable conditions.  The introduction of contradiction into logical concepts as their sine qua non meant indeed a revolutionary departure from traditional logic.  Prior to Hegel, logical reasoning was reasoning in accordance with the law of contradiction, i. e., with the assumption that nothing can have at the same time and at the same place contradictory and inconsistent qualities or elements.  For Hegel, on the contrary, contradiction is the very moving principle of the world, the pulse of its life. Alle Dinge sind an sich selbst widersprechend, as he drastically says. 

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The deeper reason why Hegel invests contradiction with a positive value lies in the fact that, since the nature of everything involves the union of discrepant elements, nothing can bear isolation and independence.  Terms, processes, epochs, institutions, depend upon one another for their meaning, expression, and existence; it is impossible to take anything in isolation.  But this is just what one does in dealing with the world in art or in science, in religion or in business; one is always dealing with error and contradiction, because one is dealing with fragments or bits of life and experience.  Hence—­and this is Hegel’s crowning thought—­anything short of the whole universe is inevitably contradictory.  In brief, contradiction has the same sting for Hegel as it has for any one else.  Without losing its nature of “contradictoriness,” contradiction has logically this positive meaning.  Since it is an essential element of every partial, isolated, and independent view of experience and thought, one is necessarily led to transcend it and to see the universe in organic wholeness.

Thus, as Hegel puts his fundamental idea, “the truth is the whole.”  Neither things nor categories, neither histories nor religions, neither sciences nor arts, express or exhaust by themselves the whole essence of the universe.  The essence of the universe is the life of the totality of all things, not their sum.  As the life of man is not the sum of his bodily and mental functions, the whole man being present in each and all of these, so must the universe be conceived as omnipresent in each of its parts and expressions.  This is the significance of Hegel’s conception of the universe as an organism.  The World-Spirit—­Hegel’s God—­constitutes, thinks, lives, wills, and is all in unity.  The evolution of the universe is thus the evolution of God himself.

The task of philosophy, then, as Hegel conceives it, is to portray in systematic form the evolution of the World-Spirit in all its necessary ramifications.  These ramifications themselves are conceived as constituting complete wholes, such as logic, nature, mind, society, history, art, religion, philosophy, so that the universe in its onward march through these is represented as a Whole of Wholes—­ein Kreis von Kreisen.  In Hegel’s complete philosophy each of these special spheres finds its proper place and elaborate treatment.

Whether Hegel has well or ill succeeded in the task of exhibiting in each and all of these spheres the one universal movement, whether or no he was justified in reading into logic the same kind of development manifested by life, or in making life conform to one logical formula—­these and other problems should arouse an interest in Hegel’s writings.  The following selections may give some glimpse of their spirit.

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In conclusion, some bare suggestions must suffice to indicate the reason for Hegel’s great influence.  Hegel has partly, if not wholly, created the modern historical spirit.  Reality for him, as even this inadequate sketch has shown, is not static, but is essentially a process.  Thus until the history of a thing is known, the thing is not understood at all.  It is the becoming and not the being of the world that constitutes its reality.  And thus in emphasizing the fact that everything has a “past,” the insight into which alone reveals its significant meaning, Hegel has given metaphysical expression and impetus to the awakening modern historical sense.  His idea of evolution also epitomizes the spirit of the nineteenth century with its search everywhere for geneses and transformations—­in religion, philology, geology, biology.  Closely connected with the predominance of the historical in Hegel’s philosophy is its explicit critique of individualism and particularism.  According to his doctrine, the individual as individual is meaningless.  The particular—­independent and unrelated—­is an abstraction.  The isolation of anything results in contradiction.  It is only the whole that animates and gives meaning to the individual and the particular.  This idea of subordinating the individual to universal ends, as embodied particularly in Hegel’s theory of the State, has left its impress upon political, social, and economic theories of his century.  Not less significant is the glorification of reason of which Hegel’s complete philosophy is an expression.  Reason never spoke with so much self-confidence and authority as it did in Hegel.  To the clear vision of reason the universe presents no dark or mysterious corners, nay, the very negations and contradictions in it are marks of its inherent rationality.  But Hegel’s rationalism is not of the ordinary shallow kind.  Reason he himself distinguishes from understanding.  The latter is analytical, its function is to abstract, to define, to compile, to classify.  Reason, on the other hand, is synthetic, constructive, inventive.  Apart from Hegel’s special use of the term, it is this synthetic and creative and imaginative quality pervading his whole philosophy which has deepened men’s insight into history, religion, and art, and which has wielded its general influence on the philosophic and literary constellation of the nineteenth century.

* * * * *

GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL

INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY[1] (1837)

TRANSLATED BY J. SIBREE, M.A.

The subject of this course of lectures is the Philosophical History of the World.  And by this must be understood, not a collection of general observations respecting it, suggested by the study of its records and proposed to be illustrated by its facts, but universal history itself.  To gain a clear idea, at the outset, of the nature of our task, it seems necessary to begin with an examination of the other methods of treating history.  The various methods may be ranged under three heads: 

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   I. Original History. 
  II.  Reflective History. 
 III.  Philosophical History.

I. Of the first kind, the mention of one or two distinguished names will furnish a definite type.  To this category belong Herodotus, Thucydides, and other historians of the same order, whose descriptions are for the most part limited to deeds, events, and states of society, which they had before their eyes and whose spirit they shared.  They simply transferred what was passing in the world around them to the realm of re-presentative intellect; an external phenomenon was thus translated into an internal conception.  In the same way the poet operates upon the material supplied him by his emotions, projecting it into an image for the conceptive faculty.

These original historians did, it is true, find statements and narratives of other men ready to hand; one person cannot be an eye-and-ear witness of everything.  But, merely as an ingredient, they make use only of such aids as the poet does of that heritage of an already-formed language to which he owes so much; historiographers bind together the fleeting elements of story, and treasure them up for immortality in the temple of Mnemosyne.  Legends, ballad-stories, and traditions must be excluded from such original history; they are but dim and hazy forms of historical apprehension, and therefore belong to nations whose intelligence is but half awakened.  Here, on the contrary, we have to do with people fully conscious of what they were and what they were about.  The domain of reality—­actually seen, or capable of being so-affords a very different basis in point of firmness from that fugitive and shadowy element in which were engendered those legends and poetic dreams whose historical prestige vanishes as soon as nations have attained a mature individuality.

Such original historians, then, change the events, the deeds, and the states of society with which they are conversant, into an object for the conceptive faculty; the narratives they leave us cannot, therefore, be very comprehensive in their range.  Herodotus, Thucydides, Guicciardini, may be taken as fair samples of the class in this respect.  What is present and living in their environment is their proper material.  The influences that have formed the writer are identical with those which have molded the events that constitute the matter of his story.  The author’s spirit and that of the actions he narrates are one and the same.  He describes scenes in which he himself has been an actor, or at any rate an interested spectator.  It is short periods of time, individual shapes of persons and occurrences, single, unreflected traits, of which he makes his picture.  And his aim is nothing more than the presentation to posterity of an image of events as clear as that which he himself possessed in virtue of personal observation, or lifelike descriptions.  Reflections are none of his business, for he lives in the spirit of his subject; he has not attained an elevation above it.  If, as in Caesar’s case, he belongs to the exalted rank of generals or statesmen, it is the prosecution of his own aims that constitutes the history.

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Such speeches as we find in Thucydides, for example, of which we can positively assert that they are not bona fide reports, would seem to make against our statement that a historian of his class presents us no reflected picture, that persons and people appear in his works in propria persona ...  Granted that such orations as those of Pericles—­that most profoundly accomplished, genuine, noble statesman—­were elaborated by Thucydides, it must yet be maintained that they were not foreign to the character of the speaker.  In the orations in question, these men proclaim the maxims adopted by their countrymen and formative of their own character; they record their views of their political relations and of their moral and spiritual nature, and publish the principles of their designs and conduct.  What the historian puts into their mouths is no supposititious system of ideas, but an uncorrupted transcript of their intellectual and moral habitudes.

Of these historians whom we must make thoroughly our own, with whom we must linger long if we would live with their respective nations and enter deeply into their spirit—­of these historians to whose pages we may turn, not for the purposes of erudition merely, but with a view to deep and genuine enjoyment, there are fewer than might be imagined.  Herodotus, the Father, namely the Founder, of History, and Thucydides have been already mentioned.  Xenophon’s Retreat of the Ten Thousand is a work equally original.  Caesar’s Commentaries are the simple masterpiece of a mighty spirit; among the ancients these annalists were necessarily great captains and statesmen.  In the Middle Ages, if we except the bishops, who were placed in the very centre of the political world, the monks monopolize this category as naive chroniclers who were as decidedly isolated from active life as those elder annalists had been connected with it.  In modern times the relations are entirely altered.  Our culture is essentially comprehensive, and immediately changes all events into historical representations.  Belonging to the class in question, we have vivid, simple, clear narrations—­especially of military transactions—­which might fairly take their place with those of Caesar.  In richness of matter and fulness of detail as regards strategic appliances and attendant circumstances, they are even more instructive.  The French “Memoirs” also fall under this category.  In many cases these are written by men of mark, though relating to affairs of little note; they not unfrequently contain such a large amount of anecdotal matter that the ground they occupy is narrow and trivial.  Yet they are often veritable masterpieces in history, as are those of Cardinal Retz, which, in fact, trench on a larger historical field.  In Germany such masters are rare, Frederick the Great in his Histoire de mon temps being an illustrious exception.  Writers of this order must occupy an elevated position, for only from such a position is it possible to take an extensive view of affairs—­to see everything.  This is out of the question for him who from below merely gets a glimpse of the great world through a miserable cranny.

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II.  The second kind of history we may call the Reflective. It is history whose mode of representation is not really confined by the limits of the time to which it relates, but whose spirit transcends the present.  In this second order a strongly marked variety of species may be distinguished.

1.  It is the aim of the investigator to gain a view of the entire history of a people, of a country, or of the world in short, what we call universal history.  In this case the working up of the historical material is the main point.  The workman approaches his task with his own spirit—­a spirit distinct from that of the element he is to manipulate.

Here a very important consideration is the principles to which the author refers the bearing and motives of the actions and events which he describes, as well as those which determine the form of his narrative.  Among us Germans this reflective treatment and the display of ingenuity which it affords assume a manifold variety of phases.  Every writer of history proposes to himself an original method.  The English and French confess to general principles of historical composition, their viewpoint being more nearly that of cosmopolitan or national culture.  Among us, each labors to invent a purely individual point of view; instead of writing history, we are always beating our brains to discover how history ought to be written.

This first kind of Reflective history is most nearly akin to the preceding, when it has no further aim than to present the annals of a country complete.  Such compilations (among which may be mentioned the works of Livy, Diodorus Siculus, Johannes von Mueller’s History of Switzerland) are, if well performed, highly meritorious.  Among the best of the kind may be included such annalists as approach those of the first-class writers who give so vivid a transcript of events that the reader may well fancy himself listening to contemporaries and eye-witnesses.  But it often happens that the individuality of tone which must characterize a writer belonging to a different culture is not modified in accordance with the periods which such a record must traverse.  The spirit of the writer may be quite apart from that of the times of which he treats.  Thus Livy puts into the mouths of the old Roman kings, consuls, and generals, such orations as would be delivered by an accomplished advocate of the Livian era, and which strikingly contrast with the genuine traditions of Roman antiquity—­witness, for example, the fable of Menenius Agrippa.  In the same way he gives us descriptions of battles as if he had been an actual spectator; but their salient points would serve well enough for battles in any period, for their distinctness contrasts, even in his treatment of chief points of interest, with the want of connection and the inconsistency that prevail elsewhere.  The difference between such a compiler and an original historian may be best seen by comparing Polybius himself

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with the style in which Livy uses, expands, and abridges his annals in those periods of which Polybius’ account has been preserved.  Johannes von Mueller, in the endeavor to remain faithful in his portraiture to the times he describes, has given a stiff, formal, pedantic aspect to his history.  We much prefer the narratives we find in old Tschudi; all is more naive and natural than when appearing in the garb of a fictitious and affected archaism.

A history which aspires to traverse long periods of time, or to be universal, must indeed forego the attempt to give individual representations of the past as it actually existed.  It must foreshorten its pictures by abstractions, and this includes not merely the omission of events and deeds, but whatever is involved in the fact that Thought is, after all, the most trenchant epitomist.  A battle, a great victory, a siege no longer maintains its original proportions, but is put off with a mere allusion.  When Livy, for instance, tells us of the war with the Volsci, we sometimes have the brief announcement:  “This year war was carried on with the Volsci.”

2.  A second species of Reflective history is what we may call the pragmatical.  When we have to deal with the past and occupy ourselves with a remote world, a present rises into being for the mind—­produced by its own activity, as the reward of its labor.  The occurrences are, indeed, various; but the idea which pervades them-their deeper import and connection—­is one.  This takes the occurrence out of the category of the past and makes it virtually present.  Pragmatical (didactic) reflections, though in their nature decidedly abstract, are truly and indefeasibly of the present, and quicken the annals of the dead past with the life of today.  Whether, indeed, such reflections are truly interesting and enlivening depends on the writer’s own spirit.  Moral reflections must here be specially noticed—­the moral teaching expected from history; the latter has not infrequently been treated with a direct view to the former.  It may be allowed that examples of virtue elevate the soul and are applicable in the moral instruction of children for impressing excellence upon their minds.  But the destinies of people and states, their interests, relations, and the complicated tissue of their affairs, present quite another field.  Rulers, statesmen, nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history; yet what experience and history teach is this-that peoples and governments have never learned anything from history, nor have they acted on principles deduced from it.  Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone.  Amid the pressure of great events a general principle gives no help.

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It is useless to revert to similar circumstances in the past.  The pallid shades of memory struggle in vain with the life and freedom of the present.  Looked at in this light nothing can be shallower than the oft-repeated appeal to Greek and Roman examples during the French Revolution; nothing is more diverse than the genius of those nations and that of our times.  Johannes von Mueller, in his Universal History as also in his History of Switzerland, had such moral aims in view.  He designed to prepare a body of political doctrines for the instruction of princes, governments, and peoples (he formed a special collection of doctrines and reflections, frequently giving us in his correspondence the exact number of apothegms which he had compiled in a week); but he cannot assert that this part of his labor was among the best he accomplished.  It is only a thorough, liberal, comprehensive view of historical relations (such for instance, as we find in Montesquieu’s L’Esprit des Lois) that can give truth and interest to reflections of this order.  One Reflective history, therefore, supersedes another.  The materials are patent to every writer; each is prone to believe himself capable of arranging and manipulating them, and we may expect that each will insist upon his own spirit as that of the age in question.  Disgusted by such reflective histories, readers have often returned with pleasure to narratives adopting no particular point of view—­which certainly have their value, although, for the most part, they offer only material for history.  We Germans are content with such; but the French, on the other hand, display great genius in reanimating bygone times and in bringing the past to bear upon the present condition of things.

3.  The third form of Reflective history is the Critical.  This deserves mention as preeminently the mode, now current in Germany, of treating history.  It is not history itself that is here presented.  We might more properly designate it as a History of History—­a criticism of historical narratives and an investigation of their truth and credibility.  Its peculiarity, in point of fact as well as intention, consists in the acuteness with which the writer extorts from the records something which was not in the matters recorded.  The French have given us much that is profound and judicious in this class of composition, but have not endeavored to make a merely critical procedure pass for substantial history; their judgments have been duly presented in the form of critical treatises.  Among us, the so-called “higher criticism,” which reigns supreme in the domain of philology, has also taken possession of our historical literature; it has been the pretext for introducing all the anti-historical monstrosities that a vain imagination could suggest.  Here we have the other method of making the past a living reality; for historical data subjective fancies are substituted, whose merit is measured by their boldness—­that is, the scantiness of the particulars on which they are based and the peremptoriness with which they contravene the best established facts of history.

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4.  The last species of Reflective history announces its fragmentary character on its very face.  It adopts an abstract position; yet, since it takes general points of view (such, for instance, as the History of Art, of Law, of Religion), it forms a transition to the Philosophical History of the World.  In our time this form of the history of ideas has been especially developed and made prominent.  Such branches of national life stand in close relation to the entire complex of a people’s annals; and the question of chief importance in relation to our subject is, whether the connection of the whole is exhibited in its truth and reality, or is referred to merely external relations.  In the latter case, these important phenomena (art, law, religion, etc.), appear as purely accidental national peculiarities.  It must be remarked, if the position taken is a true one, that when Reflective history has advanced to the adoption of general points of view, these are found to constitute not a merely external thread, a superficial series, but are the inward guiding soul of the occurrences and actions that occupy a nation’s annals.  For, like the soul-conductor, Mercury, the Idea is, in truth, the leader of peoples and of the world; and Spirit, the rational and necessitated will of that conductor, is and has been the director of the events of the world’s history.  To become acquainted with Spirit in this, its office of guidance, is the object of our present undertaking.

III.  The third kind of history is the Philosophical.  No explanation was needed of the two previous classes; their nature was self-evident.  It is otherwise with the last, which certainly seems to require an exposition or justification.  The most general definition that can be given is, that the philosophy of history means nothing but the thoughtful consideration of it.  Thought is, indeed, essential to humanity.  It is this that distinguishes us from the brutes.  In sensation, cognition, and intellection, in our instincts and volitions, as far as they are truly human, thought is a constant element.  To insist upon thought in this connection with history may, however, appear unsatisfactory.  In this science it would seem as if thought must be subordinate to what is given, to the realities of fact—­that this is its basis and guide; while philosophy dwells in the region of self-produced ideas, without reference to actuality.  Approaching history thus prepossessed, speculation might be supposed to treat it as a mere passive material, and, so far from leaving it in its native truth, to force it into conformity with a tyrannous idea, and to construe it, as the phrase is, a priori.  But as it is the business of history simply to adopt into its records what is and has been-actual occurrences and transactions; and since it remains true to its character in proportion as it strictly adheres to its data, we seem to have in philosophy a process diametrically opposed to that of the historiographer.  This contradiction, and the charge consequently brought against speculation, shall be explained and confuted.  We do not, however, propose to correct the innumerable special misrepresentations, whether trite or novel, that are current respecting the aims, the interests, and the modes of treating history and its relation to philosophy.

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The only thought which philosophy brings with it to the contemplation of history, is the simple conception of Reason; that Reason is the sovereign of the world; that the history of the world, therefore, presents us with a rational process.  This conviction and intuition is a hypothesis in the domain of history as such; in that of philosophy it is no hypothesis.  It is there proved by speculative cognition that Reason—­and this term may here suffice us, without investigating the relation sustained by the universe to the Divine Being—­is substance, as well as Infinite Power; its own Infinite Material is that underlying all the natural and spiritual life which it originates, as also the Infinite Form—­that which sets this material in motion.  On the one hand, Reason is the substance of the universe—­viz., that by which and in which all reality has its being and subsistence.  On the other hand, it is the infinite energy of the universe; since Reason is not so powerless as to be incapable of producing anything but a mere ideal, a mere intention—­having its place outside reality, nobody knows where; something separate and abstract in the heads of certain human beings.  It is the infinite complex of things, their entire essence and truth.  It is its own material which it commits to its own active energy to work up—­not needing, as finite action does, the conditions of an external material of given means from which it may obtain its support and the objects of its activity.  It supplies its own nourishment and is the object of its own operations.  While it is exclusively its own basis of existence and absolute final aim, it is also the energizing power realizing this aim, developing it not only in the phenomena of the natural, but also of the spiritual universe—­the history of the world.  That this “Idea” or “Reason” is the true, the eternal, the absolutely powerful essence; that it reveals itself in the world, and that in that world nothing else is revealed but this and its honor and glory—­is the thesis which, as we have said, has been proved in philosophy and is here regarded as demonstrated.

In entering upon this course of lectures, I may fairly presume, at least, the existence in those of my hearers who are not acquainted with philosophy, of a belief in Reason, a desire, a thirst for acquaintance with it.  It is, in fact, the wish for rational insight, not the ambition to amass a mere heap of acquirements, that should be presupposed in every case as possessing the mind of the learner in the study of science.  If the clear idea of Reason is not already developed in our minds, in beginning the study of universal history, we should at least have the firm, unconquerable faith that Reason does exist there, and that the world of intelligence and conscious volition is not abandoned to chance, but must show itself in the light of the self-cognizant Idea.  Yet I am not obliged to make such a preliminary demand upon your faith. 

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What I have said thus provisionally, and what I shall have further to say, is, even in reference to our branch of science, not to be regarded as hypothetical, but as a summary view of the whole, the result of the investigation we are about to pursue—­a result which happens to be known to me, because I have traversed the entire field.  It is only an inference from the history of the world that its development has been a rational process, that the history in question has constituted the rational necessary course of the World-Spirit—­that Spirit whose nature is always one and the same, but which unfolds this, its one nature, in the phenomena of the world’s existence.  This must, as before stated, present itself as the ultimate result of history; but we have to take the latter as it is.  We must proceed historically—­empirically.  Among other precautions we must take care not to be misled by professed historians who (especially among the Germans, and those enjoying a considerable authority) are chargeable with the very procedure of which they accuse the philosopher—­introducing a priori inventions of their own into the records of the past.  It is, for example, a widely current fiction that there was an original primeval people, taught directly by God, endowed with perfect insight and wisdom, possessing a thorough knowledge of all natural laws and spiritual truth; that there have been such or such sacerdotal peoples; or, to mention a more specific claim, that there was a Roman Epos, from which the Roman historians derived the early annals of their city, etc....

I will mention only two phases and points of view that concern the generally diffused conviction that Reason has ruled, and is still ruling in the world, and consequently in the world’s history; because they give us, at the same time, an opportunity for more closely investigating the question that presents the greatest difficulty, and for indicating a branch of the subject which will have to be enlarged on in the sequel.

1.  One of these points is that passage in history which informs us that the Greek Anaxagoras was the first to enunciate the doctrine that [GREEK:  nous],—­Understanding in general, or Reason, governs the world.  It is not intelligence as self-conscious Reason—­not a spirit as such that is meant; and we must clearly distinguish these from each other.  The movement of the solar system takes place according to unchangeable laws.  These laws are Reason, implicit in the phenomena in question; but neither the sun nor the planets which revolve around it according to these laws can be said to have any consciousness of them.

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A thought of this kind—­that nature is an embodiment of Reason, that is, unchangeably subordinate to universal laws—­appears nowise striking or strange to us.  We are accustomed to such conceptions and find nothing extraordinary in them; and I have mentioned this extraordinary occurrence partly to show how history teaches that ideas of this kind, which may seem trivial to us, have not always been in the world; that, on the contrary, such a thought makes an epoch in the annals of human intelligence.  Aristotle says of Anaxagoras, as the originator of the thought in question, that he appeared as a sober man among the drunken.  Socrates adopted the doctrine from Anaxagoras, and it forthwith became the ruling idea in philosophy—­except in the school of Epicurus, who ascribed all events to chance.  “I was delighted with the sentiment,” Plato makes Socrates say, “and hoped I had found a teacher who would show me Nature in harmony with Reason, who would demonstrate in each particular phenomenon its specific aim, and, in the whole, the grand object of the universe.  I would not have surrendered this hope for a great deal.  But how very much was I disappointed, when, having zealously applied myself to the writings of Anaxagoras, I found that he adduces only external causes, such as atmosphere, ether, water, and the like.”  It is evident that the defect which Socrates complains of respecting Anaxagoras’ doctrine does not concern the principle itself, but the shortcoming of the propounder in applying it to nature in the concrete.  Nature is not deduced from that principle; the latter remains, in fact, a mere abstraction, inasmuch as the former is not comprehended and exhibited as a development of it—­an organization produced by and from Reason.  I wish, at the very outset, to call your attention to the important difference between a conception, a principle, a truth limited to an abstract form, and its determinate application and concrete development.  This distinction affects the whole fabric of philosophy; and among other bearings of it there is one to which we shall have to revert at the close of our view of universal history, in investigating the aspect of political affairs in the most recent period.

We have next to notice the rise of this idea that Reason directs the world, in connection with a further application of it well known to us—­in the form, viz., of the religious truth that the world is not abandoned to chance and external contingent causes, but that a Providence controls it.  I stated above that I would not make a demand on your faith in regard to the principle announced.  Yet I might appeal to your belief in it, in this religious aspect, if as a general rule, the nature of philosophical science allowed it to attach authority to presuppositions.  To put it in another shape—­this appeal is forbidden, because the science of which we have to treat proposes itself to furnish the proof, not indeed of the abstract truth of the doctrine, but of its

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correctness as compared with facts.  The truth, then, that a Providence (that of God) presides over the events of the world consorts with the proposition in question; for Divine Providence is wisdom, endowed with an infinite power, which realizes its aim, viz., the absolute rational design of the world.  Reason is thought conditioning itself with perfect freedom.  But a difference—­rather a contradiction—­will manifest itself between this belief and our principle, just as was the case in reference to the demand made by Socrates in the case of Anaxagoras’ dictum.  For that belief is similarly indefinite; it is what is called a belief in a general providence, and is not followed out into definite application, or displayed in its bearing on the grand total—­the entire course of human history.  But to explain history is to depict the passions of mankind, the genius, the active powers, that play their part on the great stage; and the providentially determined process which these exhibit constitutes what is generally called the “plan” of Providence.  Yet it is this very plan which is supposed to be concealed from our view, which it is deemed presumption even to wish to recognize.  The ignorance of Anaxagoras as to how intelligence reveals itself in actual existence was ingenuous.  Neither in his consciousness, nor in that of Greece at large, had that thought been further expanded.  He had not attained the power to apply his general principle to the concrete, so as to deduce the latter from the former; it was Socrates who took the first step in comprehending the union of the concrete with the universal.  Anaxagoras, then, did not take up a hostile position toward such an application; the common belief in Providence does; at least it opposes the use of the principle on a large scale, and denies the possibility of discerning the plan of Providence.  In isolated cases this plan is supposed to be manifest.  Pious persons are encouraged to recognize in particular circumstances something more than mere chance, to acknowledge the guiding hand of God; for instance, when help has unexpectedly come to an individual in great perplexity and need.  But these instances of providential design are of a limited kind, and concern the accomplishment of nothing more than the desires of the individual in question.  But in the history of the world, the individuals we have to do with are peoples, totalities that are States.  We cannot, therefore, be satisfied with what we may call this “peddling” view of Providence, to which the belief alluded to limits itself.  Equally unsatisfactory is the merely abstract, undefined belief in a Providence, when that belief is not brought to bear upon the details of the process which it conducts.  On the contrary our earnest endeavor must be directed to the recognition of the ways of Providence, the means it uses, and the historical phenomena in which it manifests itself; and we must show their connection with the general principle above mentioned.  But in noticing the

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recognition of the plan of Divine Providence generally, I have implicitly touched upon a prominent question of the day, viz., that of the possibility of knowing God; or rather—­since public opinion has ceased to allow it to be a matter of question—­the doctrine that it is impossible to know God.  In direct contravention of what is commanded in holy Scripture as the highest duty—­that we should not merely love, but know God—­the prevalent dogma involves the denial of what is there said—­namely, that it is the Spirit, der Geist, that leads into truth, knows all things, penetrates even into the deep things of the Godhead.  While the Divine Being is thus placed beyond our knowledge and outside the limit of all human things, we have the convenient license of wandering as far as we list, in the direction of our own fancies.  We are freed from the obligation to refer our knowledge to the Divine and True.  On the other hand, the vanity and egoism which characterize our knowledge find, in this false position, ample justification; and the pious modesty which puts far from itself the knowledge of God can well estimate how much furtherance thereby accrues to its own wayward and vain strivings.  I have been unwilling to leave out of sight the connection between our thesis—­that Reason governs and has governed the world—­and the question of the possibility of a knowledge of God, chiefly that I might not lose the opportunity of mentioning the imputation against philosophy of being shy of noticing religious truths, or of having occasion to be so; in which is insinuated the suspicion that it has anything but a clear conscience in the presence of these truths.  So far from this being the case, the fact is that in recent times philosophy has been obliged to defend the domain of religion against the attacks of several theological systems.  In the Christian religion God has revealed Himself—­that is, He has given us to understand what He is, with the result that He is no longer a concealed or secret existence.  And this possibility of knowing Him, thus afforded us, renders such knowledge a duty.  God wishes for His children no narrow-hearted souls or empty heads, but those whose spirit is of itself indeed, poor, but rich in the knowledge of Him, and who regard this knowledge of God as the only valuable possession.  That development of the thinking spirit, which has resulted from the revelation of the Divine Being as its original basis, must ultimately advance to the intellectual comprehension of what was presented, in the first instance, to feeling and imagination.  The time must eventually come for understanding that rich product of active Reason which the history of the world offers to us.  It was for a while the fashion to profess admiration for the wisdom of God, as displayed in animals, plants, and isolated occurrences.  But if it be allowed that Providence manifests itself in such objects and forms of existence, why not also in universal history? 

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This is deemed too great a matter to be thus regarded.  But divine wisdom, i. e., Reason, is one and the same in the great as in the little; and we must not imagine God to be too weak to exercise his wisdom on the grand scale.  Our intellectual striving aims at realizing the conviction that what was intended by eternal wisdom is actually accomplished in the domain of existent, active Spirit, as well as in that of mere Nature.  Our mode of treating the subject is, in this aspect, a Theodicaea—­a justification of the ways of God—­which Leibnitz attempted metaphysically in his method, i. e., in indefinite abstract categories—­so that the ill that is found in the world may be comprehended, and the thinking Spirit reconciled with the fact of the existence of evil.  Indeed, nowhere is such a harmonizing view more pressingly demanded than in universal history; and it can be attained only by recognizing the positive existence, in which that negative element is a subordinate and vanquished nullity.  On the one hand, the ultimate design of the world must be perceived, and, on the other, the fact that this design has been actually realized in it, and that evil has not been able permanently to establish a rival position.  But this conviction involves much more than the mere belief in a superintending [GREEK:  nous] or in “Providence.”  “Reason,” whose sovereignty over the world has been maintained, is as indefinite a term as “Providence,” supposing the term to be used by those who are unable to characterize it distinctly, to show wherein it consists, so as to enable us to decide whether a thing is rational or irrational.  An adequate definition of Reason is the first desideratum; and whatever boast may be made of strict adherence to it in explaining phenomena, without such a definition we get no farther than mere words.  With these observations we may proceed to the second point of view that has to be considered in this Introduction.

2.  The inquiry into the essential destiny of Reason, as far as it is considered in reference to the world, is identical with the question What is the ultimate design of the world? And the expression implies that that design is destined to be realized.  Two points of consideration suggest themselves:  first, the import of this design—­its abstract definition; secondly, its realization.

It must be observed at the outset that the phenomenon we investigate—­universal history—­belongs to the realm of “spirit.”  The term “World” includes both physical and psychical nature.  Physical nature also plays its part in the world’s history, and attention will have to be paid to the fundamental natural relations thus involved.  But Spirit, and the course of its development, is our substantial object.  Our task does not require us to contemplate nature as a rational system in itself—­though in its own proper domain it proves itself such-but simply in its relation to Spirit.  On the stage on which we are observing it—­universal history—­Spirit displays itself in its most concrete reality.  Notwithstanding this (or rather for the very purpose of comprehending the general principles which this, its form of concrete reality, embodies) we must premise some abstract characteristics of the nature of Spirit.

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We have therefore to mention here

  (1) The abstract characteristics of the nature of
  Spirit.

  (2) What means Spirit uses in order to realize its
  Idea.

  (3) Lastly, we must consider the shape which the
  perfect embodiment of Spirit assumes—­the
  State.

(1) The nature of Spirit may be understood by a glance at its direct opposite—­Matter.  As the essence of Matter is gravity, so, on the other hand, we may affirm that the substance, the essence of Spirit is freedom.  All will readily assent to the doctrine that Spirit, among other properties, is also endowed with freedom; but philosophy teaches that all the qualities of Spirit exist only through freedom; that all are but means for attaining freedom; that all seek and produce this and this alone.  It is a result of speculative philosophy that freedom is the sole truth of Spirit.  Matter possesses gravity in virtue of its tendency toward a central point.  It is essentially composite, consisting of parts that exclude one another.  It seeks its unity; and therefore exhibits itself as self-destructive, as verging toward its opposite—­an indivisible point.  If it could attain this, it would be Matter no longer; it would have perished.  It strives after the realization of its Idea; for in unity it exists ideally.  Spirit, on the contrary, may be defined as that which has its centre in itself.  It has not a unity outside itself, but has already found it; it exists in and with itself.  Matter has its essence out of itself; Spirit is self-contained existence (Bei-sich-selbst-seyn).  Now this is freedom, exactly.  For if I am dependent, my being is referred to something else which I am not; I cannot exist independently of something external.  I am free, on the contrary, when my existence depends upon myself.  This self-contained existence of Spirit is none other than self-consciousness-consciousness of one’s own being.  Two things must be distinguished in consciousness; first, the fact that I know; secondly, what I know.  In self-consciousness these are merged in one; for Spirit knows itself.  It involves an appreciation of its own nature, as also an energy enabling it to realize itself; to make itself actually what it is potentially.  According to this abstract definition it may be said of universal history that it is the exhibition of Spirit in the process of working out the knowledge of that which it is potentially.  And as the germ bears in itself the whole nature of the tree and the taste and form of its fruits, so do the first traces of Spirit virtually contain the whole of that history.  The Orientals have not attained the knowledge that Spirit—­Man as such—­is free; and because they do not know this, they are not free.  They only know that one is free; but on this very account, the freedom of that one is only caprice; ferocity—­brutal recklessness of passion, or a mildness and tameness of the desires,

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which is itself only an accident of nature—­is mere caprice like the former.  That one is therefore only a despot, not a free man.  The consciousness of freedom first arose among the Greeks, and therefore they were free; but they, and the Romans likewise, knew only that some are free, not man as such.  Even Plato and Aristotle did not know this.  The Greeks, therefore, had slaves, and their whole life and the maintenance of their splendid liberty was implicated with the institution of slavery—­a fact, moreover, which made that liberty, on the one hand, only an accidental, transient and limited growth, and on the other, a rigorous thraldom of our common nature—­of the Human.  The Germanic nations, under the influence of Christianity, were the first to attain the consciousness that man is free; that it is the freedom of Spirit which constitutes its essence.  This consciousness arose first in religion, the inmost region of Spirit; but to introduce the principle into the various relations of the actual world involves a more extensive problem than its simple implantation—­a problem whose solution and application require a severe and lengthened process of culture.  In proof of this we may note that slavery did not cease immediately on the reception of Christianity.  Still less did liberty predominate in States; or governments and constitutions adopt a rational organization, or recognize freedom as their basis.  That application of the principle to political relations, the thorough molding and interpenetration of the constitution of society by it, is a process identical with history itself.  I have already directed attention to the distinction here involved, between a principle as such and its application—­that is, its introduction and fulfilment in the actual phenomena of Spirit and life.  This is a point of fundamental importance in our science, and one which must be constantly respected as essential.  And in the same way as this distinction has attracted attention in view of the Christian principle of self-consciousness—­freedom, it also shows itself as an essential one in view of the principle of freedom generally.  The history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom—­progress whose development, according to the necessity of its nature, it is our business to investigate.

The general statement given above of the various grades in the consciousness of freedom-which we applied in the first instance to the fact that the Eastern nations knew only that one is free, the Greek and Roman world only that some are free, while we know that all men absolutely (man as man) are free—­supplies us with the natural division of universal history, and suggests the mode of its discussion.  This is remarked, however, only incidentally and anticipatively; some other ideas must be first explained.

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The destiny of the spiritual world, and—­since this is the substantial world, while the physical remains subordinate to it, or, in the language of speculation, has no truth as against the spiritual—­the final cause of the world at large we allege to be the consciousness of its own freedom on the part of Spirit, and, ipso facto, the reality of that freedom.  But that this term “freedom” is, without further qualification, an indefinite, incalculable, ambiguous term, and that, while what it represents is the ne plus ultra of attainment, it is liable to an infinity of misunderstandings, confusions, and errors, and to become the occasion for all imaginable excesses—­has never been more clearly known and felt than in modern times.  Yet, for the present, we must content ourselves with the term itself without further definition.  Attention was also directed to the importance of the infinite difference between a principle in the abstract and its realization in the concrete.  In the process before us the essential nature of freedom—­which involves absolute necessity—­is to be displayed as coming to a consciousness of itself (for it is in its very nature, self-consciousness) and thereby realizing its existence.  Itself is its own object of attainment and the sole aim of Spirit.  This result it is at which the process of the world’s history has been continually aiming, and to which the sacrifices that have ever and anon been laid on the vast altar of the earth, through the long lapse of ages, have been offered.  This is the only aim that sees itself realized and fulfilled, the only pole of repose amid the ceaseless change of events and conditions, and the sole efficient principle that pervades them.  This final aim is God’s purpose with the world; but God is the absolutely perfect Being, and can, therefore, will nothing other than Himself—­His own will.  The nature of His will—­that is His nature itself—­is what we here call the idea of freedom, translating the language of religion into that of thought.  The question, then, which we may next put, is What means does this principle of freedom use for its realization?  This is the second point we have to consider.

(2) The question of the means by which freedom develops itself to a world conducts us to the phenomenon of history itself.  Although freedom is, primarily, an undeveloped idea, the means it uses are external and phenomenal, presenting themselves in history to our sensuous vision.  The first glance at history convinces us that the actions of men proceed from their needs, their passions, when the occasion seems to call for it—­is that what we call principle, aim, destiny, or the nature and idea of Spirit, is something merely general and abstract.  Principle—­Plan of Existence—­Law—­is a hidden, undeveloped essence which, as such—­however true in itself—­is not completely real.  Aims, principles, etc., have a place in our thoughts, in our subjective design only, but not as yet in the

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sphere of reality.  That which exists for itself only is a possibility, a potentiality, but it has not emerged into existence.  A second element must be introduced in order to produce actuality—­viz., actuation, realization; and its motive power is the will—­the activity of man in the widest sense.  It is only by this activity that that Idea, as well as abstract characteristics generally, are realized, actualized; for of themselves they are powerless.  The motive power that puts them in operation and gives them determinate existence, is the need, instinct, inclination, and passion of man.  That some conception of mine should be developed into act and existence, is my earnest desire; I wish to assert my personality in connection with it; I wish to be satisfied by its execution.  If I am to exert myself for any object, it must in some way or other be my object.  In the accomplishment of such or such designs I must at the same time find my satisfaction; although the purpose for which I exert myself includes a complication of results, many of which have no interest for me.  This is the absolute right of personal existence—­to find itself satisfied in its activity and labor.  If men are to interest themselves for anything, they must, so to speak, have part of their existence involved in it and find their individuality gratified by its attainment.  Here a mistake must be avoided.  We intend blame, and justly impute it as a fault, when we say of an individual that he is “interested” (in taking part in such or such transactions)—­that is, seeks only his private advantage.  In reprehending this we find fault with him for furthering his personal aims without any regard to a more comprehensive design, of which he takes advantage to promote his own interest or which, with this view, he even sacrifices.  But he who is active in promoting an object is not simply “interested,” but interested in that object itself.  Language faithfully expresses this distinction.  Nothing therefore happens, nothing is accomplished, unless the individuals concerned seek their own satisfaction in the issue.  They are particular units of society—­that is, they have special needs, instincts, and interests generally, peculiar to themselves.  Among these needs are not only such as we usually call necessities—­the stimuli of individual desire and volition—­but also those connected with individual views and convictions; or—­to use a term expressing less decision—­leanings of opinion, supposing the impulses of reflection, understanding, and reason, to have been awakened.  In these cases people demand, if they are to exert themselves in any direction, that the object should commend itself to them, that, in point of opinion-whether as to its goodness, justice, advantage, profit they should be able to “enter into it” (dabei sein).  This is a consideration of special importance in our age, when people are less than formerly influenced by reliance on others, and by authority; when, on the contrary, they devote their activities to a cause on the ground of their own understanding, their independent conviction and opinion.

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We assert then that nothing has been accomplished without interest on the part of the actors; and—­if interest be called passion, inasmuch as the whole individuality, to the neglect of all other actual or possible interests and claims, is devoted to an object with every fibre of volition, concentrating all its desires and powers upon it—­we may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.  Two elements, therefore, enter into the object of our investigation—­the first the Idea, the second the complex of human passions; the one the warp, the other the woof of the vast arras-web of universal history.  The concrete mean and union of the two is liberty, under the conditions of morality in a State.  We have spoken of the idea of freedom as the nature of Spirit, and the absolute goal of history.  Passion is regarded as a thing of sinister aspect, as more or less immoral.  Man is required to have no passions.  Passion, it is true, is not quite the suitable word for what I wish to express.  I mean here nothing more than human activity as resulting from private interests, special, or if you will, self-seeking designs—­with this qualification, that the whole energy of will and character is devoted to their attainment, and that other interests (which would in themselves constitute attractive aims), or, rather, all things else, are sacrificed to them.  The object in question is so bound up with the man’s will that it entirely and alone determines the “hue of resolution” and is inseparable from it; it has become the very essence of his volition.  For a person is a specific existence—­not man in general (a term to which no real existence corresponds); but a particular human being.  The term “character” likewise expresses this idiosyncrasy of will and intelligence.  But character comprehends all peculiarities whatever, the way in which a person conducts himself in private relations, etc., and is not limited to his idiosyncrasy in its practical and active phase.  I shall, therefore, use the term “passion,” understanding thereby the particular bent of character, as far as the peculiarities of volition are not limited to private interest but supply the impelling and actuating force for accomplishing deeds shared in by the community at large.  Passion is, in the first instance, the subjective and therefore the formal side of energy, will, and activity—­leaving the object or aim still undetermined.  And there is a similar relation of formality to reality in merely individual conviction, individual views, individual conscience.  It is always a question of essential importance—­what is the purport of my conviction, what the object of my passion—­in deciding whether the one or the other is of a true and substantial nature.  Conversely, if it is so, it will inevitably attain actual existence—­be realized.

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From this comment on the second essential element in the historical embodiment of an aim, we infer—­glancing at the institution of the State in passing—­that a State is well constituted and internally powerful when the private interest of its citizens is one with the common interest of the State, when the one finds its gratification and realization in the other—­a proposition in itself very important.  But in a State many institutions must be adopted, and much political machinery invented, accompanied by appropriate political arrangements—­necessitating long struggles of the understanding before what is really appropriate can be discovered—­involving, moreover, contentions with private interest and passions and a tedious discipline of the latter in order to bring about the desired harmony.  The epoch when a State attains this harmonious condition marks the period of its bloom, its virtue, its vigor, and its prosperity.  But the history of mankind does not begin with a conscious aim of any kind, as is the case with the particular circles into which men form themselves of set purpose.  The mere social instinct implies a conscious purpose of security for life and property; and when society has been constituted this purpose becomes more comprehensive.  The history of the world begins with its general aim—­the realization of the idea of Spirit—­only in an implicit form (an sich), that is, as nature—­a hidden, most profoundly hidden, unconscious instinct; and the whole process of history (as already observed) is directed to rendering this unconscious impulse a conscious one.  Thus appearing in the form of merely natural existence, natural will—­that which has been called the subjective side—­physical craving, instinct, passion, private interest, as also opinion and subjective conception, spontaneously present themselves at the very commencement.  This vast congeries of volitions, interests, and activities, constitute the instruments and means of the World-Spirit for attaining its object, bringing it to consciousness and realizing it.  And this aim is none other than finding itself—­coming to itself—­and contemplating itself in concrete actuality.  But that those manifestations of vitality on the part of individuals and peoples, in which they seek and satisfy their own purposes, are, at the same time, the means and instruments of a higher and broader purpose of which they know nothing-which they realize unconsciously might be made a matter of question-rather has been questioned, and, in every variety of form, negatived, decried, and contemned as mere dreaming and “philosophy.”  But on this point I announced my view at the very outset and asserted our hypothesis—­which, however, will appear in the sequel in the form of a legitimate inference—­and our belief that Reason governs the world and has consequently governed its history.  In relation to this independently universal and substantial existence all else is subordinate, subservient to it, and the means for its development. 

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The union of universal abstract existence generally with the individual—­the subjective—­that this alone is truth belongs to the department of speculation and is treated in this general form in logic.  But in the process of the world’s history itself—­as still incomplete—­the abstract final aim of history is not yet made the distinct object of desire and interest.  While these limited sentiments are still unconscious of the purpose they are fulfilling, the universal principle is implicit in them and is realizing itself through them.  The question also assumes the form of the union of freedom and necessity, the latent abstract process of Spirit being regarded as necessity, while that which exhibits itself in the conscious will of men, as their interest, belongs to the domain of freedom.  As the metaphysical connection (i. e., the connection in the Idea) of these forms of thought, belongs to logic, it would be out of place to analyze it here.  The chief and cardinal points only shall be mentioned.

Philosophy shows that the Idea advances to an infinite antithesis—­that, namely, between the Idea in its free, universal form, in which it exists for itself, and the contrasted form of abstract introversion, reflection on itself, which is formal existence-for-self, personality, formal freedom, such as belongs to Spirit only.  The universal Idea exists thus as the substantial totality of things on the one side, and as the abstract essence of free volition on the other.  This reflection of the mind on itself is individual self-consciousness—­the polar-opposite of the Idea in its general form and therefore existing in absolute limitation.  This polar-opposite is consequently limitation, particularization for the universal absolute being; it is the side of the definite existence, the sphere of its formal reality, the sphere of the reverence paid to God.  To comprehend the absolute connection of this antithesis is the profound task of metaphysics.  This limitation originates all forms of particularity of whatever kind.  The formal volition (of which we have spoken) wills itself and desires to make its own personality valid in all that it purposes and does; even the pious individual wishes to be saved and happy.  This pole of the antithesis, existing for itself, is—­in contrast with the Absolute Universal Being—­a special separate existence, taking cognizance of speciality only and willing that alone.  In short, it plays its part in the region of mere phenomena.  This is the sphere of particular purposes, in effecting which individuals exert themselves on behalf of their individuality—­give it full play and objective realization.  This is also the sphere of happiness and its opposite.  He is happy who finds his condition suited to his special character, will, and fancy, and so enjoys himself in that condition.  The history of the world is not the theatre of happiness.  Periods of happiness are blank pages in it, for they are periods of harmony—­periods when the

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antithesis is in abeyance.  Reflection of self—­the freedom above described—­is abstractly defined as the formal element of the activity of the absolute Idea.  The realizing activity of which we have spoken is the middle term of the syllogism, one of whose extremes is the universal essence, the Idea, which reposes in the penetralia of Spirit; and the other, the complex of external things—­objective matter.  That activity is the medium by which the universal latent principle is translated into the domain of objectivity.

I will endeavor to make what has been said more vivid and clear by examples.  The building of a house is, in the first instance, a subjective aim and design.  On the other hand we have, as means, the several substances required for the work—­iron, wood, stones.  The elements are made use of in working up this material—­fire to melt the iron, wind to blow the fire, water to set the wheels in motion in order to cut the wood, etc.  The result is that the wind, which has helped to build the house, is shut out by the house; so also are the violence of rains and floods and the destructive powers of fire, so far as the house is made fire-proof.  The stones and beams obey the law of gravity—­press downward—­and so high walls are carried up.  Thus the elements are made use of in accordance with their nature, and yet are made to cooeperate for a product by which their operation is limited.  It is thus that the passions of men are gratified; they develop themselves and their aims in accordance with their natural tendencies and build up the edifice of human society, thus fortifying a position for Right and Order against themselves.

The connection of events above indicated involves also the fact that, in history, an additional result is commonly produced by human actions beyond what they aim at and obtain what they immediately recognize and desire.  They gratify their own interest; but something further is thereby accomplished, latent in the actions in question, though not present to their consciousness and not included in their design.  An analogous example is offered in the case of a man who, from a feeling of revenge—­perhaps not an unjust one, but produced by injury on the other’s part—­burns that other man’s house.  A connection is immediately established between the deed itself, taken abstractly, and a train of circumstances not directly included in it.  In itself it consisted in merely bringing a small flame into contact with a small portion of a beam.  Events not involved in that simple act follow of themselves.  The part of the beam which was set afire is connected with its remote portions, the beam itself is united with the woodwork of the house generally, and this with other houses, so that a wide conflagration ensues which destroys the goods and chattels of many other persons besides those belonging to the person against whom the act of revenge was first directed, perhaps even costs not a few men their lives.  This lay

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neither in the deed intrinsically nor in the design of the man who committed it.  But the action has a further general bearing.  In the design of the doer it was only revenge executed against an individual in the destruction of his property, but it is, moreover, a crime, and that involves punishment also.  This may not have been present to the mind of the perpetrator, still less in his intention; but his deed itself, the general principles it calls into play, its substantial content, entail it.  By this example I wish only to impress on you the consideration that, in a simple act, something further may be implicated than lies in the intention and consciousness of the agent.  The example before us involves, however, the additional consideration that the substance of the act, consequently, we may say, the act itself, recoils upon the perpetrator—­reacts upon him with destructive tendency.  This union of the two extremes—­the embodiment of a general idea in the form of direct reality and the elevation of a speciality into connection with universal truth—­is brought to pass, at first sight, under the conditions of an utter diversity of nature between the two and an indifference of the one extreme toward the other.  The aims which the agents set before them are limited and special; but it must be remarked that the agents themselves are intelligent thinking beings.  The purport of their desires is interwoven with general, essential considerations of justice, good, duty, etc.; for mere desire—­volition in its rough and savage forms—­falls not within the scene and sphere of universal history.  Those general considerations, which form at the same time a norm for directing aims and actions, have a determinate purport; for such an abstraction as “good for its own sake,” has no place in living reality.  If men are to act they must not only intend the Good, but must have decided for themselves whether this or that particular thing is a good.  What special course of action, however, is good or not, is determined, as regards the ordinary contingencies of private life, by the laws and customs of a State; and here no great difficulty is presented.  Each individual has his position; he knows, on the whole, what a just, honorable course of conduct is.  As to ordinary, private relations, the assertion that it is difficult to choose the right and good—­the regarding it as the mark of an exalted morality to find difficulties and raise scruples on that score—­may be set down to an evil or perverse will, which seeks to evade duties not in themselves of a perplexing nature, or, at any rate, to an idly reflective habit of mind—­where a feeble will affords no sufficient exercise to the faculties—­leaving them therefore to find occupation within themselves and to expand themselves on moral self-adulation.

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It is quite otherwise with the comprehensive relations with which history has to do.  In this sphere are presented those momentous collisions between existing, acknowledged duties, laws, and rights, and those contingencies which are adverse to this fixed system, which assail and even destroy its foundations and existence, and whose tenor may nevertheless seem good—­on the large scale, advantageous—­yes, even indispensable and necessary.  These contingencies realize themselves in history; they involve a general principle of a different order from that on which depends the permanence of a people or a State.  This principle is an essential phase in the development of the creating Idea, of Truth striving and urging toward (consciousness of) itself.  Historical men—­world-famous individuals—­are those in whose aims such a general principle lies.

Caesar, in danger of losing a position—­not perhaps at that time of superiority, yet at least of equality with the others who were at the head of the State, and of succumbing to those who were just on the point of becoming his enemies—­belongs essentially to this category.  These enemies—­who were at the same time pursuing their own personal aims—­had on their side the form of the constitution, and the power conferred by an appearance of justice.  Caesar was contending for the maintenance of his position, honor, and safety; and, since the power of his opponents included the sovereignty over the provinces of the Roman Empire, his victory secured for him the conquest of that entire Empire; and he thus became—­though leaving the form of the constitution—­the autocrat of the State.  What secured for him the execution of a design, which in the first instance was of negative import—­the autocracy of Rome—­was, however, at the same time an independently necessary feature in the history of Rome and of the world.  It was not, then, his private gain merely, but an unconscious impulse that occasioned the accomplishment of that for which the time was ripe.  Such are all great historical men, whose own particular aims involve those large issues which are the will of the World-Spirit.  They may be called heroes, inasmuch as they have derived their purposes and their vocation, not from the calm, regular course of things, sanctioned by the existing order, but from a concealed fount—­one which has not attained to phenomenal, present existence—­from that inner Spirit, still hidden beneath the surface, which, impinging on the outer world as on a shell, bursts it in pieces, because it is another kernel than that which belonged to the shell in question.  They are men, therefore, who appear to draw the impulse of their life from themselves, and whose deeds have produced a condition of things and a complex of historical relations which appear to be only their own interest and their own work.

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Such individuals had no consciousness of the general Idea they were unfolding, while prosecuting their aims; on the contrary, they were practical, political men.  But, at the same time, they were thinking men, who had an insight into the requirements of the time—­what was ripe for development.  This was the very truth for their age, for their world—­the species next in order, so to speak, and which was already formed in the womb of time.  It was theirs to know this nascent principle, the necessary, directly sequent step in progress, which their world was to take, to make this their aim, and to expend their energy in promoting it.  World-historical men—­the heroes of an epoch—­must, therefore, be recognized as its clear-sighted ones; their deeds, their words are the best of that time.  Great men have formed purposes to satisfy themselves, not others.  Whatever prudent designs and counsels they might have learned from others would be the more limited and inconsistent features in their career; for it was they who best understood affairs, from whom others learned, and approved, or at least acquiesced in, their policy.  For that Spirit which had taken this fresh step in history is the inmost soul of all individuals, but in a state of unconsciousness which the great men in question aroused.  Their fellows, therefore, follow these soul-leaders; for they feel the irresistible power of their own inner Spirit thus embodied.  If we go on to cast a look at the fate of these world-historical persons, whose vocation it was to be the agents of the World-Spirit, we shall find it to have been no happy one.  They attained no calm enjoyment; their whole life was labor and trouble; their whole nature was naught else but their master-passion.  When their object is attained they fall off like empty husks from the kernel.  They die early, like Alexander; they are murdered, like Caesar; transported to St. Helena, like Napoleon.  This fearful consolation—­that historical men have not enjoyed what is called happiness, and of which only private life (and this may be passed under various external circumstances) is capable—­this consolation those may draw from history who stand in need of it; and it is craved by envy, vexed at what is great and transcendent, striving, therefore, to depreciate it and to find some flaw in it.  Thus in modern times it has been demonstrated ad nauseam that princes are generally unhappy on their thrones; in consideration of which the possession of a throne is tolerated, and men acquiesce in the fact that not themselves but the personages in question are its occupants.  The free man, we may observe, is not envious, but gladly recognizes what is great and exalted, and rejoices that it exists.

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It is in the light of those common elements which constitute the interest and therefore the passions of individuals that these historical men are to be regarded.  They are great men, because they willed and accomplished something great—­not a mere fancy, a mere intention, but whatever met the case and fell in with the needs of the age.  This mode of considering them also excludes the so-called “psychological” view, which, serving the purpose of envy most effectually, contrives so to refer all actions to the heart, to bring them under such a subjective aspect, that their authors appear to have done everything under the impulse of some passion, mean or grand, some morbid craving, and, on account of these passions and cravings, to have been immoral men.  Alexander of Macedon partly subdued Greece, and then Asia; therefore he was possessed by a morbid craving for conquest.  He is alleged to have acted from a craving for fame, for conquest; and the proof that these were the impelling motives is that he did what resulted in fame.  What pedagogue has not demonstrated of Alexander the Great, of Julius Caesar, that they were instigated by such passions, and were consequently immoral men?  From this the conclusion immediately follows that he, the pedagogue, is a better man than they, because he has not such passions—­a proof of which lies in the fact that he does not conquer Asia, or vanquish Darius and Porus, but, while he enjoys life himself, lets others enjoy it too.  These psychologists are particularly fond of contemplating those peculiarities of great historical figures which appertain to them as private persons.  Man must eat and drink; he sustains relations to friends and acquaintances; he has passing impulses and ebullitions of temper.  “No man is a hero to his valet-de-chambre,” is a well-known proverb; I have added—­and Goethe repeated it ten years later—­“but not because the former is no hero, but because the latter is a valet.”  He takes off the hero’s boots, assists him to bed, knows that he prefers champagne, etc.  Historical personages waited upon in historical literature by such psychological valets come poorly off; they are brought down by these their attendants to a level with, or, rather, a few degrees below the level of, the morality of such exquisite discerners of spirits.  The Thersites of Homer who abuses the kings is a standing figure for all times.  Blows—­that is, beating with a solid cudgel—­he does not get in every age, as in the Homeric one; but his envy, his egotism, is the thorn which he has to carry in his flesh; and the undying worm that gnaws him is the tormenting consideration that his excellent views and vituperations remain absolutely without result in the world.  But our satisfaction at the fate of Thersitism also, may have its sinister side.

A world-famous individual is not so unwise as to indulge a variety of wishes to divide his regards.  He is devoted to the one aim, regardless of all else.  It is even possible that such men may treat other great, even sacred interests, inconsiderately—­conduct which is deserving of moral reprehension.  But so mighty a form must trample down many innocent flowers and crush to pieces many an object in its path.

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The special interest of passion is thus inseparable from the active development of a general principle; for it is from the special and determinate, and from its negation, that the universal results.  Particularity contends with its like, and some loss is involved in the issue.  It is not the general idea that is implicated in opposition and combat, and that is exposed to danger.  It remains in the background, untouched and uninjured.  This may be called the cunning of reason—­that it sets the passions to work for itself, while that which develops its existence through such impulsion pays the penalty and suffers loss.  For it is phenomenal being that is so treated, and, of this, a portion is of no value, another is positive and real.  The particular is, for the most part, of too trifling value as compared with the general; individuals are sacrificed and abandoned.  The Idea pays the penalty of determinate existence and of corruptibility, not from itself, but from the passions of individuals.

But though we might tolerate the idea that individuals, their desires, and the gratification of them, are thus sacrificed, and their happiness given up to the empire of chance, to which it belongs, and that, as a general rule, individuals come under the category of means to an ulterior end, there is one aspect of human individuality which we should hesitate to regard in that subordinate light, even in relation to the highest, since it is absolutely no subordinate element, but exists in those individuals as inherently eternal and divine—­I mean morality, ethics, religion.  Even when speaking of the realization of the great ideal aim by means of individuals, the subjective element in them—­their interest and that of their cravings and impulses, their views and judgments, though exhibited as the merely formal side of their existence—­was spoken of as having an infinite right to be consulted.  The first idea that presents itself in speaking of means is that of something external to the object, yet having no share in the object itself.  But merely natural things—­even the commonest lifeless objects—­used as means, must be of such a kind as adapts them to their purpose; they must possess something in common with it.  Human beings, least of all, sustain the bare external relation of mere means to the great ideal aim.  Not only do they, in the very act of realizing it, make it the occasion of satisfying personal desires whose purport is diverse from that aim, but they share in that ideal aim itself, and are, for that very reason, objects of their own existence—­not formally merely, as the world of living beings generally is, whose individual life is essentially subordinate to that of man and its properly used up as an instrument.  Men, on the contrary, are objects of existence to themselves, as regards the intrinsic import of the aim in question.  To this order belongs that in them which we would exclude from the category of mere means—­morality,

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ethics, religion.  That is to say, man is an object of existence in himself only in virtue of the Divine that is in him—­the quality that was designated at the outset as Reason, which, in view of its activity and power of self-determination, was called freedom.  And we affirm—­without entering at present on the proof of the assertion—­that religion, morality, etc., have their foundation and source in that principle, and so are essentially elevated above all alien necessity and chance.  And here we must remark that individuals, to the extent of their freedom, are responsible for the depravation and enfeeblement of morals and religion.  This is the seal of the absolute and sublime destiny of man—­that he knows what is good and what is evil; that his destiny is his very ability to will either good or evil—­in one word, that he is the subject of moral imputation, imputation not only of evil, but of good, and not only concerning this or that particular matter, and all that happens ab extra, but also the good and evil attaching to his individual freedom.  The brute alone is simply innocent.  It would, however, demand an extensive explanation—­as extensive as the analysis of moral freedom itself—­to preclude or obviate all the misunderstandings which the statement that what is called innocence imports the entire unconsciousness of evil—­is wont to occasion.

In contemplating the fate which virtue, morality, even piety experience in history, we must not fall into the Litany of Lamentations, that the good and pious often, or for the most part, fare ill in the world, while the evil-disposed and wicked prosper.  The term prosperity is used in a variety of meanings—­riches, outward honor, and the like.  But in speaking of something which in and for itself constitutes an aim of existence, that so-called well or ill faring of these or those isolated individuals cannot be regarded as an essential element in the rational order of the universe.  With more justice than happiness—­or a fortunate environment for individuals—­it is demanded of the grand aim of the world’s existence that it should foster, nay, involve the execution and ratification of good, moral, righteous purposes.  What makes men morally discontented (a discontent, by the way, on which they somewhat pride themselves), is that they do not find the present adapted to the realization of aims which they hold to be right and just—­more especially, in modern times, ideals of political constitutions; they contrast unfavorably things as they are, with their idea of things as they ought to be.  In this case it is not private interest nor passion that desires gratification, but reason, justice, liberty; and, equipped with this title, the demand in question assumes a lofty bearing and readily adopts a position, not merely of discontent, but of open revolt against the actual condition of the world.  To estimate such a feeling and such views aright, the demands insisted upon and the very dogmatic opinions

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asserted must be examined.  At no time so much as in our own, have such general principles and notions been advanced, or with greater assurance.  If, in days gone by, history seems to present itself as a struggle of passions, in our time—­though displays of passion are not wanting—­it exhibits, partly a predominance of the struggle of notions assuming the authority of principles, partly that of passions and interests essentially subjective but under the mask of such higher sanctions.  The pretensions thus contended for as legitimate in the name of that which has been stated as the ultimate aim of Reason, pass accordingly for absolute aims—­to the same extent as religion, morals, ethics.  Nothing, as before remarked, is now more common than the complaint that the ideals which imagination sets up are not realized, that these glorious dreams are destroyed by cold actuality.  These ideals which, in the voyage of life, founder on the rocks of hard reality may be in the first instance only subjective and belong to the idiosyncrasy of the individual, imagining himself the highest and wisest.  Such do not properly belong to this category.  For the fancies which the individual in his isolation indulges cannot be the model for universal reality, just as universal law is not designed for the units of the mass.  These as such may, in fact, find their interests thrust decidedly into the background.  But by the term “Ideal” we also understand the ideal of Reason—­of the good, of the true.  Poets—­as, for instance, Schiller—­have painted such ideals touchingly and with strong emotion, and with the deeply melancholy conviction that they could not be realized.  In affirming, on the contrary, that the Universal Reason does realize itself, we have indeed nothing to do with the individual, empirically regarded; that admits of degrees of better and worse, since here chance and speciality have received authority from the Idea to exercise their monstrous power; much, therefore, in particular aspects of the grand phenomenon, might be criticized.  This subjective fault-finding—­which, however, only keeps in view the individual and its deficiency, without taking notice of Reason pervading the whole—­is easy; and inasmuch as it asserts an excellent intention with regard to the good of the whole, and seems to result from a kindly heart, it feels authorized to give itself airs and assume great consequence.  It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in States, and in Providence, than to see their real import and value.  For in this merely negative fault-finding a proud position is taken—­one which overlooks the object without having entered into it, without having comprehended its positive aspect.  Age generally makes men more tolerant; youth is always discontented.  The tolerance of age is the result of the ripeness of a judgment which, not merely as the result of indifference, is satisfied even with what is inferior, but, more deeply taught by the grave experience of life, has been led

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to perceive the substantial, solid worth of the object in question.  The insight, then, to which—­in contradistinction to those ideals—­philosophy is to lead us, is, that the real world is as it ought to be—­that the truly good, the universal divine Reason, is not a mere abstraction, but a vital principle capable of realizing itself.  This Good, this Reason, in its most concrete form, is God.  God governs the world; the actual working of His government, the carrying out of His plan, is the history of the world.  This plan philosophy strives to comprehend; for only that which has been developed as the result of it possesses bona fide reality.  That which does not accord with it is negative, worthless existence.  Before the pure light of this divine Idea—­which is no mere Ideal—­the phantom of a world whose events are an incoherent concourse of fortuitous circumstances, utterly vanishes.  Philosophy wishes to discover the substantial purport, the real side of the divine idea, and to justify the so much despised reality of things; for Reason is the comprehension of the divine work.  But as to what concerns the perversion, corruption, and ruin of religious, ethical, and moral purposes and states of society generally, it must be affirmed that, in their essence, these are infinite and eternal, but that the forms they assume may be of a limited order, and consequently may belong to the domain of mere nature and be subject to the sway of chance; they are therefore perishable and exposed to decay and corruption.  Religion and morality—­in the same way as inherently universal essences—­have the peculiarity of being present in the individual soul, in the full extent of their Idea, and therefore truly and really; although they may not manifest themselves in it in extenso and are not applied to fully developed relations.  The religion, the morality of a limited sphere of life, for instance that of a shepherd or a peasant, in its intensive concentration and limitation to a few perfectly simple relations of life has infinite worth—­the same worth as the religion and morality of extensive knowledge and of an existence rich in the compass of its relations and actions.  This inner focus, this simple region of the claims of subjective freedom, the home of volition, resolution, and action, the abstract sphere of conscience—­that which comprises the responsibility and moral value of the individual—­remains untouched and is quite shut out from the noisy din of the world’s history—­including not merely external and temporal changes but also those entailed by the absolute necessity inseparable from the realization of the idea of freedom itself.  But, as a general truth, this must be regarded as settled, that whatever in the world possesses claims as noble and glorious has nevertheless a higher existence above it.  The claim of the World-Spirit rises above all special claims.

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These observations may suffice in reference to the means which the World-Spirit uses for realizing its Idea.  Stated simply and abstractly, this mediation involves the activity of personal existences in whom Reason is present as their absolute, substantial being, but a basis, in the first instance, still obscure and unknown to them.  But the subject becomes more complicated and difficult when we regard individuals not merely in their aspect of activity, but more concretely, in conjunction with a particular manifestation of that activity in their religion and morality—­forms of existence which are intimately connected with Reason and share in its absolute claims.  Here the relation of mere means to an end disappears, and the chief bearings of this seeming difficulty in reference to the absolute aim of Spirit have been briefly considered.

(3) The third point to be analyzed is, therefore:  What is the object to be realized by these means—­that is, What is the form it assumes in the realm of reality?  We have spoken of means; but, in carrying out of a subjective, limited aim, we have also to take into consideration the element of a material either already present or which has to be procured.  Thus the question would arise:  What is the material in which the Ideal of Reason is wrought out?  The primary answer would be:  Personality itself, human desires, subjectivity generally.  In human knowledge and volition as its material element Reason attains positive existence.  We have considered subjective volition where it has an object which is the truth and essence of reality—­viz., where it constitutes a great world-historical passion.  As a subjective will, occupied with limited passions, it is dependent, and can gratify its desires only within the limits of this dependence.  But the subjective will has also a substantial life, a reality, in which it moves in the region of essential being and has the essential itself as the object of its existence.  This essential being is the union of the subjective with the rational will; it is the moral whole, the State, which is that form of reality in which the individual has and enjoys his freedom, but on the condition of his recognizing, believing in, and willing that which is common to the whole.  And this must not be understood as if the subjective will of the social unit attained its gratification and enjoyment through that common will, as if this were a means provided for its benefit, as if the individual, in his relations to other individuals, thus limited his freedom, in order that this universal limitation, the mutual constraint of all, might secure a small space of liberty for each.  Rather, we affirm, are law, morality, government, and these alone, the positive reality and completion of freedom.  Freedom of a low and limited order is mere caprice, which finds its exercise in the sphere of particular and limited desires.

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Subjective volition, passion, is that which sets men in activity, that which effects “practical” realization.  The Idea is the inner spring of action; the State is the actually existing, realized moral life.  For it is the unity of the universal, essential will, with that of the individual; and this is “morality.”  The individual living in this unity has a moral life and possesses a value that consists in this substantiality alone.  Sophocles in his Antigone says, “The divine commands are not of yesterday, nor of today; no, they have an infinite existence, and no one could say whence they came.”  The laws of morality are not accidental, but are the essentially rational.  It is the very object of the State that what is essential in the practical activity of men and in their dispositions should be duly recognized; that it should have a manifest existence and maintain its position.  It is the absolute interest of Reason that this moral whole should exist; and herein lies the justification and merit of heroes who have founded States, however rude these may have been.  In the history of the world, only those peoples can come under our notice which form a State; for it must be understood that the State is the realization of freedom, i. e., of the absolute final aim, and that it exists for its own sake.  It must further be understood that all the worth which the human being possesses—­all spiritual reality—­he possesses only through the State.  For his spiritual reality consists in this, that his own essence, Reason, is objectively present to him, that it possesses objective immediate existence for him.  Thus only is he fully conscious; thus only is he a partaker of morality, of a just and moral social and political life.  For truth is the unity of the universal and subjective will; and the universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, and in its universal and rational arrangements.  The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth.  We have in it, therefore, the object of history in a more definite shape than before—­that in which freedom obtains objectivity and lives in the enjoyment of this objectivity.  For law is the objectivity of Spirit, volition in its true form.  Only that will which obeys law is free; for it obeys itself—­it is independent and, therefore, free.  When the State or our country constitutes a community of existence, when the subjective will of man submits to laws, the contradiction between liberty and necessity vanishes.  The rational has necessary existence, as being the reality and substance of things, and we are free in recognizing it as law and following it as the substance of our own being.  The objective and the subjective will are then reconciled and present one identical homogeneous whole.  For the morality (Sittlichkeit) of the State is not of that ethical (moralische) reflective kind, in which one’s own conviction bears sway; the latter is rather the peculiarity of the modern time, while the true antique morality is based on

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the principle of abiding by one’s duty (to the State at large).  An Athenian citizen did what was required of him, as it were from instinct; but if I reflect on the object of my activity I must have the consciousness that my will has been called into exercise.  But morality is duty—­substantial right, a “second nature,” as it has been justly called; for the first nature of man is his primary, merely animal, existence.

The development in extenso of the idea of the State belongs to the philosophy of jurisprudence; but it must be observed that in the theories of our time various errors are current respecting it, which pass for established truths and have become fixed prejudices.  We will mention only a few of them, giving prominence to such as have a reference to the object of our history.

The error which first meets us is the direct opposite of our principle that the State presents the realization of freedom—­the opinion—­that man is free by nature, but that in society, in the State, to which nevertheless he is irresistibly impelled, he must limit this natural freedom.  That man is free by nature is quite correct in one sense, namely, that he is so according to the idea of humanity; but we imply thereby that he is such only in virtue of his destiny—­that he has an undeveloped power to become such; for the “nature” of an object is exactly synonymous with its “idea.”  But the view in question imports more than this.  When man is spoken of as “free by nature,” the mode of his existence as well as his destiny is implied; his merely natural and primary condition is intended.  In this sense a “state of nature” is assumed in which mankind at large is in the possession of its natural rights with the unconstrained exercise and enjoyment of its freedom.  This assumption is not raised to the dignity of the historical fact; it would indeed be difficult, were the attempt seriously made, to point out any such condition as actually existing or as having ever occurred.  Examples of a savage state of life can be pointed out, but they are marked by brutal passions and deeds of violence; while, however rude and simple their, conditions, they involve social arrangements which, to use the common phrase, “restrain freedom.”  That assumption is one of those nebulous images which theory produces, an idea which it cannot avoid originating, but which it fathers upon real existence without sufficient historical justification.

What we find such a state of nature to be, in actual experience, answers exactly to the idea of a merely natural condition.  Freedom as the ideal of that which is original and natural does not exist as original and natural; rather must it first be sought out and won, and that by an incalculable medial discipline of the intellectual and moral powers.  The state of nature is, therefore, predominantly that of injustice and violence, of untamed natural impulses, of inhuman deeds and feelings.  Limitation is certainly produced

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by society and the State, but it is a limitation of the mere brute emotions and rude instincts, as also, in a more advanced stage of culture, of the premeditated self-will of caprice and passion.  This kind of constraint is part of the instrumentality by which only the consciousness of freedom and the desire for its attainment, in its true—­that is, its rational and ideal form—­can be obtained.  To the ideal of freedom, law and morality are indispensably requisite; and they are, in and for themselves, universal existences, objects, and aims, which are discovered only by the activity of thought, separating itself from the merely sensuous and developing itself in opposition thereto, and which must, on the other hand, be introduced into and incorporated with the originally sensuous will, and that contrarily to its natural inclination.  The perpetually recurring misapprehension of freedom consists in regarding that term only in its formal, subjective sense, abstracted from its essential objects and aims; thus a constraint put upon impulse, desire, passion—­pertaining to the particular individual as such—­a limitation of caprice and self-will is regarded as a fettering of freedom.  We should, on the contrary, look upon such limitation as the indispensable proviso of emancipation.  Society and the State are the very conditions in which freedom is realized.

We must notice a second view, contravening the principle of the development of moral relations into a legal form.  The patriarchal condition is regarded, either in reference to the entire race of man or to some branches of it, as exclusively that condition of things in which the legal element is combined with a due recognition of the moral and emotional parts of our nature, and in which justice, as united with these, truly influences the intercourse of the social units.  The basis of the patriarchal condition is the family relation, which develops the primary form of conscious morality, succeeded by that of the State as its second phase.  The patriarchal condition is one of transition, in which the family has already advanced to the position of a race of people, where the union, therefore, has already ceased to be simply a bond of love and confidence and has become one of plighted service.

We must first examine the ethical principle of the Family, which may be reckoned as virtually a single person, since its members have either mutually surrendered their individual personality and consequently their legal position toward one another, with the rest of their particular interests and desires, as in the case of the parents, or, in the care of children who are primarily in that merely natural condition already mentioned, have not yet attained such an independent personality.  They live, therefore, in a unity of feeling, love, confidence, and faith in one another, and, in a relation of mutual love, the one individual has the consciousness of himself in the consciousness of another; he lives out of self; and in this mutual

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self-renunciation each regains the life that had been virtually transferred to the other—­gains, in fact, the other’s existence and his own, as involved with that other.  The ultimate interests connected with the necessities and external concerns of life, as well as the development that has to take place within their circle, i. e., of the children, constitute a common object for the members of the family.  The spirit of the family—­the Penates—­form one substantial being, as much as the spirit of a people in the State; and morality in both cases consists in a feeling, a consciousness, and a will, not limited to individual personality and interest, but embracing the common interests of the members generally.  But this unity is, in the case of the family, essentially one of feeling, not advancing beyond the limits of the merely natural.  The piety of the family relation should be respected in the highest degree by the State; by its means the State obtains as its members individuals who are already moral (for as mere persons they are not) and who, in uniting to form a State, bring with them that sound basis of a political edifice—­the capacity of feeling one with a whole.  But the expansion of the family to a patriarchal unity carries us beyond the ties of blood-relationship—­the simply natural elements of that basis; and outside of these limits the members of the community must enter upon the position of independent personality.  A review of the patriarchal condition, in extenso, would lead us to give special attention to the theocratical constitution.  The head of the patriarchal clan is also its priest.  If the family in its general relations is not yet separated from civic society and the State, the separation of religion from it has also not yet taken place; and so much the less since the piety of the hearth is itself a profoundly subjective state of feeling.

We have considered two aspects of freedom—­the objective and the subjective; if, therefore, freedom is asserted to consist in the individuals of a State, all agreeing in its arrangements, it is evident that only the subjective aspect is regarded.  The natural inference from this principle is, that no law can be valid without the approval of all.  It is attempted to obviate this difficulty by the decision that the minority must yield to the majority; the majority therefore bears sway; but long ago J.J.  Rousseau remarked that, in that case, there would no longer be freedom, for the will of the minority would cease to be respected.  At the Polish Diet each individual member had to give his consent before any political step could be taken; and this kind of freedom it was that ruined the State.  Besides, it is a dangerous and false prejudice that the people alone have reason and insight, and know what justice is; for each popular faction may represent itself as the people, and the question as to what constitutes the State is one of advanced science and not of popular decision.

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If the principle of regard for the individual will is recognized as the only basis of political liberty, viz., that nothing should be done by or for the State to which all the members of the body politic have not given their sanction, we have, properly speaking, no constitution.  The only arrangement found necessary would be, first, a centre having no will of its own, but which should take into consideration what appeared to be the necessities of the State, and, secondly, a contrivance for calling the members of the State together, for taking the votes, and for performing the arithmetical operations of reckoning and comparing the number of votes for the different propositions, and thereby deciding upon them.  The State is an abstraction, having even its generic existence in its citizens; but it is an actuality, and its simply generic existence must embody itself in individual will and activity.  The want of government and political administration in general is felt; this necessitates the selection and separation from the rest of those who have to take the helm in political affairs, to decide concerning them, and to give orders to other citizens, with a view to the execution of their plans.  If, for instance, even the people in a democracy resolve on a war, a general must head the army.  It is only by a constitution that the abstraction—­the State—­attains life and reality; but this involves the distinction between those who command and those who obey.  Yet obedience seems inconsistent with liberty, and those who command appear to do the very opposite of that which the fundamental idea of the State, viz., that of freedom, requires.  It is, however, urged that though the distinction between commanding and obeying is absolutely necessary, because affairs could not go on without it, and indeed, this seems only a compulsory limitation, external to and even contravening freedom in the abstract—­the constitution should be at least so framed that the citizens may obey as little as possible and the smallest modicum of free volition be left to the commands of the superiors; that the substance of that for which subordination is necessary, even in its most important bearings, should be decided and resolved on by the people, by the will of many or of all the citizens; though it is supposed to be thereby provided that the State should be possessed of vigor and strength as a reality—­an individual unity.  The primary consideration is, then, the distinction between the governing and the governed, and political constitutions in the abstract have been rightly divided into monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy; this gives occasion, however, for the remark that monarchy itself must be further divided into despotism and monarchy proper; that in all the divisions to which the leading idea gives rise, only the generic character is to be made prominent, it being not intended thereby that the particular category under review should be exhausted as a form, order,

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or kind in its concrete development.  But it must especially be observed that the above mentioned divisions admit of a multitude of particular modifications—­not only such as lie within the limits of those classes themselves but also such as are mixtures of several of these essentially distinct classes and which are consequently misshapen, unstable, and inconsistent forms.  In such a collision, the concerning question is:  What is the best constitution—­that is, by what arrangement, organization, or mechanism of the power of the State can its object be most surely attained?  This object may indeed be variously understood; for instance, as the calm enjoyment of life on part of the citizens, or as universal happiness.  Such aims have suggested the so-called ideals of constitutions, and, as a particular branch of the subject, Ideals of the education of princes (Fenelon), or of the governing body, the aristocracy at large (Plato); for the chief point they treat of is the condition of those subjects who stand at the head of affairs, and in these ideals the concrete details of political organization are not at all considered.  The inquiry into the best constitution is frequently treated as if not only the theory were an affair of subjective independent conviction, but as if the introduction of a constitution recognized as the best, or as superior to others, could be the result of a resolve adopted in this theoretical manner, as if the form of a constitution were a matter of free choice, determined by nothing else but reflection.  Of this artless fashion was that deliberation—­not indeed of the Persian people, but of the Persian grandees, who had conspired to overthrow the pseudo-Smerdis and the Magi, after their undertaking had succeeded and when there was no scion of the royal family living—­as to what constitution they should introduce into Persia; and Herodotus gives an equally naive account of this deliberation.

In the present day, the constitution of a country and people is not represented as so entirely dependent on free and deliberate choice.  The fundamental, but abstractly and therefore imperfectly, entertained conception of freedom, has resulted in the republic being very generally regarded—­in theory—­as the only just and true political constitution.  Even many who occupy elevated official positions under monarchical constitutions, so far from being opposed to this idea are actually its supporters; only they see that such a constitution, though the best, cannot be realized under all circumstances, and that, while men are what they are, we must be satisfied with less freedom, the monarchical constitution, under the given circumstances and the present moral condition of the people, being even regarded as the most advantageous.  In this view also the necessity of a particular constitution is made to depend on the condition of the people as though the latter were non-essential and accidental.  This representation is founded on the distinction

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which the reflective understanding makes between an idea and the corresponding reality.  This reflection holding to an abstract and consequently untrue idea, not grasping it in its completeness, or—­which is virtually, though not in point of form, the same—­not taking a concrete view of a people and a State.  We shall have to show, further, on, that the constitution adopted by a people makes one substance, one spirit, with its religion, its art, and its philosophy, or, at least, with its conceptions, thoughts and culture generally—­not to expatiate upon the additional influences ab extra, of climate, of neighbors, of its place in the world.  A State is an individual totality, of which you cannot select any particular side, although a supremely important one, such as its political constitution, and deliberate and decide respecting it in that isolated form.  Not only is that constitution most intimately connected with and dependent on those other spiritual forces, but the form of the entire moral and intellectual individuality, comprising all the forces it embodies, is only a step in the development of the grand whole, with its place pre-appointed in the process—­a fact which gives the highest sanction to the constitution in question and establishes its absolute necessity.  The origin of a State involves imperious lordship on the one hand, instinctive submission on the other.  But even obedience—­lordly power, and the fear inspired by a ruler—­in itself implies some degree of voluntary connection.  Even in barbarous states this is the case; it is not the isolated will of individuals that prevails; individual pretensions are relinquished, and the general will is the essential bond of political union.  This unity of the general and the particular is the Idea itself, manifesting itself as a State, and which subsequently undergoes further development within itself.  The abstract yet necessitated process in the development of truly independent states is as follows:  They begin with regal power, whether of patriarchal or military origin; in the next phase, particularity and individuality assert themselves in the form of aristocracy and democracy; lastly, we have the subjection of these separate interests to a single power, but one which can be absolutely none other than one outside of which those spheres have an independent position, viz., the monarchical.  Two phases of royalty, therefore, must be distinguished—­a primary and a secondary.  This process is necessitated to the end that the form of government assigned to a particular stage of development must present itself; it is therefore no matter of choice, but is the form adapted to the spirit of the people.

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In the constitution the main feature of interest is the self-development of the rational, that is, the political condition of a people, the setting free of the successive elements of the Idea, so that the several powers in the State manifest themselves as separate, attain their appropriate and special perfection, and yet, in this independent condition, work together for one object and are held together by it—­i. e., form an organic whole.  The State is thus the embodiment of rational freedom, realizing and recognizing itself in an objective form.  For its objectivity consists in this—­that its successive stages are not merely ideal, but are present in an appropriate reality, and that in their separate and several workings they are absolutely merged in that agency by which the totality, the soul, the individuate unity, is produced, and of which it is the result.

The State is the Idea of Spirit in the external manifestation of human will and its freedom.  It is to the State, therefore, that change in the aspect of history indissolubly attaches itself; and the successive phases of the idea manifest themselves in it as distinct political principles.  The constitutions under which world-historical peoples have reached their culmination, are peculiar to them, and therefore do not present a generally applicable political basis.  Were it otherwise the differences of similar constitutions would consist only in a peculiar method of expanding and developing that generic basis, whereas they really originate in diversity of principle.  From the comparison therefore of the political institutions of the ancient world-historical peoples, it so happens that, for the most recent principle of a constitution for the principle of our own times, nothing, so to speak, can be learned.  In science and art it is quite otherwise—­that is, the ancient philosophy is so decidedly the basis of the modern that it is inevitably contained in the latter and constitutes its basis.  In this case the relation is that of a continuous development of the same structure, whose foundation-stone, walls, and roof have remained what they were.  In art, the Greek itself, in its original form, furnishes us the best models, but in regard to political constitution it is quite otherwise; here the ancient and the modern have not their essential principle in common.  Abstract definitions and dogmas respecting just government—­importing that intelligence and virtue ought to bear sway—­are, indeed, common to both, but nothing is so absurd as to look to Greeks, Romans, or Orientals, for models for the political arrangements of our time.  From the East may be derived beautiful pictures of a patriarchal condition, of paternal government, and of devotion to it on the part of peoples; from Greeks and Romans, descriptions of popular liberty.  Among the latter we find the idea of a free constitution admitting all the citizens to a share in deliberations and resolves respecting the affairs and laws of the commonwealth. 

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In our times, too, this is its general acceptation; only with this modification, that—­since our States are so large, and there are so many of “the many,” the latter (direct action being impossible) should by the indirect method of elective substitution express their concurrence with resolves affecting the common weal—­that is, that for legislative purposes generally the people should be represented by deputies.  The so-called representative constitution is that form of government with which we connect the idea of a free constitution; and this notion has become a rooted prejudice.  On this theory people and government are separated.  But there is a perversity in this antithesis, an ill-intentioned ruse designed to insinuate that the people are the totality of the State.  Besides, the basis of this view is the principle of isolated individuality—­the absolute validity of the subjective will—­a dogma which we have already investigated.  The great point is that freedom, in its ideal conception, has not subjective will and caprice for its principle, but the recognition of the universal will, and that the process by which freedom is realized is the free development of its successive stages.  The subjective will is a merely formal determination—­a carte blanche—­not including what it is that is willed.  Only the rational will is that universal principle which independently determines and unfolds its own being and develops its successive elemental phases as organic members.  Of this Gothic-cathedral architecture the ancients knew nothing.

