The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 431 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06.

Cursed, unreflecting feet!  They once played me a little trick, when I, on a time in Goettingen, was temporarily attending the lectures of Professor Saalfeld, and as this learned gentleman, with his angular agility, jumped about here and there in his desk, and wound himself up to curse the Emperor Napoleon in regular set style—­no, my poor feet, I cannot blame you for drumming then—­indeed, I would not have blamed you if in your dumb naivete you had expressed yourselves by still more energetic movements.  How dare I, the scholar of Le Grand, hear the Emperor cursed?  The Emperor! the Emperor! the great Emperor!

When I think of the great Emperor, all in my memory again becomes summer-green and golden.  A long avenue of lindens in bloom arises before me, and on the leafy twigs sit nightingales, singing; the waterfall murmurs, in full round beds flowers are growing, and dreamily nodding their fair heads.  I was on a footing of wondrous intimacy with them; the rouged tulips, proud as beggars, condescendingly greeted me; the nervous sick lilies nodded to me with tender melancholy, the wine-red roses laughed at me from afar; the night-violets sighed; with the myrtle and laurel I was not then acquainted, for they did not entice with a shining bloom, but the mignonette, with whom I am now on such bad terms, was my very particular friend.—­I am speaking of the Court garden of Duesseldorf, where I often lay upon the grass and piously listened there when Monsieur Le Grand told of the martial feats of the great Emperor, beating meanwhile the marches which were drummed while the deeds were performed, so that I saw and heard it all vividly.  I saw the passage over the Simplon—­the Emperor in advance and his brave grenadiers climbing on behind him, while the scream of frightened birds of prey sounded around, and the glaciers thundered in the distance; I saw the Emperor with glove in hand on the bridge of Lodi; I saw the Emperor in his grey cloak at Marengo; I saw the Emperor on horseback in the battle of the Pyramids, naught around save powder, smoke, and Mamelukes; I saw the Emperor in the battle of Austerlitz—­ha! how the bullets whistled over the smooth, icy road!  I saw, I heard the battle of Jena-dum, dum, dune; I saw, I heard the battle of Eylau, of Wagram—­no, I could hardly stand it!  Monsieur Le Grand drummed so that my own eardrum nearly burst.

III

But what were my feelings when my very own eyes were first blessed with the sight of him, him—­Hosannah! the Emperor.

It was precisely in the avenue of the Court garden at Duesseldorf.  As I pressed through the gaping crowd, thinking of the doughty deeds and battles which Monsieur Le Grand had drummed to me, my heart beat the “general march”—­yet at the same time I thought of the police regulation that no one should dare ride through the middle of the avenue under penalty of five dollars fine.  And the Emperor

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 06 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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