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Title: Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces; - or, the Wedded Life, Death, and Marriage of Firmian - Stanislaus Siebenkaes, Parish Advocate in the Burgh of - Kuhschnappel.
Author: Jean Paul, 1763-1825
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 "Flower, Fruit, and Thorn Pieces; - or, the Wedded Life, Death, and Marriage of Firmian - Stanislaus Siebenkaes, Parish Advocate in the Burgh of - Kuhschnappel." ***

Transcriber's Notes:

   1. Page scan source:

   2. [)u] indicates the letter "u" with a breve above it.

   3. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].

   4. Edit errors? lines 4348, 4406, 4420 relating to quotes.

                        BOHN'S STANDARD LIBRARY.

                               *   *   *


                    FLOWER, FRUIT, AND THORN PIECES.

                                 GEORGE BELL & SONS

                              LONDON: YORK ST., COVENT GARDEN
                              NEW YORK 66 FIFTH AVENUE, AND
                              BOMBAY: 53 ESPLANADE ROAD
                              CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON BELL & CO.

                        FLOWER, FRUIT AND THORN

                    WEDDED LIFE, DEATH, AND MARRIAGE



                            PARISH ADVOCATE

                     IN THE BURGH OF KUHSCHNAPPEL.

                       (_A GENUINE THORN PIECE_.)


                      JEAN PAUL FRIEDRICH RICHTER.

                       Translated from the German


                            ALEXANDER EWING.


                          GEORGE BELL AND SONS


                 [_Reprinted from Stereotype plates_.]


                                 TO THE

                            SECOND EDITION.

What advantage shall I reap in giving to the world this, my new edition
of 'Siebenkæs,' embellished and perfected as it is with all the
additions, corrections, and improvements which it has been in my power
to make? Can I expect to be any the better for it? People will, I
daresay, buy it and read it; but not give much of their time to the
study of it, nor be sufficiently detailed and thorough in their
criticism of it. The Pythia of Criticism has hitherto been chary of her
oracles to me, as the Greek Pythia was to other inquirers; she has
chewed up my laurels, instead of crowning me with them, and prophesied
little or nothing. The author very distinctly remembers setting to
work, for instance, at the second edition of his 'Hesperus,'[1] with
his pruning-saw in his left hand and his oculist's knife in his right,
and applying both instruments to the work to an extraordinary extent;
it was in vain, however, that he looked for anything like an
appreciative notice of it, either in literary or non-literary
publications. Similarly, in all his new editions (those of 'Fixlein,'
the 'Preparatory School,' and 'Levana,' are proofs and witnesses[2]),
however he may set to work, hanging up new pictures, turning some of
the old ones' faces to the wall--marching off some ideas, relieving
them by others--making characters conduct themselves better, or worse,
or hit upon better, or upon worse, ideas, as the case may be,--the
deuce a reviewer takes the least notice of it, or says a word to the
world on the subject. But in this way I learn little, am not told where
I have done pretty well, or the reverse, and am _minus_, perhaps, some
little bit of praise and encouragement which I may deserve.

This is how the question stands, and several consequences follow as
matters of course; the indifferent class of readers consider the author
incapable of making any critical emendations, while the enthusiastic
class think none are necessary--their common point of agreement being
the supposition that he absorbs and emits the whole thing with the same
natural, matter of course, ease and absence of effort as the Aphides,
the plant-lice, do the honey-dew, which is in such request with the
bees, though, unlike the said bees, ho is not very clever at making the
wax for it.

Then there are a good many who think every line should be left in the
condition in which it first flowed, or burst, spontaneously from its
author's fancy--just as it corrections were not themselves spontaneous
outbursts as well as the other. Other readers prefer to belong to none
of the above factions and consequently belong, to some extent, to all.
Were it my object to express myself briefly, I should merely have to do
so as follows:--firstly, they say, it would be much better if he simply
spoke artlessly out whatever he finds it in his heart to say! and (if
this is just what one happens to have done), secondly, how much better
would be the effect of that which he finds it in that heart of his to
say, and how much it would be improved, were it to be done according to
the canons of taste and criticism! I can express these ideas likewise
in a more roundabout form, as follows:--If a writer curbs himself too
closely, if he thinks less about the strong throb of his heart than
about the delicate arterial network and plexus of taste, and breaks up
its broad stream into fine, minute, dew-drops of the invisible
perspiration of criticism--then they say--"the fact is, that the
thicker and more powerful a jet of water is, the higher it shoots,
penetrating the atmosphere, and overcoming its resistance; whilst a
more delicate jet is dissipated before it gets half as far." But, when
the author does just the reverse of the above; when he presses out all
his overflowing heart in one gush, and lets the blood-billows flow when
and how they will, then the critics point the _following_ moral--doing
it, however, in a metaphor other than I should have expected of
them--"A work of art is like a paper kite, which rises the higher the
more the boy pulls and holds back the string, but falls the moment he
lets it go."

We return at last to our book. The most important of the emendations
made upon it are, perhaps, the historical; for, since the first edition
appeared, I have had the good fortune--partly because I have had an
opportunity of visiting and seeing Kuhschnappel itself, the scene of
the story (as was some time since stated in Jean Paul's letters),
partly from my correspondence with the hero of it himself--of becoming
acquainted with family circumstances and occurrences which, probably, I
could not have got at in any other way, unless I had sat down and
coolly invented them. I have even made prize of some fresh
Leibgeberiana, which I am happy to be able now to communicate to the

The new edition is also improved by the banishment of all those
foreigners of words which occupied places more appropriately to be
filled by natives of the country; also by a critical cleansing away of
all the genitive final s's of compound words. But really the labour of
sweeping and striking out letters and words all through four long
volumes can be estimated so highly by nobody, not even by Posterity, as
by the sweeper and striker-out himself.

Another of the improvements made in the Second Edition is, that I have
placed both the "Flower-pieces" at the end of the second volume[3] (for
in the former edition they came both at the beginning of the first),
and that it is no longer the first volume, but, much more
appropriately, the second, which closes with the first Fruit-piece.

And lastly, it may, perhaps, be reckoned as one of the minor
improvements, that in the two Flower-pieces--particularly in that of
the Dead Christ--I have not _made_ any improvements, but left
everything as it was, and not attempted to scrape away any of the
golden writing-sand with which I had made the letters a little rough
and illegible.

The above are the principal alterations, concerning which I should be
so glad to be favoured with the opinions of able reviewers, to the
increasing of my information, perhaps also of my reputation. But, as
there could not be a more troublesome business than the comparing of
the old book with the improved one, page by page, as it were, I have
deposited in the school-book shop the printed copy of the old edition,
in which all the writing-ink emendations of the printing-ink, that is
to say, all the places which have been written or stroked through, can
be easily seen at a glance, often half and whole pages done to death,
so that it would really astonish you. Critics not on the spot must,
indeed, content themselves with laying the volumes of each of the
editions into the opposite scales of a grocer's balance, and then
looking, when they will see how much the new edition outweighs the old.
From my strict and anxious treatment of my Second Edition, then, all
critics may form an idea of my strict and anxious treatment of my
first; they may also form an idea how much I struck out of my
manuscript before printing, when they observe how much I have struck
out after printing.

                                        Dr. Jean Paul Fr. Richter.

Bayreuth, _September_, 1817.


   PREFACE to the Second Edition

   PREFACE, with which I was obliged to put Jacob Oehrmann, General
     Dealer, to sleep, because I wished to narrate the "Dog Post Days,"
     and these present "Flower-Pieces," &c., &c., to his Daughter

     Wedded Life, Death, And Marriage of F. S. Siebenkæs.

                         A Genuine Thorn Piece.

                                BOOK I.

                               CHAPTER I.

   A Wedding Day, succeeding a day of respite--The Counterparts--Dish
     Quintette in two Courses--Table-talk--Six Arms and Hands.

                              CHAPTER II.

   Home Fun--Sundry formal Calls--The Newspaper Article--A Love
     Quarrel, and a few hard words--Antipathetic ink on the wall--
     Friendship of the Satirists--Government of Kuhschnappel.

                        APPENDIX to CHAPTER II.

   Government of the Imperial Market Borough of Kuhschnappel.

                              CHAPTER III.

   Lenette's Honeymoon--Book Brewing--Schulrath Stiefel--Mr.
     Everard--A Day before the Fair--The Red Cow--St. Michael's Fair--
     The Beggars' Opera--Diabolical Temptation in the Wilderness, or
     the Mannikin of Fashion--Autumn Joys--A New Labyrinth.

                              CHAPTER IV.

   A Matrimonial Partie à la Guerre--Letter to that Hair Collector,
     the Venner--Self-deceptions--Adam's Marriage Sermon--Shadowing
     and Over-shadowing.

   End of the Preface and of the First Book.

                           *   *   *   *   *

   PREFACE to the Second, Third and Fourth Books.

   PREFACE by the Author of 'Hesperus'.

                                BOOK II.

                               CHAPTER V.

   The Broom and the Besom as Passion Implements--The Importance of a
     Bookwriter--Diplomatic Negotiations and Discussions on the subject
     of Candle Snuffing--The Pewter Cupboard--Domestic Hardships and

                              CHAPTER VI.

   Matrimonial Jars--Extra Leaflet on the Loquacity of Women--More
     Pledging--The Mortar and the Snuff-mill--A Scholar's Kiss--On
     the Consolations of Humanity.

               Continuation and Conclusion Of Chapter VI.

   The Checked Calico Dress--More Pledges--Christian Neglect of the
     Study of Judaism--A Helping Arm (of Leather) stretched forth from
     the Clouds--The Auction.

                              CHAPTER VII.

   The Shooting-Match--Rosa's Autumnal Campaign--Considerations
     concerning Curses, Kisses, and the Militia.

                             CHAPTER VIII.

   Scruples as to Payment of Debts--The Rich Pauper's Sunday
     Throne-ceremonial--Artificial Flowers on the Grave--New Thistle
     Seedlings of Contention.

                          First Flower Piece.

   The Dead Christ proclaims that there is no God.

                          Second Flower piece.

   A Dream within a Dream.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                               BOOK III.

                              CHAPTER IX.

   A Potato War with Women--and with Men--A Walk in December--Tinder
     for Jealousy--A War of Succession on the subject of a piece of
     checked calico--Rupture with Stiefel--Sad Evening Music.

                               CHAPTER X.

   A Lonely New-Year's Day--The Learned Schalaster--Wooden-leg of
     Appeal--Chamber Postal Delivery--The 11th of February, and
     Birth-day of the year 1786.

                              CHAPTER XI.

   Leibgeber's Disquisition on Fame--Firmian's "Evening Paper".

                              CHAPTER XII.

   The Flight out of Egypt--The Glories of Travel?--The Unknown
     Bayreuth--Baptism in a Storm--Nathalie and the Hermitage--The
     most important Conversation in all this Book--An Evening of

                             CHAPTER XIII.

   A Clock of Human Beings--A Cold Shoulder--The Venner.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

   A Lover's Dismissal--Fantaisie--The Child with the Bouquet--The
     Eden of the Night, and the Angel at the Gate of Paradise.

                           First Fruit Piece.

   Letter of Dr. Victor to Cato the Elder, on the Conversion of _I_
     into _Thou_, _He_, _She_, _Ye_, and _They_; or the Feast of
     Kindness of the 20th March.

   Postscript by Jean Paul.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                                BOOK IV.

                              CHAPTER XV.

   Rosa von Meyern--Tone-Echoes and After-Breezes from the loveliest
     of all Nights--Letters of Nathalie and Firmian--Table-talk by

                              CHAPTER XVI.

   The Homeward Journey, with all its Pleasures--The Arrival at Home.

                             CHAPTER XVII.

   The Butterfly Rosa in the Form of Mining Caterpillar--Thorn-crowns,
     and Thistle-heads of Jealousy.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

   After-Summer of Marriage--Preparations for Death.

                              CHAPTER XIX.

   The Apparition--Homecoming of the Storms in August, or the last
     Quarrel--The Raiment of the Children of Israel.

                              CHAPTER XX.

   Apoplexy--The President of the Board of Health--The Notary-Public--
     The last Will and Testament--The Knight's Move--Revel, the Morning
     Preacher--The Second Apoplectic Attack.

                              CHAPTER XXI.

   Dr. [Oe]lhafen and Medical Boot and Shoemaking--The Burial Society--
     A Death's Head in the Saddle--Frederick II. and his Funeral

                             CHAPTER XXII.

   Journey through Fantaisie--Re-union on the Bindlocher Mountain--
     Berneck--Man-doubling--Gefrees--Exchange of Clothes--Münchberg--
     Solo-whistling--Hof--The Stone of Gladness and Double-parting.

                             CHAPTER XXIII.

   Days in Vaduz--Nathalie's Letter--A New Year's Wish--Wilderness
     of Destiny and the Heart.

                             CHAPTER XXIV.

   News from Kuhschnappel--Woman's Anticlimax--Opening of the Seventh

                        CHAPTER XXV., AND LAST.

   The Journey--The Churchyard--The Spectre--The End of the Trouble,
     and of the Book.



On Christmas Eve of 1794, when I came from the publishers of the two
works in question, and from Berlin, to the town of Scheerau, I went
straight from the mail coach to the house of Mr. Jacob Oehrmann (whose
law affairs I had formerly attended to), having with me letters from
Vienna which might be of considerable service to him. A child can see
at a glance that at that time there was no idea of anything connected
with such a matter as a Preface in my head. It was very cold--being the
24th of December--the street lamps were lighted, and I was frozen as
stiff as the fawn which had been my fellow-passenger (a "blind" one[5]),
by the coach. In the shop itself, which was full of draughts and other
kinds of wind, it was impossible for a preface-maker of any sense,
such as myself, to set to work, because there was a young lady
preface-maker--Oehrmann's daughter and shop-girl--already at work making
oral prefaces to the little books she was selling--Christmas almanacs
of the best of all--kinds duodecimo books, printed on unsized paper
indeed, but full of real fragments of the golden and silver
ages--I mean, the little books of mottoes, all gold and silver leaf,
with which the blessed Christmas gilds its gifts like the autumn, or
silvers them over like the winter. I don't blame the poor shop-wench
that, besieged as she was by such a crowd of Christmas Eve customers,
she hardly had a nod to throw at me, old acquaintance as I was; and,
although I had only that moment arrived from Berlin, she showed me in
to her father at once.

All was in a glow in there, Jacob Oehrmann as well as his
counting-house. He, too, was sitting over a book, not as a
preface-maker, however, but as a registrator and epitomator; he was
balancing his ledger. He had added up his balance-sheet twice over
already, but, to his horror, the credit side was always a Swiss
oertlein (that is, 13½ kreuzers, Zürich currency) more than the debit
side. The man's attention was wholly fixed upon the driving-wheel of
the calculating machine inside his head; he hardly noticed me, well as
he knew me, and though I had Vienna letters. To mercantile people, who,
like the carriers they employ, are at home all the world over, and to
whom the remotest trading powers are daily sending ambassadors and
envoyés, namely, commercial travellers--to them, I say, it makes little
difference whether it be Berlin, Boston, or Byzance, that one happens
to arrive from.

Being well accustomed to this commercial indifference to fellow
mortals, I stood quietly by the fire, and had my thoughts, which shall
here be made the reader's property.

I cogitated, as I stood at the fire, on the subject of the public in
general, and found that I could divide it, like man himself, into three
parts--into the Buying-public, the Reading-public, and the Art-public,
just as speculative persons have assumed that man consists of Body,
Soul, and Spirit. The Body, or Buying-public, which consists of
scholars by trade, professional teachers, and people engaged in
business--that true _corpus callosum_ of the German empire--buys and
uses the very biggest and most corpulent books (works of _body_), and
deals with them as women do with cookery books, it opens them and
consults them in order to be guided by them. In the eyes of this class
the world contains two kinds of utter idiots, differing from each other
only in the direction taken by their crack-brained fancies, those of
the one going too much downward, those of the other too much upward; in
a word, philosophers and poets. Naudæus, in his 'Enumeration of the
Learned Men who were supposed to be Necromancers in the Middle Ages,'
has admirably remarked that this never was the case with jurists or
theologians, but always with philosophers. It is the case to this day
with the wise of the world, only that, the noble idea of "wizard" and
"witchmaster,"--whose _spiritus rector_ and grand master seems to have
been the devil himself--having got degraded to a name applied to great
and clever men and conjurors, the philosopher must be content to put up
with the latter signification of the term. Poets are in a more pitiable
case still; the philosopher is a member of the fourth faculty, has
recognised official positions can lecture on his own subjects; but the
poet is nothing at all, holds no state appointment--(if he did he would
no longer be "born," he would be "made" by the Imperial Chancery), and
people who can criticise him and pass their opinions upon him throw it
in his teeth without ceremony that he makes plentiful use of
expressions which are current neither in commerce, nor in synodal
edicts, nor in general regulations, nor in decisions of the high court
of justiciary, nor in medical opinions or histories of diseases--and
that he visibly walks on stilts, is turgid and bombastic, and never
_copious_ enough or _condensed_ enough. At the same time, I at once
admit that, in the rank thus assigned to the poet, he is treated very
much as the nightingale was by Linnæus, which (as he was not taking its
song into account) he, no doubt properly, classed among the funny,
jerking water-wagtails.

The second part of the public, the Soul, the Reading-public, is
composed of girls, lads, and idle persons in general. I shall praise it
in the sequel; it reads us all, at any rate, and skips obscure pages,
where there's nothing but talk and argument, sticking, like a just and
upright judge, or historical inquirer, to matters of pure fact.

The Art-public, the Spirit, I might, perhaps, leave altogether out of
consideration; the few who have a taste, not only for all kinds of
taste, and for the taste of all nations, but for higher, almost
cosmopolitan beauties, such as Herder, Goethe, Lessing, Wieland and one
or two more--an author has little need to trouble himself about _their_
votes, they are in such a minority, and moreover, they don't read him.
At all events, they don't deserve the dedication with which I, at
the fireside, came to the conclusion that I would bribe the great
Buying-public, which is, of course, what keeps the book trade going. I
resolved, in fact, regularly to dedicate my 'Hesperus,' or the
'Kuhschnappler Siebenkæs,' to Jacob Oehrmann; and through him, as it
were, to the Buying-public. To wit, in this way:--

Jacob Oehrmann is not a man to be despised, I can tell you. He served
as porter of the Stock Exchange in Amsterdam for four years, and rang
the Exchange bell from 11.45 till 12 o'clock. Soon after this, by
scraping and pinching, he _became_ a "pretty rich house" (though he
_kept_ a very poor one), and rose to the dignity of seal-keeper of a
whole collection of knightly seals pasted on to noble, escheated,
promises to pay. True, like celebrated authors, he assumed no municipal
offices, preferring to do nothing but write; but the town militia of
Scheerau, whose hearts are always in the right place (that is to say,
the safest), and who bravely exhibit themselves to passing troops as a
watchful corps of _observation_, insisted upon making him their
captain, though he would have been quite content to have been nothing
but their cloth contractor. He is honest enough, particularly in his
dealings with the mercantile world; and, far from burning the laws of
the Church, like Luther, all he burns even of the municipal law is a
title or two of the Seventh Commandment, indeed, he only _makes_ a
_beginning_ at burning them, as the Vienna censorship does with
prohibited books; and even this only in the cases of carriers, debtors,
and people of rank. Before a man of this stamp I can, without any
qualms of conscience, burn a little sweet-smelling incense, and make
his Dutch face appear magnified, to some extent, like a spectre's
through magic vapour.

Now I thought I should portray, in his likeness, some of the more
striking features of the great Buying-public; for he is a sort of
portable miniature of it--like itself, he cares only for bread-studies,
and beer-studies, for no talk but table-talk, no literature but
politics--he knows that the magnet was only created to hold up his
shop-door key if he chooses to stick it on to it--the tourmaline only
to collect his tobacco ashes, his daughter Pauline to take the place of
both (although she attracts stronger things, and with greater
attractive power than either)--he knows no higher thing in the world
than bread, and detests the town painter, who uses it to rub out pencil
marks with. He and his three sons, who are immured in three of the
Hanse towns, read or write no other, and no less important, books than
the waste-book and the ledger.

                           *   *   *   *   *

"May I be d--d," thought I, as I was warming myself at the stove, "if I
can paint the Buying-public to greater perfection than under the name
of Jacob Oehrmann, who is but a twig, or fibre, of it; but then it
couldn't possibly know what I meant" it occurred to me; and on account
of this error in my calculations, I have to-day hit upon quite another

Just as I had committed my error the daughter came in, rectified her
father's, and brought out the balance correctly. Oehrmann looked at me
now, and became to some extent conscious of my existence; and, on my
presenting the Vienna epistles by way of credentials (epistles of this
kind are more to him than poetical, or St. Pauline, epistles)--from
being a mere fresco figure on the wall, as I had been up to that time,
I became a something possessed of a mind and a stomach, and I was asked
(together with the latter) to stay to supper.

Now, although the critics may set all the cliques and circles of
Germany about my ears--aye, and have a new Turkish bell cast specially
for the purpose--I mean to make a clean breast of it here, and state in
plain words that it was solely on account of the daughter that I came,
and that I stayed, there. I knew that the darling would have read all
my recent books, if the old man had given her time to do it; and for
that very reason it was impossible for me to blink the fact that it was
incumbent upon me as a simple duty to talk, if not to sing, her father
to sleep, and then tell his daughter all that I had been telling the
world, though the agency of the press. This, as of course you perceive,
was why I usually came there to have a talk on the evenings of his
foreign mail days, when it didn't take much to put him to sleep.

On the Christmas Eve, then, what I had to do was to condense and
abridge my "45 Dog Post Days" into the space of about the same number
of minutes; a longish business, rendering a sleep of no brief duration

I wish Messrs. the Editors and Reviewers, who find much to blame in
this proceeding of mine, could have just sat down, for once in their
lives, on the sofa beside my namesake Johanna Paulina; they would have
related to her most of my biographical histories in those cleverly
epitomised forms in which they communicate them in their magazines and
papers to audiences of a very different type. They would have been
beside themselves with rapture at the truth and felicity of her
remarks, at the natural, unaffected, simplicity and sincerity of her
manner, at the innocence of her heart, and at her lively sense of
humour, and they would have taken hold of her hand, and cried "let the
author treat us to comedies half as delicious as this one which is
sitting beside us now, and he is the man for us." Indeed, had these
gentlemen, the editors and reviewers, got to know a little more than
they do about the art of briefly extracting the pith and marrow of a
book, and had they been able to move Pauline just a little more than I
think such great critical functionaries could be expected to do; and
had they then seen, or more properly, nearly _lost_ sight of, that
gentle face of hers as it melted away in a dew of tears (because girls
and gold are the _softer_ and the more _impressionable_ the _purer_
they are), and had they, as of course they would have done, in the
heavenliness of their emotion, well-nigh clean forgotten themselves,
and the snoring father----

                           *   *   *   *   *

Good gracious! I have got into a tremendous state over it myself, and
shall keep the preface till to-morrow. It is clear that it must be gone
on with in a calmer mood.

                           *   *   *   *   *

I thought I might take it for granted that the master of the house
would have tired himself so much with letter-writing on the Christmas
Eve, that all that would be wanted to put him to sleep would be some
person who should hasten the process by talking in a long-winded and
tedious style. I considered myself to be that person. However, at
first, while supper was going on, I only introduced subjects which he
would understand. While he was plying his spoon and fork, and till
grace had been said, a sleep of any duration was more than could be
expected of him. Wherefore I entertained him with matter of interest
and amusement, such as my blind fellow-passenger (the fawn), one or two
stoppages of payment--my opinions on the French War, and the high
prices of everything--that Frederick Street, Berlin, was half a mile in
length--that there was great freedom, both of the press and of trade,
in that city. I also mentioned that in most parts of Germany which I
had visited, I had found that the beggar boys were the "revising
barristers" of and "lodgers of appeals" against the newspaper writers;
that is to say, that the newspaper makers bring to life, with their
ink, the people who are killed in battle, and are able to avail
themselves of these resurrected ones in the next "affaire;" whilst the
soldiers' children, on the other hand, like to kill their fathers and
then beg upon the lists of killed: they shoot their fathers dead for a
halfpenny each, and the newspaper evangelists bring them to life again
for a penny. And thus these two classes of the community are, in a
beautiful manner, by reciprocity of lying, the one the antidote to the
other. This is the reason why neither a newspaper writer, nor an
orthographer, can strictly adhere to Klopstock's orthographical rule,
only to _write_ what you _hear_.

When the cloth was off, I saw that it was time for me to set my foot to
work at the rocking of Captain Oehrmann's cradle. My 'Hesperus' is too
big a book. On other occasions I should have had time enough. On these
occasions all I had to do to get the great Dutch tulip to close its
petals in sleep was, to begin with wars and rumours of wars--then
introduce the Law of Nature, or rather the _Laws_ of Nature, seeing
that every fair and every war provides a fresh supply--from this point
I had but a short step to arrive at the most sublime axioms of moral
science, thus dipping the merchant before he knew where he was into the
deepest centre of the health-giving mineral well of truth. Or I lighted
up sundry new systems (of my own invention), held them under his nose,
attacked and refuted them, benumbing and narcotising him with the smoke
till he fell down senseless. Then came freedom! Then his daughter and I
would open the window to the stars and the flowers outside, while I
placed before the poor famished soul a rich supply of the loveliest
poetical honey-bearing blossoms. Such had been my process on previous
occasions. But this evening I took a shorter path. As soon as grace was
said, I got as near as I could to complete unintelligibility, and
proposed to the house of business of Oehrmann's soul (his body) the
following query: whether there were not more Kartesians than Newtonists
among the princes of Germany. "I do not mean as regards the animal
world," I continued slowly and tediously. "Kartesius, as we know, is of
opinion that the animals are insentient machines, and consequently,
man, the noblest of animals, would be improperly comprehended in this
dictum; what my meaning is, and what I want to know, is this--do not
the majority (of the princes of Germany) consider that the essentiality
of a realm consists in EXTENSION, as Kartesius holds that of matter to
do, only the minority of them holding, as Newton (a greater man) does
of matter, that its essentiality consists in SOLIDITY."

He terrified me by answering with the greatest liveliness, and as broad
awake as you please, "There are only two of them that can pay their
way--the Prince of Flachsenfingen and the Prince of----"

At this point his daughter placed a basket of clothes come from the
wash upon the table, and a little box of letters upon the basket, and
set to work printing her brothers' names at full length upon their
shirts. As she took out of the basket a tall white festival tiara for
her father, and took away from him the base Saturday cowl which he had
on, I was incited to become as obscure and as long-winded as the
night-cap and my own designs called upon me to be.

Now, as there is nothing about which he is so utterly indifferent as my
books, and polite literature in all its branches, I determined to
settle him, once for all, with this detested stuff. I succeeded in
pumping out what follows.

"I almost fear, Captain, that you must have rather wondered that I have
never enabled you to make acquaintance in anything like a very detailed
or explicit manner with my two latest _opuscula_, or little works; the
elder of the two is, curiously enough, called 'Dog Post Days,' and the
later 'Flower-pieces.' Perhaps, if I just give you a slight idea
to-night of the principal points of my forty-five Dog Post Days, and
then fetch up with the Flower-pieces this day week, I shall be doing a
little towards making amends for my negligence. Of course, it's my
fault alone, and nobody else's, if you find you don't quite know what
the first of the two may be _about_--whether you are to suppose it to
be a work on heraldry or on insects--or a dictionary of some particular
dialect--or an ancient codex--or a Lexicon Homericum--or a collection
of inaugural disputations--or a ready reckoner--or an epic poem--or a
volume of funeral sermons. It really _is_ nothing but an interesting
story, with threads of all the above subjects woven into it, however. I
should be very glad myself, Captain, if it were better than it is; and
particularly I wish it were written with that degree of lucidity that
one could half read it, and half compose it even, in his sleep. I do
not know, Captain, quite what your canons of criticism may be, and
hence I cannot say whether your taste is British or Greek. I must admit
that I shrewdly suspect that it is not much in the book's favour that
there are parts of it to be found--I hope not very many--in which there
are more meanings than one, of all kinds of metaphors and flowery
styles hashed up together, or an outside semblance of gravity with no
reality behind it, but only mere fun (you see Germans insist upon a
businesslike style), and (which I am most of all afraid is the case),
though the book is of some considerable extent, my attempts at
imitating the romances of chivalry so popular in the present day (which
so often _seem_ as if they really must have been written by the old
_artless_ knights themselves, fellows who were better at wielding the
heavy two-handed sword than the light goose quill)--that my attempts, I
say, at imitating these romances have scarcely been attended with that
amount of success at which I have aimed at attaining. Perhaps, too, I
might oftener have offended the modesty and the ears of the ladies, as
many men of the world have thought I might; for, indeed, books which do
not offend the ears of the great--but only those of the chaste--are not
considered the most objectionable."

I saw here, when too late, that I had struck on a subject which
enlivened him up prodigiously. I did, indeed, instantly make a jump to
a quite different topic, saying, "it is probably the safest way of all,
to have improper books deposited in _public_ libraries, where the
librarians are of the usual type, because the rudeness of their manners
and their disagreeable behaviour, does more to prevent these books from
being read than an edict of the censorship." But Jacobus would speak
out his thought, "Pauline, don't let me forget that the woman Stenzin
hasn't paid her fine yet."

It was uncommonly annoying that, just when I got sleep lured on to
within a step or two of him, the Captain should all of a sudden draw
his trigger and let off a thing calculated to blow all my sleeping
powder to the four winds of heaven. There is nobody more difficult to
weary than a person who wearies everybody else. I would rather
undertake to weary out a lady who happens to have nothing to do in five
minutes' time, than a man of business in as many hours.

Pauline, the darling, anxious to hear the stories which I had
accompanied in manuscript to Berlin, put slowly into my hand one by one
the following letters from her letterbox: "STORY"--i. e. she wanted to
be told the "Dog Post Days" that evening.

So I set to work again, and, with a sigh, began in this way: "The fact
is, Mr. Oehrmann, that your humble servant here will soon be setting
letters of this sort flying about in Berlin, by his new book, and my
'Post Days' may be printed on shirts quite as fine as those your sons'
names are being printed upon, if the people happen to have made their
paper from such. But, indeed, I must admit to you that as I was sitting
on the coach on my way to Berlin, with my right foot under my
manuscripts, and my left beneath a bale of petitions on their way to
the Prince of Scheerau, with the army, the only thing I had in the way
of a comforting thought was this very natural one, 'Devil make a better
of it all!' Only he's just the very last person to _do it_. For, good
heavens! in an age like this present age of ours, when the instruments
of universal world history are only _being tuned_ in the orchestra
before the concert begins, that is to say, are all grumbling and
squeaking together in confusion (which was why on one occasion the
tuning of the orchestra pleased a Morocco Ambassador at Vienna much
better than the opera itself)--in such an age, when it is so hard to
tell the coward from the brave man--him who lets everything go as it
pleases from him who strives to do something great and good--those who
are withering up from those who are flourishing and promising fruit,
just as in winter the fruit-bearing trees look much the same as the
dead ones--in such an age, there is only one consolation for an author,
one which I have not yet spoken of to-night, and it is this: that,
after all, though it be an age in which the nobler kinds of virtue,
love, and freedom, are the rarest of Ph[oe]nixes and birds of the sun,
he can manage to put up with it, and can go on drawing vivid pictures
and writing lively descriptions of all the birds in question, until
they wing their way to us in the body. Doubtless, when the originals of
the pictures _have_ fairly come and taken up their abode here on earth,
then will all our panegyrics of them be out of place, and loathsome to
the palate, and a mere threshing of empty straw. People who are
_incapable of business_ can work for the press."

"There's work, and there's work," the merchant, wide awake, struck in;
"it all depends---- Now TRADE keeps a man; but book-writing isn't much
better than spinning cotton, and spinning is next door to begging--not
meaning anything personal to yourself. But all the broken-down
book-keepers and bankrupt tradesmen take to the making of
books--arithmetic books, and so on."

The public sees what a poor opinion this shopkeeper-captain had of me,
because _my_ business was only the making of books, though in old days
I had been continually running in to him day and night, as notary
depute, for the protesting of bills. I know the sort of view many
people take of the _convenances_ of society; but I think anyone on
earth will consider that, after being treated in this style, I was to
be excused for going quite wild on the spot, and responding to the
fellow's impertinence, although he was no longer quite in his five
senses, in no less formidable a manner than by repeating, accurately
and without abridgment, my "extra leaflets" from my 'Hesperus.'

This, of course, was bound to put him to death--sleep, I mean.

And then thousands of propitious stars arose for the daughter and the
author--then commenced our feast of unleavened bread--then I could sit
down with her at the front window, and tell her all that which the
public has for some time had in its hands. Truly there can be nothing
sweeter than to some kind tender heart, hemmed in on all sides and
besieged by sermons--which cannot refresh itself at so much as a
birthday ball, were it only the superintendent's and his wife's, nor
with a novel, though its author be the family legal adviser: to such a
beleaguered famishing heart, I say, it is more delicious than virgin
honey to march up with a strong army of relief, and, taking hold of
some mesh in the nun's veil which is over the soul, tear it wider, let
her peep through and look out at the glimmer of some flowery eastern
land--to wile the tears of her dreams to her waking eyes--to lift her
beyond her own longings, and at a stroke set free the fond tender
heart, long heavy with yearning, and bound in bitter slavery--to set it
free, and to rock it softly up and down in the fresh spring breeze of
poesy, while the dewy warmth gives birth to flowers therein of fairer
growth than those of the country round.