At an earlier stage of the discussion we established the two elemental considerations:  First, the idea of freedom as the absolute and final aim; secondly, the means for realizing it, i. e., the subjective side of knowledge and will, with its life, movement, and activity.  We then recognized the State as the moral whole and the reality of freedom, and consequently as the objective unity of these two elements.  For although we make this distinction in two aspects for our consideration, it must be remarked that they are intimately connected, and that their connection is involved in the idea of each when examined separately.  We have, on the one hand, recognized the Idea in the definite form of freedom, conscious of and willing itself, having itself alone as its object, involving at the same time the pure and simple Idea of Reason and, likewise, what we have called Subject, self-consciousness, Spirit, actually existing in the world.  If, on the other hand, we consider subjectivity, we find that subjective knowledge and will is thought.  But by the very act of thoughtful cognition and volition, I will the universal object—­the substance of absolute Reason.  We observe, therefore, an essential union between the objective side—­the Idea, and the subjective side—­the personality that conceives and wills it.  The objective existence of this union is the State, which is therefore the basis and centre of the other concrete elements of

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the life of a people—­of art, of law, of morals, of religion, of science.  All the activity of Spirit has only this object—­the becoming conscious of this union, i. e., of its own freedom.  Among the forms of this conscious union religion occupies the highest position.  In it Spirit-rising above the limitations of temporal and secular existence—­becomes conscious of the Absolute Spirit, and, in this consciousness of the Self-Existent Being, renounces its individual interest; it lays this aside in devotion—­a state of mind in which it refuses to occupy itself any longer with the limited and particular.  By sacrifice man expresses his renunciation of his property, his will, his individual feelings.  The religious concentration of the soul appears in the form of feeling; it nevertheless passes also into reflection; a form of worship (cultus) is a result of reflection.  The second form of the union of the objective and subjective in the human spirit is art; this advances farther into the realm of the actual and sensuous than religion.  In its noblest walk it is occupied with representing, not, indeed, the Spirit of God, but certainly the Form of God; and, in its secondary aims, that which is divine and spiritual generally.  Its office is to render visible the divine, presenting it to the imaginative and intuitive faculty.  But the true is the object not only of conception and feeling, as in religion—­and of intuition, as in art—­but also of the thinking faculty; and this gives us the third form of the union in question—­philosophy.  This is consequently the highest, freest, and wisest place.  Of course we are not intending to investigate these three phases here; they have only suggested themselves in virtue of their occupying the same general ground as the object here considered the State.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (1832)

BY GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL

TRANSLATED BY J. LOEWENBERG, PH.D.  Assistant in Philosophy, Harvard University

THE STATE

IDEA AND AIM OF THE STATE

The State is the realization of the ethical idea.  It is the ethical spirit as revealed, self-conscious, substantial will.  It is the will which thinks and knows itself, and carries out what it knows, and in so far as it knows.  The unreflected existence of the State rests on custom, and its reflected existence on the self-consciousness of the individual, on his knowledge and activity.  The individual, in return, has his substantial freedom in the State, as the essence, purpose, and product of his activity.

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The true State is the ethical whole and the realization of freedom.  It is the absolute purpose of reason that freedom should be realized.  The State is the spirit, which lives in the world and there realizes itself consciously; while in nature it is actual only as its own other or as dormant spirit.  Only as present in consciousness, knowing itself as an existing object, is it the State.  The State is the march of God through the world, its ground is the power of reason realizing itself as will.  The idea of the State should not connote any particular State, or particular institution; one must rather consider the Idea only, this actual God, by itself.  Because it is more easy to find defects than to grasp the positive meaning, one readily falls into the mistake of emphasizing so much the particular nature of the State as to overlook its inner organic essence.  The State is no work of art.  It exists in the world, and thus in the realm of caprice, accident, and error.  Evil behavior toward it may disfigure it on many sides.  But the ugliest man, the criminal, the invalid, and the cripple, are still living human beings.  The affirmative, life, persists in spite of defects, and it is this affirmative which alone is here in question.

In the State, everything depends upon the unity of the universal and the particular.  In the ancient States the subjective purpose was absolutely one with the will of the State.  In modern times, on the contrary, we demand an individual opinion, an individual will and conscience.  The ancients had none of these in the modern sense; the final thing for them was the will of the State.  While in Asiatic despotisms the individual had no inner self and no self-justification, in the modern world man demands to be honored for the sake of his subjective individuality.

The union of duty and right has the twofold aspect that what the State demands as duty should directly be the right of the individual, since the State is nothing but the organization of the concept of freedom.  The determinations of the individual will are given by the State objectivity, and it is through the State alone that they attain truth and realization.  The State is the sole condition of the attainment of the particular end and good.

Political disposition, called patriotism—­the assurance resting in truth and the will which has become a custom—­is simply the result of the institutions subsisting in the State, institutions in which reason is actually present.

Under patriotism one frequently understands a mere willingness to perform extraordinary acts and sacrifices.  But patriotism is essentially the sentiment of regarding, in the ordinary circumstances and ways of life, the weal of the community as the substantial basis and the final end.  It is upon this consciousness, present in the ordinary course of life and under all circumstances, that the disposition to heroic effort is founded.  But as people are often rather magnanimous than just, they easily persuade themselves that they possess the heroic kind of patriotism, in order to save themselves the trouble of having the truly patriotic sentiment, or to excuse the lack of it.

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Political sentiment, as appearance, must be distinguished from what people truly will.  What they at bottom will is the real cause, but they cling to particular interests and delight in the vain contemplation of improvements.  The conviction of the necessary stability of the State in which alone the particular interests can be realized, people indeed possess, but custom makes invisible that upon which our whole existence rests; it does not occur to any one, when he safely passes through the streets at night, that it could be otherwise.  The habit of safety has become a second nature, and we do not reflect that it is the result of the activity of special institutions.  It is through force this is frequently the superficial opinion-that the State coheres, but what alone holds it together is the fundamental sense of order, which is possessed by all.

The State is an organism or the development of the idea into its differences.  These different sides are the different powers of the State with their functions and activities, by means of which the universal is constantly and necessarily producing itself, and, being presupposed in its own productive function, it is thus always actively present.  This organism is the political constitution.  It eternally springs from the State, just as the State in turn maintains itself through the constitution.  If these two things fall asunder, if both different sides become independent of each other, then the unity which the constitution produces is no longer operative; the fable of the stomach and the other organs may be applied to it.  It is the nature of an organism that all its parts must constitute a certain unity; if one part asserts its independence the other parts must go to destruction.  No predicates, principles, and the like suffice to express the nature of the State; it must be comprehended as an organism.

The State is real, and its reality consists in the interest of the whole being realized in particular ends.  Actuality is always the unity of universality and particularity, and the differentiation of the universal into particular ends.  These particular ends seem independent, though they are borne and sustained by the whole only.  In so far as this unity is absent, no thing is real, though it may exist.  A bad State is one which merely exists.  A sick body also exists; but it has no true reality.  A hand, which is cut off, still looks like a hand and exists, but it has no reality.  True reality is necessity.  What is real is internally necessary.

To the complete State belongs, essentially, consciousness and thought.  The State knows thus what it wills, and it knows it under the form of thought.

The essential difference between the State and religion consists in that the commands of the State have the form of legal duty, irrespective of the feelings accompanying their performance; the sphere of religion, on the other hand, is in the inner life.  Just as the State, were it to frame its commands as religion does, would endanger the right of the inner life, so the church, if it acts as a State and imposes punishment, degenerates into a tyrannical religion.

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In the State one must want nothing which is not an expression of rationality.  The State is the world which the spirit has made for itself; it has therefore a determinate and self-conscious course.  One often speaks of the wisdom of God in nature, but one must not believe that the physical world of nature is higher than the world of spirit.  Just as spirit is superior to nature, so is the State superior to the physical life.  We must therefore adore the State as the manifestation of the divine on earth, and consider that, if it is difficult to comprehend nature, it is infinitely harder to grasp the essence of the State.  It is an important fact that we, in modern times, have attained definite insight into the State in general and are much engaged in discussing and making constitutions; but that does not advance the problem much.  It is necessary to treat a rational matter in the light of reason, in order to learn its essential nature and to know that the obvious does not always constitute the essential.

When we speak of the different functions of the powers of the State, we must not fall into the enormous error of supposing each power to have an abstract, independent existence, since the powers are rather to be differentiated as elements in the conception of the State.  Were the powers to be in abstract independence, however, it is clear that two independent things could never constitute a unity, but must produce war, and the result would be destruction of the whole or restoration of unity by force.  Thus, in the French Revolution, at one time the legislative power had swallowed up the executive, at another time the executive had usurped the legislative power.

THE CONSTITUTION

The constitution is rational, in so far as the State defines and differentiates its functions according to the nature of its concept.

Who shall make the constitution?  This question seems intelligible, yet on closer examination reveals itself as meaningless, for it presupposes the existence of no constitution, but only a mere mass of atomic individuals.  How a mass of individuals is to come by a constitution, whether by its own efforts or by those of others, whether by goodness, thought, or force, it must decide for itself, for with a disorganized mob the concept of the State has nothing to do.  But if the question does presuppose an already existing constitution, then to make a constitution means only to change it.  The presupposition of a constitution implies, however, at once, that any modification in it must take place constitutionally.  It is absolutely essential that the constitution, though having a temporal origin, should not be regarded as made.  It (the principle of constitution) is rather to be conceived as absolutely perpetual and rational, and therefore as divine, substantial, and above and beyond the sphere of what is made.

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Subjective freedom is the principle of the whole modern world—­the principle that all essential aspects of the spiritual totality should develop and attain their right.  From this point of view one can hardly raise the idle question as to which form is the better, monarchy or democracy.  One can but say that the forms of all constitutions are one-sided that are not able to tolerate the principle of free subjectivity and that do not know how to conform to the fully developed reason.

Since spirit is real only in what it knows itself to be, and since the State, as the nation’s spirit, is the law permeating all its affairs, its ethical code, and the consciousness of its individuals, the constitution of a people chiefly depends upon the kind and the character of its self-consciousness.  In it lies both its subjective freedom and the reality of the constitution.

To think of giving a people a constitution a priori, though according to its content a more or less rational one—­such a whim would precisely overlook that element which renders a constitution more than a mere abstract object.  Every nation, therefore, has the constitution which is appropriate to it and belongs to it.

The State must, in its constitution, permeate all situations.  A constitution is not a thing just made; it is the work of centuries, the idea and the consciousness of what is rational, in so far as it is developed in a people.  No constitution, therefore, is merely created by the subjects of the State.  The nation must feel that its constitution embodies its right and its status, otherwise the constitution may exist externally, but has no meaning or value.  The need and the longing for a better constitution may often indeed be present in individuals, but that is quite different from the whole multitude being permeated with such an idea—­that comes much later.  The principle of morality, the inwardness of Socrates originated necessarily in his day, but it took time before it could pass into general self-consciousness.

THE POWER OF THE PRINCE

Because sovereignty contains in ideal all special privileges, the common misconception is quite natural, which takes it to be mere force, empty caprice, and synonymous with despotism.  But despotism means a state of lawlessness, in which the particular will as such, whether that of monarch or people (ochlocracy), is the law, or rather instead of the law.  Sovereignty, on the contrary, constitutes the element of ideality of particular spheres and functions under lawful and constitutional conditions.

The sovereignty of the people, conceived in opposition to the sovereignty residing in the monarch, stands for the common view of democracy, which has come to prevail in modern times.  The idea of the sovereignty of the people, taken in this opposition, belongs to a confused idea of what is commonly and crudely understood by “the people.”  The people without its monarch and without that whole organization necessarily and directly connected with him is a formless mass, which is no longer a State.  In a people, not conceived in a lawless and unorganized condition, but as a self-developed and truly organic totality—­in such a people sovereignty is the personality of the whole, and this is represented in reality by the person of the monarch.

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The State must be regarded as a great architectonic edifice, a hieroglyph of reason, manifesting itself in reality.  Everything referring merely to utility, externality, and the like, must be excluded from its philosophic treatment.  That the State is the self-determining and the completely sovereign will, the final decision being necessarily referred to it—­that is easy to comprehend.  The difficulty lies in grasping this “I will” as a person.  By this it is not meant that the monarch can act arbitrarily.  He is bound, in truth, by the concrete content of the deliberations of his council, and, when the constitution is stable, he has often nothing more to do than to sign his name—­but this name is important; it is the point than which there is nothing higher.

It may be said that an organic State has already existed in the beautiful democracy of Athens.  The Greeks, however, derived the final decision from entirely external phenomena, from oracles, entrails of sacrificial animals, and from the flight of birds.  Nature they considered as a power which in this wise made known and gave expression to what was good for the people.  Self-consciousness had at that time not yet attained to the abstraction of subjectivity; it had not yet come to the realization that an “I will” must be pronounced by man himself concerning the decisions of the State.  This “I will” constitutes the great difference between the ancient and the modern world, and must therefore have its peculiar place in the great edifice of the State.  Unfortunately this modern characteristic is regarded as merely external and arbitrary.

It is often maintained against the monarch that, since he may be ill-educated or unworthy to stand at the helm of the State, its fortunes are thus made to depend upon chance.  It is therefore absurd to assume the rationality of the institution of the monarch.  The presupposition, however, that the fortunes of the State depend upon the particular character of the monarch is false.  In the perfect organization of the State the important thing is only the finality of formal decision and the stability against passion.  One must not therefore demand objective qualification of the monarch; he has but to say “yes” and to put the dot upon the “i.”  The crown shall be of such a nature that the particular character of its bearer is of no significance.  Beyond his function of administering the final decision, the monarch is a particular being who is of no concern.  Situations may indeed arise in which his particularity alone asserts itself, but in that case the State is not yet fully developed, or else is ill constructed.  In a well-ordered monarchy the law alone has objective power to which the monarch has but to affix the subjective “I will.”

Monarchs do not excel in bodily strength or intellect, and yet millions permit themselves to be ruled by them.  To say that the people permit themselves to be governed contrary to their interests, aims, and intentions is preposterous, for people are not so stupid.  It is their need, it is the inner power of the idea, which, in opposition to their apparent consciousness, urges them to this situation and retains them therein.

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Out of the sovereignty of the monarch flows the prerogative of pardoning criminals.  Only to the sovereignty belongs the spiritual power to undo what has been done and to cancel the crime by forgiving and forgetting.

Pardon is the remission of punishment, but does not abolish right.  Right remains, and the pardoned is a criminal as he was before the pardon.  The act of mercy does not mean that no crime has been committed.  This remission of punishment may be effected in religion, for by and in spirit what has been done can be made un-done.  But in so far as remission occurs in the world, it has its place only in majesty and is due only to its arbitrary decision.

THE EXECUTIVE

The main point upon which the function of the government depends is the division of labor.  This division is concerned with the transition from the universal to the particular and the individual; and the business is to be divided according to the different branches.  The difficulty lies in harmonizing the superior and the inferior functions.  For some time past the main effort has been spent in organizing from above, the lower and bulky part of the whole being left more or less unorganized; yet it is highly important that it should become organic, for only thus is it a power and a force; otherwise it is but a heap or mass of scattered atoms.  Authoritative power resides only in the organic state of the particular spheres.

The State cannot count on service which is capricious and voluntary (the administration of justice by knights-errant, for instance), precisely because it is capricious and voluntary.  Such service presupposes acting according to subjective opinion, and also the possibility of neglect and of the realization of private ends.  The opposite extreme to the knight-errant in reference to public service would be the State-servant who was attached to his task solely by want, without genuine duty and right.

The efficiency of the State depends upon individuals, who, however, are not entitled to carry on the business of the State through natural fitness, but according to their objective qualification.  Ability, skill, character, belong to the particular nature of the individual; for a particular office, however, he must be specially educated and trained.  An office in the State can, therefore, be neither sold nor bequeathed.

Public service demands the sacrifice of independent self-satisfaction and the giving up of the pursuit of private ends, but grants the right of finding these in dutiful service, and in it only.  Herein lies the unity of the universal and the particular interests which constitutes the concept and the inner stability of the State.

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The members of the executive and the officials of the State form the main part of the middle class which represents the educated intelligence and the consciousness of right of the mass of a people.  This middle class is prevented by the institutions of sovereignty from above and the rights of corporation from below, from assuming the exclusive position of an aristocracy and making education and intelligence the means for caprice and despotism.  Thus the administration of justice, whose object is the proper interest of all individuals, had at one time been perverted into an instrument of gain and despotism, owing to the fact that the knowledge of the law was hidden under a learned and foreign language, and the knowledge of legal procedure under an involved formalism.

In the middle class, to which the State officials belong, resides the consciousness of the State and the most conspicuous cultivation:  the middle class constitutes therefore the ground pillar of the State in regard to uprightness and intelligence.  The State in which there is no middle class stands as yet on no high level.

THE LEGISLATURE

The legislature is concerned with the interpretation of the laws and with the internal affairs of the State, in so far as they have a universal content.  This function is itself a part of the constitution and thus presupposes it.  Being presupposed, the constitution lies, to that degree, outside the direct province of the legislature, but in the forward development of the laws and the progressive character of the universal affairs of government, the constitution receives its development also.

The constitution must alone be the firm ground on which the legislature stands; hence it must not be created for purposes of legislation.  But the constitution not only is, its essence is also to become—­that is, it progresses with the advance of civilization.  This progress is an alteration which is imperceptible, but has not the form of an alteration.  Thus, for example, the emperor was formerly judge, and went about the empire administering justice.  Through the merely apparent advance of civilization it has become practically necessary that the emperor should gradually yield his judicial function to others, and thus came about the transition of the judicial function from the person of the prince to a body of judges; thus the progress of any condition is an apparently calm and imperceptible one.  In this way and after a lapse of time a constitution attains a character quite different from what it had before.

In the legislative power as a whole are operative both the monarchical element and the executive.  To the former belongs the final decision; the latter as advisory element possesses concrete knowledge, perspective over the whole in all its ramifications, and acquaintance with the objective principles and wants of the power of the State.  Finally, in the legislature the different classes or estates are also active.  These classes or estates represent in the legislature the element of subjective formal freedom, the public consciousness, the empirical totality of the views and thought of the many.

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The expression “The Many” [Greek:  oi polloi] characterizes the empirical totality more correctly than the customary word “All.”  Though one may reply that, under this “all,” children, women, etc., are obviously meant to be excluded, yet it is more obvious that the definite expression “all” should not be used when something quite indefinite is in question.

There are, in general, current among the public so unspeakably many distorted and false notions and phrases about the people, the constitution, and the classes, that it would be a vain task to mention, explain, and correct them.  The prevalent idea concerning the necessity and utility of an assembly of estates amounts to the assumption that the people’s deputies, nay, the people itself, best understand what would promote the common weal, and that they have indubitably the good will to promote it.  As for the first point, the case is just the reverse.  The people, in so far as this term signifies a special part of the citizens, stands precisely for the part that does not know what it wills.  To know what one wills, and, what is more difficult, to know what the absolute will, viz., reason, wills, is the fruit of deep knowledge and insight; and that is obviously not a possession of the people.  As for the especially good will, which the classes are supposed to have for the common good, the usual point of view of the masses is the negative one of suspecting the government of a will which is evil or of little good.

The attitude of the government toward the classes must not be essentially a hostile one.  Belief in the necessity of this hostile relation is a sad mistake.  The government is not one party in opposition to another, so that both are engaged in wresting something from each other.  When the State is in such a situation it is a misfortune and not a mark of health.  Furthermore, the taxes, for which the classes vote, are not to be looked upon as gifts, but are consented to for the best interests of those consenting.  What constitutes the true meaning of the classes is this—­that through them the State enters into the subjective consciousness of the people and thus the people begin to share in the State.

In despotic countries, where there are only princes and people, the people assert themselves, whenever they act, as a destructive force directed against the organization, but the masses, when they become organically related to the State, obtain their interests in a lawful and orderly way.  When this organic relation is lacking, the self-expression of the masses is always violent; in despotic States the despot shows, therefore, indulgence for his people, and his rage is always felt by those surrounding him.  Moreover, the people of a despotic State pay light taxes, which in a constitutional State are increased through the very consciousness of the people.  In no other country are taxes so heavy as they are in England.

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There exists a current notion to the effect that, since the private class is raised in the legislature to a participation in the universal cause, it must appear in the form of individuals—­either that representatives are chosen for the function, or that every individual exercises a vote.  This abstract atomic view prevails neither in the family nor in civic society, in both of which the individual appears only as a member of a universal.  The State, however, is in essence an organization of members, and these members are themselves spheres; in it no element shall show itself as an unorganized mass.  The many, as individuals, whom one chooses to call the people, are indeed a collection, but only as a multitude, a formless mass, whose movement and action would be elemental, irrational, savage, and terrible.

The concrete State is the whole, organized into its particular spheres, and the member of the State is a member of such a particular class.  Only in this objective determination can the individual find recognition in the State.  Only in his cooeperate capacity, as member of the community and the like, can the individual first find a real and vital place in the universal.  It remains, of course, open to him to rise through his skill to any class for which he can qualify himself, including even the universal class.

It is a matter of great advantage to have among the delegates representatives of every special branch of society, such as trade, manufacture, etc.—­individuals thoroughly familiar with their branch and belonging to it.  In the notion of a loose and indefinite election this important matter is left to accident; every branch, however, has the same right to be represented as every other.  To view the delegates as representatives has, then, an organic and rational meaning only if they are not representatives of mere individuals, of the mere multitude, but of one of the essential spheres of society and of its large interests.  Representation thus no longer means substitution of one person by another, but it means, rather, that the interest itself is actually present in the representative.

Of the elections by many separate individuals it may be observed that there is necessarily an indifference, especially in large States, about using one’s vote, since one vote is of such slight importance; and those who have the right to vote will not do so, no matter how much one may extol the privilege of voting.  Hence this institution turns into the opposite of what it stands for.  The election becomes the business of a few, of a single party, of a special interest, which should, in fact, be neutralized.

Through the publicity of the assembly of classes public opinion first acquires true thoughts and an insight into the condition and the notion of the State and its affairs, and thus develops the capacity of judging more rationally concerning them; it learns, furthermore, to know and respect the routine, talents, virtues, and skill of the authorities and officers of the State.  While publicity stimulates these talents in their further development and incites their honorable display, it is also an antidote for the pride of individuals and of the multitude, and is one of the greatest opportunities for their education.

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It is a widespread popular notion that everybody already knows what is good for the State, and that it is this common knowledge which finds expression in the assembly.  Here, in the assembly, are developed virtues, talents, skill, which have to serve as examples.  To be sure, the ministers may find these assemblies onerous, for ministers must possess large resources of wit and eloquence to resist the attacks which are hurled against them.  Nevertheless, publicity is one of the best means of instruction in the interests of the State generally, for where publicity is found the people manifest an entirely different regard for the State than in those places where there are no assemblies or where they are not public.  Only through the publication of every one of their proceedings are the chambers related to the larger public opinion; and it is shown that what one imagines at home with his wife and friends is one thing, and what happens in a great assembly, where one feat of eloquence wrecks another, is quite a different thing.

PUBLIC OPINION

Public opinion is the unorganized way in which what a people wants and thinks is promulgated.  That which is actually effective in the State must be so in an organic fashion.  In the constitution this is the case.  But at all times public opinion has been a great power, and it is particularly so in our time, when the principle of subjective freedom has such importance and significance.  What shall now prevail, prevails no longer through force, little through use and custom, but rather through insight and reasons.

Public opinion contains, therefore, the eternal substantial principles of justice, the true content, and the result of the whole constitution, legislation, and the universal condition in general.  The form underlying public opinion is sound common sense, which is a fundamental ethical principle winding its way through everything, in spite of prepossessions.  But when this inner character is formulated in the shape of general propositions, partly for their own sake, partly for the purpose of actual reasoning about events, institutions, relations, and the recognized wants of the State, there appears also the whole character of accidental opinion, with its ignorance and perversity, its false knowledge and incorrect judgment.

It is therefore not to be regarded as merely a difference in subjective opinion when it is asserted on the one hand—­

“Vox populi, vox dei”;

and on the other (in Ariosto, for instance)—­[2]

  “Che’l Volgare ignorante ogn’ un riprenda
    E parli piue di quel che meno intenda.”

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Both sides co-exist in public opinion.  Since truth and endless error are so directly united in it, neither one nor the other side is truly in earnest.  Which one is in earnest, is difficult to decide—­difficult, indeed, if one confines oneself to the direct expression of public opinion.  But as the substantial principle is the inner character of public opinion, this alone is its truly earnest aspect; yet this insight cannot be obtained from public opinion itself, for a substantial principle can only be apprehended apart from public opinion and by a consideration of its own nature.  No matter with what passion an opinion is invested, no matter with what earnestness a view is asserted, attacked, and defended, this is no criterion of its real essence.  And least of all could public opinion be made to see that its seriousness is nothing serious at all.

A great mind has publicly raised the question whether it is permissible to deceive a people.  The answer is that a people will not permit itself to be deceived concerning its substantial basis, the essence, and the definite character of its spirit, but it deceives itself about the way in which it knows this, and according to which it judges of its acts, events, etc.

Public opinion deserves, therefore, to be esteemed as much as to be despised; to be despised for its concrete consciousness and expression, to be esteemed for its essential fundamental principle, which only shines, more or less dimly, through its concrete expression.  Since public opinion possesses within itself no standard of discrimination, no capacity to rise to a recognition of the substantial, independence of it is the first formal condition of any great and rational enterprise (in actuality as well as in science).  Anything great and rational is eventually sure to please public opinion, to be espoused by it, and to be made one of its prepossessions.

In public opinion all is false and true, but to discover the truth in it is the business of the great man.  The great man of his time is he who expresses the will and the meaning of that time, and then brings it to completion; he acts according to the inner spirit and essence of his time, which he realizes.  And he who does not understand how to despise public opinion, as it makes itself heard here and there, will never accomplish anything great.

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

The freedom of public utterance (of which the press is one means, having advantage over speech in its more extended reach, though inferior to it in vivacity), the gratification of that prickling impulse to express and to have expressed one’s opinion, is directly controlled by the police and State laws and regulations, which partly hinder and partly punish its excesses.  The indirect guarantee lies in its innocuousness, and this again is mainly based on the rationality of the constitution, the stability of the government, and also on the publicity given to the assemblies of the classes.  Another security is offered by the indifference and contempt with which insipid and malicious words are, as a rule, quickly met.

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The definition of the freedom of the press as freedom to say and write what one pleases, is parallel to the one of freedom in general, viz., as freedom to do what one pleases.  Such views belong to the uneducated crudity and superficiality of naive thinking.  The press, with its infinite variety of content and expression, represents what is most transient, particular, and accidental in human opinion.  Beyond the direct incitation to theft, murder, revolt, etc., lies the art of cultivating the expression which in itself seems general and indefinite enough, but which, in a measure, conceals a perfectly definite meaning.  Such expressions are partly responsible for consequences of which, since they are not actually expressed, one is never sure how far they are contained in the utterances and really follow from them.  It is this indefiniteness of the content and form of the press which prevents the laws governing it from assuming that precision which one demands of laws.  Thus the extreme subjectivity of the wrong, injury, and crime committed by the press, causes the decision and sentence to be equally subjective.  The laws are not only indefinite, but the press can, by the skill and subtlety of its expressions, evade them, or criticise the judgment of the court as wholly arbitrary.  Furthermore, if the utterance of the press is treated as an offensive deed, one may retort that it is not a deed at all, but only an opinion, a thought, a mere saying.  Consequently, impunity is expected for opinions and words, because they are merely subjective, trivial, and insignificant, and, in the same breath, great respect and esteem is demanded for these opinions and words—­for the opinions, because they are mine and my mental property, and for the words, because they are the free expression and use of that property.  And yet the basic principle remains that injury to the honor of individuals generally, abuse, libel, contemptuous caricaturing of the government, its officers and officials, especially the person of the prince, defiance of the laws, incitement to revolt, etc., are all offenses and crimes of different grades.

However, the peculiar and dangerous effect of these acts for the individuals, the community, and the State depends upon the nature of the soil on which they are committed, just as a spark, if thrown upon a heap of gunpowder, has a much more dangerous result than if thrown on the mere ground, where it vanishes and leaves no trace.  But, on the whole, a good many such acts, though punishable by law, may come under a certain kind of nemesis which internal impotence is forced to bring about.  In entering upon opposition to the superior talents and virtues, by which impotence feels oppressed, it comes to a realization of its inferiority and to a consciousness of its own nothingness, and the nemesis, even when bad and odious, is, by treating it with contempt, rendered ineffectual.  Like the public, which forms a circle for such activity, it is confined to a harmless malicious joy, and to a condemnation which reflects upon itself.

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MEANING OF WAR

There is an ethical element in war.  It must not be regarded as an absolute ill, or as merely an external calamity which is accidentally based upon the passions of despotic individuals or nations, upon acts of injustice, and, in general, upon what ought not to be.  The recognition of the finite, such as property and life, as accidental, is necessary.  This necessity is at first wont to appear under the form of a force of nature, for all things finite are mortal and transient.  In the ethical order, in the State, however, nature is robbed of its force, and the necessity is exalted to a work of freedom, to an ethical law.  The transient and negative nature of all things is transformed in the State into an expression of the ethical will.  War, often painted by edifying speech as a state in which the vanity of temporal things is demonstrated, now becomes an element whereby the ideal character of the particular receives its right and reality.  War has the deep meaning that by it the ethical health of the nations is preserved and their finite aims uprooted.  And as the winds which sweep over the ocean prevent the decay that would result from its perpetual calm, so war protects the people from the corruption which an everlasting peace would bring upon it.  History shows phases which illustrate how successful wars have checked internal unrest and have strengthened the entire stability of the State.

In peace, civic life becomes more extended, every sphere is hedged in and grows immobile, and at last all men stagnate, their particular nature becoming more and more hardened and ossified.  Only in the unity of a body is health, and, where the organs become stiff, there is death.  Eternal peace is often demanded as an ideal toward which mankind should move.  Thus Kant proposed an alliance of princes, which should settle the controversies of States, and the Holy Alliance probably aspired to be an institution of this kind.  The State, however, is individual, and in individuality negation is essentially contained.  A number of States may constitute themselves into a family, but this confederation, as an individuality, must create an opposition and so beget an enemy.  Not only do nations issue forth invigorated from their wars, but those nations torn by internal strife win peace at home as a result of war abroad.  War indeed causes insecurity in property, but this real insecurity is only a necessary commotion.  From the pulpits much is preached concerning the insecurity, vanity, and instability of temporal things, and yet every one, though he may be touched by his own words, thinks that he, at least, will manage to hold on to his possessions.  Let the insecurity finally come, in the form of Hussars with glistening sabres, and show its earnest activity, and that touching edification which foresaw all this now turns upon the enemy with curses.  In spite of this, wars will break out whenever necessity demands them; but the seeds spring up anew, and speech is silenced before the grave repetitions of history.

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The military class is the class of universality.  The defense of the State is its privilege, and its duty is to realize the ideality contained in it, which consists in self-sacrifice.  There are different kinds of bravery.  The courage of the animal, or the robber, the bravery which arises from a sense of honor, the chivalrous bravery, are not yet the true forms of it.  In civilized nations true bravery consists in the readiness to give oneself wholly to the service of the State, so that the individual counts but as one among many.  Not personal valor, but the important aspect of it, lies in self-subordination to the universal cause.

To risk one’s life is indeed something more than mere fear of death, but this is only negative; only a positive character—­an aim and content—­gives meaning to bravery.  Robbers and murderers in the pursuit of crime, adventurers in the search of their fanciful objects, etc., also possess courage, and do not fear death.  The principle of the modern world—­the power of thought and of the universal—­has given to bravery a higher form; the higher form causes the expression of bravery to appear more mechanical.  The brave deeds are not the deeds of any particular person, but those of the members of a whole.  And, again, since hostility is directed, not against separate individuals, but against a hostile whole, personal valor appears as impersonal.  This principle it is which has caused the invention of the gun; it is not a chance invention that has brought about the change of the mere personal form of bravery into the more abstract.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Just as the individual is not a real person unless related to other persons, so the State is no real individuality unless related to other States.  The legitimate power of a State, and more especially its princely power, is, from the point of view of its foreign relations, a wholly internal affair.  A State shall, therefore, not interfere with the internal affairs of another State.  On the other hand, for a complete State, it is essential that it be recognized by others; but this recognition demands as a guarantee that it shall recognize those States which recognize it, and shall respect their independence.  Hence its internal affairs cannot be a matter of indifference to them.

When Napoleon, before the peace of Campoformio, said, “The French Republic requires recognition as little as the sun needs to be recognized,” his words suggest nothing but the strength of existence, which already carries with it the guarantee of recognition, without needing to be expressed.

When the particular wills of the State can come to no agreement their controversy can be decided only by war.  What offense shall be regarded as a breach of a treaty, or as a violation of respect and honor, must remain indefinite, since many and various injuries can easily accrue from the wide range of the interests of the States and from the complex relations of their citizens.  The State may identify its infinitude and honor with every one of its single aspects.  And if a State, as a strong individuality, has experienced an unduly protracted internal rest, it will naturally be more inclined to irritability, in order to find an occasion and field for intense activity.

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The nations of Europe form a family according to the universal principle of their legislation, their ethical code, and their civilization.  But the relation among States fluctuates, and no judge exists to adjust their differences.  The higher judge is the universal and absolute Spirit alone—­the World-Spirit.

The relation of one particular State to another presents, on the largest possible scale, the most shifting play of individual passions, interests, aims, talents, virtues, power, injustice, vice, and mere external chance.  It is a play in which even the ethical whole, the independence of the State, is exposed to accident.  The principles which control the many national spirits are limited.  Each nation as an existing individuality is guided by its particular principles, and only as a particular individuality can each national spirit win objectivity and self-consciousness; but the fortunes and deeds of States in their relation to one another reveal the dialectic of the finite nature of these spirits.  Out of this dialectic rises the universal Spirit, the unlimited World-Spirit, pronouncing its judgment—­and its judgment is the highest—­upon the finite nations of the world’s history; for the history of the world is the world’s court of justice.

INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF ART (1820-21)

BY GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL

TRANSLATED BY J. LOEWENBERG, PH.D.  Assistant in Philosophy, Harvard University

THE MEANING OF ART

The appropriate expression for our subject is the “Philosophy of Art,” or, more precisely, the “Philosophy of Fine Arts.”  By this expression we wish to exclude the beauty of nature.  In common life we are in the habit of speaking of beautiful color, a beautiful sky, a beautiful river, beautiful flowers, beautiful animals, and beautiful human beings.  But quite aside from the question, which we wish not to discuss here, how far beauty may be predicated of such objects, or how far natural beauty may be placed side by side with artistic beauty, we must begin by maintaining that artistic beauty is higher than the beauty of nature.  For the beauty of art is beauty born—­and born again—­of the spirit.  And as spirit and its products stand higher than nature and its phenomena, by so much the beauty that resides in art is superior to the beauty of nature.

To say that spirit and artistic beauty stand higher than natural beauty, is to say very little, for “higher” is a very indefinite expression, which states the difference between them as quantitative and external.  The “higher” quality of spirit and of artistic beauty does not at all stand in a merely relative position to nature.  Spirit only is the true essence and content of the world, so that whatever is beautiful is truly beautiful only when it partakes of this higher essence and is produced by it.  In this sense natural beauty appears only as a reflection of the beauty that belongs to spirit; it is an imperfect and incomplete expression of the spiritual substance.

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[Illustration:  ROYAL OLD MUSEUM IN BERLIN By Schinkel]

Confining ourselves to artistic beauty, we must first consider certain difficulties.  The first that suggests itself is the question whether art is at all worthy of a philosophic treatment.  To be sure, art and beauty pervade, like a kindly genius, all the affairs of life, and joyously adorn all its inner and outer phases, softening the gravity and the burden of actual existence, furnishing pleasure for idle moments, and, where it can accomplish nothing positive, driving evil away by occupying its place.  Yet, although art wins its way everywhere with its pleasing forms, from the crude adornment of the savages to the splendor of the temple with its marvelous wealth of decoration, art itself appears to fall outside the real aims of life.  And though the creations of art cannot be said to be directly disadvantageous to the serious purposes of life, nay, on occasion actually further them by holding evil at bay, on the whole, art belongs to the relaxation and leisure of the mind, while the substantial interests of life demand its exertion.  At any rate, such a view renders art a superfluity, though the tender and emotional influence which is wrought upon the mind by occupation with art is not thought necessarily detrimental, because effeminate.

There are others, again, who, though acknowledging art to be a luxury, have thought it necessary to defend it by pointing to the practical necessities of the fine arts and to the relation they bear to morality and piety.  Very serious aims have been ascribed to art.  Art has been recommended as a mediator between reason and sensuousness, between inclination and duty, as the reconcilor of all these elements constantly warring with one another.  But it must be said that, by making art serve two masters, it is not rendered thereby more worthy of a philosophic treatment.  Instead of being an end in itself, art is degraded into a means of appealing to higher aims, on the one hand, and to frivolity and idleness on the other.

Art considered as means offers another difficulty which springs from its form.  Granting that art can be subordinated to serious aims and that the results which it thus produces will be significant, still the means used by art is deception, for beauty is appearance, its form is its life; and one must admit that a true and real purpose should not be achieved through deception.  Even if a good end is thus, now and then, attained by art its success is rather limited, and even then deception cannot be recommended as a worthy means; for the means should be adequate to the dignity of the end, and truth can be produced by truth alone and not by deception and semblance.

It may thus appear as if art were not worthy of philosophic consideration because it is supposed to be merely a pleasing pastime; even when it pursues more serious aims it does not correspond with their nature.  On the whole, it is conceived to serve both grave and light interests, achieving its results by means of deception and semblance.

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As for the worthiness of art to be philosophically considered, it is indeed true that art can be used as a casual amusement, furnishing enjoyment and pleasure, decorating our surroundings, lending grace to the external conditions of life, and giving prominence to other objects through ornamentation.  Art thus employed is indeed not an independent or free, but rather a subservient art.  That art might serve other purposes and still retain its pleasure-giving function, is a relation which it has in common with thought.  For science, too, in the hands of the servile understanding is used for finite ends and accidental means, and is thus not self-sufficient, but is determined by outer objects and circumstances.  On the other hand, science can emancipate itself from such service and can rise in free independence to the pursuit of truth, in which the realization of its own aims is its proper function.

Art is not genuine art until it has thus liberated itself.  It fulfils its highest task when it has joined the same sphere with religion and philosophy and has become a certain mode of bringing to consciousness and expression the divine meaning of things, the deepest interests of mankind, and the most universal truths of the spirit.  Into works of art the nations have wrought their most profound ideas and aspirations.  Fine Art often constitutes the key, and with many nations it is the only key, to an understanding of their wisdom and religion.  This character art has in common with religion and philosophy.  Art’s peculiar feature, however, consists in its ability to represent in sensuous form even the highest ideas, bringing them thus nearer to the character of natural phenomena, to the senses, and to feeling.  It is the height of a supra-sensuous world into which thought reaches, but it always appears to immediate consciousness and to present experience as an alien beyond.  Through the power of philosophic thinking we are able to soar above what is merely here, above sensuous and finite experience.  But spirit can heal the breach between the supra-sensuous and the sensuous brought on by its own advance; it produces out of itself the world of fine art as the first reconciling medium between what is merely external, sensuous, and transient, and the world of pure thought, between nature with its finite reality and the infinite freedom of philosophic reason.

Concerning the unworthiness of art because of its character as appearance and deception, it must be admitted that such criticism would not be without justice, if appearance could be said to be equivalent to falsehood and thus to something that ought not to be.  Appearance is essential to reality; truth could not be, did it not shine through appearance.  Therefore not appearance in general can be objected to, but merely the particular kind of appearance through which art seeks to portray truth.  To charge the appearance in which art chooses to embody its ideas

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as deception, receives meaning only by comparison with the external world of phenomena and its immediate materiality, as well as with the inner world of sensations and feelings.  To these two worlds we are wont, in our empirical work-a-day life, to attribute the value of actuality, reality, and truth, in contrast to art, which is supposed to be lacking such reality and truth.  But, in fact, it is just the whole sphere of the empirical inner and outer world that is not the world of true reality; indeed it may be called a mere show and a cruel deception in a far stricter sense than in the case of art.  Only beyond the immediacy of sense and of external objects is genuine reality to be found.  Truly real is but the fundamental essence and the underlying substance of nature and of spirit, and the universal element in nature and in spirit is precisely what art accentuates and makes visible.  This essence of reality appears also in the common outer and inner world, but it appears in the form of a chaos of contingencies, distorted by the immediateness of sense perception, and by the capriciousness of conditions, events, characters, etc.  Art frees the true meaning of appearances from the show and deception of this bad and transient world, and invests it with a higher reality, born of the spirit.  Thus, far removed from being mere appearances, the products of art have a higher reality and a more genuine being than the things of ordinary life.

THE CONTENT AND IDEAL OF ART

The content of art is spiritual, and its form is sensuous; both sides art has to reconcile into a united whole.  The first requirement is that the content, which art is to represent, must be worthy of artistic representation; otherwise we obtain only a bad unity, since a content not capable of artistic treatment is made to take on an artistic form, and a matter prosaic in itself is forced into a form quite opposed to its inherent nature.

The second requirement demands of the content of art that it shall be no abstraction.  By this is not meant that it must be concrete, as the sensuous is alleged to be concrete in contrast to everything spiritual and intellectual.  For everything that is genuinely true, in the realm of thought as well as in the domain of nature, is concrete, and has, in spite of universality, nevertheless, a particular and subjective character.  By saying, for example, that God is simply One, the Supreme Being as such, we express thereby nothing but a lifeless abstraction of an understanding devoid of reason.  Such a God, as indeed he is not conceived in his concrete truth, can furnish no content for art, least of all for plastic art.  Thus the Jews and the Turks have not been able to represent their God, who is still more abstract, in the positive manner in which the Christians have represented theirs.  For in Christianity God is conceived in his truth, and therefore concrete, as a person, as a subject,

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and, more precisely still, as Spirit.  What he is as spirit appears to the religious consciousness as a Trinity of persons, which at the same time is One.  Here the essence of God is the reconciled unity of universality and particularity, such unity alone being concrete.  Hence, as a content in order to be true must be concrete in this sense, art demands the same concreteness; because a mere abstract idea, or an abstract universal, cannot manifest itself in a particular and sensuous unified form.

If a true and therefore concrete content is to have its adequate sensuous form and shape, this sensuous form must—­this being the third requirement—­also be something individual, completely concrete, and one.  The nature of concreteness belonging to both the content and the representation of art, is precisely the point in which both can coincide and correspond to each other.  The natural shape of the human body, for example, is a sensuous concrete object, which is perfectly adequate to represent the spiritual in its concreteness; the view should therefore be abandoned that an existing object from the external world is accidentally chosen by art to express a spiritual idea.  Art does not seize upon this or that form either because it simply finds it or because it can find no other, but the concrete spiritual content itself carries with it the element of external, real, yes, even sensuous, representation.  And this is the reason why a sensuous concrete object, which bears the impress of an essentially spiritual content, addresses itself to the inner eye; the outward shape whereby the content is rendered visible and imaginable aims at an existence only in our heart and mind.  For this reason alone are content and artistic shape harmoniously wrought.  The mere sensuously concrete external nature as such has not this purpose for its only origin.  The gay and variegated plumage of the birds shines unseen, and their song dies away unheard; the torch-thistle which blossoms only for a night withers without having been admired in the wilds of southern forests; and these forests, groves of the most beautiful and luxuriant vegetation, with the most odorous and fragrant perfumes, perish and waste, no more enjoyed.  The work of art is not so unconsciously self-immersed, but it is essentially a question, an address to the responsive soul, an appeal to the heart and to the mind.

Although the sensuous form in which art clothes its content is not accidental, yet it is not the highest form whereby the spiritually concrete may be grasped.  A higher mode than representation through a sensuous form, is thought.  True and rational thinking, though in a relative sense abstract, must not be one-sided, but concrete.  How far a definite content can be adequately treated by art and how far it needs, according to its nature, a higher and more spiritual form, is a distinction which we see at once if, for example, the Greek gods are compared with God as conceived

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in accordance with Christian notions.  The Greek god is not abstract but individual, closely related to the natural human form.  The Christian God is also a concrete personality, but he is pure spiritually, and can be known only as spirit and in spirit.  His sphere of existence is therefore essentially inner knowledge, and not the outer natural shape through which he can be represented but imperfectly and not in the whole depth of his essence.

But the task of art is to represent a spiritual idea to direct contemplation in sensuous form, and not in the form of thought or of pure spirituality.  The value and dignity of such representation lies in the correspondence and unity of the two sides, of the spiritual content and its sensuous embodiment, so that the perfection and excellency of art must depend upon the grade of inner harmony and union with which the spiritual idea and the sensuous form interpenetrate.

The requirement of the conformity of spiritual idea and sensuous form might at first be interpreted as meaning that any idea whatever would suffice, so long as the concrete form represented this idea and no other.  Such a view, however, would confound the ideal of art with mere correctness, which consists in the expression of any meaning in its appropriate form.  The artistic ideal is not to be thus understood.  For any content whatever is capable, according to the standard of its own nature, of adequate representation, but yet it does not for that reason lay claim to artistic beauty in the ideal sense.  Judged by the standard of ideal beauty, even such correct representation will be defective.  In this connection we may remark that the defects of a work of art are not to be considered simply as always due to the incapacity of the artist; defectiveness of form has also its root in defectiveness of content.  Thus, for instance, the Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, in their artistic objects, their representations of the gods, and their idols, adhered to formlessness, or to a vague and inarticulate form, and were not able to arrive at genuine beauty, because their mythological ideas, the content and conception of their works of art, were as yet vague and obscure.  The more perfect in form works of art are, the more profound is the inner truth of their content and thought.  And it is not merely a question of the greater or lesser skill with which the objects of external nature are studied and copied, for, in certain stages of artistic consciousness and artistic activity, the misrepresentation and distortion of natural objects are not unintentional technical inexpertness and incapacity, but conscious alteration, which depends upon the content that is in consciousness, and is, in fact, demanded by it.  We may thus speak of imperfect art, which, in its own proper sphere, may be quite perfect both technically and in other respects.  When compared with the highest idea and ideal of art, it is indeed defective.  In the highest art alone are the idea and its representation in perfect congruity, because the sensuous form of the idea is in itself the adequate form, and because the content, which that form embodies, is itself a genuine content.

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The higher truth of art consists, then, in the spiritual having attained a sensuous form adequate to its essence.  And this also furnishes the principle of division for the philosophy of art.  For the Spirit, before it wins the true meaning of its absolute essence, has to develop through a series of stages which constitute its very life.  To this universal evolution there corresponds a development of the phases of art, under the form of which the Spirit—­as artist—­attains to a comprehension of its own meaning.

This evolution within the spirit of art has two sides.  The development is, in the first place, a spiritual and universal one, in so far as a gradual series of definite conceptions of the universe—­of nature, man, and God—­finds artistic representation.  In the second place, this universal development of art, embodying itself in sensuous form, determines definite modes of artistic expression and a totality of necessary distinctions within the sphere of art.  These constitute the particular arts.

We have now to consider three definite relations of the spiritual idea to its sensuous expression.

SYMBOLIC ART

Art begins when the spiritual idea, being itself still indefinite and obscure and ill-comprehended, is made the content of artistic forms.  As indefinite, it does not yet have that individuality which the artistic ideal demands; its abstractness and one-sidedness thus render its shape defective and whimsical.  The first form of art is therefore rather a mere search after plasticity than a capacity of true representation.  The spiritual idea has not yet found its adequate form, but is still engaged in striving and struggling after it.  This form we may, in general, call the symbolic form of art; in such form the abstract idea assumes a shape in natural sensuous matter which is foreign to it; with this foreign matter the artistic creation begins, from which, however, it seems unable to free itself.  The objects of external nature are reproduced unchanged, but at the same time the meaning of the spiritual idea is attached to them.  They thus receive the vocation of expressing it, and must be interpreted as if the spiritual idea were actually present in them.  It is indeed true that natural objects possess an aspect which makes them capable of representing a universal meaning, but in symbolic art a complete correspondence is not yet possible.  In it the correspondence is confined to an abstract quality, as when, for example, a lion is meant to stand for strength.

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This abstract relation brings also to consciousness the foreignness of the spiritual idea to natural phenomena.  And the spiritual idea, having no other reality to express its essence, expatiates in all these natural shapes, seeks itself in their unrest and disproportion, but finds them inadequate to it.  It then exaggerates these natural phenomena and shapes them into the huge and the boundless.  The spiritual idea revels in them, as it were, seethes and ferments in them, does violence to them, distorts and disfigures them into grotesque shapes, and endeavors by the diversity, hugeness, and splendor of such forms to raise the natural phenomena to the spiritual level.  For here it is the spiritual idea which is more or less vague and non-plastic, while the objects of nature have a thoroughly definite form.

The incongruity of the two elements to each other makes the relation of the spiritual idea to objective reality a negative one.  The spiritual as a wholly inner element and as the universal substance of all things, is conceived unsatisfied with all externality, and in its sublimity it triumphs over the abundance of unsuitable forms.  In this conception of sublimity the natural objects and the human shapes are accepted and left unaltered, but at the same time recognized as inadequate to their own inner meaning; it is this inner meaning which is glorified far and above every worldly content.

These elements constitute, in general, the character of the primitive artistic pantheism of the Orient, which either invests even the lowest objects with absolute significance, or forces all phenomena with violence to assume the expression of its world-view.  This art becomes therefore bizarre, grotesque, and without taste, or it represents the infinite substance in its abstract freedom turning away with disdain from the illusory and perishing mass of appearances.  Thus the meaning can never be completely molded into the expression, and, notwithstanding all the aspiration and effort, the incongruity between the spiritual idea and the sensuous form remains insuperable.  This is, then, the first form of art-symbolic art with its endless quest, its inner struggle, its sphinx-like mystery, and its sublimity.

CLASSICAL ART

In the second form of art, which we wish to designate as the classical, the double defect of symbolic art is removed.  The symbolic form is imperfect, because the spiritual meaning which it seeks to convey enters into consciousness in but an abstract and vague manner, and thus the congruity between meaning and form must always remain defective and therefore abstract.  This double aspect disappears in the classical type of art; in it we find the free and adequate embodiment of the spiritual idea in the form most suitable to it, and with it meaning and expression are in perfect accord.  It is classical art, therefore, which first affords the creation and contemplation of the completed ideal, realizing it as a real fact in the world.

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But the congruity of idea and reality in classical art must not be taken in a formal sense of the agreement of a content with its external form; otherwise every photograph of nature, every picture of a countenance, landscape, flower, scene, etc., which constitutes the aim of a representation, would, through the conformity of content and form, be at once classical.  The peculiarity of classical art, on the contrary, consists in its content being itself a concrete idea, and, as such, a concrete spiritual idea, for only the spiritual is a truly essential content.  For a worthy object of such a content, Nature must be consulted as to whether she contains anything to which a spiritual attribute really belongs.  It must be the World-Spirit itself that invented the proper form for the concrete spiritual ideal—­the subjective mind—­in this case the spirit of art—­has only found it, and given it natural plastic existence in accordance with free individual spirituality.  The form in which the idea, as spiritual and individual, clothes itself when revealed as a temporal phenomenon, is the human form.  To be sure, personification and anthropomorphism have frequently been decried as a degradation of the spiritual; but art, in so far as its task is to bring before direct contemplation the spiritual in sensuous form, must advance to such anthropomorphism, for only in its body can mind appear in an adequately sensuous fashion.  The migration of souls is, in this respect, an abstract notion, and physiology should make it one of its fundamental principles that life has necessarily, in its evolution, to advance to the human shape as the only sensuous phenomenon appropriate to the mind.

The human body as portrayed by classical art is not represented in its mere physical existence, but solely as the natural and sensuous form and garb of mind; it is therefore divested of all the defects that belong to the merely sensuous and of all the finite contingencies that appertain to the phenomenal.  But if the form must be thus purified in order to express the appropriate content, and, furthermore, if the conformity of meaning and expression is to be complete, the content which is the spiritual idea must be perfectly capable of being expressed through the bodily form of man, without projecting into another sphere beyond the physical and sensuous representation.  The result is that Spirit is characterized as a particular form of mind, namely, as human mind, and not as simply absolute and eternal; but the absolute and eternal Spirit must be able to reveal and express itself in a manner far more spiritual.

This latter point brings to light the defect of classical art, which demands its dissolution and its transition to a third and higher form, to wit, the romantic form of art.

ROMANTIC ART

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The romantic form of art destroys the unity of the spiritual idea and its sensuous form, and goes back, though on a higher level, to the difference and opposition of the two, which symbolic art left unreconciled.  The classical form of art attained, indeed, the highest degree of perfection which the sensuous process of art was capable of realizing; and, if it shows any defects, the defects are those of art itself, due to the limitation of its sphere.  This limitation has its root in the general attempt of art to represent in sensuous concrete form the infinite and universal Spirit, and in the attempt of the classical type of art to blend so completely spiritual and sensuous existence that the two appear in mutual conformity.  But in such a fusion of the spiritual and sensuous aspects Spirit cannot be portrayed according to its true essence, for the true essence of Spirit is its infinite subjectivity; and its absolute internal meaning does not lend itself to a full and free expression in the confinement of the bodily form as its only appropriate existence.

Now, romantic art dissolves the inseparable unity which is the ideal of the classical type, because it has won a content which goes beyond the classical form of art and its mode of expression.  This content—­if familiar ideas may be recalled—­coincides with what Christianity declares to be true of God as Spirit, in distinction to the Greek belief in gods which constitutes the essential and appropriate subject for classical art.  The concrete content of Hellenic art implies the unity of the human and divine nature, a unity which, just because it is merely implied and immediate, permits of a representation in an immediately visible and sensuous mold.  The Greek god is the object of naive contemplation and sensuous imagination; his shape is, therefore, the bodily shape of man; the circle of his power and his essence is individual and confined.  To man the Greek god appears as a being and a power with whom he may feel a kinship and unity, but this kinship and unity, are not reflected upon or raised into definite knowledge.  The higher stage is the knowledge of this unconscious unity, which underlies the classical form of art and which it has rendered capable of complete plastic embodiment.  The elevation of what is unconscious and implied into self-conscious knowledge brings about an enormous difference; it is the infinite difference which, for example, separates man from the animal.  Man is an animal, but, even in his animal functions, does not rest satisfied with the potential and the unconscious as the animal does, but becomes conscious of them, reflects upon them, and raises them—­as, for instance, the process of digestion—­into self-conscious science.  And it is thus that man breaks through the boundary of his merely immediate and unconscious existence, so that, just because he knows himself to be animal, he ceases in virtue of such knowledge to be animal, and, through such self-knowledge only, can characterize himself as mind or spirit.

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If in the manner just described the unity of the human and divine nature is raised from an immediate to a conscious, unity, the true mold for the reality of this content is no longer the sensuous, immediate existence of the spiritual, the bodily frame of man, but self-consciousness and internal contemplation.  For this reason Christianity, in depicting God as Spirit—­not as particularized individual mind, but as absolute and universal Spirit—­retires from the sensuousness of imagination into the sphere of inner being, and makes this, and not the bodily form, the material and mold of its content; and thus the unity of the human and divine nature is a conscious unity, capable of realization only by spiritual knowledge.  The new content, won by this unity, is not dependent upon sensuous representation; it is now exempt from such immediate existence.  In this way, however, romantic art becomes art which transcends itself, carrying on this process of self-transcendence within its own artistic sphere and artistic form.

Briefly stated, the essence of romantic art consists in the artistic object being the free, concrete, spiritual idea itself, which is revealed in its spirituality to the inner, and not the outer, eye.  In conformity with such a content, art can, in a sense, not work for sensuous perception, but must aim at the inner mood, which completely fuses with its object, at the most subjective inner shrine, at the heart, the feeling, which, as spiritual feeling, longs for freedom within itself and seeks and finds reconciliation only within the inner recesses of the spirit.  This inner world is the content of romantic art, and as such an inner life, or as its reflection, it must seek embodiment.  The inner life thus triumphs over the outer world—­indeed, so triumphs over it that the outer world itself is made to proclaim its victory, through which the sensuous appearance sinks into worthlessness.

On the other hand, the romantic type of art, like every other, needs an external mode of expression.  But the spiritual has now retired from the outer mode into itself, and the sensuous externality of form assumes again, as it did in symbolic art, an insignificant and transient character.  The subjective, finite mind and will, the peculiarity and caprice of the individual, of character, action, or of incident and plot, assume likewise the character they had in symbolic art.  The external side of things is surrendered to accident and committed to the excesses of the imagination, whose caprice now mirrors existence as it is, now chooses to distort the objects of the outer world into a bizarre and grotesque medley, for the external form no longer possesses a meaning and significance, as in classical art, on its own account and for it own sake.  Feeling is now everything.  It finds its artistic reflection, not in the world of external things and their forms, but in its own expression; and in every incident and accident of life, in every misfortune, grief, and even crime, feeling preserves or regains its healing power of reconciliation.

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Hence, the indifference, incongruity, and antagonism of spiritual idea and sensuous form, the characteristics of symbolic art, reappear in the romantic type, but with this essential difference.  In the romantic realm, the spiritual idea, to whose defectiveness was due the defective forms of symbolic art, now reveals itself in its perfection within mind and feeling.  It is by virtue of the higher perfection of the idea that it shuns any adequate union with an external form, since it can seek and attain its true reality and expression best within itself.

This, in general terms, is the character of the symbolic, classical, and romantic forms of art, which stand for the three relations of the spiritual idea to its expression in the realm of art.  They consist in the aspiration after, and the attainment and transcendence of, the ideal as the true idea of beauty.

THE PARTICULAR ARTS

But, now, there inhere in the idea of beauty different modifications which art translates into sensuous forms.  And we find a fundamental principle by which the several particular arts may be arranged and defined—­that is, the species of art contain in themselves the same essential differences which we have found in the three general types of art.  External objectivity, moreover, into which these types are molded by means of a sensuous and particular material, renders them independent and separate means of realizing different artistic functions, as far as each type finds its definite character in some one definite external material whose mode of portrayal determines its adequate realization.  Furthermore, the general types of art correspond to the several particular arts, so that they (the particular arts) belong each of them specifically to one of the general types of art.  It is these particular arts which give adequate and artistic external being to the general types.

ARCHITECTURE

The first of the particular arts with which, according to their fundamental principle, we have to begin, is architecture.  Its task consists in so shaping external inorganic nature that it becomes homogeneous with mind, as an artistic outer world.  The material of architecture is matter itself in its immediate externality as a heavy mass subject to mechanical laws, and its forms remain the forms of inorganic nature, but are merely arranged and ordered in accordance with the abstract rules of the understanding, the rules of symmetry.  But in such material and in such forms the ideal as concrete spirituality cannot be realized; the reality which is represented in them remains, therefore, alien to the spiritual idea, as something external which it has not penetrated or with which it has but a remote and abstract relation.  Hence the fundamental type of architecture is the symbolical form of art.  For it is architecture that paves

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the way, as it were, for the adequate realization of the God, toiling and wrestling in his service with external nature, and seeking to extricate it from the chaos of finitude and the abortiveness of chance.  By this means it levels a space for the God, frames his external surroundings, and builds him his temple as the place for inner contemplation and for reflection upon the eternal objects of the spirit.  It raises an inclosure around those gathered together, as a defense against the threatening of the wind, against rain, the thunder-storm, and wild beasts, and reveals the will to gather together, though externally, yet in accordance with the artistic form.  A meaning such as this, the art of architecture is able to mold into its material and its forms with more or less success, according as the determinate nature of the content which it seeks to embody is more significant or more trivial, more concrete or more abstract, more deeply rooted within its inner being or more dim and superficial.  Indeed, it may even advance so far as to endeavor to create for such meaning an adequate artistic expression with its material and forms, but in such an attempt it has already overstepped the bounds of its own sphere, and inclines towards sculpture, the higher phase of art.  For the limit of architecture lies precisely in this, that it refers to the spiritual as an internal essence in contrast with the external forms of its art, and thus whatever spirit and soul are possessed it must point to as something other than itself.

SCULPTURE

Architecture, however, has purified the inorganic external world, has given it symmetric order, has impressed upon it the seal of mind, and the temple of the God, the house of his community, stands ready.  Into this temple now enters the God himself.  The lightning-flash of individuality strikes the inert mass, permeates it, and a form no longer merely symmetrical, but infinite and spiritual, concentrates and molds its adequate bodily shape.  This is the task of sculpture.  Inasmuch as in it the inner spiritual element, which architecture can no more than hint at, completely abides with the sensuous form and its external matter, and as both sides are so merged into each other that neither predominates, sculpture has the classical form of art as its fundamental type.  In fact, the sensuous realm itself can command no expression which could not be that of the spiritual sphere, just as, conversely, no spiritual content can attain perfect plasticity in sculpture which is incapable of being adequately presented to perception in bodily form.  It is sculpture which arrests for our vision the spirit in its bodily frame, in immediate unity with it, and in an attitude of peace and repose; and the form in turn is animated by the content of spiritual individuality.  Therefore the external sensuous matter is here not wrought, either according to its mechanical quality alone, as

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heavy mass, nor in forms peculiar to inorganic nature, nor as indifferent to color, etc., but in ideal forms of the human shape, and in the whole of the spatial dimensions.  In this last respect sculpture should be credited with having first revealed the inner and spiritual essence in its eternal repose and essential self-possession.  To such repose and unity with itself corresponds only that external element which itself persists in unity and repose.  Such an element is the form taken in its abstract spatiality.  The spirit which sculpture represents is that which is solid in itself, not variously broken up in the play of contingencies and passions; nor does its external form admit of the portrayal of such a manifold play, but it holds to this one side only, to the abstraction of space in the totality of its dimensions.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ROMANTIC ARTS

After architecture has built the temple and the hand of sculpture has placed inside it the statue of the God, then this sensuously visible God faces in the spacious halls of his house the community.  The community is the spiritual, self-reflecting element in this sensuous realm, it is the animating subjectivity and inner life.  A new principle of art begins with it.  Both the content of art and the medium which embodies it in outward form now demand particularization, individualization, and the subjective mode of expressing these.  The solid unity which the God possesses in sculpture breaks up into the plurality of inner individual lives, whose unity is not sensuous, but essentially ideal.

And now God comes to assume the aspect which makes him truly spiritual.  As a hither-and-thither, as an alternation between the unity within himself and his realization in subjective knowledge and individual consciousness, as well as in the common and unified life of the many individuals, he is genuinely Spirit—­the Spirit in his community.  In his community God is released from the abstractness of a mysterious self-identity, as well as from the naive imprisonment in a bodily shape, in which he is represented by sculpture.  Here he is exalted into spirituality, subjectivity, and knowledge.  For this reason the higher content of art is now this spirituality in its absolute form.  But since what chiefly reveals itself in this stage is not the serene repose of God in himself, but rather his appearance, his being, and his manifestation to others, the objects of artistic representation are now the most varied subjective expressions of life and activity for their own sake, as human passions, deeds, events, and, in general, the wide range of human feeling, will, and resignation.  In accordance with this content, the sensuous element must differentiate and show itself adequate to the expression of subjective feeling.  Such different media are furnished by color, by the musical sound, and finally by the sound as the mere indication of inner intuitions and ideas;

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and thus as different forms of realizing the spiritual content of art by means of these media we obtain painting, music, and poetry.  The sensuous media employed in these arts being individualized and in their essence recognized as ideal, they correspond most effectively to the spiritual content of art, and the union between spiritual meaning and sensuous expression develops, therefore, into greater intimacy than was possible in the case of architecture and sculpture.  This intimate unity, however, is due wholly to the subjective side.

Leaving, then, the symbolic spirit of architecture and the classical ideal of sculpture behind, these new arts in which form and content are raised to an ideal level borrow their type from the romantic form of art, whose mode of expression they are most eminently fitted to voice.  They form, however, a totality of arts, because the romantic type is the most concrete in itself.

PAINTING

The first art in this totality, which is akin to sculpture, is painting.  The material which it uses for its content and for the sensuous expression of that content is visibility as such, in so far as it is individualized, viz., specified as color.  To be sure, the media employed in architecture and sculpture are also visible and colored, but they are not, as in painting, visibility as such, not the simple light which contrasts itself with darkness and in combination with it becomes color.  This visibility as a subjective and ideal attribute, requires neither, like architecture, the abstract mechanical form of mass which we find in heavy matter, nor, like sculpture, the three dimensions of sensuous space, even though in concentrated and organic plasticity, but the visibility which appertains to painting has its differences on a more ideal level, in the particular kinds of color; and thus painting frees art from the sensuous completeness in space peculiar to material things only, by confining itself to a plane surface.

On the other hand, the content also gains in varied particularization.  Whatever can find room in the human heart, as emotion, idea, and purpose, whatever it is able to frame into a deed, all this variety of material can constitute the many-colored content of painting.  The whole range of particular existence, from the highest aspirations of the mind down to the most isolated objects of nature, can obtain a place in this art.  For even finite nature, in its particular scenes and aspects, can here appear, if only some allusion to a spiritual element makes it akin to thought and feeling.

MUSIC

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The second art in which the romantic form finds realization, on still a higher level than in painting, is music.  Its material, though still sensuous, advances to a deeper subjectivity and greater specification.  The idealization of the sensuous, music brings about by negating space.  In music the indifferent extension of space whose appearance painting admits and consciously imitates is concentrated and idealized into a single point.  But in the form of a motion and tremor of the material body within itself, this single point becomes a concrete and active process within the idealization of matter.  Such an incipient ideality of matter which no longer appears under the spatial form, but as temporal ideality, is sound the sensuous acknowledged as ideal, whose abstract visibility is transformed into audibility.  Sound, as it were, exempts the ideal from its absorption in matter.

This earliest animation and inspiration of matter furnishes the medium for the inner and intimate life of the spirit, as yet on an indefinite level; it is through the tones of music that the heart pours out its whole scale of feelings and passions.  Thus as sculpture constitutes the central point between architecture and the arts of romantic subjectivity, so music forms the centre of the romantic arts, and represents the point of transition between abstract spatial sensuousness, which belongs to painting, and the abstract spirituality of poetry.  Within itself music has, like architecture, an abstract quantitative relation, as a contrast to its inward and emotional quality; it also has as its basis a permanent law to which the tones with their combinations and successions must conform.

POETRY

For the third and most spiritual expression of the romantic form of art, we must look to poetry.  Its characteristic peculiarity lies in the power with which it subjugates to the mind and to its ideas the sensuous element from which music and painting began to set art free.  For sound, the one external medium of which poetry avails itself, is in it no longer a feeling of the tone itself, but is a sign which is, by itself, meaningless.  This sign, moreover, is a sign of an idea which has become concrete, and not merely of indefinite feeling and of its nuances and grades.  By this means the tone becomes the word, an articulate voice, whose function it is to indicate thoughts and ideas.  The negative point to which music had advanced now reveals itself in poetry as the completely concrete point, as the spirit or the self-consciousness of the individual, which spontaneously unites the infinite space of its ideas with the time-element of sound.  But this sensuous element which, in music, was still in immediate union with inner feelings and moods, is, in poetry, divorced from the content of consciousness, for in poetry the mind determines this content on its own account and for the sake of its ideas, and while it

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employs sound to express them, yet sound itself is reduced to a symbol with out value or meaning.  From this point of view sound may just as well be considered a mere letter, for the audible, like the visible, is now relegated to a mere suggestion of mind.  Thus the genuine mode of poetic representation is the inner perception and the poetic imagination itself.  And since all types of art share in this mode, poetry runs through them all, and develops itself independently in each.  Poetry, then, is the universal art of the spirit which has attained inner freedom, and which does not depend for its realization upon external sensuous matter, but expatiates only in the inner space and inner time of the ideas and feelings.  But just in this, its highest phase, art oversteps the bounds of its own sphere by abandoning the harmoniously sensuous mode of portraying the spirit and by passing from the poetry of imagination into the prose of thought.

SUMMARY

Such, then, is the organic totality of the several arts the external art of architecture, the objective art of sculpture, and the subjective arts of painting, music, and poetry.  The higher principle from which these are derived we have found in the types of art, the symbolic, the classical, and the romantic, which form the universal phases of the idea of beauty itself.  Thus symbolic art finds its most adequate reality and most perfect application in architecture, in which it is self-complete, and is not yet reduced, so to speak, to the inorganic medium for another art.  The classical form of art, on the other hand, attains its most complete realization in sculpture, while it accepts architecture only as forming an inclosure round its products and is as yet not capable of developing painting and music as absolute expressions of its meaning.  The romantic type of art, finally, seizes upon painting, music, and poetry as its essential and adequate modes of expression.  Poetry, however, is in conformity with all types of the beautiful and extends over them all, because its characteristic element is the esthetic imagination, and imagination is necessary for every product of art, to whatever type it may belong.

Thus what the particular arts realize in individual artistic creations are, according to the philosophic conception, simply the universal types of the self-unfolding idea of beauty.  Out of the external realization of this idea arises the wide Pantheon of art, whose architect and builder is the self-developing spirit of beauty, for the completion of which, however, the history of the world will require its evolution of countless ages.

THE LIFE OF BETTINA VON ARNIM

BY HENRY WOOD, PH.D.  Professor of German, Johns Hopkins University

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The ten years succeeding the publication of Goethe’s Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde (1835) coincided in point of time with the awakening in England, through Thomas Carlyle, and in America as well, of an intense if not yet profound interest in German Literature.  It must remain a tribute to the ideal enthusiasm of the movement that, among the first German works to receive a permanent welcome and become domiciled in American literary circles, was that strange and glittering mass, flotsam of a great poet’s life dislodged and jettisoned from his personality by the subtle arts of the “Child” who had now gathered it up again and was presenting it to the astonished world.  At a time when the Foreign Quarterly Review in England (1838) was vainly endeavoring to persuade “Madame von Arnim” not to undertake the translation of her work, “whose unrestrained effusions far exceed the-bounds authorized by English decorum,” Margaret Fuller was preparing in Boston to translate Bettina’s Guenderode, and soon felt herself in a position to state[3] that “Goethe’s Correspondence with a Child is as popular here as in Germany.”  In one respect, indeed, Bettina’s vogue in America remained for the rest of her lifetime more secure than in her own country, where the publication of her later politico-sociological works, Dies Buch gehoert dem Koenig (1843) and Gespraeche mit Daemonen (1852), was followed by a temporary eclipse of her popularity, and where also her fate, in persistently associating her with Rahel, the wife of Varnhagen, as a foil for Rahel’s brilliant but transitory glitter, had tarnished her own fame.[4]

[Illustration:  BETTINA VON ARNIM]

For these things American readers of the Correspondence seem to have cared but little.  While German critics were deliberating as to what grouping of characteristics could best express Bettina as a type, the American public had already discovered in her a rare personality—­the recipient and custodian of Frau Rat’s fondest memories of Goethe’s childhood; the “mythological nurse-maid,"[5] to whom, though in her proper name as well as to her first-born son, successive editions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales had been dedicated; the youthful friend of Beethoven, from whom she had received treasured confidences as to the influence exerted by Goethe’s verse upon his mind and art; at times the haunting Muse of Germany’s greatest poet and, since 1811, the wife of the most chivalrous of German poets, Achim von Arnim.  If we add to these characteristics the circumstance that, as Arnim’s wife and as the mother of their rarely endowed children, she had become the centre of a distinguished and devoted circle in the Mark Brandenburg and in the Prussian capital, the distance separating us from Ben Jonson’s attitude in his Epitaph on the Countess of Pembroke is no longer very great:  “Sidney’s sister, Pembroke’s mother."[6]

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It is, nevertheless, not through the aid of Ben Jonson’s line, “fair and wise and good as she,” that Bettina may be described.  She suggests far rather an electrical, inspired, lyrical nature.  The spokesman of this literary estimate of Bettina was Margaret Fuller, and it is interesting to note that this best of American critics at once instituted a comparison between Bettina and Karoline von Guenderode, in which the former was made to stand for Nature and the latter for Art.  But it appears to have escaped notice that Margaret Fuller, in presenting her example of the artistic type, has, with no express intention, given us a picture of herself.[7] The subtle harmonies, the soft aerial grace, the multiplied traits, the soul delicately appareled, the soft dignity of each look and gesture, the silvery spiritual clearness of an angel’s lyre, drawing from every form of life its eternal meaning—­these are all lineaments of the Countess of Pembroke type, and these characteristics Margaret Fuller herself shared.  How different is her description of Bettina!

“Bettina, hovering from object to object, drawing new tides of vital energy from all, living freshly alike in man and tree, loving the breath of the damp earth as well as the flower which springs from it, bounding over the fences of society as well as over the fences of the field, intoxicated with the apprehension of each new mystery, never hushed into silence by the highest, flying and singing like a bird, sobbing with the hopelessness of an infant, prophetic, yet astonished at the fulfilment of each prophecy, restless, fearless, clinging to love, yet unwearied in experiment—­is not this the pervasive vital force, cause of the effect which we call Nature?”

On the part of both Goethe and Bettina, there was always a recognition of such a natural force operating in her.  As Guenderode once put it, “Bettina seems like clay, which a divine artificer, preparing to fashion it into something rare, is treading with his feet.”  On the 13th of August, 1807, Bettina wrote:  “Farewell, glorious one, thou who dost both dazzle and intimidate me.  From this steep cliff [Goethe] upon which my love has risked the climb, there is no possible path down again.  That is not to be thought of; I should simply break my neck.”  Goethe’s reply, in this as in other cases, was characteristic:  “What can one say or give to thee, which thou hast not after thy own fashion already appropriated?  There is nothing left for me but to keep still, and let thee have thy way.”  In this passage-at-arms, the whole of the Correspondence, though not its charm, is concentrated.  Goethe was intent on keeping the relationship within its first limitations, that is to say, as a friendship in which his mother, Frau Rat, was included as a necessary third party.  The impetuous young confidante was already transmitting to Goethe chapters from the history of his childhood, as seen through the communications of his mother to

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her.  These had given the poet the purest pleasure, and he intended making use of them for his Autobiography.[8] But, on the other hand, as soon as Bettina risked independent judgments on his creations, as in the case of the Elective Affinities (1809), her inadequacy and her presumption in claiming for herself the role of a better Ottilie were both painfully apparent.  Her attitude toward the adored object was a combination of meekness and pretension, the latter predominating as time went on.  “It was sung at my cradle, that I must love a star that should always remain apart.  But thou [Goethe] hast sung me a cradle song, and to that song, which lulls me into a dream on the fate of my days, I must listen to the end of my days.”  To this humility succeeded the self-deception of the so-called later Diary.  Under date of March 22, 1832, Bettina relates that Goethe, at their last interview in the early days, had called her his Muse.  Hence, on learning of his death, she reproached herself for ever having left him—­“the tree of whose fame, with its eternally budding shoots, had been committed to my care.  Alas for the false world, which separated us, and led me, poor blind child, away from my master!” Margaret Fuller[9] called Goethe “my parent.”  But how sharp is the contrast between her tone of reverent affection and the umbrageous jealousy of Bettina!

And Goethe?  While the poet safeguarded his fatherly relation to Bettina, up to the break in 1811, in a hundred ways, we find him already, in 1807, inclosing in a letter to his mother the text of Sonnet I., which had been inspired, in the first instance, by his friendship with Minna Herzlieb.  Bettina, left to draw her own conclusions, at once identified herself with “Oreas” in the sonnet, and reproached herself for having plunged, like a mountain avalanche, into the broad, full current of the poet’s life.  From the letter of September 17th it is plain that Bettina indulged, in all seriousness, the fanciful notion that her inspiration was, in a sense, necessary to Goethe’s fame.  In her fond, mystical interpretation of the sonnets, her heart seems to her the fruitful furrow, the earth-womb, in which Goethe’s songs are sown, and out of which, accompanied by birth-pangs for her, they are destined to soar aloft as heavenly poems.  She closes with a partial application to herself of the Biblical text (Luke 1. 40):  “Blessed art thou among women.”

Goethe’s detractors, particularly among the literary school called Young Germany, were fond of repeating the insinuation of Fanny Tarnow (1835), that the poet prized in Bettina only her capacity for idolizing him.  But Goethe’s attitude toward the “Child” was far removed from that of poet-pasha, and Bettina had nothing of the vacuous odalisque in her composition.  G. von Loeper has well said of her composite traits:  “The tender radiance of first youth hovers over her descriptions; but, while one is beholding, Bettina suddenly changes

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into a mischievous elf, and, if we reach out to grasp the kobold, lo! a sibyl stands before us!” Behind all Bettina’s mobility there is a force of individuality, as irresistible and as recurrent as the tides.  Her brother Clemens and her brother-in-law Savigny tried in vain to temper the violence of her enthusiasm for the insurgent Tyrolese, of her flaming patriotism, of her hatred of philistinism in every form, of her scorn for the then fashionable neutrality and moderation in the expression of political opinion.

[Illustration:  THE GOETHE MONUMENT (BY BETTINA NON ARNIM)]

She was by nature and choice the advocate of the oppressed, whenever and wherever met with.  The aristocratic elegant Rumohr was obliged to put up with the following from her:  “Why are you not willing to exchange your boredom, your melancholy caprices, for a rifle?  With your figure, slender as a birch, you could leap over abysses and spring from rock to rock; but you are lazy and infected with the disease of neutrality.  You cannot hear the voices saying:  ’Where is the enemy?  On, on, for God, the Kaiser, and the Fatherland!’” Even Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, who is, according to Bettina, merely a supine hero, fails to elude her electric grasp:  “Come, flee with me across the Alps to the Tyrolese.  There will we whet our swords and forget thy rabble of comedians; and as for all thy darling mistresses, they must lack thee awhile.”

The end of poets’ friendships with literary women is not always marked by an anticlimax.  Of Margaret Fuller, Emerson wrote in the privacy of his Journal:  “I have no friend whom I more wish to be immortal than she.  An influence I cannot spare, but would always have at hand for recourse.”  Words like these Bettina was continually listening for from her poet-idol, but she heard instead only the disillusioning echo of her own enthusiasms.  Possessing neither stability of mind nor any consistent roundness of character, she was incapable of rendering herself necessary to Goethe.  In her case, however, the gifts that were denied at her cradle seem to have been more than made up to her.  Her ardent and aspiring soul, shutting out “all thoughts, all passions, all delights” else, was distilled into longing to share in the unending life of Goethe’s poesy.[10]

Through the possession of this quality, Bettina, though not herself of heroic mold, enters the society of the great heroines and speaks to posterity.  Ariadne on the island of Naxos lives not more truly in Ovid’s poetical Epistles, than Bettina in the Correspondence.  But Bettina has not, like Ariadne, had immortality conferred upon her through the verses of two great poets.  She has rather taken it for herself, as Goethe said she was wont to do, in anticipating every gift.  It is accordingly not in the Elegiacs of Ovid, flowing as a counter-stream to Lethe, that we may discern Bettina’s gesture of immortal repose as a metamorphosed heroine.  She is a type of the inspired lyrical nature, a belated child of the Renaissance.  A graceful English song-writer of the Elizabethan period, Thomas Campion, who was as fond as Bettina of the figure of the flower and the sun, through which she symbolized her relation to Goethe, has in his verses anticipated her pose and her tone of agitated expectancy: 

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“Is [he] come?  O how near is [he]? 
How far yet from this friendly place? 
How many steps from me? 
When shall I [him] embrace?

These armes I’ll spread, which only at (his) sight shall close,
Attending, as the starry flower that the sun’s noone-tide knowes.”

Campion termed his verses Light Conceits of Lovers.  It is difficult to weigh Bettina’s fancies, for she has, as it were, taken the scales with her when she closed the Correspondence: but it is only just to say of her Letters, that they realize, as a whole, Tasso’s description of the permanent state of the true lover:  “Brama assai, poco spera e nulla chiede” (Desire much, hope little and nothing demand).

GOETHE’S CORRESPONDENCE WITH A CHILD (1835)

BY BETTINA VON ARNIM TRANSLATED BY WALLACE SMITH MURRAY

LETTERS TO GOETHE’S MOTHER

May 11, 1807.

Dear Frau Rat: 

I have been lying in bed for some time, but shall get up now to write you all about our trip.  I wrote you that we passed through the military lines in male attire.  Just before we reached the city gate my brother-in-law made us get out, because he wanted to see how becoming the clothes were.  Lulu looked very well in them, for she has a splendid figure and the fit was perfect, whereas all my clothes were too loose and too long and looked as if I had bought them at a rag fair.  My brother-in-law laughed at me and said I looked like a Savoyard boy and could be of great service to them.  The coachman had driven us off the road through a forest, and when we came to a cross-road he didn’t know which way to turn.  Although it was only the beginning of the four weeks’ trip, I was afraid we might get lost and then arrive in Weimar too late.  I climbed up the highest pine and soon saw where the main road lay.  I made the whole trip on the driver’s box, with a fox-skin cap on my head and the brush hanging down my back.  Whenever we arrived at a station, I would unharness the horses and help hitch up the fresh ones, and would speak broken German with the postilions as though I were a Frenchman.  At first we had beautiful weather, just as though spring were coming; but soon it turned very cold and wintry.  We passed through a forest of huge pines and firs all covered with frost; everything was spotless, for not a soul had driven along the road, which was absolutely white.  Moreover the moon shone upon this deserted paradise of silver; a death-like stillness reigned-only the wheels creaked from the cold.  I sat up on the box and wasn’t a bit cold; winter weather strikes sparks from me!  Along toward midnight we heard some one whistling in the forest.  My brother-in-law handed me a pistol out of the carriage and asked whether I should have the courage to shoot in case robbers came along.  I said “Yes,”

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and he answered, “But don’t shoot too soon.”  Lulu, who was inside the carriage, was frightened nearly to death, but where I was, out under the open sky, with my pistol cocked and my sabre buckled on, countless stars twinkled above me, the glistening trees casting their gigantic shadows on the broad, moon-lit way—­all that made me brave away up on my lofty seat!  Then I thought of him and wondered, if he had met me under such circumstances in his youthful years, whether it would not have made so poetic an impression on him that he would have composed sonnets to me and never have forgotten me.  Now perhaps he thinks differently, and has probably risen above such a magic impression.  It may be that higher qualities—­how shall I ever attain them?—­will maintain a right over him, unless eternal fidelity, cleaving to his threshold, finally wins him for me!  Such was my mood on that cold, clear, winter night, in which I found no occasion to shoot off my pistol.  Not until daybreak did I receive permission to fire it.  The carriage stopped and I ran into the forest and bravely shot it off into the dense solitude, in honor of your son.  In the meantime our axle had broken; we felled a tree with an axe we had with us and bound it securely with ropes; then my brother-in-law discovered how handy I was and complimented me.  Thus we went on to Magdeburg.  Precisely at seven o’clock in the evening the fortress gates are closed; we arrived just a minute late and had to wait outside till seven the next morning.  It wasn’t very cold, and the two inside the chaise went to sleep.  In the night it began to snow; I had pulled my cloak over my head and sat quietly in my exposed seat.  In the morning they peeped out of the carriage at me and beheld a snow man; but before they could get thoroughly frightened I threw off the cloak under which I had kept quite warm.  In Berlin I was like a blind man in a throng and was so absent-minded that I could take no interest in anything.  I only longed for a dark place where I shouldn’t be disturbed and could think of the future that was so near at hand.  Oh, mother, mother, think of your son!  If you knew you were to see him in a short time, you too would be like a lightning-rod attracting every flash of lightning.  When we were only a few miles from Weimar, my brother-in-law said he did not wish to make the detour through Weimar, but would rather take another road.  I remained silent, but Lulu would not hear of it; she said it had been promised me and he would have to keep his word.  Oh, mother, the sword hung by a hair over my head, but I managed to escape from under it.

We reached Weimar at twelve o’clock and sat down to dinner, but I couldn’t eat.  The other two lay down on the sofa and went to sleep, for we hadn’t slept in three nights.  “I advise you,” said my brother-in-law, “to take a rest too; it won’t make much difference to Goethe whether you go to see him or not, and there’s nothing remarkable to see in him anyway.” 

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Can you imagine how these words discouraged me?  Oh, I didn’t know what to do, all alone in a strange town.  I had changed my dress and stood at the window and looked at the town clock; it was just striking half-past two.  It seemed to me, too, that Goethe wouldn’t care particularly about seeing me; I remembered that people called him proud.  I compresses my heart to quell its yearning.  Suddenly the clock struck three, and then it seemed exactly as though he had called me.  I ran down for the servant, but there was no carriage to be found.  “Will a sedan chair do?” “No,” I said, “that’s an equipage for the hospital”—­and we went on foot.  There was a regular chocolate porridge in the streets and I had to have myself carried over the worst bogs.  In this way I came to Wieland, not to your son.  I had never seen Wieland, but I pretended to be an old acquaintance.  He thought and thought, and finally said, “You certainly are a dear familiar angel, but I can’t seem to remember when and where I have seen you.”  I jested with him and said, “Now I know that you dream of me, for you can’t possibly have seen me elsewhere!” I had him give me a note to your son which I afterwards took with me and kept as a souvenir.  Here’s a copy of it:  “Bettina Brentano, Sophie’s sister, Maximilian’s daughter, Sophie La Roche’s granddaughter wishes to see you, dear brother, and pretends that she’s afraid of you and that a note from me would serve as a talisman and give her courage.  Although I am pretty certain that she is merely making sport of me, I nevertheless have to do what she wants and I shall be astonished if you don’t have the same experience.  W.

April 23, 1807.”

With this note I sallied forth.  The house lies opposite the fountain—­how deafening the waters sounded in my ears!  I ascended the simple staircase; in the wall stand plaster statues which impose silence—­at any rate I couldn’t utter a sound in this sacred hallway.  Everything is cheery and yet solemn!  The greatest simplicity prevails in the rooms, and yet it is all so inviting!  “Do not fear,” said the modest walls, “he will come, and he will be, and he will not claim to be more than you.”  And then the door opened and there he stood, solemnly serious, with his eyes fixed upon me.  I stretched out my hands toward him, I believe, and soon I knew no more.  Goethe caught me up quickly to his heart.  “Poor child, did I frighten you?”—­those were the first words through which his voice thrilled my heart.  He led me into his room and placed me on the sofa opposite him.  There we sat, both mute, until at last he broke the silence.  “You have doubtless read in the paper that we suffered a great bereavement a few days ago in the death of the Duchess Amalia.”

“Oh,” I said, “I do not read the papers.”

“Why, I thought everything that goes on in Weimar interests you.”

“No, nothing interests me but you alone, and therefore I’m far too impatient to pore over the papers.”

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“You are a kind child.”  A long pause—­I, glued in such anxiety to the odious sofa; you know how impossible it is for me to sit up in such well-bred fashion.  Oh, mother, is it possible for any one to forget herself thus?

Suddenly I said, “I can’t stay here on this sofa any longer,” and jumped up.

“Well,” said he, “make yourself comfortable;” and with that I flew into his arms.  He drew me on his knee and pressed me to his heart.  Everything was quiet, oh, so quiet, and then all vanished.  I hadn’t slept for so long—­years had passed in longing for him—­and I fell asleep on his breast.  When I awoke a new life began for me.  I’ll not write you more this time.

BETTINA.

May, 1807.

