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Title: Atlantis
Author: Hauptmann, Gerhart, 1862-1946
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Atlantis" ***

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                                ATLANTIS

                      A novel by Gerhart Hauptmann

                 Translated by Adele and Thomas Seltzer



NEW YORK
B.W. HUEBSCH
1912

Copyright 1912 by
S. FISCHER, VERLAG, BERLIN

Copyright 1912 by
B.W. HUEBSCH

_All rights reserved_

PRINTED IN U.S.A.



ATLANTIS



PART I



I


The German fast mail steamer, _Roland_, one of the older vessels of the
North German Steamship Company, plying between Bremen and New York, left
Bremen on the twenty-third of January, 1892.

It had been built in English yards with none of those profuse, gorgeous
gold decorations in a riotous rococo style which are so unpleasant in the
saloons and cabins of ships more recently built in German yards.

The crew of the vessel included the captain, four officers, two engineers
of the first rank, assistant engineers, firemen, coal-passers, oilers, a
purser, the head-steward and the second steward, the chef, the second
cook, and a doctor. In addition to these men with their assistants, to
whom the well-being of that tremendous floating household was entrusted,
there were, of course, a number of sailors, stewards, stewardesses,
workers in the kitchen, and so on, besides two cabin-boys and a nurse.
There was also an officer in charge of the mail on board. The vessel was
carrying only a hundred cabin passengers from Bremen; but in the steerage
there were four hundred human beings.

Frederick von Kammacher, to whom, the day before, the _Roland_ had been
non-existent, telegraphed from Paris to have a cabin on it reserved for
him. Haste was imperative. After receiving notification from the company
that the cabin was being held, he had only an hour and a half in which to
catch the express that would bring him to Havre at about twelve o'clock.
From Havre he crossed to Southampton, spending the night in a bunk in
one of those wretched saloons in which a number of persons are herded
together. But he managed to sleep the whole time, and the crossing went
without incident.

At dawn he was on deck watching England's ghostly coast-line draw nearer
and nearer, until finally the steamer entered the port of Southampton,
where he was to await the _Roland_.

At the steamship office, he was told that the _Roland_ would scarcely
make Southampton before evening, and at seven o'clock a tender would be
at the pier to convey the passengers to the ship as soon as it was
sighted. That meant twelve idle hours in a dreary foreign town, with the
thermometer at ten degrees below freezing-point. Frederick decided to
take a room in a hotel, and, if possible, pass some of the time in sleep.

In a shop window he saw a display of cigarettes of the brand of Simon
Arzt of Port Said. He entered the shop, which a maid was sweeping, and
bought several hundred. It was an act dictated by sentiment rather than
by a desire for enjoyment. The cigarettes of Simon Arzt of Port Said were
excellent, the best he had ever smoked; but the significance they had
acquired for him was not due to any intrinsic virtue of theirs.

He carried an alligator portfolio in his waistcoat pocket. In that
portfolio, among other things, was a letter he had received the very day
he left Paris:

       *       *       *       *       *

Dear Frederick,

It's no use. I left the sanatorium in the Harz and returned to my
parents' home a lost man. That cursed winter in the Heuscheuer Mountains!
After a stay in tropical countries, I should not have thrown myself into
the fangs of such a winter. Of course, the worst thing was my
predecessor's fur coat. To my predecessor's fur coat I owe my sweet fate.
May the devil in hell take special delight in burning it. I need scarcely
tell you that I gave myself copious injections of tuberculin and spat
a considerable number of bacilli. But enough remained behind to provide
me with a speedy _exitus letalis_.

Now for the essential. I must settle my bequests. I find I owe you three
thousand marks. You made it possible for me to complete my medical
studies. To be sure, they have failed me miserably. But that, of course,
you cannot help, and, curiously enough, now that all's lost, the thing
that most bothers me is the horrid thought that I cannot repay you.

My father, you know, is principal of a public school and actually managed
to save some money. But he has five children beside myself, all of whom
are unprovided for. He looked upon me as his capital which would bring
more than the usual rate of interest. Being a practical man, he now
realises he has lost both principal and interest.

In brief, he is afraid of responsibilities which unfortunately I cannot
shoulder in the better world to come--faugh, faugh, faugh!--I spit three
times. What shall I do? Would you be able to forego the payment of my
debt?

Several times, old boy, I have been two thirds of the way over already,
and I have left for you some notes on the states I have passed through,
which may not be lacking in scientific interest. Should it be possible
for me, after the great moment, to make myself noticeable from the
Beyond, you will hear from me again.

Where are you? Good-bye. In the vivid, flashing orgies of my nocturnal
dreams, you are always tossing in a ship on the high seas. Do you intend
to go on an ocean trip?

It is January. Isn't there a certain advantage in not needing to dread
April weather any longer? I shake hands with you, Frederick von
Kammacher.

Yours,
George Rasmussen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Frederick, of course, had immediately sent a telegram from Paris, which
relieved the son, dying a heroic death, from solicitude for his hale
father.

Though Frederick von Kammacher had profound troubles of his own to occupy
his mind, his thoughts kept recurring to the letter in his pocket and his
dying friend. To an imaginative person of thirty, his life of the past
few years is in an eminent degree present to his mind. There had been a
tragic turn in Frederick's own life, and now tragedy had also entered his
friend's life, a tragedy far more awful.

The two young men had been separated for a number of years. They had met
again and passed a number of happy weeks together, enriched by a liberal
exchange of ideas. Those weeks were the beginning of similar epochs in
the career of each. It was at little winter festivities in Frederick von
Kammacher's comfortable home that the cigarettes of Simon Arzt of Port
Said, which Rasmussen had brought from the place of their manufacture,
had played their rôle.

Now, in the reading-room of Hofmann's Hotel, near the harbour, he wrote
him a letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dear old George,

My fingers are clammy. I am constantly dipping a broken pen in mouldy
ink; but if I don't write to you now, you won't get any news of me for
three weeks. This evening I board the _Roland_ of the North German
Steamship Company.

There seems to be something in your dreams. Nobody could have told you
of my trip. Two hours before I started, I myself knew nothing of it.

Day after to-morrow it will be a year since you came to us direct from
Bremen, after your second journey, with a trunk full of stories,
photographs, and the cigarettes of Simon Arzt. I had scarcely set foot in
England when twenty paces from the landing-place, I beheld our beloved
brand in a shop window. Of course, I bought some, by wholesale, in fact,
and am smoking one while writing, for the sake of auld lang syne.
Unfortunately, this horrible reading-room in which I am writing doesn't
get any the warmer, no matter how many cigarettes I light.

You were with us two weeks when fate came and knocked at the door. We
both rushed to the door and caught a cold, it seems. As for me, I have
sold my house, given up my practice, and put my three children in a
boarding school. And as for my wife, you know what has befallen her.

The devil! Sometimes it makes one creepy to think of the past. To both of
us it seemed a splendid thing for you to take over our sick colleague's
practice. I can see you dashing about to visit your patients in his
sleigh and fur coat. And when he died, I had not the slightest objection
to your settling down as a country physician in the immediate vicinity,
although we had always poked a lot of fun at a country physician's
starvation practice.

Now things have turned out very differently.

Do you remember with what an endless number of monotonous jokes the
goldfinches that fairly overran the Heuscheuer Mountains used to furnish
us? When we approached a bare bush or tree, it would suddenly sway to and
fro and scatter gold leaves. We interpreted that as meaning mountains of
gold. In the evening we dined on goldfinches, because the hunters who
went out on Sundays sold them in great quantities and my tippling cook
cooked them deliciously. At that time you swore you would not remain a
physician. You were not to live from the pockets of poor patients; the
State was to salary you and put at your disposal a huge store of
provisions, so that you could supply your impoverished patients with
flour, wine, meat and necessities. And now, in token of its gratitude,
the evil demon of the medical guild has dealt you this blow. But you must
get well again.

I am off for America. When we see each other again, you will learn why.
I can be of no use to my wife. With Binswanger, she is in excellent
hands. Three weeks ago, when I visited her, she did not even recognise
me.

I have finished forever with my profession and my medical and
bacteriological studies. I have had ill luck, you know. My scientific
reputation has been torn to shreds. They say it was fuzz instead of the
exciting organism of anthrax that I examined in a dye and wrote about.
Perhaps, but I don't think so. At any rate, the thing is a matter of
indifference to me.

Sometimes I am thoroughly disgusted with the clownish tricks the world
plays upon us, and I feel an approach to English spleen. Nearly the whole
world, or, at least Europe, has turned into a cold dish on a station
lunch-counter, and I have no appetite for it.

       *       *       *       *       *

He wound up with cordial lines to his dying friend, and handed the letter
to a German porter to mail.

In his room, the temperature was icy, the window-panes frozen over.
Without undressing he lay down in one of two vast, chilly beds.

At best, the frame of mind of a traveller with a night's journey behind
him and an ocean crossing ahead of him, is not enviable. Frederick's
condition was aggravated by a whirl of painful, partially warring
recollections, which crowded into his mind, jostling and pushing one
another aside in a ceaseless chase. For the sake of storing up strength
for the events to come, he would gladly have gone to sleep, but as he lay
there, whether with open or closed eyes, he saw past events with vivid
clearness.

The young man's career from his twentieth to his thirtieth year had not
departed from the conventional lines of his class. Ambition and great
aptitude in his specialty had won him the protection of eminent
scientists. He had been Professor Koch's assistant, and, without a
rupture of their friendly relations, had also studied several semesters
under Koch's opponent, Pettenkofer, in Munich. When he went to Rome for
the purpose of investigating malaria, he met Mrs. Thorn and her daughter,
who later became his wife and whose mind was now deranged. Angèle Thorn
brought him a considerable addition to his own small fortune. The
delicacy of her constitution caused him, eventually, to move with her and
the three children that had come to them to a healthy mountain district;
but the change did not interfere with his scientific work or professional
connections.

Thus it was that in Munich, Berlin, and other scientific centres, he had
been considered one of the most competent bacteriologists, a man whose
career had passed the stage of the problematical. The worst against
him--and that only in the opinion of the cut-and-dried among his
fellow-scientists, who shook their heads doubtfully--had been a certain
belletristic tendency. Now, however, that his abortive work had appeared
and he had suffered his great defeat, all serious scientists said it was
the cultivation of side interests that had weakened his strength and led
the promising young intellect along the path of self-destruction.

In his icy room in the English hotel, Frederick meditated on his past.

"I see three threads which the Parcæ have woven into my life. The
snapping of the thread that represents my scientific career leaves me
utterly indifferent. The bloody tearing of the other thread"--he had in
mind his love for his wife--"makes the first event insignificant. But
even though I should still hold a place among the most hopeful of the
younger generation of scientists, the third thread, which is still whole,
which pierces my soul like a live wire, would have nullified my ambitions
and all my endeavours in science."

The third thread was a passion.

Frederick von Kammacher had gone to Paris to rid himself of this passion;
but the object of it, the sixteen-year-old daughter of a Swedish teacher
of stage dancing, held him in bondage against his will. His love had
turned into a disease, which had reached an acute stage, probably because
the gloomy events of so recent occurrence had induced in him a state in
which men are peculiarly susceptible to love's poison.

It was a friend of his, a physician, who had introduced him in Berlin to
the girl and her father, and who later, when sufficiently acquainted with
Frederick's secret, raging love, had to take it upon himself to inform
the enamoured man of every change in the couple's address.

Doctor von Kammacher's scanty luggage did not indicate careful
preparation for a long trip. In a fit of desperation, or, rather, in an
outburst of passion, he had made the hasty decision to catch the _Roland_
at Southampton when he learned that the Swede and his daughter had
embarked on it at Bremen on the twenty-third of January.



II


After lying in bed about an hour, Frederick arose, knocked a hole
in the ice crust in the pitcher, washed himself, and in a fever of
restlessness descended again to the lower rooms of the little hotel.
In the reading-room sat a pretty young Englishwoman and a German Jewish
merchant, not so pretty and not so young. The dreariness of waiting
produced sociability. Frederick and the German entered into a
conversation. The German informed Frederick that he had lived in the
United States and was returning by the _Roland_.

The air was grey, the room cold, the young lady impatiently paced up
and down in front of the fireplace, where there was no fire, and the
conversation of the new acquaintances dwindled into monosyllables.

The condition of the unhappy lover, as a rule, is concealed from the
persons he meets, or unintelligible to them. In either case it is
ridiculous. A man in love is alternately transported and tormented by
brilliant and gloomy illusions. In spite of the cold, cutting wind, the
young fool of love was driven restlessly out to roam the streets and
alleys of the port. He thought of what an embarrassing position he had
been in when the Jewish merchant had insinuatingly inquired for the
purpose of his journey. In his effort not to reveal the secret motive of
his ocean crossing, Frederick had stammered and stuttered and given some
sort of a vague reply. He decided that from now on, in answer to
intrusive questioners, he would say he was going to America to see
Niagara Falls, Yellowstone Park, and visit an old collegemate of his,
also a physician.

During the silent meal in the hotel, the news came that the _Roland_
probably would reach the Needles at five o'clock, two hours earlier than
was expected. Frederick took his coffee and smoked some Simon Arzt
cigarettes with the German, who at the same time tried to do some
business in his trade, which was ready-made clothing. The two men,
carrying their luggage, then went to the tender together.

Here they had an uncomfortable hour's wait, while the low smoke-stack
belched black vapours into the dirty drab mist that lay oppressively
upon everything about the harbour. From time to time the sound of the
shovelling of coal arose from the engine-room. One at a time five or six
passengers came on board, porters carrying their luggage. The saloon was
nothing more than a glass case on deck, inside of which, below the
windows, a bench upholstered in red plush ran around the sides. At
irregular intervals the bench was heaped with disorderly piles of
luggage.

Everybody was taciturn. No one felt reposeful enough to settle in any one
place for a length of time. What conversation there was, was conducted in
a subdued, frightened sort of whisper. Three young ladies, one of whom
was the Englishwoman of the reading-room, unwearyingly paced up and down
the full length of the saloon. Their faces were unnaturally pale.

"This is the eighteenth time I have made the round trip," suddenly
declared the clothing manufacturer, unsolicited.

"Do you suffer from seasickness?" somebody asked in reply.

"I scarcely set foot on the steamer when I turn into a corpse. That
happens each time. I don't come back to life until shortly before we
reach Hoboken or, at the other end, Bremerhaven or Cuxhaven."

Finally, after a long, apparently vain wait, something seemed to be
preparing in the bowels of the tender and at the wheel. The three ladies
embraced and kissed, and an abundance of tears were shed. The prettiest
one, the lady of the reading-room, remained on the tender; the others
returned to the pier.

Still the little boat refused to move. Finally, however, at nightfall,
amid pitch-black darkness, the hawsers were loosened from the iron rings
of the dock, a piercing whistle burst from the tender, and the screw
began to churn the water slowly, as if merely to test itself.

At the last moment three telegrams were handed to Frederick, one from his
old parents and his brother, who wished him a happy voyage, one from his
banker, and one from his attorney.

Though Frederick had left neither friend nor relative nor even an
acquaintance on the quay, yet, the instant he perceived the tender in
motion, a storm assailed him, whether a storm of woe, misery, despair, or
a storm of hope in endless happiness, he could not tell. All he felt was
that something burst convulsively from his breast and throat, and seethed
up, boiling hot, into his eyes.

The lives of unusual men from decade to decade, it seems, enter dangerous
crises, in which one of two things takes place; either the morbid matter
that has been accumulating is thrown off, or the organism succumbs to
it in actual material death, or in spiritual death. One of the most
important and, to the observer, most remarkable of these crises occurs
in the early thirties or forties, rarely before thirty; in fact, more
frequently not until thirty-five and later. It is the great trial balance
of life, which one would rather defer as long as is expedient than make
prematurely.

It was in such a crisis that Goethe went on his Italian journey, that
Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg,
that Ignatius Loyola hung his weapons in front of an image of the Virgin,
never to take them down again, and that Jesus was nailed to the cross. As
for the young physician, Frederick von Kammacher, he was neither a Goethe
nor a Luther nor a Loyola; but he was akin to them not only in culture,
but also in many a trait of genius.

It is impossible to express in words the extent in which his whole
previous existence passed in review before Frederick's mental vision as
the little tender sped beyond the harbour lights of Southampton, carrying
him away from Europe and his home. He seemed to be parting with a whole
continent in his soul, upon which he would never set foot again. It was a
farewell forever. No wonder if in that moment his whole being was shaken
and could not regain its balance.

Loyola had not been a good soldier. Else, how could he have discarded his
arms? Luther had not been a good Dominican. Else, how could he have
discarded his monk's robes? Goethe had not been a good barrister or
bureaucrat. A mighty, irresistible wave had swept over those three men
and also, for all the disparity between them, over Frederick von
Kammacher, washing the uniform away from their souls.

Frederick was not one of those who enter this crisis unconsciously. He
had been feeling its approach for years, and it was characteristic of him
that he reflected upon its nature. Sometimes he was of the opinion that
it marked the termination of youth and the beginning, therefore, of real
maturity. It seemed to him as if hitherto he had worked with other
people's hands, according to other people's will, guided rather than
guiding. His thinking appeared to him to have been no thinking, but an
operating with transmitted ideas. He put it to himself that he had been
standing in a hothouse, and his head, like the top of a young tree
reaching upward to the light, had broken through the glass roof and made
its way into the open.

"Now I will walk with my own feet, look with my own eyes, think my own
thoughts, and act from the plenary power of my own will."

In his valise, Frederick carried Stirner's "The Individual and his Own."

Man living in society is never wholly independent. There is no intellect
that does not look about for other intellects, if for no other object
than to seek confirmation, that is, reinforcement or guidance, at all
events, companionship. That Frederick von Kammacher's new intellectual
companion was Max Stirner, was the result of a profound disillusionment.
He had been disillusioned in his deep-seated altruism, which until now
had completely dominated him.



III


Dense darkness closed in around the tender. The lights of the harbour
disappeared completely, and the little cockle-shell with the glass
pavilion began to roll considerably. The wind whistled and howled.
Sometimes it blew so hard that it seemed to be bringing the tender to a
standstill. The screw actually did rise out of the water. Suddenly the
whistle screeched several times, and again the steamer made its way
through the darkness.

The rattling of the windows, the quivering of the ship's body, the
gurgling whirr-whirr of the propeller, the whistling, squalling and
howling of the wind, which laid the vessel on her side, all this combined
to produce extreme discomfort in the travellers. Again and again, as if
uncertain what course to pursue, the boat stopped and emitted its shrill
whistle, which was so stifled in the wild commotion of the waters that it
seemed nothing but the helpless breathing of a hoarse throat--stopped
and went backwards--stopped and went forwards, until again it came to an
uncertain halt, twisting and turning in the whirling waters, carried
aloft, plunged down, apparently lost and submerged in the darkness.

To be exposed to impressions of this sort for only an hour and a half is
enough gradually to reduce a traveller's nerves to a state of torture.
The proximity of that awful element the surface of which marks the limits
of the one element in which man is capable of living, forces upon the
mind thoughts of death and destruction; all the more so since the water's
tricks seem so incalculable to the landman that he sees danger where
there actually is none. Another thing hard for the man accustomed to
unhampered movement to bear is the close confinement. All at once he
loses his illusion of freedom of will. Activity, the thing that in the
eyes of the European endows life with its sublimest charm, cannot in
the twinkling of an eye turn into absolute passivity. Nevertheless,
despite these novel, distressing experiences, despite throbbing pulses,
over-stimulated senses, and nerves tautened to the snapping point, the
situation is by no means lacking in fascination.

Thus, Frederick von Kammacher felt a flush of exaltation. Life was
straining him to her breast more closely, wildly, passionately than she
had for a long time.

"Either life has again become the one tremendous adventure, or life is
nothing," a voice within him said.

Again the tender lay still. Suddenly it groaned, churned the water, sent
out huge puffs of hissing steam, whistled as if in great fear, once,
twice--Frederick counted seven times--and started off at its utmost
speed, as if to escape Satan's clutches. And now, all at once, it turned,
swept into a region of light, and faced a mighty vision.

The _Roland_ had reached the Needles and was lying tide rode. In the
protection of its vast broadside the little tender seemed to be in a
brilliantly lighted harbour. The impression that the surprising presence
of the ocean greyhound made upon Frederick was in a fortissimo scale.
He had always belonged to that class of men--a class which is not
small--whose senses are open to life's varied abundance. Only on the
rarest occasions he found a thing commonplace or ordinary, and was never
blasé in meeting a novelty. But, after all, there are very few persons
who would be dull to the impressions of an embarkation by night, outside
a harbour in the open waters.

Never before had Frederick been inspired with equal respect for the might
of human ingenuity, for the genuine spirit of his times, as at the sight
of that gigantic black wall rising from the black waters, that tremendous
façade, with its endless rows of round port-holes streaming out light
upon a foaming field of waves protected from the wind. In comparison with
this product, this creation, this triumph of the divine intellect in
man, what were undertakings like the Tower of Babel, allowing that they
were not isolated instances and had actually been completed.

Sailors were busy letting the gangway-ladder down the flank of the
_Roland_. Frederick could see that up on deck, at the point where the
ladder was being suspended, a rather numerous group of uniformed men
had gathered, probably to receive the new passengers. His state of
exaltation continued, even while everybody in the tender's saloon,
including himself, suddenly seized with haste, grasped his or her hand
luggage and stood in readiness. In the presence of that improbability,
that Titan of venturesomeness, that floating fairy palace, it was
impossible to cling to the conviction that modern civilisation is all
prose. The most prosaic of mortals here had forced upon him a piece of
foolhardy romance compared with which the dreams of the poets lose colour
and turn pale.

While the tender, dancing coquettishly on the swelling foam, was warping
to the gangway-ladder, high overhead, on the deck of the _Roland_, the
band struck up a lively, resolute march in a martial yet resigned strain,
such as leads soldiers to battle--to victory or to death. An orchestra
like this, of wind instruments, drums and cymbals was all that lacked to
set the young physician's nerves a-quiver, as in a dance of fire and
flame.

The music ringing from aloft out into the night and descending to the
little tender manoeuvring in the water, was designed to inspire timid
souls with courage and tide them over certain horrors attendant upon the
moment. Beyond lay the infinite ocean. In the situation, one could not
help representing it to oneself as black, gloomy, forbidding, a fearful,
demoniac power, hostile to man and the works of man.

Now, from the breast of the _Roland_, tore a cry rising higher and
louder, upward from a deep bass, a monstrous call, a roar, a thunder,
of a fearfulness and strength that congealed the blood in one's heart.

"Well, my dear friend _Roland_," flashed through Frederick's mind,
"you're a fellow that's a match for the ocean." With that he set foot on
the gangway-ladder. He completely forgot his previous identity and the
reason of his being here.

When, to the wild tune of the brass band, he stepped from the upper rung
upon the roomy deck, and stood in the garish sheen of an arc-light, he
found himself between two rows of men, the officers and some of the
ship's crew. It was the group of uniformed men he had noticed from below.
He was astonished and delighted to behold so many confidence-inspiring
masculine figures. It was an assemblage of magnificent specimens of
manhood, all, from the first mate down to the stewards, tall, picked men,
with bold, simple, intelligent, honest features. Moved by a sense at once
of pride and of complete trust and security, Frederick said to himself
that after all there was still a German nation left; and the singular
thought flashed through his mind that God would never decide to take such
a selection of noble, faithful men and drown them in the sea like blind
puppies.

A steward picked up his luggage and led the way to a cabin with two
berths, which he was to have to himself. Soon after, he was sitting at
one end of a horseshoe-shaped table in the dining-room. The service was
excellent, and the few passengers from the tender ate and drank; but it
was not very lively. The main dinner was over, and the little company
from the tender in the great, low-ceiled, empty saloon, were each too
tired and too engrossed in self to talk.

During the meal Frederick was not aware whether the mammoth body was
moving or standing still. The faint, scarcely perceptible quiver seemed
too slight to be a sign of the motion of so huge a mass. Frederick had
made his first sea voyage when a lad of eighteen as the only passenger on
a merchantman going from Hamburg to Naples. The thirteen years since had
considerably weakened the impressions of that trip. Moreover, the luxury
of this ocean liner into which he had strayed was something so new to
him, that all he could do at first was scrutinize everything in
astonishment.

When he had drunk his customary few glasses of wine, a sense of peace and
comfort stole over him. After their long irritation and tension his
nerves succumbed to a pleasant tiredness, which pressed upon him so
healthily and imperatively that he felt almost sure of a refreshing
night's sleep. He even made the firm resolution--in his condition
scarcely necessary--that for this night bygones should be bygones, the
future the future, and the present, without regard for past or future,
should belong unqualifiedly to rest and sleep.

When he went to bed, he actually did sleep for ten hours, heavily,
without stirring. At breakfast in the dining-room, he asked for the
passenger list, and with a wild leap of his heart read the names for
which he had been looking, Eugen Hahlström and Miss Ingigerd Hahlström.



IV


He folded up the list and glanced about. There were about fifteen to
twenty men and women in the saloon, all engaged in breakfasting or giving
their orders to the stewards. To Frederick it seemed they were there for
no other purpose than to spy upon his emotions.

The steamer had already been travelling for an hour on the ocean. The
dining-room took up the full width of the vessel, and from time to time
its port-holes were darkened by the waves dashing against them. Opposite
Frederick sat a gentleman in uniform, who introduced himself as Doctor
Wilhelm, the ship's physician. Straightway a very lively medical
discussion began, though Frederick's thoughts were far away. He was
debating with himself how he should act at his first meeting with the
Hahlströms.

He tried to find support in self-deception, telling himself he had
boarded the _Roland_, not for the sake of little Ingigerd Hahlström, but
because he wanted to see New York, Chicago, Washington, Boston,
Yellowstone Park, and Niagara Falls. That is what he would tell the
Hahlströms--that a mere chance had brought them together on the _Roland_.

He observed that he was gaining in poise. Sometimes, when the adorer is
at a distance from the object of his devotion, the idolatry of love
assumes fateful proportions. During his stay in Paris, Frederick had
lived in a state of constant fever, and his yearning for his idol had
risen to an unendurable degree. About the image of little Ingigerd
Hahlström, a heavenly aureole had laid itself, so compelling in its
attraction that Frederick's mental vision was literally blinded to
everything else. That illusion had suddenly vanished. He felt ashamed of
himself. "I'm a ridiculous fool," he thought, and when he arose to go on
deck, he felt as if he had shaken off oppressive fetters. The salt sea
air blowing vigorously across the deck heightened his sense of
emancipation and convalescence and refreshed him to his inner being.

Men and women lay stretched out on steamer chairs with that green
expression of profound indifference which marks the dreaded seasickness.
To Frederick's astonishment, he himself felt not the least trace of
nausea, and only the sight of his fellow-passengers' misery caused him to
realise that the _Roland_ was not gliding through smooth waters, but was
distinctly pitching and rolling.

He walked around the ladies' parlour, past the entrance of an extra
cabin, and took his stand under the bridge, breasting the steely, salt
sea wind. On the deck below, the steerage passengers had settled
themselves as far as the bow. Though the _Roland_ was running under full
steam, it was not making its maximum speed, prevented by the long, heavy
swells that the wind raised and hurled against the bow. Across the
forward lower deck there was a second bridge, probably for emergency.
Frederick felt strongly tempted to stand up there on that empty bridge.

It aroused some attention, of course, when he descended down among the
steerage passengers and then crawled up the iron rungs of the ladder to
the windy height. But that did not trouble him. All at once such a madcap
spirit had come over him, he felt so happy and refreshed; as if he had
never had to suffer dull cares, or put up with the whims of a hysterical
wife, or practise medicine in a musty, out-of-the-way corner of the
country. Never, it seemed to him, had he studied bacteriology, still
less, suffered a fiasco. Never had he been so in love as he appeared to
have been only a short time before.

He laughed, bending his head before the gale, filled his lungs with the
salty air, and felt better and stronger.

A burst of laughter from the steerage passengers mounted to his ears. At
the same instant something lashed him in the face, something that he had
seen rearing, white and tremendous, before the bow. It almost blinded
him, and he felt the wet penetrate to his skin. The first wave had swept
overboard.

Who would not find it humiliating to have his sublime meditations
interrupted in such a tricky, brutal way? A moment before, he felt as
if to be a Viking were his real calling, and now, inwardly shaking and
shivering, amid general ridicule, he crawled ignominiously down the
iron ladder.

He was wearing a round grey hat. His overcoat was padded and lined with
silk. His gloves were of dressed kid, his buttoned boots of thin leather.
All these garments were now drenched with a cold, salty wash. Leaving a
damp trail behind, he made his way, not exactly a glorious way, through
the steerage passengers, who rolled with laughter. In the midst of his
annoyance Frederick heard a voice calling his name. He looked up and
scarcely trusted his eyes on seeing a large fellow in whom he thought he
recognised a peasant from the Heuscheuer Mountains, a peasant with an
evil reputation for drunkenness and all sorts of misdeeds.

"Wilke, is that you?"

"Yes, Doctor, I'm Wilke."

The little town in which Frederick had practised was called Plassenberg
an der Heuscheuer, that is, Plassenberg by the Heuscheuer Mountains, a
range in the county of Glatz where excellent sandstone is quarried. The
people of the district loved Frederick both as a man and a physician. He
was the wonder-worker who had performed a number of splendid cures and he
was the human being, without pride of caste, whose heart beat warmly for
the good of the lowliest of his fellow-men. They loved his natural way
with them, always cordial, always outspoken, and sometimes harsh.

Wilke was bound for New England to join his brother.

"The people in the Heuscheuer," he said, "are mean and ungrateful."

Shy and distrustful at home, even toward Frederick, who had treated him
for his last knife wound on his neck, his manner here, with the other
passengers crossing the great waters, was frank and trustful. He was like
a well-behaved child chattering freely.

"You didn't get the thanks you deserved, either, Doctor von Kammacher,"
he said in his broad dialect, rich in vowel sounds, and recounted a
number of cases, of which Frederick had not known, in which good had been
repaid by evil tattle. "The people around Plassenberg are not fit for men
like you and me. Men like you and me belong in America, the land of
liberty."

Elsewhere, Frederick would have resented being placed in the same
category as this rowdy, for whom, he recalled, the police were searching.
But here he felt no indignation. On the contrary, he was pleasantly
surprised, as if by an unexpected meeting with a good friend.

"The world's a small place," said Frederick, passing over the theme of
ingratitude and the land of liberty, "the world's a small place. Yet I am
surprised to see you here. But I'm wet to the skin, and have to go change
my clothes."

On his way to the cabin, on the promenade deck, he encountered the blond
captain of the _Roland_, Von Kessel, who presented himself to Frederick.

"The weather is not quite up to mark," he said by way of excuse for the
little mishap on the lower bridge. "If you enjoy standing in front there,
you'd better put on one of our oilskins."

Now that the vessel's movement was more accentuated, the cabin, in which
Frederick changed his clothes, was a problematical place of abode. The
light came from a round port-hole of heavy glass. When the wall with the
port-hole in it rose and turned inward like a slanting roof, the sunlight
from a rift between the clouds in the sky fell upon the mahogany berth
opposite. Sitting on the edge of the lower berth, Frederick tried to
steady himself, holding his head bent to keep from striking against his
upper berth, and frantically endeavouring not to follow the receding
movement of the wall behind. The cabin was rolling in unison with the
vessel's movement. Sometimes it seemed to Frederick as if the port-hole
wall were the ceiling, and the ceiling the right wall; then again as if
the right wall were the ceiling, and the ceiling the port-hole wall,
while the actual port-hole wall, as if inviting him to jump, shoved
itself at right angles under his feet--during which the port-hole was
wholly under water and the cabin in darkness.

It is no easy matter to dress and undress in an oscillating room. That
the vessel's motion could have changed so markedly within the one hour
since he left the cabin, astonished Frederick. The simple operation of
drawing off his boots and trousers, finding others in his trunk, and
putting them on again became a gymnastic feat. He had to laugh, and
comparisons occurred to him, which made him laugh still more. But his
laughter was not heartfelt. Each time he received a knock, or had to
jump to regain his balance, he muttered exclamations and instinctively
contrasted all this with the comfortable waking up from sleep in his own
house. Groaning and labouring, he said to himself:

"My whole personality is being shaken through and through. I was mistaken
when I supposed that I had already got my shaking up these last two
years. I thought fate was shaking me. Now, both my fate and I are being
shaken. I thought there was tragedy in me. Now, I and my tragedy are
bowling about in this creaking cage, and are being disgraced in our own
eyes.

"I have a habit of pondering over everything. I think about the beak
of the ship, which buries itself in each new wave. I think about the
laughter of the steerage passengers, those poor, poor people, who, I
am sure, scarcely have a gay time of it. My sousing was a treat to them.
I think of the rapscallion, Wilke, who married a humpbacked seamstress,
ran through her savings, and abused her daily--and I almost embraced
him. I think of the blond Teuton, Captain von Kessel, that handsome man,
somewhat too insipid-looking and too thick-set, who is our absolute lord
and whom we trust at first glance. And, finally, I think about my
constant laughing and admit to myself that laughing is a sensible thing
only in the rarest circumstances."

Frederick continued a conversation with himself in a similar strain for
a while, and cast bitter, ironical reflections upon the passion that had
brought him on this trip. He had actually been robbed of his will; and in
this condition, in that narrow cabin, surrounded by the ocean, it seemed
to him as if his life, and his foolish impotence, were being held up to
the rudest ridicule.

When Frederick went up again, there were still a number of persons on
deck. The stewards had fastened the steamer chairs to the walls, some of
them having slipped and left the occupants, ladies and gentlemen, with
the blue marks of their fall. Refreshments were being served. It was
interesting to see how the stewards, carrying six or eight full cups,
balanced themselves over the heaving deck.

Frederick looked about in vain for Hahlström and his daughter.

In walking the full length of the deck several times, examining all
the passengers with the utmost care and circumspection, he noticed the
pretty young Englishwoman, whom he had seen for the first time in the
reading-room of the hotel in Southampton. She was wrapped in rugs and
furs and snugly settled in a spot shielded from the wind and warmed by
the two huge smoke-stacks. She was receiving the attention of a very
lively young man sitting beside her. Each time Frederick passed, the
young man scrutinised him sharply. Suddenly he jumped up, held out his
hand, and introduced himself as Hans Füllenberg of Berlin. Though
Frederick could not recall ever having met him before, the good-looking,
dashing young fellow succeeded in convincing him that they had both been
present at a certain evening affair in Berlin. He told Frederick he was
going to the United States to take a position in a mining region near
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was a wide-awake young man and, what is
more, a Berlinese, and had great notions of his own importance.
Frederick's reputation in Berlin society inspired him with tremendous
respect. Frederick responded to his advances courteously, and allowed him
to recount all the latest Berlin news, as if he himself had not left the
German capital only a week before. He realised he could depend upon
Füllenberg's garrulousness for every item of interest.

It quickly became evident that Hans Füllenberg was an amiable,
giddy-headed young buck, knowing well how to deal with the ladies. When
Frederick called his attention to the fact that the Englishwoman was
casting impatient glances toward him, visibly eager for his return, he
complacently winked his eye as if to say:

"She won't run away. And if she does, there are plenty more."



V


"Do you know, Doctor von Kammacher," Füllenberg said suddenly, "that
little Hahlström is on board?"

"What little Hahlström do you mean?" asked Frederick coolly.

Hans Füllenberg could not contain his surprise that Frederick should have
forgotten little Hahlström. He was sure of having seen him in the
Künstlerhaus in Berlin when Ingigerd danced her dance there for the first
time, the dance that then aroused admiration only in the artist world,
but later became the sensation of all Berlin. He described the affair.

"The pick of the Berlin artists were standing around the room and on the
stairs in informal groups, leaving the centre of the floor clear. Even
Menzel and Begas were there. A special exhibition was to open soon, and
the walls were hung with a collection of Böcklin pictures. The name of
the dance was 'Mara, or the Spider's Victim.'

"I tell you, Doctor von Kammacher," the young man went on, "if you
didn't see that dance, you missed something. In the first place, little
Ingigerd's costume was very scanty, and then her performance was really
wonderful. There are no two opinions about it. A huge artificial flower
was set in the middle of the room, and the little thing ran up and smelt
of it. She felt all about the flower with closed eyes, vibrating as if
with the gauzy wings of a bee. Suddenly she opened her eyes and turned to
a rigid statue of stone. On the flower was squatting a huge spider! She
darted like an arrow to the farthest corner of the room. Even in the
first part of the dance she had seemed to float without weight in the
air; but the way sheer horror blew her across that room made her seem
like nothing but a vision."

Frederick von Kammacher had seen her dance the dreadful dance, not only
at the matinée in the Künstlerhaus, but eighteen times again. While
Füllenberg was trying to express his impression with "great,"
"tremendous," "glorious," and similarly strong epithets, Frederick saw
the whole dance over again with his mind's eye. He saw how the childlike
body, after cowering and trembling a while in the corner of the room,
approached the flower again to the accompaniment of music played by a
tom-tom, a cymbal, and a flute. Something which was not pleasure drew her
to it. The first time she had traced her way to the source of the perfume
by sniffing fragrance in the air. Her mouth had been open, the nostrils
of her fine little nose had quivered. Hans Füllenberg was correct in his
observation that her eyes, as she held her head back, had been closed.
The second time, she seemed to be drawn against her will by a gruesome
something, which alternately aroused fear, horror, and curiosity. She
held her eyes wide open, and now and then covered them with both hands,
as if in dread of seeing something hideous.

But when she came quite close to the flower, all fear suddenly seemed
to drop away from her. She hopped for joy and laughed--she had been
needlessly alarmed. How could a fat, immobile spider squatting on a
flower be dangerous to a creature with wings? This part of her dance was
so graceful, so full of droll, bubbling, childlike merriment, that the
audience laughed tears of delight.

Now, however, a new phase of the dance began, introduced in a thoughtful
strain. Having danced herself to satiety and intoxicated herself with the
flower's perfume, Mara, with movements of agreeable fatigue, made as if
to lay herself to rest, but delayed here and there to brush from her body
something like the threads of a spider's web, at first serenely and
pensively, then with growing disquiet, which communicated itself to the
onlookers. The child paused, reflected an instant, and apparently was
about to laugh at herself because of the fears that had arisen in her
soul; but the next minute she paled with fright, and made a dexterous
leap, as if to free herself from a trap. Her blond hair tossed back in
Mænadic waves turned into a flaming stream. Her whole appearance evoked
involuntary cries of admiration.

The flight began. And now the theme of the dance was Mara's entanglement
in the threads the spider wove about her, which gradually choked her to
death. No dancer has ever executed such an idea with equal skill and
fidelity.

The little creature freed her foot from the meshes, only to find her neck
entwined; she clutched at the threads about her throat, only to find her
hands entangled; she tore at the cobweb, she bent her body, she slipped
away; she beat with her fists, she raged, and only enmeshed herself the
more tightly in the horrible skein; finally she lay fast bound. During
this last phase of the dance, her artist audience stood there rigid,
breathless, suffocating with a sense of horror.

It was not until nearly the end that Frederick von Kammacher felt that
his fate was forever linked with this girl. The feeling grew stronger
during the few moments that remained before the conclusion of the
performance. The poison of infatuation came from the expression of her
face. He noted precisely how it forced its way into him and how his whole
being suddenly grew sick. When little Ingigerd Hahlström once more opened
her eyes with a look of abysmal dismay, and fastened them in helpless
inquiry upon the spider, calmly drinking her blood away, an inner voice
seemed to command Frederick to become her compassionate knight, saviour,
and protector.



VI


Since, in Füllenberg's opinion, Frederick von Kammacher was not
sufficiently interested in the dancer, Ingigerd Hahlström, he mentioned
several other recent Berlin celebrities also on the _Roland_ on their way
to the United States. There was _Geheimrat_ Lars, a man well-known in art
circles, who often cast the deciding vote in purchases of works of art by
the government. He was going to America to visit museums, private and
public, and study the art situation in general. There was Professor
Toussaint, an eminent sculptor, some of whose monuments had been erected
in several German cities, chiefly Berlin, works done in a wishy-washy
Bernini style.

"Toussaint," Füllenberg, who seemed to be fairly loaded with Berlin
gossip, explained, "needs money. He needs the money that his wife spends
and the social season in Berlin swallows up. He and his wife and his
wife's maid are all travelling free on his reputation. When he lands in
New York, he won't have enough in his pocket even to pay his hotel bill
for three days."

Füllenberg pointed out the sculptor, Toussaint. He was lying in a
steamer chair, rising and falling in unison with the _Roland_. As
Frederick turned to look at him, he noticed an odd man without arms
being led across the deck by his attendant, who grasped him by his
collar and carefully dragged him through a small door close by into
the smoking-room.

"That man's a vaudeville star," Füllenberg continued with his descriptive
catalogue. "He will appear in New York with Webster and Forster."

Some stewards came oscillating across the deck to serve the chilly
passengers with bowls of hot bouillon. After Füllenberg had seen to it
that his lady was duly served, he deserted her and went with Frederick to
the smoking-room. Here, of course, loud talking and tobacco smoke
prevailed. The two gentlemen lit their cigars. In one corner of the small
room, some men were playing skat, and at several tables, German and
English politics were being thrashed out. The main theme of discussion
was the rivalry between America and Europe. Wilhelm, the ship's doctor,
with whom Frederick had become acquainted at breakfast, came in from his
morning inspection of the steerage, and seated himself beside Frederick.

"There are two hundred Russian Jews emigrating to the United States or
Canada," he told him, "thirty Polish families, and about the same number
of German families from the south, north, and east of Germany. Altogether
there are nearly four hundred steerage passengers, among them five babies
at the breast and fifty children between the ages of one and fifteen."

Doctor Wilhelm invited Frederick to accompany him the next day on his
tour of inspection. He was a man of not more than twenty-six. He had a
fair complexion and wore glasses. His manner was somewhat stiff. Ever
since he had passed his examinations, two years before, he had been a
physician on a vessel. Once he had taken the trip to Japan, once to South
America, and several times to the United States. Frederick, of course,
immediately thought of his dying friend, George Rasmussen, put his hand
in his pocket, and presented his new colleague with Simon Arzt
cigarettes.

The cigarettes furnished a starting-point to tell all about George
Rasmussen; and when Doctor Wilhelm had learned everything about him,
except his name, and then learned his name, too, the world again turned
out to be a very small place. Doctor Wilhelm was a friend of George
Rasmussen's. They had studied together, one semester in Bonn and one
semester in Jena, and had belonged to the same club in Jena. The last few
years they had even corresponded. Naturally, the discovery instantly
brought the two physicians closer.

The tone in the smoking-room was that of jolly carousals in German
_Bierstuben_. The men let themselves go, talked in loud voices, and gave
rein to that coarse humour and noisy gaiety in which time flies for them
and which to many of them is a sort of narcotic, giving them rest and
ease for a while from the mad chase of existence. Neither Frederick nor
Doctor Wilhelm was averse to this tone, which revived old memories of
their student days, when they had become accustomed to it. Though to the
average student the carousals, now taboo, may be an evil, physically and
intellectually, they are the time and place, nevertheless, at which the
phoenix of German idealism soars up from tobacco smoke and beer froth
to wing its flight to the sun.

Hans Füllenberg soon felt bored in the company of the two physicians who,
in fact, had completely forgotten him; and he slipped away, back to his
lady.

"When Germans meet," he said to her, "they must scream and drink
_Brüderschaft_ until they get tipsy."

Doctor Wilhelm seemed to be proud of the smoking-room.

"The captain," he said, "is very strict about not having the gentlemen
disturbed. He has given absolute orders that women under no
circumstances, not even if they smoke, are to be permitted here."

The room had two metal doors, one on the starboard and one on the port
side. The person entering or leaving had to contend violently with the
wind and the motion of the vessel. The stewards had mastered the art
perfectly. Shortly before eleven o'clock, Captain von Kessel appeared.
It was his custom to visit the room at about this time every day. After
giving friendly or curt answers, as the case might be, to the usual
questions regarding the weather and the prospects for a good or bad
crossing, he seated himself at the same table as the physicians.

"A seaman was lost in you," he said to Frederick.

"I think you must be mistaken," Frederick rejoined. "I have had quite
enough of a salt water sousing. I assure you, I am not longing for
another."

A few hours before, a pilot-boat from the French coast had brought the
latest news, which the captain proceeded to recount in a calm, quiet
manner.

"A vessel of the Hamburg-American line, a twin-screw steamer, the
_Nordmania_, running for only a year, had a mishap about six hundred
miles out from New York. It turned back and reached Hoboken safely.
The sea was comparatively calm, but all of a sudden a waterspout arose
close to the ship, and a great mass of water burst over the ladies'
saloon, crushing through its roof and the roof of the deck below and
hurling a piano down into the very hold."

The other piece of news he told was that Schweninger was in Friedrichsruh
with Bismarck and that Bismarck's death was being expected hourly. Though
both Doctor Wilhelm and Frederick von Kammacher disapproved of Bismarck's
exceptional anti-Socialist law and its consequences, they were filled
with hero worship of the man, Doctor Wilhelm the more so, since the home
of his childhood stood on the edge of Sachsenwald, scarcely an hour's
ride from Friedrichsruh. He was choke-full, of course, of local Bismarck
anecdotes and began to reel them off.

"Are you annoyed?" Bismarck asked his barber, when he came in one day
with his moustache twirled upward in the new fashion of the race tracks.
"A moustache trimmed and twisted like that to me looks as if it were
terribly annoyed and for no reason."



VII


The international gong had not been introduced on the _Roland_. The
trumpeter of the band sent two blasts across the promenade deck and
through the corridors of the first cabin as a signal for the midday meal.
The first blast entered with the howling of the wind into the close,
noisy, crowded smoking saloon. The attendant of the man without arms came
to conduct his master across the deck again. Frederick watched the
armless man with great interest. He seemed to be extraordinarily brisk
and quick-witted. He spoke English, French and German with equal fluency,
and to everybody's delight parried the impertinences of a saucy young
American, whose disrespectfulness did not yield even before the sacred
person of the captain; for which the dignified skipper sometimes rewarded
him by staring over his head like a lion over a yapping terrier.

The table in the dining-room was in the form of a trident, with the
closed end at the rear and the three prongs pointing to the prow.
Opposite the centre prong was a false mantel with a mirror, where
was posted the elegant figure in blue livery of Mr. Pfundner, the
head-steward. He was a man of between forty and fifty. With his white,
artificially curled hair, which gave the impression of being powdered, he
resembled a major-domo of Louis XIV's time. As he stood there, head
erect, looking over the swaying hall, he seemed to be the special squire
of Captain von Kessel, who sat at the end of the middle prong, in the
capacity both of host and most honoured guest. Next to the captain sat
Doctor Wilhelm and the first mate. Frederick, having found favour in the
captain's eyes, was assigned a place next to Doctor Wilhelm. The ship
was no longer tossing so violently, and the dining-room, in consequence,
was fairly well filled. The last ones to enter were the card players of
the smoking-room, who came storming in. At the closed end of the trident,
Frederick saw Mr. Hahlström, but without his daughter.

Many stewards very quickly and deftly served a vast quantity of dishes.
Wine was also placed on the table. Within a short while the corks were
popping from champagne bottles in the vicinity of the card players. In
a gallery the band played without interruption. There were seven numbers
on the printed music programme, which bore the name of the vessel, the
date, and a picture of negroes in evening dress and high hats plucking
at banjos.



VIII


Still the forward part of the vessel and, along with it, the dining-room
with all its dishes, plates, and bottles, with its gentlemen guests and
lady guests and the steward-waiters, with its fish and vegetables and
meats and drinks and brass band, were lifted high on the mountain top of
one wave and plunged deep in the trough of the next. The mighty working
of the engines quivered through the ship. The dining-room walls had to
cope with the onslaught of the opposing element.

The electric lights were turned on full. The grey of the cloudy winter
day did not suffice to illuminate the room, especially since what
brightness there was outside was every instant shut off by the water
splashing against the port-holes.

Frederick enjoyed the daring of it--to be dining in festivity to the
accompaniment of frivolous music in the illuminated bowels of this
monster, this _Roland_. From time to time the mighty ship seemed on the
point of encountering invincible resistance. A combination of opposing
forces would rise up against the stem, producing the effect of a solid
body, a veritable mountainside. At such moments the noise of the talking
would die down, and many pale faces would exchange glances and turn to
the captain or to the prow of the vessel. But Captain von Kessel and his
officers were absorbed in their meal and paid no attention to the
phenomenon, which for moments at a time brought the _Roland_ to a
quivering standstill. They never looked up, but kept to their eating and
talking, even when, as often happened, tremendous masses of water hurled
themselves against the walls, threatening to crash through what seemed
like pitifully thin partitions for excluding that mighty, wrathful
element, thundering and roaring with suppressed hate and fury.

During the meal Frederick's eyes were constantly drawn to Hahlström's
tall figure. Though his hair was touched with grey, he was certainly
still to be counted a handsome man. Next to him sat a man of about
thirty-five, with a bushy beard, dark, bushy eyebrows, and dark, deep-set
eyes, which sometimes darted a sharp, piercing glance at Frederick--at
least so it seemed to Frederick. The man troubled him. He noticed that
Hahlström graciously permitted the stranger to entertain him and pay him
court.

"Do you know that tall, fair-haired man, Doctor von Kammacher?" the
physician asked. In his confusion Frederick failed to answer, looking
helplessly at Doctor Wilhelm. "He is a Swede. His name is Hahlström,"
Doctor Wilhelm continued. "A peculiar fellow. Earlier in his life he made
a mess of your and my profession. He is travelling with his daughter, not
an uninteresting little miss. She's been dreadfully seasick, and hasn't
left the horizontal in her berth since we set sail from Bremen. That dark
fellow sitting next to Hahlström seems to be something like, well, let us
say, her fiancé."

"By the way, what do you do for seasickness?" Frederick asked hastily, to
conceal his dismay and turn the conversation.



IX


"You here, Doctor von Kammacher? I can scarcely trust my eyes." At the
bottom of the companionway Frederick felt Hahlström tackle him, just as
he was about to mount to deck.

"Why, Mr. Hahlström, what a peculiar coincidence! It's as if the whole
of Berlin had agreed to emigrate to America!" Frederick exclaimed,
simulating surprise with somewhat forced liveliness.

"May I present Mr. Achleitner? Mr. Achleitner is an architect from
Vienna."

The man with the piercing eyes smiled with an air of interest, holding
fast to the brass balustrade to keep from being hurled against the wall.

The door of a rather gloomy saloon opened on the first landing. It bore
the misleading sign "smoking-room," misleading because the smokers never
used it, far preferring the cosey little saloon on deck. A brown
upholstered bench ran around the brown, wainscoted walls. Kneeling on the
bench one could look out through three or four port-holes upon the
seething and boiling of the waves. The entire floor space between the
benches was taken up by a table finished in a dark stain.

"This room is a horrid hole," said Hahlström. "It positively makes me
creepy."

A loud, trumpet-like, laughing voice called out from inside the room:

"I say, Hahlström, if this sort of weather holds out, neither your
daughter nor I will keep the first day of our engagement with Webster
and Forster. We're not even making eight knots. Perhaps I'll be able
to manage. A big dose of salt water doesn't hurt me. To-day is the
twenty-fifth. If we reach Hoboken at eight o'clock the evening of the
first of February, I can appear for my act in perfect serenity at nine
o'clock; but that frail blossom of yours can't. She will certainly need
a few days to recover from the hardships of this trip."

The three men entered the smoking-room. Frederick had already recognised
the voice as belonging to the man without arms, who, he learned later,
from Hahlström, was a world-renowned celebrity. For more than ten years
the bill-boards of every great city in the world had been displaying
simply his name, Arthur Stoss, which alone sufficed to draw throngs to
the theatres. His special art consisted in doing with his feet whatever
other people do with their hands.

The first sight of him, of course, was repellent; but in the smoking-room
on deck Frederick had got over his first repulsion and had become
interested in his personality. Yet the situation in which he now beheld
him was so novel, so remarkable, almost to the point of improbability,
that he had difficulty in concealing his amazement. Arthur Stoss was
eating lunch. Since this room was so little used and since a man forced
to handle his knife and fork with his feet could not be permitted to eat
in the public dining-room, they served Arthur Stoss with his meals here.
To the three onlookers it had the value of an artistic performance to see
how the actor managed to manipulate his instruments with his clean, bare
toes--and that despite the pitching of the vessel--meanwhile, in the best
of humour, uttering the wittiest remarks as bite after bite disappeared
down his throat. He began to banter Hahlström and Achleitner, sometimes
in rather caustic fashion, while exchanging glances with Frederick, as
if he thought vastly more of him than of the other two men, who soon
withdrew from his attacks to go on deck.

"My name is Stoss."

"Mine, Von Kammacher."

"It's very good of you to keep me company. That Hahlström and his
henchman are disgusting. Though I have been an actor for twenty years,
I can't stand the sight of such weedy weaklings, who don't do anything
themselves and exploit their daughters. They have the effect of an emetic
on me. For all that, he plays the great man. He has no talent, so he is
going to boil soup from his daughter's bones. Yet he goes about nose up
in the air. If he sees a dollar in the dirt and somebody of distinction
is looking, he will let it lie. He won't pick it up. There is no denying
he has an attractive appearance. He has the stuff in him for a very
clever, fashionable swindler. But he would rather take it easy and live
off his daughter and his daughter's admirers. It's astonishing how
many people are willing to make asses of themselves. There's that
Achleitner--look at the condescension with which Hahlström treats him
and the lofty way Hahlström plays the rôle of benefactor! He used to be
a riding-master. Then he got mixed up in some quack cure, a combination
of Swedish gymnastics and hydrotherapeutics, and his wife left him, a
fine, hard-working woman, now doing splendidly as head of a department
at Worth's in Paris."

Frederick felt drawn up-stairs to Hahlström. The man's past as Stoss
described it was at that moment a matter of indifference to him. But
Stoss's remark about the asses some people are willing to make of
themselves sent a fleeting red to his face.

Arthur Stoss grew more and more communicative. He sat like an ape, a
resemblance impossible to avoid when a man uses his feet instead of his
hands. When he had finished his meal, he stuck a cigar in his mouth, like
any other gentleman. In him the likeness to an ape was accentuated by the
breadth and flatness of his nose and the formation of his heavy jaws. He
looked like a fair-skinned orang-outang. However, his high, broad
forehead gave him the mark of the human intellect. He had no beard, that
is, he had never in his life, probably, had to remove a hair from his
parchmenty, freckled, yellow skin. His cheek bones were prominent, and
his head unusually large. Though his general appearance made a most
energetic, by no means effeminate impression, there still was something
eunuch-like about it, the high pitch of his voice adding to this
impression. While casting about for an opportunity to escape the
monster's spell, Frederick was nevertheless deeply interested in him from
a medical and anthropological standpoint. The man, without doubt, was an
extremely instructive specimen of abnormality. His facies was that of an
intermediate sexual stage.

"People like Hahlström," he continued, "are actually not worthy of the
healthy limbs with which God endowed them. Of course, even if one has a
figure like a statue by Myron, it is awkward if there is too little up
here"--he tapped his forehead. "That is what is the trouble with
Hahlström. There is too little up here. Look at me. I don't say
everybody, but at least nine out of ten, in my position would have
succumbed as a child. Instead of that, I have a wife, I own a villa in
the Kahlenberg Mountains, I support three children of my step-brother and
an older sister of my wife, who was a singer and lost her voice. I am
absolutely independent. I remain on the stage because I want to bring
my wealth up to a certain point. If the _Roland_ were to sink to-day,
I could go down with perfect equanimity. I have done my work. I have
invested my money at a high rate of interest. My wife, my wife's sister,
and my step-brother's children are all provided for."

The actor's attendant appeared, to help his master to his cabin for his
afternoon nap.

"My days are mapped out like a time-table," Stoss explained. "My
attendant here, Bulke, served his four years in the German navy. With all
the ocean crossings I have to make, I couldn't get along with a man who
wasn't used to the water. I need a perfect water rat."



X


A little spell of dizziness came over Frederick when he went to his cabin
to fetch his heavy overcoat. On deck it was very quiet as compared with
the morning. Hahlström was nowhere to be seen, and Frederick seated
himself on a bench near the entrance to the main companionway. With his
collar turned up and his hat drawn over his forehead, he succumbed to the
state of drowsiness characteristic of sea trips, in which, despite the
heaviness of one's eyelids, one feels and perceives with a restless
lucidity of the inner vision. Images chase through one's mind, a
kaleidoscopic stream, shifting incessantly, going and coming, and finally
reducing the soul to a state of torture. The sybaritic meal with its
clatter of plates, its talking and music, was still whirling through
Frederick's brain. He heard the vaudeville actor declaiming. The half-ape
was holding Mara in his arms. Hahlström in all his height was looking on,
smiling. The waves were rolling heavily against the tiny dining-room and
pressing hard on the creaking hull. Bismarck, a huge figure in armour,
and Roland, the valiant warrior in armour, were laughing grimly and
conversing. Frederick saw both wading through the sea. Roland was holding
Mara, the tiny dancer, on his right palm. Every now and then Frederick
shivered. The ship careened, a stiff southeaster heeling her to
starboard. The waves hissed and foamed. The rhythm produced by the
rise and fall of the pistons finally seemed to turn into the rhythm of
Frederick's own body. The working of the screw was distinctly audible. At
regular intervals the stern would rise out of the water, carrying with it
the screw, which would then buzz in the air, and Frederick would hear
Wilke from the Heuscheuer saying:

"Doctor, if only the screw doesn't snap."

Finally, all the machinery of the vessel seemed to be turning in his
brain. Sometimes one engineer in the engine-room would call out to
another, and the clang of the metal shovels when the stokers fed the
furnace penetrated to the deck.

All of a sudden Frederick jumped to his feet; he thought he saw a ghost,
or a dead-alive corpse, reeling up the companionway and making for him.
It was the clothing manufacturer whom he had met at Southampton, looking
more like a man in his death throes than one already dead. He gave
Frederick a ghastly glance of unconsciousness and let a steward support
him to the nearest steamer chair.

"If that man," Frederick thought, "is not to be reckoned among the
heroes, then there never have been any heroes in the world."

"Each time I cross," the clothing manufacturer had said, "I suffer from
seasickness, from the moment I set foot on the ship until I leave it."

And what horrible extremes of suffering he had to go through!

Opposite Frederick, at the entrance to the companionway, stood a
cabin-boy. From time to time at the signal of a whistle from the bridge,
he would disappear to receive orders from the first or second mate, or
whatever officer happened to be on duty. Often an hour and more would
pass without the summons, and the handsome lad had plenty of time to
meditate upon himself and his lot in life. Frederick felt sorry for him
as he stood there on guard, bored and chilly; so he spoke to him.

He learned that his name was Max Pander and that he came from near the
Black Forest. The next logical question to put to him was whether he
liked his work. The boy answered with a resigned smile, which heightened
the charm of his handsome head, but showed he had none too much passion
for the seaman's calling.

"There is not much in travelling on steamers," he observed. "A real
sailor belongs on board a sailing vessel. There is a mate of mine here
on the _Roland_," he added in a tone of great admiration, "who is only
eighteen years old and has already been on two long, dangerous trips on
a schooner."

To Frederick, it seemed as if lasting passion for the sea--the sea, which
was already making him miserable--must be a conventional myth. It was
three o'clock. He had been on board only nineteen or twenty hours, and
already found it a petty hardship. "If the _Roland_ doesn't make better
time," he calculated, "I shall have to go through the same difficulties
of existence eight or nine times twenty-four hours. But I will get back
to land and remain there, while Pander, the cabin-boy, will have to
return across the ocean a few days after landing."

"If someone were to find you a good position on land," Frederick asked,
"would you give up your position here?"

"Yes, indeed," said Pander, emphasising his reply with a decided nod of
his head.

"A nasty southeaster," said Doctor Wilhelm, passing by beside the tall
figure of the first mate. "How would you like to come to my room? We can
smoke and have some coffee there without being disturbed."



XI


Walking along the deck below the promenade deck, one passed a covered
gangway on both the starboard and port sides, into which opened various
official rooms, including the officers' cabins, among them Doctor
Wilhelm's, a comparatively spacious room, containing a bed, a table,
chairs, and a well-equipped medicine closet.

The gentlemen had scarcely seated themselves when a Red Cross sister,
who worked under Doctor Wilhelm's direction, appeared and gave a report,
smiling as she did so, of a woman patient in the second cabin.

"In my two years of practice on a steamer, this is the fifth time I have
had a case like this," Doctor Wilhelm said after the sister had left.
"Girls who can no longer conceal the consequences of their mistake and
are at loss what to do, take passage on a ship, when it is almost certain
that the event they expect will occur. Such girls, of course, never
suspect that they are typical on all sea trips, and are surprised when
our stewards and stewardesses sometimes treat them with corresponding
respect. I myself, of course, always do all I can for the poor creatures,
and I usually succeed in inducing the captains not to make an
announcement of the birth, in case there is one. Once a girl about whom
we could not help giving notice was found hanging to the window sash in
her lodgings near the harbour."

Over their coffee and Simon Arzt cigarettes, the whole woman question was
unrolled.

"So far," said Frederick, "the woman question is nothing but the old-maid
question, at least in the way women conceive it. The sterility of old
maids sterilizes the whole movement."

Frederick developed his ideas. But tormenting visions of Mara and her
admirer pursued him, and he discoursed mechanically, his reasoning on the
woman question having become a matter of rote to him.

"The vital germinal spot of each reform in women's rights," he argued
with apparent liveliness, blowing clouds of smoke, "must be the maternal
instinct. The cells of the future cell-state, which will be a healthier
social body, is the woman with the maternal instinct. The great women
reformers are not those who would have women act just like men in all
externals, but those who are conscious that all men, even the greatest,
were born of women. They are the conscious mothers of the race of men and
gods. A woman's natural right is her right to the child, and it is a most
inglorious page in the history of woman that she has allowed herself to
be deprived of that right. The birth of the child, in so far as it is not
sanctioned by a man, is subject to the fire and brimstone of public
scorn. And this scorn is the most pitiful page in man's history. The
devil knows how it ever came to possess such awful, absolute dominion.
Form a league of mothers, I should counsel women. Each member shall give
token of her motherhood by having children without the sanction of a man,
that is, without regard for so-called honour. In this lies woman's
strength, but only if she takes pride in her child, instead of bearing
it with a troubled conscience, in cowardice, concealment, and fear.
Reacquire your proud, instinctive consciousness, which you are fully
justified in having, of being the mothers of humanity; and having that
consciousness, you will be invincible."

Doctor Wilhelm, who kept in touch with professional circles, was
acquainted with Frederick's name and the outcome of his scientific
career. His unfortunate bacteriological work was on his book shelf.
Nevertheless, the name of Frederick von Kammacher had an authoritative
ring, and association with the great man flattered him. He listened to
Frederick's exposition intently.

The Red Cross sister entered again to summon Doctor Wilhelm to a
first-class woman patient. The physician's small, close hermitage, in
which Frederick was now left alone, gave him opportunity to reflect upon
the meaning of his remarkable journey. The _Roland_ was proceeding more
smoothly, and while he sat there smoking cigarettes, a sense of comfort
came over him, partly attributable, however, to the general effect of a
sea trip on one's nerves. It seemed wonderful to him to be on this great
transport of human cargo, to be driven onward to a new continent along
with so many fellow-men, subject to the same weal and woe. And the cause
of his presence on the ship was so curious! Never before had he had so
strange a sense of being a will-less puppet in the hands of destiny.
Again dark and light illusions mingled in his brain. He thought of
Ingigerd, whom he had not yet seen; and when he touched the quivering
wall of the low room, he was penetrated by happiness, that the same walls
were protecting him as the little dancer and that the same bottom was
holding them up.

"It's not true. It's a lie," he repeated half aloud, referring to the
statement of the armless man, that Hahlström was exposing his daughter
to dishonour and was exploiting her.

Doctor Wilhelm's return aroused Frederick from his dreams with a painful
shock. Doctor Wilhelm laughed and continued to laugh, as he threw his cap
on the bed and said:

"I've just dragged our little Hahlström and her pet dog on deck. The
little imp has been giving a regular performance, in which her faithful
poodle, Achleitner, plays the part, one moment of the beaten cur, the
next moment of the spoiled darling."

Doctor Wilhelm's report made Frederick uneasy. The first time he had seen
Mara, she seemed to him the incarnation of childish purity and innocence.
But since then, rumours had reached his ears which shook his faith in her
chastity and caused him many agonised hours and sleepless nights. He had
even had an excellent opinion of her father, and that, too, was shaken.

Doctor Wilhelm, who also seemed to be extremely interested in Ingigerd,
began to speak of Achleitner.

"He told me in confidence, he's engaged to her."

Frederick remained silent. That was his only way of concealing his
profound dismay, now that the ship's doctor confirmed the supposition he
had expressed at the dinner-table.

"Achleitner is a faithful dog," Doctor Wilhelm continued. "He is one of
those men who have a canine sort of patience. He sits up on his hind legs
and begs for a lump of sugar. He fetches and carries and lies down and
plays dead. She could do whatever she wanted, and he would still, I
think, be her patient, faithful poodle. If you'd like to, Doctor von
Kammacher, we might go on deck and visit her. She's lots of fun. Besides
we can watch the sun set."



XII


Little Mara lay stretched out in a steamer chair. Achleitner was most
uncomfortably perched on a small camp-stool directly in front of her, so
that he could look straight into her face. He had wrapped her up to her
shoulders in rugs. The setting sun, casting its rays across the mighty
heavings of the sea, glorified a lovely face. The ship was no longer
tossing so violently, and the deck was lively with people sitting in
chairs or promenading up and down. Some of the passengers had got over
their seasickness, and there was a general air of revived animation and
talkativeness.

Mara's appearance was somewhat conspicuous. She wore her very long, light
hair flowing, and was playing with a small doll, a fact of which every
passerby turned about to assure himself.

When Frederick saw this girl, who for weeks had been hovering in his
soul, in his dreams, in his waking hours, who, as it were, had covered
the rest of the world from his sight, or, at least, had cast a veil over
it, his excitement was so intense and his heart beat so violently against
his ribs that he had to turn away to keep his countenance. Even after the
lapse of several seconds, it was difficult for him to believe that the
enthralled, enslaved condition of his being was not noticeable to the
people about him. But his excitement was by no means due solely to the
fear of self-betrayal. It sprang from his passion, which, he suddenly
realised, dominated him with undiminished strength.

"Papa told me you were here," the little miss said to him, adjusting the
blue silk cap on her doll's head. "Won't you sit down with us? Mr.
Achleitner, please go and get a chair for Doctor von Kammacher." She
turned to Doctor Wilhelm. "Your treatment was summary, but I am grateful
to you. I feel very well sitting here, watching the sun set. You're fond
of nature, aren't you, Doctor von Kammacher?"

"_Nur für Natur hegte sie Sympathie_," trolled Doctor Wilhelm, swaying on
tip-toe.

"Oh, you are impudent," Ingigerd reproved him. "Doctor Wilhelm _is_
impudent, you know," she added to Frederick. "I saw he was the very
instant he looked at me and the way he took hold of me."

"But, my dear young lady, so far as I know, I never took hold of you."

"If you please, you did--going up the stairs. I have blue marks as the
result."

The chatter ran on for a while in a similar strain. Frederick, without
betraying it, was on the alert for every word she uttered, noted every
play of feature, watched for her glances, for the rise and fall of her
lashes. He jealously studied the others, too, and caught every
expression, every movement, every glance that was meant for her. He even
noticed how Max Pander, the handsome cabin-boy, still standing at his
post, held his eyes fixed upon her, a broad smile on his lips.

Ingigerd's pleasure in receiving the homage of three men and being the
centre of general interest was evident. She plucked at her little doll
and her odd, checked jacket, and gave herself up to coquettish whimsies.
Her affected voice filled Frederick with the delight of a long, cool
drink to a thirsty man. At the same time, his whole being was inflamed
with jealousy. The first mate, Von Halm, a magnificent young man of
twenty-eight, a perfect tower of a man, joined the group and was favoured
by Ingigerd with looks and pointed remarks, which indicated to her
admirers that this weather-tanned officer was not an object of
indifference to her.

"How many miles, Lieutenant, since we left the Needles?" asked
Achleitner, who was pale and evidently chilly.

"We're making better time now," Von Halm replied; "but for the last
twenty-two or twenty-three hours, we haven't made more than two hundred
miles."

"At that rate it will take two weeks to reach New York," cried Hans
Füllenberg, somewhat too forwardly, from where he was sitting a little
distance away. He was still flirting with the English lady from
Southampton; but now, irresistibly drawn to Mara's sphere, he jumped up
and left her, bringing the tone that was agreeable to Mara and all her
admirers, except Frederick von Kammacher. The jolliness of the little
group communicated itself to the rest of the promenade deck.

Disgusted with the orgy of banality, Frederick moved off to be alone with
his thoughts. The deck, which in the middle of the day had been dripping
with water, was now quite dry. He walked to the stern and looked out over
the broad, foaming wake. He heaved a deep breath of joy at the thought
that he was no longer in the narrow spell of the little female demon.
Suddenly the long tension of his soul relaxed. Though he might have
suffered a profound disenchantment, yet he felt as if he had taken a
sobering bath, which left him a free agent, alone with his own soul. He
felt ashamed of his instability. His passion for that little person
seemed ridiculous, and he covertly beat his breast and rapped his
forehead with his knuckles as if to awaken himself from a dream.

But, finally, the great cosmic moment of the slowly setting sun cast its
spell over the young German adventurer.

A fresh wind was still blowing from the southeast, slanting the vessel
slightly to the side where the sun hung over the horizon, turning the
heavens in the west into a great, dusky conflagration. That sun, beneath
which a slate-coloured sea was rolling in waves gently tossing foam--that
sea, slate-coloured in the east and a cold, darkening blue in the west
and south--that sky above, with great masses of clouds--these were to
Frederick like the three mighty motives of a world symphony.

"Any one who is susceptible to them," he thought, "has no real cause to
feel small, for all their awful majesty."

He was standing near the log, the long line of which was trailing in
the ocean. The great ship was quivering under his feet. From the two
smoke-stacks the wind was pressing the smoke down over the waves, and a
melancholy procession of figures, widows in long crêpe veils, wringing
their hands in mute grief, drifted away backward, as if into the twilight
gloom of eternal damnation. He heard the talking of the passengers, and
represented to himself all that was united within the walls of that
immense house, hurrying forward restlessly--how much hunting, fleeing,
hoping, fearing. And in his soul, responding to the universal miracle,
arose the great unanswered questions that seek to penetrate to the dark
meaning of existence: "Why?" "What for?"



XIII


He began to pace the deck again without noticing that he drew near
Ingigerd Hahlström.

"You are wanted," a voice behind him suddenly announced. Seeing how he
started, Doctor Wilhelm excused himself.

"You were dreaming; you are a dreamer," Mara called. "Come over here.
I don't like these stupid men."

The six or eight gentlemen in attendance, with the exception of
Achleitner, laughed and withdrew with a humorous show of great obedience.

"Why do you stay here, Achleitner?" Thus the faithful canine received his
dismissal.