I had just finished by one o'clock. I had taken only three hours to the
three volumes of my story, because I had torn out all the "extra
leaves." "If the father is the Buying-public, the daughter is the
Reading-public, and we must not plague her with anything that's not
purely historical," I said, and sacrificed my most precious
digressions, for which, moreover, such an enchanting neighbourhood is
not quite the proper soil.

Then the old man coughed, got up from his chair, asked what o'clock it
was, wished me good night, and opening the door saw me out (thereby
depriving me of a good one), and saw me no more till that night week,
on New Year's Eve.

My readers will remember that I had promised to come on that evening,
because I had to make a brief report to my client concerning my
"Flower-pieces"--this very book.

I assure the gentle reader that I shall report the events of the
evening exactly as they occurred.

I appeared again, then, on the last evening of the year 1794, on the
red waves of which so many bodies, bled to death, were borne away to
the Ocean of Eternity. My client received me with a coldness which I
attributed partly to that of the temperature outside (for both men and
wolves are most ferocious in hard frost), partly to the Vienna letters
which I had--NOT with me; and on the whole, I had but little to say to
the fellow on this occasion. As, besides, I was going to leave Scheerau
on the New Year's Day by the Thursday coach, and was very anxious to
lay before my dear Pauline some more _Paulina_, namely these sketches,
because I knew that whatever other wares she might find upon her
counter, these wouldn't be among them--I consider that no editor who
has any principles whatever can possibly get into a passion at my
_having_ duly appeared. Let any hot-headed person of the sort just
listen to the plan I had. I wanted first to give to this silent
soul-flower the FLOWER-PIECES, two dreams made of flowers put together
mosaic-fashion--next the Thorn-pieces,[6] from which I had to break
away the thorns, that is, the satires, so that nothing remained but a
mere curious story and lastly, the Fruit-piece was to be served up
last, as it is in the book itself, by way of dessert; and in this ripe
fruit (from which I had previously orally expressed all the chilling
ice-apple juice of philosophy, which the press has, however, left in) I
meant to appear at the end of the day, myself as Appleworm. This would
have led by easy steps to my departure or farewell; for I did not
know whether I should ever again see or hear of Pauline, this
flower-polypus, stretching out eyeless, palpitating, tentacula, from
mere INSTINCT towards the LIGHT. With the old decayed wood on which the
polyp was blooming I, of course, having no Vienna letters, had little
to do.

But near as it was to the time for wishing new year's wishes, the old
year was doomed to end with wishes unfulfilled.

Yet I have little to blame myself about; for, as soon as ever I came
in, I did my best to tire out the live East India House and put him to
sleep, and I continued to do so while he sat there. The only agreeable
remarks I made to him were, that when he had said some insulting things
about my successor, his present legal adviser, I extended them so as to
apply them to the legal profession in general, thus elevating the mere
pasquinade into the nobler satire: "I always picture lawyers and
clients as two strings of people with buckets or purses near a kind of
engine for quenching money thirst--the one row, the clients, always
passing away with their buckets, or purses, empty, and the other row
standing and handing each other buckets or purses full," said I.

I think it was not otherwise than on purpose, that I painted to him the
great Buying-public with lineaments much like his own--for he is a
small Buying-public, only a few feet long and broad. In fact, I made on
him an experiment to ascertain what the Buying-public itself would say
to the following ideas.

"The public of the present day, Captain, is gradually getting to be a
flourishing North India Company, and, it seems to me, it will soon
rival the Dutch, amongst whom butter and books are articles of _export_
trade only; the attic salt _they_ have a taste for, is that which
BENKELSZOON used for pickling fish with. Though they have provided
Erasmus, in consideration of _his_ salt (of a better quality), with a
statue (he never _ate_ salt, by the way), yet I think this was
excusable in them, when we remember that they first had one erected to
the fish-curer in question. Even CAMPE, who by no means classes the
inventors of the spinning-wheel and of Brunswick beer beneath the
constructors and brewers of epic poems, will coincide with me when I
say that the German is really being made something of at the present
day; that he is positively becoming a serious, solid, well-grounded
fellow--a tradesman, a man of business; a man getting past his youthful
follies, who knows _edible_ from _cogitable_ matter (when he sees it),
and can winnow out the latter from the former; who can distinguish the
printer from the publisher, and the bookseller (as the more important)
from both; he is becoming a speculative individual who, like the hens
who run from a harp string with fox-gut, can't bear the noise of
any poet's harp whatever, were it strung with the harper's own
heart-strings--and who will soon come to suffer no pictorial art to
exist, except upon bales of merchandise,[7] nor any printing except

Here I saw, to my amazement, that the merchant was asleep already, and
had shut the window-shutters of his senses. I was a good deal annoyed
that I had been standing in awe of him, as well as talking to him, all
this time unnecessarily; I had been playing the part of the Devil, and
he that of King Solomon, supposed by the evil one to be alive when he
was dead.[8]

Meantime, with the view of not waking him up by means of a sudden
change of key, I went on talking to him as if nothing had happened,
speaking to him all the time I was slipping away from him further and
further towards the window with an exceedingly gradual _diminuendo_ of
my tone, as follows:--"And of such a public as this, I quite expect
that a time will come when it will value shoe leather much above
altar-pieces,[9] and that, when the moral and philosophical credit of
any philosopher chances to be in question, its first inquiry of all
will be, 'is the fellow _solvent_?' And further, my beloved listener (I
continued in the same tone, so as not to run the risk of waking the
sleeper by any change in the _kind_ of sound), it is to be hoped and
expected that I shall now have an opportunity of going through, for
your entertainment, my Flower-pieces, which have not even been
committed to paper as yet, and which I can quite easily finish this
evening, if _he_ (father Jacobus) will have the goodness to sleep long

I commenced, accordingly, as follows:--

P.S. But it would be too utterly ridiculous altogether, if I were to
have the whole of the Flower and Thorn pieces, which are all in the
book itself, printed over again in the _preface_! At the end of book
the first, however, I shall give the continuation and conclusion of
this preface, and of the New Year's Eve, and shall then go on with the
second book, so that it may be ready for the Easter fair.

                                            JEAN PAUL FR. RICHTER.

HOF, _7th November_, 1796.



                            F. S. SIEBENKÆS,


                               *   *   *

                         A GENUINE THORN PIECE.

                                BOOK I.

                               CHAPTER I.


Siebenkæs, parish advocate[10] for the royal borough of Kuhschnappel,
had spent the whole of Monday at his attic-window watching for his wife
that was to be, who had been expected to arrive from Augspurg a little
before service-time, so as to get a sip of something warm before going
to church for the wedding.

The Schulrath of the place, happening to be returning from Augspurg,
had promised to bring the bride with him as return cargo, strapping her
wedding outfit on to his trunk behind.

She was an Augspurger by birth--only daughter of the deceased
Engelkraut, clerk of the Lutheran Council--and she lived in the
Fuggery, in a roomy mansion which was probably bigger than many
drawing-rooms are. She was by no means portionless, for she lived by
her own work, not on other people's, as penisoned court-ladies'-maids
do. She had all the newest fashions in bonnets and other headgear in
her hands earlier than the richest ladies of the neighbourhood, albeit
in such miniature editions that not even a duck could have got them on;
and she erected edifices for the female head at a few days' notice, on
a large scale, after these miniature sketches and small-scale plans of

All that Siebenkæs did during his long wait was to depose on oath (more
than once) that it was the devil who invented _seeking_, and his
grandmother who devised _waiting_. At length, while it was still pretty
early, came, not the bride, but a night post from Augspurg, with an
epistle from the Schulrath to say that he and the lady "could
not possibly arrive before Tuesday. She was still busy at her
wedding-clothes, and he in the libraries of the ex-Jesuits, and of
Privy Councillor Zopf, and (among the antiquities) at the city gates."

Siebenkæs's butterfly-proboscis, however, found plenty of open honey
cells in every blue thistle blossom of his fate; he could now, on this
idle Monday, make a final application of the arm file and agate
burnisher to his room, brush out the dust and the writing-sand with the
feather of a quill from his table, rout out the accumulations of bits
of paper and other rubbish from behind the mirror, wash, with
unspeakable labour, the white porcelain inkstand into a more dazzling
whiteness, and bring the butter-boat and the coffee-pot into a more
advanced and prominent position (drawing them up in rank and file on
the cupboard), and polish the brass nails on the grandfather's leather
arm-chair till they shone again. This new temple-purification of his
chamber he undertook merely by way of something to do; for a scholar
considers the mere _arranging_ of his books and papers to _be_ a
purification as of the temple, at least so maintained the parish
advocate, saying further, "orderliness is, properly defined, nothing
but a happy knack which people acquire of putting a thing for twenty
years in the _old_ place, let that place be where it will."

Not only was he tenant of a pleasant room, but also of a long red
dining-table, which he had hired and placed beside a commoner one; also
of some high-backed arm-chairs: moreover the landlords or proprietors
of the furniture and of the lodgings (who all lived in the house) had
all been invited by him to dinner on this his play Monday, which was an
excellent arrangement, inasmuch as--most of the people of the house
being working-men--their play Monday and his fell together; for it was
only the landlord who was anything superior, and he was a wig-maker.

I should have had cause to feel ashamed of myself had I gone and used
my precious historical colours in portraying a mere advocate of the
poor (a fit candidate for his _own_ services in that capacity). But I
have had access to the documents and accounts relating to my hero's
guardianship during his minority, and from these I can prove, at any
hour, in a court of justice, that he was a man worth at least 1200
Rhenish guldens (_i.e_. 100_l_.), to say nothing of the interest. Only,
unfortunately, the study of the ancients, added to his own natural turn
of mind, had endowed him with an invincible contempt for money, that
metallic mainspring of the machinery of our human existence, that dial
plate on which our value is read off, although people of sense,
tradespeople for example, have quite as high an opinion of the man who
acquires, as of him who gets rid of it; just as a person who is
electrified gets a shining glory round his head whether the fluid be
passing into or out of him. Indeed, Siebenkæs even said (and on one
occasion he did it) that we ought sometimes to put on the beggar's
scrip in jest, simply to accustom the back to it against more serious
times. And he considered that he justified (as well as complimented)
himself in going on to say, "It is easier to bear poverty like
Epictetus than to choose it like Antoninus; in the same way that it is
easier for a slave to stick out his own leg to be cut off, than for a
man who wields a sceptre a yard long to leave the legs of his slaves
alone." Wherefore he made shift to live for ten years in foreign parts,
and for half a year in the imperial burgh, without asking his guardian
for a single halfpenny of the interest of his capital. But as it was
his idea to introduce his orphan, moneyless bride as mistress and
overseer into a silver mine all ready opened and timbered for her
reception (for such he considered his 100_l_. with the accumulated
interest to be), it had pleased him to give her to understand, while he
was in Augspurg, that he had nothing but his bare bread, and that what
little he _could_ scrape together by the sweat of his brow, went from
hand to mouth, though he worked as hard as any man, and cared little
about the Upper House of Parliament or the Lower. "I'll be handed," he
had long ago said, "if I ever marry a woman who knows how much I have a
year. As it is, women often look upon a husband as a species of demon,
to whom they sign away their souls--often their child--that the evil
one may give them money and eatables."

This longest of summer days and Mondays was followed by the longest of
winter nights (which is impossible only in an astronomical sense).
Early next morning, the Schulrath Stiefel drove up, and lifted out of
the carriage (fine manners have twice their charm when they adorn a
scholar) a bonnet-block instead of the bride, and ordered the rest of
her belongings, which consisted of a white tinned box, to be unloaded,
while he, with her head under his arm, ran upstairs to the advocate.

"Your worthy intended," he said, "is coming directly. She is getting
ready at this moment, in a farm cottage, for the sacred rite, and
begged me to come on before, lest you should be impatient. A true
woman, in Solomon's sense of the term, and I congratulate you most

"The Heir Advocate Siebenkæs, my pretty lady?--I can conduct you to him
myself. He lodges with me, and I will wait upon you this moment," said
the wig-maker, down at the door, and offered his hand to lead her up:
but, as she caught sight of her second bonnet-block, still sitting in
the carriage, she took it on her left arm as if it had been a baby (the
hairdresser in vain attempting to get hold of it), and followed him
with a hesitating step into the advocate's room. She held out her right
hand only, with a deep curtsey and gentle greeting, to her bridegroom,
and on her full round face (everything in it was round, brow, eyes,
mouth, and chin) the roses far out-bloomed the lilies, and were all the
prettier to look upon as seen below the large black silk bonnet; while
the snow-white muslin dress, the many-tinted nosegay of artificial
flowers, and the white points of her shoes, added charm upon charm to
her timid figure. She at once untied her bonnet--there being barely
time to get one's hair done and be married--and laid her garland, which
she had hidden at the farm that the people might not see it, down upon
the table, that her head might be properly put to rights, and powdered
for the ceremony (as a person's of quality ought to be) by the
landlord, thus conveniently at hand.

Thou dear Lenette! A bride is, it is true, during many days, for
everyone whom she's not going to many, a poor meagre piece of
shewbread--and especially is she so to me. But I except one hour,
namely, that on the morning of the wedding-day, when the girl, whose
life has been all freedom hitherto, trembling in her wedding dress,
overgrown (like an ivied tree) with flowers and feathers, which, with
others like them, fate is soon to pluck away--and with anxious pious
eyes overflowing on her mother's heart for the last and loveliest time;
this hour, I say, moves me, in which, standing all adorned on the
scaffold of joy, she celebrates so many partings, and one single
meeting: when the mother turns away from her and goes back to her other
children, leaving her, all fainthearted, to a stranger. "Thou heart,
beating high with happiness," I think then, "not always wilt thou throb
thus throughout the sultry years of wedded life; often wilt thou pour
out thine own blood, the better to pass along the path to age, as the
chamois hunter keeps his foot from sliding by the blood from his own
heel." And then I would fain go out to the gazing, envious virgins by
the wayside leading to the church, and say to them, "Do not so begrudge
the poor girl the happiness of a, perhaps fleeting, illusion. Ah, what
you and she are looking at to-day is the strife- and beauty-apple of
marriage hanging only on the sunny side of love, all red and soft; no
one sees the green sour side of the apple hidden in the shade. And if
ye have ever been grieved to the soul for some luckless wife who has
chanced, ten years after her wedding, to come upon her old bridal
dress, in a drawer, while tears for all the sweet illusions she has
lost in these ten years rise in a moment to her eyes, are you so sure
it will be otherwise with this envied one who passes before you all joy
and brightness now?"

I should not, however, have performed this unexpected modulation into
the "remote key" of tenderheartedness, had it not been that I managed
to form to myself a picture so irresistibly vivid of Lenette's myrtle
wreath, beneath her hat (I really had not the slightest intention to
touch on the subject of my own personal feelings), and her being all
alone without a mother, and her powdery white-flower face, and (more
vivid still) of the ready willingness with which she put her young
delicate arms (she was scarcely past nineteen) into the polished
handcuffs and chain-rings of matrimony, without so much as looking
round her to see which way she was going to be led by them----

I could here hold up my hand and take oath that the bridegroom was
quite as much moved as myself, if not more so; at all events, when he
gently wiped the Auricula dust from the blossom-face, so that the
flowers there were seen to bloom unobscured. But he had to be careful
how he carried about that heart of his--so full to the brim of the
potion of love, and tears of gladness--lest it should run over in the
presence of the jovial hairdresser and the serious Schulrath, to his
shame. Effusion was a thing he never permitted himself. All strong
feeling, even of the purest, he hid away, and hardened over: he always
thought of poets and actors, who let on the waterworks of their
emotions to play for show; and there was no one, on the whole, at whom
he bantered so much as at himself. For these reasons, his face to-day
was drawn and crinkled by a queer, laughing, embarrassment, and only
his eyes, where the moisture gleamed, told of the better side of this
condition. As he noticed presently that he wasn't masking himself
sufficiently by merely playing the part of barber's mate, and
commissary of provisions (of the breakfast), he adopted stronger
measures, and began to exhibit himself and his movable property in as
favourable a light as possible to Lenette, inquiring of her whether she
didn't think her room "nicely situated," and saying, "I can see into
the senate house window, on to the great table, and all the ink
bottles. Several of these chairs I got last spring at a third of their
value, and very handsome they are, don't you think so? My good old
grandfather's chair here, though" (he had sat down in it, and laid his
lean arms on the chair's stuffed ones), "does, I think, take the
precedence in the grandfather dance:[11] 'how they so softly rest,' arm
upon arm! The flowers upon my table-cloth are rather cleverly done, but
the coffee-tray is considered the better work of the two, I am given to
understand, on account of its flora being japanned; however, they both
do their best in the flower line. My Leyser with his pigskin
'Meditations' is a great ornament to the room: the kitchen, though,
is the place--better still than this room; there are pots, all
ranged side by side--and all sorts of things--the hare-skinner and the
hare-spit--my father used to shoot the hares for these."

The bride smiled on him so contentedly that I must almost believe she
had heard the greater part of the story of the 100_l_. (with interest)
in her Fuggery through twenty united ear- and speaking-trumpets. I
shall be the more inclined to believe this if the public should happen
to be looking forward eagerly to the hour when he is to hand it over to

It may not be otherwise than agreeable to my fair readers to be
informed that the bridegroom now put on a liver-coloured dress coat,
and that he walked to the church with his dress-maker without any dress
cravat, and with no queue in his hair, picturing as he went, to his own
satirical delight, the slanderous glances with which the fair
Kuhschnappelers were following the good stranger girl across the market
to the sacrificial altar of her maiden name. He had said on a previous
occasion, "We ought rather to facilitate than obstruct backbiting, to a
moderate extent, in a married woman, as some slight compensation for
lost flatteries."

The Schulrath Stiefel remained in the bridal chamber, where he sketched
the outlines of a critique on a school-programme at the writing-table.

I see before me, as I write, the lovers kneeling at the altar steps;
and I should like to cast wishes at them (as flowers are thrown),
especially a wish that they may be like the married in Heaven, who,
according to Swedenborg's vision, always merge into one angel--although
on earth, too, they are often fused, by warmth, into one angel, and
that a fallen one--the husband (who is the head of the wife)
representing the butting head of this evil one; this wish, I say, I
would fain cast at them; but my attention, in common with that of all
the wedding company is riveted by an extraordinary circumstance and
puzzling apparition behind the music desks of the choir.

For there appears there, looking down at us--and we all looking up at
it--Siebenkæs's _spirit_, as the popular expression has it, _i.e_. his
body, as it _ought_ to be called. If the bridegroom should look up he
might turn pale, and think he saw himself. We are all wrong; he only
turns red. It was his friend Leibgeber who was standing there, having
many years ago vowed to travel any distance to his marriage, solely
that he might laugh at him for twelve hours' time.

There has seldom been a case of a royal alliance between two peculiar
natures like that between these two. The same contempt for the childish
nonsense held in this life to be noble matter, the same enmity to all
pettiness and perfect indulgence to the little, the same indignation
with dishonourable selfishness, the same delight in laughing in this
lovely madhouse of an earth, the same deafness to the voice of the
multitude, but not to that of honour; these are but some of the first
at hand of the similarities which made of these two but one soul doing
duty in two bodies. And the fact that they were also foster-brothers in
their studies, having for nurses the same branches of knowledge,
including the Law herself, I do not reckon among their chief
resemblances; for it is often the case that the very identity of study
becomes a dissolving decomponent of friendship. Indeed, it was not even
the dissimilarity of their opposite poles which determined their mutual
attraction for each other (Siebenkæs leant towards forgiving, Leibgeber
towards punishing; the former was more a satire of Horace, the latter a
street ballad of Aristophanes with unpoetic as well as poetic
harshnesses). But, as two female friends are fond of being dressed
alike, these two men's souls had put on just the same frock-coat and
morning costume of life; I mean, two bodies of identical fashion,
colour, button-holes, finishings, and cut. Both had the same flash of
the eyes, the same earthy coloured face, the same tallness, leanness,
and everything. And indeed, the Nature freak of counterpart faces is
commoner than we suppose, because we only notice it when some prince or
great person casts a corporeal reflection.

For which reason I very much wish that Leibgeber had not had a slight
limp, so that he might not have been thereby distinguishable from
Siebenkæs, seeing, at least, that the latter had cleverly etched and
dissolved away his own peculiar mark by causing a live toad to breathe
its last above it. For there had been a pyramidal mole near his left
ear, in the shape of a triangle, or of the zodiacal light, or a
turned-up comet's tail, of an ass's ear in short. Partly from
friendship, partly from the enjoyment they had in the scenes of
absurdity which their being confounded with each other gave rise to in
every-day life, they wished to carry the algebraic equation which
existed between them yet a step further, by adopting the same Christian
and surname. But on this point they had a friendly contest, as each
wanted to be the other's namesake, till at length they settled the
difference by _exchanging_ names, thus following the example of the
natives of Otaheite, among whom the lovers exchange names as well as

As it is now several years since my hero was thus lightened of his
worthy name by this friendly name-stealer receiving the other worthy
name in exchange, I can't do anything to alter this in my chapters. I
must go on calling him Firmian Stanislaus Siebenkæs as I did at the
beginning, and the other Leibgeber; although it is quite unnecessary
for any reviewer to point out to me that the more comic name of
Siebenkæs would have been better suited to this more humoristic
newcomer, with whom, however, the world shall yet be better acquainted
than I am myself.

When these two counterparts caught sight of one another in the church,
their blushing faces crinkled and curled oddly, at which the looker-on
laughed, until he compared the faces with the eyes, which glowed warm
with the deepest affection. While the wedding-rings were being
exchanged, Leibgeber in the choir took from his pocket a pair of
scissors and a quarto sheet of black paper, and cut out a distant view
of the bride's profile. This cutting out of likenesses he generally
gave out as being his cookshop and bakery upon his perpetual
journeyings; and as it appears that this strange man does not choose to
disclose upon what eminences the waters gather which well up for him
down in the valleys, I am glad to quote (and express my own belief in)
a frequent saying of his regarding his profile cutting--"In the process
of clipping, slices of bread, we know, fall with the cuttings for the
bookbinder, the letter-writer, and the lawyer, when the paper is white;
but in clipping _black_ paper, whether profiles or white mourning
letters with black borders, there fall many more: and if a man is
versed in the liberal art of painting his fellow Christian blacker than
he is--with more members than one--the tongue for instance can do it to
some extent--then Fortune, the Babylonish harlot, will ring that man's
bells (his dinner bell, and his little altar bell), till her arm is
half crippled."

While the deacon was laying his hands on the pair, Leibgeber came down
and stood at the red velvet steps of the altar. And when the ceremony
was over he made, on the occasion of a meeting such as this, after a
separation of some half-a-year or so, the following somewhat lengthy

"Good morning, Siebenkæs."

They never said more to each other, though years might have elapsed;
and at the resurrection of the dead, Siebenkæs will answer him, just as
he did to-day,--

"Good morning, Leibgeber."

The twelve hours of banter, however, which friends often find it an
easy matter to threaten each other with in absence, are an
impossibility to the tender heart, keenly enough alive though it may be
to the humorous sides of matters, when it is moved (as in this case) at
the sight of the friend passing into the vestibule of some new
labyrinth of our subterranean existence.

I have now before my writing-desk the long wedding-table set out; and I
am sorry that no painting of it occurs on any of the vases buried at
Herculaneum, as it would have been dug out with the rest, and an exact
copy of it given in the Herculanean illustrations, so that I could have
inserted the copy in place of anything else. Few have a higher opinion
of the powers of my pen than I have myself; but I see quite well that
it is neither in my power nor in my pen's to _half_ portray, and that
in a feeble style, how the guests--there were almost as many there as
there were chairs--enjoyed themselves at the dinner; how, moreover,
there was not one single rogue among them (for the bridegroom's
guardian, Heimlicher von Blaise, had sent an excuse, saying he was very
sick indeed); how the landlord of the house, a jovial, consumptive
Saxon, did something towards expediting his departure from this life by
his powdering and his drinking; how they banged the glasses with the
forks, and the table with the marrowbones, that the former might be
filled and the latter emptied; how in all the house not a soul, not
even the shoemaker or the bookbinder, did a stroke of any other work
but eating, and how even the old woman Sabel (Sabine) who squatted
under the mouse-coloured town gate, shut up her stall on this one day
before the closing of the gate; how not only was there _one_ course
served up, but a second, a "Doppelgänger." To anyone, indeed, who has
dined at great men's tables, and there remarked how fine dishes, if
there are two courses, have got to be marshalled according to the laws
of rank, it will not appear unheard of or over splendid that Siebenkæs
(the hairdresser's wife had done the cooking on this occasion) provided
for the first course.

1. In the centre the soup-tub, or broth fishpond, wherein people could
enjoy the sport of crayfish-catching with their spoons, although the
crayfish, like the beavers, had in this water no more than Robespierre
had in the convent--that is to say, merely the tail.

2. In the first quarter of the globe a beautiful beef torso, or cube of
meat, as pedestal of the entire culinary work of art.

3. In the second, a fricassée, being a complete pattern-card of the
butcher's shop, _sweetly_ treated.

4. In the third, a Behemoth of pond-carps, which might have swallowed
the prophet Jonah, but which underwent his fate itself.

5. In the fourth, a baked hen-house of a pie, to which the birds had
sent their best members, as a community does to parliament.

I cannot deny myself and my fair readers the pleasure of just slightly
sketching for them a little "cookery-piece" of the second course.

1. In the middle stood, as a basket of garden-flowers might, a pile of
cress-salad. 2. Then the four corners were occupied by the four
syllogistic figures, or the four faculties. In the first corner of the
table was, as first syllogistic figure and faculty, a hare, who, as
antipode of a barefooted friar, had kept on his natural fur boots in
the pan, and who, as Leibgeber justly remarked, had come from the field
with his legs safe and sound in spite of the enemy's fire, more
fortunate, in this respect, than many a soldier. The second syllogistic
figure consisted of a calf's tongue, which was black, not from arguing,
but from being smoked. The third, crisped colewort, but without the
stalks: this, ordinarily the food of the two preceding faculties, was
on this occasion eaten along with them; thus is it that in this world
one goes up and another down. The concluding figure was made up of the
three figures of the bridal pair and an eventual baby baked in butter;
these three glorified bodies, which, like "the three children," had
come forth unscathed from the fiery furnace, and had raisins for souls,
were eaten up bodily, skin and bones, by those cannibals the guests,
with the exception of an arm or so of the infant, which, like the bird
Ph[oe]nix, was personified ere it existed.

This picture draws me on. But it ought to be coloured, and as regards
the luxury of the feast, it would not be passing it over too lightly
were I to compare it to a Saxon electoral banquet, by reference to
which I might illustrate it. It is true, the electors of that country
require a good deal (and on that account they used to be weighed every
year); and I am quite aware that at the beginning of the 16th century,
a Saxon treasurer made the following entry in his accounts:--"This day
was our gracious sovereign at the wine, with his court, for which I
have had to disburse the sum of fifteen gulden (25_s_.). That's what I
_call_ banquetting!" But what would the Saxon treasurer have written?
how he would have lifted his hands up with amazement if he had read in
my very first chapter that a poor's advocate had gone and spent three
gulden and seven groschen more than his royal master!

As is the case with many natural springs, the fountains of mirth, which
welled but slowly in the daytime, jetted up higher in the hearts of the
guests as the evening came on. The two advocates indeed told the
company that, as they remembered from their college days, though the
privilege formerly possessed by every German of drinking his fill had
been but too much curtailed by emperors and parliaments, and the
imperial decrees of 1512, 1531, 1548, and 1577 permitted no
drunkenness, yet they did not prohibit Kuhschnappel from exercising the
right common to all imperial states, of abrogating imperial statutes in
cases where local laws exist within their own boundaries. The Schulrath
alone could not quite see (and he shook his head about it internally to
himself twenty times) how two scholars, two lawyers at all events,
could go on gravely joking with a set of such unlearned plebeians and
empty heads as were here supported upon elbows;--joking with them, and
actually conversing about the utter rubbish which they talked. More
than once he spliced on threads of scholarly speech, concerning the
newest, most highly elaborated school addresses, as well as sundry
critiques on the same, but the advocates would have nothing to do with
his threads, but made the bookbinder speak the apprentice speech he
made at his admission to the rank of master, to which the shoemaker, of
his own motion, stitched and cobbled on one which _he_ had made on a
similar occasion.

Siebenkæs remarked to the company in general that in the upper circles
of society people are much graver, and more tedious, and empty than in
the lower; that in the former, if any party happens to come to an end
without accursed tedium, people talk of it for a whole week, whereas in
the latter everyone contributes so much to the merry picnic of
conversation that the only thing there generally is not enough of, is
beer. "Oh!" he went on, "if everyone of our condition would but think
of it, he would but envy those of a lower; how accurately, in a
figurative sense too, does that old truth hold good, that coarse linen
keeps one much warmer than fine linen, or even silk, just as a wooden
house is easier warmed than a stone one--and the stone one again
doesn't get cool so soon as the wooden in summer--or as coarse brown
flour is much more nourishing than the fine white, as all the doctors
tell us. And I cannot bring myself to believe that ladies in Paris who
wear diamond hairpins, lead half such happy lives as the women there
who get their living by picking up old hairpins out of the street
sweepings; and many a one whose fuel is nothing but dry fir-cones,
gathered by himself as a substitute for fir-fuel" (here the fuel
economising company thought vividly of their own case), "is often quite
as well off on the whole as people who can preserve green cones in
sugar and eat them."

"Friend Parish Advocate," said Leibgeber, "there you hit it! In the
tap-room and the bar-parlour the worst is at the beginning, the blow,
the kick, the angry word come first of all; the pleasure swells with
the reckoning. The reverse is the case in the palace; in a 'palais' for
the 'palais' everybody's enjoyment goes into his mouth at the same
instant; just as the little Aphides on the leaves all lift up their
tail-ends, and squirt out the honey at the same moment,[12] in the
palace it is absorbed with like simultaneousness and sociability.
Tediousness, again, annoyance and satiety, are only mixed up
ingeniously among the various pleasures which are served up and
administered in the course of a great entertainment, just as we give a
dog an emetic by rubbing him all over with it, so that he may bring it
to operate by licking it slowly off."

And other similar sayings were spoken. When once any pleasure has
reached a considerable height, its natural tendency is to become
greater. Many of the lower class members of the sitting exercised the
privilege of drink, and of the special inquisition, to say "Thou" to
one another. Even the gentleman in the red plush coat (the Schulrath
was given to wear one in the dog-day holidays) screwed up his lips, and
smiled in a seductive manner, as elderly maiden ladies do in the
presence of elderly single gentlemen, and gave hints that he had got at
home a couple of real Horatian bottles of champagne. "Not sparkling
then, I'm sure?" Leibgeber answered inquiringly. The Schulrath, who
thought the best kind of champagne exactly the worst, replied with some
self-consciousness, "If it isn't sparkling, well and good, I swear I'll
drink every drop of it myself." The bottles appeared. Leibgeber, taking
the first one, carefully filed through its barrier chain, removed the
cork and opened it as if it had been a last will and testament.

What I maintain is, that, even should the two balsam-trees of life,
namely wit and the love of our fellow men, be withered away up to the
very topmost twig, they can still be brought to life by a proper shower
out of the watering pot of these said bottles--in three minutes they
will begin to sprout. As the glad, wild essence, the wine of the silver
foam, touched the heads of the guests, every brain began to seethe and
glow while fair air-castles rose in each amain. Brilliant and many
tinted were the floating bubbles blown and set free by the Schulrath
Stiefel's ideas of all categories, his simple as well as his compound
ideas, his innate ideas, and also his fixed. And can it ever be
forgotten that he ceased to make learned statements, except on the
subject of Lenette's perfections, and that he told Leibgeber in
confidence, that he should really like to marry, not indeed, "the tenth
Muse, or the fourth Grace, or the second Venus--for it was clear who
had got _her_ already but some step-sister goddess, a distant relation
or other of hers." During the whole journey, he said, he had preached
from the coachbox, as from a pulpit, enlarging to the bride on the
subject of the blessedness of the married state, painting it to her in
the brightest colours, and drawing such a lively picture of it, that he
quite longed to enter into it himself: and the bridegroom would have
thanked him if he had seen how gratefully she had looked at him in
return. And, indeed, the bride was a great success, and happy in all
she did that day, and particularly that evening; and what became her
best of all was that on such a high day as this, she waited upon others
more than she let herself be waited upon--that she put on a light
every-day dress--that even at this advanced stage of her own education
she took private lessons in cookery and household matters from her
female guests, who aired their own theories on these subjects--and that
she already began to think about to-morrow. Stiefel, in his inspired
state, ventured upon exploits which were all but impossible. He placed
his left arm under his right, and thus supporting its weight and that
of its plush sleeve, in a horizontal position, snuffed the candle
before the whole company, and did it rather skilfully on the whole;
somewhat like a gardener on a ladder holding out his pruning shears at
arm's length to a high branch and snipping off the whole concern by a
slight movement of his hand at the bottom. He asked Leibgeber plump out
to give him a profile of Lenette, and later on, when he was going away,
he even made an attempt (but this was the only one of his ventures
which failed) to get hold of her hand and kiss it.

At length all the joy-fires of this happy little company burnt down
like their candles, and one by one the rivers of Eden fell away into
the night. The guests and the candles got fewer and fewer; at last
there was only one guest there, Stiefel (for Leibgeber is not a guest),
and one long candle. It is a lovely and touching time when the loud
clamour of a merry company has finally buzzed itself away into silence,
and just one or two, left alone, sit quietly, often sadly, listening to
the faint echoes, as it were, of all the joy. Finally, the Schulrath
struck the last remaining tent of this camp of enjoyment, and departed;
but he would not for a moment suffer that those fingers, which, in
spite of all their efforts, his lips could not touch, should be clasped
about a cold brass candlestick, for the purpose of lighting him
downstairs. So Leibgeber had to do this lighting. The husband and wife,
for the first time, were alone in the darkness, hand in hand.

Oh, hour of beauty! when in every cloud there stood a smiling angel,
dropping flowers instead of rain, may some faint reflection from thee
reach even to this page of mine, and shine on there for ever.

The bridegroom had never yet kissed his bride. He knew, or fancied,
that his face was a clever one, with sharp lines and angles, expressing
energetic, active effort; not a smooth, regular, "handsome" one: and
as, moreover, he always laughed at himself and his own appearance, he
supposed it would strike other persons in the same light. Hence it was
that, although as an every-day matter he rose superior to the eyes and
tongues of a whole street (not even taking the pains mentally to snap
his fingers at them), he never, except in extraordinary moments of
dithyrambics of friendship, had mustered up the courage to kiss his
Leibgeber--let alone Lenette. And now he pressed her hand more closely,
and in a dauntless manner turned his face to hers (for, you see, they
were in the dark, and he couldn't see her); and he wished the staircase
had as many steps as the cathedral tower, so that Leibgeber might be a
long time coming back with the candle. Of a sudden there _danced_ (so
to speak) over his lips a gliding, tremulous kiss, and--then all the
flames of his affection blazed on high, the ashes blown clean away. For
Lenette, innocent as a child, believed it to be the bride's duty to
give this kiss. He put his arms about the frightened giver with the
courage of bashfulness, and glowed upon her lips with his with all the
fire wherewith love, wine and joy had endowed him; but--so strange is
her sex--she turned away her mouth, and let the burning lips touch her
cheek. And there the modest bridegroom contented himself with one long
kiss, giving expression to his rapture only in tears of unutterable
sweetness which fell like glowing naphtha-drops upon Lenette's cheeks,
and thence into her trembling heart. She leant her face further away;
but in her beautiful wonder at his love, she drew him closer to her.

He left her before his darling friend came back. The tell-tale
powder-snow which had fallen on the bridegroom--that butterfly-dust
which the very slightest touch of these white butterflies leaves upon
our fingers (and hence it was a good idea of Pitt's to put a tax on
powder in 1795)--told some of the story, but the eyes of the friend and
the bride, gleaming in happy tears, told him it all. The two friends
looked for some time at each other with embarrassed smiles, and Lenette
looked at the ground. Leibgeber said, "Hem! Hem!" twice over, and at
length, in his perplexity, remarked, "We've had a delightful evening!"
He took up a position behind the bridegroom's chair, to be out of
sight, and laid his hand on his shoulder, and squeezed it right
heartily; but the happy Siebenkæs could restrain himself no longer; he
stood up, resigned the bride's hand, and the two friends, at last,
after the long yearning of the long day, as if celebrating the moment
of their meeting, stood silently embracing, united by angels, with
Heaven all around them. His heart beating higher, the bridegroom would
fain have widened and completed this circle of union, by joining his
bride and his friend in one embrace; but the bride and the friend took
each one side of him, each embracing only him. Then three pure heavens
opened in glory in three pure hearts; and nothing was there but God,
love, and happiness, and the little earthly tear which hangs on all our
joy-flowers, here below.

In this their great joy and bliss, overborne by unwonted emotion, and
feeling almost strange to each other, they had scarce the courage to
look into each other's tearful eyes; and Leibgeber went away in
silence, without a word of parting or good night.

                              CHAPTER II.


There is many a life which is as pleasant to live as to write, and the
material of this one, in particular, which I am engaged in writing, is
as yet always giving out, like rosewood on the turning lathe, a truly
delicious perfume, all over my workshop. Siebenkæs duly arose on the
Wednesday, but not till the Sunday was it his intention to deposit in
the hands of his diligent house goddess--who put a cap on to her
cap-block in the morning before she put one on to herself--the silver
ingots from his guardian's coffer (wrapped in blotting paper), her
palisades of refuge in the siege of this life; for in fact he couldn't
do so any sooner, because his guardian had gone into the country, that
is to say, out of town, till the Saturday night. "I can give you no
notion, old Leibgeber," said Siebenkæs, "what a joy I feel in looking
forward to how this will delight my wife. I'm sure, to give her
pleasure, I could wish it were three thousand dollars. The dear child
has always hitherto had to live from bonnet to bonnet, but how she
_will_ consider herself a woman set up on a sudden fur life, when she
finds she can carry out a hundred housekeeping projects, which, I see
as well as possible, she has got in her head already. And then, old
boy, with the money in our hands, we shall begin the keeping of my
silver wedding directly, the moment the evening service is over--there
shall be a good half-florin's worth of beer in every room in the house.
Look here! why shouldn't the dove, or call him the sparrow, of _my_
hymen play out beer on the people as the two-headed eagle in Frankfort
does wine at a coronation?" Leibgeber answered, "The reason he can't
is, that the prey he catches is of quite another brand. The sour wine
(of the Frankfort eagle) is but the grapeskins--the feathers, the wool,
and the hair which eagles always eject."

It would be of no use whatever--because hundreds of Kuhschnappelers
would correct my statement in their local paper, the 'Imperial
News'--if I were to tell a falsehood here (which I should like very
much to do), and assert that the two advocates spent the short week of
their being together with that gravity and propriety which, becoming as
they are to mankind in general, do yet more particularly secure to
scholars and to the learned the respect and consideration of commoner
minds, to say nothing of the Kuhschnappelian intelligences.

Unfortunately I have got to sing to another tune. In the town of
Kuhschnappel, as in all other towns, provincial, or metropolitan, what
Leibgeber was least of all conspicuous for was a proper gravity of
deportment and behaviour. Here, as elsewhere, his first proceeding was
to get an introduction to the club, as a stranger artist, in order that
he might ensconce himself on a sofa, and, without uttering a word or a
syllable to a human being, go to sleep under the noses of the company
of the "Relaxation" as the club was called. "This," he said, "was what
he liked to have the opportunity of doing in all towns where there were
clubs, casinos, museums, musical societies, &c.; because to sleep in
any rational manner at night in one's ordinary quiet bed was a thing
which _he_, at least, found he was seldom able to manage, on account of
the loud battle of ideas which went on in his head, and the firework
trains of processions of pictures all interweaving and whirling in
and out with such a crash and a din that one could hardly see or hear
one's self. Whereas when one lies down upon a club sofa, everything of
this sort quiets itself down, and a universal truce of ideas
establishes itself; the delicious effect of the company all talking at
once--the happily chosen and appropriate words contributed to the
political-and-other-conversation-picnic, of which one distinguishes
nothing but an _ultima_, perhaps, or sometimes only an _antepenultima_;
this alone sings you into a light slumber. But when a more serious
discussion arises, and some point is argued, disputed and discussed in
all its bearings in a universal clamorous shout--your barometer becomes
completely stationary, and you sleep the deep sleep of a flower which
is rocked, but not awakened, by the storm."

One or two towns with which I am acquainted must, I am sure, remember a
stranger who always used to go to sleep in their clubs, and must also
recollect the beaming expression of countenance with which he would
look about him when he got up and took his hat, as much as to say,
"Many thanks for this refreshing rest."

However, I have little to do with Leibgeber's waking or with his
sleeping here in Kuhschnappel; him I may treat with some indulgence,
seeing that he is soon to be off again into the wide world. But it is
anything but a matter of indifference that my young hero, just
established here with his wife, and whose pranks I have undertaken to
give some account of, as well as of the hits he gets in return, should
go and conduct himself just as if his name was Leibgeber; which had
long ceased to be the case, seeing that he had given formal notice to
his guardian that he had changed it to Siebenkæs.

To mention but one prank--was it not a piece of true tomfoolery that,
when the procession of poor scholars, singing for alms about the
streets, were just beginning their usual begging hymn under the windows
of the best religious families on the opposite side of the street, and
just as they had struck their key-note and were going to start off with
their chorus, Leibgeber, to begin with, made his boar-hound "Saufinder"
(he couldn't live without a big dog) look out of window with a
fashionable lady's night-cap on his head? And was it by any means a
soberer proceeding on Siebenkæs's part, that he took lemons and bit
into them before the eyes of the whole singing class, so that all their
teeth begun to water in an instant? The result will answer these
questions for itself. The singers, having Saufinder in his night-cap in
full view, could no more bring their lips together into a singing
position than a man can whistle and laugh at the same instant. At the
same time all their vocal apparatus being completely submerged by the
opening of their glands, every note they attempted to give out had to
wade painfully through water. In short, was this entire ludicrous
interruption of the whole company of street singers not the precise end
aimed at by both the advocates?

But Siebenkæs has only recently come back from college, and being still
half-full of the freedom of university life, may be excused a liberty
or two. And indeed I consider the little exuberances of university
youth to be like the adipose matter, which, according to Reaumur,
Bonnet, and Cuvier, is stored up by the caterpillar for the nourishment
of the future butterfly during its chrysalis state; the liberty of
manhood has to be alimented by that of youth, and if a son of the muse
has not room given him to develop in full freedom, he will never
develop into anything but some office-holder creeping along on all

Meanwhile the two friends spent the following days--not wholly in a
disorderly manner--in the writing of marriage cards. With these, on
which of course there was nothing but the words, "Mr. Firmian
Stanislaus Siebenkæs, Poor's Advocate, and his wife, _née_ Engelkraut;
with compliments."--with these papers, and with the lady, they were
both to drive about the town on the Saturday, and Leibgeber had to get
down at all the respectable houses and hand in a card, which is by no
means otherwise than a laudable and befitting custom in towns where
people observe the usages of good society. But the two brethren,
Siebenkæs and Leibgeber, appeared to follow these usages of imperial
and rural towns more from satirical motives than anything else,
conforming to them pretty minutely, it is true, but clearly chiefly for
the fun of the thing, each of them playing the part of first low
comedian and of audience at the same time. It would be an insult to the
borough of Kuhschnappel to suppose that, notwithstanding Siebenkæs's
zealous readiness to join in all the processions of the little place,
in and out of churches, to the town hall and the shooting-ground, it
was wholly unobservant of the satisfaction which it afforded him rather
to make fun of some properly ordered cortége, and mar the effect of it
by his unsuitable dress and absurd behaviour, than to be an ornament to
it. And the genuine eagerness with which he tried to get admitted as a
member of the Kuhschnappel shooting-club was ascribed rather to his
love of a joke than to his being the son of a keen sportsman. As for
Leibgeber, he of course has the very devil in him as regards all such
matters; but he is younger than Siebenkæs, and about to set out on his

So they drove about the town on the Saturday--and where anybody in the
shape of a grandee lived they stopped, left their passengers' tickets
and drove on, without any misbehaviour. Many ladies and gentlemen, it
is true, got the wrong sow by the ear, and confounded the card carrier
with the young husband sitting in the carriage; but the card carrier
maintained his gravity, knowing that fun has its own proper time. The
cards (some of which were glazed) were delivered according to the
directory, firstly to the members of the government, both of the
greater and lesser council--to the seventy members of the greater, and
the thirteen of the lesser council; consequently the judge, the
treasurer, the two finance councillors, the Heimlicher (so to say,
tribune of the people) and the remaining eight ordinary members--these
constituting the said lesser council--each received his card. After
which the carriage drove down lower, and provided the minor government
officials in the various chambers and offices with _their_ cards, such
as the Offices of Woods, of the Game Commissioners, the Office of
Reform (which latter was for the repression of luxury), and the Meat
Tax Commission, which was presided over by a single master butcher, a
very nice old man.

I am much afraid I have made a considerable slip, inasmuch as I have
drawn up no tables relative to the constitution, &c., of this imperial
borough of Kuhschnappel (which is properly a small imperial town,
though it was once a large one) to lay before the learned and
statistical world. However, I can't possibly pull up here in the full
gallop of my chapter, but must wait till we all get to the end of it,
when I can more conveniently open my statistical warehouse.

The wheel of fortune soon began to rattle, and throw up mud; for when
Leibgeber took his eighth part of a placard of Siebenkæs's marriage to
the house of his guardian, the Heimlicher von Blaise, a tall, meagre,
barge-pole of a woman, wrapped up in wimples of calico, the
Heimlicher's wife, received it indeed, and with warmth, but warmth of
the sort with which we generally administer a cudgelling; moreover, she
uttered the following words (calculated to give rise to reflection)--

"My husband is the Heimlicher of this town, and what is more, he's away
from home. He has nothing to do with seven cheeses;[13] he is tutor and
guardian to persons belonging to the highest and noblest families. You
had better be off as fast as you like; you've got hold of the wrong man

"I quite think we have, myself," said Leibgeber.

Siebenkæs, the ward, here tried to pacify his letter or paper carrier
with the woman a little, by suggesting that, like every good dog, she
was but barking at the strangers before fetching and carrying for them:
and when his friend, more anxious than himself, said, "You're quite
sure, are you not, that you took proper legal precautions against any
venomous 'objections' which the guardian might make to paying up your
money, on account of your changing your name?" he assured him, that
before he had established himself as Siebenkæs, he had procured his
guardian's opinion and approval in writing, which he would show him
when they got home.

But when they did get home, Von Blaise's letter was nowhere to be
found--it wasn't in any of the boxes, nor in any of the college
note-books, nor even among the wastepaper--in fact, there was nothing
of the kind.

"But what a donkey I am to bother about it!" cried Siebenkæs, "what do
I require it for, at all?"

Here Leibgeber, who had been glancing at the Saturday newspapers,
suddenly shoved them into his pocket, and said in a somewhat unwonted
tone of voice, "Come out, old boy, and let's have a run in the fields."
When they got there, he put into his hands the 'Schaffhausen News,' the
'Swabian Mercury,' the 'Stuttgart Times,' and the 'Erlangen Gazette,'
and said, "These will enable you to form some idea of the sort of
scoundrel you have for a guardian."

In each of these newspapers, the following notification appeared:--

"Whereas, Hoseas Heinrich Leibgeber, now in his 29th year, proceeded to
the University of Leipzig in 1774, but since that date has not been
heard of: now the said Hoseas Heinrich Leibgeber, is hereby, at the
instance of his cousin, Herr Heimlicher von Blaise, edictally cited and
summoned by himself or the lawful heirs of his body, within six months
from the date of these presents (whereof two months are hereby
constituted the first term, two months the second, and two months the
third and peremptory term), to appear within the Inheritance Office of
this borough, and, on satisfactory proof of identity, to receive over
the sum of 1200 Rhenish gulden deposited in the hands of the said
Heimlicher von Blaise as trustee and guardian; _which failing_, that,
as directed by the decree of council of 24th July 1655 (which enacts,
that any person who shall be for ten years absent from the realm, shall
be taken _pro mortuo_), the above-named sum of 1200 Rhenish florins may
be made over and paid to his said guardian and trustee, the aforesaid
Heimlicher von Blaise. Dated at Kuhschnappel in Swabia, the 20th
August, 1785.

   "Inheritance Office of the free Imperial
      Borough of Kuhschnappel."

It is unnecessary to remind the legal reader that the decree of council
referred to is not in accordance with the legal usage of Bohemia, where
thirty-one years is the stipulated period, but with that which formerly
prevailed in France, when ten years were sufficient. And when the
advocate came to the end of the notice, and stared, motionless, at its
concluding lines, his soul's brother took hold of his hand, and cried,
"Alas! alas! it is I who am to blame for all this, for changing names
with you."

"You?--oh, you? The devil alone, and nobody else. But I must find that
letter," he said, and they made another search all over the house, in
every corner where a letter could be. After an hour of this Leibgeber
hunted out one with a broken seal of the guardian, of which the thick
paper, and the broad legal fold, without an envelope, told
unmistakeably that it had been addressed neither by a lady, a merchant,
nor courtier, but by the quill of a bird of quite a different tribe.
However, there was nothing _in_ this letter, except Siebenkæs's name in
Siebenkæs's own writing--not another word, outside or inside. Quite
natural; for the advocate had a bad habit of trying his hand and his
pen on the backs of letters, and writing his own name and other
people's as well, with flourishes about them.

The letter _had_ once been written in the inside, but, to save an
incredible waste of good paper, the Heimlicher von Blaise had written
his concurrence in the exchange of the names with an ink which vanishes
from the paper of itself, and leaves it, _in integrum_, white as it was
before it was written on.

I may, perhaps, be doing a chance service to many persons of the better
classes, who nowadays more than ever have occasion to write promissory
notes and other business documents, if I here copy out for them the
receipt for this ink which vanishes after it is dry; I take it from a
reliable source. Let the man of rank scrape off the surface from a
piece of fine black cloth, such as he wears at court--grind the
scrapings finer still on a piece of marble--moisten this fine cloth
dust repeatedly with water, then make his ink with this, and write his
promissory note with it; he will find that, as soon as the moisture has
evaporated, every letter of the promissory note has flown away with it
in the form of dust; the white star will have shone out, as it were,
through the blackness of the ink.

But I consider that I am doing an equal service to the holders and
presenters of such promissory notes as to the drawers of them, inasmuch
as, for the future, they will be careful not to be satisfied with a
security of this description, till they have exposed it for some time
to the sun.

Some time ago, I should have here been apt to confound this cloth ink
with the _sympathetic_ ink (likewise possessing the property of turning
pale and disappearing after a time), which is commonly made use of in
both the preliminary and final treaties entered into between royal
persons; the latter however, has a _red_ tint. A treaty of peace of
three years' standing is no longer legible to a man in the prime of
life, because the _red_ ink--the _encaustum_, with which formerly no
one but the Roman emperors might write--is too apt to turn _pale_,
unless a sufficient number of human beings (from whom, as from the
cochineal insect, this dye stuff is prepared) have been made use of in
its manufacture; and this (from motives of sordid parsimony) is not
always the case. So that the treaty has frequently to be engraved and
etched into the territory afresh with good instruments--the so-called
"instruments of peace"--at the point of the bayonet.

The two friends kept the happy young wife in ignorance of this first
thunderclap of the storm which was threatening her married life. On the
Sunday morning they went to make a friendly call on the Heimlicher
during the church service; unfortunately he was at church, however.
They postponed their entertaining visit till the afternoon; but then he
himself was paying one to the chapel of the orphan asylum, the whole
blooming body of the orphans, boys and girls, having previously made
one to him, to enjoy the privilege of kissing his hand in his capacity
of superintendent of the orphan asylum; for the inspectorship of that
institution was, as he modestly but truly observed, entrusted to his
unworthy hands. After the evening sermon, he had to perform a service
of his own in his own house, in short, he was fenced off from the two
advocates by a triple row of spiritual altar rails. It was his
admirable custom to permit the members of his household, not indeed to
eat, but to pray at the same table with him. He thought it well to
spend the Sunday as a day of labour in psalm-singing with them,
because, by such devotional exercises, he best preserved them from sins
of Sabbath breaking, such as working on _their own_ account, at sewing,
mending, &c. And, on the whole, he thought it well to make of the
Sunday in this manner a day of preparation for the coming week, just as
actors in places where Sunday representations are not allowed, have
their rehearsals on that day.

However, I recommend people in delicate health not to go near or smell
at this sort of beautiful sky-blue plants which grow in the Church's
vineyard only to be looked at, as an English garden is adorned with the
pretty aconite and its sky- or Jesuit's-blue _poisonous_ flowers, which
grow pyramidally to man's height.[14] People like Von Blaise, not only
ascend Mount Sinai and the Golgotha, that, like goats, they may feed as
they climb; but they occupy these sacred heights for the purpose of
making attacks and incursions from them, just as good generals take
possession of the hills, and particularly the _gallows-hills_. The
Heimlicher mounts from earth to the heavens oftener than Blanchard
does, and with similar motives, indeed, he can keep his soul on the
wing in these elevated regions for half a day at a time, in which
respect, however, he does not quite equal the King of Siam's dragon
kites which the mandarins, by relieving each other at the task, manage
to keep up in the sky for a couple of months at a time. He soars, not
as the lark does, to make music, but as the noble falcon does, to swoop
down upon something or other. If you see him praying on a Mount of
Olives, be sure that he's going to build an oil mill on it; and if he
weeps by a brook Kedron, depend upon it he's either going a-fishing in
it, or else thinking of pitching somebody into it. He prays with the
object of luring to him the _ignes-fatui_ of sins; he kneels, but only
as a front rank does, to deliver its fire at the foe before it; he
opens his arms as with warm benevolent affection, to fold home one, a
ward say, in their embrace, but only in the manner of the red-hot
Moloch, that he may burn him to cinders; or he folds his arms piously
together, but does it as the machines called "maidens" did, only to cut
people to pieces.

At last the friends, in their anxiety, came to see that there are some
people whom one can only manage to get access to when one comes as
thieves do, unannounced so at 8 o'clock on the Sunday evening they
walked, _sans façon_, into Von Blaise's house. Everything was still and
empty; they went through an empty hall into an empty drawing-room, the
half-open folding doors of which led into the household chapel. All
they could see through the crevice was six chairs, an open hymn-book
lying on its face on each of them, and a table with wax-cloth cover, on
which were Miller's 'Heavenly Kiss of the Soul,' and Schlichthoher's
'Five-fold Dispositions for all Sundays and Feasts of the Church.' They
pressed through the gap, and lo and behold! there was the Heimlicher
all alone, continuing his devotions in his sleep, with his cap under
his arm. His house- and church-servants had read to him till sleep had
stiffened him to a petrifaction, or pillar of salt (an event which
occurred every Sunday), for his eyes and his head were alike heavy with
the edible, the potable, and the spiritual, refreshment of which he had
partaken; or because he was like many who think it well to close their
eyes during the sowing of the heavenly seed, just as people do when
their heads are being powdered, or because churches and private chapels
are still like those ancient temples in which the communications of the
oracles were received during sleep. And as soon as they saw his eyes
closed, the servants would read more and more softly, to accustom him
gradually to the complete cessation of the sound; and, by and by, the
devout domestics would steal gently away, leaving him in his attitude
of prayer till 10 o'clock; at that hour (when, moreover, Madame von
Blaise generally came home from paying visits) the domestic sacristan
and night watchman would rouse him from his sleep with a shrill "Amen,"
and he would put something on to his bald head again.

This evening matters fell out differently. Leibgeber rapped loudly on
the table two or three times with the knuckle of his forefinger to wake
the city's father out of his first sleep. When he opened his eyes and
saw before him the two lean parodies and copies of one another, he
took, in his beer- and sleep-heaviness of idea, a glass periwig from
off a block, and put that on his head instead of his cap, which had
fallen down. His ward addressed him politely, saying he wished to
present to him his friend with whom he had made the exchange of names.
He likewise called him his "kind cousin and guardian." Leibgeber, more
angry and less self-contained, because he was younger, and because the
wrong had not been done to _him_, fired into the Heimlicher's ears,
from a position closer to him by three discourteous paces, the
inquiries, "Which of us two is it that your worship has given out _pro
mortuo_, that you may be able to cite him as a dead man? There are the
ghosts of _two_ of us here both together." Blaise turned with a lofty
air from Leibgeber to Siebenkæs, and said, "If you have not changed
your dress, sir, as well as your name, I believe _you_ are the
gentleman whom I have had the honour of talking with on several
previous occasions. Or was it _you_, sir?" he said to Leibgeber, who
shook like one possessed. "Well," he continued in a more pleasant tone,
"I must confess to you, Mr. Siebenkæs, that I had always supposed,
until now, that you were the person who left this for the university
ten years ago, and whose little inheritance I then assumed the
guardianship or curatorship of. What probably chiefly contributed to my
mistake, if it be a mistake, was, I presume, the likeness which,
_præter propter_, you certainly seem to bear to my missing ward; for in
many details you undoubtedly differ from him; for instance, he had a
mule beside his ear."

"The infernal mole," interrupted Leibgeber, "was obliterated by means
of a toad, on my account entirely, because it was like an ass's ear,
and he never thought that, when he lost his ear, he should lose a
relative along with it."

"That may be," said the guardian coldly, "You must prove to me, Herr
Advocate, that it was to YOU I had been thinking of paying over the
inheritance to-day; for your announcement that you had exchanged your
family name for that of an utter stranger I considered to be probably
one of the jokes for which you are so celebrated. But I learned last
week that you had been proclaimed in church and married in the name of
Siebenkæs, and more to the same effect. I then discussed the question
with Herr Grossweibel (the President of the Chamber of Inheritance),
and with my son-in-law, Herr von Knärnschilder, and they assured me I
should be acting contrary to my duty and safety if I let this property
out of my hands. What would you do--they very properly said--what
answer would you have to make if the real owner of the name were to
appear and demand another settlement of the guardianship accounts? It
would be too bad, truly, for a man, who, besides his manifold business
of other kinds, undertook this troublesome guardian work, which the law
does not require him to do, purely from affection for his relative, and
from the love which he bears to all his brethren of mankind[15]--it
would be too bad, I say, for him to have to pay up this money a second
time out of his own pocket. At the same time, Mr. Siebenkæs, as, in my
capacity of a private individual, I am more disposed to admit the
validity of your claim than you perhaps suppose, you being a lawyer,
know quite as well as I that my individual conviction carries with it
no legal weight whatever, and that I have to deal with this matter not
as a man, but as a guardian--it would probably be the best course to
let some third party less biassed in my favour, such as the Inheritance
Office, decide the question. Let me have the satisfaction, Mr.
Siebenkæs, as soon as it may be possible" (he ended more smilingly, and
laying his hand on the other's shoulder) "to see that which I hope may
prove the case, namely, that you are my long-missing cousin, Leibgeber,
properly established by legal proof."

"Then," said Leibgeber, grimly calm, and with all kinds of
scale-passages and fugatos coursing over the colour-piano of his face,
"is the little bit of resemblance which Mr. Siebenkæs there has to--to
_himself_, that is to say, to your worship's ward, to be taken as
proving nothing; not even as much as an equal similarity in a case of
_comparatio literarum_ would prove?"

"Oh, of course," said Blasius, "something, certainly, but not
everything; for there were several false Neros, and three or four sham
Sebastians in Portugal; suppose, now, _you_ should be my cousin
yourself, Mr. Leibgeber!"

Leibgeber jumped up at once, and said in an altered and joyful voice,
"So I am, my dearest guardian--it was all done to try you--I hope you
will pardon my friend his share in the little mystification."

"All very well," answered Blasius, more inflatedly, "but your own
changes of ground must show you the necessity for a proper legal

This was more than Siebenkæs could endure, he squeezed his friend by
the hand, as much as to say, "Pray be patient," and inquired in a voice
which an unwonted feeling of hatred rendered faint, "Did you never
write to me when I was in Leipzig?"--"If you are my ward, I certainly
did, many times; if you are not, you have got hold of my letters in
some other way."

Then Siebenkæs asked, more faintly still, "Have you no recollection at
all of a letter in which you assured me there was not the slightest
risk involved in my proposed change of name, none whatever?"

"This is really quite ludicrous," answered Blaise, "in that case there
could be no question about the matter!"

Here Leibgeber clasped the father of the city with his two fingers as
if they had been iron rivets, grasped his shoulders as one does the
pommel of a saddle at mounting, clamped him firmly into his chair, and
thundered out, "You never wrote anything of the kind, did you? you
smooth-tongued, grey-headed old scoundrel! Stop your grunting, or I'll
throttle you! never wrote the letter, eh? keep quiet--if you lift a
finger, my dog will tear your windpipe out. Answer me quietly you say
you never received any letter on the subject, do you?"

"I had rather say nothing," whispered Blasius, "evidence given under
coercion is valueless."

Here Siebenkæs drew his friend away from the Heimlicher, but Leibgeber
said to the dog, "Mordax! hooy, Sau.," took the glass periwig from the
head of the servant of the state, broke off the principal curls of it,
and said to Siebenkæs (Saufinder lay ready to spring), "Screw him down
yourself, if the dog is not to do it, that he may listen to me. I want
to say one or two pretty things to him--don't let him say 'Pap!'--Herr
Heimlicher von Blasius, I have not the slightest intention of making
use of libellous or abusive language to you, or of spouting an
improvised pasquinade; I merely tell you, that you are an old rascal, a
robber of orphans, a varnished villain, and everything else of the
kind--for instance, a Polish bear, whose footmarks are just like a
human being's.[16] The epithets which I here make use of, such as
scoundrel--Judas--gallows-bird" (at each word he struck the glass
turban like a cymbal against his other hand), "skunk, leech,
horse-leech nominal definitions such as these are not abuse, and do not
constitute libel, firstly because, according to 'L. § de injur.,' the
grossest abuse may be uttered in jest, and I am in jest here--and
we may always make use of abusive language in maintaining our own
rights--see 'Leyser.'[17] Indeed, according to Quistorp's 'Penal Code,'
we may accuse a person of the gravest crimes without _animus
injurandi_, provided that he has not been already tried and punished
for them. And has your honesty ever been put on its trial and punished,
you cheating old grey-headed vagabond? I suppose you are like the
Heimlicher in Freyburg[18]--rather a different sort of man to you, it's
to be hoped--and have half-a-dozen years or so, during which no one can
lay hold of you--but I've got hold of you to-day, hypocrite! Mordax!"
The dog looked up at this word of command.

"Let him go, now," Siebenkæs begged, compassionating the prostrate

"In a moment; but don't you put me in a fury, please," said Leibgeber,
letting fall the plucked wig, standing on it, and taking out his
scissors and black paper, "I want to be quite calm while I clip out a
likeness of the padded countenance of this portentous cotton-nightcap
of a creature, because I shall take it away with me as a _gage
d'amour_. I want to carry this _ecce homunculus_ about with me half
over the world, and say to everybody, 'Hit it, bang away at it well;
blessed is he who doth not depart this life till he hath thrashed
Heimlicher Blasius of Kuhschnappel; I would have done it myself if I
had not been far too strong.'

"I shan't be able," he went on, turning to Siebenkæs, and finishing a
good portrait, "to give that sneak and sharper there an account by word
of mouth of my success, for a whole year to come; but by that time the
one or two little touches of abuse which I have just lightly applied to
him will be covered by the statute of limitations, and we shall be as
good friends as ever again."

Here he unexpectedly requested Siebenkæs to stay by Saufinder--whom he
had constituted into a corps of observation by a motion of his
finger--as he was obliged to leave the room for a moment. On the last
occasion of his being in Blaise's grand drawing-room (where he
displayed his magnificence before the Kuhschnappel world, great and
small), he had noticed the paper-hangings there, and an exceedingly
ingenious stove, in the form of the goddess of justice, Themis, who
does, indeed, singe as frequently as she merely warms. And this time he
had brought with him a camel's-hair pencil, and a bottle of an ink made
from cobalt dissolved in aquafortis, with a little muriatic acid
dropped into it. Unlike the black cloth ink, which is visible at first
and disappears afterwards, the sympathetic ink here spoken of is
invisible at first, and only comes out a green colour on the paper when
it is warmed. Leibgeber now wrote with his camel's-hair pencil and this
ink the following invisible notification on the paper which was closest
to the stove, or Themis.

"The Goddess of Justice hereby protests in presence of this assembly
against being thus set up in effigy, and warmed and cooled (if not
absolutely hanged), at the pleasure of the Heimlicher von Blaise, who
is long since condemned at her inner secret tribunal.


Leibgeber came away, leaving the silent seed of this Priestley's green
composition behind him on the wall with the pleasing certainty that
next winter, some evening when the drawing-room was nicely warmed by
the goddess for a party, the whole dormant green crop would all of a
sudden shoot lustily forth.

So he came back to the oratory again, finding Saufinder keeping up his
appointed official contemplation, and his friend maintaining his
observation of the dog. They then all took a most polite leave, and
even begged the Heimlicher not to come into the street with them, as it
mightn't be so easy to keep Mordax from a bite or so there.

When they got to the street Leibgeber said to his friend, "Don't pull
such a long face about it--I shall keep flying backwards and forwards
to you, of course. Come through the gate with me--I must get across the
frontier of this country; let's run, and get on to royal territory
before six minutes are over our heads."

When they had passed the gate, that is to say, the un-Palmyra-like
ruins of it, the crystal reflecting grotto of the August night stood
open and shining above the dark-green earth, and the ocean-calm of
nature stayed the wild storm of the human heart. Night was drawing and
closing her curtain (a sky full of silent suns, not a breath of breeze
moving in it), up above the world and down beneath it; the reaped corn
stood in the sheaves without a rustle. The cricket with his one
constant song, and a poor old man gathering snails for the snail-pits,
seemed to be the only things that dwelt in the far reaching darkness.
The fires of anger had suddenly gone out in the two friends' hearts.
Leibgeber said, in a voice pitched two octaves lower, "God be thanked!
this writes a verse of peace round the storm bell within! the night
seems to me to have muffled my alarum drum with her black robe, and
softened it down to a funeral march. I am delighted to find myself
growing a little sad after all that anger and shouting."

"If it only hadn't all been on my account, old Henry," said Siebenkæs,
"your humorous fury at that barefaced old sinner."