* * * Yes, man has a conscience; it exhorts him to fear nothing and to leave no demand of the heart unsatisfied.  Passion is the only key to the world and through it the spirit learns to know and feel everything, for how could he enter the world otherwise?  And so I feel that only through my love for him am I born into the spirit, that only through him the world is opened to me where the sun shines and day becomes distinct from night.  The things I do not learn through this love, I shall never comprehend.  I wish I were a poor beggar girl and might sit at his door-step, and take a morsel of bread from him, and that in my glance my soul would be revealed to him.  Then he would draw me close to him and wrap me in his cloak, that I might grow warm.  Surely he would not bid me depart; I could remain, wandering on and on in his home.  And so the years would roll by and no one would know who I am and no one would know what had become of me, and thus the years and life itself would go by.  The whole world would be mirrored in his face, and I should have no need of learning anything more.* * *

October, 1808.

* * * I hadn’t yet seen him at that time when you used to while away for me those hours of ardent longing by picturing to me in a thousand different ways our first meeting and his joyous astonishment.  Now I know him and I know how he smiles and the tone of his voice—­how calm it is and yet so full of love; and his exclamations—­how they come swelling from the depths of his heart like the tones of a melody, and how gently he soothes and affirms what surges forth in wild disorder from an overflowing heart.  When I met him so unexpectedly again last year, I was so beside myself and wanted to speak, but simply could not compose myself.  Then he placed his fingers on my lips and said, “Speak with your eyes—­I understand it all”; and when he saw that they were full of tears he pressed my eyelids down and said; “Quiet, quiet, that is best for both of us!” Yes, dear mother, quiet was instantly suffused through my whole being, for didn’t I possess everything for which I had longed for years!  Oh, mother, I shall never cease thanking you for bearing this friend; where else could I have found him?  Now don’t laugh at me, but remember that I loved him before I knew the least thing about him, and if you had not borne him what would have become of him?  That is a question you cannot answer.

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* * * Thus a part of the winter passed.  I was in a very happy frame of mind—­others might call it exaltation, but it was natural to me.  By the fortress wall that surrounded the large garden there was a watch-tower with a broken ladder inside.  A house close by had been broken into, and though the thieves could not be traced it was believed they were concealed in the tower.  I had examined it by day and seen that it would be impossible for a strong man to climb up this very high ladder, which was rotten and lacked many rungs.  I tried it, but slid down again after I had gone up a short distance.  In the night, after I had lain in bed awhile and Meline was asleep, the thought left me no peace.  I threw a cloak about my shoulders, climbed out of the window, and walked by the old Marburg castle, where the Elector Philip and Elizabeth peeped laughingly out of the window.  Often enough in the daytime I had observed this marble couple leaning far out of the window arm in arm, as though they wanted to survey their lands; but now at night I was so afraid of them that I jumped quickly into the tower.  There I seized the ladder and helped myself up, heaven knows how; what I was unable to do in the daytime I accomplished at night with anxiously throbbing heart.  When I was almost at the top, I stopped and considered that the thieves might really be up there and that they might attack me and hurl me from the tower.  There I hung, not knowing whether to climb up or down, but the fresh air I scented lured me to the top.  What feelings came over me when I suddenly, by snow and moonlight, surveyed the landscape spread out beneath me and stood there, alone and safe, with the great host of stars above me!  Thus it is after death; the soul, striving to free itself, feels the burden of the body most as it is about to cast it off, but it is victorious in the end and relieved of its anguish.  I was conscious only of being alone and nothing was closer to me at that moment than my solitude; all else had to vanish before this blessing. * * *

LETTERS to GOETHE.

May 25, 1807.

* * * Ah, I can impart nothing else to thee than simply that which goes on in my heart!  “Oh, if I could be with him now!” I thought, “the sunlight of my joy would beam on him with radiance as glowing as when his eye meets mine in friendly greeting.  Oh, how splendid!  My mind a sky of purple, my words the warm dew of love; my soul must issue like an unveiled bride from her chamber and confess:  “Oh, lord and master, in the future I will see thee often and long by day, and the day shall often be closed by such an evening as this.”

This I promise—­that whatever goes on in my soul, all that is untouched by the outer world, shall be secretly and faithfully revealed to him who takes such loving interest in me and whose all-embracing power assures abundant, fruitful nourishment to the budding germs within my breast!

Without faith the lot of the soul is hard; its growth is slow and meagre like that of a hot-plant between rocks.  Thus am I—­thus I was until today—­and this fountain of my heart, always without an outlet, suddenly finds its way to the light, and banks of balsam-breathing fields, blooming like paradise, accompany it on its way.

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Oh, Goethe!  My longing, my feelings, are melodies seeking a song to cling to!  May I cling to thee?  Then shall these melodies ascend high enough to accompany thy songs!* * *

June 20, 1807.

* * * I cannot resist telling thee what I have dreamed of thee at night—­as if thou wert in the world for no other purpose.  Often I have had the same dream and I have pondered much why my soul should always commune with thee under the same conditions.  It is always as though I were to dance before thee in ethereal garments.  I have a feeling that I shall accomplish all.  The crowd surrounds me.  Now I seek thee, and thou sittest opposite me calm and serene as if thou didst not observe me and wert busy with other things.  Now I step out before thee with shoes of gold and my silvery arms hanging down carelessly—­and wait.  Then thou raisest thy head, involuntarily thy gaze is fixed upon me as I describe magic circles with airy tread.  Thy eye leaves me no more; thou must follow me in my movements, and I experience the triumph of success!  All that thou scarcely divinest I reveal to thee in the dance, and thou art astonished at the wisdom concealed in it.  Soon I cast off my airy robe and show thee my wings and mount on high!  Then I rejoice to see thy eye following me, and I glide to earth again and sink into thy embrace.  Then thou sighest and gazest at me in rapture.  Waking from these dreams I return to mankind as from a distant land; their voices seem so strange and their demeanor too!  And now let me confess that my tears are flowing at this confession of my dreams. * * *

March 15, 1808.

When in a few weeks I go into the Rhine country, for spring will be here then, I shall write thee from every mountain; I am always so much nearer thee when I am outside the city walls.  I sometimes seem to feel thee then with every breath I take.  I feel thee reigning in my heart when it is beautiful without, when the air caresses; yes, when nature is good and kind like thee, then I feel thee so distinctly! * * *

* * * All other men seem to me as one and the same—­I do not distinguish between them, and I take no interest in the great universal sea of human events.  The stream of life bears thee, and thou me.  In thy arms I shall pass over it, and thou wilt bear me until the end—­wilt thou not?  And even though there were thousands of existences yet to come, I can not take wing to them, for with thee I am at home.  So be thou also at home in me—­or dost thou know anything better than me and thee in the magic circle of life? * * *

March 30, 1808.

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* * * The vineyards were still partially covered with snow.  I was sitting on a broken window-bar and freezing, yet my ardent love for thee permeated my being.  I was trembling for fear of falling, yet I climbed still higher because it occurred to me too venturesome for thy sake; thus thou often inspirest me with daring.  It was fortunate that the wild wolves from the Odenwald[11] did not appear, for I should have grappled with them had I thought of thy honor.  It seems foolish, but it’s true.—­Midnight, the evil hour of spirits, awakens me, and I lie at the window in the cold winter wind.  All Frankfurt is dead, the wicks in the street lamps are on the point of expiring, and the old rusty weather-vanes cry out to me, and I ask myself, is that the eternal tune?  Then I feel that this life is a prison where we all have only a pitiful vision of real freedom; that is one’s own soul.  Then a tumult rages in my breast and I long to soar above these old pointed gabled roofs that cut off heaven from me.  I leave my chamber, run through the wide halls of our house, and search for a way through the old garrets.  I suspect there are ghosts behind the rafters, but I do not heed them.  Then I seek the steps to the little turret, and, when I am at last on top, I look out through the small window at the wide heavens and am not at all cold.  It seems to me then as if I must give vent to all my pent-up tears, and the next day I am so cheerful and feel new-born, and I look with cunning for a prank to play.  And—­canst thou believe it?—­all this is—­thou!

May, 1808.

If it pleases thee to see me at thy feet in deep shame and confusion, then look down upon me now.  Thus does the poor shepherd-maiden fare, on whose head the king places a crown; even though her heart be proud to love him, yet the crown is too heavy and her little head staggers under the burden.  And besides, she is intoxicated with the honor and the homage which her beloved pays her.

Oh, I shall be careful never to complain again or to pray for fine weather, for I cannot bear the blinding sunbeams!  No, rather sigh in silent darkness than be led by thy muse into the brilliant daylight, confused and crowned—­that breaks my heart.  O, do not gaze on me so long; remove the crown and press me to thy heart!  Teach me to forget in thee that thou returnest me, glorified, to myself.

July 7, 1808.

* * * Ah, the rainbow even now setting its diamond foot on the meadow at Ingelheim and reaching over the house to Mount St. John is just like the blissful illusion I have of thee and me!  The Rhine, spreading out its net to catch the vision of its banks of paradise, is like this flame of life nourished by reflections of the unattainable.  Let it then win nothing more from reality than this illusion; it will give to me the peculiar spirit and the character expressive of my own self, just as the reflection does to the river in which it is mirrored. * * *

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July 18, 1808.

* * * Yesterday evening I went up the Rochus mountain alone and wrote thee thus far; then I dreamed a little, and when I came to myself I thought the sun was just going down, but it was the rising moon.  I was astonished and should have been afraid, but the stars wouldn’t let me—­these hundreds of thousands and I together on that night.  Who am I, then, that I should be of raid?  Am I not numbered with them?  I didn’t dare descend and, besides, I shouldn’t have found a boat to cross in.  The nights aren’t so very long now, anyway, so I turned over on the other side, said “good night” to the stars and was soon fast asleep.  Now and then I was awakened by flitting breezes, and then I thought of thee.  As often as I awoke I called thee to me and always said in my heart:  “Goethe be with me, that I may not be afraid.”  Then I dreamed that I was floating along the reedy banks of the Rhine, and where it is deepest between black rocky cliffs the ring thou gavest me slipped off.  I saw it sinking deeper and deeper till it reached the bottom.  I wanted to call for help, but then I awoke in the radiance of the morning, rejoicing that the ring was still on my finger.  Ah, prophet, interpret my dream for me!  Anticipate fate, and let no dangers beset our love after this beautiful night when, betwixt fear and joy, in counsel with the stars, I thought of thy future!

* * * No one knows where I was—­and, even if they did, could they imagine why I was there?  Thou tamest toward me through the whispering forest, enveloped in a soft haze, and when thou wert quite near me my tired senses could not endure it, so strong was the fragrance of the wild thyme.  Then I fell asleep—­it was so beautiful—­all blossoms and fragrance!  And the great boundless host of stars and the flickering silver moon that danced near and far upon the stream, the intense stillness of nature in which one hears all that stirs—­ah, I feel my soul implanted here in this nocturnal trembling!  Future thoughts are blossoming here; these cold dew-pearls that weigh down grass and herbs, from these the spirit grows!  Oh, it hastens to blossom for thee, Goethe!  It will unfold its gayest colors before thee!  It is for love of thee that I wish to think, that I struggle with the inexpressible.  Thou lookest upon me in spirit and thy gaze draws thoughts from me, and then I am often compelled to say things I do not understand but only see.

The spirit also has senses.  Just as there is much that we only hear, or only see, or only feel, so there are thoughts which the spirit also perceives with only one of these senses.  Often I only see what I am thinking; often I only feel it, and when I hear it I experience a shock.  I do not know how I come by this knowledge which is not the fruit of my own meditation.  I look about me for the author of this opinion and then conclude that it is all created from the fire of love.  There is warmth in the spirit; we feel it; the cheeks glow from our

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thoughts and cold chills come over us, which fan our inspiration into new flame.  Yes, dear friend, this morning when I awoke it seemed to me as though I had experienced great things, as though the pledges of my heart had wings and soared over hill and dale into the pure, serene, radiant ether.  No vow, no conditions—­nothing but appropriate motion, pure striving for the divine.  This is my pledge:  Freedom from all ties, and that I will have faith only in that spirit which reveals the beautiful and prophesies eternal bliss. * * *

We were on the road five days, and since then it has rained incessantly.  The whole house full of guests, and not even a little corner where I could enjoy solitude and write thee!

As long as I have anything to tell thee, I firmly believe that thy spirit is fixed upon me as upon so many enigmas of nature.  In fact, I believe that every human being is such an enigma, and that the mission of love between friends is to solve that enigma so that each shall learn to know his deeper nature through and in his friend.  Yes, dearest, it makes me happy that my life is gradually developing through thee, and for that reason I do not want to seem what I am not; I should prefer to have all my faults and weaknesses known to thee rather than give thee a false conception of what I am, for then thy love would not concern me but rather an illusion that I had substituted for myself.  For that reason, also, a feeling often warns me that I must avoid this or that for love of thee, because I should deny it in thy presence.

From the Rochusberg.

Oh, Goethe, thy letters are so dear to me that I have tied them up in a silk kerchief embroidered with bright flowers and golden ornaments.  The last day before our Rhine trip I did not know what to do with them.  I did not want to take them along, since we had only one portmanteau between us, and I did not want to leave them in my little room, which I could not lock because it was being used; I thought the boat might sink and I drown—­and then these letters, one after the other of which has reposed close to my heart, would fall into strange hands.  At first I wanted to leave them with the nuns in Vollratz (they are St. Bernard nuns who were driven from their convent and are now living there), but I changed my mind afterwards.  The last time I was up here on the mountain I found a spot.  Beneath the confession-chair still standing in the Rochus chapel, in which I’m also in the habit of keeping my writings, I dug a hole and lined it on the inside with shells from the Rhine and beautiful little pebbles that I found on the mountain.  I placed the letters in it, wrapped in their silken covering, and before the spot planted a thistle which I had pulled up carefully by the roots together with the earth about them.  On the journey I was often worried about them; what a shock it would have been if I had not found them again!  My heart stands still at the very thought of it!

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August 24, 1808.

* * * It was midnight; the moon rose dim.  The ship, whose shadow sailed along beside it, like a monster, upon the illuminated Rhine, cast a dazzling light upon the woody meadow of Ingelheim along which it was moving.  The moon appeared behind the meadow, mild and modest, and gradually wrapped itself in a thin cloud of mist as in a veil.  Whenever we contemplate nature in calm meditation, it always lays hold of our heartstrings.  What could have turned my senses more fervently to God, what could have more easily freed me from the trivial things that oppress me?  I am not ashamed to confess to thee that at that moment thy image flamed up impetuously in my soul.  It is true:  Thy radiance pierces me as the sun pours into the crystal of the grape and, like the sun, thou dost ripen me with ever increasing fire and ever increasing purity. * * *

February 23, 1809.

If thy imagination is supple enough to accompany me into all the recesses of ruined walls, over mountains and chasms, then I shall venture farther and introduce thee to the recesses of my heart.

I beg thee, therefore, to climb up here, still higher, up three flights to my room; sit on the blue stool by the green table opposite me.  I merely want to gaze at thee—­and, Goethe—­does thy imagination still follow me?—­then thou must discover the most constant love in my eyes, and must draw me lovingly into thy arms, and say, “Such a faithful child is given me as a reward, as amends, for much!  This child is dear to me, ’tis a treasure, a precious jewel that I do not wish to lose.”  Dost thou understand?  And thou must kiss me, for that is what my imagination bestows on thine!

I shall lead thee still farther!  Step softly into the chamber of my heart-here we are in the vestibule—­utter stillness—­no Humboldt—­no architect—­no barking dog.  Thou art not a stranger; go up and knock; it will be alone and call to thee “Come in!” Thou wilt find it on a cool, quiet couch, and a friendly light will greet thee.  All will be peace and order, and thou wilt be welcome!  What is that?  Heavens!  See the flames shooting up over him!  Whence this conflagration?  Who can save here?  Poor heart!  Poor, suffering heart!  What can reason accomplish here?  It knows everything better and yet can not help; its arms drop helpless by its side. * * *

Good night, good night until tomorrow!  Everything is quiet and all in the house are asleep dreaming of the things they desire when awake; but I alone am awake with thee.  Outside, on the street, all is still.  I should like to be assured that at this moment no soul besides mine is thinking of thee, that no other heart gives a throb for thee, and that I alone in the wide world am sitting at thy feet, my heart beating with full strokes.  And while all are asleep I am awake in order to press thy knee to my breast—­and thou?—­the world need not know that thou lovest me!

October 23, 1809.

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The moon is shining from afar over the mountains and winter clouds drive by in droves.  I have been standing at the window awhile and watching the tumult in the heavens.  Dear Goethe!  Good Goethe!  I am all alone; it has taken me out of myself again and up to thee.  I must nurse this love between us like a new-born babe.  Beautiful butterflies balance themselves on the flowers I have planted about his cradle, golden fables adorn his dreams; I jest and play with him, and employ all my cunning to gain his favor.  But thou dost master it without effort by the splendid harmony of thy spirit; with thee there is no need of tender outbursts, of protestations.  While I look after each moment of the present, the power of blessing emanates from thee that transcends all reason and all the universe. * * *

Last night I dreamed of thee!  What could have been more beautiful?  Thou wast serious and very busy and didst ask me not to disturb thee.  That made me sad and then thou didst press my hand tenderly to my bosom and didst say, “Be quiet; I know thee and understand all.”  Then I awoke, and thy ring, which I had pressed to myself in my sleep, had left its imprint on my bosom.  I pressed it more firmly against the same spot, since I could not embrace thee.  Is there nothing, then, in a dream?  To me it is everything, and I will gladly give up the activities of the day if I can be with thee and speak with thee at night.  Oh, be thou my happiness in my dreams!

Munich, November 9, 1809.

* * * This is my vow:  I will gather flowers for thee and bright garlands shall adorn thy entrance; should thy foot stumble, it will be over the wreaths which I have laid on thy threshold, and shouldst thou dream, it is the balsam of magic blossoms that intoxicates thee—­flowers of a strange and distant world where I am at home and not a stranger as in this book[12] where a ravenous tiger devours the delicate image of spiritual love.  I do not understand this cruel riddle; I cannot comprehend why they all make themselves unhappy and why they all serve a malicious demon with a thorny sceptre, why Charlotte, who strews incense before him daily, yes, hourly, should prepare misfortune for them all with mathematical precision!  Is not love free?  Are those two not affinities?  Why should she prevent them from living this innocent life with and near each other?  They are twins; twined round each other they ripen on to their birth into the light, and she would separate these seedlings because she cannot believe in innocence, which she inoculates with the monstrous sin of prejudice!  O what a fatal precaution!

Let me tell you:  No one seems to comprehend ideal love; they all believe in sensual love, and consequently they neither experience nor bestow any happiness that springs from that higher emotion or might be fully realized through it.  Whatever may fall to my lot, let it be through this ideal love that tears down all barriers to new worlds of art, divination, and poetry.  Naturally it can live only in a noble element just as it feels at home only in a lofty mind.

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Here thy Mignon occurs to me—­how she dances blindfolded between eggs.  My love is adroit; you can rely thoroughly on its instinct; it will also dance on blindly, and will make no misstep. * * *

November 29, 1809.

I had written thus far yesterday, when I crept into bed from fear, but I could not succeed yesterday in falling asleep at thy feet, lost in contemplation of thee as I do every evening.  I was ashamed that I had chattered so arrogantly, and perhaps all is not as I mean it.  Maybe it is jealousy that excites me so and impels me to seek a way to draw thee to me again and make thee forget her.[13]

Well, put me to the test, and, be it as it may, do not forget my love.  Forgive me also for sending thee my diary.  I wrote it on the Rhine and have spread out before thee my childhood years and shown thee how our mutual affinity drove me on like a rivulet hastening on over crags and rocks, through thorns and mosses, till thou, mighty stream, didst engulf me.  Yes, I wanted to keep this book until I should at last be with thee again, so that I might tell by looking into thy eyes in the morning what thou hadst read in it the evening before.  But now it torments me to think of thee substituting my diary for Ottilie’s, and loving the living one who remains with thee more than the one who has departed from thee.

Do not burn my letters, do not tear them up, for it might give thee pain—­so firmly, so absolutely, am I joined to thee.  But do not show them to any one; keep them concealed like a secret beauty, for my love is becoming to thee; thou art beautiful because thou feelest thyself loved!

February 29, 1810.

I will confess to thee and honestly acknowledge all my sins—­first, those for which thou art partly responsible and which thou too must expiate with me, then those which weigh most heavily on me, and finally those in which I actually rejoice.

First:  I tell thee too often that I love thee, yet I know nothing else, no matter how, much I turn it one way or the other; that’s all there is.

Secondly:  I am jealous of all thy friends, the playmates of thy youth, the sun that shines into thy room, thy servants, and, above all, thy gardener that lays out the asparagus-beds at thy command.

Thirdly:  I begrudge thee all pleasure because I am not along.  When any one has seen thee and speaks of thy gaiety and charm, it does not please me particularly; but when he says thou wast serious, cool, and reserved, then I am delighted!

Fourthly:  I neglect every one for thy sake; nobody is anything to me, and I don’t care anything about their love; indeed, if any one praises me, he displeased me.  That is jealousy of thee and me, and by no means a proof of a generous heart; it is a sign of a wretched character that withers on one side when it would blossom on the other.

Fifthly:  I have a great inclination to despise everybody, especially those that praise thee, and I cannot bear to hear anything good said of thee.  Only a few simple persons can I allow to speak of thee, and it need not be praise at that.  No, they may even make fun of thee a little, and then, I can tell thee, an unmerciful roguishness comes over me when I can throw off the chains of slavery for a brief spell.

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Sixthly:  I have a deep resentment in my soul that it is not thee with whom I live under the same roof and with whom I breathe the same air.  I am afraid to be near strangers.  In church I look for a seat on the beggars’ bench, because they are the most neutral; the finer the people, the stronger my aversion.  To be touched makes me angry, ill, and unhappy, and so I cannot stand it long in society at dances.  I am fond of dancing, could I but dance alone in the open where the breath of strangers would not touch me.  What influence would it have on the soul if one could always live near one’s friend?—­all the more painful the struggle against that which must remain forever estranged, spiritually as well as physically.

Seventhly:  When I have to listen to any one reading aloud in company, I sit in a corner and secretly hold my ears shut or, at the first word that comes along, completely lose myself in thoughts.  Then, when some one does not understand, I awaken out of another world and presume to supply the explanation, and what the rest consider madness is all reasonable enough to me and consistent with an inner knowledge that I cannot impart.  Above all, I cannot bear to hear anything read from thy works, nor can I bear to read them aloud; I must be alone with me and thee.

Vienna, May 28, 1810.

It is Beethoven of whom I want to speak now, and in whom I have forgotten the world and thee.  I may not be qualified to judge, but I am not mistaken when I say (what perhaps no one now realizes or believes) that he is far in advance of the culture of all mankind, and I wonder whether we can ever catch up with him!  I doubt it.  I only hope that he may live until the mighty and sublime enigma that lies in his soul may have reached its highest and ripest perfection.  May he reach his highest ideal, for then he will surely leave in our hands the key to a divine knowledge which will bring us one step nearer true bliss!

To thee I may confess that I believe in a divine magic which is the element of spiritual nature, and this magic Beethoven employs in his music.  All he can teach thee about it is pure magic; every combination of sounds is a phase of a higher existence, and for this reason Beethoven feels that he is the founder of a new sensuous basis in the spiritual life.  Thou wilt probably be able to feel intuitively what I am trying to say, and that it is true.  Who could replace this spirit?  From whom could we expect anything equivalent to it?  All human activity passes to and fro before him like clockwork; he alone creates freely from his inmost self the undreamed of, the untreated.  What would intercourse with the outside world profit this man, who is at his sacred work before sunrise and scarcely looks about him before sunset, who forgets bodily nourishment, and who is borne in his flight by the stream of inspiration past the shores of superficial, everyday life.  He himself said to me, “Whenever I open my eyes I cannot

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but sigh, for all I see is counter to my religion and I must despise the world which does not comprehend that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.  It is the wine which inspires new creations, and I am the Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for men and intoxicates their spirit! * * * I have no friend and must ever be alone, but I know that God is nearer to me in my art than to others, and I commune with him without fear; I have always recognized Him and understood Him.  Nor have I any fears for my music; it can meet no evil fate, for he to whom it makes itself intelligible will be freed from all misery with which others are burdened.”

All this Beethoven said to me the first time I saw him, and I was penetrated with a feeling of reverence when he expressed himself to me with such friendly candor, since I must have seemed very unimportant to him.  Besides, I was astonished, for I had been told that he was exceedingly reticent and avoided conversation with any one; in fact, they were afraid to introduce me to him, so I had to look him up alone.  He has three dwellings in which he alternately conceals himself—­one in the country, one in the city, and the third on the bastion, in the third story of which I found him.  I entered unannounced and mentioned my name.  He was seated at the piano and was quite amiable.  He inquired whether I did not wish to hear a song that he had just composed.  Then he sang, in a shrill and piercing voice, so that the plaintiveness reacted upon the listener, “Knowest thou the land?” “It is beautiful, isn’t it, very beautiful!” he cried, enraptured; “I’ll sing it again;” and was delighted at my ready applause.  “Most people are stirred by something good, but they are not artistic natures; artists are fiery—­they do not weep.”  Then he sang one of thy songs that he had composed lately, “Dry not, Tears of Eternal Love.”

Yesterday I went for a walk with him through a beautiful garden at Schoenbrunn that was in full blossom; all the hothouses were open and the fragrance was overpowering.  Beethoven stopped in the burning sun and said, “Goethe’s poems exercise a great power over me, not alone through their content, but also through their rhythm, and I am incited and moved to compose by his language, which is built up as if by the aid of spirits into a sublime structure that bears within it the mystery of harmonies.  Then from the focus of my inspiration I must let the melody stream forth in every direction; I pursue it, passionately overtake it again, see it escaping me a second time and disappearing in a host of varying emotions; soon I seize it with renewed ardor; I can no longer separate myself from it, but with impetuous rapture I must reproduce it in all modulations, and, in the final moment, I triumph over the musical idea—­and that, you see, is a symphony!  Yes, music is truly the mediator between the spiritual and the sensuous world.  I should like to discuss this with Goethe;

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I wonder whether he would understand me!  Melody is the sensuous life of poetry.  Does not the spiritual content of a poem become sensuous feeling through melody?  Do we not in the song of Mignon feel her whole sensuous mood through melody, and does not this sensation incite one in turn to new creations?  Then the spirit longs to expand to boundless universality where everything together forms a channel for the feelings that spring from the simple musical thought and that otherwise would die away unnoted.  This is harmony; this is expressed in my symphonies; the blending of manifold forms rolls on to the goal in a single channel.  At such moments one feels that something eternal, infinite, something that can never be wholly comprehended, lies in all things spiritual; and although I always have the feeling of success in my compositions, yet with the last stroke of the drum with which I have driven home my own enjoyment, my musical conviction, to my hearers, I feel an eternal hunger to begin anew, like a child, what a moment before seemed to me to have been exhausted.

“Speak to Goethe of me; and tell him to hear my symphonies.  Then he will agree with me that music is the sole incorporeal entrance into a higher world of knowledge which, to be sure, embraces man, but which he, on the other hand, can never embrace.  Rhythm of the spirit is necessary to comprehend music in its essence; music imparts presentiments, inspirations of divine science, and what the spirit experiences of the sensuous in it is the embodiment of spiritual knowledge.  Although the spirits live upon music as man lives upon air, it is a very different matter to comprehend it with the spirit.  But the more the soul draws its sensuous nourishment from it, the riper the spirit becomes for a happy mutual understanding.

“But few ever attain this understanding, for just as thousands marry for love and yet love is never once revealed to them, although they all pursue the trade of love, so do thousands hold communion with music and yet do not possess its revelation.  For music also has as its foundation the sublime tokens of the moral sense, just as every art does; every genuine invention indicates moral progress.  To subject oneself to its inscrutable laws, to curb and guide one’s spirit by means of these laws, so that it will pour forth the revelations of music—­this is the isolating principle of art.  To be dissolved by its revelation—­that is the surrender to the divine, which quietly exercises its mastery over the delirium of unbridled forces and thus imparts the greatest efficacy to the imagination.  Thus art always represents divinity, and the human relationship to art constitutes religion.  Whatever we acquire through art comes from God; it is a divine inspiration, which sets up an attainable goal for human capacities.

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“We do not know whence our knowledge comes; the firmly inclosed seed requires the warm, moist, electric soil to sprout, to think, to express itself.  Music is the electric soil in which the soul lives, thinks, invents.  Philosophy is a precipitation of its electric spirit, and the need that philosophy feels of basing everything on an ultimate principle is in turn relieved by music.  Although the spirit is not master of what it creates through the mediation of music, yet it experiences ecstasy in this creation.  In this way every genuine creation of art is independent, mightier than the artist himself, and through its expression it returns to its divine source; it is concerned with man only insomuch as it bears witness to divine mediation in him.

“Music gives the spirit its relation to harmony.  A thought, even when isolated, still senses the totality of relationship in the spirit; thus every thought in music is most intimately and inseparably related to the totality of harmony, which is unity.  Everything electric stimulates the spirit to fluent, precipitous, musical creation.  I myself am of an electrical nature.” * * *

He took me to a grand rehearsal with full orchestra, and I sat back in a box all alone in the large, unlighted hall, and saw this mighty spirit wield his authority.  Oh, Goethe I No emperor, no king, is so conscious of his power, so conscious that all power radiates from him, as this same Beethoven is, who only now in the garden was searching for the source of his inspiration.  If I understood him as I feel him, I should be omniscient.  There he stood, so firmly resolved, his gestures and features expressing the perfection of his creation, anticipating every error, every misconception; every breath obeyed his will, and everything was set into the most rational activity by the superb presence of his spirit.  One might well prophesy that such a spirit will reappear in a later reincarnation as ruler of the universe!

November 4, 1810.

Dost thou want me to tell thee of bygone days, how, when thy spirit was revealed to me, I gained control over my own spirit in order the more perfectly to embrace and love thine?  And why should I not become dizzy with ecstasy?  Is the prospect of a fall so fearful after all?  Just as the precious jewel, touched by a single ray of light, reflects a thousand colors, so also thy beauty, illumined only by the ray of my enthusiasm, will be enriched a thousandfold.

It is only when everything is comprehended that the Something can prove its full worth, and so thou wilt understand when I tell thee that the bed in which thy mother brought thee into the world had blue checkered hangings.  She was eighteen years old at the time, and had been married a year.  In this connection she remarked that thou wouldst remain forever young and that thy heart would never grow old, since thou hadst received thy mother’s youth into the bargain.  Thou didst ponder the matter for three days before

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thou didst decide to come into the world, and thy mother was in great pain.  Angry that necessity had driven thee from thy nature-abode and because of the bungling of the nurse, thou didst arrive quite black and with no signs of life.  They laid thee in a so-called butcher’s tray and bathed thee in wine, quite despairing of thy life.  Thy grandmother stood behind the bed, and when thou didst open thine eyes she cried out, “Frau Rat, he lives!” “Then my maternal heart awoke and it has lived in unceasing enthusiasm to this very hour,” said thy mother to me in her seventy-fifth year.  Thy grandfather, one of the most honored citizens of Frankfurt and at that time syndic, always applied good as well as bad fortune to the welfare of the city, and so thy difficult birth resulted in an accoucher being appointed for the poor.  “Even in his cradle he was a blessing to mankind,” said thy mother.  She gave thee her breast but thou couldst not be induced to take nourishment, and so a nurse was procured for thee.  “Since he drank from her with such appetite and comfort and we discovered that I had no milk,” she said, “we soon noticed that he was wiser than all of us when he wouldn’t take nourishment from me.”

Now that thou art born at last I can pause a little; now that thou art in the world, each moment is dear enough to me to linger over it, and I have no desire to call up the second moment, since it will drive me away from the first.  “Where’er thou art are love and goodness, where’er thou art is nature too.”  Now I shall wait till thou writest me again, “Pray go on with thy story.”  Then I shall first ask, “Well, where did we leave off?” and then I shall tell thee of thy grandparents, thy dreams, thy beauty, pride, love, etc.  Amen.

“Frau Rat, he lives!” These words always thrilled me through and through whenever thy mother uttered them in exultant tones.  Of thy birth we may well say: 

  The sword that threatens danger
    Hangs often by a thread;
  But the blessing of eternity
    On us one gracious glance may shed.

Extract from a letter written in 1822, ten years after the breach in their relations.

To give perfect expression to thee would probably be the most powerful seal of my love, indeed, being a creation of divine nature, it would prove my affinity to thee.  It would be an enigma solved, like unto a long restrained mountain torrent which at last penetrates to the light, enduring the tremendous fall in voluptuous rapture, at a moment of life through which and after which a higher existence begins.

Thou destroyer, who hast taken my free will from me; thou creator, who hast produced within me the sensation of awakening, who hast convulsed me with a thousand electric sparks from the realm of sacred nature!  Through thee I learned to love the curling of the tender vine, and the tears of my longing have fallen on its frost-kissed fruits; for thy sake I have kissed the young grass, for thy sake offered my open bosom to the dew; for thy sake I have listened intently when the butterfly and the bee swarmed about me, for I wanted to feel thee in the sacred sphere of thy enjoyments.  Oh, thou; toy in disguise with thy beloved—­could I help, after I had divined thy secret, becoming intoxicated with love for thee?

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Canst thou divine the thrills that shook me when the trees poured down their fragrance and their blossoms upon me?  For I thought and felt and firmly believed that it was thy caressing of nature, thy enjoyment of her beauty, that it was her yearning, her surrender to thee, that loosened these blossoms from their trembling boughs and sent them gently whirling into my lap.

BETTINA.

IMMERMANN AND HIS DRAMA “MERLIN”

BY MARTIN SCHUeTZE, PH.D.  Associate Professor of German Literature, University of Chicago

Karl Lebrecht Immermann was born in Magdeburg, in April, 1796.  His father, who held a good position in the Civil Service, was a very severe and domineering man; his mother, imaginative and over-indulgent.  Karl’s childhood and early youth were uneventful.  After passing through the regular course of preparatory education in a “Gymnasium,” he entered, in 1813, the University of Halle.  During his first year there, Germany rose up to throw off the yoke of Napoleon, and the King of Prussia issued a proclamation calling the nation to arms, to which the people responded with unprecedented unanimity and enthusiasm.  Schoolboys and bearded men, laborers and professional men, merchants and soldiers, united in one patriotic purpose.  The regular army was everywhere supplemented by volunteer organizations.  An epoch began which in its enthusiasm, its idealism, the force and richness of its inspiration, and its overwhelming impetus deserved, more than any other in modern history, its title:  “The Spring of Nations.”

Immermann’s sensitive and responsive nature thrilled with the general impulse, and he asked his father to let him join the army, but was told, peremptorily, not to interrupt the first year of his studies.  He submitted, and plunged into the study of the literature of the Romanticists, which, in its remoteness from actuality, offered distraction from his disappointment.  During this time he fell ill of typhoid fever, from which he did not fully recover until the campaign had victoriously ended in the battle of Leipzig.  He joined, however, after Napoleon’s escape from Elba, the second campaign, in which he took part in two battles.  At the end of the war, having retired as an officer of the reserves, he returned to Halle to finish his study of the law.

He found a new spirit dominant among the students.  This spirit, characterized by a strongly democratic desire for national unity, pride of race, and impatience with external and conventional restraints, had a rich network of roots in the immediate past:  in the individualism and the humanism of the Storm and Stress Movement and the Classic Era of the eighteenth century; in the subjective idealism of the Romantic school; in the nationalism of Klopstock, Herder, Schiller, and Fichte, and in the self-reliant transcendentalism of Kant’s philosophy and Schleiermacher’s

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theology.  This spirit had received its political direction principally through the genius of the Baron von Stein, the Prussian statesman, whose aim was the restoration of German national unity.  He believed that the political unity of Germany must rest on the soundness of the common people, rather than on the pretensions of the aristocracy whose corruption he held responsible for the decadence of the nation.  Following the example of Frederick the Great, he tried to foster the simple virtues of the common man.  He was, however, opposed to radicalism, seeing permanent progress only in order, self-discipline, and moderation.  His leading idea, which was shared by such men as Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Niebuhr, and others, was that the principal task of the time was to arouse the whole nation to independent political thinking and activity, in order to develop self-confidence, courage, and devotion to a great unselfish ideal.  These ideas became a national ideal, an active passion, under the pressure and stress of the Napoleonic usurpation and in the heat and fervor of war and victory.

[Illustration:  C.T.  LESSING KARL LERRECHT IMMERMANN]

It was unavoidable that this spirit produced among the younger men, and especially among the university students, traditionally unaccustomed to patience with restraints, many excesses, absurdities and follies.  An extreme and tyrannical nativism, a tasteless archaism in dress, manner, and speech, an intolerant and aggressive democratic propaganda offended and bullied the more conservative.  This spirit spread particularly through the agencies of the student fraternities called “Burschenschaften,” and the athletic associations, the “Turners,” advocated and fostered by Jahn.

Immermann became the mouthpiece of the conservatives among the students, and he went so far as to publish some pamphlets denouncing specific acts of violence of the leading radical fraternity, the “Teutonia.”  When the university authorities, who to a considerable extent sympathized with the radicals, neglected to act, Immermann addressed a complaint to the King.  This move resulted in the dissolution of the accused fraternity and in governmental hostility to all fraternities, and brought the hatred and contempt of the radicals on Immermann.

Immermann acted undoubtedly from sincere motives, yet deserved much of the condemnation he suffered.  He had not sufficient vision to penetrate through the objectionable and tasteless externalities of the liberal movement—­with which he was unfairly preoccupied even at the time of Die Epigonen, a score of years later—­to the greater and enduring core of the aspirations of the modern age.  The petty things were too near to his eye and obscured the greater things which were further removed.  He thought he upheld a higher principle of morality by applying the principles of von Stein to a new situation; but be failed to see the new, larger morality imbedded in much confusion.  History has reversed his judgment.

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After completing his studies he received a government appointment in the provincial capital of Westphalia, Muenster.  Here, in this conservative old town, began one of the most extraordinary relations between man and woman in modern German literary history.  Immermann fell in love with Countess Elisa von Luetzow-Ahlefeldt, wife of the famous old commander of volunteers, Brigadier-General von Luetzow.  Elisa, an extremely gifted and spirited woman, had formed a circle of interesting people, in which her husband, a dashing soldier but a man of uninteresting mentality, played a very subordinate part.  Immermann and Elisa struggled along against the tyranny of the affinity that drew them together.  Immermann wrote a number of dramas, highly romantic, in which the passion and strife within him found varied expression.  The play which made him known beyond his immediate circle, was Cardenio and Celinde, the conflict of which was suggested by his own.

Elisa was finally divorced from Luetzow.  Immermann was appointed a judge in Magdeburg, and later in Duesseldorf.  He asked Elisa to marry him.  She refused, but offered to live with him in free companionship.  They joined their lives, pledging themselves not to enter other relations.  They remained together until 1839, less than a year before Immermann’s death, when he married a young girl of nineteen.  Elisa left his house in sorrow and bitterness.  Immermann characterized his relation to her thus in a letter to his fiancee, in 1839:  “I loved the countess deeply and purely when I was kindled by her flame.  But she took such a strange position toward me that I never could have a pure, genuine, enduring joy in this love.  There were delights, but no quiet gladness.  I always felt as if a splendid comet had appeared on the horizon, but never as if the dear warm God’s sun had risen.”

His life with Elisa in Duesseldorf was rich in friends and works.  The sculptor Schadow, the founder of the art school there, the dramatists von Uechtritz and Michael Beer, brother of Meyerbeer, were among his friends.  He had intimate relations with Mendelssohn during the years of the latter’s stay in Duesseldorf.  He tried to assist Grabbe, the erratic and unfortunate dramatist.  During three years he was manager of the Duesseldorf theatre, trying many valuable and idealistic experiments.  He died August 25, 1840.

The most important of his works are Das Trauerspiel in Tirol, 1826, treating of the tragic story of Andreas Hofer; Kaiser Friedrich II., 1827, a drama of the Hohenstaufen; the comic heroic epic, Tulifaentchen, 1830, a satiric version of an heroic Tom Thumb; Alexis, 1832, a trilogy setting forth the destruction of the reforms begun by Peter the Great; Merlin, 1832; and his two novels, Die Epigonen, 1836, and Muenchhausen, 1838-9.

In Die Epigonen, one of the long list of representatives of the species of novels which began with Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister, Immermann tried to present the development of a young man and a picture of the principal social forces of his period.  But he was too imitative in following his great model, and too much confused by subjective preoccupations, to comprehend and to state clearly the substance of the matter.

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Only two of his works have enduring value, his mystical tragedy Merlin, and the part of Muenchhausen called “Der Oberhof” (The Upper Farm), which deals with the lives and types of the small freehold farmers.  Immermann, following Baron von Stein, believed that the health and future of society, endangered by the corrupt and dissipated nobility, rested, on the sturdy, self-reliant, individualistic yet severely moral and patriotic, small peasant.  In the main character of the story, the rugged, proud, inflexibly honorable old farmer, who has inherited the sword of Charles the Great, he has drawn one of the most living characters in early modern German fiction.  The other figures, too, are full of life and reality.  The story has, aside from its importance in the history of the German novel, an enduring value of its own.

Immermann, in spite of his unremitting endeavor, failed to attain literary or moral greatness.  He lacked the fundamental and organic unity of great natures.  He had more qualities of mind than most of his important contemporaries, but in not one of these qualities did he attain to the degree which assures distinction.  In his Merlin he treated a conflict which was fundamentally similar to that of Grillparzer’s Libussa.  Yet Grillparzer, much more one-sided than he, possessed the true Romantic-mystic quality, whereas Immermann had to elaborate his symbolism with the patchwork of careful, allegoric analysis.  He had a richer contact with social forces than Heine, yet his realizations of them were awkward and meagre, his humor wooden, his imagery derived.  He had much greater intellectual force than Platen, yet he lacked the incisive and controlled critical sense of the latter.  Having no one faculty to a distinguished degree, he constantly had to substitute the strained labor of one faculty for the spontaneous production of another.  Predominantly rationalistic, he labored at the symbolistic vision of Romanticism; preeminently a man of prose, he endeavored all his life to be a great poet.  He mistook the responsive excitement produced by the ideas and visions of others for authentic inspiration, the vivacity of a sociable and conversational gift for the creative force of genius, and the immobility of obvious and established conventional judgments for an extraordinary soundness and incisiveness of fundamental analysis.

There was in him, as he himself once said, a certain “aftertaste of a worthy philistinism.”  The dominant bent of his mind was toward the immediate actualities, and this bent in the end, as in his antagonism against the radical students in Halle, always overcame his endeavor to grasp the more remote realities of a larger vision.

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The purposes of his literary works, like the beginning and purpose of his intimacy with Elisa, are always large, comprehensive, and idealistic, but they always, even in his most important work, Merlin, dwindle to petty details of actuality.  His significance for the present age does not so much rest on his objective achievement, as on some of his qualities which prevented achievement.  He was perhaps the most considerable representative of the literary “Epigones” intervening between the esthetic individualistic humanism of the eighteenth, and the economic-cooeperative humanism of the nineteenth century.  He, more fully perhaps than any of his contemporaries, represented the peculiar border-type of literary personality which is both compounded and torn asunder by all the principal conflicting forces of a period of historic transition.  He was a victim of the manifold division of impulses, the ill-related patchwork of impressions, and the disconcerting refractions of vision, which characterized his contemporaries.  It is in the fact that he united in himself the principal factors which made up the complexion of his age, to an extraordinary degree, that he has his strongest claim upon the sympathetic and studious interest of the modern age.

MERLIN:  A MYTH

The principal dramatic agencies in Merlin are Satan, Klingsor, Titurel, King Artus and his Round Table, Niniana, and Merlin.  In them, Immermann tried to embody the dominant moral and intellectual tendencies, as he saw them in history and his own times.  Satan, the demiurgos, is to him no theological devil, but a princely character, the “Lord of Necessity,” the non-moral, irresistible, cosmic force of physical creation.  He demands, expressing the faith of Young-Germany: 

  “O! naked bodies, insolent art,
  O! wrath of heroes, and heroic voice!”

The pride of life in him and in Lucifer, who personifies the creative fire, is aroused against the narrow asceticism of orthodox Christianity, embodied in the wan and feeble Titurel.  Satan decides to imitate the Lord of Christianity, by begetting upon a virgin, Candida, a son who is to save the world from the sterility of asceticism.  Candida is briefly introduced, acknowledging the power of the mighty spirit and bewailing her fate in one of the finest passages in the play.  Merlin is born, combining the supernatural creative powers of his father with the tenderness and sympathy of his mother.  His purpose is to reconcile the true principles of primitive Christianity with the natural impulses of life.  Merlin thus is opposed to his father as well as to Titurel and his dull and narrow “guild” who keep the true spirit of humanity captive.  He is both anti-Satan and anti-Christ.

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He next comes into conflict with the third fundamental force, Klingsor.  The latter is really only a variant of Satan and, while interesting, is somewhat less fundamental, being more a philosophic and literary, than an active, antagonist.  His symbol is the circled serpent, the embodiment of permanence within the changing world of actuality.  He represents the nature-philosophy of Romanticism and especially of Schelling, a philosophy so vast and unsubstantial that all values of conduct and all incentives to action disappeared in its featureless abyss.  Immermann intensely disliked it.  He was, as he said, a lover of men; the worship of nature drained and exhausted the sympathies, the wills and the spirits of men.  The passages in which Klingsor himself, in his moments of despair, and Merlin expose the emptiness of this philosophy, are among the best philosophic statements of the play.  They are, how ever, too exhaustive.  But they are good philosophy, if they are bad drama and poetry.  Klingsor says of the “nature book”

“It asserts:  all is vain; nought but stale mediocrity—­while we are shaken from, shell to core by the breath of the times.”  He is worshipped by the dwarfs because he has opened the mysteries of inanimate nature, and he commands the spirits of classical life represented by Antinous, and the pagan’ gods and demi-gods, the personifications of the naive impulses of nature.  But he realizes that his wisdom, while it makes dwarfs happy, is inadequate for human beings.

The teaching of Merlin is essentially the humanism of the moderate liberalism of Baron von Stein and his followers.  Klingsor, voicing the sentiments of Romantic aristocratism, accuses him: 

“You tell the mob:  Be your own Savior; seek inspiration in your own work.  The people like to be told of their majesty.  Keep on bravely lying, sweetly flattering, and the prophet is complete.”

Merlin retorts: 

“You describe yourself, not me.  Men have a deep sense of truth, and pay in false coin only him that offers them false gifts.”  He then continues, lashing the transcendent egotism of the Romantic conception of man in the universe:  “To you the earth, the ocean, the firmament, are nothing but a ladder for your own elevation, and you must absolutely reject the thing called humility.  In order to maintain yourself strong and whole you have to find men weak and only partial beings,” etc.  Later, in lines 1637ff., he proceeds, in what are probably the finest and richest passages in the work, to state his own purpose of combining all that is great, true, beautiful, human, and noble, into one comprehensive and rational faith of humanity.

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Merlin tries to teach his faith to King Artus and his circle, who embody the frivolous, irresponsible, though refined, conduct of the nobility, essentially the same nobility whom von Stein accused of injuring the nation and Immermann satirized and exposed in Muenchhausen.  They decide to seek salvation in the primitive idealism of India, appointing Merlin their guide.  Merlin, however, succumbs to the silly Niniana, the personification of wanton desire.  She makes him tell her a fated word, after promising not to repeat it.  She thoughtlessly repeats it.  He now loses his superhuman power, i. e., the power of absolute spiritual integrity, and becomes subject to the limitations of earth, like a common man.  He can no longer lead Artus and his court, who perish of their own spiritual vacuity.

The end of the play is unsatisfactory.  The hero’s surrender to the lust of the flesh, undoubtedly suggested by Goethe’s Faust and consistent in Goethe’s poem, is foreign to the conflict of this play, which, not being human, as is that of Faust, but an abstract antagonism of general historic principles, should have been solved without the interference of the mere creature weaknesses of the hero and the mere creature sympathies of the reader.  Immermann planned to untie the knot in a second part, which was to treat of the salvation of Merlin; but he never carried his purpose beyond a few slight introductory passages.

IMMERMANN’S “MUeNCHHAUSEN”

BY ALLEN WILSON PORTERFIELD, PH.D.  Instructor in German, Columbia
University

Immermann first thought of writing a new Muenchhausen in 1821, the year of his satirical comedy, The Princes of Syracuse, which contains the embryonic idea of this “history in arabesques.”  Conscientious performance of his duties as a judge and incessant activity as a writer along other lines forced the idea into the background until 1830, the year of his satirical epic, Tulifaentchen, in which the theme again received attention.  In 1835 he finished Die Epigonen, a novel portraying the social and political conditions in Germany from 1815 to 1830, and in 1837 he began systematic work on Muenchhausen, continuing, from a different point of view and in a different mood, his delineation of the civic and intellectual status of Germany of his own time.  The last part of the entire work was published in 1839, having occupied, intermittently, eighteen of his twenty years of literary productivity.  The first edition was exhausted one year after publication, a second appeared in 1841, a third in 1854, and since 1857 there have been many of all kinds, ranging from the popular “Reclam” to critical editions with all the helps and devices known to modern scholarship.

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In so far as the just appreciation of a literary production is dependent upon a study of its genesis, the reading of Die Epigonen is necessary to a complete understanding of Muenchhausen, for through these two works runs a strong thread of unbroken development.  Hermann, the immature hero of the former, and his associates, bequeath a number of characteristics to the title-hero and his associates of the latter; but where the earlier work is predominantly sarcastic, political, and pessimistic, the later one is humorous, intellectual, and optimistic.  It would seem, therefore, that, in view of its bright outlook, mature view, and sympathetic treatment, Immermann’s greatest epic in prose was destined to be read in its entirety, frequently, and with pleasure.

This is, however, not the case.  Starting from a long line of models, Sterne’s Tristram Shandy among others, Muenchhausen resembles the diffusive works of similar title by Raspe (1785) and Buerger (1787).  It takes its name from Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Baron of Muenchhausen (1720-1797), and satirizes many of the whimsicalities of Herman Ludwig Heinrich, Prince of Pueckler-Muskau (1785-1871).  And it flagellates again and again such bizarre literary and intellectual phenomena of the time as Raupach’s Hohenstaufen dramas, Goerres’ mysticism, Menzel’s calumniations, Eduard Gans’ liberalism, Bettina’s pretensions, Young Germany’s reaction, even the Indian studies of the Schlegels and Alexander von Humboldt’s substantial scholarship, so that, for the general reader, the larger part of the work is a sealed book.  Its references are obscure, its satire abstruse, its humor vague.  Even Ferdinand Freiligrath, Immermann’s contemporary and friend, declined, on the ground of lack of familiarity with the allusions, to write a commentary to it.

According to Immermann’s own statement, he began Muenchhausen without a shimmer of an idea as to how he would finish it; but he finished it, having in the meantime gone through a complete inner transformation, in a way that surprised even himself and greatly pleased his readers.  We have here, consequently, a novel which, though written as a whole, falls naturally into two parts, the one negative and satirical, the other positive and human.  And odd indeed is the situation in the negative part.

As in Die Epigonen, the scene is laid in Westphalia.  The impoverished Baron Schnuck-Puckelig-Erbsenscheucher, a faithful representative of the narrow-minded and prejudiced nobility, lives with his prudish, sentimental daughter, Emerentia, in the dilapidated castle, Schnick Schnack-Schnurr.  Their sole companion is the daft school-teacher, Agesel, who, having lost, from too much study of phonetics, the major part of his never gigantic mind, imagines that he is a direct descendant of the Spartan King Agesilaus.  With these occupants and no more, the castle resembles a harmless home for the insane.  But one day Muenchhausen, the

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prince of liars and chief of swindlers, accompanied by his servant, Karl Buttervogel, the Sancho Panza of the story, comes to the castle.  His presence enlivens; his interminable stories, through which Immermann satirizes the tendencies of the time, delight at first, then tire, then become intolerable.  To maintain his influence, he suggests to the old Baron the establishment of a stock company for the selling of compressed air, assuring this gullible old soul that hereby his fortunes can be retrieved and his appointment as Privy Councilor can be realized.  The Baron, though pleased, enters into the proposition with caution.  But Muenchhausen, unable to execute his scheme, finds himself in an embarrassing dilemma from which he disentangles himself by mysteriously disappearing and never again coming to light.  Emerentia has in the meantime fallen in love with Karl Buttervogel, whom she erroneously looks upon as a Prince in disguise.  At the prospect of so humble a son-in-law, the Baron becomes frantic, violently removes Buttervogel from the castle, which, as a result of the Baron’s ravings, falls to the ground with a crash and a roar—­a catastrophe which reminds one of Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher—­and the Baron and Agesel are restored to their senses.

The chief trouble with this fantastic story is that it lacks artistic measure and objective plausibility.  Immermann, omnivorous reader that he was, wrote this part of his book, not from life, but from other books.  And even granting that he carried out his plan with a reasonable degree of cleverness, the average reader is not sufficiently acquainted with Kerner and Platen and their long line of queer contemporaries to see the point, so he skips over this part of the work and turns at once to Der Oberhof.

It is needless to state that Immermann never wrote a work with such a title.  Editors and publishers have simply followed the lead of readers and brought out separately the best parts of the complete novel under the heading of the third chapter of the second book.  There is not even final agreement as to how much of the original work should be included in order to make a well-rounded story.  The editions, of which there are many, vary in size from seventy-five to three hundred and seventy-five octavo pages.  The best arrangement is that which includes the second, fifth, seventh and eighth books.

Here again we meet with three leading characters—­the very honest and reliable Hofschulze, the owner of the “Upper Farm,” in whom are personified and glorified the best traditions of Westphalia; Lisbeth, the daughter of Muenchhausen and Emerentia, the connecting link between romantic and realistic Germany; and Oswald, the Suabian Count disguised as a hunter, a thoroughly good fellow.  But this by no means exhausts the list of pleasing personalities.  The good Deacon, who had lost interest in life and faith in men while tutoring a young Swedish Count, and who was made over

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by his new work among the solid middle class of Westphalia, is a character of real charm; his ideals are humanitarian in the best sense, his wisdom is sound, his help generous.  Jochem, Oswald’s servant, is the incarnation of fidelity; the old Captain, who finds himself today in a French and tomorrow in a Prussian mood, is instructive at least, for such dualistic patriotism was not unknown at the time; the Collector follows his vocation with inspiring avidity, the Sexton is droll without knowing it, and each of the Hofschulze’s servants has something about him that separates him from his confederates even though he be nameless.  There are no supernumeraries among the characters.

By reason of her common sense and energy, Lisbeth had for some time kept the old Baron’s head above water.  One of her duties was to collect taxes, a business which frequently brought her to the “Upper Farm,” where she was always sure of a kind reception.  Oswald, too, came to the Farm one day to settle an affair of honor with Muenchhausen.  Instead of finding him, however, he meets Lisbeth, and here the love story begins.

While waiting at the Farm for Jochem to find Muenchhausen, Oswald agrees to recompense the Hofschulze for his hospitality by keeping the wild deer away from the grain fields.  His duties are nominal; he exchanges views with the men of the Farm, corresponds with his friends in Suabia, wanders over the fields and occasionally shoots at some game without ever hitting.  His room must have been occupied before his arrival by a beautiful girl, for in it he finds a tidy hood and kerchief that betray the charms of their wearer, and he dreams of her at night.  And one day, while wandering through the woods, he catches sight of a lovely girl looking into the calyx of a wonderful forest flower.  He is on the point of going up to her when her very charm holds him back, and that night he dreams again of his beautiful predecessor in the Hofschulze’s corner room.

And then, while wandering again through the pathless woods, he shoots at a roe but hits Lisbeth, the girl of his dreams.  The wound is, however, slight, and by the time it has healed their love has become perfect, so that, immediately after the wedding of the Hofschulze’s daughter, for whom Lisbeth had been a bridesmaid, and before the same altar at which the ceremony had just been performed, the good Deacon pronounces the blessing upon the newly betrothed pair.

With the Deacon’s official act over, imaginary troubles cease and real ones begin.  Oswald, grieved beyond expression to learn that Lisbeth is the daughter of Muenchhausen and Emerentia, is on the point of leaving the Farm immediately and Lisbeth forever; Lisbeth, having thought all the time that her lover was a plain hunter, is in complete despair when told that he is a real Count; the Hofschulze does not take kindly to the idea of their marriage, for Oswald has not always revered Westphalian traditions, the secret tribunal, for example, as he should have done; Oswald’s friends in Suabia object to his marrying a foundling, and advise him to come home and straighten out a love affair he has there before entering into a new and foreign one; the doctor is not even certain that the wedding is hygienically wise.  But love dispels all fears and doubts, and the good Deacon makes Oswald and Lisbeth man and wife.

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Immermann’s lifelong attempts at the studied poetizations of traditional, aristocratic, high-flown themes brought him but scant recognition even in his day, and they have since been well-nigh forgotten.  But when, one year before his death, he wrote an unpretentious love story taken from the life of simple people whom he met on his daily walks, he thereby assured himself of immortality.  Few works prove more convincingly than Der Oberhof that great literature is neither more nor less than an artistic visualization and faithful reflection of life.  The reading of this unassuming “village story,” the first of its kind in German literature, warms the heart and stirs the springs of living fancy, simply because it relates in terse and direct language a series of incidents in the lives of very possible and very real human beings.

* * * * *

KARL LEBRECHT IMMERMANN

THE OBERHOF (1839) TRANSLATED BY PAUL BERNARD THOMAS

CHAPTER I

THE JUSTICE OF THE ESTATE

With the sleeves of his shirt rolled up the old Justice of the estate was standing in the yard between the barns and the farm buildings and gazing attentively into a fire which he had kindled on the ground between stones and logs, and which was now crackling merrily.  He straightened around a small anvil which was standing beside it, laid down a hammer and a pair of tongs so as to have them ready to grasp, tested the points of some large wheel-nails which he drew forth from the breast-pocket of a leather apron he had tied around him, put the nails down in the bottom of the rack-wagon, the wheel of which he was about to repair, carefully turned the rim around until the place where the tire was broken was on top, and then made the wheel fast by putting stones under it.

After he had again looked into the fire for a few moments, but not long enough to cause his bright, sharp eyes to blink, he quickly thrust the tongs into it, lifted out the red-hot piece of iron, laid it on the anvil, pounded it with the hammer so that the sparks flew in all directions, clapped the still glowing piece of iron down on the broken place in the tire, hammered and welded it fast with two heavy blows, and then drove the nails into their places, which was easily done, as the iron was still soft and pliable.

A few very sharp and powerful blows gave the inserted piece its finishing touch.  The Justice kicked away the stones with which he had made the wheel fast, seized the wagon by its tongue in order to test the mended tire, and in spite of its weight hauled it without exertion diagonally across the yard, so that the hens, geese and ducks, which had been quietly sunning themselves, flew, with loud cries, before the rattling vehicle, and a couple of pigs jumped up, grunting, from their mud-holes.

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Two men, the one a horse-dealer, the other a tax-collector or receiver, who were sitting at a table beneath the large linden in front of the house and imbibing their drink, had been watching the work of the robust old man.

“It must be true!” one of them, the horse-dealer, called out.  “You would have made an excellent blacksmith, Judge!”

The Justice washed his hands and face in a pail of water which was standing beside the anvil, poured the water into the fire to extinguish it, and said: 

“He is a fool who gives to the blacksmith what he can earn himself!”

He picked up the anvil as if it were a feather, and carried it, along with the hammer and tongs, under a little shed which stood between the house and the barn, and in which there were standing, or hanging, a work-bench, saws, chisels, and whatever other tools pertain to the carpenter’s or joiner’s trade, as well as a quantity of wood and boards of many kinds.

While the old man was still busying himself under the shed, the horse-dealer said to the receiver: 

“Would you believe it that he also repairs with his own hands all the posts, doors, thresholds, boxes, and cases in the house, or if luck favors him makes new ones himself?  I believe that he could be an expert joiner, if he wanted to, and put together a first-class cabinet.”

“You are wrong there,” said the Justice, who had overheard the latter remark and who, having taken off his leather apron, now emerged from the shed in a smock-frock of white linen and sat down at the table with the two men.

[Illustration:  The Master of the Oberhof]

A maid brought a glass to him also, and, after drinking the health of his guests, he continued:  “To make a post or a door or a threshold, all you need is a pair of sound eyes and a steady hand, but a cabinet-maker has to have more than that.  I once allowed my conceit to deceive me into thinking that I could put together, as you call it, a first-class cabinet, because I had handled plane and chisel and T-square more or less doing carpenter’s work.  I measured and marked and squared off the wood and had everything fitted down to the inch.  Yes, but now when it came to the joining and gluing together, everything was all wrong; the sides were warped and wouldn’t come together, the lid in front was too large, and the drawers too small for the openings.  You can still see the contraption; I let it stand on the sill to guard me from future temptation.  For it always does a man good to have a reminder of his weakness constantly before his eyes.”

At this moment a loud neigh was heard from the stable across the yard.  The horse-dealer cleared his throat, spat, struck a light for his pipe, blew a dense cloud of smoke into the receiver’s face, and looked first longingly toward the stable, and then thoughtfully down at the ground.  Then he spat once more, removed the varnished hat from his head, wiped his brow with his sleeve, and said:  “Still this sultry weather!” Thereupon he unbuckled his leather money-pouch from his body, threw it down on the table with a bang, so that its contents rattled and jingled, untied the strings, and counted out twenty bright gold pieces, the sight of which caused the receiver’s eyes to sparkle, while the old Justice did not even look at them.

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“Here is the money!” cried the horse-dealer, bringing his clenched fist down on the table with a thump.  “Do I get the brown mare for it?  God knows, she’s not worth a penny more!”

“Then keep your money, so that you won’t suffer any loss!” replied the Justice cold-bloodedly.  “Twenty-six is my price, as I have already said, and not a farthing less!  You’ve known me a good many years, Mr. Marx, and you ought to realize by this time that dickering and beating down don’t work with me, because I never take back what I say.  I ask for a thing what it is worth to me, and never overcharge.  So an angel with a trumpet might come down from heaven, but he wouldn’t get the bay mare for less than twenty-six!”

“But,” exclaimed the horse-dealer, provoked, “business consists of demanding and offering, doesn’t it?  I’d overcharge my own brother!  When there is no more overcharging in the world, business will come to an end.”

“On the contrary,” replied the Justice, “business will then take much less time, and for that very reason will be more profitable.  And besides that, both parties always derive much benefit from a transaction involving no overcharge.  It has always been my experience that, when an overcharge is made, one’s nature gets hot, and it results in nobody’s knowing exactly what he is doing or saying.  The seller, in order to put an end to the argument, often lets his wares go for a lower price than that which he had quietly made up his mind to charge, and the buyer, on the other hand, just as often, in the eagerness and ardor of bidding, wastes his money.  Where there is absolutely no talk of abatement, then both parties remain beautifully calm and safe from loss.”

“Inasmuch as you talk so sensibly, you have, I presume, thought better of my proposal,” broke in the receiver.  “As I, have already said, the government wants to convert into cash all the corn due from the farms in this region.  It alone suffers a loss from it, for corn is corn, whereas money is worth so much today and so much tomorrow.  Meanwhile, you see, it is their wish to free themselves from the burden of storing up corn.  Kindly do me the favor, then, to sign this new cash-contract, which I have brought with me for that purpose.”

“By no means!” answered the Justice vehemently.  “For many hundreds of years corn, and only corn, has been paid over from the Oberhof to the monastery, and the receiver’s office will have to content itself with that, just as the monastery has done.  Does cash grow in my fields?  No!  Corn grows in them!  Where, then, are you going to get the cash?”

“You’re not going to be cheated, you know!” cried the receiver.

“We must always stand by the old ways of doing things,” said the Justice solemnly.  “Those were good times when the tablets with the lists of imposts and taxes of the peasantry used to hang in the church.  In those days everything was fixed, and there were never any disagreements, as there are nowadays all too often.  Afterwards it was said that the tablets with the hens and eggs and bushels and pecks of grain. interfered with devotion, and they were done away with.”  With that he went into the house.

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“There is a stubborn fellow for you!” cried the horse-dealer, when he could no longer see his business friend.  He put his varnished hat back on his head again with an air of vexation.  “If he once makes up his mind not to do something, the devil himself cannot bring him around.  The worst of it is that the fellow rears the best horses in this region, and after all, if you get right down to it, lets them go cheap enough.”

“An obstinate, headstrong sort of people it is that lives hereabouts,” said the receiver.  “I have just recently come from Saxony and I notice the contrast.  There they all live together, and for that reason they have to be courteous and obliging and tractable toward one another.  But here, each one lives on his own property, and has his own wood, his own field, his own pasture around him, as if there were nothing else in the world.  For that reason they cling so tenaciously to all their old foolish ways and notions, which have everywhere else fallen into disuse.  What a lot of trouble I’ve had already with the other peasants on account of this stupid change in the mode of taxation!  But this fellow here is the worst of all!” “The reason for that, Mr. Receiver, is that he is so rich,” remarked the horse-dealer.  “It is a wonder to me that you have put it through with the other peasants around here without him, for he is their general, their attorney and everything; they all follow his example in every matter and he bows to no one.  A year ago a prince passed through here; the way the old fellow took off his hat to him, really, it looked as if he wanted to say:  ‘You are one, I am another.’  To expect to get twenty-six pistoles for the mare!  But that is the unfortunate part of it, when a peasant acquires too much property.  When you come out on the other side of that oak wood, you walk for half an hour by the clock through his fields!  And everything arranged in first rate order all the way!  The day before yesterday I drove my team through the rye and wheat, and may God punish me if anything more than the horses’ heads showed up above the tops.  I thought I should be drowned.”

“Where did he get it all?” asked the receiver.

“Oh!” cried the horse-dealer, “there are a lot more estates like this around here; they call them Oberhofs.  And if they do not surpass many a nobleman’s, my name isn’t Marx.  The land has been held intact for generations.  And the good-for-nothing fellow has always been economical and industrious, you’ll have to say that much for him I You saw, didn’t you, how he worked away merely to save the expense of paying the blacksmith a few farthings?  Now his daughter is marrying another rich fellow; she’ll get a dowry, I tell you!  I happened to pass the linen closet; flax, yarn, tablecloths and napkins and sheets and shirts and every possible kind of stuff are piled up to the ceiling in there.  And in addition to that the old codger will give her six thousand thalers in cash!  Just glance about you; don’t you feel as if you were stopping with a count?”

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During the foregoing dialogue the vexed horse-dealer had quietly put his hand into his money-bag and to the twenty gold pieces had added, with an air of unconcern, six more.  The Justice appeared again at the door, and the other, without looking up, said, grumbling; “There are the twenty-six, since there is no other way out of it.”

The old peasant smiled ironically and said:  “I knew right well that you would buy the horse, Mr. Marx, for you are trying to find one for thirty pistoles for the cavalry lieutenant in Unna, and my little roan fills the bill as if she had been made to order.  I went into the house only to fetch the gold-scales, and could see in advance that you would have bethought yourself in the meantime.”

The old man, who one moment displayed something akin to hurry in his movements and the next the greatest deliberation, depending upon the business with which he happened to be occupied, sat down at the table, slowly and carefully wiped off his spectacles, fastened them on his nose, and began carefully to weigh the gold pieces.  Two or three of them he rejected as being too light.  The horse-dealer raised a loud objection to this, but the Justice, holding the scales in his hands, only listened in cold-blooded silence, until the other replaced them with pieces having full weight.  Finally, the business was completed; the seller deliberately wrapped the money in a piece of paper and went with the horse-dealer to the stable, in order to deliver the horse over to him.

The receiver did not wait for them to return.  “One can’t accomplish anything with a clod-hopper like that,” he said.  “I But in the end if you don’t come around and pay us up regularly, we will—­” He felt for the legal documents in his pocket, realized by their crackling that they were still there, and left the yard.

Out of the stable came the horse-dealer, the Justice, and a farm-hand who was leading behind him two horses, the horse-dealer’s own and the brown mare which he had just bought.  The Justice, giving the latter a farewell pat, said “It always grieves one to sell a creature which one has raised, but who can do otherwise?—­Now behave well, little brownie!” he added, giving the animal a hearty slap on her round, glossy haunches.  In the meantime the horse-dealer had mounted.  With his gaunt figure, his short riding-jacket under the broad-brimmed, varnished hat, his yellow breeches over his lean thighs, his high leather boots, his large, heavy spurs, and his whip, he looked like a highwayman.  He rode away cursing and swearing, without saying good-by, leading the brown mare by a halter.  He never once glanced back at the farm-house, but the mare several times bent her neck around and emitted a doleful neigh, as if complaining because her good days were now over.  The Justice remained standing with the laborer, his arms set akimbo, until the two horses had passed out of sight through the orchard.  Then the man said:  “The animal is grieving.”

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“Why shouldn’t she?” replied the Justice.  “Aren’t we grieving too?  Come up to the granary—­we’ll measure the oats.”

CHAPTER II

ADVICE AND SYMPATHY

As he turned around toward the house with the laborer, he saw that the place under the linden had already been reoccupied by new guests.  The latter, however, had a very dissimilar appearance.  For three or four peasants, his nearest neighbors, were sitting there, and beside them sat a young girl, as beautiful as a picture.  This beautiful girl was the blond Lisbeth, who had passed the night at the Oberhof.

I shall not venture to describe her beauty; it would only result in telling of her red cheeks and blue eyes, and these things, fresh as they may be in reality, have become somewhat stale when put down in black and white.

The Justice, without paying any attention to his long-haired neighbors in blouses, approached his charming guest and said: 

“Well, did you sleep all right, my little miss?” “Splendidly!” replied Lisbeth.

“What’s the matter with your finger?—­you have it bandaged,” inquired the old man.

“Nothing,” answered the young girl, blushing.  She wanted to change the subject, but the Justice would not allow himself to be diverted; grasping her hand, the one with the bandaged finger, he said:  “It’s nothing serious, is it?”

“Nothing worth talking about,” answered Lisbeth.  “Yesterday evening when I was helping your daughter with her sewing, the needle pricked my finger and it bled a little.  That is all.”

“Oho!” exclaimed the Justice, smirking.  “And I notice that it is the ring-finger too!  That augurs something good.  You doubtless know that when an unmarried girl helps an engaged one to sew her bridal linen, and in doing it pricks her ring-finger, it means that she herself is to become engaged in the same year?  Well, you have my best wishes for a nice lover!”

The peasants laughed, but the blond Lisbeth did not allow herself to be disconcerted; she cried out joyfully:  “And do you know my motto?  It runs: 

  As far as God on lily fair
  And raven young bestows his care,
  Thus far runs my land;
  And, therefore, he who seeks my hand
  Must have four horses to his carriage
  Before I’ll give myself in marriage.

“And,” broke in the Justice—­

  And he must catch me like a mouse,
  And hook me like a fish,
  And shoot me like a roe.

The report of a gun rang out nearby.  “See, my little miss, it’s coming true!”

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“Now, Judge, make an end of your frivolous talk,” said the young girl.  “I have called to get your advice, and so give it to me now without any more foolish nonsense.”  The Justice settled himself in an attitude of dignity, ready to talk and listen.  Lisbeth drew forth a little writing-tablet and read off the names of the peasants among whom she had been going around during the past few days for the purpose of collecting back-rent due her foster-father.  Then she told the Justice how they had refused to pay their debts and what their excuses had been.  One claimed to have paid up long ago, another said that he had only recently come into the farm, a third knew nothing about the matter, a fourth had pretended that he couldn’t hear well, and so forth and so forth; so that the poor girl, like a little bird flying about in the winter in search of food and not finding a single grain of corn, had been turned away empty-handed from one door after another.  But any one who thinks that these futile efforts had plunged her into grief is mistaken, for nothing greatly disturbed her and she related the story of her irksome wanderings with a cheerful smile.

The Justice wrote down on the table with chalk several of the names mentioned, and, when she had reached the end of her list, said: 

“As far as the others are concerned, they do not live with us and I have no authority over them.  If they are base enough to refuse to do their duty and to meet their obligations, then simply strike out the names of the scamps, for you can never get anything out of a peasant by a law-suit.  But as against those who live in our precinct, I will help you to secure your rights.  We still have means of accomplishing that.”

“Oho, Squire!” said one of the peasants to him, half-aloud.  “You talk as if you always carried the rope around with you in your coat-sleeve.  When is the secret court to be held?”

“Be still, tree-warden!” interrupted the old man with earnestness.  “Sneering remarks like that might get you into trouble!”

The man addressed was disconcerted; he cast down his eyes and made no reply.  Lisbeth thanked the old man for his offer of help, and inquired about the roads and paths to the other peasants whose names she still had left on her writing-tablet.  The Justice pointed out to her the shortest way to the nearest farm, which led across the Priests’ Meadow, past the three mills and over the Holle Hills.  When she had put on her straw hat, taken her staff, expressed her thanks for the hospitality shown her, and had thus made herself ready to leave, he begged her to make her arrangements such that on her return she could stay for the wedding and a day thereafter.  He hoped that he would be able to give her by that time definite assurance in regard to the rents, or, perhaps, even to give her the money itself to take home with her.

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When the young girl’s slender and graceful form had disappeared behind the last walnut-trees at the farther end of the orchard, the peasants broached the subject which had brought them to the Justice.  The building of a new road, which was to establish a connection with the main highway, threatened, if the idea were carried out, to deprive them of a few strips of their land over which it was necessary to lay the new road.  Against this loss, although the project would redound to the advantage of all the surrounding peasantry, they were anxious to protect themselves; and how to avert it was the question about which they were anxious to secure the advice of the owner of the Oberhof.

“Good day!  How are you?” called out a voice, well known in this locality.  A pedestrian, a man in respectable attire, but covered with dust from his gray gaiters to his green, visored cap, had entered through the gate and approached the table, unnoticed at first by the conversers.

“Ah, Mr. Schmitz, so we see you too, once more, eh?” said the old peasant very cordially, and he had the servant bring the fatigued man the best there was in the wine-cellar.  The peasants politely moved closer together to make room for the new arrival.  They insisted upon his sitting down, and he lowered himself into a chair with great care and deliberation, so as not to break what he was carrying.  And this procedure was indeed very necessary, for the man was loaded down like an express-wagon, and the outlines of his form resembled a conglomeration of bundles tied together.  Not only did his coat-pockets, which were crammed full of all sorts of round, square and oblong objects, bulge out from his body in an astonishing manner, but also his breast and side pockets, which were used for the same purpose, protruded in a manifold variety of swellings and eminences, which stuck out all the more sharply as the Collector, in order not to lose any of his treasures, had, in spite of the summer heat, buttoned his coat tightly together.  Even the inside of his cap had been obliged to serve for the storing of several smaller articles, and had acquired from its contents the shape and semblance of a watermelon.  He sipped, with manifest relish, the good wine that was put before him, and his elderly countenance, bloated and reddened with heat and fatigue, gradually acquired its natural color and form again.

“Been doing good business, Mr. Schmitz?” inquired the Justice, smiling.  “Judging from appearances, one might think so.”

“Oh, fairly good,” replied the Collector.  “There is a rich blessing hidden in the dear earth.  It not only brings forth corn and vegetables constantly and untiringly—­an alert searcher may secure a harvest of antiquities from it all the time, no matter how much other people have scratched and dug for them.  So I have once more taken my little trip through the country, and this time I got as far as the border of the Sieg valley.  I am on my way back now and intend to go on as far as the city today.  But I had to stop over a while at your place on the way, Justice, in order to rest myself a bit, for I am certainly tired.”

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“What are you bringing with you?” asked the Justice.

The Collector tapped gently and affectionately on all the swellings and protuberances of his various pockets, and said: 

“Oh, well, some very nice things—­all sorts of curiosities.  A battle-axe, a pair of thunderbolts, some heathen rings—­beautiful things all covered with green rust—­ash-urns, tear-bottles, three idols and a pair of valuable lamps.”  He struck the nape of his neck with the back of his hand and continued:  “And I also have here with me a perfectly preserved piece of bronze—­I had no other place to put it, so I tied it fast here on my back under my coat.  Well, it will probably not look amiss, once it is all cleaned up and given its proper place.”

The peasants displayed some curiosity to see a few of the articles, but old Schmitz declared himself unable to satisfy it, because the antiquities were so carefully packed and put away with such ingenious use of every bit of space that it would be difficult, if it were once taken out, to get the entire load back in again.  The Justice said something into the servant’s ear, and the latter went into the house.  In the meanwhile the Collector told in detail all about the places where he had come across the various acquisitions; then he moved his chair nearer to his host and said confidentially: 

“But what is by far the most important discovery of this trip—­I have now really found the actual place where Hermann defeated Varus!”

“You don’t mean it?” replied the Justice, pushing his cap back and forth.

“They have all been on the wrong track—­Clostermeier, Schmid, and whatever the names of the other people may be who have written about it!” cried the Collector ardently.  “They have always thought that Varus withdrew in the direction of Aliso—­the exact situation of which no man has ever discovered—­well, anyway, in a northerly direction, and in accordance with that theory the battle is supposed to have taken place between the sources of the Lippe and the Ems, near Detmold, Lippspring, Paderborn, and God knows where else!”

The Justice said:  “I think that Varus had to try with all his might to reach the Rhine, and that he could have done only by gaining the open country.  The battle is said to have lasted three days, and in that length of time you can march a good distance.  Hence I am rather of the opinion that the attack in the mountains which surround our plain did not take place very far from here.”

“Wrong, wrong, Justice!” cried the Collector.  “Here below everything was occupied and blocked up by the Cherusci, Catti, and Sigambri.  No the battle was much farther south, near the region of the Ruhr, not far from Arnsberg.  Varus had to push his way through the mountains, he had no egress anywhere, and his mind was bent on reaching the middle Rhine, whither the road leads diagonally across Sauerland.  That is what I have always thought, and now I have

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discovered the most unmistakable evidence of it.  Close by the Ruhr I found the bronze and bought the three idols, and a man from the village told me that hardly an hour’s walk from there was a place in the woods among the mountains where an enormous quantity of bones were piled up in the sand and gravel.  Ha!  I exclaimed, the day is beginning to break.  I went out there with a few peasants, had them excavate a little, and, behold! we came across bones to my heart’s content.  So that is the place where Germanicus had the remnants of the Roman legions buried six years after the battle of Teutoburg Wood, when he directed his last expeditions against Hermann.  And I have therefore discovered the right battlefield.”

“Bones do not ordinarily preserve themselves for a thousand years and more,” said the Justice, shaking his head doubtfully.

“They have become petrified among the minerals there,” said the collector angrily.  “I’ll have to put an evidence of my theory in your hand—­here is one I have brought with me.”  He drew forth a large bone from his shirt and held it before his opponent’s eyes.  “Now, what do you call that?” he asked triumphantly.

The peasants stared at the bone in amazement.  The Justice, after he had examined it, replied:  “A cow’s bone, Mr. Schmitz!  You discovered a carrion-pit, not the battlefield of Teutoburg.”

The Collector indignantly put the discredited antiquity back into its place and uttered a few violent imprecations, to which the old peasant knew the most effective way to reply.  It seemed as if a quarrel might ensue between the two men, but as a matter of fact the appearances were of no significance.  For it was a common thing for them, whenever they got together, to disagree about this and similar matters.  But in spite of these controversies they always remained good friends.  The Collector, who, in order to follow up his hobbies, even begrudged himself bread, was in the habit all the year round of feeding himself for weeks at a time out of the full meat-pots of the Oberhof, and in return for it he helped along his host’s business by doing all kinds of writing for him.  For the Collector had formerly been, by profession, a sworn and matriculated Imperial Notary.

Finally, after a great deal of fruitless argument on both sides, the Justice said:  “I won’t wrangle with you over the battlefield, although I still persist in my belief that Hermann defeated Varus somewhere around this neighborhood.  As a matter of fact it doesn’t make any particular difference to me where it happened—­the question is one for the scholars.  For if the other Roman general, six years afterwards, as you have often told me, marched into this region with another army, then the whole battle had but little significance.”

“You don’t know anything about it!” exclaimed the Collector.  “The present existence and position of Germany rests entirely upon the battle won by Hermann.  If it had not been for Hermann ‘the liberator,’ you would not be occupying these extensive premises now, marked off by your hedges and stakes.  But you people simply live along from one day to the next, and have no use for history and antiquity.”

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“Oho, Mr. Schmitz, you do me great injustice there,” replied the old peasant proudly.  “God knows what pleasure it gives me to sit down of a winter evening and read the chronicles and histories, and you yourself know that I treat the sword of Carolus Magnus (the old man pronounced the second syllable long), which has now for a thousand years and more been in the possession of the Oberhof, as I do the apple of my eye, and consequently—­”

“The sword of Charles the Great!” exclaimed the Collector scornfully.  “Friend, is it impossible to get these notions out of your head?  Listen—­”

“I say and maintain that it is the genuine and actual sword of Carolus Magnus with which he here at the Oberhof located and established the ‘Freemen’s Tribunal.’  And even today the sword still performs and fulfils its office, although nothing further may be said about it.”  The old man uttered these words with an expression on his features and a gesture which had something sublime in them.

“And I say and maintain that all that is sheer nonsense!” exclaimed the Collector with emphasis.  “I have examined the old toasting-iron no less than a hundred times, and it isn’t five hundred years old!  It comes down perhaps from the time of the feud of Soest, when very likely one of the Archbishop’s cavalrymen crawled into the bushes here and left it.”

“The devil take you!” cried the Justice, pounding his fist on the table.  Then he mumbled softly to himself “Just wait; you’ll get your punishment for that this very day!”

The servant came out of the door.  He was carrying a terra-cotta jug with a rather large circumference and a strange, exotic appearance, gripping it firmly and carefully by the handles with both hands.

“Oh!” cried the Collector, when he had obtained a closer view of it.  “What a splendid large amphora!  Where did it come from?”

The Justice replied with an air of indifference:  “Oh, I found the old jug in the ditch a week ago when we were digging out gravel.  There was a lot more stuff around there, but the men smashed it all to pieces with their picks.  This jug was the only thing they spared, and, inasmuch as you are here, I wanted you to see it.”

The Collector looked at the large, well-preserved vessel with moist eyes.  Finally he stammered:  “Can’t we strike a bargain for it?”

“No,” replied the peasant coldly.  “I’ll keep the pot for myself.”  He motioned to the servant, and the latter started to carry the amphora back into the house.  He was prevented from doing so, however, by the Collector, who, without turning his eyes away from it, besought its owner with all kinds of lively arguments to turn the longed-for wine-jug over to him.  But it was all in vain; the Justice, in the face of the most urgent entreaties, maintained an attitude of unshakable composure.  In this way he formed the motionless centre-figure of the group, of which the peasants, listening to the business with open mouths, the servant

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tugging the jug with both handles toward the house, and the antiquarian holding on to the lower end, constituted the excited lateral and secondary figures.  Finally the Justice said that he had been of a mind to give the jug to his guest along with several other pieces which he had previously discovered, because he himself would take pleasure in seeing the old things arranged in order on the shelves of the collection around the room, but that the constant attacks made by the Collector against the sword of Carolus Magnus had annoyed him, and that he had decided, therefore, to keep the jug after all.

Thereupon, after a pause, the Collector said in a dejected tone that to err was human, that medieval weapons could not always be distinguished with certainty as to their age, that he himself was less of an expert in these than in Roman relics, and that there were after all many things about the sword which seemed to indicate a more remote age, before the feud of Soest.  Whereupon the Justice replied that general statements of that kind were of no use to him; he wanted to have the dispute and doubt regarding his sword settled once and for all, and there was only one way for the Collector to gain possession of the old jug, namely, by writing out on the spot a signed statement, wherein he should formally recognize the sword kept in the Oberhof as the actual sword of Charles the Great.

On hearing this a severe conflict ensued in the Collector’s mind between his antiquarian conscience and his antiquarian longing.  He pouted his lips and tapped with his fingers about the spot where he had concealed the bone from the battlefield of Teutoburg.  Evidently he was striving to subdue the exhortations of a desire which was seducing him into signing an untruthful statement.  Finally, however, passion, as is always the way, got the upper hand; suddenly demanding pen and paper, he made out in hot haste, now and then casting furtive glances at the amphora, a direct statement to the effect that he, after frequent examinations of it, recognized and declared the sword in the Oberhof as one formerly belonging to the Emperor, Charles the Great.

This document the Justice had signed by the two peasants as witnesses; then he folded the paper several times and put it into his pocket.  Old Schmitz, on the other hand, made a quick grab for the amphora which he had purchased at the expense of his better judgment.  The Justice said that he would deliver the jug to him in the city on the following day.  But what collector could ever get along, even for a minute, without the actual possession of a piece of property acquired at so high a price?  Our Collector resolutely declined to submit to any delay; he had a string brought to him, ran it through the handles, and suspended the large wine-jug over his shoulders.  After that, the Collector having first been invited to the wedding, the two men parted in the best of humor; and the latter with his bulging angularities, his swelled-up, protruding coat-tails, and with the amphora bobbing back and forth at his left side, made a remarkable spectacle as he walked away.

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The peasants wished their adviser a good morning, promised to bear his advice in mind, and departed, each one to his own farmstead.  The Justice, who, dealing with all the people who had come to him in the course of an hour, had successfully handled everything undertaken, first took the newly-acquired document of recognition to the room where he kept the sword of Charles the Great, and then went with the servant to the granary to measure out oats for the horses.

CHAPTER III

THE OBERHOF

“Westphalia formerly consisted of individual estates, each one of which had its own free possessor.  Several such estates constituted a Bauerschaft (peasant community), which, as a rule, bore the name of the oldest estate.  It lay in the original character of the peasant communities that the oldest estate should also stand first in rank and come to be the most aristocratic, and here from time to time the children, grandchildren and house-inmates, ceasing work for a few days, came together and feasted.  The beginning, or else the end, of the summer was the usual time for this event, and then every estate-owner brought along with him for the feast some of the fruits which he himself had raised, and perhaps a calf or lamb as well.  Then all sorts of matters were discussed, opinions were exchanged, marriages performed, deaths made known, and then the son, as the succeeding head of his father’s estate, was sure to make his first appearance in the company with fuller hands and a choicer animal.  Disagreements were unavoidable on these days of joy, and in the event of one, the father, as the head of the oldest estate, stepped in and, with the approval of the rest, put an end to the quarrel.  If during the previous year any of the estate-owners had disagreed about some matter, both of them brought forward their grievances before the next gathering, and both were satisfied with whatever decision their fellows deemed right and just.  After all the eatables had been devoured, and the tree set aside for the occasion had been burned up, the feast, or the gathering, came to an end.  Each one returned home, related the events of the occasion to the waiting members of his household, and came to be a living and continuing authority regarding all the happenings of their peasant community.