Frederick saw how the men withdrew together in groups at a little
distance, whispering as they usually do when having sport with a pretty
woman who is not exactly a prude; and it was with some shame, at any
rate, with expressed repugnance that he took the stool still warm from
Achleitner's body. Mara began to rhapsodise about nature.

"Isn't everything prettiest when the sun goes down? I think it's fun--at
least I like it," she quickly substituted, when Frederick made a wry face
at the remark. She spoke in sentences that all began with "I don't like,"
or "I despise," or "I do detest." In the face of that vast cosmic drama
unfolding itself before her senses, she sat wholly unmoved and
unsympathetic, displaying the overweening arrogance of a spoiled child.
Frederick wanted to jump up, but remained where he was, pulling nervously
at the end of his moustache, while his face assumed a stiff, mocking
expression. Mara noticed it, and was visibly upset by this unusual form
of homage.

Frederick had one of those idealistic heads set on broad shoulders
characteristic of certain circles in the "nation of poets and
philosophers." His ancestors had been scholars, statesmen, and soldiers.
The general, his father, was in externals wholly the soldier; but beneath
his uniform, his heritage from his own father, a renowned botanist,
director of the botanical gardens at Genoa, actively manifested itself in
a strong interest in science. Frederick's mother was a well-read woman,
passionately fond of the theatre and an enthusiastic lover of Goethe and
the poets of the romantic school. Her father, who had been prime minister
of Wittenberg, as a student and even later in his career, composed
poetry, which her adoring love for him had caused her to publish and
several times revise and reprint.

Though Frederick had never been ill, there were times when he showed
symptoms of a peculiar passionateness. His friends knew that when all
went well, he was a dormant volcano; that when things did not go so well,
he was a volcano spitting fire and smoke. To all appearances equally
removed from effeminateness and brutality, he was subject, nevertheless,
to accesses of both. Now and then a dithyrambic rapture came over him,
especially when there was wine in his blood. He would pace about, and if
it was daytime, might address a pathetic, sonorous invocation to the sun,
or at night, to the constellations, particularly to the chaste
Cassiopeia.

Since she had known him, Mara felt that his proximity was by no means
lacking in danger; but being what she was, it piqued her to play with
fire.

"I don't like people that think themselves better than others," she said.

"Being a Pharisee, I do," Frederick drily rejoined, and went on cruelly:
"I think for your years you are extremely forward and cock-sure. Your
dance pleases me better than your conversation." He felt much like a man
berating his sister.

Mara silently studied him for a moment, a suggestive smile on her lips.

"According to your notions," she finally said, "a girl mustn't speak
unless she's spoken to, and she mustn't have any opinions of her own. You
look as if the only sort of girl you could love would be one that was
always saying, 'I am a poor, ignorant thing. I don't understand what he
sees in me.' I hate such nincompoops!"

Conversation came to a halt. Frederick half rose to leave, but she
restrained him with a self-willed, pouting, "No." There was something
childlike and honest in that pouting "no" which touched his soul and drew
him down on the stool again.

"In Berlin, while I danced, I always had to look at you," she continued,
holding her doll against her lips so that her little nose was a bit
flattened. "The very first time I saw you, I felt something like a bond
between us; I knew we should meet again."

Frederick started, though not for an instant deceived, knowing this must
be an oft-used formula for establishing a relationship, and in essence a
lie.

"Are you married?" he heard before he had fully recovered his balance. He
turned pale. His answer was hard and repellent.

"It would be well, Miss Hahlström, if you were to examine me more closely
before you treat me as one among many. So far, I don't believe in the
bond that unites us. During your dance you looked not only at me, but at
everybody else." He spoke with increasing coldness. "At any rate, it
doesn't in the least concern you whether I am, or am not, married--just
as little as it concerns me what repulsive personages, whom nothing but a
depraved instinct can enjoy, you keep company with." He meant Achleitner.

Ingigerd gave a short laugh. "Do you take me for Joan of Arc?"

"Not exactly that," rejoined Frederick, "but if you would allow me, I
should like to regard you as still a girl, a distinguished little lady,
whose reputation cannot be too carefully guarded against the faintest
blemish."

"Reputation!" sneered the girl. "You are very much mistaken if you think
I ever cared for anything of the sort. I'd rather be disreputable ten
times over and live as I please, than have a good reputation and die of
boredom. I must enjoy my life, Doctor von Kammacher."

Frederick's teeth clenched. Outwardly composed, he was suffering the
pangs of torture.

Ingigerd proceeded to reveal her life in a series of confidences of such
shocking content as to be worthy of a Laïs or a Phryne. Doctor von
Kammacher, she said, might be sorry for her if he wanted to, but nobody
was to make a mistake about her. Everybody associating with her was to
know exactly who she was. In this she betrayed a certain dread, as one
who would absolutely guard others as well as herself against the
catastrophe of disillusionment.

When the sun had set, and Ingigerd, still with that suggestive, sensual,
evil smile on her lips, had finished her hideous confession, Frederick
found himself confronting the knowledge of a childhood so outrageous as
to be worse than anything he had met with in all his experience as a
physician.

Several times in the course of her narrative, Achleitner and her father
had come to take her inside, but she had angrily driven them away. It was
Frederick who finally helped her back to her cabin.

In his own cabin, without even removing his overcoat, he threw himself on
his berth to think over the inconceivable story. He sighed, he gnashed
his teeth, he wanted to doubt it. Several times he said aloud, "No!" or
"Impossible!" and beat his fists against the mattress of the berth above.
He could have sworn an oath that this time there had not been a single
lie in Mara's whole shameless narrative. "Mara, or the Spider's Victim."
Now, of a sudden, he understood her dance! She had danced the thing she
had lived in her own life!



XIV


"I have set my all on nothing."

To the accompaniment of this refrain beating in his soul Frederick
maintained an outer show of hilarity. He and the ship's doctor were
drinking champagne. He had ordered the first bottle with the soup and
had immediately drunk several glasses.

The more he drank the less he felt the smart of a certain burning wound,
and the more wonderful the world appeared, full of miracles and riddles,
surrounding and penetrating him with the intoxication of an adventurer's
life. He was a brilliant entertainer, with an easy, happy way in
conversation of popularising his rich store of knowledge, and with a
light humour, which stood at his command even when, as now, grim humour
crawled in the depths of his being, like evil reptiles. Thus it was that
the captain's corner that evening fell under his spell, both of his
jocular self and serious self.

Though he had lost his belief that science and modern progress alone
possess the power to convey happiness, he extolled their virtues. As a
matter of fact, in the festive gleam of the countless electric lights,
excited by the wine, the music, and the rhythmic pulse beat of the moving
vessel, it seemed to him at times as if humanity in a festal procession
with music playing were sailing to the Isles of the Blessed. Perhaps, he
said, science may some day teach man the secret of immortality. Ways and
means would be found to keep the cells of the body young. Dead animals
had been brought back to life by pumping a salt solution into them. He
spoke of the wonders of surgery, always the theme of conversation when a
man of the present, over his champagne and pâté de foie gras, triumphs in
the superiority of his age over all other ages. In a short while, he
declared, chemistry would solve the social question, and man would forget
what it is to worry about food. Why, chemistry was on the verge of
discovering how to make bread of stones, a thing that hitherto only
plants could do. Frederick continued in a similar strain, speaking
by rote, and scarcely looking up, yet fascinating his listeners.

But in the midst of the whirl of self-intoxication, he thought with a
shudder of bedtime, knowing he should not close his eyes the whole night.
And what recompense was the brightest height of the clearest day for the
hell of a single sleepless night, such as he had often spent within the
last years.

After dinner, he went with Doctor Wilhelm to the ladies' parlour, from
there to the smoking-room. Soon after, he went on deck, where it was dark
and gloomy and the wind was again whining dismally through the rigging of
the four masts. It was bitter cold, and snowflakes, it seemed to him,
swept his cheeks. Finally, there was nothing for him to do but go to bed.

For two hours, between eleven and one, he lay writhing in his berth,
sometimes for a short while falling into a troubled state between waking
and sleeping. In both states he saw visions, now a wild dance of faces,
now a single stark face, which tormented him and would not budge. Yet an
irresistible impulse gathered in him to keep his mental eye open for the
devilish play of supernatural powers.

He had turned out the electric lights, and in the dark, when the eye
is unoccupied, one is doubly sensitive to the messages of hearing and
feeling. He caught every sound, felt every movement, of the mighty ship,
steadily pursuing its course through the midnight. He heard the churning
of the propeller, like the labouring of a great demon condemned to slave
for mankind. He heard shouts and calls and the walking of men when the
coal-passers threw overboard the cinders from the huge boiler furnaces.
On the trip to New York those furnaces consumed over a thousand tons of
coal, and the casting away of the slag and ashes was left for the
nighttime. Thus, to the relief of the man wrestling with sleep, his
attention was drawn to the present and the things taking place in the
ship's body.

Yet, when there was no sound or movement to distract him, his imagination
succumbed to torturing thoughts of Mara and sometimes of his wife, with
whose sufferings he occasionally used to reproach himself. Now that
Ingigerd Hahlström had dishonoured his love for her, his conscience smote
him all the more. His whole mentality seemed to have entered a state of
reaction against the poison of his passion. A high fever raged in his
veins. The thing that in this condition represented his "I" was engaged
in a wild chase after the "you" of Mara. He picked her up in the streets
of Prague and dragged her back to her mother. He discovered her in houses
of ill repute. He saw her standing before the home of a man who had taken
her with him out of pity and then had turned her away in scorn, and she
stood for hours weeping outside his window. Frederick had by no means
fully sloughed the skin of the conventional German youth. The old
hackneyed ideal of virginity was in his eyes still surrounded by a sacred
aureole; but no matter how often he discovered Mara in evil things, no
matter how often he rejected her in his imagination, or tried with all
the moral strength of his being to destroy her image in his mind, her
face in its golden setting, her frail, white girlish body pierced through
each curtain, each wall, each thought with which he strove to conceal the
evil spirit that would not be exorcised either by prayers or curses.

Shortly after one o'clock, Frederick was tossed out of his berth. This
time it was not one of those dream-like visions that had roused him with
a start from a doze. The next instant he was thrown against the frame of
the berth. It was evident that the weather had grown worse and the
_Roland_ was travelling in heavier waters of the Atlantic.



XV


A few minutes after five o'clock Frederick was already on deck. He seated
himself on the same bench as yesterday, opposite the companionway leading
down to the dining-room. His steward, a sympathetic, indefatigable young
man from the province of Magdeburg, brought him tea and toast. It was a
boon to Frederick.

Every few minutes the water dashed over the railing and washed the deck.
From the penthouse over the door of the companionway, streams would
suddenly come raining down, completely drenching Max Pander's little
mate, who was now standing on guard. The masts and rigging were decorated
with icicles, and rain and snow were falling alternately. It seemed as if
the dreary grey dawn, with its uproar, with the whining, whistling, and
howling of the furious wind in the masts and rigging, with the swishing
and seething of the waters, wanted to prolong its existence infinitely,
while the day refused to enter.

Warming his hands on his big tea-cup, he looked out over the ship's side,
which every now and then seemed to sink perpendicularly. His eyes glowed.
He felt as if they had sunk deep into their sockets. After the hardships
of the last few days, especially the past night, it was natural that he
should feel bruised, bodily and spiritually. He had a sense of vacancy
and dull-mindedness, a welcome feeling, to be sure, compared with his
sensations of the night, when the procession of images passed through his
brain. Nevertheless, the strong, moist, tonic wind, the taste of salt on
his lips refreshed him. He shivered a little, and sat with his head sunk
in the upturned collar of his overcoat. Presently he began to feel
pleasantly drowsy.

But he did not fail to perceive the full majesty in the turmoil of the
waves and the struggle of the floating palace. There was beauty and
strength in the steamer's fixed course, in the way it clove the rolling
crests of the bottle-green waves, steady, tranquil, fearless. He admired
the _Roland_, praised it, and was grateful to it as to a living being.

Next after him to appear on deck were three children, two girls and a
boy, of from five to eleven. One of the helpful stewards fastened their
chairs and most solicitously guided them to their seats, one at a time.
Children are spoiled on steamers. There they sat, rocked to and fro,
fearlessly looking out upon the solemn, awful rolling of the long waves,
upon the horror of the tempest.

Shortly after seven o'clock, a slim man wearing the ship's uniform slowly
approached Frederick. Frederick had noticed him the day before and been
interested by his air of cool impassibility. He was smoking a cigarette
and inhaling, as when Frederick had first seen him. Wearing an expression
of profound apathy, he seemed to be completely absorbed in this
occupation of smoking and inhaling. As if casually, he drew near
Frederick's bench, touched his cap, and said:

"Doctor von Kammacher?"

"Yes."

"Here is a letter for you," he said, drawing it from his waistcoat
pocket. "It came by the French pilot-boat yesterday. The reason I did not
deliver it is, that I could not find your name on the passenger list. My
name is Rinck. I am in charge of the mail on board."

Frederick thanked him. He was moved to see his father's handwriting.
Rather for the sake of being friendly than from genuine interest at that
moment, he asked Mr. Rinck what prospect there was of better weather. The
sole answer was an unintelligible English word, a shrug of the shoulders,
and a puff of cigarette smoke blown with gusto.

Frederick put the letter in his breast pocket, and he felt his heart
beneath beat more warmly, less turbulently. He had to close his eyes to
prevent a hot gush of tears. Doctor Wilhelm found him in this soft mood,
and it occurred to him that perhaps after all Frederick had been
tragically affected by the bitter close of his professional career.

"I slept like a bear," he said. And it was evident from the healthy
colour of his face and his comfortable way of stretching and yawning that
his night's sleep had thoroughly refreshed him. "But the weather is
fiendish," he added, seating himself close beside Frederick.

"Congratulate you," said Frederick. "I didn't sleep a wink."

"Take some veronal. But whatever you do, come down now to breakfast with
me. The best thing for you is to keep moving. So I advise you, after
breakfast to come with me on my visit to the steerage. It will take your
mind off things and may interest you. There are interesting types there,
women, too. But before we go, we must make ourselves insect-proof. We'll
puff powder on our clothes in my room."



XVI


The gentlemen had breakfasted--baked potatoes and cutlets, ham and eggs,
broiled flounder and other fish, beside tea and coffee--and were entering
the steerage.

Here, to keep from falling, they had to hold fast to the iron posts
supporting the ceiling. After their eyes had grown accustomed to the
twilight always reigning in the steerage, they saw a swarm of human
beings rolling on the floor, groaning, whimpering, wailing, shrieking.
The weather did not permit of the opening of the port-holes, and the
exhalations of about twenty Russian-Jewish families, with bag and baggage
and babies, polluted the air to such an extent, that Frederick could
scarcely breathe. Mothers lying on their backs with open mouths and
closed eyes, more dead than alive, had infants at their breasts; and it
was fearful to see how the retching convulsed them.

"Come," said Doctor Wilhelm, observing something like a tendency to faint
in Frederick's face. "Come, let us show how superfluous we are."

But Doctor Wilhelm and the Red Cross nurse, who accompanied him, had a
chance, here and there, to do some good. He ordered grapes and a tonic
for those who were suffering most. These things were obtained from the
store-rooms of the first and second cabin.

With great difficulty they made their way from section to section.
Everywhere the same misery, the same flight from want and infuriated
persecution. Even the pale faces of those who were able to keep on their
feet and had found a place to stand in that swaying shelf of misery, were
marked by a hopeless, brooding expression of anguish and bitterness.

Among the hundreds of immigrants, there were some pretty girlish faces.
To a few the fever produced by the unusual circumstances had imparted a
bold, passionate charm. The glances of the physicians and these girls
met. Such circumstances overstimulate the feelings and make them highly
susceptible. Great stress, great danger cause the life of the moment to
flare up more alluringly and also create a sense of profound equality
among human beings. In the very midst of fear and tension, a boldness
develops ready at any moment to make a leap.

Doctor Wilhelm pointed out to Frederick a Russian-Jewish girl of about
seventeen. The expression of her face was sombre. Her features were most
delicately chiselled, and she was as transparent as an image of wax.
Doctor Wilhelm, observing the defiant air with which she glowered at
Frederick, remarked that he must have conquered at first sight.

On passing farther, Frederick heard a voice bawl his name. It was Wilke,
but a very different Wilke from the one he had met on deck the morning
before. He was cursing and scolding at everybody and everything, while
trying to raise himself from his mattress; a feat rather difficult for
him to accomplish, because, in the first place, the rolling of the vessel
in the steerage was fearful, and in the second place, he had evidently
been trying to counteract the wretchedness of his condition by the
imbibing of whisky. Doctor Wilhelm gave him a sharp berating. Wilke,
very clearly, was a nuisance, perhaps even a danger, to everybody about
him. In his intoxication he fancied he was being pursued. The rags from
his open bundle lay spread on his mattress mixed with cheese and
bread-crumbs, and in his right hand he held open a large pocket-knife.

Doctor Wilhelm had not been aware that he was dealing with a particular
acquaintance of Frederick's. His admonitions were of no effect. Wilke
shouted that his neighbours had robbed him, and so had the stewards, and
the sailors and the captain. Frederick took his knife away from him,
spoke to him in a military tone, and unceremoniously touched a scar on
the rough fellow's hairy neck to recall to him the fact that he had
already sewed one knife wound, from which he had barely escaped with his
life. That worked, and Wilke seemed to be repentant. Frederick gave him
some money, but not for whisky, as he told him, and added he would try
his best for him, but only if he heard that he had been behaving like
a decent human being.



XVII


The physicians ascended on deck again. On breathing in the ocean's pure
breath after the foul odours of the steerage, Frederick felt as if he had
escaped from a hideous, suffocating hell.

With difficulty they made their way across the wet, empty deck, ever and
again washed by waves sweeping overboard. To keep their footing they had
to cling to the railing. Not a soul was on deck. The ship, restlessly
rolling and pounding, seemed to have been left to fight its fight alone.
But this was an awful scene that relieved and refreshed Frederick.

He went to the ladies' parlour, there to read the letter from home,
which he had nearly forgotten. A few women, who were not seasick, were
scattered through the room, lolling in their chairs in a state of limp
exhaustion. The saloon smelled of plush and varnish. It was decorated
with a number of mirrors in gold frames, there was a grand piano, and the
sound of footsteps was muffled by the soft carpet covering the floor. The
prevailing colour was blue.

Frederick made himself comfortable in one of the blue arm-chairs, and
opened the envelope. He found a letter from his mother also. But he was
more anxious to learn his father's feelings and opinion of the step he
had taken, and he read his letter first.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dear Frederick,

I do not know whether this letter will find you, or where it will find
you. Perhaps not until you reach New York, where it may arrive later than
you. I should really like you to have your old father's and mother's
greetings on your trip, which is something of a surprise to us. But we
are used to surprises from you, since we have not had your unreserved
confidence for a long time. I am a fatalist, and far from wishing to bore
you with reproaches; but it is a pity that ever since you have been of
age, so many differences have arisen in our ways of thinking and acting.
A great pity, God knows. If only you had sometimes listened to me--but,
as I said, there's no use to come limping after with "if only's" and the
like.

My dear boy, now that fate has afflicted you so sorely--I told you from
the very first that Angèle comes of a diseased family--at least hold
your head up. If you do, then nothing's lost. And I especially beseech
you--don't take that nonsense of your failure with bacilli too much to
heart. You know, I've already told you I think all the noise they make
about bacilli is a hoax. Why, Pettenkofer himself swallowed the whole
culture of a typhus bacillus without its hurting him.

For all I care, go to America. It may not be a bad idea and need not be
a failure, I know persons whose lives were wrecked here and who went to
America and returned millionaires, to be envied and fawned upon. I don't
doubt that after all you have gone through, you have carefully weighed
and considered the step you are taking. Dear Frederick, I beg of you,
concentrate. The man who wants too much wants nothing. Above all, get rid
of your philanthropic notions. You would never believe me when I told you
that you uselessly sacrificed your money, your time, and your career to
your philanthropic notions. And don't take up with Utopias, such as, for
example, Socialism is, even at best. Bismarck is gone. The exceptional
law against the Socialists has been repealed. Now we'll be seeing wonders
from that pack of red internationals without a country. Did you read that
some Anarchist dogs have again been throwing bombs--in Paris in a café
not far from the Gare St. Lazare, right among a lot of innocent people,
and seven or eight were killed. My dear boy, you were in Paris. For God's
sake, in the discontented mood you are in, don't throw yourself in with
such desperate elements.

Forgive me. It was a slip of my pen. But here in Görlitz, far from the
firing line, even a rational man, when he is troubled, begins to imagine
things. With your talents you might have been an officer on a general's
staff long ago.

God be with you. Write to us. I am convinced that with your great
talents, you will strike root over there and make your fortune. Be on
your guard against art and against side interests, from which a man
cannot make a living. Do you know that the Grand Duke has made Botho his
adjutant? It looks as if the boy might rise pretty high.

Have a good trip and sometimes think of your devoted father.

       *       *       *       *       *

With a sigh and a short, almost inaudible laugh of great compassion and
great bitterness, Frederick folded up the letter.

"'I don't know whether this letter will find you, or where it will find
you,'" he repeated, and added mentally, "or how it will find you."

Then he sat still for a while, staring into space.

After a time he became observant of the American jackanapes, who had
annoyed him in the smoking-room the day before. He was flirting with a
young lady apathetically lounging in an easy-chair, a Canadian, Frederick
had been told. He did not trust his eyes when he saw the American, who
had been toying with a small box of matches, pile them up carelessly, and
set fire to them in that inflammable room. A steward came up and modestly
explained that it was his duty to ask him to refrain from what he was
doing. At which the jackanapes dismissed him with "Get out of here, you
idiot."

Frederick drew out his mother's letter, but before reading it, he had
to meditate briefly upon the matter that took the place of brains in the
young American's skull.

       *       *       *       *       *

My Dear Son,

Your mother's prayers accompany you. You have gone through a great deal
and suffered very much for one of your years. To let you hear something
pleasant at the very start, I will tell you of the children. They are
very well. This week I convinced myself with my own eyes that they have
a good home with Pastor Mohaupt. Albrecht is splendid. Bernhard, you
know, is more like his mother and always has been a quiet child. But he
seemed more alert and more talkative. The life in the pastor's house and
on the farm seems to please him. Pastor Mohaupt thinks both boys are by
no means untalented. He has already begun to give them lessons in Latin.
Little Annemarie asked me very timidly about her mother, but especially
about you. She spoke of you often. I told the children there was a
medical congress in New York or Washington, where they would at last make
an end of that dreadful disease, consumption. My dear child, do come back
soon to this dear old Europe.

I had a long talk with Doctor Binswanger. He told me your wife's trouble
is hereditary. It was in her all the time and would certainly have
cropped out, sooner or later. He spoke of your work, too, dear child, and
thought you ought not allow yourself to be crushed. Four or five years of
hard work, he said, would make up for your set-back.

Dear Dietrich, listen to your old mother and put your trust in our loving
Father in heaven. I think you are an atheist. Just laugh at your old
mother. But believe me, we are nothing without God's help and mercy. Pray
sometimes. It won't do any harm. I know how you reproach yourself on
Angèle's account. Binswanger says you may have a perfectly easy
conscience. And if you pray, believe me, God will remove every thought of
guilt from your harassed soul. You are only thirty. I am seventy. From
the experience of the forty years more that I have, I tell you, your life
can still turn out so that some day you will scarcely have a recollection
of all you are now suffering. You will remember the facts; but you will
try in vain to recall the feelings of anguish with which they are now
connected in your mind. I am a woman. I was fond of Angèle. And yet I
could observe you two together perfectly objectively. Believe me, there
were times when she would have driven any man desperate.

       *       *       *       *       *

The end of the letter was all motherly tenderness. Frederick saw himself
at his mother's sewing-table by the window, and in his thoughts kissed
her hair, her forehead, her hands.

When he looked up, he heard the steward remonstrating with the American
and heard the American say in good German:

"The captain's a donkey."

The word had the effect of an electric shock. The next instant another
pile of matches sent up a wavering flare in the gloomy, terrifying
twilight.

Frederick mentally cut out the young man's cerebrum and cerebellum for an
anatomical examination, proceeding strictly according to the rules of
dissection, as he had so frequently done in actuality. He hunted for the
centre of stupidity, which undoubtedly composed the American's whole
soul, though his impudence, which he possessed in a rare degree, may also
have had its seat in the brain. Frederick had to laugh. In his amusement
he realised that little Ingigerd Hahlström no longer had any power over
him, less, perhaps than, for example, the dark Jewess from Odessa, whom
he had seen for the first time only a quarter of an hour before.

Captain von Kessel entered. He greeted Frederick with a slight nod of
his head and seated himself at a table beside a lady, with whom he was
acquainted, apparently. The American coxcomb and the pretty Canadian
exchanged glances. She was languishing in her easy-chair, pale but
coquettish. Frederick set her down as a woman of unusual southern
beauty--straight nose, quivering nostrils, heavy, nobly arched eyebrows,
black as her hair and the shadowy down over her fine, expressive,
twitching lips. Her gestures had the weary grace of a Spaniard. She was
laughing, and her long, slim form stretched on the chair shook. Her
admirer, with a comic expression of seriousness, was again building a
little pile of matches. In her weak condition she was unable to resist
the impulse to laugh, and every now and then hid her face behind a black
lace shawl.

It was an exciting moment when the American, in defiance of the Captain's
presence, again made ready for his dangerous play.

Von Kessel, broad and ponderous and somewhat too short-legged, seemed out
of proportion in the dainty parlour. He was speaking quietly with his
lady. From the expression of his face it was evident that the weather was
giving him cause to be serious. Suddenly the matches flared up. Now the
captain's calm St. Bernard head turned slightly, and a voice said in a
tone not to be misunderstood:

"Put that fire out!"

Frederick had never heard an order from a man's lips so incisive, so
truly commanding, so fearful. The American turned pale and in the
twinkling of an eye smothered the flame. The beautiful Canadian closed
her eyes. But the captain, as if nothing had occurred, continued to
converse with his lady.



XVIII


Soon after, Frederick was in the barbershop getting a shave.

"Wretched weather," observed the barber, wielding the razor with a sure
hand, despite the dreadful tossing of the vessel. He seemed to be an
intelligent man. Frederick had to listen to a second account of the
_Nordmania_, of how the waterspout had plunged through the ladies'
parlour and carried the piano down into the hold.

An ordinary German servant-girl of the peasant class entered. She looked
healthy to the core and none too intelligent. The barber called her Rosa
and gave her a bottle of eau de Cologne.

"That's the fifth bottle of eau de Cologne that I've given her for her
mistress since we left Cuxhaven," the barber explained after she had
left. "Her mistress is a divorced woman with two children. Her name is
Mrs. Liebling. She is very nervous. Rosa hasn't a very easy time of it.
For five dollars a month she has to be at Mrs. Liebling's beck and call
morning, noon and night. She takes entire charge of the children. Soon
after we left Cuxhaven, Mrs. Liebling came to have her hair dressed. You
should have heard how she went on about that girl. The things she said
against her. Not a spark of gratitude. She said the stupid, lazy thing
wasn't worth the price of her second-class cabin."

Several times Frederick had heard the sound of quarrelling mingled with
children's crying in the cabin opposite his. Once he had even distinctly
caught the slapping sound of what must have been a box over somebody's
ear.

"Does she hit Rosa?" he asked the barber.

"Yes."

Clearly, then, it was his neighbour of the opposite cabin in whose
service the girl was.

Frederick enjoyed listening to the lively barber retail gossip, while
he lay stretched out in his patented chair. It diverted his mind from
troublesome thoughts. The barber, who had been sailing the seas for many
years, was by no means of the ordinary type of his class. He delivered a
short discourse on modern shipbuilding, the moral of which was, not to
construct light steamers for speed.

"Altogether," he observed, "it's a pity to lay so much stress on
record-making. How is a great big body with walls like a wafer to resist
heavy seas for any length of time? And see what tremendous engines it
has to carry and what an enormous amount of coal it consumes. But the
_Roland's_ a good boat. It was built in Glasgow in the yards of John
Elder and Company. It has been running since June, 1881. The engines are
compound steam-engines with three cylinders and 5800 horse power. They
require one hundred and fifteen tons of coal every day. The boat makes
sixteen knots an hour, and has a tonnage of 4510. There are one hundred
and sixty-eight men in the crew."

The barber had all these details at his fingers' ends. In a tone of
annoyance, as if the thing caused him personally a lot of trouble, he
told that the _Roland_ on each trip to or from New York dragged one
thousand and three hundred tons of anthracite coal in its coal-bunkers.
A slow trip, he insisted, was safe and comfortable, while a quick trip
was dangerous and expensive.

The little saloon with its electric lighting would have been a very
comfortable place to be in, had it only stood at rest. But unfortunately
its walls were quivering to the pulse of the engines and the floor was
rising and sagging to the swell and fall of the waves, which every now
and then leapt against the port-hole with tiger-like fury. The flasks in
the closets rattled.

"A heavier ship," said the barber, "built to go more slowly, wouldn't be
pitching like this."

Next he spoke of a little person, who dyed her hair, a dancer. She had
spent more than an hour in his chair, having him show her rouge and face
powders, until finally he had displayed his entire stock of Pinaud and
Roger et Gallet. The barber chuckled.

"On sea trips," he said, "a man has a chance of getting to know the
queerest women." And he proceeded to recount a number of incidents,
which, on his own word, he himself had witnessed. The heroine in each
case was an erotomanic woman.

"Just ask our doctor," he said. He was of the old-fashioned sort of
barber-surgeon, and in the capacity of surgeon had gathered the most
scandalous portion of his experiences. "One of the worst cases," he went
on, "was that of an American girl, who was found lying unconscious in one
of the life-boats swinging from the davits. She was hideously abused by
all the crew, one at a time, but they fixed it so that the whole blame
could be laid on her."

Frederick knew that none other than Ingigerd Hahlström was responsible
for the direction the barber's thoughts had taken. She had been sitting
in the very chair in which he was now reclining. A current streamed from
its upholstery into his body. His heart began to beat irregularly,
ceasing for an instant, then leaping wildly. To his horror, he observed
that Mara's power over him was not yet broken.

He jumped up and shook himself. He felt as if he must plunge into a hot
and cold bath and let stinging douches run down his spine to wash him
outwardly and inwardly clean and expel that foul poison from his blood.



XIX


The barbershop lay aft, and nearby one could look through glass panes
upon the working of the cylinders and pistons. Frederick toilsomely
clambered up to the promenade deck and crept into the overcrowded
smoking-room. Though it disgusted him to be wedged into a small space
with a lot of noisy men, he had come here in the desire to escape the
wild orgy of his thoughts. Doctor Wilhelm had kept a place for him.

"The doctor tells me you were in the steerage, and a beautiful Deborah
made a dangerous impression upon you," the captain said, smiling
roguishly.

Frederick laughed. He ordered beer, and the conversation was jolly from
the start.

In their corner the skat players were sitting over their cards. They were
business men, all of apoplectic constitution. They had been drinking beer
and playing skat ever since breakfast, in fact, except when they slept,
ever since boarding the steamer. The conversation in the room was of no
interest to them. Even the weather failed to elicit any questions from
them. They seemed to be insensible to the tossing of the great vessel,
or the dismal howling of the wind. The force of the roll was so
tremendous that Frederick involuntarily clutched at the thing nearest
to him. Up went the port side, down went the starboard. Up went the
starboard, down went the port side. Sometimes Frederick felt as if
port and starboard might plunge one over the other; in which case the
_Roland's_ keel would float above water, while the bridge, masts, and
smoke-stacks would be submerged at a distance below the surface. And in
that case all would be lost; but those skat players, it seemed to him,
would go on playing undisturbed.

Hahlström's tall figure came creeping with bent head into the tobacco
smoke. His clear, cold, critical eyes roved about looking for a seat. He
paid no attention to the armless man, who jestingly shouted an ironic
remark to him. With cool politeness he seated himself at the greatest
possible distance from Stoss, drew a pouch of tobacco from his pocket,
and filled a short Dutch pipe. Frederick's immediate thought was, "Where
is Achleitner?"

"How is your daughter feeling?" Doctor Wilhelm asked.

"Oh, she's just a little upset now. The weather will be getting better,
I suppose."

The whole company, which, of course consisted of the men either by nature
or from frequent exposure proof against seasickness, now entered into the
usual discussion of the weather.

"Is it true, Captain," somebody asked, "that last night we nearly
collided with a derelict?"

The captain smiled, raised his brows, and made no reply.

"Where are we now, Captain? Was there fog last night? I saw some snow
fall. And for at least an hour I heard the siren blow every two minutes."

But Captain von Kessel remained highly monosyllabic in everything
pertaining to the management of the vessel and the prospects for a good
or bad crossing.

"Is it true that there is gold bullion on board for the treasury in
Washington?"

Von Kessel smiled and sent a thin wreath of cigarette smoke curling
through his moustache.

"That would be carrying coals to Newcastle," remarked Wilhelm.

And now the great theme, the theme of themes, became the general topic
of conversation. Each of the travellers, of course, straightway had a
picture of his own fortune in mind, every cent of it, or else tried to
make an accurate mental calculation. They all turned into calculating
machines, while aloud comparing the capitals of the great American
banking firms, the Bank of England, the Crédit Lyonnais and the wealth of
all the American millionaires. Even the skat players gave their attention
for a few moments at a time.

America was then suffering from a business depression, a crisis, as the
political economists dub it. The causes of the depression came up for
discussion. Most of the Americans present happened to be Democrats, and
they threw the blame on the Republicans. The Tammany Tiger was the
subject of especial execration. It not only controlled New York City, the
mayor of which was a creature of Tammany, but had also put its men into
the most influential positions throughout the land. And every Tammany man
knew how to shear his sheep. As a result, the American people were
thoroughly bled. The corruption in the highest offices was said to be on
a tremendous scale. Millions of dollars were appropriated to the navy,
but if a man-of-war actually happened to be built, the thing was a great
achievement, since the money, long before it was applied to its proper
purpose, sifted down into the pockets of peaceful Americans, whose
interest in the navy was of the slightest.

"I shouldn't care to be buried in America," cried Stoss, in his sharp
voice. "It would be too dreary and boresome for me in my grave. I hate
their spitting and their ice-water." The burst of laughter that greeted
his remark encouraged him to further sallies. "Americans are parrots,
incessantly chattering two words, dollar and business, dollar and
business, dollar and business. Those two words have been death to culture
in America. An American doesn't even know what it is to have the
Englishman's spleen. Think of the fearfulness of living in a country
called the land of dollars. We have human beings living in Europe. The
Americans regard everything, even their fellow-men, from the point of
view of the number of dollars they represent. If a thing can't be
reckoned in dollars, they have no eyes for it. And then Carnegie and
Company come and want to astonish us with their disgusting shopkeeper's
philosophy. Do you think they're helping the world on by slicing off some
of the world's dollars and then returning some of the sliced off dollars
with a great flourish of trumpets? Do you think that if they do us the
favour to give us some of their money, we'll throw overboard our Mozart
and Beethoven, our Kant and Schopenhauer, our Schiller and Goethe, our
Rembrandts, Leonardos, Michael Angelos, in short, all our wealth of art
and intellect? What is a miserable cur of an American millionaire, a
dollar maniac, as compared with all those great men? Let him come and ask
us for alms."



XX


The captain invited Frederick to his cabin and asked him to write a
few words in his album. On the way, he showed him the chart-room and
the wheel-house, where a sailor was turning the great wheel at the
directions of the first mate, whose voice came from the bridge through
a speaking-tube. Frederick read the compass in front of the wheel and saw
that the _Roland_ lay west-southwest. The captain was in hopes of
striking better weather by taking a more southerly route. The helmsman
did not allow his attention to be diverted for the fraction of a second.
He kept his bronzed, weather-beaten face with its corn-coloured beard
turned unwaveringly toward the compass, and his sea-blue eyes fastened
upon the west-southwest line. And the face of the compass, in its round
copper case, notwithstanding the vessel's elephantine leaps and bounds,
never deviated from the horizontal.

When they reached his cabin, the handsome blond German, whose eyes came
of the same stock as the mariner's at the wheel, became more expansive.
He insisted on Frederick's taking a comfortable seat and offered him a
cigar. He spoke of his own life. Frederick learned that he was unmarried,
had two unmarried sisters and a brother with a wife and children. The
pictures of his sisters, his brother, his brother's wife, his brother's
children, and his parents were hung symmetrically on the wall over a red
plush sofa. They were sacred objects.

Frederick did not fail to ask his stereotyped question:

"Do you follow your calling because you have a decided preference for
it?"

"Tell me of a position on land where I could command the same salary, and
I'd exchange without an instant's hesitation. Seafaring begins to lose
its charms when a man gets on in years."

The captain's guttural voice was extremely agreeable. It suggested to
Frederick the sound of colliding billiard balls. His enunciation was
perfect, absolutely free of a dialectic tinge.

"My brother has a wife and children," he said. Though there was, of
course, not the slightest trace of sentimentality in his tone, it was
evident from the gleam in his eyes how he idolised his nieces and
nephews. He pointed out each one's picture and at the end said frankly,
"My brother is an enviable man." Then he asked Frederick whether he was
the son of General von Kammacher. He had taken part in the campaign of
1870 and 1871 as lieutenant of the regiment of artillery of which
Frederick's father had been chief. He spoke of him with great admiration
and reverence.

Frederick remained in the captain's cabin over half an hour. His presence
seemed to give the skipper special pleasure. It was astonishing what a
gentle, tender soul was hidden beneath the commanding exterior. Before
disclosing a bit of that soul, he always puffed harder at his cigar and
gave Frederick a long, searching look. By degrees Frederick discovered
what magnet was tugging strongly at the blond giant's heart. He kept
recurring alternately to the Black Forest and the Thüringian Forest, and
Frederick had a mental picture of the magnificent man clipping his privet
hedge in front of his cosey cottage, or walking among his rose bushes
with a pruning knife in his hand. He could detect that the captain would
far rather be living secluded in a sea of green leaves and green pine
needles; and he felt convinced that it would have been delicious to him
to submerge himself forever in the soft rushing of endless forests and
dispense forever with the rushing and roaring of all the oceans in the
world.

"Perhaps the night of all days has not yet come," said the captain, with
a humorous expression. He rose and placed the large album in front of
Frederick. "Now I am going to lock you in here with this pen and this
ink, and when I return, I want to find something clever on this page."

Frederick von Kammacher turned the leaves of the mariner's album. It was
unmistakable that the hope for a vegetable garden, gooseberry bushes, the
chirping of birds, and the buzzing of bees was most intimately connected
with this book. Under the pressure of dreariness and the grave
responsibility for many a sea trip, it must expand the captain's soul to
look over it, Frederick thought. It seemed to point to a time when, in
the peace and security of his simple home, it would serve its turn by
testifying to all the dangers its possessor had gone through, all his
past struggles and hardships. In a sheltered haven it would afford
pleasant retrospect, full of content.

Frederick's own quietistic ideal in the form of a farm and a solitary log
hut occurred to him. But he was not living in it alone. The little devil
Mara was sharing it with him. In embitterment he mentally climbed to
still lonelier regions, and saw himself a hermit, who prayed, drank
nothing but water, and lived on roots, nuts, and sometimes a fish of his
own catching.

When the captain returned and he and Frederick had taken leave of each
other, this is what he found in his book:

  Borne aloft on wave and ocean,
  Of thy master's course partaking,
  Some day thou wilt cease thy motion,
  Of thy master's rest partaking.
  In the garden of his stillness,
  To his manly deeds inspiring,
  Thou wilt faithfully bear witness.
  Thou art language well becoming
  Him who daily danger faces,
  Gratitude of souls proclaiming,
  Whom he bore through cosmic spaces.

The signature was

"Frederick von Kammacher, Globetrotter."



XXI


Frederick, holding on to his hat with one hand and clinging to the
railing with the other, descended from the windy heights of the captain's
cabin to the promenade deck. When he passed the cabin of the first mate,
the door opened, and Von Halm appeared in conversation with Achleitner.
Achleitner was pale, and there was an anxious look in his face.

"I have rented the lieutenant's cabin for Miss Hahlström. I could not
bear to see her suffering so in her own cabin," he called to Frederick.

The gale had increased. Not a passenger was to be seen on deck. Sailors
were inspecting the life-boats. Huge masses of water seethed against the
ship's side, cutting into its course obliquely. The waves made a mad leap
into the air, hung there for an instant in the form of white corals, and
fell like a thousand lashes on the deck, which was all awash. The breath
of the gale tore the smoke backward from the mouths of the smoke-stacks
and scattered it in the wild chaos in which heaven and sea were mingled.
Frederick glanced down at the fore-deck. In his burning brain arose a
thought of the Jewess and then of the scoundrel, Wilke. But the fore-deck
was so swept by the seas that nobody could keep his footing there, except
the lookout men, who were holding watch at the beak of the vessel, not
far from the cat-head.

Between the door leading to the main companionway and the companionway
itself was a square level space, about which a railing ran and in which
a few people could stay and enjoy the fresh air without being drenched.
When Frederick, on his way below deck, passed through the open door, he
found a quiet assemblage of pale-faced passengers. One chair was still
unoccupied. He seated himself in it, with the fanciful notion that he was
joining a gathering of condemned men.

"That poor sinner there must be Professor Toussaint, the famous sculptor
in need," Frederick thought, judging so from the man's slouched hat and
great cape. Now and then the man exchanged a few words with a person
sitting next to him, who might be _Geheimrat_ Lars. Frederick had once
met the _Geheimrat_ at a dinner at the mayor's house, but he had only
a faded recollection of his appearance. The clothing manufacturer had
dragged himself from his cabin, heaven knows how, and was lying in his
chair like a corpse. Besides these, there were two men conversing with
each other, one small, rotund and scary-faced, the other tall and thin.

The tall one was showing the other a section of a submarine cable
and letting the hard piece, intricately braided of hemp, metal and
gutta-percha, pass from hand to hand. From his choppy, whispered
sentences, the company learned that in 1877 he had worked as electrical
engineer on a steamer laying a cable between Europe and the United
States. The work on the high seas had lasted without interruption for
many months. He had spent several months supervising the construction
of the steamer itself in the yards, especially the riveting of its metal
plates. He spoke of what is called the cable plateau at the bottom of the
ocean, stretching from Ireland to Newfoundland, a strip of grey sand
so named because it supports the main transatlantic cable.

The copper wires in the centre of the cable, he said, were called its
soul, the rest of the mass, almost as thick as a man's fist and
resembling a great hawser, served merely as a sheath to protect the soul.
Frederick had a mental vision of the fearful solitudes of the ocean
depths, with the monstrous metal serpent, apparently without beginning
and without end, creeping over the sandy bottom peopled by the enigmatic
creatures of the deep. It seemed to him as if such profound isolation
must be gruesome even for the dead mass of cable.

Then he wondered why it was that mankind at each end of the cable had
burst into jubilation upon the transmission of the first messages.
Perhaps there was some mystic cause for rejoicing. The real cause could
not possibly be that one was now able to telegraph "Good morning, Mr.
Smith," or "Good morning, Mr. Brown," twenty times a minute around the
earth's circumference, or that one could adulterate humanity's mind with
newspaper gossip from the four quarters of the globe.

In the midst of these meditations, his chair slipped, and Frederick, in
company with the electrical engineer, the dozing manufacturer, a lady
physician, and a lady artist, was hurled against the banister, while the
opposite row of passengers, including the _Geheimrat_ and the professor,
was hurled on top of them. It was a ridiculous incident, but Frederick
observed that no one seemed to find it so.

They tried to arrange themselves in order again. One of the
ever-industrious stewards appeared, and, as if to comfort them for their
overthrow, passed about Malaga grapes from the ship's inexhaustible
store.

"When shall we reach New York?" somebody asked. The eyes of all the
others instantly turned upon the questioner in amazement and alarm. The
steward, usually so polite merely smiled an embarrassed smile and gave no
reply. In his opinion an answer, one way or the other, would have been to
challenge fate. The passengers felt much the same. Indeed, the idea that
their feet would actually ever tread solid land again seemed in their
present condition almost like an extravagant fairy tale.

The short, stout man, to whom the electrical engineer was chiefly
directing his discourse, was conducting himself peculiarly. At short
intervals he would look out anxiously into the uproar, turning his small,
watchful eyes searchingly up to the tops of the masts, which never ceased
to describe great arcs in the air (starboard to port, port to
starboard!), and out into the monotonous rolling of the waves, swelling
into ever higher and larger masses. His face was full of concern.
Frederick was on the point of inwardly ridiculing the pitiful
landlubber's cowardice, when he heard him say that scarcely three weeks
before he had brought his schooner safely to New York from a three years'
trip around the world, and intended to start out from New York on the
same trip to last the same length of time. The little gentleman was the
experienced captain of a sailing vessel. In the course of his fifty
years, he had spent more than thirty on all the waters of the globe.



XXII


Frederick reflected upon the timid skipper, whose characteristics seemed
to harmonise so poorly with the demands, active and passive, of his
rigorous calling. He wondered what it is that permanently holds a man
like that to his marriage ties and all the duties of his life. Then he
arose to wander about the _Roland_ vaguely.

The enforced idleness of a sea trip, especially in bad weather, induces
passengers, when they have made the complete round of the vessel, to
begin over again and go through the same circle. Thus, Frederick, after
descending the companionway, ascending it, and descending again, found
himself on the leather-seated bench in the smoking-room avoided by most
of the smokers, in which the armless man had taken his meal the day
before.

Hans Füllenberg entered, asked whether he was not permitted to smoke a
cigarette in the room, and began to grumble about the weather.

"Who knows how this thing is going to end?" he complained dismally.
"Perhaps, instead of reaching New York, we'll have to be towed into port
somewhere in Newfoundland."

Frederick was indifferent to the prospect. He noticed that young
Füllenberg cared for nothing except to produce an impression; and young
Füllenberg noticed that Frederick von Kammacher was not susceptible
to the impression he tried to produce. He cast about for another theme
of conversation.

"Do you know there are two priests on board? You should have been at
Cuxhaven when they got on. The sailors were beside themselves. I hunted
up the fellows, the sailors I mean, in the forecastle. How they did
curse! It was fearful. The stoker told all the men of the engine-room.
They said you could not get genuine seamen to think any differently--with
priests on board something is bound to go wrong."

"How is your lady?" asked Frederick.

"My lady is retching her soul away, if she has such a thing as a soul.
Two hours ago I helped her to bed. That Englishwoman is already a
full-blooded American. Shameless, I tell you! Something tremendous. I
rubbed her forehead with brandy. She partook of a goodly quantity, and
then I unbuttoned her waist. She seems to take me for a masseur chartered
extra by her munificent husband. The thing became boresome. And besides,
in that pitching boudoir, my own soul began to rise up through my
stomach, and the poetry went to the devil. She showed me the photograph
of her devoted husband in New York. I think she has another in London."
He was interrupted by the first call for dinner, which the trumpeter
announced at the bottom of the companionway. The trumpet blast was lost
without resonance in the heavy air and the bluster of the waves. "What's
more," he concluded, "she sent for Doctor Wilhelm."

The dining-room presented a very dreary appearance. Neither the captain
nor any of the officers of the _Roland_ were present, the demands upon
them in such bad weather being too severe to permit them to leave their
posts. The tables had been provided with a wooden apparatus dividing them
into small compartments, which prevented the plates, glasses and bottles
from slipping any distance. Nevertheless, there was much breaking of
crockery, and it required all the skill of the stewards to serve the
dishes, especially the soup. From the kitchen and the china room every
now and then came the sound of a tremendous crash. There were scarcely
twelve people at table, among them Hahlström and Doctor Wilhelm. After
a time the skat players, as usual, came bursting in, talking noisily and
red of face. Their winnings were immediately transmuted into Pommery.
Notwithstanding the fearful weather, the band was playing. There seemed
to be something frivolous, almost challenging, in the playing of music
when, at short intervals, the _Roland_ would come to a quivering
standstill, as if it had run upon a reef. Once the illusion was so strong
that a panic arose in the steerage. Mr. Pfundner, the head-steward,
brought this explanation of the horrified shrieks that had penetrated the
dining-room above the noise of the raging waters, the rattling of the
plates and the blare of the band.

At dessert Hahlström left his place at the other end of the room and,
balancing himself with difficulty, came over to Frederick and Doctor
Wilhelm, and asked permission to seat himself beside them. He seemed
to have been drinking whisky, as he had dropped his natural shell of
reticence. He spoke of hydrotherapy and gymnastic exercises, and called
himself a quack. It was the gymnastics, he said, that had given his
daughter the idea of taking up dancing. As if to challenge the others, he
elaborated bold philosophic theories, dealing out one wild statement
after the other, each of which would have been a trump sufficient to end
the game for ten German Philistines. To believe his own word, he was a
terroristic Anarchist, a white-slave trafficker, an adventurer always. At
any rate, he espoused the cause of all who were Anarchists, procurers, or
adventurers. He argued in all superiority, upon egotistic grounds,
calling these the intellectuals, and all others, creatures without
brains; in which his philosophy showed some similarity to Frederick von
Kammacher's new philosophy, now that Frederick had entered upon a new
phase of his life.

"America," said Hahlström, "is known to have been settled by rogues. Were
you to spread a tent over America, you would have the most beautiful,
the most comfortable penitentiary in the world. The natural form that
survives and triumphs in America is the great rascal, the great
Renaissance idiot. In fact, it is the one form that will triumph
throughout the world. You'll see some day how the great American rascal
will get the whole of Europe, including England, into his clutches.
Europe is also dabbling a little in Renaissance ideals and Renaissance
beasts. It is busily working away, so to speak, on its own rascalization.
But America is in advance by ten horse lengths. Europe's Cesare Borgias
sit in the cafes with _Glockenröcken à la Biedermaier_ and give voice to
their criminal genius in fairly innocent verses. They all look sickly, as
if a barber had cupped all the blood out of their veins. If Europe wants
to save herself, she has only one hope--to make a law by which it will be
a crime to surrender an adventurer, an embezzler, a fraudulent bankrupt,
the keeper of a disorderly house, a thief, or a murderer to America. On
German, English and French vessels in American ports, such people have
already been placed under the special protection of Europe. Then you will
see how soon Europe will outdistance Uncle Sam."

The physicians burst out laughing.

"When did geniuses ever do anything morally? Even the creator of heaven
and earth did not know how to. He produced an immoral world. Every high
form of human intellectual activity has thrown ethics overboard. What
would a historian be who, instead of making researches, would moralise?
What would a physician be who would stop to moralise? Or a great
statesman, who would toe the chalk-line of your middle-class ten
commandments? As for an artist, when he moralises, he is a fool and a
knave. And please tell me, what sort of a business would the church do
if all of us were moral? There would be no church."

There was a cold gleam of audaciousness in the Swede's eyes. His
utterances produced a strange impression. Even if he had pronounced fewer
wild paradoxes, Frederick von Kammacher would have succumbed to his
spell. He eagerly sought for resemblances between father and daughter,
or, more accurately, he observed them without seeking. They were very
evident to one who, alas, to his own torture, was carrying the daughter's
picture alive in his soul. As long as the Swede spoke, he could not help
wavering between repugnance and admiration, and he kept asking himself
whether this man was really the sort of person that Arthur Stoss had
described him to be, no gentleman, a weakling, an idle ragamuffin.



XXIII


As they arose from table and were ascending the companionway to the deck,
Hahlström suddenly said to Frederick:

"My daughter is expecting you. We have a friend on board, Mr. Achleitner,
a soft creature, but the possessor of much money, which he doesn't know
the best way to get rid of. So he made it worth while for one of the
officers to give up his luxurious cabin opening on deck to my daughter.
Unfortunately, that gives him the right to make an unmitigated nuisance
of himself sometimes."

When the men entered the comparatively roomy cabin on deck, they found
Achleitner sitting on a rather unsteady chair, while Mara, carefully
wrapped up, was lying stretched out on a couch. She instantly called
to her father, please to remove Mr. Achleitner, who was boring her, and
signified to Frederick that she had a special favour to ask of him.
Hahlström and Achleitner obediently withdrew, and Frederick _nolens
volens_ had to seat himself on the camp-chair.

"How can I be of service?" he asked.

She put one of those inconsequential requests with which she liked to
busy everybody about her. She did this, she explained, because if many
people were not doing something for her, she felt neglected.

"But if you don't want to do it," she added--it was to get her a bottle
of perfume, or something of the sort, for which a stewardess would have
been the right person to ask--"but if you don't want to do it, then
please don't. I should prefer it if you didn't. In fact, if I bore you,
I would just as soon sit alone."

Frederick realised that this beginning was a foolish expression of
embarrassment.

"I should like to be of service to you in anything I can, and you don't
in the least bore me."

That was the truth. Alone with Ingigerd in her cabin, where the vessel's
motion was less perceptible, he was sensitive to the full fascination of
her presence. The pangs of the ocean crossing had given her sweet girlish
face a waxen transparency. At her request the stewardess had loosened her
hair, and it lay spread in a golden flood over her white pillow, a golden
flood, the sight of which was highly disturbing to Frederick. Where was
there an adornment for the head, a queen's diadem, which could exercise
so powerful, so divine a charm? It seemed to Frederick as if that
tremendous vessel, with its hundreds of human ants, were nothing more
than the cocoon of this tiny silkworm, this delicately coloured,
delicious little butterfly; as if the sixty naked helots down at the
ship's bottom shovelling coal into the white heat under the boilers, were
toiling and sweating merely to be of service to this childish Venus; as
if the captain and officers were the paladins of the queen, and the rest
of the crew her following; as if the steerage were rilled with blindly
devoted slaves, and as if the _Roland_ were proudly carrying a fairy tale
from "A Thousand and One Nights" across the salt desert.

"Did I hurt your feelings yesterday by telling you my story?" she asked
suddenly.

"Mine? No! You are the injured one in the life you have unfortunately
led."

She looked at him with a sardonic smile, plucking a pink wad from the lid
of a box of sweetmeats beside her. In her looks and smiles, Frederick
felt her cold, wicked enjoyment. And since he was a man and knew he was
impotent in the face of such fiendish mockery, a wave of physical fury
mounted in him, driving the blood into his eyes and causing him
involuntarily to clench his fists. His full-blooded nature occasionally
had need of such frenzy. It was a phenomenon with which his friends were
familiar.

"What is the matter with you?" whispered Ingigerd, plucking at the pink
wad. "I am not afraid of a monk like you."

Her remark was not calculated to calm Frederick's passionate surge.
However, he mastered his feelings with evident, redoubled exertion of his
will power. Had he not succeeded in controlling himself, he might have
more resembled a Papuan negro than a European. He might have turned into
a beast in human form, and might have thrown overboard, as he himself
clearly felt, more than was good of what both self-acquired and imposed
culture had formed in him. He had no desire to turn into another animal
in Circe's stables.

It was as if Ingigerd were the very incarnation of the evil Psyche, so
few of a man's feelings were concealed from her. She knew what fight
Frederick had just fought and she knew he had conquered.

"Oh, I wanted to become a nun once myself," she said, and began in a
mixture of truth and fiction to prattle of a year she had spent in a
convent. "I wanted to turn good, but didn't get very far. I am religious.
Really I am. I can say so with a clear conscience. Anybody with whom I
don't feel I could pray to God, is disgusting to me. Perhaps, after all,
I shall end by being a nun, but not because I am pious." She did not
realise how egregiously she was contradicting herself. "Oh, no! It
wouldn't occur to me to be pious. I don't believe in anything but myself.
Life is short, and nothing is coming afterward. A person ought to enjoy
life. A person who deprives himself of a single enjoyment sins against
himself, beside practising self-deception."

She was led to speak of her mother. Frederick was startled by the hatred,
the vulgarity with which she referred to her.

"I could kill her," she said, "although, or just because she is my
mother." Her face lost its purity of expression and assumed an ugly,
repulsive look. "With papa it is different. But it gets to be an awful
nuisance always to be dragging him about with me."

The stewardess came in. She spoke to Ingigerd in a loud, cheery way.

"Better here than down below, isn't it, Miss?"

She bolstered up her cushions, rearranged her coverings, and left again.

"The silly thing has already fallen in love with me, too," said Ingigerd.

"Why am I sitting here?" Frederick thought, and was about to attempt in
all kindness to remove the cataract from the eyes of the foolish little
creature. Why did great waves of pity keep sweeping over him? Pity for
which she did not ask. Why could he not rid himself of the idea of
innocence, of chastity, of the uncontaminated while in the presence of
this child fiend? She seemed pure and unsullied, and each capricious
movement, each remark of hers only heightened the impression of touching
helplessness.

"All love is pity." This sentence of Schopenhauer's, which he held to be
both true and paradoxical, flashed into his mind. He took one of her
dolls in his hand, and tried in the kindly way that he had acquired with
his patients to make Ingigerd Hahlström understand that one does not go
through life unpunished in the belief that life is mere doll's play.

"Your dolls," he said, "are actually beasts of prey. Woe to you, if you
don't realise they are beasts before they bury their claws in your flesh
and rend you with their fangs."

She gave a short laugh without answering. She complained of a pain in her
breast.

"You're a physician. Won't you examine me?"

"That's Doctor Wilhelm's business," Frederick answered brusquely.

"Well," she said, "if I am in pain and you as a physician can stop the
pain, but don't want to, your friendship cannot amount to much."

Frederick did not turn a deaf ear to this correct reasoning. He had long
before realised that her delicate constitution was with difficulty
holding the balance between debit and credit. Each instant it was in
danger of losing its balance.

"If I were your physician," he said, "I should send you to live for three
years with a German country pastor, or an American farmer. I should not
let you see anybody but the old pastor or the old farmer and his wife and
their daughters. I should not let you go to see a play, let alone appear
on the stage yourself. It is those cursed variety shows that have sent
you to the dogs, physically and morally."

"I am a ruffian," he thought, "and there's medicine for her."

"Do you want to become a farmer?"

"Why?"

"Because you are already a pastor," she laughed.

The conversation was interrupted by the screeching of a cockatoo on a
stand in the back of the cabin. Until then Frederick had not noticed it.

"What else will be turning up? Where did you get that beast?"

She laughed again.

"Please give me the beast. Koko! Koko!" Frederick arose and let the
great, rosy-white seafarer clamber on his hand. "I like animals better
than I do most people I meet," she said.

The bird kept screaming "Cockatoo!" until Frederick felt it fairly
applied to him.

In the meantime the _Roland_, sinking into deep troughs and climbing over
watery mountain crests in an ocean that was like a great machine
regularly at work, had plowed its way into fog. The siren was bellowing.

"Fog?" exclaimed Ingigerd. Every bit of blood vanished from her face,
which was already too pale. "But I am never afraid," she added
immediately, took a bonbon in her mouth, and let the cockatoo nibble at
it. The bird unfeelingly trod on the girl's beautifully heaving breast.
She made it sing _Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht_ and some well-known
music-hall airs, and told stories of her menagerie.

Every instant Frederick had to perform some small service, and while she
was giving an enthusiastic description of a little monkey from Java that
she had once owned, he asked himself whether he was a physician, a nurse,
a hairdresser, a chambermaid, or a steward, and whether Ingigerd
Hahlström would not in the end reduce him to a messenger boy.

He yearned to be on deck in the open air.

Soon after, Achleitner entered with an anxious, questioning expression in
his eyes, and Ingigerd dismissed Frederick most ungraciously. There was a
look of hatred in her glance. But scarcely was Frederick outside in the
fog with the knob of the door still in his hand, when it seemed to him as
if ropes and chains, the chains of an enslaved man, were dragging him
back to the girl's couch.



XXIV


"What is to become of me?" Frederick questioned himself. He scarcely
heard Hans Füllenberg's jolly shout of greeting as the young man reeled
past. Hans Füllenberg did not fail to observe whose door it was that
Frederick von Kammacher had just closed behind him, nor that, as he stood
there with the knob still in his hand, he seemed to be in a state of
indecision and absorption.

The siren was sending up its deafening roar. It was that wild, fearful,
ascending cry, as if torn from the breast of a monster bull, which he had
first heard on the tender. There was something menacing in it, and at the
same time something of an anxious warning. Frederick never heard it
without applying menace and warning to himself. Likewise, the driving
mist seemed to be a reflection of his soul; or his soul a reflection of
the driving mist and also of the vessel, as it struggled onward into the
unknown, unseeing and unseen. He stepped over to the railing and looked
straight down the ship's side. There he could tell with what tremendous
rapidity the _Roland_ was cleaving the water.

"Isn't man's courage utter madness?" he thought. Could any one, from
captain to the lowest sailor, prevent the propeller-shaft from snapping
at any moment? The screw was constantly rising and buzzing in the air.
Who could sight a vessel in time to prevent the collision that would
inevitably smash in the thin walls of the great hollow body? Who could
hope to avoid one of the many derelicts drifting in the fog almost
submerged? What would happen if the might of the waves were to hurl that
great lumped mass of wood and iron against the _Roland's_ side? What
would happen if the engines were to break down? If a boiler were to
prove unequal to the uninterrupted strain put upon it? Then, too,
icebergs were met with in those waters. And suppose the storm were to
grow worse.

The things that European civilisation has accomplished are tremendous.
The trouble is, the object to which the means are applied is not worthy
of the means. The how is great. The wherefore receives only a stammering
reply. So much is certain, that the life of the average man to-day is
fuller of adventure and heroism than the life of a bold adventurer a
hundred and fifty years ago.

Frederick went to the smoking-room on deck. He found the card players,
Doctor Wilhelm, Arthur Stoss, Professor Toussaint and some more gentlemen
gathered over their afternoon coffee.

"Hullo!" they shouted when he appeared in the doorway.

The room smelled strong of coffee and the pungent odour of tobacco. In
the instant that Frederick held the door open, the wreaths of mist and
heavy tobacco smoke met.

"What's the matter, gentlemen?" Frederick asked.

"Did you operate on the dancer," someone cried, "to remove that mole two
inches from her backbone right over her left hip?"

Frederick turned pale, and said nothing. Had he uttered a single word,
the result might have been a scandal, perhaps even a duel, out there on
the high seas.

He seated himself beside Doctor Wilhelm and acted as if the shout of
greeting and the unknown man's question had not referred to him. Doctor
Wilhelm proposed a game of chess. Frederick accepted, and while playing,
he had time to choke down his humiliation and resentment. He glanced
about furtively to find the speaker.

"There are some people, Doctor von Kammacher," Arthur Stoss said in
a raised voice, "who leave their decency in Europe when they travel
to America, though that does not reduce the price of the passage."

The man at whom the remark was aimed left it unanswered.

"But, Mr. Stoss," said an elderly man from Hamburg, whose conscience in
regard to the offence thrust upon Frederick was evidently clear, "we're
not in a ladies' parlour, and we needn't take jokes amiss."

"I am not in favour of jokes," said Stoss, "that are made at the expense
of persons who are near at hand, but not present, especially when a lady
is concerned. I am still less in favour of them when they are coarse and
indecent."

"Oh, Mr. Stoss," rejoined the man from Hamburg, "everything in its place.
I have nothing against sermons, but we're having bad weather here on the
ocean and this room is not a church."

"Besides, nobody mentioned names," another man said.

Here the American jackanapes joined in the cross talk.

"When Mr. Stoss is in New York," he said drily, "he will hold services
every night at Webster and Forster's."

"Some American youngsters are celebrated for their cheek," Stoss
countered.

"Directly after the celebrated Barrison sisters' appearance, after the
song 'Linger Longer Loo,' Mr. Stoss will raise his hands to heaven and
beg the audience to pray." The American spoke without moving a muscle of
his face. He had the last word. The next instant the slim young fellow
was outside the door.

Arthur Stoss had the pleasure of knowing he was a fool for his pains.
But, like Frederick, he paid no attention to the thrust, or to the
laughter it provoked.

"People are very much mistaken," he said, turning to Professor Toussaint,
who was sitting beside him and to whom he had been introduced a few
minutes before, "if they suppose that morality among vaudeville
performers is laxer than among any other set of persons. It's an
absolutely false assumption. A performer above the average, who must
always be at the very height of his powers, has to practise moderation to
the point of abstinence if he wants to remain on top. Does anybody
suppose that a loose life is compatible with those startlingly bold feats
that an acrobat does every day and tries to improve upon every day? Damn
it! It's something to make your ordinary mortal marvel at. Why, to do any
one of the many things we do, we have to practise asceticism and
chastity, and patiently peg away day after day at hard, dangerous work.
Your plain business man, who never omits his glass of beer, has no idea
what it is like." He continued to sing the praises of vaudeville actors.

"May I ask what your specialty is, Mr. Stoss?" asked Hans Füllenberg.

"A very easy specialty, once you know how. But if it should ever come to
a duel between you and me, young man, you'd have to choose what eye or
ear or tooth you'd be ready to part with."

"He's as good a shot as Carver," someone said. "He can take the middle
right out of an ace three or four times in succession."

"Just like any other display of skill. But don't for a moment suppose,
gentlemen, that even if a man has arms and doesn't have to hold the gun
with his feet and pull the trigger with his toes, that he learns how to
do it without sweating and self-denial and endless patience."

"Somebody said you play the violin like Sarasate," said Hans Füllenberg.

"Not exactly. Nor need I, considering the way I was born. But I am fond
of music and my audiences go wild over my playing."

Captain von Kessel entered. He was received with a general "Ah!" Through
the door burst a great wave of sunlight.

"The barometer is rising, gentlemen."

The fog had lifted, and now the men in the smoking-room realised that the
_Roland_ was rocking no more than easily and comfortably and was making
its way with majestic speed.

This acted like a charm. The captain left the door open and had Pander
hook it back. A man, who had been lying asleep in a corner--in that half
sleep which is the mildest symptom of seasickness--rose to a sitting
posture and rubbed his eyes. Hans Füllenberg and a number of other men
hastened out on deck. Doctor Wilhelm and Frederick, who had lost the
game, followed.



XXV


The two physicians paced the full length of the promenade deck. The air
was mild. The ship was moving quietly, as if its great body took delight
in pushing onward through none but low waves. It was surprising to see
how gay the life on deck was. They were constantly raising their hats and
making way for somebody. The stewards had carried the news of the good
weather down to the passengers in their stuffy cabins, and all the
seasick travellers had come crawling on deck. There was much talking and
laughing. Each moment brought fresh surprise over the galaxy of merry
women that had kept themselves stowed away in the _Roland's_ interior. It
was just an ordinary Saturday afternoon in January; yet suddenly an
atmosphere of festivity prevailed not to be outdone by a Christmas eve.

Hans Füllenberg passed by. He was cracking jokes for everybody's benefit
and flirting desperately with his Englishwoman, who had recovered from
her seasickness. She had found a friend, a woman in a fur cap and coat,
with a magnificent crown of light hair, like a Swedish woman's. She
seemed to be greatly amused by Füllenberg's poor jokes and poor English.
He had abstracted her muff and was alternately conveying it to his
stomach, his heart, and--this very passionately--his mouth. The young
American jackanapes was promenading with his Canadian, who looked very
haughty and blasé, yet much fresher. The delicate creature seemed to be
shivering with cold, though she was wearing an elegant coat of Canadian
sable, which reached to her knees. Frederick greeted the clothing
manufacturer, whom his steward had helped up on deck. He had been lying
in his cabin more dead than alive, and his steward had been feeding him
on nothing but Malaga grapes.

Ingigerd was holding court on the port side in front of her cabin, the
door to which stood open, it flattering her vanity to have the many
promenaders see and envy the privilege she was enjoying.

"If it is agreeable to you, Doctor Wilhelm, let us remain this side of
the Rubicon. That little girl slightly bores me. By the way, can you tell
me how I came to bring down on myself that shout when I entered the
smoking-room and that man's vulgar remark? To be sure, as a physician and
free-thinker it's a matter of indifference to me."

"Oh," said Wilhelm, trying by an air of lightness to appease Frederick,
"this is all it was. Füllenberg probably saw you coming out of Miss
Hahlström's cabin, and said something in the smoking-room. You know
his mischievous way."

"I'll box his ears," said Frederick.

"The trouble is, the little girl is making herself generally conspicuous.
The worst rumours are afloat about her. All men seem alike to her,
whether stewards, firemen, sailors, or cabin-boys. And that greasy
Achleitner! I assure you, all over the ship, in the forecastle, among the
stewards when they polish the silver, and in the officers' cabins, they
do nothing but titter and laugh at her and Achleitner and anybody falling
under suspicion on her account."

"Don't you think that's slander?"

"Why, you and I are physicians. I don't care a fig one way or the other."

Frederick laughed. "I have set my all on nothing."

Suddenly he said:

"You're right. I'm of the same opinion. I must really throw overboard
that old idealistic German Adam sticking in me like a Sunday afternoon
preacher."

The two men laughed. Their mood turned merrier, chiming in with the
general atmosphere of hilarity.

One reason for this predominating sense of happiness was the fact that
all the passengers, after struggling with nausea and sleeplessness during
those miserable, crawling, endless hours in the doleful grave of their
cabins, had learned to appreciate the value of mere healthy existence.
Merely to live, merely to live! That was the cry that rang in every step,
every laugh, every word, drowning all care. None of those concerns which
each of them had dragged on board, whether from Europe or America, now
had the least might. Merely to live was to win in the great lottery. They
knew sunshine follows rain, and they said to themselves, "If worse comes
to worst, you will willingly put up with bread and salt and a hoe and a
vegetable garden, and no one in the world will be a happier mortal than
you."

Those promenading men and women were each glad of the other's existence.
They loved one another and were ready without hesitation to commit all
sorts of follies, deeming them mere bagatelles, which on solid land they
would never have condoned in themselves. Their rejoicing was a crucible
melting together all the barriers by which convention divides man from
man. They experienced a sense of relief and liberation, and drew in deep
breaths of this atmosphere of freedom.

At the captain's order, the band set up its music stands and instruments
on deck amidships; and when the blithe strains resounded through the
whole of the _Roland_, that was the climax of festivity. For half an hour
it seemed as if the few clouds floating in the blue sky, the steamer, the
people on the steamer, and the ocean had agreed to dance a quadrille.

For moments at a time the waves would form the droll, chubby-cheeked
face of a jolly old man. All at once the dreadful old man of the sea
had turned good-humoured. He even seemed to be in a jocular mood and
displayed a certain clumsy vanity in letting his puppets, swarms of
flying fish, dance their dance, too, in a circle about the _Roland_.
Perhaps, at his bidding, a whale would soon be spouting. Indeed, within
a few minutes, the immigrants on the fore-deck were shouting, "Dolphins!"

The gentlemen could not for any length of time avoid Ingigerd.

"Theridium triste, the gallows spider, you know," said Wilhelm, as they
approached her.

"How so?" said Frederick, slightly startled.

"You know what a gallows spider does near an ant nest. It sits on the top
of its blade of grass, and when a myrmidon passes below, it throws a
little skein of cobweb at its head. The ant does the rest. It gets
tangled up until it is absolutely helpless, and then the tiny little
spider comfortably eats it up."

"If you had seen her dance," said Frederick, "you would be more inclined
to assign her the rôle of the ant throttled by the spider."

"I don't know who," said Wilhelm, "but some poet says, the sex is
strongest when it is weak."

