“He liked to talk to me about these things, and the power of the human intellect, which now shows the true course of the sun and stars,” Barbara interrupted with eager assent. “He often showed me the ingenious wheelwork of his Nuremberg clocks. Once—I still hear the words—he compared the most delicate with the thousandfold more sublime works of God, the vast, ceaseless machinery of the universe, where there is no misplaced spring, no inaccurately adjusted cog in the wheels. Oh, that glorious intellect! What hours were those when he condescended to point out to a poor girl like me the eternal chronometers above our heads, repeat their names, and show the connection between the planets and the course of earthly events and human lives! O Wolf! how glorious it was! How my modest mind increased in strength! And when I listened breathlessly, and he saw how I bowed in mute admiration before his greatness and called me his dear child, his attentive pupil, and pressed his lips to my burning brow, can I ever forget that?”
She sobbed aloud as she spoke and, overwhelmed by the grief which mastered her, covered her face with her hands.
Wolf said nothing. Another had robbed him of the woman he loved, and the greatest anguish of his life was not yet wholly conquered; but in this hour he felt that he had no right to be angry with Barbara, for it was to the greatest of great men that he had been forced to yield. He need not feel it a disgrace to have succumbed to him.
“Wawerl!” he again exclaimed, “in spite of the pleasant peace which I have found, I could envy you; for once, at least, the sun of love shone with full radiance into your soul. Your experience proves how bright and long is the afterglow if it is only real. This light, I believe, can never be extinguished, no matter how dense is the gloom which shadows life’s pathway.”
“Yes, indeed, Wolf,” she replied dully, with a sorrowful shake of the head. “The gloomy night of which you speak has come, and it will last on and on with unvarying darkness, from year to year, perhaps until the end. What you call light is the remembrance of a single brief month of May. Does it possess the power to render me happy? No, my friend, a thousand times no! It only saves me from despair. But, in spite of everything”— and here her eyes sparkled radiantly—“in spite of all this, I would not change places with any one on earth; for, however dark clouds may conceal the sun, when in quiet hours it once breaks through them, Wolf, how brilliant everything grows around me!”
While speaking, she passed her hand across her brow and, as though seized with shame for her frank confession, exclaimed: “But we will let this subject drop. Only you must know one thing more. I shall never be wholly impoverished. What the past gave me was too rich and great; what I expect from the future is too precious for that. It is growing up in distant Spain and, if Heaven accepted