The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 626 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12.

“Yes, Wuellersdorf, that is what they all say.  But there is no such thing as secrecy.  Even if you remain true to your word and are secrecy personified toward others, still you know it and I shall not be saved from your judgment by the fact that you have just expressed to me your approval and have even said you fully understood my attitude.  It is unalterably settled that from this moment on I should be an object of your sympathy, which in itself is not very agreeable, and every word you might hear me exchange with my wife would be subject to your check, whether you would or no, and if my wife should speak of fidelity or should pronounce judgment upon another woman, as women have a way of doing, I should not know which way to look.  Moreover, if it came to pass that I counseled charitable consideration in some wholly commonplace affair of honor, ’because of the apparent lack of deception,’ or something of the sort, a smile would pass over your countenance, or at least a twitch would be noticeable, and in your heart you would say:  ’poor Innstetten, he has a real passion for analyzing all insults chemically, in order to determine their insulting contents, and he never finds the proper quantity of the suffocating element.  He has never yet been suffocated by an affair.’  Am I right, Wuellersdorf, or not?”

Wuellersdorf had risen to his feet.  “I think it is awful that you should be right, but you are right.  I shall no longer trouble you with my ‘must it be.’  The world is simply as it is, and things do not take the course we desire, but the one others desire.  This talk about the ‘ordeal,’ with which many pompous orators seek to assure us, is sheer nonsense, there is nothing in it.  On the contrary, our cult of honor is idolatry, but we must submit to it so long as the idol is honored.”

Innstetten nodded.

They remained together a quarter of an hour longer and it was decided that Wuellersdorf should set out that same evening.  A night train left at twelve.  They parted with a brief “Till we meet again in Kessin.”


According to the agreement Innstetten set out the following evening.  He took the same train Wuellersdorf had taken the day before and shortly after five o’clock in the morning was at the station, from which the road branched off to the left for Kessin.  The steamer referred to several times before was scheduled to leave daily, during the season, immediately after the arrival of this train, and Innstetten heard its first signal for departure as he reached the bottom step of the stairway leading down the embankment.  The walk to the landing took less than three minutes.  After greeting the captain, who was somewhat embarrassed and hence must have heard of the whole affair the day before, he took a seat near the tiller.  In a moment the boat pulled away from the foot bridge; the weather was glorious, the morning sun bright,

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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