Ingigerd was able to boast a new sensation, which she owed to Mr. Rinck,
the officer in charge of the mail, a pretty little dog, a ball of white
wool, scarcely larger than a man's two fists put together. The polar bear
in miniature was barking wildly in its ridiculous thin falsetto at the
great ship's cat, which Mr. Rinck was holding to its nose.

"With your permission, Mr. Rinck, we shall sleep well to-night," said
Wilhelm.

"I always sleep well," replied the other phlegmatically. Close to the
cat's soft, heavy, hanging body, his cigarette, as always, was burning
between the fingers of his right hand.

The cat spat, the dog barked. The piping sound drilled Frederick's ears
like needle pricks. Ingigerd laughed and kissed the little yelper.

Wilhelm began a conversation by telling of the tremendous amount of work
Mr. Rinck had to do between Cuxhaven and New York.

"Just take a look here, Doctor von Kammacher," he said, opening a door
nearby, through which one could look into a deep, square pit filled half
way up to the top with thousands of packages of all sizes. "Mr. Rinck has
to arrange all of these."

"Exclusive of the letters," Mr. Rinck supplemented phlegmatically.

"Theridium triste," thought Frederick. He seemed to himself like an ant
trying head over heels to escape the spell of the little spider, whose
golden cobweb in long, open strands was luring on its victims.

"That Rinck," said Wilhelm, as they resumed their promenading, "is a
peculiar sort of chap. It is worth the while to get to know him. Twenty
years ago he suffered hard luck from a woman of the same type as little
Miss Hahlström. Men should never marry women of that type. Ever since, he
has been indifferently facing every sort of death on all the waters of
the globe, not to mention an attempt at suicide. You ought to hear him
talk. It is very difficult to get him to do it, because he doesn't drink.
You can't succeed until you have been on four or five trips with him.
People speak a great deal of fatalism, but to most of them the idea is
merely a paper idea. To Rinck it is not a paper idea."

The life on deck kept assuming a more and more unconcerned, mundane
aspect. Frederick was astonished to see so many persons from Berlin whom
he knew by sight. Professor Toussaint introduced himself, and led
Frederick to his wife, who was lying stretched out in a steamer chair.
Their attempt at what is called conversation resulted in a few sickly
sprouts.

"I am making this trip at the invitation of an American friend,"
Toussaint explained somewhat condescendingly, and mentioned the name of a
well-known millionaire. "Even if I receive orders over there, I will not
allow myself to be persuaded into making America my home. Interest in art
should be elevated--" The pale, aristocratic man with the care-worn
expression went on to expatiate upon his hopes and troubles, while his
wife, who was still beautiful, looked on with a blasé expression of
irony. Probably without being conscious of it, Professor Toussaint too
frequently referred to the United States as the dollar land.

On the after-deck the passengers in unrestrained jollity, had begun to
dance. It was Hans Füllenberg, the ever vivacious Berlinese, who had
taken the lead. Inspired by the Strauss waltz that the band was playing
he had engaged the lady in the fur coat. A number of other couples
followed their example, and there, under the bright sky, an informal ball
was opened, which did not end until sundown.

When the musicians with their shining brass instruments were about to
make their way inconspicuously below deck, the passengers detained them,
and in the twinkling of an eye, a large collection was taken up.
Thereupon the dance music began again, even blither than before.



XXVI


Doctor Wilhelm was summoned away, and after a while Frederick succeeded
in taking leave of Toussaint and his wife. He remained alone. The clear
heavens, the deep blue sea, smooth as glass, calmed as if by a miracle,
the music, the dancing, the sunlight, and the dear, sweet, pacifying,
all-forgiving letter of his mother--it was in his pocket--awakened in him
a fresh, pleasant sense of vitality.

"Life," he said to himself, "is always this way or that, a moment filled
with pain or pleasure, with darkness or brightness, with sunlight or
heavy, black clouds; and according to the moment in which we view our
past and future, these will darken or brighten. Should existence in the
shining light possess lesser reality than existence in the dark?" "No, it
should not," was the answer that came from everything within and about
him, filling him with youthful, almost childlike joy.

Frederick had pushed back his slouched hat, had unbuttoned his light
overcoat, and was standing with his arms crooked over the railing. He
looked out upon the sea. He felt the pulse beats of the engines, his ears
were filled with the pliant, melodious chords of the Viennese waltz; the
whole world had turned into a brilliant, lively, sparkling ballroom. He
had suffered and caused others to suffer. Now he embraced all those
through whom he had suffered and who had suffered through him, and seemed
to wed them in blissful intoxication.

At this point Ingigerd Hahlström passed by with the giant Von Halm.
Frederick heard her say she did not dance, that dancing was an insipid
pleasure. With that, he started away from the railing, went up to the
Canadian, and in a peculiar, fiery German manner ruthlessly drew her away
from the young American, who was completely taken aback. It was evident
that the delicate, exotic woman, whose breast rose and fell convulsively,
took pleasure in that strong conqueror's arm as they circled about in the
dance.

At the conclusion of the dance, he found himself under the necessity of
murdering French and English with her for a time and was very glad when
he could gracefully deliver her over again to the jealous young American.

Stoss was being transported across the deck by his valet, who, as always,
held him by his coat collar.

"My private overland and oversea express," he called to Frederick.

Frederick pulled up a steamer chair for him in a sudden impulse to chat
with Stoss.

"If the weather remains like this," said Stoss, after his valet had
carefully and skilfully seated him in the chair, "we can reach Hoboken
some time on Tuesday. But only if the weather does remain like this. The
captain tells me that when we are running under full steam, as now, we
make sixteen knots an hour."

Frederick started. So Tuesday this life under the same roof with Ingigerd
was to end.

Frederick had been profoundly humiliated by the coarse insult offered him
in the smoking-room. He knew of no other way to escape the impression of
it except by a sort of ostrich policy. For that reason he had passed over
the incident lightly when speaking to Doctor Wilhelm. Once his feeling of
delicacy, smarting like a sensitive nerve, had ceased to ache so
intensely, he looked upon the scandal much as a somnambulist would
look upon the thing that has awakened him and guarded him against a
humiliating fall. For more than half an hour his passion for the little
devil of a dancer had turned into disgust and repugnance, until now he
suddenly had to admit once again that separation from her was
inconceivable.

"That little dancer is a piquant wench," said Stoss, as if he had divined
Frederick's thoughts. "It would not seem at all strange to me if an
inexperienced man were to fall into her toils. I think she resembles one
of the younger Barrison sisters, who sing 'Linger Longer Lucy, Linger
Longer Loo.' A man must certainly don armour in dealing with her."

"I am completely at a loss to understand," lied Frederick, "how I ever
came to fall under suspicion with that creature. She is of absolutely no
interest to me."

"Good Lord, Doctor von Kammacher! Who doesn't fall under suspicion with
her?" He laughed unblushingly. "I myself did."

Frederick suffered. He looked sidewise at the armless trunk, and his soul
writhed in humiliation at the thought of his own ridiculousness.

Stoss went on to philosophise on erotics in general. He, the Don Juan
without arms, read Frederick a lecture on the art of handling women.
This led to his boasting, which detracted markedly from his quality of
fineness. His intellect also shrank in direct proportion to the increase
of his vanity. Something seemed to be working in him impelling him to
impress people at all costs with his successes as a man.

A servant-girl led two children by. Frederick drew a breath of relief,
for she diverted Stoss from his unsavoury theme.

"Well, Rosa," he called, "how is Mrs. Liebling?" It was his habit to
obtrude himself upon everybody. From the gossip of Bulke, his valet, he
had learned of Rosa and her cross. The difficult lady she served was the
excitable person of whom the barber had told Frederick and with whom he
was acquainted from certain impressions of his hearing. Rosa, who was
carrying Ella Liebling, a girl of five years, on her crimson arm, looked
pleased and laughed.

"She is not coming on deck. She's taken up with fortune-telling and
table-turning."

Bulke, in whose eyes Rosa seemed to have found unqualified favour, took
Siegfried Liebling, a boy of seven, from her hand and helped her place
both children safely in steamer chairs.

"There is nothing to beat a crazy woman," Stoss declared. "That Mrs.
Liebling actually called in Mr. Pfundner, the head-steward, to help her
with Rosa"--the very Rosa, who unwearyingly and self-sacrificingly
worked for her day and night, in good weather and bad. The worst to be
said against her was that at utmost she was a little too ready with her
tongue.



XXVII


The music was still playing, the sun was still shining from a slightly
clouded sky. On the dry deck the travelling city, in the gayest, most
superficial mood, was still dancing in the face of the infiniteness of
heaven and sea. A steward came up to Frederick and presented the second
engineer, who brought a message from Doctor Wilhelm asking Frederick to
come to him immediately. The engineer led Frederick to the engine-room
and down a perpendicular iron ladder. The warm, heavy smell of oil almost
robbed Frederick of his breath. The downward climb seemed endless.

On all sides the engines were working. Frederick glanced at the gigantic
cylinders, in which the compressed steam was moving pistons up and down
like pump handles. The pistons communicated their motion to the big shaft
running aft along the keel to the stern, and the revolutions of the shaft
in turn produced the revolutions of the screw propelling the vessel
across the Atlantic.

Oilers holding oil cans and waste clambered in and out of the rotating
masses of iron with astounding sureness and boldness. To graze one of the
fly-wheels, or to step one inch within the unguarded circle of their
revolution, was to receive a deadly blow. Here was the heart and soul of
the vessel, the real modern miracle of strength, the like of which no age
in the past has been able to produce. An iron soul, a steely heart. It
was as if one were descending below earth into the glowing workshop of
Vulcan of old, the lame god, who did not demonstrate the full skill of
his divinity until our times.

Still deeper down went the descent, to where, from numerous shovels
handled by almost naked helots, coal was flying into the white heat under
the boilers, into a row of gaping jaws of fire. Frederick felt as if he
had reached the heart of a crater. It was a black shaft smelling of coal,
slag, and burning things. Apparently it was lighted only by the constant
opening of the furnace doors, spitting white heat. How was it possible
for such a conflagration to be contained in the _Roland's_ interior
without reducing the whole to ashes? What a conquest to fight such a sea
of fire, to keep it in check, and carry it through sea and storm; to
manage that it should carry itself three or six thousand miles in the
ocean in fair weather or foul, hidden away and absolutely innocuous.

Frederick panted for breath. The glowing heat of the abyss instantly
brought the perspiration pouring out on his face and neck. He was so
absorbed in the novelty of the impressions that he completely forgot he
was surrounded by water about twenty feet under the surface of the sea.
Suddenly, he became aware of Doctor Wilhelm's presence, and in the same
instant saw a man entirely naked stretched out like a corpse, a white
body on the black coal dust. The man had ceased to breathe.

In a second Frederick, now wholly the physician, had Doctor Wilhelm's
stethoscope in his hand and was listening to the man's heart. His mates,
blackened with coal from head to foot, were ceaselessly at work in the
engine's unremitting service, shovelling coal, opening the furnace doors,
and slamming them shut. They scarcely cast a glance at their fallen
comrade, and that only when they stopped to gulp a glass of beer or
water.

"It was hardly three minutes ago," said Doctor Wilhelm, "that he broke
down. That man over there, the one who has just washed himself, is his
successor."

"He was just about to throw coal into the furnace," explained the
engineer who had called for Frederick, shouting at the top of his voice
to make himself heard above the clanging of the shovels and the banging
of the iron doors, "when his shovel flew out of his hand about twelve
feet away and almost struck a coal-trimmer. He was hired in Hamburg. The
moment he set foot on board, I thought, 'If only you pull through, my
boy.' He joked about himself. He said, 'If my heart is good.' I was sorry
for him. He wanted to cross the great pond, and that was his only way of
getting over. He wanted, no matter how, to see his brother again, his
only living relative, or somebody else. They hadn't seen each other for
fourteen years."

"_Exitus_," said Frederick, after a prolonged investigation of the man's
heart. Even a few moments after the stethoscope had been removed, one
could see the ring it made on his bluish, waxen skin. His chin dropped.
They put it back in place, and Frederick bound his jaws with his white
handkerchief. "He had a bad fall," Frederick remarked. It may actually
have been the unfortunate fall to which the helot owed his death. There
was a deep bleeding gash in his temple from the edge of a large nut.
"Probably a heart stroke," Frederick added, "the result of the heat and
over-exertion." He looked at the dead man, then at his mates, naked,
blackened, illuminated by the jaws of the glowing furnaces, and thought
of the fifth commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." If we were to take the
commandment literally, how far should we get?

The physicians mounted on deck, and several of the men picked up the
victim of civilisation, the modern galley-slave, still covered with the
sweat of his fearful occupation. With the handkerchief about his head, he
looked as if he were suffering from toothache. They carried him up out of
the glowing pit to the cabin set aside for dead bodies.

Doctor Wilhelm had to notify the captain. Nobody on deck, where the band
was playing the last measures, was to suspect that a stoker had died.
With the help of the Red Cross sister, they stretched him on a mattress,
and within a short time a circle of the higher officials of the vessel,
at their head the captain, and among them the purser and the physicians,
were gathered about the corpse.

Captain von Kessel ordered the stoker's death to be kept secret,
particularly requesting the two physicians not to mention it. Formalities
had to be gone through, documents had to be drawn up and signed. This
kept them busy until dark, when the first call for dinner was trumpeted
across the deck and through the gangways of the first-class section.



XXVIII


Frederick went to his cabin and removed the grey suit he had worn in
the purgatory of the stoke-hole. He put on striped trousers, a black
waistcoat, and black frock coat. By the time he appeared in the
dining-room, a lively procession of brilliant toilettes was already
making its way there. Almost all the ladies of the first class came
rustling in. Frederick from his seat observed that many of them had
to stop for an instant at the doorway to pluck up their courage. Then,
with a charmingly humorous smile, they would conquer their dread of
seasickness, particularly threatening in the dining-room, and step over
the threshold.

Save for the slight quiver that ran through the walls and ceilings of the
whole vessel, its motion was scarcely perceptible. The music began, and
the swarm of stewards in livery, who came hurrying in, could serve each
guest with a full plate of soup without need of balancing.

"A full-dress dinner," said the captain with a contented glance about the
room as he seated himself.

Fish was already being served when Ingigerd entered on the arm of the
very ungainly and very ordinary looking Achleitner. At the sight of her
absurd get-up, Frederick felt like sinking through the floor. The barber
had piled her beautiful light hair into a fearful mountain of puffs, and
about her narrow shoulders she wore a Spanish shawl, as if to represent
Carmen--a very pitiful Carmen, who provoked jeers and jibes from one end
of the table to the other.

"What deadly green stockings!" Frederick thought, as he choked down a
piece of fish with the bones in it.

"Why in the name of sense does she wear those bronze slippers?"

"Some chalk, please, for the lady," said one man. "She is going to dance
the tight rope for us."

Mischievous looks and remarks flew about the table. Both the ladies and
the gentlemen choked over their fish or wine and had to hold their
napkins to their lips. Not all of their remarks were pronounced _sotto
voce_, and among the card players, who were again drinking champagne, the
jokes aimed at Ingigerd and Achleitner were particularly loud and coarse.

Could Frederick believe his eyes? Terror shot to his heart. That sad
little monstrosity was walking toward him--stood next to him in
compromising intimacy--was saying poutingly:

"When are you going to pay me a visit again?"

Frederick made some inconsequential reply.

Necks in standing collars, bare throats encircled with gold chains and
pearls turned toward the captain's table. Frederick could not recall ever
having had an experience so painfully humiliating. Ingigerd saw nothing
and felt nothing. Achleitner, however, seemed to be rather ill at ease
under the perceptible cross-fire of the animated company, and tried to
lead her away. Finally, she left the tortured man, saying:

"My, you're dull and stupid! I don't like you." At which the captain's
corner burst into a prolonged laugh, which was a relief to everybody's
but Frederick's feelings.

"I assure you," said Frederick, with a tolerable attempt at dry irony, "I
don't know what I have done to deserve this distinction, or what I shall
do to deserve it in the future."

Then they spoke of other things.

The clear weather and the prospect of a peaceful night filled the festive
diners with undimmed gaiety. They ate, they drank, they laughed, they
flirted, all in the delightful consciousness that they were citizens of
the departing nineteenth century, with the probability of being citizens
of the even grander twentieth century.



XXIX


After dinner the two physicians went to Doctor Wilhelm's cabin, where
they sat together discussing the resultant of modern civilisation.

"I very much fear, very much, indeed," said Frederick, "that our
world-wide means of communication, which mankind is supposed to own,
really own mankind. At least so far, I see no signs that the tremendous
working capacity of machines has lessened human labour. Nobody will deny
that our modern machine slavery, on so tremendous a scale, is the most
imposing slavery that has ever existed. And there is no denying that it
is slavery. Has this age of machinery subtracted from the sum of human
misery? No, most emphatically, no! Has it enhanced happiness and
increased the chances for happiness? No, again."

"That is why every three or four men of culture," said Doctor Wilhelm,
"are disciples of Schopenhauer. Modern Buddhism is making rapid strides."

"Yes," said Frederick, "because we are living in a world all the time
making a tremendous impression upon itself. As a result, it is getting
to be more and more fearfully bored. The man of the intellectual middle
class is gaining in prominence, while he is more mediocre than he has
been in any previous age. At the same time he is glutted and more blasé.
No form of idealism, no sort of genuinely great belief can hold its
ground any longer."

"I admit," said Wilhelm, "that the great industrial corporation,
civilisation, is parsimonious of everything except human lives and the
best that is in the human being. It places no value upon them. It lets
them rot. But I think there is one comfort. I think civilisation
possesses this one good, that it breaks us away once for all with the
worst savageries of the past. No inquisition, for instance, can ever be
possible again."

"Are you sure of it?" asked Frederick. "Don't you think it is strange
that alongside the greatest achievements of science, alongside Galileo,
Kepler, Laplace; alongside the spectrum analysis and the law of the
conservation of energy; alongside Kirchoff and Bunsen; alongside steam,
gas, electricity, the blindest and most antiquated superstitions still
survive, powerful as ever? I am not so certain that backsliding into the
most horrible times of the _Malleus maleficarum_ is impossible."

Doctor Wilhelm had rung for a steward, who now entered. Max Pander
appeared at the same time.

"Doctor von Kammacher, I feel as if we must have some champagne. Adolph,"
turning to the steward, "a bottle of Pommery."

"They're making a big hole in the champagne cellar," said Adolph.

"Of course. The people are all celebrating their escape from drowning
yesterday and day before yesterday."

Pander had come at the captain's order for the stoker's death
certificate. The document was lying ready in the medicine closet. After
Pander had left, Wilhelm told Frederick some remarkable incidents of the
dead man.

"His name was Zickelmann. There was the beginning of a letter in his
pocket. It was something like this: 'Dear mother, I have not seen you for
sixteen years. I have forgotten how you look, dear mother. I am not doing
well, but I must go to America to see you once again. It is very sad when
a man has no relatives in the whole world. Dear mother, I just want to
look at you, and I really won't be a burden to you.'"

The champagne appeared. Before long, the first bottle was replaced by the
second.

"Don't be surprised if I am immoderate," said Frederick. "My nerves are
in need of it to-day. I have to stupefy myself. Perhaps, with the help of
this glorious medicine, I shall be able to sleep a few hours."

It was half past ten, and the physicians were still sitting together. The
wine naturally produced a greater degree of intimacy between these two
men, who were of the same profession and had already become fairly well
acquainted with each other. It was very pleasant to Frederick to unbosom
himself.

He said he had entered the world with too favourable a preconceived
notion. In a spirit of idealism he had refused the military career
for which his father had intended him, and had taken up the study
of medicine, in the belief that he would thus be of most service to
humanity. He had been deceived.

"The genuine gardener works for the garden full of healthy plants; but
our work is devoted to a decaying vegetation sprung from diseased germs.
That is why I took up the fight against mankind's awfullest enemy, the
bacteria. I admit that the dreary, patient, laborious work, which
bacteriology requires, did not satisfy me, either. I didn't possess the
capacity to petrify, which is absolutely indispensable in an academic
man. When I was sixteen years old, I wanted to become a painter. Over the
dissecting table, I composed verses. The thing that I should now most
like to be is a freelance writer. From all of which you can see," he
concluded, laughing ironically, "that I have made rather a mess of my
life."

Wilhelm refused to admit it.

"But I have," Frederick declared. "I am a genuine child of the times, and
I am not ashamed of it. The greatest intellects of the day are all in a
state of inner ferment. Every individual of significance is just as
divided against himself as humanity on the whole. I refer, of course,
only to the leading European races. I embody the Pope and Luther, William
II and Robespierre, Bismarck and Bebel, the spirit of the American
millionaire and the enthusiasm for poverty that was the glory of St.
Francis of Assisi. I am the maddest progressive of my time and the
maddest reactionary. I despise Americanism, and yet I see in the great
American world-invasion, the dominion of the exploiter, something similar
to one of the biggest works that Hercules performed in the Augean
stables."

"Here's to chaos!" cried Wilhelm.

They touched glasses.

"Yes," said Frederick, "but only if it gives birth to a dancing heaven,
or, at least, a dancing star."

"Beware of dancing stars," said Wilhelm, laughing and looking at
Frederick significantly.

"What can a man do if his blood is on fire with that cursed poison?"

Under the influence of the champagne, the sudden confession seemed as
natural to Wilhelm as to Frederick.

"'There once was a rat in a cellar hole,'" Wilhelm quoted.

"Of course, of course," said Frederick, "but what is to be done against
it?" Then he turned the conversation to general questions again. "Why
should a man keep himself intact when he has lost his ideals? I have made
_tabula rasa_ of my past. I have drowned Germany in the ocean. Is Germany
really the great, strong, united Empire? Is it not rather the booty over
which God and the devil--I was about to say the Kaiser and the Pope--are
still wrangling? You will admit that for more than a thousand years, the
unifying principle was the imperial principle. People talk of the Thirty
Years' War as having disintegrated Germany. I should say it was the
thousand years' war, of which the Thirty Years' War was only the worst
excess, the worst paroxysm of that plague of religious dissension with
which the Germans are inoculated. And without unity, Germany is a very
queer structure. Its owners, or its inhabitants, don't possess it, except
in a slight degree. And the believer with the tiara at Rome tugs and tugs
at it, levying extortion under the threat of destroying the entire
structure; until he is actually able to buy it back with the compound
interest that has been accumulating. In that case nothing will be left
but a heap of ruins. One could shriek and tear one's hair because the
German does not see that in his basement there is an awful Bluebeard's
chamber. And not for women alone. He has no inkling of what an arsenal
of clerical instruments of torture lie there ready for use--clerical,
because they lie ready for the infliction of horrible corporal martyrdom
in the service of a bloody, fanatical, papistical belief. Woe, when the
door to the Bluebeard chamber opens. They are continually picking at the
lock. Then we shall witness all the sanguinary horrors of the Thirty
Years' War, the degenerate slaughter-house cruelty of an inquisition."

"That's something we won't drink a toast to. Rather let us toast the
healthy, cynically outspoken ideal of the American, the exploiter ideal,
with its tolerance and levelling down."

"Yes, a thousand times rather," said Frederick.

So they drank a toast to America.

A second-cabin stewardess led in the Russian Jewess. The girl was holding
a handkerchief to her nose and mouth. Her nose had been bleeding for an
hour without cease.

"Oh," she said, retreating a step from the threshold back to the deck,
"I am in the way." But Doctor Wilhelm insisted on her coming in.

It turned out that this was not the real mission on which the stewardess
had come to see Doctor Wilhelm. She whispered a few words, unintelligible
to the others, into his ear. He excused himself to Frederick, asked him
to look after the Jewess, and left the cabin with the stewardess.



XXX


"You are a doctor?" asked the Russian Jewess.

"Yes," said Frederick.

Without wasting many words, he made her lie prone on the couch, inserted
a tampon in her nose, and used other means to stanch the flow of blood.
He had kept the door to the deck open to let the cigarette smoke out
and the fresh, healing salt air in. The girl lay quietly on the couch;
and Frederick thought it advisable to look through one of Wilhelm's
medical books.

"So far as I am concerned, you may smoke," she said after a while, having
noticed that Frederick absent-mindedly started to light a cigarette
several times and then, recollecting himself, desisted.

"No," he said curtly, "I won't smoke now."

"You might at least offer me a cigarette," she said. "I am bored."

"That's proper," he said. "A patient should be bored."

"Oh, I am not a patient."

"_Patientia_ is the Latin for 'patience,' my dear young lady. You are not
a patient in so far as you are very impatient."

"If you let me have a cigarette, then I will say 'Yes, you are right.'"

"I know I am right, and there can be no question of your smoking now."

"But I want to smoke. You are impolite," she said, obstinately kicking up
her heel.

Frederick ordered her to be quiet, and she let her foot drop again on the
leather upholstery. He looked at her with an intentionally exaggerated
expression of sternness.

"I am not your slave, do you understand? Do you think I left Odessa,
where there is enough ordering about, to be ordered about by every
stranger I meet?" she grumbled. "I am cold. Please shut the door."

"If you want, I will shut the door," said Frederick, getting up to do so
with an air of resignation not altogether genuine.

In the morning in the steerage, Frederick and this Deborah had exchanged
a glowing look of understanding. Now, although, or perhaps because, the
wine was in his veins, he was eager for Doctor Wilhelm's return. His
absence seemed to be unduly prolonged. For a time the girl lay silent.
Frederick found it necessary to examine the tampon in her nostril. As he
was doing so, he noticed tears in her eyes.

"What is the matter?" he asked. "Why are you crying?"

She suddenly began to beat him with her arms and fists, called him a
sleek, heartless bourgeois, and wanted to jump up; but she had to succumb
to Frederick's superior, gentle strength and return to her reclining
posture. Frederick seated himself as before on an upholstered chair
opposite the couch.

"My dear child," he said, very gently, "you are behaving queerly,
slinging about those honourable epithets. But we won't discuss that. You
are nervous. You are excited. You have no blood in your veins, and even
if you had a stronger constitution, the condition of your nerves after
the hardships of this trip, especially in the steerage, could scarcely be
different."

"I'll never travel first class, never!"

"Why not?"

"Because, considering the misery in which the majority of human beings
are languishing, it is a mean low thing to do to travel first class. Read
Dostoievsky, read Tolstoy, read Kropotkin! We are being chased like
animals. We are being persecuted. It doesn't matter where we die."

"It may interest you to know that I have read them all, Kropotkin,
Tolstoy, Dostoievsky. But don't suppose you are the only persecuted
person on earth. I am persecuted, too. We are all persecuted."

"Oh, you are travelling first class and you are not a Jew. I am a Jew.
Have you the faintest idea of what it means to be a Jew in Russia?"

"That is why you and I are now travelling to a new world," said
Frederick, "to America, the land of liberty."

"Indeed!" she sneered, "I and liberty! I know my fate. Don't you know
into what hands I have fallen? I am the victim of vile exploiters!"

The girl cried, and since she was young and of the same delicacy of
figure as Ingigerd, only of a very different race, a dark-haired,
dark-eyed race, Frederick felt himself perceptibly weakening. His
compassion grew; and he was well aware that openly expressed sympathy
is the surest approach to love. So he again forced himself into a hard,
repellent attitude of opposition.

"Now I am nothing but a physician representing another physician. What
does it concern me, and how can I help it, if you have fallen into the
hands of exploiters? Besides, all of you intellectual Russians are
hysterical--a trait utterly repugnant to me."

She jumped to her feet and wanted to run away. To restrain her he caught
first her right, then her left wrist. She looked at him with such an
expression of hate and contempt that he could not but be sensitive of the
girl's passionate beauty. Her face was of the colour that greensickness
imparts. Her features were exquisitely delicate. In contrast, Ingigerd's
face, with which Frederick fleetingly compared hers, seemed unrefined,
even coarse. Here was the aristocracy of a too highly bred race, somewhat
faded, to be sure, but at that moment all the more seductive.

"Ugh! Let me go, let me go, I say!"

"What have I done to you?" Frederick asked. For a moment he was genuinely
alarmed, scarcely knowing whether he had not been actually guilty of a
wrong against her. He had been drinking champagne and was excited. If
someone were to enter now, what would he think of him? Even centuries
before, had not Potiphar's wife, from whom Joseph fled, resorted to
certain successful slanderous means? "What have I done?" he repeated.

"Nothing," she said, "except what you are in the habit of doing. You have
insulted an unprotected girl."

"Are you crazy?" he asked.

Suddenly she answered: "I don't know." And in that instant the hard,
hateful expression of her face melted, turning into complete submission,
a change that went irresistibly to the heart of a man like Frederick. He
forgot himself. He was no longer master of his feelings.



XXXI


This strange incident of meeting, seeing, loving, and parting forever had
passed swiftly as in a dream. Since Wilhelm had not yet returned,
Frederick, long after his visitor had fled, went out on deck, where the
exalted impression of the starry heavens shining over the infinite
expanse of the ocean, purified him, as it were. He was neither by nature
nor by habit a Don Juan, and it astonished him that the unusual,
surprising adventure seemed the most natural thing in the world.

The deck was empty. Another boy was on guard in Pander's place. The
temperature had sunk to below freezing-point, and a thick coating of
hoar-frost lay on the rigging.

As he stood leaning over the railing, he had a painful vision of the sum
total of life and death within the eons of life on earth. His innermost
being smarted with the pain of it. Death must have existed before the
beginning. Death and death! That was the limit, he thought, of vast sums
of trouble, hope, desire, enjoyment--enjoyment which forthwith consumed
itself to make way for renewed desire, for illusions of possession, for
realities of loss, for anguish, for conflicts, for meetings and partings;
all uncontrollable processes bound up with suffering and fresh suffering
and suffering again. It gave him some satisfaction to assume that now
that the passage was so smooth, his Deborah and all her companions in
suffering were probably lying wrapt in unconscious sleep, for a time
relieved of the great madness of life.

While waiting for Doctor Wilhelm, absorbed in these reflections,
Frederick involuntarily turned away from the edge of the deck, and became
aware of a dark mass not far from the smoke-stack, cowering in a corner
against the wall. The thing looked strange to him. On stepping closer he
saw it was a man on the floor asleep, wrapped in his overcoat with his
cap drawn over his eyes, his bearded head resting on a low camp-chair.
Frederick was convinced it was Achleitner. Why was he lying there in the
freezing cold instead of in bed? Frederick found the right answer. Not
more than three paces away was the door of Ingigerd's cabin; and he was
the faithful dog in three senses, the watchdog, the Cerberus, the dog
crazed with the rabies of jealousy.

"Poor fellow," Frederick said aloud. "Poor, stupid Achleitner!" He felt
genuine, almost tender sympathy; and over him came all the woe of the
deceived lover, as we can trace it from Nietzsche and Schopenhauer down
to Buddha Gotama, whose pupil, Ananda, asks: "Master, how shall we
comport ourselves toward a woman?" Quoth the master: "Avoid the sight of
her, Ananda, because a woman's being is hidden. It is unfathomable as the
way of the fish in the water. To her, lying is as truth, and truth as
lying."

"Sst! What are you doing here?" said Doctor Wilhelm, stepping up softly.
He was carrying something in his hands carefully wrapped up.

"Do you know who is lying here?" said Frederick. "It is Achleitner."

"He wanted to keep his eye on that cabin," Wilhelm remarked cynically,
"to limit the attendance."

"We must wake him up."

"Why?" said Wilhelm. "Later, when we go to bed."

"I am going to bed now."

"Come to my cabin first for a moment."

In his cabin the physician laid a human embryo on the table.

"She has attained her end," he said, meaning the girl travelling second
class, who in his opinion had taken the trip for no other purpose than to
rid herself of her burden and avoid disgrace. At the sight of the little
object, Frederick did not know whether to be born or never to awaken to
life was preferable.

He went out on deck again, aroused Achleitner, and led him to his cabin,
resisting and mumbling incomprehensible words, though half asleep. Then,
in dread of the agonies of insomnia, he went to his own cabin.



XXXII


He fell asleep immediately, but when he awoke, it was only two o'clock.
The ship was still moving easily, and he could hear the screw working
regularly under the water. Life in times of great physical crises is a
fever, which travelling and sleeplessness enhance. Frederick well knew
his own nature, and was alarmed when he saw himself robbed of the peace
of sleep after so short a time.

But had his sleep actually meant peace? Lying on his back with wide,
staring eyes, he saw vast nocturnal spaces of his soul opened up, where
in bottomless depths another chaotic life had been born--a multitude of
tormenting visions, in which things and persons most familiar had arisen
in combination with things and persons entirely strange. He tried to
recall his dreams.

He had dreamed he was wandering hand in hand with Achleitner among the
dark smoke widows trailing backward over the ocean from the funnels of
the _Roland_, far, far away. He and the Russian Jewess together with
great difficulty dragged the dead stoker, Zickelmann, up into the blue
ladies' parlour; and by means of a serum, which he himself had
discovered, he brought him back to life. He smoothed over a quarrel
between the Russian Jewess and Ingigerd Hahlström, who fought and called
each other abusive names. He was sitting with Doctor Wilhelm in his
cabin, and, as Wagner once had done, was observing a homunculus still
undergoing embryonic development in a glass sphere on which light was
shining. At the same time Ingigerd's cockatoo was squawking in Arthur
Stoss's voice and continually asseverating:

"I am already a man of absolutely independent fortune. I am touring
simply to bring my fortune up to a certain amount."

Under the impression that he was recalling these things to his memory,
Frederick was really dreaming again. Suddenly he started up, cuffing Hans
Füllenberg furiously and saying: "I'll box your ears." Shortly afterward
he was in the smoking-room delivering a crushing sermon for the third or
fourth time, morally felling to the ground the man who had desecrated his
sacred relation to Ingigerd. But the captain came in, and said they had
to bury the stoker. There was a dead man on board. When Frederick stepped
from the smoking-room, he saw the corpse lying in the coffin. It was not
Zickelmann, the stoker, but Angèle, his suffering, neglected wife, in one
of her hysterical attacks in which she lay in a trance. And it was not at
the entrance to the smoking-room, but in Plassenberg in the Heuscheuer,
in front of his comfortable house. Captain von Kessel was standing in the
garden clipping a privet hedge. It was at night, but a full moon was
shining bright as day over the lonely valley meadows in front of his
house. Angèle arose and Frederick went to lead her into the house. She
resisted. Now the consciousness of his spiritual separation from her
filled him with infinite sadness, a sadness more bitter and profound
than any that had ever inspired him in his waking moments.

"I am a mother," said Angèle, "but not by you."

He embraced her, weeping, and wanted to draw her into his house. She
resisted gently, but firmly, and declared she was forbidden to enter. He
saw her wandering across the meadows in the moonshine, slowly and
wearily.

"Angèle!" he cried. He ran after her.

"It is so hard for me," she said, "because life and not death has robbed
me of you."

Frederick groaned aloud. A great stone seemed to be lying on his breast.
He heard the rushing of waters. He saw the flood come leaping through all
the valleys, over the tops of all the hills, wave upon wave, from all
sides. The moon was shining. He saw Angèle climb to a little skiff lying
moored somewhere; and the tide carried away the skiff with her in it. The
waters overwhelmed his house.

Again the wandering began, hand in hand with Achleitner and the smoke
widows across the ocean desert. Again began that difficult dragging
up-stairs and down-stairs of the naked, dead stoker, with the help of the
young admirer of Kropotkin. The dispute between Ingigerd and Deborah, his
sermonising of Füllenberg and the man in the smoking-room repeated
themselves, each repetition intensifying his torment. The homunculus
in the glass sphere in Doctor Wilhelm's cabin appeared again. It
developed with light thrown on it. In his anguish, in his impotence
against that martyrising chase of visions, Frederick's persecuted soul,
gasping for peace, suddenly rose in revolt, and he said aloud:

"Kindle the light of reason, kindle the light of reason, O God in
heaven!"

He rose in his berth, and saw that Rosa, the servant-girl, was in reality
holding a burning candle over him. She bent down slightly, and said:

"You are dreaming hard. Aren't you feeling well, Doctor von Kammacher?"

The door creaked. The servant-girl Rosa had left. The ship was moving
quietly. Or was he mistaken? Was the _Roland_ no longer proceeding so
calmly and steadily as before? He listened intently, and heard the screw
whirring regularly under the water. Monotonous calls penetrated from the
deck. Then came the loud rattling of the cinders pouring overboard.
Frederick looked at his watch. It was five o'clock. So three hours had
passed since he had first awakened! Again, with a clatter and a thunder,
a load of ashes slid into the Atlantic Ocean. Was it not the mates of the
dead stoker, Zickelmann, who were throwing it overboard? Frederick heard
the crying of children, thereupon the sobbing and whimpering of his
hysterical neighbour, and finally Rosa's voice, trying to quiet Siegfried
and Ella, who was a talkative little girl. Siegfried was fretfully
begging to be taken back to his grandmother in Luckenwalde. Mrs. Liebling
was scolding Rosa, telling her she was responsible for the children's
behaviour. Frederick heard her say:

"You all trample about on my nerves. I wish the three of you were at the
bottom of the sea. For heaven's sake, let me sleep!"



XXXIII


Notwithstanding all these impressions, Frederick fell asleep again. He
dreamed that he and Rosa, the maid, and little Siegfried Liebling were in
a life-boat, rocking on a calm, shimmering green sea. Strangely enough,
there was a mass of gold ingots in the bottom of the boat, probably the
gold ingots that the _Roland_ was supposed to be carrying to the mint in
Washington. Frederick was at the helm, and after cruising about a while,
they reached a bright, cheery port. It may have been a port in the
Azores, or the Madeira Islands, or the Canary Islands. At a short
distance from the quay, Rosa jumped overboard and reached land holding
Siegfried clear of the water. People received them, and they disappeared
in one of the snowy white buildings at the harbour front. When Frederick
landed, to his joy he was greeted on the marble steps of the quay by his
old friend, Peter Schmidt, the physician he intended to visit in America.
In response to curious questions, he always said that this was his main
purpose in crossing the ocean. His delight at seeing him in a dream, in
the setting of the white tropical town, after a separation of eight or
nine years, was a surprise to himself. How was it possible that he had
only occasionally and superficially remembered so magnificent a man, so
dear a youthful companion?

Peter Schmidt was a Friesian. He and Frederick had sat together on the
same school bench; later, they had spent two years together in the
gymnasium at St. Magdalene at Breslau and several semesters in the
universities of Greifswald, Breslau, and Zürich. Owing to a combination
of common sense, many-sided knowledge, and humanitarian enthusiasm, Peter
Schmidt had exerted great influence on his friends. There was also an
adventurous streak in his nature, inherited from his father, a Friesian
colonist, who lay buried in a churchyard in Meriden, Connecticut.

"It is good that you have come," said Peter Schmidt. Frederick felt as
if he had been long expecting him. "Your wife, Angèle, just arrived in
a skiff."

His friend silently led him to an inn near the harbour. A sense of
security such as he had never before felt came over him. While he took
a little luncheon in the dining-room, where the host, a German, stood
opposite, twirling his thumbs, Peter Schmidt explained:

"The town is not large, but it will give you an idea of the country.
You will find people here that are contented and have made their last
landing."

It was taken as a matter of course that there, in that strange, silent
city in the dazzling sunlight, the fewest possible words were to be
spoken. Some new, mute inner sense appeared to make meanings clear.
Nevertheless, Frederick said:

"I've always taken you for the mentor in unknown depths of our
predestination." By which he meant to express his awe at his friend's
mysterious being.

"Yes," said Peter Schmidt, "but this is only a small beginning, though
enough to indicate what is hidden under the surface here."

Peter Schmidt, born in Tondern, now led Frederick out to the harbour. It
was a very small harbour. There were a number of ancient vessels lying
half-sunk in the water.

"Fourteen-ninety-two," said Peter Schmidt. That was the year the four
hundredth anniversary of which was being much discussed by the Americans
on board the _Roland_. The Friesian pointed to both the half-submerged
caravels and explained that one of them was the _Santa Maria_,
Christopher Columbus's flag-ship. "I came over with Christopher
Columbus," he said.

All this was unqualifiedly enlightening to Frederick. Nor was there
anything enigmatic in Peter Schmidt's explanation that the wood of those
slowly decaying caravels was called _legno santo_ and was used for fuel,
because it contained the spirit of knowledge. Farther out to sea lay a
third vessel, with a great, black breach forward on the port side.

"It sank," said the Friesian. "It brought in a great lot of people."

Frederick looked at the vessel. He was dissatisfied. He would have liked
to ask questions about the unfamiliar, yet curiously familiar ship out
there at sea; but the Friesian left the harbour and turned into a narrow,
crooked street with a steep flight of stairs.

Here an old uncle of Frederick, who had been dead more than fifteen
years, came toward him comfortably puffing at a pipe. He had just arisen,
it seemed, from a bench by the open entrance to his house.

"How do you do?" he said. "We are all here, my boy." Frederick knew whom
the old man meant when he said, "We are all here." "We fare very well,"
the old man, who in his lifetime had not been exactly favoured by
fortune, continued, grinning. "I didn't get along so well when I was up
with you in the dismal air. In the first place, my boy, we have the
_legno santo_." With his pipe he pointed to the dark interior of his
house, where blue tongues of flame were leaping on the hearth. "And
besides, we have the Toilers of the Light. But I am detaining you. _We_
have time, but _you_ must hurry." Frederick said good-bye.
"Fiddlesticks!" exclaimed his uncle. "Do you people down there still keep
up that tiresome business of 'how-do-you-do' and 'good-bye'?"

Climbing higher up the street, Peter Schmidt led Frederick through a
number of houses and inside courtyards. In one of the courtyards with
many corners, reminding Frederick of certain ancient sections of Hamburg
and Nuremberg, was a ship-chandlery bearing the sign, "The Seagoing
Ship."

"Everything here looks quite ordinary," said Peter Schmidt, "but here we
have all the ancient models." He pointed to the small model of an ancient
vessel standing in the little window of the chandlery, among packages
of chewing tobacco and leather whips.

Ships, ships, nothing but ships! The sight of this last vessel seemed
to produce the beginning of a slight gnawing resistance in Frederick's
brain. He knew he was looking upon an all-embracing symbol, which he had
never before seen. With a new sense organ, with centralised clarity of
thought, he realised that here, in this little model, was comprehended
all the wandering and adventuring of the human soul.

"Oh," said the chandler, opening the glass door of the little shop, at
which all sorts of wares hanging on the door swung to and fro with a
clatter, "Oh, you here, Frederick? I thought you were still at sea."

Frederick recognised the chandler as George Rasmussen, whose farewell
letter he had received in Southampton. He was dressed in a shabby cap and
dressing-gown belonging to a confectioner long dead, whom he had known
when a boy. Mysterious as it all was, there was yet something natural in
this meeting with his friend. The little shop was alive with goldfinches.
"They are the goldfinches," Rasmussen explained, "that settled in the
Heuscheuer Mountains last winter, you know, and were fatal to me."

"Yes, I remember," said Frederick. "We would approach a bare branch or
tree, and suddenly it would seem to shake itself and scatter thousands of
gold leaves. We interpreted it as auguring mountains of money."

"Well," said the chandler, "it was precisely thirteen minutes past one
on the twenty-fourth of January when I drew my last breath. I had just
received your telegram from Paris absolving me from my debt. Back there
in the shop, among other things, is my predecessor's fur coat, which--I
am by no means complaining--infected me. I wrote you that if I could, I
would make myself noticeable from the Beyond. Well, here I am. But even
here everything isn't perfectly clear and plain, though I am feeling
better, and we all rest in a pleasant sense of basic security. I'm glad
you and Peter Schmidt have met. He counts for a lot here in this country.
You will meet each other above again, in New York, at the celebration of
the four hundredth anniversary of 1492. Good Lord! Of what significance
after all, is that little discovery of America?" Rasmussen in his strange
disguise removed the miniature vessel from the show window. It, too, was
called the _Santa Maria_. "Now, please be careful," he said. Frederick
noticed that the old confectioner took one vessel after another of the
same sort, but diminishing in size, from the first one. "Patience," he
said, while still pulling more and more vessels from the entrails of the
_Santa Maria_. The procedure caused Frederick no slight astonishment.
"Patience. The smaller are always the better ones. If I had time, we
should reach the smallest, the final, the most glorious work of
Providence. Each one of these ships carries us not only beyond the
boundaries of our planet, but even beyond the limited barriers of our
senses. Each of them is adapted to carry us across the border. If you are
interested," he continued, "I have other wares in my shop. Here are the
captain's hedge-scissors, here is a plummet with which one can sound the
lowest depths of the firmament and the Milky Way. Here are the tropics of
Cancer and Capricorn. But you have no time, and I won't detain you."

The chandler closed the glass door on them; but they saw him with his
nose flattened against the pane, mysteriously, as if he still had
something to sell, holding his finger to his mouth, shaped like a carp's.
His lips seemed to be framing certain words. Frederick understood _legno
santo_, Toilers of the Light, and even what his uncle had said about "up
with you in the dismal air." But Peter Schmidt thrust his fist through
the glass door, pulled Rasmussen's embroidered cap off his head, took
from it a little key, and beckoned Frederick to come away with him. They
left the houses behind and stepped out into the open rolling country.

"The thing is," said Peter, "it will mean a lot of trouble."

And they ran and climbed for hours. Evening fell. They lit a fire, and
slept in a tree rocking in the wind. Morning came. They took to wandering
again, until the sun lay low on the horizon. Finally, Peter opened a
small gate in a low wall. On the other side of the wall was a garden.
A gardener was tying vines.

"How do you do, Doctor?" he said. "The sun is setting, but we know why we
die."

On looking at him more closely, Frederick recognised the dead stoker in
the man, whose face was illuminated by the rosy flush of the setting sun
and wore a friendly smile, as he stood there in what was a strange
garden, or vineyard, or fairy-land.

"I'd rather be doing this than shovelling coal," said the stoker,
pointing to the cords hanging in his hands, with which he had been tying
up the vines.

The three of them together now walked a rather long distance to a wild
section of the garden, where it had turned completely dark. The wind
began to rush, and the shrubs, trees and bushes of the garden swished
like breakers on the shore. The stoker beckoned to them, and they
squatted on the ground in a circle. It seemed as if the stoker with his
bare hand had taken a bit of burning wood from his pocket. He held it
close to the ground, to illuminate a round opening, something like the
burrow of a marmot or a rabbit.

"_Legno santo_," said Peter Schmidt, pointing to the glowing piece of
charcoal. "Now, Frederick, you will get to see those ant-like little
elves that are called _noctiluci_ or night-lights. They pompously call
themselves Toilers of the Light. But whatever their name, it must be
admitted that they are the ones that take the light hidden in the
entrails of the earth, store it up, and sow it in fields, the soil of
which has been especially prepared; and when it has grown to its full
size and has borne fruit a hundredfold in the shape of gold sheaves or
nuggets, they harvest it and save it for the darkest of dark times."

And, actually, looking through a crevice, Frederick saw something like
another world, with a subterranean sun shining on it. A multitude of
little elves, the Toilers of the Light, were mowing with scythes, cutting
stalks, binding sheaves, loading carts, and storing in barns. Many cut
the light out of the ground, like nuggets of gold. Undoubtedly it was the
gold meant for the mint in Washington that was haunting Frederick's
dreams.

"These Toilers of the Light," said the Friesian, Peter Schmidt, "are the
most stimulating to my ideas."

At this point Frederick awoke, while the voice of the stoker close beside
him was saying:

"Many will soon be following me."



XXXIV


The first thing Frederick did on waking was to look at his watch. He had
a dull feeling that he must have slept through the whole night and even
the following day. He peered at the hands incredulously and held the
watch to his ear to convince himself it had not stopped. No, it was still
running. Consequently, since his last waking, only six or, at the utmost,
eight minutes had passed.

This fact as well as the peculiarity and the vividness of his dream set
him to marvelling. He could not recall ever having dreamed so coherently
and logically. Are there dreams that are more than dreams? Was Rasmussen
dead? Had his friend, keeping his promise, chosen this way to make
himself noticeable from the Beyond? A strange shudder went through
Frederick. In his excitement it seemed to him that he had been honoured
with a revelation. He took his memorandum book from the net bag over his
berth and jotted down the date and hour that the remarkable chandler had
mentioned as the time of his death. "Thirteen minutes past one," he
distinctly heard Rasmussen's voice saying, "thirteen minutes past one, on
the twenty-fourth of January."

The _Roland_ was tossing slightly again, and the great siren was
bellowing. Its repeated thunderous cries, which indicated fog, the
lurching of the vessel, the sign, perhaps, of fresh storms and hardships
to be gone through, vexed and fretted Frederick. From the adventurous
doings in his brain, he was transported to the no less adventurous doings
in reality. Awakening from his dreams, he found himself locked into a
narrow cabin, plowing through the high seas, on a vessel heavily
freighted with the fearful dreams of many souls, and yet not sinking
from the load of that cargo.

Frederick was already on deck before half past five. The fog had lifted,
and from over the edge of a leaden sea of moderate-sized waves rose the
dawn of a gloomy morning. The deck was empty, producing the impression of
dreary loneliness. The passengers were all lying in their berths. None of
the crew even were visible. It looked as if the mighty ship were pursuing
its course wholly without human agency.



XXXV


Frederick was standing near the log-line, which dragged in the broad,
churning wake. Even in the ghostly dawn, hungry gulls were following the
ship, sometimes flying near, sometimes dropping back, ever and anon
swooping down into the foamy wake with a mournful cry, as of condemned
souls. This was no vision, and yet Frederick scarcely distinguished it
from a dream. With his nerves unstrung, with his being still penetrated
by the marvels of his sleeping life, which remained partially present to
him, the strange heaving waste of the ocean seemed no less miraculous
than his dreams. Thus the ocean had been tossing its mountains of waves
beneath the blind eyes of millions of years, itself no less blind than
those eons. Thus and not otherwise had it been since the first day of
creation: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the
earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the
deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

Frederick shivered. Had he ever lived with anything else than a spirit
and spirits, that is, with ghosts? And at this moment was he not farther
removed than ever from what is considered immovable solid ground, from
what is called reality? In his state of mind, did he not believe in fairy
tales, sailors' superstitions, the Flying Dutchman, and hobgoblins? What
was that ocean hiding in its infinite waves rolling under the low, grey
sky? Had not everything arisen from the ocean? Had not everything gone
down into its depths again? Had some power disclosed the submerged
Atlantis to Frederick's mental vision? Why not?

He was passing through profound, enigmatic moments of a fearful yet
pleasurable dread. There was the ocean, on which an apparently abandoned
vessel, a small spot in infinity, was staggering forward with no visible
goal ahead and no visible starting-point behind. There were the heavens
lying heavily upon it, grey and dismal. There was Frederick himself,
alone. Every animate creature in that solitude was transformed in his
soul into visions, phantoms and apparitions. Man is always facing the
unfathomable alone. That gives him a sense of greatness along with a
sense of desertion. There was a man standing at the stern of a vessel,
while the darkness of night was yielding to the dawn, bound by the
invisible, glowing threads of his fate to two continents of the globe,
and awaiting the new, less tormenting form of life that comes from the
sun, a strange star millions of miles removed from the planet earth. All
this was a miracle to Frederick, almost overwhelming him, as if he were
imprisoned in marvels. In a sudden seizure of hopelessness that he would
ever throw off the suffocating oppression of riddles and miracles, the
temptation came upon him to leap over the railing. Close upon this
feeling followed the timidity of a man with a bad conscience. He glanced
about, as if in fear of discovery. He wiped his eyes and forehead with
his hands, because it seemed to him that the dead stoker with the bloody
wound had for a long time been sitting nearby on a coil of rope. His
chest felt heavy, as if a load were dragging it down. He heard voices. He
saw his wife, Angèle, wringing her hands. Suddenly he thought he was to
blame for her illness, that he was a criminal; and all his thoughts of
Ingigerd Hahlström made him doubly despicable in his own eyes. His ideas
grew confused. In a wave of absolute credulity, he thought the voice of
his conscience was condemning him to death. He thought that his life was
being demanded as an atonement, that he must sacrifice himself, or else
the _Roland_, with all it carried, would sink.

At that moment Frederick heard a strong voice saying:

"Good morning, Doctor von Kammacher."

It was the first mate, Von Halm, on his way to the bridge. Before the
healthy beauty of the human voice, the haunting visions instantly fled,
and Frederick's soul was restored to sanity.

"Were you making deep-sea researches?" Von Halm asked.

"Yes," said Frederick with a laugh, "I was about to make a sounding for
the submerged Atlantis. What do you think of the weather?"

The giant was wearing his sou'wester and oilskin. He pointed to the
barometer. Frederick saw it had dropped considerably. Adolph, the
steward, came in search of Frederick. Having failed to find him in his
cabin, he was bringing him his zwieback and large peasant cup of tea on
deck. Frederick seated himself on the same bench as the day before,
opposite the companionway. He sipped the cordial drink and warmed
his hands on the cup.

Before he had finished, the wind was again beginning to boom in the
rigging of the four masts, and a stiff, obstinate wind was heeling the
vessel to starboard. Frederick set to bargaining inwardly, as if he had
to reckon with the powers on account of the new hardships to be gone
through. He suddenly longed to be with Peter Schmidt in America. Since
his dream, it seemed more and more important for him to see, and
associate with, his old comrade again. He thought he was rid of Ingigerd,
the more surely as she had played no part at all in the momentous
Atlantis dream. The sooner the voyage with her ended the better.



XXXVI


By the time Frederick was taking his real breakfast with Doctor Wilhelm
in the dining-room, at about eight o'clock, the whole mass of the vessel
was again quivering and at short intervals again seemed to be running
hard against walls of rock. The low-ceiled room in dismal gloom, dotted
here and there by electric lights, was leaping in a mad dance, one moment
riding high on the crest of a wave, the next moment plunging deep into an
eddying trough. The few men that had ventured to table tried to laugh and
joke away the situation, which by no means offered a rosy outlook.

"In the pit of my stomach I have the feeling I used to get as a child
when I swung too high."

"Kammacher, we're in the devil's cauldron. There'll be things doing
compared with which the things we've gone through aren't a circumstance,"
said Wilhelm.

From somewhere came the word, "Cyclone," a dreadful word, though it
seemed to make no impression upon the steamer _Roland_, a model of
determination, steadfastly cleaving the waves and tearing breaches in
the mountains of water. New York was its goal, and it was hastening
onward.

Frederick wanted to go on deck, but it looked bad there, and he remained
on the upper step under the protection of the companionway penthouse. The
level of the sea seemed to have risen, so that the warrior _Roland_
appeared to be making his obstinate way through a deep defile. One could
not help succumbing to the impression that each instant the defile would
close overhead and settle the faithful vessel's fate forever. Sailors in
oilskins were climbing about to make fast every loose thing. Great waves
had already swept overboard. The salt water was trickling and flowing
over the deck. As if that were not enough, the heavens were driving down
rain and snow. The rigging was howling, groaning, booming, and whistling
in every pitch and key. That severity, that awfulness of the elements,
that eternal rushing and roaring and seething of great masses of water,
through which the steamer was staggering forward as if in mad, blind
intoxication, that mournful, raging tumult kept up hour after hour. By
noon it had even grown worse.

Very few responded to the trumpet-call for luncheon. There were about ten
men beside the woman physician and the woman painter. Hahlström seated
himself at Frederick's and Wilhelm's empty table. The ladies' places were
not far away.

"No wonder," said Frederick, "that sailors are superstitious. The way
this awful weather dropped out of a clear sky is enough to make a man
believe in magic."

"It may even grow worse," Wilhelm observed.

The women heard his remark, looked up, and made horrified eyes.

"Do you think there is danger?" one of them asked.

"Danger is always imminent in life," he replied, and added with a smile:
"It is merely a question of not being frightened."

Incredible to relate, the band began to play as usual, and, what is more,
played a piece entitled _Marche triomphale_. The effect on all was at
first a slight shudder; then nobody could resist a smile at the apparent
irony of it.

"The musicians are heroes," said Frederick.

"In general," remarked Hahlström, "our grim humour nowadays is a great
asset. If those musicians were to receive the order, they would play 'A
Country Girl,' and 'My Hannah Lady,' in the jaws or the belly of a whale.
If they didn't, they'd fare just as badly."

"O Lord, anything for a steady table, a steady seat, a steady berth! The
man possessing these things seldom knows how rich he is," said Frederick,
in a voice raised to a shout to make himself heard above the noise of the
sea without and the music within. The men laughed, and the ocean, to add
to their amusement, raised them up in the fog, the tempest, and the snow
to the top of a wave ninety feet high. Everybody was instantly silenced.
Even the orchestra played a frightened pause not indicated in the score.

On ascending the companionway after lunch, Frederick saw Arthur Stoss in
the unfrequented smoking-room eating his meal in perfect equanimity and
cheerfulness undisturbed by the weather. Frederick went in for a chat
with the original, witty monstrosity. He was cutting his fish with a
knife and fork held between the great toe and the second toe.

"Our old omnibus is jolting a bit," he said. "If our boilers are good,
there is nothing to fear. But there's this much about it. If it is not
a cyclone yet, it may still turn into one. I don't care. It looks more
discouraging than it really is. What a man will do! To show the people
in Cape Town, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, San Francisco and Mexico what a
man with a firm, energetic will can accomplish, even if nature has not
favoured him, he will plow through all the cyclones, hurricanes and
typhoons of all the waters of the globe. Your business man sitting in the
Winter Garden in Berlin, or the Alhambra in London, never dreams of all
the things the performer giving his number must go through before he can
merely stand where he is standing. He can't ever take it easy and let
himself get rusty."

Frederick was feeling miserable. Although his dreams were still haunting
his brain, and Ingigerd, or his sick wife, or the Russian Jewess was
still present in his soul, he nevertheless felt that all sensations were
becoming more and more submerged in the one sensation, that on all sides
there was distinct menace of a brutal danger.

Hans Füllenberg entered. His face was lifeless.

"There is a corpse on board," he said, in a tone implying a causal
relation between the dead stoker and the raging storm. It was very
evident that the spice had been taken out of Hans Füllenberg's life.

"I heard the same thing," Stoss said. "My man, Bulke, told me a stoker
died."

Frederick simulated ignorance of the event. Accustomed to observe himself
honestly, he realized that though the fact was not new to him,
Füllenberg's statement of it had made him shudder.

"The dead man is dead," said Stoss, now attacking his roast with
appetite. "We won't be wrecked on the dead stoker's corpse. But last
night a derelict was sighted. Those corpses, the corpses of vessels, are
dangerous. When the sea is rough, they can't be sighted."

Frederick asked for more information about derelicts.

"About nine hundred and seventy-five drifting derelicts," Stoss
explained, "have been sighted in five years here in the northern part of
the Atlantic. It is certain that the actual number is twice as great. One
of the most dangerous of such tramps is the iron four-masted schooner,
_Houresfeld_. On its way from Liverpool to San Francisco, fire broke out
in its hold, and the crew abandoned it. If we were to collide with
anything of that sort, there wouldn't be a soul left to tell the tale."

"You can't pass through the gangways," said Füllenberg, "the bulkheads
are closed down."

The siren began to roar again. Frederick still heard defiance and triumph
in the cry, and yet something recalling the broken horn of the hero
Roland in Roncesvalles.

"There is no danger yet," said Stoss to calm him.



XXXVII


Long after Stoss had been led away by his valet and tucked in bed for his
afternoon nap, Frederick still remained in the unfrequented smoking-room.
The place made an uncanny impression. Yet its very gloominess insured
privacy; and in the gravity of the situation he had need to be by
himself. He began, perhaps prematurely, to consider the worst
eventuality. He thought it might be well to stand in readiness. Around
the walls ran a bench upholstered in leather. Kneeling on it, he could
look through the port-holes out upon the mighty uproar of the waters. In
that position, watching the waves beat with inconceivable persistency
against the desperately struggling vessel, he let his life pass in review
before his mind's eye.

Grey gloom was closing down on him. After all, he felt that he yearned
for life and was far from being as ready to die as he had occasionally
supposed. Something akin to regret came over him. "Why am I here? Why did
I not stop to consider and summon all my rational will power to keep me
from this senseless trip? For all I care, let me die; but not here, not
in a desert of water far from mother earth, immeasurably far from the
great community of men. This seems to me a particularly awful curse. Men
on solid land, in their own homes, men among men, have not the least
notion of it." What was Ingigerd to him now? A matter of indifference.
Shaking his head, he admitted that he now had only the narrowest concern
for himself. What a beautiful hope to escape that brutal fate and land on
some shore! Any fragment of land, any island, any city, any snow-clad
village was a garden of Eden, an improbable dream of happiness. How
extravagantly grateful he would be in the future merely to tread dry
land, merely to draw breath, merely to see a lively street! He gnashed
his teeth. Of what avail a cry for help here? How could a man find God's
ear here? If the extreme thing were to happen, and the _Roland_ with its
mass of human beings were to founder, one would see things that would
prevent the man that had seen them, even if he escaped, from ever being
happy again.

"I would not witness it," thought Frederick. "I would jump overboard to
avoid the sight of it. And while that would be happening, none of my
friends and relatives would be thinking of me at all. 'The steamship
_Roland_ sunk' appears as a head-line in the newspapers. 'Oh!' says the
reader in Berlin, the reader in Hamburg, and Amsterdam. He takes a sip
of coffee, puffs at his cigar, and comfortably settles back to a taste of
more details of the catastrophe, whether observed or fabricated. What a
hurrah for the newspaper publishers! A sensation! More readers! That is
the Medusa into whose eyes we look, and who tells us what the genuine
value of a cargo of human lives is in the world."

Frederick attempted in vain to battle against a still-life picture,
which the _Roland_, valiantly struggling onward, with its siren almost
stifled in the storm, showed him at the bottom of the sea. He saw the
majestic vessel in a coffin of glass. Across its decks swarms of fish
swam hither and thither. Its cabins were all filled with water. The
large dining-room, with its panels of walnut, its tables, and
leather-upholstered revolving chairs, was filled with water. A big polyp,
jelly-fish, and red, mushroom-like sea-anemones had penetrated into the
very gangways along which the passengers were now walking. And to
Frederick's horror, the liveried corpses of Pfundner, the head-steward,
and his assistant stewards were slowly floating about in a circle. The
picture would have been almost ridiculous, had it not been so gruesome
and had it not so certainly lain in the realm of the possible. Think of
all the things divers report! All the things they have seen in the cabins
and gangways of submerged steamers; inextricably knotted masses of human
beings, passengers or sailors coming toward them with outstretched arms,
upright, as if alive and as if awaiting them. A closer examination of the
clothes of those guardians and administrators of a lost estate at the
bottom of the sea, those strange ship-owners, business men, captains,
pursers, those fortune-seekers, money-seekers, embezzlers, adventurers,
or whatever they might be, showed that they were filled with polyps,
crustaceans, and all sorts of ocean worms, enjoying their stay there
as long as something remained beneath their shredded garments except
gnawed-off bones.

Frederick beheld himself down there, too, one of those decaying phantoms,
months old, wandering about in the ghastly abode of the sunken _Roland_,
in that horrible Vineta, where each man passed his neighbour mutely with
a frightened gesture, each seeming to carry in his breast a congealed cry
of anguish, which he expressed with bowed head and outstretched arms, or
head thrown back and open mouth. Or else he was hideously crawling on his
hands, or wringing his hands, or folding them, or spreading out his
fingers. The engineers in the boiler-room seemed still slowly, slowly
to be controlling the cylinder and driving-wheel; yet differently than
before, since the law of gravity seemed no longer to be in force. One of
the engineers was doing his work in a peculiarly twisted way, like a man
asleep caught between the rim of the wheel and the piston-rod covered
with verdigris. Frederick descended on his ghastly tour down to the
stokers, whom the catastrophe had surprised in the midst of their
occupation. Some were still holding their shovels in their hands, though
unable to lift them. They themselves were floating, while the shovels to
which they clung did not stir from the bottom. All was over. They could
not kindle the fire into a white glow, and so could not keep the mighty
steamer in its course. In the steerage the sight was so horrible to
behold, with men, women and children of all nationalities huddled and
tossed in thick, dark heaps, that even a cat-shark, which had made its
way through the chimney of the stoke-hole and then through the engine,
did not feel sufficiently courageous or hungry to mingle in the
gathering. _Noli turbare circulos meos_, these people, too, seemed to
be saying. All were thinking strenuously, absorbed in the profoundest
meditation--they had plenty of time for profound meditation--upon the
riddle of life.

In fact, they seemed to be placed there merely for the purpose of
reflecting. Those men and women wringing their hands or spreading their
fingers, or walking on their hands, or even standing on the tip of a
single finger, while grazing the ceiling with their feet, were all
thinking. Professor Toussaint alone, who came floating toward Frederick
in the gangway, seemed to be acting differently. With his right hand
raised, he seemed to be saying: "An artist may not rust. He must air
himself. He must seek new conditions of life. If he doesn't receive the
honour he should in Italy, he should simply go to France, like Leonardo
da Vinci, or even emigrate to the land of liberty."

"I want to live, live, nothing else," thought Frederick. "In the future,
like Cato the Elder, I would rather walk a year on foot along a way that
I could cover in three days on a steamer."

To avoid the hideous companionship of the blue, swollen thinkers, he left
the gloomy, funereal smoking-room, and, with aching head and leaden
limbs, dragged himself on deck, where the wild scurrying of the storm
and the chaos of snow, rain and salty clouds of foam tore the weight away
from his soul.



XXXVIII


In the space at the head of the companionway Frederick came upon the
same company as the day before, sitting close together in steamer
chairs--Toussaint, the timid skipper of the sailing vessel, the woman
artist, the woman physician, the tall electrical engineer, and a man who
had not been there the day before, an American colonel. He was a handsome
specimen of the highest type of his widely spread species. He was engaged
in a conversation on the number of miles covered by all the railroads in
the United States, and his statements concerning their extent set fire to
the European chauvinism of the electrical engineer. They forgot the
weather in their debate. Each party to the dispute named an incredible
number of miles and vaunted the advantages of the railroads in his native
country.

"We are running at only half speed," said Toussaint to Frederick. "Isn't
it strange how suddenly the weather changed?"

"Very," answered Frederick.

"Of course," Toussaint continued with a pale grimace intended for a
smile, "I don't understand anything about cyclones, but the seamen say
this storm is cyclonic."

"It may be called a cyclone," said the timid little skipper of the
sailing vessel. "If it were striking us astern instead of ahead, it would
not be so bad. As it is, the _Roland_ at the utmost cannot make more than
three miles an hour. Were I on my schooner and had the same storm blown
up so suddenly, we should not have had time to furl a sail. We should
have been lost. Thank the Lord, it is better on modern steamers.
Nevertheless, I feel more comfortable on my four-master, and the devil
knows, I'd like to be on it now."

Frederick could not help laughing.

"As for the _Roland_," he said, "I would rather be, let us say, in the
Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Your four-master has no greater charms for me than
a cabin on the _Roland_."

Hans Füllenberg came lounging in and told them a wave had swept away one
of the life-boats on the after quarter. At the very same instant an
arched mass of water came flying slantwise over the port bow.

"Oh!" everybody cried.

"Magnificent, beautiful," said Frederick.

"That's cyclonic," the woman artist repeated.

"Believe me," they heard the colonel say again, "the stretch from New
York to Chicago alone"--

"That was a Niagara Falls," said Toussaint.

The wave, dropping into the ventilators and chimneys, had fairly bathed
the vessel. It was cold, too, and the _Roland_ was continuing its
obstinate, praiseworthy trip under a crust of ice and snow. Icicles were
hanging from the rigging. Glassy stalactites formed about the chart-room
and everywhere on the railings and edges of things. The deck was
slippery, and it was a perilous venture to attempt to make one's way
forward. But when Ingigerd's cabin door opened and her long light hair
rumpled by the wind appeared in the slit, Frederick instantly made the
venture. She drew him into her cabin, where he found two children keeping
her company.

"I invited them to stay with me because it's fairly comfortable in this
cabin."

The seriousness of the situation had extinguished in the girl all
coquetry and capriciousness. Frederick almost forgot what he had suffered
on her account and in what fatal dependence he had been upon this
creature only a short time before.

"Tell me, is there danger, Doctor von Kammacher?" she asked.

His evasive answer seemed to make no impression upon her. He was
astonished to see how energetic and resolute she was, in contrast with
her behaviour of yesterday, when she played the spoiled, suffering,
helpless child. She begged him to go try to find her father.

"In case anything happens, you know, it would be well not to be so far
away from him."

"What do you suppose will happen?"

Without answering this, she asked him to stop at cabin 49 on the way and
tell Rosa to come up.

"My little guests keep clamouring for her. If she doesn't come up for
a while, I can't keep them quiet. Then she can serenely go back again
to her silly, sentimental mistress. What do you think of a man like
Achleitner?" she continued. "He is lying on all fours in his cabin,
crying and groaning, 'Oh, my poor mother! Oh, my poor sister! Why didn't
I obey you, mamma!' and so on. Just fancy, a man! Poor fellow!" she
added, her tone changing. "It's enough to move a heart of stone." She
held fast to the bedstead, not to be thrown into a corner like a
splinter, and shook with laughter.

The mountain of stones under which Frederick had buried the little
sinner, Ingigerd, was at that moment removed, and love stood there with
unparalleled might. Such genuine bravery and genuine humour, combined
with so much tenderness, he had never credited her with. Nervous and
tired as he was, he felt irresistibly drawn to her, felt his will
slipping from him. But a little, and he would have thrown himself to
the floor and kissed the small feet in slippers.

Frederick's amazement waxed when all of a sudden she wanted to cross
the deck and go below to comfort that donkey Achleitner. Frederick
would not allow her. He was ashamed of his previous attack of fright,
called himself a miserable coward, and got himself under perfect
control. In this attitude he played the rôle of a severe mentor,
Ingigerd's responsible guardian and protector, strict, but fatherly
and good-natured. Though she laughed at him, it by no means displeased
her to let him have his way.



XXXIX


Frederick's kindliness to Ingigerd's little wards made it unnecessary to
summon Rosa. He asked the children their names, and they were soon
chattering confidingly with their new uncle. Ella Liebling, a girl of
five, to whom Ingigerd had given her doll, was sitting at one end of the
couch, a cover wrapped about her legs, while Siegfried had established
himself comfortably on the bed. With a spiritless expression for a child,
he was playing a rather monotonous game of cards with an imaginary
partner.

"Mamma is divorced," Ella explained. "Papa was always quarrelling with
her."

"Yes," said Siegfried, pushing his cards aside, as if waking up from
a trance, and bending over to Frederick, who was sitting beside Ella,
"mamma once threw a boot at papa."

"But papa is strong," said Ella. "He once picked up a chair and knocked
it down and smashed it to pieces."

Though Ingigerd was suffering from nausea, she had to laugh.

"Those children are great sport," she said.

"Papa once threw a bottle against the wall," Siegfried went on, "because
Uncle Bolle was always coming to see us."

And so the children continued, like little wiseacres, to discuss in
detail the theme of "happy marriages."

"Rosa says mamma is to blame because papa left us," observed Siegfried.

"I think so, too," said Ella. "I think mamma's to blame."

"Rosa said mamma doesn't do anything but read novels."

"Rosa says," Ella chimed in, "that if mamma were not always lying in bed,
she would feel much better."

And "Rosa says," "Rosa says," went on for a long while. The former
non-commissioned officer and lackey of the vaudeville star, Bulke, came
towing Rosa across the deck in the same way as he did his master. Both
looked red and contented. Frederick asked what the prospects were for the
_Roland_.

"Oh, everything's all right," Bulke laughed, "if only something else
doesn't turn up."

"Bulke," said Rosa, "take Siegfried on your back."

Bulke proceeded to do so, while Rosa lifted Ella to her crimson arm.

Now the children begged to remain where they were, although before they
had been annoying Ingigerd by constantly crying for Rosa.

"Let them stay," said Ingigerd.

Rosa thanked her. "They are really best off here," she said. "All they
take for supper is some milk and a roll. I will bring it right away."

"What is that on your arm?" asked Frederick. It looked as if a beast had
been clawing at her.

"Oh, nothing," she said. "My mistress doesn't know what she is doing.
She's out of her senses from seasickness and fright."



XL


For five hours the cyclone raged unmercifully. At ever shorter intervals,
gust on gust in increasing fury hurled itself against the vessel.

With great difficulty Frederick made his way down to the barber, who,
though the ship's movement was a fearful combination of rolling and
pitching, actually performed the miracle of shaving him.

"One has to keep going," said the barber. "If you don't work, you're
lost."

He spoke and suddenly stopped, removed the razor from Frederick's throat
and turned pale, if his dirty grey colour could turn a shade lighter.
Frederick's face, too, still partly covered with lather, showed signs of
surprise and alarm. In the engine-room the signal bell had rung loud, as
a sign that the captain was sending an order down from the bridge through
the speaking-tube. Thereupon the revolution of the engines had slowed
down and within a few moments had ceased entirely. This event, simple
enough in itself, had in this weather, about fifteen hundred miles from
land, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the effect of a catastrophe,
not only on Frederick and the barber, but on every passenger still
capable of reasoning, and even on the whole crew. One instantly observed
the excitement that seized upon all at the cessation of the engines,
which seemed to turn the vessel into a torpid, powerless thing. Voices
cried, women shrieked, steps hurried up and down the gangways. A man tore
the door open and indignantly cried, as if imputing to the poor barber
the responsibility of a captain:

"Why are we standing still?"

Frederick wiped the lather from his face and, along with a multitude of
questioning, groping, staggering persons, thrown now against one wall of
the gangway, now against the other, hastened to make his way on deck.

"We are drifting," everybody said.

"The screw is broken."

"Cyclone!"

"Oh," said a young girl, who had dragged herself up in a dressing-gown,
to Frederick, "I don't care about myself, not a bit, but my poor mother,
my poor mother in Stuttgart."

"What's the matter? What's the matter?" twenty voices at the same time
demanded of a steward, who was attending to his duties. He ran away,
shrugging his shoulders.

Since the passengers, huddled like sheep, blocked the way to the deck at
the head of the companionway, Frederick tried to get out by another way,
leading a long distance through the after part of the vessel and then
through a narrow corridor forward again. He walked rapidly and seemed
outwardly composed, though in a state of unusual tensity, even fear.

In the second cabin Frederick's way was barred by a good-looking young
man standing in front of his cabin barefoot, in his shirt sleeves and
trousers. He was attempting to button his collar; but in his excitement
was not succeeding.

"What's the matter?" he shouted to Frederick. "Is everybody in this
cursed hole crazy? The first thing you know a stoker dies, and now there
is a leak, or the screw is broken. What's the matter with the captain? I
am an officer. I must be in San Francisco on the twenty-fifth of
February, without fail. If it keeps on this way, I'll be in a fix."

Frederick wanted to hurry by, but the man got in his way.

"I am an officer," he said. "My name is Von Klinkhammer." Frederick also
gave his name. "That's what comes of having priests on board," the young
man continued, twirling the end of his moustache upward, Prussian
fashion. "If there's no help for it, then the fellows ought simply to be
chucked overboard. What is the captain thinking of?" he kept shouting,
while an unexpected lurch of the vessel sent him plunging against the
wall almost back into his cabin. "I didn't leave the service and give up
a career and board this damned--"

But Frederick had run away. Now deep, intense silence prevailed
throughout the vessel, which was like a dead thing; a silence, in which
every now and then a step or a hasty tread on the heavy carpet in the
gangway was audible. Through the thin walls came the dull, confused
murmur of many voices. Doors banged, and when they opened, brief, broken
sounds penetrated from the cabins, evidence of the bewilderment and alarm
of their tenants. The thing that was particularly weird to Frederick in
that swaying corridor, creaking like a new boot and lighted by
electricity, was the incessant ringing of electric bells. In a hundred
cabins at the same time, frightened persons, who had paid dear for their
passage and were entitled to excellent service, were pressing the
buttons. None of them was inclined to recognise the _force majeure_ of
the Atlantic Ocean, the cyclone, the breaking of the screw, or any other
possible accident. They thought that by ringing the bells they would be
giving expression to the irresistible demand for a responsible rescuer to
bring them safely to dry land.

"Who knows," thought Frederick, "while they are ringing the bells down
here, perhaps the life-belts are being handed out on deck, the boats are
being swung out on the water and over-loaded with passengers to the
sinking point."



XLI


But, thank the Lord, by the time he had finally fought his way to
Ingigerd's cabin on deck, it had not yet reached that point. It was to
Ingigerd Hahlström that an impulse had been driving him. Beside the
children, for whom in a motherly way she was trying constantly to devise
a new occupation, he found her father and Doctor Wilhelm.

"People's cowardice is something fearful," said Doctor Wilhelm.

"Easily said; but what's the matter?" asked Frederick.

"One of the bearings got too hot. It takes time for it to cool off."

The passengers crowded on the companionway kept calling for the captain.

"The captain has other things to do than answer silly questions," said
Wilhelm.

"I think the people should be quieted and given an explanation,"
Frederick declared. "To me a certain amount of fear seems justifiable in
the landlubber, who doesn't know anything of nautical matters and hasn't
the least notion of what is happening."

"Why should they be told anything?" rejoined Wilhelm. "Even if matters
are very bad, it is advisable to deceive them."

"Well, then," said Hahlström, "deceive them. Send stewards around to tell
them everything is all right and we'll have to drown."

Shortly afterward, the captain actually did send the little army of
stewards through the vessel to inform the passengers that, as Doctor
Wilhelm had said, one of the bearings had got too hot, and in a short
while the engines would be working again.

"Is there danger?" the stewards were asked a thousand times.

"No," was the decided answer.

To keep the air in her cabin pure, Ingigerd left the door slightly ajar;
and the sight of the colossal _Roland_, as seen from her cabin,
helplessly drifting in the ocean, by no means seemed to bear out the
stewards' declaration.

"There is no use concealing the fact that we are scudding under bare
poles," said Hahlström.

"We are dripping oil on the water," said Wilhelm, pointing through the
opening of the door to where Pander and a sailor were lowering a bag of
sail-cloth filled with oil. With the heavy seas that kept sweeping down
like great mountains in motion and the fearfully boiling waves
accompanying the swells, the measure seemed almost ridiculous. Each
instant the dead _Roland_, constantly sending out its long-drawn signal,
which sounded more like a call for help than a warning, was raised up on
a plunging mountain of water, where there seemed as little prospect of
safety as when it sank into the valleys. The great steamer seemed not
to know where to turn. The raging waters twisted it over now on its
starboard side, now on its port side. Of its herculean might, nothing
remained but its unwieldy, helpless bulk. It turned about slowly, and
turned back again, and all of a sudden a fearful sea, like a thousand
hissing white panthers leaping from a dark green mountain ridge, dashed
over the railing.

"That was bad," said Wilhelm, slamming the door shut in the nick of time.
Frederick's nerves were in a state of tension, not in a mere metaphoric
sense. They produced a purely physical sensation, as of violin strings
too tightly drawn.

"Is it making you nervous?" asked Hahlström.

"Somewhat," said Frederick. "I don't deny it. A man has strength and
intelligence, but can't exercise either, even when danger is imminent."

"Immediate danger?" asked Wilhelm. "No, we are not there yet. In the
first place, the engines will be working again pretty soon; and secondly,
even if we should really have to drift and had to resort to the sails,
we could count on being perfectly easy in our minds a week from now."

"What do you mean by being easy in our minds?" demanded Hahlström.

"The storm is blowing from north-northwest. A ship like this never
capsizes. So, in all probability, we should be carried to the Azores,
where a steamer would tow us into port. Or, perhaps, we should be driven
even further south, and in a week we should be anchoring in view of the
glorious Peak of Teneriffe."

"Many thanks for your Peak of Teneriffe. I have to be in New York. My
daughter has an engagement there. We are under obligations to be there."

"A week of uncertainty would be ruin to my nervous system," said
Frederick. "I am not suited for this passive heroism. I might do more
if I could be active."

"You've read the 'Leather-stocking Tales,'" said Wilhelm, ironically.
"You
know that the American Indians have greater respect for passive heroism.
Think of the stakes on which they burn their captives to death."

"Never mind," said Frederick. "No martyr stakes for me. Were I to hear
that the screw is broken and we should have to drift, my nerves couldn't
stand it. I would jump into the water. That is why I am against
life-preservers. I wouldn't accept one if it were offered to me ten
times over. Why prolong the death agony?"



XLII


The hours passed. The grey day went down into still greyer twilight. The
ear-splitting tumult of the sea never ceased. Frederick, like everybody
else, had in vain awaited the moment when the engines would be working
again, and the helpless ship would resume its course. Everybody, with the
anxiety of despair, watched whether the intervals between the great
swells would lengthen or shorten. Sometimes a superstitious illusion that
he was being persecuted would take hold of Frederick. Particularly awful
were the cries of the emigrants penned in the steerage, which at short
intervals penetrated above on deck. They wept and wailed and shrieked to
heaven for help. They were like men driven mad by fear, fury and physical
pain.

Yet, as if nothing had happened, the call for dinner was trumpeted at the
regular time through the gangways of the drifting vessel, through that
majestic, helpless ark, lighted by electricity, which, shining through
the port-holes, turned the _Roland_ with its crust of ice into a fairy
palace, a mournful plaything of the waves.

Frederick wondered who would have the phlegm or the courage or the desire
to go to dinner. But Wilhelm cried, "Come, gentlemen," and since Rosa
appeared, wet and courageous, to attend to the children, it was out of
place for him to remain in the cabin, and there was nothing for him to do
but join Doctor Wilhelm and Hahlström. The cockatoo was screeching and
Ella was crying. The child was refractory. Ingigerd was trying to console
her, while Rosa reprimanded her rather energetically.

"Would you like me to stay near here?" Frederick asked before leaving.
"It would mean a great deal to me if you would let me be entirely at your
disposal, Miss Ingigerd."

"Thank you, Doctor von Kammacher, you will be coming again."

Frederick marvelled at the naturalness with which he had made the offer
and she had accepted.

Now an unexpected change set in, which allayed everybody's excitement and
went through Frederick's muscles and nerves like a soothing stream. The
walls and floors of the _Roland_ began to quiver faintly, a sign that her
heart and pulse were beating again. It was the rhythm of its strength,
the rhythm of its race to its goal. Ingigerd shouted with joy, like a
child, and Frederick set his teeth. Renewed life, renewed prospects and
hopes, the reassumption of system, the relaxation of his nerves made him
so weak that the tears almost started to his eyes. Choking down his
emotion, he stepped out on deck.

Here the scene had changed. Blithely, in all its might, the _Roland_ was
leaping forward again into the roaring darkness. That monstrous, seething
witch's cauldron of the boiling waters was now welcome to him. Again the
_Roland_ was tearing breaches in dark mountains, was rising to mountain
heights, and madly plunging into deep valleys; during which, for many
seconds at a time, the screw would whirl wildly in the turbulent air.

Mr. Rinck was sitting on the threshold of his cabin, which was brightly
lighted, smoking and petting his spotted cat.

"It's good we're under way again," Frederick could not refrain from
saying as he walked past.

"Why?" said Rinck phlegmatically.

"I for one," said Frederick, "would rather be running under full steam
than drifting helplessly."

"Why?" said Mr. Rinck again.

In the gangways below, even though the ship was pitching, the atmosphere
was fairly pleasant and lively. Everybody seemed to have forgotten his
fear. The passengers, cracking jokes and clinging to the nearest
stationary thing, reeled and stumbled into the dining-room. The rattle
of china near the kitchen was deafening, especially when, as frequently
happened, some of the plates broke.

Frederick's clothes were pretty well soaked, and he mustered up the
courage to go to his cabin to dress. Adolph, his steward, came to help
him, and told Frederick of a panic that had broken out in the steerage
when the engines stopped. Some of the women with their babies on their
arms had wanted to jump right into the water. It was with difficulty that
the other emigrants had restrained them. One of the stewards and a sailor
had clutched a Polish woman by her feet just as she was taking the
downward plunge.

"You can't blame these people for acting like cowards in this situation,"
said Frederick. "It would be strange if they didn't. Who will insist that
he can stand upright when the ground beneath his feet is giving away? If
a man were to say so, either he would be lying, or his lack of feeling
would be so great as to degrade him below an animal."

"Yes," said the steward, "but what would _we_ do if _we_ were so
cowardly?"

Frederick now began to deliver one of those fiery dissertations that had
won him a number of youthful auditors when he was a _Privatdozent_.

"With you it is different," he said. "You are upheld, and at the same
time rewarded, by the feeling that you are doing your duty. While we
passengers are living in terror, the cooks have been boiling soup,
cleaning fish, preparing vegetables, roasting and carving, larding
venison and so on." The steward laughed! "But I assure you, at times it
is easier to roast a roast than to eat it." And Frederick continued in
a solemn, but for that very reason, roguish manner to philosophise on
courage and cowardice.



XLIII


Dinner began, and, though the weather had by no means improved, a
comparatively large number of passengers had gathered in the dining-room.
Mr. Pfundner, the head-steward, with his white hair curled and arranged
by the barber, if not in a braid at the back of his head, yet like a wig
of the rococo period, stood, as usual, in majestic pose, before the false
mantelpiece between the two entrance doors. It was the place from which
he could best supervise the waiters and keep his eye on the whole
dining-room.

The band was playing _Le Père la Victoire_ by Ganne. This was followed by
Gillet's _Loin du Bal_. At Suppé's overture from _Banditenstreiche_, the
eternal skat players came tramping into the saloon, having delayed, as
usual, to finish their game. At all the tables much wine was being drunk,
because it strengthened one's courage and dulled one's nerves. The
passengers toasted the _Roland_. It amused them. They were all conscious
of the pleasant rhythm of the great engine, to which no music in the
world was comparable. Over Vollstedt's waltz, _Lustige Brüder_, the
company with a sense of relief was still discussing the danger they had
safely escaped.

"We hoisted distress signals."

"Rockets were shot off."

"They were already getting the life-belts and life-boats ready."

"Why, they were even dripping oil on the water."

The remarks flew about with the less restraint as neither the captain nor
any of his officers were at table.

"The captain," they said, "has never left the bridge since morning."

Suddenly the port-holes were illuminated from outside. Everybody, with an
"Oh!" of astonishment, let his knife and fork fall and jumped up from his
seat. "A ship!" "A steamer!" all exclaimed, and crowded on deck. There,
in overawing majesty, in the gleam of its thousand lights, one of the
mightiest ocean liners of the time was rolling and pounding at a distance
of not more than fifty yards. "The _Prince Bismarck_, the _Prince
Bismarck_!" the people cried, having heard the name from the officers and
crew, who had recognised the vessel. "Hurrah!" went up the full-throated
cry. "Hurrah!" Frederick shouted, and so did Wilhelm and so did Professor
Toussaint. Everybody who could shouted "Hurrah!"--Ingigerd and the woman
physician and the woman artist. They all waved their napkins or
handkerchiefs. The same shout of joy went up from the steerage, and by
way of greeting the two vessels let their steam whistles thunder. They
could see the passengers on the various decks of the _Prince Bismarck_
waving to them, and, in spite of the noise of the tempest, could hear
their faint hurrah.

The _Prince Bismarck_, a twin-screw steamer, one of the first models of
its kind, had just made its record-breaking trip, in which it had crossed
the Atlantic Ocean in six days, eleven hours, and twenty-four minutes.
About two thousand people were now making the trip from New York to
Europe. Two thousand people! That means twice as many as can fill a
Berlin theatre from the orchestra to the top gallery.

The _Roland_ and the _Bismarck_ exchanged lively flag signals. Yet
the whole grandiose vision, from the moment of its appearance to its
disappearance, lasted only three minutes. In that time the seething ocean
was flooded with light. It was not until nothing remained of the
_Bismarck_ but a dancing mist of light that its band came on deck and
played. On the _Roland_ they caught two or three trembling, fading
measures of the national hymn, _Heil dir im Siegerkranz_. Within a few
moments the _Roland_ was again alone on the ocean, in the night, the
tempest, and the snowstorm.

With twice as much fire, the band now played a quadrille by Karl,
_Festklänge_, and a galop by Kiesler, _Jahrmarktskandal_; and with twice
as much appetite and twice as much liveliness the passengers seated
themselves at dinner again. "Fairylike!" they cried. "Glorious!"
"Tremendous!" "Colossal!"--this last a favourite expression of the
Germans.

Even Frederick had a sense of pride and tranquillisation. He felt a vital
breath of that atmosphere which is no less necessary to the mind of the
modern man than air is to his lungs.

"No matter how much we resist the thought," he said to Wilhelm, "and no
matter how much I railed yesterday evening against modern culture, a
sight like that must impress a man. It must go to the very marrow of his
bones. It is simply absurd that such a marvellous product of secret
natural forces, joined together by man's brains and hands, such a
creation over creation, such a miracle has become even possible." They
touched glasses. The sound of clinking glasses could be heard all over
the room. "And what courage, what boldness has been built into that great
living organism, what a degree of fearlessness in opposing those natural
forces which man has been standing in awe of for thousands of years! What
an audacious world of genius, from its keel to the top of its mast, from
its bowsprit to its screw!"

"And all this," responded Wilhelm, "has been attained in scarcely a
hundred years. So it signifies only the beginning of a development.
Object as much as you will, science, or rather technical progress, is
eternal revolution and the only genuine reform of human conditions.
Nothing can hinder this development that has begun. It is constant,
eternal progress, yes, progress itself."

"It is the human intellect," said Frederick, "which throughout the
centuries has been lying passive and has suddenly turned active.
Undoubtedly man's brains and, at the same time, social industry have
entered a new phase."

"Yes," said Wilhelm, "in a certain way the human intellect was already
active in ancient times, but it fought too long with the man in the
mirror."

"Then, let us hope," said Frederick in confirmation, "that the last hour
of the men that fight images, the swindlers, the South Sea Island
medicine-men and magicians, is not far off; that all filibusters and
cynical freebooters, who for thousands of years have been living by the
capture of souls, will strike sail before the fast, safe ocean-going
steamer of civilisation, whose captain is intellect and whose sole
steward is humanity."

After dinner, Frederick and Wilhelm climbed up to the smoking-room on
deck.

"It is difficult to comprehend," said Frederick, when they reached the
smoky little saloon, "how a vessel can keep its course in such a stormy,
pitch-black night."

At the skat table, the players were sitting, smoking, drinking whisky and
coffee, and tossing the cards on the table. Everything else seemed to be
a matter of indifference to them. Frederick ordered wine and continued to
goad his mind into activity. His head ached. He could scarcely hold it
upright on his aching neck. His eyelids ached with weariness; but when
they drooped, his eyes seemed to radiate a painful light shining from
within. Every nerve, every muscle, every cell in him was alert. He could
not hope for sleep. How weeks in his life, months, years had passed as in
the twinkling of an eye! And this evening only three and a half days had
elapsed since he boarded the _Roland_ at Southampton, a period with the
content of years, in which seconds were eternities. Its beginning lay in
the remote distance, at the conclusion of a life lived long before, on an
earth from which he had parted long before.

"You're tired, Doctor von Kammacher," said Wilhelm. "So I won't invite
you to the stoker's funeral on the after-deck."

"Oh, I'll come," said Frederick. He was obsessed by a stinging rage not
to spare himself anything, but to taste to the dregs even the bitterest
impressions of this detached, jogged and jolted fragment of a human
world.



XLIV


The physicians arrived when they were sewing the stoker, Zickelmann, into
sail-cloth. The bare cabin was not very brilliantly lighted by a single
electric bulb. Frederick recalled his dream--how the dead stoker had been
standing under the vines with the cords in his hand and had then led
Peter Schmidt and himself to the Toilers of the Light. A great change had
taken place in his appearance. His face was no longer of flesh, but
seemed to be chiselled out of yellow wax, to which his hair, his eyebrows
and beard were pasted. A faint, cunning smile seemed to be curving his
mouth; and when Frederick with odd interest and curiosity scrutinised him
closely, it seemed to him he was saying, "_Legno santo!_ Toilers of the
Light!"

When the dead man's face was covered up and his whole body had been sewed
into the cloth in coarse stitches, the sailors bound the puppet, with
difficulty keeping it in position, on a smoothly planed board, weighted
with iron.

"Will such a chrysalis ever really turn into a butterfly?" Frederick
wondered.

The procedure, a piece of reeling, staggering acrobatics, was less
gruesome than ridiculous. Yet, though this long package might be only the
mortal shell of an immortal soul, one had a sense of infinite sadness in
entrusting it to the fearful solitudes of the ocean.

Since in the stormy weather it was no easy matter to throw the corpse
overboard and since it was impossible to conduct ceremonies on a rolling
deck constantly washed by the waves, the purser asked the few persons
present--Captain von Kessel could not leave the bridge--to say a silent
prayer for the soul of the dead man. They did so, and four of the
stoker's mates, staggering, stopping, lurching and panting, carried the
long package on deck to the railing, where at the word of command they
let it slide into the sea.

When Doctor Wilhelm bade Frederick good-night, he added:

"You ought to try to go to sleep."

They parted, and Frederick hunted for a sheltered spot on deck, where he
could spend the night. He wanted to look the wind and weather straight in
the face, there in the glacial air, in the gloom under the pale sheen of
the arc-lights fastened to the mast. He shuddered at the thought of a
night in the oppressive confines of his cabin, with the closed port-hole
and the hot, stale air. But that alone was not the reason which kept him
chained to the deck. It was the urge, in case of danger, to be near
Ingigerd Hahlström. And when he seated himself near the smoke-stack,
with his back against the heated wall, his hat drawn low over his face,
his chin in his coat collar, he suddenly laughed to himself bitterly.
It was in the same position and on the selfsame spot that he had found
Achleitner the night before.

There was a rushing in Frederick's ears. He observed the huge arcs that
the lights on the mast described. He observed the regular onslaught of
the waves, and above the seething and foaming of the water, he heard the
miauing of the wind in the rigging, a wicked obstinate miauing,
accompanied by the sudden spitting and leaping of a tiger. Then the
sounds seemed to Frederick to be more like the pitiful whimpering of
strayed children, a troop of children whom he could now distinctly
discern weeping over the bier of the dead stoker. And there were the
Toilers of the Light again. He immediately snatched for one to carry it
to Ingigerd Hahlström in her cabin; but Ingigerd was dressing for her
famous dance. The great spider was already hanging on the flower, weaving
the cobweb in which Mara was later to entangle herself. Frederick asked
for a broom. He wanted to prevent the dance by sweeping the spider away.
A broom came, but in the form of a serving man, who was carrying water
and pouring it out. Another man followed and a third and a fourth, until
everything was flooded with rushing waters. Frederick awoke from a dream
in which he was learning sorcery. The momentous word that chains the
floods was still on his lips. The waves rushed. He fell asleep again. Now
it was the rushing of a stream at his feet. The sun was shining. It was a
clear morning. From the other shore came his wife, young, beautiful, in a
dress of flowered goods, rowing her skiff. Her full, gentle figure had
the charm of the vestal virgin and the wife. From woods nearby, Ingigerd
appeared in the delicacy and the adornment of her light hair and naked
body. The sunny landscape, of which her pure nudity was a part, seemed
to belong to the time before Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise.
Frederick took his wife's hand--she was smiling on him graciously--took
Ingigerd Hahlström's hand--she seemed to be gentle and pure and
obedient--and joined them. He said to Ingigerd:

  "And thou shalt walk in brightness;
   I'll purge thee clean of all thy dross."

But the heavens darkened, the woods blackened, and the light of a ghostly
moon rose over the trees, rushing fearfully like great waters. Frederick
ran along the edge of gloomy fields, when suddenly the cry "Moira!
Moira!" resounded, and a piece of the darkness severed itself from the
edge of the woods and soared heavily, as if borne by mighty black
pinions. It was a gigantic bird, crying, "Moira, Moira!" Frederick fled.
He was struck by hideous fear, as if the fearful roc were after him.
"Moira, Moira!" He drew his penknife to defend himself.

He awoke to find himself lying undressed in his berth. Someone had
discovered him, as he had discovered Achleitner the night before, and had
led him down to his cabin. But the cry "Moira!" which reminded him of the
Moeræ, the ancient goddesses of fate, still rang fearfully in his ears.



XLV


It was still long before daylight, and he fell asleep again. This time
on awaking he found himself in the corridor speaking to some stewards,
already at work. It slowly dawned upon him that he was clad in nothing
but his night-shirt and must have been walking in his sleep. What, had he
turned into a somnambulist! He was utterly disconcerted and ashamed and
had to let one of the stewards help him back to his cabin.

He found his cabin covered with about three inches of water, from a leaky
pipe. Crawling into bed, he squeezed himself, to keep from being tossed
out, into a hollow between the boards, a method he himself had devised.

Shortly after six, he was on deck sitting on his bench, warming his hands
on his hot tea-cup. The weather was frightful. The morning was of an icy
dreariness unsurpassed. The fury of the sea had waxed. The falling
twilight was a new sort of darkness. The roaring of the waters and the
raging of the winds were deafening. Frederick's ear-drums ached. But the
ship struggled on, managing to pursue its course, though slowly.

And suddenly--Frederick did not know whether to trust his hearing--above
the noise of the sea rose Ariel strains, beginning solemnly and swelling
serenely. It was the chords and melodies of a church choral. He was moved
almost to tears. He recollected that this dreary morning was a Sunday
morning, and the orchestra, even in the midst of the cyclone, was
carrying out its instructions to begin the day with devotional music.
It was playing in the unused smoking-room half way up the companionway,
whence the strains ascended faintly to the deck. Everything lying heavily
upon Frederick's soul in chaos and struggle melted away before the
seriousness, the simplicity, the innocence of this music. It brought
back memories of his boyhood, of many a morning full of innocence,
expectation, and anticipations of great happiness; Sundays, holidays, his
father's and his mother's birthdays, when the chorus of a regimental song
woke him up in the morning. What was to-day compared with that past? What
lay in between! What a sum of useless work, disenchantment, recognition
bitterly paid for, possession snatched after passionately and then lost,
love trickled away, passion trickled away; how many meetings and hard
partings; what an amount of wrestling with everything in general and in
particular; how much purity of purpose dragged in the mud; how much
striving for freedom and self-determination, resulting only in impotent,
blind imprisonment.

Was he really a person of so much importance before God that He visited
him with such bitter, refined chastisements?

"I'm wild!" screamed Hans Füllenberg, who appeared at the entrance to the
companionway. "I won't put up with it, or else I'll go insane."

Nevertheless, Hans Füllenberg and Frederick and all the other passengers,
though in the last degree exhausted, terrorized, desperate, expecting
each moment to be their last, lived through the same awful strain, from
hour to hour, from morning till evening, and from evening till morning
again.

To most of them it seemed impossible to hold out an hour longer. Yet
there were to be three days more of it, they were told, before the
_Roland_ reached New York.



XLVI


Monday brought some sunshine, but no diminution of the tempest. It was
fearful. Everything on deck not nailed or riveted was removed. The cries
at regular intervals piercing the struggling vessel from the steerage
more resembled the bellowing of beasts under the knife of the slaughterer
than human sounds. Monday night was one prolonged agony. Nobody, unless
unconscious from weakness or the tortures of seasickness, closed an eye.

At dawn Tuesday morning, each first-class passenger was startled by the
word, "Danger!" quietly uttered at his cabin door by a steward.

Frederick had been lying a while on his bed dressed, when his steward
opened the door and according to instructions gravely pronounced the one
word, "Danger." At the same time the herald of this message, as fraught
with large significance as it was laconic, turned on the electric light.
Frederick jumped to a sitting posture, and was annoyed by the water from
the leaky pipe, which ran now from one side of the room to the other, as
the vessel lurched. At first he was uncertain whether the word he had
heard had really been pronounced, or whether it was an illusion of his
unstrung nerves. Every night he had been torn with a jerk of his nerves
from his restless dozing, only to find that the cause had been a delusive
fall or a delusive cry. But now, when he distinctly heard the stewards
rapping at the other cabin doors, heard the doors open, and heard the
word, "Danger," repeated several times, a sensation came over him that
produced a most remarkable change in his condition.

"Very well," he said softly; and, as if he had been summoned to a game
that did not concern him, he carefully put on his heavy overcoat, and
stepped out into the gangway.

Here there was not a soul.

"Very well," he had been thinking, "the invisible powers, whose
playthings we human beings are, will now completely expose their supreme
brutality."

He had not been awakened from sleep; he had been awakened and brought to
his sober reason from beneath a hundred strata of dreams and sleep. Now,
in that empty corridor, it again seemed to him to be a fantastic illusion
of his disordered brain; and he was about to return to his cabin, when he
noticed for the first time that the rhythm of the engines and the
churning of the screw were neither to be heard nor felt. Suddenly he
thought the great vessel was drifting in the ocean abandoned by
passengers and crew, and he alone had been left behind from the general
rescue. But a passenger in a silk dressing-gown reeled by, whom Frederick
could question.

"What's the matter, do you know?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing," said the man. "I've only been looking for my steward. I'm
thirsty. I want a glass of lemonade." He staggered past Frederick into
his cabin.

"Ass!" Frederick mentally exclaimed, disgusted with himself for what
he again believed was his illusion. Yet the silence weighed upon him
dreadfully. Seized by a wild instinct, he could not help but suddenly
rush forward, merely to be on deck.

Somebody came toward him from the opposite direction, and asked him where
he was going.

"Get out of my way," said Frederick. "It's none of your business."

But the hideous, half-dressed, corpse-like creature, besmirched by the
traces of seasickness, would not make way.

"Are the stewards here all crazy?" he cried.

Hard by Frederick's ear an electric bell began to hammer noisily, and the
next moment the tottering phantom that barred his way was multiplied by
ten, twenty, a host of similar phantoms.

"What's the matter! What's the matter! We're sinking!"

"Steward! Steward!" a voice commanded; and another, "Captain! Captain!"

"Wretched service!" a man scolded in a voice that broke. "No stewards
about. What do they mean by it?" The call bells began to rage.

Frederick turned, and ran down the endless corridor to the after part
of the vessel. Nobody intercepted him. He passed the windows of the
engine-room. The cylinders and pistons were not stirring. From the depths
of the ship, from the boilers and furnaces, a sound of rushing, splashing
water penetrated above the creaking and grinding of the walls.

"Did a boiler burst?" Frederick thought, forgetting that there would have
been the report of an explosion and the hiss of escaping steam.

But he hastened on without stopping, past the post office, on his way
through the second cabin to the stern. In his flight it occurred to him
how happy he had been in Paris when at Cook's office they had told him
that by great haste he could still make the _Roland_ at Southampton. Why
had he been in such a fever of impatience, in such dread of missing the
boat and rushing into the open arms of doom? For there was no veiling the
fact that something fearful had happened to the _Roland_.

At the door of the second cabin, he encountered the barber.

"The fires are out," said the barber. "A collision. The water is pouring
into the hold below my shop."

The hammering of the bells never ceased. The barber was dragging two
life-preservers.

"What do you need two for?" Frederick asked, and took one and sped on.



XLVII


He reached the door leading to the after deck, but could not open it.
From the position of the ship, he realized that something irretrievable
had happened. On the port side, the steamer was lying high, on the
starboard side, it was only ten or twelve feet above the level. As the
stern was also much lower than the bow, it would have been a practically
hopeless venture to clamber forward across the deck, especially with the
heavy seas that were constantly sweeping it.

Willy-nilly, he must return through the mole's gallery he had traversed
to the forward part of the boat.

Scarcely fifteen seconds later, when he had reached the forward entrance
to the deck, at the head of the companionway leading up from the
dining-room, he could not have told how he succeeded in making his
way through the corridor jammed with panicky passengers without having
been beaten to death, strangled, or trodden underfoot. His hands and
forehead were bruised, and he was clinging to the door-post with all
his might, parleying violently with Doctor Wilhelm. Doctor Wilhelm
clutched him, and the two physicians, in defiance of death, climbed up to
the bridge, where they huddled in the shelter of the deck-house on the
port side. They saw something huge rise high up in the morning twilight
and fly madly above their heads. The next instant they were drenched up
to their waists, and would have been washed overboard, had they not
clung to the railing with all their strength.

On the bridge it looked pretty much as usual. Captain von Kessel,
apparently quite composed, was leaning forward, and the giant Von Halm
was searching the ever-thickening fog with spy-glasses. The siren was
howling, and rockets were being shot off from the bow. On the captain's
right stood the second mate. The third mate had just received the order:

"Cut the falls. Get the boats away."

"Cut the falls. Get the boats away," he repeated and disappeared to
execute the order.

To Frederick, it all seemed unreal. Moments such as this, to be sure, had
entered his imagination as within the realm of the possible; but now he
realised that he had never reckoned with them seriously. He knew the fact
confronting him stood there inexorable; nevertheless, he was unable to
grasp it in convincing reality. He was telling himself he ought to try
to get into a boat, when the captain's blue eyes glanced at him, but
apparently with no recognition in them. The captain's commands were
uttered in his beautiful voice, remotely suggesting the clinking sound
of colliding billiard balls.

"Women and children starboard."

"Women and children starboard," came like a near, word-for-word echo.

Now Max Pander stepped up to the captain. He had the noble idea of
proffering him a life-belt. Von Kessel's hand found its way for an
instant to his cap.

"No, thank you, my boy, I don't need it. But here--" he took a pencil
from his pocket, wrote a hasty line on a piece of paper, and handed it
to Pander. "Jump in a boat and, if you can, bring this greeting to my
sisters."

A heavy sea swept over the port side, and a tremendous swell raised and
turned and twisted the colossal vessel. Frederick in vain tried to rouse
himself from the leaden indifference that had come upon him in view of
the incomprehensible drama. Suddenly, he was seized with horror, but he
fought it down. At no cost was he to show cowardice either to himself or
to others. Nevertheless, he followed Doctor Wilhelm, who stuck close to
Max Pander's heels.

"We must get into one of the boats," said Doctor Wilhelm. "There's no
doubt we are sinking."

The next moment Frederick found himself in Ingigerd's cabin.

"Hurry!" he cried. "The people are already jumping into the boats."

He had left the cabin door open, and close by they could see Pander and
two sailors hacking away with axes at the frozen tackles by which a
life-boat was suspended.

Ingigerd asked for her father. She asked for Achleitner.

"There's no time now for you to think of anybody but yourself. It's
impossible to go below deck. It would mean sure death," Frederick
explained. "Get dressed! Get dressed!"

Ingigerd mutely hastened to carry out his orders. It was not until then
that one of the stewards passing her cabin called in his brief message,
"Danger!"

"Danger! What's the matter? Are we sinking?" she cried.

But Frederick had already picked her up and carried her over to the boat,
which the next instant gave way under the axe and fell into the misty
turmoil below.

"Women and children on the other side!" the third mate shouted
commandingly.

His order referred not only to Ingigerd, but also to the maid Rosa, who,
fiery-red with her exertions, appeared on deck dragging her mistress and
both the children, with the air of a housewife loaded with purchases,
afraid of missing a street car.

"Women and children on the other side!" the third mate repeated in
somewhat too Prussian a manner. Fortunately his presence was now required
for the next boat, over which the struggles were already commencing.

There was no time to be lost, and despite the determined resistance of
two sailors, Frederick, Pander, and Doctor Wilhelm let Ingigerd safely
down into the boat. In doing so, Frederick also turned somewhat too
loud-voiced and Prussian. Through his iron energy, which hewed down
resistance as the sailors had hewed at the life-boat tackles, he
succeeded in having the children, Mrs. Liebling, and finally Rosa lowered
into the boat. It was no easy matter. Frederick heard himself shouted at,
roared at, and commanded, and he, in turn, shouted at the sailors,
commanded, and roared. He fought, he worked, though without a gleam of
hope and with the positive consciousness that the situation was beyond
salvation. All was over, all was lost. If he had not thought so before,
the next occurrence would have convinced him.

A second boat had been lowered, and three sailors had jumped in. It
rolled from side to side and rose on a wave. About eight or nine other
persons leapt for it--Frederick thought he recognised familiar figures.
It filled and disappeared. As if by sleight-of-hand, the spot where the
boat with the dozen people in it had been dancing turned into empty sea
with mist and spray driving over it.

Slowly the dark grey of the early dawn turned into the lighter grey of
the day, approaching coldly and indifferently. When the fog lifted a
little, Frederick for seconds at a time had a dismaying illusion that he
was in a green valley with glorious, flowery meadows, through which a
snowstorm of blossoms was sweeping. But then the mountains came, driven
by the ferocious spirits of the hurricane, and closed down on the valley.
The heavy, glassy heights broke, and with the weight of their fluid
masses, snapped away two of the _Roland's_ masts like reeds.

With its boilers quenched, the poor wreck could no longer send up a cry
for help. Its sad body was still towering upward at the bow in colossal
majesty. Rockets flew, signals of distress fluttered briskly from the
foremast; a futile language in that merciless raging of the elements.

In the steerage it had grown still. But from the port side came a
peculiar, persistent, unbroken sound, resembling the shouting and
screaming of a crowd on toboggan-slides and merry-go-rounds at a village
fair. A buzzing as of swarming bees pierced distinctly through the
roaring of the tempest, while above it rose the shrieking of infuriated,
frenzied women. Frederick thought of his dark-eyed Deborah. She, too, was
doomed. He thought of Wilke.

Bulke, the faithful valet, appeared, leading Arthur Stoss by his coat
collar. Within the next few moments, Wilke also appeared. He had been
drinking, and was shouting as if the whole thing were a frolic; but he
was half dragging, half carrying on deck an old, wheezing working woman.
Thrusting Stoss and Bulke aside, he landed her safely in the boat.

Ingigerd was clamouring incessantly for her father and Achleitner.
Instead of either of these, Stoss, whom Bulke and Wilke had lowered by
a rope, dropped down beside her.

About thirty feet from Frederick, a man was standing in a cabin door,
carefully hooked back. With incredible calm he was smoking a cigarette
and inhaling, and stroking a yellow cat on his arm.

"It looks pretty bad, doesn't it, Mr. Rinck?" Frederick said, going up to
him.

"Why?"

"Well, don't you think we're lost?"

Mr. Rinck shrugged his shoulders without answering.

"What's the matter? What's the matter?" somebody bellowed in his ear.

"Nothing," he said, stroking his cat.

In the meantime Bulke and Wilke had lowered Doctor Wilhelm into the boat.

"That girl down there is giving herself a sore throat screaming for her
father," said Bulke.

Frederick decided, cost what it might, to take a look around below deck.
Perhaps fortune might favour him; he might discover Hahlström and perhaps
Achleitner, too, and help one or both into the boat. There was danger, to
be sure, that the boat would put off before he returned.

He had worked his way as far as the unused smoking-room. It was empty.
Suddenly Wilke was standing beside him.

"If you're looking for somebody, I'll help," the peasant declared.

The two together descended the rest of the companionway. The space in
front of the dining-room was empty and so was the dining-room. It was
tilted at an acute angle. A heap of dishes and silverware blocked the
doorway.

"Hahlström! Achleitner!" Frederick shouted again and again.

Wilke pushed a short way down the long corridor, on which the cabins
gave. But the spot closed off by the rising waters was only too clearly
distinguishable.

"Come away, come away!" Frederick cried, and ran. He ran for his life. He
ran in wild fear of missing the boat.



XLVIII


A moment later he was on deck, over the railing, and in the boat. The men
wanted to put off. Frederick protested, and disputed loudly with the
third mate, who in the meantime had entered the boat and was grasping the
tiller.

He could not make up his mind to desert Wilke of the Heuscheuer, who had
so courageously followed him below deck and had not yet reappeared. But
now he saw him, literally sliding from the companionway entrance to the
railing.

"Wilke! Wilke!" he shouted. "Jump into the boat!"

"Right away, right away," Wilke answered several times. Then he did
something that Frederick tried to scold him out of doing, because it
seemed so senseless and useless to everybody in the boat. He had
discovered a number of life-belts and was throwing them from various
points out on the water, where persons swept overboard might be
struggling desperately for their lives.

The boat did not wait for him. Under the third mate's command, the
sailors began to row. The sea favoured them, and soon they were more than
thirty yards from the _Roland's_ side.

Now they could see the spot where another vessel, or a drifting derelict,
had bored the flank of the _Roland_, making a great gash near the
engine-room. Since the whole of the breach was not yet under water, they
could see the foaming sea streaming into the hold. Frederick thought he
could hear its greedy gulping. At the sight, for all the horror about
him, he felt a desire to burst into mourning for the brave warrior
_Roland_, and with difficulty restrained an outcry. The fog closed in
and hid the fatally wounded giant from view.

When, in a few moments, the mist cleared, the wreck had in some
incomprehensible way turned. The twenty persons in the boat looked down
from a dizzy height upon the after part of the deck, almost on a level
with the water. They shrieked in terror, for they thought that the next
instant they would be hurled down upon the mass of human beings wedged in
there, swarming like ants.

Not until that moment did Frederick grasp to its full extent the
catastrophe that was occurring, a catastrophe beyond human conception.
All those dark little crowding ants, helplessly running up and down, were
tearing at one another, hitting about, beating, wrestling, forcing their
way. Groups of men and women were united in struggling knots. Some of the
life-boats that had not yet been lowered seemed to have turned into dark,
swaying bunches of grapes, from which every now and then a single grape
dropped off and fell into the sea.

Once more the fog and spray hid the ship from view. But a sound, which
Frederick did not immediately connect with the ghastly spectacle on the
deck, rose above the seething and roaring of the merciless sea and the
metallic clanging of the hurricane. For several seconds Frederick's
thoughts were far away in a certain place near his home, a wide, marshy
meadow-land, where great flocks of migrating birds stopped to rest in
their passage. But it was not the chirping of joyous birds that reached
his ears through the fog. It was the outcry of those human beings, who
were suffering something so horrible, beyond all conception, that no
human crime, he felt, could be great enough to justify such atonement. He
distinctly felt how, through the excess of the hideous impression, the
bridge carrying the message of his senses to his innermost soul snapped.

But suddenly the fever of the visible death struggle of eight or nine
hundred innocent men after all did penetrate to his innermost soul, and
wrung a cry from him, in which the whole boat load joined as by command.
In that cry were fear, anguish, fury, protest, supplication, horror,
wailing, cursing, and despair.

And the horror was increased by the consciousness that there was no
merciful ear to listen, but only a deaf heaven. Wherever Frederick turned
his eyes, he saw death. Indifferently the bottle-green, mountainous waves
came rolling. In their march there was a murderous regularity, with which
nothing interfered and which recognised no obstacles. He closed his eyes
ready to die. Several times he felt for his parents' letters in his
breast pocket, as if he needed them for passports to the land of
darkness, where he was soon going. He dared not open his eyes again,
because he could no longer bear to see the convulsions of the women in
the boat or the hideous massacre on the stern of the _Roland_.

The sea raged. It was icy cold. The water froze on the edge of the boat.
Rosa, the maid, was the only one that constantly bestirred herself to
help others, the children, Mrs. Liebling, Ingigerd, and Arthur Stoss.
Bulke and she vied with each other in bailing out the water in which
Stoss and Mrs. Liebling were lying and which reached to the knees of the
others.

What was in the meantime happening on the deck of the _Roland_, so far
as Frederick caught momentary glimpses of it, did not fit in with his
conception of human nature. The things he thought he saw in detail had
nothing in common with those civilised, decorous ladies and gentlemen
whom he had seen in the dining-room and on deck, promenading, conversing,
smiling, exchanging greetings, and daintily dissecting the fish on their
plates with forks. He could have sworn that he distinguished the white
figure of a cook cutting his way, with a long knife, through the
honourable person of a first-class passenger for whom he had cooked.
Frederick was convinced he saw a stoker, a black fellow, strike a woman
who was clinging to him--perhaps she was the beautiful Canadian--pick her
up and throw her overboard. Some stewards, whom he distinctly recognised,
were still heroically executing orders. But they got entangled in
fighting groups. One of them covered with blood, struggling and shouting,
helped a woman and her child into a life-boat, but the boat capsized and
disappeared.

"Father! My father!" Ingigerd suddenly cried. It was only a faint breath
blown away by the raging elements. She pointed, and Frederick looked
where she pointed with vacant, staring eyes. Again the fog lifted and
opened a sort of gap through which the sinking steamer could be seen in
all its length. Somebody was standing at the railing waving a white
handkerchief. It was impossible to tell who it was. But a man whom
Frederick recognised as distinctly as if he were looking through a
spy-glass was Hans Füllenberg, racing about like a madman, leaping with
the agility of a squirrel from one point of the deck to the other.

The port-holes, making a slanting line from stem to stern, still shone
with the electric lights inside. Now and then a stifled shot could be
heard, as a rocket rose up into the air, making a pale line of light. But
soon the gem-like gleam of the port-holes was extinguished. As if the sea
in its unbridled hate of man's work had been waiting for this event, it
swept over the deck from the other side. That instant the waters on the
near side swarmed with human beings, swimming, shrieking, and struggling.

Suddenly, no one knew how, the boat was carried close to the _Roland_
again, where maddened, half-drowned, desperate men clutched at it. A
hideous, bestial conflict began.

Frederick saw it all, yet without seeing it. Although it went on under
his very eyes, it seemed to be happening at an infinite distance. He
struck at something. It was a hand, an arm, a head, a wet monster of the
deep, shrieking in a voice not human. Suddenly, pulled backwards by the
merciless hands of a hidden executioner, it disappeared. Frederick saw
how, with the strength of desperation, Rosa's red fists and Mrs.
Liebling's and Ingigerd's little cramped fingers unloosened the hold of
the hand or arm of a fellow-man from the icy edge of the boat. The
sailors used their oars in a way that produced dark spurts of blood.

None in the boat noticed that the third mate disappeared, that Bulke
took his place at the helm, and that in the bottom of the boat lay a
long-haired young man, who gave no sign of life.

The servant, Bulke, took command. For the sake of something to do and to
delay the inevitable capsizing, Frederick and Wilhelm each seized an oar
and rowed with the sailors.

Minutes passed. The fog lifted. Many eternally moving mountains and
valleys of water had rolled between the little boat and the wreck. Of the
_Roland_, the mighty fast mail steamer of the North German Steamship
Company, nothing was to be seen.



XLIX


Late in the afternoon of the same day, the captain of a sturdy little
trading vessel from Hamburg sighted a boat drifting on the long, high
swells. The weather was clear, and the captain made certain that the
people in the boat were signalling with handkerchiefs. Within half an
hour, the shipwrecked passengers of the _Roland_ were with great
difficulty hoisted on board the trader, one at a time.

There were fifteen persons in all, three sailors and a cabin-boy, with
the well-known name of the _Roland_ on their caps, two ladies, a woman
evidently from the steerage, a maid, a long-haired man of about thirty in
a velvet jacket, an armless man, the man who had been steering, two other
men, and two children, a boy and a girl. The boy was dead.

The hardships and terrors to which the delicate child had succumbed had
had almost equally dire effects upon the others. With the exception of
the maid Rosa, they looked as if they had been drowned beyond hope of
resuscitation. A very wet man--it was Frederick--attempted to drag an
unconscious wet young woman up the gangway-ladder, but his strength
failed him, and the sailors of the trader had to catch him as he
tottered, take the young woman from his arms, and help him struggle up
the ladder on deck, like a man whose every bone and muscle is racked by
rheumatism. Attempting to speak, he could produce only an asthmatic,
sibilant wheeze. On deck, he groaned, burst into a senseless, cackling
laugh, and spread out his purple, frozen hands. His lips, too, were
purple, and his sunken eyes glowed feverishly from a face crusted with
dirt and brine. He seemed to want nothing so much as to be dried, warmed
and cleaned.

He was followed by Rosa. Upon laying an unconscious little girl in the
arms of the first mate, she turned back to descend to the boat again, but
found the way barred by Bulke and one of the sailors of the trader,
hauling up the armless actor, Arthur Stoss. He was dripping wet, his eyes
were staring blankly, his nose was running, and his eyelids were red and
inflamed, while the tip of his nose was waxen white. After several vain
attempts to produce a sound through his chattering teeth, he finally
succeeded in framing "Rum! Hot rum!"

A mutual inclination seemed to make Bulke and Rosa pull together in their
rescue work like two old mates. Fairly raining water, they descended
again for Mrs. Liebling, who was lying prone in the bottom of the boat
in a serious condition.

"She's dead, and the boy is dead," said the sailors of the trader, and
wanted first to carry up the other woman, the steerage passenger, who
showed she was still alive by a rattle in her throat, fearful to hear.
Rosa burst into a howl and swore Mrs. Liebling was not dead.

"She's blue," the sailors declared. "She swallowed too much water."

But Rosa would not desist, and the sailors were compelled to carry Mrs.
Liebling up first.

As they were lifting on deck the unconscious woman from the steerage,
still emitting the fearful rattle, one of the _Roland_ sailors, whose
feet were frozen and who, during the whole long, dreadful drifting about
on the ocean had not uttered a sound, suddenly began to bellow in pain.

"Shut up!" said his mates. "Don't carry on like an old woman."

He was the next to be lifted on board, merely whimpering now in ineffable
agony. After him came the man in the velvet jacket, who was maundering,
Doctor Wilhelm, Max Pander, and the other two sailors. Lastly the little
corpse of Siegfried Liebling was lifted from the boat.

When the absurdly dressed man with long hair reached deck, he performed
the drollest antics. For a moment he would stand upright, chest out, like
a recruit, the next instant bow profoundly, or take aim, as if hunting;
and all the time he kept bawling:

"I'm an artist. I paid for my cabin. I am well known in
Germany"--striking a conscious attitude--"I am Jacob Fleischmann.
I am a painter, from Fürth."

Every now and then he would writhe pitifully and vomit salt water. The
water dripping from his clothes formed a pool where he stood.

Doctor Wilhelm had completely lost the faculty of speech. All he could do
was to sneeze incessantly.

In the meantime, the steward of the vessel brought Frederick hot tea,
and one of the sailors, who acted as barber and nurse on the vessel,
attempted to restore Mrs. Liebling to life. Within less than two minutes,
Frederick felt sufficiently revived to meet the demands of the occasion
and assist the sailor-nurse with his Good Samaritan work.

After swallowing several glasses of brandy, Doctor Wilhelm with the help
of the chief engineer, Mr. Wendler, attempted to revive Siegfried
Liebling, though with small hope of success.

Mrs. Liebling, in no wise differing from a corpse, had been laid on the
long mahogany table in what would have been the dining-room, had the
vessel been carrying passengers. Ugly, dark, purplish patches disfigured
the forehead, cheeks, and throat of the woman, who was still young and
who, before the shipwreck, had been beautiful. On baring her body, they
found that it, too, was marked, though less closely, with the same
gangrenous spots, somewhat duller in colour. Her body was swollen. Death
might have resulted from choking in a moment when she fell into a faint
unobserved by any of her companions. Toward the last, there had been
several feet of water in the boat, and Rosa had for some time been
entirely occupied with the dying boy.

When Frederick and the sailor-nurse laid Mrs. Liebling's body face
downward on the table, water flowed from her nose and mouth. Her heart
was no longer beating, and she gave no sign of life. As Frederick
assumed, what had happened was, that she had sunk unconscious to the
bottom of the boat and had lain for some time under water. He opened her
mouth, forced her gold-filled teeth apart, put her tongue in the right
position, and removed mucus, which had gathered at the opening of the
air-passages. While the ship's cook rubbed her body with hot cloths,
Frederick tried to induce artificial respiration by raising and lowering
her arms and legs like a pump-handle.

The mahogany table took up the larger part of the low, creaking saloon,
the only one the vessel possessed. It was on the quarter-deck and was
lighted from above. The two walls running the length of the room were
formed of the mahogany doors of the twelve staterooms, six on each side.
In the twinkling of an eye the deserted saloon was converted into a
medical laboratory.

A common sailor had peeled Ingigerd Hahlström out of her clothes,
and without circumstance had laid her delicate body, shining like
mother-of-pearl, on a couch against the wall taking up the full width of
the room. At Frederick's instruction, he rubbed her body vigorously with
woollen cloths. Rosa was doing the same for Ella Liebling, who was the
first to be put to bed. The steward was working away in a glow of zeal to
get each of the dozen beds freshly spread, and as soon as the second one
was ready, Ingigerd was laid between the warmed covers. Thanks to his
faithful valet, Arthur Stoss, his teeth still chattering, was the next to
be ready for bed.

Jacob Fleischmann gave his rescuers much trouble. When a sailor spoke
to him kindly and attempted to undress him, he struck about wildly, and
shouted in a rage, "I'm an artist!"

The steward and Bulke had to hold him fast and use main force in putting
him to bed. Doctor Wilhelm abandoned his vain efforts to revive Siegfried
Liebling and came with his leather case of drugs, which he had managed to
save, just in time to give the painter an injection of morphine.

The sailor whose agony of pain had overcome him before he was lifted on
deck had such badly swollen, frostbitten feet that his boots had to be
cut off bit by bit. He clenched his teeth to keep from screaming, and
merely uttered low groans until they laid him in bed; when he called for
chewing tobacco.

The woman from the steerage clad in rags was also put to bed. All she
could tell was that she was bound for Chicago with her sister, her four
children, her husband, and her mother. Nothing of what had in the
meantime befallen her seemed to have penetrated, or remained in, her
consciousness.

The whole while Frederick, his upper body bared, with only the barber to
help him, kept working uninterruptedly over Mrs. Liebling. It was good
for him, because it made him perspire. Finally, however, his strength
gave out, and Doctor Wilhelm came to his relief. He tottered into the
nearest cabin, the door of which stood open, and fell face downward into
the unmade bed, utterly exhausted.



L


After a time Mr. Butor, the captain of the _Hamburg_, now speeding on
its way, appeared in the saloon to welcome and congratulate the two
physicians, who, notwithstanding their extreme exhaustion, were still
working without cease over Mrs. Liebling's body.

The room, of course, was flooded and was reeking with the sweetish-sour
smell of human exhalations. The captain sent a sailor to fetch dry
clothes for Frederick.

While continuing their efforts and relieving each other at intervals,
Doctor Wilhelm and Frederick gave a short account of the catastrophe on
the _Roland_. Captain Butor was greatly astonished. Though the weather
throughout his trip had not been especially good, yet it had not been the
reverse. Most of the time, as at present, it had been clear, with a stiff
wind and a moderately high sea. His vessel was bound for New York with a
cargo of oranges, wine, oil, and cheese from Fayal in the Azores, to
which it had carried a load of agricultural implements from Hamburg.

Frederick and Wilhelm could give little information concerning the cause
of the accident. Wilhelm said that shortly before six in the morning, he
had been awakened by a sound like the clang of a gong. In his half-waking
state, he thought it was the signal to dinner, until he remembered that
on the _Roland_ a trumpet blast was used to announce meals.

Frederick thought the _Roland_ had probably struck a wreck or a rock. But
rocks, the captain said, were out of the question. There were none in
those waters, and the _Roland_ could not have been carried by strong
currents into a region where there were rocks, since in that event the
life-boat would not have entered the course of his own vessel within so
short a time. The skipper, who knew Captain von Kessel personally and had
met him in Hamburg only recently, spoke of him in the highest terms, as
one of the most experienced, trustworthy captains in the German merchant
marine. The catastrophe, he said, was possibly the worst that had
occurred in decades, if the steamer had actually sunk and not been towed
into a port.

Before leaving, Captain Butor invited the two men, as soon as their task
was ended, to supper at the mess table.

An hour and a half passed. The physicians were about to give up their
attempts to resuscitate Mrs. Liebling, when her heart began to stir and
her breast to heave. Rosa's joy was boundless. With the greatest
difficulty restraining an emotional outburst, she felt the warmth return
even to Mrs. Liebling's soles, which she had been rubbing unwearyingly
with her palms, hard as flat-irons. The rescued woman was carried to bed
and packed in hot water bottles, like a premature baby.

This great success of the physicians' efforts--it was like a raising of
the dead--produced profound emotion in all that witnessed it, including
Frederick and Doctor Wilhelm, who were suddenly moved to shake hands with
each other.

"We have been saved," said Wilhelm. "The most improbable, the most
incredible thing has actually happened."

"Yes," rejoined Frederick. "It has actually happened. It _is_ absolutely
the most improbable thing that has ever occurred in my life. The question
is, What were we saved for?"



LI


The mess-room of the _Hamburg_ was a small square cabin with iron walls,
its only furniture a square table and a bench running around three sides.
Once a person was seated, it was impossible to pass him; and when the
officers gathered for meals, they shoved themselves into place in a
certain order, the captain first.

At seven o'clock Doctor Wilhelm and Frederick appeared for supper. They
found a soup tureen sending up clouds of steam and a well-constructed oil
lamp over the table shedding a cheerful light. The _Hamburg_ was not
lighted by electricity.

The two physicians, like all victims of accidents, the objects of really
touching solicitude, were assigned seats against the warmest wall,
dividing the cabin from the engine-room. Captain Butor served the strong
hot soup, and Mr. Wendler, chief engineer, a rotund little mariner, in an
attempt to enliven the shipwrecked men, cautiously ventured a joke or two
even before the roast was served. He came from Lindenau near Leipzig, and
the rest of the crew teased him for his Low German.

"Don't talk," said the captain to Wilhelm and Frederick. "Just eat,
drink, and sleep."

At first they were inclined to take his advice, but in the course of the
meal, after one of the sailors had served an immense cut of roast beef,
and the captain had carved it, and they had washed the meat down with red
wine, their spirits rose from moment to moment.

Bulke appeared at the door showing evidences of the royal banquet to
which he and the sailors of the _Roland_ had been treated by the sailors
of the _Hamburg_. Notwithstanding his condition, pardonable enough in
the circumstances, he would not go to sleep without first receiving
instructions from Doctor Wilhelm and Frederick, before whom he stood in
military attitude, hand to his cap, awaiting orders.

It was decided that the sailor-nurse and another sailor of the _Hamburg_
should go on night duty, since all the men from the _Roland_ needed rest
and sleep.

Though Frederick's and Doctor Wilhelm's spirits rose visibly, they never
referred to the sinking of the _Roland_. It was too tremendous a thing,
too dreadful, too near for any of the survivors, except the sailors, to
speak of it without intense emotion. It was like a dull weight on their
souls. Whatever Wilhelm and Frederick said related merely to their
difficulties in the life-boat, or to the trip on the _Roland_ before it
overstepped that moment in eternity which determined its awful fate.

"Captain," said Frederick, "you don't know how astonishing it is to be
raised from the dead. Conceive a man who has taken definite leave of
everything that was dear to him in life, who has felt the rattle in his
throat, and received extreme unction, and death, death itself, has
settled on his flesh and limbs. I still feel death in my joints. And yet
I am sitting here in safety, in the pleasant lamplight, almost as in a
circle of friends and relatives. I am sitting in the cosiest home, with
the difference that I still cannot get myself to look upon you"--they
were the captain, the engineer, the boatswain, and the first mate--"as
something so insignificant as mere men."

"When we sighted the _Hamburg_", said Wilhelm, "I had just made my last
will and testament. You see I don't give myself up for lost as quickly as
my friend, Doctor von Kammacher. When your ship gradually grew from the
size of a pinhead to the size of a full-grown pea, all of us who could,
screamed at the top of our voices. We nearly burst our throats screaming.
And when your _Hamburg_ attained the size of a walnut, and we realised we
had been sighted, your ship flamed in my eyes like a huge diamond or
ruby, and to me the east from which you came shone more brilliantly than
the west, where the sun was still shining above the horizon. All of us
howled like watch-dogs."

"It will always be a miracle to me," Frederick resumed, "that such an
evening as this could follow such a morning. I have let days slip past,
by the hundreds, holding no more in them than minutes. But in this one
day, a whole summer has passed, and a whole winter. I feel as if the
first violet had followed directly upon the first snow."

Wilhelm told of how excited the sailors had been in Cuxhaven because
Catholic priests had boarded the _Roland_. Then he mentioned a dream his
old mother had had the night before he was to sail. A child of hers that
had been born many years before and had lived only a day, appeared to her
as a grown-up man and warned her not to let him make the trip.

"She begged me not to go," he said, "but, as I am an enlightened man, I
simply laughed at her for her fears."

Once launched upon the boundless sea of superstition, beloved by sailors,
the men went on to recite cases they knew of prophetic dreams, of
forebodings fulfilled, and the appearance of dying or dead men. This
suggested his friend's last letter to Frederick. He drew his portfolio
from his waistcoat pocket, where it had remained throughout his perilous
trip, and passed the letter around.

They read the passage, "In the vivid, flashing orgies of my nocturnal
dreams, you are always tossing in a ship on the high seas. Do you intend
to make an ocean trip?" Of course, it excited not a little astonishment,
and it was with some thrills that they read: "Should it be possible for
me, after the great moment, to make myself noticeable from the Beyond,
you will hear from me again."

Captain Butor asked with an incredulous smile, yet eagerly, whether his
friend had indeed made himself noticeable from the Beyond.

"This is what happened to me in a dream. Judge for yourselves. I don't
know," said Frederick, in a voice still hoarse and barking. It was unlike
him to go on and relate, as he did, the dream that had been greatly
occupying his thoughts, which began with the landing in a mystic port and
ended with the Toilers of the Light. He described his friend, Peter
Schmidt, and declared that Peter had sent his astral self half way across
the Atlantic to greet him. He spoke of 1492, of Columbus's flag-ship, the
_Santa Maria_, but chiefly of his meeting with Rasmussen in the form of
an old chandler, giving a detailed description of the remarkable ship in
the shop window, the shop itself, and the chirping of the goldfinches. He
drew out his note-book and read aloud what the mysterious chandler had
said to him:

"It was precisely thirteen minutes past one on the twenty-fourth of
January when I drew my last breath."

"Whether that is true," Frederick concluded, "remains to be proved. So
much is certain--if there is anything about this dream that isn't the
illusory work of my imagination--my soul grazed the boundaries of the
world beyond, and I received a hint of the catastrophe to come. As to the
_Roland_, my friend, Peter Schmidt, showed me a ship in the harbour with
a tremendous hole in its side and said it had brought in a great many
people,--which would mean, it had transferred them to the world beyond.
In regard to my rescue, my disguised friend, Rasmussen, said I should
soon celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of 1492 with Peter Schmidt
in New York. But dreams are froth and foam. I fancy it would not be
difficult to explain all this rationalistically, from psycho-physiologic
causes."

Before the little family circle of the _Hamburg_ broke up for the night,
they touched glasses again with great gravity, even solemnity.



LII


Frederick awoke the next morning from an eleven hours' sleep, for which
he was indebted chiefly to a dose of veronal. Doctor Wilhelm had
undertaken to do whatever was necessary during the night for the sick
passengers of the _Roland_ and had persuaded Frederick, whose more
delicate constitution was in the utmost need of rest, to take the drug.
The sun was shining brightly into his tiny cabin. Through the slat door,
he heard the sound of voices speaking calmly and the cheerful clatter of
plates and dishes. At first he recalled nothing of the previous day's
events, and thought he was on the fast mail steamer, _Roland_. But he
could not reconcile the change in his cabin with the idea he had formed
of his room on the _Roland_. In his bewilderment he reached out from bed
and knocked on the mahogany slats of the door. The next moment Doctor
Wilhelm's face, lively and refreshed, was bending over him.

"With the exception of the woman from the steerage, all our patients had
a good night," the _Roland's_ doctor said, and went on to give a report
of each case. It was not until he had nearly ended his account that he
noticed the difficulty Frederick was having to explain his surroundings.
Wilhelm laughed and recalled some incidents. Frederick started up and
clapped his hands to his temples.

"A void," he exclaimed. "A whirl of impossible things is going round in
my brain."

Shortly after, he was sitting at breakfast with Doctor Wilhelm, eating
and drinking. And yet not a word was said of the sinking of the _Roland_.

Ingigerd Hahlström had awakened and fallen asleep again. The barber and
sailor-nurse, Flitte by name, had locked her door. Arthur Stoss was still
lying abed with his door open and was cracking jokes in the best of
spirits, while his trusty valet, Bulke, fed him or handed him food to
take with his feet. From the ring of his falsetto voice one would have
judged that the horrors he had survived were nothing but a series of
comic situations.

"This business," he said, leaving his original subject and dropping a few
highly flavoured oaths, "is going to cost me one thousand American
dollars. I shall not be able to keep the first days of my engagement in
New York." In good English he cursed the whole German Hansa, especially
the _Hamburg_. "The wretched little herring keg! At the utmost it doesn't
make more than ten knots an hour."

Fourteen hours of peaceful sleep brought the painter, Jacob Fleischmann
of Fürth to his senses. He had his breakfast served in bed, rang the
call-bell, gave orders, and kept the steward dancing attendance on him.
The others could hear him loudly reiterate again and again that though
the loss of his oil-paintings, sketches, and etchings, which he had
intended to sell in America, was irreparable and beyond compensation, yet
the steamship company was unquestionably liable, and as soon as he
reached New York, he would take to haunting the company's office, until
they paid him full damages. They were to find out who and what he was.

Rosa, happy and eager, though with eyes red from crying, passed to and
fro between her mistress's cabin and the dining-room table, carrying now
one thing, now another, to Mrs. Liebling, who was still whining
reproachfully. It had been agreed to keep Siegfried Liebling's death a
secret from her, an easy thing to do since she had declared she was not
yet strong enough to see the children. Yet it was remarkable how the dead
woman had revived. When Frederick after breakfast paid her a professional
visit, he found she had only a dim recollection of having been
unconscious. She had had glorious dreams, she said, and when she realised
she was to be awakened, had felt so regretful that she tried to resist
the summons back to earthly life, back from the wondrous isle, the
veritable paradise, in which she had been.

Mrs. Liebling was beautiful. She complained of pains, and at Frederick's
bidding bared her body. He found it marked with blue spots, the result of
the rough tossings in the life-boat, which had left him, too, bruised and
wounded in various places and with frozen toes and fingers.

"My dear Mrs. Liebling," he said, "put up with your slight discomfort. We
were all dead, and we have undeservedly been granted a second life."

Shortly before ten o'clock, Captain Butor entered the dining-room, shook
hands with the gentlemen, asked how they had slept, and told them that
all night the men on the bridge had redoubled their vigilance on the
chance of discovering more survivors of the _Roland_. Since the wind was
still from the northwest, it was possible that the _Hamburg_ might chance
on the wreck, in case it had not sunk.

"As a matter of fact," he said, "we did sight a derelict at one o'clock,
but there were absolutely no persons aboard. It was an older wreck and a
sailing vessel, not a steamer."

"Perhaps it was the _Roland's_ murderer," said Doctor Wilhelm.

The captain asked the two physicians to come to the chart-room where they
and the sailors of the _Roland_, who were already awaiting him, were to
give him the vouchers he needed for his brief report to be submitted to
his company's agent in New York in regard to the picking up of the
castaways. A sort of audience was held, during which nothing new
concerning the tremendous disaster was revealed.

Pander showed the scrap of paper with the pencilled message that
Captain von Kessel had asked him to take to his sisters. All were greatly
moved on reading the few hastily scrawled words. The incident revealed
what a wrench the hearts and nerves of even the seamen had undergone. At
the mention of this or that person or incident, Pander and the three
sailors burst into hysterical tears. When asked whether they thought the
_Roland_ would remain above water over the day, all said "No." One of the
sailors, who from the first warning of danger to the boarding of the
_Hamburg_, had gone about his heavy duty with the same grit, the same
matter-of-course manner, scarcely uttering a word, concluded each of his
statements with: "Captain, it was like on Judgment Day."

At the conclusion of the audience, Frederick felt a great need to be
alone for a while. "It was like on Judgment Day," followed him. Yes, it
was like on Judgment Day! The horrors of the cruellest judgment could not
exceed those amid which the victims of the shipwreck had perished.
Strange, the evening before, Frederick had still been able to laugh;
to-day he felt as if the gravity of his being were turned to brass and
had laid itself about him, not like an iron mask, not like a leaden
cloak, but rather like a heavy metal sarcophagus.

He knew a man, an architect verging on middle age, who had been on the
island of Ischia during the last great earthquake there. The architect
and some very dear friends were sitting together over a bottle of wine
when the calamity was ushered in by the roll of subterranean thunder. A
moment later the ceiling and floors burst, and an abyss swallowed up
five or six persons, men and women, full of hope and joy in life. He
himself remained on the brink of the abyss unscathed. Though years
intervened, there was still not a clod of earth, not a rock, no matter
how adamantine, on which he could set foot with his old confidence; there
was no wall or ceiling that he did not seem to see falling on his head
and crushing him. Groping along the walls of houses on the street, terror
would seize him. Open places made him dizzy, and not infrequently a
passerby seeing his helplessness would lead him like a blind man across
the city square.

Frederick felt that the sinking of the _Roland_ had left him with a
gloomy heritage, a black compact cloud-mass brooding menacingly in the
spaces of his soul. With all his will, he had to overcome a shudder when
something like a flash of lightning darted from the cloud and illuminated
the horror he had witnessed, as if it were still present to his eye.

Why had the powers revealed Judgment Day to him, not as a vision, but as
an actuality? Why had they showed such partiality as to let him and a few
others escape perdition? Was he, the tiny ant, which was susceptible of
such titanic terrors, important enough to assume the guidance of things
for himself, to fulfil a loftier purpose for good or evil? Had he
transgressed? Was he deserving of punishment? But that wholesale massacre
was too fearful, too vast a thing! It was ridiculous to attribute to it a
pedagogic purpose for the discipline of one minute human existence.
Indeed, he felt how the large generalness of the event had almost
entirely dislodged everything personal. No! Nothing but blind, deaf
and dumb powers of destruction had been at work.

Yet, in facing the elemental tragedy of the human race, the inexorable
gruesomeness of the powers, in looking into the eyes of death, he had
acquired knowledge that turned something in his being into the hardness
of the hardest rock. What was the sense of such a disaster if the eternal
goodness ordained it? And where was the power of eternal goodness, if it
was incapable of hindering it? Nothing remained but to strip oneself bare
of all pride and dignity and grovel in the dust before the great unknown,
a humble, will-less slave, completely at its mercy.