These gatherings were called Conferences, Peasant Conferences, because all the estate-owners of a peasant community came together to confer with one another, and also Peasant Tribunals, because here the conflicting claims of the men, already by tacit agreement combined in a union, were either settled or rejected.  Inasmuch as the Peasant Conferences or Peasant Tribunals were held at the oldest and most aristocratic estate, such an estate was called Court Estate, and the Peasant Conferences and Peasant Tribunals were called Court Conferences and Court Tribunals; and the latter, even at the present day, have not entirely disappeared.  The oldest estate, the Court Estate, was called by way of distinction simply the Estate, the name whereby the people designated the Main Estate or the Oberhof of the peasant community, and its owner as the head or chief of the rest.

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Thus in a general way we account for the origin of the first association and the first judicial arrangement of the Westphalian Estates or peasant communities.  It is the less surprising when we consider that the former condition of Westphalia permitted only a slow increase of population and a gradual development of agriculture; and precisely this gradual progress led to those simple and uniform arrangements, as also to the similarity of culture, manners and customs, which we find among the ancient inhabitants of Westphalia.”

[Illustration:  THE OBERHOF BY BENJAMIN VAUTIER]

This passage from Kindlinger’s Contributions to the History of the Diocese of Muenster conducts us to the scene of our story.  It throws a light on our hero, the Justice.  He was the owner of one of the largest and wealthiest of the Main Estates, or Oberhofs, which still exist in those regions, but which, to be sure, have now fused together to a small number.

There is something remarkable about the first traditions of a tribe, and the people as a whole have just as long a memory as the individual persons, who are wont to retain faithfully to extreme old age the impressions of early childhood.  When now we consider that an individual human life may last as long as ninety years, and, furthermore, that the years of a people are as centuries, it is no longer a matter of wonder to us that, in the regions where the events of our story took place, we still here and there come across much that points back to the time when the great Emperor of the Franks succeeded, by means of fire and sword, in converting the obstinate inhabitants.

And so if, in the place where once the Supreme Justice and the heir of the region lived, Nature once more awakens special qualities in a person, there may grow up amid these thousand-year-old memories and between the boundaries and ditches which are, after all, still recognizable, a figure like our Justice, whose right of existence is not acknowledged by the powers of the present, to be sure, but which for its own self, and among its own kind, may temporarily restore a condition which disappeared long ago.

Let us look around in the Oberhof itself.  If the praise of a friend is always very ambiguous, then surely one may trust the envy of an enemy; and the person most worthy of credit is a horse-dealer, who calls special attention to the comfortable circumstances of a peasant with whom he could not agree in a matter of business.  To be sure, one could not say, as the horse-dealer Marx did, that the surroundings reminded one of a count’s estate; on the other hand, in whatever direction one looked there was an atmosphere of peasant prosperity and opulence which could not but call out to the hungriest stranger:  Here you can eat your fill; the plate is never empty.

The estate lay entirely alone on the border of the fertile plain, at the point where it passes over into hilly woodland; indeed, the Justice’s last fields lay on a gentle slope, and a mile away were the mountains.  The nearest neighbor in the peasant community lived a quarter of an hour away from the estate, around which were spread out all the possessions which a large country household had need of—­fields, woods and meadows, all in compact uninterrupted continuity.

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From the foot of the hills the fields ran down in beautiful order across the plain.  It was, moreover, about the time when the rye was in blossom; its exhalation, as a thank-offering of the soil, rose from the spikelets and was wafted aloft on the warm summer breezes.  Single rows of high-trunked ashes and knotty elms, planted on either side of the old boundary ditches, inclosed a part of the cornfields, and, being visible from afar, indicated, more definitely than stones and stakes can do, the limits of the inheritance.  A deep road ran between dikes of earth diagonally across the fields, branched off into paths at several places on both sides, and led, at the point where the grain ceased, into a vigorous and well-kept oak grove, under which a number of hogs were comfortably imbedded in the soil, the shade of which, however, was equally refreshing to human beings.  This grove, which supplied the Justice with wood, extended to within a few paces of the farmhouse and inclosed it on two sides, thus, at the same time, affording it protection against the east and north winds.

The house, which had two stories, and the walls of which were of panel-work painted white and yellow, was roofed only with straw; but, as the latter was always kept in the very best condition, it did not produce an impression of poverty, but, on the contrary, rather increased the general effect of comfort which the house imparted.  Of the inside we shall learn more anon; suffice it to say for the present that on the other side of the house there was a large yard, surrounded by barns and stables, in the plastered walls of which the keenest eye could not detect a faulty spot.  Large lindens stood before the front door, and there too, but not on the wall side, seats were placed, as we have already seen.  For the Justice, even when he was resting, wanted to keep an eye on his household.

Directly opposite the house one looked through a lattice gate into the orchard, where strong and healthy fruit-trees spread their leafy branches out over the fresh grass, vegetables and lettuce.  Here and there, in between, little beds of red roses and fire-lilies were thriving.  Of the latter, however, there were very few, for a true peasant devotes his ground only to necessary things, even when his circumstances permit him to cultivate some of nature’s luxuries.

Everything beyond the orchard, as far as the eye could see, was green.  For on the other side of the garden lay the extensive meadows of the Oberhof, in which the Justice had room and fodder for his horses.  Their breeding, carried on with great industry, was one of the most lucrative sources of income the estate enjoyed.  These verdant meadows were also surrounded by hedges and ditches; one of them, moreover, contained a pond in which well-fed carp swam about in shoals.

On this rich estate, surrounded by full barns, full lofts and stables, dwelt the old, widely respected Justice.  But if one climbed the highest hill on the border of his land, one could see from there the towers of three of the oldest cities in Westphalia.

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At the time of which I speak it was approaching eleven o’clock in the forenoon.  The whole vast estate was so quiet that scarcely any noise was audible, save the rustling of the leaves in the tree-tops.  The Justice was measuring out oats to his servant, who flung each sack across his shoulders and trudged slowly over to the stable with it.  The daughter was counting up her dowry of linen and wool, and a maid was working in the kitchen.  All the other dwellers on the estate were lying asleep; for it was just before the harvest-time, when peasants have the least to do, and the workmen use every spare minute for sleep, in order to prepare themselves, in a measure, for the approaching days of toil and sweat.  For in general, country people, like dogs, can, if they wish to, sleep at all hours of the day and night.

CHAPTER IV

WHEREIN THE HUNTER SENDS HIS COMPANION OUT AFTER A PERSON BY THE NAME OF SCHRIMBS OR PEPPEL, AND COMES HIMSELF TO THE OBERHOF

From the hills which bordered the Justice’s fields there came forth two men of different appearance and age.  The one, clad in a green hunter’s jacket, with a little cap on his curly head and a light Liege gun on his arm, was a strikingly handsome youth; the other, dressed in more quiet colors, was an elderly man with a frank and sincere manner.  The younger strode on ahead, as nimbly as a stag, while the older maintained a somewhat slower gait, like that of a worn-out hunting-dog lagging behind the master to whom he is still ever faithful.  After they had emerged into an open space at the foot of the hills, they both sat down on a large stone, which lay there beside several others in the shade of a mighty linden.  The younger man gave some money and papers to the older, pointed out to him the direction in which he was to continue his way, and said: 

“Go now, Jochem, and be discreet, so that we can get hold of this confounded Schrimbs or Peppel who has been inventing such monstrous lies, and as soon as you discover him, let me know.”

“I’ll be discreet all right,” replied old Jochem.  “I’ll make such sly and secret inquiries in all the villages and cities about a man who signs his name Schrimbs or Peppel, that it would have to be the devil’s own fault if I don’t succeed in locating the wretch.  In the meanwhile you lie low here incognito, until you receive further news from me.”

“Very well,” said the young man, “and now, Jochem, be very cautious and thoughtful all the time in the way you handle the matter, for we are no longer in dear Suabia, but out among the Saxons and Franks.”

“The miserable fellows!” exclaimed old Jochem.  “Faith, they have long talked about Suabian stupidities!  They shall see that a Suabian can be a sly bird too when it is necessary.”

“And keep always to the right, my Jochem, for the last tracks of this Schrimbs or Peppel are headed that way,” said the young man, standing up and giving the old man a cordial parting handshake.

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“Always to the right, of course,” replied the latter.  He handed over to the other his hunting-bag, which was stuffed full, and which up to now he had been carrying, lifted his hat and went off, following a side-path at the right, down toward the region where, in the distance, one could see towering up one of the steeples mentioned in the foregoing chapter.

The young man, on the other hand, went directly down toward the Oberhof.  He had taken perhaps a hundred steps when he heard somebody running behind him and panting.  He turned around and saw that his old companion was hurrying after him.

“There was one more thing I wanted to ask and beg of you,” the latter cried.  “Now that you are alone and left to yourself, get rid of your gun; for you certainly won’t hit anything and, sure as death, you will have a mishap again, as you almost did not long ago when you fired at the hare and came very near killing the child.”

“Yes, it is damnable to be always firing at things and never hitting them,” said the young man.  “But, truly, I’ll put restraint on myself, no matter how hard it may be to do it, and not a single shot shall fly out of these barrels as long as you are away from me.”

The old man begged him for the gun, but the young man refused to give it up, saying that, without a gun, it would surely cost no self-restraint to refrain from shooting, and that his method of procedure would then lose all its merit.

“That is very true,” replied the old man, and, without bidding his companion a second good-by, inasmuch as the first one still held good, he went back reassured, along the path which had been pointed out to him.

The young man stood still, rested the gun on the ground, thrust the ramrod into the barrel, and said: 

“It will be difficult to get the charge out, and yet it can’t stay in.”  With that he tossed the gun over his shoulder and walked in the direction of the Justice’s oak grove.  Just before he got there a drove of heath fowl started up from a narrow strip of borderland, flapping their wings and screaming loudly.  In exultation the young man snatched the gun from his shoulder, crying:  “Here’s my chance to get rid of the shot forthwith!” and took aim.  Both barrels went off with a roar, and the birds flew away uninjured.  The hunter gazed after them in astonishment and said: 

“This time I thought I couldn’t have helped hitting something.  Well, from now on I shall certainly restrain myself.”  With that he continued his way through the oak grove to the house.

When he entered the door he saw, sitting at dinner in a high and spacious hall which took up the entire centre of the house, the Justice, his daughter, his farm-hands and maids, and in a resonant, euphonious voice he gave them a friendly greeting.  The Justice scrutinized him with care, the daughter with astonishment; as for the men and maids, they did not look at him at all, but went on eating without paying any attention

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to him.  The Hunter approached the master of the estate and inquired about the distance to the nearest city and the way to get there.  At first the Justice did not understand his strange-sounding language, but the daughter, without once turning her eyes from the handsome Hunter, helped her father to get the meaning, whereupon he gave the correct information.  Only after three repetitions was the Hunter, on his part, able to understand the reply; but he finally succeeded in making out that the city was not to be reached in less than two long hours, and then only by a path which was difficult to find.

The midday heat, combined with the sight of the tidy meal before him and his own hunger, prompted the Hunter to ask the question whether for love or money he could have something to eat and drink and shelter till the cool of evening.

“For money, no!” replied the Justice, “but for love the gentleman may have dinner and supper and a place to rest as long as he wants it.”  He had a tin plate, as clear and bright as a mirror, a knife, a fork and a spoon, just as bright as the plate, laid upon the table, and pressed his guest to sit down.  The latter fell upon the well-cooked ham, the big beans, the eggs and sausages, which constituted the meal, with all the appetite of youth, and discovered that the food of the country, which was everywhere decried as Boeotian, was, on the contrary, not at all bad.

Very little talking was done by the hosts, for peasants do not like to speak while they are eating.  Howsoever, the Hunter, on inquiry, managed to find out from the Justice that no man by the name of Schrimbs or Peppel was known anywhere around in that vicinity.  The farm-hands and maids, who sat apart from the seats of honor at the other end of the long table, kept absolutely silent and looked only at the dishes out of which they spooned their food into their mouths.  After they had finished eating, however, and had wiped their mouths, they stepped up to the Justice, one after the other, and said:  “Master, my motto;” whereupon the Justice addressed to each one a proverbial phrase or a biblical passage.  Thus to the first man, a red-haired fellow, he said:  “Proneness to dispute lights a fire, and proneness to fight sheds blood;” to the second, a slow, fat man:  “Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise;” to the third, a small, black-eyed, bold-looking customer:  “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  The first maid received the motto:  “If you have cattle, take care of them, and if they bring you profit, keep it;” and to the second he said:  “Nothing’s ever locked so tight but it will some day come to light.”

After each one had been remembered in this way, they all went off to their work, some looking unconcerned, others embarrassed.  The second girl blushed a deep crimson when she heard her motto.  The Hunter, who was gradually learning to understand the local dialect, listened to this lesson with astonishment, and after it was over he asked what the purpose of it was.

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“To give them something to think about,” said the Justice.  “When they come together here again tonight, each one of them will tell me what he or she has been thinking relative to the motto.  Most of the work in the country is of such a kind that, in doing it, the people are liable to think all sorts of things, and they get a lot of bad notions in their heads, which afterwards break out in the form of wantonness, lies, and deception.  But when a man has such a motto to ponder over, he will not rest until he has extracted the moral from it, and meanwhile the time has elapsed without any evil thoughts having entered his mind.”

“You are a true philosopher and priest,” cried the Hunter, whose amazement was increasing with every minute.

“One can accomplish a great deal with a person when one brings morality home to him,” said the Justice thoughtfully.  “But morality sticks in short sayings better than in long speeches and sermons.  My people keep straight much longer since I hit upon the morality idea.  To be sure it does not work all the year round; during planting and harvest-time all thinking ceases.  But it isn’t necessary then anyway, because they have no time for wickedness.”

“You have, then, regular sections in your teaching?” asked the Hunter.

“In winter,” replied the Justice, “the mottoes usually begin after threshing and last until sowing.  In summer, on the other hand, they are assigned from Walpurgis Night until dog days.  Those are the times when peasants have the least to do.”

With that he left the young man, who got up and looked around in the house, the yard, the orchard, and the meadow.  He spent several hours in this inspection, since everything he saw attracted him.  The rural stillness, the green of the meadows, the prosperity which beamed upon him from the whole estate, all made a most pleasant impression, and aroused in him a desire to spend the one or two weeks that might elapse before he received news from old Jochem there in the open country rather than in the narrow alleys of a small city.  Inasmuch as he wore his heart on his tongue, he went forthwith to the Justice, who was in the oak grove marking a pair of trees for felling, and expressed his wish.  In return he offered to assist in anything that might be of use to his host.

Beauty is an excellent dowry.  It is a key which, like that little one of gold, opens by magic seven locks, each one different from the rest.  The old man gazed for a moment at the youth’s slim yet robust figure and at his honest and at the same time splendidly aristocratic face, and at first shook his head persistently; then, however, he nodded approvingly, and, finally growing friendly, granted him his request.  He assigned to the Hunter a corner room on the upper floor of the house, from one side of which one could see across the oak grove toward the hills and mountains, and from the other out over the meadows and corn fields.  The guest had, to be sure, in place of paying for his room and board, to promise to fulfil a very peculiar condition.  For the Justice did not like to have even beauty favored without an equivalent return.

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CHAPTER V

THE HUNTER HIRES OUT AS POACHER

He asked the young man, before he promised him quarters, whether he was a lover of hunting, as his green suit, gun and hunting-bag seemed to indicate.  The latter replied that, as far back as he could remember, he had always had a passion amounting to real madness for deer-shooting; in saying which, to be sure, he concealed the fact that, with the exception of a sparrow, a crow, and a cat, no creature of God had ever fallen victim to his powder and lead.  This was in reality the case.  He could not live without firing a few times a day at something, but he regularly missed his aim; in his eighteenth year he had killed a sparrow, in his twentieth a crow, and in his twenty-fourth a cat.  And that was all.

After the Justice had received his guest’s affirmative answer, he came out with his proposition, which was, namely, that the Hunter should every day lie out in the fields a few hours and keep off the wild animals, which were causing a great deal of injury to his corn fields, especially those lying on the slope at the foot of the hills.

“Yonder in the mountains,” said the old peasant, “the noblemen have their great hunting-ranges.  The creatures have already in past years eaten up and trampled down enough of my crops, but this is the first year that it has become serious.  The reason is, that the young count over there is an ardent hunter and has enlarged his stock of game, so that his stags and roes come out of the forest like sheep and completely ruin the product of my toil and sweat.  I myself do not understand the business, and I don’t like to turn it over to my men because it gives them an easy chance, under the pretext of lying in wait, to become disorderly.  Consequently the beasts have now and then worked enough havoc to make a man’s heart ache.  Your coming now is, therefore, very opportune, and if for these two weeks before harvest you will keep the creatures out of my corn for me, we’ll call that payment for your room and board.”

“What?  I a poacher?  I a game thief?” cried the man, and he laughed so loudly and heartily that the Justice could not help joining in.  Still laughing, the latter ran his hand over the fine cloth of which his guest’s clothing was made.

“That is just why I want you to do it,” he said, “because with you there will be no particular danger even if you are caught.  You will know how to get yourself out of it better than one of these poor farm laborers.  Flies get caught in a cobweb, but wasps flit straight through them.  But what kind of a crime is it anyway to protect your own property against monsters that eat it up and ruin it?” he cried, the laugh on his face suddenly changing into an expression of the most fervent anger.  The veins in his brow swelled up, the blood in his cheeks turned deep crimson, and the whites of his eyes became bloodshot; one might have taken fright at the sight of the old man.

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“You are right, father, there is nothing more unreasonable than the so-called hunting privileges,” said the Hunter, in order to pacify him.  “For that reason I will take upon myself the sin of violating the game laws of the local nobility in the interest of your estate, although by so doing I shall really be—­”

He was going to add something more, but suddenly broke off and passed over to other indifferent matters.

But any one who thinks that the conversation between this Westphalian justice and the Suabian hunter ran as smoothly as my pen has written it down, is mistaken.  On the contrary, it was frequently necessary for them to repeat several times before a barely sufficient understanding came about between them.  Now and then they were even compelled to resort to making signs with their fingers.  For in all his life the Justice had never heard ch pronounced after s; furthermore he brought all his sounds up out of his gullet, or, if you will, out of his throat.  In the Hunter, on the other hand, the divine gift which distinguishes us from beasts was located between his front teeth and his lips, whence the sounds broke forth in a wonderful sonorous gravity and fulness and a buzzing sibilancy.  But through these strange husks the young man and the old one soon learned to like each other.  Inasmuch as both were men of full-weight, sterling stuff they could not fail to understand each other’s inmost nature.

CHAPTER VI

THE HUNTER WRITES TO HIS FRIEND

Now I may write about things that are pleasant.  I cannot possibly tell you how happy I am here in the solitude of this hill-girt Westphalian plain, where I have been quartered for a week among people and cattle.  Among people and cattle is indeed literally the case, for the cows do actually stand right in the house on both sides of the large entrance-hall.  There is, however, absolutely nothing unpleasant or unclean about this; on the contrary it rather helps to increase the impression of patriarchal house-management.  In front of my window stand rustling oak-trees, and beyond them I look out on long, long meadows and waving cornfields, between which I see here and there a grove of oaks and a lone farmstead.  For here it is as it was in the time of Tacitus:  “Colunt discreti ac diversi, ut fons, ut campus, ut nemus placuit.”  Consequently even a single farm like this is a small State in itself, complete and rounded off, and the lord of it is just as much a king in his small domain as a real king on a throne.

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My host is a splendid old fellow.  He is called Justice, although he certainly has another name too; for that name, you see, has reference only to the ownership of his property.  I hear, however, that this is the custom around here everywhere.  For the most part only the estate has a name—­the name of the owner sinks in that of the property; hence the earth-born, tough and enduring character of the people here.  My Justice is a man of some sixty-odd years perhaps, but he carries a strong, large, rugged body, as yet unbent by age.  In his reddish-yellow face is deposited the solar heat of the fifty harvests he has gathered in, his large nose stands out on his face like a tower, and his white, bristly eyebrows hang out over his glistening, blue eyes like a straw roof.  He reminds me of a patriarch, who erects a monument of unhewn stones to the god of his ancestors and pours libations and oil upon it, rears his colts, cuts his corn, and at the same time judges and rules his people with unlimited authority.  I have never come across a more compact mixture of venerability and cunning, reason and obstinacy; he is a genuine, old-time, free peasant in the full sense of the word.  I believe that this is the only place where people of this kind are still to be found, here where precisely this living apart and this stubbornness peculiar to the ancient Saxons, combined with the absence of large cities, has perpetuated the original character of Germania.  All governments and powers have merely skimmed over the surface here; they have perhaps been able to break off the tops of the various growths, but not to destroy their roots, from which fresh shoots have ever sprouted up again, even though they may no longer close together into leafy crowns.

The region is not at all what one would call beautiful, for it consists solely of billowy risings and fallings of the ground, and only in the distance does one see the mountains; furthermore, the latter look more like a dark hill-slope than a beautifully outlined mountain-range.  But just this absence of pretension, the fact that the mountains do not seem to place themselves in dress parade directly in front of one’s eyes and say:  “How do you like me?” but rather, like a dutiful stewardess, to serve the tilth of human hands even down to the smallest detail—­after all makes me like them very much, and I have enjoyed many a pleasant hour in my solitary rambles.  Perhaps the fact has something to do with it that my heart can once more swing out its pendulum undisturbed, without having wise people tinkering and twisting at the clock-works.

I have even become poetic—­what do you say to that, old Ernst?  I have jotted down something to which a divinely beautiful Sunday that I spent some time ago in the wooded glens of the Spessart inspired me.  I think you will like it.  It is called:  “The Marvels of the Spessart.”

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What I like best is to sit up on the hill in a quiet spot between the Justice’s cornfields, which terminate there.  In front of me there is a large depression in the ground, grown over with weeds and blackberry bushes, around which, in a circle, lie a lot of large stones.  Over the largest of these, directly opposite the field, the branches of three old lindens spread out.  Behind me rustles the forest.  The spot is infinitely lonesome, secluded and secret, especially now that the corn is grown up, as tall as a man, behind it.  I spend a great deal of time up there—­not always, to be sure, in sentimental contemplation of nature; it is my usual evening watchpost, from which I shoot the stags and roes out of the Justice’s corn.

They call the place the “Freemen’s Tribunal.”  Presumably, in days of yore, the Fehme used to hatch out its sentences there in the darkness of the night.  When I praised the place to my Justice, an expression of friendliness passed over his face.  He made no reply, but after a time conducted me, without any inducement on my part, to a room on the upper floor of the house.  There he opened an iron-bound trunk, showed me an old, rusty sword which was lying in it, and said with great solemnity:  “That is a great curiosity; it is the sword of Charles the Great, preserved for a thousand and more years in the Oberhof, and still in full strength and power.”  Without adding any further explanations, he clapped the cover down again.  I wouldn’t for anything have shaken his belief in this sacred relic, although a fleeting glance convinced me that the broad-sword could scarcely be more than a few hundred years old.  But he showed me too a formal attestation concerning the genuineness of the weapon, made out for him by an obliging provincial scholar.

[Illustration:  THE FREEMEN’S TRIBUNAL By Benjamin Vautier]

Well, then, I shall stay here among the peasants until old Jochem sends me news of Schrimbs or Peppel.  To be sure, in the course of my eighty-mile journey I have cooled down a little, for it makes considerable difference when two weeks intervene between a project and its execution.  Furthermore the question now is:  What sort of revenge shall I take on him?  But all that will take care of itself later on.

Mentor, you shall soon hear more, I hope, from your Not-Telemachus.

CHAPTER VII

HOW THE HUNTER LIVES AT THE OBERHOF

Several days passed at the Oberhof in the usual quiet, monotonous way.  Still no word came from old Jochem, regarding either himself or the escaped adventurer; and a mild anxiety gradually began, after a while, to steal over his young master.  For nowadays time is so regulated and so enmeshes us that nobody, no matter how free and independent he may be, can long endure an existence which does not offer him some occupation or social relation to fall back on.

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As much as he could, to be sure, the Hunter associated with the Justice, and the man’s originality continued to attract him just as strongly as it had done on the first day of their acquaintance.  But the old man was occupied the greater part of the time with matters pertaining to his household, and then he had, too, a great many things to discuss with outsiders, since every day people dropped in at the farm to solicit his help or advice.  On these occasions the Hunter noticed that the Justice, in the truest sense of the word, never did anything gratis.  For neighbors, relatives, and friends he was ready to do anything, but they had always to do something for him in return, even were it only an errand in a neighboring peasant community, or some other small service of this kind.

Every day something was fired at, but regularly missed; so that the old man, who invariably hit his mark, no matter what he aimed at, began to look with astonishment upon these futile efforts.  It was a fortunate thing for our Hunter that the nearest estate-owner happened at that time to be away on a trip with his family and servants, otherwise the professional gunners up on the “Open Tribunal” would probably have caught him sooner or later.

At noon on the following day the Hunter heard a noise under his window; he looked out and saw that a number of men were standing in front of the house.  Just then the Justice, dressed in his Sunday clothes, stepped out of the door, and at the same time a two-horse wagon drew up opposite by the oak grove.  In the wagon was a man in black robes, apparently a clergyman; he was sitting among several baskets, in some of which fowls seemed to be fluttering.  A little behind him sat a woman in bourgeois dress, who was holding another basket rigidly in her lap.  In front by the horses stood a peasant with the whip, his arm resting on the neck of one of the animals.  Beside him was a maid, also holding a basket, covered with a snow-white napkin, under her arm.  A man in a wide brown overcoat, whose thoughtful gait and solemn face made it at once unmistakably evident that he was a sexton, walked with dignity from the wagon to the house, placed himself in front of the Justice, lifted his hat, and recited the following verses: 

  Before your gate you now may see
  The Sexton and the Dominie,
  The Sexton’s wife, the house-maid too,
  Who’ve come to get what is their due,
  By custom old from this domain,
  The hens, the eggs, the cheeses twain;
  So tell us then without delay
  If you are all prepared to pay.

While listening to this little recitation the Justice had respectfully removed his hat.  Afterwards he approached the wagon, bowed to the clergyman, reverently helped him to alight, and then stood off at one side with him and held a conversation, which the Hunter could not overhear, about various matters.  In the meantime the woman with the basket had also stepped down and taken a position beside the Sexton, the peasant and the maid, and behind the two chief persons, as if for a procession.

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The Hunter, in order to ascertain the significance of this scene, went downstairs and observed that the entrance-hall was sprinkled with white sand, and the best room, adjacent to it, decorated with green branches.  Inside, also dressed up in her Sunday best, sat the daughter; she was spinning as if she meant to turn out an entire skein of yarn that very day.  She looked very red and did not glance up from her work.  He entered the room and was just about to obtain his information from her, when the procession of strangers, including the Justice, crossed the threshold of the entrance-hall.  At the head marched the clergyman, behind him the Sexton, then the peasant, then the maid, then the Sexton’s wife, and finally the Justice, each one marching alone.  The clergyman approached the daughter, who had not yet glanced up from her spinning-wheel, addressed her with a friendly greeting, and said: 

“Quite right, Miss!  When the bride-to-be makes her wheel go so industriously beforehand, her sweetheart may hope and expect to have full chests and boxes afterwards.  When is the wedding to be?”

“A week from Thursday, your reverence, if it is permissible,” replied the bride, turning, if possible, even redder than before.  She humbly kissed the clergyman’s hand—­the latter was still a youngish man—­took his hat and cane from him, and handed him, by way of welcome, a refreshing drink.  The others, after they had formed a circle around the bride, and had likewise remembered her with a handshake and an expression of good will, also partook of the refreshing beverage; thereupon they left the room and went into the entrance-hall.  The clergyman, however, continued to discuss the affairs of the community with the Justice, who, with his hat in his hand all the time, stood before him in reverential posture.

The young Hunter, who, unnoticed by the others, had been watching the scene from a corner of the room, would have liked to greet the clergyman before now, but he felt that it would be rude to break in upon the conversation between the strangers and the inmates of the house, a conversation which, in spite of the rusticity of the scene, had yet an air of diplomatic ceremony.  For in the clergyman he recognized, with joyful astonishment, a former academic acquaintance.

The Justice now left the room for a moment, and the Hunter went over to the Pastor and greeted him by name.  The clergyman started and passed his hand across his eyes, but he, likewise, at once recognized the other and was no less happy to see him.

“But,” he added to the first words of greeting, “this is no place nor time for a talk.  Come along with me afterwards when I drive away from the farm—­then we can have a chat together.  I am a public character here and stand under the constraint of a most imperious ceremonial.  We cannot take any notice of each other, and you too, in a passive sort of way, must conform to the ritual.  Above all things don’t laugh at anything that you see—­that would offend the good people extremely.  These old established customs, strange as they may seem, always have, nevertheless, their venerable side.”

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“Have no fear,” replied the Hunter.  “But I should like to know—­”

“Everything afterwards!” whispered the clergyman, glancing toward the door, which the Justice was just then re-entering.  He retreated from the Hunter just as from a stranger.

The Justice and his daughter themselves brought in the food and laid it on the table, which had been set in this room.  There were chicken soup, a dish of French beans and a long sausage, roast pork and plums, butter, bread, and cheese, and, in addition, a bottle of wine.  All this was put on the table at the same time.  The peasant too had left the horses and come into the room.  When everything was steaming on the table, which had been laid for only two persons, the Justice politely invited the clergyman to seat himself, and the latter, after saying grace, sat down, as did likewise, a short distance away from him, the peasant.

“Do I not eat here too?” inquired the Hunter.

“Nay, God forbid!” answered the Justice, and the bride looked at him from one side in amazement.  “Only the Diaconus and the Colonus eat here—­you sit at the table with the Sexton outside.”

The Hunter went into another room, opposite, after observing to his surprise that the Justice and his daughter themselves attended to the serving of this first and most aristocratic table.  In the other room he found the Sexton, his wife, and the maid, all standing around a table which had been laid there, and impatiently awaiting, as it seemed, the arrival of their fourth companion.  The same eatables were steaming on this table, except that the butter and cheese were missing and beer took the place of the wine.  The Sexton stepped with dignity to the head seat and, keeping his eyes on the dishes, recited aloud the following verses: 

  The birds that fly, the beasts that crawl,
  For man’s behoof God made them all;
  Chicken soup, beans, pork, plums and veal,
  Are gifts divine—­Lord bless the meal!

Thereupon the company sat down, with the Sexton at the head of the table.  The latter did not for a moment forget his solemn dignity, nor his wife her basket, which she put down close beside her.  The Pastor’s maid, on the other hand, had unassumingly set hers aside.  During the meal, which was piled up on the dishes in veritable mountains, not a word was spoken.  The Sexton gravely devoured portions that might be called enormous, while his wife was not a great way behind him.  Here again it was the maid who showed herself to be most modest.  As for the Hunter, he confined his attention almost entirely to looking on; for the day’s ceremonies were not to his liking.

After the meal was over the Sexton, smirking solemnly, said to the two maids who had waited on the table: 

“Now, if it please God, we will receive our legitimate dues and the good-will accompanying them.”

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The maids, who had already cleared off the table, then went out.  The Sexton sat down on a chair in the middle of the room, while the two women, his wife and the maid, took seats on either side of him, putting the newly-opened baskets down in front of them.  After the expectation which the faces of the three expressed had lasted for several minutes, the two maids re-entered, accompanied by their master, the Justice.  The first was holding aloft a roomy basket of wickerwork, in which some hens were anxiously clucking and flapping their wings.  She put it down in front of the Sexton, who glanced into it and counted: 

“One, two, three, four, five, six—­it is all right.”

Thereupon the second maid counted out from a large piece of cloth into a basket in front of the Pastor’s maid, three score eggs and six round cheeses, not without the Sexton’s carefully counting them all over after her.  After this was done, the Sexton said: 

“So then the Pastor is provided for, and now comes the Sexton.”

Thereupon thirteen eggs and a single cheese were put into the basket in front of his wife, who tested the freshness of each egg by shaking and smelling it, and rejected two.  After this proceeding the Sexton stood up and said to the Justice: 

“How is it, Justice, about the second cheese which the Sexton still has the right to expect from the farm?”

“You yourself know, Sexton, that the right to the second cheese has never been recognized by the Oberhof,” replied the Justice.  “This alleged second cheese was due from the Baumann estate, which more than a hundred years ago was united under one hand with the Oberhof.  Later on, the two were again divided, and the Oberhof is obligated for only one cheese.”

The Sexton’s ruddy brown face took on the deepest wrinkles that it was capable of producing, and divided itself into several pensive sections of a square, roundish or angular shape.  He said: 

“Where is the Baumann estate?  It was split up and went to pieces in the times of disturbance.  Is the Sexton’s office to be the loser on that account?  It should not be so!  Nevertheless, expressly reserving each and every right in the matter of the second cheese due from the Oberhof, and contested now for a hundred years, I hereby receive and accept one cheese.  In accordance with which the legitimate dues of the Oberhof to both Pastor and Sexton are paid, and now comes the good-will.”

The latter consisted of freshly-baked rolls, six of which were laid in the Pastor’s basket and two in the Sexton’s.  With that the entire ceremony was concluded.  The Sexton came closer to the Justice, and recited the following third effusion: 

  I find the six hens all correct,
  The cheeses too without defect;
  The eggs delivered are freshly laid,
  And all the dues were promptly paid. 
  And so the Lord preserve your farm
  From famine, fire, and other harm! 
  He is beloved of God and man
  Who pays his debts as best he can.

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After that the Justice made a deep bow as a sign of thanks.  The Sexton’s wife and the maid carried the baskets out and packed them in the wagon.  At the same time the Hunter saw a maid carrying some dishes and plates out of the room in which the clergyman had eaten, into the entrance-hall, where she washed them before the eyes of the latter, who had stepped up to the threshold of the room.  After she had finished this washing she approached the clergyman, who drew a small coin out of a piece of paper and gave it to her.

In the meanwhile the Sexton was drinking his coffee with relish, and when a cup was brought for the Hunter too, he sat down with it beside the Sexton.

“I am a stranger here,” said the young man, “and do not entirely understand the customs which I have been witnessing today.  Will you, sir, be good enough to explain them to me?  Is it obligatory for the peasants to supply the Pastor with these products of nature?”

“It is obligatory as far as the hens, eggs and cheeses are concerned, but not the rolls.  They represent merely goodwill, but have always been paid without objection,” replied the Sexton with great seriousness.  “Three peasant communities are affiliated with the diaconate or head pastorate in the city, and part of the Pastor’s and Sexton’s income is derived from these dues, which are collected every year from the various farms.  In order to do this collecting, as has been done every year since time immemorial, we make annually two trips or rounds, namely, this short summer trip, and then a long winter trip, shortly after Advent.  On the summer trip the hens, eggs and cheeses come due, one farm paying so much, another so much.  The first item, namely, the hens, is payable, however, only pro Diaconatu, the Sexton having to content himself with eggs and cheese only.  In the winter, corn, barley, oats and rye fall due; we come then with two carts, because one would not hold all the sacks.  Thus twice a year we go the rounds of the three communities.”

“And where do you go from here?” asked the Hunter.

“Straight home,” answered the Sexton.  “This community is the last of the three, and this Oberhof is the last farm in this community where the customary dues are collected.”

The Sexton was then called away, for the horses were hitched to the cart, and the clergyman, with cordial handshakes and good wishes, was taking leave of the Justice and his daughter, who were now standing before him with the same air of friendly reverence that they had shown for him during all the other proceedings of the day.

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The procession now went rocking off between corn fields and high hedges along another road than the one it had come by.  The peasant, with the whip in his hand, went on foot in front of the horses, and the cart rolled heavily along behind him.  In addition to the two women, the Sexton now sat in among the baskets with a feather pillow propped against his stomach for protection.  The Hunter, who had modestly stood back during the preparations for departure, now, when the wagon had advanced a short distance, hurried after it with hasty steps.  He found the Pastor, who had also remained behind his accumulation of property, waiting for him in a pleasant spot under some trees.  Here, unrestrained by the ceremonial of the Oberhof, they embraced each other, and the Pastor said, laughing: 

“I’ll wager this is something you never expected—­to discover in your former acquaintance, who used to conduct his young Swedish Count so neatly about on the slippery ground of science and elegant life in the big city, a figure who must remind you of the Reverend Lopez in Fletcher’s Spanish Curate.  As for the proceedings which you have witnessed today, it was absolutely necessary for me to go through with them in person; my entire relation with the people would be broken if I manifested any squeamishness about participating in the old custom.  My predecessor in office, who was not a native of these parts, was ashamed of these regular trips and refused downright to have anything to do with them.  What was the result?  He got himself into serious difficulties with these rural parishes, which even had an influence on the decadence of school and church affairs.  He had finally to petition for his transference, and I immediately made up my mind, when I received my appointment, that I would adapt myself in all things to the customs of the place.  In pursuance of this policy I have so far got along very well, and the appearance of dependency which these trips give me, far from damaging my prestige, rather enhances and secures it.”

“How could it be otherwise?” cried the Hunter.  “I must confess to you that during the entire ceremony, in spite of the comical atmosphere which your Sexton spread over it, I was really touched and the feeling never once left me.  Somehow I saw on the one hand, in your acceptance of these most simple and material gifts, and, on the other, in the reverence with which they were bestowed, the most pious and unpretending symbol of the church, which must have its daily bread in order to exist, and of the faithful who supply her earthly needs in the humble conviction that by so doing they will gain something of high and eternal value.  Hence on neither the one side nor the other does a sense of servitude arise, but rather on both sides there is a deep feeling of the most perfect mutuality.”

“I am glad,” said the Pastor, pressing the Hunter’s hand, “that you so regard it, since another person would perhaps have made fun of the whole business.  For that reason—­I can now own up to it—­I was at first not at all pleased to have you appear so unexpectedly as a witness of those scenes.”

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“God forbid that I should make fun of anything that I have seen in this country!” replied the Hunter.  “I now rejoice that a mad freak brought me here to these woods and fields, for otherwise I should probably never have learned to know the region; for it has very little reputation abroad, and there is, in fact, nothing here to attract exhausted and surfeited tourists.  But the feeling has gripped me here even more strongly than in my own home—­this is soil which an unmixed race has trod for more than a thousand years!  And the idea of the immortality of the people was wafted toward me in the rustling of these oaks and of this surrounding vegetation in an almost, I might say, tangible form.”

A long conversation resulted from this remark, which was carried on alternately by both the Hunter and the Pastor, as they walked slowly along behind the cart.

When they took leave of each other the young Suabian was obliged to make his friend a promise that he would visit him for a few days in the city.  After that they separated and went off in opposite directions.

CHAPTER VIII

THE STRANGE FLOWER AND THE BEAUTIFUL GIRL

The sun was still high in the heavens.  The Hunter felt no particular inclination to return to the Oberhof so early in the day, so he stepped up to one of the highest hedges to obtain a general view of the region.  From there he saw rising, a short distance away, the bushy summits of a group of hills, through which he thought he could probably make his way and get back to his quarters before late in the evening.

His foot trod the fresh, damp green of a meadow bordered by bushes, under which a stream of clear water was flowing.  Not far away appeared some small rocks, over which ran a narrow slippery path.  He walked across, climbed down between the cliffs, tucked up his sleeves, and put his arm in the water; it sent a pleasant thrill through him and cooled his hot blood.  Thus, half kneeling, half sitting in the damp, dark, rock-begirt spot, he glanced aside into the open.  There his eyes were fascinated by a glorious sight.  Some old tree stumps had rotted in the grass, and their black forms protruded from the surrounding vivid green.  One of them was entirely hollowed out, and inside of it the rotted wood had formed a deposit of brown earth.  Out of this earth and out of the stump, as from a crater, a most beautiful flower was growing.  Above a crown of soft, round leaves rose a long, slender stalk which bore large cups of an indescribably beautiful red.  Deep down in the cups of the flower was a spot of soft, gleaming white which ran out to the edge of the petals in tiny light-green veins.  It was evidently not a native flower, but an exotic, whose seed some chance—­who knows what?—­had deposited here in this little garden-bed, prepared by the putrefactive powers of Nature, and which a friendly summer sun had caused to grow and blossom.

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The Hunter refreshed his eye in this charming sight.  Intoxicated by the magic of Nature, he leaned back and closed his eyes in sweet reveries.  When he opened them again the scene had changed.

A beautiful girl in simple attire, her straw hat hung over her arm, was kneeling by the flower, gently embracing its stalk as if it were her sweetheart’s neck, and gazing into its red calyx with the sweetest look of joyful surprise.  She must have approached quietly while the Hunter was lying back, half asleep.  She did not see him, for the cliffs hid him from her sight; and he was careful not to make any motion that might frighten the vision away.  But after a while, as she looked up from the flower with a sigh, her sidewise glance fell upon the water, and she caught sight of a man’s shadow!  The Hunter saw her color pale, saw the flower drop from her hands—­otherwise she remained motionless on her knees.  He half arose between the cliffs, and four young eyes met!  But only for a moment!  The girl, with fire in her face, quickly got up, tossed her straw hat on her head, and with three swift steps disappeared into the bushes.

The Hunter now came out from among the cliffs and stretched out his arm toward the bushes.  Had the spirit of the flower become alive?  He looked at it again—­it did not seem as beautiful as it had a few minutes before.

“An amaryllis,” he said, coldly.  “I recognize it now—­I have it in my green-house.”

Should he follow the girl?  He wanted to—­but a mysterious shyness shackled his feet.  He grasped his forehead.  He had not been dreaming—­he was sure of that.  “And the occurrence,” he cried at last with something like an effort, “is not so extraordinary that it must necessarily have been a dream.  A pretty girl, who happened along this way, was enjoying a pretty flower—­that is all!”

He wandered about among unknown mountains, valleys and tracts of country, as long as his feet would carry him.  Finally it became necessary for him to think of returning.

Late, in the dark, and only through the help of a guide whom he came across by accident, he reached the Oberhof.  Here the cows were lowing, and the Justice was sitting at the table in the entrance-hall with his daughter, men and maids, about to begin his moral talks.  But it was impossible for the Hunter to enter into them—­everything seemed different to him, coarse and inappropriate.  He repaired immediately to his room, wondering how he could pass away any more time here without knowing what was going to happen.  A letter which he found there from his friend Ernst in the Black Forest added to his discomfort.  In this state of mind, which robbed him of part of his night’s sleep and even the following morning had not yet left him, he was glad indeed when the Pastor sent a wagonette to bring him to the city.

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Even from a distance, towers, high walls and bulwarks made it evident that the city, once a mighty member of the Hanseatic League, had seen its great days of defensive fighting.  The deep moat was still extant, although now devoted to trees and vegetables.  His vehicle, after it had passed under the dark Gothic gate, moved along somewhat heavily on the rough stone pavement, and finally drew up in front of a comfortable-looking house, on the threshold of which the Pastor was standing ready to receive him.  He entered a cheerful and cosy household, which was animated by a sprightly, pretty wife and a couple of lively boys whom she had presented to her husband.

After breakfast they went for a walk through the city.  In the course of it the Hunter told his friend about his adventure in the woods.

“To judge by your description,” said the latter, “it was the blond Lisbeth whom you saw.  The dear child wanders around the country getting money for her old foster-father.  She was at my home a few days ago, but would not tarry with us.  The girl is a most charming Cinderella, and I only hope that she may find the Prince who will fall in love with her little shoe.”

[Illustration:  LISBETH]

CHAPTER IX

THE HUNTER SHOOTS AND HITS THE MARK

After a sojourn of several days in the city the Hunter returned to the Oberhof, and found the Justice repairing a barn door.  The Hunter informed him that he was going to depart soon, and the old man replied: 

“I am rather glad of it; the little woman who had the room before you sent word to me that she would be back today or tomorrow; you would have to give way to her and I couldn’t make you comfortable anywhere else.”

The entire estate was swimming in the red light of evening.  A pure summer warmth pervaded the air, which was uncharged with any exhalations.  It was quite deserted around the buildings; all the men and maids must have been still busy in the fields.  Even in the house he saw nobody when he went to his room.  There he picked up and arranged what he had from time to time written down during his stay, packed up his few belongings, and then looked around for his gun.  After a short search he discovered it behind a large cabinet where the peasant had concealed it.  He loaded it, and in two steps he was out of the house and headed for the “Open Tribunal,” bent on shooting the restlessly heaving visions out of his soul.  By the time he was traversing the fragrant, golden oak grove he had recovered his high spirits.

When he reached the Freemen’s Tribunal up on the hill he felt quite cheerful.  The ears of grain, heavy and plentiful, were nodding and rustling, the large red disk of the full moon was rising over the eastern horizon, and the reflection of the sun, which had already sunk in the west, was still lighting up the sky.  The atmosphere was so clear that this reflected light shone a yellowish green.

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The Hunter felt his youth, his health, his hopes.  He took his position behind a large tree on the edge of the forest.

“Today,” he said, “I will see whether fate can be bent.  I’ll fire only when something comes within three paces of the muzzle, and then if I should miss it, there would needs be magic in it.”

Behind him was the forest, before him the low ground of the “Freemen’s Tribunal,” with its large stones and trees, and over opposite the solitary spot was shut in by yellow corn fields.  In the tree-tops above him the turtle-doves were cooing now and then a faint note, and through the branches of the trees by the “Freemen’s Tribunal” the wild hawk-moths were beginning to whir with their red-green wings.  Gradually the ground in the forest also began to show signs of life.  A hedgehog crept sleepily through the underbrush; a little weasel dragged his supple body forth from a crevice in the rocks no broader than a quill.  Little hares darted with cautious leaps out from the bushes, stopping in front of each to crouch down and lay their ears back, until finally, growing more brave, they mounted the ridge by the cornfield and danced and played together, using their fore paws to strike one another in sport.  The Hunter took care not to disturb these little animals.  Finally a slender roe stepped out of the forest.  Shrewdly thrusting its nose into the wind and glancing around to the right and left out of its big brown eyes, it stalked along on its delicate feet with an easy grace.  The gentle, wild, fleet animal now reached a point just opposite the hidden Hunter’s gun, and so close to him that he could hardly fail to hit it.  He was just about to pull the trigger when the deer took fright, faced about in a different direction, and made a leap straight for the tree behind which the Hunter was standing.  His gun cracked, and the animal, unwounded, made off with a series of mighty leaps into the forest.  But from amid the corn he heard a loud cry, and a few moments afterwards a woman’s form staggered out of the fields on a narrow path which lay in the line of his aim.  The Hunter threw down the gun and rushed toward the form; when he saw who it was he nearly collapsed.

[Illustration:  OSWALD.  THE HUNTER By Benjamin Vautier]

It was the beautiful girl of the flower scene in the woods.  He had hit her instead of the roe!  She was holding one hand over the region between her shoulder and left breast, where the blood was gushing out copiously beneath her kerchief.  Her face was pale, and somewhat drawn, though not distorted, by pain.  She drew a deep breath three times and then said with a soft, weak voice: 

“God be praised!  The wound can’t be very dangerous, for I can draw breath, even though it hurts me.  I will try,” she continued, “to reach the Oberhof, whither I was bound on this short-cut when I had to go and meet with this accident.  Give me your arm.”

He had supported her only a few steps down the hill when she collapsed and said: 

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“It won’t do—­the pain is too severe—­I might faint on the way.  We must wait here in this place until somebody comes along who can fetch a stretcher.”

In spite of the pain of her wound she was clutching tightly in her left hand a small package; this she now handed to him and said: 

“Keep it for me—­it is the money that I have collected for the baron—­I might lose it.  We must prepare ourselves,” she continued, “to remain here for some little time.  If it were only possible for you to make a place for me to lie down and to give me something warm, so that the cold won’t penetrate to the wound!”

Thus she had presence of mind both for herself and him.  He stood speechless, pale and immovable, like a statue.  Utter dismay filled his heart and let not a single word escape from his lips.

Her appeal now put new life into him; he hurried to the tree behind which he had hidden his hunting-bag.  There he saw, lying on the ground, the unfortunate gun.  He seized it furiously and brought it down on a stone with such strength that the stock was shattered to pieces, both barrels bent, and the lock wrenched from the screws.  He cursed the day, himself, and his hand.  Then, rushing back to the girl, who had sat down on a stone in the “Open Tribunal,” he fell at her feet, kissed the hem of her dress, and with passionate tears flowing from his eyes in a torrent, besought her forgiveness.  She merely begged him to please arise; he couldn’t help doing it, the wound was surely of no significance, and the thing for him to do now was to help.

He now fitted up a seat for her by laying his bag on the stone, bound his handkerchief around her neck, and gently and loosely laid his coat over her shoulders.  She sat down on the stone.  He took a seat beside her and invited her to rest her head, for relief, against his breast.  She did so.

The moon, in its full clarity, had risen high in the heavens, and now shone down with almost daytime brightness on the couple, whom a rude accident had thus brought so close together.  In the most intimate proximity the strange man sat by the strange girl; she uttered low moans of pain on his breast, while down his cheeks the tears ran irrepressibly.  Round about them the silent solitude of night was slowly gathering.

Finally Fortune so willed it that a late wanderer passed through the cornfields.  The Hunter’s call reached his ears; he hurried to the spot and was dispatched at once to the Oberhof.  Soon afterwards footsteps were heard coming up the hill; the men were bringing a sedan chair with cushions.  The Hunter gently lifted the wounded girl into it, and thus, late at night, she reached the sheltering roof of her old friend, who was, to be sure, greatly astonished to see his expected guest arrive in such a condition.

CHAPTER X

THE WEDDING

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On a clear morning in August there were so many cooking fires burning at the Oberhof that it seemed as if they might be expecting the entire population of all the surrounding towns to dinner.  Over the hearth fire, built up to unusual size with great logs and fagots, there was hanging on a notched iron hook the very largest kettle that the household possessed.  Six or seven iron pots stood round these fires with their contents boiling and bubbling.  In the space before the house, toward the oak grove, there were crackling, if history reports the truth, nine fires, and an equal number, or at the most one less, in the yard near the lindens.  Over all these cooking-places jacks or roasters had been erected, on which frying-pans were resting, or on which kettles of no small size were hanging, although none of them could compare in capacity with the one which was doing duty over the hearth fire.

The maids of the Oberhof were briskly hurrying back and forth with skimming-spoons or forks between the various cooking-places.  If the guests were to find the food palatable, there could not be any dawdling over the skimming and turning.  For in the large kettle over the hearth eight hens lent strength to the soup, and in the other twenty-three or-four pots, kettles, and pans there were boiling or roasting six hams, three turkeys, and five pigs, besides a corresponding number of hens.

While the maids were exerting themselves, the men too were industriously attending to their part of the work.  The one with the black eyes was building an immense, long table with stands, blocks, and boards, in the orchard among the flower-beds, having already completed a similar construction in the entrance-hall.  The fat, slow one was decorating with green birch twigs the gates of the house, the walls of the entrance-hall, and the doors of the two rooms in which the Pastor and his Sexton had once eaten.  He sighed deeply over this delightful green work, and the heat, too, seemed to oppress him greatly.  Nevertheless an easier task had fallen to him than to his fellow-partner, the gruff, red-haired man.  For the former had only flexible May twigs to deal with, whereas it fell to the latter to decorate the cattle for the festivity.  The red-haired man was, accordingly, gilding with gold tinsel the horns of the cows and bullocks, which were standing on one side of the entrance-hall behind their mangers, or else was tying bright-colored bows and tassels around them.  This was, in fact, a provoking task, especially for an irascible man.  For many of the cows and an occasional bullock would have absolutely nothing to do with the festival, but shook their heads and butted sideways with their horns, as often as the red-haired fellow came anywhere near them with the tinsel and brush.  For a long time he suppressed his natural instinct, and merely grumbled softly once in a while when a horn knocked the brush or the tinsel out of his hand.  These grumbles, however, scarcely

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interrupted the general silence in which all the busily occupied people were attending to their work.  But when, finally, the pride of the stable, a large white-spotted cow, with which he had been struggling in vain for more than a quarter of an hour, became positively malicious and tried to give the red-haired fellow a dangerous thrust, he lost all patience.  Springing aside, he seized that fence-pole with which he had once restrained himself from striking Peter of the Bandkotten, and which happened by chance to be handy, and gave the obstinate beast such a mighty blow on the groins with the heavy end of it that the cow bellowed with pain, her sides began to quiver, and her nostrils to snort.

The slow, fat fellow dropped the twigs which he had in his hand, the first maid looked up from the kettle, and both cried out simultaneously: 

“Heaven help us!  What are you doing?” “When a worthless brute like this refuses to listen to reason and will not be decent and let itself be gilded, it ought to have its confounded bones smashed!”

He then wrenched the cow’s head around and decorated her even more beautifully than her mates.  For the animal, having in her pain become more tractable, now stood perfectly still and permitted the rough artist to do anything he wanted to with her.

While the preparations for the wedding were being carried on below in this energetic manner, the Justice was upstairs in the room where he kept the sword of Charles the Great, putting on his best finery.  The chief factor in the festive attire which the peasants of that region wear is the number of vests that they put on under their coats.  The richer a peasant is, the more vests he wears on extraordinary occasions.  The Justice had nine, and all of them were destined by him to be assembled around his body on this day.  He kept them hung up in a row on wooden pegs behind a seed-cloth, which partitioned off one part of the room from the other like a curtain.  First the under ones of silver-gray or red woolen damask, adorned with flowers, and then the outside ones of brown, yellow and green cloth.  These were all adorned with heavy silver buttons.

Behind this seed-cloth the Justice was dressing.  He had neatly combed his white hair, and his yellow, freshly-washed face shone forth under it like a rape-field over which the snow has fallen in May.  The expression of natural dignity, which was peculiar to these features, was today greatly intensified; he was the father of the bride, and felt it.  His movements were even slower and more measured than on the day when he bargained with the horse-dealer.  He examined each vest carefully before he removed it from its peg, and then deliberately put them on, one after the other, without over-hurrying himself in the process of buttoning them up.

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When the Justice was ready he slowly descended the stairs.  In the entrance-hall he surveyed the preparations—­the fires, the kettles, the pots, the green twigs, the ribboned and gilded horns of his cattle.  He seemed to be satisfied with everything, for several times he nodded his head approvingly.  He walked through the entrance-hall to the yard, then toward the side of the oak grove, looked at the fires which were burning there, and gave similar signs of approval, although always with a certain dignity.  When the white sand, with which the entire entrance-hall and the space in front of the house was thickly sprinkled, grated and crunched in a lively manner under his feet, this seemed to afford him a special pleasure.

A maid was asked to put a chair for him in front of the house; he sat down there, opposite the oak grove, and, with his legs stretched out in front of him, his hat and cane in his hand, he awaited in sturdy silence the continuation of the proceedings, while the golden sunlight shone brightly down on him.

In the meantime two bridesmaids were adorning the bride in her room.  All around her were standing chests and linen bags, gaily painted with flowers, which contained her dowry of cloth, bedding, yarn, linen and flax.  Even in the door-way and far out into the hall all the space was occupied.  In the midst of all these riches sat the bride in front of a small mirror, very red and serious.  The first bridesmaid put on her blue stockings with the red clocks, the second threw over her a skirt of fine black cloth, and on top of this a bodice of the same material and color.  Thereupon both occupied themselves with her hair, which was combed back and braided behind into a sort of wheel.

During these preparations the bride never once said a word, while her friends were all the more talkative.  They praised her finery, extolled her piled-up treasures, and every now and then a furtive sigh led one to suspect that they would rather have been the adorned than the adorning.

Finally both girls, with solemn mien, came bringing in the bride’s crown; for the girls in that region do not wear a wreath on their wedding-day, but a crown of gold and silver tinsel.  The merchant who provides their adornment merely rents the crown, and after the wedding-day takes it back.  Thus it wanders from one bride’s head to another.

The bride lowered her head a little while her friends were putting on the crown, and her face, when she felt the light weight of it on her hair, became, if possible, even redder than before.  In her hair, which, strange enough, was black, although she lived among a blond people, the gold and silver tinsel glittered gaily.  She straightened herself up, supported by her friends, and the two broad, gold bands which belonged to the crown hung far down her back.

The men were already standing in front of the door ready to carry her dotal belongings down into the entrance-hall.  The bridesmaids seized their friend by the hand, and one of them picked up the spinning-wheel, which likewise had a definite function to perform in the coming ceremony.  And thus the three girls went slowly down the stairs to the bride’s father, while the men seized the chests and bags and started to carry them down into the entrance-hall.

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Then the bride, escorted by both bridesmaids, entered the door, holding her head stiff and firm under the quivering gold crown, as if she were afraid of losing the ornament.  She offered her hand to her father, and, without looking up, bade him a good morning.  The old man, without any show of feeling, replied “Thank you,” and assumed his previous posture.  The bride sat down at the other side of the door, put her spinning-wheel in front of her and began to spin industriously, an occupation which custom required her to continue until the moment the bridegroom arrived and conducted her to the bridal carriage.

In the distance faint notes of music were heard, which announced the approach of the bridal carriage.  But even this sign that the decisive moment was at hand, the moment which separates a child from the parental house and shoves the father into the background so far as his child’s dependence is concerned, did not produce any commotion at all among the people, who, like models of old usages, were sitting on either side of the door.  The daughter, very red, but with a look of unconcern, spun away unwearyingly; the father looked steadily ahead of him, and neither of them, bride or father, said a word to the other.

The first bridesmaid, in the meanwhile, was out in the orchard gathering a bouquet for the bridegroom.  She selected late roses, fire-lilies, orange-yellow starworts—­a flower which in that locality they call “The-Longer-the-Prettier” and in other places “The Jesus Flowerlet”—­and sage.  The bouquet finally grew to such proportions that it could have sufficed for three bridegrooms of high rank—­for peasants must always do things on a large scale.  But all together it did not smell any too sweet, for the sage emitted a strange odor, and the starworts a positively bad one.  On the other hand, neither of them, especially the sage, could be left out, if the bouquet was to possess the traditional completeness.  When she had it ready, the girl held it out before her with proud enjoyment, and tied it together with a broad, dark-red ribbon.  She then went to take her place beside the bride.

CHAPTER XI

THE HUNTER AND HIS PREY

While the ceremony was thus monopolizing the entire Oberhof, there were, wholly without ceremony, two young people together upstairs in the room which the Hunter had formerly occupied.  The young girl was sitting at a little table by the window and hemming a beautiful kerchief which the Hunter had bought for her in the city and given to her for a wedding-day adornment.  She pricked her finger more often today than on the evening when she was helping the bride with her linen.  For when the eyes do not watch the needle, it is apt to take its own malicious course.

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The young man was standing before her and working at something; he was, namely, cutting out a pen for her.  For at last the girl had said she would of course have to send news as to where she was, and request permission to remain a few days longer at the Oberhof.  He stood on the opposite side of the little table, and in a glass between him and the girl a white lily and a rose, freshly cut, were emitting a sweet perfume.  He did not hurry unduly with his work; before he applied the knife he asked the girl several times whether she preferred to write with a soft or a hard point, fine or blunt, and whether he should make the quill short or leave it long.  He plied her with numerous other questions of this kind, as thoroughly as if he were a writing-master producing a calligraphic work of art.  To these detailed questions the girl, in a low voice, made many indefinite replies; now she wanted the pen cut so, now so, and every once in a while she looked at him, sighing each time she did it.  The youth sighed even more often, I do not know whether it was on account of the indefiniteness of her answers, or for some other reason.  Once he handed the pen to her, so that she might indicate how long she wanted the slit to be.  She did so, and when she handed the pen back to him, he seized something more than the pen—­namely, her hand.  His own hand grasped it in such a way that the pen fell to the floor and for a moment was lost to their memories, all consciousness on both their parts being directed to their hands.

I will betray a great secret to you.  The youth and the girl were the Hunter and the beautiful, blond Lisbeth.

The wounded girl had been carried to her room on that night, and the Justice, very much perturbed—­something he seldom was—­had come out of his room and sent immediately for the nearest surgeon.  The latter, however, lived an hour and a half’s ride from the Oberhof; he was, moreover, a sound sleeper, and reluctant to go out at night.  Thus, the morning had already dawned when he finally arrived with his meagre outfit of instruments.  He removed the cloth from her shoulders, examined the wound, and made a very grave face.  Luckily, the young Suabian’s charge had merely grazed Lisbeth; only two shot had penetrated her flesh, and these not very deeply.  The surgeon extracted them, bandaged the wound, recommended rest and cold water, and went home with the proud feeling that if he had not been summoned so promptly and had not so cheerfully done his duty, even in the night, gangrene would inevitably have resulted from the wound.

Lisbeth, while they were waiting for the doctor, had been very calm; she had scarcely uttered a complaint, although her face, which was deathly pale, betrayed the fact that she was suffering pain.  Even the operation, which the surgeon’s clumsy hand caused to be more painful than was necessary, she had undergone bravely.  She asked for the shot and presented them jokingly to the Hunter.  They were “sure shot,” she said to him—­he should keep them, and they would bring him luck.

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The Hunter accepted the “sure shot,” wrapped them in a piece of paper, and gently withdrew his beautiful victim’s head from his encircling arms to let her sleep.  In these arms Lisbeth had rested with her pain, as up on the “Open Tribunal,” ever since entering the room in the Oberhof.  With sorrowful eyes he had gazed fixedly into her face, and had now and then met a friendly return-glance, which she directed up to him as if to comfort him.

He went out into the open.  It was impossible for him to leave the Oberhof now; he had, he said, to await the recovery of the poor wounded girl, for human nature, he added, demanded that much.  In the orchard he found the Justice, who, having found out that there was no danger, had gone on about his business as if nothing had happened.  He asked the old man to furnish him with quarters for a longer stay.  The Justice bethought himself, but knew of no room to accommodate the Hunter.  “And even if it is only a corner in the corn-loft!” cried the Hunter, who was awaiting the decision of his old host as if his fate depended on it.  After much deliberation it finally occurred to the Justice that there was a corner in the corn-loft, where he stored grain when the harvest turned out too abundant for the usual storing-places.  At that time it was empty, and to it the old man now conducted his young guest, adding, however, that he would probably not like it up there.  The Hunter went up, and although the bare and depressing room received its small amount of light only through a hole in the roof, and there was nothing but a board and a chest to sit on, nevertheless he was well satisfied.  “For,” he said, “it is all the same to me, if I can only remain here until I feel certain that I haven’t done any lasting damage with my accursed shooting.  The weather is fine, and I shan’t need to be up here much of the time.”

And, as a matter of fact, he was not up there in his nook much of the time, but down with Lisbeth.  He begged her forgiveness for his act so often that she grew impatient, and told him, with a frown of annoyance which became her very well, to just stop it.  After five days the wound had completely healed, the bandage could be removed, and light reddish spots on her white shoulder were all that remained to show the place of the injury.

She remained at the Oberhof, for the Justice had previously invited her to the wedding.  This event was postponed a few days because the dowry would not be ready at the time appointed.  The Hunter remained too, although the Justice did not invite him.  He invited himself to the wedding, however, by saying to the old man one day that the customs of the country seemed to him so remarkable that he wished to learn what they were on the occasion of a wedding.

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Soon there were just two times in the day for the Hunter, an unhappy and a happy one.  The unhappy time was when Lisbeth was helping the bride with her linen—­and this she did every day.  The Hunter then was absolutely at a loss what to do with his time.  The happy time, on the other hand, began when Lisbeth rested from her work and took the fresh air.  It was then certain that the two would come together, the Hunter and she.  And were he ever so far away behind the bushes, it would always seem as if somebody were saying to him, “Lisbeth is now outdoors.”  Then he would fly to the place where he suspected she was, and behold! his suspicions had not deceived him, for even from a distance he would catch sight of her slender form and pretty face.  Then she would always bend over sideways after a flower, as if she were not aware of his approach.  But beforehand, to be sure, she had looked in the direction from which he was coming.

And now they would walk together through field and meadow, for he would beg her so earnestly to do it that it seemed almost sinful to her to refuse him so small a request.  The further away from the Oberhof they wandered in the waving fields and green meadows, the more free and happy would their spirits grow.  When the red, setting sun lighted up everything about them, including their own youthful forms, it seemed to them as if anxiety and pain could never enter into their lives again.

On these walks the Hunter would do everything possible to please Lisbeth that he could guess from her eyes she wanted him to do.  If she happened accidentally to look toward a cluster of wild field-flowers that were blooming on a high hedge at some distance from the road, before the wish to have them had even had time to enter her mind, he had swung himself up on the hedge.  And in places where the road dropped off somewhat abruptly, or where a stone lay in their way, or where it was necessary for them to cross an insignificant bit of water, he would stretch out his arm to lead and support her, while she would laugh over this unnecessary readiness to help.  Nevertheless she would accept his arm, and permit her own to rest in it for a while, even after the road had become level again.  On these quiet, pleasant walks the young souls had a great deal to impart to each other.  He told her all about the Suabian mountains, the great Neckar, the Alps, the Murg Valley, and the Hohenstaufen Mountain on which the illustrious imperial family, whose deeds he related to her, originated.  Then he would speak of the great city where he had studied, and of the many clever people whose acquaintance he had made there.  Finally, he told her about his mother, how tenderly he had loved her, and how it was perhaps for that reason that he afterwards came to cherish and revere all women more, because each one of them made him think of his own deceased mother.

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Lisbeth, on the other hand, had only the story of her own simple life to tell him.  In it there were no big cities, no clever people, and, alas, no mother!  And yet he thought he had never heard anything more beautiful.  For every menial service which she had performed, she had rendered noble by love.  Of the young lady and the Baron she had a thousand touching things to tell, in all the little haunts in and behind the castle garden she had had adventures to relate, and she had read in the books which she had secretly brought down from the garret all sorts of astounding things about strange peoples and countries and remarkable occurrences on land and water—­and all this she had retained in her memory.

Thus their days at the Oberhof passed, one after the other.  The Justice, to be sure, looked upon it all with different eyes, but was, of course, obliged to let things which he could not prevent go on.  But he often shook his head when he saw his young guests walking and talking with each other so much, and would say to himself:  “It isn’t right for a young nobleman like that!”

CHAPTER XII

THE DISTURBANCE.  WHAT HAPPENED IN A VILLAGE CHURCH

Finally the Hunter finished cutting the pen.  He pushed a sheet of paper toward her and asked her to try it and see if it would write.  She did so, but could not make it work very well; it had teeth, she said.  He looked at what she had written; it was her own name, in the clearest and most regular lines.  The fine letters delighted him.

Then the door opened and the bridesmaid entered with a dress and a request that Lisbeth be the third bridesmaid.

Outside the music, varied by the ringing of bells, was coming nearer and nearer, and now the bridal carriage, drawn by two strong horses, hove into sight at the farther end of the road leading through the oak grove.  The first bridesmaid stood demurely beside the bride, with her large and rather malodorous bouquet; the men stood by the chests and bundles in the entrance-hall, all ready to seize them for the last time; the Justice was looking about anxiously for the second and third bridesmaids, for if the latter were not on hand before the appearance of the bridegroom to take the place which the day assigned to them, the entire ceremony, according to his notion, was done for.  But finally, exactly at the right time, the two awaited girls came down the steps and took their stands on either side of the first, just as the carriage turned in toward the open space in front of the house.

With an expression of unconcern on his face, like that of all the principal persons of this ceremony, the bridegroom alighted from the carriage.  Some young people, his most intimate friends, followed him, adorned with ribbons and bouquets.  He slowly approached the bride, who even now did not look up, but went on spinning and spinning.  The first bridesmaid then fastened the large bouquet of sage to the breast of his wedding-jacket.  The bridegroom accepted the bouquet without thanks, for thanks were not included in the traditional routine.  He silently offered his hand to his father-in-law, then, just as silently, to his bride, who thereupon arose and placed herself with the bridesmaids, between the first and second and in front of the third.

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In the meanwhile, the servants had carried the dowry to the wagon.  The scene assumed a rather wild aspect, for the people with the baggage, in hurrying back and forth among the cooking-fires, kicked from its place many a burning fagot which crackled and showered sparks in the very path down which the bridal pair were to walk.  After the loading of linen, the flax, and the various pieces of wearing apparel, the bride, with the three bridesmaids and the spinning wheel, which she carried herself, took a seat in the carriage.  The bridegroom sat down apart from her in the back part of the vehicle, and the young fellows were obliged to follow on foot, as the dowry occupied so much room that there was none left for them.  One of them made this the subject of traditional facetious remarks, which he addressed to the Justice, who replied to them with a smirk.  He walked along behind the young men, and the Hunter placed himself at his side.  Thus two men walked together, who on this day were cherishing the most radically opposed feelings.  For the Justice was thinking of nothing but the wedding, and the Hunter of anything but the wedding, although his thoughts were hovering about the bridal carriage.

Now let us allow the latter to drive slowly to the home of the bridegroom, where already the entire wedding-company is waiting for it—­men, women, girls and youths from all the surrounding estates, in addition to friends from the city, the Captain and the Collector.  There the carriage is unloaded.  Meanwhile let us go on ahead to the church, which, shaded by walnut-trees and wild chestnuts, stands on a green hill in the centre of the entire community.

Inasmuch as it was the proper time, and as the people had already gathered in the church, the Sexton began to play the customary “Battle of Prague” on the organ.  He knew but one prelude, and this was that forgotten battle-hymn which perhaps a few elderly people will recollect if I recall to their memories that the musical picture begins with the advance of Ziethen’s Hussars.  From this march the Sexton managed to swing over, with transitions which, to be sure, were not infrequently rather bold, into the ordinary church melodies.

While the hymn was being sung the Pastor entered the pulpit, and when he chanced to cast his eyes over the congregation, they met an unexpected sight.  A gentleman from court, namely, was standing among the peasants, whose attention he was diverting because they were all constantly looking up from their hymnals and glancing at his star.  The aristocratic gentleman wanted to share a hymn book with some one of the peasants, in order to join in the singing, but since each one of them, as soon as the gentleman drew near to him, respectfully stepped aside, he was unable to accomplish his purpose, and succeeded only in causing an almost general unrest.  For when he sat down in one of the pews, every one of the peasants seated in it moved along to the extreme farther end, and when he moved

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along toward them they finally deserted the pew altogether.  This moving along and getting up was repeated in three or four pews, so that the aristocratic gentleman, who was attending this little country service with the best of intentions, was finally obliged to give up the idea of taking an active part in it.  He had business in the region, and did not want to miss an opportunity of winning, by means of condescension, the hearts of these country people for the throne to which he felt himself so near.  For that reason, as soon as he heard of the peasant wedding, the idea of attending it affably from beginning to end immediately occurred to him.

The sight of the gentleman did not make a pleasant impression on the Pastor, who knew him to be a member of one of the brilliant social circles in the capital.  He knew what a peculiar custom would follow the sermon and feared the gentleman’s ridicule.  For that reason his thoughts lost some of their usual clearness, his feelings were somewhat concealed, and the more he talked the further he digressed from the subject.  His distraction increased when he noticed that the gentleman was casting appreciative glances at him and occasionally nodding his head in approval; this last happened usually when the speaker was most dissatisfied with what he was saying.  He consequently cut short certain parts of the nuptial address and hurried along to the formal ceremony.

The bridal pair were kneeling, and the fateful questions were being put to them.  Then something happened which gave the aristocratic stranger a violent shock.  For, looking to the right and left and before and behind him, he saw men and women, girls and youths drawing out thick clubs of twisted sack-cloth.  Everybody was standing up and whispering and looking around, as it seemed to him, with wild and malicious glances.  As it was impossible for him to guess the true meaning of these preparations, he completely lost his composure; and since the clubs seemed to indicate incontestably that somebody was to be the recipient of blows, he got the notion into his head that he himself was going to be the object of a general maltreatment.  He remembered how fearsomely the people had moved away from him, and he thought to himself how rough the character of country people was, and how perhaps the peasants, not understanding his condescending motive, had resolved to get rid of the disagreeable intruder.  All this went through his soul like a streak of lightning, and he was at a loss to know how he was going to protect his person and dignity from the horrible attack.

While he was helplessly wrestling for a decision, the Pastor concluded the ceremonies, and there immediately arose the wildest tumult.  All the bearers of clubs, men and women, rushed forward yelling and screaming and flourishing their weapons; the aristocratic gentleman, however, in three sidewise bounds over several pews, reached the pulpit.  In a trice he had ascended it, and from this elevated position called out in a loud voice to the raging crowd below: 

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“I advise you not to attack me!  I cherish the kindest and most condescending feelings toward you all, and any injury done to me will be resented by the King, as one done to himself.”

The peasants, however, inspired by the object they had in view, did not listen to this speech, but ran on up to the altar.  On the way this and that person received some unpremeditated blows before the intended object of them was reached.  This was the bridegroom.  Clapping his hands over his head, the latter with great exertion forced a passage for himself through the crowd, who rained blows on his back, shoulders and wherever there was room.  He ran, violently pushing people aside, to the church door; but before he got there he had received certainly more than a hundred blows, and thus, well covered with black-and-blue marks, he left the church on his wedding-day.  Everybody ran after him; the bride’s father and bride followed, the Sexton closed the door immediately after the last one had passed through it and betook himself to the vestry, which had a private exit.  In a few seconds the entire church was empty.

All this time the aristocratic gentleman had remained in the pulpit, while the Pastor stood before the altar, bowing to him with a friendly smile.  The gentleman, when he saw from his Ararat that the blows were not meant for him, grew calm and dropped his arms.  When it was quiet, he asked the clergyman: 

“For heaven’s sake, Pastor, tell me what this furious scene meant; what had the poor man done to his assailants?”

“Nothing, your Excellency,” replied the Pastor who, notwithstanding the dignity of the place, could hardly help laughing at the nobleman in the pulpit.  “This act of beating the bridegroom after the marriage ceremony is an old, old custom which the people refuse to give up.  They say that it is intended to let the bridegroom feel how much blows hurt, so that in the future he will not abuse his rights as a husband toward his wife.”

“Well, but that is certainly a most remarkable custom,” mumbled his Excellency, descending from the pulpit.

The Pastor received him very courteously below and conducted his aristocratic acquaintance into the vestry, in order to let him outdoors from there.  The latter, who was still somewhat frightened, said that he would have to think it over, whether or not he could take part in the further proceedings of the ceremony.  The clergyman, on the way to the vestry, expressed profound regret that he had not been previously advised of his Excellency’s design, because he then would have been in a position to inform him of the beating custom, and thus to avert so great a fright and shock.

After both had departed, peace and silence reigned once more in the church.  It was a pretty little church, dainty and not too gay—­a rich benefactor had done a great deal for it.  The ceiling was painted blue with gold stars.  The pulpit displayed some artistic carving and among the tablets on the floor, which covered the tombs of former pastors, there were even two or three of bronze.  The pews were kept very tidy and clean, and to that end the Justice had exerted his strong influence.  A beautiful cloth adorned the altar, above which rose a twisted column painted to resemble marble.

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The light fell brightly into the little church, the trees outside were rustling, and now and then a gentle breeze coming in by a broken window-pane stirred the white scarf with which the angel above the baptismal font was decked, or the tinsel of the wreaths which, having been taken from the coffins of the maidens who had died, were used to decorate the surrounding pillars.

Bride and bridegroom were gone, the bridal procession was gone, but still the peaceful little church was not yet entirely deserted.  Two young people had remained inside of it, without knowing of each other’s presence; and this is how it happened.  The Hunter, when the wedding-party entered the church, had separated from them and quietly gone up a flight of stairs to a gallery.  There, unseen by the rest, he sat down on a stool all alone by himself, his back to the people and to the altar.  He buried his face in his hands, but that he could not long endure to do; his cheek and brow were too hot.  The hymn with its solemn tones cooled the heat like falling dew; he thanked God that finally, finally the supreme happiness had been granted to him: 

  In thy sadness, in thy laughter,
  Thou art thine own by law of love! * * *

A little child had crept up to him out of curiosity; he gently grasped his hand and caressed it.  Then he started to give him money, did not do it, but pressed him against his breast and kissed his forehead.  And when the boy, a bit frightened by his hot caress, moved toward the stairs, he slowly led him down lest he should fall.  Then he returned to his seat and heard nothing of the sermon, nothing of the noise which followed it.  He was sunk in deep and blissful dreams which revealed to him his beautiful mother and his white castle on the green hillside and himself and somebody else in the castle.

Lisbeth, embarrassed in her strange attire, had bashfully walked along behind the bride.  Oh, she thought, just when the good man thinks I am always natural I must wear borrowed clothes.  She longed to have back her own.  She heard the peasants behind her talking about her in a whisper.  The aristocratic gentleman, who met the procession in front of the church, looked at her critically for a long time through his lorgnette.  All that she was obliged to endure, when she had just been so beautifully extolled in verse, when her heart was overflowing with joyful delight.  Half dazed she entered the church, where she made up her mind to desert the procession on the way back, in order to avoid becoming again the object of conversation or facetious remarks, which now for a quarter of an hour had been far from her thoughts.  She too heard but little of the sermon, earnestly as she strove to follow the discourse of her respected clerical friend.  And when the rings were exchanged, the matter-of-course expression on the faces of the bridal pair aroused a peculiar emotion in her—­a mixture of sadness, envy, and quiet resentment that so heavenly a moment should pass by two such stolid souls.

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Then came the tumult, and she fled involuntarily behind the altar.  When it grew quiet again, she drew a deep breath, adjusted her apron, gently stroked back a lock of hair that had fallen over on her brow, and took courage.  She was anxious to see how she could make her way back to the Oberhof unnoticed and get rid of the disagreeable clothes.  With short steps and eyes cast down she walked along a side passage toward the door.

Having finally awakened from his dreams, the Hunter was descending the stairs.  He too was anxious to quit the church, but where to go he did not know.  His heart throbbed when he saw Lisbeth; she lifted her eyes and stood still, shy and artless.  Then, without looking at each other, they went in silence to the door, and the Hunter laid his hand on the latch to open it.

“It is locked!” he cried in a tone of delight, as if the best luck in the world had befallen him.  “We are locked in the church!”

“Locked in?” she said, filled with sweet horror.

“Why does that cause you dismay?  Where can one possibly have better quarters than in a church?” he said soulfully.  He gently put his arm around her waist, and with his other hand grasped her hand.  Then he led her to a seat, gently forced her to sit down and himself sat down beside her.  She dropped her eyes and toyed with the ribbons on the gay-colored bodice she was wearing.

“This is a horrible dress, isn’t it?” she said scarce audibly after a long silence.

“Oh!” he cried, “I hadn’t been looking at the dress!” He seized both of her hands, pressed them violently to his breast, and then lifted her from the pew.  “I cannot bear to sit so still.—­Let’s take a look at the church!” he cried.

“Probably there is not much here worth seeing,” she replied trembling.

But his strong arms had already surrounded, lifted, and borne her to the altar.  There he let her down; she lay half-fainting against his breast.

“Lisbeth!” he stammered his voice choking with love.  “My only love!  Forgive me!  Will you be my wife?—­my eternal, sweet wife?”

She did not answer.  Her heart was throbbing against his.  Her tears were flowing on his breast.  Now he raised her head, and their lips met.  For a long, long time they held them together.

Then he gently drew her down to her knees beside him, and both raised their hands in prayer before the altar.  They could give voice to nothing save, “Father!  Dear Father in Heaven!” And that they did not tire of repeating in voices trembling with bliss.  They said it as confidingly as if the Father whom they meant were offering them His hand.

Finally the prayer died out and they both silently laid their faces on the altar-cloth.

Thus united they continued for some time to kneel in the church, and neither made a sound.  Suddenly they felt their hands lightly touched and looked up.  The Pastor was standing between them with a shining face, and holding his hands on their heads in blessing.  By chance he had entered the church once more from the vestry and, touched and amazed, had witnessed the betrothal which had been consummated here apart from the wedding in the presence of God.  He, too, said no word, but his eyes spoke.  He drew the youth and the girl to his breast, and pressed his favorites affectionately to him.

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Then, leading the way, he went with the couple into the vestry in order to let them out.  And thus the three left the little, quiet, bright village church.  Lisbeth and the Hunter had found each other—­for their lives!

* * * * *

GUTZKOW AND YOUNG GERMANY

By Starr Willard Cutting, Ph.D.  Professor of German Literature, University of Chicago

A group of men, including, among others, Ludwig Boerne, Heinrich Heine, Heinrich Laube, Theodor Mundt, Ludolf Wienbarg, and Karl Gutzkow, dominate the literary activity of Germany from the beginning of the fourth decade to about the middle of the nineteenth century.  The common bond of coherence among the widely divergent types of mind here represented, is the spirit of protest against the official program of the reaction which had succeeded the rise of the people against Napoleon Bonaparte.  This German phase of an essentially European political restoration had turned fiercely upon all intelligent, patriotic leaders, who called for a redemption of the unfulfilled pledges of constitutional government, given by the princes of Germany, in dire need of popular support against foreign invasion, and had construed such reminders as disloyalty and as proof of dark designs against the government.  It had branded indiscriminately, as infamous demagogues, traitors, and revolutionists, all those who, like Jahn, the Turners, and most of the members of the earliest Burschenschaften (open student societies), longed for the creation of a new empire under the leadership of Prussia, or, like Karl Follen (Charles Follen, first professor of German at Harvard), preferred the establishment of a German republic on lines similar to those of the United States of America.  Under a policy of suppression, manipulated by Metternich with consummate skill in the interest of Austria against Prussia and against German confidence in the sincerity and trustworthiness of the Prussian government, the reaction had by arrests, prosecutions, circumlocution-office delays, banishments, and an elaborate system of espionage, for the most part silenced opposition and saved, not the state, but, at any rate, the status quo.  This “success” had incidentally cost Germany the presence and service of some of the ablest and best of her own youth, who spent the rest of their lives in France, England, Switzerland, or the United States.  We Americans owe to this “success” some of the most admirable types of our citizenship—­expatriated Germans like Karl Follen, Karl Beck, Franz Lieber, the brothers Wesselhoeft, and many others.

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Wienbarg dedicated in 1834 his Esthetic Campaigns to Young Germany.  This term has since then served friend and foe to designate the group of writers of whom we speak.  Their slogan was freedom.  Freedom from cramping police surveillance; freedom from the arbitrary control of government, unchecked by responsibility to the people; freedom from the narrowing prescriptions of ecclesiastical authority, backed by the power of the state; freedom from the literary restraint of medievalism in modern letters—­these and various other brands of freedom were demanded by different members of the school.  Just because the birth-throes of modern Germany, which extend over the first seventy years of the nineteenth century, were especially violent during the period under consideration, the program of the school had from the outset a strong political bias.  The broad masses of the people were unacquainted with political forms and principles.  They were by time-hallowed tradition virtually the wards of their patriarchal princes, sharing with these protectors a high degree of jealous regard for state sovereignty and of instinctive opposition towards any and all attempts to secure popular restraint of the sovereign’s will and national unification, that should demand subordination of the single state to the central government.  All early attempts to awaken popular interest in social and political reform had fallen flat, because of this helpless ignorance and indifference of public opinion.  But the drastic official measures against early agitators proved to be a challenge to further activity in the direction of progress.

[Illustration:  KARL FERDINAND GUTZKOW]

The July revolution of 1830 in Paris added fuel to the flame of this agitation in Germany and intensified the interest of still wider masses in the question of large nationality and popular control.  Then came, on the twenty-seventh of May, 1832, the German revolutionary speeches of the Hambach celebration, and, on April third, 1833, the Frankfurt riot, with its attempt to take the Confederate Council by surprise and to proclaim the unification of Germany.  The resulting persecution of Fritz Reuter, the tragedy of Friedrich Ludwig Weidig, the simultaneous withdrawal or curtailment of the freedom of the press and the right of holding public meetings were most eloquent advocates with the public mind for a sturdy opposition to the conservatism of princes and officials.

No wonder, then, that thinking men, like Heine and Gutzkow, were fairly forced by circumstances into playing the game.  No wonder that their tales, novels, and dramas became in many cases editorials to stimulate and guide public thought and feeling in one direction or another.  This swirl of agitation put a premium upon a sort of rapid-fire work and journalistic tone, quite incompatible with the highest type of artistic performance.  While the Young Germans were all politically liberal and opposed to the Confederate Council and to the Metternich program, they were in many ways more cosmopolitan than national in temper.

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The foregoing may serve to show the only substantial ground for the charge of didacticism, frequently lodged by their critics against the writers of the school.  For it is beside the mark to speak of their opposition to romanticism as a ground for the charge in question.  They were all, to be sure, anti-Romanticists.  They declined to view life through roseate-hued spectacles or to escape the world of everyday reality by fairy-tale flights into the world of the imagination.  They called upon men to discover by clear-eyed vision not only the beauties but also the defects of contemporary social existence.  They would employ literature, not as an opiate to make us forget such defects, but as a stimulant to make us remedy them.  Hence their repeated exhortations to use the senses and to trust them as furnishing the best kind of raw material for legitimate art.  Hence also their protests against the bloodless abstractions of the Nazarene school of painting and to transcendental idealism in art and literature.  They cultivated art, not for its own sake, but for the sake of a fuller, saner, and freer human life.  In this sense they were didactic; but they were no more didactic than the Romanticists and the Pseudo-Classicists who had preceded them.  In their earnest contention for an organic connection between German life and German art and literature they were hewing more closely to the line of nature and truth than any other Germans since the time of Herder.

They are usually spoken of as free-thinkers and frequently as anti-religious in temper and conviction.  The charge of irreligion seems based upon the misconception or the misrepresentation of their orthodox critics.  It is, at any rate, undeserved, as far as Gutzkow, the leader of the school, is concerned.  It is true that they were liberal in the matter of religious and philosophical thought.  They were also skeptical as to the sincerity and usefulness of many current practises and institutions of the Catholic and Protestant branches of the church; their wit, irony, and satire were directed, however, not against religion, but against the obnoxious externals of ecclesiasticism.  This attack was provoked by the obvious fact that the reaction employed the institutional state church as a weapon with which to combat the rising tide of popular discontent with existing social and political forms and functions.  This was especially true after the accession to the throne of Prussia of that romantic and reactionary prince, Frederick William IV., in 1840.