"Though you are not so apt to shy your satire into people's faces as I
am," said Leibgeber, "you would have been in a greater rage if you had
been in my place. One can bear injustice to one's self--particularly
when one has as good a temper as I have--but not to a friend. And
unluckily you are the martyr to my name to-day, and eyewitness and
blood-witness into the bargain. Besides, I should tell you that, as a
general rule, when once I am ridden by the devil of anger--or rather
when 1 have got on to _his_ back--I always spur the brute nearly to
death, till he falls down, so that I mayn't have to mount him again for
the next three months. However, I have poured _you_ out a nice basin of
black broth, and left you sitting with the spoon in your hand."
Siebenkæs had been dreading for some time that he would say something
about the 1200 gulden, those baptismal dues of his re-baptism, the
discount of his name. He therefore said, as cheerfully and pleasantly
as his heart, torn by this sudden, nocturnal parting, would let him,
"My wife and I have plenty of supplies in our little bit of a fortress
of Konigstein, and we can sow and reap there too. Heaven only grant
that we may have many a hard nut to crack; they give a delicious
flavour to the table-wine of our stale, flat, everyday life. I shall
bring my action to-morrow."

They both concealed their emotion at the approach of the moment of
parting under the cloak of comic speeches. These two counterparts came
to a column which had been erected by the Princess of ---- on the spot
where, on her return from England, she had met her sister coming from
the Alps; and as this joyful souvenir of a meeting had a quite opposite
significance to-night, Leibgeber said, "Now, right about face--march!
Your wife is getting anxious--it's past eleven o'clock. There, you
see, we have reached your boundary mark, your frontier fortress,
the gallows. I am off at once into Bayreuth and Saxony to cut my
crop--other people's faces, to wit, and sometimes my own fool's face
into the bargain. I shall most likely come and see you again, just for
the fun of the thing, in a year and a day, when the verbal libels are
pretty well out of date. By the by." he added, hastily, "promise me on
your word of honour to do me one little favour."

Siebenkæs instantly did so. "Don't send my deposit after me[19]--a
plaintiff has payments to make. So fare you well, dearest old man," he
blurted huskily out, and after a hurried kiss, ran quickly down the
little hill with an air of assumed unconcern. His friend, bewildered
and forsaken, looked after the runner, without uttering a syllable.
When he got to the bottom of the hillock, the runner stopped, bent his
head low towards the ground, and--loosened his garters.

"Couldn't you have done that up here?" cried Siebenkæs, and went down
to him, and said, "We'll go as far as the gallows hill together." The
sand-bath and reverberating furnace of a noble anger made all their
emotions warmer to-day, just as a hot climate gives strength to poisons
and spices. As the _first_ parting had caused their eyes to overflow,
they had nothing more to keep in control but voice and language.

"Are you sure you feel quite well after being so much vexed?" said
Siebenkæs. "If the death of domestic animals portends the death of the
master of the house, as the superstition runs," said Leibgeber, "I
shall live to all eternity, for my menagerie[20] of beasts is all alive
and kicking." At last they stopped at the market house, beside the
place of execution. "Just up to the top," said Siebenkæs, "no further."

When they came to the top of this boundary-hill of so many an unhappy
life--and when Siebenkæs looked down upon the green spotted stone altar
where so many an innocent sacrifice had been offered up, and thought,
in that dark minute, of the heavy blood drops of agony, the burning
tears which women who had killed their children[21] (and were
themselves put to death by the state and their lovers) had let fall
upon this their last and briefest rack of torture here in this field of
blood--and as he gazed from this cloudbank of life out over the broad
earth with the mists of night steaming up round its horizons and over
all its streams--he took his friend's hand, and, looking to the free
starry heaven, said, "The mists of our life on earth _must_ be resolved
into stars, up there at last, as the mists of the milky way part into
suns. Henry, don't you yet believe in the soul's immortality?"--"It
will _not_ do yet, I can _not_," Leibgeber replied. "Blasius, now,
hardly deserves to live _once_, let alone twice or several times. I
sometimes can't help feeling as if a little piece of the other world
had been _painted on_ to this, just to finish it off and make it
complete, as I've sometimes seen subsidiary subjects introduced in
fainter colours towards the edge of a picture, to make the principal
subject stand out from the frame, and to give it unity of effect. But
at this moment, human beings strike me as being like those crabs which
priests used to fasten tapers to and set them crawling about
churchyards, telling the people they were the souls of the departed.
Just so do we, in a masquerade impersonation of immortal beings, crawl
about over graves with our tapers of souls. Ten to one they go out at

His friend fell on his heart, and said with vivid conviction, "We do
_not_ go out! Farewell a thousand times. We shall meet where there is
no parting. By my soul! we do _not_ go out. Farewell, farewell."

And so they parted. Henry passed slowly and with drooping arms through
the footpaths between the stubble-fields, raising neither hand nor eye,
that he might give no sign of sorrow. But a deep grief fell on
Siebenkæs, for men who rarely shed tears shed all the more when they do
weep. So he went to his house and laid his weary melting heart to rest
on his wife's untroubled breast (there was not even a dream stirring
it). But far on into the forecourt of the world of dreams did the
thought of the days in store for Lenette attend him--and of his
friend's night journey under the stars, which he would be looking up at
without any hope of ever being nearer to them; and it was chiefly for
his friend that his tears flowed fast.

Oh ye two friends--thou who art out in the darkness there, and thou who
art here at home! But wherefore should I be continually harping back
upon the old emotion which you have once more awakened in me--the same
which in old days used to penetrate and refresh me so when I read as a
lad about the friendship of a Swift, an Arbuthnott and a Pope in their
letters? Many another heart must have been fired and aroused as mine
was at the contemplation of the touching, calm affection which the
hearts of these men felt for one another; cold, sharp, and cutting to
the outer world, in the inner land which was common to them they could
work and beat for each other; like lofty palm trees, presenting long
sharp spines towards the common world below them, but at their summits
full of the precious palm-wine of strong friendship.

So, in their lesser degree, 1 think we may find something of a similar
kind to like and to admire in our two friends, Leibgeber and Siebenkæs.
We need not inquire very closely into the causes which brought about
their friendship; for it is hate, not love, which needs to be explained
and accounted for. The sources whence everything that is good wells
forth from this universe upwards to God himself, are veiled by a night
all thick with stars; but the stars are very far away.

These two men, while as yet in the fresh, green springtime of
university life, at once saw straight through each other's breasts into
each other's hearts, and they attracted each other with their opposite
poles. What chiefly delighted Siebenkæs was Leibgeber's firmness and
power, and even his capability of anger, as well as his flights and
laughter over every kind of sham grandeur, sham fine feeling, sham
scholarship. Like the condor, he laid the eggs (of his act or of his
pregnant saying) in no nest, but on the bare rock, preferring to live
without a name, and consequently always taking some other than his own.
On which account the poor's advocate used to tell him, ten times over,
the two following anecdotes, just to enjoy his irritation at them.

The first was, that a German professor in Dorpat, who was delivering a
eulogistic address on the subject of the reigning grand duke Alexander,
suddenly stopped in the middle of it, and gazed for a long time in
silence on a bust of that potentate, saying at length, "The speechless
heart has spoken."

The second was that Klopstock sent finely got-up copies of his
'Messiah' to schoolporters, with the request that the most deserving
among them might scatter spring-flowers on the grave of his own old
teacher, Stubel, while softly pronouncing his (Klopstock's) name. To
which, if Leibgeber had anything to adduce on the subject, Siebenkæs
would go on to add that the poet had called up four new porters to give
them three readings apiece from his 'Messiah,' rewarding each with a
gold medal provided by a friend. After telling him this he would look
to see Leibgeber's foaming and stamping at a person's thus worshipping
himself as a species of reliquary full of old fingers and bones.

What Leibgeber, on the other hand,--more like the Morlacks, who, as
Towinson and Forlis tell us, though they have but one word to express
both revenge and sanctification (osveta), do yet have their friends
betrothed to them with a blessing at the altar--chiefly delighted in
and loved about his satirical foster-brother was the diamond brooch
which in his case pinned together poetry, kindly temper, and a stoicism
which scorned this world's absurdities. And lastly, each of them daily
enjoyed the gratification of knowing that the other understood him
completely and wonderfully, whether he were in jest or in earnest. But
it is not every friend who meets with another of this stamp.

                        APPENDIX TO CHAPTER II.


I have omitted, all through two chapters, to state that the free
imperial borough of Kuhschnappel (of which, it appears, there is a
namesake in the Erzgebirge country) is the thirty-second of the Swabian
towns which takes its seat on Swabia's town-bench of thirty-one towns.
Swabia may look upon herself as being a hotbed and forcing-house of
imperial towns, these colonies, or hostelries, of the goddess of
freedom in Germany, whom persons of position worship as their household
goddess; and according to whose "election of grace" it is that poor
sinners are called to salvation. I must now, in this place, accede to
the universally expressed desire for an accurate sketch map of the
Kuhschnappel Government; though few readers, save people such as
Nikolai, Schlæzer and the like, can be expected to form an idea of the
difficulty I have experienced, and the sum I have had to expend in
postage, before getting hold of information somewhat more accurate than
that which is generally current on the subject of Kuhschnappel. Indeed,
imperial towns, like Swiss towns, always plaster over and stop up the
combs where their honey is stored, as though their constitutions were
stolen silver plate with the owner's name still unobliterated--or as
though the little bits of towns and territories were fortresses (which
indeed they are as against their own inhabitants more than against
their enemies), of which strangers are not allowed to take sketches.

The constitution of our noteworthy borough of Kuhschnappel seems to
have been the original rough draft or sketch which Bern (a place at no
great distance) has copied hers from, only with the pantograph on a
larger scale. For Bern, like Kuhschnappel, has her Upper House, or
supreme council, which decides upon peace and war, and has the power of
life and death just as in Kuhschnappel, and consists of chief
magistrates, treasurers, Venners, Heimlichers and counsellors, only
that there are more of them in Bern than in Kuhschnappel. Further, Bern
has her Lower House, consisting of presidents, deputies and pensioners,
subsidiary to the Upper. The two Chambers of Appeal, those of Woods and
Forests, Game Laws, and Reform, the Meat Tax and other commissions are
clearly but large text copies of the Kuhschnappel outlines.

To speak the truth, however, I have drawn this comparison between these
two places solely with the view of being comprehensible (perhaps at the
same time agreeable) to the Swiss generally, and particularly to the
people of Bern. For in reality, Kuhschnappel rejoices in a much more
perfect and aristocratic constitution than Bern, such as was to be
found in a measure in Ulm and Nürnberg, though the stormy weather of
the revolution has rather kept them back than brought them forward. A
short time since, Nürnberg and Ulm were as fortunate as Kuhschnappel is
now, inasmuch as they were governed, not by the common, working
classes, but by people of family only, so that no mere citizen could
meddle with the matter in the least degree either in person or by
deputy. Now, unfortunately, it appears to be the case in both towns
that the cask of the state has had to be fresh tapped just about an
inch or so above the thick dregs of the common herd, because what came
from the tap _nearer the top_ proved sour. However, it is impossible
for me to go on until I have cleared out of the way a much too
prevalent error respecting large towns.

The Behemoths and Condors among towns--Petersburg, London,
Vienna--might, if they chose, establish universal equality of liberty
and liberty of equality; very few statisticians have been struck by
this idea, although it is so very clear. For a capital which it takes
two hours and a quarter to go round is, as it were, an Ætna-crater of
equivalent circumference for an entire country, and benefits the
neighbourhood of it as the volcano does, not only by what it _ejects_
(its eruptive matter), but by what it swallows up. It clears
the country in the first place of villages, and next of country
towns--which are primarily the outhouses and office-buildings of
capital cities--inasmuch as it pushes itself outwards in all directions
year by year, and gets grown over, fringed round, and walled about with
the villages. London, we know, has converted the neighbouring villages
into streets of itself; but in the lapse of centuries the long,
constantly extending arms of all great towns must enfold not only the
villages, but also the country towns, converting them into suburbs.
Now, in this process, the roads, fields and meadows which lie between
the giant city and the villages get covered over like a river-bed with
a deposit of stone-paving; and consequently the operations of
agriculture can no longer be carried on otherwise than in flower-pots
in the windows. Where there is no agriculture, I cannot see what the
agricultural population can become but unemployed idlers, such as no
state allows within its boundaries; and, prevention being better than
cure, the state will have to clear this agricultural population out of
the way before it sinks into this condition of idling, either by means
of letters inhibitory directed against the increase of population, or
by extermination, or by ennobling them into soldiery and domestics. In
a village which has undergone this process of being morticed into a
town like a lump of rubble,--or converted into a stave of the great tun
of Heidelberg in this manner--any country people that might be still to
the fore, would be as ludicrous as useless; the coral cells of the
villages must be cleared out before they attain the dignity of becoming
reefs or atolls of a town.

When this is done, the hardest step towards equality has, no doubt,
been taken; the people of the country towns, a class the most hostile
of all classes, at heart, to equality--have next to be attacked and, if
possible, exterminated by the great town; this, however, is more a
matter of time than of good management. At the same time, what one or
two residency-towns have accomplished in this direction, is a good
beginning at all events. Could we attain to our ideal, however--could
we live to see the day when the two classes who are the most formidable
opponents of equality--the peasants, and the people of the smaller
towns--should have disappeared; and when not only the agricultural
races but the lower nobility, the small proprietors, should be
extinct--ah! then the world would be in the blissful enjoyment of an
equality of a nobler sort than that which obtained in France, where it
was merely a _plebeian_ one. There would be an absolute equality it
pure nobility and collective humanity could rejoice in the possession
of _one_ patent of nobility, and of real authentic _ancestors_. In
Paris, the revolution wrote (as people did in the most ancient times)
without capital letters; but if my golden age came to pass, the writing
would be as it was in somewhat _later_ times than those just alluded
to, _all_ capital letters, not, as at present, with capitals sticking
up like steeples among quantities of small letters. But though such a
lofty style, such an ennoblement of humanity as this may be nothing but
a beautiful dream, and though we must be content with the minor
consolation of seeing, in towns, the middle classes restricted to a
single street, as is now the case with the Jews; even that would be a
clear gain to the intellectual portion of mankind in the eyes of anyone
who considers what an accomplished, capable set of people the higher
nobility are.

It is upon the smaller towns, however, that we can more confidently
rely than upon the great residency-towns, for aid in bringing about the
nobilisation of the collective human race, and this brings me back to
Kuhschnappel. People really seem to forget that it is too much to
expect that the four square versts or so which a residency-town
occupies shall be able to dominate, swallow up, and convert into
portions of itself, more than a thousand square miles of the
surrounding country (just as the boa-constrictor swallows animals
bigger than itself). London has not much above 600,000 inhabitants;
what a miserably small force compared to the 5½ millions of all
England, which that city has to contend with, and cut off the wings,
and supplies of, alone and unassisted--to say nothing of Scotland and
Ireland! This, however, does not apply to provincial towns; here the
number of villages, villagers, and burghers which have to be coerced,
starved, and put to rout, are in a fair proportion to the size of the
town, the numbers of the aristocracy or governing classes, who have to
execute the task, and work the smoothing plane which is to level the
surface of humanity. Here there is little difficulty in _precipitating_
the citizens (as if they were a kind of coarse dregs swimming in the
clear fluid of nobility); and when this precipitation is not
successfully accomplished, it is the aristocracy themselves who are to
blame, in that they often show mercy in the wrong place, and look upon
the Burgher-bank as a grassbank, the grass of which is, it is true,
grown only to be sat upon and pressed down, but is kept always watered,
in order that it may not wither from being so constantly sat upon. If
there were to be nothing left but the noblest classes, the citizenic
cinnamon-trees would be completely barked, by means of taxes and
levyings of contributions--(which none but plebeian authors term
"flaying" and "pulling the hide over the ears"),--and, the bark being
off, the trees of course wither and die. At the same time, this process
of aristocratization costs men. But in my opinion it would be cheaply
purchased by the few thousands of people it would cost, seeing that the
Americans, the Swiss, and the Dutch paid (so to speak) whole millions
of men "cash down," on the battlefield, as the price of a freedom of a
much more restricted kind. The fault which is sometimes found with
modern battle pictures, namely that they are overcrowded with people,
can rarely be found with modern countries. We should rather notice the
clever manner in which many German states have, by _energetic_
treatment, _determined_ their population, as morbid matter, in a
_downward_ direction (as good physicians are wont to do), namely, down
to the United States of America, which are situated straight _below_

Kuhschnappel (to return to our subject) has the pull over hundreds of
other towns. I admit, as Nicolai's assertion, that of the 60,000 which
Nürnberg contained there are but 30,000 left, and that is something; at
the same time it takes fifty burghers, and more, to be equivalent to
one aristocrat, which is much. Now I am in a position to show at any
moment by reference to registers of deaths and baptisms, that the
borough of Kuhschnappel contains almost as many aristocrats as
burghers, which is all the more wonderful when we reflect that the
former, on account of their appetites, find it a harder matter to live
than the latter. What modern town, I ask, can point to so many free
inhabitants? Were there not even in free Athens and Rome--in the West
Indies there were of course--more slaves than free men, for which
reason the latter did not dare to make the former wear any distinctive
dress? And are there not in all towns more tenants than noble
landlords, although the latter _ought_, one would think, to be in the
majority, since peasants and burghers grow only by nature, while
aristocrats are raised, both by nature, and by art (in the shape of
princely and imperial chanceries). If this appendix were not a
digression (and digressions are generally expected to be brief) I
should proceed to show, at some length, that in several respects
Kuhschnappel, if she does not surpass, is at least quite on a par with,
many of the towns of Switzerland; for instance, in a good method of
sharpening and lengthening the sword of justice, and, on the whole, in
her manner of wielding a good, spiked, knotty mace--in the tax she
levies on (ecclesiastical) corn, not that imported from abroad, but
that of home growth, to exclude _thought_ and other (in an
ecclesiastical sense) rubbish of that sort--and even in her "green
market," or trade in young men. As regards the latter, the reason why
the trade with France for young Kuhschnappelers to serve as porters and
defenders of the Crown has hitherto been so flat is, that the Swiss
have so terribly overdone the market with fine young fellows who go and
stand in front of all the doors and (in war time) in front of all the
cannons. Of course, were it not for this, there would be more doors
than one with a Kuhschnappeler standing and saying, "Nobody at home."
(Indeed, here in my second edition, I can assert that Kuhschnappel
continues to maintain its title of _imperial market_ town, like a
secondary electoral dignity, and keeps up its old protective laws
against the import of ideas and the export of information, and its
blood tithe; or young men tithe to France, just as Switzerland does,
which is like the keeper of the castle of the Wartburg, who keeps
constantly re-blackening the indelible mark of the ink which Luther
threw at the devil.)

                              CHAPTER III.


The world could not make a greater mistake than to suppose that our
common hero would be to be seen on the Monday sitting in a mourning
coach, in a mourning cloak, crape hat-band and scarf, and black
shoe-buckles, figuring as chief mourner at the sham funeral of his
happiness and his capital.

Heavens! how _can_ the world make such an exceedingly bad shot as that?
The advocate was not even in _quarter_ mourning, let alone half; he was
in as good spirits as if he had this third chapter before him, and were
just beginning it, as I am.

The reason was, that he had drawn up an able plaint against his
guardian, Blaise (enlivening it with sundry satirical touches, which
nobody but himself understood), and laid it before the Inheritance
Office. When we are in a difficulty, it is always so much gained if we
can but _do something or other_. Let fortune bluster in our faces with
ever so harsh and frosty an autumn wind--as long as it does not break
the fore joint of our wing (as in the case of the swans), our very
fluttering, though it may not transport us into a warmer climate, will
at all events have the effect of warming us a little. From motives of
kindness, Siebenkæs kept his wife in ignorance of the delay in the
settling of his heritage accounts, as well as of the old story of the
change of names; he thought there was very little likelihood of a
struggling advocate's wife ever having an opportunity of looking over a
patrician's shoulder into his family hand at cards.

And, indeed, what could a man who had made a sudden plunge from out his
hermit's holy-week of single blessedness, into the full honeymoon of
double blessedness wish for besides? Not until now had he been able to
hold his Lenette in both his arms rightly--hitherto his friend, always
fluttering backwards and forwards in life, had been held fast with his
_left_ arm; but now, she was able to stretch herself out far more
comfortably in the chambers of his heart. And the bashful wife did this
as much as she dared. She confessed to him, albeit timidly, that she
was almost glad not to have that boisterous Saufinder lying under the
table and glaring out in that terrible way of his. Whether she
experienced a similar relief at the absence of his wild master, she
could not be brought to say. To the advocate she felt a good deal like
a daughter, and her great tall father could never have enough of her
quaint little ways. That, when he went out, she used to look after him
as long as he was in sight, was nothing in comparison to the way in
which she used to run out after him with a brush, when she noticed from
the window that there was such a quantity of street paving sticking to
his coat-tails that nothing would do but she must have him back again
into the house, and brush his back as clean as if the Kuhschnappel
municipality would charge him paving-tax if any of the mud were found
on him. He would take hold of the brush and stop it, and kiss her, and
say, "There's a good deal _inside_ as well; but nobody sees it there;
when I come back we'll set to work and scrub some of _that_ away."

Her maidenly obedience to his every wish and hint, her daughterly
observance and fulfilment of them, were more than he looked for or
required, indeed; but not too great for the love he bestowed in return.
"Senate clerk's daughter," he said, "you mustn't be _too_ obedient to
me; remember I'm not your father, a senate clerk, but a poor's advocate
who has married you and signs himself Siebenkæs, to the best of his

"My poor dear father," she answered, "used often to compose and write
down things too at home, himself, with his own hand, and then fair-copy
them beautifully afterwards." But he enjoyed these crooked answers
which she used to make. And though, from sheer veneration of him, she
never understood a single one of the jokes which he was always making
about himself (for she gainsaid him when he satirically depreciated
himself, and agreed with him completely if he ironically lauded
himself), yet these mental provincialisms of hers pleased him not a
little. She would use such words as "fleuch" for "fliehe," "reuch" and
"kreuch" for "riehe" and "kriehe;" religious antiquities out of
Luther's Bible, which were valuable and enjoyable contributions to her
stock of idiosyncracies, and to the happiness of his honeymoon. One day
when he took a particularly pretty cap which she had tried on with,
much satisfaction to each of her three cap-blocks, one after another
(she would often gently kiss these cap-blocks), and putting it on her
own little head before the looking-glass, said, "See how it looks on
your _own_ head; perhaps that's as good a block as the others," she
laughed with immense delight, and said, "Now, you are always flattering

Believe me, this naive failure of hers to see his joke so touched him
that he made a secret vow never to make another of the kind, except in
private to himself. But there was a greater honeymoon pleasure still.
This was that, when there came a fast day, Lenette would on no account
allow him to kiss her, when she came into the room (ready for church),
her white and red bloom of youth shining out with threefold beauty from
under her black lace head-dress, and the dark leafage of her dress.

"Worldly thoughts of that kind," she said, "weren't at all proper
before service, when people had on their fast-day things; people must

"By heaven!" said Siebenkæs to himself, "may I stick a soup spoon five
inches long and three broad through my lower lip, like a North American
squaw, and go about with it there, if ever I begin spooning and kissing
the pious soul again, when she has a black dress on, and the bells are
ringing." And though he wasn't much, of a churchgoer himself, he kept
his word. See how we men behave in matrimonial life, young ladies!

From all which it will readily appear how perfectly happy the advocate
was during his honeymoon, when Lenette, in the most delightful manner,
did all those things for him which he used previously to have to do for
himself in a most miserable fashion and against the grain, making by
unwearied sweepings and brushings his dithyrambic chartreuse as clean
and level and smooth as a billiard-table. Whole honey-trees full of
cakes did she plant during the honeymoon; humming round him of a
morning like a busy bee, carrying wax into her little hive (while he
was going quietly on with his law-papers, building away at his
juridical wasp's nest), forming her cells, cleaning them out, ejecting
foreign bodies, and mending chinks; he now and then looking out of his
wasp's nest at the pretty little figure in the tidiest of household
dresses, at sight of which he would take his pen in his mouth, hold his
hand out to her across the ink-bottle, and say, "Only wait till the
afternoon comes and you're sitting sewing--then, as I walk up and down,
I shall pay you with kisses to your heart's content." But that none of
my fair readers may be unhappy about the souring of the honey of this
moon which the conduct of that disinheriting blackguard Blaise might
bring about, let me just ask one question? Hadn't Siebenkæs a whole
silver mine and a coining mill, in the shape of seven law suits all
going on, full of veins of rich ore? And hadn't Leibgeber sent him a
military treasury chest on four wheels of fortune, containing two
spectacle dollars of Julius Duke of Brunswig, a Russian triple-dollar
of 1679, a tail or queue ducat--a gnat or wasp dollar--five vicariat
ducats, and a heap of Ephraimites? For he might melt down and
volatilise this collection of coins without a moment's hesitation,
inasmuch as his friend had only pocketed them by way of a jest on the
people who pay a hundred dollars for one. They two had all things
corporeal and mental in common to an extent comprehensible by few. They
had arrived at that point where there is no distinction visible between
the giver and the receiver of a benefit, and they stepped across the
chasms of life bound together, as the crystal-seekers in the Alps tie
themselves to each other to prevent their falling into the ice clefts.

One Lady Day, towards evening, however, he hit upon an idea which will
quite reassure all fair readers of his history who may be in a state of
anxiety about him, and which made _him_ happier than the receipt of the
biggest basket of bread with little baskets of fruit in it would have
done--or a hamper of wine. He had felt sure all along that he _would_
hit upon an idea. Whenever he was in a difficulty of any kind, he
always used to say, "Now, I wonder what I shall hit upon _this_ time;
for I _shall_ hit upon something or other as sure as there are four
chambers in my brain." The delightful idea in question was, that he
should do what I am doing at this moment--write a book; only his was to
be a satirical one.[22] A torrent of blood rushed through the opened
sluices of his heart, right in amongst the wheels and mill-machinery of
his ideas, and the whole of the mental mechanism rattled, whirred, and
jingled in a moment--a peck or two of material for the book was ground
on the spot.

I know of no greater mental tumult--hardly of any sweeter--which can
arise in a young man's being, than that which he experiences when he is
walking up and down his room, and forming the daring resolution that he
will take a book of blank paper and make it into a manuscript; indeed
it is a point which might be argued whether Winckelmann, or Hannibal
the great general, strode up and down _their_ rooms at a greater pace
when they respectively formed the (equally daring) resolution that they
would go to Rome. Siebenkæs, having made up his mind to write a
'Selection from the Devil's Papers,' was forced to run out of the
house, and three times round the market-place, just to fix his
fluttering, rushing ideas into their proper grooves again by the
process of tiring his legs. He came back wearied by the glow within
him--looked to see if there was enough white paper in the house for his
manuscript--and running up to his Lenette, who was tranquilly working
away at a cap, gave her a kiss before she could well take the needle
out of her mouth--last thorn upon the rose-tree! During the kiss she
quietly gave a finishing stitch to the border of the cap (squinting
down at it the best way she could without moving her head).

"Rejoice with me!" he cried, "come and dance about with me! to-morrow
I'm going to begin a work, a book! Roast the calf's head to-night,
though it be a breach of our ten commandments." For he and she, on the
Wednesday before, had formed themselves into a committee on food
regulations, and, of the Thirty-nine articles of domestic economy,
which had then been passed and subscribed to, one was that,
Brahminlike, they were to do without meat at supper.

But he had the greatest difficulty in getting her to understand how it
was that he made out that he would be able to procure her another
calf's head with a single sheet of the 'Selections from the Devil's
Papers,' and that he was perfectly justified in issuing a dispensation
from that evening's fast; for like the common herd of mankind, or like
the printers, Lenette thought that a written book was paid for at the
same rate as a printed one, and that the compositor got rather more
than the author. She had never in her life had the slightest idea of
the enormous sums which authors are paid nowadays; she was like
Racine's wife, who did not know what a line of poetry or a tragedy was,
although she kept house upon them. For my part, however, I should never
lead to the altar, or into my home as my wife, any woman who wasn't
capable of at least completing any sentence which death should knock me
over with his hour-glass in the middle of,--or who wouldn't be
unspeakably delighted when I read to her learned Göttingen gazettes, or
universal German magazines, in which I was bepraised, more than I
deserved perhaps.

The rapture of authorship had set all Siebenkæs's blood-globules into
such a flow, and all his ideas into such a whirlwind this whole evening
that, in the condition of vividness of fueling and fancy in which he
was (a condition which in him often assumed the appearance of temper),
he would instantly have flown out and exploded like so much fulminating
gold at everything of a slow moving kind which he came across--such as
the servant girl's heavy dawdling step, or the species of dropsy with
which her utterance was afflicted;--but that he at once laid hold on a
precious sedative powder for the over-excitement caused by happiness,
and took a dose of it. It is easier to communicate an impetus and a
rapid flow to the slow-gliding blood of a heavy, sorrowful heart, than
to moderate and restrain the billowy, surging, foaming current which
rushes through the veins in happiness; but he could always calm
himself, even in the wildest joy, by the thought of the inexhaustible
Hand which bestowed it, and that gentle tenderness of heart wherewith
our eyes are drooped to earth as we remember the invisible, eternal
Benefactor of all hearts. At such a time the heart, softened by
thankfulness and by joyful tears, will speak its gratitude by at least
being kindlier towards all mankind, if in no other way. That fierce,
untamed delight, which is what Nemesis avenges, can best be kept within
due bounds by this sense of gratitude; and those who have died of joy
would either _not_ have died at all, or would have died of a _better_
and lovelier joy, if their hearts had first been softened by a grateful
heavenward gaze.

His first and best thanksgiving for the new, smooth, beautiful banks,
between which his life-stream had now been led, took the form of a
zealous and careful drawing up of a defence which he had to prepare in
the case of a girl charged with child-murder, to save her from torture
on the rack. The state-physician of the borough had condemned her to
the "trial by the lungs," a neither more nor less suitable punishment
than the "trial by water" (which used to be inflicted on witches).

Calm spring-days of matrimony, peaceful and undisturbed, laid down
their carpet of flowers for the feet of these two to tread upon.
Only there sometimes appeared under the window, when Lenette was
stretching herself and her white arm out of a morning, and slowly
accomplishing the fastening back of the outside shutters, a gentleman
in flesh-coloured silk.

"I really feel quite ashamed to stretch," she said; "there's a
gentleman always standing in the street, and he takes off his hat, and
notes one down just as if he were the meat appraiser."

The Schulrath Stiefel kept, on the school Saturday holidays, the
solemn promise he had made on the wedding-day to come and see them
often, and at all events to be sure and come on the Saturdays. I think
I shall call him Peltzstiefel (Furboots) as a pleasing variety for the
ear--seeing that the whole town gave him that name on account of the
gray miniver, faced with hareskin, which he wore on his legs by way of
a portable wood-economising stove. Well, Peltzstiefel, the moment he
came in at the door, fastened joy-flowers together into a nosegay, and
stuck them into the advocate's button-bole, by appointing him on the
spot his collaborateur on the 'Kuhschnappel Indicator, Heavenly
Messenger, and School Programme Review'--a work which ought to be
better known, so that the works recommended by it might be so too. This
newspaper engagement of Siebenkæs is a great pleasure to me; it will at
any rate bring my hero in sixpence or so towards a supper now and then.
The Schulrath, who was editor of this paper, had a high sense of the
power and responsibility of his post; but Siebenkæs had now risen to
the dignity of an author--the only being who in his eyes was superior
even to a reviewer--for Lenette had told him on the way to church that
her husband was going to have a great thick book printed. The Schulrath
considered the 'Salzburg Literary Gazette' of the period the
apocryphal, and the 'Jena Literary Gazette' the canonical scriptures:
the single voice of one reviewer was, for _his_ ears, multiplied by the
echo in the critical judgment hall into a thousand voices. His deluded
imagination multiplied the head of one single reviewer into several
Lernæan heads, as it was believed of old that the devil used to
surround the heads of sinners with delusive _false_ heads, that the
executioner might miss his stroke at them.

The fact that a reviewer writes anonymously gives to a single
individual's opinions the weight and authority they would possess, if
arrived at by a whole council; but then if his name were put at the
end, for instance, "X.Y.Z., Student of Divinity," instead of "New
Universal German Library," it would weaken the effect of the divinity
student's learned laying down of the law to too great an extent. The
Schulrath paid court to my hero on account of his satirical turn; for
he himself, a very lamb in common life, transformed himself into a
wehrwolf in a review article; which is frequently the case with
good-tempered men when they write, particularly on _humaniora_ and such
like subjects. As indeed, peaceful shepherd races (according to Gibbon)
are fond of making war, and of beginning it, or just as the Idyllic
painter, Gessner, was himself a biting caricaturist.

And our hero for his part afforded Stiefel a great pleasure this
evening, as well as holding out to him the prospect of many more such,
when he took from Leibgeber's collection of coins a gnat or wasp
dollar, and gave it to him, not as a douceur for his appointment
to the critical wasp's nest, but that he might turn it into small
change. The Schulrath who, being himself the zealous "Silberdiener"
(master of the plate and jewels) of a dollar-cabinet of his own,
would have been delighted if money had existed solely for the
sake of cabinets--(meaning, however, numismatic, not political,
cabinets)--sparkled and blushed delighted over the dollar, and declared
to the advocate (who only wanted the absolute value of it, not the
coin-fancier's price) that he considered this a piece of true
friendship. "No," answered Siebenkæs, "the only piece of true
friendship about the matter is Leibgeber giving _me_ the dollar." "But
I'll give you certainly three dollars for it, if you like to ask it,"
said Stiefel. Lenette, delighted at Stiefel's delight, and at his
kindly feeling, and secretly giving her husband a push as an admonition
not to give way, here struck in with an amount of determination which
astonishes me, "But my husband's not going to do anything of the kind,
I assure you; a dollar's a dollar." "But," said Siebenkæs, "I ought
rather to ask you only a _third_ of the price, if I'm going to hand
over my coins to you one at a time in this way." Ye dear souls! If
people's "yeses" in this world were only always such as your "buts."

Stiefel, confirmed bachelor though he was, wasn't going to let himself
be found wanting, on such a delightful occasion as this, at all events,
in proper politeness towards the fair sex, least of all towards a woman
whom he had begun to be so fond of, even when he was bringing her home
to be married, and whom he liked twice as much now that she was the
wife of such a dear friend, and was such a dear friend herself too. He
therefore adroitly led her to join in the conversation (which had
previously been too deep and scholarly for her) by using the three
cap-blocks as stepping-stones over to the journal of fashions; only he
slid back again sooner than he might have done to a more ancient
journal of fashions, that of Rubenius on the 'Costume of the ancient
Greeks and Romans.' He said he should be happy to lend her his sermons
every Sunday, as advocates don't deal in theology much. And when she
was looking on the floor at her feet for the snuffers which had fallen,
he held the candle down that she might see.

The next Sunday was an important day for the house (or rather rooms) of
Siebenkæs, for it introduced thereto a grander character than any who
have appeared hitherto, namely the Venner (Finance Councillor)--Mr.
Everard Rosa von Meyern, a young member of the aristocracy, who went
daily in and out at Heimlicher von Blaise's to "learn the routine of
official business;" he was also engaged to be married to a poor niece
of the Heimlicher's, who was being brought up and educated for his
heart in another part of Germany.

Thus the Venner was a character of consequence in the borough of
Kuhschnappel as well as in our 'Thorn-piece,' and this in every
political point of view. In a corporeal point of view he was much less
so. His body was stuck through his flowered garments much like a piece
of stick through a village nosegay; under the shining wing-covers of
his waistcoat (in itself a perfect animal-picture)[23] there
pulsated a thorax, perpendicular, if not absolutely concave, and his
legs had, all told, about the same amount of calf as those wooden ones
which stocking-makers put into their windows as an advertisement.

The Venner gave the advocate to understand, in a cold and politely rude
manner, that he had merely come to relieve him from the task of
defending the case of child-murder, as he had so much to attend to
besides. But Siebenkæs saw through this pretence with great ease. It
was a well-known circumstance that the girl accused of this crime had
adopted as the father of her child (now flown, away above this earth) a
certain commercial traveller, whose name neither she nor the documents
connected with her case could mention; but that the real father--who,
like a young author, was bashful about putting his name to his _pièce
fugitive_--was no other than the emaciated Venner, Everard Rosa von
Meyern himself. There are certain things which a whole town will
determine and make up its mind to ignore; and one of these was Rosa's
authorship. Heimlicher von Blaise knew that Siebenkæs was aware of it,
however, and feared that he might, out of revenge for the affair of the
inheritance, purposely make a poor defence of the girl, that the shame
and disgrace of her end might fall upon his relative, Meyern's
shoulders. What a terrible, mean suspicion!

And yet the purest minds are sometimes driven to entertain such
suspicions. Fortunately Siebenkæs had already got the poor mother's
lightning-conductor all ready forged and set up. When he showed it to
this false bridegroom of the supposed child-murderess, the latter
immediately declared that she could not have found an abler guardian
saint among all the advocates in the town; to which author and reader
can both add "nor one who should be actuated by worthier motives," as
we know he did it as a thank-offering to Heaven for the first idea of
the 'Devil's Papers.'

At this juncture, the advocate's wife came suddenly back from the
adjoining bookbinder's room, where she had been paying a flying visit.
The Venner sprang to meet her at the threshold with a degree of
politeness which couldn't have been carried further, inasmuch as she
had to open the door before he could reach her. He took her hand,
which, in her respect and awe of him, she half permitted, and kissed it
stooping, but twisted his eyes up to her face, and said:

"Meddem! I have had this beautiful hand in mine for several days."

It now appeared, from what he said, that he was the identical
flesh-coloured gentleman who had stolen her hand with his drawing-pen
when she had had it out of the window; because he had been anxious to
get a pretty Dolce's hand for a three-quarter portrait of the young
lady he was engaged to, and hadn't known what to do; her _head_ he was
doing from memory. He then took off his gloves, in which alone he had
dared as yet to touch her (as many of the early Christians used only to
touch the Eucharist in gloves from reverence therefor), displaying the
fires of his rings and the snow of his skin. To preserve the whiteness
of the latter from the sun, he hardly ever took his gloves off, except
in winter when the sun has scarcely power to burn.

The Kuhschnappel aristocracy, particularly its younger members, give a
willing obedience to the commandment which Christ gave to His apostles,
to "greet no man by the way," and the Venner observed the required
degree of incivility towards the husband, though not by any means to
the wife, towards whom his condescension was infinite. An inborn
characteristic of Siebenkæs's satirical disposition was a fault which
he had of being too polite and kindly with the lower classes, and too
forward and aggressive with the upper. He had not as yet sufficient
knowledge of the world to enable him to determine the precise angle at
which his back should bend before the various great ones of the place,
wherefore he preferred to go about bolt upright, though he did so
against the promptings of his kind heart. An additional cause was, that
the profession to which he belonged being of a belligerent nature, has
a tendency to embolden those who belong to it; an advocate has the
advantage of never requiring to employ one himself, and consequently he
is often inclined to treat even the grandest folks with some amount of
coolness, unless they happen to be judges or clients, at the disposal
of both of which classes of society his best services are at all times
ready to be placed. Notwithstanding which, it generally happened that,
in Siebenkæs's kindly feeling to all mankind, his moveable bridge got
shoved down so low under his tightened strings that the notes given out
by them became quite low and soft. On the present occasion, however, it
was much more difficult to be polite to the Venner (whose designs as
regarded Lenette he was compelled to see) than to be rude to him.

Moreover, he had an inborn detestation for dressy men although--just,
the contrary feeling for dressy women--so that he would often sit and
stare for a long time at the little Fugel-mannikins of dress in the
fashion journals, just to get properly angry at them; and he would
assure the Kuhschnappelers that there was nobody whom he should so
delight in playing practical jokes upon as on such a mannikin--yea, in
insulting him, or even doing him an injury (to the extent of a good
cudgelling). Also it had always been a source of delight to him that
Socrates and Cato walked barefoot about in the market-place; going
_bareheaded_, on the other hand (_chapeau bas_), he did not like half
so much.

But, ere he could utter himself otherwise than by making faces, the
wooden-head of a Venner stroked his sprouting beard, and in a distant
manner graciously offered himself to the advocate in the capacity of
cardinal protector or mediator in the Blaise inheritance business; this
he did, of course, partly to blind the advocate's eyes, and partly to
impress upon him how immeasurably inferior was his station. The latter,
however, shuddering at the idea of taking a gnome of this kind for
paraclete and household angel, said to him (but in Latin)--

"In the first place I must _insist_ that my wife shall not hear a
syllable about that insignificant potato quarrel. And moreover, in any
legal question I scorn and despise anybody's assistance but a legal
friend's, and in this instance _I_ am my own legal friend. I fill an
official position here in Kuhschnappel; it is true, the official
position by no means fills _me_." The latter play upon words he
expressed by means of a Latin one, which displayed such an unusual
amount of linguistic ability, that I should almost like to quote it
here. The Venner, however, who could neither construe the pun nor the
rest of the speech with the ease with which we have read it here,
answered at once (so as to escape without exposing his ignorance) in
the same language, "Imo, immo," which he meant for yes. Firmian then
went on, in German, saying, "Guardian and ward, intimate as their
connection should be, in this case came into contact to an extent
almost too great to be pleasant; although, no doubt, there _have_ been
cases before where one cousin has cozened another:[24] however, the
very members of ecclesiastical councils have come to fisticuffs before
now, _e. g_. at Ephesus in the fifteenth century. Indeed, the Abbot
Barsumas and Dioscurus, Bishop of Alexandria, men of position,
pummelled the good Flavian on that very occasion till he was as dead as
a herring.[25] And this was on a Sunday too, a day on which, in these
absurd old times, a sacred truce was put to quarrels and differences of
every description; though now, Sundays and feast-days are the very days
when the peace is broken; the public-house bells and the tinkling of
the glasses ring the truce _out_, and people pummel each other, so that
the law gets _her_ finger into the pie. In old days, people multiplied
the number of saints' days for the sake of stopping fights, but the
fact is that everybody connected with the legal profession, Herr von
Meyern (who _must_ have _something_ to live upon), ought to petition
that a peaceable working-day or two might be abolished now and then, so
that the number of rows might be increased, and with them the fines and
the fees in like ratio. Yet who thinks of such a thing, Venner?"

He was quite safe in spouting the greater part of this before Lenette;
she had long been accustomed to understanding only a half, a fourth, or
an eighth part of what he said; as for the _whole_ Venner, she gave
herself no concern about him. When Meyern had taken his departure with
frigid politeness, Siebenkæs, with the view of helping to advance him
in his wife's good opinion, extolled his whole and undivided love for
the entire female sex (though engaged to be married), and more
particularly his attachment to that preliminary bride of his, who was
now in the condemned cell of the prison; this, however, rather seemed
to have the effect of _lowering_ him in her good opinion.

"Thou good, kind soul, may you always be as faithful to yourself and to
me!" said he, taking her to his heart. But she didn't _know_ that she
had been faithful, and said, "to whom should I be _un_faithful?"

From this day onwards to Michaelmas Day, which was the day of the
borough fair, fortune seems to have led our _pathway_, I mean the
reader's and mine, through no very special flower-beds to speak of, but
merely along the smooth green turf of an English lawn, one would
suppose on purpose that the fair on Michaelmas Day may suddenly arise
upon our view as some shining, dazzling town starts up out of a valley.
Very little did occur until then; at least, my pen, which only
considers itself bound to record incidents of some importance, is not
very willing to be troubled to mention that the Venner Meyern dropped
in pretty often at the bookbinder's (who lived under the same roof with
the Siebenkæses)--he merely came to see whether the 'Liaisons
Dangereuses' were bound yet.

But that Michaelmas! Truly the world shall remember it. And in fact the
very eve of it was a time of such a splendid and exquisite quality that
we may venture to give the world some account of it.

Let the world _read_ the account of this eve of preparation at all
events, and then give its vote.

On this eve of the fair all Kuhschnappel (as all other places are at
such a time) was turned into a workhouse and house of industry for
women; you couldn't have found a woman in the whole town either sitting
down, or at peace, or properly dressed. Girls the most given to reading
opened no books but needle-books to take needles out, and the only
leaves they turned over were paste ones to be put on pies. Scarcely a
woman took any dinner; the Michaelmas cakes and the coming enjoyment of
them were the sole mainspring of the feminine machinery.

On these occasions women may be said to hold their exhibitions of
pictures, the cakes being the altar-pieces. Everyone nibbles at and
minutely inspects these baked escutcheons of her neighbour's nobility;
and each has, as it were, her cake attached to her, as a medal is, or
the lead tickets on bales of cloth, to indicate her value. They
scarcely eat or drink anything, it is true, thick coffee being their
consecrated sacrament wine, and thin transparent pastry their wafers;
only the latter (in their friend's and hostess's houses) tastes best,
and is eaten almost with fondness when it has turned out hard and stony
and shot and dagger proof--or is burnt to a cinder--or, in short, is
wretched from some cause or other; they cheerfully acknowledge all the
failures of their dearest friends, and try to comfort them by taking
them to their own houses and treating them to something of a _very
different_ kind.

As for our Lenette, she, my dear lady reader, has always been a baker
of such a sort that male connoisseurs have preferred her crust, and
female connoisseurs her crum, both classes maintaining that no one but
she (and yourself, dearest) could bake anything like either. The
kitchen fire was this salamander's second element, for the first and
native element of this dear nixie was water. To be scouring with sand,
and squattering and splattering in it, in a great establishment like
Siebenkæs's (who had devoted all Leibgeber's Ephraimites to the keeping
of this feast), was quite her vocation. No kiss could be applied to her
glowing face on such a day--and indeed she had her hands pretty full,
for at ten o'clock the butcher came bringing more work with him.

The world will be glad (I'm perfectly certain in my own mind) if
I just give them a very short account of this business--_who_ could
have dune it better, for that matter? The facts of it were these: at
the beginning of summer the four fellow lodgers had clubbed together
and bought a cow in poor condition which they had then put up to
fatten. The bookbinder, the cobbler, the poor's advocate and the
hairdresser--between whom and his tenants there was this distinction,
that they owed _their_ rent to _him_, whereas he owed _his_ to his
creditors--caused to be prepaid and drawn up by a skilful hand (which
was attached to the arm of Siebenkæs) an authentic instrument (here
KOLBE the word-purist will snarl at poor innocent me in his usual
manner for employing foreign words in a document based on the Roman
law) relative to the life and death of the cow; in which instrument the
four contracting parties aforesaid--who all stood attentively round the
document, he who was sitting and drawing it excepted--bound and engaged
themselves in manner following, that is to say, that--

1stly. Each of the four parties interested, as aforesaid, in the said
cow might and should have the privilege of milking her alternately.

2ndly. That this Cooking or Fattening Society might and should defray
from a common treasury chest the price of said cow, the cost of the
carriage of implements and provisions, and maintenance generally of the
same; and

3rdly. That the allied powers as aforesaid should not only on the day
before Michaelmas, the 28th September, 1785, slaughter the said cow,
but further that each quarter of the same should then and there be
further divided into four quarters, conformably to the lex agraria, for
partition among the said parties to the said contract.

Siebenkæs prepared four certified copies of this treaty, one for each;
he never wrote anything with graver pleasure. All that now remained to
be performed of the contract by the house association of our four
evangelists, who had collectively adopted as their armorial crest or
emblematic animal, one single joint-stock beast, namely, the female of
that of Saint Luke--was the third article of it.

However, I know the learned classes are panting for my fair, so I shall
only dash down a hurried sketch of my Man-and-Animal piece (Kolbe of
course goes on taking me to task).

That Septembriseur, the butcher, did his part of the business well,
though it was at the close of Fructidor--the four messmates looking on
throughout the operation, as also did old Sabine, who did a good deal,
and got something for it. The quadruple alliance regaled itself en the
slain animal at a general picnic, to which each contributed something
in order that the butcher might be included gratis; and it is
undeniable that one member of the league, whom I shall name hereafter,
attended this picnic in a frame of mind and in a costume barely serious
enough for the occasion. The slaughter confederation then set to
working its division sum, according to the number of its members, and
the golden calf round which their dance was executed was cut, up with
the appropriate heraldic cuts. Then the whole thing was over. I think I
can say nothing more laudatory of the manner in which the whole process
of zootomic division was carried out than what Siebenkæs, an interested
party, said himself, viz., "It's to be wished that the twelve tribes of
Israel, as well as, in later times, the Roman empire, had been divided
into as many and as fair divisions as our cow and Poland have been."

I shall be doing ample justice to the cow's embonpoint if I merely
mention that Fecht the cobbler uttered a panegyric which commenced with
the most lively and vigorous oaths, and the statement that she was an
(adjective) bag of skin and bones, and ended with an assurance, uttered
in mild and pious accents that Heaven had indeed favoured the poor
beast, and "blessed us unworthy sinners above measure." A frolicsome
cult by nature, he had had the heavy coach-harness of pietism put on to
him, and was consequently obliged to keep softening down the "strong
language" which came naturally to him into the pious sighs appropriate
to his "converted state." And it was to the frame of mind and the
costume of this very FECHT that I made allusion above as being barely
suitable to the occasion, for I'm sorry to say he had no breeches on
him the whole day of this great slaughter, but ran up and down the
slaughter-house in a white frieze frock of his wife's, having a strange
general effect of looking something like his own better half. However,
the members of the association didn't take any offence; he couldn't
help it, because while he was going about got up in this Amazon's
_demi-negligée_, and presenting this hermaphrodite appearance, his own
black-leather leg-cases were in the dye pot, being prepared for a

The poor's advocate had begged Lenette (about a quarter past four in
the afternoon) not to go on working herself to death, and never to mind
bothering about any supper, as he was going to be miserly for once,
save himself a supper tonight, and sup upon eighteen penn'orth of
pastry: but the busy soul kept running about brushing and sweeping, and
by six o'clock they were both lying resting in the leather arms of--a
big easy chair (for he had no flesh and she no bones), and looking
around them with that expression of tranquil happiness which you may
see in children while eating, at the room in its state of mathematical
order, at the way in which everything in it was shining, at the pastry
new-moon-crescents in their hands, and at the liquid burnished gold (or
rather foilgold[26]) of the setting sun creeping up and up upon the
gleaming tin dishes. There they rested and reposed like cradled
children, with the screeching, clattering, twelve herculean labours of
the rest of the people of the house going on all round them; and the
clearness of the sky and the newly cleaned windows added a full
half-hour to the length of the day; the bell-hammer, or tuning-hammer
of the curfew bell gently let down the pitch of their melodious wishes
till they lapsed into dreams.

At ten o'clock they woke up and went to bed...!

I quite enjoy this little starry night picture myself; though my head
has reflected it all glimmery and out of focus, as the gilt hemisphere
of my watch does the evening sun when I hold it up to it. Evening is
the time when we weary, hunted men long to be at rest; it is for the
evening of the day, for the evening of the year (autumn), and for the
evening of life, that we lay up our hard-earned harvests, and with such
eager hopes! But hast thou never seen in fields, when the crops were
gathered, an image and emblem of thyself--I mean the autumn daisy, the
flower of harvest; she delays her blossom till the summer is past and
gone, the winter snows cover her before her fruit appears, and it is
not till the--coming spring that that fruit is ripe!

But see how the roaring, dashing surges of the fair-day morning come
beating upon our hero's bedposts! He comes into the white, shining
room, which Lenette had stolen out of bed like a thief before midnight
to wash while he was in his first sleep, and had sanded all over like
an Arabia; in which manner she had her own way while he had his. On a
fair-day morning I recommend everybody to open the window and lean out,
as Siebenkæs did, to watch the rapid erection and hiring of the wooden
booths in the market-place, and the falling of the first drops of the
coming deluge of people, only let the reader observe that it wasn't by
my advice that my hero, in the very arrogance of his wealth (for there
were samples of every kind of pastry which the house contained on a
table behind him), called down to many of the little green aristocratic
caterpillars whom he saw moving along in the street with even greater
arrogance than his own, and whose natural history he felt inclined to
learn by a look at their faces.

"I say, sir, will you just be good enough to look at that house, that
one there--do you notice anything particular?"

If the caterpillar lifted up its physiognomy, he could peruse and study
it at his ease,--which was of course his object.

"You don't notice anything particular?" he would ask.

When the insect shook its head, he concurred with it, and did the same
up at the window, saying:

"No, of course not! I've been looking at it for the last twelve months
myself, and can't see anything particular about it; but I didn't choose
to believe my own eyes."

Giddypated Firmian! Your seething foam of pleasure may soon drop down
and disappear--as it did that Saturday when the cards were left. As
yet, however, his little drop of must which he has squeezed out of the
forenoon hours was foaming and sparkling briskly. The landlord moved at
a gallop, casting (with his powder-sowing machine) seed into a fruitful
soil. The bookbinder conveyed his goods (consisting partly of empty
manuscript books, partly of still emptier song books, partly of
"novelties," in almanacs) to the fair by land-carriage in a
wheelbarrow, which he had to make two journeys with in going, but only
one in returning in the evening, because then he had got rid of his
almanacs to purchasers and to sellers (almanacs are the greatest of all
novelties, or pieces of news--for there is nothing in all the long
course of time so new as the new year). Old Sabel had set up her East
India house, her fruit garner, and her cabinet of tin rings at the town
gate; she wouldn't have let that warehouse of hers go to her own
brother at a lower figure than half-a-sovereign. The cobbler put a
stitch in no shoe on this St. Michael's Day except his wife's.

Suck away, my hero, at your nice bit of raffinade sugar of life, and
empty your forenoon sweetstuff spoon, not troubling your head about the
devil and his grandmother, although the pair of them should be thinking
(after the nature of them) about getting a bitter potion, even a poison
cup, made ready and handing it to you.

But his greatest enjoyment is still to come, to wit, the numberless
beggar people. I will describe this enjoyment, and so distribute it.

A fair is the high mass which the beggars of all ranks and classes
attend; when it is still a day or two off, all the footsoles that have
nothing to walk upon but compassionate hearts, are converging towards
the spot like so many radii, but on the morning of the fair-day itself
the whole annual congress of beggardom and the column of cripples are
fairly on the march. Anyone who has seen _F[)u]rth_, or been in
Elwangen during P. Gassner's government, may cut these few leaves out
of his copy; but no one else has any idea of it till I proceed and lead
him in at the town-gate of Kuhschnappel.

The street choral service and the vocal serenades now commence. The
blind sing like blinded singing-birds--better, but louder; the lame
walk; the poor preach the gospel themselves; the deaf and dumb make a
terrible noise, and ring in the feast with little bells--everybody
sings his own tune in the middle of everybody else's--a paternoster is
clattering at the door of every house, and in the rooms inside nobody
can hear himself swear. Whole cabinets of small coppers are lavished on
one hand, pocketed on the other. The one-legged soldiery spice their
ejaculatory prayers with curses, and blaspheme horribly, because people
don't give them enough--in brief, the borough which had made up its
mind for a day's enjoyment, is invaded and almost taken by storm by the
rabble of beggars.

And now the maimed and the diseased begin to appear. Whoever has a
wooden jury-leg under him, sets it and his long third leg and
fellow-labourer the crutch, in motion towards Kuhschnappel, and drives
and plants his sharp-pointed timber toe into moist earth there in the
vicinity of the town-gate, in hopes of its thriving and bearing fruit.
Whosoever has no arms or hands left, stretches both out for an alms.
Those to whom Heaven has entrusted the beggars' talent, disease, above
all paralysis, the beggars' _vapeurs_--trades with his talent, and the
body appertaining to it, levying contributions with it on the whole and
the sound. People who might stand as frontispieces to works on surgery
and medicine, quite as appropriately as at city gates, take up their
position near the latter and announce what they lack, which is, first
and foremost, other people's cash. There are plenty of legs, noses, and
arms in Kuhschnappel, but a great many more people. There is one most
extraordinary fellow--(to be admired at a distance, though impossible
to be equalled--looked upon with envy, though indeed only by such
blotting-paper souls as can never see supreme excellence without
longing to possess it); there's only half of him there, because the
other half's in his grave already, everything you could call legs
having been shot clean away; and these shots have placed him in a
position at once to arrogate and assume to himself the primacy and
generalship-in-chief of the cripples, and be drawn about on a triumphal
car as a kind of demigod, whose soul, in place of a corporeal garment,
has on merely a sort of cape and short doublet. "A soldier," said
Siebenkæs, "who is still afflicted with one leg, and who on that ground
expostulates with fate, inquiring of her, 'Why am _I_ not shot to
pieces like that cripple, so that I might make as much in the day as he
does?' seems to forget that on the other side of the question there are
thousands of other warriors besides himself who haven't even _one_
wooden leg (let alone more), but are totally unprovided with even
_that_ fire- and begging-certificate; moreover, that however many of
his limbs he might have been relieved of by bullets, he might still
keep on asking, 'Why not more?'"

Siebenkæs was merry over the poor because they are merry over
themselves; and he never would kick up a politico-economical row about
their occasionally tippling and guzzling a little too much,--when, for
instance, a whole lazarette-wagon, or ambulance-load of them, halting
at some shepherd's hut, they get down, and go in, and their plasters,
their martyrs' crowns, their spiked girdles and hair-shirts come off,
leaving nothing but a brisk human being who has left off sighing just
for a minute; or--since what everybody works for is, not merely to
live, but to live a little better now and then--when the beggar too has
something a little better than his everyday fare, and when the cripple
pulls the goddess of joy into his boarded dancing-barn to dance with
him as his partner, and her hot mask falls off in the waltz (as for
_our_ ball-rooms, it never falls off in them).

About 11 o'clock, the devil, as I have half hinted already, dropped a
handful of blue-bottle flies into Firmian's wedding soup--to wit, Herr
Rosa von Meyern, who graciously intimated his aristocratic intention of
coming to call that afternoon, "because there was such a good view of
the market-place." People of impecunious gentility, who can't issue
orders in any houses but their own, construct _in_ their own, with much
ease, loopholes whence they can fire upon the enemy who makes his
attack from--within. The advocate had a piece of rudeness towards the
Venner to put into either scale of his balance of justice, so as to
determine which was the least of the two. The one was, to let him be
told he might stay where he was; the other, to let him in, and then
behave just as though the noodle were up in the moon. Siebenkæs chose
the latter as the smaller.

Women, good souls, have always to carry and hold up the Jacob's
ladder by which the male sex mount into the blue æther and into the
evening-red; this call of the Venner came as an extra freight loaded on
to Lenette's two burden-poles of arms. The laving of all moveable
property, and the aspersion of all immoveable, recommenced. Meyern, the
false lover of the poor child-murderess, Lenette detested with all her
heart; at the same time, all her polishing machinery was at once set
agoing on the room, indeed, I think women dress themselves more and
with greater pains for their lady-enemies than for their lady-friends.

The advocate went up and down, all behung with long chains of
ratiocination, like a ghost, and would fain have succeeded in imbuing
her with the idea that she shouldn't give herself the slightest bother
of any kind about the nincompoop. "It was no good," she said, "what
would he think of me?" It was not until having eliminated from the room
as a piece of crudity his old ink-bottle, into which he had only that
minute put ink-powder to dissolve and make ink for the 'Selection from
the Devil's Papers,' she was about to lay hands on that holy ark, his
writing-table--that the head of the house ramped up--on his hind legs,
pointing with his fore paw to the line of demarcation.

Rosa appeared! Nobody who had just a little soft place in his heart
could really have cursed this youngster, or beaten him into a jelly;
one rather got to feel a kind of a liking for him, between his pranks.
He had white hair on his head and on his chin, and was soft all over;
and had stuff like milk instead of blood in his veins, like the
insects, just as poisonous plants have generally white milky juice. He
was of a very forgiving nature, especially towards women, and often
shed more tears himself in an evening at the theatre than he had caused
many whom he had ruined to let fall. His heart was really not made of
stone, or lapis infernalis, and if he prayed for a certain time, he
grew pious during the process and sought out the most time-honoured of
religious formularies to give in his adhesion to them then and there.
Thunder was to him a watchman's rattle, arousing him from the sleep of
sin. He loved to take the needy by the hand, especially if the hand was
pretty. All things considered, he may perhaps get to heaven sooner or
later; for, like many debtors in the upper circles of society, he
doesn't pay his play-debts, and he also has in his heart an inborn
duel-prohibition against shooting and hacking. As yet he is not a man
of his word; and if he were poorer, he would steal without a moment's
hesitation. Like a lap-dog, he lies down wagging his tail at the feet
of people of any importance, but tugs women by the skirts, or shows his
teeth and snarls at them.

Pliant water-weeds of this sort fall away from the very slightest
satiric touch, and you can't manage to hit them with one, richly as
they deserve it, because its effect is only proportionate to the
resistance it meets with. Siebenkæs would have been better pleased had
Von Meyern only been a little rougher and coarser, for it is just these
yielding, pitiful, sapless, powerless sort of creatures that filch away
good fortune, hard cash, feminine honour, good appointments and fair
names, and are exactly like the ratsbane or arsenic, which, when it is
good and pure, must be quite white, shining and transparent.

Rosa appeared, I have said, but oh! lovely to behold beyond expression!
His handkerchief was a great Molucca of perfume; his two side locks
were two small ones. On his waistcoat he had a complete animal kingdom
painted (as the fashion of the day was), or Zimmermann's Zoological
Atlas. His little breeches and his little coat, and every thing
about him salted the women of the house into Lottish salt-pillars,
merely in passing them by on his way upstairs, I must, say, though,
that what dazzle me personally, are the rings which emboss six of his
fingers,--there were profile portraits, landscapes, stones, even
beetle-wing covers all employed in this gold-shoeing of his fingers.

We may quite properly apply to the human hand the expression "it was
shod with rings like a horse's hoof," it has been long applied to the
horse's hoof itself, and Daubenton has proved, by dissections, that the
latter contains all the different parts of the human hand. The use of
these hand or finger manacles is quite proper and permissible; indeed
rings are indispensable to the fingers of those who ought by rights to
have them in their noses. According to the received opinion, these
metal spavins, or excrescences of the fingers, were only invented to
make pretty hands ugly, as a kind of chain and nose-rings to keep
vanity in check; so that fists which are ugly by nature can easily
dispense with these disfigurements. I should like to know whether there
is anything in another idea of mine bearing on this subject. It is
this. Pascal used to wear a great iron ring with sharp spines on it
round his naked body, that he might always be ready to punish himself
for any vain thought which might occur to him by giving this ring a
slight pressure; now is it not perhaps the case that these smaller and
prettier rings in a similar way chastise any vain thoughts which may
occur, by slightly, but frequently hurting? They _seem_ at least to be
worn with some such object, for it is exactly the people who suffer
most from vanity who wear the greatest quantities of them, and move
about their beringed hands the most.

Unwished-for visits often pass off better than others; on this occasion
everyone got on pretty comfortably. Siebenkæs of course was in his own
house--and behaved himself accordingly. He and the Venner looked out of
the window at the people in the market-place. Lenette, in accordance
with her upbringing, and the manners and customs of the middle classes
of small towns, didn't venture to be otherwise than silent, or at the
most to take an exceedingly subordinate, obligato, accompanying part in
the concert of a conversation between men; she fetched and carried in
and out, and, in fact, sat most of the time down stairs with the other
women. It was in vain that the courteous, gallant Rosa Everard, tried
upon her his wonted wizard spells to root women to a given spot. To her
husband he complained that there was little real refinement in
Kuhschnappel, and not one single amateur theatre where one could act,
as there was in Ulm. He had to order his new books and latest fashions
from abroad.

Siebenkæs in return expressed to him merely his enjoyment over
the--beggars in the market-place. He made him notice the little boys
blowing red wooden trumpets, loud enough to burst the drum of the ear,
if not to overthrow the walls of Jericho. But he added, with proper
thoughtfulness, that he shouldn't omit to notice those other poor
devils who were collecting the waste bits of split wood in their caps
for fuel. He asked him if, like other members of the chamber, he
disapproved of lotteries and lotto, and whether he thought it was very
bad for the Kuhschnappel common people's morals that they should be
crowding about an old cask turned upside down, with an index fixed to
the bottom of it which revolved round a dial formed of gingerbread and
nuts, and where the shareholders, for a small stake, carried off from
the banker of the establishment, a greedy old harridan of a woman, a
nut or a ginger cake. Siebenkæs took pleasure in the little, because in
his eyes it was a satirical, caricaturing diminishing mirror of
everything in the shape of burgherly pomposity. The Venner saw no
entertainment whatever in double-meaning allusions of the kind; but
indeed the advocate never dreamt of amusing anybody but himself with
them. "I may surely speak out whatever I like to myself," he once said;
"what is it to me if people choose to listen behind my back, or before
my face either?"

At length he went down among the people in the market-place, not
without the full concurrence of the Venner, who expected at last to be
able to have some rational conversation with the wife. Now that Firmian
was gone, Everard begun to feel in his element, swimming in his own
native pike-pond as it were. As an introductory move he constructed for
Lenette a model of her native town; he knew a good many streets and
people in Augspurg, and had often ridden through the Fuggery, and it
seemed only yesterday, he said, that he saw her there working at a
lady's hat, beside a nice old lady, her mother he should think. He took
her right hand in his (in an incidental manner), she allowing him to do
so out of gratefulness for calling up such pleasant memories; he
pressed it--then suddenly let it go to see if she mightn't just have
returned the pressure the least bit in the world, in the confusion of
fingers as it were--or should try to _recover_ the lost pressure. But
he might as well have pressed Götz von Berlichingen's iron hand with
his thievish thumb as her warm one. He next came upon the subject of
her millinery work, and talked about cap and bonnet fashions like a man
who knew what he was talking about; whereas when Siebenkæs mixed
himself up with these questions, he displayed no real knowledge of the
subject at all. He promised her two consignments, of patterns from Ulm,
and of customers from Kuhschnappel. "I know several ladies who _must_
do what I ask them," he said, and showed her the list of his
engagements for the coming winter balls in his pocket-book; "I shan't
dance with them if they don't give you an order." "I hope it won't come
to that," said Lenette (with many meanings). Finally, he was obliged to
ask her to let him see her at work for a little, his object here being
to weaken the enemy by effecting a diversion of her forces--her eyes
being occupied with her needle, she could only have her ears at liberty
to observe him with. She blushed as she took two bodkins and stuck one
of them into the round red little pincushion of--her mouth; this was
more than he could really allow, it was so very dangerous--it formed a
hedge against himself--and she might swallow either the stiletto in
question, or at all events some of the poisonous verdigris off it. So
he drew this lethal weapon with his own hand out of its sheath in her
lips, scratching the cherry mouth a little, or not at all--as he loudly
lamented--in the process, however. A venner of the right sort considers
himself liable in a case of this kind for the fees and expenses
consequent upon the accident; Everard, in his liberality, took
out his English patent pomade, smeared some on to her left forefinger,
and applied the salve to the invisible wound with the finger as a
spatula--in doing which he was obliged to take hold of her whole hand
as the _handle_ of the spatula, and frequently squeeze it
unconsciously. He stuck the unfortunate stiletto itself into his shirt
front, giving her his own breastpin instead, and exposing his own
tender white breast to--the cold. I particularly beg persons who have
had experience in this description of service to give their opinion
with firm impartiality on my hero's conduct, and, sitting in court
martial on him, to point out such of his movements and dispositions as
they may consider to have been ill-advised.

