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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 605 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 05.
to return my property to me.  Instead of an answer, he turned his back to the innocent young fellow and went.  But Bendel up with his buckthorn cudgel which he carried, and, following on his heels, without mercy, and with reiterated commands to give up the shadow, made him feel the full force of his vigorous arm.  He, as accustomed to such handling, ducked his head, rounded his shoulders, and with silent and deliberate steps pursued his way over the heath, at once going off with my shadow and my faithful servant.  I long heard the heavy sounds roll over the waste, till they were finally lost in the distance.  I was alone, as before, with my misery.


Left alone on the wild heath, I gave free current to my countless tears, relieving my heart from an ineffably weary weight.  But I saw no bound, no outlet, no end to my intolerable misery, and I drank besides with savage thirst of the fresh poison which the unknown had poured into my wounds.  When I called the image of Mina before my soul, and the dear, sweet form appeared pale and in tears, as I saw her last in my shame, then stepped, impudent and mocking, Rascal’s shadow between her and me; I covered my face and fled through the wild.  Yet the hideous apparition left me not, but pursued me in my flight, till I sank breathless on the ground, and moistened it with a fresh torrent of tears.

And all for a shadow!  And this shadow a pen-stroke could have obtained for me!  I thought over the strange proposition and my refusal.  All was chaos in me.  I had no longer either discernment or faculty of comprehension.

The day went along.  I stilled my hunger with wild fruits, my thirst in the nearest mountain stream.  The night fell; I lay down beneath a tree.  The damp morning awoke me out of a heavy sleep in which I heard myself rattle in the throat as in death.  Bendel must have lost all trace of me, and it rejoiced me to think so.  I would not return again amongst men before whom I fled in terror, like the timid game of the mountains.  Thus I lived through three weary days.

On the fourth morning I found myself on a sandy plain bright with the sun, and sat on a rock in its beams, for I loved now to enjoy its long-withheld countenance.  I silently fed my heart with its despair.  A light rustle startled me.  Ready for flight I threw round me a hurried glance; I saw no one, but in the sunny sand there glided past me a human shadow, not unlike my own, which, wandering there alone, seemed to have escaped from its possessor.  There awoke in me a mighty yearning.  “Shadow,” said I, “dost thou seek thy master?  I will be he,” and I sprang forward to seize it.  I thought that if I succeeded in treading on it so that its feet touched mine, it probably would remain hanging there, and in time accommodate itself to me.

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