Critics have ascribed the negative, disintegrating, and cosmopolitan spirit of the group as a whole to the fact that Boerne and Heine were Jews.  In addition, however, to the abundant non-racial grounds for this spirit, already urged as inherent in the historic crisis under discussion, we should recall the fact that Heine, as a literary producer, is more closely allied with the Romanticists than with Young Germany, and that Boerne, who in his celebrated Letters from Paris (1830-34) and elsewhere went farther than all other members of the school in transforming art criticism into political criticism, was no cosmopolitan but an ardent, sincere, and consistent German patriot.  Moreover, while Boerne and Heine belong through sympathy and deliberate choice to Young Germany, the real spokesmen of the group, Wienbarg, Laube, Mundt, and Gutzkow, were non-Jewish Germans.

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Among the external facts of Gutzkow’s life, worth remembering in this connection, are the following:  His birth on the seventeenth of March, 1811, as the son of humble parents; his precocious development in school and at the University of Berlin; his deep interest in the revolution of 1830 in Paris; his student experiments in journalism and the resulting association with the narrow-minded patriot, Wolfgang Menzel; his doctorate in Jena and subsequent study of books and men in Heidelberg, Munich, Leipzig, Berlin, and Hamburg; his association with Heine, Laube, Mundt, and Wienbarg and his journey with Laube through Austria and Italy in 1533; his breach with Menzel at the instance of Laube in the same year; his publication in 1835 of the crude sketch of an emancipation novel, Wally the Skeptic, compounded of suggestions from Lessing’s Dr. Reimarus, from Saint Simonism, and from the sentimental tragedy of Charlotte Stieglitz in real life; Menzel’s revengeful denunciation of this colorless and tedious novel, as an “outrageous attack upon ethics and the Christian religion”; the resulting verdict of the Mannheim municipal court, punishing Gutzkow by one month’s imprisonment, with no allowance for a still longer detention during his trial; the official proscription of all “present and future writings” by Gutzkow, Wienbarg, Laube, Mundt, and Heine; Gutzkow’s continued energetic championship of the new literary movement and editorial direction of the Frankfurt Telegraph, from 1835 to 1837, under the very eyes of the Confederate Council; his removal in 1837 to Hamburg and his gradual transformation there from a short story writer and journalist into a successful dramatist; his series of eleven plays, produced within the space of fifteen years, from 1839 to 1854; the success of his tragedy, Uriel Acosta, in 1846, and the resulting appointment of the author in the same year as playwright and critic at the Royal Theatre in Dresden; his temperate participation in the popular movement of 1848 and consequent loss of the Dresden position; the death of his wife, Amalia, in the same-year after an estrangement of seven years, due to his own infatuation for Therese von Bacharacht; his happy marriage in 1849 with Bertha Meidinger, a cousin of his first wife; the publication in 1850-51 of his first great novel of contemporary German life, entitled, Spiritual Knighthood; his continuous editorial work upon the journal, Fireside Conversations, from 1849 until the appearance of his other great contemporary novel, The Magician of Rome, 1858-61; his attack of insanity under the strain of ill health in 1865 and unsuccessful attempt at suicide; and, finally, his rapidly declining health and frequent change of residence from Berlin to Italy, thence to Heidelberg, and from there to Sachsenhausen, near Frankfurt-on-the-Main, and his tragic death there, either intentional or accidental, in the night of December fifteenth, 1878, when under the influence of chloral he upset the candle, by the light of which he had been reading, and perished in the stifling fumes of the burning room.

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This bare outline recalls the personality and career of the best single embodiment of the spirit of Young Germany.  His humble birth, unusual grasp of intellect, and ambition to secure an adequate education brought him into early touch with alert representatives of the educated middle classes, who were the keenest and most consistent critics of the political, social, and ecclesiastical reaction which gripped German life at that time.  Menzel’s student connection with the Jena Burschenschaft, his early published protest against the emptiness of recent German literature, and his polemic, entitled German Literature, and aimed at the imitators of Goethe and at Goethe’s own lack of interest in German unification, attracted young Gutzkow, who had also been a member of the Burschenschaft, and prompted him to write and publish in his student paper a defense of Menzel against his critics.  This led Menzel to invite Gutzkow to Stuttgart and to propose a cooeperation which could be but short-lived; for Menzel was timid and vacillating, whereas Gutzkow was sincere, courageous, and consistent.  This steadfastness and singleness of purpose, combined with a remarkable power to appreciate, adopt, and express the leading thoughts and aspirations of his own time, make Gutzkow the most efficient leader of the whole group.  Heine was, as already noted, too much of a Romanticist to be a thorough-going Young German.  Besides, he lacked the sincerity and the enthusiastic conviction which dedicated practically every work of Karl Gutzkow to the task of restoring the proper balance between German literature and German life.  Gutzkow felt that literature had, in the hands of the Romanticists, abandoned life to gain a fool’s paradise.  After a brief apprenticeship to Jean Paul and to the romantic ideal, never whole-hearted, because of the disintegrating influence of his simultaneous acquaintance with Boerne and Heine, Gutzkow utterly renounced the earlier movement and became the champion of a definite reform.  He aimed henceforth to enrich German literature by abundant contact with the large, new thoughts of modern life in its relation to the individual and to the community.  He was no less sincere in his determination to make literature introduce the German people to a larger, richer, freer, and truer human life for the individual and for the state.  In his eyes statecraft, religion, philosophy, science, and industry teemed with raw material of surpassing interest and importance for the literary artist.  He accordingly set himself the task in one way and another to make his own generation share this conviction.  It is quite true that he was not the man to transform with his own hands this raw material into works of art of consummate beauty and perfection.  He was conscious of his own artistic limitations and would have confessed them in the best years of his life with the frankness of a Lessing in similar circumstances.  We may agree that he lacked

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the skill of many greater poets than he, to compress into artistic shape, with due regard for line, color, movement, and atmosphere of the original, the material of his observation.  Yet we still have to explain the fact that he wrote novels and dramas pulsating with the life of his own contemporaries—­works that claimed the attention and touched the heart of thousands of readers and theatre-goers and inspired many better artists than he to treat themes drawn from the public and private life of the day.

It would take us too far afield to trace in detail the nature and sources of Gutzkow’s writings, by which he accomplished this important result.  A few suggestions, together with a reminder of his great indebtedness to the simultaneous efforts of other Young Germans, notably those of Laube and Wienbarg, must suffice.  Practically all of his earlier writings, like the short story, The Sadducee of Amsterdam (1833), as well as the essays entitled Public Characters (1835), On the Philosophy of History (1836), and Contemporaries (1837), are evidence of the intense interest of the author in the social, philosophical, and political leaders of the time.  They are preliminary studies, to be used by him presently in his work as a dramatist.

In his two powerful novels, Spiritual Knighthood (1850-51) and The Magician of Rome (1858-61), he states and discusses with great boldness and skill those problems of the relation between Church and State—­between religion and citizenship—­that confronted the thoughtful men of the day.

The backbone of each of his numerous serious plays is some conflict, reflecting directly or indirectly the prejudices, antagonisms, shortcomings, and struggles of modern German social, religious, and civic life. King Saul (1839) embodies, for instance, the conflict between ecclesiastical and temporal authority—­between the authority of the church and the claims of the thinker and the poet; Richard Savage (1839) that between the pride of noble birth and the promptings of the mother’s heart; Werner (1840), A White Leaf (1842), and Ottfried (1848), variations of the conflict between a man’s duty and his vacillating, simultaneous love of two women; Patkul (1840), the conflict between the hero’s championship of truth and justice and the triumphant inertia of authority in the hands of a weak prince; Uriel Acosta (1846), the best of the author’s serious plays, embodies the tragic conflict between the hero’s conviction of truth and his love for his mother and for his intended wife.

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Gutzkow wrote three comedies which in point of continued popularity have outlived all his other numerous contributions to the German stage:  Sword and Queue (1843), The Prototype of Tartuffe (1844), and The Royal Lieutenant (1849).  The second of the three has the best motivated plot; the first and third have, by virtue of their national substance, their witty dialogue, and their droll humor, proved dearer to the heart of the German people.  In The Prototype of Tartuffe we are shown President La Roquette at the court of Louis XIV., obliged at last, in spite of his long continued successful efforts to suppress the play, to witness his own public unmasking in the person of Moliere’s Tartuffe, of whom he is the sneaking, hypocritical original.  We hear him in anger declare his readiness to join the Jesuits and we join in the laugh at his discomfiture.  The scene of The Royal Lieutenant, written to celebrate the hundredth recurrence of Goethe’s birthday, is laid in the Seven Years’ War in the house of Goethe’s father in Frankfurt.  The Riccaut-like figure of the Royal Lieutenant himself, Count Thorane, and his outlandish attempts to speak German, the clever portraits of the dignified father and the cheerful mother, and the unhistorical sketch of little Wolfgang, with his pleased and precocious anticipation of his future laurels, are woven by means of witty dialogue into an amusing, though not very coherent or logical whole.  In Gutzkow’s Sword and Queue an entertaining situation at the court of Frederick William I. of Prussia is developed by a very free use of the facts of history, after the manner of the comedy of Scribe.  With rare skill the different characters of the play are sketched and shown upon a background, which corresponds closely enough to historic fact to produce the illusion of reality.  The comedy pilots the Crown Prince’s friend, the Prince of Baireuth, through a maze of intrigue, including Prussian ambition to secure an alliance with England by the marriage of the Princess Wilhelmine to the Prince of Wales; a diplomatic blocking of this plan, with the help of the English Ambassador Hotham; the changed front of the old King, who prefers a union of his daughter with an Austrian Archduke to the hard terms of the proposed English treaty; Hotham’s proposal to the King to bring him a promising recruit for the corps of Royal Grenadiers; the evening of the Tobacco Parliament, in which the Prince of Baireuth feigns tipsiness and in a mocking funeral oration, in honor of the old King, tells the pseudo-deceased some bitter truths,—­to a final scene, in which, as Hotham’s proposed grenadier recruit with Queue and Sword, he wins not only the cordial approval of the King but also the heart and hand of Wilhelmine.

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Karl Gutzkow’s life-work was a struggle for freedom and truth.  We recognize in the web of his serious argument familiarity with the best thought of the poets, theologians, and philosophers of his own day and of the eighteenth century.  In religion a pantheist, he believed in the immortality of the soul, had unshaken confidence in the tendency of the world that “makes for righteousness,” and recommends the ideal of “truth and justice” as the best central thought to guide each man’s whole life.  He shares in an eminent degree, with other members of the group known as Young Germany, a significance for the subsequent development of German literature, far transcending the artistic value of his works.  People are just beginning to perceive his genetic importance for the student of Ibsen, Nietzsche, and the recent naturalistic movement in European letters.

* * * * *

KARL FERDINAND GUTZKOW

SWORD AND QUEUE (1843)

TRANSLATED BY GRACE ISABEL COLBRON

PREFACE OF THE AUTHOR

The essence of the comic is self-contradiction, contrast.  Even professional estheticians must acknowledge that by the very nature of its origin the following comedy answers this definition.

A king lacking the customary attributes of his station; a royal court governed by the rules that regulate any simple middle-class household—­surely here is a contradiction sufficient in itself to attract the Comic Muse.  And it was indeed only when the author was well along in his work that he felt any inclination to introduce a few political allusions with what is called a “definite purpose,” into a work inspired by the principles of pure comedy.

Ever since the example set by those great Greeks, AEschylus and Aristophanes, the stage has claimed the right to deal with extremes.  He who, sinning and laden with the burden of human guilt, has once fallen a victim to the Eumenides, cannot, as a figure in a drama, go off on pleasure trips, nor can he go about the usual business of daily life.  Fate seizes him red-handed, causes him to see blood in every glass of champagne and to read his warrant of arrest on every chance scrap of paper.  And the Comic Muse is even less indulgent.  When Aristophanes would mock the creations of Euripides, which are meant to move the public by their declining fortunes, he at once turns the tragedian into a rag-picker.

Comedy may, tragedy must, exaggerate.  The exaggerations in Sword and Queue brought forth many a contemptuous grimace from the higher-priced seats in the Court Theatres.  But it needs only a perusal of the Memoirs of the Markgravine of Baireuth, Princess of Prussia, to give the grotesque picture a certificate of historical veracity.  Not only the character-drawing, but the very plot, is founded on those Memoirs, written in a less sophisticated age than our own, and the authenticity of which is undisputed.

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In the case of Seckendorf, the technical, or, I might say, the symphonic composition of the play, which allots the parts as arbitrarily as in the Midsummer Night’s Dream does Peter Quince, who says to highly respectable people:  “You play the Lion, and you play the Ass,” necessitates making a victim of a man who was a mediocre diplomat, but for a time, at least, a fairly good soldier.  The author feels no compunction on this score.  Stupidity, as Comus artlessly thinks, is not wickedness; the Lion or the Ass—­each is necessary to different moments in the play.  A Brandenburg-Prussian comedy of 1733 can, a priori, hardly fail to be “unjust” to an Imperial Ambassador of that epoch.  Such injustice belongs to the native wantonness of the Comic Muse.  In plays of a specifically Austrian character, Prussia, and especially the people of Berlin, have suffered the same necessary injustice of comedy.  Fortunately, according to Chevalier Lang and other more reliable authorities, this particular Seckendorf was both vain and tyrannous.  His hatred for Frederick II. and his eternal “combinations” went to such lengths that, during the first Silesian war, he offered the Austrian Court a detailed plan by which the “Land-hungry conqueror” might be personally rendered innocuous. (See Arneth, Maria Theresa, Vol.  I).

However, Puck’s manner of writing history may be softened a little.  It is not necessary for the actor to present Seckendorf as an imbecile.  Actors have the unfortunate habit of taking the whole hand when a finger is offered.  In truth I have seen but a very few performances of my play in which Frederick William I. still retained, beneath his attitude of stern father, some share of royal dignity; in which Eversmann, despite his confident impudence, still held his tongue like a trembling lackey; in which the Hereditary Prince, despite his desire to find everything in the Castle ridiculous, still maintained a reserve sufficient to save him from being expelled from Berlin for his impertinent criticisms—­or where the Princess was still proud and witty beneath her girlish simplicity.  And still rarer is it to see a Seckendorf who, in spite of his clumsy “combinations,” did not quite sink to the level of the Marshal von Kalb.  At this point a dramaturgic hint might not come amiss.  In cases where there is danger of degrading the part, the stage manager should take care to intrust such roles to the very actors who at first thought might seem least suited for them—­those whose personalities will compel them to raise the part to a higher level.  The buffoon and sometimes even the finer comedian cannot free Shakespeare from the reproach of having given two kings of Denmark a clown as Prime Minister.  It is very much less necessary that the audience should laugh at Polonius’ quips than that the quips should in no wise impair his position as courtier, as royal adviser, as father of two excellent children, and, at the last, as a man who met death with tragic dignity.  In such a case a wise manager intrusts the comic part to an actor who—­is not comic.

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The following play was written in the spring of 1843.  Some of our readers may chance to know the little garden of the Hotel Reichmann in Milan.  In a room which opens out into the oleander bushes, the trickling fountains, and the sandstone cupids of that garden, the first four acts ripened during four weeks of work.  The fifth act followed on the shores of Lake Como.

Amid surroundings which, by their beauty, bring to mind only the laws of the ideal, to hold fast to those burlesque memories from the history of the sandy Mark Brandenburg was, one may feel sure, possible only to a mind which turned in love to its Prussian home, however “treasonable” its other opinions.  And yet the romanticism of San Souci, as well as the estheticism of the Berlin Board of Censors, has at all times persecuted the play, now forbidding it, again permitting an occasional performance, and again prohibiting it even after 1848.  When the aged and revered Genast from Weimar had played the king a dozen times in the Friedrich-Wilhelmstaedtisches Theater, Hinckeldey’s messengers brought the announcement that the presentation of the piece met with disfavor in high places.  Frederick William IV. did everything possible to hamper and curtail the author’s ambitions.  But to give truth its due, I will not neglect to mention that this last prohibition was softened by assigning as its motion the allusion made in the play to that legend of the Berlin Castle, “The White Lady,” who is supposed to bring a presage of death to the Prussian royal family.

The Dresden Court Theatre was formerly a model of impartiality.  And above all, Emil Devrient’s energetic partisanship for the newer dramatic literature was a great assistance to authors in cases of this kind.  This play, like many another, owes to his artistic zeal its introduction to those high-class theatres where alone a German dramatist finds his best encouragement and advance.  Unfortunately, the war of 1866 again banished Sword and Queue from the Vienna Burgtheater, where it had won a place for itself.

* * * * *

SWORD AND QUEUE

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

   FREDERICK WILLIAM I., King Of
   Prussia, father of Frederick the
   Great.

   THE QUEEN, his wife.

   PRINCESS WILHELMINE, their daughter.

   THE PRINCE HEREDITARY OF BAIREUTH

GENERAL VON GRUMBKOW }
COUNT SCHWERIN       } Councilors and Confidants of the King.
COUNT WARTENSLEBEN   }

   COUNT SECKENDORF, Imperial Ambassador

   BARONET HOTHAM, Envoy of Great Britain

   FRAU VON VIERECK

   FRAU VON HOLZENDORF

   The Queen’s Ladies.

   FRAUeLEIN VON SONNSFELD, Lady-in-waiting to the Princess.

   EVERSMANN, the King’s valet.

   KAMKE, in the Queen’s service.

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   ECKHOF, a grenadier.

   A Lackey in the King’s service.  Generals, Officers, Court Ladies. 
    Members of the Smoking-Circle.  Grenadiers, Lackeys
.

   Scene of action:  The Royal Castle of Berlin.

   First performance, January 1st, 1844, in the Court Theatre in Dresden.

[Illustration:  THE POTSDAM GUARD ADOLPH VON MENZEL]

SWORD AND QUEUE

ACT I

SCENE I

A room in the Palace.  One window and four doors.  A table and two armchairs on the left of the room.

EVERSMANN, taking snuff comfortably.  Two Drummers of the Guard.

Later FRAUeLEIN VON SONNSFELD.

The drummers take up a position near the door to the left, leading to the apartments of the PRINCESS, and execute a roll of the drums.

FRAUeLEIN VON SONNSFELD (opens the door and looks in).

That will do.

[The drummers play a second roll.]

SONNSFELD (looks in again).

Yes, yes.  We heard it.

[EVERSMANN gives the sign again and the drummers play a third long roll.]

SONNSFELD (comes out angrily, speaks when the noise has subsided).

This is unendurable!  It is enough to ruin one’s nerves—­left wheel—­march—­out with you to the parade ground where you be long! [The drummers march out still playing.  When the noise can no longer be heard she continues.] Eversmann, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  You should remind the King of the respect due to ladies.

EVERSMANN.

I obey my royal master’s orders, ma’am.  And inasmuch as late rising is a favorite vice of the youth of today, it has been ordered that the reveille be played at six o’clock every morning before the doors of the royal Princes and Princesses.

SONNSFELD.

Princess Wilhelmine is no longer a child.

EVERSMANN.

Her morning dreams are all the sweeter for that reason.

SONNSFELD.

Dreams of our final release—­of despair—­of death—­

EVERSMANN.

Or possibly dreams of marriage—­and the like—­

SONNSFELD.

Have a care, Eversmann!  The Crown Prince has won his freedom at last; he is keeping a most exact record of all that happens in Berlin and in the immediate environment of his severe father.  It is well known that you influence the King more than do his ministers.

EVERSMANN.

If the poetic fancy of our Crown Prince, who, by the way, is my devoted young friend Fritz, cannot see the truth more clearly than that, then I have little respect for the imaginative power of poets.  I—­and influence?  I twist His Majesty’s stately pigtail every morning, clip his fine manly beard, fill his cozy little Dutch pipe for him each evening—­and if in the course of these innocent employments His Most Sacred Majesty lets fall a hint, a remark—­a little command possibly—­why—­naturally—­

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SONNSFELD.

You pick them up and weave them into a “nice innocent little influence” for yourself.  Eh?  An influence that has already earned you three city houses, five estates, and a carriage-and-four.  Have a care that the Crown Prince does not auction off all these objects under the gallows-tree some fine day.

EVERSMANN.

Oh, but your Ladyship must have slept badly.  Pray spare me these—­predictions and prophesyings, which are made up of whole cloth.  His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is far too much, of a philosopher to take such revenge on a man who has no more dealings with His Majesty than to fill his pipe each evening, to braid his pigtail each morning, and to shave him in the good old German fashion every second day.  Have I made my meaning clear?

[He goes out.]

SONNSFELD.

Go your way, you old sinner!  You may pretend to be ever so honest and simple—­we know you and your like.  Oh, what a life we lead here in this Court!  Cannons thunder in the garden under our windows every morning or else they send up a company of soldiers to accustom us to early rising.  After the morning prayer the Princess knits, sews, presses her linen, studies her catechism, and, alas! is forced to listen to a stupid sermon every day.  At dinner, we get very little to eat; then the King takes his afternoon nap.  He’s forever quarreling with the Queen, they have scarcely a good word to say to each other, and yet the entire family are expected to look on at His Majesty’s melodious snore-concert, and even to brush away the flies from the face of the sleeping Father of his country.  If my Princess did not possess so much natural wit and spirit, the sweet creature would be quite crushed by such a life.  If the King only knew that she is learning French secretly, and can almost write a polite little note already—!  I hear her coming.

SCENE II

PRINCESS WILHELMINE comes in, carrying a letter.

WILHELMINE (timidly).

Can any one hear us?

SONNSFELD.

Not unless the walls have ears.  Is the letter written?

WILHELMINE.

I hardly dare send it, dear Sonnsfeld.  I know there are a hundred mistakes in it.

SONNSFELD.

A hundred?  Then the letter must be much longer than Your Highness first planned it.

WILHELMINE.

I wrote that I fully appreciate the value of the services offered me, but that my position forces me to refuse any aid to my education which cannot be attained at least by the help of my mother, the Queen.

SONNSFELD.

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Is that what you have written?  And made a hundred mistakes?  In that case we are just where we were before.  I appreciate that an eighteen-year-old Princess has to consider history, posterity and so forth—­but this conscientiousness will be your ruin.  The King will continue to make a slave of you, the Queen to treat you as a child.  You are the victim of the conflict between two characters who both perhaps desire what is best for you, but who are so totally different that you will never know whom or which one to please.  The Crown Prince has made himself free—­and how did he do it?  Only by courage and independence.  He tore himself loose from the oppressive bondage imposed on him by the caprice of others, and won the means to complete his education.  And now he sends to you from Rheinsberg his friend, the Prince Hereditary of Baireuth, to be a support and protection to you and to the Queen—­so that here in this Court where they drum, trumpet, and parade all day long, you may not finally, in your despair, seize a musket yourself and join the Potsdam Guards!

WILHELMINE.

You have a sense of humor, my dear Sonnsfeld.  It is all well enough for my brother to make plans and send out emissaries, when he is safe in Rheinsberg.  He knows that the path to the freedom he has won led past the very foot of the scaffold.  I am of the sex whose duty it is to be patient.  My father is so good at heart, gentler possibly, in his true self, than is my mother.  She indeed, absorbed in her political ambitions, often turns from me with a harshness that accords ill with mother-love.  It is my fate to endure this life.  Ask yourself, dear friend, how could I trust to a chance adventurous stranger whom my brother sends to me from out of his wild, artistic circle in Rheinsberg—­sends to me to be my knight and paladin?  Such a thought could have been conceived only in the brains of that group of poets.  I’ll confess to you in secret that I should greatly enjoy being in the midst of the Rheinsberg merriment, disguised of course.  But I’m in Berlin—­not in Rheinsberg, and so I have gathered up my meagre scraps of French and thanked the Prince of Baireuth for his offer in a manner which is far more a refusal than an acceptance.

[Hands SONNSFELD the letter.]

SONNSFELD.

And I am to dispatch this letter? [With droll pathos.] No, Your Highness, I cannot have anything to do with this forbidden correspondence.

WILHELMINE.

No joking please, Sonnsfeld.  It was the only answer I could possibly send to the Prince’s tender epistle.

SONNSFELD.

Impossible!—­To become an accomplice to a forbidden correspondence in this Court might cost one’s life.

WILHELMINE.

You will make me angry!—­here, dispatch this letter, and quickly.

SONNSFELD.

No, Princess.  But I know a better means, an absolutely sure means of dispatching the letter to its destination, and that is—­[She glances toward a door in the background] deliver it yourself.

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[She slips out of a side door.]

SCENE III

The PRINCE HEREDITARY OF BAIREUTH, dressed in the French taste of the period, as different as possible from the king’s favorite garb, comes in cautiously.

WILHELMINE (aside).

The Prince of Baireuth!

THE PRINCE (aside).

Her very picture!  It is the Princess! [Aloud.] I crave Your Highness’ pardon that my impatience to deliver the greeting of Your Royal brother the Crown Prince in person—­

WILHELMINE.

The Prince of Baireuth places me in no slight embarrassment by this early visit.

PRINCE.

The visit was not paid to you, Princess, but to this noble and venerable castle, these stairways, these galleries, these winding corridors—­it was a visit of recognizance, Your Highness, such as must precede any important undertaking.

WILHELMINE.

Then you are preparing to do battle here?

PRINCE.

My intentions are not altogether peaceful, and yet, as Princess Wilhelmine doubtless knows, I am compelled to confine myself to a policy of defense solely.

WILHELMINE.

And even in this you cannot exercise too much care. [Aside.] The letter is no longer necessary. [Aloud.] How did you leave my brother?  In good health?  And thoroughly occupied?

PRINCE.

The Crown Prince leads a life of the gayest diversity in his exile.  He has made of Rheinsberg a veritable little Court of the Muses, devoted now to serious study, now to poetic recreation.  We have enjoyed unforgettably beautiful hours there; one would hardly believe that so much imagination could be developed and encouraged on the borders of Mecklenburg!  We paint, we build, we model, we write.  The regiment which is under the immediate command of our talented Prince serves merely to carry out, by military evolutions, the strategic descriptions of Polybius.  In short, I should deeply regret leaving so delightful a spot had it not been for the flattering and important task intrusted to me.  Princess, the Crown Prince desires full and true information, obtained at the source, as to the situation of his sister, his mother, here, that he may, if necessary, advise how this situation be improved, how any difficulties may be met.

WILHELMINE.

If it became known that I am granting an audience, here in this public hall, to a Prince who has not yet been presented either to my father or to my mother—­I could prepare myself for several weeks in Fortress Kuestrin.

[She bows and turns as if to go.]

PRINCE.

Princess!  Then it is really true—­that which is whispered, with horror, at every court in Europe?  It is true that the King of Prussia tyrannizes not only his court, his entire environment, but his own family as well?

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WILHELMINE.

Prince, you employ too harsh an expression for what I would rather term merely our own peculiar ceremonial.  In Versailles they glide as on butterfly wings over the polished floors.  Here we tread the earth with ringing spurs.  In Versailles the Royal Family consider themselves but as a merry company, recognizing no ties as sacred save those of congeniality, no bond but that of—­unfettered inclination.  Here the Court is merely one big middle-class family, where a prayer is said before meat, where the parents must always be the first to speak, where strictest obedience must, if necessary, tolerate even absurdities; where one quarrels, out of one’s mutual affection, sometimes—­where we even torture one another and make life harder for one another—­all out of love—­

PRINCE.

Princess, I swear to you—­this must be changed.

WILHELMINE.

And how, pray?

PRINCE.

The Crown Prince asked me to employ all conceivable means to free you from this barbarism.  I am at your service entirely—­command me.  His first thought was for your mental needs.  How is it with your knowledge of French?

WILHELMINE.

The King detests all things foreign, and most of all does he detest
France, her literature, her language.

PRINCE.

The Crown Prince is aware of that.  He sends you therefore, as a beginning, a member of his Rheinsberg circle, a talkative but very learned little man, a Frenchman, Laharpe by name—­

WILHELMINE.

All instructors of the French language have been banished from Berlin by strictest order.

PRINCE.

Laharpe will come to you without his identity becoming known.

WILHELMINE.

That is impossible.  No one dare approach me who cannot first satisfy the questioning of the Castle Guard.

PRINCE.

Cannot Laharpe instruct you in the apartments of your, Lady-in-waiting,
Frauelein von Sonnsfeld?  WILHELMINE.  Impossible.

PRINCE.

In the Queen’s rooms, then.

WILHELMINE.

Impossible.

THE PRINCE.

By Heaven!  Do they never leave you alone for one hour?

WILHELMINE.

Oh yes, two hours every Sunday—­in church.

PRINCE.

But this is appalling!  Why, in Versailles every Princess has her own establishment when she is but ten years old—­and even her very dolls have their ladies-in-waiting!

WILHELMINE.

The only place which I may visit occasionally, and remain in unaccompanied, are those rooms over there, in the lower story of the palace.

PRINCE.

The King’s private library, no doubt?

WILHELMINE.

No.

PRINCE.

A gallery of family portraits?

WILHELMINE.

Do you see the smoke issuing from the open window?

PRINCE.

Page 175

That is—­oh, it cannot be—­the kitchen?

WILHELMINE.

Not exactly—­but hardly much better.  It is, I have the honor to inform you, the Royal Prussian Laundry.  Yes, Prince, the sister of the Prussian Crown Prince is permitted to remain in that room for an hour or two if she will, to look on at the washing, the starching, the ironing, the sorting-out of body and house linen—­

PRINCE.

This—­for a Princess?

WILHELMINE.

Do you see the little window with the flower pots and the bird in a tiny cage?  The wife of our silver-cleaner lives there, and occasionally, when the poor daughter of a King is supposed to be busied, like any serving-maid, among the steaming pots and boilers, this same poor Princess slips in secretly to the good woman’s little room.  Ah! there, behind those flower-pots, I can laugh freely and merrily—­there I can let the little linnet feed from my hand, and I can say to myself that with all my troubles, with all my sorrows, I am still happier than the poor little singer in his cage.  For he will never regain his freedom no matter how sweetly he may sing ... in all the tongues of earth.

PRINCE (aside).

She is charming. [Aloud.] And Laharpe?

WILHELMINE.

If I must dare it—­send the learned gentleman to me down there, Prince.  In that little room I will obey my brother’s command to perfect my French style.  Among many other things I should really like to learn to say, in most elegant and modern French, these words:  “Yes I will dare to begin a new life.  Remain my brother’s friend—­and my protector!” But for the moment—­goodby.

[She hurries out.]

SCENE IV

PRINCE (alone).

Where am I?  Was that a scene from the Arabian Nights?  Or am I really on the banks of that homely river Spree which flows into the Havel?  Of a truth this Prussian Court with its queer pigtails and gaiters is more romantic than I had thought.  Laharpe down there behind the flower-pots!  Laharpe tete-a-tete with a Princess who visits the kitchen and with a linnet which—­happy bird—­is privileged to bite her fingers.  How beautiful she is—­much fairer than the miniature Frederick wears next his heart!  And yet I had fallen in love with this miniature. [Looks about him.] There is a spell that seems to hold me in these rooms, through which she glides like the Genius of the bower. [Goes to the window.] Down there in the square, the bayonets of the parading troops flash in the sunlight—­and that door over yonder leads to the apartments of a Princess whose possession would mean the highest bliss earth can afford.  And there—­whither leads that door through which the kind guardian of this paradise disappeared?

[He turns toward the second door at the back, to his right.]

SONNSFELD (comes in quickly, excitedly).

Page 176

Away Prince—­away, the Queen is approaching.

PRINCE.

The Queen?  Where shall I go?

SONNSFELD.

Into that room over there—­you may find some way out—­no one must see you here.

[She pushes him to an opposite side-door.]

PRINCE.

My knowledge of the territory is growing rapidly. [He goes out.]

SCENE V

The QUEEN comes in, followed by two ladies-in-waiting.  She motions them to leave her.  They go out.  The QUEEN sinks into a chair.

QUEEN.

Has my daughter risen?  I worked so late into the night that I am still quite fatigued.  These wretched politics!  Have you seen Kamke?

SONNSFELD.

Your Majesty’s lackey?  No, Your Majesty.

QUEEN.

He’s been gone so long.  I sent him to the Prince of Baireuth.

PRINCE (peeping out from the door, aside).

To me?

QUEEN.

If I may judge by the letters the Prince brings me from my son, he himself will one day be one of the best sovereigns of our century.

PRINCE (aside).

The field is all in my favor.

QUEEN.

My son, who judges men so keenly, assures me that I may trust this Prince completely.  And I need some one of force and character to aid me; I need such a one now more than ever.

SONNSFELD (alarmed).

Is there—­is there anything new in the air, Your Majesty?

QUEEN.

I shall need to display all my strength, all my will-power.  I shall have need of it to uphold the dignity of a monarchy whose natural head appears to forget more and more that Prussia has recently joined the ranks of the Great Powers of Europe.

SONNSFELD.

Your Majesty—­is laying plots?

QUEEN.

I am consumed with curiosity to make the acquaintance of this Prince whom my son considers worthy of his friendship. [SONNSFELD motions to the Prince.] As soon as he arrives, dear Sonnsfeld—­

SONNSFELD (pointing to the PRINCE, who comes in).

Kamke has just shown him in.  Here he is, Your Majesty.

QUEEN (rising).

This is a surprise, Prince.  I did not hear you enter.

PRINCE.

Your Majesty was so deeply absorbed in thought—­

QUEEN (aside).

He has a pleasing exterior and intelligent eyes. [Aloud.] Did my messenger—­

PRINCE.

The good fellow met me just as I was about to leave my hotel.  He gave me
Your Majesty’s gracious command.

QUEEN.  Prince—­[She sits down, motioning him to do the same.]

My heartiest thanks for the letters from my worthy son.  One sentence, which I reread many times, permits me to assume that he has informed you of a certain matter, a certain plan of mine—­

Page 177

PRINCE.

Certainly, Your Majesty. [Aside.] I haven’t heard a word about it.

QUEEN.

It makes me very happy to know that in this matter, as indeed in most things, my son and I are so completely in accord.  Then you, also, think as we do on this subject?

PRINCE.

Undoubtedly—­undoubtedly, Your Majesty. [Aside.] If I only knew what subject!

QUEEN.

My son writes me that I may rely entirely on your sympathy in this affair.

PRINCE.

He did not exaggerate, Your Majesty.  When I parted from him, his last words, called after my moving carriage, were these:  “Dear friend, my gracious mother, the Queen, will inform you as to all further details concerning the affair in question.”

QUEEN.

That sounds very like him.  I am quite ready to do as he says.

PRINCE (aside).

The plot thickens.

QUEEN.

You know that the Electors of Brandenburg have but recently become Kings of Prussia.  Although a Hanoverian Princess myself, I find my happiness in Prussia’s greatness, my pride in Prussia’s fame.  No state has such need to be careful in the choice of its alliances, political or matrimonial, as our own.  And hence there is no subject so interesting and so important to our country at the moment as a certain question which is already exciting the Cabinets of Europe, a question—­the answer to which you have doubtless already guessed.

PRINCE.

I think—­I may say—­that I understand Your Majesty entirely. [Aside.]
What can she mean?

QUEEN.

No one can call me unduly proud.  But if one belongs to a family which has recently had the honor of being chosen to fill the throne of England—­if one is the daughter of a King, the wife of a King, the mother of a future King—­you will understand that in this matter of my daughter’s future—­there are weighty considerations which force me to avoid any possible political mesalliance.

PRINCE.

Mesalliance?  The Princess?  Your daughter [Bewildered.] I must confess—­I was but superficially informed of all these matters.

QUEEN.

What I am about to tell you, Prince, under the seal of your utmost discretion, is a secret and the result of the gravest negotiations and plans.  You know what kind of a Court this is at which I live.  I am denied the influence which should be my right as mother of my country.  The King has surrounded himself with persons who have separated him from me.  I dare not think how this company of corporals and sergeants will receive my deeply thought-out plans.  How will the King be inclined in regard to a matter that is of such decisive importance for the happiness of his children and the fair fame of his house?  In this, Prince, you see my need of a man of your intelligence, your insight, that I may know what to hope—­or [firmly] if need be—­what to dare!

Page 178

PRINCE.

I shall be most eagerly anxious to justify Your Majesty’s confidence. [Aside.] Good Heavens!

QUEEN.

Let me then inform you of a secret but completed negotiation in which all the nearest relatives of our house have already taken part, and into the nature of which I now initiate you, too, as my son’s friend.  My daughter is to become the wife of my nephew, the Prince of Wales; she will therefore be the future Queen of England.

PRINCE (aside).

Zounds!  A nice rival this!

QUEEN.

So you see, Prince, the importance of the issue involved!  Will you consent to mediate this question—­a question of such importance to all Europe—­with my husband?

PRINCE.

I?  With the King?  Mediate?  Oh, of course, Your Majesty, with the greatest pleasure! [Aside.] What a detestable errand!

QUEEN.

Very well, then you can begin at once.  The King will be here shortly.  Introduce yourself to him.  Use this favorable moment to draw from him an expression of his opinion concerning the throne of England, and let me know the result at once.

PRINCE.

I am still quite bewildered by this—­this flattering commission.  And when may I pay my respects to Your Majesty again?

QUEEN.

At almost any time.  But I should prefer the evening hours, when those on whom I can rely gather around me, while the King is with those persons whom I mentioned a short time ago.  Farewell now, my dear Prince of—­oh, dear me, now my son has forgotten to write me whether it is Ansbach or Baireuth that you inherit.  It is so easy to confuse these little principalities.  Ansbach—­Baireuth—­Ansbach—­yes, that was it.  Very well, my dear Prince of Ansbach, remember, Prussia, Hanover and England!

[She bows to him with proud condescension and goes out.]

SCENE VI

PRINCE (alone).

The future Queen of England!  And I—­the Hereditary Prince of Ansbach!  That was a cruel blow of fate.  And I am to mediate these matters of international importance!  This angelic being, whom I love more madly with every breath I draw—­this exquisite sister of my dear Frederick—­is destined to become a victim of political intrigue?  Oh no, she cannot possibly love the Prince of Wales; she has never seen him.  But will they consult her inclination?  Will cold considerations of politics heed the cry of her heart?—­The parade is over, the suite is entering the castle; I dare not meet the king now in this excited mood.

[He looks about as if seeking some means of escape.  EVERSMANN comes in carrying a large book.  He has a pen stuck in behind one ear.  He crosses to the door through which the QUEEN has gone out.]

PRINCE (aside).

Who’s this?

[EVERSMANN looks the PRINCE over from head to foot, moves forward a few paces, then halts again.]

Page 179

PRINCE (aside).

Can any one have seen me?

EVERSMANN (goes to the door, halts again, looks at the PRINCE impudently).

PRINCE.

Why are you looking at me, sirrah?  I am the Prince Hereditary of
Baireuth.

EVERSMANN (is quite indifferent, comes down a few steps, bows very slightly).

His Majesty is coming in from the parade, but does not grant audiences in this room.

PRINCE.

I thank you for the information, my good man.

EVERSMANN.

Don’t mention it, pray.

PRINCE.

And who are you?

EVERSMANN.  I? [There is along pause.]

I am Eversmann. [He goes out into the QUEEN’s room.]

PRINCE.

Eversmann?  The Minister of Finance or the Head Steward, I wonder?  He betrays parsimony in every shred of his garments. [Drums and the sound of presented arms is heard back of the rear entrance.] The King is coming.  The King?  Why should I feel so timid, so oppressed, all of a sudden?  Does my courage fail me because I am about to confront this curiosity of his century?  I’d rather observe him from the side at first.

[He draws back and stands close by the door to the left.]

SCENE VII

A loud knocking, as with a cane, is heard at the centre door.

PRINCE.

Come in.

KING (outside).

Eversmann!

PRINCE.

Now, what’s that?

KING (still without, beats the door loudly with his cane).

Eversmann!

PRINCE.

Surely this castle is haunted!

[He slips into the door at the right.]

KING (knocking again, still outside).

Eversmann!  Doesn’t the fellow hear?

EVERSMANN (coming in hurriedly).

The door is open, Your Majesty. [Goes to centre door, opens it.]

PRINCE (looking in at his door).

Your Majesty?  Is that the King?

KING (in corridor but not yet visible).

Eversmann, have you forgotten that this is the day for revising the books?

EVERSMANN.

No, indeed, Your Majesty.  I was occupied in balancing the books of Her
Majesty the Queen.

QUEEN (comes out from her door, listens timidly).

Was that the King’s voice?

KING (outside).

Eversmann, tell the castellan that eleven o’clock is closing hour for my wife’s apartment, and that, if I see a light again in her rooms until after midnight, I will come over myself at the stroke of twelve to search into every corner and to discover what political plot is brewing there.  You’d better tell my wife yourself, sirrah—­so that she may obey orders.

Page 180

EVERSMANN.

So that she may obey orders.

QUEEN.

Miserable lackey! [Goes out.]

PRINCE (aside).

Will he go now?

KING (outside).

Eversmann!

EVERSMANN.

Your Majesty!

KING.

Now go to my daughter too, the Princess Wilhelmine—­

[WILHELMINE opens her door softly.]

EVERSMANN.

To Her Royal Highness—­

KING.

And tell her to have a care—­this Laharpe—­is a rascal.

WILHELMINE (aside).

Laharpe?

PRINCE (aside).

What’s that?

KING.

Laharpe is a rascal, I say.

EVERSMANN.

A rascal.

KING.

And tell my daughter that I will teach a lesson to the Crown Prince for sending these French vagabonds here, who pretend to be teachers of the language and are merely ordinary, good-for-nothing wigmakers.

WILHELMINE.

How disgusting!

[She goes out.]

PRINCE (aside).

Wigmakers?

KING (still outside).

And now get back to the books!

EVERSMANN.

At once, Your Majesty.

KING.

Eversmann—­one thing more, Eversmann!

EVERSMANN.

Your Majesty?

KING.

If you should see the Prince Hereditary of Baireuth—­

PRINCE (aside).

It’s my turn now.

KING.

That French windbag who’s been hanging about Berlin since yesterday—­

PRINCE (aside).

Pleasing description!

EVERSMANN.

I’ll tell him Your Majesty will not receive him.

PRINCE (aside).

Rascal!

KING.

No, Eversmann, tell him I have something very important to say to him—­something very confidential.

PRINCE (aside).

Confidential?  To me?

KING.

Concerning an important and pressing matter.

EVERSMANN.

Oh, yes, I know.

KING.

You know, sirrah?  What do you know?  You know nothing at all.

EVERSMANN.

I thought—­one might guess—­

KING.

Guess?  What right have you to guess?  You’re not to guess at all.  Understand?  Idiot!  Shoulder arms, march! [As he goes off a short roll of drums is heard.]

PRINCE (crosses quickly to EVERSMANN).

What do you know?  What do you think it is that the King has to say to me?

EVERSMANN.

Oh, Your Highness is still here?

PRINCE.

The King wishes to speak to me.  Do you know why?  Tell me what you think.

EVERSMANN.

If Your Highness promises not to betray me—­I think it concerns a certain affair—­between Prussia and Austria.

Page 181

PRINCE.

Austria?

EVERSMANN.

Arch-Duke Leopold is willing, they say—­that is if [with a sly gesture toward the PRINCESS’ room] if Princess Wilhelmine—­

PRINCE (excited).

The Princess?

EVERSMANN.

Sh!  You will probably be chosen to conduct the negotiations between
Prussia and—­

PRINCE (beside himself).

The Princess is—­destined—­

EVERSMANN.

To be the future Empress of Austria.

[He goes out into the QUEEN’S room.]

PRINCE (alone).

Empress!  Queen!  And I—­I who love her to desperation, I am to help bring about either of these alliances?  That will mean a tragedy or [after a pause he continues more cheerfully]—­Courage—­courage—­it may turn out a comedy after all, as merry a comedy as ever was played at any Royal Court. [He goes out.]

ACT II

GRUMBKOW and SECKENDORF come in with EVERSMANN. The latter carries a wide orange-colored ribbon with many stars and Orders on it, and a gleaming sword.

SCENE I

The KING’S room.  A side door on the left; a centre door.  A writing table and chairs.

GRUMBKOW.

It was a dispatch, you say, Eversmann?

SECKENDORF.

A dispatch from Hanover.

GRUMBKOW.

And all this elegance?  The ribbon?  The sword of state?  What does it mean?

EVERSMANN.

His Majesty ordered these immediately after the arrival of the dispatch.

SECKENDORF.

A dispatch from Hanover—­arrived about an hour ago—­grand cordon commanded—­sword of state—­we must put these facts together, Grumbkow—­find their meaning.

EVERSMANN.

There are to be twelve plates more at table today. [Meaningfully.] Thirty-six thalers are set aside for the dinner—­everybody to appear in full court dress.

SECKENDORF.

A dispatch from Hanover-grand cordon—­sword of state—­twelve plates extra—­thirty-six thalers—­the combination, Grumbkow—­we must find the combination!

EVERSMANN.

When he had torn the seal from the dispatch, he wept two big tears and said:  “I’ll make them all happy if I have to beat them to a jelly to do it.”  And now he’s all eagerness and would like to invite the whole city to dinner.

GRUMBKOW.

On thirty-six thalers?

EVERSMANN.

The orphans in the asylum are to have new clothes.

GRUMBKOW (startled).

The orphans?  That looks like a wedding.

SECKENDORF.

Dispatch—­Hanover—­thirty-six thalers—­two tears—­beat them all—­the meaning of that, Grumbkow?—­we must put two and two together and find it.

Page 182

EVERSMANN (startled).

He’s coming!  The King!

SCENE II

The KING looks in from the side door.

KING.

Good morning!  Good morning!  Hope you slept well, gentlemen.  Well, you rascal, where’s that frippery?  What’s this—­the English orders are missing?  Fasten it on well.  I don’t want the fol-dols knocking about my knees.

EVERSMANN (as if joking).

Is there something so important on hand?  Doesn’t Your Majesty want the crown also?

KING.

The crown!  Idiot! [He comes out.] You can be glad that you don’t have to wear it, sirrah!  Off with you now.  Eversmann, and see that everything is in order. [EVERSMANN goes out.] Good morning, Grumbkow and Seckendorf.  No time for you now—­my compliments to the State of Prussia and I beg to be left to myself today.  Good morning—­good morning.

[The two ministers prepare reluctantly to depart.]

GRUMBKOW (in the door).

Your Majesty is in such a merry mood—­

SECKENDORF.

Could it be the arrival of the courier—?  KING (indifferently).  Oh, yes.  A courier came—­

GRUMBKOW.

From Hanover?

KING.

From Hanover.

SECKENDORF.

With news of importance, Your Majesty?

KING.

News of importance!

GRUMBKOW.

Concerning English affairs, doubtless?

KING.

English affairs!

SECKENDORF.

Doubtless the East Indian commercial treaties.

KING.

No—­no.

GRUMBKOW.

The Dutch shipping agreement?

KING (enjoying their curiosity).

Something of that nature.  Good morning, gentlemen.

GRUMBKOW (aside).

He is in a desperate mood again.

SECKENDORF (aside, going out).

Thirty-six thalers—­twelve places—­the orphans—­we must find the combination! [They go out.]

SCENE III

KING.

They’ve gone.  At last I have a moment to myself. [EVERSMANN comes in.]
I am supremely happy.

EVERSMANN.

My respectful congratulations.

KING.

Thankee-now just imagine—­oh, yes—­no. [Aside.] No one must know of it.

EVERSMANN.

Did Your Majesty intend to—­

KING.

Change my clothes?  Yes—­take this coat off; we’ll spare no expense.  They shall see that I possess wealth; they shall see that though I may be parsimonious ordinarily, still I can spend as well as any of them when an occasion offers.  An occasion like this—­[with an out-burst.] Eversmann, just imagine! [Remembering.] Oh, yes.

EVERSMANN (takes off the KING’S coat).

Page 183

Will Your Majesty put on the embroidered uniform?

KING.

The embroidered uniform, Eversmann.  I am expecting guests to whom all honor must be shown.  Great honor—­for when it concerns the arrival of persons who—­[He sits down.] Take off my boots. [EVERSMANN pulls off the boots with difficulty.] Has the Prince of Baireuth been here yet?

EVERSMANN.

Is Your Majesty going to all this trouble on his account?

KING.

On his account?  Possibly. [Aside.] I’ll lead them all a dance. [Aloud.] Zounds!  Villain!  Rascal!  My corns!  I believe the rogue is hurting me on purpose—­because I won’t tell him anything.

EVERSMANN.

But, Your Majesty, I haven’t asked any questions yet.

KING.

I’ll have you asking questions!  Now what are you laughing at, sirrah?  Heh?  Fetch me my dressing gown until you have found the uniform. [EVERSMANN turns to go.] Hey, there!  Why did you laugh just now?

EVERSMANN.

Because I know—­that before I have brought Your Majesty your hat Your
Majesty will have told me all about it.

KING (threatening him with his cane).

You rascal—­how dare you?

EVERSMANN (retiring toward the door).

Your Majesty can’t keep a secret.  There is only one thing Your Majesty can hold fast to, and that is—­your money!  Ha! ha!  I’ll fetch the dressing-gown. [He goes out.]

SCENE IV

KING (sitting in his shirt-sleeves).

He’s right.  It burns my heart out.  But they shan’t know.  Not any of them—­they shan’t.  They’ve spoiled my pet plans before now.  I’ll play a different game, this time, and I’ll send all the camels through the needle’s eye at once.  They think I’m on the side of Austria.  But no—­ha! ha!  England’s own offer, brought by the Hanoverian courier, was a great surprise to me—­he! he!  England is my wife’s idea—­therefore I am for England, too—­and soon we’ll have the wedding and the christening, ha! ha!

[A lackey comes in, announces.]

LACKEY.

His Highness the Prince Hereditary of Baireuth.

KING.

Pleased to receive him.

[The lackey goes out and the PRINCE comes in.]

PRINCE (aside).

Are these old crosspatch’s apartments? [To the KING.] That’s the
King’s study in there, isn’t it?

KING.

Yes—­at your service.

PRINCE.

Go in and announce me.  I’m the Prince of Baireuth.

KING (surprised, aside).

What does he take me for?

PRINCE.

What fashion is this?  Are you in the King’s service?  Is this the style in which to receive guests to whom His Majesty has promised an audience?

Page 184

KING.

Then Your Highness—­wishes to speak to—­to the King of Prussia?

PRINCE.

You heard me say so, did you not?  Announce me.

KING.

At once, Your Highness. [Turns to go.]

PRINCE.

Is this the way to go into your master’s presence?  In your shirt-sleeves?

KING.

I’m—­I’m on a very confidential footing with the King. [He goes out.]

PRINCE (alone).

This is a strange Royal Household indeed!  The servants stand about the anterooms in their shirt-sleeves—­doubtless from motives of economy to save their liveries.  Well, the great hour has arrived—­the die will fall.  Wilhelmine—­she—­she alone I love—­and she is to consent to unite herself to the painted picture of a Prince of Wales—­the colored silhouette of an Austrian Arch-Duke whom she has never seen!  Ah, no, my fate rests on the Genius of Love—­on chance, which may be even kinder to me than I expect.  Her parents are of divided minds—­thereby do I gain time to win Wilhelmine’s heart—­for myself.  The King is coming.  Now I can listen to his favorable opinions regarding—­Austria.

SCENE V

The KING comes in, in dress uniform, with the grand cordon.

PRINCE (looking at him).

Is that not—­

KING.

You are surprised?  It was a slight mistake in identity.

PRINCE (embarrassed).

Your Majesty—­I am a stranger—­

KING.

It’s of no consequence.  You were deucedly insolent—­but my people are thick-skinned.  Well—­I want to speak to you, my dear Prince of Baireuth.  Are you just come from Baireuth?

PRINCE.

Yes, Your Majesty—­that is, I left Baireuth three years ago.

KING.

And where were you all this time?

PRINCE.

In—­in England.

KING.

Ah—­you spent much time in England?

PRINCE (aside).

I suppose he wants me to help him with Austria, and to disparage England. [Aloud.] In England?  Yes, quite time enough to learn all about that unmannerly and extremely ridiculous country and its ways.

KING: 

What’s that?  England ridiculous?  Here, here, young friend—­we have some distance to go yet before we reach the point where England stands today.  H’m—­have you been in Italy?  Or in Austria—­or thereabouts?

PRINCE (aside).

Does he favor England?  I thought it was Austria—­yes, he favors Austria. [Aloud.] Austria?  Surely; a wonderful country—­such development of industry—­and commerce—­such life and activity in all directions!

KING.

Activity?  H’m!  The activity in Austria isn’t dangerous yet!

PRINCE (aside).

Then he does not favor Austria.  I fancy I’m not ingratiating myself at all.

Page 185

KING (aside).

Has Seckendorf, or any of the others, been talking to him?  Is he trying to please me? [Aloud.] A nice little country, that Baireuth of yours.  Soil somewhat stony, though!—­doesn’t yield your father much revenue, I dare say!

PRINCE.

We’re learning to improve the soil. [Aside.] These geographical prejudices!

KING.

Trying to improve it by the pleasure palaces your father is building?  What’s got into the man?  Puts up one gimcrack after another, as if he were Louis Quatorze—­and runs his country into debt meanwhile.  About how much debt does your country carry?

PRINCE (aside).

I don’t know that myself. [Aloud, saucily.] Ten millions.

KING.

Ten millions?

PRINCE.

More or less.

KING.

Good heavens!  Who is to pay that debt eventually?  And with such a state of things in the exchequer you’re traveling about Europe, taking money out of the country?

PRINCE.

I’m completing my education, sire.

KING.

In Versailles?  In Rheinsburg?  Well, never mind, we’ve had enough of that. [He whistles the first bars of the Dessauer March.] Tell me, you’ve taken part in those heathenish performances—­at my son’s Court, I mean?

PRINCE.

The part of a confidant, Your Majesty.

KING.

Good!  It was about these heathenish performances that I wanted to speak to you.  Prince, they tell me you are a man of taste, a man who is well acquainted with those godless Greek and Roman doings.  As it is in my mind to celebrate my daughter’s wedding with all pomp worthy of my crown—­I want to ask you—­to consult with my son—­as to how most gracefully and amusingly to entertain the Courts of Poland, Saxony, Brunswick and Mecklenburg, who will all be here for an entire week—­in a word, how we can win much honor and glory by this wedding.

PRINCE.

Wedding?  The Princess—­your daughter’s wedding?

KING.

Yes, Prince.  My artillery will furnish the salutes, and I will see to the reviews and parades my self.  But it is in the evening that our guests grow weary in Berlin—­they go to sleep in their chairs.  Beer drinking and pipe smoking is not yet to every one’s taste.  We’ll have to swim with the stream, therefore, and provide suitable amusements—­illumination, operas, allegorical presentations, and such fol-da-rol—­all about Prussia and England.

PRINCE.

England?

KING (rises).

Zounds! that ran over my tongue like a hare hurrying across the highway.  H’m—­I mean a sort of spectacle—­oh, say unicorn—­ea
gle—­eagle—­unicorn—­leopard—­intermingled—­Prussia and England—­and it must be in rhyme—­in verse, as it were.

PRINCE.

England?  This news comes with such a surprise!  The whole country,
Europe—­the world—­will wonder how England came to deserve such honor.

Page 186

KING.

Oh, ho! don’t flatter the old—­lackey!  It’s an old affair, this one with
England; my wife has been working at it for years.

PRINCE.

The Queen?  Why, I fancied—­that Her Majesty the Queen was much more in favor of Austria—­

KING.  Austria? [Aside.]

I might have known she would want to put her own will through. [Aloud with decision.] No.  I received today a dispatch from our Ambassador, who assures me that England is thinking seriously of this plan, of this marriage arranged in all secrecy.  The Prince of Wales has taken ship from England; it is supposed that he is already landed on the Hanoverian coast.  Meanwhile, a plenipotentiary has left London, in strictest incognito, on his way to treat with me concerning all the details of the marriage.  The envoy is likely to arrive at any moment.  You would place me under obligations to you, therefore—­

PRINCE (in despair).

Shall it be a pastoral masque?

KING.

Yes.  And the Crown Prince can play the flute for it, since he has learned that art behind my back.

PRINCE (turns to go, but comes back).

And the ladies and gentlemen of the Court are to act in it?

KING.

Surely.  Give every one of them something to say, only not me.  But
Grumbkow must act in it.  Yes, Grumbkow must be in it—­and the ladies
Viereck and Sonnsfeld—­and Seckendorf—­and—­

PRINCE (as above).

Must it be in English or in French?

KING.

Neither.  In German, good, pure, fiery German—­High German, you understand, not the Berlin flavor. [Confidentially.] And if you could bring in a little Dutch somewhere—­certain considerations of commerce would render that very pleasing to me; it will be spoken of in the papers and the Ambassador of Holland will be there—­you see, it’s about the importation of tobacco. [Makes gestures as of smoking and whispers into the PRINCE’S ear.] But I suppose a fine young gentleman like yourself doesn’t smoke.

PRINCE (in despair).

No, Your Majesty—­but my imagination is smoking like any volcano already.

A LACKEY (coming in).

The Privy Councilors urgently pray Your Majesty to receive them.

KING.

Gad, but they must be eaten up by curiosity!  Bring them in. [The lackey goes out.] Well, as I was saying—­an allegorical marriage masque—­that’s what.  Not quite in the style of Versailles.  And yet I want the pre-marital feast to be fine enough to compare favorably with the one they rigged up in Dresden.  Now—­as for Holland.  Put in some verses about the colonies, Prince, about the land where tobacco grows.  You know—­it’s the land where the—­

PRINCE (beside himself).

Where the Bong-tree grows! [He goes out.]

Page 187

SCENE VI

GRUMBKOW and SECKENDORF come in.  Each carries under his arm a small bundle of red-bound books.

GRUMBKOW.

Forgive us, Your Majesty—­but it is incredible that such unprecedented crimes should occur in the very bosom of the Royal Family!

KING.

What’s the matter now?

GRUMBKOW.

Your Majesty has already been informed about the Frenchman who was found wandering through the streets of Berlin without any proper passport or identification, the man who had the temerity to say he had come to teach Princess Wilhelmine his language.

KING.

It was only a wigmaker from Orleans.

SECKENDORF.

Oh, but we have discovered further complications, Your Majesty!  Books were found in this man’s possession, books which point to a dangerous connection with Rheinsberg.

GRUMBKOW.

Convince yourself, Your Majesty.  These immoral French writings are all marked with the initials of His Highness the Crown Prince.

SECKENDORF.

F.P.R.

GRUMBKOW.

Frederic, Prince Royal.

[The KING starts in anger, takes up one of the books and then touches the bell.  EVERSMANN comes in.]

KING.

Eversman [with conscious impressiveness], my spectacles! [EVERSMANN goes out and returns again with a big pair of glasses.] The Attorney-General must make a thorough examination of this vagrant’s papers....  I will not have these French clowns in my country. [He looks through one of the books.] The Crown Prince’s seal—­But no—­no ... the vagabond must have stolen it from him.

GRUMBKOW.

Or else the books were intended for the Princess’ instruction.

KING.

This sort of book?  These French—­hold! hold! what have we here—­is this not the disgusting novel written by the hunchback Scarron, the husband of the fine Madame Maintenon—­his notorious satire upon our Court?

GRUMBKOW AND EVERSMANN (together).

Our Court?

KING (turning the leaves).

A satire on us all—­on me—­on Seckendorf, Grumbkow, Eversmann.

EVERSMANN.

On me, too?  KING (serious).

The Crown Prince has underscored most of it, that it may be better understood.  Here is a Marshal with the nickname le chicaneur.  You know that’s meant for you, Grumbkow.

GRUMBKOW.

Outrageous!

KING.

The Ambassador, Vicomte de la Rancune, otherwise le petit combinateur
That’s you, Seckendorf.

SECKENDORF.

It’s—­it’s an international insult.

KING.

And he called Eversmann la rapiniere, or, as we would say, Old
Rapacity!

EVERSMANN.

The rogue!  And such books find their way into the country—­marked properly by the Crown Prince at that!

Page 188

KING.

Can Wilhelmine be a party to this?  That would indeed be scandalous.  The Attorney-General must make a thorough investigation. [In extreme anger.] Isn’t it possible for me to have a single quiet moment?

EVERSMANN.

Your Majesty, shall I take these ungodly books to the executioner, to have them burned?

KING.

No.  I wouldn’t use them even to light my pipe—­not even as bonfires for our festivities.  Gentlemen, shake this matter off, as I have done.  This evening, over our glowing pipes, and in the enjoyment of a glass of good German beer, we also can be just as witty at the expense of Versailles and the entire French cabinet.

GRUMBKOW AND SECKENDORF (together, aside).

Bonfires for the festivities?

EVERSMANN.

But the books are to be burned, Your Majesty?

KING.

Yes, in another manner.  Send them out to the powder mills by the Oranienburger gate.  They can make cartridges for my grenadiers out of them. [He goes out.]

GRUMBKOW, SECKENDORF, EVERSMANN (aside).  Festivities?

[They go out.]

SCENE VII

The scene changes to the room of Act I.

BARONET HOTHAM comes in cautiously through the centre door, followed by KAMKE.

HOTHAM.

A hall with four doors?  Quite right.  The Princess’ room there?  And the Queen’s here?  Thanks, good friend. [KAMKE goes out.] Baronet Hotham is preserving his incognito to the extent of becoming entirely invisible.  I’ve smuggled myself into the country from London—­by way of Hanover—­as if I were a bale of prohibited merchandise. [Wipes his forehead.] The deuce take this equestrian official business, where a man needs have the manners of a dandy with the unfeeling bones of a postilion.  For four days I’ve scarcely been out of the saddle. [He throws himself into a chair.] Gad! if the nations knew how a man has to win his way through to the Foreign Office by years of courier-riding, they’d not think it strange that their statesmen, grown mature, seem disinclined to trip the light fantastic.  Faith, it weighs one’s pocket heavily, this carrying a kingdom about with one. [He slaps his right coat-pocket.] Here lies the crown of England. [Now the left coat-pocket.] Here the crown of Scotland—­and here, in my waistcoat pocket, is Ireland.  What shall I take from herein exchange? [He looks about.] Is the gilding real?  It looks deuced niggardly and close-fisted.  There’s space enough in these great halls, but I’ll wager there are many mice here.  It’s as quiet as an English Sunday. [Rises.] There’s some one coming.

[Rises PRINCE opens the centre door, then halts on the threshold as if in despair.]

HOTHAM (in surprise).

Well?

Page 189

[The PRINCE comes down a step and claps his hand to his forehead.]

HOTHAM.

I believe he’s writing verses.

[The PRINCE moves as before, toward the PRINCESS’ door, then sees HOTHAM.]

PRINCE.

What?  Who—­who is this I see?

HOTHAM (surprised).

Do my eyes deceive me?

PRINCE.

Hotham!  Is it possible?  You here in Berlin, friend?

HOTHAM.

Why, what is the matter, Prince?

PRINCE.

Think of meeting you—­you dear, excellent fellow—­and just at the very moment when my despair threatened to overcome me!  Is it really true?  Where do you come from?  From Paris?

HOTHAM.

I’ve just come from England, Prince, with the very best greetings from our mutual friends and a special commission to capture you and bring you back to the race-track, to the hunting field, and the boxing ring, which you so enjoyed.

PRINCE.

Alas, Hotham—­all those pleasures are over for me!

HOTHAM.

Has your father cut you off from the succession?

PRINCE.

Ah, do not touch that sensitive wound!  Fetch me, instead, the Empire of
Morocco.

HOTHAM.

You are ill of a fever, Prince, or else you need a friend to aid you with his sane mind.

PRINCE.

Hotham, you are a genius—­many an intrigue of your country’s foes will be shattered against that brain of yours.  But you cannot help me.

HOTHAM.

I wish that I could, Prince.  I am so deeply in your debt for a hundred good services rendered me during your sojourn in England.  It was your influence that put me in touch with our leading statesmen; you opened the diplomatic career to me.  To you I owe all that I am and have—­my brain is at your service, let it think for you; my arm is at your service, let it act for you.

PRINCE.

Hotham, I’m in a most peculiar situation—­

HOTHAM.

I will devote my very life to your service.  What would I be without you?  To you I owe this flattering mission, to you I owe my very presence here.

PRINCE.

Yes—­why are you here?

HOTHAM (looks about).

It is an affair of the greatest secrecy.  But if you desire I shall not hesitate to tell you what it is.

PRINCE. (absently).

I am not curious.  Will it keep you here long?

HOTHAM.

That depends upon circumstances—­circumstances of a most delicate nature.

PRINCE.

An affair of honor?

HOTHAM (low).

It concerns a possible marriage contract—­between Princess Wilhelmine and the Prince of Wales.

PRINCE (as if beside himself).

You?  You are the ambassador of whom the King spoke to me just now?

Page 190

HOTHAM.

Has the King been informed already?

PRINCE.

Then you—­you are that irresistibly clever diplomat whom they are awaiting with open arms?

HOTHAM.

Does the King really look with favor upon this marriage with the Prince of Wales?

PRINCE.

Horrible!  I picked this man for a genius from among a thousand others.  I took him from Paris, and put him into English diplomacy and now I must suffer because he does honor to my judgment.  Let me tell you, then, my friend, that the King and the Queen, quite ignorant of their mutual agreement, are both heartily desirous of this marriage and all of its implications.  But you are to know also that Princess Wilhelmine, the unhappy sacrifice of your political ambitions, is loved by a prince who cannot compete in power or position with your Prince of Wales, but who in devotion, love, passion so far outdistances all and any crowned suitors for the hand of this angel as heaven, nay, as paradise, outdistances earth—­and that this prince is—­myself.

HOTHAM.

This is indeed a discovery I did not dream of, and I must, unhappily, add not a pleasant one.  But if you ask in due form, why should they not grant you the hand of the Princess?

PRINCE.

Grant it to me?  A petty German sovereign When they have the choice of future Kings and Emperors?  Speak of me to the Queen and you will discover that she invariably confuses Baireuth with Ansbach.

HOTHAM.

The discovery is all the less pleasing in that I, as envoy of my government, must do all I can to bring about the marriage.

PRINCE.

Of course, you must justify my recommendation.

HOTHAM.

And yet I take the liberty of suggesting that possibly—­under certain conditions—­this marriage with England might not come about.  Of a truth, Prince, take courage!  Circumstances might arise which would not only give me the right, but would even make it my duty to give up all thoughts of the match.

PRINCE.

You revive my very soul.

HOTHAM.

Your Highness, it is not the Prince of Wales whom I represent here.  The English nation, the cabinet, the Houses of Parliament send me.  You are aware, Prince, your sojourn in England must have made it plain to you that the house of Hanover was called to the throne of England under conditions which make it the duty of that house to subordinate its own personal desires to the general welfare of the nation.  Whether or not the Prince of Wales feels any personal interest in his cousin is of little moment.  Parliament takes no cognizance of whether they love each other or not.  The Prince of Wales, as future King of England, will contract any matrimonial alliance that is suggested to him as necessary to the national welfare.  An alliance with the dynasty of the rising young kingdom of Prussia seems, under the present political constellation, to be the most favorable.

Page 191

PRINCE.

And this holds out some hope for me?

HOTHAM.

There lies no hope in this unfortunate mission of mine, but in one of its clauses which states that the marriage, if all else be favorable, may be concluded only on this condition [looking about cautiously]:  that certain English manufacturers shut out by Prussia be readmitted into the country [softly] on acceptable terms.

PRINCE.

And into this—­this mercantile scheming you would mingle a question of love—­an affair of the heart?

HOTHAM.

I am here to speak for the hearts of our merchants, hearts that beat warmly for the throne, but still more warmly for their balance-sheets.  If our factories have nothing to hope for, then, Prince [takes his hands], my protector, my patron, then I am all yours.  And you shall see that I have other talents besides those of diplomacy.

PRINCE.

Talents to awaken a hope on which the bitterest disappointment must follow.

HOTHAM.

Wait, Prince, wait and trust—­

PRINCE.

To the counting-room?

HOTHAM.

Why not?  And when, in case the King will not agree to the new treaties, I have devoted myself entirely to your cause, when you under stand that my heart beats high in gratitude to a Prince whom I met by mere chance and who has been my benefactor—­when you have finally won the heart and hand of the Princess, then all I shall ask of Your Highness, as a German sovereign at the Diet of Regensburg, in Germany’s very heart, is merely your assistance in obtaining from the German Empire some little concession for our harmless, innocent—­manufactures.

KAMKE (opens the door to the right).

HOTHAM.

Everything else later.  For the present—­trust me.  Over there are the
Queen’s apartments.  Farewell. [He goes out.]

SCENE VIII

PRINCE (alone).

Land!  Land in sight!  Something, surely, can be done now!  With Hotham at my right hand, I need only some female reinforcement at my left.  The moment seems favorable.  I will try to draw little Sonnsfeld, the Princess’ lady-in-waiting, into the plot.  She is waiting in the anteroom.  I’ll knock. [He goes softly to the PRINCESS’ door and knocks].  I hear a sound. [He knocks again.] The rustle of a gown—­it is she. [He draws back a step and turns.] First one must take these little outposts and then—­to the main battle.

[WILHELMINE comes in.]

PRINCE (startled).

Ah, it is you—­yourself!

WILHELMINE.

Oh, then it was you, Prince?  I have reason to be very angry with you.

PRINCE.

With me, Your Highness?  Why with me?

WILHELMINE.

As if you did not know the insult you have offered me.

Page 192

PRINCE.

Princess, would you drive me mad?  I offer you an insult?

WILHELMINE.

Have you not heard what sort of a person this learned Laharpe of yours really is?

PRINCE.

Princess, Laharpe is one of the most intelligent of men and possessed of a pretty wit.  One might search long among your scholars here in Berlin before finding his equal in cultivation.

WILHELMINE.

He is a wigmaker from Orleans!

PRINCE.

But I assure you, Princess, he is not a wigmaker.  It is true Laharpe does understand the splitting of hairs, but only in scientific controversy; it is true he does use paint and powder, in that he paints his thoughts in words of elegance, and lays on them the powder of ingenious sophistry—­an art that is better understood in France than here.  It is unfortunate enough, Your Highness, that your royal father’s kingdom should be in such bad repute that foreigners of wit, poetry, and cultivation can be admitted only when they come bearing the passport of wigmakers.

WILHELMINE.

But our plan has come to naught; Laharpe has been banished.

PRINCE.

A weak reflection of his brilliancy has remained, Princess.  Do not think me quite unworthy of taking his place.  Grant me the blessed consciousness of having aided you to escape a situation which passes all bounds of filial obedience.

WILHELMINE.

Prince—­this language—­

PRINCE.

It is the language of a feeling I can no longer control, of an indignation I can no longer suppress.  Princess, do you know that you are destined as a sacrifice to political and commercial intrigue?  That you are to be sent to England in exchange for the produce of English factories?

WILHELMINE (in indignation).

Who says that?

PRINCE.

Far be it from me to pass judgment on your desires—­far be it from me to inquire if it may not surprise, perhaps even please your ambitions when you hear that you might win even an Imperial crown—­but, if you love the Prince of Wales—­

WILHELMINE.

The Prince of Wales?  Who says that I love him?

PRINCE.

Your mother, who presupposes it—­your father, who commands it.

WILHELMINE.

The Prince of Wales?  My cousin, whom I have never seen?  Who has never betrayed the slightest interest in me?  A Prince whose loose living has made me despise him!

PRINCE.

Then you do not love the Prince?

WILHELMINE.

My heart is free.  And no power on earth can force me to give it to any man but to him whom I shall choose myself.

PRINCE.

Do I hear aright?

WILHELMINE.

I have been obedient and dutiful from the very first stirring of my personal consciousness.  I have never had a will of my own, or dared, if I had that will, to give it expression.  But when they would take the one thing from me, the one thing that is still mine after all these years of humiliation, my own inalienable possession, my heart’s free choice—­then indeed the bottomless depths of my obedience will be found exhausted.  I feel that my brother was justified in throwing off such a yoke—­and I will show the world that I am indeed his sister.

Page 193

PRINCE.

Princess! [Aside.] What can I do—­it is too much joy—­too much bliss! [Aloud.] Princess! the green garlands on the little window down there, the potted flowers offer a secret retreat—­the little linnet in his cage is impatient for the return of his beautiful and benign mistress.

WILHELMINE (drawing her hand from his).

You would—­

PRINCE.

I would take the place of that misjudged and slandered scholar.  And down there, alone with you, not worried by threatening footfalls in the corridors, undisturbed by [noise of drums outside] those cruel guardians of your freedom, I would tell the most charming Princess of Europe that—­

WILHELMINE.

You have nothing to tell me—­nothing at all.

PRINCE (throws himself at her feet).

I would tell her that there is one Prince who, although he will one day reign over no more than a tiny plot of German earth, still can gather from the spell of her beauty, the kindness of her heart, the courage to say to her—­I love you—­I worship you.

WILHELMINE.

Prince, what are you doing—­please arise—­some one is coming!

PRINCE.

Not until you promise me you will meet me there.

WILHELMINE.

Oh—­if we should be surprised like this!  Please get up!

PRINCE.

You will promise?  You will meet me?

WILHELMINE.

Where? [He points to the window.] There?  But I am not alone even there.

PRINCE.

Those simple people are overjoyed when their Princess consents to linger an hour with them in their poverty.  I have much to say to you, Princess, very much.  I will tell you of the plans concerning England or Austria of which you are the central figure.  And you must tell me again—­in the very best style of Versailles, which I know thoroughly—­that you hate me—­that you detest me—­

WILHELMINE.

Prince, you torture me—­I hear voices.  Some one is approaching—­Please get up.

PRINCE.

Will you promise?

WILHELMINE.

Cruel one!  You won’t get up—­

PRINCE.

Not until you promise—­

WILHELMINE.

If you promise to talk only about the plans that concern me—­and about
French grammar—­

PRINCE (springing up).

You promise?  You will come?  By every star in the firmament I swear I will begin with the verb J’aime—­I love—­and you shall see how, in comparison with the language of a devoted heart, in comparison with the art which unadorned nature can practise, even Voltaire is only—­a wigmaker. [He goes out.]

SCENE IX

The noise of drums in the distance is no longer heard. WILHELMINE left alone, starts as if to follow the PRINCE. Then she turns back hesitating, and walks with uncertain steps to the table.  She rings the bell. SONNSFELD comes in, looks at the Princess as if surprised, speaks after a pause.

Page 194

SONNSFELD.

Your Highness commands?

WILHELMINE (as if awakening from a dream).

I?  Nothing.

SONNSFELD.

Your Highness rang?

WILHELMINE.

Yes, I did.  My mantilla—­my fan—­the veil.

SONNSFELD.

Your Highness is going out?

WILHELMINE.

I am going out.

SONNSFELD.

Has Your Highness permission?

WILHELMINE.

Permission?  Are you beginning to take that tone, too?  Fetch the things I want.

[SONNSFELD looks at her, astounded, then goes out.]

WILHELMINE (alone).

I am tired of all this.  I am beginning to be conscious of myself, now that I know there is some one who recognizes my meagre worth.  The situation here is unbearable.  I am weary of this unworthy subordination, this barrack-room service.

[SONNSFELD comes back with mantilla, fan and veil.]

WILHELMINE.

You might have chosen the mantilla with the Brussels lace.

SONNSFELD.

Your Highness—­what is your purpose?

WILHELMINE.

Throw the veil about my head.  Don’t question everything I do.  Must I give you an accounting for every trifle?

SONNSFELD.

Good Heavens—­have you joined your mother in her revolutionary ideas?

WILHELMINE.

I have joined no one.  I want to show the world that a Princess of Prussia has at least the right to pass from one court of the palace to another of her own free will.  I am tired of being tyrannized in this way.  The Grand Elector lived for me as well as for the others—­the Hohenzollerns are what they are for my sake also.  Adieu. [Holds out her hand.] You may kiss my hand.  And do not forget that I am the daughter of a king who is forming great and important plans for his child’s future, and that this child, even though she should be stubborn enough to refuse to acquiesce in his plans, will still be none the less a Princess of Prussia.

[She turns to go.  The centre door opens and ECKHOF comes in, followed by three grenadiers.  The door remains open.]

ECKHOF.

Halt!

SONNSFELD.

Are you to have a Guard of Honor, Princess?

ECKHOF.

Grenadiers—­front!

[Three more men come in without their muskets.  The first carries a Bible, the second a soup tureen, the third a half-knitted stocking.]

ECKHOF (comes forward and salutes the PRINCESS).

May it please your Royal Highness graciously to forgive me, if by reason of a special investigation commanded by His Majesty the King, in consequence of forbidden communication with Castle Rheinsberg, I ask Your Highness to graciously submit to a strict room-arrest, as ordered by His Majesty the King.

SONNSFELD.

What’s that?  Princess!

Page 195

ECKHOF.

Likewise, His Majesty the King has graciously pleased to make the following dispositions First grenadier, front! [The first grenadier marches forward with the Bible.] Your Royal Highness is to learn chapters three to five of the Song of Solomon so thoroughly that the Court Chaplain can examine Your Highness in the same tomorrow morning at five o’clock.  Second grenadier, front! [The second grenadier comes forward with the soup tureen.] The food ordered for Your Highness will be brought up from the garrison kitchen punctually every day.

SONNSFELD (opens the tureen).

Dreadful stuff!  Boiled beans!

ECKHOF.

Third grenadier, front! [The third grenadier comes forward with the half-knitted stocking.] And, finally, His Majesty the King pleases to command Your Highness to knit, every two days, a pair of woolen stockings for the worthy Foundling Asylum of Berlin.  May it please Your Royal Highness—­this ends my orders.

SONNSFELD (in a tone of despair).

Princess, are these the King’s plans for your future?

WILHELMINE (trembling in excitement).

Calm yourself, dear friend.  Yes, this is the beginning of a new life for me.  The battle is on!  Go to my father and tell him—­

SONNSFELD.

Go to the King and tell him—­[To the PRINCESS.] What are they to tell him?

WILHELMINE (with tragic decision).

Tell him that I—­

SONNSFELD.

Tell him that we—­

WILHELMINE.

That I—­[Her courage begins to fail.] That although we will learn the chapters—­

SONNSFELD.

And although we will eat the beans—­

WILHELMINE.

It will not be our fault if [with renewed courage] if in the despair of our hearts—­

SONNSFELD (tragically).

We let fall the stitches in the orphan’s stockings—­

WILHELMINE.

And wish that we were merely the Princess of Reuss—­

SONNSFELD.

Schleiz—­

WILHELMINE.

Greiz and Lobenstein!

[They go out angrily.]

ACT III

The PRINCESS’ room.  Attractive, cozy apartment.  An open window to the right.  Doors centre, right and left.  A cupboard, a table.

SCENE I

PRINCESS WILHELMINE leans against the window-casing, deep in thought. SONNSFELD sits on the left side of the room, knitting a child’s stocking.

WILHELMINE (aside).

Hour after hour passes!  What will the Prince think of me?  Or can he have learned my fate already?

SONNSFELD.

Did Your Highness speak?

WILHELMINE.

No, I—­I merely sighed.

Page 196

SONNSFELD.

It seemed as if you were talking to yourself.  Don’t be too melancholy.  You’ll soon learn the Bible verses and I’ll relieve you of most of the knitting.

WILHELMINE.

You are too good—­you are kinder to me than I have deserved of you today.  That work is tiring you—­give it to me.

SONNSFELD.

No, let me have it.  You take the other one that is started.  In this way we will gain time to rest later.

WILHELMINE (listening toward the door).

And we aren’t even allowed a word with each other in freedom.

SONNSFELD (rises and looks toward the door).

It is cruel to let soldiers see a Princess humiliated to the extent of knitting stockings.

WILHELMINE.

Why complain?  It is—­of itself, quite nicely domestic. [She knits.]

SONNSFELD.

What would the Prince of Baireuth say if he could see you now?

WILHELMINE.

The Prince?  What made you think of the Prince?

SONNSFELD.

You cannot deny that his attentions to you might be called almost—­tender—­

WILHELMINE.

Almost—­

SONNSFELD.

Such eyes!  Such burning glances!  I am very much mistaken or it was Your Royal brother’s intention, in sending this young Prince to you, to send you at the same time the most ardent lover under the sun.

WILHELMINE.

Lovers hold more with the moon.

SONNSFELD.

And he shows so great an admiration for you that I am again mistaken if our sentry outside the door there has not already in his pocket a billet-doux addressed to Your Highness—­a billet-doux written by the Prince.

WILHELMINE.

Sonnsfeld!  What power of combination!

SONNSFELD.

Almost worthy of a Seckendorf, isn’t it?  I’ll question the man, in any case.

WILHELMINE.

Are you crazy?

SONNSFELD (at the door).

Hey, there, grenadier!

ECKHOF (comes in).

At your service, madam.  SONNSFELD.  Have you a letter for us?

ECKHOF.

Please Your Honor, yes.

SONNSFELD (to the PRINCESS).

There you are! [To ECKHOF.] From the Prince of Baireuth?

ECKHOF.

Please Your Honor, yes.

WILHELMINE.

Where is it?  Did you take it?

ECKHOF.

Please Your Honor, no. [Wheels and goes out.]

SONNSFELD.

What a dreadful country!  The general heartlessness penetrates even to the uneducated classes.

WILHELMINE.

But how dare the Prince imagine that our sentry could forget all—­all sense of propriety in this way?

SONNSFELD.

Would you not have accepted it?

WILHELMINE.

Never!

[A letter, attached to a little stone, is thrown in at the window.]

Page 197

SONNSFELD.

A letter?  Through the window!  Oh, how it frightened me!

WILHELMINE.

Pick it up.

SONNSFELD (doing so).

But you won’t accept it, you say.  It can only be from the Prince—­and it is addressed to Your Highness.

[Gives her the letter.]

WILHELMINE.

To me?  Why, then—­why shouldn’t I accept it? [She opens the letter.] It is—­it is from the Prince. [She reads, aside.] “Adored one!  Is there to be no end to these cruelties?  Have they begun to torture you with England yet?  They will come to you and will try to force you into this marriage.  But Baronet Hotham, the English Envoy, is my friend and your friend, and will work for you while he seems to be working against you.  It is a dangerous game, but it means your freedom and my life.  Love comprehends—­Love.”

SONNSFELD.

May I hear?

WILHELMINE.

It is a little message of sympathy—­from—­from one of our faithful servants.

SONNSFELD.

The good people are all so fond of you.  You must answer it, I suppose?

WILHELMINE.  Just a word or two-it is really of no importance whatever.

SONNSFELD.  But we need not offend any one. [Aside.] What clever pretending! [Aloud.] Let me try if our grenadier is still as stubborn as before.

WILHELMINE.

What are you thinking of?

SONNSFELD.

We’ll make the trial. [She goes to the door.] Here you—­stern warrior—­

ECKHOF (in the door).

At your service.

SONNSFELD.

Why didn’t you take the letter?

ECKHOF.

It would mean running the gauntlet for me.

SONNSFELD.

We would compensate you for any such punishment.

ECKHOF.

You could not.

SONNSFELD.

Would money be no compensation?

ECKHOF.

Even if shame could be healed by money, that would be the one remedy you couldn’t apply.

WILHELMINE.

And why?

ECKHOF.

Because Your Highness hasn’t any money.

SONNSFELD.

Dreadful creature!

WILHELMINE (aside).

He knows our situation only too well.  We must give up all thought of sending an answer.

ECKHOF.

May I go now?

SONNSFELD.

Impertinent creature!  What is your name?

ECKHOF.

Eckhof.

SONNSFELD.

Where were you born?

ECKHOF.  Hamburg.

SONNSFELD.

What have you learned?

ECKHOF.  Nothing.

WILHELMINE.

Nothing?  That is little enough.

SONNSFELD.

What did you want to make of yourself?

ECKHOF.

Everything.

WILHELMINE (aside).

Page 198

A strange man!  Let us cross-examine him.  It will afford us a little amusement at least.

SONNSFELD (to ECKHOF).

We are not clever enough to understand such witty answers.  How do you reconcile nothing with everything.

ECKHOF.

I grew up in a theatre, but all I ever learned there was to clean the lamps.  Our manager discharged his company and I was compelled to take service with a secretary in the post office.  But when my new master’s wife demanded that I should climb up behind her carriage, as her footman, I took to wandering again.  I begged my way to Schwerin and a learned man of the law made me his clerk.  The post office and the courtroom were just two new sorts of theatre for me.  The addresses on the letters excited my imagination, the lawsuits gave my brain exercise.  The desire to create, upon the stage, true pictures of human greatness and human degradation, to depict vice and virtue in reality’s own colors, still inspired me, but I saw no opportunity to satisfy it.  Then, in a reckless moment, when I had sought to drown my melancholy in drink, fate threw me into the hands of the Prussian recruiting officers.  I was dazzled by the handful of silver they offered me; for its sake I bartered away my golden freedom.  Since that day I carry the musket.  The noisy drums drown the longing that awakens a thousand times a day, the longing for an Art that still calls me as to a sacred mission; the uniform smothers the impulse to create human nobility; and in these drilled, unnatural motions of my limbs, my free will and my sense of personal dignity will perish at last.  From such a fate there is no release for the poor bought soldier—­no release but death.

WILHELMINE (aside, sadly).

It is a picture of my own sorrow.

SONNSFELD.

That is all very well, but you really should be glad that now you are something—­as you were nothing before and had not learned any trade.

ECKHOF.

I learned little from books but much from life.  I understand something of music.

SONNSFELD.

Of music?  Ah, then you can entertain this poor imprisoned Princess.  Your
Highness, where is the Crown Prince’s flute?

ECKHOF.

I play the violin.

SONNSFELD.

We have a violin, too.  We have the Crown Prince’s entire orchestra hidden here. [She goes to the cupboard and brings out a violin.] Here, now play something for us and we will dance.

WILHELMINE.

What are you thinking of?  With the Queen’s room over there?  And the King may surprise us at any moment from the other side.

SONNSFELD.

Just a little Francaise shall be a rehearsal for the torchlight dance at your wedding.

WILHELMINE.

You know the King’s aversion toward music and dancing.

SONNSFELD.

Here, Eckhof, take the violin-and now begin.

Page 199

ECKHOF (looks about timidly).

But if I—­[much moved] Heavens—­it is three years since I have touched that noble, that magical instrument.

SONNSFELD.

Come now!  I’m the cavalier, Princess, and you are the lady.

[ECKHOF plays one of the simple naive dance tunes of the day.  The two ladies dance.]