LIII


While on the _Roland_, time had crawled at a snail's pace, the hour hand
of the clock on the _Hamburg_ travelled twice around its face with
surprising rapidity. During that interval, the two ladies remained in
bed, though the weather, which was clear and moderate, permitted being
on deck. In Mrs. Liebling the consequences of the strain manifested
themselves in periodic attacks of great excitement and fear accompanied
by violent palpitation; in Ingigerd Hahlström, in healthy sleepiness,
which made the administration of morphine in her case unnecessary.
Neither of the women developed fever. But the sailor whose feet were
frozen and the woman from the steerage had a high temperature. The
immigrant in her delirium wanted to jump from bed, and, at the
physicians' request, Captain Butor appointed one of the well sailors from
the _Roland_ and a sailor from the _Hamburg_ to relieve each other in
keeping constant watch over her.

Each time Frederick went to look after the poor creature, he felt himself
assailed by the temptation to save her forever from the moment of
awakening. From her own lips, while she had still been conscious, he had
heard of all the relatives she had probably lost on the _Roland_, her
husband, three sons, and a daughter-ranging from seven to eighteen years
of age--a sister and her mother. At first her fevered fancy occupied
itself with the shipwreck, her husband, children, and sisters. Later she
seemed to become a child again, reliving her life in her parents' home.
Swallows' nests, a cow, a goat, a meadow, in which there was a haystack
roofed to keep off the rain, figured as important things.

"Would that she passed away in those illusions!" thought Frederick.

Arthur Stoss, transported up-stairs by his faithful Bulke, and Jacob
Fleischmann strolled about on deck, or reclined in the steamer chairs,
which even the trading vessel possessed. Stoss needed some massaging
and patching up, and while the physicians were busy with him, he crowed
and cawed in his most jovial manner:

"I always say you can't destroy weeds. Tanned leather is impervious to
salt water. I am like an ant which can spend a week under water without
dying."

Thanks to Rosa's unwearying care, Ella Liebling escaped with nothing but
a bad cold. Looking very pretty and saucy in her own clothes, which had
been cleaned and dried, the little maiden pried about in every nook and
cranny of the vessel. The skipper granted her a free pass to his bridge,
the engineers to the engine-room. She was even admitted into the great
tube of the propeller-shaft. She was everybody's pet, and all soon became
acquainted with her mother's position in the world and manner of life.

When Ingigerd, after about fifty hours of rest in bed, finally appeared
on deck, wrapped in Frederick's overcoat, the passengers and crew fairly
celebrated the event. The exquisite creature, who had lost her father,
was regarded with the same masculine pity by all the men on board.
Pander, the gallant cabin-boy, converted himself into her shadow. He made
a stool for her feet from an empty box of smoked sprats, and while she
sat talking to Frederick, he stood off at a short distance ready to
receive her orders. Even Flitte, sailor and barber and nurse, who was
supposed to give all who needed him equal attention, ran hither and
thither for her sake with special zeal.

The call for Flitte was the one most frequently heard on the _Hamburg_.
The undersized little man from Brandenburg, whom a love of adventure had
changed from a barber-surgeon into a sailor, unexpectedly experienced a
triumph of his personality. Now it was Mrs. Liebling who summoned him,
now Ingigerd, now the sailor with the frozen feet, now Fleischmann, now
Stoss, and even Bulke and Rosa--Rosa, who for several hours during the
day made herself useful in the contracted little kitchen, which was ruled
by a shrewd old cook. The physicians, too, had, of course, constant use
for him; and it was the most natural thing that he should become a man
of importance in the eyes of even his idolised captain, whom, in the
ordinary course of things it was his duty to shave. He was well aware of
this, and since, moreover, pity had fanned into a lively flame his old
inclination for nursing, he outdid himself in self-sacrificing deeds for
the sick, both by day and night. Frederick asked him the same question he
had asked each member of the _Roland's_ crew:

"Would you rather be a seaman than anything else?"

And Flitte was the first that without hesitation answered, "Yes."



LIV


The unexpected arrival of the little troupe of peculiar passengers on the
_Hamburg_ in mid-ocean produced a flutter of excitement in both captain
and crew. It was a feeling of mingled solemnity and gaiety. For the
benefit now of the captain, now of the boatswain, or the first mate, or
the cook, or the engineer, the physicians had to repeat again and again
the account of how they had been sighted and rescued. It was a story that
never grew stale, and from the eagerness with which the _Hamburg's_ crew
listened to the oft-told tale, the physicians realised that even to those
old sea-dogs the event was a miracle. None of them, in all the years they
had been sailing the high seas, had ever fished up such booty.

"When Captain Butor had me look through the spy-glasses," Wendler would
say, "his face was the colour of green cheese. And when I thought for a
moment that I made out a boat and the next second heard the captain say,
'Look sharp, there are people in it,' I felt my knees getting weak."

In telling of his impressions when the boat entered, and immediately
disappeared from, the field of his spy-glasses, the captain invariably
declared that he had suddenly been beset by a paralysed feeling in his
feet, and rubbed the glasses, and began to search again. He was on the
point of leaving the bridge, since he could not get another view of that
strange little flyspeck on the ocean and decided it was an allusion, when
it occurred to him that for reasons of general security he had better
scan the entire circle of the horizon. This time he looked backwards.
Instantly he had the _Hamburg_ stopped and turned, because he had sighted
the boat a second time and it was now decidedly nearer. The first mate,
too, on looking through the glasses saw it was a boat and that it
contained passengers. Wendler was called on deck. When he peered through
the glass, he distinguished white cloths waving.

"When my boys found out what was doing," said Captain Butor, "they began
to carry on like lunatics. I had to use some of my sea-lingo on them.
They wanted to dive over the railing into the sea, and swim to the boat."

       *       *       *       *       *

Ingigerd was lying stretched out in her comfortable steamer chair, and
Frederick was sitting on a camp-stool in front of her. On the _Roland_,
when the sense of danger began to thicken, a feeling of ownership in
regard to Ingigerd had taken hold of Frederick and never left him. Doctor
Wilhelm and, as a result of his influence, everybody on the _Hamburg_
looked upon Frederick as the romantic rescuer and lover of the little
dancer. All were conscious of witnessing the development of a romance
especially sanctioned by Divine Providence, and looked on with interest
and respect. Ingigerd's attitude to Frederick was that of tacit docility,
as if she, the obedient ward, recognised in him her natural guardian.

The air was fresh, the motion of the sea was easy. Suddenly, after a long
spell of silence, which Frederick had imposed upon her, Ingigerd asked:

"Was it really nothing but chance that brought us together on the
_Roland_?"

"There is no such thing as chance, or, rather, everything is chance,
Ingigerd," was his evasive answer.

Ingigerd was not satisfied, and did not desist until she learned the
causes and circumstances that had led Frederick to board the unfortunate
_Roland_ at Southampton.

"So for my sake," she said, "you came within a hair's breadth of losing
your life. Instead, you saved my life."

This brief conversation cemented the bond between them more firmly.

In the survivors, with the exception of Frederick and Ingigerd, the
consciousness of their newly acquired life soon assumed exuberant forms.
Scarcely two days lay between them and the sinking of the _Roland_, yet
these very people, who had undergone the brutal terrors of that awful
event, abandoned themselves to the greatest gaiety. Arthur Stoss probably
had never before shot off such an incessant fire of jokes and jibes, and
probably never before had set such an audience a-laughing as the captain,
the first mate, the boatswain, Wendler, the ship's cook, Fleischmann,
Doctor Wilhelm, and even Mrs. Liebling, Rosa, Bulke, and the sailors of
the _Roland_ and the _Hamburg_.

Fleischmann involuntarily and unconsciously danced to the tune that Stoss
in perfect good humour intentionally piped. It was most amusing when the
man with black locks, dressed in a black velvet suit saturated with salt
water, swaggeringly passed judgment upon Adolf Menzel, Böcklin,
Liebermann, and other celebrated German masters. In expanding his
theories of painting, he always used his lost treasures as examples.
Stoss never wearied of getting the caddish genius to describe his
paintings, the loss of which in Fleischmann's opinion was the worst
disaster connected with the sinking of the _Roland_. The form that Doctor
Wilhelm's teasing of Fleischmann took was, when Ingigerd was not present,
to make him describe his rescue in detail. In the artist's brain, it was
an event in an eminent degree glorifying to himself. All the sorry
incidents had completely passed from his mind, including the fact that
Rosa, Bulke and Ingigerd had pulled him out of the waves howling like a
wet poodle.

The sum at which he estimated the loss of his pictures and which he
intended to demand of the steamship company was a matter of general
knowledge, like the price of stocks and bonds, within two and a half
days jumping from eight hundred dollars to six thousand. There was no
telling to what amount it might soar.

Fleischmann had contrived to get some writing paper on the _Hamburg_,
and industriously set to work to caricature everybody on board. Thus, he
often bestowed his company unbidden upon Frederick and Ingigerd, who had
no need of anybody else in the world. That would ruffle Frederick's
temper.

"I am surprised," he once said to him, by no means amiably, "that after
so solemn an event, you are capable of such superficial trifling."

"A strong character!" said Fleischmann, laconically.

"Don't you think," Frederick continued, "that Miss Hahlström may be
annoyed by your constantly looking at her?"

"No," said Fleischmann, "I don't think so."

Ingigerd took Fleischmann's part, thereby heightening Frederick's ill
humour.



LV


Shortly after, just as Wendler, who was off duty, passed by with a
chess-board under his arm, Frederick was summoned to Mrs. Liebling. Of
the two physicians, he was the one that had inspired her special
confidence, why, he did not know.

"Doctor von Kammacher," said Doctor Wilhelm, with a swift side glance at
Ingigerd, "you've cut me out again."

At least once every twenty minutes Mrs. Liebling called for Flitte and at
least once every hour Frederick von Kammacher had to sit beside her on
the edge of her bed. Strangely enough, it did not occur to the young
scientist to take amiss the jokes that Doctor Wilhelm and the others
aimed at him on that account. He was really sorry for the poor woman and
was unaffectedly ready to be of service to her.

They had not yet informed her of Siegfried's death, but, now that only
Ella kept coming to her, a suspicion had arisen in her mind. Flitte and
Rosa, when she begged them to go fetch Siegfried, always returned without
him, and when pressed, gave as the reason that the boy was sick.

"What is the matter with my dear, sweet Siegfried?" she cried, wringing
her hands, when Frederick entered her cabin. The next moment she fell
back on her pillow and lay rigid, pressing her hands to her eyes.

"O my God! O my God!" she exclaimed in impotent denial of the truth.
Without waiting for what Frederick had to say, she began to cry quietly,
in genuine grief.

On returning to the deck half an hour later, Frederick found the fat
little engineer and Ingigerd playing chess together.

"The painter and I have made Miss Hahlström laugh three times already,"
cried the engineer.

"I know where you were, Doctor von Kammacher," Ingigerd said. "Does she
know the truth now?"

"Yes," Frederick replied. "I hope she will be quieter now."

Ingigerd wanted to go down to Mrs. Liebling. Tears came to her eyes, and
revealed, as with a ray of light shining inward, what she refrained from
saying, that she who had lost her father was most fitted to share the
grief of a mother who through the same misfortune had lost her son.
Frederick was indignant that Ingigerd had been told, and used all his
authority to prevail upon her not to visit Mrs. Liebling for the present.



LVI


The next day at about noon Doctor Wilhelm and Frederick helped Mrs.
Liebling on deck. Her appearance there made a gruesome impression upon
those who had not seen her since she had been dragged, a lifeless corpse,
from the boat to the _Hamburg_. The sailors, though most solicitous to
read Ingigerd Hahlström's wishes from her eyes, even before they were
conceived, kept at a distance from Mrs. Liebling and cast shy glances at
her, as if still in doubt whether she was a real human being. If the sea
gives up its dead, why should not little Siegfried emerge from his death
chamber?

Mrs. Liebling, wrapped in blankets and a coat belonging to the captain,
was placed in a comfortable position on the other side of the deck from
Ingigerd, because she wished to be alone. For a long while she looked
across the expanse of the quiet sea. Then she said to Frederick, whose
company she had requested:

"It's strange that I feel merely as if I had had a dreadful dream--just
a dream--that is the strange thing. No matter how hard I try, I cannot
fully convince myself, except when I think of Siegfried, that my dream
reflects an actuality which I experienced."

"We mustn't indulge in vain broodings," said Frederick.

"I know," she continued without looking at him, "I know I didn't always
do what is right, but if _I_ deserved to be punished, Siegfried did not.
Why did I escape?" After an interval of silence, she began to speak of
her past, of conflicts with her husband, who had deceived her. Hers had
been one of those loveless matches which are contracted in the customary
business fashion. She told Frederick that she was an artist by nature,
Rubinstein, for whom she had played when she was eleven years old, having
prophesied a great future for her. "I don't know anything about cooking
or children. I was always terribly nervous. Still, I love my children. If
I didn't, would I have been so obstinate in trying to win them from my
husband? I pledge you my word, Doctor, if I could change places with
Siegfried, you would find me ready at any moment."

Frederick made all sorts of consolatory remarks, some of which were not
wholly superficial; for instance, what he said of death and resurrection
and the great atonement that every form of death, even mere sleep,
involves.

"If you were a man, I should recommend Goethe. I should say to you, 'Read
over and over the beginning of the second part of _Faust_:'

  'Then the craft of elves propitious
   Hastes to help where help it can.'

or the passage beginning:

  'The fierce convulsions of his heart compose;
   Remove the burning barbs of his remorses,
   And cleanse his being from the suffered woes!'

Doesn't what we went through give you a sense of expiation and
purification?"

"I feel," said the woman who had arisen from the dead, "as if my former
life were far, far away, as if, since the sinking of the _Roland_, an
impassable mountain were lying between me and my past. But leave me now,
Doctor. You are bored. Don't waste the precious time you owe your pretty
friend on me."

As a matter of fact, Frederick preferred to talk to Mrs. Liebling rather
than to Ingigerd. If he was bored, it was with Ingigerd, not with Mrs.
Liebling.

"Oh," he said, "never mind. Ingigerd Hahlström always has company. She
doesn't need me."

"My mother urged me," said Mrs. Liebling, "not to take the children, but
to leave them with her. Had I obeyed, Siegfried would still have been
alive. She has a perfect right to reproach me severely. And how can I
face Siegfried's father? He did what he could to keep the children back.
He wrote to me and sent friends and his attorneys."

"With 'if' and 'hadn't I,' you can't undo what has been done. The event
is too general, too titanic, to be thought of in such a way. It is too
fearful to be considered with reference to a single individual and his
puny fate. What happened had to happen, whether or not we believe in
predestination. We human beings must not have feelings so petty as to
allow mere chance to play a rôle in this event."

Frederick could not make up his mind to speak of his dream, in which Rosa
figured as jumping from the boat with Siegfried in her arms and escaping
to the white marble quay of the wonderful Columbus port, where he had
been received by Peter Schmidt and where the _Santa Maria_ was slowly
crumbling away. Since there were things in his dream that gave support to
a belief in predestination relieving the mind of self-blame, his telling
it might have soothed Mrs. Liebling's troubled conscience; but Rosa had
remained alive, Siegfried alone was dead. Besides, though Frederick was
constantly revolving the dream in his soul and kept recalling Hamlet's
words, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are
dreamt of in your philosophy," he did not want to strengthen Mrs.
Liebling's superstition, which showed itself in a predisposition for
table-tipping and patience-playing.

On walking to the other side of the deck, after a rather prolonged
absence, he was greeted with a shout.

"Hullo, father confessor!" they cried.

"Come be seated, my saviour," said Ingigerd, looking considerably better
and brighter than the day before.

Frederick turned slightly pale, but did as he was bidden and said in a
tone that did not harmonise with the good humour of the group:

"Mrs. Liebling was Rubinstein's pupil. I haven't met another woman on
this trip to whom it is so well worth the while to talk."

"All due respect to you, a matter of taste," said Doctor Wilhelm.

"Let him alone. My saviour is displeased," said Ingigerd.

It was evident that occasionally she stood in awe of Frederick.



LVII


Aside from little tiffs between Ingigerd and Frederick, the spirit on
board the _Hamburg_ was generally good-humoured, even jolly. The weather
remained clear, and the place of terror already lay eight hundred miles
behind in the ocean. Each minute carried the passengers of the _Roland_
farther along in their newly acquired lives. The ladies were feasted from
the cargo of tropical fruit in the hold of the vessel, which had a
carrying capacity of some two thousand register tons. Often the men for
Ingigerd's amusement would use the oranges for playing ball. The Atlantic
Ocean about the _Hamburg_ seemed a very different thing from that awful,
treacherous sea which had swallowed the _Roland_. It lay like a
wave-tossing heaven under the steamer, and gave it a gentle rocking
motion, by no means unpleasant. There was majesty in the course of even
the plain little trader, painted black above the water-line and red
below. Compared with that mechanical marvel, the _Roland_, it was like
a comfortable old stage-coach, and could be depended upon to make its
ten knots an hour with a great show of speed. Captain Butor in all
seriousness declared the castaways had brought him good luck. The moment
they appeared, the old man of the sea turned as peaceful and serene as an
octogenarian English rector.

"Yes," said Stoss, "but your old English rector first filled his belly
with a few hecatombs of human lives. Stop, look, listen! Don't be too
quick to trust him. When he's done assimilating, he'll have a still
better appetite."

Up to the very end of the trip, though there was a corpse on board and
the woman from the steerage was still very sick, the atmosphere on the
_Hamburg_ lost none of its festal character. The bridge was free
territory. Ingigerd was usually to be seen there in the daytime playing
chess with Wendler, or looking on while Frederick won one game after the
other from the engineer. Naturally enough, the entire crew, by no means
exclusive of Captain Butor, felt profound satisfaction because of the
booty they had recovered on the high seas, each wearing an air of evident
pride in the catch. Had the exalted feelings that swelled the hearts of
all on board the gallant freight coach, the _Hamburg_, been transferred
into od-rays, the steamer would have sailed up New York Harbour
surrounded, even at high noon, by an aureole of its own radiance.

There was betting as to the number of the pilot-boat that would come to
meet the _Hamburg_, when suddenly it appeared hard by, with the number
"25" decipherable on its sail. Arthur Stoss had won. Almost choking with
laughter, he raked in a considerable sum, and Jacob Fleischmann envied
him with comically obvious greed.

The close companionship with his fellow-passengers on the small steamer,
the compulsion he was under to listen to their jokes and to the
superficial, reiterated tale of the disaster made Frederick inwardly
impatient. Unlike the others, he had not yet recovered his old relation
to life. His soul was numbed. He had lost his feeling for the past, his
feeling for the future, even his passion for Ingigerd. The moment of the
catastrophe seemed to have snapped all the threads that bound him to the
events, men, and things of his former life. Whenever he looked upon
Ingigerd, he felt an oppressive consciousness of responsibility. In these
days it almost seemed as if the girl in her predominatingly soft, serious
mood were awaiting the declaration of his love.

"You all want to have fun with me," she once said, "but nobody wants
anything serious of me."

Frederick did not understand himself. Hahlström was no longer living,
Achleitner had had to pay the penalty of his undignified, dog-like love,
and the girl, shaken and refined to the depths of her being, was wax in
his hands. Often he would look at her to find that her eyes had been
fixed upon him in a long, grave, meditative gaze. Then he would seem to
himself a very sorry sort of person, and was compelled to admit that he
who had once wished to overwhelm the girl with the infinite riches of a
passionately loving soul, was a bankrupt, groping with empty hands in
empty pockets. He ought to speak, ought to open the sluices on the other
side of which the flood of his passionate love must have gathered and
risen high; but all the waters had trickled away, all the sources had
dried up. To mask the aridity of his soul, he adopted his old method of
a curt, dictatorial manner.



LVIII


It was the fifth of February, about thirteen days after the _Roland_
had left Bremen, and twelve after Frederick had boarded the _Roland_
at the Needles in the Channel, when the pilot took the guidance of
the _Hamburg_. Compared with the length of the _Fürst Bismarck's_
record-making passage, this was an extremely long time. But how
inconceivably brief it seemed to him when he recalled all he had
experienced in that period, both in his waking and sleeping hours. On
the _Hamburg_, he no longer dreamed at night. A mighty blast had swept
his soul clean and denuded it of all images.

Shortly before ten o'clock in the morning of the sixth of February,
Captain Butor, standing back of Ella Liebling, who was sitting under
the telescope merrily kicking her thin legs, spied land. It was a
tremendously stirring moment when the news was carried to the passengers.
The steward that called it into Frederick's cabin and the next instant
disappeared little realised how his brief announcement, "Land!" affected
the stranger. Frederick closed the door, shaken by great, hollow,
toneless sobs coming from the depths of his being.

"Such is life," went through his heart. "Did not a steward on a gloomy,
horrid night call 'Danger!' into my cabin, like the shouting of a death
sentence into the cell of a poor sinner by both the judge and the
hangman? And now comes the peaceful piping of the shepherd's reed, while
the thunder is still rolling." It was not until his sobbing ceased that
he felt a thrill of bliss, as if life were again drawing near in triumph.
A flash of feeling set him afire, as when a vast army approaches with
music playing and banners flying, an army of invincible brethren, among
whom he is safe at home again. Never before had life come rolling toward
him in waves so strong or colours so shining. One must have been cast
very, very deep down in darkness and confusion to learn that there is no
more glorious sun in all God's heavens than the sun that shines upon our
earth.

The other passengers from the _Roland_ were each in his own way affected
by the call of "Land!" Mrs. Liebling was heard to cry for Rosa and
Flitte.

"By Jove, you rascal," said Arthur Stoss to his faithful Bulke, "by Jove,
we'll feel the land under our soles again after all."

Doctor Wilhelm peeped into Frederick's cabin.

"Congratulate you, Doctor von Kammacher," he said. "The land of
Christopher Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci has been sighted. We enjoy the
advantage of having no trunks to pack."

Suddenly the fat little engineer, Mr. Wendler, was peering over Doctor
Wilhelm's shoulder.

"Doctor," he cried, wringing his hands with a comic air of helplessness,
"you must come right on deck. Your ward is crying her eyes out." He
referred, of course, to Ingigerd.

She was still crying when Frederick reached deck. His attempts at
consolation did not touch her. He had never before seen her cry, and the
state she was in, so like the one from which he himself had scarcely
emerged, aroused his pity and sympathy, which, however, were rather of
a paternal sort, untinged by his former passion.

"I am not to blame," she suddenly said, "that my father lost his life. I
am not even responsible for Mr. Achleitner. I did my best to dissuade him
from making the trip."

Frederick stroked Ingigerd's hand.

"All due respect to Achleitner, but if I mourn single victims of that
fearful night, I first think of the heroes of the _Roland_, Captain von
Kessel, his mate, Von Halm, and all those picked braves who really died
like great men fulfilling their duty. They are a loss to the world. At
the first sight of them, I, in my innocence, actually believed the Lord
would never permit their destruction."



LIX


The _Hamburg_ had left behind the vast solitude of the ocean, broken only
at long intervals by single far-off ships, and was already making its way
through waters lively with a large number of steamers and sailing craft,
leaving, and making for, the port. Now the lighthouse at Sandy Hook was
visible.

Though Ingigerd as well as Frederick could not still the fluttering of
their shaken souls, they were fascinated by the changing pictures of the
entrance to the harbour. It was an amazing spectacle. Surprise followed
surprise. Each second brought a new sensation.

A gigantic White Star liner came gliding toward them slowly, to the
accompaniment of its brass band. It was starting out on the passage that
the _Hamburg_ was just concluding. Passengers swarmed like ants on the
majestic vessel's decks, giving an impression of gaiety and festivity.
What knew they of the thing awaiting them, perhaps, out there on the
ocean? When they looked down upon the little _Hamburg_, with its few
passengers on deck, they had not the least inkling of the greatness,
the fearfulness of the event of which those few puny persons were the
sole surviving witnesses.

The emotion that filled the _Roland's_ passengers with restlessness and
excited them as with fire and tears when the _Hamburg_ entered New York
Harbour and steamed up through the Lower Bay toward the Narrows, was
both a farewell to home and to the dangers of the sea and a greeting to
solid land, to a stable human civilisation. This was the known, the
usual, the mother's lap from which they had sprung and in which they had
grown until the time came for them to start out upon their spiritual
life's journey. It was also that without which the individual even to-day
is helpless against the powers of nature.

Thus, they experienced a sort of home-coming, mingled with a peculiar
dream-like feeling, that they were arriving on a strange planet, after
having been ferried across Stygian currents on a Charon's raft. Out
there, on the ocean and over the ocean, hovered a gruesomeness of
solitudes, in which the human being, himself seeing everything, remains
unseen, unknown, forgotten by God and the world. To be happy in his
heated, clustered ant nests, man can and must forget the murderous in
those watery transitional realms--man, that insect-like being whose sense
organs and intellect are capacitated for the knowledge of his vast
isolation in the world, but for nothing beyond that knowledge.

Sailing vessels passed one another, steamers blew their whistles,
flocks of gulls swooped down on the water for fish, or darted hither
and thither in the fresh breeze. Another great ocean greyhound, of the
Hamburg-American line, neared them at Norton Point. The huge structure
was propelled forward quietly and surely, as by some mysterious force.
The gong summoning the passengers from the promenade deck to the
dining-room could be distinctly heard.

"At this moment," said Frederick, drawing his watch from his pocket, "it
is quarter of six in Europe, and still dark."

Captain Butor exchanged flag signals with the quarantine station. The
_Hamburg_ came to a standstill to receive health officers on board. After
prolonged negotiations, in the course of which the physicians were
called upon to give detailed information, the sick woman from the
steerage and, with Mrs. Liebling's consent, Siegfried's corpse were taken
from the _Hamburg_. Frederick saw to it that Mrs. Liebling remained in
her cabin and was spared the too painful scene. Within half an hour, the
gallant _Hamburg_ was steaming at full speed through the Narrows into the
magnificent Upper Bay.

Long before it appears, travellers are always on the lookout with
spy-glasses for the Statue of Liberty, the gift of the French nation.
Even Frederick, when he beheld the goddess towering up from the water
on her star-shaped base, did homage to her in his thoughts. From the
distance at which he saw her, she did not look so gigantic. She seemed
to be sending him a beautiful message, rather of the future than of the
present, a message that found its way to his heart and, even in the
strange mood he was in, expanded his breast.

"Liberty!" The word may be misused, yet it has not lost any of its magic
or promise.



LX


And now, suddenly, the world seemed to Frederick to have gone mad. The
_Hamburg_ was entering the narrow harbour, the basin surrounded by
skyscrapers, veritable towers of Babel, and alive with numberless
grotesquely shaped ferry-boats. The scene, perhaps, would be a ridiculous
monstrosity, were it not so truly gigantic. In that crater of life
civilisation bellows, howls, screeches, roars, thunders, rushes, whizzes
and whirls. Here is a colony of white ants, whose activity is staggering,
bewildering, stupefying. It seemed inconceivable that in that intricate,
raging chaos, a single minute could pass without a collision, or a
collapse, or a killing. How could one possibly pursue one's own affairs
quietly amid that shrieking, that hammering, that clanging, that mad
uproar?

During these last moments together, the involuntary passengers of the
_Hamburg_ had become as one in heart and soul. Frederick had not lost his
cash in the disaster, and he persuaded Ingigerd Hahlström not to reject
his services during her first days on land. All agreed not to lose sight
of one another in New York. Naturally enough, there had been much lively,
genuinely heartfelt leave-taking and well-wishing for more than an hour
before the _Hamburg_ was secured to the dock.

The dithyrambic noise of the mighty city, where millions of men were at
work, exercised a renewing, transforming influence. It was a whirlpool
into which one was drawn unresistingly. It suffered no pondering, no
immersion in an unalterable past. Everything in it urged and impelled
forward. Here was the present, nothing but the present.

Arthur Stoss seemed already to have one foot planted on Webster and
Forster's stage. There was much parleying in regard to Ingigerd's
appearance in theatre. She and Stoss had been engaged for the same time,
which was already past. With the uncertainty in her heart as to her
father's fate, she said she could not possibly dance; while Arthur Stoss
declared if he got there in time, he would appear for his number that
very evening.

"I've already lost two evenings," he said, "at a round five hundred
dollars an evening. Besides, I must work, I must get among people."

He advised Ingigerd for her own advantage to do the same, and cited
instances of persons who had not allowed the greatest griefs to keep them
from the exercise of their calling. He knew of a scholar, he said, who
delivered his lecture while his wife was dying, of a clown who cracked
his jokes on the stage, though his wife had eloped with another man and
his heart was bleeding.

"That's our profession," Stoss continued, "and not only our profession,
but everybody's profession--to do his duty, whether with liking or
disliking, whether with happiness or with anguish in his soul. Every man
is a tragi-comic clown, although he doesn't pass for one, perhaps, as we
do. To me it is a triumph, after what I have gone through, to stand on
the stage this evening without trembling, among three thousand
sensation-seeking spectators, and shoot the middle out of an ace."

By degrees Stoss fell more and more into a lively strain of boasting,
which, though not disagreeable, utterly lacked wit. "If you haven't
anything better to do," he said, turning to the physicians, "you
might come to Webster and Forster's and see me cut my capers. Work!
Work!"--this was meant for Ingigerd--"I very much wish you would make up
your mind to dance. Work is medicine, work is everything. To lament the
past is of no use. Besides," he said, turning serious, "don't forget,
stocks in us are booming. Actors must not reject such an opportunity.
Just wait and see how we'll be surrounded by reporters the moment we set
foot on land."

"How so?" said Frederick. "Don't you suppose that all the details of
the sinking of the _Roland_ have been telegraphed to New York from
quarantine? Look at those great skyscrapers, that one with the cupola is
the _World_ building. We have already gone to press, and millions of
newspapers have spun us out, in the greatest detail. The next four or
five days there won't be a man or woman in New York who can vie in
celebrity with the survivors of the _Roland_."

Amid similar talk, the _Hamburg_ reached its pier, and leave-taking began
in earnest. It was truly remarkable to see what emotion suddenly seized
these people, who at bottom were strangers to one another. Mrs. Liebling
wept, and Frederick and Doctor Wilhelm had to submit to her overflowing
kisses of gratitude. Rosa kissed Bulke; she kissed Doctor Wilhelm's and
Frederick's hands again and again, amid veritable howls. It goes without
saying that the ladies also exchanged endearments. Praises were bestowed
upon Flitte; and Captain Butor and Wendler, in fact the entire crew of
the _Hamburg_, were extolled as brave, noble rescuers. The physicians and
Stoss called the sailors of the _Roland_, "Our dear comrades! Our
heroes!"

It was agreed that all should meet again, and Doctor Wilhelm made an
appointment with Captain Butor, Wendler, and even the tattered painter,
Fleischmann, for noon of the day after next. The place chosen for the
meeting was the Hoffman House bar. From there, they would go together on
a jaunt through the city.

Poor Jacob Fleischmann, the painter, was somewhat perplexed by the mad
city, and turned rather mealy-mouthed. He could not speak English, he had
little cash, and he had lost his only capital, his paintings. He tried
delicately, though with evident anxiety, to attach himself to the men
with whom fate had thrown him, and they did not withhold the support he
sought. They agreed to look out for him. Even Arthur Stoss proffered his
services and good advice.

"Should you have trouble with the company's agent," he said, "call on me,
and I'll introduce you to my friend, the owner of the _Staats-Zeitung_."



PART II



I


A few moments later Frederick felt the solid pier beneath his feet. His
brain reeled lightly. The crowd on the pier cheered and hurrahed. In that
shouting, shrieking, roaring, swaying mass of humanity, he and Ingigerd,
who was clinging to his arm, seemed exposed to the danger of another sort
of drowning. Suddenly he found himself confronted by a little Japanese,
or someone whom at first glance he took to be a Japanese, and heard him
saying:

"How d'ye do, Doctor von Kammacher? Don't you know me? How d'ye do,
Doctor von Kammacher? Don't you know me?" several times in rapid
succession.

Frederick tried to recall the man to his memory. He scarcely knew who he
himself was, with those cheers thundering in his ears, with hands on all
sides shaking his hands, and newsboys flourishing newspapers behind him
and above him and under his very nose.

"Don't you know me, Doctor von Kammacher?" the Japanese repeated,
grinning.

"By Jove," cried Frederick, "now I recognise you. You are Willy Snyders.
How do you come to be here?"

While studying several semesters in Breslau, Frederick had eked out his
income by tutoring a boy, a rather desperate case, whose father, a
furniture manufacturer, paid handsomely for his son's private lessons.
Frederick's pupil turned out to be a good-hearted chap, an amusing
scapegrace, who soon became his devoted slave. It was this scapegrace,
now a full-grown man, that Frederick recognised in the jolly Japanese.

"How I come to be here? I'll explain later," said Willy, his nostrils
dilating with the joy of seeing his teacher again. "The first thing is,
have you already engaged rooms, and shall I slip you past that damned
lot of reporters? Or do you want to be interviewed?"

"For heaven's sake, no! Not for the world."

"Then stick close to me," shouted Willy. "A cab is waiting for us, and
we'll drive straight to our folks."

Frederick introduced Ingigerd.

"I must first see this young lady safe to a hotel. And even then I can't
leave her entirely alone."

Willy instantly took in the situation, but it did not change his plans.

"Miss Hahlström can stop with us, too. She will be far more comfortable
than in a hotel. The only question is, can she put up with Italian
cooking?"

"I don't anticipate any difficulties from your macaroni and spaghetti _al
sugo_," said Frederick, who read Ingigerd's willingness in her eyes. "So
I'll follow your lead as you followed mine years ago."

"All right! Forward, march!" Willy's joy in his booty was patent.

When they left the pier, they saw Stoss still surrounded by reporters,
working his jaws with incredible rapidity, as he discoursed upon himself
and the role he had played in the sinking of the _Roland_. They were
about to enter their cab after their flight, through the crowd, when
an elderly gentleman, panting breathlessly and perspiring, despite the
nipping wind, stepped up to Ingigerd Hahlström with, "I beg your pardon,
but I come from Webster and Forster." He took off his hat and wiped the
inside band with his handkerchief. "I was told--I was told--I came in a
carriage--a carriage is waiting--" He stopped, too exhausted to continue.

"Miss Hahlström cannot possibly appear this evening."

"Oh, Miss Hahlström looks very well!"

"See here," said Frederick ready to flare up.

Webster and Forster's agent put his hat back on his bald pate.

"It would be the greatest mistake if Miss Hahlström were not to dance
to-night," he said. "I was commissioned to provide her with money and
anything else she needed. There's my carriage. Rooms have already been
engaged for her at the Astor."

Frederick grew angry.

"I am a physician," he snapped, "and as a physician, I tell you Miss
Hahlström will not dance to-night, nor for several nights."

"Will you make good to Miss Hahlström her financial loss?"

"What I shall do in regard to that is neither your nor Webster and
Forster's business."

Frederick thought he had disposed of the matter, but the agent became
offensive.

"Who are you, sir? My dealings are with Miss Hahlström exclusively. What
right have you to mix in this affair?"

"I don't think I could dance to-night," Ingigerd interposed.

"You will lose that feeling as soon as you step on the stage. The
manager's wife gave me a letter for you. Her maid is at the Astor with
everything you need. She is entirely at your disposal."

"Our Petronilla is a jewel, too," Willy Snyders interjected. "If you
tell her what you need, Miss Hahlström, she'll have it for you in five
minutes." With the insistence of a seducer, he helped Ingigerd into the
cab.

"Very well, then," said the agent emphatically, "you are breaking a
contract, and I warn you of the consequences. I will have to ask you for
your address."

Willy Snyders shouted a number on 107th street. The agent jotted it down
in his note-book.

The cab with Ingigerd, Frederick, and Willy in it was transported from
Hoboken to New York in the usual way, jammed in between other carriages
and trucks on the ferry-boat. A newsboy on the ferry handed into the cab
a copy of _The Sun_, with whole columns already describing the disaster.
The authors of the information were probably the health officers and
Captain Butor. When Willy Snyders began to speak of the _Roland_,
Frederick checked him with a nod toward Ingigerd; but she had of herself
noticed the report in the paper and asked if they had been the first
to bring the news to New York.

"The _Roland_ was overdue more than three days," Willy explained. "We
were already beginning to be alarmed. Finally the passenger list from
Bremen was published, and soon after your name, too, Doctor von
Kammacher, appeared in the newspapers, your father in the meantime having
cabled that you left Paris to catch the _Roland_ at Southampton. I never
lost faith that nothing but the wretched weather was delaying you, and I
inquired at the steamship company's office every day. It was there that I
learned of the sinking of the _Roland_ and the arrival of the _Hamburg_
with the first rescued passengers on board, with you among them."
Noticing Ingigerd's sudden pallor, Willy added vivaciously, with apparent
conviction, "A lot of others must surely have been rescued."

The amount of traffic, as indicated by an endless number of ferry-boats,
tugs, and steamers of every sort, was immense. The ferry-boats, black
with people, resembled floating towers of Babel, above which rose an
iron something like a pump-handle, seesawing up and down with the
invisible pistons.

When the boat lay fast in the slip, there was a great thundering as the
vehicles all began to move at the same time to the accompaniment of a
tramping mass of humanity.

"This city," Frederick thought, "is obsessed by a craze for money
making." The idea was suggested to him chiefly by the advertisements
staring on all sides, those shrill, over-spiced, over-charged
asseverations, compared with which the same thing in Europe was delicate
as a violet, innocent as a newborn babe. Wherever he turned his eyes,
gigantic placards glared at him, gigantic letters, gigantic, garishly
coloured pictures, gigantic fingers and hands pointing to something.
Twenty negroes carrying bill-boards, a carriage drawn by twelve horses
harnessed like circus horses passed by. It was a shrieking, greedy war of
competition, waged with every conceivable means, a wild, shameless orgy
of acquisitiveness, but for that very reason not lacking in a certain
greatness. There was no hypocrisy about it. It was honest in its
outspokenness.

The cab stopped at a telegraph office, and Frederick cabled to his
father, "I am safe, sound, and well;" Ingigerd to her mother in Paris,
"I am safe. Papa's fate uncertain." While Ingigerd was writing, Frederick
took the chance to tell Willy Snyders that she had probably lost her
father in the wreck.

Several times newsboys thrust a paper under Frederick's nose, calling out
the great sensation, "All about the sinking of the _Roland_! All about
the sinking of the _Roland_!" In large, catching headlines he read: "The
_Roland_ leaves Bremen. Slight accident compels her to return. _Roland_
starts on trip again. Constant storms. Dead man on board. Nine hundred
drowned. Heroic conduct of a servant-girl. Doctor Frederick von Kammacher
performs miracles of bravery." Frederick started, reflected, but could
not recall anything of the sort. "Child dies in life-boat. Captain Butor
of the _Hamburg_ sights castaways. Report of survivors. Arthur Stoss,
champion armless marksman, helped into life-boat by faithful valet," and
so on. It was an invaluable supply of fresh, sensational, gratuitously
obtained material, to be served for a week in generous portions to
readers in both the old and the new worlds.

The cab rolled up Broadway, that main thoroughfare of New York stretching
along for miles, with two apparently unbroken chains of street-cars
moving by each other. At that time the cars were propelled by an endless
cable travelling in a conduit under the roadway. The traffic all along
Broadway was enormous, and the contrast was the more surprising when
the cab, after traversing another lively street, turned into a
deserted-looking side street, where almost country-like quiet prevailed.

The cab came to a halt, and Willy Snyders helped Ingigerd out. The
travellers found themselves in front of a low one-family house with a
flight of outside steps, differing in no wise from the other houses on
the block, which were all built on the same plan, of exactly the same
height, of exactly the same width, and with absolute similarity of
detail. Frederick had observed such architectural monotony only in
workingmen's houses in Germany, while here it was the mark of a fairly
aristocratic section.

Twilight had already fallen when Frederick and Ingigerd at length found
privacy in their rooms. The rooms, plainly furnished and scrupulously
clean, were lighted by electricity and heated from a furnace in the
cellar; and the floors were not laid with wood, but paved with red
bricks. Petronilla, the old Italian housekeeper, took Ingigerd in charge,
looking after the smallest of her wants with touching motherliness. The
two said what was necessary to say in a mixture of Italian and English.
After showing Ingigerd to her room and seeing that she was provided with
everything, Petronilla stepped out into the hall to call a maid, who was
working in another part of the house. Frederick heard her, and put his
head out of the door to inquire after Ingigerd.

"The signorina dropped on the couch without undressing and fell right
asleep," she said.

Frederick feeling somewhat uneasy went with Petronilla to look after
Ingigerd, and found that she had merely succumbed to a leaden sleep. Her
constitution, after weeks of over-exertion and abuse, was asserting its
rights. Petronilla and the maid undressed her and put her to bed, all
unconscious, though now and then opening wide her shimmering sea-green
eyes.



II


Frederick washed and went down-stairs to the basement with Willy Snyders.
Here there was a tidy little dining-room with a table set for eight. As
in the other rooms, the floors were of brick, and the walls half-way up
were hung with burlap. Where the burlap ended, a narrow shelf ran around
the entire room, set with all sorts of household utensils, chiefly
_fiaschi_ of wine in straw cases. Like everything else about the place,
the napery was exquisitely clean.

Willy in the meantime had in his droll, lively way fully informed
Frederick of the character and purpose of this extremely comfortable
house. It was leased by a group of German artists, whose main prop was a
sculptor of twenty-eight by the name of Ritter. Willy lauded Ritter as a
genius. He had entered upon a career in the New World most remarkable for
a man of his age. Among his patrons were the Astors, the Goulds, and the
Vanderbilts; and he had received most of the orders for exterior
sculpture work on the buildings of the Chicago Exposition. Willy called
Ritter "a devil of a fellow," and praised him for his "smartness."

In a corner of the dining-room, in the halls and on the stairway
landings, were reproductions of Ritter's works. Willy extolled them to
the skies; Frederick honestly admired them. The large bas-relief in the
corner of the dining-room represented a group of singing boys, for which
Ritter, probably at the suggestion of his customer, a Vanderbilt or an
Astor, had used the famous relief of Luca della Robbia as a model. In
style, nobility and freshness, his work surpassed anything then being
done in Germany.

Another sculptor partaking of the benefits of the club-house was a friend
of Ritter, who helped him with his work. Like Ritter, Lobkowitz was a
native Austrian. The fourth member of the group was Franck, a painter
from Silesia, an impecunious eccentric, upon whose talents his comrades
placed an extremely high estimate. It was Willy Snyders the kind-hearted
who, soon after a chance meeting with his fellow-Silesian, dragged him
from his wretched quarters, not without much coaxing, and transferred him
to the club-house.

"Wait and see the way that lunatic Franck is going to behave," said Willy
in his peculiar voice, in which there was a blending of the guttural and
nasal tones of American English with the Austrian German accent of his
friends. "He snaps like a mad dog. He's enough to make you split your
sides laughing--that is, if the perverse creature comes at all and
doesn't have dinner served in his room."

As a matter of fact, Franck was the first to enter the dining-room.
Willy's tongue kept wagging, while the eccentric merely shook hands
limply with Frederick and said nothing. Though the three were countrymen,
Franck's appearance--like Willy, he was wearing evening dress--added a
touch of embarrassment where there had been perfect unconstraint; and
though Willy had lent Frederick a suit, and a tailor had already been
ordered, Frederick expressed regret at not being appropriately dressed.

"Yes, Ritter's a great stickler for form," Willy observed. "Every evening
we have to present the appearance of at least attachés to an embassy."

Petronilla entered and explained in wordy Italian that the poor, dear,
sweet little signorina had fallen asleep in bed and was breathing quietly
and regularly.

"You could shoot off a cannon, bum! bum! Outside her window, and she
wouldn't wake up," she said. Then holding out a newspaper, she asked
whether the gentlemen had heard of the sinking of the _Roland_ and the
few survivors. When Willy, with his dilating nostrils and his
characteristic half-serious, half-comic expression, introduced Frederick
as one of those survivors, she burst into a noisy laugh, which vastly
amused two of the three Silesians. When convinced that Willy was not
teasing, she stared at Frederick speechlessly, burst into tears, and
kissed his hands. Then she ran out.

Soon after, Lobkowitz entered, a tall, quiet man. He had heard of
Frederick's recent experience, and greeted him with simple cordiality.

"Ritter has just come in his cart," he said.

They looked out of the window. Frederick saw an elegant two-wheeled
dog-cart with a handsome coachman in black livery preparing to drive off,
while a thoroughbred grey, feeling the tightening of the reins, was
rearing and plunging in the shafts.

"The coachman," said Willy, whose lack of reserve and extreme
indiscretion his friends accepted good-naturedly, "is a ruined officer
of the Austrian army. He ran away from his gambling debts. I don't know
whether he got out of the army or was put out. At any rate he is of
invaluable service to Ritter. He tells him to the dot how he must dress
for luncheons and dinners, for tennis and golf and riding and driving;
how to manage a four-in-hand, when to wear a black chimney-pot or a grey
one, what colour gloves to wear, what sort of necktie, what sort of cuff
links, what sort of stockings. In short, he tells him all the things a
man has to pay attention to in order to succeed here in high life."

At this point Bonifacius Ritter, whom fortune had favoured in America
beyond his most extravagant expectations, now entered, young, brisk,
handsome, amiable as Alcibiades. Frederick was instantly carried away
by his manner, radiating bonhomie, naïveté, joy in life, and simple
heartiness. The atmosphere of the New World had imparted ease and fire
to the flabby amiability of the Austrian.

Dinner was served, and over genuine Italian soup, conversation was soon
in full swing. Willy Snyders, as commissary, poured the wine. It was
evident how proud he was of Bonifacius Ritter and what satisfaction it
gave him to present his quondam teacher to such friends and such a home
in this foreign land. The company thawed; and by the time the maid in
white cap and apron had finished serving, the four had all touched
glasses with Frederick on his and his protégée's rescue. A short pause
of embarrassment followed, which Frederick interpreted as a demand for
a statement regarding himself. His pale scholarly face still showed deep
traces of the hardships he had undergone.

"I came over," he said, "to continue some studies with a friend which he
and I began years ago. You know him, Willy. He is Peter Schmidt, the
physician, in Springfield, Massachusetts."

"He's in Meriden now, an hour's ride from Springfield."

"Yes?" said Frederick, "I assumed he was still in Springfield. But
no matter. While I was in Berlin and Paris, I conferred with some
scientists, friends of mine, before boarding the _Roland_ at Southampton.
Everybody told me the _Roland_ was one of the best vessels. To my
astonishment, I met the young lady who is now enjoying your hospitality.
She was going to the United States with her father. We were fortunate.
We got into the life-boat perfectly quietly, before the panic broke out,
but we had to leave the young lady's father behind. I forgot to say I had
already become acquainted with Hahlström and his daughter in Berlin.
Thus, fate brought us together, and I consider myself responsible for
Miss Hahlström, both as a physician and a human being. She is an artistic
wonder. She is a dancer."

Willy Snyders gave a witty account of the attack of Webster and Forster's
agent; and the conversation turned on art in general and on American art
in particular.

"Millions of dollars annually," said Bonifacius Ritter, "are spent upon
all sorts of art objects, an enormous sum on paintings alone. At the same
time, there is a class of persons here of Puritanic descent to whom any
kind of art is the abomination of the arch-enemy. For instance, there is
an association of pious pillars of society, an association of vandals,
invested with certain civic rights, whose object is the abolition of
filth and the maintenance of chastity. To that end it recently broke into
one of the famous clubs of the New York _jeunesse dorée_ and destroyed a
number of irreplaceable art treasures, masterpieces, among them even a
Venus by Titian."

"And the relation of the amateurs here," said Lobkowitz, "to their
artistic possessions is very funny. You should see how they place their
paintings. The "Crucifixion" by Munkaczy is displayed in a department
store in Philadelphia. The Goulds have Rembrandts in their extremely
comfortable bathrooms. Of course, I have nothing to say against good
pictures hanging in hotel halls and stairways. The largest bar-room
in New York has the whole Barbizon school--Millets, Courbets,
Bastien-Lepages, and Daubignys--hanging over the bar."

"My sole reason," said Franck, "for going there every day for my whisky
and soda."

Ritter, Snyders and Lobkowitz burst out laughing.

Franck had the looks of a gypsy; so that two more un-European types,
as Frederick said to himself, than he and Willy Snyders were scarcely
conceivable. Though a year older than Frederick, Franck, small-boned and
youthfully slim, seemed to be seven or eight years younger. He was
forever shoving from his eyes a pitch-black lock, which promptly fell
over his forehead again to the top of his nose. He drank heavily and kept
smiling. He smiled, while the others laughed as he expounded the relation
of art to whisky.

A sense of security such as he had not experienced in years came over
Frederick. He had always felt drawn to artists. Their conversation, their
camaraderie never failed to exercise a charm over him. Now was added the
fact that here, where he had counted upon a chilly foreignness and
complete isolation, he had been ardently expected, had been welcomed with
open arms by such a circle. In the midst of their merry toasting and
informal dining, informal despite their evening dress, Frederick every
now and then asked himself whether the awful experiences he had gone
through had really occurred. Was he actually in New York, three thousand
miles away from old Europe? Was not this his home? Within the past ten
years in his own country had he ever felt even nearly so comfortable
and at home as here? How life came surging toward him! Each minute a new
wave rolling to his feet--to him who had undeservedly escaped with his
bare existence from almost universal perdition.

"I thank you from the depths of my heart, gentlemen and countrymen," he
said, "for the hospitality you show me. I don't deserve it." He raised
his glass, and they all touched glasses with him. Suddenly, to his own
surprise Frederick expanded in a wave of frankness, calling himself a
shipwrecked man in two senses of the word. "I have gone through much in
my past; and were not the sinking of the _Roland_ so fearfully tragic, I
should feel inclined to look upon it as a symbol of my former life. The
Old World, the New World. I have taken the step across the great pond,
and already feel something like new life within me.

"I don't know just what I shall do." He did not realise he was
contradicting himself. "I shall certainly not practise medicine or take
up my profession as a bacteriologist. Possibly I shall write books.
What sort of books I don't know. One of the things I think of a great
deal is the restoration of the Venus of Milo's body. I have already
completed in my mind a work on Peter Vischer and Adam Krafft. But for all
I know, I may merely write on the use of artificial manure. For I am
thinking of buying some land, felling trees, and living a retired life,
farming and raising cattle. Then again, I may write nothing but a sort of
romance, the romance of a whole life, which may turn out to be something
like a modern philosophy. In that case, I should begin where Schopenhauer
left off. I mean the sentence that is always going around in my head from
_Welt als Wille und Vorstellung_: 'Something lurks behind our existence
which is inaccessible to us until we shake off the world.'"

The discourse of the young scholar, passing through his belated period
of storm and stress, was listened to respectfully. His reference to
artificial manure produced a burst of merriment, and when he ended, his
audience applauded.

"Shaking off the world, that's something for Franck, Doctor von
Kammacher. Tell him, Franck, how you came to America," said Willy.

"Or about your tramping on foot to Chicago," said Lobkowitz.

"Or," said Ritter, "your adventure in Boston, when two policemen,
strangely mistaking your condition for a tremendous jag, took you on a
drive in the patrol wagon to the lock-up."

"It's very good they did," said Franck, smiling and tossing the lock from
his forehead. "I should certainly have caught a cold if they hadn't."

To Frederick's puzzlement, every one of Franck's utterances was greeted
by a shout of laughter.

"Franck is a genuine genius," whispered Willy to Frederick, while filling
a glass with Chianti, "and the greatest eccentric in the world. Franck,"
he cried, "didn't you come to America without a cent of money?"

"For what does one need money?" Franck rejoined, at great leisure, with a
naïve smile.

"Didn't you come over as a stoker?"

"Ye-e-es," said Franck, "I was engaged as a stoker."

"But you didn't do any stoking?"

"No, I didn't have the muscle for it."

"But what did you do on the ship?" asked Lobkowitz.

"I? I sailed on the ocean."

"Of course. But you were engaged to work. You must have done something to
earn money."

"I played sixty-six with the first mate."

Finally Franck's story was extracted from him. It was by painting the
portrait of the head-steward that he had lived so handsomely on the
steamer and had landed on American soil with fifty dollars in his pocket,
though a day later not a cent of the fifty dollars was left.

"Money's a nuisance," said Franck.



III


Up to this point a wholesome-looking waitress, in white cap and apron,
had been serving. Now the Italian cook himself, Simone Brambilla, came
in to bring on the dessert and cheese and inquire whether the dinner had
been to the gentlemen's taste. The familiarity between masters and cook,
who spoke Italian together, testified to the best relations between them.
This little fragment of the artists' Italy in America enlivened them all,
bringing back memories of the days they had spent in Italy, the days that
signify the heyday of their youth to all German scholars and artists.

"Now then, strike up a tune, my boy!" Willy suddenly ordered the cook,
"Signor Simone Brambilla, you will please perform for us now! And
_cantare_. Understand? _Ma forte_ not too _mezza voce_!" He took a
mandolin from the sideboard and pressed it into the chef's arms.

"_Signor Guglielmo è sempre buffo_," said the cook.

"That's it--_buffo, buffo_," cried Franck, striking the table with his
fist. His smile had already turned somewhat idiotic, and he seemed to
think "_buffo_" meant "to sing."

"_Cosa vuole sentire?_" asked Brambilla.

"'_Addio mia bella Napoli_,'" suggested Willy, "or anything you like, Mr.
Brambilla."

"What does 'like' mean?" asked Franck. "I have heard the word so often."

"Would you believe," Willy said to Frederick, "that that ox has been here
over a year and doesn't know a word of English?"

"'_Deutschland, Deutschland über alles!_'" Franck began to sing.

"Goodness gracious!" said Willy. "His toothache has begun to bother him
again."

"'_Ich weiss nicht, was soll es bedeuten_,'" sang Franck.

"But I do!" cried Willy. "_Silentium!_ When Franck begins to sing and
Lobkowitz to yawn and Ritter empties his first glass on the table-cloth,
we'll soon be lying stretched out under the table."

The cook had seated himself decorously and was holding the mandolin in
position. With his cap of white linen and his white linen jacket and
apron, he cut a droll figure among those correctly dressed young men.
Willy Snyders poured some _vino nero_ for him into a tumbler, and he
struck a few notes by way of prelude, though hesitating to interrupt
Franck and begin. He kept his face, glowing from the kitchen fire, turned
toward Franck with an expression of courteous waiting and politely
besought him in Italian to keep on singing. Finally, since Franck,
instead of answering, arose, gave him a comically commanding look, and
waved his fork like a baton, he began, striking up an accompaniment
with a catching rhythm, which titillated his auditors' nerves. He was an
excellent singer and a master-hand at playing the mandolin. He gave those
well-known street-ballads which one hears everywhere in Italy, especially
in Naples: "_Addio mia bella Napoli_," "_Funiculi Funicula_," "_L'altro
ieri a Piedigrotta_," "_Margherita di Parete era sarta delle signore_,"
and also more serious songs, such as the languishing "_Ogni sera di
sotto all' mio balcone sento cantar una canzon d' amore_."

The cook's melodies undoubtedly charmed back his home to him, though
in colours less glorious and alluring to himself, perhaps, than to the
artists, whether they had been in Italy or not. Frederick leaned his head
back and closed his eyes. The dining-room was filled with the fumes of
cigars and cigarettes, and the electric bulbs shone as in a mist.
Frederick's thoughts carried him far, far away. His arm hung at his side
limply, while a Simon Arzt cigarette burned to a stump between his
fingers--throughout his adventures, his silver cigarette case had
remained safe in his pocket.

Before his inner vision rose the coasts and blue gulfs of Italy, the
brown Doric temples of Pæstum and the cliffs of Amalfi, Sorrento, and
Capri. He was standing on the Posilipo. He was with Doctor Dorn in the
loggia of the zoologic station for deep-sea researches, which Hans von
Marées had decorated. In Rome, Frederick had sat over many a bottle of
wine with Hans von Marées and Otto, who died while working on the Luther
Memorial in Berlin. He saw himself in the famous Est Est Café in Rome,
or visiting the malaria patients in the hospital on the Capitol, or
promenading in the sunshine on Monte Pincio with a deaf and dumb
sculptor, with whom he then went to an afternoon concert. He had laughed
because the artist explained that he did not hear the music with his
ears, but felt it, or rather felt the drum alone, in his belly.

In that period of his life, Frederick had been undergoing a crisis. But
a little more and his preoccupation with Goethe's "Italian Journey," his
intercourse with the artists, and the vast number of his impressions of
sublime art would have turned him aside from science. But one day he
chanced to meet Mrs. Von Thorn and her daughter Angèle. He became
engaged, and there was no question now of a change of profession. Angèle
was beautiful, and those days, when he read aloud to her chapters from
Goethe, or inspired and inspiring passages from Winckelmann, or recited
Hölderlin, or held forth to her on the masterworks in the Vatican, were
full of never-to-be-repeated romantic asininity. They bought engagement
rings of a jeweller on the Corso. Where was his ring? He had removed it
from his finger, and, like all his other possessions, it had gone down
forever in the cabin of the _Roland_.

Frederick again felt that sensation of hot waves rising from his breast
to his eyes. This time the emotion was a soft one, a feeling of
reconciliation, of mourning over lost illusions. The second epoch of his
life, if a second epoch were really to develop from this beginning, was
not like the first, full of innocence and based upon illusions. Frederick
was sorry for himself. He was moved almost to tears. For it is an all-too
strong faith, an all-too certain hope in happiness that finally bring
disillusionment.

It was in one of the intervals of clapping and applause punctuating the
end of each of Brambilla's songs, that Petronilla came in and whispered
something to Willy Snyders, which caused Willy in turn to whisper to
Frederick, who immediately jumped up and left the room. Willy went with
him.

Despite Petronilla's protestations, a gentleman and a stately, rather
gorgeously dressed lady had forced their way into Ingigerd's room.
Frederick and Willy arrived just as the lady was trying to wake Ingigerd
and raise her up in bed.

"For Heaven's sake, child," she kept saying, "wake up for a second."

Frederick and Willy recognised Webster and Forster's agent and
immediately expelled him to the hall, talking to him in whispers, but
none the less energetically. They told him a few forceful things, which
he received with a shrug of his shoulders. When they asked the lady by
what right she had forced her way in, she said she was the proprietor of
one of the largest New York theatrical agencies and had negotiated the
contract between Webster and Forster and Ingigerd Hahlström's father, who
had received a thousand dollars in advance.

"Time is money, especially here in New York," she declared. "Even if Miss
Hahlström cannot dance to-night, she must begin to think of to-morrow. I
should be willing to accommodate her, but this is only one of a hundred
cases that I have to look after. And if Miss Hahlström is to appear
to-morrow, she must go with me this very minute to"--she mentioned the
Gerson of New York--"so that they can work on her costume over night. The
establishment is on Broadway, and a cab is waiting in front of the door."

The lady said all this in Ingigerd's room, intentionally refraining from
lowering her voice. Several times Frederick and Willy interrupted to ask
her to moderate her tones.

"Miss Hahlström will not dance at all," said Frederick, finally.

"Indeed?" said the agent. "Then she'll be involved in a very unpleasant
law suit."

"Miss Hahlström is a minor," said Frederick, "and her father, with whom
you concluded the contract, probably lost his life in the sinking of the
_Roland_."

"And I," said the agent, "don't want to lose a thousand dollars for
nothing."

"Miss Hahlström is sick."

"Very well, then I'll send my physician."

"I myself am a physician."

"A German physician, I suppose," she said. "The only physicians that
count for us are Americans."

Perhaps this American woman, equipped with a masculine intellect,
masculine energy, and a masculine voice would have put through her will,
had not Ingigerd's heavy sleep defied all the noise about her, even the
shaking to which she had been subjected. At length Frederick displayed a
degree of determination so unambiguous that the agent had to recede from
her position and temporarily withdraw from the field. Besides, Willy hit
upon an idea, the far-reaching significance of which Frederick did not
realise until later. He declared that if the agent did not desist, he
would notify the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, since
Miss Hahlström was not yet seventeen years old.

"Gentlemen," said the lady, evidently taken aback and coming round a bit,
"remember that both Webster and Forster and myself have been spending
enormous sums on advertising for four weeks. I reckoned on a tour as
far as San Francisco. Now that Miss Hahlström happens to be one of the
survivors of the _Roland_ and has lost her father besides, she has become
the sensation of the season. If she were to appear now, she could return
to Europe in three months with fifty thousand dollars over and above the
sum contracted for. Would you be responsible to Miss Hahlström for such
an enormous loss?"

After the agent and her escort had left, Willy Snyders confirmed what she
had said about the amount of advertising that had been done. For weeks
all the bill-boards, all the building scaffoldings, every empty barrel
where building was going on were covered with posters announcing "Mara,
or the Spider's Victim." Sometimes they displayed a life-size figure of
a dancer, represented as almost a child still, a sort of albino with red
rabbit's eyes and streaming saffron-yellow hair. A spider, with a body
the size of a small balloon, was crouching behind its web. The poster was
by Brown, the most talented poster-painter in New York.

"You can see those posters everywhere on the streets still," said Willy
Snyders. "That's why it seems so funny to think I always stared at them
quite unsuspecting; and now Miss Ingigerd and you are in this house. Life
concocts crazy plots. I assure you, when I looked at those posters, I
thought of everything else in the world but you, Doctor von Kammacher.
And little did I divine that they would ever be of more significance to
me than the advertisements of any ordinary vaudeville."

When Frederick and Willy returned to the dining-room, the chef was gone,
and Lobkowitz and Franck were engaged in the time-worn dispute, whether
Raphael or Michael Angelo is the greater. Willy gave a humorous, though
indignant account of the battle of the Amazons that had just taken place
and how Webster and Forster wanted to insist on Miss Hahlström's
appearing that very night. The artists' chivalry was aroused. They
declared unanimously that they would refuse to give up their lovely ward,
even if all New York were to come and besiege them.

Frederick looked at his watch. It was a few minutes past ten. The last
thing Arthur Stoss had said on parting occurred to him, "At half past ten
to the dot, I shall be on the boards behind the footlights." Frederick
told the artists about Arthur Stoss; and Willy Snyders, the man of
initiative, proposed that they go together to Webster and Forster to see
the armless actor's performance.



IV


Ritter lent Frederick one of his evening suits, which fitted him to
perfection, and within less than half an hour the company was sitting in
a box at Webster and Forster's. The enormous hall, in which smoking and
drinking were allowed, was full. Willy estimated that there were about
four or five thousand people present. A number of immense arc-lights
shone in the tobacco smoke like frosty, white moons.

When Frederick and his friends entered, a woman and a slim toreador were
dancing. The music was of an exciting nature, and the character of the
performance and the performer immediately took the artists captive. The
dance was an eccentric mixture of drollness, innocence, and wildness.
When watching the toreador, Frederick felt as if he were in an arena at
Seville; when watching the girl, as if he were near the Gulf of Corinth,
or on one of the islands of the Cyclades. He promptly decided to leave
Spain and follow the lovely dancer to her home in Greece, where she was
his Chloë and he, her Daphnis. Old shepherds sat tippling in a pine grove
dedicated to Pan. From the highland meadows he looked down upon the far
off Ægean Sea beating noiselessly against the rocky coast-line.

The music of the orchestra turned into the piping of Pan, while Webster
and Forster, the heavy fumes, the air vitiated by the exhalations of five
thousand people no longer existed. The pure breath of spring was rustling
in the pines. The shepherdess was dancing as she had learned to dance
from the droll caperings of the goats or, by natural inheritance, from
great Pan himself. It was a dance of young, wild, bubbling joy in life.

"The origin of all music," thought Frederick, "is dance and song in one
and the same person. The feet compel the rhythm that the throat voices;
and if the dancer herself does not sing, she hears music different from
the music to which she is dancing, and if she dances without an
accompaniment, we who behold her hear her music nevertheless. The
melodies I hear in this girl's dancing are comparable in their bucolic
innocence to the things of the same sort that Mozart, Beethoven and
Schubert wrote. They have exorcised the vulgar muse from this vulgar
place, banishing her to a remote distance."

The dancer was a Spaniard. She made little leaps in the air and tossed
her head archly, as if for her own joy, unconscious both of the audience
and the toreador, who sometimes picked her up and held her aloft. Her
dancing was innocent, entirely free from sensuality. At the conclusion of
her performance, Frederick and his friends clapped madly, while the vast
audience gave very scanty signs of applause.

"Caviar to the general," said Frederick.

When she disappeared in the wings, a lackey in red livery stepped on the
stage and set a number of small seats at regular distances from one
another. It was not until he had left and returned again with a pea-rifle
and a violin that Frederick recognised the brave private, Bulke. The next
moment Stoss appeared. A frantic outburst of delight, threatening never
to end, greeted him. He wore a jacket and knee-breeches of black velvet,
a lace jabot, lace cuffs, black silk stockings, and buckled pumps of
patent leather. His yellowish hair was brushed straight up all around his
large head. His pale face, with its broad cheek bones and broad flat
nose, was turned to the audience with a professional smile. The applause
refused to end, and the armless trunk made a moderately profound bow.

Frederick saw the same man helpless, drenched with water, crouching
under the seats of the life-boat; and he recalled with what murderous
determination the sailors, Bulke, Doctor Wilhelm, and he himself, as well
as the women, Rosa, Mrs. Liebling, and Ingigerd, had prevented the boat
from capsizing. What an unreal contrast between the past and the present!
And why was Stoss receiving such homage?

The psychology of certain mass demonstrations has yet to be written. What
could the applause have been intended to signify? "We are grateful to God
that he rescued you. This you have accomplished, you poor armless man,
that hundreds, though they had two arms, perished, while you are
privileged to appear on the stage this evening as if nothing had
occurred. We must enjoy ourselves; and it is better that you who
entertain and amuse us with your thousands of tricks should have been
saved than any Tom, Dick, or Harry. Besides we want to reimburse you for
all the troubles you have been through. What is more, because of your
skill and because of your rescue, you are a lion whose worth has
increased twofold."

The turbulence continued. The man the audience so honoured was fairly
drowned in a sea of applause. At last a man in evening dress stepped from
the wings and made signs that he wanted to speak. Silence fell, and he
announced that Arthur Stoss, the world's champion, would say a few words.
The next instant Stoss's sharp, clear boyish voice rang through the
theatre reaching even the hindmost seats.

Frederick caught expressions here and there, "My dear New Yorkers,"
"hospitable Americans," "the hospitable shores of America," "Columbus,"
and "1492." He heard Stoss say that on the bill-boards one read "1492,"
the year in which modern America was born. He distinguished phrases such
as "_navigare necesse est, vivere non necesse_," "through darkness to
light," and so on. Stoss's speech utterly lacked inspiration.

"Noah's ark," he said, "has not yet become superfluous. Two-thirds of the
earth's surface is still covered with water. But if a vessel here and
there is swallowed up in the flood, the ark of humanity cannot sink,
since God has set his rainbow in the heavens. The ocean is the cradle of
heroism, it is the unifying, not the dividing element."

The name of Captain von Kessel resounded in the hall. Frederick saw the
dead hero tossing about in the great black waters under a starless
heaven. Above the performer's shrill voice, he heard the captain's voice
saying:

"My brother has a wife and children. He is an enviable man, Doctor von
Kammacher."

Frederick was roused from his recollections by the frantic applause that
greeted the conclusion of the brilliant speech.

Arthur Stoss now seated himself on one of the seats, and Bulke, the hero
and life saver in red livery, laid a violin on another and proceeded to
draw off his master's shoes. Stoss's feet were clad in black stockings
leaving his toes bare. With the toes of his right foot, he took the bow
and with his left foot, deftly rosined it; a spectacle that sent a
whisper of astonishment rippling through the audience. The orchestra
struck up Bach's "Prelude," to which Stoss played Gounod's "Ave Maria."
The tones he produced were beautiful, and the vast crowd was enraptured.
Remembering the awful disaster, they were transported into a sentimental,
religious mood. Frederick shuddered with disgust. The sinking of the
_Roland_ was being exploited.

It was a relief when Stoss finally took up the pea-rifle. Bulke in the
part he now played aroused as much admiration in Frederick and the
artists as Stoss, if not more. While his master shot off the rifle, he
stood at a distance of fifteen feet, with total unconcern holding up
cards for Stoss to aim at. Stoss put a hole through the middle of the
card every time.



V


When he awoke rather late the next morning, Frederick was astonished to
find everything about him standing still. The bed was not pitching, the
glasses and water basin were not rattling, the floor was not sloping
downward, nor were the walls tumbling on his head. The grey light of
a cloudy winter day coming through the window by no means made an
unpleasant or cheerless impression.

He rang, and Petronilla appeared. The young lady, she said, had awakened,
looking well and rosy, and had already breakfasted. She handed him a note
from Willy Snyders, saying exactly where he could be found at different
times during the forenoon and that he would be back for lunch at quarter
past twelve.

Frederick took the second bath he had had within twelve or fourteen
hours. They had laid out fresh underwear and several perfectly new suits
of Bonifacius Ritter's for him to choose from; and he sat down to
breakfast a "newborn" man. Petronilla herself brought in breakfast. While
serving, she told him everybody, even all the servants, had gone out. She
left the room, and returned a few moments later to ask if there was
anything else he wished.

"Nothing, thank you."

She then requested permission to go out for about an hour and a half to
purchase various trifles for the signorina. Soon after, Frederick saw the
excellent housekeeper, all muffled up, step from the front door into the
wet, almost deserted street.

After he had made this observation, he became uneasy, lit a cigarette,
screwed his right eye meditatively, and bit his lips. The house was
empty. For that reason his heart was audibly knocking against his ribs.
Again the fantastic incalculableness of life struck him as so remarkable.
An occasion, a condition such as this he had scarcely hoped to reach in
weeks, or even months, certainly not in the wild welter of New York. From
the noise of the steamer and the city, from the rushing and roaring of
the Atlantic Ocean, he was suddenly plunged into the silence of the
grave. It affected him with a sense of desertion and oblivion. In that
city of four million inhabitants, each man was strenuously pursuing his
own affairs, or was harnessed into an iron yoke of duties, which deafened
and blinded him to everything beside the path he had to tread.

Frederick looked at his watch. It was twelve minutes past ten. His
uneasiness increased. He was unable to sit still. Each nerve, each cell
of his body was touched and excited by invisible forces storming upon
him from all sides. A force of this nature, penetrating walls, floors and
ceilings, has been called by various names. We speak of magnetism, of od,
of electricity. As for electricity, Frederick just then had a peculiar
experience of it. He was trying to find composure in front of the open
fireplace; and whenever he touched metal with the tongs, crackling little
sparks shot out. Everything in the room seemed to be charged. If he
merely ran his finger tips lightly over the rug before the hearth, there
were little flashes and reports, like the crack of a tiny whip.

"There they are," he thought, smiling, "the Toilers of the Light." And
while he racked his brain to recall in what book of fairy tales he had
read of those diminutive elves, the dream he had had on the _Roland_
occurred to him. "Toilers of the Light, what are you doing?" he asked
several times, and snatched after the sparks, as one snatches after flies
in a fit of impatience and boredom. It seemed to him that countless
numbers of those little children of Lucifer were pricking his blood like
so many dancing stars. Even the air was filled with stars. They clogged
his breathing. He arose and walked out into the hall.

