The Malady of the Century eBook

Max Nordau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about The Malady of the Century.

As she heard her name she looked up, and Wilhelm intercepted a look between her and Dr. Schrotter, which all at once made clear to him what he had vaguely suspected before.  He turned his head sadly toward the window, and looked out into the foggy autumn evening.  He felt almost as if he had committed a crime, in having discovered a secret which had not been freely revealed to him.

CHAPTER V.

A LAY SERMON.

“Es ist eine Lust, in deiser Zeit zu leben!” cried Paul Habor, as he walked with Wilhelm and Dr. Schrotter on the first sunny day the following April.  They walked under the lindens full of leaf through the Thiergarten, and home over the Charlottenburger Brucke.

The spirit in which he uttered Hutten’s words was at that time dominant and far-reaching.  It seemed as though people were all enjoying the honeymoon of the new empire; that they breathed peace and the joy of life with the air, as if the whole nation inhaled the pleasure of living, the joy of youth and brave deeds, and that they stood at the entrance of an incomprehensibly great era, promising to everyone fabulous heights of happiness.

A sort of feverish growth had sprung up in Berlin, an excitement and ferment which filled the villas in the west end, and the poor lodging-houses of the other end of the town:  was found too in councilors’ drawing-rooms, and in suburban taverns.  New streets seemed to spring up during the night.  Where the hoe and rake of kitchen-gardens were at work yesterday, to-day was the noise of hammers and saws, and in the middle of the open fields hundreds of houses raised their walls and roofs to the sky.  It seemed as if the increasing town expected between to-day and to-morrow a hundred thousand new inhabitants, and were forced to build houses in breathless haste to shelter them.

And as a matter of fact the expected throng arrived.  Even in the most distant provinces a curious but powerful attraction drew people to the capital; artisans and cottages, village shopkeepers, and merchants from small towns, all rushed there like the inflowing tide.  It made one think of a number of moths blindly fluttering round a candle, or of the magnetic rock of Eastern fairy tales, irresistibly attracting ships to wreck themselves.  It recalled to one the stories of California at the time of the gold fever.  People’s excited imaginations saw a veritable gold-mine in Berlin.  The French indemnity flew to people’s heads like champagne, and in a kind of drunken frenzy every one imagined himself a millionaire.  Some had even seen exhibited a reproduction of the hidden treasure.  The great heap of glittering pieces was certainly there, a tempting reality, piled up mountains high, millions on millions, craftily arranged to glitter in the flaring gas-light before their covetous eyes.  The real treasure must be at least as substantial as its counterfeit.  People began to see gold everywhere; red streaks of

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Malady of the Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook