Those kindly feelings often ran away with him and enabled him to bring happiness to his friends where more cautious people would have been helpless. It was he who unraveled the mystery which had cast a shadow over the good name of Hawermann, and who at the proper moment called Frank von Rambow home from Paris. When Hawermann had received the news that he was cleared, and Mrs. Behrens wished to go to him at once, uncle Braesig drew her gently back to the sofa and said: “Not quite yet, Mrs. Behrens. You see, I think that Hawermann wants to have a little quiet time to tell God all about it, and that Louisa is helping him. It’s enough for her to be there, for as you know our God is a jealous God, and doesn’t suffer people to meddle, when he is speaking to a soul that is filled with gratitude to Him.” Little Mrs. Behrens gazed at him in speechless amazement. At last she murmured: “Oh, Braesig, I’ve always looked upon you as a heathen, and now I see that you’re a Christian.” “I know nothing about that, Mrs. Behrens. I’m sure of this, however, that what little I’ve been able to do in this matter has been done as an assessor and not as a Christian.” Uncle Braesig, you must know, had recently been appointed an assessor to the Rahnstaedt court, and he was as proud of his new title as he had been of that of “farm-bailiff” before.
As the years advanced, his friends prospered, while Pomuchelskopp, whom the Guerlitz laborers had badly treated in the revolution of 1848, sold his estates and moved away. Uncle Braesig went about visiting his friends, and on one such visit had an attack of gout that would have been of little consequence, but which seized both legs and then mounted into his stomach, because of a chill he got on his journey home. And that caused his death. Mrs. Behrens, Mrs. Nuessler, and his old friend Charles Hawermann came round his bed. He held Mrs. Nuessler’s hand tight all the while. Suddenly he raised himself and said: “Mrs. Nuessler, please put your hand on my head; I have always loved you. Charles Hawermann, will you rub my legs, they’re so cold.” Hawermann did as he was asked, and Braesig said, very slowly with one of his old smiles: “In style I was always better than you.” That was all.]
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ROCK CRYSTAL (1846)
TRANSLATED BY LEE M. HOLLANDER, PH.D.
Among the high mountains of our fatherland there lies a little village with a small but very pointed church-tower which emerges with red shingles from the green of many fruit-trees, and by reason of its red color is to be seen far and away amid the misty bluish distances of the mountains. The village lies right in the centre of a rather broad valley which has about the shape of a longish circle. Besides the church it contains a school, a townhall, and several other houses of no mean appearance, which form a square