As he paced up and down there for a while, undecided what to do, making
as little sound on the bricks as possible, he looked into the kitchen,
which, like the dining-room, was in the basement, and convinced himself
that it was empty. Then he softly ascended the marble steps to the
next floor, where he tried with all his might to check the rise of a
passion almost robbing him of his senses. In that endeavour he entered
the library, a room comfortably furnished and well equipped with
appurtenances for reading and writing. The walls were covered with views
of ancient Rome and engravings by Piranesi. But neither the city of the
Tiber nor the grave of Cecilia Metella, nor the Colosseum, nor the Temple
of Vesta in Tivoli had the power to engage his real attention.

He was out in the hall again, though hesitating still whether to mount to
the first story. For a while he stood uncertain, clinging with both hands
to the wooden post of the balustrade, his head sunk on his hands, and his
whole body shivering as in a chill. Then he raised his head. His eyes
were fixed. He seemed a different person.

In that moment Frederick comprehended the passionate speech of his body,
and sanctioned its demands. The thing that now came to the fore, despite
all the grief that had been gathering in him, despite all his spiritual
conflicts, his bitter mental convictions and self-condemnations, despite
his repugnance, his horror, his compassion and his hesitating and
delaying, the thing that came to the fore was the suppressed, unsatisfied
demand of his body. In the silence of the morning in that strange house,
it suddenly assumed an elemental, indomitable force. It would have
overridden the firmest will opposing it. But Frederick's will did not
oppose it. His clear, firm intention approved it, strengthened it, and
made its power invincible. He entered Ingigerd's room. She was sitting at
the open fireplace in a dressing-gown of Petronilla's purchasing, and was
drying the masses of her long, light hair.

"Oh, Doctor von Kammacher!" she cried in slight alarm, and fixed her
shimmering sea-green eyes upon the man standing there with eyes almost
closed, breathing heavily, incapable of uttering a word. As by hypnotic
influence, a helpless look of self-abandonment, of complete melting away
spread over her face.

The sight of her expression robbed Frederick all the more of
self-control. At last the time had come to extinguish the fires
tormenting him in one wild, greedy draught. With the hoarse cry of a
beast and the fury of a man dying of thirst, he plunged deep into the
slowly, slowly cooling waves of love.



VI


It was nearly eleven o'clock when Petronilla returned. She was
accompanied by an errand boy and a fair-haired young man, who was not
dressed with the elegance of the residents of the club-house. His feet
were heavily shod. While waiting in the hall he waved a wet umbrella with
his sinewy left hand and a worn felt hat with his right hand, whistled
very skilfully, and paced noisily to and fro in long strides, as if
entirely at home in the place.

Petronilla summoned Frederick. With an almost passionate outcry of
welcome, the one of the two men ran up the stairs, two steps at a time,
and the other down the stairs twice as fast. They kissed and shook hands
vigorously.

Frederick's early visitor was Peter Schmidt, of whom he had dreamed on
the _Roland_. He had read Frederick's name in the newspaper among the
survivors and had come from his home in Meriden, several hours' ride
from New York, to see his old friend. The paper also gave Frederick's
address, the reporters having got hold of it through his connection with
the celebrity, Ingigerd Hahlström.

The first question Frederick asked after the storm of greeting had
subsided, was, "I say, old boy, do you believe in telepathy?"

"Telepathy? Not a bit," replied the Friesian, and laughed a mighty laugh.
"I am scarcely thirty, and sound in mind and body. I'm not an idiot. I
hope no Mr. Slade has turned your head like old Zöllner's in Leipzig.
Have you come over to preside at a theosophical or spiritualistic
meeting? Then good-bye to our friendship, old fellow."

This was the familiar tone to which the friends were accustomed from
their university days. It was infinitely refreshing to both to hear it
again. No conventions of any sort divided them. Their relations were
free of everything that hampers association in later years.

"You've been through a thing or two," his friend said, when Frederick
confirmed the newspaper account of his having witnessed the sinking of
the _Roland_. "I believe you're a married man and have children and are
living in Germany, and as an avocation are doing scientific work, while
practising medicine as a vocation. You were thinking of everything else
in the world but a trip to America, which never had any charms for you."

"Isn't it weird," said Frederick, "how one suddenly finds oneself in a
place one never dreamt of, arriving there in ways most unforeseen and
at a time most unforeseen? And doesn't it seem as if the life we lived
eight years ago, which was so choke-full of actuality, of real living,
had all of a sudden turned to nothing?"

Peter Schmidt proposed, since they were both peripatetic philosophers, to
take a walk through the streets of New York. Frederick went to consult
Ingigerd. He found that for the next few hours she would be completely
taken up with dressmakers. All she said was that she hoped to see him
again at luncheon. Soon after, the two friends were walking along the
asphalt paths of Central Park, swept clean of snow, under the bare, snowy
trees between snowy lawns, while the mad city around them filled the air
with a hundred-tongued Dionysiac uproar.

Though there had been an interruption of eight years in their
intercourse, they took up the threads of conversation as if they had
parted only half an hour before. Within a short time, each had told the
other the most important facts of their lives during those eight years.
Frederick for his account of himself had to go back to the date of his
marriage, the notice of which he had sent to Peter Schmidt. Without
departing from the truth, he related his story with a certain
fancifulness, and though stating facts, mingled in psychological effects
and spiritual crises. He did not refrain from telling how he had been
uprooted and torn this way and that. The first and final achievement of
his former life, he said, was that he had acquired the will to
resignation, though the tone of his voice, as a result of his morning's
experience and his meeting with his best friend, was fresh and vigorous,
by no means tinged with the drab of resignation.

Peter Schmidt's account of himself, in contrast, was very brief. All he
had to report was that his marriage had remained childless and his wife,
a physician, overwhelmed with a sort of midwife practice, had to fight
against the climate and was sick with longing for her father and mother
and her Swiss mountains.

Nostalgia, Frederick suggested, was probably the universal ill from which
all Germans in America suffered. The Friesian refused to admit it, and
Frederick observed in unchanged form that characteristic in his friend
which made of him at once the well-informed practical man of affairs and
the undismayed ideologist. As ideologist, he hoped for the best for
humanity's future in America, for that reason refusing to admit that a
large number of the inhabitants of the United States had not yet struck
root, spiritually speaking, in the land of liberty.

A newsboy with a heavy pack of papers, seeing the Germans laughing and
talking and gesticulating in the Park, which at that hour was not much
frequented, came toward them, holding out a paper. Peter Schmidt, who
had always been a great devourer of newspapers, bought several.

"There you are," he said, unfolding one of the immense sheets. "The
_Roland_, the _Roland_, and still the _Roland_, columns and pages of the
_Roland_."

Frederick clutched at his head.

"Was I really on the _Roland_?" he exclaimed.

"Very much so, it seems," said Schmidt. "Here you are in black type.
'Doctor Frederick von Kammacher performs miracles of bravery.' And here
they have a picture of you."

The artist of _The World_ had with a few strokes dashed off a young man,
the replica of a million others of his kind, descending into a life-boat
on a rope ladder from the top deck of a half-submerged steamer and
carrying on his back a young lady wearing nothing but a shift.

"Did you really do it?" asked Peter Schmidt.

"I don't think so," said Frederick. "I must admit the details of the
accident are not very clear in my mind any more." Frederick stood still,
turned pale, and tried to recollect. "I don't know," he said, "what is
most fearful about such an event, the things that really occurred, or the
fact that one gradually digests it and forgets it." Still standing in the
middle of the path, he continued: "What strikes a man hardest is the
absurdity of it, the stupid senselessness of it, the superlative
brutality. We know nature's brutality in theory; but to be able to live,
we must forget it in its real extent, in its gruesome actuality. The most
enlightened modern man somehow and somewhere in his soul still believes
in something like an all-beneficent God. But such an experience gives
that 'somehow' and 'somewhere' an unmerciful drubbing with iron fists.
And I have come from the sinking of the _Roland_ with a spot in my
soul deaf and dumb and numb. It has not awakened to life yet. The
brutalisation is so extreme that while it is still fresh in one's mind,
one would as soon express belief in God or man or the future of humanity
or in a Utopia, or anything else of the sort, as give utterance to
something that one knows to be a vile deception. What is the sense of
our sentimentalising over man's dignity, his divine destiny, when such
fearful, inane injustice is wrought upon innocent persons and cannot be
undone?"

Frederick turned very pale. He was seized by a violent attack of nausea.
His lids opened wide, his eyes popped with a curious expression of
horror. He trembled slightly, and in some alarm clutched impetuously at
his friend's arm. His brain reeled dully as he felt the ground beneath
his feet beginning to heave.

"I have never had anything like this before," he said. "I think the
accident has left me with something."

Peter Schmidt led his friend to a bench, which fortunately happened to be
close by. He saw it was a nervous attack. Frederick's hands turned numb,
cold sweat broke out on his body, and he suddenly fell over in a faint.
When he awoke, it took some time for him to recognise his surroundings.
He said things meant for somebody else. He thought he saw his wife, then
his children, and then his father in full uniform. When he regained
complete consciousness, he implored his friend to keep the incident a
secret. Peter Schmidt promised he would.

"My opinion is," he said, "that your over-wrought, over-taxed nerves are
in revolt. They are taking revenge and at the same time curing
themselves."

"Though I have inherited the strongest constitution from both my father's
and mother's sides," said Frederick, "yet, from last summer on, I have
been assailed by so many things that I have long been expecting a
collapse. I know this will not be the last attack. I should have cause
for rejoicing were the condition not to become chronic."

"Oh," said Schmidt, "you may have two or three more attacks, but if you
live quietly for a few months, they may never recur again."

In coming out of his swoon Frederick, as he himself said, returned from
a trip around the world. He had travelled through the axis of the earth
to the antipodes, which actually did hang head downward.

"I felt as if I had been dead and had come back to life," he said, trying
to give his friend a conception of the remarkable state through which he
had passed. "It was not like being asleep. During the first part of my
dreams, I felt as if I had been something like a block of granite for
hundreds of years. On awaking I stood in the shadow of the deepest abyss.
I saw subterranean landscapes, gigantic caves, heavens of stone, enormous
Adelsberg grottoes. Something lifted me up. The only thing I can compare
it to was the way a diver must feel who slowly, slowly rises to brighter
and brighter regions from ten thousand feet below the surface of the sea.
I felt as if I were forcing myself up out of the grave. I re-lived my
whole conscious life from my babyhood up to this very day. You can
imagine what a medley it was of nurses, military expeditions, cramming
for examinations, confirmations, birthdays, marriages, sick-beds and
death-beds. At the end I went through the whole sinking of the _Roland_
again. And when you called me, I heard you in spite of my paralysed
condition, but I saw you coming out of an inn on the quay of the little
harbour where Columbus's flag-ship was slowly decaying."

"All right, all right, Friedericus Rex," Peter Schmidt soothed him.
Friedericus Rex had been Frederick's nickname at the university. "Never
mind," Peter continued, in a tone clearly revealing that he took
Frederick's dreams to be a symptom of his over-wrought nerves. "Don't
think of it, don't think of anything, old man. Let your ganglion cells
rest."

Frederick assured Peter that he felt like one newly arisen to a new
world and had rested better than he had for years. While they walked
on together, Peter Schmidt tried to speak only of the mechanical,
physiological causes of the attack. After a while, the friends regained
their old liveliness and began to talk of other things. From now on,
Peter Schmidt was careful never to mention the sinking of the _Roland_
in Frederick's presence.



VII


"We are near Ritter's studio," Schmidt said. "If you like, we might drop
in for a while."

Frederick agreed, again begging his friend not to refer to his nervous
attack.

"It was very astute of me, or of the wire-puller above us, to postpone my
fit until the very moment you were with me," he said.

Several times within the next few hours, Schmidt had occasion to be
struck by Frederick's evident belief in predestination and the
superstition that clung to him from his crossing of the Atlantic.

The street that Bonifacius Ritter's studios were on adjoined Central
Park. In the first room, a man in a round paper cap of his own making
was at work taking a plaster cast of a man. His cap and his smock and
trousers, or as much of his trousers as showed from under his smock
and above his slippers, were covered with hardened daubs of clay.
Death-masks, casts of antique statues, and anatomical studies of the
human body, in whole or part, hung on all the walls. When the workman
left the room to announce the visitors the model, whose upper body, nude
to the hips, showed the brawny development of an athlete, began to speak
to Frederick and Peter.

"What won't a man do to earn his bit of daily bread!" he said. "I am from
Pirna"--he pronounced it "Berna," speaking in a round Saxon dialect--"and
I tell you, it's no joke for fellows like me in this damned New York. At
first I earned my living as a professional strong man. Then my boss
failed, and I had to give up my outfit, my iron bars and my weights and
everything I needed for my job. I can carry twelve hundred pounds on my
stomach."

Ritter sent word asking the gentlemen to come to his private studio. They
passed through a room in which a stately young lady was working without
a model at an almost completed portrait bust in clay. In the next room,
three or four marble-cutters were making a great noise hammering and
chiselling imperturbably, without glancing up, at marble blocks of
various sizes. From this room, a cast-iron circular stairway led up to
a narrow skylight studio, where Bonifacius Ritter received Frederick and
Peter.

It was a delight merely to behold the young master in his slimness and
elegance. When the men entered, he removed his left hand from the pocket
of his light smock, tossed away his burning cigarette, and greeted them
with evident pleasure, blushing like a girl. He ushered them into a small
room adjoining, lighted by a single window of antique stained glass from
a French church. The low ceiling was coffered in weathered oak, and the
walls were panelled in wood to a height of about six feet. A heavy oak
table with benches on three sides took up nearly half the length of the
room. The front of the room was partially blocked up by a genuine
Nuremberg stove with the precious Delft tiles of antique green glaze
testifying to the wonderful old potter's art. Willy Snyders had chanced
upon the beautiful Renaissance piece in a shop near the wharf, and had
succeeded in buying it for Ritter for only one hundred dollars.

"Here's a comfortable corner of the Fatherland," said Ritter. "Willy
planned it all, collected all the stuff, and attended to the entire
furnishing."

The university student in Frederick, the thorough German in him was
surprised and delighted. Though the room looked like the cell of a St.
Jerome, or, better still, the study of an Erasmus, it nevertheless
resembled in its least details the dim sanctum of a German _Weinstube_,
and all the more so when a young man in a blue apron, a stone-cutter's
helper, who might equally well have been a wine-cellar keeper, brought in
a bottle of old Rhine wine and several coloured hock glasses.

The wonderful poetry of their student days long past descended upon the
friends. Frederick was still in a state of excitement and irrational
recklessness. He pinned his faith to the moment, ready to stake his
yesterday and his morrow upon it. The twilight of the room brought back
memories of youthfully blissful times. He had found his old friend again
and a new friend of the same warmth of temperament and of the same German
ways, far from the old home. Settling himself snugly in the corner by the
window, like a man intending to take his ease in a restaurant, he touched
glasses with the others and uttered an exclamation of rapture.

"You'll never get me to budge from this corner, Mr. Ritter--though," he
added, "I should first like to see your works."

"No hurry about that," said Ritter gaily, at the same time bringing an
album bound in pigskin, in which he asked Frederick and Schmidt to write
their names. Then he opened a very practical closet reaching to the
floor, one of Willy's contrivances, and took out a carved wooden figure,
a German Madonna by Till Riemenschneider. The sweet oval of her lovely
face was not so much that of a Madonna as of a real German Gretchen.

"Willy Snyders told me," Ritter explained, "that he bought it from a
rascal of a New York customs official, a man of German extraction, whose
father had been a cabinet-maker in Ochsenfurt. The figure comes from the
town-hall there and had been taken to the cabinet-maker for repair. He
substituted another freshly painted figure, which the good folk of
Ochsenfurt greeted with joy as the original greatly beautified and
rejuvenated. Thus, Willy Snyders. I am not responsible for the version,"
he concluded laughing. "But one thing is certain, it's a genuine
Riemenschneider."

The lovely statue by the Würzburg master radiated a vivid charm, which
with the spell of the small room, decorated with such tender affection
for old memories, and the greenish-golden sparkle of the Rhine wine in
the hock glasses, brought back the German home in all its deep-seated
force and beauty--a beauty, it is true, unintelligible, and therefore
non-existent, to the average German of to-day.

"Once I followed up Tillman Riemenschneider's works," said Ritter. "I
started at Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and went down the valley of the
Tauber past Kreglingen, and so forth, as far as Würzburg. I am confident
of recognising every piece of his at first glance, especially his
Madonnas. They have almost completely cast off the Gothic, and no other
sculptor in wood of his time knew so well how to treat the peach bloom of
a woman's skin or the charm of a woman's face and body. His women are the
pick of the lovely girls of Würzburg and its surroundings. Each one is
adorably beautiful. Here is Veit Stoss." He took a portfolio from a shelf
filled with portfolios. "Veit Stoss is superior to Riemenschneider in
force of temperamental expression; he has capacities in his passions that
make him superior, or at least equal, to Rembrandt." Ritter spread before
them several reproductions of the master, showing the seriousness and
sorrow inspiring all his works. "Nevertheless," he said, "Riemenschneider
holds his own against him for the very reason that he differs from him
so absolutely."

"The obstinate resistance of the Gothic," said Frederick, "the nightmare
condition of mediæval Christianity, its fearful revelling in pain, its
ardour for suffering had to give way to the clear, healthy vision of a
burgher. The atmosphere clears, the garments acquire a natural flow of
line, erring flesh begins to blossom forth--"

"Tillman Riemenschneider's portraits are unsurpassed by any works,
ancient or modern, unsurpassed, I say, by the very best," Ritter
reiterated.

Willy Snyders entered with a great bluster. He had come directly from his
work in the offices of an interior decorating firm.

"I say, Ritter," he said, shaking hands with the men, "if you think I'm
not thirsty, you're very much mistaken." He examined the bottle. "The
deuce! Without me to help him, the wretch taps one of the twenty bottles
of Johannisberger with which a Chicago pork packer presented him when he
made a portrait of his humpbacked daughter. Well, now that one is gone,
another may as well follow. Gentlemen, isn't this a jolly place for
little carousals?" Pointing to the Madonna from Ochsenfurt-on-the-Main.
"Isn't she a smart little body? She certainly is not by Pappe. I myself
collect nothing but Japanese works." The fact seemed quite to accord with
his appearance. "I'm nothing but a poor dog now, but inside of four or
five years I intend to have the wherewithal, and the collecting of things
Japanese will proceed by electricity. There's no race that can compete
with those fellows in art. But now I want to tell you something." He
turned to Ritter. "With your kind permission, I'll go call Lobkowitz and,
what is more, I'll call Miss Eva. Just now, as I passed through her room,
she told me she would like to meet the hero of the _Roland_." Without
awaiting an answer, he left the room; and within a few moments Lobkowitz,
who collaborated with Ritter, and Miss Burns, the pupil, appeared.

After the conventional greetings were over, the little Madonna was used
as a welcome occasion for starting conversation again, which had begun to
lag a bit on the entrance of the newcomers. Willy held the statue, a
little less than three feet high, against different panels of the wall to
see how it looked for permanent placing there. A spot was finally chosen,
and the Madonna was fastened to it temporarily.

The stone-cutter's helper brought another bottle of the heavy, expensive
wine, more hock glasses, large Delft plates, and a mountain of
sandwiches. Though Frederick and Peter had declared they must end their
too lengthy visit, a fresh wave of conviviality swept over the company
and held them on. A half hour passed, and another half hour, and a whole
hour, and still the new friends were sitting over their German wine and
still they were discussing that inexhaustible theme so dear to all of
them, German art.

"It is an eternal shame," said Frederick, "that the spirit which created
the art of the old Greeks cannot be united with that profound German
spirit, an entirely new spirit, which characterises the works of Adam
Krafft, Veit Stoss, and Peter Vischer."

"Doctor von Kammacher," Miss Burns asked, "have you ever done any work in
sculpture?" Miss Burns spoke a correct German. Her father was a Dutchman,
her mother a German, and when her parents settled in London, she was only
a child of three.

"Doctor von Kammacher exudes talent at every pore," said Willy, answering
in Frederick's place. "I can testify to it." Willy Snyders' passion for
collecting had manifested itself while he was still a boy. Among his
treasures had been some copies of so-called "beer gazettes," humorous
sheets got up to be read at German students' merrymaking. The copies in
his possession contained sketches by Frederick, both of a humorous and
serious character.

"I exude talent?" Frederick exclaimed, blushing. "Never, Willy. I beg
of you, Miss Burns, don't believe that enthusiast of a schoolboy. If
I really have talent, those sketches of mine in beer gazettes wouldn't
prove it. As a matter of fact, I once did do some work in art. Why should
I deny that, like all silly children of between sixteen and twenty, I
dabbled in painting, sculpture, and literature? Once my father had to
bring me to reason because I was all afire for going on the stage. Later,
I wanted to throw everything to the winds to enter politics and
revolutionise society by working for a party which has never even
existed, a German-Social party. I leave you to judge how flighty I was
and how much talent I had for art. But I love art, with a love stronger,
I think, now than ever before, because everything in the world beside art
has become problematical to me. I would rather have carved a wooden Mary
like this"--indicating the statue by Riemenschneider--"than have been
Robert Koch and Helmholtz rolled into one. Of course, I am speaking
purely subjectively. I know how great Koch and Helmholtz are, and I have
the profoundest admiration for both."

"See here! See here! What's the matter with us, Friedericus?" cried Peter
Schmidt, jumping to his feet. Though the artists had great fondness and
respect for Peter Schmidt and went to him for advice, yet, whenever he
was with them, a violent discussion invariably arose whether art or
science deserves precedence in the field of human culture, Peter, of
course, championing the cause of science. "If you were to throw that
wooden statue into the fire," he said, "it would burn like wood. Neither
the wood nor the immortal art infusing it resists fire. And once it burns
to ashes, it can, of course, be of no significance to the world's
progress. The world is full of marvellous gods and mothers of God, and so
far as I know, they never cast a single ray of light into the night of
the darkest ignorance."

"I'm not saying anything against science," Frederick declared laughing,
"I am merely speaking of a very unsettled man's love of art. So be at
ease, Peter."

"If sculpture really attracts you," said Miss Burns, who had given her
exclusive attention to Frederick, "why don't you begin right away to
model here under Mr. Ritter? Begin to-morrow."

"I can't say I know very much about wood-carving," said Ritter, gaily.
"However, I am entirely at Doctor von Kammacher's disposal."

"I cannot leave my little Madonna, my wooden Mother of God," cried
Frederick, flushed with the wine, rising and holding up his glass. The
others followed his example, laughing; and they drank to the little
Madonna, each with a secret thought linking Frederick's outburst with the
girl in the club-house. The glasses rang, and Frederick continued rather
daringly: "I wish it had been granted me to do with divine intelligence
and human hands, as Goethe said, what the animal man can and must do with
the animal woman." He made a cup of his hands as if to dip up water. "I
feel my Madonna in the hollow of my hands like a homunculus. She is alive
there. The palms of my hands are warm. They are a golden shell. Conceive
my Madonna to be a hand's breadth high, of live ivory, and imagine some
rosy flecks here and there on her. Imagine her robed in the garments that
Godiva wore, that is, nothing but her hair of flowing sunbeams, and so
on, and so on." Frederick began to improvise poetry.

  "Said the master: 'Come into my workshop.'
   And he took, like unto the Creator,
   God! in both his hands a little image,
   And his heart with mighty throb vibrated.
   'As thou seest it, once I saw it living.'
                                   And so on, and so on.

   Over my hands
   Flowed golden wavelets,
   Cool, sweet lips and--

I'll say no more. I'll merely add that I should like to carve that
Madonna in German linden-wood and give her all the colours of life
itself, and then die, for all I care."

Frederick's enthusiastic outburst was received with great applause.

Eva Burns was a beautiful young woman of over twenty-five years, imposing
and perhaps somewhat masculine in appearance. Her German was rather hard,
suggesting to a hypercritical person that her tongue was too thick for
her mouth, like a parrot's. Her abundant hair was parted in the middle
and drawn over her ears. Her figure was broad, stately, and perfectly
formed. While Frederick spoke, and even after he had done speaking, she
looked at him with searching interest in her large, intelligent,
meditative eyes. Finally she said:

"You really ought to try to do it."

Eva Burns was one of those knowing, companionable women that are always
welcome and never disturbing in a company of men. Her eyes and
Frederick's eyes met, and the young scholar answered her in a tone of
mixed raillery and gallantry:

"Miss--Miss--"

"Burns," Willy helped him, "Miss Burns from Birmingham."

"Miss Burns from Birmingham, you said something of great significance. On
you be the blame if the world is impoverished by the loss of a poor
physician and enriched by the addition of a poor sculptor."

It had grown dark, and they lighted three large candles of the finest
bee's wax in the chandelier above the table.

"I have no objections," Schmidt several times interjected in the debate,
"I have no objections to your trying to help toward the evolution of
sublimer types by means of divine intelligence and human hands; for all
I care, by means of divine intelligence alone, that is, by means of
reason. The very same, if you will allow it, is the object, the ultimate
object, of the science of medicine. A day is coming when artificial
selection among human beings will be obligatory." The artists burst out
laughing, but Schmidt continued unabashed. "And another day, a still more
beautiful day, is coming when persons like ourselves will be considered
like, well, let us say at the utmost, the African Bushmen."



VIII


The candles had almost burned to the bottom when the little company
decided it was time to break up. It was a half holiday, the stone-cutters
had stopped work sooner than usual, and the other rooms were dark and
deserted. The artists used the stumps of the candles to light the company
about. In passing through the first studio, Lobkowitz partially uncovered
pieces meant for the Chicago Exposition, colossal plaster casts and
models in clay representing commerce, manufacture, agriculture and the
like. They threw enormous shadows on the walls and ceiling.

"You can't get results in art from large figures," said Ritter, though
the statues were full of animation, and there was something prepossessing
in them.

"Everything for the anniversary of 1492, everything for the Chicago
Exposition," said Willy. "A Viking ship is coming over from Norway. The
last descendant of Christopher Columbus, a knock-kneed Spaniard, is
to be passed around for show, a tremendous humbug, always an acceptable
dish to the Americans. Ritter owes this big order to his monkey-like
quickness. The building commission applied to various sculptors, and
Ritter sent them sketches for all the statues before the other artists
had even wet their clay."

"I was working in my little studio in Brooklyn," said Ritter, "and for
forty-eight hours in succession I didn't take my hands out of clay. These
figures don't bother me in the least. After the Exposition they won't
exist except in photographs."

"That's the way the Americans are. Please, Ritter, do give us a
Washington memorial. Perhaps you have a Washington memorial ready-made in
your waistcoat pocket."

"No, but by eight thirty-five this evening I will have one for you."

"He can do it, too," said Willy, patting his idol. "That is why he fits
so well into the United States of America."

The men now entered Ritter's real workshop. Here there were pieces very
different in spirit. While the large figures for the Chicago Exposition
showed traces of commercialism, here everything was thoroughly artistic.
A companion piece in clay to the bas-relief in the club-house, a group of
singing girls not yet completed, was standing on a heavy scaffolding. It
showed the same noble qualities that Frederick had observed in the relief
of the singing boys. Had these works been displayed in Germany, they
would undoubtedly have been epoch-making. A bust of an old woman had some
of the traits of Donatello. Everything in the room testified to the
facility with which the youthful master created. There was a long
decorative frieze in clay, putti with goats, dancing fauns, mænads,
Silenus on his donkey, a procession of bacchantic figures celebrating
the vintage and reproducing all the bacchic joyousness, the drunkenness,
of men and women vintagers, as they cut and trod the grapes and drank the
wine. Another uncompleted work in clay was the figure of a middle-aged
Neptune at a fountain, looking with a jolly smile at a huge fish in his
hands. There was a completed plaster cast of St. George, frankly inspired
by its glorious model, the St. George of Donatello in the National Museum
in Florence. In all these works, Ritter had struck a happy medium between
the Greeks and Donatello and created a style fully expressing his own
personality, yet showing permissible dependence upon his predecessors.

The pieces in this room were without exception meant for the country
residence of an American Croesus, who had taken a tremendous fancy to
the young sculptor and his work and jealously tried to keep his creations
from straying into another's possession. He looked upon himself as a
Medici of the nineteenth century. His marble palace in extensive grounds
on Long Island had already swallowed up millions of dollars, though meant
as a residence merely for himself, his wife, and his only daughter. No
one but Ritter was to do the statuary and sculptural decorations for his
house and garden, and he was to have free play. What commissions are
given in America! Were talents as easy to create in "our country" as
dollars, there would be a second Renaissance even greater than the great
Italian Renaissance.

Frederick was fairly intoxicated by the young man's singular good
fortune. What he particularly admired was the union of success and merit.
When he compared the abundance of these works, tossed off apparently as
in play, and the young man's cheerful evenness of temper with his own
torn, distracted existence, a feeling came upon him that he had never
before had, the feeling that he was an outcast, a feeling of
discouragement and helpless defeat. While the light of the candles glided
over the creations of the man who had infused form and soul into the
formless clay, a voice within him kept saying:

"You have frittered away your existence, you have wasted your days, you
will never retrieve your loss."

And the voice of envy, of bitter reproach against a nameless being asked
why he had not been permitted to find a similar path and follow it in
time.

Ritter's life had received a wrench in Europe. Some brutal mishap while
he was serving in the army had made him revolt and later desert. Now,
after seven years in America, he was compelled to admit that the wrench
had been indispensable for transplanting the sapling to the soil best
suited to its growth. In the new surroundings, Ritter's nature developed
simply, harmoniously and symmetrically, like a tree with plenty of space
and sunlight. Fate atoned for the lack of military subordination in the
young prince from genius-land by granting him a surplus of
superordination.

Suddenly Ritter said to Frederick:

"I understand Toussaint, the Berlin sculptor, was on board the _Roland_."

Peter Schmidt had warned the artists in an aside not to touch upon the
disaster, telling them his friend was very nervous and a reference to the
accident might have a bad effect upon him. But his warning had been
forgotten.

"Poor Toussaint," Frederick said, "hoped to find mountains of gold here,
though, you may say, he was nothing but a fancy-cake genius."

"And yet I assure you," said Lobkowitz, "there was something grand about
him as a man. In spite of his success, he was always poor. He suffered
from having a wife who was too fond of society and from having to
associate with the persons who bestowed favours upon him and were so much
richer than himself. That dandyism of his was not natural. Had he reached
America, he would probably have ignored his wife and become an entirely
different man. All he wanted to do was to create, to work. What he loved
best was to be perched on a scaffolding, with shirt sleeves tucked up,
among first-rate workmen. Once he said to me, 'If you should happen to
see a mason resembling me in New York, sitting on the pavement eating his
lunch and drinking a can of beer, don't hesitate to believe I am that
mason, and don't pity me. Congratulate me.'"

"Another one," thought Frederick, "who kept the best part of himself
hidden beneath the conventional foppishness of his time; another one who,
like me, may always have been trying in vain to reach a definite decision
between being and seeming."



IX


Ritter's dog-cart was waiting in front of the door. He suggested that
Frederick and Schmidt drive down in it to the railroad station, where
Schmidt was to get the train back to Meriden. The two men squeezed in
beside the Austrian horse-trainer, valet, or whatever Ritter's coachman
was. The trotter went off at a swift gait, and again the wild, noisy
phantasmagoria of the streets of the new Babylon went flashing by
Frederick's eyes.

Ritter had introduced his coachman as Mr. Boabo. He wore a small round
hat of brown felt, brown gloves, and a short brown jockey's overcoat. His
chin was heavy, his nose finely chiselled, and his moustache dark and
downy. He was a handsome man, or lad, since boyish naïveté still
predominated in his expression. He was about the same age as Ritter.
While guiding the magnificent grey through the medley of cabs, trucks,
and street-cars, he smiled faintly, as if delighted by it all.

Notwithstanding the city's excesses of architecture and engineering, its
distinctive characteristic was unimaginativeness. The hurry and bustle,
"business," the chase after the dollar had lashed the technical arts on
to audacious attempts; for example, the skyscrapers, or the elevated
railroad, with its unfenced tracks high overhead, its trains thundering
along incessantly in two directions, winding sharply about the corners
like an illuminated snake, and writhing into streets so narrow that a
person in one of the upper stories of the houses can almost touch the
coaches with his hands.

"Madness, lunacy!" Frederick exclaimed in his amazement.

"Not altogether," said Schmidt. "Back of it all is a very sane,
unscrupulous practicality, riding down every obstacle in its way."

"It would be hideous were it not so tremendous," Frederick shouted above
the din.

The newsboys were still calling the wreck of the _Roland_.

"What is that? What was that?" thought Frederick. "I am wallowing in
life. How does that story concern me?"

A congestion of traffic compelled the grey to come to a halt. He champed
on his bit, tossed his head, sending flecks of foam flying from his
mouth, and looked about as if to try the heart and reins of the young
Austrian officer with his heroic, fiery eyes. During the compulsory
pause, Frederick had a chance to observe how sheafs of newspapers were
being consumed by the pressing, crushing, jostling throngs.

"The cow gobbles grass, and New York gobbles newspapers," Frederick
thought. And heaven be praised! In _The World_ that Schmidt bought of a
boy, who at risk of his life had threaded his way to the cart, there were
fresh sensations taking precedence of the _Roland_--"Explosion in a
Pennsylvania mine. Three hundred miners cut off." "Fire in a factory in
a thirteen-story skyscraper. Four hundred working-girls perish in the
flames."

"After us the deluge," said Frederick. "Coal is dear, wheat is dear, oil
is dear, but men are cheap as dirt. Mr. Boabo, don't you think our
civilisation is a fever of a hundred and six degrees? Isn't New York a
mad-house?"

But the handsome youth, after the fashion of Austrian officers, put his
hand to his cap with inimitable grace, while a decided smile, a smile of
happiness, played about the corners of his mouth, and his answer by no
means expressed assent.

"Well, I love life. Here one really lives. When there is no war in
Europe, then it is wearisome," he said, speaking in English, which most
clearly proved how distant his relation to the old continent was.

At the station, when they were standing on the platform beside the train,
Schmidt said to Frederick, wringing his hand impetuously in his German
way:

"Now, old fellow, you must soon come to see me in Meriden. Meriden is a
small place, and you can recuperate there better than here."

"I'm not altogether a free agent," Frederick replied with a faint,
fatalistic smile.

"Why not?"

"I have obligations. I am tied down."

With the indiscretion of intimacy, Schmidt asked:

"Has it anything to do with the wooden Madonna?"

"Perhaps it is something of the sort," Frederick replied. "The poor
little thing lost her father, her natural protector, and as I had a share
in her rescue--"

"Then there was a girl in a shift, and a rope ladder!"

"Yes and no. I'll tell you more about it some other time. Now just take
my word for it, there are times when all of a sudden in a most surprising
way, one finds oneself saddled with complete responsibility for a
fellow-creature."

Peter Schmidt laughed.

"You mean, if a woman steps up to you in a crowded city street and asks
you to hold her baby a moment, and never comes back for her baby?"

"I'll tell you everything some other time."

The train with its long, elegantly built coaches began to move slowly,
though no signal of any sort had been given, no whistle or bell or word
of command. Without the least to-do, it slipped out of the station wholly
disregarded. Peter and Frederick were the only persons taking leave of
one another in this crowded train bound inland. Peter mounted the steps,
and again shook hands with Frederick.

"I hope to see you soon again," each said to the other warmly.



X


When Frederick returned home, he learned that a number of reporters and
other persons had been there inquiring for him. Webster and Forster's
agent had given his address, Frederick deduced upon seeing among the
reporters' cards one of Arthur Stoss's. There was also a letter from an
impresario, a German of the name of Lehmann, who, failing to find
Frederick in, had left a pencilled note asking whether, and under what
conditions, Frederick would be prepared to deliver a medical lecture in
New York, Boston, Chicago, and later other cities, in which lecture he
was each time to touch upon the sinking of the _Roland_ and weave in some
of his impressions of the event.

"What else?" thought Frederick, disgusted, though he had to admit that he
had actually become famous.

Through Petronilla he sent word to Ingigerd to ask whether it would be
agreeable to her to receive him. Petronilla returned with the message
that Ingigerd would see him in a quarter of an hour. "Signor Pittore
Franck is with her," the housekeeper added; which piece of information
sent the blood rushing to Frederick's head; and though it had been his
intention to wash and change his clothes, he scarcely waited for
Petronilla to conclude her message, and dashed up-stairs three steps at
a time. He knocked on Ingigerd's door loudly. No one said "Come in."
Nevertheless he opened the door and entered and saw the gypsy painter
sitting at Ingigerd's side. On the table under the electric bulbs, lay
a large sheet of paper, on which Franck was sketching with a soft pencil
what Frederick on stepping nearer saw to be hasty designs for costumes.

"I said in a quarter of an hour," said Ingigerd slowly, making a wry
face.

"I'll come whenever I choose to," said Frederick.

Franck, rising without the least air of haste or confusion, greeted
Frederick with perfect cordiality and walked to the door.

"I don't want to disturb you. Good evening, Doctor von Kammacher," he
said with a grin betraying some delight in Frederick's annoyance.

"Rigo!" Ingigerd called after him. "You promised to come again to-morrow
morning."

"What's that boy doing in your room, Ingigerd?" Frederick demanded
somewhat roughly, in evident anger. "And 'Rigo'? What does 'Rigo' mean?
Are both of you out of your wits?"

Though this tone of his must have been new to her, it seemed agreeable to
her, for she said very humbly:

"Well, why did you stay away so long?"

"I'll tell you later. But as matters now stand between us, I forbid your
striking up such friendships. If you want to do something for the fellow,
present him with a comb and a nail brush and a tooth-brush. Besides, his
name isn't Rigo but Max, and he's a seedy sort of chap, absolutely
dependent upon his friends."

In his moments of jealousy, it was easy for Ingigerd to put Frederick to
shame.

"It makes no difference to me," she said, "whether a man is poor or rich,
whether he dresses like a dude or a tramp. Rigo intends to paint my
portrait, and I'm looking forward with pleasure to being his model."

"His model? You won't be his model. I'll see to that," said Frederick.
"But please explain how you hit upon 'Rigo'? Why do you call him 'Rigo'?
Tell me."

"His mother was a gypsy, and when he was a child, some respectable people
took him into their family."

"Do you believe that? Franck's friends say he lies every time he opens
his mouth."

"I'm not a father confessor. He may lie for all I care."

Frederick did not reply.

Ingigerd was still sitting at the table. With gentle ardour he pressed
his lips to her head, loosened the ribbon tying her hair at the nape of
her neck, and plunged his fingers deep into the wave of flowing gold.

"Where were you?" the girl asked. Frederick told her of Peter Schmidt and
the exhilarating afternoon in Ritter's studio.

"I don't like that sort of thing," she said. "How can people drink wine?"

The thought passed through Frederick's mind that the girl's remarks were
rather flat and failed to echo the things he had been telling her.

About an hour later Frederick asked Willy to help him find a boarding
house where he and Ingigerd could live, or Ingigerd could live alone
without his protection.

"You must realise," Frederick explained, "that no matter how unprejudiced
you and your friends may be, it won't do to let a young lady remain
permanently in a bachelors' club-house."

Willy did realise the impropriety of the situation; and that very same
evening he found an excellent place for her with friends on Fifth Avenue.

The next morning, after the men had left the house, Frederick again fell
under the spell of a strange excitement that led him to Ingigerd's room.
This time, however, it was not a wave of passion, but a storm of desire
for self-purification.

"Ingigerd," he said, "fate has brought us together. I am sure you, too,
feel that in spite of all the appalling events we underwent, something
like predestination was at work." Frederick now told her, as he had fully
planned to do, the story of his past. It was a complete confession. He
spoke of his youth and marriage, spoke with all possible forbearance and
love of his wife. "There was no hope for her ever getting well again.
I have nothing to reproach myself with in regard to her, except that I
was a man merely of good intentions and imperfect achievement. But I may
not have been the right husband for her in so far as I could not give
her the repose of spirit that she needed and I myself lacked. When the
collapse finally occurred and other misfortunes--they seldom come
singly--and in addition I suffered disappointments outside my family
life, I had great difficulty in bearing up. I hate to speak of it, but it
is the truth--before I saw you, I picked up a revolver more than once for
a very definite purpose. Life weighed upon me like lead. It had turned
stale and tasteless. The sight of you, Ingigerd, and, strange to say, the
wreck, which I experienced not only symbolically but in actuality, taught
me to value life again. You and bare existence--the two things
I saved from the wreck. Once more I stand on terra firma. I love the
soil. I should like to fondle it. But I am not yet secure, Ingigerd. I am
still sore, without and within, you know. You have suffered a loss, I
have suffered a loss. We have beheld the other side of existence, the
unforgettable gloom. We have looked into the pit. Ingigerd, shall we
cling to each other? Will you come to a man torn and distracted, lashed
by scorpions, to a man who is greedy to-day and surfeited to-morrow, to a
man who longs for peace and repose, and be peace and repose to him? Could
you for my sake give up all that has until now filled your life, if I for
your sake leave behind me everything that has wasted my existence? Shall
we both begin afresh, on a new basis, simply and without any false
glamour, and live and die as plain country persons? I will be tender with
you, Ingigerd." Frederick hollowed his hands and held them as he had done
when speaking of the Madonna. "I will--" He broke off and cried: "Say
something! Just tell me the one thing, Ingigerd! Can you--can you become
my comrade for life?"

Ingigerd was standing at the window looking out into the fog and tapping
the pane with a pencil.

"Perhaps, Doctor von Kammacher," she said finally.

"Perhaps!" Frederick blazed up. "And Doctor von Kammacher!"

Ingigerd turned and said quickly:

"Why do you always fly into such a temper right away? How do I know if I
am suited to your needs and desires?"

"It is merely a question of love," replied Frederick.

"I like you. Yes, I do like you, but whether my feeling for you is love,
how can I tell? I always say that so far I haven't loved anything but
animals."

"Animals!" cried Frederick von Kammacher. He felt mortally ashamed.
Never, it seemed to him, in his whole life had he so degraded himself.



XI


A few moments later there was a knock at the door, and a man in a long
overcoat and brown kid gloves, carrying a silk hat in his fat hand
entered.

"Excuse me," he said, "I presume this is Miss Hahlström?"

"Yes. I am Miss Hahlström."

"My name is Lilienfeld--manager of the Cosmopolitan Theatre." He handed
Frederick his card, which announced that he was also manager of a variety
theatre and impresario in general. "I obtained your address from Mr.
Stoss, the armless marksman, you know. I heard you had had some
unpleasantness with Webster and Forster, and I said to myself, I must go
and call on the daughter of a good old friend of mine. I knew both your
father and mother." Mr. Lilienfeld, in tactfully subdued tones, wound up
his rather lengthy address with delicate expressions of sympathy and his
personal sorrow at Hahlström's death.

Ingigerd being helpless as a child in business matters, Frederick had
taken it upon himself to represent her, and he used the pause in the
impresario's speech to put in a word. The man's personality was by no
means displeasing to him, and his presence for several reasons was highly
welcome.

"Owing to the state of her health, Miss Hahlström was unable until now to
appear in public. I as her physician am responsible for her refusal to
dance, but Webster and Forster used such rough methods of coercion both
through intermediaries and through the mail that Miss Hahlström of her
own accord decided in no circumstances to dance under their management."

"Never!" explained Ingigerd. "Absolutely never."

"Besides," Frederick continued, "their terms are miserable. We have
received letters offering three and four times as much."

"Exactly what was to be expected," declared Lilienfeld. "Pardon me if I
give you a bit of advice. In the first place, be perfectly easy in your
mind about Webster and Forster's attempts to intimidate you. For various
reasons the contract with Mr. Hahlström is legally invalid. It so happens
that I have pretty accurate information regarding the terms of the
divorce between your father and mother. They themselves told me, and what
is more, my brother was counsel for your father. Your mother was made
your legal guardian. Your father had no right to make a contract for you.
You ran away. You went with your father because you were devoted to him
body and soul and the relation between you and your mother may not have
been quite so pleasant. I do not hesitate to say you acted wisely, very
wisely. Your father's training has made a great artist of you."

"Thank you," Ingigerd laughed, at the mere memory of her training
involuntarily protesting against her artistic education. "For hours at a
time, while he sat in a chair comfortably smoking his meerschaum, I had
to dance for him without a stitch of clothing on and perform all sorts of
contortions and acrobatic feats on a rug. In the afternoon he would play
the piano and I would have to go through the same thing all over again."

"Your father was a positive marvel as a trainer. He put two or three
international stars on their dancing legs, if you will permit the
expression. He was the dancing master of two worlds and"--the impresario
laughed significantly--"many other interesting things besides. But to
stick to the matter in hand--if you want, your contract with Webster and
Forster is null and void." He paused for an instant and began again, this
time addressing himself more to Frederick. "I do not deny that I am a
business man--always within the limits of gentlemanliness--and I should
like to ask you a question, Doctor von Kammacher. Is it your intention
to let Miss Hahlström dance at all again, or have you and she decided
that she is to retire to private life?"

"Oh, no," said Ingigerd very decidedly.

Frederick felt something like cold iron enter his soul. He seemed to
himself to be a sword-swallower unable immediately to extract the steel
from his body.

"No, we have not," he, too, said, "though I for my part should like Miss
Hahlström to give up the stage because she has a delicate constitution.
But she maintains she needs the sensation of it. And when I see the
offers she receives, I do not know whether I have the right to persuade
her against her will."

"Don't, Doctor von Kammacher, don't!" cried Mr. Lilienfeld. "Miss
Hahlström, Doctor von Kammacher, let me take up the cudgels for you
against Webster and Forster--bloodsuckers, I tell you--and they've
insulted the lady, besides. I assure you, they are the source of a lot
of vile rumours about her."

"Mention names," said Frederick, turning white. "I shall have no
difficulty, I fancy, in finding a second, and I hope the same code of
honour holds for gentlemen here as in Europe."

"Tush--tush!" The impresario lifted his fat hands in pacification, and it
seemed to Frederick as if the business man's round head, set low between
his shoulders, were trying to make signs to him, as if he were winking
his eyes furtively and were suppressing a broad smile, unexpectedly
upsetting his business zeal and gravity. "You make entirely too much of
it." He looked Frederick straight in the face in a peculiar way with a
significant expression in his large round eyes. Then he continued: "For
an engagement of twenty evenings in cities to be decided upon, I offer
you one hundred and fifty dollars more per evening than anybody else has
yet offered you, the engagement to begin inside of four days. If you are
agreed, we can go to the lawyer this minute."

Within less than half an hour Frederick and Ingigerd were standing in a
huge elevator, which was to take them to the fifth floor of a New York
City office building. Ingigerd was the only woman in the elevator, and it
pleased her that for her sake the nineteen gentlemen in the car held
their hats in their hands.

"If you have never before seen such a thing," Lilienfeld said to
Frederick, "the offices of a big American lawyer will astonish you. This
is a law firm, two partners, Brown and Samuelson; but Brown's a
nincompoop and Samuelson is the whole thing."

The offices of the famous New York lawyer, Samuelson, were partitioned
off with wood and ground glass from an immense hall, a writing factory,
in which there was a horde of assistants working typewriters. Samuelson
made the impression of a man of nearly forty. He was not very tall, had a
bad, pallid complexion, and wore a short, pointed beard. The clothes of
this man, whose share of the firm's income was estimated at three hundred
thousand dollars a year, though of the correct cut, were by no means new;
in fact, they were rather shabby, and his entire appearance suggested
that he was scarcely a model of American cleanliness. He spoke in a very
low, thick voice, as if suffering from a sore throat.

Within less than fifteen minutes, the contract between Lilienfeld and
Ingigerd had been concluded, a contract, which owing to the fact that
Ingigerd was a minor, was no more valid than the contract with Webster
and Forster. Samuelson showed that he was informed of all the details of
the case of Hahlström _vs._ Webster and Forster. When the question of
their demands arose, he merely smiled with an air of great disdain and
said:

"We will quietly lie low and let them make the advance."

When Ingigerd and Frederick were sitting alone together in a closed cab
on the way home, he put his arms about her passionately.

"If you dance on the stage, Ingigerd, I'll go out of my mind. I feel as
if you and I and our love would be exposed in the pillory. If it were I
instead of you, it would not be half so hard to stand."

The poor young scholar began again to pour out before the little vampire
all the anguish he had been suffering, this time with hot kisses and
embraces.

"I am a drowning man. If you do not hold your hand out to me I shall sink
forever. You are stronger than I am. You can save me. The world is
nothing to me. What I lost is nothing, was nothing and will always be
nothing to me, if only I can exchange it for you. Come with me, and you
shall be all in all to me, the one thing of significance in my life."

"You are not weak," the girl whispered with a dying-away look in her
eyes. She breathed heavily, her narrow lips parted, and that fatal,
seductive smile spread over her languishing face, like a mask.

"Take me! Run away with me!"

For a time they were silent as the cab rolled along easily on its rubber
tires.

"They can wait a long while for you, Ingigerd," Frederick at length said.
"To-morrow we shall be with Peter Schmidt in Meriden."

But she laughed. Yes, she laughed at him, and Frederick clearly saw he
had melted her body, not her soul; or a soul was a thing this girl did
not possess.

The cab came to a halt in front of the club-house. Frederick seemed to
have lost his speech. Without saying a word, he escorted Ingigerd to the
door, pressed her hand, and returned to the cab. He chose a place at
random, and called to the coachman to drive him there.



XII


Frederick crouched in a corner of the cab. In a passion of shame, he
called himself the vilest names. He removed his slouched hat, which he
had not yet replaced by the New York chimney-pot, wiped the sweat from
his brow, and beat his fist against his forehead.

"My poor father! Within a month, I shall probably be no more nor less
than the official kept man of a prostitute. Everybody will know me and
pay homage to me. Every German barber in New York will tell his patrons
who my father is, and who I am, and what I live by, and whom I am running
after. I shall become that worthless little fiend's lap dog, her monkey
to perform tricks for her, her procurer. The German colonies in every
city, large or small, that we visit will behold in me a typical example
of the loathsome degree to which a scion of the German nobility can sink,
into what a cesspool of vice a man who was once a good man, husband, and
father can descend."

While being bowled rapidly down Broadway, Frederick, in his state of
introspection and shame, looked blindly upon the houses as they glided
by. Suddenly he started up from his crouching position. The sign of the
Hoffman House had struck his eye and recalled the appointment the men on
the _Hamburg_ had made. He consulted his watch, and found it was just
about the time they had set, between twelve and one. He called to the
driver, but before the horse could be brought to a stop, the cab had
rolled some distance beyond the hotel. Frederick got out, paid the
coachman, and in a few moments was inside the well-known New York
bar-room.

He saw a long bar, marble slabs, marble wainscoting, polished brass,
polished silver, shining mirrors, on which there was not the smallest
speck of dust, very many shining glasses, empty glasses, glasses with
straws sticking in them, and glasses partially filled with bits of ice.
Bar-keepers in spotless white linen prepared the famous American drinks,
innumerable in variety, with a dexterity bordering on art and a stolidity
out of which nothing could shake them.

The wall behind the bar was studded within reaching distance with an
array of gleaming polished metal taps; back of the bar were the
passageways to the pantries and kitchen. Oil paintings hung above the
taps and doorways. Over the heads of the business men standing or leaning
at the bar, with derbies or silk hats shoved back from their foreheads,
Frederick saw a delicious woman's figure by Courbet; sheep by Troyon; a
bright seascape with clouds by Dupré; several choice pieces by Daubigny,
sheep on a dune landscape, a pool reflecting the full moon hanging low
over the horizon and two cud-chewing oxen; a Corot--a tree, a cow, water,
a glorious evening sky; a Diaz--a pond, old birches, light reflected in
the water; a Rousseau--a gigantic tree in a storm; a Millet--a pot with
turnips, pewter spoons and knives; a dark portrait by Delacroix; another
Courbet, a landscape; a small Bastien-Lepage, a girl and a man in the
grass with a great deal of light; and many other excellent pictures. He
was so fascinated that he almost forgot his recent experience and his
purpose in coming.

In his complete absorption, he was only vaguely annoyed by a rather loud
group, whose boisterous laughter and restlessness contrasted sharply with
the quiet demeanour of the other guests. Suddenly he felt a hand on his
shoulder, started, looked around and met the eyes of a man whose bearded
face seemed coarse and unfamiliar. Cocktails and other good drinks had
shot his peony complexion with a bluish tinge.

"What's the matter?" the stranger said. "Don't you know me--Captain
Butor?"

Captain Butor, the man to whom Frederick owed his life! And now he also
recognised the other members of the noisy group. There were Arthur Stoss
and his valet, Bulke, in inconspicuous black livery, sitting a little off
from the others. There were Doctor Wilhelm, and the painter Jacob
Fleischmann, and Wendler, the _Hamburg's_ engineer, and two sailors from
the _Roland_, wearing new suits and caps. They had already been engaged
on another steamer of the same line and had been presented with a fair
sum of money.

The men all greeted Frederick like an old friend. Arthur Stoss, for the
benefit of a New York gentleman, was retailing his old story, that he
intended in a short while to give up touring and retire. He made frequent
loud references to his wife, evidently considering it very worth while to
publish as widely as possible the fact that he, the man without arms,
actually possessed a wife.

"I have met with the most tremendous success this time," he said. "Last
night the audience stormed the stage and lifted me on their shoulders to
the tune of '1492,' the song they sing every evening in the Metropolitan
Theatre."

"1492"--wherever he turned his eyes, on the streets and open squares,
Frederick read advertisements of the ballad, a product of the vaudeville
stage, in which the discovery of America, four hundred years after the
landing of Columbus, was interpreted in the patriotic sense of the new
nation that had since arisen.

"Well, Doctor von Kammacher, how are you?" asked Doctor Wilhelm. "How
have you spent your time?"

"Oh, so, so," Frederick replied, shrugging his shoulders. He did not know
how he came to frame this summary dismissal of a time so rich in content.
Strange to say, here on land, in the Hoffman bar, little or none of his
former impulse remained to entrust confidences to his fellow-physician.

"How's our little girl?" Doctor Wilhelm inquired, smiling significantly.

"I do not know," Frederick returned with an expression of cool
astonishment, and added: "Whom do you mean?"

As his answers to all their inquiries were equally curt and stiff, it was
impossible to start a conversation. He himself in the first few minutes
did not understand why he had come. It was extremely disturbing to him
that the other men in the bar-room recognised the group as the survivors
of the _Roland_. Stoss by himself, the man without arms, the well-known
marksman, would have been conspicuous.

Stoss could drink holding a glass between his teeth; but he was not
touching liquor to-day. Nevertheless, he was in a treating mood, a
circumstance by which Captain Butor, Wendler, Fleischmann and the sailors
profited to toast one another freely. Nor did Doctor Wilhelm require much
urging.

In an undertone he informed Frederick that _The Staats-Zeitung_ in its
issue of the morning before had opened a collection for Fleischmann, and
a sum had already come in such as the poor fellow in his whole life had
probably never before seen. At last Frederick laughed, and heartily. He
understood why Fleischmann was drinking heavily, with so determined a
manner, and why he was puffing himself like a turkey.

"What do you think of that stuff, Doctor von Kammacher?" he asked,
pointing to the paintings and snorting disdainfully. "To call such stuff
art! Millions and millions are spent on getting those things over from
France. They palm the trash off on the Americans. I'll wager that if one
of us Germans in Munich, Dresden, or Berlin were to do no better than
that, or that"--he pointed at random to several pictures--"we'd put him
in the A B C class."

"Perfectly true," said Frederick, laughing.

"Just you wait," cried Fleischmann. "I'll show the Americans a thing or
two. German art--"

But Frederick ceased to listen. His only impression after the lapse of
some time was, that in the meanwhile Fleischmann had misused the same
words, "German art," an endless number of times. Turning to Doctor
Wilhelm he said unblushingly:

"Do you remember the way this howling dog, this creature laughing like a
lunatic, rose up out of the waves beside our boat?"

Captain Butor and Wendler, who had been laughing mightily over something,
now stepped up with brimming eyes, as if they deemed the time had come to
be serious for a few moments in the company of the two physicians.

"Did you hear, gentlemen, that Newfoundland fishermen have sighted
corpses and floating fragments of the _Roland_?" said Captain Butor.
"Life-preservers from the _Roland_ have also been found. The corpses and
fragments are said to have been washed on a sand reef, where a lot of
sharks and birds are hovering and swarming. The fishermen say the sharks
and birds are what first attracted their attention."

"What is your opinion, Captain?" asked Doctor Wilhelm. "Do you think
anybody from the _Roland_ beside ourselves will turn up dead or alive?"

As to living persons, the captain would not commit himself.

"It may be," he said, "that one or two of the life-boats were carried
farther south and entered calm waters. Only, in that case, they were not
in the course of the large steamers, and they may not have met a vessel
for three or four days. Derelicts, fragments, and corpses are usually
carried south by the Labrador Current until they meet the Gulf Stream,
which carries them to the northeast. If they turn northward with the Gulf
Stream at the Azores, they may soon reach the coast of Scotland."

"Then there is a chance," said Frederick, "that our magnificent Captain
von Kessel may still find a grave in some Scotch potter's field."

"We poor captains," said Butor, who looked more like a German horse-car
conductor than a captain. "They ask us to command the sea and the storm,
like our Lord Jesus Christ, and if we cannot, we have the choice of
drowning in the ocean or hanging on land."

Arthur Stoss joined them, and said:

"Do you remember when the _Roland_ began to sink, were the bulkheads shut
down?"

Frederick reflected and said, "No, they weren't."

"I am of the same impression," said Stoss. "The sailors declare they know
nothing about it."

"We carried out whatever orders we received," said the sailors.

Fleischmann put in his word:

"The bulkheads were not closed down. I never saw the captain, and I don't
know what sort of man he was. But the bulkheads were not closed. My place
was next to a family of Russian Jewish emigrants. We felt an awful shock,
and a crashing and crunching as if the ship had run against a great rock.
The panic broke out immediately. All lost their heads and went clean out
of their minds. We were hurled against one another and against the walls.
Here you can see how I was bruised." He rolled up his sleeves. "There was
a dark girl belonging to the Russian Jewish family who saw to it that
time should not hang heavy on my hands during the trip." Doctor Wilhelm
looked at Frederick significantly. "She wouldn't let go of me. She was
hoarse from screaming. Finally, all she could do was pant. She hung on to
me, and, as I said, kept panting, 'Either you'll go down with me or
you'll save me.' What could I do? I really had to give her one over her
head."

"Yes," said Wendler, "what is a man to do in a case like that? Here's to
you, gentlemen!"

All touched glasses. Frederick turned pale, and the others laughed
heartily.

"By the way, Doctor von Kammacher," said Stoss, "I just thought of that
Hahlström girl. Really, you ought to persuade her to come to an agreement
with Webster and Forster. If you keep her from dancing, you will be
interfering with her future."

"I?" queried Frederick. "What an idea! What business is it of mine?"

Stoss, without heeding him, continued:

"Webster and Forster are, as a rule, very decent. But their influence and
connections are incalculable. Woe to the man or woman that incurs their
displeasure."

"I beg your pardon, Mr. Stoss, but you may as well spare your breath.
I am by no means the girl's guardian. Nor am I at all fitted to be a
trafficker in men or girls."

"Oh, oh, oh! Why so severe?" said Stoss. The others, including Doctor
Wilhelm, chimed in; which only heightened Frederick's brusqueness. "Don't
you know there's lots of money in that little witch just now? As the
American business man says, 'There's money in it.' Don't forget we're in
the dollar land, where you can't rest until the ground has been
completely exhausted and the last nugget of gold has been extracted."

Frederick was outraged. He felt like taking his hat and running away. In
his present mood, he could scarcely conceive why he had come to meet
these people. To turn the conversation and give vent to his spite and ill
humour, and also for a nobler reason, he suddenly began to speak of the
maid, Rosa, denouncing the American newspapers for having said almost
nothing of the heroic girl.

"It would be of far more importance to me to do something for her than
for any other woman. I'm not a man to bargain and haggle; but if a
collection was made and they did not collect for Rosa, then they
neglected a true heroine of the _Roland_."

"What do you mean by that? What do you mean?" Fleischmann demanded
somewhat rudely, afraid of losing his booty.

Here Bulke intervened.

"Remember, Mr. Fleischmann, Rosa was the first to see you. If Rosa hadn't
dragged you out of the water--she's as strong as a bear--the rest of us
in the boat might merely have struck you over the head with our oars and
let you sink."

"You're talking nonsense, you numskull," said Fleischmann, withdrawing
and turning toward the wall with the pictures. "I keep seeing nothing but
those two moonstruck oxen." He referred to one of the wonderful
Daubignys.

Frederick paid and took leave, declining, as politely as he could, their
proposition that they all lunch together.



XIII


When alone on the street, Frederick felt some disgust with himself for
lacking humour. Were those innocent men to blame if he happened to have
rasped nerves? Since it was Frederick's way, as soon as he perceived that
he had done a wrong, to set resolutely to work to undo it to the full
extent of his ability, he decided, after coming to the conclusion that
the fault had been his, to lunch with his shipmates after all. He had
been walking about eight minutes. He now turned back, accelerating his
pace, and within five minutes the sign of the Hoffman House was again in
sight. Broadway as usual was crowded, and the two endless chains of
yellow cable cars with short spaces between were perpetually moving by
each other. It was cold and windy. There was a great din and bustle on
the streets, and into the din and bustle Frederick saw his friends of the
_Roland_ and the _Hamburg_ step from the bar. As he was about to wave to
them, he slipped and stumbled on a piece of fruit on the pavement.

"Don't fall, Doctor von Kammacher!" a woman's voice cried. "How do you
do?" On regaining his equilibrium Frederick found himself face to face
with a beautiful, dignified young lady hidden behind a veil and wearing
a fur hat and coat. He slowly recognised Miss Eva Burns. "I'm in luck,"
she said. "I very rarely come to this part of the city. It just so
happened that I had to buy something near here, and I am on the way now
to my restaurant. I always take my meals in a restaurant, because I
loathe boarding-houses. By chance, too, I am later than usual. A little
lady whom you know, Miss Hahlström, visited the studio with Mr. Franck
and kept me three quarters of an hour longer than I am accustomed to
stay."

"Do you take your meals alone, Miss Burns?"

"Yes," she said, somewhat taken aback at the abrupt question. "Does that
seem strange to you?"

"Oh, no, not at all," Frederick hastened to assure her. "The astonished
expression on my face was merely due to my stumbling and to this
unexpected meeting with you. The reason I inquired whether you eat alone
was because I wanted to ask you if you had any objections to my lunching
with you."

"I should be very glad if you were to, Doctor von Kammacher."

The stately couple attracted much attention from passers-by. Frederick
was tall and rather broad and carried himself well, and his hair and
beard may have gone rather too long without the application of the
shears. Eva Burns was almost as tall. She was a brunette, suggesting in
her face and figure, which bore no resemblance to the wasp-like figures
of the American women, a race and type more in accordance with the
Titian ideal of feminine beauty.

"Would you mind waiting here a minute?" Frederick asked. "You see
those people over there getting into the car? Some of them God in
his inscrutable ways destined to be fellow-passengers of mine on the
_Roland_, the others my rescuers. I should not like to meet them again."
When the little company was safely aboard the car on the way to Brooklyn,
he said: "I am profoundly grateful--" and stopped.

"Because you were rescued from those men in the car?" Miss Burns laughed.

"No. Because I met you, and you rescued me from them. I admit I am
ungrateful. There's that captain--when I saw his ship come steaming
toward us from across the waters and saw him standing on the bridge,
he seemed to me to be an instrument of God, if not an archangel.
Awe-inspiring repose, solemn, awe-inspiring grandeur rested upon him. He
was not _a_ man, he was _the_ man, the saviour man, and beside him there
was none. My soul, all of our souls, clamoured for him, worshipped him.
But here he has dwindled into nothing but a good, commonplace little
workman. On the trip, Stoss's liveliness was a relief. Now, in the
treadmill of his daily occupation, he has turned from the finer thoughts
of his leisure moments. Duty, while deepening Captain Butor and
temporarily converting him into a useful, even an important personage,
acts as a leveller on Stoss. Stoss merely seemed to partake in the life
on the sea, while in actuality concerned with nothing but himself. And
there's my colleague, the ship's surgeon. I was completely upset to find
what an empty vessel he is. I really thought he was more interesting." As
if sluices in his being had been opened wide, Frederick began to speak
freely of the shipwreck, to which he had never before more than merely
alluded.

"What particularly frightened me to-day was the fact that a man can, as
it were, digest an oak-tree twice within less than forty-eight hours. I
keep discovering myself in the act of doubting the wreck of that giant
steamer, every corner of which was familiar to me. I saw something, but
I am so infinitely remote from it that I still cannot grasp it. I am only
just beginning to feel the ship coming to life in my soul. Four or five
times within the past twenty-four hours, I experienced the whole accident
over again. Last night I started up actually bathed in cold sweat, and
did not know where I was. The confusion on board, the tooting of the
distress signals, the bloody, distorted faces, the floating human limbs,
all was so frightfully appalling. If I keep on seeing such visions, I'll
go down with the _Roland_ again.

"It may be morbid to feel as I do. A man in my condition may say to
himself, 'Go down and stay down, if once you have sunk.' But those people
who got into the car do not even say that, Miss Burns. The whole thing
has gone down for them once for all. They have digested the whole of the
_Roland_ and everything that happened to the hundreds of human beings it
was carrying. They have digested the whole affair and almost forgotten
it. That ability of theirs, enviable though it may be, insults my general
humanitarian instincts. It is loathsome to me. And their clumsy phrases
revealing the indifference, the obtuseness of their souls make me
shudder. In their eyes I see that calm selfish sense of their own
security to the damage of another person's security which is at the
bottom of a murderous madness that I myself experienced. Those men are
cold men, they are murderous men. And a brutal state of self-defence but
slightly veiled and suppressed is their permanent state."

"Your friends, it seems to me, must have behaved very badly," Miss Burns
said, laughing.

To this Frederick could not truthfully assent. He merely repeated:

"The way I feel about it is that they have taken the ship between their
teeth, the ship with all its timber and iron and its immense human cargo,
and chewed it to a pulp, and swallowed it down without leaving a trace
behind." He removed his hat and ran his fingers through his hair.

"If you really do wish to lunch with me, Doctor von Kammacher, you must
not have high-flown notions, like Mr. Ritter," said Miss Burns halting in
front of a tidy little restaurant.

They entered a low room with a red brick floor and panelled walls and
ceiling. Owing to the enormous timber resources of their country, the
Americans make a very free, though refined use of wood. The clean little
room was frequented by German barbers, riding-masters, coachmen, and
clerks. An inexpensive lunch and the usual American drinks were dispensed
at the bar. The corner where the proprietor sat was decorated with a
small collection of sporting pictures, well-known jockeys with their
horses, acrobats, and baseball champions. Something in his appearance
suggested that at night he had different customers to deal with than in
the daytime, that his athletic figure--he was neatly dressed, but in his
shirt sleeves--was meant to inspire respect in his clients. Frederick
still suffered from too much breeding, and he was secretly astonished
that Eva Burns ventured into such a place.

"You are late, Miss Burns. Aren't you feeling well?" inquired the host,
with an immobile mask-like seriousness of expression.

"Oh, yes, Mr. Brown. I'm always all right," Miss Burns answered brightly.
"Bring me my regular lunch. But the gentleman, I am afraid, will not be
satisfied with it. Perhaps you have something special for him?"

Frederick, however, insisted upon ordering the very same as Miss Burns.

"I give you fair warning," she said when they were alone, "I really don't
think you will be satisfied with my diet. I never eat meat, I want you to
know, and you surely do."

Frederick laughed. "We physicians," he said, "are also coming more and
more to give up a meat diet."

"I think it is horrible to eat meat," said Miss Burns. "I have a handsome
fowl in my garden. I see it every day, and then I go and cut its throat
and eat it up. When we were children, we had a pony which had to be
killed, and the people in the East End ate it." She drew her long kid
gloves from her hands without removing them from her arms. "People eat
dogs, too. I adore dogs. But the worst thing is the frightful, endless
shedding of blood which human meat-eaters deem necessary for their
preservation. Think of all the butchers in the world, think of those
immense slaughter-houses in Chicago and other places where the
machine-like, wholesale murder of innocent animals is constantly going
on. People can live without meat. It isn't indispensable to their
welfare."

She said all this in a tone of seriousness tinged with humour, speaking
a correct, though somewhat laboured German.

"For various reasons," Frederick said, "I still hesitate to form a
definite opinion in regard to meat-eating. As for myself, I can do very
well without meat, provided I have my steak regularly every day for lunch
and my roast beef for dinner."

Miss Burns looked astonished, then laughed merrily.

"You are a physician," she cried. "You physicians are all animal
torturers."

"You refer to vivisection?"

"Yes, to vivisection. It's a shame, it's a sin. It's a horrible sin to
torture innocent animals to death just for the sake of adding a few days
more to the life of some commonplace person."

Frederick did not reply, being too much a man of science to concur in her
opinion. Miss Burns detected this, and said:

"You German physicians are horrible men. When I am in Berlin, I am in
a constant state of dread that I shall die unexpectedly and before my
relatives can prevent it, I shall be taken to your dreadful laboratories
for dissection."

"Oh, then you have been in Berlin, Miss Burns?"

"Certainly, I have been everywhere."

The conversation now turned on Berlin. Miss Burns spoke of it glowingly,
because it offered the greatest opportunities for hearing good music and
seeing good plays.

"I have a number of friends among the Berlin professors and artists. One
of them is a Polish pianist. He brings back money by the bushel from his
American tours. He owns an estate near Cracow, and has asked me to visit
him there. Unless I accept his invitation sooner than I expect to, I
shall not see Berlin again for a long time."

The host served the lunch, consisting of baked potatoes, cabbage and
fried eggs. Though at any other time this would scarcely have satisfied
Frederick, he ate with a hearty appetite and, like Miss Burns, drank
American ice-water.

Miss Burns's manner in talking was thoroughly unconstrained and
sprightly. She had observed that the foundering of the _Roland_ was still
too vivid in Frederick's thoughts, and bearing Peter Schmidt's warning
in mind, purposely turned the conversation away from it. But Frederick,
for some reason dissatisfied with himself for his criticism of his
fellow-passengers, tried several times to revert to the shipwreck. His
whole demeanour showed that something was gnawing at him and tormenting
him.

"We speak of a justice imminent in the plan of the world. But why was
such a pitiful collection of men saved, while hundreds of others drowned?
Why did that splendid Captain von Kessel drown? I shall never forget him.
Why did all those splendid picked men of the crew of the _Roland_ drown?
Why and for what purpose was I myself saved?"

"Doctor von Kammacher," said Miss Burns, "yesterday you were an entirely
different man. You were full of brightness and life; to-day you are all
gloom. I think you are wholly wrong in not being simply grateful for your
good fortune. In my opinion, you are not responsible either for the
quality of those who were rescued, or for your own rescue, or for the
number of those that sank. The creation was planned and executed without
regard to you, and you have to accept it as it is. After all, to accept
life is the one art the practice of which is really of permanent use."