Now that she was wounded, poor thing, he wouldn't let her go on
working, but only show him her finished productions. He ordered a copy
of one of them for Madame von Blaise. He begged her to put it on and
let him see it on her--and he set it himself just as Madame von Blaise
would wear it. By heaven! it was better even than he had thought; he
swore it would suit Madame von Blaise quite as well, as she was just
the same height as Lenette. This was all stuff and nonsense, really the
one was taller by quite half a nose than the other. Lenette said so
herself, she had seen Madame von Blaise at church. Rosa stuck to his
own opinion, and swore by his soul and salvation (for in cases of the
kind he was given to profane language), and by the sacrament, that
he had measured himself with her a hundred times, and that she was
half-an-inch taller than himself. "By heaven!" he said, suddenly
jumping up, "of course I carry her measure about with me, like her
tailor; all that need be done is that _you_ and _I_ measure ourselves

1 shall not here withhold from little girls a golden rule of war
made by myself, "Don't argue long with a man, whatever it may be
about--warmth is always warmth, even if it only be warmth of
argument--one forgets one's self, and ultimately takes to proving by
syllogistic figures, and this is just what the enemy wants--he converts
these figures into poetical figures--ultimately even into plastic

Lenette, a little giddy with the rapid whirl of events, good naturedly
stood up to serve as recruit measure for her recruit Rosa; he leant his
back to hers. "This won't do," he said, "I can't see," and unlocked his
fingers which had been intertwined together, backwards, over the region
of her heart. He turned quickly round, stood before her, and embraced
her gently, so as to determine, by comparing the levels of their eyes,
whether their brows were an exact height or not. His were glaring quite
an inch higher up than hers; he clasped her closely and said, turning
red, "you see you were right; but my mistake was that I added your
beauty to your height," and in this proximity he pressed his mouth, red
as sealing-wax, upon her lips, very founts and sources of truth as they

She was ashamed, annoyed and embarrassed, angry, and ready to cry, but
had not the courage to let her indignation break out upon a gentleman
of quality. She didn't speak another word then. He set her and himself
at the window, and said he would read her some songs, of rather a
different kind, he hoped, to those which were being hawked down
in the street. For he was one of the greatest poets in Kuhschnappel,
although as yet it was not so much that his verses had made him known,
as that he had made his verses known. His poems, like so many others
nowadays, were like the muses themselves, children of memory. Every
old Frankish town has at least its one fashionable fop, a person
who _fait les honneurs_; and every town, however old, prosaic,
imperial-judicature-endowed, possesses its genius, its poet, and
sentimentalist; often both these offices are filled by the same
individual--as was the case in Kuhschnappel. The greater and likewise
the lesser house of assembly looked upon Rosa as a mighty genius,
smitten with the genius-epidemic-fever. This disease is something like
elephantiasis, of which Troil in his travels in Iceland gives such an
accurate description in twenty-four letters, and the principal features
of which are that the patient is exactly like an elephant as to hair,
cracks, colour, and lumps of the skin, but has not the _power_ of the
elephant, and lives in a _cold_ climate.

Everard took a touching elegy out of one of his pockets, the left one,
in which (I mean in the elegy) a noble gentleman, lovesick, sang
himself to death; and he told her he should like to read it to her, if
his feelings would let him get through it without breaking down.
However, the poem shortly drew more than one tear and emotion from its
owner, and he, to his honour, was constrained to furnish a fresh proof
of the fact that however manly and cold he and poets of his stamp can
be to the heaviest sorrows of humanity, they really cannot quite
contain themselves at the woes of love, but are compelled to weep at
them. Meanwhile Rosa, who, like swindlers at play, always kept one eye
upon a reflecting surface of some sort--water, window panes, or
polished steel for instance, so as to catch a passing glimpse of the
female countenance from time to time--saw by means of a little mirror
in one of the rings of his left hand, in which hand he was holding the
elegy, just a trace or two in Lenette's eyes of the tragic dew left
there by his poem. So he pulled out of his second pocket a ballad (it
is, no doubt, printed long ago) in which an innocent child murderess,
with a tearful adieu to her lover, throws herself upon a sword. This
ballad (very unlike his other poetical children) had real poetic merit,
for luckily (for the poem at least) he was a lover of that kind
himself, so that he could speak _from_ the heart _to_ the heart. It is
not easy to portray the emotion and the melting pitying tears on
Lenette's face; all her heart rose to her tear-dimmed eyes.

It was an experience utterly new to her to be thus agitated by a
combination of truth and fiction.

The Venner threw the ballad into the fire, and himself into Lenette's
arms, and cried--

"Oh! you sympathising, noble, holy creature!"

I cannot paint the amazement with which, completely unprepared for and
incomprehensive of this transition from crying to kissing, she shoved
him away. This made little impression on him; he was on his high
horse and said he must have some souvenir of this "sacred entrancing
moment"--only a little lock of her hair. Her humble station, his
high-flown language, and the fact that she was perfectly unable to form
the slightest idea what use her hair would be to him, even supposing
she gave enough to stuff a pillow--all this put into her head the
foolish idea that he wanted it to perform some magical rite with, such
as putting her under a love spell, or something of the sort.

He might have stabbed himself there and then before her, hewn himself
in pieces, impaled himself alive, she wouldn't have interfered; she
might indeed have shed her _blood_ to save him, but not a single _hair_
of her head.

He had still one resource _in petto_--he had really never met with such
a case as this before; he lifted up his hand and vowed that he would
get Herr von Blaise to recognise her husband as his nephew, and pay
over his inheritance--and that with the greatest ease, because he would
threaten to jilt his niece unless he did it--if she would just take the
scissors and cut off a _little_ hair memorial, no bigger even than the
fourth part of a moustache.

She knew nothing about the business of the inheritance, and he was
consequently obliged, to the great detriment of his enthusiastic state,
to give a prosaic, detailed account of the _species facti_ of the whole
of that law suit. By great good fortune he had still in his pocket the
number of the 'Gazette' in which the inheritance chamber's inquiry as
to the advocate's existence appeared in print, and he was able to put
it into her hands. And now this plundered wife began to cry bitterly,
not for the loss of the money, but because her husband had told her
nothing about it all this time, and still more because she couldn't
quite make out what her own name really was, or whether she was married
to a Siebenkæs or to a Leibgeber. Her tears flowed faster and faster,
and in her passion of grief she would have let the deceiver before her
have all the pretty hair on her head, had not an accidental
circumstance burst the whole chain of events, just as he was kneeling
and imploring her for one little lock.

But we must first look after her husband a little, and see how he is
getting on, and whither he bends his steps. At first among the market
stalls; for the many-throated roaring, and the Olla Podrida of cheap
pleasures, and the displayed pattern cards of all the rags out of, and
upon, which we human clothes moths construct our covering cases and our
abodes--all these caused his mind to sink deep into a sea of
humoristic-melancholy reflections concerning this mosaic picture of a
life of ours, made up as it is of so many little bits, many-tinted
moments, motes, atoms, drops, dust, vapours. He laughed, and listened,
with an emotion incomprehensible by many of my readers, to a ballad
singer, bawling, with his rhapsodist's staff in his right hand pointed
at a big, staring picture of a horrible murder, and his left full of
smaller, printed pictures, for sale, in which the misdeed and the
perpetrator of it were displayed to the German public in no brighter
colours than those of poetry. Siebenkæs bought two copies, and put them
in his pocket, to read in the evening.

This tragic murder picture evoked in the background of his fancy that
of the poor girl he had defended, and the gallows, on to which fell
those burning tears which had flowed from his wounded heart--that heart
which nobody on earth, save one, understood--when last it had been
lacerated. He left the noisy market-place, and sought all-peaceful
nature, and that isolatorium, destined alike for friendship and for
guilt, the gallows. When we pass from the stormy uproar of a fair into
the still expanse of wide creation, entering into the dim aisles of
nature's hushed cathedral, the strange sudden calm, is to the soul as
the caressing touch of some beloved hand.

With a sad heart he climbed up to the well-known spot, whose ugly name
I shall omit, and from these ruins he gazed around upon creation, as if
he were the last of living beings. Neither in the blue sky, nor upon
the wide earth, was there voice or sound; nothing but one forlorn
cricket, chirping in monosyllables, among the bare furrows, where
the harvest had been cleared away. The troops of birds flocking
together with discordant cries flew to the green nets spread upon the
ground--and not to meet the green spring far away. Above the meadows,
where all the flowers were withered and dead, above the fields, where
the corn ears waved no more, floated dim phantom forms, all pale and
wan, faint pictures of the past. Over the grand eternal woods and hills
a biting mist was draped in clinging folds, as if all nature, trembling
into dust, must vanish in its wreaths. But one bright thought pierced
these dark fogs of nature and the soul, turning them to a white
gleaming mist, a dew all glittering with rainbow colours, and gently
lighting upon flowers. He turned his face to the north-east, to the
hills which lay between him and his other heart, and up from behind
them rose, like an early moon in harvest, a pale image of his friend.
The spring, when he should go to him and see him once more, was at work
already preparing for him a fair broad pathway thither, all rich with
grass and flowers. Ah! how we play with the world about us, so quickly
dressing it all with the webs which our own spirits spin.

The cloudless sky seemed sinking closer to the dusky earth, bright with
a softer blue. And though a whole long winter lay between, the music of
the coming spring already came, faint and distant, to his ear; it was
there in the evening chime of the cattle bells down in the meadows, in
the birds' wild wood notes in the groves, and in the free streams
flowing fast away amid the flowery tapestries that were yet to be.

A palpitating chrysalis was hanging near him still in her
half-shrivelled caterpillar's case, sleeping away the time till the
flower cups all should open; phantasy, that eye of the soul, saw beyond
and over the sheaves of autumn the glories of a night in June; every
autumn-tinted tree seemed blooming once again; their bright coloured
crests, like magnified tulips, painted the autumn mist with rainbow
dyes; light breezes of early May seemed chasing each other through the
fresh, fluttering leaves; they breathed upon our friend, and buoyed him
up, and rose with him on high, and held him up above the harvest and
above the hills, till he could see beyond these hills and lands--and
lo! the springs of all his life to come, lying as yet enfolded in the
bud, lay spread before his sight like gardens side by side--and there,
in every spring time, stood his friend.

He left the place, but wandered a long while about the meadows,
where at this time of year there was no need to hunt carefully for
footpaths--chiefly that his eyes might not betray where his thoughts
had been to all the market people who were to be met. It was of little
use--for in certain moods the torn and wounded heart, like injured
trees, bleeds on and on, and at the slightest touch.

He shunned eye-witnesses, such as Rosa above all, for this reason, that
he was (I am sorry to have to say it) in just one of those moods when,
whether from modesty or from vividness of feeling, he was most disposed
to mask his emotion under the semblance of temper. At last a weapon of
victory came to his hand, the thought that he had to apologize and make
amends to his guest for so long and so uncourteous an absence.

When he got home what a strange state of matters! The old guest
gone--another there in his place--and near the latter his wife in
tears. When he came into the room, Lenette went to one of the windows,
and a fresh torrent of tears fell down. "Madame Siebenkæs," said the
Schulrath, continuing his address to her, and keeping hold of her hand,
"submit yourself to the will of God, I beseech you; nothing has
happened but what can be put to rights without difficulty. I am willing
to concede you a sorrow of the heart--but it must be a restrained and a
subdued one."

Lenette looked out of the window, not at her husband.

The Schulrath related, in the first place, all that I have already
given my account of (Firmian, listening to him and looking at him, took
the glowing hand of Lenette, whose face was still averted), and then

"When I came in, merciful Heavens, there was his lordship on his knees
before Madame Siebenkæs, with carnal tears, and--I am constrained to
have the gravest suspicions--a design upon her precious honour!
However, I raised him up, without the least ceremony, and I said to
him, with the boldness of St. Paul himself--for which I am ready to
answer before God and man--'Your Lordship, are these the doctrines
which I inculcated into your Lordship when I was your private tutor; is
it Christian conduct to go down upon your knees in such a manner? Fie,
for shame, Herr von Meyern. Fie, for shame, Herr von Meyern!'"

Here the Schulrath got into a terrible heat again, and strode up and
down the room with his hands in the pockets of his plush coat.

Firmian said, "It's a simple matter to set up a scarecrow and plant a
hedge to keep off a hare like _him_; but what ails _you_, love," he
said, "and what are you crying so bitterly about?"

She cried more bitterly than ever; when the Schulrath planted his hands
on his sides, and said to her in much wrath, "Very well, Madame
Siebenkæs, this is the way of it, is it? This is all the impression my
good counsel and comforting words have made upon your mind, is it? I
never should have believed it of you!

"It was all for nothing then (as I am constrained to conclude) that,
when I had the honour of bringing you here from Augspurg in my
carriage, I described to you with all the eloquence at my command, the
blessedness of the married state, before you had had an opportunity of
learning it by experience; it seems I might just as well have spoken to
the winds of heaven. Can it really be the case that all that I said to
you in the carriage simply went in at one ear and out at the other?
when I told you how happy a wife was in and through her husband, how
she often could hardly help crying for joy at possessing him--how these
two had but one heart and one flesh, and shared everything between
them, joy and sorrow, every morsel of food, every wish and desire, ay
and the very smallest secrets. Well, well, Madame Siebenkæs, I see the
Schulrath may keep his breath to cool his porridge."

Upon this she twice wiped and dried her eyes hurriedly, constrained
herself to look at him very kindly indeed, and with a forced appearance
of being quite pleased again, and said with a deep sigh, but softly and
not in a tone of pain, "Oh dear me!"

The Schulrath touched her hand as it hung down with his finger tips in
a priestly manner, and said--

"But may the Lord be your physician and helper in all your necessities"
(he could hardly say more, for his tears were coming), "Amen,--which
is, being interpreted, 'Yea, verily, so mote it be.'" Here he embraced
and kissed the husband, and this with much warmth, saying, "Send for
me, if your wife can obtain no consolation--and may God give you both
strength. O, by the by--the very thing I came here about--the review of
the Easter programme must be ready by Wednesday--and I am in your debt
for the eight lines or more you did about that piece of rubbish the
other day, which you gave such a capital dressing to."

When he had gone, however, Lenette didn't seem so thoroughly consoled
as might have been expected: she leant at the window sunk in deep,
hopeless, amazement and reflection. It was in vain that Firmian pointed
out that of course he wasn't going to change his and her present name
any more, and that her honour, marriage, and love didn't depend upon a
wretched name or so up or down, but upon himself and his heart. She
restrained her tears, but she continued to be troubled and silent the
whole of the evening.

Now let no one call our good Firmian over jealous or suspicious when,
having just got well rid of one wretched sacrilegious robber of
marriage honour, the Venner, the idea of a volcanic eruption which
might throw stones and ashes all over a great tract of his life
suddenly occurs to him; what if his friend Stiefel should be really (as
it almost seems) falling in love with his wife, in all innocence,
himself. His whole behaviour from the very beginning--his attentions on
the wedding-day, his constant visits, and even his exasperation with
the Venner that very day, and his warm feeling and sympathy on the
occasion altogether, all these were the separate parts of a pretty
coherent whole, and seemed to indicate a deep and growing affection,
thoroughly honourable, no doubt, and unperceived by himself. Whether or
not a spark of it had jumped off into Lenette's heart, and was
smouldering there, it was impossible as yet to determine; but true and
good as he knew his wife and his friend to be, his hopes and his fears
could not but be pretty equally balanced.

Dear hero! Do continue to be one! Destiny, as I see more and more
clearly as time goes on, seems to have made up her mind gradually to
join the separate pieces of a drill machine together with which to
pierce through the diamond of thy stoicism; or else by slow degrees to
build and fashion English scraping and singeing machines (made out of
poverty, household worries, law suits, and jealousy) to scrape and
singe away from thee every rough and ill-placed fibre, as if you were a
web of finest English cloth. If this should be so, do but come out of
the mill as splendid a piece of English stuff as was ever brought to
the Leipzig cloth and book fair, and you will be glorious indeed.

                              CHAPTER IV.


There is nothing which I observe and note down with more scrupulous and
copious accuracy than two equinoctial periods, the matrimonial equinox
when, after the honeymoon, the sun enters the constellation Libra (or
the balance), and the meteorologic vernal equinox; because, by
observing the weather which prevails at these two periods, I am enabled
to prognosticate with surprising accuracy the nature of that which will
characterise the succeeding season. I consider the first storm of the
spring to be always the most important, and similarly, the first
matrimonial storm; the others all come from the same quarter.

When the Schulrath was gone, the poor's advocate took his sulky
house-goddess into his arms, and plied her with every conceivable
method of proof; with proofs derived from immemorial hearsay,
partial proofs, evidential proof, proof on oath, and by logical
deduction--every kind of proof wherewith one can harden one's own
heart, or soften another's.

But the whole of the evidence he adduced was useless. He might just as
well have been embracing the cold hard angel at the baptismal font in
the principal church, his own angel remained quite as cold and silent.
Furboots had been the tourniquet which stopped the hemorrhage of
Lenette's open, streaming artery; but his departure had taken the
German tinder stopping from her eyes and now they streamed unstanched.

Siebenkæs went often to the window, and up and down in the room, that
she might not see that he was following her example, and that her
sorrow, little reasonable as it was, infected him by sympathy. We can
more easily bear, and forgive pain of our own causing than of
another's. All the following day there was an unendurable silence in
the house. This was the very first of the beds of the matrimonial
nursery-garden in which a seed of the apple of discord had been
planted, and as yet not the faintest rustle of its sap was audible. It
is not in the first domestic squabble, not till the fourth, tenth,
ten-thousandth, that a woman can keep perfect silence with her tongue,
yet make a tremendous noise with her body, and turn every chair which
she shoves about, and every reel of cotton which she lets fall, into a
language-machine and fountain of speech, and play her _instrumental_
music all the louder, because her _vocal_ parts are counting their
rests. LENETTE WENDELINE moved everything and said everything, as
softly as if her liege lord had the gout and was lying with cramped
foot pressed in agony against the trembling bottom board of his bed.

When the third day of this came on, he was vexed and annoyed--and he
had reason. I beg to say that, for my own part, I should be quite
prepared to quarrel with my own wife, if I had one--ay, and to do it
with a will--and that to some purpose, and to bandy words with her, as
well as letters (though I should prefer the former). But there's one
thing which would kill me outright, and that would be her keeping up a
long, dreary, tearful sulking, a thing which, like the sirocco wind,
ends by blowing out all a man's lights, thoughts, and joys, and at
length his life itself. Just as we all of us, rather _like_ a violent
thunderstorm in summer, and think it refreshing rather than otherwise
in itself--and yet consider it a cursed nuisance on the whole, because
it's sure to be followed by some days of dreary wet weather. Siebenkæs
was all the more vexed on this occasion, because he was a man who
scarcely ever was vexed. As other jurists have reckoned themselves
among men exempt from torture, so Siebenkæs had long ago fortified
_himself_ against grief and care, those torture racks of the soul (by
the help of Epictetus), as effectually as he had the infanticide
against bodily torture.

The Jews hold that when Messiah comes, hell will be joined on to
paradise, so as to make a bigger dancing saloon. And all the year long,
Siebenkæs occupied himself in building and adding on his torture
chambers and schools of suffering to the entertainment halls of his
bagatelle, so as to have more room to perform his ballets.

He often said a medal should be struck for any citizen who should be
three hundred and sixty-five days, five hours, forty-eight minutes and
fifty-five seconds, without either growling or snarling.

He wouldn't have got that medal himself in the year 1785. On the third
day, the Saturday, he was so wild at his wife's speechlessness, that he
was wilder still with that kill-joy of an Everard. For, of course, that
minnesinger, might come in again at any moment, bringing in his company
the goddess of discord (who, as directrix and ambassadress, performs
such important poetical functions in Voltaire's Henriade), and
introducing her into the homely "Volkslied" of an advocate, by way of a
_dea ex machina_ to unloose the matrimonial knot, and tie a fresh one
with the Venner. Siebenkæs accordingly wrote him the following
academic-controversial document.

"May it please your Lordship,

"I take the liberty to lay before your Lordship in this little memorial
my humble petition,

"That you will be pleased to stay at home, and spare me the honour of
your visits.

"Should your Lordship find it necessary to become possessed of a
certain quantity of my wife's hair--the undersigned hereby undertakes
to cut and deliver the same himself. In the event of your Lordship's
being minded to exercise a _jus compascui_, or right of free common and
pasturage in my premises, and appearing therein in person, I shall
embrace with much pleasure the opportunity then afforded me of plucking
as many of your Lordship's own hairs as may be requisite to constitute
a souvenir out of your Lordship's head, by the roots, like monthly
radishes, with my own hands. While I was in Nürnberg, I used often to
go and dine in the neighbouring villages (against the will of the
authorities) with a fine old PRUGEL KNECHT,[27] _i. e_. with a private
tutor, who had towzed out and excerpted from the heads of three little
slips of nobility, while he was giving them their lessons, enough silky
hair to make him a handsome mouse-coloured bag-wig, which the man most
probably wears to this day. His motive in thus applying himself to the
production of silk, or rather, his reason for divesting these little
heads of their exterior foliage, was, that his own beams might the more
effectually ripen the fruit within, as, for similar reasons, it is
usual to remove leaves from the vines in August.

                           "I have the honour to remain, &c."

I shall be very sorry if I cannot manage to get the reader to
understand that the advocate wrote this biting letter without the
slightest bitterness of feeling. He had read the brilliant satirical
writings of the three merry wise men of London, Butler, Swift, and
Sterne--those three bodies of the satirical giant, Geryon, or three
furies (Parcæ) of the foolish--to such an extent that, as their
disciple and follower, he never thought whether it was a biting letter
or not. In his admiration of the artistic beauties of his composition,
he lost sight of its meaning; and indeed, if a stinging speech were
made to himself, he would think nothing of the length of its prickles
in comparison with its form and shape. I need merely instance his
'Selection from the Devil's Papers;' the satirical poison bubbles
and venomous prickles so frequent in that work came from his pen and
ink--_i. e_. his head only, not from his heart.

I take the opportunity of begging the reader always to infuse the very
soul of gentleness and kindness into every word and tone he utters
(because it is our words more than our deeds which make people angry),
and, more particularly still, into every page he writes. For, truly,
even if your correspondents have forgiven you an epistolary _pereat_
long ago, yet the old leaven of ill-will ferments anew, if the
sorrel-leaf of a letter containing it chances to come to hand again. We
may, of course, on the other hand, reckon upon a similar immortality
for a piece of epistolary kindness. Truly, though a long, cutting
December wind had made my heart stiff and immoveable to everything in
the shape of kindly feeling for one who, once on a time, used to write
me absolute Epistles of St. John, tender pastorals of letters, what
would it matter, if I should but chance to turn up these old letters in
my letter-treasury of bundles and packets of letters?

The sight of the beloved handwriting, the welcome seal, the kind,
endearing words, and the pieces of paper where so many a pleasure found
space to sport and play, would cast the sunshine of the old affection
upon the frozen heart once more; it would reopen at the memory of the
dear old time, as some flower that has closed reopens when a sunbeam
lights upon it, and its only thought--ay, were it but the day before
yesterday that it had conceived itself mortally offended--would be,
"Ah! I was too hard upon him (or her) after all." Many of the saints in
the first century used to drive devils out of the possessed, in a
somewhat similar way, merely by means of letters.

Furboots came, as if he had been sent for, on the Saturday evening,
like a Jewish Sabbath. I have often seen a guest serve as cement
or hefting powder to two better halves in a state of fracture,
because shame and necessity compelled them to speak and behave
kindly to each other, at all events while the guest was there.
Every husband should be provided with two or three visitors
of this sort, to come in when he's suffering from an attack of
wife-possessed-too-long-with-the-devil-of-dumbness; as long as the
people are there, at all events, she must speak, and take the iron
thief-apple of silence--which grows on the same stalk as the apple of
discord--out of her mouth.

The Schulrath stood up before Lenette Wendeline as if she were one of
his school girls, and asked her if she had borne this first cross of
her married life patiently, and like a worthy sister in suffering of
the patriarch Job. She drooped her big eyes, wound a thread the length
of a finger into a white snowball, and breathed deeper. Her husband
answered for her: "I was her brother in affliction, and bore the
cross-bar of the burden--I without a murmur, she without a murmur. In
the twelfth century, the heap of ashes on which Job endured his
sufferings used still to be shown. Our two chairs are our heaps of
ashes; there they are still to be seen!"

"Good woman!" said Stiefel, in the softest pianissimo of his pedal
reed-stop of a masculine voice, and laid his snow-white hand on the
soft, raven hair upon her forehead. Siebenkæs heard a multiplying
sympathetic echo of these words in his heart, and laid his arm on
Lenette's shoulders, who was blushing with pleasure at the honour
conferred upon her by this kindness of the man in office. Her husband
softly pressed her left side to his right, and said:--

"She is good, indeed; she is gentle, and quiet, and patient, and only
too industrious. If the whole tag, rag and bobtail of Hell's army,
in the shape of the Venner, had only not advanced upon our little
summer-house of happiness, to knock its roof off, we should have lived
happy in it for many a day, Mr. Stiefel, far into the winter of our
lives. For my Lenette is good, and _too_ good for me and for many
another man." Here Stiefel, in his emotion, surrounded that hand of
hers which had the skein of thread in it, at the seat of the pulse with
his fine fingers--the empty hand being in her husband's possession--and
the Wound Water of our pain, the great drops of which trickled from her
drooped eyes down her cheeks, where her imprisoned hands could not wipe
them away, made the two male hearts very tender. And besides, her
husband could never praise any one long without his eyes overflowing.
He went on, faster, "Yes, she might have been very comfortable and
well-off with me, but that my mother's money is kept back from me in
this terrible way. But, even for all that, I should have made her happy
without the money, and she me--we never had a word, never a single
unhappy moment--now had we, Lenette? nothing but peace and love, till
the Venner came. He has taken a good deal from _us_!"

The Schulrath raised his clenched fist in wrath, and exclaimed, sawing
the air with it, "You child of hell! you robber-captain and filibuster!
You silken Catiline and mischief-maker! Does it ever strike you that
you'll have to answer for this and your other pranks one day? Mr.
Siebenkæs, this, at all events, I _do_ expect of you, that if ever he
comes here again asking for hair, you will turn him out by the hair of
his own head, or hit this fur-maggot (as you call him yourself) across
the shoulders with a boot-jack, and squeeze his hand with a pair of
pincers--in fact, the long and the short of it is, _I will not_ have
him come here any more."

And here Siebenkæs, to cool down his own emotions and other people's,
mentioned the fact of his having already taken steps in the matter, and
served the necessary letter of inhibition upon the Venner. Stiefel
clucked his tongue in a joyful manner, and nodded his head approvingly.
He considered any person high in office to be a vicegerent of Christ on
earth, a count to be a demigod, and an emperor as a whole one;--but a
single one of the deadly sins committed by any of them all would at
once cost them the whole of his deferential good will,--and a slip in
Latin grammar, though committed by a head crowned with gold, he would
at once have done battle with in a whole Latin Easter programme. Men of
"the world have straight bodies and crooked souls; scholars often have
neither the one nor the other. The last of Lenette's clouds cleared
away when she heard that a paper escarpment and _cheval de frise_
against the Venner had been constructed at her door. "Then he will
trouble me no more! Thanks be to Heaven! He goes about lying and
deceiving everyone he comes across."[28]

"We don't employ these words, Madame Siebenkæs, if we care to speak
grammatically," said Stiefel; "irregular verbs such as '_kriechen_,
_trügen_, _lügen_,' though they are _verba anomala_, and as such have
'_kroch_, _log_, _trog_,' and so on in the imperfect tense, are still
always inflected quite regularly in the present by the best German
grammarians--although the poets permit themselves a poetical license in
such cases, as, I am sorry to say, they do in most others--and
therefore we say, if we care to be grammatically correct, '_lügt_,
_trügt_, _kriecht_,' &c., at the present day, that is."

"Don't find fault with my dear Augspurger's Lutheran inflections," said
Siebenkæs; "there's something touching to me about these irregular
verbs of hers; they are the Schmalkaldian article of the Augspurg
confession." Here she drew her husband's ear softly down to her lips
and said, "What would you like me to get for supper? Tell the gentleman
that you know I mean no offence, whatever words I use. And I wish you
would ask his reverence, Firmian dear, when I'm out of the room,
whether our marriage is really all right according to the Bible." He
asked this question on the spot. Stiefel answered it deliberately as
follows:--"We have only to look at the case of Leah, who was conducted
to Jacob's tent under the pseudonym of Rachel on her marriage night,
and whose marriage the Bible holds to be perfectly valid. Is it names
or bodies that exchange rings? And can a name fulfil the marriage vow?"

Lenette answered these questions, and spoke her thanks for this
consistorial decision by a bashful glance of restored content and a
beaming face upturned towards him. She went to the kitchen, but kept
constantly coming back and snuffing the candle, which was on the table
at which the two gentlemen sat talking; and probably nobody, except the
advocate and I, will consider this to be any indication of a more than
ordinary liking for Stiefel. The latter always took the snuffers from
her, saying "it was _his_ duty." Siebenkæs clearly perceived that both
the apples of his eyes revolved, satellite-fashion, round his own
planet, Lenette; but he did not grudge the Latin knight his little
glimpse of an age of chivalry thus sweetened by a Dulcinea; like most
men, he could far sooner pardon the rival lover than the unfaithful
fair; women, on the other hand, hate the rival more than the unfaithful
lover. Moreover, he knew perfectly that Stiefel had not the least idea
himself whom or what he cared for or sighed for, and that he was a far
better hand at reviewing schoolmen and authors than himself. For
instance, his own anger he called professional zeal; his pride, the
dignity due to his office; his passions, sins of weakness; and on this
occasion love appeared to him disguised as mere philanthropy. The arch
of Lenette's troth was firmly finished off in the keystone of religion,
and the Venner's assault upon it had not shaken this sacred masonry in
the slightest degree.

At this juncture the postman stumped up stairs with a new constellation
which he set in their serene family sky, namely, the following letter
from Leibgeber.

                                  "Bayreuth, 21 Sept., 1785.

   "My dear Brother, Cousin, and Uncle,
            Father and Son!

"For the two auricles and the two ventricles of thy heart constitute my
entire genealogical tree:--as Adam, when he went for a walk, carried
about with him the whole of his blood relations that were to be, and
his long line of descendants--which is not wholly unreeled and wound up
even at this day--till he became a father, and his wife bare a child. I
wish to goodness I had been the first Adam! Siebenkæs, I do adjure you,
let me, let me, follow up this idea which has struck me and taken hold
of me with such power; let me not write a word in this letter that does
not add a touch to the three-quarter-length portrait which I shall draw
of myself as the first father of mankind!

"Men of learning are much mistaken who suppose my reason for wishing I
were Adam to be, that Puffendorf and many other writers very properly
award me the whole of this earth as a kind of European colony in the
India of the universe, as my _patrimonium Petri_, _Pauli_, _Judæ_ and
the rest of the Apostles; inasmuch as I, being the sole Adam and man,
and consequently the first and last of universal monarchs (although as
yet without any subjects), might of course lay claim to the entire
earth. It might occur to the pope, indeed (he being holy father, though
not our first father), to make a similar claim, or rather it did occur
to him some centuries ago, when he constituted himself the guardian and
the heir of all the countries of the earth, and indeed made bold to set
two other crowns on the top of his earthly one, a crown of heaven and a
crown of hell.

"How small a thing it is that I desire! All that I wish I had been the
old Adam (in fact, the oldest Adam) for, is merely that I might have
strolled up and down with Eve among the espaliers of Eden on our
marriage night, in our aprons and beasts' skins, and delivered an
address in Hebrew to the mother of all living.

"Before commencing my address I beg to observe that, while I was yet
unfallen, it fortunately occurred to me to note down the more important
heads of my universal knowledge. For I had, in my condition of
innocence, a perfect and intuitive knowledge of all the sciences, of
history, both universal and literary, the various criminal and other
codes of law, all the dead languages as well as the living, and was a
kind of live Pindus and Pegasus, a portable Lodge of Light and learned
society, a pocket university, and miniature golden _Siècle de Louis
XIV_. Considering what my mental powers were at that juncture it is a
miracle (and what's more, a very lucky job) that in my leisure moments
I put down the cream of my universal knowledge on paper, because when I
subsequently fell, and became simple and ignorant, I had these
excerpts, or _Catalogues raisonnés_, of my former wisdom by me, so that
I could refer to them.

