I found all in its old order, and returned gradually, as my strength was recruited, to my former employment and mode of life, except that I kept myself for a whole year out of the, to me, wholly insupportable polar cold. And thus, my dear Chamisso, I live to this day. My boots are no worse for the wear, as that very learned work of the celebrated Tieckius, De Rebus Gestis Pollicilli, at first led me to fear. Their force remains unimpaired, my strength only decays; yet I have the comfort to have exerted it in a continuous and not fruitless pursuit of one object. I have, so far as my boots could carry me, become more fundamentally acquainted than any man before me with the earth, its shape, its elevations, its temperatures, the changes of its atmosphere, the exhibitions of its magnetic power, and the life upon it, especially in the vegetable world. The facts I have recorded with the greatest possible exactness and in perspicuous order in several works, and stated my deductions and views briefly in several treatises. I have settled the geography of the interior of Africa, and of the northern polar regions; of the interior of Asia, and its eastern shores. My Historia Stirpium Plantarum Utriusque Orbis stands as a grand fragment of the Flora Universalis Terrae, and as a branch of my Systema Naturae. I believe that I have therein not merely augmented, at a moderate calculation, the amount of known species, more than one-third, but have done something for the Natural System, and for the Geography of Plants. I shall labor diligently at my Fauna. I shall take care that, before my death, my works shall be deposited in the Berlin University.
And thee, my dear Chamisso, have I selected as the preserver of my singular history, which, perhaps, when I have vanished from the earth, may afford valuable instruction to many of its inhabitants. But thou, my friend, if thou wilt live among men, learn before all things to reverence the shadow, and then the gold. Wishest thou to live only for thyself and for thy better self—oh, then!—thou needest no counsel.
ERNST THEODOR AMADEUS HOFFMANN
* * * * *
THE GOLDEN POT (1814)
TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC H. HEDGE
The mishaps of the student
Anselmus. Conrector Paulmann’s sanitary
canaster and the gold-green snakes.
On Ascension-day, at three o’clock in the afternoon, a young man in Dresden came running through the Black Gate, falling right into a basket of apples and cakes, which an old and very ugly woman was there exposing to sale. All that escaped being smashed to pieces was scattered away, and the street-urchins joyfully divided the booty which this quick gentleman had thrown in the way. At the murder-shriek which the crone