“And what happened?” Madame, the good people were not in the least disturbed, nor did they know that other people, when they can get nothing to eat, suddenly begin to drum, and that, too, very queer marches, which people have long forgotten.
Is drumming now an inborn talent, or was it early developed in me? Enough, it lies in my limbs, in my hands, in my feet, and often involuntarily manifests itself. At Berlin, I once sat in the lecture-room of the Privy Councilor Schmaltz, a man who had saved the state by his book on the Red and Black Coat Danger. You remember, perhaps, Madame, that in Pausanias we are told that by the braying of an ass an equally dangerous plot was once discovered, and you also know from Livy, or from Becker’s History of the World, that geese once saved the Capitol, and you must certainly know from Sallust that by the chattering of a loquacious putaine, the Lady Fulvia, the terrible conspiracy of Catiline came to light. But to return to the mutton aforesaid. I was listening to the law and rights of nations, in the lecture-room of the Herr Privy Councilor Schmaltz, and it was a lazy sleepy summer afternoon, and I sat on the bench, and little by little I listened less and less—my head had gone to sleep—when all at once I was awakened by the noise of my own feet, which had not gone to sleep and had probably heard that just the contrary of the law and rights of nations was being taught and constitutional principles were being reviled, and which with the little eyes of their corns had seen better how things go in the world than the Privy Councilor with his great Juno eyes—these poor dumb feet, incapable of expressing their immeasurable meaning by words, strove to make themselves intelligible by drumming, and they drummed so loudly that I thereby came near getting into a terrible scrape.