"You are right," said Frederick, "only I am a man. Besides I inherit a
most unnecessary instinct for ideal rather than practical activity. 'The
time is out of joint,' says your Danish Englishman, Hamlet. 'O cursed
spite that ever I was born to set it right.' I cannot get rid of that
absurd megalomania. To make matters worse, there is the Faust in me that
sticks in every good German who thinks anything of himself. 'I've studied
now Philosophy and Jurisprudence, Medicine,' and so on. As a result, a
man has all the more chances of being disillusioned at every turn, and so
would rather pledge himself to the devil. Strange to say, the first thing
the devil usually prescribes is a blonde Gretchen, or something like
her."

Miss Burns remained silent, and Frederick felt himself under the
necessity of continuing.

"I don't know whether it is of interest to you to learn something of the
remarkable adventures of a German scholar and ideologic bankrupt."

Miss Burns laughed and said:

"A bankrupt? No, I don't think you are a bankrupt. Of course, whatever
concerns you and whatever you wish to tell me is of interest to me."

"Very well," said Frederick, "we'll see whether you are right. Conceive
a man who, until he was thirty years old, was always going the wrong way,
or if not that, then, at least, the trips he took, no matter along what
way, always ended precipitately in a broken shaft or a fractured limb.
That I escaped the real catastrophe, the shipwreck, is really most
peculiar. Nevertheless, I think my ship has been wrecked and I with it,
or I and my ship are in the midst of foundering. For I see no land. I see
nothing solid or firm anywhere near me.

"I was kept in a military school until I was ten years old. The desire
came upon me to commit suicide, and I was punished for insubordination.
There was no fascination for me in being prepared for a great carnage.
So my father, though it meant that he had to give up his pet idea, took
me away from the school, and I went through the much-discussed humanistic
_Gymnasium_. My father is a passionate soldier. I became a physician, but
I had scientific interests outside of my profession, and I devoted myself
to bacteriology. Broken shafts and fractured limbs again. Good-bye to
medicine and bacteriology. It is scarcely likely that I shall ever work
in those fields again. I married. Beforehand, I had reared, as it were,
an artificial structure of the whole matter of marriage--a house, a
little garden, a wife and children, children whom I intended to educate
in a freer, better way than most people do. I practised in a poor country
district, being of the opinion that I could do more real good there than
in Berlin West. 'But, my dear boy,' everybody said, 'with your ancestral
name, your income in Berlin could be thirty or forty times larger.' And
my wife absolutely objected to having children. From the very moment she
knew a child was coming until its birth, there was one desperate scene
after the other. Life became a veritable hell to us. It was no rare thing
for us, instead of sleeping, to argue the whole night through, from ten
o'clock in the evening until five the next morning. I would try mild
persuasion and comfort, I would urge every conceivable argument softly
and loudly, violently and gently, wildly and tenderly. My wife's mother,
too, did not understand me. My wife was disillusioned, her mother was
disillusioned. She saw nothing but craziness in my avoiding a great
career. Then there was this--I don't know whether it occurs in all young
marriages--each time before the child was born, we quarrelled over all
the minutiæ of its education, from infancy to its twentieth year. We
quarrelled over whether the boy should be educated in the house, as I
wished, or in the public schools, as my wife wished. I said, 'The girl
shall receive instruction in gymnastics.' My wife said, 'She shall not
receive instruction in gymnastics.' And the girl was not yet born. We
quarrelled so violently, that we threatened each other with divorce and
suicide. My wife would lock herself into a room and I would beat against
the door, because I was frightened and dreaded the worst. Then there
were reconciliations, the consequences of which were only to increase
the miserable nervous tension in our home. One day I had to put my
mother-in-law out of the house as a way of securing peace. Even my wife
realised that it was necessary to do it. We loved each other, and in
spite of all that happened, we both had the best intentions. We have
three children, Albrecht, Bernhard and Annemarie. They came inside of
three years, one very soon after the other, you see. My wife had a
nervous tendency which these births brought to a crisis. After the very
first child was born, she had an attack of profound melancholia. Her
mother had to admit that Angèle had been subject to similar attacks from
childhood up. After the last child was born, I took her on a two months'
trip in Italy. It was a lovely time, and her spirits actually seemed to
brighten under the happy sky of Italy. But her sickness progressed below
the surface. I am thirty-one years old and have been married eight years.
My oldest boy is seven years old. It is now"--Frederick reflected a few
moments--"it is now the beginning of February. It was about the middle of
October last fall when I found my wife in her room slashing to tiny bits
a piece of not exactly inexpensive silk which we had bought in Zürich and
which had been lying in her drawer more than four years. I can still see
the costly red stuff, that is, as much of it as had not been cut, and a
loose mountain of patches lying on the floor. I said, 'Angèle, what are
you doing?' And then I took in the situation. Nevertheless, I cherished
hopes for a time. But one night I awoke and saw my wife's face close
above me with a ghastly far-away look in it. At the same time I felt
something at my throat. It was the very pair of scissors with which she
had cut the red silk. 'Come, Frederick,' she said, 'get up and dress. We
must both go to sleep in a coffin of linden-wood.' It was high time to
tell her relatives and mine and convoke a family council. I might have
protected myself, but it was dangerous for the children.

"So you see," Frederick concluded, "it was not very far along the road of
marriage that I travelled with my talent for life. I want everything and
nothing. I can do everything and nothing. My mind has been over-loaded,
and yet has remained empty."

"You certainly did go through a hard time," said Miss Burns simply.

"Yes," said Frederick, "you are right, but only if you use the present
tense instead of the past and if you fully gauge the extent to which the
trouble with my wife has been complicated for me. The question is, am I
to blame for the course that my wife's mental suffering took, or may I
acquit myself of all blame? All I can say is, that the suit in this case,
in which I myself am plaintiff, defendant and judge, is still pending,
and no definite decision has yet been rendered.

"Now, Miss Burns, do you see any sense in the Atlantic Ocean's having
refused to take me of all the persons on board the _Roland_? Do you see
any sense in my having fought like a madman for my mere existence? Do you
see any sense in my having struck some unfortunate creatures over the
head with my oars because they nearly capsized our boat? I struck them
so hard that they sank back in the water without a sound and disappeared.
Isn't it vile that I still cling to life and that I would rather do
anything than give up this botched and bungled existence of mine?"

Though he had spoken in a light conversational tone, Frederick was pale
and excited. It was long since the plates had been removed, and Miss
Burns, perhaps to avoid a painful answer, asked:

"Shall we take coffee here, Doctor von Kammacher?"

"Whatever you will, to-day, to-morrow, and forever, provided I do not
annoy you. I am a gloomy companion, I fear. I fancy there is no other
person in the world troubled with such petty egoism as I am. Think of it,
my wife locked up in an asylum is occupied every moment of the day with
proving her own selfishness, weakness, unworthiness and wickedness toward
me. Because she is so unworthy, as she says, and because I am so great,
so noble, so admirable, they have to watch her all the time, I am told,
to keep her from inflicting injury upon herself. A very pleasant fact to
be conscious of, isn't it, Miss Burns, and haven't I good reason to feel
proud?"

"What you need," said Miss Burns, "is rest. I never thought--I beg your
pardon for saying so--that a man who outwardly makes the impression of
such strength can possess such a wee, trembling soul. What you ought to
do now, I should think, is simply cover up your past as much as possible.
All of us have to do some covering up in order to be fit for life."

"But I am altogether unfit," said Frederick. "This minute I am feeling
strong, because I am with someone in whose presence, for some reason or
other, I can wash myself in clean water--excuse me, I am speaking
euphemistically."

"You ought to concentrate on something, you ought to work," said Miss
Burns. "You ought to make yourself physically tired to the point of
exhaustion."

"Oh, my dear Miss Burns," cried Frederick, "how you overestimate me!
Work! I am no better than a tramp. The thing I thought to cure myself
with was laziness, idleness. Here I sit in a land discovered and
conquered as a result of the tremendous will power of the Europeans, with
my oars gone, my rudder gone and my last bit of free will. It is this
that distinguishes most men of to-day from the men of that time."

Coffee was served, and for a while Frederick and Miss Burns stirred the
sugar without speaking. Then Miss Burns asked:

"How did you come to lose your free will, as you say?"

"Theridium triste," said Frederick and suddenly recalled the simile of
the spider that Doctor Wilhelm had used in reference to Ingigerd. Miss
Burns, of course, did not understand him; but Frederick broke off, and
though she questioned him, refused to explain. She promptly withdrew her
question, saying she thought it was quite right and good for him if the
conversation lost its German philosophic cast and descended to the level
of a superficial person like herself.

"I advise you," she added, "no matter how sharply you may criticise
yourself for having travelled so many roads without reaching the end, to
strike out into a new road, and do so quite cheerfully. Confine yourself
to something that makes an equal demand on your hands, your eyes and your
brain. In short, return to your old love and try your hand again on
sculpture. Perhaps in a few months you will be the creator of a
world-famous Madonna in polychrome wood."

"You are mistaken in me," Frederick rejoined. "I do nothing but blow soap
bubbles. Leave me to my illusion, that there is a great artist in me
awaiting the moment of self-expression and development. What I am really
much more fitted for is to be Mr. Ritter's coachman, or valet, or at best
his business manager."



XIV


Miss Burns took out her little purse, refusing to let Frederick pay for
her, and they stepped out again into the busy streets.

"By Jove," said Frederick, whose manner when in the hurly-burly changed
completely, "what a lot of stuff I have been chattering! I deserve to be
punished for trying your patience to such an extent. I must have bored
you horribly."

"Oh, no," she said, "I am accustomed to such conversations. I have
associated with artists for many years."

"Do you mean to impugn my truthfulness, Miss Burns?" Frederick asked in
some alarm.

"No, but I think," she said calmly, with almost masculine firmness, "that
if nature makes us suffer through something, she does not intend us to
suffer again and again from the same thing. It seems to me the Creator
had a definite intention in always and everywhere placing night and sleep
between day and day."

"Not always and not everywhere," Frederick observed, thinking of the
difficulty he had had for many nights in snatching a few hours' sleep.

At a street crossing Miss Burns stopped to wait for a car to take her
back to the studio.

"Look at that," said Frederick, pointing to six similar placards of
gigantic dimensions, which represented Mara, the Spider's Victim, in
screaming colours. A green stripe was pasted slantwise on each placard,
announcing that the dancer had been suffering from the consequences of
the shipwreck, but that she would appear at Webster and Forster's the
next day for the first time in America. Above the advertisement on the
same wall were seven or eight full-length pictures of Arthur Stoss larger
than life-size.

"Your little friend invited Mr. Ritter to a rehearsal in a theatre on
Broadway day after to-morrow. It was not Webster and Forster's," said
Miss Burns. Frederick explained what had happened in connection with
Mr. Lilienfeld, though he himself had not known of the intended
rehearsal.

"I feel nothing but pity for that girl," he said lightly. "As a result of
a strange combination of circumstances, I feel I am responsible for her.
She lost her father, who was all in all to her, since she is not on good
terms with her mother."

"Indeed?" said Miss Burns. "Why, this very morning in a short
conversation in the studio, she told me something very different."

"She did!" exclaimed Frederick.

"She told me that in many ways her father had been a fearful burden to
her. In the first place, she had to earn money for him, and then he
tyrannised over her terribly."

"Well," said Frederick, somewhat confused, "it is perhaps the essence of
perversion that a person feels compelled to hoodwink people by doing
things and making statements the very reverse of what is natural and
what is to be expected. Miss Burns, I wish, I heartily wish, you would
look out a little for that poor creature drifting about without anybody
or anything to guide her."

"Good-bye," said Miss Burns, hailing a car. "Come and start work in
the studio as soon as possible. As for your little friend, she is too
self-willed. In fact, she has an iron will. There is no holding her, or
leading her, that would keep her from doing anything she had once made up
her mind to do."

When the car had carried Miss Burns off into the stream of New York
traffic, Frederick, strangely enough, had a fleeting sense of
forlornness, to him a novel sensation. Feeling inclined to taste it to
the full, he continued to walk the streets alone, choosing his way at
random. For the first time after speaking so freely to a comparative
stranger, he did not regret his conduct. Again and again he went over in
his mind his first meeting with Miss Burns in the studio, her manner
during the lively carousal, when they discussed the wooden Madonna, his
second meeting with her on the street, her upright carriage, her proud
eyes, her imposing appearance in the little cosmopolitan restaurant.
Without intending to, she undeniably dominated her surroundings, and that
merely as a result of her naturalness. It had given Frederick secret
pleasure to watch her eat and drink daintily, yet heartily, without any
airs or graces, and systematically dissect her orange and peel her apple.
Eating and drinking was to her a noble, legitimate and also inevitable
act, not to be disposed of lightly beneath a foolish masquerade. When
Frederick recommended Ingigerd to her guidance, he did so because he
himself had experienced a beneficent influence from her remarks, dictated
by a beautiful intellect, and from the glance of her straight, honest,
scrutinising eyes.

"At the risk of making myself ridiculous," he said to himself, "I will go
to Ritter's studio to-morrow morning, bury my hands in the clay, and try
to reconstruct my life again from the bottom up out of moist clay."



XV


At about ten o'clock the next morning Ritter himself gave Frederick a
very glad, bright welcome to his studio, and assigned to him a small room
opening on Miss Burns's room. Miss Burns proposed that he begin by
copying a plaster-cast of the arm of the Saxon athlete.

Frederick for the first time handled the moist clay fraught with so much
significance, the clay out of which the gods made man and man in turn has
made gods. As a result of the hours he had spent in Rome with sculptor
friends, watching them work and observing each movement of their fingers,
he accomplished his task with great ease, to his own astonishment and
Miss Burns's admiration. His anatomical knowledge and medical experience
also stood him in good stead. Shortly before completing his course as a
medical student, he had for a time entertained the idea of publishing
an anatomy for sculptors, and with this in view had made a number of
drawings which won the favour of real connoisseurs.

After Frederick had worked feverishly with his shirt sleeves rolled up
for three hours, the athlete's muscular arm began to take shape clearly,
and he felt a sense of satisfaction wholly novel to him. In working he
completely forgot who he was, and where he was. When Willy Snyders came
in, as he usually did on his way from his work to luncheon for the
purpose of saying "how-do-you-do" to Bonifacius Ritter and art, it seemed
to Frederick that he had been awakened from a dream and called back to a
strange life.

"I am sorry to have to leave work and go to lunch. Lunch is really a very
disturbing thing," he confessed.

When Ritter entered, they all laughed heartily at his genuine passion for
sculpture.

"When I return to Europe," he said, "I must immediately make portraits of
my three children."

Miss Burns and Willy Snyders had actually made Frederick proud by their
praise, though in Ritter's presence they turned silent awaiting the
master's verdict.

"You must certainly have modelled in clay before," said Ritter. Frederick
could honestly deny that he ever had. "Well," Ritter rejoined, "then you
have handled your material like a man who has art in his blood. To judge
by this first attempt, it seems to me you have merely been waiting for
the clay and the clay has been waiting for you."

"We'll see," said Frederick, and added, "Unfortunately there is a serious
drawback. The saying is that all beginnings are difficult. My former
experiences lead me to believe that with me the reverse is generally
true. As a rule I win the first and second round of chess, or cards, or
billiards, and lose in the end. I succeeded at first in my practice and
my bacteriological researches. If I write a book, only the first and
second chapters are worth anything."

The artists refused to believe this, though there was a grain of truth
in what he said. Nevertheless, Frederick left the studio with them in
a healthier frame of mind than he had been in for years.

But his spirits departed in a measure after he had spoken with Ingigerd
Hahlström in the club-house. The girl listened unsympathetically, if not
ironically, to his account of his new occupation. Ritter, Willy and
Lobkowitz were secretly outraged at her disdainful remarks, especially
since they observed that Frederick was still entangled in the girl's
meshes, body and soul.

She told him he must go to Webster and Forster and insist on their
withdrawing a notification which they had sent to the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Since her new contract with Lilienfeld
meant the loss of the money that she was worth to them, they wanted
revenge, at least, and were going to put a spoke in their competitor's
wheel. Ingigerd, beside herself with rage, told Frederick that in the
morning she had had a brief rehearsal in the theatre, and a
representative of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
had announced his intention of attending the rehearsal the next day. She
was bent upon letting her light shine in New York and receiving twofold
homage, the homage of pity and the homage of admiration. Besides, she did
not want to lose the money in prospect. If she were prevented from
appearing in New York, there was no chance for her anywhere in the United
States.

It was useless to oppose the girl's obstinate will. Whether or no, to
his unspoken disgust, Frederick had to perform messenger and handy-man
services for the little star. He rushed from Webster and Forster to
Lilienfeld, from Lilienfeld to the attorneys, Brown and Samuelson, from
Second Avenue to Fourth Avenue, from Fourth Avenue to Fifth Avenue,
finally to knock at the door of Mr. Garry himself, the head of the
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and represent to
him Ingigerd Hahlström's position, which was, that by preventing her
appearance, the society would expose her to material want in a strange
country. Mr. Garry refused to receive Frederick.

Fortunately for him, Willy Snyders the good-hearted, in order to make
things as easy as possible for him, sacrificed himself by obtaining an
afternoon's leave of absence from work. His saucy, healthy humour, his
jolly remarks on New York conditions helped Frederick through many
unpleasant moments.

Frederick was happy when the next morning came and he could go at his
modelling again. His brain, whirling with the rattle and clatter of New
York, could spend itself in his passionate occupation, which employed
both his eyes and his hands. He deemed himself fortunate for being
genuinely unpractical and not having to take part in that gruesome
horse-racing and sack-racing and target-shooting, that crawling and
dancing and jumping for the sacrosanct dollar. The very breath of that
frenzied life tore the garments of his soul into shreds, as it were,
while this simple occupation of modelling the details of the athlete's
arm, was healing to his soul. He was conscious of it. Now and then Miss
Burns came in to inspect his work and exchange a few words with him. He
liked this. Her companionable presence soothed him and even made him
happy. Her figure, her gestures, her conversation seemed to be the very
essence of firmness and repose, and her self-sufficiency always aroused
Frederick's silent admiration. When he told her how perceptibly his new
work acted as a sedative upon him, she replied that she had had the same
experience, and if he did not fly off at a tangent but remained steadily
at the work, he would feel the good it did him even more.



XVI


Ingigerd Halström had "invited" the artists to her rehearsal at twelve
o'clock. When they gathered in Miss Burns's room--beside Frederick, there
were Ritter, Lobkowitz, Willy Snyders, Miss Burns, and the gypsy-like
painter Franck, who carried a portfolio and sketching material--there was
a certain solemnity in their manner.

It was a clear day and the streets were dry, and they decided to walk to
the theatre. On the way Ritter told Frederick of a little country house
he was building for himself on Long Island. Frederick had already heard
of it through Willy Snyders. It was to be a rather pretentious building,
with gardens and stables and barns. Ritter was erecting it according to
his own ideas and plans. He discussed the beauties of the Doric column.
It was the most natural of column forms and therefore the most suitable
for any surroundings. That was why he had used it in his villa. For his
interiors, he had partly followed Pompeian models, and there was to be
an atrium. He spoke of a little figure, a gargoyle, which he intended to
place over a square fountain.

"In these things, which offer the jolliest possibilities, artists
nowadays are very unresourceful," he said. "We have naïve German examples
in the _Gänsemännchen_, the _Männicken Piss_, and the _Tugendbrunnen_ in
Nuremberg. One of the best classic examples is the drunken Silenus of
Herculaneum. Water when combined as a mobile element with immobile works
of art, can run, trickle, dash, splash, spray, bubble up, or rise up in a
splendid jet. It can hiss and sputter and foam. From the drinking bottle
of the drunken Silenus in Herculaneum it must have popped. I have had a
plaster-cast model made of the little Pompeian figure of Narcissus at the
spring in Naples. It is exquisitely beautiful. I am going to place it
somewhere in my villa. My gardens will reach down to the seashore, and
I intend to have a landing-place for boats, with marble steps and
balustrades and sculpture work."

While walking in the cold sunny air next to the slim, elegantly dressed
sculptor, listening to his Greek fantasies, Frederick's heart beat
mightily against his ribs. Whenever the thought arose in his mind that
here, in this new country, after everything that had happened, he would
again see Ingigerd Hahlström dance her dance, he felt that he was no
longer equal to the trial. The forces of his soul that had remained
healthy were already rising in rebellion against anything that might
increase the power of the little demon. Nevertheless, he was so
intimately connected with her, that the public exhibition of her charms
tortured him, and he suffered from the anticipation of her great success.
Yet while dreading it, he fervently desired it.

The theatre was dark and empty when Ritter and his following entered.
They could scarcely see and had to grope their way after the young man
that led them to seats in the parquet. Gradually, their eyes grew
accustomed to the darkness, and they could distinguish the vast
windowless cave, with its rows of seats, its galleries and painted
ceiling. The air, smelling of dust and decay, lay heavily on Frederick's
lungs. There were recesses in the great grotto that made the impression
of gloomy holes for coffins. Some of them were hung with grey canvas, and
canvas lay spread over the whole parquet, with the exception of a few
rows left free for seats for the visitors. The stage curtain was up, and
the only lighting on the stage came from a few incandescent lamps with
weak reflectors, which cast only a narrow circle of light, which widened
somewhat as the visitors' eyes learned to be content with the faint
illumination.

None of the men had ever before seen an empty unlighted theatre, and they
felt cramped and oppressed. For no special reason, they lowered their
voices in speaking, and sat there in the expectant mood in which people
always await the beginning of a performance.

No wonder that Frederick's heart throbbed more and more turbulently. Even
Willy Snyders, who was not easily shaken out of his composure and was
always inclined to make sarcastic remarks, was silent and adjusted his
glasses on his nose. He sat with his mouth open and his nostrils
dilating. When Frederick's eye happened to fall upon him in his unwonted
state of self-forgetfulness, he was amused by the comic appearance of his
black Japanese head.

After a number of tense minutes had passed and nothing had yet occurred,
the artists were about to unburden their feelings in questions and
remarks, when the silence was suddenly broken by a tramping of feet, and
the stage resounded with a loud, though dull and by no means melodious
voice. It was the impresario Lilienfeld, in a long overcoat, his hat
pushed back on his neck. He was scolding violently and flourishing a
cane. The vision tickled the artists' risibilities. It was all they could
do to keep their laughter within the limits of courtesy.

Lilienfeld roared and called for the porter, and thundered unmercifully
at a charwoman happening to stray on the empty stage.

"Where's the carpet, where are the musicians, where is that
good-for-nothing of a fellow who attends to the reflector? I expressly
ordered him to be here at twelve o'clock. Miss Hahlström is standing back
there and can't get into her dressing-room."

A voice from the parquet--it came from the young man that had guided the
artists to their seats--several times attempted a timid "Mr. Lilienfeld,
Mr. Lilienfeld." Finally Lilienfeld caught the sound and, holding his
hand to his ear, stepped to the edge of the stage. Forthwith a shower of
curses, which had ceased for an instant, descended upon the lad, with
reinforced severity. The reflector man came and received his dose of
furious rebukes. A man in a silk hat pushed in three musicians, carrying
a tom-tom, a cymbal and a flute.

"Where's the flower? The flower! The flower!" Lilienfeld now shouted into
the parquet, when a hesitating "I don't know" came from somewhere.
Lilienfeld disappeared, crying "Where's the flower? Where's the flower?"

"Where's the flower? The flower! The flower!" was taken up in endless
echoes here and there, above and below, from the wings, on the stage, and
now from the last rows of the parquet--a circumstance which only
increased the artists' inclination to titter.

A few more lights were turned on, and a remarkable, great red paper
flower was set on the stage. Lilienfeld, now better satisfied, reappeared
and entered into a conversation with the three musicians.

"Have you studied the dance I told you to?" he demanded, humming the tune
and stressing the accented parts to impress it upon them. "Now then," he
said, "let's hear what you can do." He raised his bamboo cane like a
conductor's baton and said commandingly, "Well, begin."

And the musicians began to play that provoking, passionate melody, that
barbaric music, now dull and suppressed, now loud and screeching, which,
ever since it first began to excite his nerves, had pursued Frederick
night and day. He thanked heaven that the darkness helped conceal his
emotion. It was that hard, convulsive motive conjuring up the demons
which had been the beginning of his obsession in the _Künstlerhaus_ in
Berlin. Over and again those sounds had lured him and led him on.

What was this strange Ariel's intention with him? At whose bidding was he
acting when he assailed his victim with inner storms and almost let him
perish in a real storm on the seas? Why did he prick Frederick's flesh
with this music? Why did he cast its inseverable hempen cords about his
throat and limbs? How was it that after so tremendous an eternal tragedy
had been enacted out there on the cosmic solitudes of the ocean, after
the waters had unmercifully swallowed so vast a number of men, loving
life--how was it that this music had remained untouched and unweakened,
that it had here resumed its fantastic devilishness? Frederick felt as if
new cords were biting into his flesh and tightening about his throat.
Something like the anguish and frenzy of a bull with a lasso about its
horns came over him--a bull whom a cruel power will misuse for a
senseless, bloody show in the arena. Frederick did not hit about him. He
did not run away, and yet he came near doing both. His head, it seemed to
him, was wrapped up heavily in thick sail-cloth. He must do something
finally to rid himself of that enforced blindness. He must look straight
in the face of his grotesque opponent--Prospero or Caliban?

"There is no doubt," Frederick felt, while the music tortured and
harrowed him, "that men seek madness, they seek it again and again. They
are fond of madness. Was not madness the leader of those men who first
made the impossible possible and crossed the ocean, though they were
neither fish nor fowl?"

In Skagen in Denmark there is a sight worth seeing. In the dining-room of
a small inn there are painted figureheads of foundered vessels saved from
the wreckage. The hand of madness has unmistakably touched all those
wooden men and women with their painted faces and clothes. They look
forward into the distance, where they seem to see something beyond all.
Their noses quiver in the air on the scent of gold and foreign spices.
In some way or other they have come upon a secret and have lifted their
feet from their native land to tread the air and pursue illusions and
phantasmagoria and discover new secrets in the trackless salt waste. It
was by such that El Dorado was discovered. It was such that have led
millions and millions of men to their destruction.

And Ingigerd Hahlström, who shortly before had been his painted Madonna
of wood, now became Frederick's ecstatic figurehead. He saw her high
above the waves on the prow of a phantom sailing ship, bent forward
with open mouth and wide eyes, her yellow hair falling straight down from
both sides of her head.

The music ceased, and Ingigerd Hahlström stepped on the stage. She was
wearing a long blue evening cloak over her costume.

"Mr. Lilienfeld, I think it is rather stupid to change the name of my
number from 'Mara, the Spider's Victim' to 'Oberon's Revenge,'" she said
very dryly.

"Miss Hahlström," said the impresario, nervously, "please, for heaven's
sake, leave that to me. I know the audiences here. Besides, I have
reasons for choosing another title. I want to avoid a damage suit by
Webster and Forster. Please begin, Miss Hahlström. We have to hurry." Mr.
Lilienfeld clapped his hands and called to the musicians to strike up.

Again those provoking strains, immediately upon which Mara danced in,
like a naked elf floating in the air. While flying in wide circles about
the flower, as yet unseen, she resembled a fabulous, exotic butterfly
in her transparent veil shot with gold. Willy Snyders called her a naiad,
Ritter a moth. Franck said nothing, merely keeping his eyes fixed upon
the transformed girl.

The moment came when with her eyes closed, like a somnambulist, she
sniffed the perfume and began to seek its source. In that seeking, there
was both innocence and maddening wantonness. A fine quiver went through
her body, like the quiver of a moth in its sultry love-play. At last she
smelt of the flower itself, and her sudden rigidity showed that she had
perceived the great spider on it.

As Frederick knew, she did not always represent the horror, the numbness
of fright and the flight in the same way. The artists all admired the
change of expression on the dancer's sweet face, where faint distaste
gave way to violent repulsion, fright and stark horror. As if a great
hand had tossed her, she flew to the outer limits of the circle of light.

But a force compelled her to return to the flower. Mara no longer
followed sweet scents. The hideous venomous creature in the flower's
calyx drew her against her will, struggling wildly. Her lids were no
longer closed. It was with clairvoyant eyes that the little thing went
to meet her doom.

"Strange," thought Frederick, "if her father really conceived the idea of
this dance himself. In that case he may have divined his daughter's fate
with greater insight and love than he is credited with. As she herself
admitted, she is sometimes more irresistibly drawn by what is ugly than
by what is pure and beautiful; and the dance follows a logical course
leading on pitilessly to tragedy."

The new phase of the dance began, in which the dancer looks at the spider
again, takes it to be harmless, and laughs at herself, as it were, for
her fears. Ingigerd portrayed this with inimitable grace, innocence and
merriness.

After passing through a state of pleasant repose, the fight with the
imaginary threads enmeshing her limbs began. At this point, the door
opening on the parquet creaked on its hinges, and a tall, stately,
noble-looking old man was ushered in. He carried his hat in his hand. His
hair was silvery grey, and his clear-cut face was clean shaven. He was a
gentleman, "every inch of him." The young man who had led the stranger
in, dashed out again, and the gentleman seated himself near the door by
which he had entered. Director Lilienfeld appeared and, turning and
twisting like an eel around the awe-inspiring old man, officiously begged
him to be seated in one of the front rows.

The gentleman, Mr. Garry, President of the Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children and many other organisations, declined with a wave of
his hand and fixed his attention upon the performance. Ingigerd had been
confused by the creaking of the door, the arrival of a new spectator, and
the mumbled greeting of her impresario. She stopped dancing.

"Keep on! Keep on!" cried Lilienfeld. But the girl stepped to the edge of
the stage.

"What's the matter?" she inquired.

"Nothing, nothing at all," the director assured her, all impatience.

Ingigerd called for Doctor von Kammacher. Frederick, who was reminded of
his father by the old gentleman and had been looking at him with respect,
was not a little startled when he heard his name echo through the
theatre. It was fearfully painful and humiliating to him to have to step
up to the platform and speak to Ingigerd. She bent down and told him to
go "sound that old guy from the Society and try to bring him around."

"If I am not allowed to dance, I will jump from Brooklyn Bridge, and you
can go fishing for me where my father is," she cried.

Amid convulsive jerkings of her body, throttled by the spider's threads,
Ingigerd ended what was apparently her life, though in reality nothing
but her dance. Lilienfeld introduced Frederick to Mr. Garry. The stiff
old descendant of the Pilgrim Fathers, who had come over in the
_Mayflower_ and founded the New England States, measured Frederick with a
cold, penetrating glance of his steely grey eyes, a glance hostile as
a cat's and as capable, it seemed to Frederick, as a cat's to see in
utter darkness. Mr. Garry spoke very quietly, but what he said scarcely
aroused hopes that his attitude would be tolerant.

"Evidently," he said after Lilienfeld had got done with an eager
harangue, "evidently, the girl's father has already misused her for low
purposes, and evidently, the child's education has been neglected. The
creature is to be pitied for not having been taught even the commonest
notions of feminine shame and decency. Unfortunately," he added in a
cold, haughty manner, which in advance robbed any statements in
controversion of their force, "unfortunately we have as yet no law
to prevent such revolting performances, which grossly offend public
sentiment and morality." He scarcely seemed to comprehend Lilienfeld's
arguments, assuming without question that Lilienfeld must know how vile
he and his profession were in the eyes of every gentleman and that
Lilienfeld in his, Mr. Garry's, eyes was entitled to but one epithet,
"vermin."

His inadequate English prevented Frederick from taking an important part
in the conversation. Nevertheless, he ventured to mention the necessity
under which Ingigerd was of earning her own living. Mr. Garry instantly
silenced him with the old question:

"Are you the girl's brother?"

Mr. Garry left the room, and Lilienfeld cursed and stormed against the
miserable hypocrisy of those old-fashioned Yankees and Puritans.

"I have my strong suspicions," he said, "that an injunction will be
issued preventing Ingigerd Hahlström from appearing in public. I owe the
whole cursed business to Webster and Forster."

When Frederick went to fetch Ingigerd in the dressing-room, he found her
in tears.

"I have nobody but you to thank for this," she cried in a fury. "Why
couldn't you let me dance the first day under Webster and Forster, as Mr.
Stoss and everybody else advised?"

"Ingigerd," said Frederick, "I had to look out for your health."

"Stuff and nonsense! You took the whole matter into your hands. You
acted illegally, against my expressed wish, when you chased Webster and
Forster's agent away from the cab when we left the steamer."

Frederick was disgusted. Mr. Garry had made his father's personality more
vivid to him than it had been for weeks. Although his father would never
have expressed and carried out his views in the same form as Mr. Garry,
yet his opinions, as Frederick very well knew, were akin to the Yankee's.
Indeed, even in Frederick's soul, many of the same notions, implanted by
birth and education, remained unshaken. For the first time since he had
fallen under Ingigerd's spell, he realised that he was inwardly
independent of her. The one question that still troubled and occupied him
was how to rid himself outwardly as well as inwardly from the degrading
liaison. Without fully admitting it to himself, he had suffered a
disenchantment in Ingigerd's dance; to judge by which, the demon's spell
was broken. This time that alluring seductive dance had seemed
inconceivably empty. Nor was his compassion aroused to nearly the same
extent as formerly.

Franck, the gypsy painter, burst in. He behaved like a madman. His
enthusiasm, which somewhat improved Ingigerd's temper, was of the sort
that stammers and stutters and cannot find the words to express itself.
Frederick looked at him in disgust, but the next moment started when he
recognised in his behaviour the marks of his own former obsession.
Ingigerd let the painter take her hand and cover it with wild, passionate
kisses, which travelled from her wrist to her elbow, a demonstration that
seemed to her to be perfectly natural and quite in order.

"I wish you would go visit Mr. Garry again and try to influence him with
pleas and threats and money," she said to Frederick.

"That would be foolish and useless," Frederick declared; whereupon
Ingigerd wept.

"The only friends I have," she wailed, "are friends that exploit me. Why
isn't Achleitner here? Why did Achleitner have to lose his life, and not
somebody else? Achleitner was my real friend. He knew how to go about
things in the world, and he was rich and unselfish, too."



XVII


The very next day the injunction was issued, restraining Ingigerd
Hahlström from dancing in public. The girl conducted herself wildly.
Lilienfeld said the time had come to place the matter before the Mayor of
New York. In order to protect Ingigerd from slander and from being sent
to an orphan asylum, Lilienfeld, who was married but had no children,
offered her a refuge in his own home on 124th Street near Lenox Avenue.
Whether she wanted to or not, Ingigerd had to accept.

The morning after Ingigerd's departure to Mr. Lilienfeld's home, when
Frederick sat in front of his modelling in a new smock of unbleached
linen of Miss Burns's buying, he experienced a sense of relief on
Ingigerd's account. A burden had been lifted from him. Her change of home
had removed a part of the responsibility from his shoulders and made a
break in the feeling he had had of their belonging to each other.

After the rehearsal, Ingigerd was much discussed in the studio. Ritter
had expressed to Miss Burns and his friends a desire to make a model of
the dancing girl for a bronze statuette. Miss Burns told Frederick of his
wish. But Frederick, who was still regarded somewhat in the light of
Ingigerd's guardian, assented unwillingly.

"You see, Miss Eva," he said, "I am really the last person in the world
to stand in the way when beautiful things are to be created. But I am
only a man, and if Ritter were to use Miss Hahlström as a model here,
where only one or two walls would separate us, that would mean an end to
my peace of soul." Miss Burns laughed. "You may well laugh," he said,
"but I am a convalescent, and relapses, you know, are worse than the
sickness they follow."

A week passed, in which Frederick carried on a remarkable, but not, as
yet, victorious warfare. He worked in the studio daily, and Miss Burns
became his confidante. From his own mouth she learned what she had
already observed, that he was languishing in the chains of an unhappy
passion. Without ever interfering in his spiritual struggles unless he
positively demanded it of her, she gave him advice as a good friend
and comrade.

"Every time I see Ingigerd, or go out with her, or spend any time at all
with her," he said, "I feel outraged and bored. I have firmly made up my
mind not to go back to her."--A resolution frequently broken a few hours
after it was made.

Miss Eva was so long-suffering that Frederick never felt compelled to
drop the theme of Ingigerd Hahlström. The girl's soul was turned inside
out and back again.

One day Ingigerd said to him:

"Take me, seduce me, do with me whatever you will, Frederick. Be strict,
be cruel with me. Lock me up. You are the only man I want to have
anything to do with me any more." Another time she said beseechingly:
"I want to be good, Frederick. Make me good."

But the very next day she again subjected her friend and protector to
unpardonably vile treatment. The fact was, she already had a following of
men, running errands for her, attending to her affairs, thinking for her,
and paying for her.

The thing that Frederick could not wean himself from was that sweet,
fair, frail, pathetic body. Yet he was determined to wean himself.

One day Ingigerd came to sit for Miss Burns for her portrait. Frederick
placed a revolving stand in front of her and also tried to model the
blonde Madonna in clay. Even Ritter had a mass of clay for modelling a
bust of her prepared on a revolving stand, and the master entered into
rivalry with his pupils. Miss Burns's purpose in arranging these sittings
was not easily fathomed. The result was, however, that the very severe
study of his idol's features had a remarkable effect upon Frederick.

The flatness of her forehead, her eyebrows, the setting of her eyes, the
turn of her temples, the shape of her ears and the twist they took where
they joined her head, her nose as narrow as the dull edge of a knife,
her nostrils, the oldish-looking nasolabial line, the depressions at the
corners of her mouth, her beautiful yet brutal chin, her unbeautiful
throat, with the washer-woman's pit in it--all these traits had a very
sobering effect upon Frederick, sapping from his imagination every bit
of its strength to beautify or palliate. Perhaps Miss Burns knew what
results from such strenuous, such persistently logical observation of an
object. In some ways it has the same effect as blood-letting. That is why
the artist must bleed to death unless new sources of illusion always open
up to him.

Moreover, in the long sittings, to which Ingigerd submitted from vanity,
she betrayed the narrowness, the attenuation, the barrenness of her mind.
In contrast with Miss Burns, Frederick perceived in Ingigerd with fearful
clearness that incompleteness which is eternally rudimentary. Once she
brought a letter from her mother in Paris and read it aloud. For about
a quarter of an hour, it actually seemed to torture her. It was serious,
severe, full of concern, and not unloving. Her mother referred
sorrowfully to Hahlström's death, and asked Ingigerd to come and live
with her in Paris. She told her of a woman in New York, the wife of a
German barber, with whom it would be eminently suitable for her to remain
until she returned to Europe. She even mentioned the steamer she should
take.

"I am not wealthy," she wrote. "You will have to help me with my work,
Ingigerd, but I will try to be a mother to you in every respect,"--here
came the apodosis--"if you make up your mind to change your mode of
life."

There was hard, stupid, even savage hatred in Ingigerd's commentaries on
this and other parts of her mother's letter.

"I am to go to her and repent," she mimicked, "because the Lord has so
miraculously saved me. Mamma should be the first to repent. I am not
going to be such a fool as to turn myself into a dressmaker. Always to
receive orders and listen to sermons from mamma! I am not bothered about
myself so long as I am not under somebody's thumb."

And so she went on, without the least hesitancy retailing the ugliest
intimacies in the life of her parents.



XVIII


The Mayor of New York appointed the twenty-fifth of February for a
hearing in the City Hall, at which Lilienfeld and his attorneys, Brown
and Samuelson, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
were to present their arguments for and against the injunction
restraining Ingigerd Hahlström from dancing in public. Mrs. Lilienfeld
dressed Ingigerd up in "smart" clothes, put her in a cab, and in the
capacity of chaperone drove down to the City Hall with her. Frederick,
upon whose presence Ingigerd had insisted, had gone ahead in another cab
with Lilienfeld.

"This is the situation," Lilienfeld explained as they drove through the
length of the cold, grey, dreary city. "At present New York is in the
control of Tammany. At the last elections the Republicans were defeated.
Ilroy, the Mayor, is a Tammany man. The word Tammany is derived from an
Indian sachem, Tamenund, who figures in Cooper's Leather-stocking novels.
The party leaders have silly Indian names and titles. But don't be
deceived by all that romantic Indian nonsense. The members of Tammany
Hall are mighty practical. The Tammany tiger is an animal not to be
trifled with in the great New York sheepfold. I think we may feel pretty
sure, though not absolutely certain, of having the Tammany tiger, and
therefore the Mayor, with us in this matter. Mr. Garry is a Republican,
a deadly enemy of Tammany Hall, and it would give Ilroy the greatest
satisfaction to deal a neat little blow at him and that idiotic
institution, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. But
his term is nearly expired, and as he would like to be elected again, it
is politic for him to make a few concessions to the Republicans. Well,
we'll see. We have to wait and see."

The cab rolled down Lenox Avenue through Central Park and along Fifth
Avenue, past the Metropolitan Museum, the Lenox Library, the millionaire
residences, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Below Fiftieth Street it turned
into Broadway, where Lilienfeld pointed out the buildings of interest,
Madison Square, and the Hoffman House, the gathering place of the
Democrats. Finally they reached the City Hall Park, in the centre of
which stands the City Hall, a marble structure with a cupola and a
portico. In the portico the gentlemen awaited the ladies.

While walking to and fro, Frederick suddenly felt someone tugging at his
coat. He turned and saw a pretty, stylishly dressed little girl.

"Why, Ella Liebling, where do you come from?"

Ella courtesied and said:

"I am out with Rosa. There she is."

Frederick turned and saw Rosa standing on the steps.

"Good morning, Doctor von Kammacher," she said.

Frederick introduced Ella to Mr. Lilienfeld. "Ella was in the shipwreck.
Here you have additional proof of the tremendous physical power of
resistance of the so-called weaker sex."

"Good morning, little girl. Is it really true that you were in that awful
shipwreck?"

"Yes, indeed," came the unabashed answer, spiced with a dash of
childishly coquettish pride, "and my brother was drowned."

"Oh, poor child," said Lilienfeld. His manner was abstracted. Evidently
his mind was on the speech he might be compelled to deliver before the
Mayor of New York. "Excuse me," he said suddenly to Frederick, and moved
a few steps away to make a hasty, nervous perusal of his notes, which he
had written on a slip of paper and had taken from his pocket.

"My mother was dead, too, but came back to life again."

"How's that? How's that?" asked Lilienfeld, raising his gold spectacles
slightly from his nose and peering at her from under them.

Frederick explained how they had had to work over Mrs. Liebling for
several hours before they succeeded in resuscitating her.

"If in this world honours were awarded according to merit," Frederick
added, "then that simple servant-girl there"--he pointed to Rosa--"ought
to receive greater honour as a hero of two worlds than Lafayette. She
performed miracles. She never thought of herself, but only of her
mistress, Mrs. Liebling, of the two children, and the rest of us."

Frederick went to Rosa and shook hands with her. When he inquired for
Mrs. Liebling, she turned red as a peony.

"Mrs. Liebling is very well," she said, and promptly burst into tears,
having been reminded of little Siegfried. When she dried her eyes, she
told Frederick that she and a German consul, without Mrs. Liebling, had
attended to all the formalities of the burial and that she had been the
only one to see the little corpse laid away in the Jewish cemetery.

"Oh, why did you stop trying to revive Siegfried so soon? I begged and
begged you to go on. There was still life in him. He would have come to,"
she wailed.

Here a stranger joined them. It was not until he was quite close that
Frederick recognised in the correctly clad man the valet of Arthur Stoss.

"Doctor von Kammacher," said Bulke, "Rosa cannot get it out of her mind.
Can't you make her understand that it isn't right always to be going over
and over such a thing and that she ought to forget it? It couldn't be
worse if she had lost a boy of her own. I want to tell you, Doctor von
Kammacher, Rosa and I are engaged to be married."

"You are certainly to be congratulated, Mr. Bulke. I am delighted to hear
it."

"As soon as I can get away from Mr. Stoss and Rosa can get away from Mrs.
Liebling, we are going back to Europe. Before I entered the navy, I was a
skilled butcher. My brother in Bremen wrote to me that there was a little
meat and sausage and steamer supply business to be had there. We both
have some money saved up. So why shouldn't we try it? You can't go on
working for strangers forever."

"I quite agree with you," said Frederick.

The marksman's valet held out his hand to Rosa, whispered "Mrs.
Liebling's coming," and left. The same instant Ella ran off calling,
"Mamma."

Mrs. Liebling was coming through the park, walking beside a gentleman.
From her costume, befitting the wife of a Russian prince of the royal
house, it was evident that she had already found the opportunity to
replace her wardrobe. Frederick shook hands with her and remembered the
mole under her left breast and several other marks on the lovely body,
which he had so ruthlessly worked like a machine to restore the breath
to it.

She introduced him to her companion, a dark, thick-set, elegantly dressed
man, who eyed Frederick with a suspicious, repellent expression.

"Curious," thought Frederick. "This microcephalous creature thinks I am
his enemy, whereas he ought to know what he owes me. There I toiled and
travailed and sweated to raise the dead. I considered myself a highly
moral instrument of Providence, and after all, I was working for nothing
but the pleasure of a sleek, consequential Don Juan."

Mrs. Liebling, who had already been in Boston and Washington, was
perfectly delighted with America.

"What do you think of the New York hotels? I am living at the Waldorf.
Aren't they magnificent? I have four rooms in the front. Such quiet,
such luxury, such beautiful pictures! You feel as if you were in the
Arabian Nights. Doctor von Kammacher, you positively must go to
Delmonico's. What has Berlin, or even Paris, to compare with it? You
can't find a restaurant like Delmonico's or hotels like New York hotels
in Europe."

"Possibly," said Frederick, quite dazed.

"Have you been in the Metropolitan Opera House yet?"

Mrs. Liebling continued to put similar lively interrogations, to which
she demanded small responses from Frederick, supplying most of the
answers herself.

He thought of Rosa and Siegfried and had time to inspect and reinspect
the signor's brand-new patent leather shoes, the straight creases down
his trousers, his watch chain, his diamond scarf pin, his monocle, his
high hat, and his expensive fur coat.

"What have you got to do with our famous tenor of the Metropolitan Opera
Company?" Lilienfeld asked Frederick, when he returned to the portico
with a "Whew!" of relief. Frederick did not understand, and Lilienfeld
repeated the same Italian name that Mrs. Liebling had mentioned in
introducing the signor to Frederick. He was astonished that Frederick did
not know what a world-renowned star this new friend of Mrs. Liebling's
was.



XIX


The meeting had so clearly put before Frederick the tragi-comedy of
existence that his sense of humour was stirred and he was capable of
taking the painful situation less seriously.

The cab with the ladies drove up. Simultaneously half a dozen reporters
stepped into the lobby. Frederick, to his surprise, observed that most of
them were on a rather free and easy footing with Ingigerd, and shook
hands with her familiarly. She looked very dainty and pretty.

Her rather numerous body-guard, which now included Mr. Samuelson and his
assistant, were ushered into the audience chamber, a lofty wainscoted
room with bay windows. When they entered, they saw Mr. Garry's tall
figure already seated at a long table near the empty chair that the Mayor
was to occupy. He was dressed in black, almost like an English clergyman,
and the theological spirit of the Puritan shone from his face. Yet there
was too much worldly acumen, too much cold determination in his
impressive features for a clergyman. He held his eye-glasses in his hand
and now and then turned over the pages of his notes. Mr. Samuelson and
Mr. Lilienfeld took seats on the other side of the Mayor's chair, without
greeting him. The rest of the space about the table was occupied by a few
clerks, the reporters, and other persons interested, among whom sat
Frederick, Lilienfeld's wife, prepossessing and stately, and Ingigerd
Hahlström, the _casus belli_.

The Mayor entered by a high folding door a few feet behind his chair. He
was an Irishman, somewhere between forty and fifty, wearing a smile of
mixed shrewdness and embarrassment. Though he did not go through the
formality of a greeting, there was a touch of courteous affability in the
glance he cast about the room.

One of the reporters at the bottom of the table whispered to Frederick:

"Miss Hahlström's case is going to come out all right. Everybody is of
the firm opinion that the Mayor is going to give that old hypocrite a
jolt." As a matter of fact, the Mayor's manner toward his honourable
neighbour on the right was too cordial to presage good. Silence was
ordered, and the session began. The Mayor called upon Mr. Garry to
speak.

The old gentleman arose in all his height, with a gravity and
self-assurance seldom seen except in eminent statesmen. Frederick was
fascinated. He could not remove his eyes from him and almost regretted
that his speech, according to the reporter, was doomed to failure in
advance. As for Frederick's feelings in regard to the real issue, when he
listened to the voice of his passion, he did not desire Ingigerd's
appearance in public. But for some time he had learned to silence that
voice, and he had no objections if his cure were to be accomplished as
the result of a severe operation. He felt certain that for Ingigerd to
receive permission to dance in public would mean a definite verdict in
his own case.

Mr. Garry first set forth clearly and succinctly the aims of his society,
citing a number of cases to show how children are maltreated, how their
health is ruined in industry, commerce and on the stage.

Here a reporter whispered in Frederick's ears:

"He should sweep before his own door. He's a Wall Street man and employs
a whole lot of children in his chemical works in Brooklyn. He is a
merciless exploiter."

Mr. Garry went on to explain that these abuses had necessitated the
organisation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
The society made it its duty to interfere only in cases in which the
maltreatment could be actually proved. Such a one was the case in hand.

"For several years," he said, "New York has been overrun by a peculiar
sort of freebooters." He laid emphasis on the word freebooters. "There is
a connection between this phenomenon and the increasing atheism in our
country, the increasing irreligion, and the craving for pleasure and
dissipation, which always goes hand in hand with irreligion. This growing
immorality, this festering corruption in our midst is the wind that fills
the sails of those pirates. The disease is not of American origin. It has
come to us from the dens of vice in the large European cities, London,
Paris, Berlin, Vienna. It is an epidemic the spread of which must be
arrested, and to that end we must put a curb upon the freebooters who
spread the infection and continue to bring it in from abroad."

Lilienfeld, red as a lobster with rage, fidgeted on his seat.

"In the opinion of these men, circumventers and despisers of the laws of
the land, the United States is here merely for their purposes, to allow
them to sow disease and rake in the dollars. They are not good American
citizens, these peculiar Europeans. They are not citizens at all." Mr.
Garry pronounced every word with hard correctness. "That is why it is a
matter of perfect indifference to them if our religion, our customs, our
morals are destroyed. They are unscrupulous birds of prey, and once they
have filled their crops, they return with their spoil to their haunts in
Europe. The time has come when Americans should take thought and repel
the invasion of such parasites."

While the old jingo made these cutting remarks, speaking with an unshaken
front, proudly, hitting straight out from the shoulder, Frederick
unwearyingly watched every movement of his hard, noble old face. The
anthropologist and the newly awakened sculptor in him were equally
stirred. When comparing the "freebooters" to birds of prey, Garry himself
had resembled a bird of prey. His expression was like an eagle's. He
stood with his back to the windows, but with his head turned slightly to
one side, and when he spoke of the birds filling their crops, it seemed
to Frederick that his light-blue eyes paled to a whitish sheen.

Garry now came down to the subject of Ingigerd.

"By God's will a tremendous shipwreck has occurred, an appalling event,
wholly calculated to turn men's thoughts to repentance." He interrupted
himself to say it was useless to go into more details on this point,
since those who did not know how to respect such a visitation from God
were beyond redemption. "It has not been proved that the girl who
survived the shipwreck is over sixteen years of age. I propose to place
her in a hospital, have one of the steamship companies transport her back
to Europe as soon as possible, and consign her to her mother, who lives
in Paris. She should be placed in the care of a physician and under
guardianship. She has been trained to do a certain dance, during which
she falls into a pathologic condition not unlike an epileptic fit. She
turns stiff and rigid as a block of wood, her eyes start from her head,
she plucks at her clothes. Finally, she falls into a faint and loses
consciousness of her surroundings. Such things do not belong on the
stage. It would be an outrage, an insult to public opinion to reproduce
this hospital scene in a theatre. I protest against it in the name of
good taste, in the name of public morality, in the name of American
decency. It is not seemly to drag that poor unfortunate child before an
audience and shamelessly exploit her misery, merely because the shipwreck
has placed her name in everybody's mouth."

Mr. Garry seated himself. He had pronounced his last words with sharp
emphasis. Mr. Samuelson, Lilienfeld's counsel, turned pale and arose
instantly. The reporters moved up closer and leaned forward, cocking
their ears to catch every word of the famous lawyer. He began in a very
faint voice. Frederick as a physician saw he was suffering from chronic
laryngitis, probably having exchanged his sound larynx for his millions.
Samuelson's delivery, his way of pleading were well known. At first he
would spare himself, in order later to take his auditors by storm in a
violent outburst of passion.

When the violent outburst of passion came, it did not fulfill the
expectations either of Lilienfeld, his client, or the reporters, or
Frederick. It was very noticeable that his indignation was forced, that
it did not flow from a natural source, but from a bottle standing long
uncorked. His iron will compelled him to simulate a feeling that he owed
it to his client to display. In fact, the tired, harassed man, with his
small, pointed beard and his worn, dirty-looking skin, was remarkable
merely as a victim of his profession. Even in that capacity he was not so
imposing as pitiable. Unfortunately, he was most pitiable when he gave
the whip and spurs to that jaded little charger, the Rosinante of his
eloquence, to ride down his opponent.

Mr. Garry and Mr. Ilroy, the Mayor, looked at each other significantly.
They seemed to wish to return good for evil and come to the help of this
knight of the sorry figure on his hack all skin and bone, which at the
end of the attack fell and broke his legs.

Lilienfeld could not restrain himself. He turned crimson. The veins of
his forehead swelled. The time for remaining silent had ended and the
time to speak had come. Since the man with the hundred typewriters and
the millions was unequal to the task, Lilienfeld had to take the reins in
his own hands. From the mouth of the dumpy, bull-necked impresario, the
words came pouring with irresistible momentum, with elemental force, as
from the crater of a volcano.

Now it was Mr. Garry's turn to suffer in silence the thrusts and blows
that rained down on him from his opponent. The old gentleman was not
spared. He had to swallow many disagreeable statements about the
exploitation of children in certain factories in Brooklyn, about Puritan
hypocrisy, about drinking water in public and wine in secret. He was told
he was a member of that narrow-minded caste hating art, culture, and life
itself, and seeing devils with cloven hoofs and long tails in authors
like Shakespeare, Byron, and Goethe.

"Such people," Lilienfeld said, "are always trying to turn back the hands
on the clock, a most revolting sight in this so-called land of freedom.
There is very little hope of success in trying to turn back the hands
on the clock. The days of Puritan prudery, the bothersome Puritan
conscience, Puritan orthodoxy, and Puritan intolerance have passed,
never to return. There is no stemming the tide of time, or the tide of
progress, or the tide of culture. But the forces of reaction, threatened
in their mediæval management of things, have begun a cowardly guerilla
warfare, a series of petty, cowardly, miserable, meddlesome tricks."

And now Lilienfeld handed back to Mr. Garry what Mr. Garry had given Mr.
Lilienfeld.

"If there really is a pest in America, its seat is in the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The society is the very breeding-place
of the epidemic, in so far as there is an epidemic in the land. It is
ridiculous in Mr. Garry to maintain that Europe is a plague-boil. Europe
is the mother of America. Without the genius of a Columbus--we are at
this very moment celebrating Columbus's discovery of America--without the
genius of a Columbus and the constant influx of powerful intellects from
Germany, England and Ireland," here he winked an eye at the Mayor, "the
United States would be a dead and dreary land."

After thus moving heaven and earth and sea for the little dancer's sake,
Lilienfeld exposed the base intent of his competitors, Webster and
Forster, in denouncing him to the Society, and indignantly repudiated
Garry's assertion that he, Lilienfeld, was an exploiter. His competitors,
perhaps, were exploiters.

"See how good the conditions are under which Miss Hahlström is filling
her engagement with me. There is my wife. In some respects she has been
a mother to the girl. She is taking care of her in our own home, and
the girl is in good health. She has a dancer's physique. It is a piece
of bare-faced impudence to impugn the girl's honour. She is not a
degenerate. She is not a neglected child. On the contrary she is simply
a great artist."

Lilienfeld had left his highest trump for the last.

"Mr. Garry," he shouted so loud that the lofty windows rattled, "Mr.
Garry called me a foreigner, a freebooter and the like. I object most
decidedly. I am as much an American citizen as Mr. Garry. Mr. Garry, do
you hear I am an American citizen?" For certain reasons Lilienfeld had
had himself naturalised only a month before. "Mr. Garry, do you hear I am
an American citizen?" he cried several times in succession, directly
addressing the old jingo and leaning far across the table. "Mr. Garry, do
you hear I am an American citizen? Mr. Garry, I am an American citizen,
and I will have my rights like you."

That was the end. The wheezing in Lilienfeld's chest, as he seated
himself, breathing heavily, was distinctly audible. There was not the
faintest quiver in Mr. Garry's face.

After a rather lengthy pause, during which there was profound silence,
the Mayor spoke. His words came out quietly, in his customary manner of
mild embarrassment and shrewd affability, which rather became him. His
decision was exactly what the political augurers, judging by the
constellation in the ascendant, had prophesied. Ingigerd was granted the
right to dance in public.

"The young lady, according to the decision of physicians called upon to
testify, has been declared sound in body. There is no occasion to doubt
that she is over sixteen years of age and no reason for preventing her
from earning her livelihood by the exercise of an art which she has
already practised in Europe."

The reporters grinned at one another significantly. The secret hate of
the Irish Catholic toward the native Puritan of English descent had
broken through the surface. Mr. Garry arose and shook his enemy's hand
with cold dignity. Then he walked away, drawn up to his full height. His
other adversary, of a very different nature from the Mayor, did not
succeed in darting in his face his look of hate, also of a very different
nature from the Mayor's; for Mr. Garry's eyes did not rest upon
Lilienfeld for the fraction of a second.

Everybody crowded about Ingigerd, overwhelming the girl, the impresario
and his wife with congratulations. In her joyous excitement Ingigerd's
small face beamed sweetly. She looked very lovely. It was something to
her heart's desire, this struggle to possess her carried on, as it were,
before the eyes of two continents. Indeed, the extreme importance to
which her person had attained almost humbled her a bit; but her pride and
pleasure every now and then showed in her glances, even in the glances
she sent Frederick. The men fairly courted her and did homage to her. Had
a princess of the royal blood come along at that moment, their attention
could not have been diverted for an instant from the little dancer, whom
the delight, even gratitude shining in her face made very attractive.

Lilienfeld immediately invited all the reporters to luncheon. Mr.
Samuelson declined the invitation, pleading an urgent appointment in the
Court House. This may have been a pretext, for Frederick noticed, not
without peculiar sympathy, that he was suffering under the consciousness
of his failure. The poor man, so famous and influential, but now totally
disregarded, was extremely grateful when Frederick, descending the City
Hall stairs beside him, said a few words of appreciation of Samuelson's
presentation of the case, though he actually felt no appreciation.

To excuse himself from taking part in the luncheon, Frederick said he had
several business engagements. Nevertheless he had to promise Ingigerd
that he would return in time for the demi-tasse.



XX


Frederick crossed the park to the main Post Office, a huge building, in
which twenty-five hundred clerks and officials worked. Here he despatched
a telegram, and then turned back into the noise of the streets, where the
people, bending their heads before a cutting wind, ran about in hurrying
swarms. The unceasing traffic, the cars and cabs and trucks, produced a
deafening din. Frederick drew out his watch. It was half-past twelve, the
exact time at which Miss Burns was wont to take her modest lunch in the
little restaurant near the Grand Central Station. Frederick hailed a cab
and drove to the restaurant. If on this occasion Miss Burns had failed to
be lunching there, he would have been sadly disappointed. But there she
was, happy as usual to see the young German scholar.

"Miss Burns," he cried, seating himself beside her, "you see in me a man
who has been dismissed from prison, from a reformatory, from an insane
asylum. Congratulate me! I am at last a free and independent agent
again." He was blissful, exultant. "I have the appetite of three men,
the humour of six men, and good spirits enough to cheer Timon of Athens
out of the blues. I am totally indifferent to the future. So much is
certain--no Circe has power over me any more."

Miss Burns congratulated him and laughed heartily.

"What happened?" she asked.

"I will tell you all about the tragi-comedy in the City Hall some other
time. First I have to prepare you for dreadful news. Set your teeth, Miss
Eva, and listen--you are going to lose me."

"I, you!" she laughed. Yet she was somewhat taken aback, and a dark red
came and went on her face.

"Yes, you are going to lose me," Frederick repeated. "I just sent a
telegram to Peter Schmidt in Meriden, and to-morrow morning at the latest
I shall leave you. I shall leave New York, go to the country, and turn
farmer."

"Oh, I really am sorry if you are going away," said Miss Burns, turning
serious, though without the least trace of sentimentality in her voice.

"Why should you be sorry?" Frederick cried gaily. "You will come out to
see me. The man you have until now known me to be has been nothing but a
dish-rag. Perhaps, when you come to visit me in the country, you will
discover that I am good for something after all. I really think I see
land in the distance now. I feel I still have sound bones in my body.
To take an illustration from chemistry. A salt solution vigorously
stirred by the spoon of God Almighty begins to crystallise. Something in
me is struggling to crystallise. Who knows whether, when the clouds that
surround and penetrate the solution precipitate, the result of all the
storms in the glass will not be a new, solid piece of architecture.
Perhaps the evolution of a Teuton does not stop at the age of thirty.
In that case the crisis may come just before the attainment of settled
manhood, the crisis which, to all appearances, I have just safely passed
through, and which, in any circumstances, I should have had to pass
through."

Frederick now gave a brief account of the audience in the City Hall, the
comic clash of two worlds in Garry's and Lilienfeld's speeches, which he
called _tant de bruit pour une omelette_.

"The Mayor's decision," he said, "in opening up to Ingigerd the career
for which she was so anxious, has opened up to me the way to a new life,
a life all my own. It was almost like a physical sensation to realise
that the Mayor's verdict decided my case, too."

He described Garry and told how, despite the opposition in their views,
the descendant of Cromwell's followers, whom Charles I persecuted and
executed, had impressed him and made him think. Undoubtedly his harsh,
severe dealings had been dictated by purely humanitarian sentiment for
Ingigerd's welfare, because of the frailty of her body and still more the
frailty of her soul, all in accordance with the narrow-minded principles
of a traditional belief, of which he was a credulous follower. As for
Lilienfeld, did not victory in the struggle to possess Ingigerd body and
soul mean money to him?

"Garry may really have been a hypocrite, yet wasn't Lilienfeld a
hypocrite, too, when he spoke openly of Ingigerd Hahlström's honour and
chastity? I looked up in alarm, and I saw a grin glide like a malicious
shadow over the rows of reporters. Doesn't falsehood blossom everywhere?
Doesn't hypocrisy flourish equally on each side of every contest? Isn't
it a matter generally taken for granted?"

Frederick, as always, was feeling very comfortable in Miss Burns's
company. Her presence always gave him, spiritually speaking, a sense of
neatness and order. A man could tell her everything, and her replies
straightened things out, instead of muddling them, steadied things and
gave them a mooring, instead of tossing them about tempestuously. But he
was not so well satisfied by her manner as usually, she not seeming
sufficiently pleased with his release. He did not know whether he should
attribute this to lack of sympathy or to secret doubts.

"I came to you, Miss Burns, because I do not know anybody to whom I would
rather speak of this new phase of my life. Tell me frankly, was I right
in doing what I did, and do you understand how a man feels when he is no
longer in the chains of a senseless passion?"

"Perhaps I do," said Miss Burns, "but"--

"But what?"

Miss Burns did not reply.

"What you mean is, you cannot be certain of the convalescence of a man
like myself. But I assure you, I will never sit in an audience watching
that girl publicly expose her body. Still less likely am I to follow her
to the four corners of the globe, through all the music-halls in the
world. I am rid of her! I am free! I will prove to you that I am."

"If you were to prove it to yourself, it might be of some value to you,"
said Miss Burns.

But he much preferred to prove it to her.

"Perhaps you think it is a whim in me or a piece of foolishness. Yet, the
way I am constituted, it is practically impossible for me to do anything
for my sake alone. Your sympathy would act as a stimulus to keep me to my
resolution." He drew from his pocket a letter from Peter Schmidt, saying
that near Meriden there was a frame house that would be suitable for
Frederick. Evidently his plan to retire to rural solitude was by no means
a recent one. "When I come to myself in the quiet of the country, and I
have reason to hope I will come to myself, you will hear from me. From
time to time the world learns of a man of about thirty who suddenly
disappears, leaving his family, his wife and his children in ignorance of
his whereabouts. Sometimes he is a statesman, sometimes a young professor
in a university, sometimes a mayor in good standing with all the citizens
of his town, sometimes a rich business man enjoying the respect of the
community. He leaves most unceremoniously, without concerning himself for
the affairs of importance, even of extreme importance, that he may have
to attend to the next day, perhaps the very next hour. He obeys the iron
impulse to throw off the entire world, his next of kin, his dearest
friends, and be alone with himself, so alone that he passes into oblivion
and may even count as dead. It is a similar state, though perhaps not so
pathologic in its character, a state conditioned rather by strokes of
fortune, that has uprooted me. Don't forget, all social connections
signify an immense consumption of nerve force and attach a person to his
surroundings by a thousand threads and fibres. Ingigerd Hahlström is not
the only one that is enmeshed and throttled in a spider's web. Every now
and then all of us have to pant for air and tear away wrappings. Then the
moment comes when we no longer do the thing that has been well
considered, the thing that convention has established, but the very thing
that has not been considered, that takes heed of nothing, the purely
instinctive thing. Call it what you will, fermentation, folly, passion,
shipwreck, storm. Whatever it may be, the fact is, all at once a man
again feels the desire for life expanding his lungs."

Frederick now drew from his pocket the photographs of his three children,
which his father and mother had sent along with their letters. In their
great happiness that he had escaped drowning and was safe and sound, his
parents had completely forgotten their solicitude for him.

Miss Burns took a friendly interest in the pictures and found a word
of praise for each child. There was some discussion, pedagogic and
non-pedagogic, of the characteristics of the little people. Frederick
again spoke of his wife, this time without any critical reflections,
dwelling only on her good and lovely and excellent qualities, really
native to her.

The meal was over. Frederick had eaten heartily of the vegetarian dishes.
He rose, shook hands warmly with Miss Burns, and thanked her for having
listened so patiently. He left hastily, and jumped into a cab in order to
keep his promise to Ingigerd Hahlström to come before luncheon was over
at Lilienfeld's house.



XXI


The Lilienfelds lived in a one-family house, an exact replica of the
other houses on the same block on 124th Street. Frederick found the
company drinking coffee in a reception-room on the first floor, richly
furnished with oriental rugs, expensive lamps, Japanese vases, and fine,
dark, highly polished walnut furniture. The shades were drawn, and the
electric bulbs of a gorgeous chandelier imparted a certain splendour to
the room. The air was heavy with the smoke of Lilienfeld's strong
imported cigars, at which the reporters were puffing away comfortably.

Ingigerd, smoking a cigarette, was reclining in an easy-chair surrounded
by the reporters. Her hair was hanging loose about her shoulders and
down her back. Altogether her appearance was not prepossessing. Since
she looked impossible dressed as a grown lady in long skirts, she
wore schoolgirl clothes and was tempted to furbish herself up like a
tight-rope dancer with ribbons, openwork stockings, and white shoes.

When Frederick von Kammacher entered the room, she blushed slightly, and
held her hand out to him indolently. Unfortunately, this hand had short,
ordinary fingers, probably the plebeian heritage from her mother, her
father having had long, beautiful hands. Frederick was at least a head
taller than anybody in the room and was distinguished from the other
gentlemen by his air of good breeding. He kissed Mrs. Lilienfeld's hand,
German fashion, and begged her pardon for having come so late.

The subject of discussion, of course, was the hearing in the City Hall.
Lilienfeld ran about, offering the reporters cigars and cordials, so
importunate in his hospitality as not to shrink from sticking long
Havanas into their coat pockets and cigarettes into their cases. There
was design in this. Every now and then he would take a reporter aside to
force upon him information regarding Ingigerd's past, her birth, her
rescue, her father, her European success, and the way in which her talent
had been discovered. It was a rather garish mixture of truth and fiction.
Lilienfeld knew that this story of her life would appear in the New York
newspapers that very same evening in connection with the report of the
audience in the City Hall. He had brewed the concoction according to his
own recipe from various details that he had heard, and he felt certain of
its effectiveness.

Ingigerd looked very tired. But she had received orders to be as lavish
as possible with her amiabilities so long as a single reporter remained
in the house. Frederick felt sorry for her. He saw that her severe
professional duties had begun.

Mrs. Lilienfeld was a calm, refined woman of nearly forty, with a look of
suffering on her face, yet extremely attractive. She was dressed with
tasteful simplicity. One got the impression that her husband worshipped
her blindly and was accustomed to act, or to refrain from acting,
according to a scarcely perceptible glance from her soft, grave eyes. For
all his noisiness the bull-necked man, coarse, brutal, sensual, was like
a timid child before her.

She devoted herself for a while to Frederick, who felt he had found grace
in the lady's eyes and that for some reason she wished to be helpful to
him in leading him away from the aberrations of his passion. Had he not
had a sense of security in the firmness of his decision, he might perhaps
have given more serious attention to her searching questions, which
showed that she had done some thinking about him.

Her method was far from flattering to Ingigerd. With an infinitely
disdainful smile, she called the girl, who was chattering nonsense to a
circle of flirtatious reporters and was overwhelmed with their tokens of
approval, "a mechanical doll with a light head of porcelain filled with
sawdust."

"A good plaything," she said, "a plaything for a man, an article of
merchandise, but nothing more. She may be worth money, but she is not
worth anything else. She is not worth more than any piece of emptiness,
any trifle, or knickknack."

Ingigerd, moved perhaps by a little wave of jealousy, came up and asked
Frederick, without suspecting the significance the question had in his
eyes, whether he had packed his things.

"Not yet. Why should I pack my things?"

"Mr. Lilienfeld," she said, "has made a contract for me for two evenings
a week in Boston. You must get ready and go to Boston with me day after
to-morrow."

"To the ends of the world," said Frederick lightly, "to the ends of the
world, dear lady."

She was contented, and gave Mrs. Lilienfeld a look of satisfaction.



XXII


Frederick was greatly relieved when the festivity at Lilienfeld's house
was at last a thing of the past. With Willy Snyders' help, he had
succeeded in getting together a few effects, and he spent part of the
afternoon arranging them. In the evening the artists, who had grown very
fond of their guest and were sorry to lose him, gave him a farewell
dinner at the round table.

For a long time Frederick had not felt so serene and at peace with
himself and the world as that afternoon. After he had got his baggage
ready, Willy Snyders, who had been waiting ever since Frederick's
arrival to show him his collection of Japanese art objects, invited him
to his room. It was a small room on the top floor, cluttered up with a
mass of antiques. He first placed before Frederick a number of Japanese
sword-guards, tsubas, as the Japanese call them, small elliptical pieces
of metal, about which a man's hand can easily reach. They are decorated
with figures in slight relief, partly of the same metal as the ground,
partly damascened, or inlaid with copper, gold, or silver.