SONNSFELD.

Bravo, Eckhof!  This is going nicely—­ah, what joy to dance once more! 
This way now la—­la—­la! [She hums the melody.]

SCENE II

During the dance the KING comes in softly through the door to the right.  He starts when he sees the dancers and the grenadier playing the violin.  They do not notice him.  He comes-nearer and attempts to join the dance unobserved.

WILHELMINE.

Sonnsfeld, that’s not right!  Now it’s the gentleman’s turn. [Holds her hand out behind her back]—­Like this.

[The KING takes her hand gently with one finger and dances a few steps.]

WILHELMINE.

How clumsy, dear friend. [Dancing.] And your hand is strangely rough today.

[She turns and sees the KING, who had begun to hum the tune in a gruff voice.  The three start in alarm.  ECKHOF salutes with the violin.]

KING (angry).

Very nice—­very pretty indeed!  Are these the sayings of Solomon?  Music and dancing in my castle by broad daylight?  And a Prussian grenadier playing the violin to the prisoner he is set to watch?

SONNSFELD.

Pardon, Your Majesty—­it was we who forced him.

KING.

Forced him?  Forced a soldier?  Forced him to violate his duty in this devilish manner?  I’ll have to invent a punishment for him such as the Prussian army has never yet seen.

WILHELMINE.

Have mercy, Your Majesty—­have mercy!

KING.

I’ll talk to you later.  As for you, Conrad Eckhof, I know that is your name—­I will tell you what your punishment shall be.  You are discharged from the army that serves under my glorious flag, discharged in disgrace.  But you are not to be honored by being sent to a convict company or into the worthy station of a subject.  Listen to the fate I have decreed for you.  A troop of German comedians has taken quarters in the Warehouse in the Cloister street.  These mountebanks—­histriones—­are in straits because their clown—­for whom they sent to Leipzig, has not arrived.  You are to take off the honorable Prussian uniform and to join this group of mountebanks, sent there by me, as a warning to every one.  You are to become an actor, a clown of clowns-and henceforth amuse the German nation with your foolish and criminal jokes and quips.  Shame upon you!

ECKHOF (with a grateful glance to heaven, trying to conceal his joyful excitement).

Page 200

An actor!  Oh, I thank Your Majesty for this most gracious sentence.  Conrad Eckhof will endeavor to do honor to himself and his despised new profession.

[Goes out.]

KING.

And as for you, my Lady Sonnsfeld, you may, the sooner the better, pack up your belongings and be off to Dresden where my cousin, the Elector of Saxony, has need of just such nymphs and graces for his court fireworks and his ballets.

SONNSFELD (going out, speaks aside).

In his anger he chooses punishments that can only delight any person of refinement. [She goes out.]

KING.

Wilhelmine!

WILHELMINE.

Your Majesty, what have I done that I am so unhappy as always to arouse your displeasure?

KING.

You call me “Majesty” because you lack a daughter’s heart for your father.  I have brought up my children in the good old German fashion; I have tried to keep all French vanities and French follies far from their childish hearts; on my throne I have tried to prove that Kings may set an example to their subjects, an example of how the simplest honest household may be ruled.  Have I succeeded in this?

WILHELMINE.

You have punished us severely enough for our faults.

KING.

This wigmaker—­who was to instruct you in all the ambiguities of the
French language—­

WILHELMINE.

He was not a wigmaker.

KING.  He was.

WILHELMINE.

Well, if he was, then you dislike him simply because you are so fond of your horrid pigtail.

KING.

The pigtail is a man’s best adornment.  In that braided hair lies concentrated power.  A pigtail is not a wild fluttering mass of disorder about one’s head—­the seat of the human soul—­such as our Hottentot dandies of today show in their long untidy hair.  It expresses, instead, a simple, pious and well-brushed order, entwined obedience, falling gently down over the shoulders, fit symbol for a Christian gentleman.  But I am tired of this eternal quarreling with you.  This present arrest shall be the last proof of my fatherly affection.  You will soon be free and mistress of your own actions.  I announce herewith that you will shortly be able to come and go at your own discretion.

WILHELMINE.

Father!

KING.

Is that tone sincere?

WILHELMINE.

It comes from a heart that will never cease to revere the best of men.

KING.

Then you realize that I desire only your happiness?  Yes, Wilhelmine, you will soon be able to do whatever you like, you may read French books, dance the minuet, keep an entire orchestra of musicians.  I have arranged all things for your happiness and for your freedom.

[Illustration:  KING FREDERICK WILLIAM I OF PRUSSIA R. SIEMERING]

WILHELMINE.  How may I understand this, father?

Page 201

KING.

You will have horses and carriages, and footmen, as becomes a future
Queen.

WILHELMINE.

Queen?

KING.

You will see that I do in very truth deserve the name you gave me, the name of the best of fathers.  But still—­I hear your mother.

WILHELMINE.

What—­what is going to happen—­

KING.

Prepare yourself for a weighty moment—­the moment of your betrothal.

SCENE III

The QUEEN comes in, leaning on the arm of the PRINCE OF BAIREUTH.  HOTHAM and several lackeys follow.

WILHELMINE (aside, surprised).

The Prince!

[The QUEEN bows coldly to the KING.]

KING (equally coldly).

Good morning.

QUEEN (to the PRINCESS).

My dear child, I here present to you the Envoy of the King of England,
Baronet Hotham.

WILHELMINE (bows, speaks aside).

The Prince’s friend?  How am I to understand all this?

KING.

Pardon me, wife, the Prince of Baireuth should take precedence.  My dear child, I present to you here the Prince Hereditary of Baireuth.

PRINCE (bows, speaks aside to WILHELMINE).

Do not lose courage.  It will all work out for the best.

QUEEN.

Have you good news from Ansbach, dear Prince?

PRINCE. (aside).

This eternal mistake of hers. [Aloud.] Your Majesty, I hear there is a plan on foot to transplant Ansbach to Baireuth.

KING. (has been only half listening).

Hush!  Let us cast aside all these earthly thoughts and plans and prepare ourselves for a work of sacred import.  Sit down by your mother, Wilhelmine.

WILHELMINE.

What is going to happen?

KING.

You, Prince, as my natural aide—­here!  Baronet Hotham, you are in the centre.

[The lackeys place the table in the centre of the room and then go off.]

PRINCE (aside).

Hotham—­the commercial treaties—­

[HOTHAM sits down at the centre of the table, opens the portfolio which he has brought with him, lays out sheets of paper, and examines his pen.]

KING (folding his hands).

In God’s name—­[After a pause] If I should ask you, my faithful spouse, companion of my life, what a happy marriage is—­

QUEEN.

Has that anything to do with our daughter’s wedding-contract?

KING.

Do not interrupt me. You may not be conscious of it—­but I am fully aware of how much this solemn moment imports.

HOTHAM.

Please Your Majesty—­I have already written “In God’s name.”

KING (looks surprised and pleased).

Page 202

Did you really write that?

HOTHAM.

It is customary to print it at the head of these and similar contracts.

KING.

Printing is not as good—­the letter killeth, saith the Scriptures; but you may begin now.

HOTHAM.

We are concerned here with an affiliation between two nations which, although differing in language, manners, and customs, still have so many points of contact that they should seize every opportunity to come closer to each other.

KING.

Couldn’t you weave in something there about the English being really descended from the Germans?

HOTHAM.

That would lead us too far afield.

KING.

Oh, very well, as you say.  It was a good beginning.

HOTHAM.

Such an opportunity now offers in the mutually expressed wish of the dynasties of England and Prussia, to unite in the bonds of holy matrimony two of their illustrious scions.  The Prince of Wales sues for the hand of Princess Wilhelmine.

WILHELMINE.

The Prince of Wales?

HOTHAM.

His suit is accepted attendant upon the conditions here following.

WILHELMINE. Accepted?

KING.

Hush!  Do not disturb this solemn procedure by idle chatter.

WILHELMINE.

But—­but how is this possible—­

PRINCE (to the PRINCESS).

Your Highness, the conditions are but just being drawn up.

QUEEN (aside to the PRINCESS).

Do not interrupt.  What must the envoy of the elegant court of St. James think of the manners of our Prussian Princesses!

KING.

These chattering women!  Very good, Baronet Hotham; the beginning was excellent.  Don’t you think so, Prince?

PRINCE.

Certainly, Your Majesty. [Aside] It was odious.

QUEEN.

And the conditions? [Aside] I am eager to hear about the dowry.

HOTHAM.

First paragraph—­

KING.

Pardon me, I can tell you that in fewer words.  I give my daughter as dowry, forty thousand thalers, and a yearly pin-money of two thousand thalers.  I will bear the expense of the wedding.  But that is all.

QUEEN (rising).

I trust that this is not Your Majesty’s real intention.  Baronet Hotham,
I beg you will not include such a declaration in the protocol.

KING (seated).

Not include it in the protocol?  H’m—­h’m—­forty thousand thalers in cash—­too little?

HOTHAM.

The question of dowry will offer but little difficulty to a country as rich as England.  Far more important are the political matters which, in the case of so intimate an alliance, must come up for especial consideration.

KING.

Political matters?

HOTHAM.

I mean—­certain questions and points of discussion which, with your gracious permission, I would now like to present to you.

Page 203

KING.

Questions?  Points of discussion?  Do you see anything to object to in my daughter? [He rises.]

HOTHAM.

Your Majesty, there are certain—­advantages for both nations—­

KING.

Advantages for Prussia? [He sits down again.] You may speak then.

HOTHAM.

To take up one point.  For this marriage England will confirm without hindrance Your Majesty’s investiture of the Duchies Juelich and Berg.

KING.

Very decent; thanks.

PRINCE (aside).

Hotham, you fox!

HOTHAM.

And furthermore Parliament declares itself willing—­

KING.

Declares itself willing—­

WILHELMINE.

What has Parliament to do with it?  Am I marrying the two houses of
Parliament?

QUEEN (half aloud).

Be quiet.  You don’t understand.  In England, all political parties have something to say in such matters.

KING (half aside).  Yes, child, that would be the country for your mother, wouldn’t it?  Well?

HOTHAM.

Parliament declares itself willing, in case Your Majesty wishes to complete the conquest of Swedish Pommerania, to let the matter pass without an interpellation.

QUEEN (pleased and excited).

Very polite indeed.  I should not have believed Parliament would be so amiable.  Just think, Wilhelmine, Parliament promises not to interpellate.

WILHELMINE.

What sort of a new political torture is that?

KING (to the PRINCESS).

To interpellate means to harass and embarrass the government by continual contradictions, interruptions, and objections.  That’s why your mother understood it at once.  Much obliged, my gear Hotham.  My kindest greetings to Parliament.  But continue—­continue!

PRINCE (aside).

I am on tenter-hooks.

HOTHAM.

For these many tokens of unselfish cordiality, for further manifold proofs of political complaisance, to be reviewed by me in detail later, proofs of a sincere desire to be enduringly united with a brother nation—­

KING.

Well?

HOTHAM.

For all this we ask but one little concession, which would make this marriage a true blessing for both countries.

KING.

Out with it!

HOTHAM.

Prussian industry has now reached a standard which renders England desirous of testing its products under certain conditions of importation.  For this—­

KING.

For this?

HOTHAM.

England would feel grateful if the former friendly understanding, interrupted somewhat since Your Majesty’s illustrious accession to the throne, if the former friendly commercial understanding—­

KING.

Understanding?

HOTHAM.  Could be restored; and if Your Majesty would graciously decide, on the occasion of this auspicious union, welcomed in England with such rejoicing, to repeal, in part, the present—­prohibitive regulations—­

Page 204

KING.

What?

HOTHAM.

In a word, England asks for a new commercial treaty.

KING.

New commercial treaty?  Commercial—­[He rises, there is a slight pause.] The meeting is adjourned.

QUEEN.

What’s that?

KING.

Is it for this then, that I have sought to raise and ennoble the civilization of my country, that I have furthered commerce and industry, promoted shipping, given an asylum within the state to thousands of religious refugees from France—­for this, that now, as the price for the honor of an alliance with England, I should open the door and let in the forbidden English merchandise—­to the ruin of my own subjects?

[He goes to the table and rings.  A lackey appears.]

KING.

My ministers!

QUEEN.

What?  You would sacrifice your daughter’s happiness?

SCENE IV

GRUMBKOW, SECKENDORF and three generals come in.

KING.

Step nearer, gentlemen.  I have allowed you to remain in uncertainty concerning a dispatch which arrived this morning from Hanover.  You shall now hear my formal answer to it.  Prince, poet, do not be alarmed.  Our festivities will take place for all that, our cannon will thunder, our lanterns will blaze through the night.  Prince, do you want to put me under eternal obligation to you?

PRINCE (misunderstanding).

Your Majesty!  Can it be possible?

KING.

Do you want to make me your debtor forever?

PRINCE (joyfully).

I?  Wilhel—!

KING.

Take to horse, Prince, and ride off within the hour, as my special envoy to Vienna.

PRINCE, GRUMBKOW AND SECKENDORF (together).

To Vienna?

KING.

My daughter’s hand is promised to Vienna.  Within a fortnight a scion of the illustrious Imperial House will enter the walls of our capital.

HOTHAM.

Your Majesty compels me, in the eventuality of an Arch-Duke’s arrival, to make a certain declaration herewith—­

KING.

And that is?

HOTHAM.

The Prince of Wales—­is already here.

ALL.

The Prince of Wales—­in Berlin?

HOTHAM.

The Prince of Wales arrived three hours ago.

GRUMBKOW AND SECKENDORF.

Impossible!

QUEEN (triumphant).

I breathe again.

KING (in real consternation, but controling himself).

Page 205

Baronet Hotham, I confess that this news surprises, nay, moves me greatly.  But you can lay it to the account of your own egotistical politics if I declare to you that no stranger in Berlin exists for me, until he has been properly registered at the gates of the capital.  If you will drive me to the last stand, if you would make the ground of my own country too hot for me—­then tell the Prince of Wales that although I am deeply touched by his affection for my family, still, under conditions threatening the peace of my country, the welfare of my subjects—­I must beg of him to return whence he came.  Prince, you ride to Vienna as envoy of this monarchy.  Wilhelmine, the Imperial Crown will console you.  And as for you, Madame [aside to the Queen], has not your pride found its limits at last?

QUEEN.

I have pledged my word to England.

KING (good-naturedly).

But if it isn’t possible—­

[Comes nearer cordially, holds out his hand.]

QUEEN (touched, hesitating).

An hour ago, possibly—­[firm and decided again], but now—­the personal presence of the Prince of Wales has taken the decision out of our hands.

KING.

Very well—­he who will have war—­[To HOTHAM] Have you any other instructions than those we have already heard?

HOTHAM.

None, Your Majesty.

KING.

Then come to me, Prince, for the contract with Vienna.  A German state in
England’s stead!  ’Tis better so, gentlemen, better so.  I will cleave to
Germany with all my soul.  Foreign egotism shall teach German peoples and
Princes how to be truly united. [He goes out into his study. GRUMBKOW,
SECKENDORF and the generals follow.]

QUEEN (to HOTHAM).

Sir, you have been witness to a scene which confirms for you the truth as to my position here, the truth that is not yet credited in England.  Wilhelmine, the news of the arrival of the Prince of Wales gives me fresh hope.  Ride to Vienna, Prince—­become, if you must, a traitor to a cause which will conquer, despite the intrigues of my enemies.  Give me your arm, Lord Hotham.  The Prince of Wales in Berlin!  I can hardly realize it.  Bring him to me and prepare him for everything—­but no—­do not mention to him—­those revolting forty thousand thalers.

[She goes out with OTHAM.]

SCENE V

WILHELMINE.

What do you say to your friend now?  The Prince of Wales in Berlin!

PRINCE.

I do not know where I am in all this tangle.  Hotham is a traitor, an ingrate who has betrayed me, betrayed us all.

WILHELMINE.

Be more cautious in the future when you talk of friendship—­and love. 
Farewell.

[She turns to follow the QUEEN.]

PRINCE.

Page 206

Princess, is this your farewell—­while I prepare to meet death or despair?

WILHELMINE.

It’s not so easy to die in Vienna.

PRINCE.

And you believe that I will leave you now, when the glamour of the personal presence of a Prince of Wales may dazzle your eye—­perhaps even your heart?

WILHELMINE.

I must, I realize it now, begin to consider my heart only from the political point of view.

PRINCE.

You doubt my sincerity, Princess?  You distrust a heart which has truly loved but once—­once and for all time—­loved you, Wilhelmine!

WILHELMINE (aside).

Can such language be deception?

PRINCE.

I realize what I owe to you, Princess.  Frankness before the world, an honest suit for your hand—­even in face of the danger of losing you forever.  I will go to the King.  I will tell him, yes, I will tell him now that I cannot do as he wishes.  I will throw myself at his feet and confess with honest sincerity that I love you.  Do you wish it?

WILHELMINE (hesitating).

No—­never, no.

PRINCE.

You are trembling, Princess.  Oh, I know your dutiful heart shudders at the thought of defying your parents, of following the call of your own inclination.  But—­tell me, do you trust your father’s heart?

WILHELMINE.

It is full of kindness and love.

PRINCE.

Very well, then.  He has honored me, he has shown confidence in me; the arrival of the Prince of Wales provokes him to rebuke such hardiness.  I will show him what is in my heart, and then, Wilhelmine—­then?  If he refuse the hand I ask—­

WILHELMINE (turning from him).

You will—­find consolation?

PRINCE.

And if he grant it?

WILHELMINE (overcome by her emotion, allows her heart full sway, but is still roguish and maidenly).

Then—­I fear that you will not keep your word—­to punish me for torturing you so cruelly.

[She goes out quickly.]

SCENE VI

PRINCE (alone).

She loves me.  Then one thing is sure!  I will now take the straight road into the very jaws of the lion.  What else remains?  Betrayed by Hotham, there is naught but Wilhelmine’s love—­and my own courage.

[He goes toward the KING’S door.]

SCENE VII

EVERSMANN comes from the KING’S room.

EVERSMANN.

Whither, Your Highness?

PRINCE.

To the King.

EVERSMANN.

You will find him very angry.

PRINCE.

Angry at whom?

EVERSMANN.

Angry at you, Prince.

PRINCE.

You are joking!

EVERSMANN.

Page 207

The Duke of Weissenfels is to undertake the mission to Vienna.

PRINCE.

What does that mean?

EVERSMANN.

Investigation by the Attorney-General—­just come to the King’s ears. 
The man was a wigmaker.

PRINCE.

You are quite mad.  I must speak to the King.  It concerns the most important affair of my whole life. [Starts for the door again.]

EVERSMANN.

Pardon me, Prince, His Majesty sends you this letter.

PRINCE (takes the letter).

“To my son, the Crown Prince of Prussia, to be delivered personally in
Rheinsberg within twenty-four hours; kindness of the Prince of
Baireuth.”  Why this—­this is a formal decree of banishment from Berlin! 
How could it happen just now?

EVERSMANN.

It’s merely a polite hint.  Everything is discovered—­and not only the matter of Rapiniere. His Majesty knows you now as the emissary of the Crown Prince, sent to stir up a revolution here in Berlin and in the palace.  The wigmaker confessed it all.  I suspected Your Highness from the first.  Wish you a pleasant journey to Rheinsberg.

[He goes out.]

PRINCE.

Betrayed—­forsaken by all—­

HOTHAM (coming hastily from the QUEEN’S room).

Good news, Prince.  The Princess is under arrest again.

PRINCE.

And you call that good news, traitor!

HOTHAM.

There is more, Prince.  The traitor is pleased to hear that you also have fallen under the ban of the royal displeasure.

PRINCE.

You are pleased to hear that?

HOTHAM.

The traitor assures you on his honor that there could be no better means of fulfilling your heart’s desire.

PRINCE.

Would you drive me mad?

HOTHAM.

To throw a preliminary cold shower on your doubt [looks about cautiously] kindly read this portion of a letter I have but just received.

PRINCE.

A billet-doux from your Prince of Wales?

HOTHAM.

Read it, please.

PRINCE (reads).

“London, June the fifth—­”

HOTHAM (indicating a line lower down).

There—­read there.

PRINCE (reads).

“You ask for news from court.  We are very poor in such news just now. 
The Prince of Wales is still hunting wild boars in the Welsh mountains.” 
The Prince is—­not in Berlin?

HOTHAM (still cautious, but smiling).

Just as little as you are in the Palace of St. James at this moment.

PRINCE.

But what am I to think?  What am I to believe?

HOTHAM.

You are to believe that you could well afford to place more confidence in Hotham’s friendship, devotion—­and cleverness.

PRINCE.

Page 208

The Prince of Wales is not in Berlin?

HOTHAM.

H’st! We know he is not here—­but he is here for all the others.  The Prince of Wales is here, there, behind the screen, up the chimney, in the air, under the earth, nowhere where he would be in our way, but anywhere where we might need him for the merriest comedy in all the world.

PRINCE.

Hotham!  Then I am not deceived in your friendship?

HOTHAM.

Just as little, since our commercial treaty is doomed, as I am mistaken in your chances, despite arrest and displeasure.  But come now, come to that friendly goblin who will work for us—­to the mysterious spirit on whose account we will keep this corner of the world in anxiety and terror—­your doughty rival but your still doughtier ally.

PRINCE (in laughing surprise).

You mean?

HOTHAM.

The Prince of Wales. [They both go out.]

ACT IV

Anteroom in the KING’S apartments.  The same as in SCENE I of ACT II. Writing materials on the table.

SCENE I

EVERSMANN comes from the KING’S room.

SECKENDORF (puts his head in at another door).

Pst!  Eversmann!  Have you seen him yet?

EVERSMANN.

Seen whom, Count?

SECKENDORF.  The Prince of Wales.  He is indeed in Berlin—­he has been seen everywhere. Unter den Linden—­by the river—­even beyond Treptow—­a frail figure of a man, stooping slightly—­his left shoulder higher than the right.  When he speaks you see that one eye-tooth is missing—­

EVERSMANN.

The King will not recognize the presence of the Prince of Wales.

SECKENDORF.

We are being deceived, Eversmann.  The King has recognized it. [Low.] Or can it be that you have not heard of that most strange—­most remarkable command that has gone out to the Castle Guards—­a command which upsets all our deductions and plans?  All sentries have orders to let a white domino, if such a one should appear at night about the castle, pass unhindered and even unchallenged.  Do you not see the thoughtfulness for the Prince of Wales in that?  It is he who is to visit His Majesty secretly in disguise.  Eversmann, all our pro-Austrian plans are in danger. [There is a knock at the door.] Every noise startles me these days.

EVERSMANN.

It is the court tailor most likely, pardon me. [He goes to the door.]
Ha, ha! the white domino!

SECKENDORF.

The court tailor?  What can the court tailor be doing here?  And a white domino?  Vienna’s interests are in danger.  The King does favor England.  I must have certainty.  This is the moment when I must show my whole power.

SCENE II

Page 209

HOTHAM (comes in, bows).

His Majesty graciously consented to give me a farewell audience.

[EVERSMANN returns with a little package which he opens, drawing out a white domino.]

EVERSMANN (to HOTHAM).

I will announce you at once, sir. [To SECKENDORF, smiling.] Now, Count Seckendorf, if you wish to see the Prince of Wales [Pointing to the domino] here he is.

[He goes out into the KING’S room.]

SECKENDORF (aside).

That the Prince of Wales?

HOTHAM (aside).

A white domino the Prince of Wales?

SECKENDORF (aside).

What’s the key to this new riddle?

HOTHAM (aside).

Can there be some secret doings here?

SECKENDORF (aside).

I will question Baronet Hotham cautiously.

HOTHAM (aside).

Mayhap this much-decorated gentleman can give me some information.

SECKENDORF (clearing his throat).

May I ask—­how His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, is enjoying himself in Berlin?  I am Count Seckendorf.

HOTHAM.  Most happy to meet you.  As Your Excellency perceives, he is at this moment in the very best hands. [Points after EVERSMANN.]

SECKENDORF (startled, aside).

In the best hands?  Is he mocking me or is he deceived himself?  It looks as though he too were in the conspiracy.

HOTHAM (aside).

This misunderstanding whets my curiosity.

SECKENDORF.

You are in error, Baronet, if you believe that we have opposed the suit of the Prince of Wales.  Procure me an opportunity to speak to the Prince, and I will consider it an honor to be allowed to repeat this assurance in his own presence.

HOTHAM (pointing to the KING’s door).

The door of His Majesty’s Cabinet is, I am told, always open to the
Imperial Envoy.

SECKENDORF (aside).

The King’s Cabinet!  Where the Court tailor has just taken the white domino [Aloud.] H’m!  Baronet Hotham, do you happen to be acquainted with the legend of the White Lady, connected for centuries with the history of the House of Brandenberg?

HOTHAM.

I am, Your Excellency.  And I hear that the White Lady has been seen again recently.

SECKENDORF (aside).

Recently?  It is a conspiracy.  They are deceiving us under cloak of the mystery of the White Lady.  The Prince of Wales and the King have a thorough understanding with each other. [Aloud.] Baronet Hotham, this is double-dealing.  Be honest!  Confess that the Prince is not only here, but that he is received by the King at any hour.

HOTHAM.

What grounds have you for your belief?

SECKENDORF.

Page 210

It was neatly done, to bring up the talk about the White Lady just at this time.

HOTHAM.

The King may have his own reasons for that.

SECKENDORF.

The King?  The King has his—­ha, ha!  And you believe that no one sees through this fine game?  You do not realize that there are eyes which even at night can see certain persons stealing across the courtyards of the Royal Palace?  That there are ears which can hear plainly how such persons are let pass unchallenged because—­ha, ha, ha!—­because these persons wear white dominos?  My dear sir, you must lay your plans more carefully if you would not have them patent to the simplest deductions.  But do not trust too much to the King’s indulgence toward the Prince of Wales.  He is his nephew; he may not wish him compromised.  Therefore he allows him to pass in and out in disguise.  But, believe me, that is all the Prince has to hope for here.  And I at least should be very sorry for a young diplomat, just beginning his career as you are, who cannot profit by a direct hint from a statesman of twenty years’ experience, whose power of diplomatic manipulation has not yet been excelled. [He goes out.]

SCENE III

HOTHAM (alone).

Then the sentries let the white domino pass unchallenged, out of consideration for a Prince of Wales who does not exist?  And the white domino is taken into the King’s study?  Here are two definite facts.  The King himself plans some midnight adventure, and does not wish interference on the part of his sentries.  His favorites, prying into everything, but winning only imperfect knowledge, connect the sentry order with the ghost of the Prince of Wales, and presuppose a tender thoughtfulness for the young adventurer on family or political grounds.  Delicious! [He sits down to write on a paper he has taken from his portfolio.] Why, then—­with the excuse of introducing the Prince of Wales, I might bring the poor Prince of Baireuth, banished from the palace and from the city, back again quite unhindered to his captive princess—­and even to the Queen.  The sun shines once more—­but there is another storm to conquer first.  The King approaches. [The KING comes an, dressed for the street.  GRUMBKOW and EVERSMANN follow.]

KING (still outside).

Who is it, you say?

GRUMBKOW.

Baronet Hotham.

KING (coming in).

Tell him that I send my regards to him and his English price-lists.  We in Berlin are not cottonwards inclined just at present.

GRUMBKOW (designating the bowing HOTHAM).

Baronet Hotham desires to pay his respects to Your Majesty personally.

KING.

Tell him Prussia is putting her best foot forward.  German manufacturers need a chance to catch up with what the English already know about spinning and weaving.

Page 211

GRUMBKOW.

Baronet Hotham is about to ask Your Majesty in person for his dismissal.

KING (paying no attention).

The incident is closed.  My ministers can attend to it now.  I prefer the customary procedure. [He sits down.]

GRUMBKOW (in the centre).

You see, Baronet Hotham—­

HOTHAM (to GRUMBKOW).

General, will you say to His Majesty that I deeply regret having failed in my mission?  Tell him—­

GRUMBKOW.

His Majesty is present.

HOTHAM.

Tell him that a country’s industries need centuries of preparation to be able to sell at the low prices quoted by English merchants.  Tell him—­

GRUMBKOW.

Will you not address His Majesty in person?

HOTHAM.

I prefer the customary procedure.

KING (sitting, absorbed in his note-book).

Very good.  And now, Grumbkow, tell him, for the account of the Prince of Wales—­that I’m planning to build a couple of new gates in Berlin, but for the present he’ll have to put up with the old ones through which to leave the city.

GRUMBKOW.  Very good.

HOTHAM.

And kindly add, General von Grumbkow, that as one may suppose the
Princess Wilhelmine to cherish the same feeling for her cousin, the
Prince of Wales, as—­

KING.

Pay no attention to that, Grumbkow.  But announce to the gentleman that my children are accustomed to obey my wishes, and that the affair with Vienna is as good as settled.  Understand?

GRUMBKOW.

Very well, Your Majesty.

HOTHAM.

And you might add, General von Grumbkow, that I have a favor to beg of
His Majesty before departing.

KING.

Grumbkow, you might casually inquire what sort of a favor it is he wants.

HOTHAM.

General—­

GRUMBKOW.

Baronet Hotham.

HOTHAM.

If His Majesty should seem inclined, out of the nobility of his heart, to make amends for the cruel manner in which he has just dismissed an ardent admirer of his military greatness, then tell him that I know of a finely-built, strong young man, a close friend of mine, of good family, who would deem it an honor to serve up from the ranks under His Majesty’s glorious flag.

KING.

Grumbkow, you may tell Baronet Hotham that his personality and manner have pleased me greatly, and that I most heartily wish all Englishmen were of his sort.  In the matter of the young man, you may ask him if the recruit will furnish his own equipment.

HOTHAM.

Kindly state, General, that the young man will take service in His Majesty’s army, fully equipped according to regulations, his hair and his heart in the right place, and that he furthermore brings with him a neat little inheritance of his own.

Page 212

KING (more and more pleased).

Quite what one might expect from a born Englishman.  Grumbkow, ask the Baronet whether the young man, who is doubtless destined to introduce Prussian tactics into England, would serve better on foot or to horse.

HOTHAM.

He begs for a place with the Dragoons of the Guard in Potsdam.

KING.

Potsdam?  That won’t do.  They all want to serve in the Guard.  No—­no.... 
But he can—­for a while, at least—­join the Glasenapp Musketiers in
Pasewalk.  That’s a fine regiment, too.

HOTHAM.

Please express my sincere thanks to His Majesty.  The young recruit will have the honor to present himself personally to His Majesty in a few days.

KING.

Grumbkow, suppose we offered Baronet Hotham, as a sign of our friendship, a position as recruiting officer?

HOTHAM.

He would decline this honor, but he would beg another favor.

KING.

And that is—?

HOTHAM.

In all journals, in all records of travel, we read of a certain gathering in Berlin which goes beyond anything an Englishman can imagine in the way of clubs or private affairs.

KING.

Dear me—­our police permit that sort of thing in Berlin?  Really, I am most curious.

HOTHAM.

A certain genial personage gathers around him several times weekly, in a small, low-ceilinged room in the palace, a small but select circle of men on whom be bestows his confidence.  Sitting on wooden stools, often in their shirt-sleeves, beer tankards before them on the great open table, Dutch clay pipes in their mouths, they entertain each other in the most unrestrained manner in spite of the exalted position held by most of these men.  Some who do not smoke hold cold pipes between their teeth, that they may not mar the harmony of the picture.  One member of the circle is singled out nightly as an object for mirth, and the choice is made by lot.  Each and every one can in turn become the butt of merry satire.  To have been present at a meeting of this oddest of all court gatherings would furnish me with the most notable memory I could carry away from Berlin.

KING.

Egad, Grumbkow!  I believe he means our Smoker.

HOTHAM.

The world-renowned Prussian “tobacco-conference.”

KING.

And you have—­the gentleman has—­no. [He rises.] I shan’t use the customary procedure any more.  Baronet Hotham, you have heard of my Smokers?  You have said nice things about them.  That reconciles me—­can you smoke?

HOTHAM.

Yes, Your Majesty, the light Dutch Varinas, at least.

KING.

I have that—­and the Porto-Rican and Hungarian tobaccos as well.  In fact, I’m having quite a good sort grown here in the Mark Brandenberg now.

HOTHAM.

I fear I should have to decline trying that.

Page 213

KING.

Give me your hand, Baronet.  Come to our conference tonight.  We will wash down our diplomatic disagreement with a good drink of beer, and blue clouds of smoke from our pipes shall waft away all the intrigues, plots and counter-plots.

GRUMBKOW.

But—­Your Majesty, who is to furnish the source of amusement tonight?

HOTHAM.

Will Your Majesty take me as the scapegoat?

KING.

Oho, Baronet! it will be a hot skirmish.  He who has been under fire from a dozen such old soldiers needs a week or two to recover from the experience.

HOTHAM (aside).

A pleasing fate indeed, to play the fox to such hounds!

KING.

We’ll find some one to be the central figure this evening.  You must be among the laughers, and then you can tell us something of the cock-fights and the boxing-bouts in England.  That sort of amusement pleases me mightily, and I would permit it to come into this country without excise or other duty.  Very well, then, the Smoker is at eight o’clock.  Your pardon for this queer audience of dismissal.  Bring a brave thirst with you.  For in the matter of drinking we pay no attention to the customary procedure.

[He goes out, followed by all except HOTHAM.]

SCENE IV

HOTHAM (alone).

Excellent!  We adapt ourselves to circumstances and circumstances adapt themselves to us.  Now for my letter to the Queen. [He sits down, takes a partly written letter from his portfolio and reads it.] “Exalted Lady:  Your wish to see the Prince of Wales is a command for your devoted servant.  Unless all plans should go awry I will have the honor to lead the Prince of Wales this very night into the presence of his Royal Aunt.  He hopes not only for the happiness of pressing a kiss on Your Majesty’s hand, but desires, with all the longing of an ardent heart, finally to look upon his dear affianced, the Princess Wilhelmine.  Use all your power to free the Princess from her imprisonment for this evening.” [He begins to write.] “I would suggest that you advise the Princess to wrap herself in a white domino.  This disguise will carry her safely past the palace sentries.”  There—­the young people can see each other again, can storm the fortress of the mother’s heart, and can win for themselves the support of public opinion, as represented by the invited guests. [He seals the letter.] Now if I could find the Prince—­Ah, there he is!

PRINCE (looking in cautiously).

Hotham, I’ve been looking for you everywhere.  What do you think has just happened to me?

HOTHAM.

Another Royal mission?

PRINCE.

Page 214

I can scarce believe it myself.  Disconsolate, I was preparing for the journey, and stopped to cast one last look up to the windows behind which my beloved sits captive—­a lackey of the King’s suite approached me.  I anticipated some new humiliation.  But imagine my astonishment at the surprise in store for me.  You know the value the King sets on his nightly smoking-bouts.  He invites to these gatherings only persons for whom he has especial plans.  Now picture my amazement when I learned that His Majesty begs me, before my departure tonight, to do him the pleasure to attend his Smoker!

HOTHAM.

You have an invitation?

PRINCE.

You’re—­you’re laughing. [HOTHAM laughs heartily.] What are you laughing at?

HOTHAM.

It’s unspeakably comical.

PRINCE.

Comical?  I should consider it rather tragical, when a sovereign first humiliates us and then suddenly heaps amiabilities upon us.  What is the matter with you.

HOTHAM.

Stand up straight-breast thrown out—­head up—­hands at your side—­no, more to the back—­

PRINCE.

What do you mean?

HOTHAM (pulling his hair).

Fine growth—­fine strong growth.

PRINCE.

What are you doing to my hair?  And you’re still laughing!

HOTHAM.

As a consequence of a most droll diplomatic transaction, I also have been honored with an invitation to the Smoker.  And that I may enjoy the true savor of the customary and, methinks, sometimes strongly realistic entertainment of such occasions, those in charge have bestirred themselves to find royal game for the baiting.

PRINCE.

And I am to be—­the game?  This is too much!  I will be there, Hotham; I will take my place humbly at the foot of the great table, but I warn you that my patience is exhausted.  I will show them that I have weapons to parry the jibes of rough soldiers, weapons I have not yet brought into play.  I will be there, I will listen with apparent calm to what they are planning to do to me—­but then—­then I will draw from my quiver!  I will send arrow after arrow at this brutal despotism—­and should the shafts be too weak to penetrate their leathern harness, then, Hotham, then out with my sword and at them!

HOTHAM.

Bravo, Prince!  Excellent!  That’s the right mood!  That is the language one must use in this court.  The hour draws near.  It would take us too far a-field were I to detail my plans to you now.  I will first dispatch this letter to the Queen.  Then, as we set out for the Smoker—­but I see you are in no mood for explanations.  Cherish this noble anger, Prince!  Rage as much as you will—­snort like an angry tiger. [Takes him by the arm and leads him out.] More—­more—­heap it up—­there, now you are ready to aid my plan, which is none other than to have you win the King by forcing him to respect you. [They go out.]

Page 215

SCENE V

A plain low-ceilinged room in the palace.  The walls are gray.  The main entrance is in the centre.  One door at the left, a small window at the right.

Lackeys carry in an oaken table and place a number of wooden stools around it.  Then they bring tankards on wooden platters and set them in a circle on the table.  A brazier with live coals is also brought in.  The lackeys go out.

The_ KING comes from the door on the left in easy, undress house uniform.  He has a short Dutch pipe in his mouth, he shuts the door carefully behind him.

KING.

Are they gathering already

EVERSMANN.

There’s noise enough outside there.

KING.

My only recreation!  While I may keep this little diversion, I am willing to bear the burdens and cares of government.  Are the clay cannons loaded?

EVERSMANN.

Aye—­and some are fuming already outside there.

KING.

Is the beer right fresh?  And a little bitter, eh?

EVERSMANN.

It might be better.

KING.

Those Bernau brewers had best have a care—­I may pay an unexpected visit to their brewery.  How about the white smock I ordered?

EVERSMANN.

Ready, at hand.

KING.

When the meeting is over—­you know what I have planned

EVERSMANN.

Everything is ready for Your Majesty.

KING.

You may go now.  The door is to be opened at the stroke of ten.

EVERSMANN.

Yes, Your Majesty. [He goes out.]

[The KING walks to the window, remaining there for a few moments.  There is a pause.]

KING.

Light in my wife’s apartments again!  Three rooms illuminated where one would have been enough—­and tallow so expensive now.  A dozen women have been invited there tonight, and a great conspiracy is going forward, with the Prince of Wales received incognito—­all to defy me.  But wait a bit—­I’ll be with you.  This day has begun weightily and shall end weightily.

SCENE VI

A small clock strikes ten.  The door to the right is thrown open and the members of the Tobacco-Conference come in, led by GRUMBKOW and SECKENDORF. There are about ten of them besides the principal actors.  They come in solemnly, wearing their hats, carrying pipes in their mouths.  Passing the KING they touch their hats and remove their pipes for a moment. HOTHAM and the PRINCE of BAIREUTH come last of all.  The KING stands to the left and lets the procession move past him toward the right of the room.

GRUMBKOW (with the prescribed greeting).

Good evening, Your Majesty.

KING.

Good evening, Grumbkow.

Page 216

SECKENDORF.

Good evening, Your Majesty.

KING.

Good evening, Seckendorf.

COUNT SCHWERIN.

Good evening, Your Majesty.

KING.

Good evening, Schwerin.  Does it taste good?

SCHWERIN.

Fine!  Thanks, Your Majesty.

COUNT WARTENSLEBEN.

Good evening, Your Majesty.

KING.

Good evening, Wartensleben.  Pipe draw well?

WARTENSLEBEN.

Yes.  Thanks, Your Majesty. [He moves past the KING _.  The others pass one after the other, or sometimes several at once, with similar greetings_.]

KING.

Take your seats, gentlemen—­no formalities—­free choice—­the smoke of war levels all rank.

GRUMBKOW.

But the subject, Your Majesty, the subject promised for this evening?

KING.

Ha, ha!  The target?  There it comes.

[HOTHAM and the PRINCE OF BAIREUTH come in.]

ALL.

The Prince of Baireuth?

PRINCE.

Good evening.

KING.

Right, oh!  Prince, that you are come.  Now, at least, you will have something good about my family to tell them in Rheinsberg. [Aside.] Spy! [Aloud.] But your pipe is cold.

PRINCE (with suppressed anger).

I am hoping that I may find fire enough here.

[The company sit down, the KING and GRUMBKOW at one end of the table, HOTHAM and the PRINCE at the other.]

KING.

Lay on, gentlemen—­there stand the care-chasers.

SECKENDORF.

To His Majesty’s health!

KING.

No, let us rather drink, after such a day of annoyance and sorrow—­let us rather drink to cheer, jollity, and a happy turn of wit!

[They touch glasses with one another. EVERMANN moves about, serving the guests, passing coal for the pipes, and so forth.]

KING (aside).

Grumbkow, I wager it will be right jolly tonight.

GRUMBKOW (aside).

We’ll soon begin to tap the Prince.

KING (aside).

Be merciful.  His brow is already bedewed with the sweat of anxiety. [Aloud.] Tell me.  Prince, since you have windbagged yourself about so much of the world—­do they smoke tobacco in Versailles also?

[Illustration:  KING FREDERICK WILLIAM I AND HIS “TOBACCO COLLEGIUM” ADOLPH VON MENZEL]

 PRINCE.

No.  Your Majesty, but I’ve seen sailors in London who chew it.

KING.

Brr!  Grumbkow, we’ll not introduce that fashion here.  It’s not because of the taste, but such meals would be right costly.

HOTHAM.

Our sailors use tobacco as a remedy for scurvy.

SECKENDORF.

What is scurvy?

PRINCE.

The scurvy, Count, is a disease which begins with an evil tongue.

Page 217

KING (aside).

Take notice, Grumbkow, he’s pricked.  On with the attack.

GRUMBKOW.

Eversmann, have the newest Dutch journals arrived?

EVERSMANN.

Yes, Your Excellency; full of lies, as usual.

KING.

Lies?  Then, according to the proverb, that explains why our beer is so sour.

GRUMBKOW.

Tell me, Eversmann, is there no news from Ansbach in the journals?

HOTHAM (aside to PRINCE).

Arm yourself.

EVERSMANN (impertinently).

Why should there be news from such a little country?

KING.

Be quiet!  Prussia also was once a little country.  Tell me rather, what do the Dutch write about Prussia?

EVERSMANN.

Outrageous things.  They say that many deserters have again fled from
Potsdam.

KING.

That’s not a lie, unfortunately.

PRINCE.

But they express themselves with more politeness in Holland.

KING.

How then, Prince?

PRINCE.

They say that Your Majesty’s Guards consist mostly of men who suffer from an abnormal growth.  These giants, so they say, have periods where they shoot up to such an extent that they grow and grow beyond the tree-tops and disappear altogether from human ken.

KING.

Ha, ha!  Wittily expressed.  But drink, Prince, drink.

GRUMBKOW.

I imagined that Your Highness read only French journals.

PRINCE.

I would rather read Prussian newspapers.  But, thanks to General von
Grumbkow’s policies, no newspaper dare appear in Prussia.

KING.

Ha, ha!  There you have it! [Aside.] See, see, he’s not afraid to speak his mind.  ’Twill be a merry night.

HOTHAM (aside to PRINCE).

Not too sharp—­be milder at first.

GRUMBKOW (aside).

Seckendorf, it’s time to exercise your wit.

SECKENDORF (aside).

Hush—­I’m getting something ready.  I will choose my own time.

KING.

But you’re not drinking, Prince.  You’re expected to drink here. [Aside.] Eversmann, keep his glass well filled—­

HOTHAM (aside).

They want to make you drunk.  Push your tankard nearer my place.

KING.

You know the old Dessauer, Prince?

PRINCE (surprised).

Why, Your Majesty—­

KING.

But do you know for what great invention mankind is indebted to the old
Dessauer?

PRINCE (aside).

Do you know that, Hotham?

HOTHAM.

Damn their cross questioning—­say it was gaiters.

PRINCE.

Your Majesty wishes to know what—­what the old Dessauer invented?

KING.

Yes, what did the old Dessauer invent?

Page 218

SECKENDORF (aside).

Aha, you see, now we have caught him.

PRINCE.

It can’t be gunpowder, because Count Seckendorf has already discovered that. [All laugh.]

SECKENDORF (aside).

Never mind, Grumbkow, I’ll wait the fitting moment.

KING.

He invented iron ramrods.  Now, you see, my son in Rheinsberg, for all his Homers and Voltaires, and whatever their heathen names may be, that he gathers round him, couldn’t think of anything like that. [Aside.] Is he drinking, Eversmann?

HOTHAM (to PRINCE).

Don’t let slip your advantage.

PRINCE.

Who the devil could think of iron ramrods!

GRUMBKOW (rising).

We’ll drink a pleasant journey to His Highness, the Prince Hereditary of
Baireuth. [They all rise except the KING.]

ALL.

A pleasant journey.

HOTHAM (aside).

You’re done for—­you’ve lost everything.

PRINCE (aside).

It was shameful perfidy!

HOTHAM (aside).

Make him respect you—­be as brutal as he is—­pretend to be drunk. [They all sit down after having touched glasses amid laughter.]

PRINCE (rises, his tankard in his hand.  Speaks as if slightly intoxicated).

Gentlemen—­

KING (aside).

I believe he’s hipped.

PRINCE.

And—­and—­and—­I thank you. [He sits down.  They all laugh.]

KING.

Bravo, Prince, you are a most excellent speaker.

GRUMBKOW.

He’s done for, Your Majesty:  we must have him make a speech now.

KING.

Yes.  Give us a speech, Prince.

ALL.

A speech—­speech!

[The PRINCE rests his head in his hands and does not rise.]

HOTHAM.

The question is—­what shall he talk about?

KING.

About anything—­whatever he chooses.

HOTHAM.

I could suggest an interesting subject.

KING.

Out with it.

HOTHAM.

What if he were to discuss some member of this merry company?

KING.

’Tis done!  And that we need waste no time in choice—­let him discuss—­me.

ALL (startled).

Your Majesty?

KING.

It’s very warm here. [Opens his coat.] Let’s make ourselves comfortable, Eversmann.  Well, Prince—­begin.  Give us a speech about me.

HOTHAM.

Please—­

KING.

No hesitation—­let it be as if I had just died—­

HOTHAM.

Your Majesty—­

KING.

Quiet!  Silence all.  The Prince of Baireuth will give us a speech about me. [Aside.] In vino veritas.  I am curious to know whether such a French windbag is composed entirely of falsehoods.

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HOTHAM (aside).

This is the decisive moment.

PRINCE (steps forward, he staggers slightly then controls himself).

Merry company!

KING.

Merry?  I’m dead.

PRINCE.

No matter, they’re merry just the same.

KING.

Gad! is that true?

PRINCE.

Merry company—­cheerful mourners—­permit me to interrupt your enjoyment by a few painful remarks on the qualities of the deceased.

KING.

Painful remarks?  That’s a good beginning.

PRINCE.

Friedrich Wilhelm I., King of Prussia, was a great man, in whose character were united the strangest contradictions.

KING.

Contradictions!

PRINCE.

As with all those who owe their education to their own efforts, so his mind, noble in itself, fell under the influence of disturbing emotions, the saddest of which was distrust.

KING.

These are nice things I hear.

PRINCE.

He brought his country to a high degree of prosperity, he simplified administration, he improved judicial procedure.  But the enjoyment of all these blessings was spoiled for him by his own fault.

KING.

Well—­well—­by his own fault!

SECKENDORF (aside).

The young man must indeed have been drinking heavily.

PRINCE.

His vivacity of spirit kept him in a continual unrest which was as painful to others as to himself.  When fatigued he could not conceal his desire for pleasant recreation, but his tastes were sufficiently simple to let him prefer satisfying this desire in the bosom of his own family.

EVERSMANN.

There’ll be a misfortune, surely!

PRINCE.

But even here, where he might have reposed on a couch of roses, this unfortunate sovereign made for himself a bed of thorns.  His son’s unhappy history is so well known that I can pass over it in silence....

KING.

In silence—?

PRINCE.

Friedrich Wilhelm could not understand the freedom of the human will.  He would have grafted stem to stem, son on father, youth on age.  In planning to bestow the hand of his charming daughter, now here, now there, it never came to his mind that her heart might have a right to choose—­it never occurred to him to ask:  “Does my choice make you happy, child?”

KING.

Eversmann, take this pipe.

PRINCE.

Now he is departed.  Those minions who during his lifetime came between the heart of the mother and the heart of the husband and father, those minions tremble now.  It remains to be seen how the misunderstood son will dispose of them.  The father’s deeds will remain the foundation of this state.  But a milder spirit will reign in the land; the arts and sciences will outdistance the fame of cannon and bullet.  And the soaring eagle of Prussia will now truly fulfil his device, Nec Soli Cedis—­or, to put it in German, “Even the sun’s glance shall not dazzle thee!  Even the sun shall stand aside from out thy path!” [He recollects himself, and after a pause returns to the table, again pretending drunkenness.] Hotham, give me something to drink.

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KING (after a pause).

What hour is it?

EVERSMANN.

Eleven past, Your Majesty. (Aside.) If we should meet the Prince of
Wales now, woe unto him.

KING (taking a tankard from the table).

Prince, when you have come to your senses tomorrow, let them tell you that the King touched glasses with you.

PRINCE.

At Your Majesty’s service.

KING.

He doesn’t understand, Hotham.  Translate it into sober language for him.  Good night, gentlemen. [He turns again and looks at the PRINCE thoughtfully, repeating the words.] “Does my choice make you happy, child?” [Looking at the PRINCE.] Pity he’s only a bookish man.

[EVERSMANN takes up a candlestick with officious haste, brushes angrily past the triumphant HOTHAM and throws a glance of suppressed rage at the PRINCE.]

EVERSMANN.

May I light Your Majesty—­on your visit to—­

KING (interrupts him with the PRINCE’S words).

“These minions tremble—­” [After a pause, during which he glances over them all] I would be alone. [He goes out.]

ACT V

A drawing-room in the QUEEN’s apartments.  A window to the right.  Three doors, centre, right, and left.  Tables and chairs.  Candles on the tables, playing-cards, and tea service.

SCENE I

KAMKE stands on a step-ladder fastening a large curtain over the window.  Two lackeys are assisting him.

KAMKE (on the ladder).

There!  And now be ready to receive the ladies at the little side stairway.  They will arrive in sedan chairs.  No noise, do you hear—­softly—­softly. [The lackeys go out.]

SONNSFELD (comes in from the left).

Ah, at last a festival of which the Prussian Court need not be ashamed. 
Kamke, why are you draping that window?

KAMKE.

So that our festival may not be observed. [Coming down off the ladder.] Then you too are concerned in this conspiracy?

SONNSFELD.

The Queen has taken all responsibility.  She risks her own freedom for that of her daughter, and will receive the Prince of Wales tonight in strictest incognito.  Is everything in readiness?

KAMKE.

You’re planning to free the Princess from her imprisonment?  That is high treason, remember.

SONNSFELD.

It must succeed, at whatever cost.  The Queen wishes to see the Princess amid the circle of friends whom she has invited this evening for a secret purpose.  The Princess has been instructed.  She knows that I will come to her room and remain there in her place to deceive the sentry.  She will meet you in the Blue Room.

KAMKE.

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The Blue Room—­where—­for the last few nights the White Lady has been seen?

SONNSFELD.

She will meet you there—­

KAMKE (horrified).

Me?

SONNSFELD.

She will speak to you—­

KAMKE.

Me?

SONNSFELD (pulling him to the door at the right).

Yes, me—­I mean you—­and you will lead her from the Blue Room—­you will take her hand and bring her safely hither by the surest and quickest route.

KAMKE.

My lady—­whom—­whom?  The Princess Wilhelmine?

SONNSFELD (going out).

No, no, Kamke, the White Lady—­but come quickly now, quickly.

[They both go out.]

SCENE II

FRAU VON VIERECK, FRAU VON HOLZENDORF, and about six more ladies enter cautiously, one by one, through the centre door.

VIERECK.

Hush!  Step cautiously!

HOLZENDORF (whispering).

It’s all quiet here—­if only these wretched shoes of mine didn’t creak so.

VIERECK (whispering).

What can Her Majesty the Queen be planning for tonight?

HOLZENDORF.

Has His Majesty the King gone from home?

VIERECK.

I heard it said, at the French Embassy, that His Highness, the Crown
Prince, had come from Rheinsberg—­

HOLZENDORF.

Doubtless at the same time with His Highness, the Prince of Wales

VIERECK (low).

At the moment both are at the King’s Smoker.—­They say the Crown Prince has again disagreed with his father on questions concerning the future administration of the state.

HOLZENDORF.

Is it possible?

VIERECK.

And they say that the Prince of Baireuth tried to bring about a reconciliation, but that the Prince of Wales took the part of the Crown Prince.

HOLZENDORF.

The Prince of Wales?  Then he has been received?

VIERECK.

And the King, so they say, in the heat of the argument, commanded that Princess Wilhelmine, the cause of the quarrel, be sent to Kuestrin at once.

HOLZENDORF.

Good Heavens, ladies!  There are cards on the table.  Hush!  I hear a noise.

VIERECK.

It is the Queen.

[The QUEEN comes in in full toilet.  She is excited and yet timorous.  The ladies bow.]

QUEEN.

Welcome, ladies.  I am happy to have about me once again the circle of those who, I know, are devoted to me.  Pray sit down.  I have decided to be more sociable in future and to have you with me oftener than I have done of late.  Will you have a game of cards, Frau von Viereck?

VIERECK.

Cards, Your Majesty?  For eighteen years now I cannot recall having seen a card in the palace.

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QUEEN.

We will change all that.  Ladies, you have not yet heard my plans, you do not yet know what surprises this evening has in store for you—­

HOLZENDORF.

Surprises, Your Majesty?

QUEEN (indicating a card-table near the window).

Sit down there, my dear Holzendorf.  Try your luck with Frau von Viereck.

VIERECK (aside).

Heavens—­play cards there?  When every outline of my shadow can plainly be seen through that curtain?

QUEEN (sitting).

Why do you hesitate?

VIERECK.

Have we Your Majesty’s permission to draw the tables nearer together? 
There—­there is so much air at this window.

[The lackeys place the table farther from the window.]

QUEEN.

Yes, ladies, this evening a new era begins for our monarchy.  I will break at last with the established etiquette. [Lackeys come in with trays.] Order what pleases you.  The beverages of China and the Levant shall from now on no longer be strangers to our court.

HOLZENDORF.

What is this?  Tea?

VIERECK.

And coffee?  These forbidden beverages?

HOLZENDORF.

If His Majesty the King—­

QUEEN.

Have no fear.  Give your feelings full sway—­express yourself without fear, in assurance of perfect safety—­[There is a knock at the door, right.] Was not that a knock?

VIERECK (aside, trembling).

What does this mean?

[The knock is repeated.  The ladies all rise as if frightened.]

QUEEN.

Be calm, ladies.  There is no danger.  The evening will offer one surprise after another.  Who, do you imagine, is at that door now?

[The knock is repeated.  The ladies all rise as if frightened.]

HOLZENDORF.

The hand seems none of the most delicate.

QUEEN.

And yet it is.  That knock expresses the impetuous longing of a being whom my courage has freed from a humiliating situation.  You may resume your seats, ladies.  Do not allow yourselves to be disturbed by anything that may occur, not even by any surprise.  This is but the beginning of many things that will come to pass this evening.  And so I cry—­in overflowing emotion—­[There is another knock.] “Moderate your impatience, beloved being; you shall find here what you seek—­your mother!” [She opens the door.]

SCENE III

The KING steps in.  He is wrapped in a white cloak, his hat pulled down over his face.

KING.

Yes, your mother.

[The ladies all rise with exclamations of horror.  The KING removes his hat.]

QUEEN (aside, crushed).

The King!

KING (angry, but forcing himself to be affable).

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On my word, how fine we are here, very fine indeed!  And how nice it does look with so many lights burning. [He blows out several.] Why are you hiding yourselves, ladies?  Did you expect such a visitor?

QUEEN.

Your Majesty

[The ladies place themselves so that they screen the table.  They hide the cards quickly.]

KING.

Do not let me disturb you, ladies.  What is your particular entertainment this evening?  Enjoying a cup of soup, Frau von Holzendorf? [Comes nearer.] Oho—­the silver service? [He looks into cups.] What’s that?  Tea?  Chocolate?  Coffee?

QUEEN.

Your Majesty will surely—­permit us—­to keep pace with our age.

KING.

Frau von Viereck, you, I imagine, have been keeping pace with your age long enough.  About thirty years ago you’d give an old boy like myself a handshake occasionally.

[Slyly he holds out his hand to her.]

VIERECK (tries to hide the cards behind her back).

Your Majesty—­such graciousness—­

[She holds out one hand.]

KING.

Both, Fran von Viereck—­let me have both.

[VIERECK lets the cards fall behind her back.]

KING.

What’s that?  Did you not drop something?  My God!  Cards! [He stands as if speechless.] Playing-cards! [To the QUEEN.] Cards, madam—­a Christian court—­and cards!  I am sure, Frau von Viereck, you were merely prophesying from those cards.  I know, ladies, that you were only telling your fortunes from the cards.  I am quite sure, Frau von Viereck, that you were merely endeavoring to ascertain whether you would bury your fifth husband also.  Surely—­or—­is it possible?  Money on the tables! [He clasps his hands in horror.] You—­have-been-playing?—­at my court?—­playing-cards? [There is a knock at the door to the left.] Who knocks there?

QUEEN (aside).

It is Wilhelmine or the Prince of Wales!  I am lost!

[Another gentle knock is heard.]

KING.

You are awaiting more visitors?  Come in!

[He goes to the door himself and opens it.]

SCENE IV

WILHELMINE, wearing a white veil and domino, comes in cautiously.

KING.

A veiled lady!  And such mysterious visitors are received here? [He lifts the veil.] What do I see!  Wilhelmine!

WILHELMINE (throwing herself at his feet).

Father!  Forgive me!

KING.

Forgive you!  This invasion of the State Prison—­this attack on my sovereign will?

WILHELMINE (rising, aside).

This is a nice reception.

[There is a knock from the left.]

KING.

Was that not another knock? [A stronger knock.] This castle is haunted, I do believe.  And I have indeed been fortunate enough to prevent the outbreak of a conspiracy! [A louder knock.] Who is there at that door?  You will not answer?  Then I must open it myself.

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QUEEN (steps before him).

No, you will not.

KING.

You would hinder me from discovering who are enemies of the Crown?  I will open that door.

QUEEN.

Never!

KING.

You defy me?  You set yourself in opposition to the King?

QUEEN.

Yes.  I feel within me the power to do it.  Ladies, hear now why I invited you to these rooms tonight—­why I asked you to appear before your queen.  Yes, Sire, the purpose of this hour was that the threads of your political scheming might be torn apart by two hands destined to be united for life.

WILHELMINE.

Two hands!

QUEEN.

Wilhelmine, I freed you from a captivity unworthy the daughter of a King.  Open that door, Sire; you will find there my nephew, my future son-in-law, the Prince of Wales.

ALL.

The Prince of Wales!

KING (when he has gained control of himself).

Madame, you have achieved your purpose.  You have torn asunder the ties that bound me to my family, that bound me to life.  You know that my honor, that my good name, are more to me than all political calculations.  You know that this scene here at night, this secret understanding with one who in my eyes is merely an adventurous stranger, has ruined Wilhelmine’s reputation forever.  You may enjoy your triumph at your future widow’s-seat, Oranienbaum, to which place I now banish you, according to our House’s laws, for the few remaining years of my life.

WILHELMINE (hurrying to the KING’s side).

No—­no, not that.

KING.

Madame, admit the Prince of Wales.

SCENE V

The QUEEN, breathing heavily, staggers to the door.  After a moment’s upward glance she opens it.  The PRINCE OF BAIREUTH comes in, wrapped in a white cloak.  HOTHAM follows, carrying a pointed metal helmet, such as belonged to the Prussian uniform of that day.  The helmet must not be seen at first.

WILHELMINE.

What?  Whom do I see?

ALL.

The Prince of Baireuth?

QUEEN.

Baronet, what does this mean?  Where is the Prince of Wales?

HOTHAM.

Your Majesty, I am all astonishment.  I have but just learned that the prince is now on a journey to Scotland.

ALL.

What’s that?

QUEEN.

The Prince is not in Berlin?

HOTHAM.

While some trustworthy witnesses insist that the Prince was actually here, others again assert that he returned to England the very moment in which he realized that his patriotic interests—­the interests of the cotton industry—­could not be reconciled with the inclinations of his heart.

KING.

And what is the Prince of Baireuth doing here?

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HOTHAM.

He seeks, as we do, the Prince of Wales, with whom he desires a duel to the death.

[All exclaim.]

KING.

A duel?  And why?

HOTHAM.

Because this poor Prince of a tiny country does not begrudge the heir to a World-Power his fleet, his army, nor his treasures; but he refuses to yield one treasure to him except at the price of his heart’s blood—­and that treasure is the hand of Princess Wilhelmine, whom he loves. [General emotion.]

KING.

Whom he loves?  My daughter’s hand?  But does the Prince of Baireuth understand sword-craft?

[HOTHAM takes off the PRINCE’S cloak and places the helmet on his head.  The PRINCE stands there in the uniform of a grenadier of the period.  His hair is braided into a long pigtail.  He stands motionless in a military attitude.]

KING.

What’s this I see?  The Prince of Baireuth a grenadier? 
With—­pigtail—­and—­sword—?

HOTHAM.

The equipment of the young recruit of the Glasenapp Regiment.  I have the honor to present him to Your Majesty before his departure for Pasewalk.

KING.

A German Prince, who deems it an honor to serve up from the ranks in my army? [Commands.] Battalion—­left wheel!  Battalion—­forward march!

[PRINCE executes manoeuvers and marches to WILHELMINE.]

KING.

Halt! [To WILHELMINE] Is the enemy yonder disposed to accept the capitulation on this side?

WILHELMINE.

Until death!

KING.

Entire regiment—­right wheel!  Forward march—­right, left, twenty-one, twenty-two—­

[All three march over to the QUEEN who stands to the left of the room.]

KING.

Halt!

WILHELMINE AND THE PRINCE (kneeling at the QUEEN’S feet).

Mother!

KING.

There was no such order given.

PRINCE.

But it was the hearts’ impulse.

HOTHAM (good-naturedly, whispering to the QUEEN).

Your Majesty, won’t you correct the mistakes of these two young recruits?

QUEEN.

Out of my sight, you traitor to your Royal House!  Arise, Wilhelmine. [To the KING, hesitating.] But we still have Austria....

KING.

But Austria hasn’t us.  The minions—­eh, prince!  Tomorrow there’ll be dismissals—­dismissals and pensionings!  Well, mother, shall we take him for a son-in-law?

QUEEN.

On the condition that I—­that I fix the amount of the dowry.

KING.

And also that you [embracing the QUEEN] remain close to my heart.  Now only Friedrich is lacking.  And all this is the result of your—­your cotton industries!  Baronet Hotham?  Thanks for this splendid recruit. [In HOTHAM’S ear, audibly] How did he sober up so soon?

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PRINCE.

I crave your forgiveness Your Majesty—­I am still drunk with joy.

KING.

Forgiveness?  For your speech, my son?  If that which you have said shall one day be written into the book of history, then my old heart is quite content, and has but the wish that they might add:  “With his Sword he would be King, but with his Pigtail—­merely the first citizen of his State.”

* * * * *

GERMAN LYRIC POETRY FROM 1830 to 1848

BY JOHN S. NOLLEN, PH.D.

President of Lake Forest College

The years from 1830 to 1848 were distinctively revolutionary years in Germany, which until then had remained strongly conservative.  The spirit of political and social reformation, which had caused the great upheaval of the French Revolution late in the eighteenth century, had made itself felt much more slowly across the Rhine.  Even the generous enthusiasm that animated the German people in the War of Liberation against Napoleon in 1813 had ebbed away into disappointment and lethargy when the German princes forgot their pledges of internal reform.  The policy of the German and Austrian rulers was dominated by the reactionary Austrian Prime Minister, Prince Metternich, a consistent champion of aristocratic ideas and of the “divine right of Kings.”  The “Revolution of July,” 1830, however, which overthrew the Bourbon dynasty in France, had its counterpart in popular movements that forced the granting of constitutions or other liberal concessions in several German states; and, though the policy of Metternich still remained dominant, the liberal sentiment grew in power until the February revolution of 1848 in Paris inspired similar upheavals in all Germany.  Metternich himself was now compelled to retire, Frederick William IV. of Prussia granted his people a constitution, and the other German states seethed with revolt; but the great liberal plan to unify Germany under the leadership of Prussia was nullified by Frederick William’s refusal to accept the imperial crown from a democratic assembly.

The lyric poetry of Germany in these years inevitably reflected the liberal sentiment of the time; it is always the radical emotion of any revolutionary period that finds the most effective lyric expression, the conservative state of mind being more characteristically prosaic.  For the group of ardent spirits who made themselves the heralds of the new day, one of their number, the novelist and dramatist Karl Gutzkow, found the name “Young Germany.”  Just as the “Storm and Stress” of 1770 to 1780, and the Romantic movement of the opening nineteenth century, represented a spirit of sharp revolt against the then dominant pseudo-classicism and rationalism, so “Young Germany” reacted passionately against the moonlight sentimentality of the popular romantic poets, as well as against the stupid political conservatism of the time.  The aim of the Young

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Germans was to bring literature down from the clouds into vital contact with the immediate problems of the day.  Thus there was developed a body of literature strongly polemic in purpose, quite hostile to the ideals of detachment and disinterested worship of beauty that Goethe and Schiller in their classical period had preached and practised.  This literature took the form of fiction, drama, and journalism, as well as of poetry.  Indeed, the only important lyric poet of the Young German group was HEINRICH HEINE (1797-1856), who had begun his career with the most intimate poetry of personal confession, in which the simplicity of the folk-song and the nature-feeling of the romanticist are strongly tinged with wit and cynicism.  Heine’s impatience with German conditions led him to expatriate himself, and from his retreat in Paris to aim venomous shafts of satire at his native land, with its “three dozen masters” and its philistine conservative nightcaps and dumplings.  This brilliant poet, with his marvelous mastery of German lyric tones, expressed a wide range of poetic inspiration; but he loved particularly to conceive of himself as an apostle of liberty, an outpost of the revolutionary army, and none so well as he could tip the barb with biting sarcasm and satire.  Heine’s personality was full of seemingly inconsistent traits.  He was both fanciful and rational, serious and flippant, tender and cynical, reverent and impious; and he could be at once a patriot and an alien.  He was, to use his own phrase, an “unfrocked romanticist”—­at once a brilliant representative of the poetry of self-expression and personal caprice, and an exemplar and prophet of a new ideal, the “holy alliance of poetry with the cause of the nations.”

The different attitudes of thoughtful men toward the influences of the time were variously reflected in the work of three leading poets, all older than Heine, who contributed largely to the lyric output of the period.  ADELBERT VON CHAMISSO (1781-1835), of aristocratic French descent, and using all the familiar romantic forms and motives, was yet thoroughly democratic and prophetically modern in his unalloyed sympathy with the impoverished victims of the social order.  It was something new for German poetry to find inspiration in the wrath of a beggar who cannot pay his dog-tax, the sardonic piety of an old widow reduced to penury by the exactions of the “gracious prince,” or the laborious resignation of an aged washerwoman.—­The Silesian nobleman JOSEPH VON EICHENDORFF (1788-1857), Prussian officer and civil official, was a consistent conservative in his political attitude, a pious Catholic, and a romanticist in every fibre of his poetic soul.  His lyrics are the purest echoes of folk-song and folk-lore, and the simplicity and genuineness of his art give an undying charm to his songs of idyllic meadows and woodlands, post-chaises, carefree wanderers, and lovely maidens in picturesque settings; all suffused with gentle yearning and melting into soft melody. 

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Eichendorff’s patriotism was of the traditional type, echoing faintly the battle-hymns of the War of Liberation.  For the great liberal movement of the thirties and forties he had neither sympathy nor comprehension.—­FRIEDRICH RUeCKERT (1788-1866), endowed with a fatal facility of lyric expression, a virtuoso for whom no tour-de-force was too difficult, lived most of his life aloof from the political and social movements of his time.  In his youth his Sonnets in Armor had done sturdy service in the national awakening against Napoleon, but his maturer years were devoted to domestic and academic interests.  Every impression of his life, whether deep or fleeting, was material for a poem or a cycle.  He handled with consummate skill the odd or complicated metres of eastern and southern lyric forms, and he was most versatile as a translator of foreign poetry, ancient and modern, occidental and oriental.  His unusual formal talent and mastery of language were a constant temptation to rapid and superficial versifying; but there are in the vast mass of his production many genuine poems of great beauty.

Two other poets of quite distinctive quality stood aloof from the political interests of the time.  The talented Westphalian Catholic poetess ANNETTE VON DROSTE-HUeLSHOFF (1797-1848) has a place apart in her generation, not only for the fine religious poems of her Christian Year (similar in plan to Keble’s cycle), but also for her nature-lyrics and songs of common life, which are marked by minute realistic detail and refreshing originality of observation and sentiment.  This pious gentlewoman, usually so maidenly in her reserve, nevertheless expressed something of the spirit of emancipation in her quiet protest against the narrow conventional limits of the feminine life.  But she would have recoiled with horror from the reckless propaganda for sex-freedom that was a part of the Young German campaign, as she also repudiated the violence of the revolutionists of 1848.—­If there is something masculine in Fraeulein von Droste’s firm and plastic touch, there is something almost feminine in the finely-chiseled lyrics of the Protestant pastor EDUARD MOeRIKE (1804-1875), whose Poems appeared in the same year (1838), and blended the folk-song simplicity and melody of an Eichendorff with the classical form-sense of a Keats.  This Suabian country vicar, the youngest member of the group about Uhland, lived in the utmost serenity amid the troubles of revolutionary agitation, devoted to his art, turning the common experiences of every day into forms of beauty, or reviving with charming naivete the romantic figures of medieval poetry.

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We emerge completely from the quietude and piety of these individualists when we come to a group of men who were distinctively political poets.  Here we find the direct lyric expression of the revolutionary movement.  The first in the field was ANASTASIUS GRUeN (the pen-name of Count Anton von Auersperg, 1806-1876).  This Austrian nobleman boldly attacked the reactionary policy of Metternich in his Saunterings of a Viennese Poet (1831); with biting irony he pictures the fate of the Greek patriot Hypsilantes, broken in health by the “hospitality” of Austrian prison-fortresses, or describes the all-powerful minister-of-state enjoying his social triumphs in the palace ball-room, while Austria stands outside the gate vainly pleading for liberty.  In another collection entitled Debris (1836) there are whole-hearted protests against the political martyrdom of the best patriots, and the oppressive despotism under which Italy groaned, with which Gruen contrasts the blessings of liberty in America.

Anastasius Gruen was the forerunner.  The period of the real dominance of political poetry began with 1840, when a petty official in a Rhenish village, Nikolaus Becker, electrified Germany with a martial poem, The German Rhine, inspired by French threats of war with Prussia and of the conquest of the Rhine territory.  The same events inspired Max Schneckenburger’s Wacht am Rhein, which at the time could not compete in popularity with Becker’s poem, but in later years has quite supplanted it as a permanent national song.  German officialdom, which had looked askance at all political poetry, easily saw the value to the national defense of such patriotic strains, and now encouraged these national singers with gifts and honors.  But political poetry could not be kept within officially recognized bounds.  Inevitably it became partisan and revolutionary in character.  HEINRICH HOFFMANN (who styled himself VON FALLERS-LEBEN after his birthplace; 1798-1874), one of the most prolific lyric poets of Germany, had the knack of expressing the common feeling in poems that became genuine national songs; the most famous of these, Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles (1841), is still sung wherever those who love Germany congregate.  But from this expression of the common German tradition Hoffmann went on to espouse the liberal cause, and he had his taste of martyrdom when he lost his professorship at Breslau because of his ironical Unpolitical Songs (1840-42).  Hoffmann was essentially an improviser, and sang only too copiously in all the tones and fashions of German verse.

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FERDINAND FREILIGRATH (1810-1876) gained immediate fame with the brilliant color and tropical exuberance of his early oriental lyrics, of which the much-declaimed Lion’s Ride is an excellent example.  But Freiligrath’s strongest work was in the field of political poetry.  He, too, made sacrifices for the faith that was in him; he gave up a royal pension and twice went into voluntary exile in order to be free to express his liberal sentiments.  He began, indeed, with the denial of any partisan bias; but when the Revolution of 1848 broke, no other poet found more daring and eloquent words for the spirit of revolt and of democratic enthusiasm than Freiligrath.  And when the war of 1870 again brought new hope of German unity, Freiligrath sang in stirring measures this national awakening.

GEORG HERWEGH (1817-1875), also driven into exile by his opposition to the government, created a sensation with his Poems of the Living (1841), which in ringing refrains incited to revolutionary action.  But when the deed followed the word, and Herwegh led an invading column of laborers into Baden in 1848, he lacked the courage of the martyr and fled from the peril of death. GOTTFRIED KINKEL (1815-1882) also took part in the insurrection in Baden, was captured, and condemned to life imprisonment, but escaped with the aid of Carl Schurz in 1850.  FRANZ DINGELSTEDT (1814-1881), on the other hand, found his sarcastic Songs of a Political Night-Watchman (1842) no bar to appointment as director of the theatres of Munich, Weimar and Vienna.

While the poets of the revolution were busily at work, the conservatives were not altogether voiceless; nor were the notes of the romantic lyric silenced.  Indeed, men like Hoffmann, Herwegh, and Kinkel could not deny the strong influence of the romantic motives and tones upon much of their best poetry.  One lyrist greater than any of them was dominated by the romantic tradition—­an Austrian nobleman of mingled German, Slavonic and Hungarian blood, NIKOLAUS LENAU (the pen-name of Nikolaus Franz Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau, 1802-1850).  A gifted musician, Lenau was also a master of the melody of words, and his nature-feeling was unusually deep and true.  Abnormally proud, self-centred and sensitive as he was, Lenau was born to unhappiness and disillusionment; his journey to America, begun with the most generous anticipations, ended in homesickness and bitter disappointment.  Before he had reached middle life, his genius went out in the darkness of insanity.  The picturesque and the tragic fascinated Lenau; he could sing with genuine sympathy the fate of dismembered Poland, or the lawless freedom of Hungarian rebels and gipsies; but for the great political movements of the day he had little regard.  In the melodious interpretation of nature in sad and quiet moods he had no rival.

Very different was the wholesome and chivalrous nature of the young Moravian Count MORITZ VON STRACHWITZ (1822-1847), whose ballads are unmatched in German literature for spirit and fire.  Strachwitz despised the democratic agitation of the revolutionists, and sang with fine enthusiasm the coming of the strong man, who, after all the intrigues of the demagogues, like another Alexander should cut the Gordian knot with the sword.

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With EMANUEL GEIBEL (1815-1884) we come to the voice of fair compromise between the extremes.  Geibel was a conservative liberal, honestly patriotic without partisanship.  Thus his Twelve Sonnets for Schleswig-Holstein (1846) were broadly German in inspiration, and his love of liberty was matched by his aristocratic hatred of the mob.  Geibel succeeded in once more gaining the widest popularity, in days filled with partisan clamor, for the pure lyric of romantic inspiration.  He was in a true sense the poet-laureate of his generation.  Lacking in real originality, he was yet sincere in the expression of his emotion, and his faultless form clothed the utterance of a soul of rare purity and nobility.

As in the days after the War of Liberation, so in the years following the revolutionary movements of 1848, the generous hopes of the people seemed doomed to perish in weariness and disappointment, and the voice of democratic poetry was silenced.  In the reaction that followed the intoxication of liberal enthusiasm, with the failure of the attempt to unify Germany under Prussian leadership, the German lands relapsed into dull acquiescence in the old regime.  But the seed of the new day had been sown, and the harvest came in due time.  Strachwitz’s intuition was justified; the strong man did appear, in the person of Bismarck, and the “Gordian knot” was cut with the sword of the war of 1870.  But the liberal dream of 1848 was realized, also, in the creation of a unified and powerful German Empire on a constitutional basis.

* * * * *

[Illustration:  ANASTASIUS GRUeN]

ANASTASIUS GRUeN

  A SALON SCENE[14] (1831)

  Evening:  In the festive halls the light of many candles gleams,
  Shedding from the mirrors’ crystal thousand-fold reflected beams. 
  In the sea of light are gliding, with a stately, solemn air,
  Honored, venerable matrons, ladies young and very fair.

  And among them wander slowly, clad in festive garments grand,
  Here the valiant sons of battle, there the rulers of the land. 
  But on one that I see moving every eye is fixed with fear—­
  Few indeed among the chosen have the courage to draw near.

  He it is by whose firm guidance Austrians’ fortunes rise or sink,
  He who in the Princes’ Congress for them all must act and think. 
  But behold him now!  How gracious, courteous, gentle he’s to all,
  And how modest, unassuming, and how kind to great and small!

  In the light his orders sparkle with a faint and careless grace,
  But a friendly, gentle smile is always playing on his face
  When he plucks the ruddy rose leaves that some rounded bosom wears,
  Or when, like to withered blossoms, kingdoms he asunder tears.

  Equally enchanting is it, when he praises golden curls,
  Or when, from anointed heads, the royal crowns away he hurls. 
  Yes, methinks ’tis heavenly rapture, which delights the happy man
  Whom his words to Elba’s fastness or to Munkacs’ prison ban.

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  Could all Europe now but see him, so engaging, so gallant,
  How the ladies, young and old, his winning smiles delight, enchant;
  How the church’s pious clergy, and the doughty men of war,
  And the state’s distinguished servants by his grace enraptured are.

  Man of state and man of counsel, since you’re in a mood so kind,
  Since you’re showing to all present such a gracious frame of mind,
  See, without, a needy client standing waiting at your door
  Whom the slightest sign of favor will make happy evermore.

  And you do not need to fear him; he’s intelligent and fair;
  Hidden ’neath his homely garments, knife nor dagger does he wear. 
  ’Tis the Austrian people, open, honest, courteous as can be. 
  See, they’re pleading:  “May we ask you for the freedom to be free?”

* * * * *

[Illustration:  NICOLAUS LENAU]

NIKOLAUS LENAU

  PRAYER[15] (1832)

  Eye of darkness, dim dominioned,
    Stay, enchant me with thy might,
  Earnest, gentle, dreamy-pinioned,
    Sweet, unfathomable night.

  With magician’s mantle cover
    All this day-world from my sight,
  That for aye thy form may hover
    O’er my being, lovely night.

* * * * *

  SEDGE SONGS[16] (1832)

  I

  In the west the sun departing
    Leaves the weary day asleep,
  And the willows trail their streamers
    In these waters still and deep.

  Flow, my bitter tears, flow ever;
    All I love I leave behind;
  Sadly whisper here the willows,
    And the reed shakes in the wind.

  Into my deep lonely sufferings
    Tenderly you shine afar,
  As athwart these reeds and rushes
    Trembles soft yon evening star.

  II

  Oft at eve I love to saunter
    Where the sedge sighs drearily,
  By entangled hidden footpaths,
    Love! and then I think of thee.

  When the woods gloom dark and darker,
    Sedges in the night-wind moan,
  Then a faint mysterious wailing
    Bids me weep, still weep alone.

  And methinks I hear it wafted,
    Thy sweet voice, remote yet clear,
  Till thy song, descending slowly,
    Sinks into the silent mere.

  III

  Angry sunset sky,
    Thunder-clouds o’erhead,
  Every breeze doth fly,
    Sultry air and dead.

  From the lurid storm
    Pallid lightnings break,
  Their swift transient form
    Flashes through the lake.

  And I seem to see
    Thyself, wondrous nigh—­
  Streaming wild and free
    Thy long tresses fly.

* * * * *

  [Illustration:  EVENING ON THE SHORE HANS AM ENDE]

  SONGS BY THE LAKE[17] (1832)

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  I

  In the sky the sun is failing,
    And the weary day would sleep,
  Here the willow fronds are trailing
    In the water still and deep.

  From my darling I must sever: 
    Stream, oh tears, stream forth amain! 
  In the breeze the rushes quiver
    And the willow sighs in pain.

  On my soul in silence grieving
    Mild thou gleamest from afar,
  As through rushes interweaving
    Gleams the mirrored evening star.

  IV

  Sunset dull and drear;
    Dark the clouds drive past;
  Sultry, full of fear,
    All the winds fly fast.

  Through the sky’s wild rack
    Shoots the lightning pale;
  O’er the waters black
    Burns its flickering trail.

  In the vivid glare
    Half I see thy form,
  And thy streaming hair
    Flutters in the storm.

  V

  On the lake as it reposes
    Dwells the moon with glow serene
  Interweaving pallid roses
    With the rushes’ crown of green.

  Stags from out the hillside bushes
    Gaze aloft into the night,
  Waterfowl amid the rushes
    Vaguely stir with flutterings light

  Down my tear-dim glance I bend now,
    While through all my soul a rare
  Thrill of thought toward thee doth tend now
    Like an ecstasy of prayer.

* * * * *

  THE POSTILION[18] (1833)

  Passing lovely was the night,
    Silver clouds flew o’er us,
  Spring, methought, with splendor dight
    Led the happy chorus.

  Sleep-entranced lay wood and dale,
    Empty now each by-way;
  No one but the moonlight pale
    Roamed upon the highway.

  Breezes wandering in the gloom
    Soft their footsteps numbered
  Through Dame Nature’s sleeping-room
    Where her children slumbered.

  Timidly the brook stole by,
    While the beds of blossom
  Breathed their perfume joyously
    On the still night’s bosom.

  My postilion, heedless all,
    Cracked his whip most gaily,
  And his merry trumpet-call
    Rang o’er hill and valley.

  Hoofs beat steadily the while,
    As the horses gamboled,
  And along the shady aisle
    Spiritedly rambled.

  Grove and meadow gliding past
    Vanished at a glimmer: 
  Peaceful towns were gone as fast,
    Like to dreams that shimmer.

  Midway in the Maytide trance
    Tombs were shining whitely;
  ’Twas the churchyard met our glance—­
    None might view it lightly.

  Close against the mountain braced
    Ran the long white wall there,
  And the cross, in sorrow placed,
    Silent rose o’er all there.

  Jehu straight, his humor spent,
    Left his tuneful courses;
  On the cross his gaze he bent
    Then pulled up his horses.

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  “Here’s where horse and coach must wait—­
    You may think it odd, sir:—­
  But up yonder, lies my mate
    Underneath the sod, sir.

  “Better lad was never born—­
    (Sir ’twas God’s own pity!)
  No one else could blow the horn
    Half as shrill and pretty.

  “So I stop beside the wall
    Every time I pass here,
  And I blow his favorite call
    To him under grass here.”

  Toward the churchyard then he blew
    One call after other,
  That they might go ringing through
    To his sleeping brother.

  From the cliff each lively note
    Echoing resounded,
  As it were the dead man’s throat
    Answering strains had sounded.

  On we went through field and hedge,
    Loosened bridles jingling;
  Long that echo from the ledge
    In my ear kept tingling.

* * * * *

  TO THE BELOVED FROM AFAR[19] (1838)

  His sweet rose here oversea
    I must gather sadly;
  Which, beloved, unto thee
    I would bring how gladly!

  But alas! if o’er the foam
    I this flower should carry,
  It would fade ere I could come;
    Roses may not tarry.

  Farther let no mortal fare
    Who would be a wooer,
  Than unwithered he may bear
    Blushing roses to her,

  Or than nightingale may fly
    For her nesting grasses,
  Or than with the west wind’s sigh
    Her soft warbling passes.

* * * * *

  THE THREE GIPSIES[20]

  Three gipsy men I saw one day
    Stretched out on the grass together,
  As wearily o’er the sandy way
    My wagon brushed the heather.

  The first of the three was fiddling there
    In the glow of evening pallid,
  Playing a wild and passionate air,
    The tune of some gipsy ballad.

  From the second’s pipe the smoke-wreaths curled,
    He watched them melt at his leisure. 
  So full of content, it seemed the world
    Had naught to add to his pleasure.

  And what of the third?—­He was fast asleep,
    His harp to a bough confided;
  The breezes across the strings did sweep,
    A dream o’er his heart-strings glided.

  The garb of all was worn and frayed,
    With tatters grotesquely mended;
  But flouting the world, and undismayed,
    The three with fate contended.

  They showed me how, by three-fold scoff,
    When cares of life perplex us,
  To smoke, or sleep, or fiddle them off,
    And scorn the ills that vex us.

  I passed them, but my gaze for long
    Dwelt on the trio surly—­
  Their dark bronze features sharp and strong,
    Their loose hair black and curly.

* * * * *

  MY HEART[21] (1844)

  Sleepless night, the rushing rain,
  While my heart with ceaseless pain
  Hears the mournful past subsiding
  Or the uncertain future striding.

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  Heart, ’tis fatal thus to harken,
  Let not fear thy courage darken,
  Though the past be all regretting
  And the future helpless fretting.

  Onward, let what’s mortal die. 
  Is the storm near, beat thou high. 
  Who came safe o’er Galilee
  Makes the voyage now in thee.

* * * * *

EDUARD MOeRIKE

  AN ERROR CHANCED[22] (1824)

  An error chanced in the moonlight garden
  Of a once inviolate love. 
  Shuddering I came on an outworn deceit,
  And with sorrowing look, yet cruel,
  Bade I the slender
  Enchanting maiden
  Leave me and wander far. 
  Alas! her lofty forehead
  Was bowed, for she loved me well;
  Yet did she go in silence
  Into the dim gray
  World outside.

  Sick since then,
  Wounded and woeful heart! 
  Never shall it be whole.

  Meseems that, spun of the air, a thread of magic
  Binds her yet to me, an unrestful bond;
  It draws, it draws me faint with love toward her. 
  Might it yet be some day that on my threshold
  I should find her, as erst, in the morning twilight,
  Her traveler’s bundle beside her,
  And her eye true-heartedly looking up to me,
  Saying, “See, I’ve come back,
  Back once more from the lonely world!”

* * * * *

A SONG FOR TWO IN THE NIGHT[23] (1825)

She.  How soft the night wind strokes the meadow grasses
And, breathing music, through the woodland passes! 
Now that the upstart day is dumb,
One hears from the still earth a whispering throng
Of forces animate, with murmured song
Joining the zephyrs’ well-attuned hum.

