My scattered senses were beginning to return. I sat myself down with pain and difficulty, for Azazel had bruised me all over, and I felt fearfully stiff and sore.
“Was it you who saved me?” I asked the shepherd.
“Yes, my boy, it was.”
“Well, you are a good fellow, and I am much obliged to you. I withdraw the curse I laid upon your goat. Here, take this.”
I handed him my purse with sixteen florins in it.
“Thank you, sir,” said he, “and now you can begin again if you like on even ground. Down there it was not fair; the goat had all the advantage.”
“Thank you very much! But I have had quite enough. Shake hands, old fellow; I’ll never forget you. Let us go now.”
My comrade and I, arm-in-arm, then descended the hill.
The shepherd, leaning on his crook, watched us till we disappeared. The goat had resumed his walk and his supper on the very edge of the crags. The sky was lovely, the air balmy with a thousand sweet mountain perfumes carried on it with the distant sounds of the shepherd’s horn and the booming of the torrent.
We returned to Tubingen with our hearts full.
Since that time my friend Elias has found some comfort
for slaying the
Seigneur Kaspar, but in an original fashion.
Scarcely had he taken his doctor’s degree when he married Mademoiselle Eva Salomon, with the hope of having a numerous family to make up for the loss of that individual who had met with an untimely end at his hand.
Four years ago I was at his wedding as best man, and already there are two fat babies making the pretty little house in Crispin street to rejoice.
This was a promising commencement!
Don’t let me be misunderstood. I don’t pretend to say that the method I prescribed for making expiation for taking away a life is better than that taught in our holy religion, which, according to the Catholic Church, consists in masses and in giving away your goods to the Church. But I do think it better than the Hindoo practice, and I think the theory of the famous scapegoat is not to be compared with that which is taught us by pure religion.
My worthy uncle, Bernard Hertzog, the historian and antiquary, surmounted with his grand three-cornered hat and wig, and with a long iron-shod mountain-pole firmly grasped in his hand, was coming down one evening by the Luppersberg, hailing every turn in the landscape with enthusiastic exclamations.
Years had never quenched in him the love of knowledge. At sixty he was still at work upon his History of Alsacian Antiquities, and never allowed himself to write a complete account of a ruined and defaced monument, or any relic of former days, until he had examined it a hundred times from every point of view.