"'Virgin!' (it was thus that the sermon delivered outside Paradise
commenced) 'it is true we are the first of parents, and are minded to
originate all the subsequent parents; though all that you think about
is sticking your spoon into a forbidden apple. However, I, being a man
and protoplast, reflect and ponder, and as we walk to and fro, I shall
undertake the office of preacher of the sermon on this, the occasion of
our entering into the bonds of wedlock (not having as yet,
unfortunately, begotten anybody else to do it), and, in a brief wedding
exhortation, direct your attention to the doubts affecting and the
reasons deciding, the protoplasts, or the first parents and first of
wedded couples (that is to say, you and me), in the act of reflecting
and considering, and how--

"'In the first place, they consider the reasons why they should not
people the earth, but emigrate this very day, the one into the old
world, the other into the new; and

"'In the second place, the reasons why they should do nothing of the
kind, but marry.

"'After which a short elench, or _usus epanorthoticus_, will be
adduced, and will conclude the lecture and the night.'

                          IN THE FIRST PLACE

"'My dearly beloved!

"'Here, in my sheepskin, as I appear before you, grave, thoughtful, and
wise, it is nevertheless the fact that I am fall to the very brim
of--not so much follies as _fools_, with a good many wise men stuck in
here and there between them by way of parentheses. I am of short
stature, it is true, and the ocean[29] came a good deal above my
ancles, and besprinkled my new beasts' skin; and yet, as I walk up and
down here, I am girt about with a seed cloth, containing the seeds of
all nations, and carrying the repertory of the whole human race, an
entire world in miniature and _orbis pictus_, round my middle like a
pedlar's stock in trade. For BONNET, who is in me among the rest, will
sit down at his desk (when he comes out), and prove that they are all
one inside the other, like a nest of boxes or a set of parentheses,
that the father contains the son, that the grandfather contains them
both, the great-grandfather consequently the grandfather and all the
contents of him, the great-great-grandfather the great-grandfather and
the contents of his contents and all his episodes, all sitting waiting
one inside the other. Are there not then here embodied in thy
bridegroom--this is a point, dear bride, which cannot be made _too_
intelligible to you--all religious sects, excepting the Preadamites,
but including the Adamites,[30] and all giants, the great Christopher
himself among them every individual of every nation of all the
earth--all the shiploads of negroes destined for America, and the
packets marked with red containing the soldiers promised by England to
Anspach and Bayreuth? Eve, am I not, as I stand here before you, a
whole Jews'-quarter--a Louvre of all the crowned heads of the
earth--since I can bring them all into existence if I please, and if I
am not induced by this first head of my discourse to refrain from doing
so? You will admire me, and yet laugh at me at the same time if you but
look at me well, lay your hand on my shoulder, and say to yourself:
"Now, in this man and protoplast are contained all mankind, all the
learned faculties, all schools of philosophy, and of sewing and
spinning, cheek by jowl in peace and harmony, the highest and noblest
royal families and princely houses (though not yet sorted out from
among the common ship's company), all free imperial orders of
knighthood, packed higgledy-piggledy with their vassals, cottiers,
and tenants, it is true--monasteries and nunneries next door to each
other--barracks and members of Parliament, to say nothing of cathedral
chapters, with all their provosts, deans, priors, sub-priors, and
canons! What a man! What an Anak!" you will add. You are right, dear, I
am indeed--the very nest dollar of the human coin-cabinet, the
universal court of assembly of all judicatures, with all the members of
all assemblies, not one out of its place, the walking _corpus juris_ of
all civil, canon, criminal, feudal, and municipal law. Haven't I
Meusel's 'Learned Germany' and Jöcher's 'Scholastic Lexicon' within me
all complete, and Jöcher and Meusel themselves, to say nothing of their
supplementary volumes? I wish I could just let you see Cain--who, if
head second of this discourse should determine me, would be our first
offshoot and sucker, our Prince of Wales, Calabria, Asturias and the
Brazils. You would see, if he were transparent--as I believe him to
be--how he contains all the rest, one inside the other, like beer
glasses--all [oe]cumenical councils, inquisitions, and propaganda, and
the devil and his grandmother. But, loveliest, thou didst not write
down any of thy _scientia media_ before thy fall, as I did, and
consequently thou starest into the future as blind as a bat. I,
however, who see into it quite clearly, am enabled by my chrestomathy
to perceive that, where other men beget perhaps some ten fools, I shall
beget whole millions of tens, and units into the bargain, seeing that
the Bohemians, Parisians, Viennese, Leipzigers, Bayreuthers, Hofians,
Dublinese, Kuhschnappelers (and their wives and daughters over and
above) have all got to come into existence through me, and that in
every million of them there will always be at least five hundred who
neither have, nor will listen to, reason. Duenna, as yet you know
little of the human race, but two in fact, for the serpent is not one;
but I know what sort of race I am going to produce, and that in opening
my _limbus infantum_, I open at the same time a Bedlam. By heaven, I
weep and lament when I merely peep in between the leaves of the
centuries in their long course, and see nothing there but gouts of
gore, and a congeries of idiots--when I think of the trouble and pain
to be undergone before a century shall learn to write a legible hand, a
hand even as good as a minister's or an elephant's trunk--before poor
humanity gets through its dame's school, and private tutors, and French
governesses, so as to be fit for Latin grammar schools, public schools,
Jesuit seminaries, and next for fencing classes, dancing classes,
dogmatic and clinical courses. By old Harry, I feel hot. Nobody will
think of you as the brood-hen of the coming flock of starlings, as the
spawning codfish in whom Leuwenhack will count 9½ millions of eggs; not
you, my little Eve, but your husband, will get all the blame, who
should have known better, and rather begotten nothing than such a
rabble of thieves and robbers, crowned emperors on the Roman throne,
and vicegerents on the Roman chair, the former of whom will call
themselves after Antoninus and Cæsar, the latter after Christus and
Petrus, and among whom there are men whose thrones shall be Lüneburg
torture chairs for the human race, if not the converse of a Place de
Grève, where the masses shall be put to death, and the single
individual feted and amused.[31] And I shall be taken to task on
account of Borgia, Pizarro, St. Dominic, and Potemkin. Even supposing I
should manage to evade being blamed for black exceptions such as these,
I should be obliged to admit that my descendants really cannot get
through the space of half-an-hour without either thinking or doing
something foolish, that the war of giants, waged in them by their
passions, is never broken by a peace, seldom even by a truce that the
greatest of all man's faults is that he has such a number of little
ones; that his conscience serves for scarcely anything but _hating his
neighbours and being morbidly sensitive to their transgressions_; that
he never leaves off evil ways till he is on his deathbed; that, he
learns and loves the language of virtue, but is at enmity with the
virtuous--just as the English employ French language teachers, though
they detest the French themselves. Eve, Eve, we shall have little to
congratulate ourselves upon if we marry; Adam means in the original
"red earth," and truly my cheeks will consist entirely thereof, and
will blush scarlet at the mere thought of the indescribable and
unparalleled conceit and vanity of our great-grandchildren, increasing
as the centuries go on. Nobody will tweak _himself_ by the nose--unless
perhaps when he is shaving. Critics will set themselves up above
authors, authors above critics--Heimlicher von Blaise will give his
hand to be kissed by orphans; ladies theirs to be kissed by all and
sundry; mighty ones the embroidered hems of their garments. Eve, I had
only got as far on with my prophetic extracts from the world's history
as the sixth century, when you bit the apple under the tree, and I,
like a fool, did as you did, and everything slipped out of my head: God
only knows what sort of a set the fools and foolesses of the subsequent
centuries may turn out to be. Virgin, wilt thou now put into action thy
_Sternocleidomastoideum_, as Sömmering styles the muscle which nods the
head, and so express your "yes" when I put to you the question, "Wilt
thou have the marriage-preacher to thy wedded husband?"

"'You will no doubt reply, let us first hear the second head of the
discourse, in which the subject is considered from another point of
view. And indeed, dearly beloved, we had almost forgotten that we must
proceed to the

                             SECOND PLACE,

and consider the reasons which may persuade first parents to become
such, and to marry, and serve Destiny in the capacity of sewing and
spinning machines of linseed, hemp, flax, and tow, to be wound by her
in endless networks and coils around the earthly sphere. My strongest
reason, and, I trust, yours also, is the thought of the Day of
Judgment. For, in the event of our becoming the _entrepreneurs_ of the
human race, I shall see all my descendants, when they ascend from the
calcined earth like vapour, at the last day, into the nearest planet,
and fall into order for the last review; and among this harvest of
children and grandchildren, I shall hit upon a few sensible people with
whom one may be able to exchange a rational word or two--men whose
whole lives were passed, as well as lost, amid thunder and lightning
(as according to the Romans those whom the gods loved were killed by
lightning), and who never closed their eyes or their ears, however wild
the storm. I see the four heathen evangelists among them too, Socrates,
Cato, Epictetus, and Antoninus, men who went through the world, using
their voices like fire-engine pipes, two hundred feet long, to save
people from being burnt out of house and home by the fire of their own
passions, sluicing them all over with pure, cold, Alp-water. And there
can be no doubt after all, that I may really be the arch-papa, and you
the arch-mamma, of some very great and celebrated people, that's to
say, if we choose. I tell you, Eve, that I have it here in black and
white among my excerpts and collectanea that I shall be the forefather,
ancestor, and Bethlehem of an Aristotle, Plato, Shakespeare, Newton,
Rousseau, Goethe, Kant, Leibnitz, people, take them for all in all, who
are as able thinkers as their protoplast himself, if not abler. Eve,
thou active and important member of the fruit-bearing jointstock
company, or productive class of the state (consisting of thyself and
this marriage-preacher), I assure you I expect to pass a few hours of
exquisite enjoyment when on that neighbouring star I survey in a
cursory manner that classic concourse newly risen from the dead, and at
length kneel down, and cry, "Good morning, my children! Such of you as
are Jews were wont to utter an ejaculatory prayer when ye met a wise
man; but what such utterance would suffice for me, now that I behold
all the wise and all the faculties at once, all of them my own blood
relations too, who amid the wolfish hunger of their desires have
stedfastly refrained from forbidden apples, pears, and pine apples,
and, deep as their thirst for wisdom might be, committed no
orchard-robbery on the tree of knowledge, though their first parents
seized upon the forbidden fruit, although they had never known what
hunger was, and upon the tree of knowledge, although they possessed all
knowledge, except knowledge of the serpent nature." And then I shall
arise from the ground, pass into the angelic crowd, fall on the bosom
of some distinguished descendant, and, throwing my arms around him,
say, "Thou, true, good, contented-minded, gentle son! If I could just
have shown _thee_ only, sitting in thy brood-cell, to my Eve, the
queen-bee of this great swarm here present, at the time when I was
delivering the second head of my marriage sermon, I'm sure she would
have listened to reason, and given a favourable answer.'"

"And thou, Siebenkæs, art that same, true, good son, and thou restest
ever on the warm, heaving breast of

                                          "Thy Friend.

                 "_Postscript and Clausula Salutaris_.

"Please to forgive me this merry private ball and witches' dance upon
cheap and nasty letter-paper, notwithstanding that you are
unfortunately an infinitesimal fractional part of the German race, and
as such, can't be expected either to stand, or to understand, such a
dance of ideas. This is why I never print anything for the unwieldy
German intellect; entire sheets which I have spawned full of playful
idea-fishes of this sort I consign at once to regions where such
productions do not usually arrive till they attain the evening of their
days, having previously exercised the right of transit through the
booksellers' shops. I was eight days in Hof, and am at present living a
retired life at Bayreuth; in both of these towns I have made faces,
that is, other people's profiles; but most of the heads which sat or
stood to my scissors opined that all was not quite right in mine. Tell
me the real truth of the matter; it's not altogether a matter of
indifference to me, because if I should turn out not to be quite 'all
there,' I should be incapable of devising my property by will, or of
exercising various civil functions.

"In conclusion, I send a thousand kind remembrances and kisses to your
dear, good Lenette, and my compliments to Herr Schulrath Stiefel, and
will you please ask him if he is any relation to Magister Stiefel, the
rector of Holzdorf and Lochau (in Wittemberg), who prophesied
(incorrectly, as I consider) that the end of the world would take place
on the 1st January, 1533, at 8 o'clock in the morning, and lived to die
in his own bed after all. I also send, for you and the 'Advertiser,' a
couple of programmes of Professor Lang's of this place, relative to the
General Superintendent of Bayreuth, and one of Dr. Frank's of Pavia.
There is a very charming young lady, exceedingly clever and
intellectual, living here at the Sun Hotel (she is in the front rooms,
and I in the back). She has been very much pleased with me and my face,
I am happy to tell you, seeing how exactly you and I are alike, the
only difference between us being my lame foot. So that the things I
pride myself upon in ladies' society are my likeness to you and my
weaknesses. Unless I have been misinformed, this lady is a poor niece
of your old uncle's with the broken glass wig, and is being brought up
at his expense, and destined for a marriage with some Kuhschnappeler of
the upper ten thousand. Perhaps she may soon be forwarded to you,
entered in the way-bill as bridegroom's effects.

"The above is my oldest news, but my newest news, namely your own self,
I shall not expect to arrive here at Bayreuth till I and the spring get
back to it together (for the day after to-morrow I am off to meet it in
Italy), and we, I and the spring, together beautify the world to such a
degree that you will certainly enjoy a happy time of it in Bayreuth,
the houses and the hills of that place being so particularly charming.
And so, fare thee somewhat well."

They all felt certain that the Kuhschnappeler of rank for whom the
Heimlicher's niece was being brought up could be none other than the
Venner Rosa, whose little burnt-down stump of a heart--what was left of
it after being hitherto made use of to set fire to the bosoms of female
humanity in general (as the lamp in a smoking-room serves to kindle the
pipes of the collective frequenters thereof)--would be the marriage
torch to light her to her new home.

As there were three heavens in this letter--one for each of the
party--kind remembrances for Lenette, the programmes for Peltzstiefel,
the letter itself for Siebenkæs--I shouldn't have been astonished if
the terzetto of them had danced for joy. The Schulrath, intoxicated
with delight--for the glad blood rose to his sober head--opened the
papers sent him upon the square patterned supper-cloth (which was laid
already), and hungrily began to devour his three printed "relishes
before supper," and literary petits soupers, upon the tin plate without
even saying grace, until an invitation to stay and have some supper
reminded him that he must be off. But before leaving, he petitioned
that, by way of fee for having acted as middleman and court of
arbitration between them, or as an alkali to promote the blending of
his oil with her water--he might have a new profile of Lenette. The old
one cut out by Leibgeber (which the letter brought to his
recollection), and which, as we may remember, Leibgeber let him have,
happened to have been put into the pocket of his dressing-gown and sent
to the wash with it (being of much the same colour, moreover). "It
shall be put on the stocks to-night," said Siebenkæs.

When the Schulrath was going, as he could see that the ring upon
Lenette's finger didn't squeeze it so uncomfortably as it had done (and
gave _himself_ credit for having been the means of filing it smoother
and padding it softer), he shook her hand with much warmth, and said--

"I shall always be delighted to come whenever there's the slightest
thing the matter with you two charming people."

Lenette answered, "Oh yes, do come very often."

And Siebenkæs added, "The oftener the better."

And yet, when he had gone, the ring seemed to be not quite so
comfortable again, and medical students who may be working at
psychology may be a little surprised that during supper the advocate
said very little to his wife, and she very little to him. The reason
was that he had Leibgeber's letter lying by his plate in the place
where the bread normally is, and the image of his beloved friend shone
bright before his mental vision from Bayreuth all athwart the far misty
darkness between--their first happy meeting to come floated magically
before him. Hope shot down a pure clearing ray into the dark mephitic
cave where he was panting and toiling now--and the coming spring stood
like some cathedral tower all hung with lamps lofty and bright in the
distance, beaming through the dark night sky.

At length he "came to himself," _i. e_. to his wife; the strong image
of Leibgeber had buoyed him up from the sharp stones which strewed the
present; the dear old friend, who had clipped out the bride's profile
up in the choir on the wedding-day, and been with them in the early
weeks of their honeymoon, seemed to fling a chain of flower-wreaths
about him and draw him closer to the silent form by his side. "Well
darling, and how are you getting on?" he said, awaking from his reverie
and taking her hand, now that all was peace again between them. She
had, however, the feminine peculiarity or foible, habit at all events,
of being much quicker to show that she was vexed than that her anger
was over; of, at all events, being slow to show the latter; and of
commencing a reconsideration of all the matters in dispute at the very
moment that amends have been made and accepted, and pardon begged and
granted. There are very few married women indeed who will put their
hand into their husbands', and say "There, I'm good again," without a
very considerable hesitation and delay; unmarried women are much more
ready to do it. Wendeline _did_ hold hers out, but did it too coldly,
and drew it away again in a great hurry, to take up the table-cloth,
which she asked him to help her to smooth and fold up. He did this
smilingly--she gravely giving her whole attention to the process of
folding the long white parallelogram into exact squares--and at length,
when the last and thickest square was arrived at, he held it fast
there--she pulled, trying to look very serious--he looked at her very
fondly and tenderly--she couldn't help smiling at this and then he took
the tablecloth from her, pressed it and himself with it to her heart,
and said, in her arms, "Little thief! how can you be so naughty to your
old ragamuffin of a Siebenkæs, or whatever his name may be?" And now
the rainbow of a brighter future appeared shining above the fast ebbing
flood which had risen as high as their hearts so lately---- But, my
dears, rainbows now-a-days very often mean just the reverse of what the
first was said to signify.

The prize he awarded to his queen of the rose-feast of the heart was to
ask her to let him take a profile of her pretty face, that Peltzstiefel
might find a joy and a present waiting for him on the morrow. I think I
shall just trace an outline of his outline-tracing for people of taste
in this place; but I must stipulate that nobody is to expect a pen
to be a painter's brush--or a painter's brush to be an engraver's
style--or an engraver's style a flower anther, generating generation
upon generation of lilies and roses.

The advocate borrowed a drawing-board, viz. the façade of a new
pigeon-house, from Fecht the cobbler. Lenette's shoulder fitted into
the oval portal of it as a clasp-knife does into its handle; a sheet of
white paper was tacked on to the board--her pretty, soft head was
pressed on the stiff paper--he applied, with much care and self
restraint, his pencil at the upper part of the brow, difficult as it
was to catch the shadow in such immediate proximity to the reality--and
went slowly down the beautiful, flowery declivity all roses and lilies.
But little or nothing came of it; the _back_ part of the head was
pretty good. His eyes would keep turning away from his work to the
sitter, so that he drew as vilely as a box-painter.

"Wendeline, your head isn't still a moment," he said. And indeed her
face, an well as her brain-fibres, shook by reason of the heightened
beat of her pulse and the quickening of her breathing; while, on the
other hand, his pencil stumbled when it came to the delicate _basso
relievo_ of her little nose, fell into the cleft at her lips, and
stranded on the shoal of her chin. He kissed those lips which he
couldn't draw, and which she always had either too much open or too
tightly closed, and brought a shaving-glass and said, "See, haven't you
got more faces than Janus, or any Indian god? The Schulrath will think
you were making faces, and I copying them. Look, here's where you
moved, and I sprung after you like a chamois; the effect of the jump
is, that the upper part of the face sticks out before the lower like a
half mask. Just think how the Schulrath will stare in the morning."

"Try once more, dear; I'll do just as you tell me; I should like it to
be very nice," Lenette said, blushing; and stiffened her neck, and
steadied her soft cheek against the drawing-board. And as her husband
gently glided his drawing ovipositor over her brow like a segment of
some white hemisphere--instead of breathing, he found she was _holding_
her breath this time till she shook again, and till the colour came to
her face.

And here jealousy, like some exploding fire-ship, sent hard fragments
of the wreck of his shattered happiness crashing on a sudden against
his heart.

"Ah!" (he thought) "can it be that she does really love him?" (_i. e._
the Schulrath).

His pencil stood still in the obtuse angle between her nose and her
chin as if under a spell; he heard her let go her pent-up breath; his
pencil made black zigzags at the edge of the paper, and as he stopped
at the closed lips, which nothing warmer than his own, and her morning
prayers, had ever touched, and thought "Must _this_ come upon me too?
must _this_ joy be taken from me like all the rest? And am I drawing up
my bill of divorce and Uriah-letter here with my own very hands?" He
could do no more at it. He took the drawing-board quickly from
her shoulder--fell upon her closed lips--kissed away the pent-up
sigh--pressed the life out of his jealousy between his heart and hers,
and said--

"I can't do it till to-morrow, Lenette! Don't be vexed, darling! Tell
me, are you quite as you used to be in Augspurg? Don't you understand
me? Have you not the slightest idea what I am driving at?"

She answered quite innocently, "Now you will be annoyed, Firmian, I
know, but I really have _not_ the slightest idea."

Then the Goddess of Peace took from the God of Sleep his poppy garland,
and twined it into her own olive wreath and led the wedded pair,
garlanded and reconciled, hand in hand into the glittering, gleaming,
icefields of the land of dreams--the magic shadowy background of the
noisy jarring, shifting day--our camera obscura full of moving
miniature pictures of a world all dwarfed, in which man, like the
Creator, dwells alone with his own creations.


The reader will remember that, at the beginning of the preface, I
stated that I succeeded in putting the old merchant into a sweet sleep,
and in providing his daughter with a gladsome feast of tabernacles, in
the shape of the young unopened buds of this, my little cottage-garden
here. But the foul fiend knows how to breeze up a sudden rain squall,
and let it splattering down upon all our loveliest fireworks. I was
only performing a duty in converting myself into a small, pocket
circulating library for a poor lonely thing of a girl, whose father
gave her no chance of a word or two of rational conversation except
with her parrot, and with the family lawyer aforesaid.

The cage of the former was placed near her inkstand and waste-book; and
he acquired from his mistress as much in the shape of German-Italian
as a bookkeeper finds necessary for carrying on his foreign
correspondence. And a parrot being always incited to talkativeness by a
looking-glass in his cage, he and his language-mistress were enabled to
look at themselves in it together. The latter (the family lawyer) I
myself was. But the Captain--for fear of seductive princess-kidnappers
and pirates such as me, and because her mother was dead, and because
she was useful in the business--would let her speak to no man
whomsoever, except in the presence of a third party (viz., himself). So
that it was very seldom any man came to the house, except me; whereas,
a father generally decoys whole museums of insects into his house by
means of a blooming daughter, just as a cherry-tree in blossom near a
window fills a room with wasps and bees. It wasn't exactly everybody
who, when he wanted to speak a rational word with her (_i. e_. one her
father shouldn't hear), could manage to draw the flute stop of his
organ, and then play away fur an hour to this Argus till he should
close his hundred green eyes, so that two blue ones might be looked
into. I _did_ manage it, indeed; but the world shall hear what sort of
a psalm of thanksgiving and vote of thanks I was treated to for my

The old man--who had grown suspicious on account of the length of time
I had remained the evening before--had this evening only _pretended_ to
be asleep, that he might see what I was going to be at. The rapidity
with which he went asleep (the reader no doubt remembers it at the
beginning of the book) ought to have struck me more than it did. I
ought to have reckoned on a contrary state of matters myself, and been
ready with more prefaces in addition to this present one, to serve as
sleeping powders.

The rascally eavesdropper lay in wait till I had made my report on the
two Flower-pieces and the four first chapters of this book. At the end
of the fourth he bounced up as a mole-trap does when one walks on it,
and addressed me from behind with the following harangue of
congratulation--"Has the devil got you by the coat-tails? You must come
here from Berlin, must you, and stuff my daughter's head with all sorts
of atheistical, nonsensical, romantic balderdash and nonsense, till
she'll be of no more use in a shop than----"

"Just listen to one word, Herr Pigtail!" said I quite quietly, taking
him into the next room, where there was neither fire nor light; "just
listen to one single, _half_-word!"

I put my hands upon his shoulders, and said, "Herr Pigtail--for in
Charles the Great's time every officer was so styled, because in those
days the soldiers wore tails, as the women do now--Herr Pigtail, I'm
not going to have a tussle with you to-night, when the old year's going
out and the new year's coming in. I assure you solemnly that I am the
son of the ----,[32] and that I shall never see you more, though you
shall have all the Vienna letters just the same. But I implore you, for
God's sake, to allow your daughter to read. Now-a-days every tradesman
reads one of whom will be her husband and every tradesman's wife. Yet
for all this reading, there's still plenty of spinning and cooking
going on; there are shirts in plenty, and fat people in abundance. And
as for _corrupting_ her--why! that's just what a man who reads will
find it most difficult to accomplish in the case of a woman who reads,
and most easy in the case of one who hardly knows her A B C. Let me
entreat you, Captain."

"If you would but just mind your own affairs! What's the girl to
_you_?" was his reply. It was a true harbour of refuge for me that, on
neither of these two evenings, the Christmas Eve or the New Year's, had
I, in the enthusiasm of narration, so much as touched anything of the
daughter's but about a groschen's worth of hair (and that not her own),
which got among my fingers somehow or other, I hardly know how.

It would have been little to have seized her hands, in the fervour of
my biographical enthusiasm it would have been nothing at all; but, as I
have said, I hadn't done it. I had said to myself, "Enjoy a pretty face
as you would a picture, and a female voice as you would a
nightingale's, and don't touch the picture or throttle the bird. What!
must every tulip be out up for salad, and all altar-cloths made into

Of all truths, the one which we bring ourselves to credit last of all
is that there are certain men whom no amount of truth will convince.
That Herr Pigtail was one of these presently occurred to me, not so
soon as it ought to have done, and I determined that the only sermon I
should preach, to him would be of the jocular and middle-age-Easter
kind.[33] "Not so loud, Herr Pigtail, or mademoiselle will hear every
syllable; you have pinned her, poor butterfly, into your letter book;
but at the great day of judgment I shall accuse you of not having given
her my works to read. I do wish you had only gone on pretending to be
asleep long enough to allow me to tell her the other books of the
history of Kuhschnappel, where Siebenkæs's troubles occur, and his
death, and his marriage. But, mademoiselle, I shall tell my publisher
in Berlin to send you the remaining books of the story the moment they
are in print, fresh out of the press, still all damp, like a morning
newspaper. And now, adieu, Herr Pigtail; may Heaven grant you a new
heart with the new year, and your dear daughter a second heart inside
her own."

The elemental conflict of his and my dissimilar components raged louder
and louder: but I say no more about it--every additional word would
have the appearance of an act of vindictiveness. This, however, I may
at all events say: happy is every daughter who may read my works while
her father is awake (very few such daughters, however, recognise this
truth). Unhappy is every dependent of an Oehrmann, because he will be
starved, as a greyhound is, that he may be the more nimble at running
(I do not mean on the piano with his fingers), as the dancers' children
get nothing to eat that they may spring the better! And fortunate are
all needy persons who have nothing to do with him; because Jacob
Oehrmann gives to everyone just as much moral, as he possesses
mercantile, credit, to which recruit-measure of worth he has been
habituated by his fellow-tradesmen, who measure each other with
yard-measures of metal. The only people who find favour in his sight
are those who are complete paupers, and this because they serve as
pedestals for his charity; for the alms which he distributes in the
name of the town and out of its exchequer, he looks upon as his own.
Peace be with him! At that time I had not taken a part myself in
celebrating the peace-festival of the soul which I have described in
the Fruit-piece of this book, and I had read but little of what I have
there written concerning the year of Jubilee which ought to last as
long as the Long Parliament in our hearts with respect to all our moral
debtors; for if I had I should not even have contradicted Herr Pigtail.

I vexed him, I am sorry to say, once more by my parting speech to his
daughter (for I wished him and her my wishes both together and at once,
so that it might not appear which was for which).

"Herr Pigtail, and mademoiselle, I bid you a long farewell. No more
shall I be able, in elysian evenings, to relate to you any of my
biographies (shorn of the digressions); and the feast days and the
holidays, as well as the eves thereof, will come and will go, but he
who has caused you such vivid emotions will come no more. May fate send
thee books instead of bookmakers, sometimes stir thy dull heart with a
poetic throb, heave thy still breast with tender sighs prophetic of the
future--bring to thy eyes some gentle tear drops, such as an andante
causes to flow, and lead thee on through the hot, toilsome summer days,
not to an after summer, but to a flowery tuneful spring. And so, good

It goes to my heart to part with people; even were it my sworn
hereditary foe: one is going to see him no more. Pauline was anything
but my sworn hereditary foe. Out in the streets there were more
new year well-wishers going their rounds, the watchmen, who were
giving utterance to their good wishes in wind instrumental music and
miserable verse. Stiff, old-fashioned, rude verses always touch me
more--particularly in an appropriate mouth--than your sapless, new
poems, all tricked out with artificial flowers and ice-plants; poetry
altogether wretched is better than the mediocre. I decided upon going
through the town gate; my heart was filled with emotions of very
different kinds--for you see it was only eleven o'clock and the cold
night was full of stars. And it was the last night of the year, and I
didn't want to pass from the old year to the new in sleep, though that
is how I would pass from this life to the next. I resolved to take that
flushed, throbbing heart of mine out of the streets, and to a quieter

Place a man in some waste Sahara desert stretching further than the eye
can reach, and afterwards pen him up into the narrowest of corners, he
will be struck, in both cases, by the same vivid consciousness of his
own individuality--the widest spaces and the narrowest have the same
powerful effect in quickening our perception of our own Ego and of its
relationship. There is nothing, on the whole, oftener forgotten than
that which is what forgets--namely, the forgetter's _self_. Not only do
the mechanical employments of labour and trade always draw men out of
themselves, but the mental effort of study and investigation, also,
renders scholars and philosophers just as deaf and blind to their own
Ego, and its position with respect to other entities--deafer and
blinder even. Nothing is more difficult than to convert an object of
contemplation (which we always _move away_ to a certain distance from
ourselves, and from the mind's eye, so as to bring the latter to bear
on it properly) into an object of sensation, and to feel that the
object is the eye itself. I have often read whole books on the subject
of the Ego, and of printing, right through, until at last I saw, to my
astonishment, that the Ego and the printed letters were before--me so
to speak under my nose.

Let the reader say truly: has he not even at this moment, while I have
been talking, been forgetting that there are letters before him, ay,
and his own Ego into the bargain?

But out where I was, under the twinkling heavens, and on a snow-covered
height, round about which there gleamed a white, frozen plain, my Ego
burst away from its relationships (while in connection with them it was
no more than an attribute, a quality), and it became a personage--a
separate entity. And then I could look upon myself. All marked points
of time--stanzas as it were, or music phrases, of existence--new years'
days for example, and birthdays, lift man high out of and up above the
waves which are round him; he clears the water from his eyes, and looks
about him, and says--"How the current has been carrying me along,
drowning my hearing, and blinding my sight! Those are the waves, down
there, onward, which have been bearing me along, and these, now coming
toward me, when I dip down among them, will whirl me away!"

Without this clear, distinct consciousness of one's Ego, there can be
no freedom, and no calm equanimity amid the crowding elbowing tumult of
the world.

I shall go on with my story. I stood upon an iceberg, but my soul was
all aglow--the cloven moon shone brightly down, and the shadows of the
pine-trees about me lay, like dismembered limbs of the night, black
upon the lily ground of snow. Away, some distance from me, a man seemed
to be kneeling motionless on the ground.

And now 12 o'clock struck, and 1794, year of war and tumult, fell,
with all its rivers of blood, into the ocean of eternity; the booming
after-tone of the bell seemed to say to me, "Now has Destiny, with the
twelfth stroke of her hammer, knocked down the old year to you, poor
perishing mortals, at her auction of minutes."

The kneeling man now stood up and went quickly away. I could long see
him and his shadow disappearing in the moonlight.

I left my height, the boundary hill between two years, and went down to
where the man had been kneeling. I found a crucifix and a black leather
prayer-book in duodecimo, all thumbed yellow, except one leaf at the
beginning on which was the name of the owner, whose knees had worn deep
traces in the ice. I knew him well, he was a cottager whose two sons
had had to go to the war. On looking more closely, I found he had drawn
a circle in the snow, to keep off evil spirits.

I saw it all; the simple, weak-minded creature, whose soul was darkened
by a perpetual annular eclipse, had gone there on this solemn night to
hearken to the hollow distant muttering thunder of the coming storm,
and laid his prostrate soul, as it were, upon the earth to hear the
distant march of the approaching foe. "Shallow, timid soul," thought I,
"why should the dead that are to be come floating athwart the face of
the clear, still night--thy sleeping sons among them, memberless? Why
strive already to see the darting flames of conflagrations yet to come,
and to hear the dismal turmoil, the bitter wail, of a woe as yet
unborn? The coffins of the coming year have, as in times of pestilence,
no inscriptions yet--why should the names appear upon them? Oh! thy
Solomon's ring has been no protection against the destroying angel who
dwells within our breasts. And that vague, ugly giant-cloud, behind
which are death and the future, will prove, on approach, to _be_ death
and the future itself."

In hours like these we are all ready to lay our hats and swords on to
the bier--ay, and ourselves as well--our old wounds burn anew, and our
hearts, not being truly healed, a little thing breaks them again, like
arms imperfectly set. But the cruel, piercing lightning flash of some
great minute, the reflection of which stretches gleaming athwart the
whole river of our life, is necessary to us to make us blind to the
_ignes fatui_ and glowworms which meet us, to guide us, every hour: and
frivolous, giddy man needs some powerful shock to counteract his
tendency to continual petty naggling. Therefore, to us little
crustaceans sticking with our suckers upon the ship of this earth,
every new year's night is, like night in the old mythologies, a mother
of many gods in us--and in such a night there begins for us a better
normal year than that which began in 1624. And I felt as if I should
kneel, humble and penitent, on the spot where the poor childless father
had knelt.