He.  I catch the tone from wondrous voices brimming,
Which sensuous on the warm wind drifts to me,
While, streaked with misty light uncertainly,
The very heavens in the glow are swimming.

She.  The air like woven fabric seems to wave,
Then more transparent and more lustrous groweth;
Meantime a muted melody outgoeth
From happy fairies in their purple cave. 
To sphere-wrought harmony
Sing they, and busily
The thread upon their silver spindles floweth.

He.  Oh lovely night! how effortless and free
O’er samite black-though green by day—­thou movest! 
And to the whirring music that thou lovest
Thy foot advances imperceptibly. 
Thus hour by hour thy step doth measure—­
In tranced self-forgetful pleasure
Thou’rt rapt; creation’s soul is rapt with thee!

* * * * *

[Illustration:  EDUARD MOeRIKE WEISS]

EARLY AWAY[24] (1828)

The morning frost shines gray
Along the misty field
Beneath the pallid way
Of early dawn revealed.

  Amid the glow one sees
    The day-star disappear;
  Yet o’er the western trees
    The moon is shining clear.

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  So, too, I send my glance
    On distant scenes to dwell;
  I see in torturing trance
    The night of our farewell.

  Blue eyes, a lake of bliss,
    Swim dark before my sight,
  Thy breath, I feel, thy kiss;
    I hear thy whispering light.

  My cheek upon thy breast
    The streaming tears bedew,
  Till, purple-black, is cast
    A veil across my view.

  The sun comes out; he glows,
    And straight my dreams depart,
  While from the cliffs he throws
    A chill across my heart.

* * * * *

  THE FORSAKEN MAIDEN[25] (1829)

  Early when cocks do crow
    Ere the stars dwindle,
  Down to the hearth I go,
    Fire must I kindle.

  Fair leap the flames on high,
    Sparks they whirl drunken;
  I watch them listlessly
    In sorrow sunken.

  Sudden it comes to me,
    Youth so fair seeming,
  That all the night of thee
    I have been dreaming.

  Tears then on tears do run
    For my false lover;
  Thus has the day begun—­
    Would it were over!

* * * * *

  WEYLA’S SONG[26] (1831)

  Thou art Orplede, my land
  Remotely gleaming;
  The mist arises from thy sun-bright strand
  To where the faces of the gods are beaming.

  Primeval rivers spring renewed
  Thy silver girdle weaving, child! 
  Before the godhead bow subdued
  Kings, thy worshipers and watchers mild.

* * * * *

  SECLUSION[27] (1832)

  Let, oh world, ah let me be! 
  Tempt me not with gifts of pleasure. 
  Leave alone this heart to treasure
  All its joy, its misery.

  What my grief I can not say,
  ’Tis a strange, a wistful sorrow;
  Yet through tears at every morrow
  I behold the light of day.

  When my weary soul finds rest
  Oft a beam of rapture brightens
  All the gloom of cloud, and lightens
  This oppression in my breast.

  Let, oh world, all, let me be! 
  Tempt me not with gifts of pleasure. 
  Leave alone this heart to treasure
  All its joy, its misery.

* * * * *

  THE SOLDIER’S BETROTHED[28] (1837)

  Oh dear, if the king only knew
  How brave is my sweetheart, how true! 
  He would give his heart’s blood for the king,
  But for me he would do the same thing.

  My love has no ribbon or star,
  No cross such as gentlemen wear,
  A gen’ral he’ll never become;
  If only they’d leave him at home!

  For stars there are three shining bright
  O’er the Church of St. Mary each night;
  We are bound by a rose-woven band,
  And a house-cross is always at hand.

* * * * *

Page 237

  THE OLD WEATHERCOCK:  AN IDYLL[29] (1840, 1852)

  At Cleversulzbach in the Underland
  A hundred and thirteen years did I stand
  Up on the tower in wind and rain,
  An ornament and a weathervane. 
  Through night and tempest gazing down,
  Like a good old cock I watched the town. 
  The lightning oft my form has grazed,
  The frost my scarlet comb o’erglazed,
  And many a warm long summer’s day,
  In times when all seek shade who may,
  The scorching sun with rage unslaked
  My golden body well has baked. 
  So in my age all black I’d grown,
  My beauteous glint and gleam was gone,
  Till I at length, despised by all,
  Was lifted from my pedestal. 
  Ah well! ’tis thus we run our race,
  Another now must have my place. 
  Go strut, and preen, but don’t forget
  What court the wind will pay you yet!

  Farewell, sweet landscape, mount and dell! 
  Vineyard and forest, fare ye well! 
  Beloved tower, the roof’s high ridge,
  Churchyard and streamlet with its bridge;
  Oh fountain, where the cattle throng
  And sheep come trooping all day long,
  With Hans to urge them on their way. 
  And Eva on the piebald gray! 
  Ye storks and swallows with your clatter,
  And sparrows, how I’ll miss your chatter! 
  For every bit of dirt seems dear
  Which o’er my form you used to smear. 
  Goodby, my worthy friend the pastor,
  And you, poor driveling old schoolmaster. 
  ’Tis o’er, what cheered my heart so long. 
  The sound of organ, bells and song.

  So from my, lofty perch I crew,
  And would have sung much longer too,
  When came a crooked devil’s minion,
  The slater ’twas in my opinion. 
  Who after many a knock and shake
  Detached me wholly from my stake. 
  My poor old heart was broke at last
  When from the roof he pulled me past
  The bells which from their station glared
  And on my fate in wonder stared,
  But vexed themselves no more about me,
  Thinking they’d hang as well without me.

  Then to the scrap-heap I was brought,
  For twopence by the blacksmith bought,
  Which as he paid he said ’twas wonder
  How much folk wanted for such plunder. 
  And there at noon of that same day
  In grief before his hut I lay. 
  The time being May, a little tree
  Shed snow-white blossoms over me,
  While other chickens by the dozen
  Unheeding cackled round their cousin. 
  ’Twas then the pastor happened by,
  Spoke to the smith, then smiling, “Hi! 
  And have you come to this, poor cock
  A strange bird, Andrew, for your flock! 
  He’ll hardly do to broil or roast;
  For me though, I may fairly boast
  Things must go hard if I’ve no place
  For old church servants in hard case. 
  Bring him along then speedily
  And drink a glass of wine with me.”

Page 238

  The sooty lout with quick assent
  Laughed, picked me up, and off we went. 
  A little more, and from my throat
  Toward heaven I’d sent a joyous note. 
  Within the manse the strange new guest
  Astounded all from most to least;
  But soon each face, before afraid,
  The glowing light of joy displayed. 
  Wife, maids and menfolks, girls and boys
  Surrounded with a seven-fold noise
  The giant rooster in the hall,
  Welcoming, looking, handling all. 
  The man of God with jealous care
  Took me himself and climbed the stair
  To his own study, while the pack
  Came stumbling after at his back.

  Within these walls is peace enshrined! 
  Entering, we left the world behind. 
  I seemed to breathe a magic air,
  Essence of books and learning rare,
  Geranium scent and mignonette,
  And faint tobacco lingering yet. 
  (To me of course all this was new.)
  An ancient stove I noticed, too,
  In the left corner in full view. 
  Quite like a tower its bulk was raised
  Until its peak the ceiling grazed,
  With pillared strength and flowery grace,
  O most delightful resting-place! 
  On the top wreath as on a mast
  The blacksmith set me firm and fast.

  Behold my stove with reverent eyes! 
  Cathedral-like its noble size;
  With store of pictures overwrought,
  And rhymes that tell of pious thought. 
  Of such I learned full many a word,
  While the old stove from out its hoard
  Would draw them forth for young and old,
  When the snow fell and winds blew cold. 
  Here you may see where on the tile
  Stands Bishop Hatto’s towered isle,
  While rats and mice on every side
  Swim through the Rhine’s opposing tide. 
  The armed grooms in vain wage war,

  The host of tails grows more and more,
  Till thousands ranged in close array
  Leap from the walls on those at bay
  And seize the bishop in his room: 
  An awful death is now his doom;
  Devoured straightway shall he be
  To pay the price of perjury. 
  —­There too Belshazzar’s banquet shines,
  Voluptuous women, costly wines;
  But in the amazed sight of all
  The dread hand writes upon the wall. 
  —­Lastly the pictures represent
  How Sarah listens in the tent
  While God Almighty, come to earth,
  Foretells to Abraham the birth
  Of Isaac and his seed thereafter. 
  Sarah cannot restrain her laughter,
  Since both are well advanced in years. 
  God asks when he the laughter hears: 
  “Doth Sarah laugh then at God’s will,
  And doubt if this he may fulfil?”
  Her indiscretion to recall
  She says, “I did not laugh at all.” 
  Which commonly would be a lie;
  But God prefers to pass it by,
  Since ’tis not done with malice dark,
  And she’s a lady patriarch.

Page 239

  Now that I’m here, I think with reason
  That winter is the fairest season
  How smooth the daily current flows
  To ev’ry week’s beloved close! 
  —­Just about nine on Friday night,
  Sole by the lamp’s reposeful light
  My master with a mind perplexed
  Sets out to choose his Sunday text. 
  Before the stove a while he stands,
  Walks to and fro with twisted hands,
  And vainly struggles to determine
  The theme on which to thread his sermon. 
  Now and again amid his doubt
  He lifts the window and looks out. 
  —­Oh cooling surge of starlit air,
  Pour on my brow your tide so rare! 
  I see where Verrenberg doth glimmer,
  And Shepherds’ Knoll with snows a-shimmer. 
  He sits him down to write at last,
  Dips pen and makes the A and O,
  Which o’er his “Preface” always go. 
  I meanwhile from my post on high
  Ne’er from my master turn an eye,
  Look at him now, with far-off gaze
  Pondering, testing every phrase;
  The snuffer once he seizes quick
  And cleans of soot the flaming wick;
  Then oft in deep abstraction, he
  Murmurs a sentence audibly,
  Which I with outstretched bill peck up
  And fill with lore my eager crop. 
  So do we come by smooth gradation
  To where begins the “Application.” 
  “Eleven!” comes the watchman’s shout. 
  My master hears and turns about. 
  “Bedtime!” He rises, takes the light,
  Nor ever hears my shrill “good-night!”
  Alone in darkness then I’d be;
  That has no terrors, though, for me. 
  Behind the wainscot sharply picking
  I hear a while the death-clock ticking,
  I hear the marten vainly scoop
  The earth around the chicken-coop. 
  Along the eaves the night-wind brushes,
  And through far trees the tempest rushes—­

  Bird Wood’s the name that forest bears,
  Where rude old Winter raves and tears. 
  Now splits a beech with such a crack
  That all the valleys echo it back. 
  —­My goodness! when these sounds I hear
  I’m glad a pious stove’s so near,
  Which warms you so the long hours through
  That night seems fraught with blessings too. 
  —­Just now I well might feel afraid,
  When thieves and murderers ply their trade;
  ’Tis lucky, faith, for those who are
  Secured from harm by bolt and bar. 
  How could I call so men would hear me
  If some one raised a ladder near me? 
  When thoughts like this attack my brain
  The sweat runs down my back like rain. 
  At two, thank God! again at three,
  A cock-crow rises clear and free,
  And with the morning bell at five
  My whole heart, now once more alive,
  High in my breast with rapture springs,
  When finally the watchman sings
  “Arise, good friends, for Jesus’ sake,
  For bright and fair the day doth break.”

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  Soon after this, an hour at most,
  My spurs are growing stiff with frost
  When in comes Lisa, hums some snatches,
  And rakes the fire until it catches. 
  Then from below, quite savory too,
  I scent the steam of onion stew. 
  At length my master enters gay,
  Fresh for the business of the day. 
  On Saturday a worthy priest
  Should keep his room, his house at least;
  Not visit or distract his brain,
  Turning his thoughts to things profane. 
  My master was not tempted so,
  But once—­don’t let it out, you know—­
  He squandered all his precious wits
  Making a titmouse trap for Fritz—­
  Right here, and talked and had a smoke;
  To me, I’ll own, it seemed a joke.

  The blessed Sabbath now is here. 
  The church-bells call both far and near,
  The organ sounds so loud to me
  I think I’m in the sacristy. 
  There’s not a soul in all the house;
  I hear a fly, and then a mouse. 
  The sunlight now the window reaches
  And through the cactus stems it stretches,
  Fain o’er the walnut desk to glide,
  Some ancient cabinet-maker’s pride. 
  There it beholds with searching looks
  Concordances and children’s books,
  On wafer-box and seal it dances
  And lights the inkwell with its glances;
  Across the sand it strikes its wedge,
  Is cut upon the penknife’s edge,
  Across the armchair freely roams,
  Then to the bookcase with its tomes. 
  There clad in parchment and in leather
  The Suabian Fathers stand together: 
  Andrea, Bengel, Riegers two,
  And Oetinger are well in view. 
  The sun each golden name reads o’er
  And with a kiss he gilds yet more. 
  As Hiller’s “Harp” his fingers touch—­
  Hark! does it ring?  It lacks not much.

  With that a spider slim and small
  Begins upon my frame to crawl,
  And, never asking my goodwill,
  Suspends his web from neck to bill. 
  I don’t disturb myself a whit,
  Just wait and watch him for a bit. 
  For him it is a lucky hap
  That I’m disposed to take a nap.—­
  But tell me now if anywhere
  An old church cock might better fare.

  A twinge of longing now and then
  Will vex, no doubt, the happiest men. 
  In summer I could wish outside
  Upon the dove-cote roof to bide,
  With just beneath the garden bright
  And stretch of greensward too in sight. 
  Or else again in winter time,
  When, as today, the weather’s prime:—­
  Now I’ve begun, I’ll say it out
  We’ve got a sleigh here, staunch and stout,
  All colored, yellow, black and green;
  Just freshly painted, neat and clean;
  And on the dashboard proudly strutting
  A strange, new-fangled fowl is sitting: 
  Now if they’d have me fixed up right—­
  The whole expense would be but slight—­
  I’d stand there quite as well as he
  And none need feel ashamed of me! 

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  —­Fool!  I reply, accept your fate,
  And be not so immoderate. 
  Perhaps ’twould suit your high behest
  If some one, for a common jest,
  Would take you, stove and all, away
  And set you up there on the sleigh,
  With all the family round you too: 
  Man, woman, child—­the whole blest crew! 
  Old image, what! so shameless yet,
  And prone on gauds your mind to set? 
  Think on your latter end at last! 
  Your hundredth year’s already past.

* * * * *

  THINK OF IT, MY SOUL![30] (1852)

  Somewhere a pine is green,
  Just where who knoweth,
  And in a garth unseen
  A rose-tree bloweth. 
  These are ordained for thee—­
  Think, oh soul, fixedly—­
  Over thy grave to be;
  Swift the time floweth.

  Two black steeds on the down
  Briskly are faring,
  Or on their way to town
  Canter uncaring. 
  These may with heavy tread
  Slowly convey the dead
  E’en ere the shoes be shed
  They now are wearing.

* * * * *

  ERINNA TO SAPPHO[31] (1863)

  (Erinna was a Greek poetess, a friend and pupil of Sappho of Lesbos. 
  She died at the age of nineteen.)

  “Many the paths to Hades,” an ancient proverb
  Tells us, “and one of them thou thyself shalt follow,
  Doubt not!” My sweetest Sappho, who can doubt it? 
  Tells not each day the old tale? 
  Yet the foreboding word in a youthful bosom
  Rankles not, as a fisher bred by the seashore,
  Deafened by use, perceives the breaker’s thunder no more. 
  —­Strangely, however, today my heart misgave me.  Attend: 
  Sunny the glow of morn-tide, pouring
  Through the trees of my well-walled garden,
  Roused the slugabed (so of late thou calledst Erinna)
  Early up from her sultry couch. 
  Full was my soul of quiet, although my blood beat
  Quick with uncertain waves o’er the thin cheek’s pallor. 
  Then, as I loosed the plaits of my shining tresses,
  Parting with nard-moist comb above my forehead
  The veil of hair—­in the glass my own glance met me. 
  Eyes, strange eyes, I said, what will ye? 
  Spirit of me, that within there dwelled securely as yet,
  Occultly wed to my living senses—­
  Demon-like, half smiling thy solemn message,
  Thou dost nod to me, Death presaging! 
  —­Ha! all at once like lightning a thrill went through me,
  Or as a deadly arrow with sable feathers
  Whizzing had grazed my temples,
  So that, with hands pressed over my face, a long time
  Dumb-struck I sat, while my thought reeled at the frightful abyss.

  Tearless at first I pondered,
  Weighing the terror of Death;
  Till I bethought me of thee, my Sappho,
  And of my comrades all,
  And of the muses’ lore,
  When straightway the tears ran fast.

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  But there on the table gleamed a beautiful hair-net, thy gift,
  Costly handwork of Byssos, spangled with golden bees. 
  This, when next in the flowery festal season
  We shall worship the glorious child of Demeter,
  This will I offer to her for thy and my sake,
  So may she favor us both (for she much availeth),
  That no mourning lock thou untimely sever
  From thy beloved head for thy poor Erinna.

* * * * *

MOZART’S JOURNEY FROM VIENNA TO PRAGUE (about 1850)

A ROMANCE OF HIS PRIVATE LIFE

BY EDUARD MOeRIKE

TRANSLATED BY FLORENCE LEONARD

In the fall of the year 1787 Mozart and his wife undertook a journey to Prague, where he was to finish and bring out his masterpiece, Don Juan.

Eleven o’clock of the fourteenth of September found them well on their way and in the best of spirits.  They had been traveling two days, and were about one hundred and twenty miles from Vienna, among the beautiful Maehrische mountains.  The splendid coach, drawn by three post-horses, belonged to an elderly Frau Volkstett, wife of General Volkstett, who prided herself on her intimacy with the Mozarts and on the favors she had shown them.  The carriage was painted a bright yellowish-red, the body adorned with garlands of gay-colored flowers, the wheels finished with narrow stripes of gold.  The high top was fitted with stiff leather curtains, now drawn back and fastened.

The dress of the travelers was simple, for the new clothes to be worn at court were carefully packed in the trunk.  Mozart wore an embroidered waistcoat of a somewhat faded blue, his ordinary brown coat—­with a row of large, curiously fashioned gilt buttons—­black silk stockings and small-clothes, and shoes with gilt buckles.  As the day grew warm, unusually warm for September, he had taken off both hat and coat and was sitting in his shirt-sleeves, bare headed, serenely chatting.  His thick hair, drawn back into a braid, was powdered even more carelessly than usual.

Frau Mozart’s hair, a wealth of light brown curls, never disfigured by powder, fell, half unfastened, upon her shoulders.  She wore a traveling-suit of striped stuff—­light green and white.

They were slowly ascending a gentle slope, where rich fields alternated with long stretches of woodland, when Mozart exclaimed:  “How many woods we have passed every day of our journey, and I hardly noticed them, much less thought of going into them!  Postilion, stop and let your horses rest a bit, while we get some of those blue-bells yonder in the shade!”

As they rose to leave the coach they became aware of a slight accident for which the master had to take the blame.  Through his carelessness a bottle of choice perfume had lost its cork, and its contents had run, unperceived, over clothing and carriage cushions.  “I might have known it,” lamented Frau Mozart, “I have smelled it this long while!  Oh dear!  A whole bottle of real ‘Rosee d’Aurore!’ I was as careful of it as if it had been gold!”

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“Never mind, little goose,” was Mozart’s comforting answer.  “This was the only way that your sacred smelling-stuff would do us any good.  The air was like an oven here, and all your fanning made it no cooler.  But presently the carriage was comfortable—­you said it was because I poured a couple of drops on my jabot—­and we could talk and enjoy our journey instead of hanging our heads like sheep in a butcher’s cart.  It will last all the rest of the way.  Come now, let us stick our two Vienna noses into this green wilderness!”

They climbed the bank arm-in-arm, and strolled into the shade of the pines, which grew deeper and deeper, till only here and there a stray sunbeam lighted up the green mossy carpet.  So cool was the air that Mozart soon had to put on the coat, which, but for his prudent wife, he would have left behind.

Presently he stopped and looked up through the rows of lofty tree-trunks.  “How beautiful!” he cried.  “It is like being in church!  This is a real wood, a whole family of trees!  No human hand planted them, but they seem to have come and stood there just because it is pleasant to live and grow in company.  To think that I have traveled half over Europe, have seen the Alps and the ocean, and yet, happening to come into an ordinary Bohemian pine-woods, I am astonished that such a thing actually exists; not as a poetic fiction like the nymphs and fauns, but really living, drawn out of the earth by moisture and sunshine!  Imagine the deer, with his wonderful antlers, at home here, and the mischievous squirrel, the wood-cock, and the jay!” He stooped and picked a mushroom, praised its deep red color and delicate white lines, and put a handful of cones into his pocket.

“Any one would think that you had never walked a dozen steps in the Prater,” said his wife; “these same rare cones and mushrooms are to be found there too!”

“The Prater!  Heavens, how can you mention it!  What is there in the Prater but carriages and swords, gowns and fans, music and hubbub!  As for the trees, large as they are—­well, even the acorns on the ground seem like second cousins to the old corks lying beside them!  You could walk there two hours, and still smell waiters and sauces!”

“Oh, what a speech from a man whose greatest pleasure is to eat a good supper in the Prater!”

After they had returned to the carriage and sat watching the smiling fields which stretched away to the mountains behind them, Mozart exclaimed:  “Indeed the earth is beautiful, and no one can be blamed for wanting to stay on it as long as possible.  Thank God, I feel as fresh and strong as ever, and ready for a thousand things as soon as my new opera is finished and brought out.  But how much there is in the outside world, and how much at home, both wonderful and beautiful, that I know nothing about!  Beauties of nature, sciences, and both fine arts and useful arts!  That black charcoal-burner there by his kiln knows just as much as I do about many things.  And I should like well enough to look into some subjects that aren’t connected with my own trade!”

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“The other day,” interrupted his wife, “I came across your old pocket-calendar for ’85.  There were three or four special memoranda at the end.  One read:  ’About the middle of October they are to cast the great lions at the imperial brass foundry.’  Another was underlined twice ‘Call on Professor Gottner.’  Who is he?”

“Oh Oh yes, I remember!  That kind old gentleman in the observatory, who invites me there now and then.  I meant, long ago, to take you to see the moon and the man in it.  They have a new telescope, so strong that they can see distinctly mountains and valleys and chasms, and, on the side where the sun does not fall, the shadows of the mountains.  Two years ago I planned to go there!  Shameful!”

“Well, the moon will not run away!”

“But it is so with everything.  It is too hard to think of all that one puts off and loses, not duties to God and to man only, but pure pleasures—­those small innocent pleasures which are within one’s grasp every day!”

Madame Mozart could not or would not turn his thoughts into another channel, and could only agree with him as he went on:  “Have I ever been able to have a whole hour of pleasure with my own children?  Even they can be only half enjoyed!  The boys have one ride on my knee, chase me once around the room, and stop.  I must shake them off and go!  I cannot remember that we have had once a whole day in the country together, at Easter or Whitsuntide, in garden or woods or meadows to grow young again among the children and flowers.  And meanwhile life is gradually slipping and running and rushing away from us!  Dear Lord!  To think of it!”

With such self-reproach began a serious conversation.  How sad that Mozart, passionate as he was, keenly alive to all the beauties of the world, and full of the highest aspirations, never knew peace and contentment, in spite of all that he enjoyed and created in his short life.  The reason is easily found in those weaknesses, apparently unconquerable, which were so large a part of his character.  The man’s needs were many; his fondness for society extraordinarily great.  Honored and sought by all the families of rank, he seldom refused an invitation to a fete or social gathering of any sort.  He had, besides, his own circle of friends whom he entertained of a Sunday evening, and often at dinner at his own well-ordered table.  Occasionally, to the inconvenience of his wife, he would bring in unexpected guests of diverse gifts, any one whom he might happen to meet—­amateurs, fellow-artists, singers, poets.  An idle hanger-on whose only merit lay in his companionable mood or in his jests, was as welcome as a gifted connoisseur or a distinguished musician.  But the greater part of his recreation Mozart sought away from home.  He was to be found almost every afternoon at billiards in the Kaffeehaus, and many an evening at the inn.  He enjoyed both driving and riding, frequented balls and masquerades—­a finished dancer—­and took part in popular celebrations also, masquerading regularly on St. Bridget’s Day as Pierrot.

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These pleasures, sometimes wild and extravagant, sometimes quieter in tone, were designed to refresh the severely taxed brain after extreme labors; and in the mysterious ways of genius they bore fruit in later days.  But unfortunately he was so bent on enjoying to the full every moment of pleasure that there was room for no other consideration, whether of prudence or duty, of self-preservation or of economy.  Both in his amusements and in his creative activity Mozart knew no limits.  Part of the night was always devoted to composition; early in the morning, often even while in bed, he finished his work.  Then, driving or walking, he made the rounds of his lessons, which generally took a part of the afternoon also.  “We take a great deal of trouble for our pupils, and it is often hard not to lose patience,” he wrote to one of his patrons.  “Because we are well recommended as pianists and teachers of music we load ourselves down with pupils, and are always willing to add another; if only the bills are promptly paid it does not matter whether the new student be a Hungarian mustachio from the engineer corps, whom Satan has tempted to wade through thorough-bass and counterpoint, or the haughtiest little countess who receives us in a fury, as she would Master Coquerel, the hair-dresser, if we do not arrive on the stroke of the hour.”  So, when weary with the occupations of his profession, school-work, and rehearsals as well as private lessons, and in need of refreshment, he gave his nerves a seeming restorative only in new excitement.  His health began to suffer, and ever-recurring fits of melancholy were certainly fostered, if not actually induced, by his ill health; and the premonition of his early death, which for a long time haunted him, was finally fulfilled.  The deepest melancholy and remorse were the bitter fruits of every pleasure which he tasted; yet we know that even these troubled streams emptied pure and clear in the deep spring from which all joy and all woe flowed in marvelous melodies.

The effects of Mozart’s illness showed most plainly when at home.  The temptation to spend his money foolishly and carelessly was very great.  It was due, as a matter of course, to one of his most lovely traits.  If any one in need came to him to borrow money or to ask his name as security, he consented at once with smiling generosity and without making arrangements to insure the return of the loan.  The means which such generosity, added to the needs of his household, required, were out of all proportion to his actual income.  The sums which he received from theatres and concerts, from publishers and pupils, together with the Emperor’s pension, were the smaller because the public taste was far from declaring itself in favor of Mozart’s compositions.  The very beauty, depth, and fulness of his music were, in general, opposed to the easily understood compositions then in favor.  To be sure, the Viennese public could not get enough of Die Entfuehrung aus dem

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Serail, thanks to its popular element.  But, on the other hand, several years later Figaro made a most unexpected and lamentable fiasco, in comparison with the success of its pleasing, though quite insignificant rival Cosa rara—­and not alone through the intrigue of the manager.  It was the same Figaro which, soon after, the cultivated and unprejudiced people of Prague received with such enthusiasm that the master, in gratitude, determined to write his next great opera for them.

But despite the unfavorable period and the influence of his enemies, Mozart, if he had been more prudent and circumspect, might have received a very considerable sum from his art.  As it was, he was in arrears after every enterprise, even when full houses shouted their applause to him.  So circumstances, his own nature, and his own faults conspired to keep him from prosperity.

And what a sad life was that of Frau Mozart!  She was young and of a cheerful disposition, musical, and of a musical family, and had the best will in the world to stop the mischief at the outset, and, failing in that, to make up for the loss in great things by saving in small affairs.  But she lacked, perhaps, skill and experience.  She held the purse, and kept the account of the house expenses.  Every claim, every bill, every vexation was carried to her.  How often must she have choked back the tears when to such distress and want, painful embarrassment, and fear of open disgrace, was added the melancholy of her husband, in which he would remain for days, accomplishing nothing, refusing all comfort, and either sighing and complaining, or sitting silent in a corner, thinking continually of death!  But she seldom lost courage, and almost always her clear judgment found counsel and relief, though it might be but temporary.  In reality she could make no radical change in the situation.  If she persuaded him in seriousness or in jest, by entreaties or by coaxing, to eat his supper and spend his evening with his family, she had gained but little.  Perhaps, touched by the sight of his wife’s distress, he would curse his bad habits and promise all that she asked—­even more.  But to no purpose; he would soon, unexpectedly, find himself in the old ruts again.  One is tempted to believe that he could not do otherwise, and that a code of morals, totally different from our ideas of right and wrong, of necessity controlled him.

Yet Frau Constanze hoped continually for a favorable turn of affairs, a great improvement in their financial condition, which could hardly fail to follow Mozart’s increasing fame.  If the anxiety which always pressed upon him, more or less, could be lightened; if, instead of devoting half his strength and time to earning money he could live only for his art, and, moreover, could enjoy with a clear conscience those pleasures which he needed for body and mind, then he would grow calmer and more natural.  She hoped, indeed, for an opportunity to leave Vienna, for, in spite of his affection for the place, she was convinced that he would never prosper there.  Some decisive step toward the realization of her plans and wishes she promised herself as the result of the new opera, for which they were now on their way to Prague.

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The composition was more than half written.  Trusty friends and competent judges who had heard the beginning of the work talked of it with such enthusiasm that many of Mozart’s enemies, even, were prepared to hear, within six months, that his Don Juan had taken all Germany by storm.  His more prudent and moderate friends, who took into consideration the state of the public taste, hardly expected an immediate and universal success; and with these the master himself secretly agreed.

Constanze, however, was like all women.  If once they hope, particularly in a righteous cause, they are less apt than men are to give heed to discouraging features.  She still held fast to her favorable opinion, and had, even now, new occasion to defend it.  She did so in her gay and lively fashion, the more earnestly because Mozart’s spirits had fallen decidedly in the course of the previous conversation.  She described minutely how, after their return, she should use the hundred ducats which the manager at Prague would pay for the score.  That sum would supply their most pressing needs, and they could live comfortably till spring.

“Your Herr Bondine will make some money with this opera, you may be sure; and if he is half as honest as you think him, he will give you later also a fair per cent. of the price that other theatres pay him for their copies of Don Juan.  But, even if he doesn’t, there are plenty of other good things that might happen to us; they are more probable too!”

“What, for instance?”

“A little bird told me that the King of Prussia needs a leader for his orchestra.”

“Oh!”

“A general music director, I mean.  Let me build you an air-castle!  That weakness I got from my mother.”

“Build away!  The higher the better!”

“No, my air-castles are very real ones!  In a year from now they’ll be reporting—­”

“If the Pope to Gretchen comes a-courting!”

“Keep quiet, you ridiculous goose!  I tell you by the first of next September there will be no ‘Imperial Court Composer’ of the name of Wolf Mozart to be found in Vienna.”

“May the foxes bite you for that!”

“I hear already what our old friends are saying and gossiping about us.”

“What, then?”

“Well, a little after nine o’clock one fine morning our old friend and admirer Frau Volkstett comes sailing at full speed across the Kahlmarkt.  She has been away for three months.  That famous visit to her brother-in-law in Saxony, that we have heard about every day, has at last come off.  She returned yesterday, and cannot wait any longer to see her dear friend, the Colonel’s wife.  Upstairs she goes and knocks at the door, and does not wait for an answer.  You may imagine the rejoicing and the embracing an both sides.  ’Now dearest, best Frau Colonel,’ she begins after the greetings are over, ’I have so many messages for you.  Guess from whom?  I didn’t come straight from Stendal, but by way of Brandenburg.’

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“‘What!  Not through Berlin!  You haven’t been with the Mozarts?’ ’Yes, ten heavenly days!’ ’Oh, my dear, good Frau General, tell me all about them!  How are our dear people?  Do they like Berlin as well as ever?  I can hardly imagine Mozart living in Berlin!  How does he act?  How does he look?’ ’Mozart!  You should see him!  This summer the King sent him to Karlsbad.  When would that have occurred to his dear Emperor Joseph?  They had but just returned when I arrived.  He is fairly radiant with health and good spirits, as sound and solid and lively as quicksilver, with happiness and comfort beaming from his countenance.’”

And then the speaker began to paint in the brightest colors the glories of the new position.  From their dwelling on Unter den Linden, from their garden and country-house to the brilliant scenes of public activity and the smaller circle of the court—­where he was to play accompaniments for the Queen—­all were vividly described.  She recited, with the greatest ease, whole conversations, and the most delightful anecdotes.  Indeed she seemed more familiar with Berlin, Potsdam, and Sans Souci than with the palace at Schoenbrunn and the Emperor Joseph’s castle.  She was, moreover, cunning enough to depict our hero with many new domestic virtues which had developed on the firm ground of the Berlin life, and among which Frau Volkstett had perceived (as a most remarkable phenomenon and a proof that extremes sometimes meet) the disposition of a veritable little miser—­and it made him altogether most charming.

“’Yes, think of it!  He is sure of his three thousand thalers, and for what?  For directing a chamber concert once a week, and the opera twice.  Ah, Frau Colonel, I have seen him, our dear, precious little man, in the midst of his excellent orchestra who adore him!  I sat with Frau Mozart in her box almost opposite the King’s box.  And what was on the posters, do you think?  Look, please!  I brought it for you, wrapped around a little souvenir from the Mozarts and myself.  Look, read it, printed in letters a yard long!’ ‘Heaven forbid!  Not Tarare!’ ’Yes!  What cannot one live to see!  Two years ago, when Mozart wrote Don Juan, and the wretched, malicious, yellow, old Salieri was preparing to repeat in Vienna the triumph which he had won with his piece, in Paris, and to show our good plain public, contented with Cosa rara, a hawk or two; while he and his arch-accomplice were plotting to present Don Juan just as they had presented Figaro, mutilated, ruined, I vowed that if the infamous Tarare was ever given, nothing should hire me to go to see it.  And I kept my word.  When everybody else ran to hear it—­you too, Frau Colonel—­I sat by my fire with my cat in my lap, and ate my supper.  Several times after that, too.  But now imagine! Tarare on the Berlin stage, the work of his deadly foe, conducted by Mozart himself!’ ‘You must certainly go,’ he said, ’if it is only to be able to say in Vienna whether I had a hair clipped from Absalom’s head.  I wish he were here himself!  The jealous old sheep should see that I do not need to bungle another person’s composition in order to show off my own.’”

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“Brava!  Bravissima!” shouted Mozart, and taking his wife by the ears he kissed her and teased her till the play with the bright bubbles of an imaginary future—­which, sad to say, were never in the least to be realized—­ended finally in laughter and jollity.

Meanwhile they had long ago reached the valley, and were approaching a town, behind which lay the small modern palace of Count Schinzberg.  In this town they were to feed the horses, to rest, and to take their noonday meal.

The inn where they stopped stood alone near the end of the village where an avenue of poplar trees led to the count’s garden, not six hundred paces away.  After they had alighted, Mozart, as usual, left to his wife the arrangements for dinner, and ordered for himself a glass of wine, while she asked only for water and a quiet room where she could get a little sleep.  The host led the way upstairs, and Mozart, now singing, now whistling, brought up the rear.  The room was newly whitewashed, clean, and fresh.  The ancient articles of furniture were of noble descent; they had probably once adorned the dwelling of the Count.  The clean white bed was covered with a painted canopy, resting upon slender green posts, whose silken curtains were long ago replaced by a more ordinary stuff.  Constanze prepared for her nap, Mozart promising to wake her in time for dinner.  She bolted the door behind him, and he descended to seek entertainment in the coffee-room.  Here, however, no one but the host was to be seen, and, since his conversation suited Mozart no better than his wine, the master proposed a walk to the palace garden while dinner was preparing.  Respectable strangers, he was told, were allowed to enter the grounds; besides, the family were away for the day.

A short walk brought him to the gate, which stood open; then he slowly followed a path overhung by tall old linden-trees, till he suddenly came upon the palace which stood a little to the left.  It was a light, plaster building, in the Italian style, with a broad, double flight of steps in front; the slate-covered roof was finished in the usual manner, with a balustrade, and was adorned with statues of gods and goddesses.

Our master turned toward the shrubbery, and, passing many flower-beds still gay with blossoms, took his leisurely way through a dark grove of pines until he came to an open space where a fountain was playing.  The rather large oval basin was surrounded with carefully kept orange-trees, interspersed with laurels and oleanders; a smooth gravel walk upon which an arbor opened ran around the fountain.  It was a most tempting resting-place, and Mozart threw himself down upon the rustic bench which stood by a table within the arbor.

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Listening to the splash of the water, and watching an orange-tree which stood, heavy with fruit, apart from the rest, our friend was carried away by visions of the South and favorite memories of his childhood.  Smiling thoughtfully, he reached toward the nearest orange, as if to take the tempting fruit in his hand.  But closely connected with that scene of his youth there flashed upon him a long-forgotten, half-effaced, musical memory, which he pondered long and tried to follow out.  Then his glance brightened, and darted here and there; an idea had come to him, and he worked it out eagerly.  Absently he grasped the orange again—­it broke from the tree and remained in his hand.  He looked at it, but did not see it; indeed, his artistic abstraction went so far that, after rolling the fragrant fruit back and forth before his nose, while his lips moved silently with the melody which was singing itself to him, he presently took from his pocket an enameled case, and with a small silver-handled knife slowly cut open the fruit.  Perhaps he had a vague sense of thirst, but, if so, the fragrance of the open fruit allayed it.  He looked long at the inner surfaces, then fitted them gently together, opened them again, and again put them together.

Just then steps approached the arbor.  Mozart started, suddenly remembering where he was and what he had done.  He was about to hide the orange, but stopped, either from pride or because he was too late.  A tall, broad-shouldered man in livery, the head-gardener, stood before him.  He had evidently seen the last guilty movement, and stopped, amazed.  Mozart, likewise, was too much surprised to speak, and, sitting as if nailed to his chair, half laughing yet blushing, looked the gardener somewhat boldly in the face with his big, blue eyes.  Then—­it would have been most amusing for a third person—­with a sort of defiant courage he set the apparently uninjured orange in the middle of the table.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” began the gardener rather angrily, as he looked at Mozart’s unprepossessing clothing, “I do not know whom I have the honor—­”

“Kapellmeister Mozart, of Vienna.”

“You are acquainted in the palace, I presume.”

“I am a stranger, merely passing through the village.  Is the Count at home?”

“No.”

“His wife?”

“She is engaged and would hardly see you.”  Mozart rose, as if he would go.

“With your permission, sir, how do you happen to be pilfering here?”

“What!” cried Mozart.  “Pilfering!  The devil!  Do you believe, then, that I meant to steal and eat that thing?”

“I believe what I see, sir.  Those oranges are counted, and I am responsible for them.  That tree was just to be carried to the house for an entertainment.  I cannot let you go until I have reported the matter and you yourself have told how it happened.”

“Very well.  Be assured that I will wait here.”  The gardener hesitated, and Mozart, thinking that perhaps he expected a fee, felt in his pocket; but he found nothing.

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Two men now came by, lifted the tree upon a barrow and carried it away.  Meanwhile Mozart had taken a piece of paper from his pocket-book, and, as the gardener did not stir, began to write: 

   “Dear Madam.—­Here I sit, miserable, in your Paradise, like Adam of
  old, after he had tasted the apple.  The mischief is done, and I cannot
  even put the blame on a good Eve, for she is at the inn sleeping the
  sleep of innocence in a canopy-bed, surrounded by Graces and Cupids.  If
  you require it I will give you an account of my offense, which is
  incomprehensible even to myself.

  “I am covered with confusion, and remain

  “Your most obedient servant,

  “W.  A. MOZART.

  “On the way to Prague.”

He hastily folded the note and handed it to the impatient servant.

The fellow had scarcely gone when a carriage rolled up to the opposite side of the palace.  In it was the Count, who had brought with him, from a neighboring estate, his niece and her fiance, a young and wealthy Baron.  The betrothal had just taken place at the house of the latter’s invalid mother; but the event was also to be celebrated at the Count’s palace, which had always been a second home to his niece.  The Countess, with her son, Lieutenant Max, had returned from the betrothal somewhat earlier, in order to complete arrangements at the palace.  Now corridors and stairways were alive with servants, and only with difficulty did the gardener finally reach the antechamber and hand the note to the Countess.  She did not stop to open it, but, without noticing what the messenger said, hurried away.  He waited and waited, but she did not come back.  One servant after another ran past him—­waiters, chambermaids, valets; he asked for the Count, only to be told “He is dressing.”  At last he found Count Max in his own room; but he was talking with the Baron, and for fear the gardener would let slip something which the Baron was not to know beforehand, cut the message short with:  “Go along, I’ll be there in a moment.”  Then there was quite a long while to wait before father and son at last appeared together, and heard the fatal news.

“That is outrageous,” cried the fat, good-natured, but somewhat hasty Count.  “That is an impossible story!  A Vienna musician is he?  Some ragamuffin, who walks along the high-road and helps himself to whatever he sees!”

“I beg your pardon, sir.  He doesn’t look just like that.  I thinks he’s not quite right in the head, sir, and he seems to be very proud.  He says his name is ‘Moser.’  He is waiting downstairs.  I told Franz to keep an eye on him.”

“The deuce!  What good will that do, now?  Even if I should have the fool arrested, it wouldn’t mend matters.  I’ve told you a thousand times that the front gates were to be kept locked!  Besides, it couldn’t have happened if you had had things ready at the proper time!”

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Just then the Countess, pleased and excited, entered the room with the open note in her hand.  “Do you know who is downstairs?” she exclaimed.  “For goodness’ sake, read that note!  Mozart from Vienna, the composer!  Some body must go at once and invite him in!  I’m afraid he will be gone!  What will he think of me?  You treated him very politely, I hope, Velten.  What was it that happened?”

“What happened?” interrupted the Count, whose wrath was not immediately assuaged by the prospect of a visit from a famous man.  “The madman pulled one of the nine oranges from the tree which was for Eugenie.  Monster!  So the point of our joke is gone, and Max may as well tear up his poem.”

“Oh, no!” she answered, earnestly; “the gap can easily be filled.  Leave that to me.  But go, both of you, release the good man, and persuade him to come in, if you possibly can.  He shall not go further today if we can coax him to stay.  If you do not find him in the garden, go to the inn and bring him and his wife too.  Fate could not have provided a greater gift or a finer surprise for Eugenie today.”

“No, indeed,” answered Max, “that was my first thought, too.  Come, Papa!  And”—­as they descended the staircase—­“you may be quite easy about the verses.  The ninth Muse will not desert me; instead, I can use the accident to especial advantage.”

“Impossible!”

“Not at all!”

“Well, if that is so—­I take your word for it—­we will do the lunatic all possible honor.”

While all this was going on in the palace, our quasi-prisoner, not very anxious over the outcome of the affair, had busied himself some time in writing.  Then, as no one appeared, he began to walk uneasily up and down.  Presently came an urgent message from the inn, that dinner was ready long ago and the postilion was anxious to start; would he please come at once.  So he packed up his papers and was just about to leave, when the two men appeared before the arbor.

The Count greeted him in his jovial, rather noisy fashion, and would hear not a word of apology, but insisted that Mozart should accompany him to the house, for the afternoon and evening at least.

“You are so well known to us, my dear Maestro, that I doubt if you could find a family where your name is spoken more often, or with greater enthusiasm.  My niece sings and plays, she spends almost the whole day at her piano, knows your works by heart, and has had the greatest desire to meet you, particularly since the last of your concerts.  She had been promised an invitation from Princess Gallizin, in Vienna, in a few weeks—­a house where you often play, I hear.  But now you are going to Prague, and no one knows whether you will ever come back to us.  Take today and tomorrow for rest; let us send away your traveling carriage and be responsible for the remainder of your journey.”

The composer, who would willingly have sacrificed upon the altar of friendship or of pleasure ten times as much as was asked of him now, did not hesitate long.  He insisted, however, that very early next morning they must continue their journey.  Count Max craved the pleasure of bringing Frau Mozart and of attending to all necessary matters at the inn; he would walk over, and a carriage should follow immediately.

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Count Max inherited from both father and mother a lively imagination, and had, besides, talent and inclination for belles lettres.  As an officer he was distinguished rather for his learning and culture than because of fondness for military life.  He was well read in French literature, and at a time when German verse was of small account in the higher circles had won appreciation for uncommon ease of style—­writing after such models as Hagedorn and Goetz.  The betrothal had offered him, as we already learned, a particularly happy occasion for the exercise of his gifts.

He found Madame Mozart seated at the table, where she had already begun the meal, talking with the inn-keeper’s daughter.  She was too well used to Mozart’s habits of forming acquaintances and accepting impromptu invitations to be greatly surprised at the appearance and message of the young officer.  With undisguised pleasure she prepared to accompany him, and thoughtfully and quickly gave all necessary orders.  Satchels were repacked, the inn-keeper was paid, the postilion dismissed, and, without too great anxiety over her toilet, she herself made ready, and drove off in high spirits to the palace, never guessing in what a strange fashion her spouse had introduced himself there.

He, meanwhile, was most comfortably and delightfully entertained.  He had met Eugenie, a most lovely creature, fair and slender, gay in shining crimson silk and costly lace, with a white ribbon studded with pearls in her hair.  The Baron, too, was presented, a man of gentle and frank disposition, but little older than his fiancee and seemingly well suited to her.

The jovial host, almost too generous with his jests and stories, led the conversation; refreshments were offered, which our traveler did not refuse.  Then some one opened the piano, upon which Figaro was lying, and Eugenie began to sing, to the Baron’s accompaniment, Susanne’s passionate aria in the garden scene.  The embarrassment which for a moment made her bright color come and go, fled with the first notes from her lips, and she sang as if inspired.

Mozart was evidently surprised.  As she finished he went to her with unaffected pleasure.  “How can one praise you, dear child,” he said.  “Such singing is like the sunshine, which praises itself best because it does every one good.  It is to the soul like a refreshing bath to a child; he laughs, and wonders, and is content.  Not every day, I assure you, do we composers hear ourselves sung with such purity and simplicity—­with such perfection!” and he seized her hand and kissed it heartily.  Mozart’s amiability and kindness, no less than his high appreciation of her talent, touched Eugenie deeply, and her eyes filled with tears of pleasure.

At that moment Madame Mozart entered, and immediately after appeared other guests who had been expected—­a family of distant relatives, of whom one, Franziska, had been from childhood Eugenie’s intimate friend.

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When all the greetings and congratulations were over, Mozart seated himself at the piano.  He played a part of one of his concertos, which Eugenie happened to be learning.  It was a great delight to have the artist and his genius so near—­within one’s own walls.  The composition was one of those brilliant ones in which pure Beauty, in a fit of caprice, seems to have lent herself to the service of Elegance, but, only half disguised in changing forms and dazzling lights, betrays in every movement her own nobility and pours out lavishly her glorious pathos.

The Countess noticed that most of the listeners, even Eugenie herself, were divided between seeing and hearing, although they gave the close attention and kept the perfect silence which were due to such enchanting playing.  Indeed it was not easy to resist a throng of distracting and wondering thoughts as one watched the composer—­his erect, almost stiff position, his good-natured face, the graceful movements of his small hands and curved fingers.

Turning to Madame Mozart, as the playing ceased, the Count began:  “When it is necessary to give a compliment to a composer—­not everybody’s business—­how easy it is for kings and emperors.  All words are equally good and equally extraordinary in their mouths; they dare to say whatever they please.  And how comfortable it must be, for instance, to sit close behind Herr Mozart’s chair, and, at the final chord of a brilliant Fantasia, to clap the modest and learned man on the shoulder and say:  ‘My dear Mozart, you are a Jack-at-all-trades!’ And the word goes like wild-fire through the hall:  ‘What did he say?’ ’He said Mozart was a Jack-at-all-trades!’ and everybody who fiddles or pipes a song or composes is enraptured over the expression.  In short, that is the way of the great, the familiar manner of the emperors, and quite inimitable.  I have always envied the Friedrichs and the Josefs that faculty, but never more than now when I quite despair of finding in my mind’s pockets the suitable coin!”

The Count’s jest provoked a laugh, as usual, and the guests followed their hostess toward the dining-hall, where the fragrance of flowers and refreshingly cool air greeted them.  They took their places at the table, Mozart opposite Eugenie and the Baron.  His neighbor on one side was a little elderly lady, an unmarried aunt of Franziska’s; on the other side was the charming young niece who soon commended herself to him by her wit and gaiety.  Frau Constanze sat between the host and her friendly guide, the Lieutenant.  The lower end of the table was empty.  In the centre stood two large epergnes, heaped with fruits and flowers.  The walls were hung with rich festoons, and all the appointments indicated an extensive banquet.  Upon tables and side-boards were the choicest wines, from the deepest red to the pale yellow, whose sparkling foam crowns the second half of the feast.  For some time the conversation, carried on from all sides, had been general.  But when the Count, who, from the first, had been hinting at Mozart’s adventure in the garden, came mysteriously nearer and nearer to it, so that some were smiling, others puzzling their brains to know what it all meant, Mozart at last took the cue.

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“I will truthfully confess,” he began, “how I came to have the honor of an acquaintance with this noble house.  I do not play a very dignified role in the tale; in fact, I came within a hair’s breadth of sitting, not here at this bountiful table, but hungry and alone in the most remote dungeon of the palace, watching the spider-webs on the wall.”

“It must, indeed, be a pretty story,” cried Madame Mozart.

Then Mozart related minutely all that we already know, to the great entertainment of his audience.  There was no end to the merriment, even the gentle Eugenie shaking with uncontrollable laughter.

“Well,” he went on, “according to the proverb I need not mind your laughter, for I have made my small profit out of the affair, as you will soon see.  But first hear how it happened that an old fellow could so forget himself.  A reminiscence of my childhood was to blame for it.

“In the spring of 1770, a thirteen-year-old boy, I traveled with my father in Italy.  We went from Rome to Naples, where I had already played twice in the conservatory and several times in other places.

“The nobility and clergy had shown us many attentions, but especially attracted to us was a certain Abbe, who flattered himself that he was a connoisseur, and who, moreover, had some influence at court.  The day before we left he conducted us, with some other acquaintances, into a royal garden, the Villa Reale, situated upon a beautiful street, close to the sea.  A company of Sicilian comedians were performing there—­’Sons of Neptune’ was one of the many names they gave themselves.

“With many distinguished spectators, among whom were the young and lovely Queen Carolina and two princesses, we sat on benches ranged in long rows in a gallery shaded with awnings, while the waves splashed against the wall below.  The many-colored sea reflected the glorious heavens; directly before us rose Vesuvius; on the left gleamed the gentle curve of the shore.

“The first part of the entertainment was rather uninteresting.  A float which lay on the water had served as a stage.  But the second part consisted of rowing, swimming, and diving, and every detail has always remained fresh in my memory.

“From opposite sides of the water two graceful light boats approached each other, bent, as it seemed, upon a pleasure-trip.  The larger one, gorgeously painted, with a gilded prow, was provided with a quarter-deck, and had, besides the rowers’ seats, a slender mast and a sail.  Five youths, ideally handsome, with bared shoulders and limbs, were busy about the boat, or were amusing themselves with a like number of maidens, their sweethearts.  One of these, who was sitting in the centre of the deck twining wreaths of flowers, was noticeable as well for her beauty as for her dress.  The others waited upon her, stretched an awning to shield her from the sun, and passed her flowers from the basket.  One, a flute player, sat at her feet, and accompanied with her clear tones the singing of the others.  The beauty in the centre had her own particular admirer; yet the pair seemed rather indifferent to each other, and I thought the youth almost rude.

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“Meanwhile the other boat had come nearer.  It was more simply fashioned, and carried youths only.  The colors of the first boat were red, but the crew of this one wore green.  They stopped at sight of the others, nodded greetings to the maidens, and made signs that they wished to become better acquainted.  Thereupon the liveliest of the girls took a rose from her bosom, and roguishly held it on high, as if to ask whether such a gift would be welcome.  She was answered with enthusiasm.  The red youths looked on, sullen and contemptuous, but could not object when several of the maidens proposed to throw to the poor strangers at least enough to keep them from starving.  A basket of oranges—­probably only yellow balls—­stood on deck; and now began a charming display, accompanied by music from the quay.

“One of the girls tossed from light fingers a couple of oranges; back they came from fingers in the other boat, as light.  On they went, back and forth, and as one girl after another joined in the sport dozens of oranges were soon flying through the air.  Only one, the beauty in the middle of the boat, took no part, except to look on, curiously, from her comfortable couch.  We could not sufficiently admire the skill on both sides.  The boats circled slowly about, turning now the prow, now the sides, toward each other.  There were about two dozen balls continually in the air, yet they seemed many more, sometimes falling in regular figures, sometimes rising high in lofty curves, almost never going astray, but seeming to be attracted by some mysterious power in the outstretched hands.

“The ear was quite as well entertained as the eye—­with charming melodies, Sicilian airs, dances, Saltorelli, Canzoni a ballo—­a long medley woven together like a garland.  The youngest princess, an impulsive little creature, about my own age, kept nodding her head in time to the music.  Her smile and her eyes with their long lashes I can see to this day.

“Now let me briefly describe the rest of the entertainment, though it has nothing to do with my affair in the garden.  You could hardly imagine anything prettier.  The play with the balls gradually ceased, and then, all of a sudden, one of the youths of the green colors drew out of the water a net with which he seemed to have been playing.  To the general surprise, a huge shining fish lay in it.  The boy’s companions sprang to seize it, but it slipped from their hands to the sea, as if it had really been alive.  This was only a ruse, however, to lure the red youths from their boat; and they fell into the trap.  They, as well as those of the green, threw themselves into the water after the fish.  So began a lively and most amusing chase.  At last the green swimmers, seeing their opportunity, boarded the red boat, which now had only the maidens to defend it.  The noblest of the enemy, as handsome as a god, hastened joyfully to the beautiful maiden, who received him with rapture,

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heedless of the despairing shrieks of the others.  All efforts of the red to recover their boat were vain; they were beaten back with oars and weapons.  Their futile rage and struggles, the cries and prayers of the maidens, the music—­now changed in tone—­the waters—­all made a scene beyond description, and the audience applauded wildly.  Then suddenly the sail was loosed, and out of it sprang to the bowsprit a rosy, silver-winged boy, with bow and arrows and quiver; the oars began to move, the sail filled, and the boat glided away, as if under the guidance of the god, to a little island.  Thither, after signals of truce had been exchanged, the red youths hastened after boarding the deserted boat.  The unhappy maidens were released, but the fairest one of all sailed away, of her own free will, with her lover.  And that was the end of the comedy.”

“I think,” whispered Eugenie to the Baron, in the pause that followed, “that we had there a complete symphony in the true Mozart spirit.  Am I not right?  Hasn’t it just the grace of Figaro?”

But just as the Baron would have repeated this remark to Mozart, the composer continued:  “It is seventeen years since I was in Italy.  But who that has once seen Italy, Naples especially, even with the eyes of a child, will ever forget it?  Yet I have never recalled that last beautiful day more vividly than today in your garden.  When I closed my eyes the last veil vanished, and I saw the lovely spot—­sea and shore, mountain and city, the gay throng of people, and the wonderful game of ball.  I seemed to hear the same music—­a stream of joyful melodies, old and new, strange and familiar, one after another.  Presently a little dance-song came along, in six-eighth measure, something quite new to me.  Hold on, I thought, that is a devilishly cute little tune!  I listened more closely.  Good Heavens!  That is Masetto, that is Zerlina!” He smiled and nodded at Madame Mozart, who guessed what was coming.

“It was this way,” he went on; “there was a little, simple number of my first act unfinished—­the duet and chorus of a country wedding.  Two months ago, when in composing my score I came to this number, the right theme did not present itself at the first attempt.  It should be a simple child-like melody, sparkling with joy—­a fresh bunch of flowers tucked in among a maiden’s fluttering ribbons.  So, because one should not force such a thing, and because such trifles often come of themselves, I left that number, and was so engrossed in the rest of the work that I almost forgot it.  Today, while we were driving along, just outside the village, the text came into my head; but I cannot remember that I thought much about it.  Yet, only an hour later, in the arbor by the fountain, I caught just the right motif, more happily than I could have found it in any other way, at any other time.  An artist has strange experiences now and then, but such a thing never happened to me be fore.  For to find a melody

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exactly fitted to the verse—­but I must not anticipate.  The bird had only his head out of the shell, and I proceeded to pull off the rest of it!  Meantime Zerlina’s dance floated before my eyes, and, somehow, too, the view on the Gulf of Naples.  I heard the voices of the bridal couple, and the chorus of peasants, men and girls.”  Here Mozart gayly hummed the beginning of the song.  “Meantime my hands had done the mischief, Nemesis was lurking near, and suddenly appeared in the shape of the dreadful man in livery.  Had an eruption of Vesuvius suddenly destroyed and buried with its rain of ashes audience and actors, the whole majesty of Parthenope, on that heavenly day by the sea, I could not have been more surprised or horrified.  The fiend!  People do not easily make me so hot!  His face was as hard as bronze—­and very like the terrible Emperor Tiberius, too!  If the servant looks like that, thought I, what must His Grace the Count be!  But to tell the truth I counted—­and not without reason—­on the protection of the ladies.  For I overheard the fat hostess of the inn telling my wife, Constanze there, who is somewhat curious in disposition, all the most interesting facts about the family, and so I knew—­”

Here Madame Mozart had to interrupt him and give them most positive assurance that he was the one who asked the questions, and a lively and amusing discussion followed.

“However that may be,” he said at last, “I heard something about a favorite foster-daughter who, besides being beautiful, was goodness itself, and sang like an angel. ‘Per Dio!’ I said to myself, as I remembered that, ’that will help you out of your scrape!  Sit down and write out the song as far as you can, explain your behavior truthfully, and they will think it all a good joke.’  No sooner said than done!  I had time enough, and found a blank piece of paper—­and here is the result!  I place it in these fair hands, an impromptu wedding-song, if you will accept it!”

He held out the neatly written manuscript toward Eugenie, but the Count anticipated her, and quickly taking it himself, said:  “Have patience a moment longer, my dear!”

At his signal the folding-doors of the salon opened, and servants appeared, bringing in the fateful orange-tree, which they put at the foot of the table, placing on each side a slender myrtle-tree.  An inscription fastened to the orange-tree proclaimed it the property of Eugenie; but in front of it, upon a porcelain plate, was seen, as the napkin which covered it was lifted, an orange, cut in pieces, and beside it the count placed Mozart’s autograph note.

“I believe,” said the Countess, after the mirth had subsided, “that Eugenie does not know what that tree really is.  She does not recognize her old friend with all its fruit and blossoms.”

Incredulous, Eugenie looked first at the tree, then at her uncle.  “It isn’t possible,” she said; “I knew very well that it couldn’t be saved.”

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“And so you think that we have found another to take its place?  That would have been worth while!  No!  I shall have to do as they do in the play, when the long-lost son or brother proves his identity by his moles and scars!  Look at that knot, and at this crack, which you must have noticed a hundred times.  Is it your tree or isn’t it?”

Eugenie could doubt no longer, and her surprise and delight knew no bounds.  To the Count’s family this tree always suggested the story of a most excellent woman, who lived more than a hundred years before their day, and who well deserves a word in passing.

The Count’s grandfather—­a statesman of such repute in Vienna that he had been honored with the confidence of two successive rulers—­was as happy in his private life as in his public life; for he possessed a most excellent wife, Renate Leonore.  During her repeated visits to France she came in contact with the brilliant court of Louis XIV., and with the most distinguished men and women of the day.  She sympathized with the ever-varying intellectual pleasures of the court without sacrificing in the least her strong, inborn sense of honor and propriety.  On this very account, perhaps, she was the leader of a certain naive opposition, and her correspondence gives many a hint of the courage and independence with which she could defend her sound principles and firm opinions, and could attack her adversary in his weakest spot, all without giving offense.

Her lively interest in all the personages whom one could meet at the house of a Ninon, in the centres of cultivation and learning, was nevertheless so modest and so well controlled that she was honored with the friendship of one of the noblest women of the time—­Mme. de Sevigne.  The Count, after his grandmother’s death, had found in an old oaken chest, full of interesting papers, the most charming letters from the Marquise and her daughter.

From the hand of Mme. de Sevigne, indeed, she had received, during a fete at Trianon, the sprig from an orange-tree, which she had planted and which became in Germany a flourishing tree.  For perhaps twenty-five years it grew under her care, and afterward was treated with the greatest solicitude by children and grandchildren.  Prized for its own actual worth, it was treasured the more as the living symbol of an age which, intellectually, was then regarded as little less than divine—­an age in which we, today, can find little that is truly admirable, but which was preparing the way for events, only a few years distant from our innocent story, which shook the world.

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To the bequest of her excellent ancestor Eugenie showed much devotion, and her uncle had often said that the tree should some day belong to her.  The greater was her disappointment then, when, during her absence in the preceding spring, the leaves of the precious tree began to turn yellow and many branches died.  The gardener gave it up for lost, since he could find no particular cause for its fading, and did not succeed in reviving it.  But the Count, advised by a skilful friend, had it placed in a room by itself and treated according to one of the strange and mysterious prescriptions which exist among the country folk, and his hope of surprising his beloved niece with her old friend in all its new strength and fruitfulness was realized beyond expectation.  Repressing his impatience, and anxious, moreover, lest those oranges which had ripened first should fall from the tree, he had postponed the surprise for several weeks, until the day of the betrothal; and there is no need of further excuse for the good man’s emotion, when, at the last moment, he found that a stranger had robbed him of his pleasure.

But the Lieutenant had long before dinner found opportunity to arrange his poetical contribution to the festive presentation, and had altered the close of his verses, which might otherwise have been almost too serious.  Now he rose and drew forth his manuscript, and, turning to Eugenie, began to read.

The oft-sung tree of the Hesperides—­so ran the story—­sprang up, ages ago, in the garden of Juno on a western island, as a wedding gift from Mother Earth, and was watched over by three nymphs, gifted with song.  A shoot from this tree had often wished for a similar fate, for the custom of bestowing one of his race on a royal bride had descended from gods to mortals.  After long and vain waiting, the maiden to whom he might turn his fond glances seemed at last to be found.  She was kind to him and lingered by him often.  But the proud laurel (devoted to the Muses), his neighbor beside the spring, roused his jealousy by threatening to steal from the talented beauty all thought of love for man.  In vain the myrtle comforted him and taught him patience by her own example; finally the absence of his beloved increased his malady till it became well-nigh fatal.

But summer brought back the absent one, and, happily, with a changed heart.  Town, palace, and garden received her with the greatest joy.  Roses and lilies, more radiant than ever, looked up with modest rapture; shrubs and trees nodded greetings to her; but for one, the noblest, she came alas! too late.  His leaves were withered, and only the lifeless stem and the dry tips of his branches were left.  He would never know his kind friend again.  And how she wept and mourned over him!

But Apollo heard her voice from afar, and, coming nearer, looked with compassion upon her grief.  He touched the tree with his all-healing hands.  Immediately the sap began to stir and rise in the trunk; young leaves unfolded; white, nectar-laden flowers opened here and there.  Yes—­for what cannot the immortals do-the beautiful, round fruits appeared, three times three, the number of the nine sisters; they grew and grew, their young green changing before his eyes to the color of gold.  Phoebus—­so ended the poem—­

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  Phoebus, in his work rejoicing,
    Counts the fruit; but, ah! the sight
  Tempts him.  In another moment
    Doth he yield to appetite.

  Smiling, plucks the god of music
    One sweet orange from the tree
  “Share with me the fruit, thou fair one,
    And this, slice shall Amor’s be.”

The verses were received with shouts of applause, and Max was readily pardoned for the unexpected ending which had so completely altered the really charming effect which he had made in the first version.

Franziska, whose ready wit had already been called out by the Count and Mozart, suddenly left the table, and returning brought with her a large old English engraving which had hung, little heeded, in a distant room.  “It must be true, as I have always heard, that there is nothing new under the sun,” she cried, as she set up the picture at the end of the table.  “Here in the Golden Age is the same scene which we have heard about today.  I hope that Apollo will recognize himself in this situation.”

“Excellent,” answered Max.  “There we have the god just as he is bending thoughtfully over the sacred spring.  And, look! behind him in the thicket is an old Satyr watching him.  I would take my oath that Apollo is thinking of some long-forgotten Acadian dances which old Chiron taught him to play on the cithern when he was young.”

“Exactly,” applauded Franziska, who was standing behind Mozart’s chair.  Turning to him, she continued, “Do you see that bough heavy with fruit, bending down toward the god?”

“Yes; that is the olive-tree, which was sacred to him.”

“Not at all.  Those are the finest oranges.  And in a moment—­in a fit of abstraction—­he will pick one.”

“Instead,” cried Mozart, “he will stop this roguish mouth with a thousand kisses.”  And catching her by the arm he vowed that she should not go until she had paid the forfeit—­which was promptly done.

“Max, read us what is written beneath the picture,” said the Countess.

“They are verses from a celebrated ode of Horace.[32] The poet Ramler, of Berlin, made a fine translation of them a while ago.  It is in most beautiful rhythm.  How splendid is even this one passage: 

      “—­And he, who never more
  Will from his shoulders lay aside the bow,
  Who in the pure dew of Castalia’s fountain
  Laves loosened hair; who holds the Lycian thicket
  And his own native wood—­
  Apollo!  Delian and Patarean King.”

“Beautiful!” exclaimed the Count, “but it needs a little explanation here and there.  For instance, ‘He who will never lay aside the bow,’ would, of course, mean in plain prose, ’He who was always a most diligent fiddler.’  But, Mozart, you are sowing discord in two gentle hearts.”

“How so?”

“Eugenie is envying her friend—­and with good reason.”

“Ah! you have discovered my weak point.  But what would the Herr Baron say?”

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“I could forgive for once.”

“Very well, then; I shall not neglect my opportunity.  But you need not be alarmed, Herr Baron.  There is no danger as long as the god does not lend me his countenance and his long yellow hair.  I wish he would.  I would give him on the spot Mozart’s braid and his very best hair-ribbon besides.”

“Apollo would have to be careful, in future, how he gracefully laved his new French finery in the Castalian fountain,” laughed Franziska.

With such exchange of jests the merriment grew; the wines were passed, many a toast was offered, and Mozart soon fell into his way of talking in rhyme.  The Lieutenant was an able second, and his father, also, would not be outdone; indeed, once or twice the latter succeeded remarkably well.  But such conversations cannot well be repeated, because the very elements which make them irresistible at the time—­the gaiety of the mood and the charm of personality in word and look—­are lacking.

Among the toasts was one proposed by Franziska’s aunt—­that Mozart should live to write many more immortal works.  “Exactly!  I am with you in that,” cried Mozart, and they eagerly touched glasses.  Then the Count began to sing—­with much power and certainty, thanks to his inspiration: 

  “Here’s to Mozart’s latest score;
  May he write us many more.”

  Max.

  “Works, da Ponte, such as you
  (Mighty Schikaneder, too),”

  Mozart.

  “And Mozart, even, until now
  Never thought of once, I vow.”

  The Count.

  “Works that you shall live to see,
  Great arch-thief of Italy;
  That shall drive you to despair,
  Clever Signor Bonbonniere.”

  Max.

  “You may have a hundred years,”

  Mozart.

  “Unless you with all your wares,”

  All three, con forza.

  “Straight zum Teufel first repair,
  Clever Monsieur Bonbonniere.”

The Count was loth to stop singing, and the last four lines of the impromptu terzetto suddenly became a so-called “endless canon,” and Franziska’s aunt had wit and confidence enough to add all sorts of ornamentation in her quavering soprano.  Mozart promised afterward to write out the song at leisure, according to the rules of the art, and he did send it to the Count after he returned to Vienna.

Eugenie had long ago quietly examined her inheritance from the shrubbery of “Tiberius,” and presently some one asked to hear the new duet from her and Mozart.  The uncle was glad to join in the chorus, and all rose and hastened to the piano, in the large salon.

The charming composition aroused the greatest enthusiasm; but its very character was a temptation to put music to another use, and indeed it was Mozart himself who gave the signal, as he left the piano, to ask Franziska for a waltz, while Max took up his violin.  The Count was not slow in doing the honors for Madame Mozart, and one after another joined in the dance.  Even Franziska’s aunt became young again as she trod the minuet with the gallant Lieutenant.  Finally, as Mozart and the fair Eugenie finished the last dance, he claimed his promised privilege.

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It was now almost sunset, and the garden was cool and pleasant.  There the Countess invited the ladies to rest and refresh themselves, while the Count led the way to the billiard room, for Mozart was known to be fond of the game.

We will follow the ladies.

After they had walked about they ascended a little slope, half inclosed by a high vine-covered trellis.  From the hill they could look off into the fields, and down into the streets of the village.  The last rosy rays of sunlight shone in through the leaves.

“Could we not sit here for a little,” suggested the Countess, “if Madame Mozart would tell us about herself and her husband?”

Madame Mozart was willing enough, and her eager listeners drew their chairs close about her.

“I will tell you a story that you must know in order to understand a little plan of mine.  I wish to give to the Baroness-to-be a souvenir of a very unusual kind.  It is no article of luxury or of fashion but it is interesting solely because of its history.”

“What can it be, Eugenie?” asked Franziska.  “Perhaps the ink-bottle of some famous man.”  “Not a bad guess.  You shall see the treasure within an hour; it is in my trunk.  Now for the story and with your permission it shall begin back a year or more.

“The winter before last, Mozart’s health caused me much anxiety, on account of his increasing nervousness and despondency.  Although he was now and then in unnaturally high spirits when in company, yet at home he was generally silent and depressed, or sighing and ailing.  The physician recommended dieting and exercise in the country.  But his patient paid little heed to the good advice; it was not easy to follow a prescription which took so much time and was so directly contrary to all his plans and habits.  Then the doctor frightened him with a long lecture on breathing, the human blood, corpuscles, phlogiston, and such unheard-of things; there were dissertations on Nature and her purposes in eating, drinking, and digestion—­a subject of which Mozart was, till then, as ignorant as a five-year-old child.

“The lesson made a distinct impression.  For the doctor had hardly been gone a half hour when I found my husband, deep in thought but of a cheerful countenance, sitting in his room and examining a walking-stick which he had ferreted out of a closet full of old things.  I supposed that he had entirely forgotten it.  It was a handsome stick, with a large head of lapis lazuli, and had belonged to my father.  But no one had ever before seen a cane in Mozart’s hand, and I had to laugh at him.

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“‘You see,’ he cried, ’I have surrendered myself to my cure, with all its appurtenances.  I will drink the water, and take exercise every day in the open air, with this stick as my companion.  I have been thinking about it; there is our neighbor, the privy-councilor, who cannot even cross the street to visit his best friend without his cane; tradesmen and officers, chancellors and shop-keepers, when they go with their families on Sunday for a stroll in the country, carry each one his trusty cane.  And I have noticed how in the Stephansplatz, a quarter of an hour before church or court, the worthy citizens stand talking in groups and leaning on their stout sticks, which, one can see, are the firm supports of their industry, order, and tranquillity.  In short, this old-fashioned and rather homely custom must be a blessing and a comfort.  You may not believe it, but I am really impatient to go off with this good friend for my first constitutional across the bridge.  We are already slightly acquainted, and I hope that we are partners for life.’

“The partnership was but a brief one, however.  On the third day of their strolls the companion failed to return.  Another was procured, and lasted somewhat longer; and, at any rate, I was thankful to Mozart’s sudden fancy for canes, since it helped him for three whole weeks to carry out the doctor’s instructions.  Good results began to appear; we had almost never seen him so bright and cheerful.  But after a while the fancy passed, and I was in despair again.  Then it happened that, after a very fatiguing day, he went with some friends who were passing through Vienna to a musical soiree.  He promised faithfully that he would stay but an hour, but those are always the occasions when people most abuse his kindness, once he is seated at the piano and lost in music; for he sits there like a man in a balloon, miles above the earth, where one cannot hear the clocks strike.  I sent twice for him, in the middle of the night; but the servant could not even get a word with him.  At last, at three in the morning, he came home, and I made up my mind that I must be very severe with him all day.”

Here Madame Mozart passed over some circumstances in silence.  It was not unlikely that the Signora Malerbi (a woman with whom Frau Constanze had good reason to be angry) would have gone also to this soiree.  The young Roman singer had, through Mozart’s influence, obtained a place in the opera, and without doubt her coquetry had assisted her in winning his favor.  Indeed, some gossips would have it that she had made a conquest of him, and had kept him for months on the rack.  However that may have been, she conducted herself afterward in the most impertinent and ungrateful manner, and even permitted herself to jest at the expense of her benefactor.  So it was quite like her to speak of Mozart to one of her more fortunate admirers as un piccolo grifo raso (a little well-shaven pig).  The comparison, worthy of a Circe, was the more irritating because one must confess that it contained a grain of truth.

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As Mozart was returning from this soiree (at which, as it happened, the singer was not present), a somewhat excited friend was so indiscreet as to repeat to him the spiteful remark.  It was the more amazing to him because it was the first unmistakable proof of the utter ingratitude of his protegee.  In his great indignation he did not notice the extreme coolness of Frau Constanze’s reception.  Without stopping to take breath he poured out his grievance, and well-nigh roused her pity; yet she held conscientiously to her determination that he should not so easily escape punishment.  So when he awoke from a sound sleep shortly after noon, he found neither wife nor children at home, and the table was spread for him alone.

Ever since Mozart’s marriage there had been little which could make him so unhappy as any slight cloud between his better half and himself.  If he had only known how heavy an anxiety had burdened her during the past few days!  But, as usual, she had put off as long as possible the unpleasant communication.  Her money was now almost spent, and there was no prospect that they should soon have more.  Although Mozart did not guess this state of affairs, yet his heart sank with discouragement and uncertainty.  He did not wish to eat; he could not stay in the house.  He dressed himself quickly, to go out into the air.  On the table he left an open note in Italian: 

  “You have taken a fair revenge, and treated me quite as I deserved. 
  But be kind and smile again when I come home, I beg you.  I should like
  to turn Carthusian or Trappist and make amends for my sins.”

Then he took his hat, but not his cane—­that had had its day—­and set off.

Since we have excused Frau Constanze from telling so much of her story we may as well spare her a little longer.  The good man sauntered along past the market toward the armory—­it was a warm, sunshiny, summer afternoon—­and slowly and thoughtfully crossed the Hof, and, turning to the left, climbed the Moelkenbastei, thus avoiding the greetings of several acquaintances who were just entering the town.

Although the silent sentinel who paced up and down beside the cannon did not disturb him, he stopped but a few minutes to enjoy the beautiful view across the green meadows and over the suburbs to the Kahlenberg.  The peaceful calm of nature was too little in sympathy with his thoughts.  With a sigh he set out across the esplanade, and so went on, without any particular aim, through the Alser-Vorstadt.

At the end of Waehringer Street there was an inn, with a bowling alley; the proprietor, a master rope-maker, was as well known for his good beer as for the excellence of his ropes.  Mozart heard the balls and saw a dozen or more guests within.  A half-unconscious desire to forget himself among natural and unassuming people moved him to enter the garden.  He sat down at one of the tables—­but little shaded by the small trees—­with an inspector of the water-works and two other Philistines, ordered his glass of beer, joined in their conversation, and watched the bowling.

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Not far from the bowling-ground, toward the house, was the open shop of the rope-maker.  It was a small room, full to overflowing; for, besides the necessaries of his trade, he had for sale all kinds of dishes and utensils for kitchen, cellar, and farm-oil and wagon grease, also seeds of various kinds, and dill and cheap brandy.  A girl, who had to serve the guests and at the same time attend to the shop, was busy with a countryman, who, leading his little boy by the hand, had just stepped up to make a few purchases—­a measure for fruit, a brush, a whip.  He would choose one article, try it, lay it down, take up a second and a third, and go back, uncertainly, to the first one; he could not decide upon any one.  The girl went off several times to wait on the guests, came back, and with the utmost patience helped him make his choice.

Mozart, on a bench near the alley, saw and heard, with great amusement, all that was going on.  As much as he was interested in the good, sensible girl, with her calm and earnest countenance, he was still more entertained by the countryman who, even after he had gone, left Mozart much to think about.  The master, for the time being, had changed places with him; he felt how important in his eyes was the small transaction, how anxiously and conscientiously the prices, differing only by a few kreutzers, were considered.  “Now,” he thought, “the man will go home to his wife and tell her of his purchases, and the children will all wait until the sack is opened, to see if it holds anything for them; while the good wife will hasten to bring the supper and the mug of fresh home-brewed cider, for which her husband has been keeping his appetite all day.  If only I could be as happy and independent waiting only on Nature, and enjoying her blessings though they be hard to win!  But if my art demands of me a different kind of work, that I would not, after all, exchange for anything in the world, why should I meanwhile remain in circumstances which are just the opposite of such a simple and innocent life?  If I had a little land in a pleasant spot near the village, and a little house, then I could really live.  In the mornings I could work diligently at my scores; all the rest of the time I could spend with my family.  I could plant trees, visit my garden, in the fall gather apples and pears with my boys, now and then take a trip to town for an opera, or have a friend or two with me—­what delight!  Well, who knows what may happen!”

He walked up to the shop, spoke to the girl, and began to examine her stock more closely.  His mind had not quite descended from its idyllic flight, and the clean, smooth, shining wood, with its fresh smell, attracted him.  It suddenly occurred to him that he would pick out several articles for his wife, such as she might need or might like to have.  At his suggestion, Constanze had, a long time ago, rented a little piece of ground outside the Kaernthner Thor, and had raised a few vegetables; so now it seemed

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quite fitting to invest in a long rake and a small rake and a spade.  Then, as he looked further, he did honor to his principles of economy by denying himself, with an effort and after some deliberation, a most tempting churn.  To make up for this, however, he chose a deep dish with a cover and a prettily carved handle; for it seemed a most useful article.  It was made of narrow strips of wood, light and dark, and was carefully varnished.  There was also a particularly fine choice of spoons, bread-boards, and plates of all sizes, and a salt-box of simple construction to hang on the wall.

At last he spied a stout stick, which had a handle covered with leather and studded with brass nails.  As the strange customer seemed somewhat undecided about this also, the girl remarked with a smile that that was hardly a suitable stick for a gentleman to carry.  “You are right, child,” he answered.  “I think I have seen butchers carry such sticks.  No, I will not have it.  But all the other things which we have laid out you may bring to me today or tomorrow.”  And he gave his name and address.  Then he went back to the table to finish his beer.  Only one of his former companions was sitting there, a master-tinker.

“The girl there has had a good day for once,” he remarked.  “Her uncle gives her a commission on all that she sells.”

Mozart was now more pleased with his purchase than ever.  But his interest was to become still greater.  For, in a moment, as the girl passed near, the tinker called out, “Well, Crescenz, how is your friend the locksmith?  Will he soon be filing his own iron?” “Oh,” she answered without stopping, “that iron is still growing deep in the mountain.”

“She is a good goose,” said the tinsmith.  “For a long time she kept house for her stepfather, and took care of him when he was ill; but after he died it came out that he had spent all her money.  Since that she has lived with her uncle, and she is a treasure, in the shop, in the inn, and with the children.  There is a fine young apprentice who would have liked to marry her long ago, but there is a hitch somewhere.”

“How so?  Has he nothing to live on?”

“They both have saved a little, but not enough.  Now comes word of a good situation and a part of a house in Ghent.  Her uncle could easily lend them the little money that they need, but of course he will not let her go.  He has good friends in the council and in the union, and the young fellow is meeting with all sorts of difficulties.”

“The wretches!” cried Mozart, so loud that the other looked around anxiously, fearing that they might have been overheard.  “And is there no one who could speak the right word or show those fellows a fist?  The villains!  We will get the best of them yet.”

The tinker was on thorns.  He tried, clumsily enough, to moderate his statements, and almost contradicted himself.  But Mozart would not listen.  “Shame on you, how you chatter!  That’s just the way with all of you as soon as you have to answer for anything!” And with that he turned on his heel and left the astonished tinker.  He hastened to the girl, who was busy with new guests:  “Come early tomorrow, and give my respects to your good friend.  I hope that your affairs will prosper.”  She was too busy and too much surprised to thank him.

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He retraced his way to the city at a quick pace, for the incident had stirred his blood.  Wholly occupied with the affairs of the poor young couple, he ran over in his mind a list of his friends and acquaintances who might be able to help them.  Then, since it was necessary to have more particulars from the girl before he could decide upon any step, he dismissed the subject from his thoughts and hastened eagerly toward home.

He confidently expected a more than cordial welcome and a kiss at the door, and longing redoubled his haste.  Presently the postman called to him and handed him a small but heavy parcel, which was addressed in a fair clear hand which he at once recognized.  He stepped into the first shop to give the messenger his receipt, but when once in the street again his impatience was not to be checked, so he broke the seal, and, now walking, now standing still, devoured his letter.

“I was sitting at my sewing-table,” continued Madame Mozart, in her story, “and heard my husband come upstairs and ask the servant for me.  His step and tone were more cheerful and gay than I had expected, and more so than I quite liked.  He went first to his room, but came immediately to me.  ‘Good-evening!’ he said.  I answered him quietly, without looking up.  After walking across the room once or twice, with a smothered yawn he took up the fly-clap from behind the door—­a most unusual proceeding—­and remarking, ‘Where do all these flies come from?’ began to slap about, as loudly as possible.  The noise is particularly unpleasant to him, and I had been careful not to let him hear it.  ‘H’m,’ I thought, ‘when he does it himself it’s another matter.’  Besides, I had not noticed many flies.  His strange behavior vexed me much.  ’Six at a blow!’ he cried.  ‘Do you see?’ No answer.  Then he laid something on the table before me, so near that I could not help seeing it without lifting my eyes from my work.  It was nothing less than a heap of ducats.  He kept on with his nonsense behind my back, talking to himself, and giving a slap now and then.  ’The disagreeable good-for-nothing beasts!  What were they put in the world for"’ Pitsch.  ‘To be killed, I suppose!’ Patsch.  ’Natural history teaches us how rapidly their numbers multiply.’ Pitsch, patsch.  ’In my house they are soon dispatched.  Ah, maledette! disperate!  Here are twenty more.  Do you want them?’ And he came and laid down another pile of gold.  I had had hard work to keep from laughing, and could hold out no longer.  He fell on my neck and we laughed as if for a wager.

“‘But where did the money come from’ I asked, as he shook the last pieces from the roll.  ’From Prince Esterhazy,[33]rough Haydn.  Read the letter.’  I read: 

  “’Eisenstadt, Etc.

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“’My good friend.—­His Highness has, to my great delight, intrusted me with the errand of sending to you these 60 ducats.  We have been playing your quartettes again, and his Highness was even more charmed and delighted than at the first hearing, three months ago.  He said to me (I must write it word for word):  “When Mozart dedicated these works to you, he thought to honor you alone.  Yet he cannot take it amiss if I find in them a compliment to myself also.  Tell him that I think as highly of his genius as you do, and more than that he could not wish.”  “Amen,” said I. Are you satisfied?

  “’Postscript (for the ear of the good wife).—­Take care that the
  acknowledgment be not too long delayed.  A note from Mozart himself
  would be best.  We must not lose so favorable a breeze.’

“‘You angel!  You divine creature!’ cried Mozart again and again.  It would be hard to say which pleased him most, the letter, or the praise of the prince, or the money.  I confess that just then the money appealed most to me.  We passed a very happy evening, as you may guess.

“Of the affair in the suburb I heard neither that day nor the next.  The whole week went by; no Crescenz appeared, and my husband, in a whirl of engagements, soon forgot her.  One Sunday evening we had a small musicale.  Captain Wasselt, Count Hardegg, and others were there.  During a pause I was called out, and there was the outfit.  I went back to the room and asked, ’Have you ordered a lot of woodenware from the Alservorsstadt?’

“’By thunder, so I did!  I suppose the girl is here?  Tell her to come in.’

“So in she came, quite at ease, with rakes, spades, and all, and apologized for her delay, saying that she had forgotten the name of the street and had only just found it.  Mozart took the things from her, one after another, and handed them to me with great satisfaction.  I thanked him and was pleased with everything, praising and admiring, though I wondered all the time what he had bought the garden tools for.

“‘For your garden,’ he said.

“’Goodness! we gave that up long ago, because the river did so much damage; and besides we never had good luck with it.  I told you, and you didn’t object.’

“‘What!  And so the asparagus that we had this spring—­’

“‘Was always from the market!’

“’Hear that!  If I had only known it!  And I praised it just out of pity for your poor garden, when really the stalks were no bigger than Dutch quills.’

“The guests enjoyed the fun, and I had to give them some of the unnecessary articles at once.  And when Mozart inquired of the girl about the prospects of her marriage, and encouraged her to speak freely, assuring her that whatever assistance we could offer should be quietly given and cause her no trouble, she told her story with so much modesty and discretion that she quite won her audience, and was sent away much encouraged.

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“‘Those people must be helped,’ said the Captain.  ’The tricks of the union do not amount to much.  I know some one who will see to that.  The important thing is a contribution toward the expenses of the house and the furniture.  Let us give a benefit concert, admission fee ad libitum!’

“The suggestion found hearty approval.  Somebody picked up the salt-box and said:  ’We must have an historic introduction, with a description of Herr Mozart’s purchase, and an account of his philanthropic spirit; and we will put this box on the table to receive the contributions and arrange the rakes as decorations.’  This did not happen, however, though the concert came off; and what with the receipts of the concert and outside contributions, the young couple had more than enough for their housekeeping outfit, and also the other obstacles were quickly removed.

“The Duscheks, in Prague, dear friends of ours, with whom we are to stay, heard the story, and Frau Duschek asked for some of the woodenware as souvenirs.  So I laid aside two which I thought were suitable, and was taking them to her.

“But since we have made another artist friend by the way, one who is, too, about to provide her wedding furnishings, and who will not despise what Mozart has chosen, I will divide my gift, and you, Eugenie, may choose between a lovely open-work rod for stirring chocolate and the salt-box, which is decorated with a tasteful tulip.  My advice is to take the salt-box; salt, as I have heard, is a symbol of home and hospitality, and with the gift go the best and most affectionate wishes.”

So ended Madame Mozart’s story.  How pleased and gratified her listeners were is easily to be imagined.  Their delight was redoubled when, in the presence of the whole party, the interesting articles were brought out, and the model of patriarchal simplicity was formally presented.  This, the Count vowed, should have in the silver-chest of its present owner and all her posterity, as important a place as that of the Florentine master’s famous work.