"A tiny object, tremendous labour," Frederick observed, after more than
an hour spent in admiring the wonderful workmanship of pieces in the
Kamakura and Namban styles, pieces by members of the Goto family
extending over centuries, of the Jakushi family, and the Kinai family;
pieces of the Akasaka school and the Nara school; pieces from Fushimi in
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, from Gokinai and Kagonami;
glorious sword-guards in the maru-bori, maru-bori-zogan, and hikone-bori
styles; pieces of the Hamano family, and so on. Who can boast a prouder
aristocracy than Goto Mitsunori, who lived at the end of the nineteenth
century and could trace his descent back through a line of sixteen
ancestors, all great masters in the art of sword-decorating, a glorious
race of craftsmen, inheriting not only the life, but also the skill of
their fore-fathers.

And all the things portrayed on those small oval tsubas! The cloven
turnip of Daikoku, god of fortune. The god Sennin creating a man by his
breath. A shining full moon and flying geese. Wild geese flying over
reeds. The moon rising from between snow-clad mountains, an oval of iron,
gold and silver, no larger than a man's palm, yet suggesting the vast
reaches of a moonlit night.

Frederick and Willy both marvelled at the lapidary style of this metal
work, in which the artist with the finest understanding of his art
displayed a wealth of composition within the smallest space.

One of the tsubas represented a tea pavilion behind a hedge. In the
spacious landscape was a waterfall, sky and air, perfectly depicted by
holes in the iron, that is, by nothing. Others represented the hero
Hidesato vanquishing a monster on the bridge of Seta; the sage Lao Tsze
on his ox; Senno Kinko, a pious man, riding on his golden-eyed carp,
absorbed in a book; the god Idaten, pursuing an oni, or devil, who had
stolen Buddha's pearl; a bird prying open a Venus's shell with his bill;
a golden-eyed octopus or cuttlefish; the sage Kiko leaning from the
window of his house, reading a scroll by moonlight.

Willy, endlessly resourceful and allowing nothing to daunt him, had
ferreted this collection out of a restaurant in the Five Points district,
a restaurant of viler repute than even the neighbourhood it was in. A
Japanese had left the tsubas with the proprietor of the den as pledge of
the payment of his bill, but had disappeared without ever returning to
redeem his pledge. Scarcely a day passed that Willy did not visit a junk
shop on the Bowery, or in the Jewish quarter. Peering with his fearless,
fiery eyes, which always wore an expression of mingled astonishment and
indignation, he ventured into the worst sections of the city, even into
the obscurest opium hells of Chinatown. His confident manner and round
spectacles, he told Frederick, caused him to be mistaken for a detective;
which stood him in good stead in making his purchases.

In one shop in Chinatown, belonging to a fat Chinese usurer, Willy for
very little money came into possession of a quantity of Japanese prints.
These were the next things he showed Frederick. There were most of
Hiroshige's views of Lake Biwa; there were the thirty-six views of
Fujiyama by Hokusai. One of the most exquisite showed remnants of snow
left on the mountain and a brownish red sun setting in a cold sky with
fleecy clouds. There were Shunsho's and Shigemasa's illustrations of the
book, "Mirror of the Beauties of the Green Houses," Yedo, 1776, and
Shunsho's illustrations of "The Book of Sprouting Weeds." Frederick
called one of Hokusai's prints "the golden poem of summer." It was a
deep-blue heaven with Fujiyama to the left and golden grain beneath,
persons sitting on benches, heat, radiance, joy! One of Hiroshige's
prints he dubbed "the great poem of the moon." On wide, moist, melancholy
meadows, scant-leaved trees, like weeping willows, their branches
drooping in the mirror of an idly flowing stream, barges loaded with turf
passing by, a floating bridge propelled by Japanese raftsmen, the water
blue in the evening twilight, a great, pale moon, veiled by pale, bloody
tints, rising above the distant edge of the melancholy plain.

In addition to his tsubas and prints, Willy had a collection of so-called
netsuke, some in boxwood, some in ivory, small, dice-like carvings,
representing with remarkable animation all sorts of real and fantastic
scenes.

Among the finest of Willy's possessions was a Japanese figure carved in
wood not more than a foot high, a woman selling oysters. Each least
detail was most precisely rendered. It was the attempt of a more recent
Japanese master to portray feminine beauty. In this one rare instance he
had succeeded, having produced one of those precious objects adapted to
make thieves of their lovers.

Willy, who mingled in American sporting circles, had also found occasion
to collect a few Indian curiosities. He showed Frederick the feather
adornment of an Apache chief, a wampum belt, Indian knives and bows and
arrows. He had made the acquaintance of Buffalo Bill, the famous hunter,
and some Indian chief and cowboys in his troupe, men in whom natural
instincts are combined with a Barnum and Bailey business sense, and real
excellence with the actor's vanity. Willy's especial friend, whom he had
been very eager for Frederick to meet, was a well-known acrobat who had
jumped from the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River.

"Willy," said Frederick, "since you have so profitably employed your time
in America, you won't be going back to Europe empty-handed."

"The devil!" replied Willy. "What else is to be got out of this damned
country?"



XXIII


The next morning Frederick went down alone to the train. He had taken
final leave of his friends the night before, telling them expressly not
to let his departure interfere with their day's routine. After placing
his luggage in a wire basket hanging over one of the red plush seats in a
coach which was one of a train of six or seven similar coaches, long and
elegantly built, he returned to the platform. All of a sudden the whole
little colony of artists appeared, with the master-sculptor at their
head--_in corpore_, as college students say. Miss Burns, too, had come,
like the rest of them, carrying three of those purplish-red, long-stemmed
roses with deep green leaves which were not yet being grown in Europe.

"I feel like a prima donna," Frederick said, really touched, as he took
the roses from each.

The platform and the train were as quiet as a cemetery, as if there never
were arrivals or departures between friends. But here and there, the face
of a traveller, aroused by the "temperamental" chatter of the Germans,
peered from behind the window-panes of the train to look curiously upon
the little rose procession. Finally, without a signal, or a word from any
official, the train started to move, as if by chance.

Soon the group of artists in the station receded. There stood Bonifacius
Ritter, dignified and elegant, waving his handkerchief. There was
Lobkowitz, friendly and serious, Willy Snyders the good-hearted, Franck
the gypsy painter, and, last but not least, Miss Eva Burns. Frederick
felt that with this moment, an epoch of his life had come to a close. He
was conscious of what he owed these fellow-countrymen and kindred spirits
for their warmth and hospitality, and of what he lost in losing them.
Nevertheless, after the strange way of man, he was in a state of joyous
excitement because his future, in a real and in a metaphoric sense, had
been set in motion.

At first the train rolled for some time through a dark tunnel under the
city, then through an open cut between high walls of masonry, and finally
it burst into a wide, free landscape. So this was America's real face.
Only now, after the noises of the Witches' Sabbath, the turmoil of the
great invasion, had somewhat subsided, Frederick breathed the true breath
of the virgin country's soil.

Observing that all the passengers in the coach stuck their tickets in
their hat bands, Frederick did the same, and then turned his eyes on the
fields and hills clothed in their white winter garments. To the young
man, uprooted from his native soil, there was a happy, stimulating
mystery in this landscape, which in the light of the winter sun so
closely resembled his birthplace. The alien surroundings all spoke to him
of his home. He could have jumped from the car and taken the snow in his
hands, not only to look upon it, but to feel that it was the very same
snow which as a schoolboy he had rolled into balls for bombarding his
playmates. He felt as a spoiled child feels which is torn from its
mother's arms and thrown upon a heartless world of strangers and, after
a long period of anguish, unexpectedly meets a sister of his mother in
a dreary country far, far from home. He feels the blood-tie, he feels how
like he is to her and she to him, how surprisingly, how delightfully she
resembles his mother, feature by feature.

At last, it seemed to Frederick, the great Atlantic Ocean was really
behind him. Though he had landed in New York, he felt that until now he
had not planted his feet firmly on the ground. Great well-established
mother earth, the breadth and extent of her solidity, which he beheld
again after so long a separation, at last set bounds in his soul to the
fearful expanse and might of the ocean. Mother earth was a good and great
giantess who had cunningly snatched the lives of her children from the
giantess ocean and had put everything on a firm, everlasting basis with a
hedge of safety all around.

"Forget the tumbling waters, forget the ocean, strike root into the
soil," a voice within Frederick spoke; and while the train rolled
smoothly and faster and further inland, he had a sense of being on a
blissful flight.

Frederick was so lost in meditation that he started when someone
without saying a word took the ticket from his hatband. It was a
cultivated-looking man in a simple uniform, the conductor, who punched
the card, said not a word, moved not a muscle of his face, and travelled
from seat to seat, performing the same operation and always returning the
punched tickets to the men's hats, which they kept on their heads. Nobody
paid the least attention to him. Frederick smiled when he thought of
Germany, where every train was received with the clanging of a bell and
set in motion with three soundings of a gong, amid the general uproar
of the officials, who bellowed like a horde of Apaches; and where the
conductors demanded the tickets from the passengers with much rough,
awkward ceremony.

The whirring of the wheels made a pleasant accompaniment to his thoughts.
He was enjoying his flight, which signified anything but shame and
disgrace. In his complete absorption, he discovered himself picking
little threads from his clothes, like a spider's cobweb, and he observed
how with each minute he drew his breath more freely. Sometimes it seemed
to him that the wheels of the tremendous express train were not turning
swiftly enough on their axles, and that he himself ought to put his hands
to the wheels to hasten on the new health-giving impressions and place
them behind him like thin curtains, so that the partitions dividing him
from that dangerous, fatal magnet which he had left behind should grow
denser and denser.

In New Haven, where the train halted for a short time, a negro with
sandwiches and a boy with newspapers passed through the train. Frederick
bought one of the papers, and found the whole disaster of the _Roland_
warmed up over again in connection with the sensational reports of the
hearing in the City Hall. On that bright winter day his mood was too gay
and peaceful to suffer the appalling impressions of the sinking of the
vessel and its drowning mass of humanity to revive in his soul. To be
sure, he had had absolutely no right to escape, and he was still somewhat
ashamed that the regnant powers had preferred him to so many innocent
brothers and sisters. On that account, there had been a time when he
would have given back his life in a passion of embittered pity and
glowing indignation; for there was no sin great enough to justify that
horrible, brutal drowning on the seas and no merit great enough to
justify escape from it. But on this winter day, on his flight from New
York, his rescue filled him with nothing but sincere gratitude. Captain
von Kessel and the many others that had gone down with the _Roland_ were
dead and so were removed from all pain and suffering. Everything about
Frederick this day breathed an atmosphere of convalescence and
reconciliation.

All the way from New Haven to Meriden he regaled himself with the sketch
of Ingigerd's life that appeared in the papers. He could scarcely keep
from laughing. Lilienfeld displayed a positively poetical, exuberant
imagination. Though Ingigerd's father was of German parentage and her
mother a French Swiss, Ingigerd figured as the scion of a noble Swedish
family, and the body of a relative of hers was reported to be resting in
the Riddarholms-Kyrka in Stockholm. The impresario well knew that
Americans are fascinated by a single drop of royal blood.

"Poor little thing!" thought Frederick, as he folded up the newspaper.
Then, at the sudden realisation of what tremendous import the "poor
little thing" had until that moment been to him and others, he clapped
his hand to his brow and muttered, "That's over and done with, that's
over and done with," and swore several oaths at himself.



XXIV


Peter Schmidt was at the train to meet Frederick, who was the only
passenger getting off at Meriden. The little station was empty, but near
by was the hurry-scurry of the main street of this country town of about
twenty-five thousand inhabitants.

"Now," said Schmidt, "all's well. No more New York dissipation. We'll
sound different chords here in Meriden. My wife sends her regards. She
could not come to meet you because she had to look after some patients.
If you like, we might lunch together and afterwards drive out in a sleigh
to take a look at the little house I found for you in the country. If it
suits you, you can rent it at a very low figure. In the meantime you can
take a room at our hotel here, which the whole city is proud of."

"Oh," said Frederick, "I have a wild longing for solitude. I should
prefer to spend the very first night beneath my own roof far, far from
the madding crowd of Meriden."

"Very well," responded Schmidt, "the man that owns the house is a good
friend of mine, a druggist. His name is Lamping, a pleasant Dutchman.
He'll be satisfied with any arrangements we make; and if you decide
to take the house, everything can be settled with him in fifteen
minutes."

The two men went to the hotel, where they were served with a rather
tasteless meal in surroundings comfortable and luxurious far beyond
European notions. Schmidt left Frederick alone for a while and in a few
moments sent a bell-boy to announce that the sleigh was waiting outside.
To Frederick's astonishment he found his friend sitting alone in a
pretty, two-seated sleigh reining in a fiery chestnut.

"I congratulate you on this tidy little conveyance," he said.

Peter laughed and quickly dispelled Frederick's illusion, that the
immaculate little vehicle with the horse and harnessings were his own. He
had merely hired it without a driver, a frequent practice in America.

"In fact," he joked, "I shall be quite content if we get there without
being pitched out into the snow. I confess, I have never in my life
driven a horse."

"Ah," said Frederick with chuckling satisfaction, "it is not for nothing
that my father is a general. Let me drive."

Frederick's luggage was placed in the sleigh, he jumped in, caught up the
reins, the chestnut reared, and off they dashed, with a deafening jingle
of the sleigh-bells. Their way lay along the main street, a broad,
bustling thoroughfare.

"Is this the sort of horse they usually have here?" asked Frederick. "The
beast is positively running away. If we come out of this crowded street
without broken limbs, it will be God's doing, not mine."

"Let him have his way. Every day there are one or more runaways here.
What's the difference if it's our turn to-day?"

But Frederick reined the horse in so tightly, that he actually succeeded
in pulling him up just as the Boston-New York express thundered by on a
line of railroad tracks crossing the street not safeguarded by gates or
fence. Frederick wondered how it was that a multitude of children,
workmen, gentlemen in high hats, ladies in silk dresses, horses, dogs,
trucks, and carriages were not mangled to a pulp and dashed against the
walls of the houses lining the tracks. The horse plunged and reared and
shot forward over the rails behind the last coach, sending clods of ice
and snow flying in Frederick's and Peter's faces.

"The devil!" snorted Frederick. "Now for the first time I observe that
form of madness which is specifically American. If you fall under the
wheels, you fall under the wheels. If you want to take a drive, be your
own coachman. If you break your bones, you break your bones. If you break
your neck, you break your neck."

Farther along on the same highway Frederick for the first time saw an
electric street car, then still unknown in Europe. The brilliant sparking
at the meeting of the trolley and the overhead wire was to him a new,
stimulating phenomenon. The posts holding up the wire were all shapes,
thick and slender, bowed and slanting, so that the whole made a
promiscuous impression, though the coaches were of a pleasing shape and
glided along with great rapidity.

They had passed the more frequented and dangerous section of the city
without an accident and had reached the open country. The houses grew
lower and farther apart. Before the chestnut with his jingling bells lay
an endless stretch of unblocked roadway, with excellent tracks for the
sleigh worn into the snow. The valiant American could speed to his
heart's content.

"How strange!" thought Frederick. "Here I am riding in a sleigh and
driving a horse, things I have not done since I was a boy."

Stories of sports and incidents that he had not thought of for ten years
or more occurred to him. How his father's accounts of hunting expeditions
and sleighing mishaps had set them all laughing when the family was
cosily gathered together in one room on a winter evening.

During that brisk, refreshing drive Frederick's heart was
rejuvenated. The happiest years of his boyhood were as vivid to him as
yesterday--thrilling, romantic rides by night, when the same sound of
sleigh-bells scared the silence of sleeping forests and filled the boy's
soul with pictures of midnight attacks, romantic murders, and strange
devilish phantoms. In the dazzling brilliance of the snowy fields,
breathing in the pure, bracing air, mere existence became unspeakable
bliss. Sitting there in that dainty sleigh Frederick was inclined to look
on life as a pleasure drive.

Suddenly he turned pale and had to hand the reins over to Peter Schmidt.
In the jingling of the sleigh-bells his ear caught something like the
insistent hammering ring of electric bells. It was an illusion of his
hearing, but it filled him with rising horror, and a shiver went through
his whole body. By the time Peter Schmidt, who instantly observed the
change in his friend, had brought the horse to a stop, Frederick had
already mastered his nervous attack. He did not admit it was the sinking
of the _Roland_ that had unexpectedly announced its presence again. He
merely said that the noise of the bells had irritated his nerves beyond
endurance. Fortunately, the spotless expanse of Lake Hanover was already
close by and the little house on the other shore already visible. So the
two men descended from the sleigh. Peter Schmidt, in silence, removed the
bells from the harness and hitched the horse to the branch of a bare
tree. They crossed the frozen lake on foot, making for the solitary house
under its heavy covering of snow.

Peter ascended the front door steps, which resembled great bolsters of
snow, and opened the door.

"To judge by the way it looks now, the house is scarcely habitable in
winter."

"Oh, yes it is," Frederick declared.

Having been built for summer use only, it had no cellar. On the ground
floor there was a little kitchen and two other rooms; in the attic a
bedroom as large as the two down-stairs rooms together. In the attic room
Frederick immediately decided to build his nest for an indeterminate
length of time. He scouted Peter's considerations in regard to household
service.

"I feel," he declared, "as if this house had been waiting for me, and I
for the house."



XXV


The very next day he took up his abode in his lonely refuge on Lake
Hanover, which he alternately dubbed his Diogenes tub, his Uncle Tom's
Cabin, and his retort. It was no Diogenes tub, because the two friends
brought wood and anthracite coal for a little American stove in the
bedroom, which gave quite a good deal of heat and made a cosey appearance
with the glow of the burning coal visible; and because the kitchen and
pantry contained everything that is necessary for life, and a little
more. Frederick refused to have anybody share his quarters with him or
help with the housework. As he said, he wanted to settle his accounts and
take his trial balance, and the presence of another person might be
disturbing to that process.

After Peter Schmidt disappeared in the distance and the sound of the
sleigh-bells had died away and Frederick felt he was quite alone in that
wide American landscape wrapped in the night's darkness, it was a supreme
moment for him. He returned into the house, closed the door and listened.
He heard the crackling of the wood in the small kitchen stove. Taking the
candle that had been left standing on one of the lower steps in the hall,
he went up-stairs, where the warmth and the dusky glow of his little
American stove rejoiced him. He lit a lamp, and after arranging his
toilet articles on an unusually long, bare dresser, he settled himself
beside the lamp in a comfortable bamboo chair. He was filled with a
mysterious sense of rich, deep delight.

He was alone. Outside, lay the clear, silent winter's night, the same
that he had known in the home of his childhood. The things he had
hitherto experienced were no more, or as if they never had been. His
home, his parents, his wife, his children, the girl that had drawn him
across the ocean, everything that had happened to him on his trip were
nothing more in his soul than magic lantern pictures.

"Is life," Frederick asked himself, "meant to be nothing more than
material for dreams? So much is certain, my present condition is the sort
that leaves an everlasting effect. We should not be unsociable, but we
have still less right to leave this state uncultivated, which is the
basic state of man's personality, in which he is most natural and
undisturbed and stands face to face with the mystery of life as though it
were a dream."

During the past months, he had led a life full of incidents of the
extremest contrasts. He had been alarmed, excited, menaced. His own
anguish had been submerged in the anguish of others, and their pangs had
only increased his own. From the ashes of a dead love, the flames of
another passionate illusion had flared up. Frederick had been driven,
pursued, lured on, led about in the world, without a will of his own,
like a puppy on a strap--without a will of his own and with his senses
departed. Now at last his senses had returned. And the senses return when
the life that has been lived in an unconscious state becomes material for
dreams to the mind in a conscious state.

Frederick took a sheet of paper, dipped a new American pen in a new
inkwell of fresh ink, and wrote: "Life: Material for Dreams."

He rose and again went about arranging his Robinson Crusoe household to
suit his fancy. He piled up books that he had got in New York, little
Reclams and other volumes, among them a copy of Schleiermacher's
translation of Plato, which he had borrowed from Peter Schmidt. In front
of an old Dutch sofa covered in leather, which Lamping, the druggist,
had brought over from Leyden, his birthplace, stood a large, round
table. Frederick covered the table with a green cloth and arranged the
long-stemmed roses that the artists had given him in plain glass vases,
placing Miss Burns's roses by themselves. Before Peter Schmidt had left,
he and Frederick had taken a cup of coffee together. Frederick now washed
and cleared away the utensils, loaded a revolver that Schmidt had lent
him, and placed it beside the inkstand on his writing table. Next he took
from his trunk a more peaceable instrument, a Zeiss microscope, examined
all its parts, and set it up. It was the microscope that he had selected
years ago in Jena for his friend, Peter, when he was leaving for America.
Here was a remarkable meeting with the old instrument.

There were more things that Frederick had to do. He had to take apart a
seaman's clock, put it together again and hang it on the wall. It was an
antique that he had come across that very day and secured at a low price
along with some furniture. To his joy the old grandfather began to tick
away at a proper, dignified pace on the wall at the foot of the bed.
There it was to remain in its brown case about three feet long until,
as Frederick inwardly vowed, he would return it to its home in Europe,
Schleswig-Holstein, for which it was pining. When Frederick lay on his
bed, he could see the yellow brass pendulum gleam back and forth behind
a small glass door. The dial was a curiosity. It was painted in garish
colors in a primitive style and represented a chubby-cheeked sun wearing
the Island of Heligoland as a crown. Below the face, little metal
sailing vessels connected with the clockwork swayed back and forth in
the same sober rhythm as the pendulum. This was designed to make the
tempest-tossed seafarer doubly sensible of the comforts of a solid
hearth.

"When was it," Frederick pondered, "that I listened to Mr. Garry's
cutting remarks, Mr. Samuelson's unsuccessful attack, and Lilienfeld's
wild sally against Puritan intolerance--a low, hypocritical battle
ostensibly fought for the salvation of a soul; in reality nothing more
than the clapperclawing of crows over a helpless hare. When was it? It
must have been years ago. But no, it was only last night that Ingigerd
appeared in public for the first time. So it cannot have been longer ago
than day before yesterday."

He had already received her first letter. He had laughed over it
heartily, and yet it had moved him. She was furious and complained
bitterly of his breach of faith. In one and the same breath, she said she
had been dreadfully deceived in him and had seen through him the very
moment she laid eyes on him when he came up to speak to her after her
dance in Berlin. In one sentence she tore his character to shreds, in the
next sentence urged him to return.

"I celebrated a tremendous triumph to-day. The audience lost their heads.
After the performance Lord ---- came up to congratulate me. He is a
handsome young Englishman, who is living over here because he had a
falling out with his father. But when the old man dies, he will inherit
the title of duke and millions."

"This story," Frederick thought, "is either a true story or a concoction.
If a concoction, then I have reason to assume that the little girl wants
to make me jealous and so has not lost interest in me. But the story need
not be an invention, either wholly or in part. For if an invention, it
will undoubtedly become a fact within three or four days, or, at the
utmost, within a week. Some rich rascal will come along and buy her."

Frederick shrugged his shoulders. He no longer felt the slightest impulse
to be the girl's protector, knight and saviour, or the faintest
solicitude for her probable fate.

The next morning he awoke in a shiver, though the stove had retained some
heat and the sun was shining into the room brightly. He took his gold
watch from his pocket--a possession that had escaped drowning with
him--and ascertained that his pulse was beating more than a hundred times
a minute, which is too much for a healthy man. But he paid no attention
to his condition, got up, washed all over in cold water, dressed, and
prepared his breakfast, by no means feeling like an invalid. Nevertheless
he was aware he ought to be cautious, knowing that now, when the tension
and excitement had relaxed, his body might have to confess to its
consumption of capital and file a petition in bankruptcy. Sometimes,
without a warning to one's strength, the body overcomes the severest
hardships as if the thing were mere child's play; and all goes well so
long as the stimulated body is in motion. It works on its surplus energy,
and as soon as the will and the tension relax, it collapses.



XXVI


Shortly before ten o'clock Frederick was in his friend's consultation
room. The walk to Meriden on the brisk winter day had done him good.

"How did you sleep?" asked Schmidt. "You know, you superstitious people
maintain that what you dream the first night in a strange place will come
true."

"I hope not," said Frederick. "My first night was rather insignificant,
and things passed helter-skelter through my brain."

He said nothing of a dream he had had, in which he heard the ringing of
the electric bells on the _Roland_. Though he fought against the
impression, it obstinately transported him back to those horrid moments
of the shipwreck. Little by little this illusion of his hearing had
become Frederick's cross. Sometimes he feared it might be a species of
aura, which he, as a physician, knew not infrequently announces an attack
of severe illness.

The consultation rooms of the two physicians were separated by the
waiting-room, which they used in common. Mrs. Schmidt, whom Frederick had
met the day before, came over and, greeting him parenthetically, asked
her husband to help her with the examination of one of her patients, a
woman of about twenty-seven, who shortly before had married a workman
holding a good position in one of the Meriden factories. The woman
complained of an upset stomach. Mrs. Schmidt suspected cancer of the
stomach.

Both Schmidt and his wife asked Frederick to join them in the
examination. They found the patient smiling as she lay stretched on the
table. Her smile changed to an expression of astonishment when she saw
the two gentlemen. Mrs. Schmidt introduced Frederick as a famous German
physician.

"I just spoiled my stomach a little," the woman, who was pretty and well
dressed, said in excuse for the trouble she was giving. "My husband will
laugh at me and scold me if he hears I ran to a doctor."

Frederick and Peter confirmed Mrs. Schmidt's diagnosis, and Mrs. Schmidt
told the candidate for the grave, who was so gay and unsuspecting, that
she might have to undergo a slight operation. She inquired kindly for her
husband and her child, who had come into the world three months before
with her help, and the woman gave ready answers in the best of spirits.
Peter took it upon himself to acquaint her husband the very same day with
her condition.

During the next week, Peter drew his friend more and more into his
practice. Frederick found a certain grim attraction in it. It was a
strange treadmill, set in a world of everlasting suffering and dying,
in a subterranean stratum of life, having nothing in common with that
deceptive existence of a comparatively happy superficiality which he had
been able to lead in New York. The Schmidts were doing hard service
requiring the utmost self-renunciation. They received no greater
compensation than enabled them to obtain sufficient food, clothing and
shelter to be able to continue in that service. Though Peter Schmidt was
not a Socialist, his practice was almost exclusively confined to the
working class. Most of the two doctors' clients were poor immigrants
with large families, who toiled laboriously in the Britannia-metal
factories to keep the wolf from the door. Their fees were extremely low,
and in half the cases Peter, true to his views of life, did not collect
them.

The section of the city in which their office was located was dismal
beyond parallel. A factory with its offices took up a whole block. Though
Frederick was well acquainted with the corrosive sublimate and carbolic
acid smell of consultation rooms, he nevertheless had difficulty in
concealing the depressing effect the Schmidts' home had upon him. It was
dark and gloomy, and the street noises came in directly from the windows.
In Germany, a city of thirty thousand inhabitants is dead. This American
city of twenty-five thousand inhabitants raced and rushed, rang bells,
rattled and clattered and raved like mad. Nobody had a moment's time.
Everybody hurried past everybody else. No question of joy in life here.
If a man lived in Meriden, he lived there to work. If a man worked in
Meriden, he worked for the sake of the dollars that had the power finally
to free him from that environment and introduce him to a period of
enjoyment. Most of the people, especially the German and Polish workmen
and tradesmen, saw in the life they were compelled to lead a temporary,
provisional existence, a condition the bitterness of which was
intensified when return to the home country was cut off by sins committed
in the past or by expulsion and banishment. From psychologic interest,
Frederick had entered into conversation with patients in the waiting-room
and had already learned of sad cases of men having been ejected from
their country and left without a home.

Mrs. Schmidt was a Swiss. She had a broad German head, straight, finely
chiselled nose, and a figure like the figures of the women of Basel that
Holbein painted.

"She is much too good for you," Frederick teased Peter. "She ought to be
the wife of a Dürer, or still better, the wife of the wealthy Ratsherr
Willibald Pirkheimer of Nuremberg. She was born to preside over a
comfortable patrician household, with closets and chests full of linen
and heavy silk and brocade garments. She should go to sleep every night
on a bed three yards high covered with silk spreads. She should have
twice as many hats and fur garments as the town council allows the
wealthy. Instead of that, poor soul, she studied medicine, and you let
her run around to every Tom, Dick, and Harry with her little bag of ill
omen."

As a matter of fact, the ugliness of her surroundings and the
strenuousness of her occupation, which opened up no vista of hope and
usually robbed her of four nights' sleep in a week, had made of Mrs.
Schmidt an embittered person suffering from homesickness. What aggravated
matters was that she was dominated by an obstinate sense of duty and that
dogged insistence on saving characteristic of the Swiss. Since her
parents' letters strengthened her in her notions, she was not to be
shaken in her resolve not to return home until after a certain sum had
been laid aside, and of this there was no immediate prospect. Whenever
Peter, saddened to see his wife withering away from overwork and
nostalgia, proposed that they return to Europe, she would become very
hard, cutting and bitter. But when she had a free hour in which to talk
to Frederick and her husband of the Swiss mountains and mountain climbs,
she revived visibly. There, in the musty office, or in the physicians'
private rooms, arose the glorious vision of Sentis, in the face of which
Mrs. Schmidt had been rocked in her cradle. The conversation, of course,
turned on Scheffel's "Ekkehard," the chamois reserve, Lake Constance, and
St. Gall. They recalled memories of a Rigi tour, a tour up from Lake
Lucerne at Fluelen to Göschenen, from Göschenen to Andermatt, from
Andermatt up over the Rhone glacier and down to the wonderful Grimsel
Hospice, with its clear icy-cold lake, which lies in a rocky funnel, like
the entrance to the kingdom of shades. One looks about to see if Charon's
raft is not waiting. Mrs. Schmidt said she would rather be the dirtiest
shepherdess on Sentis than a physician in Meriden.

"Very well," cried Peter, "we will cross the ocean again and settle in
Berne or Zürich." As always when Peter Schmidt made this proposition,
Mrs. Schmidt's face took on an expression of hard, hostile determination.
It did not escape Frederick's notice.

Everything Mrs. Schmidt said testified to her humanity and her clear,
serious, sympathetic insight. What a pity she had forgotten how to laugh!
What a pity she was not Ratsherr Willibald Pirkheimer's stately,
respected wife, surrounded by his healthy children! Her broad shoulders
and hips, her long, thick hair required the soft curves of a body
blooming in happiness, sunlight and wealth. As it was, her face, though
she was only twenty-seven years old, was fearfully worn and anxious, and
her shabby clothes hung carelessly on her angular figure. Nevertheless,
Frederick perceived the beauty even in her neglected appearance.

Naturally Peter Schmidt, the blond Friesian, also suffered under these
conditions, but not to such an extent as to be shaken in his peculiar,
deep-seated idealism. It was his idealism, never for an instant forsaking
him, that raised him above all momentary hardships. This very fact, it
seemed to Frederick, only added to his wife's vexation. From certain
remarks of hers, he could tell that it would have been more pleasing to
her had Peter cared more for his own advancement and less for the
advancement of humanity at large. No man possessed firmer belief than he
in the triumph of good, and no man rejected religious beliefs with
greater horror. He was one of those who disavow the Garden of Eden and
declare the next world to be a myth, yet are firmly convinced that the
earth may be developed and will develop into a paradise and that man
may be developed and will develop into the divinity of that paradise.
Frederick, too, had an inclination for Utopias, and his friend's
notions had a revivifying effect upon him. When accompanying him on
his professional visits, or skating on the little Lake of Hanover, or
conversing with him in his Diogenes tub, hope came back to him; but when
his friend left, hope forsook him.

But Peter Schmidt was no vain Utopist. He had a solid basis for his
ideals, and endeavoured to realise them in practice. Frederick knew no
one so well versed in the natural sciences, political economy, and
medicine; and since he also had very accurate knowledge of the geography
and history of the important countries, his survey of political
conditions was enviably broad. When twenty years old, he had upheld the
pan-Germanic ideal. Now, at thirty, he wrote anonymous editorials, which
received much attention, advocating the coalition of America, Germany and
England, while strongly objecting to the Russian policy in Germany that
originated with Bismarck. The theme that the friends chiefly discussed in
those days may be summed up in the names of Marx and Darwin, or either
of them. In Peter Schmidt a sort of adjustment, or rather fusing, of the
fundamental tendencies of those two great personalities was in process,
though the Christ-Marxian principle of the protection of the weaker gave
way to the natural principle of the protection of the stronger; and this
mirrors the result of the profoundest revolution that has ever taken
place in the history of mankind.

"If, with that tough Friesian skull of yours," Frederick once said to
him, "you succeed for twenty years in propagating the idea of artificial
selection as applied to man, and if the idea of race hygiene, of a
teleologic improvement of human types is sufficiently spread, it will
undoubtedly be fruitful of practical results some day. That is, a fresh,
healthy, vigorous stream of blood will flow through our veins and tend
more and more to counteract the increasing marasmus that is enfeebling
the race."



XXVII


The first week Frederick regularly took his midday meal with the two
physicians in a boarding-house. Towards dusk he always returned to his
Diogenes tub, usually on foot.

The next week he did not visit his friends so often, why, he himself did
not know. He slept badly. Again and again the electric bells haunted his
dreams. Even in his waking hours, he easily took fright, a condition to
which in former times he had been a perfect stranger. If a sleigh with
bells actually did pass the house, he was sometimes so alarmed that he
trembled. That he should hear his own breathing in the silence of his
room did not surprise him; but it perturbed him strangely to listen to
it. Sometimes he had chills. As a physician he kept a clinical
thermometer, and on several occasions ascertained that he had some
temperature. These circumstances disquieted him. He seemed to be living
in an atmosphere producing mild shocks and alarms, which he tried in vain
to dispel. Once, when he was starting off to lunch with Peter Schmidt,
a disinclination to leave his room and lack of appetite kept him back.
Another time it was complete exhaustion that turned him homeward again
when he was half way on the road to Meriden. He could scarcely drag
himself back to the house. His friends never learned anything of these
secret experiences of his. It did not seem odd to them if now and then he
should prefer to remain alone under his own roof.

Over him came creeping a strange life, growing ever stranger. The world,
the sky, the landscape, the country, everything that fell within his
vision, even the human beings he met changed. They moved away. Their
affairs took on a remote, alien character. Indeed, his own affairs
underwent a change. They had been taken from him. Somebody had led them
aside for a time. Later, perhaps, he would find them again, provided the
goal of his altered condition remained the same as his former goal.

At length Peter Schmidt became observant of his friend's retired
existence. When he expressed his solicitude, Frederick repulsed him
somewhat brusquely. Even his friend had grown remote. He betrayed nothing
of that oppressive atmosphere of alarm in which he was enclosed.
Curiously, there was a secret fascination in it, which he was loath to
share with any one and so have it disturbed.

On a starless, pitch-black night, he was sitting, as usual, in his lonely
house at his desk beside his lamp, when it seemed to him that someone was
bending over his shoulder. He was holding his pen in his hand over a pile
of disordered manuscript pages, absorbed in profound thought. He started
and said:

"Rasmussen, where do you come from?" He turned and actually saw Rasmussen
sitting reading at the foot of his bed wearing the Lloyd cap in which he
had come from his trip around the world.

"How tremendously interesting!" he thought, and carefully studied the
apparition from head to foot. He could see where the stuff of his jacket
and the lining joined. He could distinguish the buttons on his waistcoat,
and noted that the last one was off. Rasmussen was holding a clinical
thermometer in his hand with the manner and attitude of a nurse who is
passing unoccupied time at the patient's bed reading.

Frederick noticed that solitude heightens the visionary character of
existence. Without a companion, a man is always condemned to intercourse
with spirits. In his hermitage Frederick had merely to think of someone
to see him in person, talking and acting as in life. This inflammability
of his imagination did not alarm him. He had given George Rasmussen's
apparition cool, careful observation. Nevertheless he was aware that his
spiritual life had entered a new phase.

Before going to bed he went down-stairs to lock up the house. To his
great astonishment, as he opened the door of one of the rooms to close
the shutters, he saw by the light of his candle another phantom as
distinct as the first. He congratulated himself upon no longer having to
depend upon mere hearsay in regard to this psycho-pathologic phenomenon.
At the table four men were sitting playing cards. One of them was looking
on. The men had rather coarse red faces, were smoking cigarettes and
drinking beer. They seemed to be business men. Suddenly Frederick clapped
his hand to his forehead. From the brand and the bottle, he recognised
the beer that had been served on the _Roland_, and these men were those
eternal drinkers and card players who had been in everybody's mouth on
the _Roland_. Shaking his head over the remarkable fact that they should
be sitting in his own house, he returned up-stairs to his warm room.

The daytime, in which he did a great deal of out-of-door work, even
though by himself, had a wholesome effect upon him and brought him back
to reality. On the whole, his opinion of his own condition remained
sound. Nevertheless, as the sickness came creeping over him stealthily,
he failed to notice it. It seemed natural to him that he should reckon
with the apparition of Rasmussan sitting at the foot of his bed and
the four men playing skat in one of his down-stairs rooms as with
realities. In the instinct to counteract the physical crisis, which in a
dull way he felt was approaching, he resorted to exercise. But even while
skating on the lake, which he himself had swept clean of snow, dreams, he
found, gradually threw their veil over him, and he associated with men
and things that were not of the lake or of its snowy, solitary banks.

Many Indian legends are connected with the lake and the little stream,
the Luinnipiac, which empties into it. One day Frederick skated miles up
the stream to follow it to its source. On the way he was accompanied
by a hovering shadow, the corporeality of which he never for a moment
doubted. It resembled the stoker Zickelmann who had died on the _Roland_,
not the Zickelmann that he had seen lying stretched out a corpse in the
stoke-hole, but the Zickelmann he had seen in his dream.

The shade of the stoker told him that five engine-men, thirty-six
stokers, and thirty-eight coal-passers had sunk with the _Roland_, a
number far greater than Frederick had thought.

"The harbour where you landed in your dreams," he told Frederick, "was
the Atlantis, a submerged continent. The Azores, the Madeira Islands, and
the Canary Islands are the remnants of that continent."

When Frederick found himself leaning over a hole such as foxes make,
seriously hunting for a way to the Toilers of the Light, he came to his
senses and laughed at himself.

From day to day, aye, from hour to hour, the creations of his disordered
brain assumed more and more fantastic forms. Rasmussen was always sitting
on his bed, the four passengers of the _Roland_ were always playing skat
in the lower room, and the sick man went about his house conversing in
whispers with all sorts of invisible men and things, unconscious for
hours at a time of where he was. Sometimes he thought he was in the house
in which he lived when a practising physician, at other times, in the
home of his parents. As a rule, he was on the deck, or in the saloons of
the _Roland_, crossing the ocean to America.

"Why," he said to himself, shaking his head, "after all, the _Roland_ did
not sink."

After midnight he would get up from bed and take the wrapping from
a mirror hanging on the wall, which he had covered up because he was
not fond of mirrors. He would hold the candle close to the glass and
frighten himself by making grimaces, which distorted his features
beyond recognition. Then he would talk to himself, asking questions and
listening to answers, and hearing questions and giving answers. Some of
this was utterly irrational, some perfectly rational. It showed that he
had investigated one of the obscurest, most awful psychic problems, the
sickness of men who are haunted by their doubles. He jotted down a note:

"The mirror has made man out of the animal. Without the mirror, no I and
no you. Without an I and a you, no thought. All fundamental concepts are
twins, beautiful and ugly, good and evil, hard and soft, sorrow and joy,
hate and love, cowardice and courage, jest and earnest, and so on."

The image in the mirror said to Frederick:

"You have divided yourself into you and me before you could distinguish
the separate characteristics of your being, which acts only as a whole.
That is, you divided yourself before you could divide yourself. Until
you saw yourself in a mirror, you saw nothing of the world."

"It is good to be alone with my image in the mirror," thought Frederick.
"I don't need all those distressing concave and convex mirrors which
other people are. This condition in which I am is the original condition,
and in the original condition one escapes the distortion to which other
people's words and glances subject one. The best thing is to be silent or
to speak with oneself, that is, with oneself in the mirror."

Frederick kept this up until one evening, when he was returning from a
walk in the neighbourhood, he opened the door of his room and saw himself
sitting at his desk. He stood still and rubbed his eyes, but the man
continued to sit there, though Frederick tried to drive him away with a
sharp look as a ray of light dispels a cloud of fog. He was filled with
horror, and at the same time a wave of hate swept over him.

"You or I!" he cried, quickly grasping his revolver and holding it to the
face of his double. Hate confronted hate. It was not twin love and hate,
each confronting the other.

The mirror had been an illusion.



XXVIII


Peter Schmidt had a serious operation to perform for a fibroid tumour.
Knowing that Frederick had witnessed Kocher perform the same operation in
Berne and had repeatedly been successful with it himself, he called upon
him for help. The patient was a native Yankee farmer, forty-five years of
age. His son, a lad of nineteen, drove out in a sleigh to fetch
Frederick.

At the appointed time Frederick entered the office, very pale, but
outwardly calm. Nobody suspected what a tremendous amount of will power
he had to summon to keep his self-control. Like a boy saying his A B C's,
he kept repeating to himself:

"I am Frederick von Kammacher. This is Peter Schmidt. This is his wife,
and this is the patient."

When he looked about the room, he saw other persons, the shades of those
he had met within the last few days and on his trip across the ocean. But
he pulled himself together and swore to himself--even in the moment of
greatest danger he had not prayed--and saw that the unbidden guests in
the room were also swearing.

The farmer was sitting in the waiting-room. The physicians consulted with
one another, and Peter Schmidt and his wife urged Frederick to do the
operating. His head was a-whirl. He was hot, he trembled, but his friends
detected nothing. He asked for a large glass of wine and went about his
preparations without speaking. When Mrs. Schmidt brought the wine, he
drank it down in one gulp.

Mrs. Schmidt led the old farmer in. They had agreed that she was to do
the washing and administer the anæsthetic. She adjusted him on the
operating table, bared his body, and washed it thoroughly. Then Peter
Schmidt shaved the hair away from his armpit. The physicians exchanged
only brief words and signs. It was a matter of life and death. Success
hung by a thread.

The torpor and composure of a somnambulist had come upon Frederick, who
with his shirt sleeves rolled up was ceaselessly washing his arms and
hands and brushing his finger nails, all at the bidding of a will not his
own. He was acting in a state of will-lessness, of auto-suggestion. Yet
it was with perfect lucidity and due deliberation that he selected the
necessary instruments from the doctor's closet.

The anæsthetic was taking effect. Peter handed the instruments to
Frederick, who once again carefully and coolly examined the morbid spot,
found that the tumour might already have progressed too far, but
nevertheless, with a firm, sure touch, cut into the mass of living flesh.
He kept cursing at the insufficient light. The room was on the ground
floor with the windows giving directly upon the main street with its
heavy traffic. Contrary to expectation, the tumour lay deep, extending
between the large nerve bundles and blood vessels in the inner portion of
the brachial plexus. It had to be removed with a scalpel, a very ticklish
operation because of the proximity to the thin-walled great vein, which
at the least incision sucks in air and produces instant death. But
everything went well. The large hollow wound was stuffed with antiseptic
gauze, and at the end of three-quarters of an hour the farmer, with the
help of his son, was carried unconscious into a hospital room on the
other side of the hall and laid in bed.

Immediately after the operation, Frederick said he would have to
telegraph to Miss Burns, who intended to visit him the next day, telling
her not to come. But the words were scarcely out of his mouth, when a boy
brought a cable message from Europe for him. He opened it, said not a
word, and asked the farmer's son to drive him straight back home. He
shook hands with his friends and took leave without referring to the
contents of the message.

The drive in the sleigh beside the farmer's son through the snowy
landscape was very different from the drive he had taken with Peter
on his arrival two weeks before. This time he himself was not driving;
what was worse was the absence of the earlier feeling that he had
regained mastery over himself and renewed joy in life. He feared his last
moment had come. The country he was in, the place he was driving to, the
fact that he was sitting in a sleigh, these things he realised only
intermittently. Though the sun was shining in a cloudless sky upon a
dazzling white earth, he felt for minutes at a time that he was being
drawn forward into utter darkness to the accompaniment of sleigh-bells.
The farmer boy noticed nothing, except that the famous German physician
was taciturn and extremely pale.

Frederick had never been in greater need of all his will power. But for
his iron self-control, he would have gone stark mad and jumped with a
shout from the sleigh dashing along at full speed. He knew a telegram was
lying crumpled in the right-hand pocket of his fur coat; but each time he
tried to recall what was in the telegram, it seemed that a hammer kept
knocking at his head, dulling his senses. The grateful country boy had
no inkling that close beside him was sitting a man who had to exert
superhuman strength not to succumb to an attack of raving madness. As a
matter of fact, the boy was in danger of a maniac's clutching him by the
throat and drawing him into a life and death struggle.

At his door Frederick shook hands with the farmer's son and groped his
way into the house through midnight darkness. The boy's few words of
thanks went down in a rushing and roaring of vast black waters. The
sleigh-bells began to jingle again and never ceased, turning into that
infernal ringing that had become firmly fixed in Frederick's head since
the shipwreck.

"I am dying," he thought when he reached his room. "I am dying, or else
I am going crazy." The clock on the wall came into his vision and receded
again. He saw his bed and clutched for the post.

"Don't fall," said Rasmussen, who was still sitting there with the
thermometer in his hand.

But no, this time it was not Rasmussen. It was Mr. Rinck, with his yellow
cat in his lap, the man who had been in charge of the mail on the
_Roland_.

"What are you doing here, Mr. Rinck?" Frederick roared.

The next moment he was at the window in the light of the dazzling sun,
which radiated, not light, but raven-black darkness, like a hole in the
heavens pouring out night. The wind suddenly began to moan and howl
about the house. It whistled derisively through the door cracks, like the
jeers and taunts of a mob of rowdies. Or was it Mr. Rinck's cat miauing?
Or was it children whimpering in the hall? Frederick groped about. The
house quivered and was thrown from its foundations. It swayed to and fro.
The walls began to snap and crack like wickerwork. The door flew open.
The rain and hail whipped in. A sudden gust of wind lifted Frederick from
his feet. Somebody cried "Danger!" The electric bells raged and mingled
with the voices of the storm.

"It's not so! It's a lie! The devil is hoaxing you. You will never set
foot on American soil. Your hour is come. You are at the Judgment seat.
You are going to perdition."

Suddenly silence set in. Something unheard-of was about to happen,
something far worse to see perhaps than to experience. Frederick wanted
to save himself. He tried to gather his things together, but he had no
hat. He could not find his trousers, his coat, or his boots.

Outside, the moon was shining. In the bright light, the storm was raging.
Suddenly, like a wall broad as the horizon, the sea came rolling up. The
ocean had risen over both its banks.

"Atlantis! The hour has come," thought Frederick. "Our earth is to be
submerged like Atlantis of old."

He ran down-stairs. On the steps he caught up his three children and
realised it was they who all the time had been whining and whimpering in
the hall. He carried the smallest one on his arm and led the other two by
the hand. At the front door, they saw the dreadful tidal wave sweeping
nearer and nearer in the ashen light of the moon, carrying along the
ship, which was a steamer rolling and pounding fearfully in the waters.
The whistles were blowing frightfully, sometimes in a prolonged blare,
sometimes in abrupt toots, one after the other.

"It's the _Roland_ with Captain von Kessel," Frederick explained to the
children. "I know it. I was on the ship. I myself went down with that
superb steamer." He heard shots being fired from the struggling vessel.
Rockets hissed up towards the moon and burst in the sombre grey of dawn,
dazzling his eyes. "All's over," he said to the children. "All those
fine, brave men are doomed to rot in the water."

And picking up on his arm now one of the children, now another, and
losing them and finding them again, he began to run to save their lives
from the flood. He ran, he raced, he jumped, he fell down. He protested
against having to sink after all, though he had already been rescued. He
swore, he ran, he fell, and scrambled to his feet, and ran and ran, with
a hideous fear in his breast, a senseless fear such as he had never
before experienced. When the wave overtook him, fear changed into
soothing peace and calm.



XXIX


The next morning, with the same train by which Frederick had come, Miss
Burns arrived in Meriden. She went directly to Peter Schmidt's office to
inquire for him, having expected to find him awaiting her at the station.
Peter told her of the operation Frederick had performed the day before.

"It was a mighty difficult job, I tell you," said Peter Schmidt, "and he
covered himself with glory. He intended immediately afterwards to send
you a telegram telling you not to come. But just as he was about to go,
he himself received a cablegram."

"Well, now that I am here," said Miss Burns in her sprightly way, "I
shall not allow myself to be turned down in such an offhand manner. I
don't intend to visit Rome without seeing the Pope."

Three quarters of an hour later the two-seated sleigh drawn by the
spirited chestnut, with whose peculiarities they now knew better how to
deal, reached Uncle Tom's Cabin on Lake Hanover. Peter, who was anxious
to bring Frederick news of the farmer and tell him he had not developed
fever, drove Miss Burns out. They were amazed at the condition in which
they found things, and, as they mounted the stairs, freely exchanged
criticisms without lowering their voices. The door to Frederick's room
was slightly ajar. They walked in. He was lying stretched on his bed,
still wearing the fur coat in which he had left the office after the
operation. He was unconscious, mumbling in a delirium, evidently very
ill. Peter Schmidt picked up the cablegram lying on the floor. He and
Miss Burns felt that in the circumstances they were justified in learning
its contents. What they read was:

  Dear Frederick, news from Jena. In spite of the greatest care Angèle
  passed away yesterday afternoon. Take the inevitable with composure.
  Keep yourself well for your loving old parents.

For a week Frederick hovered between life and death. The powers of
darkness, perhaps, had never grappled for him so greedily. For a week his
whole body was like something about which tongues of fire lick and roar,
ready to consume it and send it up into the air, like a puff of smoke.

Peter Schmidt, of course, brought all his medical skill to his friend's
service. Mrs. Schmidt, too, did whatever she could for him. Miss Burns
felt it was predestination, not chance, that had brought her to his side
at so critical a moment, and instantly decided not to leave until he was
entirely out of danger. She engaged a woman attendant and a man to go on
errands by day and night.

The terrible frenzy in which Frederick had been the night before was
apparent from the way in which things had been thrown about. The glass of
his seaman's clock on the wall was broken, and dishes were shivered to
bits. Peter Schmidt's diagnosis was typhoid fever. The first two days and
nights he did not leave Frederick's side, except when his wife took his
place. The paroxysms repeated themselves. Memories of the shipwreck still
tormented him, and at certain hours he would tell his attendants, whom he
did not recognise, to look in a corner of the room, where, he said, a
black spider, the size of a bowling ball, was lying in wait for him.
Peter and his wife with extreme caution applied all the means at a
physician's disposal to reduce his temperature; but the third day passed,
and still it did not fall below 105.8°. Peter grew graver and graver.
Finally, however, the fever curve showed declinations, and by the end of
a week its downward course remained pretty constant.

Frederick looked like a pale, empty, incombustible husk, inside of which
a great auto-da-fé had taken place. What a wild orgy salamander-like
creatures must have been holding behind his sweaty forehead. Countless
times, by the most different methods, Angèle murdered Ingigerd and
Ingigerd Angèle. His father, the general, fought a pistol duel with Mr.
Garry, Captain von Kessel acting as second and measuring the distance.
Doctor Wilhelm kept rising again and again from beneath the raging chaos
in his soul. Ten or twenty times he brought him a human embryo wrapped in
paper, and said:

"To live is good. Not to live is better."

Hans Füllenberg had to leave his hiding-place and join in the gruesome,
grotesque dance to death. Sometimes it seemed as if a puff of burning air
swept all these figures into an oven to destroy them forever.

Something like the dizzy movement of the sea kept tossing up and down. He
was carried aloft--his consciousness left him. He sank deep down--again
his consciousness left him. He flew--he lost his sense of ponderosity.
High on the crest of this cosmic, immaterial swell, he suffered
constantly from nausea. In his lucid moments he said to himself:

"The ocean does not wish me to be saved. It kept me alive just to display
the full extent of its powers and draw me down from my security."

He had dreams of tremendous cosmic proportions, showing he had images of
a might and power far exceeding the sane, normal strength of conception,
with no precedent for them in experience. Even when the life-boat with
its small load of castaways, shrieking, praying, or unconscious, was
dancing on the great broad swells of the heavy, mineral ocean, Frederick
had had no such feeling of the microscopic minuteness of his personality.

At the end of the first week he recognised Miss Burns and began to
understand what she had done for him. He smiled with difficulty and made
signs with his hand lying limply on the bedspread.

It was not until the end of the second week, the twenty-sixth of March,
that the fever left him entirely. He spoke, slept, had vivid dreams. In a
tired voice and sometimes with a touch of humour, he told of the wild
things that had passed through his brain. He expressed desires, showed
gratitude, inquired for the farmer on whom he had operated, and smiled
when Peter told him the wound had healed promptly and the farmer had
driven out to bring some guinea-fowls for bouillon.

Miss Burns's management of the household was exemplary. Such considerate,
ever-ready ministrations as Frederick received do not fall to the lot of
many men. Physicians like Peter and his wife are not, of course, prone to
prudery. Neither was Miss Burns, with her strong arms and sculptor hands,
which were accustomed to modelling from life. Though her manner was calm
and composed, there was secret passion and a strong maternal instinct in
her nursing. She seemed to have found her true vocation.

At her bidding Peter sent cablegrams to Frederick's parents, keeping them
informed of his condition, and notifying them when he was pronounced out
of danger. With the request that it be held for him until his health was
restored, she returned a thick letter from the general written before
Frederick was taken ill, correctly assuming that it contained details of
his wife's tragic end. She knew that by keeping the letter, she might be
tempted to betray its existence to the sick man and would then find it
too hard to prevent him from reading it. At the beginning of the fourth
week, she received a letter from the old general, in which he thanked her
and the two doctors from the depths of his heart for all they had done
for his son.

"I may tell you," he wrote, "that poor Angèle did not die a natural
death. At the institution, they knew she needed the strictest watching,
but, unfortunately, even with the greatest care, there are moments when a
patient is not observed. It was one of those moments that Angèle seized
to take poison, one of the poisons that are frequently used and are not
kept under lock and key."

The snow had melted away. Slowly, slowly Frederick adjusted himself to
life again. There was a mildness in him like the mildness of nature
outside his window. It was a surprisingly sweet experience. The world
seemed to be granting him indulgence. Lying on his clean bed, with the
little pewter sailing vessels on the old seaman's clock ticking to and
fro, he had a sense of security and, what is more, a sense of
rejuvenation, of having expiated and received pardon. From torrid black
clouds, a storm had come with thunder and lightning to cleanse the air.
It was still rumbling on the distance horizon, farther and farther away,
never to return again, leaving behind in the weak man a rich, full,
peaceful joy in life.

"A cure of force, a violent eruption and revolution has purged your body
of all poisons and putrid matter," said Peter Schmidt.



XXX


"A pity no birds are singing," Frederick said one day to Miss Burns, who
had opened his bedroom window wide.

"Yes," said Miss Burns, "it is a pity."

"Because," Frederick went on, "you say it is already greening on the
banks of Lake Hanover."

"What does that mean--'greening'?" asked Miss Burns, who did not know the
German word he had used. He laughed.

"It means spring is coming, and spring without the singing of birds is a
deaf and dumb spring."

"Come to England. There's where you hear birds."

"You come to Germany, Miss Burns. There's where you hear birds,"
Frederick mimicked his friend's drawl.

When the time came for him to sit up for a while, he refused.

"I don't want to get out of bed. I feel too comfortable lying here," he
declared.

Soon after the fever left him, he ceased to feel ill, and for the last
week they had been bringing him books, entertaining him with stories and
anecdotes of the neighbourhood, and reading the papers to him, all in
moderation, of course. They divined his wishes from his eyes. His
microscope was put beside his bed, and he set seriously to work to
examine specimens from his own body, an occupation that brought many
jests down on him. The horror of his illness had turned into a diversion,
a pleasant subject of study.

It was not until he had left his bed and was sitting in a comfortable
chair wrapped in blankets that he inquired whether a letter had not
come from his parents. Miss Burns told him his father had written and
recounted those things in his letter which she knew would please
Frederick and ease his mind. She was astonished to hear the pale
convalescent say:

"I am convinced poor Angèle took her own life. Well," he continued, "I
have suffered what I had to suffer; but I will not reject the hand that I
feel is graciously extended towards me. By that I mean," he added,
thinking from the expression in Miss Burns's eyes that she did not
understand him, "that for a' that and a' that, I am glad to be restored
to life and confidence in life."

One day, while Miss Burns was telling of some eminent men in different
countries with whom she had become acquainted, mild complaints escaped
her, showing she had suffered disenchantments.

"In a year," she said, "I am going back to England, to some village, and
devote myself to the education of neglected children. The sculptor's
profession does not satisfy me."

"How would you like this, Miss Burns," said the convalescent, with a
frank, roguish smile, "wouldn't you like to educate a rather difficult
big child?"

Peter and Eva had agreed not to mention Ingigerd Hahlström's name. But
one day Frederick handed Miss Burns a piece of paper with a verse written
in lead pencil in a trembling hand.

"To whom does this refer?" he asked.

  "Have threads been spun? No, there were none!
   We were so chill, so small and lone.
   Have we to higher regions gone?
   To give the key Peter was not prone.
   I saw the sacramental stone
   And laid my hallowed hands thereon.
   Alas! the bread and wine were gone.
   With dazzling radiance all things shone,
   'Twas base deceit; I was undone."

Miss Burns was touched to see that his thoughts were still engaged with
the little dancer. On another occasion he said to her:

"I am not fitted to be a physician. I am incapable of making the
sacrifice to humanity of pursuing an occupation that depresses me so.
I have a riotous imagination. Perhaps I could be a writer. But I am
determined to become a sculptor. While I was sick, especially at the end
of the second week, I remodelled all the works of Phidias and Michael
Angelo. Don't misunderstand me, Eva. In becoming a sculptor, I am no
longer ambitious of distinction. I shall merely be rendering homage to
the greatness of art. While remaining a faithful workman asking nothing
for myself, I may in time succeed in mastering the nude form sufficiently
to produce at least one good piece."

"You know I have confidence in your talent," said Miss Burns.

"Then, what do you think of this plan, Miss Eva? The income from my
wife's estate is about five thousand marks, enough for the education of
my three children. I receive an annuity of three thousand marks. Do you
think we five could end our days in peace in a little house with a
studio, say, near Florence?"

Miss Burns's answer to the weighty question was a hearty laugh.

She was intimately acquainted with the artistic disposition and so,
perhaps, was actually well fitted to educate adult children. She had been
the good friend and comrade of two or three great artists in France
and England, and had a soothing way of entering into the work, the
interests, and the experiences of such extraordinary men. Neither of her
parents had been an artist. Her father had been a plain business man.
Yet both had possessed that veneration and love of art and artists which
is almost as rare as the creative gift. In the museum at Birmingham,
there were pictures by Burne-Jones and Rossetti and a collection of
drawings, the gift of her father while still a prosperous man. She
herself was not convinced that she had an imperative calling to art. Her
passion was to be useful to art in serving artists. This was not the
first time, and Frederick knew it, that she had acted the part of the
good Samaritan. She was always ready to sacrifice herself in order to
help artists out of every sort of difficulty.

"I have no desire to be a Bonifacius Ritter," said Frederick. "A great
collection of studios, with works turned out by wholesale, no matter how
excellent they may be, does not suit my disposition. What I want is a
workshop opening on a garden, where I can pick violets in winter and
break off branches of evergreen oak, yew, and laurel. There, in peace and
quiet, hidden from the world, I should like to devote myself to art and
culture in general. The myrtle, too, would have to blossom again within
my garden wall, Miss Burns." Miss Burns laughed and paid no attention to
the allusion.

She thoroughly approved of his plans from her own healthy point of view.

"There are enough people," she said, "who are born physicians and men of
action, and there are far too many entering those careers and jostling
one another out of the way."

She spoke of Ritter with sympathy, yet in a tone of superiority, and
smiled with benignant understanding upon his naïve penetration into the
regions of the Upper Four Hundred.

"Life," she said, "when it is eager to hurry on with a show of vivacity,
demands credulity, love of pleasure, ambition. I, myself, before my
father lost the greater part of his fortune, got to know high life in
England through and through. I found it insipid and boresome."

When Frederick was able to stand alone and walk and go up and down
stairs, Miss Burns left for New York to complete the work that she had
begun in Ritter's studio, wishing to finish it before the middle of
May, when she intended to return to England to straighten out some legal
matters in connection with a small inheritance from her mother, who had
died two years before. She had already engaged passage on the _Auguste
Victoria_ of the Hamburg-American line. Frederick von Kammacher let her
go without protest. He did not try to detain her. He profoundly admired
the girl who was so strong and stately; and he had conceived of his
future existence as a state of lasting companionship with her. There was
Dutch and German blood combined with the culture and polish of the
Englishwoman. Wherever she settled down, wherever she busied herself, she
produced the cosey charm of the English home. She was healthy and, as
Frederick had to admit, very beautiful. He did not detect the faintest
symptom of the thing he most dreaded, feminine hysteria.

"I should like to have a comrade like her for life," he thought. "I
should like her to be the mother of Angèle's children."



XXXI


Frederick grew better daily. It seemed to him as if he had been ill for
more than a decade. His body was not undergoing a process of evolution
but of rebuilding from fresh young cells. The same thing seemed to be
happening to his soul. The burden that had been weighing upon his
spirits, the restless thoughts that had constantly been circling about
the various shipwrecks in his life had departed. He had thrown off his
past as one discards a cloak which the wind and weather, thorns and sword
thrusts have torn and worn. Memories, which before his illness had forced
themselves upon him unbidden in the awful guise of actual presence, no
longer recurred to him. To his astonishment and satisfaction he observed
that they had sunk forever on the other side of a remote horizon. The
itinerary of his life had brought him to a province wholly new and novel.
He had passed through a fearful process of fire and water and had come
out cleansed, purified and young. Convalescents always grope their way
into their newly granted lives, like children without a past.

The American spring had come early. Suddenly the weather turned hot. In
that part of America the transition from winter to summer is very abrupt.
In the pools and lakes, the bullfrogs croaked in rivalry with the high,
clear shrilling of the other American frogs. Now came that unendurable
combination of heat and humidity which Mrs. Schmidt so dreaded. She
suffered fearfully during the summer, when she continued with her hard
work just as in winter.

Frederick began again to accompany Peter Schmidt on his professional
rounds, and sometimes the friends took long excursions into the country.
They fell back into their old habit of revolving problems and pondering
the destinies of mankind. To his friend's astonishment, Frederick did not
display his old incisiveness in debate, whether in attack or defence.
There was a cheerful placidity about him which took the keenness from any
hope or fear of a universal character upon which they touched in their
discussions.

"How do you account for it?" asked Peter Schmidt.

"I think I have well earned the precious right merely to breathe, and
I think I appreciate it. What I want to do for the time being is smell,
taste, and enjoy. An Icarus flight does not suit my present condition,
and with my newly awakened tender love for the superficial, you will
scarcely find me ready to dig laboriously into the depths. I am now a
bourgeois. I am done with my former state," he concluded, smiling.

Peter Schmidt, as a practising physician, expressed his satisfaction with
this mood of Frederick's.

"To be sure," he said, "you will change again."

"Time will show, but I think not," rejoined Frederick.

Indian lore had a fascination for Peter Schmidt. He liked to go to
certain spots in the hilly country to which history or legend attaches
stories of the conflicts between the first white colonists and the
Indians, and remain there a long time, mentally living over again the
experiences of the fur trappers and the tenacious wrestling of the
settlers for possession. Sometimes, in a wave of warlike feeling, he
would draw his revolver and shoot at a mark. Frederick was no match for
him as a marksman.

"The blood of the old German adventurers and colonists is flowing in your
veins," he said. "A finished civilisation, over-ripe and over-refined
such as ours, really does not suit you. Where you ought to be is in a
wilderness with a Utopia hovering above."

"The world is still not much more than a wilderness," said Peter. "It
will be quite a while before the structure of our cosmic philosophy will
stand on a solid foundation. In short, Frederick, much remains to be
done."

"Like the Lord God, I shall knead human beings from wet clay and inspire
them with a living breath."

"Stuff and nonsense!" said Peter Schmidt. "Making dolls like that leads
nowhere. You are too good to be doing it. You belong on the ramparts, in
the front ranks of the battle line, my dear boy."

"I for my part," said Frederick, smiling, "have stipulated an armistice
for the next few years. I want for once to try to get on with what the
world is able to offer. I want to disaccustom myself as much as possible
from reflection and dreams."

Frederick felt it was his duty to persuade his friend, both for his own
and for his wife's sake, to return to Europe.

"Peter," he said, "the Americans have no use for a man like you. You
cannot recommend patent medicines, nor can you by administering small
doses keep a man chained to his bed for two months when you can cure him
with quinine in a week. You have none of those characteristics which in
the eyes of the average American make an aristocrat. From the American
point of view you are a simpleton, because you are always ready to
sacrifice yourself for every poor dog that strays your way. You ought to
return to a land where, thank the Lord, the aristocracy of the spirit,
the aristocracy of ideas is still a match for that other aristocracy. You
ought to return to a land that would consider itself defunct and buried
were the men of science and art no longer to represent the flower of its
inhabitants. There are enough Germans here without you who are breaking
their necks to forget the language of Goethe, the language their mothers
taught them. Save your wife. Save yourself. Go back to Germany, go to
Switzerland, go to France, go to England, go anywhere you will, but don't
remain in this tremendous industrial corporation, where art, science,
and true culture are, at present at least, wholly out of place."

But Peter Schmidt wavered. He loved America. And if, Indian fashion, he
laid his ear to the ground, he already heard the festive music being
rehearsed below ground that is to be played on the great day of a
universal renaissance.

"All of us," he said, "should first be Americanized and then become
neo-Europeans."

One of Frederick's favourite walks was to the suburb of Meriden where the
Italian wine-growers settled. You could hear the men singing with their
voices warm as the sunlight, the women calling the children with that cry
of theirs pitched in octaves. You saw brown men binding the vines, and on
Sundays you heard them talking and laughing, while the _boccia_ balls
rolled with dull thuds over the well-trodden soil in the open fields
where they played. Those voices and sounds were piercingly sweet and
familiar to Frederick.

"You may kill me for saying so, but I am, and will remain, a European."

His homesickness grew stronger and stronger. He went about singing such
passionate praises of Europe to his friends that he entangled them in the
web of his feelings, and finally melted away even Mrs. Schmidt's rigid
resistance.

A surprising change came over her. She forgot her exhaustion, she moved
briskly, she laughed again, and began to make all sorts of plans for a
future in Europe.

The farmer upon whom Frederick had operated fairly persecuted him with
gratitude. He expatiated upon how he had always relied upon God and how a
man always can rely upon God, and how God on this occasion had sent him
the right man at the right time. Frederick now realised the profound
motive that destiny had had in sending him on his fearful trip.

In a morbid disinclination to learn of his comrades on the sea trip,
Frederick avoided reading newspapers. One day Ingigerd Hahlström
accompanied by a distinguished looking American by no means in his prime
got off the Boston train and went directly to Peter Schmidt's office. She
introduced herself and asked whether Frederick von Kammacher was still in
Meriden. Before he was taken ill they had exchanged letters. Later she
had had no time to write because she had been making a rapid tour of the
whole United States. She knew nothing of his illness. Peter Schmidt and
his wife, though they had an instinctive habit of always telling the
truth, a habit which interfered with their success in life, now
deliberately, shamelessly, boldly told a bare-faced lie.

"Frederick has returned to Europe. He took a White Star steamer, the
_Robert Keats_," they told Ingigerd.

Without informing anyone, Frederick had engaged passage on the _Auguste
Victoria_ for the same crossing as Miss Burns. Peter and his wife wanted
to go by a slower, less expensive steamer. They were all in a glorious
state of impatience. Once more the ocean became nothing but a small pond
across which their yearning lightly swung a bridge.

At that time a sentimental song was being sung in all the theatres in
America, entitled "Hands Across the Sea." Every bill-board, fence and
barrel bore "Hands Across the Sea." Frederick went about humming "Hands
Across the Sea." Whenever he saw "Hands Across the Sea," his soul was
stirred by a rich, beautiful melody.

But there was one thing that still prevented Frederick from enjoying
complete serenity of spirit. A single thought kept haunting him. Should
he express that thought by word of mouth or by letter? He constantly
wavered between the two impulses. Not a day passed that he did not make
ten decisions, one way or another, until one Sunday chance came to his
rescue in the form of Willy Snyders and Miss Eva Burns, who had come to
Meriden on an excursion. When he saw the lovely girl, dressed in light
summer clothes, coming towards him with a smile, he realised that "Shall
I?" or, "Shall I not?" had until then played an important rôle in his
deliberations. But now that question was decided.

"Willy," he cried beaming, "do what you will, go wherever you will, stay
wherever you will, amuse yourself as best you can, and at supper we'll
all meet at the hotel." He grasped Miss Eva's hand and drew her arm in
his, and she went off with him, laughing. Willy was greatly amazed, but
he, too, burst out laughing and said in his comic fashion:

"Oh, in that case I certainly am _de trop_."

When Frederick and Eva returned in the evening, to the handsome
dining-room of the Meriden Hotel, a delicate charm, a tender warmth
hovered about them, making them younger and comelier. Their friends
observed it. To their own surprise, these two human beings had been
penetrated by a new element and a new life. Though they had been steering
towards it, neither of them had had a divination of it even a short time
before. That evening champagne was drunk.

A week later the little colony of artists saw Miss Burns and Frederick
off on the _Auguste Victoria_.

"I am going to follow you soon," Willy bawled as the steamer began to
move from the pier.

Every day on board the steamer was a Sunday to Frederick and Eva. The
afternoon of the third day the captain, never suspecting that he was
speaking to one of the survivors of the _Roland_, said:

"It was hereabouts that the _Roland_ went down about three months ago."

The sea was smooth, like a sky eternally cloudless. Dolphins were
sporting in the waters. The night following that afternoon, a glorious
night, became Frederick's and Eva's wedding night. In blissful dreams
they were carried over the place of horror which was the grave of the
_Roland_.

At the quay in Cuxhaven, Frederick's parents were awaiting him with
his children. He saw nothing but his children. He held them, all three
of them, in his arms for a whole minute. They laughed and chattered
and clung to him wildly. Eva approached them, and everything was
self-understood.

After all could get their breath again, Frederick made several obeisances
and laid both hands on the ground, while looking into Eva's eyes. Then he
arose and held up his finger to command silence. From the broad stretches
of the fields with their young crops came the thousand-throated trilling
of the larks.

"This is Germany, this is Europe! What of it, if after an hour like this,
one should sink?"

The captain of the _Auguste Victoria_ passed by and greeted Frederick.

"Do you know," said Frederick in his overflowing spirits, "do you know,
I am actually one of the survivors of the _Roland_?"

"Indeed!" said the captain, adding, as he walked away, "Yes, we always
cross the same ocean. I hope you have a pleasant trip, Doctor von
Kammacher."


THE END





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