The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 489 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05.

As I was gazing at her, the other of my two ladies, the plump, merry one, suddenly took it into her head that I must sing as we glided along.  A very elegant young gentleman with an eye-glass, who sat beside her, instantly turned to her, and, as he kissed her hand, said, “Thanks for the poetic idea!  A folk-song sung by one of the people in the open air is an Alpine rose, upon the very Alps—­the Alpine horns are nothing but herbaria—­the soul of the national consciousness.”  But I said I did not know anything fine enough to sing to such great people.  Then the pert lady’s-maid, who was beside me with a basket of cups and bottles, and whom I had not perceived before, said, “He knows a very pretty little song about a lady fair.”  “Yes, yes, sing that one!” the lady exclaimed.  I felt hot all over, and the Lady fair lifted her eyes from the water and gave me a look that went to my very soul.  So I did not hesitate any longer, but took heart and sang with all my might might—­

  “I gaze around me, going
    By forest, dale, and lea,
  O’er heights where streams are flowing,
  My every thought bestowing,
    Ah, Lady fair, on thee!

  “And in my garden, finding
    Bright flowers fresh and rare,
  While many a wreath I’m binding,
  Sweet thoughts therein I’m winding
    Of thee, my Lady fair.

  “For me ’twould be too daring
    To lay them at her feet. 
  They’ll soon away be wearing,
  But love beyond comparing
    Is thine, my Lady sweet.

  “In early morning waking,
    I toil with ready smile,
  And though my heart be breaking,
  I’ll sing to hide its aching,
    And dig my grave the while.”

The boat touched the shore, and all the party got out; many of the young gentlemen, as I had perceived, had made game of me in whispers to the ladies while I was singing.  The gentleman with the eye-glass took my hand as he left the boat, and said something to me, I do not remember what, and the elder of my two ladies gave me a kindly glance.  The Lady fair had never raised her eyes all the time I was singing, and she went away without a word.  As for me, before my song was ended the tears stood in my eyes; my heart seemed like to burst with shame and misery.  I understood now for the first time how beautiful she was, and how poor and despised and forsaken I, and when they had all disappeared behind the bushes I could contain myself no longer, but threw myself down on the grass and wept bitterly.

CHAPTER II

The highroad was close on one side of the castle garden, and separated from it only by a high wall.  A very pretty little toll-house with a red-tiled roof stood near, with a gay little flower-garden inclosed by a picket-fence behind it.  A breach in the wall connected this garden with the most secluded and shady part of the castle garden itself.  The toll-gate keeper who occupied the cottage died suddenly,

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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