It was, by this time, almost eight o’clock and tea-time, and soon our master was pressingly reminded of his promise to show his friends Don Juan, which lay under lock and key, but, happily, not too deep down in his trunk.  Mozart was ready and willing, and by the time he had told the story of the plot and had brought the libretto, the lights were burning at the piano.

We could wish that our readers could here realize a touch, at least, of that peculiar sensation with which a single chord, floating from a window as we pass, stops us and holds us spellbound—­a touch of that pleasant suspense with which we sit before the curtain in the theatre while the orchestra is still tuning!  Or am I wrong?  Can the soul stand more deeply in awe of everlasting beauty than when pausing before any sublime and tragic work of art—­Macbeth, OEdipus, or whatever it may be?  Man wishes and yet fears to be moved beyond

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his ordinary habit; he feels that the Infinite will touch him, and he shrinks before it in the very moment when it draws him most strongly.  Reverence for perfect art is present, too; the thought of enjoying a heavenly miracle—­of being able and being permitted to make it one’s own—­stirs an emotion—­pride, if you will—­which is perhaps the purest and happiest of which we are capable.

This little company, however, was on very different ground from ours.  They were about to hear, for the first time, a work which has been familiar to us from childhood.  If one subtracts the very enviable pleasure of hearing it through its creator, we have the advantage of them; for in one hearing they could not fully appreciate and understand such a work, even if they had heard the whole of it.

Of the eighteen numbers which were already written the composer did not give the half (in the authority from which we have our statement we find only the last number, the sextet, expressly mentioned), and he played them in a free sort of transcription, singing here and there as he felt disposed.  Of his wife it is only told that she sang two arias.  We might guess, since her voice was said to be as strong as it was sweet, that she chose Donna Anna’s Or sai, chi l’onore, and one of Zerlina’s two arias.

In all probability Eugenie and her fiance were the only listeners who, in spirit, taste, and judgment, were what Mozart could wish.  They sat far back in the room, Eugenie motionless as a statue, and so engrossed that, in the short pauses when the rest of the audience expressed their interest or showed their delight in involuntary exclamations, she gave only the briefest replies to the Baron’s occasional remarks.

When Mozart stopped, after the beautiful sextet, and conversation began again, he showed himself particularly pleased with the Baron’s comments.  They spoke of the close of the opera, and of the first performance, announced for an early date in November; and when some one remarked that certain portions yet to be written must be a gigantic task, the master smiled, and Constanze said to the Countess, so loudly that Mozart must needs hear:  “He has ideas which he works at secretly; before me, sometimes.”

“You are playing your part badly, my dear,” he interrupted.  “What if I should want to begin anew?  And, to tell the truth, I’d rather like to.”

“Leporello!” cried the Count, springing up and nodding to a servant.  “Bring some wine.  Sillery—­three bottles.”

“No, if you please.  That is past; my husband will not drink more than he still has in his glass.”

“May it bring him luck—­and so to every one!”

“Good heavens!  What have I done,” lamented Constanze, looking at the clock.  “It is nearly eleven, and we must start early tomorrow.  How shall we manage?”

“Don’t manage at all, dear Frau Mozart.”

“Sometimes,” began Mozart, “things work out very strangely.  What will my Stanzl say when she learns that the piece of work which you are going to hear came to life at this very hour of the night, just before I was to go on a journey?”

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“Is it possible!  When?  Oh! three weeks ago, when you were to go to Eisenstadt.”

“Exactly.  This is how it came about.  I came in after ten (you were fast asleep) from dinner at the Richters’. and intended to go to bed early, as I had promised, for I was to start very early in the morning.  Meanwhile Veit had lighted the candles on the writing-table, as usual.  I made ready for bed mechanically, and then thought I would take just a look at the last notes I had written.  But, cruel fate! with woman’s deuced inconvenient spirit of order you had cleared up the room and packed the music—­for the Prince wished to see a number or two from the opera.  I hunted, grumbled, scolded-all in vain.  Then my eye fell on a sealed envelope from Abbate—­his pot-hooks in the address.  Yes; he had sent me the rest of his revised text, which I had not hoped to see for months.  I sat down with great curiosity and began to read, and was enraptured to find how well the fellow understood what I wanted.  It was all much simpler, more condensed, and at the same time fuller.  The scene in the churchyard and the finale, with the disappearance of the hero, were greatly improved.  ‘But, my excellent poet,’ I said to myself, ’you need not have loaded me with heaven and hell a second time, so carelessly.’

“Now, it is never my habit to write any number out of order, be it never so tempting; that is a mistake which may be too severely punished.  Yet there are exceptions, and, in short, the scene near the statue of the governor, the warning which, coming suddenly from the grave of the murdered man, interrupts so horribly the laughter of the revelers—­that scene was already in my head.  I struck a chord, and felt that I had knocked at the right door, behind which lay all the legion of horrors to be let loose in the finale.  First came out an adagio—­D-minor, only four measures; then a second, with five.  ’There will be an extraordinary effect in the theatre,’ thought I, ’when the strongest wind instruments accompany the voice.’  Now you shall hear it, as well as it can be done without the orchestra.”

He snuffed out the candles beside him, and that fearful choral, “Your laughter shall be ended ere the dawn,” rang through the death-like stillness of the room.  The notes of the silver trumpet fell through the blue night as if from another sphere—­ice-cold, cutting through nerve and marrow.  “Who is here?  Answer!” they heard Don Juan ask.  Then the choral, monotonous as before, bade the ruthless youth leave the dead in peace.

After this warning had rung out its last notes, Mozart went on:  “Now, as you can think, there was no stopping.  When the ice begins to break at the edge, the whole lake cracks and snaps from end to end.  Involuntarily, I took up the thread at Don Juan’s midnight feast, when Donna Elvira has just departed and the ghost enters in response to the invitation.  Listen!”

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And then the whole, long, horrible dialogue followed.  When the human voices have become silent, the voice of the dead speaks again.  After that first fearful greeting, in which the half-transformed being refuses the earthly nourishment offered him, how strangely and horribly moves the unsteady voice up and down in that singular scale!  He demands speedy repentance; the spirit’s time is short, the way it must travel, long.  And Don Juan, in monstrous obstinacy withstanding the eternal commands, beneath the growing influence of the dark spirits, struggles and writhes and finally perishes, keeping to the last, nevertheless, that wonderful expression of majesty in every gesture.  How heart and flesh tremble with delight and terror!  It is a feeling like that with which one watches the mighty spectacle of an unrestrained force of nature, or the burning of a splendid ship.  In spite of ourselves, we sympathize with the blind majesty, and, shuddering, share the pain of its self-destruction.

The composer paused.  For a while no one could speak.  Finally, the Countess, with voice still unsteady, said “Will you give us some idea of your own feelings when you laid down the pen that night?”

He looked up at her as if waked from a dream, hesitated a moment, and then said, half to the Countess, half to his wife:  “Yes, my head swam at last.  I had written this dialogue and the chorus of demons, in fever heat, by the open window, and, after resting a moment, I rose to go to your room, that I might talk a little and cool off.  But another thought stopped me half way to the door.”  His glance fell, and his voice betrayed his emotion.  “I said to myself, ’If you should die tonight and leave your score just here, could you rest in your grave?’ My eye fell on the wick of the light in my hand and on the mountain of melted wax.  The thought that it suggested was painful.  ‘Then,’ I went on, ’if after this, sooner or later, some one else were to complete the opera, perhaps even an Italian, and found all the numbers but one, up to the seventeenth—­so many sound, ripe fruits, lying ready to his hand in the long grass-if he dreaded the finale, and found, unhoped for, the rocks for its construction close by—­he might well laugh in his sleeve.  Perhaps he would be tempted to rob me of my honor.  He would burn his fingers, though, for I have many a good friend who knows my stamp and would see that I had my rights.’

“Then I thanked God and went back, and thanked your good angel, dear wife, who held his hand so long over your brow, and kept you sleeping so soundly that you could not once call to me.  When at last I did go to bed and you asked me the hour, I told you you were two hours younger than you were, for it was nearly four; and now you will understand why you could not get me to leave the feathers at six, and why you had to dismiss the coach and order it for another day.”

“Certainly,” answered Constanze; “but the sly man must not think that I was so stupid as not to know something of what was going on.  You didn’t need, on that account, to keep your beautiful new numbers all to yourself.”

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“That was not the reason.”

“No, I know.  You wanted to keep your treasure away from criticism yet a little while.”

“I am glad,” cried the good-natured host, “that we shall not need to grieve the heart of a noble Vienna coachman to-morrow, when Herr Mozart cannot arise.  The order, ‘Hans, you may unharness!’ always makes one sad.”

This indirect invitation for a longer stay, which was heartily seconded by the rest of the family, obliged the travelers to explain their urgent reason for declining it; yet they readily agreed that the start need not be made so early as to interfere with a meeting at breakfast.

They stood, talking in groups, a little while longer.  Mozart looked about him, apparently for Eugenie; since she was not there he turned naively with his question to Franziska.

“What do you think, on the whole, of our Don Juan?  Can you prophesy anything good for him?”

“In the name of my aunt, I will answer as well as I can,” was the laughing reply.  “My opinion is that if Don Juan does not set the world mad, the good Lord may shut up his music chests for years to come, and give mankind to understand—­”

“And give mankind,” corrected the Count, “the bag-pipes to play on, and harden the hearts of the people so that they worship Baal.”

“The Lord preserve us!” laughed Mozart.  “But in the course of the next sixty or seventy years, long after I am gone, will arise many false prophets.”

Eugenie approached, with the Baron and Max; the conversation took a new turn, growing ever more earnest and serious, and the composer, ere the company separated, rejoiced in many a word of encouragement and good cheer.  Finally, long after midnight, all retired; nor, till then, had any one felt weary.

Next day—­for the fair weather still held—­at ten o’clock a handsome coach, loaded with the effects of the two travelers, stood in the courtyard.  The Count, with Mozart, was waiting for the horses to be put in, and asked the master how the carriage pleased him.

“Very well, indeed; it seems most comfortable.”  “Good!  Then be so kind as to keep it to remind you of me.”

“What!  You are not in earnest?”

“Why not?”

“Holy Sixtus and Calixtus!  Constanze, here!” he called up to the window where, with the others, she sat looking out.  “The coach is mine.  You will ride hereafter in your own carriage.”

He embraced the smiling donor, and examined his new possession on all sides; finally he threw open the door and jumped in, exclaiming:  “I feel as rich and happy as Ritter Gluck.  What eyes they will make in Vienna!”

“I hope,” said the Countess, “when you return from Prague, to see your carriage again, all hung with wreaths.”

Soon after this last happy scene the much-praised carriage moved away with the departing guests, and rolled rapidly toward the road to Prague.  At Wittingau the Count’s horses were to be exchanged for post-horses, with which they would continue their journey.

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When such excellent people have enlivened our houses by their presence, have given us new impulses through their fresh spirits, and have made us feel the blessings of dispensing hospitality, their departure leaves an uncomfortable sense of vacancy and interruption, at least for the rest of the day, and especially if we are left to ourselves.  The latter case, at least, was not true with our friends in the palace.  Franziska’s parents and aunt soon followed the Mozarts.  Franziska herself, the Baron, and Max of course, remained.  Eugenie, with whom we are especially concerned, because she appreciated more deeply than the others the priceless experience she had had—­she, one would think, could not feel in the least unhappy or troubled.  Her pure happiness in the truly beloved man to whom she was now formally betrothed would drown all other considerations; rather, the most noble and lovely things which could move her heart must be mingled with that other happiness.  So would it have been, perhaps, if she could have lived only in the present, or in joyful retrospect.  But she had been moved by anxiety while Frau Mozart was telling her story, and the apprehension increased all the while that Mozart was playing, in spite of the ineffable charm beneath the mysterious horror of the music, and was brought to a climax by his own story of his night work.  She felt sure that this man’s energy would speedily and inevitably destroy him; that he could be but a fleeting apparition in this world, which was unable to appreciate the profusion of his gifts.

This thought, mingled with many others and with echoes of Don Juan, had surged through her troubled brain the night before, and it was almost daylight when she fell asleep.  Now, the three women had seated themselves in the garden with their work; the men bore them company, and when the conversation, as was natural, turned upon Mozart, Eugenie did not conceal her apprehensions.  No one shared them in the least, although the Baron understood her fully.  She tried to rid herself of the feeling, and her friends, particularly her uncle, brought to her mind the most positive and cheering proofs that she was wrong.  How gladly she heard them!  She was almost ready to believe that she had been foolishly alarmed.

Some moments afterward, as she passed through the large hall which had just been swept and put in order, where the half-drawn green damask curtains made a soft twilight, she stopped sadly before the piano.  It was like a dream, to think who had sat there but a few hours before.  She looked long and thoughtfully at the keys which he had touched last; then she softly closed the lid and took away the key, in jealous care lest some other hand should open it too soon.  As she went away, she happened to return to its place a book of songs; an old leaf fell out, the copy of a Bohemian folk-song, which Franziska, and she too, had sung long ago.  She took it up, not without emotion, for in her present mood the most natural occurrence might easily seem an oracle.  And the simple verses, as she read them through again, brought the hot tears to her eyes: 

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  “A pine-tree stands in a forest—­who knows where? 
    A rose-tree in some garden fair doth grow;
  Remember they are waiting there, my soul,
    Till o’er thy grave they bend to whisper and to blow.

  “Far in the pasture two black colts are feeding. 
    Toward home they canter when the master calls;
  They shall go slowly with thee to thy grave,
    Perchance ere from their hoofs the gleaming iron falls.”

* * * * *

[Illustration:  ANNETTE VON DROSTE-HUeLSHOFF]

ANNETTE ELIZABETH VON DROSTE-HUeLSHOFF

  PENTECOST[34] (1839)

  The day was still, the sun’s bright glare
  Fell sheer upon the Temple’s beauteous wall
  Withered by tropic heat, the air
  Let, like a bird, its listless pinions fall. 
  Behold a group, young men and gray,
  And women, kneeling; silence holds them all;
  They mutely pray!

  Where is the faithful Comforter
  Whom, parting, Thou didst promise to Thine own? 
  They trust Thy word which cannot err,
  But sad and full of fear the time has grown. 
  The hour draws nigh; for forty days
  And forty wakeful nights toward Thee we’ve thrown
  Our weeping gaze.

  Where is He?  Hour on hour doth steal,
  And minute after minute swells the doubt. 
  Where doth He bide?  And though a seal
  Be on the mouth, the soul must yet speak out. 
  Hot winds blow, in the sandy lake
  The panting tiger moans and rolls about,
  Parched is the snake.

  But hark! a murmur rises now,
  Swelling and swelling like a storm’s advance,
  Yet standing grass-blades do not bow,
  And the still palm-tree listens in a trance. 
  Why seem these men to quake with fear
  While each on other casts a wondering glance? 
  Behold!  ’Tis here!

  ’Tis here, ’tis here! the quivering light
  Rests on each head; what floods of ecstasy
  Throng in our veins with wondrous might! 
  The future dawns; the flood-gates open free;
  Resistless pours the mighty Word;
  Now as a herald’s call, now whisperingly,
  Its tone is heard.

  Oh Light, oh Comforter, but there
  Alas! and but to them art Thou revealed
  And not to us, not everywhere
  Where drooping souls for comfort have appealed! 
  I yearn for day that never breaks;
  Oh shine, before this eye is wholly sealed,
  Which weeps and wakes.

* * * * *

  THE HOUSE IN THE HEATH[35] (1841)

  Beneath yon fir trees in the west,
    The sunset round it glowing,
  A cottage lies like bird on nest,
    With thatch roof hardly showing.

  And there across the window-sill
    Leans out a white-starred heifer;
  She snorts and stamps; then breathes her fill
    Of evening’s balmy zephyr.

  Near-by reposes, hedged with thorn,
    A garden neatly tended;
  The sunflower looks about with scorn;
    The bell-flower’s head is bended.

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  And in the garden kneels a child,
    She weeds or merely dallies,
  A lily plucks with gesture mild
    And wanders down the alleys.

  A shepherd group in distance dim
    Lie stretched upon the heather,
  And with a simple evening hymn
    Wake the still breeze together.

  And from the roomy threshing hall
    The hammer strokes ring cheery,
  The plane gives forth a crunching drawl,
    The rasping saw sounds weary.

  The evening star now greets the scene
    And smoothly soars above it,
  And o’er the cottage stands serene;
    He seems in truth to love it.

  A vision with such beauty crowned,
    Had pious monks observed it,
  They straight upon a golden ground
    Had painted and preserved it.

  The carpenter, the herdsmen there
    A pious choral sounding;
  The maiden with the lily fair,
    And peace the whole surrounding;

  The wondrous star that beams on all
    From out the fields of heaven—­
  May it not be that in the stall
    The Christ is born this even?

[Illustration:  HANS AM ENDE THE FARM HOUSE]

* * * * *

  THE BOY ON THE MOOR[36] (1841)

  ’Tis an eerie thing o’er the moor to fare
    When the eddies of peat-smoke justle,
  When the wraiths of mist whirl here and there
    And wind-blown tendrils tussle,
      When every step starts a hidden spring
      And the trodden moss-tufts hiss and sing
  ’Tis an eerie thing o’er the moor to fare
    When the tangled reed-beds rustle.

  The child with his primer sets out alone
    And speeds as if he were hunted,
  The wind goes by with a hollow moan—­
    There’s a noise in the hedge-row stunted. 
      ’Tis the turf-digger’s ghost, near-by he dwells,
      And for drink his master’s turf he sells. 
  “Whoo! whoo!” comes a sound like a stray cow’s groan;
    The poor boy’s courage is daunted.

  Then stumps loom up beside the ditch,
    Uncannily nod the bushes,
  The boy running on, each nerve a twitch,
    Through a jungle of spear-grass pushes. 
      And where it trickles and crackles apace
      Is the Spinner’s unholy hiding-place,
  The home of the cursed Spinning-witch
    Who turns her wheel ’mid the rushes.

  On, ever on, goes the fearsome rout,
    In pursuit through that region fenny,
  At each wild stride the bubbles burst out,
    And the sounds from beneath are many. 
      Until at length from the midst of the din
      Comes the squeak of a spectral violin,
  That must be the rascally fiddler lout
    Who ran off with the bridal penny!

  The turf splits open, and from the hole
    Bursts forth an unhappy sighing,
  “Alas, alas, for my wretched soul!”
    ’Tis poor damned Margaret crying! 
      The lad he leaps like a wounded deer,
      And were not his guardian angel near
  Some digger might find in a marshy knoll
    Where his little bleached bones were lying.

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  But the ground grows firmer beneath his feet,
    And there from over the meadow
  A lamp is flickering homely-sweet;
    The boy at the edge of the shadow
      Looks back as he pauses to take his breath,
      And in his glance is the fear of death. 
  ’Twas eerie there ’mid the sedge and peat,
    Ah, that was a place to dread, O!

* * * * *

  ON THE TOWER[37] (1842)

  I stand aloft on the balcony,
    The starlings around me crying,
  And let like maenad my hair stream free
    To the storm o’er the ramparts flying. 
  Oh headlong wind, on this narrow ledge
    I would I could try thy muscle
  And, breast to breast, two steps from the edge,
    Fight it out in a deadly tussle.

  Beneath me I see, like hounds at play,
    How billow on billow dashes;
  Yea, tossing aloft the glittering spray,
    The fierce throng hisses and clashes. 
  Oh, might I leap into the raging flood
    And urge on the pack to harry

  The hidden glades of the coral wood,
    For the walrus, a worthy quarry! 
  From yonder mast a flag streams out
    As bold as a royal pennant;
  I can watch the good ship lunge about
    From this tower of which I am tenant;
  But oh, might I be in the battling ship,
    Might I seize the rudder and steer her,
  How gay o’er the foaming reef we’d slip
    Like the sea-gulls circling near her!

  Were I a hunter wandering free,
    Or a soldier in some sort of fashion,
  Or if I at least a man might be,
    The heav’ns would grant me my passion.

  But now I must sit as fine and still
    As a child in its best of dresses,
  And only in secret may have my will
    And give to the wind my tresses.

* * * * *

  THE DESOLATE HOUSE[38] (1842)

  Deep in a dell a woodsman’s house
    Has sunk in wild dilapidation;
  There buried under vines and boughs
    I often sit in contemplation. 
  So dense the tangle that the day
    Through heavy lashes can but glimmer;
    The rocky cleft is rendered dimmer
  By overshadowing tree-trunks gray.

  Within that dell I love to hear
    The flies with their tumultuous humming,
  And solitary beetles near
    Amid the bushes softly drumming.

  And when the trickling cliffs of slate
    The color from the sunset borrow,
    Methinks an eye all red with sorrow
  Looks down on me disconsolate.

  The arbor peak with jagged edge
    Wears many a vine-shoot long and meagre
  And from the moss beneath the hedge
    Creep forth carnations, nowise eager. 
  There from the moist cliff overhead
    The muddy drippings oft bedew them,
    Then creep in lazy streamlets through them
  To sink within a fennel-bed.

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  Along the roof o’ergrown with moss
    Has many a tuft of thatch projected,
  A spider-web is built across
    The window-jamb, else unprotected;
  The wing of a gleaming dragon-fly
    Hangs in it like some petal tender,
    The body armed in golden splendor
  Lies headless on the sill near-by.

  A butterfly sometimes may chance
    In heedless play to flutter hither
  And stop in momentary trance
    Where the narcissus blossoms wither;
  A dove that through the grove has flown
    Above this dell no more will utter
    Her coo, one can but hear her flutter
  And see her shadow on the stone.

  And in the fireplace where the snow
    Each winter down the chimney dashes
  A mass of bell-capped toad-stools grow
    On viscid heaps of moldering ashes. 
  High on a peg above the rest
    A hank of rope-yarn limply dangles
    Like rotted hair, and in the tangles
  The swallow built her last year’s nest.

  An old dog-collar set with bells
    Swings from a hook by clasp and tether,
  With rude embroidery that spells
    “Diana” worked upon the leather. 
  A flute too, when the woodsman died,
    The men who dug his grave forgot here;
    The dog, his only friend, they shot here
  And laid her by her master’s side.

  But while I sit in reverie,
    A field-mouse near me shrilly crying,
  The squirrel barking from his tree,
    And from the marsh the frogs replying—­
  Then eerie shudders o’er me shoot,
    As if I caught from out the dingle
    Diana’s bells once more a-jingle
  And echoes of the dead man’s flute.

* * * * *

THE JEW’S BEECH-TREE (1841)

BY ANNETTE ELIZABETH VON DROSTE-HUeLSHOFF

TRANSLATED BY LILLIE WINTER, A.B.

Frederick Mergel, born in 1738, was the son of a so-called Halbmeier or property holder of low station in the village of B., which, however badly built and smoky it may be, still engrosses the eye of every traveler by the extremely picturesque beauty of its situation in a green woody ravine of an important and historically noteworthy mountain chain.  The little country to which it belonged was, at that time, one of those secluded corners of the earth, without trade or manufacturing, without highways, where a strange face still excited interest and a journey of thirty miles made even one of the more important inhabitants the Ulysses of his vicinage—­in short, a spot, as so many more that once could be found in Germany, with all the failings and the virtues, all the originality and the narrowness that can flourish only under such conditions.

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Under very simple and often inadequate laws the inhabitants’ ideas of right and wrong had, in some measure, become confused, or, rather, a second law had grown up beside the official, a law of public opinion, of custom, and of long uncontested privilege.  The property holders, who sat as judges in the lower courts, meted out punishments or rewards in accordance with their own notions, which were, in most cases, honest.  The common people did what seemed to them practicable and compatible with a somewhat lax conscience, and it was only the loser to whom it sometimes occurred to look up dusty old documents.  It is hard to view that period without prejudice; since it has passed away it has been either haughtily criticised or foolishly praised; for those who lived through it are blinded by too many precious recollections, and the newer generation does not understand it.  This much, however, one may assert, that the shell was weaker, the kernel stronger, crime more frequent, want of principle rarer.  For he who acts according to his convictions, be they ever so faulty, can never be entirely debased; whereas nothing kills the soul more surely than appealing to the written law when it is at variance with one’s own sense of what is right.

The inhabitants of the little country of which we speak, being more restless and enterprising than their neighbors, certain features of life came out more sharply here than would have been the case elsewhere under like conditions.  Wood stealing and poaching were every-day occurrences, and in the numerous fights which ensued each one had to seek his own consolation if his head was bruised.  Since great and productive forests constituted the chief wealth of the country, these forests were of course vigilantly watched over, less, however, by legal means than by continually renewed efforts to defeat violence and trickery with like weapons.

The village of B. was reputed to be the most arrogant, most cunning, and most daring community in the entire principality.  Perhaps its situation in the midst of the deep and proud solitude of the forest had early strengthened the innate obstinacy of its inhabitants.  The proximity of a river which flowed into the sea and bore covered vessels large enough to transport shipbuilding timber conveniently and safely to foreign ports, helped much in encouraging the natural boldness of the wood-thieves; and the fact that the entire neighborhood swarmed with foresters served only to aggravate matters, since in the oft-recurring skirmishes the peasants usually had the advantage.  Thirty or forty wagons would start off together on beautiful moonlight nights with about twice as many men of every age, from the half-grown boy to the seventy-year-old village magistrate, who, as an experienced bell-wether, led the procession as proudly and self-consciously as when he took his seat in the court-room.  Those who were left behind listened unconcernedly to the grinding and pounding of the wheels dying away in the

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narrow passes, and slept calmly on.  Now and then an occasional shot, a faint scream, startled perhaps a young wife or an engaged girl; no one else paid any attention to it.  At the first gray light of dawn the procession returned just as silently—­every face bronzed, and here and there a bandaged head, which did not matter.  A few hours later the neighborhood would be alive with talk about the misfortune of one or more foresters, who were being carried out of the woods, beaten, blinded with snuff, and rendered unable to attend to their business for some time.

In this community Frederick Mergel was born, in a house which attested the pretensions of its builder by the proud addition of a chimney and somewhat less diminutive window panes, but at the same time bespoke the miserable circumstances of its owner by its present state of dilapidation.  What had once been a hedge around the yard and the garden had given way to a neglected fence; the roof was damaged; other people’s cattle grazed in the pastures; other people’s corn grew in the field adjoining the yard; and the garden contained, with the exception of a few woody rose bushes of a better time, more weeds than useful plants.  Strokes of misfortune had, it is true, brought on much of this, but disorder and mismanagement had played their part.  Frederick’s father, old Herman Mergel, was, in his bachelor days, a so-called orderly drinker—­that is, one who lay in the gutter on Sundays and holidays, but during the week was as well behaved as any one, and so he had had no difficulty in wooing and winning a right pretty and wealthy girl.  There was great merrymaking at the wedding.  Mergel did not get so very drunk, and the bride’s parents went home in the evening satisfied; but the next Sunday the young wife, screaming and bloody, was seen running through the village to her family, leaving behind all her good clothes and new household furniture.  Of course that meant great scandal and vexation for Mergel, who naturally needed consolation; by afternoon therefore there was not an unbroken pane of glass in his house and he was seen late at night still lying on his threshold, raising, from time to time, the neck of a broken bottle to his mouth and pitifully lacerating his face and hands.  The young wife remained with her parents, where she soon pined away and died.  Whether it was remorse or shame that tormented Mergel, no matter; he seemed to grow more and more in need of “spiritual” bolstering up, and soon began to be counted among the completely demoralized good-for-nothings.

The household went to pieces, hired girls caused disgrace and damage; so year after year passed.  Mergel was and remained a distressed and finally rather pitiable widower, until all of a sudden he again appeared as a bridegroom.  If the event itself was unexpected, the personality of the bride added still more to the general astonishment.  Margaret Semmler was a good, respectable person, in her forties, a village

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belle in her youth, still respected for her good sense and thrift, and at the same time not without some money.  What had induced her to take this step was consequently incomprehensible to every one.  We think the reason is to be found in her very consciousness of perfection.  On the evening before the wedding she is reported to have said:  “A woman who is badly treated by her husband is either stupid or good-for-nothing; if I am unhappy, put it down as my fault.”  The result proved, unfortunately, that she had overestimated her strength.  At first she impressed her husband; if he had taken too much, he would not come home, or would creep into the barn.  But the yoke was too oppressive to be borne long, and soon they saw him quite often staggering across the street right into his house, heard his wild shouting within, and saw Margaret hastily closing doors and windows.  On one such day—­it was no longer a Sunday now—­they saw her rush out of the house in the evening, without hood or Shawl, with her hair flying wildly about her head.  They saw her throw herself down in the garden beside a vegetable bed and dig up the earth with her hands, then, anxiously looking about her, quickly pick off some vegetables and slowly return with them in the direction of the house, but, instead of entering it, go into the barn.  It was said that this was the first time that Mergel had struck her, although she never let such an admission pass her lips.  The second year of this unhappy marriage was marked by the coming of a son—­one cannot say gladdened, for Margaret is reported to have wept bitterly when the child was handed to her.  Nevertheless, although born beneath a heart full of grief, Frederick was a healthy, pretty child who grew strong in the fresh air.  His father loved him dearly, never came home without bringing him a roll or something of that sort, and it was even thought he had become more temperate since the birth of the boy; at least the noise in the house decreased.

Frederick was in his ninth year.  It was about the Feast of the Three Kings, a raw and stormy winter night.  Herman had gone to a wedding, and had started out early because the bride’s house was three miles away.  Although he had promised to return in the evening, Mistress Mergel hardly counted on it because a heavy snowfall had set in after sunset.  About ten o’clock she banked the fire and made ready to go to bed.  Frederick stood beside her, already half undressed, and listened, to the howling of the wind and the rattling of the garret windows.

“Mother, isn’t father coming home tonight?” he asked.

“No, child; tomorrow.”

“But why not, mother?  He promised to.”

“Oh, God, if he only kept every promise he makes!—­Hurry now, hurry and get ready.”

They had hardly gone to bed when a gale started to rage as though it would carry the house along with it.  The bed-stead quivered, and the chimney-stack rattled as if there were goblins in it.

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“Mother, some one’s knocking outside!”

“Quiet, Fritzy; that’s the loose board on the gable being shaken by the wind.”

“No; mother, it’s at the door.”

“It does not lock; the latch is broken.  Heavens, go to sleep!  Don’t deprive me of my bit of rest at night!”

“But what if father should come now!”

His mother turned angrily in her bed.  “The devil holds him tight enough!”

“Where is the devil, mother?

“Wait, you restless boy!  He’s standing at the door, ready to get you if you don’t keep quiet!”

Frederick became quiet.  A little while longer he listened, and then fell asleep.  A few hours later he awoke.  The wind had changed, and hissed like a snake through the cracks in the window near his ear.  His shoulder was stiff; he crept clear under his quilt and lay still and trembling with fear.  After a while he noticed that his mother was not asleep either.  He heard her weep and moan between sobs:  “Hail, Mary!” and “Pray for us poor sinners!” The beads of the rosary slid by his face.  An involuntary sigh escaped him.  “Frederick, are you awake?

“Yes, mother.”

“Child, pray a little—­you know half of the Paternoster already, don’t you?-that God protect us from flood and fire.”

Frederick thought of the devil, and wondered how he looked, anyway.  The confused noise and rumbling in the house seemed strange to him.  He thought there must be something alive within and without.  “Listen, mother!  I am sure I hear people knocking.”

“Oh, no, child; but there’s not an old board in the house that isn’t rattling.”

“Hark!  Don’t you hear?  Someone’s calling!  Listen!”

His mother sat up; the raging of the storm subsided a moment.  Knocking on the shutters, was distinctly audible, and several voices called:  “Margaret!.  Mistress Margaret!  Hey there!  Open the door!” Margaret ejaculated violently, “There, they’re again bringing the swine home to me!”

The rosary flew clattering down on the wooden chair; hastily she snatched her clothes; she rushed to the hearth, and soon Frederick heard her walk across the hall with defiant steps.  Margaret did not return; but in the kitchen there was a loud murmuring of strange voices.  Twice a strange man came into the bedroom and seemed to be nervously searching for something.  Suddenly a lamp was brought in; two men were supporting his mother.  She was white as chalk and her eyes were closed; Frederick thought she was dead.  He emitted a fearful scream, whereupon some one boxed his ear.  That silenced him; and now he gradually gleaned from the remarks of the bystanders that his father had been found dead in the woods by his Uncle Franz Semmler and by Huelsmeyer, and was now lying in the kitchen.

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As soon as Margaret regained consciousness she tried to get rid of the strangers.  Her brother remained with her, and Frederick, who was threatened with severe punishment if he got out of bed, heard the fire crackling in the kitchen all night and a noise like stroking something back and forth, and brushing it.  There was little spoken and that quietly, but now and then sobs broke out that went through and through the child, young as he was.  Once he understood his uncle to say, “Margaret, don’t take it so badly; we will all have three masses read, and at Eastertide we’ll make together a pilgrimage to the Holy Virgin of Werl.”

When the body was carried away two days later, Margaret sat on the hearth and covered her face with her apron.  After a few minutes, when everything had become quiet, she mumbled, “Ten years, ten crosses!  But we carried them together, after all, and now I am alone!” Then louder, “Fritzy, come here!”

Frederick approached her timidly; his mother had become quite uncanny to him with her black ribbons and her haggard, troubled face.  “Fritzy,” she said, “will you now really be good and make me happy, or will you be naughty and lie, or drink and steal?”

“Mother, Huelsmeyer steals.”

“Huelsmeyer?  God forbid!  Must I spank you?  Who tells you such wicked things?”

“The other day he beat Aaron and took six groschen from him.”

“If he took money from Aaron, no doubt the accursed Jew had first cheated him out of it.  Huelsmeyer is a respectable householder, and the Jews are all rascals!”

“But, mother, Brandes also says that he steals wood and deer.”

“Child, Brandes is a forester.”

“Mother, do foresters tell lies?”

Margaret was silent a moment, and then said, “Listen, Fritz!  Our Lord makes the wood grow free and the wild game moves from one landowner’s property into another’s.  They can belong to no one.  But you do not understand that yet.  Now go into the shed and get me some fagots.”

Frederick had seen his father lying on the straw, where he was said to have looked blue and fearful; but the boy never spoke of it and seemed indisposed to think of it.  On the whole, the recollection of his father had left behind a feeling of tenderness mingled with horror, for nothing so engrosses one as love and devotion on the part of a person who seems hardened against everything else; and in Frederick’s case this sentiment grew with the years, through the experience of many slights on the part of others.  As a child he was very sensitive about having any one mention his deceased father in a tone not altogether flattering to him—­a cause for grief that the none too delicate neighbors did not spare him.  There is a tradition in those parts which denies rest in the grave to a person killed by accident.  Old Mergel had thus become the ghost of the forest of Brede; as a will o’ the wisp he led a drunken man into the pond by a hair; the shepherd boys, when

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they crouched by their fires at night and the owls screeched in the hollows, sometimes heard quite clearly in broken accents his “Just listen, sweet Lizzie;” and an unprivileged woodman who had fallen asleep under the broad oak and been overtaken by nightfall, had, upon awakening, seen his swollen blue face peeping through the branches.  Frederick was obliged to hear much of this from other boys; then he would howl and strike any one who was near; once he even cut some one with his little knife and was, on this occasion, pitilessly thrashed.  After that he drove his mother’s cows alone to the other end of the valley, where one could often see him lie in the grass for hours in the same position, pulling up the thyme.

He was twelve years old when his mother received a visit from her younger brother who lived in Brede and had not crossed his sister’s threshold since her foolish marriage.

Simon Semmler was a short, restless, lean man with bulging fishlike eyes and a face altogether like a pike—­an uncanny fellow, in whom exaggerated reserve often alternated with affability no less affected—­who would have liked to pass for a shrewd intellect but was considered disagreeable instead.  He was a quarrelsome chap, and everybody grew more anxious to avoid him the farther he advanced toward that age when persons of limited intellect are apt to make up in pretensions for what they lose in usefulness.  Nevertheless poor Margaret was glad to see him, as she had no other relatives living.

“Simon, is that you?” she asked, trembling so that she had to steady herself on a chair.  “You want to see how I am getting along with my dirty boy?”

Simon looked at her earnestly and clasped her hand.  “You have grown old, Margaret.”

Margaret sighed.  “I’ve had much sorrow and all kinds of bad luck since I saw you.”

“Yes, girl, marry at leisure, repent in haste!  Now you are old and the child is small.  Everything has its time.  But when an old house is burning nothing will quench the fire.”  A flame, red as blood, flashed across Margaret’s care-worn face.

“But I hear your son is cunning and smart,” Simon continued.

“Well, rather, but good withal,” replied Margaret.

“H’m, some one once stole a cow; he was called ‘good’ too.  But he is quiet and thoughtful, isn’t he?  He doesn’t run around with the other boys?”

“He is a peculiar child,” said Margaret, as though to herself; “it’s not a good thing.”

Simon laughed aloud.  “Your boy is timid because the others have given him a few good thrashings.  Don’t worry, the lad will repay them!  Huelsmeyer came to see me lately; said the boy was like a deer.”

What mother’s heart does not rejoice when she hears her child praised?  Poor Margaret seldom had this pleasure; every one called her boy malicious and close-mouthed.  Tears started to her eyes.  “Yes, thank God, his limbs are straight!”

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“What does he look like?” continued Simon.

“He’s a good deal like you, Simon, a good deal.”  Simon laughed.  “Indeed, he must be a rare fellow; I’m getting better-looking every day.  Of course he shouldn’t be wasting his time at school.  You let him pasture the cows?  Just as well; what the teacher says isn’t half true anyway.  But where does he pasture?  In the Telgen glen?  In the Roder woods?  In the Teutoburg forest?  At night and early in the morning, too?”

“All through the night; but what do you mean?”

Simon seemed not to hear this.  He craned his neck toward the door.  “Look, there comes the youngster!  His father’s son!  He swings his arms like your departed husband.  And just see!  The lad actually has my light hair!”

A proud smile spread secretly over the mother’s face; her Frederick’s blond curls and Simon’s reddish bristles!  Without answering she broke a branch from the hedge near-by and went to meet her son, apparently to hurry on a lazy cow, in reality, however, to whisper a few hasty, half threatening words into his ear; for she knew his obstinate disposition, and Simon’s manner today had seemed to her more intimidating than ever.  But everything ran smoothly beyond expectation; Frederick showed himself neither obdurate nor insolent-rather, somewhat embarrassed and anxious to please his uncle.  And so matters progressed until, after half an hour’s discussion, Simon proposed a kind of adoption of the boy, by virtue of which he was not to take him entirely away from his mother but was, nevertheless, to command the greater part of his time.  And for this the boy was eventually to inherit the old bachelor’s fortune, which, to be sure, couldn’t have escaped him anyway.  Margaret patiently allowed her brother to explain how great the advantages of the arrangement would be to her, how slight the loss.  She knew best what a sickly widow misses in the help of a twelve-year-old boy whom she has trained practically to replace a daughter.  But she kept silent and yielded to everything.  She only begged her brother to be firm, but not harsh, with the boy.

“He is good,” she said, “but I am a lonely woman; my son is not like one who has been ruled by a father’s hand.”

Simon nodded slyly.  “Leave it to me; we’ll get along all right; and, do you know what?—­let me have the boy right now; I have two bags to fetch from the mill; the smallest is just right for him and that’s how he’ll learn to help me.  Come, Fritzy, put your wooden shoes on!” And presently Margaret was watching them both as they walked away, Simon ahead with his face set forward and the tails of his red coat flying out behind him like flames, looking a good deal like a man of fire doing penance beneath the sack he has stolen.  Frederick followed him, tall and slender for his age, with delicate, almost noble, features and long blond curls that were better cared for than the rest of his exterior appearance would have led one to expect;

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for the rest, ragged, sunburnt, with a look of neglect and a certain hard melancholy in his countenance.  Nevertheless a strong family resemblance between the two could not be mistaken, and as Frederick slowly followed his leader, with his eyes riveted on the man who attracted him by the very strangeness of his appearance, involuntarily he reminded one of a person who with anxious interest gazes on the picture of his future in a magic mirror.

They were now approaching the place in the Teutoburg Forest where the Forest of Brede extends down the slope of the mountain and fills a very dark ravine.  Until now they had spoken little.  Simon seemed pensive, the boy absent-minded, and both were panting under their sacks.  Suddenly Simon asked, “Do you like whiskey?” The boy did not answer.  “I say, do you like whiskey?  Does your mother give you some once in a while?”

“Mother hasn’t any herself,” answered Frederick.

“Well, well, so much the better!  Do you know the woods before us?”

“It is the Forest of Brede.”

“Do you know what happened here?” Frederick remained silent.  Meanwhile they came nearer and nearer to the gloomy ravine.

“Does your mother still pray much?” Simon began again.

“Yes, she tells her beads twice every evening.”

“Really?  And you pray with her?”

Somewhat ill at ease, the boy looked aside slyly and laughed.  “At twilight before supper she tells her beads once—­then I have not yet returned with the cows; and again in bed—­then I usually fall asleep.”

“Well, well, my boy!” These last words were spoken under the sheltering branches of a broad beech-tree which arched the entrance to the glen.  It was now quite dark and the new, moon shone in the sky, but its weak rays served only to lend a strange appearance to the objects they occasionally touched through an aperture between the branches.  Frederick followed close behind his uncle; his breath came fast and, if one could have distinguished his features, one would have noticed in them an expression of tremendous agitation caused by imagination rather than terror.  Thus both trudged ahead sturdily, Simon with the firm step of the hardened wanderer, Frederick unsteadily and as if in a dream.  It seemed to him that everything was in motion, and that the trees swayed in the lonely rays of the moon now towards one another, now away.  Roots of trees and slippery places where water had gathered made his steps uncertain; several times he came near falling.  Now some distance ahead the darkness seemed to break, and presently both entered a rather large clearing.  The moon shone down brightly and showed that only a short while ago the axe had raged here mercilessly.  Everywhere stumps of trees jutted up, some many feet above the ground, just as it had been most convenient to cut through them in haste; the forbidden work must have been interrupted unexpectedly, for directly across the path lay a beech-tree with its branches rising high above it, and its leaves, still fresh, trembling in the evening breeze.  Simon stopped a moment and surveyed the fallen tree-trunk with interest.  In the centre of the open space stood an old oak, broad in proportion to its height.  A pale ray of light that fell on its trunk through the branches showed that it was hollow, a fact that had probably saved it from the general destruction.

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Here Simon suddenly clutched the boy’s arm.  “Frederick, do you know that tree?  That is the broad oak.”  Frederick started, and with his cold hands clung to his uncle.  “See,” Simon continued, “here Uncle Franz and Huelsmeyer found your father, when without confession and extreme unction he had gone to the Devil in his drunkenness.”

“Uncle, uncle!” gasped Frederick.

“What’s coming over you?  I should hope you are not afraid?  Devil of a boy, you’re pinching my arm!  Let go, let go!” He tried to shake the boy off.  “On the whole your father was a good soul; God won’t be too strict with him.  I loved him as well as my own brother.”  Frederick let go his uncle’s arm; both walked the rest of the way through the forest in silence, and soon the village of Brede lay before them with its mud houses and its few better brick houses, one of which belonged to Simon.

The next evening Margaret sat at the door with her flax for fully an hour, awaiting her boy.  It had been the first night she had passed without hearing her child’s breathing beside her, and still Frederick did not come.  She was vexed and anxious, and yet knew that there was no reason for being so.  The clock in the tower struck seven; the cattle returned home; still he was not there, and she had to get up to look after the cows.

When she reentered the dark kitchen, Frederick was standing on the hearth; he was bending forward and warming his hands over the coal fire.  The light played on his features and gave him an unpleasant look of leanness and nervous twitching.  Margaret stopped at the door; the child seemed to her so strangely changed.

“Frederick, how’s your uncle?” The boy muttered a few unintelligible words and leaned close against the chimney.

“Frederick, have you forgotten how to talk?  Boy, open your mouth!  Don’t you know I do not hear well with my right ear?” The child raised his voice and began to stammer so that Margaret failed to understand anything.

“What are you saying?  Greeting from Master Semmler?  Away again?  Where?  The cows are at home already.  You bad boy, I can’t understand you.  Wait, I’ll have to see if you have no tongue in your mouth!” She made a few angry steps forward.  The child looked up to her with the pitiful expression of a poor, half-grown dog that is learning to sit up on his hind legs.  In his fear he began to stamp his feet and rub his back against the chimney.

Margaret stood still; her glances became anxious.  The boy looked as though he had shrunk together.  His clothes were not the same either; no, that was not her child!  And. yet—­“Frederick, Frederick!” she cried.

A closet door in the bedroom slammed and the real Frederick came out, with a so-called clog-violin in one hand, that is, a wooden shoe strung with three or four resined strings, and in his other hand a bow, quite befitting the instrument.  Then he went right up to his sorry double, with an attitude of conscious dignity and independence on his part, which at that moment revealed distinctly the difference between the two boys who otherwise resembled each other so remarkably.

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“Here, John!” he said, and handed him the work of art with a patronizing air; “here is the violin that I promised you.  My play-days are over; now I must earn money.”

John cast another timid glance at Margaret, slowly stretched out his hand until he had tightly grasped the present, and then hid it stealthily under the flaps of his shabby coat.

Margaret stood perfectly still and let the children do as they liked.  Her thoughts had taken another, very serious, turn, and she looked restlessly from one to the other.  The strange boy had again bent over the coals with an expression of momentary comfort which bordered on simple-mindedness, while Frederick’s features showed the alternating play of a sympathy evidently more selfish than good-humored, and his eyes, in almost glassy clearness, for the first time distinctly showed the expression of that unrestrained ambition and tendency to swagger which afterwards revealed itself as so strong a motive in most of his actions.

His mother’s call aroused him from his thoughts which were as new as they were pleasant to him; again she was sitting at her spinning-wheel.  “Frederick,” she said, hesitating, “tell me—­” and then stopped.  Frederick looked up and, hearing nothing more, again turned to his charge.  “No, listen!” And then, more softly:  “Who is that boy I What is his name?”

Frederick answered, just as softly:  “That is Uncle Simon’s swineherd; he has a message for Huelsmeyer.  Uncle gave me a pair of shoes and a huckaback vest which the boy carried for me; in return I promised him my violin; you see, he’s a poor child.  His name is John.”

“Well?” said Margaret.

“What do you want, mother?”

“What’s his other name?”

“Well—­he has none, but, wait—­yes, Nobody, John Nobody is his name.  He has no father,” he added under his breath.

Margaret arose and went into the bedroom.  After a while she came out with a harsh, gloomy expression on her countenance.  “Well, Frederick,” she said, “let the boy go, so that he may attend to his errand.  Boy, why do you lie there in the ashes?  Have you nothing to do at home?” With the air of one who is persecuted the boy roused himself so hastily that all his limbs got in his way, and the clog-violin almost fell into the fire.

“Wait, John,” said Frederick proudly, “I’ll give you half of my bread and butter; it’s too much for me anyhow.  Mother always gives me a whole slice.”

“Never mind,” said Margaret, “he is going home.”

“Yes, but he won’t get anything to eat now.  Uncle Simon eats at seven o’clock.”

Margaret turned to the boy.  “Won’t they save anything for you?  Tell me!  Who takes care of you?”

“Nobody,” stuttered the child.

“Nobody?” she repeated; “then take it, take it!” she added nervously; “your name is Nobody and nobody takes care of you.  May God have pity on you!  And now see that you get away!  Frederick, do not go with him, do you hear?  Do not go through the village together.”

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“Why, I only want to get wood out of the shed,” answered Frederick.  When both boys had gone Margaret sank down in a chair and clasped her hands with an expression of the deepest grief.  Her face was as white as a sheet.  “A false oath, a false oath!” she groaned.  “Simon, Simon, how will you acquit yourself before God!”

Thus she sat for a while, motionless, with her lips shut tight, as if completely unconscious.  Frederick stood before her and had already spoken to her twice.

“What’s the matter?  What do you want?” she cried, starting up.

“I have some money for you,” he said, more astonished than frightened.

“Money?  Where?” She moved and the little coin fell jingling to the floor.  Frederick picked it up.

“Money from Uncle Simon, because I helped him work.  Now I can earn something for myself.”

“Money from Simon!  Throw it away, away!—­No, give it to the poor.  But no, keep it!” she whispered, scarcely audibly.  “We are poor ourselves; who knows whether we won’t be reduced to begging!”

“I am to go back to Uncle Monday and help him with the sowing.”

“You go back to him?  No, no, never!” She embraced her child wildly.  “Yet,” she added, and a stream of tears suddenly rushed down her sunken cheeks, “go; he is the only brother I have, and slander is great!  But keep God before your eyes, and do not forget your daily prayers!” Margaret pressed her face against the wall and wept aloud.  She had borne many a heavy burden—­her husband’s harsh treatment, and, worse than that, his death; and it was a bitter moment when the widow was compelled top give over to a creditor the usufruct of her last piece of arable land, and her own plow stood useless in front of her house.  But as badly as this she had never felt before; nevertheless, after she had wept through an evening and lain awake a whole night, she made herself believe that her brother Simon could not be so godless, that the boy certainly did not belong to him; for resemblances can prove nothing.  Why, had she not herself lost a little sister forty years ago who looked exactly like the strange peddler!  One is willing to believe almost anything when one has so little, and is liable to lose that little by unbelief!

From this time on Frederick was seldom at home.  Simon seemed to have lavished on his nephew all the more tender sentiments of which he was capable; at least he missed him greatly and never ceased sending messages if some business at home kept him at his mother’s house for any length of time.  The boy was as if transformed since that time; his dreamy nature had left him entirely; he walked firmly, began to care for his external appearance, and soon to have the reputation of being a handsome, clever youth.  His uncle, who could not be happy without schemes, sometimes undertook important public works—­for example, road building, at which Frederick was everywhere considered one of his best workmen and his right-hand

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man; for although the boy’s physical strength had not yet attained its fullest development, scarcely any one could equal him in endurance.  Heretofore Margaret had only loved her son; now she began to be proud of him and even feel a kind of respect for him, seeing the young fellow develop so entirely without her aid, even without her advice, which she, like most people, considered invaluable; for that reason she could not think highly enough of the boy’s capabilities which could dispense with such a precious means of furtherance.

In his eighteenth year Frederick had already secured for himself an important reputation among the village youth by the successful execution of a wager that he could carry a wild boar for a distance of more than two miles without resting.  Meanwhile participation in his glory was about the only advantage that Margaret derived from these favorable circumstances, since Frederick spent more and more on his external appearance and gradually began, to take it to heart if want of money compelled him to be second to any one in that respect.  Moreover, all his powers were directed toward making his living outside; quite in contrast to his reputation all steady work around the house seemed irksome to him now, and he preferred to submit to a hard but short exertion which soon permitted him to follow his former occupation of herding the cattle, although it was beginning to be unsuitable for his age and at times drew upon him ridicule.  That he silenced, however, by a few blunt reprimands with his fist.  So people grew accustomed to seeing him, now dressed up and jolly as a recognized village beau and leader of the young folks, and again as a ragged boy slinking along, lonely and dreamily, behind his cows, or lying in a forest clearing, apparently thoughtless, scratching the moss from the trees.

About this time, however, the slumbering laws were roused somewhat by a band of forest thieves which, under the name of the “Blue Smocks,” surpassed all its predecessors in cunning and boldness to such an extent that even the most indulgent would have lost patience.  Absolutely contrary to the usual state of affairs, when the leading bucks of the herd could always be pointed out, it had thus far been impossible, in spite of all watchfulness, to specify even one member of this company of thieves.  Their name they derived from their uniform clothing which made recognition more difficult if a forester happened by chance to see a few stragglers disappear in the thicket.  Like caterpillars they destroyed everything; whole tracts of forest-land would be cut down in a single night and immediately made away with, leaving nothing to be found next morning but chips and disordered heaps of brushwood.  The fact that there were never any wagon tracks leading towards a village, but always to and from the river, proved that the work was carried on under the protection, perhaps with the cooeperation, of the shipowners.  There must have been some very skilful spies in the band, for the foresters could watch in vain for weeks at a time; nevertheless, the first night they failed, from sheer fatigue, to watch, the devastation began again, whether it was a stormy night or moonlight.  It was strange that the country folk in the vicinity seemed just as ignorant and excited as the foresters themselves.

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Of several villages it could be asserted with certainty that they did not belong to the “Blue Smocks,” while no strong suspicion could be attached to a single one, since the most suspected of all, the village of B., had to be acquitted.  An accident had brought this about—­a wedding, at which almost every resident of this village had notoriously passed the night, while during this very time the “Blue Smocks” had carried out one of their most successful expeditions.

The damage to the forest, in the meanwhile, was so enormous that preventive measures were made more stringent than ever before; the forest was patrolled day and night; head-servants and domestics were provided with firearms and sent to help the forest officers.  Nevertheless, their success was but slight, for the guards had often scarcely left one end of the forest when the “Blue Smocks” were already entering the other.  This lasted more than a whole year; guards and “Blue Smocks,” “Blue Smocks” and guards, like sun and moon, ever alternating in the possession of the land and never meeting each other.

It was July, 1756, at three o’clock in the morning; the moon shone brightly in the sky, but its light had begun to grow dim; and in the East there was beginning to appear a narrow, yellow streak which bordered the horizon and closed the entrance to the narrow dale as with a hand of gold.  Frederick was lying in the grass in his accustomed position, whittling a willow stick, the knotty end of which he was trying to form roughly into the shape of an animal.  He seemed to be very tired, yawned, rested his head against a weather-beaten stump and cast glances, more sleepy than the horizon, over the entrance of the glen which was almost overgrown with shrubbery and underbrush.  Now and then his eyes manifested life and assumed their characteristic glassy glitter, but immediately afterwards be half shut them again, and yawned, and stretched, as only lazy shepherds may.  His dog lay some distance away near the cows which, unconcerned by forest laws, feasted indiscriminately on tender saplings and the grass, and snuffed the fresh morning air.

Out of the forest there sounded from time to time a muffled, crashing noise; it lasted but a few seconds, accompanied by a long echo on the mountain sides, and was repeated about every five or eight minutes.  Frederick paid no attention to it; only at times, when the noise was exceptionally loud or long continued, he lifted his head and glanced slowly down the several paths which led to the valley.

Day was already dawning; the birds were beginning to twitter softly and the dew was rising noticeably from the ground.  Frederick had slid down the trunk and was staring, with his arms crossed back of his head, into the rosy morning light softly stealing in.  Suddenly he started, a light flashed across his face, and he listened a few moments with his body bent forward like a hunting dog which scents something in the air.  Then he quickly put two fingers in his mouth and gave a long, shrill whistle.  “Fido, you cursed beast!” He threw a stone and hit the unsuspecting dog which, frightened out of his sleep, first snarled and then, limping on three feet and howling, went in search of consolation to the very place from which the hurt had come.

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At the same moment the branches of a near-by bush were pushed back almost without a rustle, and a man stepped out, dressed in a green hunting jacket, with a silver shield on his arm and his rifle cocked in his hand.  He cast a hurried glance over the glen and stared sharply at the boy, then stepped forward, nodded toward the shrubbery, and gradually seven or eight men came into sight, all in the same costume, with hunting knives in their belts and cocked weapons in their hands.

“Frederick, what was that?” asked the one who had first appeared.  “I wish the cur would die on the spot.  For all he knows, the cows could chew the ears off my head.”

“The scoundrel has seen us,” said another.  “Tomorrow you’ll go on a trip with a stone about your neck,” Frederick went on, and kicked at the dog.  “Frederick, don’t act like a fool!  You know me, and you understand me too!” A look accompanied these words, which had an immediate effect.

“Mr. Brandes, think of my mother!”

“That’s what I’m doing.  Didn’t you hear anything in the forest?”

“In the forest?” The boy threw a hasty glance at the forester’s face.  “Your woodchoppers—­nothing else.”

“My woodchoppers!” The naturally dark complexion of the forester changed to a deep brownish red.  “How many of them are there, and where are they doing their job?”

“Wherever you have sent them; I don’t know.”

Brandes turned to his comrades.  “Go ahead; I’ll follow directly.”  When one by one they had disappeared in the thicket, Brandes stepped close up to the boy.  “Frederick,” he said in tones of suppressed rage, “my patience is worn out; I’d like to thrash you like a dog, and that’s no worse than you deserve.  You bundle of rags, without a tile in your roof to call your own!  Thank God, you’ll soon find yourself begging; and at my door, your mother, the old witch, shan’t get as much as a moldy crust!  But first both of you’ll go to the dungeon!”

Frederick clutched a branch convulsively.  He was pale as death, and his eyes looked as if they would shoot out of his head like crystal bullets—­but only for a moment.  Then the greatest calmness, bordering on complete relaxation, returned.  “Sir,” he said firmly, in an almost gentle voice, “you have said something that you cannot defend, and so, perhaps, have I. Let us call it quits; and now I will tell you what you wish.  If you did not engage the woodchoppers yourself, they must be the ‘Blue Smocks,’ for not a wagon has come from the village; why, the road is right before me, and there are four wagons.  I did not see them, but I heard them drive up the pass.”  He faltered a moment.  “Can you say that I have ever hewn a tree on your land, or even that I ever raised my axe in any other place but where I was ordered to?  Think it over, whether you can say that?” A confused muttering was the forester’s only answer; like most blunt people, he repented easily.  He turned, exasperated, and started toward the shrubbery.  “No, sir,” called Frederick, “if you want to follow the other foresters, they’ve gone up yonder by the beech-tree.”

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“By the beech-tree!” exclaimed Brandes doubtfully.  “No, across there, toward Mast Gorge.”

“I tell you, by the beech-tree; long Heinrich’s gun-sling even caught on the crooked branch; why, I saw it!”

The forester turned into the path designated.  Frederick had not changed his position the whole time; half reclining, with his arm wound about a dry branch, he gazed immovably after the departing man, as he glided through the thickly wooded path with the long cautious steps characteristic of his profession, as noiseless as a lynx climbing into the hen-roost.  Here and there a branch sank behind him; the outlines of his body became fainter and fainter.  Then there was one final flash through the foliage; it was a steel button on his hunting jacket; and now he was gone.  During this gradual disappearance Frederick’s face had lost its expression of coldness, and his features had finally become anxious and restless.  Was he sorry, perhaps, that he had not asked the forester to keep his information secret?  He took a few steps forward, then stopped.  “It is too late,” he mused, and reached for his hat.  There was a soft pecking in the thicket, not twenty paces from him.  It was the forester sharpening his flint-stone.  Frederick listened.  “No!” he said in a decisive tone, gathered up his belongings, and hastily drove the cattle down into the hollow.

About noon, Margaret was sitting by the hearth, boiling tea.  Frederick had come home sick; he had complained of a violent headache and had told her, upon her anxious questioning, how he had become deeply provoked with the forester—­in short, all about the incident just described, with the exception of several details which he considered wiser to keep to himself.  Margaret gazed into the boiling water, silent and sad.  She was not unaccustomed to hear her son complain at times, but today he seemed more shaken than ever.  Was this perhaps the symptom of some illness?  She, sighed deeply and dropped a log of wood she had just lifted.

“Mother!” called Frederick from the bedroom.  “What is it?  Was that a shot?”

“Oh, no!  I don’t know what you mean.”

“I suppose it’s the throbbing in my head,” he replied.  A neighbor stepped in and related in a low whisper some bit of unimportant gossip which Margaret listened to without interest.  Then she went.  “Mother!” called Frederick.  Margaret went in to him.  “What did Huelsmeyer’s wife say?”

“Oh, nothing at all—­lies, nonsense!” Frederick sat up.  “About Gretchen Siemers; you know the old story well enough!—­there isn’t a word of truth in it either.”

Frederick lay down again.  “I’ll see if I can sleep,” he said.

Margaret was sitting by the hearth.  She was spinning and thinking of rather unpleasant things.  The village clock struck half-past eleven; the door opened and the court-clerk, Kapp, came in.  “Good day, Mrs. Mergel,” he said.  “Can you give me a drink of milk?  I’m on my way from M.”  When Mrs. Mergel brought what he wished, he asked “Where is Frederick?” She was just then busy getting a plate out and did not hear the question.  He drank hesitatingly and in short draughts.  Then he asked, “Do you know that last night the ‘Blue Smocks’ again cleared away a whole tract in the Mast forest as bare as my hand?”

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“Oh, you don’t mean it!” she replied indifferently.

“The scoundrels!” continued the clerk.  “They ruin everything; if only they had a little regard at least for the young trees; but they go after little oaks of the thickness of my arm, too small even to make oars of!  It looks as if loss on the part of other people were just as gratifying to them as gain on their own part!”

“It’s a shame!” said Margaret.

The clerk had finished his milk, but still he did not go.  He seemed to have something on his mind.  “Have you heard nothing about Brandes?” he asked suddenly.

“Nothing; he never enters this house.”

“Then you don’t know what has happened to him?”

“Why, what?” asked Margaret, agitated.

“He is dead!”

“Dead!” she cried.  “What, dead?  For God’s sake!  Why, only this morning he passed by here, perfectly well, with his gun on his back!”

“He is dead,” repeated the clerk, eyeing her sharply, “killed by the ‘Blue Smocks.’  The body was brought into the village fifteen minutes ago.”

Margaret clasped her hands.  “God in Heaven, do not judge him!  He did not know what he was doing!”

“Him!” cried the clerk—­“the cursed murderer you mean?”

A heavy groan came from the bedroom.  Margaret hurried there and the clerk followed her.  Frederick was sitting upright in bed, with his face buried in his hands, and moaning like one dying.  “Frederick, how do you feel?” asked his mother.

“How do you feel?” repeated the clerk.

“Oh, my body, my head!” he wailed.

“What’s the matter with him?” inquired the clerk.

“Oh, God knows,” she replied; “he came home with the cows as early as four o’clock because he felt sick.”  “Frederick, Frederick, answer me!  Shall I go for the doctor?”

“No, no,” he groaned; “it is only the colic; I’ll be better soon.”  He lay down again; his face twitched convulsively with pain; then his color returned.  “Go,” he said, feebly; “I must sleep; then it will pass away.”

“Mistress Mergel,” asked the clerk earnestly, “are you sure that Frederick came home at four and did not go away again?”

She stared in his face.  “Ask any child on the street.  And go away?—­I wish to God he could!”

“Didn’t he tell you anything about Brandes?”

“In the name of God, yes—­that Brandes had reviled him in the woods and reproached him with our poverty, the rascal!  But God forgive me, he is dead!  Go!” she continued; “have you come to insult honest people?  Go!”

She turned to her son again, as the clerk went out.  “Frederick, how do you feel?” asked his mother.  “Did you hear?  Terrible, terrible—­without confession or absolution!”

“Mother, mother, for God’s sake, let me sleep.  I can stand no more!”

At this moment John Nobody entered the room; tall and thin like a bean-pole, but ragged and shy, as we had seen him five years before.  His face was even paler than usual.  “Frederick,” he stuttered, “you are to come to your Uncle immediately; he has work for you; without delay, now!”

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Frederick turned toward the wall.  “I won’t come,” he snapped, “I am sick.”

“But you must come,” gasped John; “he said I must bring you back.”

Frederick laughed scornfully.  “I’d like to see you!”

“Let him alone; he can’t,” sighed Margaret; “you see how it is.”  She went out for a few minutes; when she returned, Frederick was already dressed.  “What are you thinking of?” she cried.  “You cannot, you shall not go!”

“What must be, must,” he replied, and was gone through the door with John.

“Oh, God,” sobbed the mother, “when children are small they trample our laps, and when they are grown, our hearts!”

The judicial investigation had begun, the deed was as clear as day; but the evidence concerning the perpetrator was so scanty that, although all circumstances pointed strongly towards the “Blue Smocks,” nothing but conjectures could be risked.  One clue seemed to throw some light upon the matter; there were reasons, however, why but little dependence could be placed on it.  The absence of the owner of the estate had made it necessary for the clerk of the court to start the case himself.  He was sitting at his table; the room was crowded with peasants, partly those who came out of curiosity, and partly those from whom the court hoped to receive some information, since actual witnesses were lacking—­shepherds who had been watching their flocks that night, laborers who had been working in near-by fields; all stood erect and firm,, with their hands in their pockets, as if thus silently manifesting their intention not to interfere.

Eight forest officers were heard; their evidence was entirely identical.  Brandes, on the tenth day of the month, had ordered them to go the rounds because he had evidently secured information concerning a plan of the “Blue Smocks”; he had, however, expressed himself but vaguely regarding the matter.  At about two o’clock at night they had gone out and had come upon many traces of destruction, which put the head-forester in a very bad humor; otherwise, everything had been quiet.  About four o’clock Brandes had said, “We have been led astray; let us go home.”  When they had come around Bremer mountain and the wind had changed at the same time, they had distinctly heard chopping in the Mast forest and concluded from the quick succession of the strokes that the “Blue Smocks” were at work.  They had deliberated a while whether it were practical to attack the bold band with such a small force, and then had slowly approached the source of the sound without any fixed determination.  Then followed the scene with Frederick.  Finally, after Brandes had sent them away without instructions they had gone forward a while and then, when they noticed that the noise in the woods, still rather far away, had entirely ceased, they had stopped to wait for the head-forester.

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They had grown tired of waiting, and after about ten minutes had gone on toward the scene of devastation.  It was all over; not another sound was to be heard in the forest; of twenty fallen trees eight were still left, the rest had been made way with.  It was incomprehensible to them how this had been accomplished, since no wagon tracks were to be found.  Moreover, the dryness of the season and the fact that the earth was strewn with pine-needles had prevented their distinguishing any footprints, although the ground in the vicinity looked as if it had been firmly stamped down.  Then, having come to the conclusion that there was no point in waiting for the head-forester, they had quickly walked to the other side of the wood in the hope of perhaps catching a glimpse of the thieves.  Here one of them had caught his bottle-string in the brambles on the way out of the wood, and when he had looked around he had seen something flash in the shrubbery; it was the belt-buckle of the head-forester whom they then found lying behind the brambles, stretched out, with his right hand clutching the barrel of his gun, the other clenched, and his forehead split with an axe.

These were the statements of the foresters.  It was then the peasants’ turn, but no evidence could be obtained from them.  Some declared they had been at home or busy somewhere else at four o’clock, and they were all decent people, not to be suspected.  The court had to content itself with their negative testimonies.

Frederick was called in.  He entered with a manner in no respect different from his usual one, neither strained nor bold.  His hearing lasted some time, and some of the questions were rather shrewdly framed; however, he answered them frankly and decisively and related the incident between himself and the forester truthfully, on the whole, except the end, which he deemed expedient to keep to himself.  His alibi at the time of the murder was easily proved.  The forester lay at the end of the Mast forest more than three-quarters of an hour’s walk from the ravine where he had spoken with Frederick at four o’clock, and whence the latter had driven his cows only ten minutes later.  Every one had seen this; all the peasants present did their utmost to confirm it; to this one he had spoken, to that one, nodded.

The court clerk sat ill-humored and embarrassed.  Suddenly he reached behind him and, presenting something gleaming to Frederick’s gaze, cried:  “To whom does this belong?” Frederick jumped back three paces, exclaiming, “Lord Jesus!  I thought you were going to brain me.”

His eyes had quickly passed across the deadly tool and seemed to fix themselves for a moment on a splinter broken out of the handle.  “I do not know,” he added firmly.  It was the axe which they had found plunged in the head-forester’s skull.

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“Look at it carefully,” continued the clerk.  Frederick took it in his hand, looked at the top, the bottom, turned it over.  “One axe looks like another,” he then said, and laid it unconcernedly on the table.  A blood-stain was visible; he seemed to shudder, but he repeated once more with decision:  “I do not know it.”  The clerk of the court sighed with displeasure.  He himself knew of nothing more, and had only sought to bring about a possible disclosure through surprise.  There was nothing left to do but to close the hearing.

To those who are perhaps interested in the outcome of this affair, I must say that the story was never cleared up, although much effort was made to throw light upon it and several other judicial examinations followed.  The sensation which the incident had caused and the more stringent measures adopted in consequence of it, seemed to have broken the courage of the “Blue Smocks”; from now on it looked as though they had entirely disappeared, and although many a wood-thief was caught after that, they never found cause to connect him with the notorious band.  Twenty years afterwards the axe lay as a useless corpus delicti in the archives of the court, where it is probably resting yet with its rust spots.  In a made-up story it would be wrong thus to disappoint the curiosity of the reader, but all this actually happened; I can add or detract nothing.  The next Sunday Frederick rose very early to go to confession.  It was the day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and the parish priests were in the confessionals before dawn.  He dressed in the dark, and as quietly as possible left the narrow closet which had been consigned to him in Simon’s house.  His prayer-book, he thought, would be lying on the mantelpiece in the kitchen, and he hoped to find it with the help of the faint moonlight.  It was not there.  He glanced searchingly around, and started; at the bedroom door stood Simon, half-dressed; his rough figure, his uncombed, tangled hair, and the paleness of his face in the moonlight, gave him a horribly changed appearance.  “Can he possibly be walking in his sleep?” thought Frederick, and kept quite still.  “Frederick, where are you going?” whispered the old man.

“Uncle, is that you?  I am on my way to confession.”

“That’s what I thought; go, in the name of God, but confess like a good Christian.”

“That I will,” said Frederick.

Think of the Ten Commandments:  ’Thou shalt not bear witness against thy neighbor.’”

“Not false witness!”

“No, none at all; you have been badly taught; he who accuses another in his confession is unworthy to receive the Sacrament.”

Both were silent.  “Uncle, what makes you think of this?” Frederick finally asked.  “Your conscience is not clear; you have lied to me.”

“I?  How?”

“Where is your axe?”

“My axe?  On the barn-floor.”

“Did you make a new handle for it?  Where is the old one?”

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“You’ll find it at daylight in the woodshed.”

“Go,” he continued scornfully.  “I thought you were a man; but you are like an old woman who thinks the house must be on fire as soon as she sees smoke rising from her pot.  See,” he went on, “if I know anything more about this story than that doorpost there, may I never hope for salvation.  I was at home long before,” he added.  Frederick stood still, oppressed and doubtful.  He would have given much to be able to see his uncle’s face.  But while they were whispering, the sky had clouded over.

“I am very guilty,” sighed Frederick, “because I sent him the wrong way; although—­but still, I never thought it would come to this, no, certainly not!  Uncle, I have you to thank for a troubled conscience.”

“Well, go and confess!” whispered Simon in a trembling voice.  “Desecrate the Sacrament by tale-bearing, and set a spy on poor people who will manage to find a way to snatch their bit of bread from between their teeth, even if he is not permitted to talk—­go!” Frederick stood, undecided; he heard a soft noise; the clouds cleared away, the moonlight again fell on the bedroom door; it was closed.  Frederick did not go to confession that morning.

The impression which this incident had made on Frederick wore off only too soon.  Who doubts that Simon did everything to lead his adopted son down the same paths that he was following?  And Frederick possessed qualities which made this only too easy:  carelessness, excitability, and, above all, boundless pride, which did not always scorn pretense and ended by doing its utmost to escape possible disgrace, by trying to realize what it first had pretended to possess.  He was not naturally ignoble, but he fell into the habit of preferring inward to outward shame.  One need only say that he habitually made a display while his mother starved.

This unfortunate change in his character was, however, the work of many years, during which it was noticed that Margaret became more and more quiet on the subject of her son, and gradually came to a state of demoralization which once would have been thought impossible.  She became timid, negligent, even slovenly, and many thought her brain had suffered.  Frederick, on the other hand, grew all the more self-assertive; he missed no fair or wedding, and since his irritable sense of honor would not permit him to overlook the secret disapprobation of many, he was, so to speak, up in arms, not so much to defy public opinion as to direct it into the channel which pleased him.  Externally he was neat, sober, apparently affable, but crafty, boastful, and often coarse—­a man in whom no one could take delight, least of all his mother, and who, nevertheless, through his audacity, which every one feared, and through his cunning, which they dreaded even more, had attained a certain preeminence in the village.  The preeminence came to be acknowledged more and more as people became conscious of the fact that they neither knew him nor could guess of what he might be capable.  Only one young fellow in the village, Will Huelsmeyer, who realized his own strength and good circumstances, dared to defy him.  Since he was also readier with his tongue than Frederick, and could always make a pointed joke, he was the only one whom Frederick did not like to meet.

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Four years had passed.  It was the month of October; the open autumn of 1760, which filled every barn with corn and every cellar with wine, had also lavished its riches on this corner of the earth, and more intoxicated people were seen and more fights and stupid tricks were heard of than ever before.  Everywhere there were festivities; Blue Mondays were the fashion, and whoever had laid aside a few dollars quickly wanted also a wife to help him feast today and starve tomorrow.  A big, noteworthy wedding took place in the village, and the guests could expect more than the one violin, generally out of tune, than the single glass of whiskey, and higher spirits than they themselves brought along.  Since the early morning all had been astir; clothing had been aired in front of every door, and all day B. had looked like a frippery-stall.  Since many outsiders were expected, everybody was anxious to uphold the honor of the village.

It was seven o’clock in the evening and everything was in full swing; fun and laughter were rampant on every side, and the low rooms were crowded to suffocation with blue, red, and yellow figures, like pen-folds into which too large a herd had been huddled.  On the barn floor there was dancing—­that is, whoever succeeded in capturing a two-foot space twirled around on it and tried to make up by shouting for what was lacking in motion.  The orchestra was brilliant, the first violinist as a recognized artist drowned out the second, and a great bass-viol with three strings was sounded ad libitum by dilettantes, whiskey and coffee flowed in abundance, all the guests were dripping with perspiration—­in short, it was a glorious affair.

Frederick strutted about like a cock in his new sky-blue jacket and asserted his position as the first beau of the village.  When the lord of the manor and his family arrived he happened to be sitting behind the bass-viol, sounding the lowest string with great strength and much decorum.  “John,” he called imperiously, and up stepped his protege from the dancing-floor, where he too had tried to swing his awkward legs and shout a cheer.  Frederick handed him the bow, made his wishes known by a proud nod, and joined the dancers.  “Now, strike up, musician, the ’Pape van Istrup!’” The favorite dance was played, and Frederick cut such capers before the company that the cows in the barn drew back their horns and a lowing and a rattling of chains sounded from their stalls.  A foot high above the others, his blond head bobbed up and down like a pike diving out of the waters, on every side girls screamed as he dashed his long flaxen hair, by a quick movement of the head, into their faces as a sign of admiration.

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“Now is the time,” he said finally, and stepped up to the refreshment table, dripping with perspiration.  “Here’s to the gracious lords and ladies and all the noble princes and princesses; and whoever doesn’t join in the toast will get such a boxing on the ears from me that he’ll hear the angels singing!” A loud Vivat responded to the gallant toast.  Frederick bowed.  “Take nothing amiss, gracious lords and ladies; we are but ignorant peasant people.”  At this moment a disturbance arose at the end of the floor—­shouting, scolding, laughter, all in confusion.  “Butter-thief, butter-thief!” called a few children; and John Nobody pushed his way, or rather was pushed, through the crowd, his head sunk between his shoulders and pressing with all his might toward the door.

“What’s the matter?  What are you doing to our John!” called Frederick imperiously.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” coughed an old woman in a kitchen apron and with a dish-rag in her hand.  “Shame!” John, the poor devil, who had to put up with the worst at home, had tried to secure for himself a paltry half pound of butter for the coming time of scarcity, and, without remembering that he had concealed it in his pocket, neatly wrapped in his handkerchief, had stepped near the kitchen fire, and now the grease was disgracing him by running down his coat.

There was general excitement; the girls sprang back from fear of soiling their clothes, or pushed the culprit forward.  Others made room as much out of pity as of caution.  But Frederick stepped forward.  “Rogue!” he cried; and a few hard slaps struck his patient protege; then he pushed him toward the door and gave him a good kick on the way.  The gallant came back dejected; his dignity was injured; the general laughter cut him to the quick, although he tried to bring himself into the swing again by a bold huzza!—­It did not work.  He was on the point of taking refuge behind the bass-viol again, but before that he wanted to produce still another brilliant effect; he drew out his silver watch, at that time a rare and precious ornament.  “It is almost ten o’clock,” he said.  “Now the Bride’s Minuet!  I will strike up.”

“A beautiful watch!” said the swineherd, and leaned forward in reverential curiosity.

“What did it cost?” cried Will Huelsmeyer, Frederick’s rival.

“Will you pay for it?” asked Frederick.  “Have you paid for it?” retorted Will.  Frederick threw him a haughty glance and seized the bow in silent majesty.  “Well, well,” Huelsmeyer went on, “such things have happened.  As you know well enough, Franz Ebel had a beautiful watch too, till Aaron the Jew took it away from him.”  Frederick did not answer, but nodded proudly to the first violin and they began to play with all their might and main.

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Meanwhile the lord of the manor had stepped into the room where the women of the neighborhood were investing the bride with the white head band, the insignia of her new position.  The young girl was crying bitterly, partly because custom so decreed, partly from honest nervousness.  She was to manage a run-down household, under the eye of a peevish old man, whom, moreover, she was expected to love.  He stood beside her, by no means like the groom in the Song of Solomon who “steps into the chamber like the morning sun.”  “You’ve cried enough now,” he said crossly; “remember, it isn’t you who are making me happy; I am making you happy!” She looked up to him humbly and seemed to feel that he was right.  The business was ended; the young wife had drunk to her husband’s health, some young wags had looked through the tripod to see if the bride’s head band was straight, and they were all crowding again toward the dancing-floor, whence there still resounded inextinguishable laughter and noise.  Frederick was no longer there.  He had met with a great unbearable disgrace, when Aaron the Jew, a butcher and casual second-hand dealer from the nearest town, had suddenly appeared, and, after a short unsatisfactory conversation, had dunned him before the whole company for the sum of ten thalers in payment of a watch delivered at Eastertide.  Frederick had gone away, as if annihilated, and the Jew followed him, shouting all the while:  “Oh, woe is me!  Why didn’t I listen to sensible people!  Didn’t they tell me a hundred times you had all your possessions on your back and no bread in your cupboard!” The room shook with laughter.  Some had pushed after them into the yard.  “Catch the Jew!  Balance him against a pig!” called some; others had become serious.  “Frederick looked as white as a sheet,” said an old woman, and the crowd separated as the carriage of the lord of the estate turned into the yard.  Herr von S. was out of sorts on the way home, the usual and inevitable effect when the desire to maintain popularity induced him to attend such feasts.  He looked out of the carriage silently.  “What two figures are those?” He pointed to two dark forms running ahead of the wagon like two ostriches.  Now they sneaked into the castle.  “Another blessed pair of swine out of our own pen!” sighed Herr von S. Having arrived at home, he found the corridor crowded with all the domestics standing around two lower-servants, who had sunk down pale and breathless on the steps.

They declared that they had been chased by old Mergel’s ghost, when they were coming home through the forest of Brede.  First they had heard a rustling and crackling high above them, and then, up in the air, a rattling noise like sticks beating against one another; then suddenly had sounded a shrieking yell and quite distinctly the words, “O, my poor soul!” coming down from on high.  One of them even claimed to have seen fiery eyes gleaming through the branches, and both had run as fast as their legs could carry them.

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“Stupid nonsense!” exclaimed the lord of the estate crossly, and went into his room to change his clothes.  The next morning the fountain in the garden would not play, and it was discovered that some one had removed a pipe, apparently to look for the head of a horse’s skeleton which had the reputation of being an attested instrument against any wiles of witches or ghosts.  “H’m,” said Baron von S.; “what rogues do not steal, fools destroy.”

Three days later a frightful storm was raging.  It was midnight, but every one in the castle was out of bed.  The Baron stood at the window and looked anxiously out into the dark toward his fields.  Leaves and twigs flew against the panes; now and, then a brick fell and was dashed to pieces on the pavement of the courtyard.  “Terrible weather!” said Herr von S. His wife looked out anxiously.  “Are you sure the fire is well banked?” she asked; “Gretchen, look again; if not, put it all out with water!  Come, let us read the Gospel of St. John.”  They all knelt down and the lady of the house began:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  There was a terrible clap of thunder.  All started; then there was a terrible scream and noise up the stairs.  “For God’s sake!  Is something burning?” cried Frau von S., and sank down with her face on the chair.  The door burst open and in rushed the wife of Aaron the Jew, pale as death, with her hair wildly disheveled, dripping with rain.  She threw herself on her knees before the Baron.  “Justice!” she cried, “Justice!  My husband is murdered!” and she fell in a faint.

It was only too true, and the ensuing investigation proved that Aaron the Jew had lost his life by a single blow on the temples delivered by some blunt instrument, probably a staff.  On his left temple was the blue mark; beyond that there was no other injury.  The statement of the Jewess and her servant, Samuel, ran thus:  Three days ago Aaron had gone out in the afternoon to buy cattle and had said at the time that he would probably be gone overnight, because there were still several bad debtors in B. and S., on whom he would call for payment; in this case he would spend the night with the butcher, Solomon, in B. When he did not return home the next day his wife had become greatly worried and had finally set out at three o’clock in the afternoon with her servant and the big butcher dog.  At the house of Solomon the Jew, no one knew anything about Aaron; he had not been there at all.  Then they had gone to all the peasants with whom they knew Aaron had intended to transact some business.  Only two had seen him, and those on the very day when he had left home.  Meanwhile it had become very late.  Her great anxiety drove the woman back home, where she cherished a faint hope of finding her husband after all.  They had been overtaken by the storm in the Forest of Brede and had sought shelter under a great beech on the mountain side.  In the meantime the dog had been running about and

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acting strangely, and had, in spite of repeated calling, finally run off into the woods.  Suddenly, during a lightning flash, the woman had seen something white beside her on the moss.  It was her husband’s staff, and almost at the same moment the dog had broken through the shrubbery with something in his mouth; it was her husband’s shoe.  Before long they found the Jew’s body in a trench filled with dry leaves.

This was the report of the servant, supported only in general by the wife; her intense agitation had subsided and her senses now seemed half confused or, rather, blunted.  “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth!” These were her only words, which she at intervals ejaculated.

The same night the guards were summoned to take Frederick into custody.  They needed no warrant, because Herr von S. himself had been witness to a scene which inevitably threw the strongest suspicion on him; furthermore there was the ghost story of that night, the beating together of the sticks in the forest of Brede, the scream from above.  Since the clerk of the court was at that time absent, Herr von S. hastened everything faster than would otherwise have been done.  Nevertheless dawn was already breaking when the riflemen as quietly as possible surrounded poor Margaret’s house.  The Baron himself knocked; it was hardly a minute before the door was opened, and Margaret appeared, fully dressed.  Herr von S. started; he scarcely recognized her, so pale and stony did she look.  “Where is Frederick?” he asked in an unsteady voice.

“Search for him!” she answered, and sat down on a chair.  The Baron hesitated a moment longer.

“Come in, come in,” he then said roughly to the guards; “what are we waiting for?” They stepped into Frederick’s room.  He was not there, but the bed was still warm.  They climbed to the garret, down the cellar, examined the straw, looked behind every barrel, even into the oven; he was not there.  Some of them went into the garden, looked behind the fence and up into the apple trees; he was not to be found.

“Escaped!” said the Baron with conflicting feelings; the sight of the old woman made a strong impression on him.  “Give me the key to that trunk!” Margaret did not answer.  “Give me the key,” he repeated, and noticed now for the first time that the key was already in the lock.  The contents of the trunk were brought into view—­the fugitive’s best Sunday clothes and his mother’s poor finery, then two shrouds with black ribbons, one made for a man, the other for a woman.  Herr von S. was deeply affected.  Under everything else, at the very bottom of the trunk, lay the silver watch and some documents in a very legible hand, one of these signed by a man who was strongly suspected of alliance with the forest-thieves.  Herr von S. took them along to examine them, and the guards left the house without Margaret’s giving another sign of life than that of incessantly biting her lips and blinking her eyes.

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Having arrived at the castle, the Baron found the court clerk, who had returned the night before and declared he had slept through the whole affair because his Honor had not sent for him.  “You always come too late,” said Herr von S. crossly; “wasn’t there any old woman in the village to tell your maid about it?  And why didn’t they wake you up then?”

“Your Honor,” replied Kapp, “of course my Anne Marie learned of the incident an hour before I did; but she knew that your Honor was directing the matter yourself—­and then,” he added in a plaintive tone, “that I was deathly tired!”

“A fine police force!” muttered the Baron.  “Every old hag in the village knows about a thing whenever it’s supposed to be conducted in absolute secrecy.”  Then he continued angrily:  “He’d have indeed to be a stupid devil of a criminal who would let himself be caught!”

Both were silent a moment.  “My driver lost his way in the dark,” began the clerk again; “we were delayed over an hour in the wood; the weather was awful; I thought the wind would blow the wagon over.  At last, when the rain slackened, we drove on in the name of God, heading toward the Zellerfeld, unable to see our hands before our eyes.  Then the coachman said:  ‘If only we don’t get too near the stone-quarries!’ I was frightened myself; I had him stop, and struck a light, to find some comfort at least in my pipe.  Suddenly we heard a bell ring very near, perpendicularly under us.  Your Honor will realize that I felt dreadfully.  I jumped out of the wagon, for one can trust one’s own limbs, but not those of a horse.  So I stood in the mud and rain without moving, until presently, thank God, it began to dawn.  And where had we stopped?  Right near the Heerse ravine with the tower of Heerse directly under us!  If we had driven on twenty paces farther, we should all have been children of Death.”

“That was indeed no joke!” exclaimed the Baron, half conciliated.  Meanwhile he had examined the papers that he had taken along.  They were dunning letters for money lent, most of them from usurers.  “I had not thought,” he muttered, “that the Mergels were so deeply in debt.”  “Yes, and that it must come to light in this way,” replied Kapp; “that will be no little cause for vexation to Mistress Margaret.”

“Oh, dear me, she does not think of that now!” With these words the Baron arose and left the room to proceed together with Kapp to the judicial examination of the body.  The examination was short—­death by violence evident; the suspected criminal escaped; the evidence against him very strong indeed, but not sufficient to establish his guilt without a personal confession; his flight at all events very suspicious.  So the judicial investigation had to be closed without satisfactory results.

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The Jews in the vicinity had manifested great interest.  The widow’s house was never empty of mourners and advisers.  Within the m