But now a brisker air brought to my ears a burst of gladsome music; it
came like the breath of flowers across the frozen plain, horns and
trumpets on the church tower, sending their cheering harmonies over the
sleeping earth, ushering, with glad vigorous tones, the first hour of
the new year in to a world of anxious, doubting men. And I too grew
glad and strong; I raised my glance from the white shroud of the coming
spring, and gazed at the moon; and on these spots on her face (these
spots which grow green as you approach) I saw our earthly spring
reposing upon flowers, and already moving his young wings, soon to take
his flight with other birds of passage, and, bright with glittering
plumes, and hailed by skylarks' anthems, come and alight upon our

The distant new year's music flowed around me still I felt much
happier, and far more tender; I saw the _coming_ sorrows in the new
born year, but they wore such lovely masks that they were more like
sorrows that are _past_, or like the music around me--just as the rain
which falls through the great caverns in the Derbyshire hills sounds in
the distance like music.

But when I looked around me, and saw the white earth shining like a
white sun, and the silent deep blue sphere all round, like a household
circle of one great family--and as the music, like lovelier sighs,
accompanied my thoughts--as I fixed my gaze, with grateful heart, upon
the starry sky where all these thousands of stedfast witnesses of the
beautiful moments (moments faded, out of bloom, indeed, now--but the
great Beneficence spreads their _seed_ for evermore)--when I thought of
the men asleep all around me, and wished that they might all be happier
when they opened their eyes in the morning--and when I thought of
those awake UNDER me, whose slumbering souls stood in need of such a
wish,--my heart, oppressed by the music, and by the night, grew heavy
and grew full, and the blue sky, the glittering moon, and the sparkling
snow-height all melted into one great floating shimmer.

And in the shimmer, and amid the music, 1 heard voices of my friends,
and dear fellow-creatures, tenderly and anxiously wishing their new
year's wishes. They touched my heart so deeply, that I could but barely
_think_ my own--

"Oh! may you all be happy _all_ the years of your lives."

                             END OF BOOK I.


It has often been a source of much annoyance to me that to every
preface I write I am obliged to append a book--like the endorsement on
a bill of exchange--or an appendix to letters A to Z. Many a man who
dabbles in authorship by way of amusement has his books sent to him all
ready written and complete, straight from the cradle; so that all he
has to do is to attach his gold frontlets of prefaces to their
foreheads--which is nothing but painting the _corona_ about the sun. As
yet, however, not a single author has applied to me for a preamble to a
book, although for several years I have had a considerable number of
prefaces by me (all ready beforehand, and going at great bargains), in
which I extol to the best of my ability works which have not as yet
come in to being. In fact, I have now a perfect museum of these prize
medals and commemoration medals of other people's cleverness at the
service of anyone who may stand in need of them; they are all made by
the very finest of mint-machinery, and my collection of them is
increasing day by day; so that I shall be obliged to sell it off
wholesale before very long (I don't see what else I can do), and bring
out a book--consisting of nothing but pre-existent prefaces.

They will still be obtainable singly, however, until the Easter fair,
and authors who make early application can have the entire fascicle of
preludes forwarded to them, so that they can pick out for themselves
whichever preface seems to them the most laudatory of a book. After the
Easter fair however, when the Book of Prefaces above mentioned comes
out (and it will be interleaved with the fair catalogue), the literary
world will only be beglorified in _corpore_, in _coro_, and I shall be
(so to speak) making a present of a patent of nobility to the republic
of letters in the lump,--as the Empress Queen did in 1775 to the whole
mercantile community of Vienna; although I have before my eyes (in the
shape of the poor reviewers who work themselves well nigh to death,
hammering and building away at the temple of fame, and at triumphal
arches) the melancholy proof that though a man were to extol the
republic of letters even in six volumes folio, he would get less for it
than Sannazaro did for belauding the republic of Venice in as many
lines--for each line in the latter case brought the poet in a matter of
a hundred five-dollar pieces.

I propose to interstratify one of the prefaces in question in this
place by way of a specimen and experiment, making as if its celebrated
author had written it to order for this book (which is the actual
truth, moreover). There is no difficulty in my splitting myself up into
two characters, the flower painter and the preface maker. But,--as one
cannot _quite_ lose sight of feelings of becoming modesty--I carefully
pick out the most miserable specimen of the lot, one in which laudation
occurs but to a very moderate extent, one which places the author of
the book attached to it upon a funeral car, rather than upon a
triumphal one, with nothing whatever to draw it along moreover; whereas
the other prefaces harness posterity to them, and the reading public
are, by _them_, yoked on to the heavenly chariot, the Elijah's chariot,
of Immortality, in which they draw the author along.

In conclusion, then, I have only to observe that the celebrated author
of 'HESPERUS' has been kind enough to look through my Flower-pieces,
and contribute to them the following preface, which will be found well
worthy of perusal.


The following remarks may be thrown into the form of a series of
postulates, which are, at the same time, so many similes.

Many authors (Young is an instance) set fire to their nerve-spirit,
which, like burning spirit of another kind (brandy), tinges every
person who stands round the inkbottle where it is flaring with a sham
DEADLY pallor. But, unfortunately, each looks only at the others, none
looks into the mirror. The effect of the proximity of this universal
mortality all about, upon people and authors, is that each is impressed
with a livelier sense of the exceptional nature of his own
_im_mortality; and this is remarkably comforting to us all.

The consequence is, as it seems to me, very plain. Poets, living in
fifth, or fiftieth floors, may make poems, but not marriages; neither
may they keep, nor establish, houses. Canaries' breeding cages have to
be more roomy than their singing cages.

If this be so, then, what does the author's pen do? Like a child's, it
traces in ink the characters which nature has faintly marked in the
reader with pencil.

The author's strings only vibrate in unison with the reader's octaves,
fifths, fourths, and thirds--not with his seconds or sevenths.
Unsympathetic readers do not become sympathetic ones; it is only the
cognate, or congruent, sort which rise to the author's level or pass
beyond it.

And with this stands or falls my fourth postulate. The iron shoe of
Pegasus is the armature of the magnet of truth, increasing its power of
attraction; yet we are hungry birds, and fly at the poet's grapes as
though they were real ones, thinking the _boy_ a painted one, when we
really ought to be frightened at _him_.

The transition from this to the fifth postulate is a self-evident
matter. Man has such a high opinion of everything in the shape of
antiquity, that he prolongs it, and keeps it alive, and lives according
to it, though it be but the cover and the mask of the very poison which
will destroy itself. There are two proofs of this proposition which I
leave aside, of set purpose; the first is, Religion, which is all
gnawed to worm dust; the second, Freedom, which is quite as much
crumbled to powder as the other. In my capacity of a member of the
Lutheran Church, I merely glance at the subject of relics (in support
of the proposition)--relics, in the case of which, as Vasquez the
Jesuit informs us, if they chance to be entirely eaten up of worms, we
must continue to worship what remains--that is to say, the worms which
have eaten them. Wherefore, meddle not with that nest of worms, the
time in which thou livest, or it will eat thee up; a million of worms
are quite equal to one dragon.

This must be admitted and assumed, at least if my sixth postulate is to
have any sense in it which is,--that no man is wholly indifferent to,
and unaffected by, _every_ kind of truth; indeed even if it be only to
poetical _reflections_ (illusions) that he swears allegiance--inasmuch
as he does even _that_ he thereby does homage to truth; for in all
poetry it is but the part which is _true_ which goes to the heart (or
head), just as in our passions and emotions nothing but the Moral
produces effect. A reflection which should be nothing whatever _but_ a
reflection would necessarily, for that very reason, not _be_ a
reflection. Every _semblance_ (meaning every thing which we _see_, or
suppose we _see_) presupposes the existence of _light_ somewhere, and
_is_ itself light, only in an enfeebled or reflected condition. Only,
most people in our, not so much _enlightened_ as _enlightening_ times,
are like nocturnal insects who avoid, or are pained by, the light of
day, but, in the night, fly to every _nocturnal_ light, every
phosphorescent surface.

The graves of the best men are like those of the Moravians, level and
flat, and this earthly sphere of ours is a Westminster Abbey of such
levellings and flattenings--ah! what innumerable drops of tears as well
as blood (which are what the three grand trees of this world--the trees
of Life, of Knowledge, and Liberty--are watered with) have been shed,
but never counted. History, in painting the human race, does not follow
the example of that painter who, making a portrait of a one-eyed king,
drew only his seeing profile; what history paints is the blind side,
and it needs some grand calamity to bring great men to light--as comets
are seen during total eclipses of the sun. Not upon the battle-field
only--upon the holy ground of virtue also, and upon the classic soil of
truth--the pedestal whereon history raises on high some _single_ hero
whose name rings in all men's ears has to be composed and built
up of thousands of _other_ heroes who have fought and fallen, nameless
and unknown. The noblest deeds of heroism are done within four walls,
not before the public gaze,--and as history keeps record only of the
_men_ sacrificed, and, on the whole, writes only in spilt blood,
doubtless our annals are grander and more beautiful in the eyes
of the all-pervading spirit of the universe than in those of the
history-writer; the great scenes of history are estimated according to
the numbers of angels or devils on the stage, the _men_ not being taken
into account.

These are the grounds on which I rely when I assert with a good deal of
boldness that when we inhale the perfume of the full-blown blossoms of
joy with too deep and strong an inhalation, without having first given
them a good shake, we run the risk of snuffing up some tormenting
insect (before we know what we are about) through the ethmoid into the
brain;[34] and _who_--tell me if you can--is to get it out again?
Whereas little or nothing of a risky sort can be snuffed up out of
_Flower-pieces_, and their painted calices, since painted worms remain
where they are.

This, then, is what _I_ have to postulate by means of similes. What the
_public_ postulates, or demands, is my opinion of these Flower-pieces.
The author is a promising youth of five years of age;[35] he and I have
been friends since childhood, and, I think, can assert that we have but
one soul between us, as Aristotle says should be the case with friends.
He gets me to read over everything he thinks of publishing, and to give
him my opinion and advice. And, as I returned these Flower-pieces to
him with the warmest (and, at the same time, sincerest) expression of
my approval, he has requested me to make my verdict somewhat more
widely known, believing as he does (rather too flatteringly perhaps)
that it may carry a certain amount of weight with it, more especially
as it is an impartial verdict, and, as such, one which can be placed in
the hands of the critics as a species of ruler wherewith to draw the
lines upon which _their_ verdicts may be written.

In this, however, he goes a little too far. All I can say is that the
work is written quite as if I had done it myself. There is no greater
amount of dynamic ornamentation in it than is usual in books, and,
happy as the author would have been to have thundered, stormed, and
poured in it, there was of course no room in a parish advocate's
lodgings for Rhine cataracts, thunderstorms, tropical hurricanes (of
tropes) or waterspouts, and he has had to reserve his more terrific
tornadoes for a future work. I have his permission to mention the name
of this future work; it is the 'Titan.' In this work he means to be an
absolute Hecla, and shatter the ice of his country (and himself into
the bargain) to pieces; like the volcanoes in Iceland, he will spout
up a column of boiling water four feet in diameter to a height of
eighty-nine or ninety feet in the air, and that at such a temperature
that when this wet fire pillar falls down again and flows into the book
shops, it will still be warm enough to boil eggs hard or their mother
soft. "Then" (he always says--very sadly however--because he sees what
a hard matter it is to distinguish between full half of our battling
and harrying here below and a Jack Pudding farce and piece of utter
buffoonery and nonsense,--also, that the cradle of this life _rocks_
us, and _stills_ us indeed, but carries us not a step on our
way)--"then may the _Arbor Toxicaria Macassariensis_[36] of the Ideal,
beneath which I have lost a little hair already, go on poisoning me,
and dispatch me to the Land of the Ideal. At all events, I have knelt
down and prayed under the solemnising soul-elevating sighing roar of
its death-dealing branches. And why should there be a hut made ready
for the traveller beside the eternal well of truth, marked with the
title 'Travellers' REST,' if no one ever enters it?" He wants, by way
of broad "flies" for his life stage on earth, merely a regular,
downright, _rainy year_ or two (two will suffice); for a broad, bright,
open sky overpowers us, and weakens the hand's pen power by making the
eyes over full. And here the book-maker differs markedly from his
provision-contractor, the papermaker, who shuts _his_ mill up precisely
when the weather is _wet_.

I should also be glad if readers would have the goodness to go once
more through the few chapters composing the first book--that they may
see what they really lack; and indeed a book which is not worth reading
twice is not worth reading once.

In conclusion, I (albeit the most inconsiderable clubbist and
vote-possessor of all the public) would fain incite the author to the
production of other seedlings, suckers, and infantas of the same stamp,
trusting that the reading world may form its opinion on his work with
the same careful favour and indulgent approval as I have formed mine.

                                            JEAN PAUL FR. RICHTER.

   Hof in Voigtland,
    _June 5th_, 1796.

                           *   *   *   *   *

Thus far my friend's preface. Utterly absurd as it is, my own preface,
you see, has got to be concluded too, and at the end of it I can but
sign myself as my aforesaid man Friday and namesake does, videlicet,

                                            JEAN PAUL FR. RICHTER.

   Hof in Voigtland,
    _June 5th_, 1796.

                                BOOK II.

                               CHAPTER V.


Catholics hold that there were fifteen mysteries in the life of
Christ--five of Joy, five of Woe, five of Glory. I have carefully
accompanied our hero through the five joyful mysteries of which the
Linden honey-month of his marriage has had to tell. I now come with him
to the five mysteries of Woe with which the series of the mysteries of
most marriages is--concluded. I trust, however, that his may yet be
found to contain the five of Glory also.

In my first edition, I began this book of my hero's story in an
unconcerned manner, with the above sentence just as if it were
literally correct. A second, and carefully revised edition, however,
renders it incumbent upon me to add, as an emendation, that the fifteen
mysteries in question do not come one after another, like steps of
stairs, or ancestors in a pedigree, but are shuffled up together like
good and bad cards in a hand. Yet, in spite of this shuffling, the joy
outbalances the sorrow, at any rate in its duration, as has been the
case, indeed, with this terrestrial globe, our planet itself, which has
survived several last days, and as a consequence still more springs,
that is to say, re-creations on a smaller scale. I mention all this to
save a number of poor devils of readers from the dreadful thought that
they have got to wade through a whole "Book II." full of tears, partly
to be read about, partly to be shed out of compassion. I am not one of
those authors who, like very rattlesnakes, can sit and gaze upon
thousands of charmed people running up and down, a prey to every kind
of agitation, suspense, and anxiety, till his time comes to spring upon
them and swallow them up.

When Siebenkæs awoke in the morning, he at once packed the devil of
jealousy, the marriage devil, off to the place where all other devils
dwell. For a calming sleep lowers the pulse of the soul's fever--the
grains thereof are fever-bark for the cold fever of hate, and also for
the hot fever of love. Indeed he put down the tracing board, and with a
pantograph made a correct, reduced copy of his yesterday's free
translation of the Engelkrautian countenance, and blackened it nicely.
When it was done, he said to his wife, for very love of her, "We'll
send him the profile this morning, at once. It may be a good long while
before he comes to fetch it." "Oh yes! he won't be here till Wednesday,
and by that time he'll have forgotten all about it." "But I could bring
him here sooner than that," Siebenkæs answered; "I need only send him
the Russian Trinity dollar of 1679 to get changed for me; he won't
_send_ me a farthing of the money he'll bring it himself as he always
has done all through Leibgeber's collection." "Or you might send him
the dollar and the picture both," said Lenette, "he would like it
better." "Which would he like better?" he asked. She didn't see exactly
what answer to make to this ridiculous question (whether she meant the
stamped face or the pictured one) sprung upon her like a mine in this
sort of way, and got out of her difficulty by saying, "Well, _the
things_, of course." He spared her any further catechising.

The Schulrath, however, sent nothing but an answer to the effect that
he was beside himself with delight at the charming presents, and would
come to express his thanks in person, and to settle up with the
advocate, by the end of the following week at latest. The little dash
of bitter flavour which was perceptible to the taste in this unexpected
answer of the too happy Schulrath, was by no means sweetened away by
the arrival at this moment of the messenger of the Inheritance Office,
with Heimlicher von Blaise's first proceedings in the matter of the
plaint lodged against him, consisting of a petition for three weeks'
grace within which to lodge answers, a delay which the Court had
readily accorded. Siebenkæs, as his own poor's advocate, lived in the
sure and certain hope that the promised land of inheritance, flowing
with milk and honey, would be reached by his children, though _he_
would in all probability have long ere that time perched in the
wilderness of the law; for justice is given to recompensing the
children, and the children's children, for the uprightness of the
fathers, and for the goodness of their cause. It was more or less in
convenient, at the same time, to have nothing to live upon during one's
own lifetime. The Russian Trinity dollar--for which the Schulrath
hadn't even paid as yet--couldn't be lived upon, and there were but one
or two queue ducats remaining of the treasury chest provided by
Leibgeber, for the carrying on of operations against the Heimlicher.
This gold coin and those few silver ones were (although I have said
nothing about it till now) the entire money contents remaining in the
Leibgeberian saviour's scrip, and indeed none but a true disciple and
follower of the Saviour could be expected to hold out upon them. My
silence on this matter of the emptying of the coin cabinet may perhaps
be accepted in evidence of the fact that I try as much as I can to
avoid mentioning anything calculated to give my readers pain.

"Oh! I shall get on somehow or other," said Siebenkæs quite gleefully,
as he set to work harder than ever at his writing, with the view of
getting a considerable haul of money into the house, at the earliest
moment possible, in the shape of payment for his 'Selection from the
Devil's Papers.'

But there was a fresh purgatorial fire now being stoked and blown, till
it blazed hotter and hotter about him. I have refrained from saying
anything about the fire in question till now, though he has been
sitting roasting at it since the day before yesterday, Lenette being
the cook, and his writing table the larkspit.

During the few days when the wordless quarrel was going on, he had got
into a habit of listening with the closest attention to what Lenette
was doing, as he sat writing away at his 'Selection from the Devil's
Papers'; and this sent his ideas all astray. The softest step, the very
slightest shake of anything affected him just as if he had had
hydrophobia, or the gout, and put one or two fine young ideas to death,
as a louder noise kills young canaries, or silkworms.

He controlled himself very well at first. He pointed out to himself
that his wife really could _not_ help moving about, and that as long as
she hadn't a spiritual or glorified body and furniture to deal with,
she couldn't possibly go about as silently as a sunbeam, or as her
invisible good and evil angels behind her. But while he was listening
to this _cours de morale_, this _collegium pietatis_ of his own, he
lost the run of his satirical conceits and contexts, and his language
was deprived of a good deal of its sparkle.

But the morning after the silhouette evening, when their hearts had
shaken hands and renewed the old royal alliance of Love, he could go
much more openly to work, and so, as soon as he had blackened
the profile, and had only his own original creations to go on
blackening--_i. e_. when he was going to begin working in his own
charcoal burning hut, he said to his wife, as a preliminary--

"If you can help it, Lenette, don't make very much noise to-day. I
really can hardly get on with my writing, if you do--you know it's for

She said "I'm sure you can't hear me--I go about so very quietly."

Although a man may be long past the years of his youthful follies, yet
in every year of his life there crop up a few weeks and days in which
he has fresh follies to commit. It was truly in a moment of one of
these days that Siebenkæs made the request above mentioned; for he had
now laid upon himself the necessity of lying in wait and watching to
see what Lenette would do in consequence of it. She skimmed over the
floor, and athwart the various webs of her household labours, with the
tread of a spider. Like her sex in general, she had disputed his little
point, merely for the sake of disputing it, not of doing what she was
asked not to do. Siebenkæs had to keep his ears very much on the alert
to hear what little noise she did make, either with her hands or her
feet--but he was successful, and did hear the greater part of it.
Unless when we are asleep we are more attentive to a slight noise than
to a loud one; and our author listened to her wherever she went, his
ear and his attention going about fixed to her like a pedometer
wherever she moved. In short he had to break off in the middle of the
satire, called "The Nobleman with the Ague," and jump up and cry to her
(as she went creeping about), "For one whole hour have I been listening
and watching that dreadful tripping about on tiptoe. I had much rather
you would stamp about in a pair of the iron-soled sandals people used
to wear for beating time in.[37] Please go about as you usually do,

She complied, and went about _almost_ as she usually did. He would have
very much liked to have prohibited the intermediate style of walking,
as he had the light and the heavy; but a husband doesn't care to
contradict himself twice in one morning; once is enough. In the evening
he asked her if she would mind going about the house in her stockings
when he was at work at his writing. She would find it nice and cool for
the feet. "In fact," he added, "as I'm working all the forenoon
literally for our bread, it would be well if you would do nothing that
isn't absolutely necessary while I am at my literary work."

Next morning he sat in judgment (mentally) upon everything that went on
behind his back, and challenged it to see if it could produce the
free-pass of necessity--going on with his writing all the time, but
doing it worse than usual. This scribbling martyr endured a great many
things with as much patience as he could muster, but when Wendeline
took to whisking the straw under the green painted marriage TORUS with
a long broom, the cross grew too heavy for his shoulder. It happened,
moreover, that he had been reading two days before in an old Ephemeris
of scientific inquirers, that a clergyman, of the name of Johann
Pechmann, couldn't bear the sound of a besom--that it nearly took his
breath away, and that he once took to his heels and bolted when a
crossing sweeper accidentally ran against him. The effect of his having
read this was, that he was involuntarily more observant and intolerant
of a cognate discomfort. He called out to the domestic sweeper in the
next room, from his chair where he sat--

"Lenette, do _not_ go on scrubbing and switching about with that besom
of yours, it drives away the whole of my best ideas out of my head.
There was an old clergyman once of the name of Pechmann, who would
rather have been condemned to sweep a crossing in Vienna himself, than
to listen to another sweeping it--he would rather have been flogged
with a birch-broom, than have heard the infernal sound of it swishing
and whishing. How is a man to get a coherent idea, fit to go to the
printer and publisher, into his head with all this sweeping and
scrubbing going on?"

Lenette did what every good wife, and her lap dog, would have done; she
left off the noise by degrees. At last she laid down the besom, and
merely whisked three straws and a little feather fluff gently with the
hair-broom, from under the bed, not making as much noise even as he did
with his writing. However the editor of the 'Devil's Papers' managed to
hear it, in a manner beyond his fondest hopes. He rose up, went to the
bedroom door and called in at the room, "My darling, it's every bit as
hellish a torment to me if I can hear it _at all_. You may fan those
miserable sweepings with a peacock's feather, or a holy-water asperger,
or you may puff them away with a pair of bellows, but I and my poor
book must suffer and pay the piper all the same."

"I'm quite done now, at all events," she said.

He set to work again, and gaily took up the threads of his fourth
satire, "Concerning the five Monsters and their receptacles, whereon I
at first intended to subsist."

Meanwhile Lenette gently closed the door, so that he was driven to the
conclusion that there was something or other going on to annoy him
again in his Gehenna and place of penitence. He laid down his pen and

"Lenette, I can't hear very distinctly what it is--but you're up to
something or other in there that I can _not_ stand. For God's dear
sake, stop it at once, do put a period to my martyrdom and sorrows of
Werther, for this one day--come here, let me see you."

She answered, all out of breath with hard work--

"I'm not doing anything."

He got up and opened the door of his chamber of torture. There was his
wife rubbing away with a piece of grey flannel, polishing up the green
rails of the bed. The author of this history once lay sick of smallpox
in a bed of this kind, and knows them well. But the reader may not be
aware that a green slumber cage of this kind is a good deal like a
magnified canaries' breeding cage with its latticed folding doors or
portcullises, and that this trellis and hothouse for dreams is, though
less handsome in appearance, much better for health than our heavy
bastille towers all hung about with curtains which keep away every
breath of fresh air. The advocate swallowed about half a pint of
bedroom air, and said, in measured accents--

"You're at your brushing and sweeping again, are you? although you know
quite well that I'm sitting there working like a slave for you and
myself too, and that I've been writing away for the last hour with
scarcely an idea in my head. Oh! my heavenly better half! out with all
your cartridges at one shot, for God's sake, and don't finish me off
altogether with that rag of yours."

Lenette, full of astonishment said, "It's simply impossible, old man.
that you can hear me in the next room"--and polished away harder than
ever. He took her hand, somewhat hastily, though not roughly, and said
in a louder tone, "Come, get up!--It's exactly that which I complain
of, that I _can't_ hear you in the next room; I'm obliged to rack my
brains to guess what you're at--and the only ideas left in my head are
connected with brushing and scrubbing, so that all the brilliant
notions which I might otherwise be putting down on paper are driven
away. My darling child, nobody could possibly sit and work away here
more composedly and contentedly than I, if it were only grape-shot and
canister, howitzer shells, and hundred-pounders that you were banging
away with at my back out of these embrasures of yours. What it is that
I really can _not_ stand, is a _quiet_ noise."

All this talk having put him a little out of temper, ho fetched her out
of the room, rag and all, saying--

"It does seem a little hard that, while I'm labouring away here with
all my might, working myself almost to death, to provide a little
entertainment for the reading public, a regular bear-baiting pit should
be started in my own room, and that an author's very bed should be
turned into a siege-trench, and arrows and fire-balls sent about his
ears out of it. There, I shan't be writing while we're at dinner, I'll
talk the thing out at full length with you then."

At noon, then,[38] as he was about to enter on the subject of the
morning's tourney, he had first to hold a prayer-tourney. I mean this:
"prayers" do not, in Nürnberg and Kuhschnappel, mean a certain
hereditary office and service of mass in a court chapel, but--the
ringing of the twelve o'clock bell. Now the dining-table of our couple
stood against the wall, and was not put in the middle of the floor
except for meals. Well, Siebenkæs never succeeded above twice during
his married life in having this table brought forward BEFORE the soup
came in (for if a woman ONCE forgets a thing, she goes on forgetting it
a thousand times running[39]), though he preached his lungs as dry as a
fox's (which are used for curing ours); both soup and table were always
moved together, after the soup came in, without the spilling of a
greater quantity of the latter than one might have used in swallowing a

To-day this was the case as usual. Siebenkæs slowly chewed the pill
which he swallowed with the soup. The delay in moving the table he
observed anxiously (as if it had been a delay in the arrival of
an equinox), with a long face and slow breathing, and when the
soup-libation was duly poured as usual, he broke out as follows, in a
calm tone of voice, however--

"The fact is, Lenette, we are on board a good ship. At sea, you know,
people spill their soup because their vessel rolls and pitches--and
ours is spilt for a similar reason. See here, the dinner-table
and the morning besom are both in a tale together; they are two
conspirators who will blow out your husband's candle--to use a strong
expression--before they have done."

This, the exordium of his sermon, was followed by way of hymn, by the
arrival of the town fool of Kuhschnappel, who brought in a great sheet
of paper containing an invitation to the shooting match on St. Andrew's
Day, the 30th of November. Every one of us must, I am sure, have
gathered from what has already been said that the only money left in
the house was the queue-ducat. At the same time, Siebenkæs couldn't
leave the shooting-club, without thereby granting to himself a
certificate of poverty, a _testimonium paupertatis_, in the face of the
whole town. And really a shooting-ticket for this match was almost as
good as mining shares or East India stock to a man who was as good a
shot as Siebenkæs. It would also give him an opportunity of doing that
public honour to his wife which she, as a senate clerk's daughter from
Augspurg, had a right to expect. Unfortunately, however, the grave man
of folly couldn't be got to give change for the curious queue-ducat,
particularly as Siebenkæs aroused his suspicions with respect to it
himself, by saying. "This is a very good tail or queue-ducat, I assure
you. I don't wear a tail myself," he added, "but that's no reason why a
ducat shouldn't, if the King of Prussia chooses to immortalise his own
by having it stamped upon it. Wife, would you get our landlord, the
hairdresser, to come up; nobody can know better than he whether it's a
queue-ducat or not, seeing he has queues (not upon ducats) in his hands
every day." The pickle-herring of Kuhschnappel didn't vouchsafe the
ghost of a smile at this. The hairdresser came, and declared it to be a
queue, and civilly took it away himself to get it changed. Hairdressers
can run; in five minutes he brought the change for the ducat.

When the melancholy buffoon had pocketed his portion of it, Lenette's
face was all over double interjections and marks of interrogation;
wherefore Siebenkæs resumed his midday sermon. "The principal prizes,"
he said, "are pewter dishes and sums of money for hitting the bird, and
mostly provisions for the other marks we shoot at. I suspect that you
and I shall dine on St. Andrew's Day upon a nice piece of roast meat in
a new dish, both of which I shall have shot into your kitchen, if I
only take a little pains. And at all events don't worry yourself,
darling, because our money's nearly all gone. Take refuge behind me. I
am your sandbag, your gabion, your shelter trench, and with my rifle,
more certainly still with my pen, I feel pretty sure I shall keep the
devil of poverty at his distance, till my precious guardian hands over
my mother's property. Only for God's sake don't let _your_ work
interrupt _mine_. Your rag and your besom have cost me at least sixteen
currency dollars this morning. For supposing I get eight imperial
dollars a printed sheet for my Devilish Papers (counting the imperial
dollar at ninety kreuzer)--and I ought, to get more--I should have
earned forty-eight currency dollars this morning if I had written a
(printed) sheet and a half. But you see I had to stop in the middle of
it and expend a great many words upon you, for none of which I get a
single kreuzer. You should look upon me as a fat old spider stowed away
in a box to shrivel up in time into a precious gold nugget or jewel.
Whenever I take a dip of ink I draw a thread of gold out of the ink
bottle, as I've often told you, and (as the proverb says) the morning
hours have gold in their mouths (Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund). Go on
with your dinner, and listen. I'll just take this opportunity of
explaining to you the principal points in which the preciousness of an
author consists, and so give you the key to a good many things. In
Swabia, in Saxony, and Pomerania, there are towns in which there are
people who appraise authors as our master butcher here does beef. They
are usually known by the name of tasters or rulers of taste, because
they try the flavour of every book as it comes out, and then tell the
people whether they'll like it or not. We authors in our irritation
often call these people critics, but they might bring an action against
us for libel for so doing. Now as these directors of taste seldom write
books themselves, they have all the more time to read and find fault
with other people's. Yet it does sometimes happen that some of them
have written bad books themselves, and consequently know a bad book in
a moment when they come across one. Many become patron saints of
authors and of their books for the same reason that St. John Nepomuck
became the patron saint of bridges and those who cross them; because he
was once thrown off one into the water. Now these scribblings of mine
will be sent to these gentlemen as soon as they are in print (as your
hymn-book is). And they'll peer all through my productions to see
whether or not I've written them quite legibly and distinctly (not too
large or too small), whether I've put any wrong letters, a little e for
a big, or an f instead of a ph, whether the hyphen-strokes are too long
or too short, and all that sort of thing: indeed they often even give
opinions about the thoughts in the book (which they have nothing to do
with). Now you see, if you go on scrubbing and swishing about with
besoms behind me, I shall keep writing all sorts of stuff and nonsense,
and it'll all be printed. Of course that's a terrible thing to happen
to a man, for these tasters tear great frightful holes and wounds in
the paper however fine it is, with nails as long as fingers
(buttonmakers' nails are shorter, but not circumcisers' among the
Jews), before they give it a name to carry about with it, as the
circumcisers do to the Jew boys. And after this, they circulate a slip
of unsized paper, in which they find fault with me, and give me a bad
name, all over the empire, in Saxony and Pomerania, and tell all Swabia
in so many plain words that I'm an ass. May the devil confound their
impertinence! This is the sort of birching, you see, that besom of
yours will be getting me in for. Whereas, if I write beautifully and
legibly, and with proper attention and ability--and every sheet of my
Devilish Papers is so written--if I carefully weigh and consider every
word and every page before I write it, if I am playful in one place,
instructive in another, pleasing in all,--in that case I am bound to
tell you, Lenette, that the tasters are people who are quite capable of
appreciating work of that sort, and would think nothing of sitting down
and circulating papers in which the least they would say of me would be
that I had certainly brought something away from college in my head,
and had a little to show for my studies. In short, they would say, they
hadn't expected it of me, and there was really something _in me_. Now a
panegyric of this kind upon a husband is reflected, of course, upon his
wife, and when the Augspurg people are all asking 'Where does he live,
this Siebenkæs whom everybody's talking of?' there are sure to be lots
of folks in the Fuggery to answer, 'Oh! he lives in Kuhschnappel, his
wife was a daughter of Engelkraut, the senate clerk, and a very good
wife she is to him.'"

"You've told me all that about bookmaking hundreds of times," she
answered. "And it's just what the bookbinder says too; and I am sure
_he_ has all the best books through his hands, binding them."

This allusion to his repetitions of himself, though not meant
ill-temperedly, he didn't very much relish. In fact, the habit had
hitherto been, as it were, incubating unperceived in him, as a fever
does in its early stage. Husbands, even those who are sage and of few
words, talk to their wives with the same boundless liberty and
unrestraint as they do to their own selves; and a man repeats himself
_to_ himself immeasurably oftener than to anybody else, and that
without so much as observing that he does it, let alone taking any
count of how often. The wife, however, both observes and counts;
accustomed as she is to hear the cleverest (and most unintelligible)
remarks from her husband's lips daily, she can't help remembering them
when they occur again.

The hairdresser reappeared unexpectedly, bringing a fleeting cloud with
him. He said he had been to all the poor devils in the house to see if
he could get as much of the Martinmas rent out of them in advance as
would pay his subscription to the shooting match, but that they were a
set of church mice and he hadn't succeeded. The whole garrison of them
were naturally unequal to the payment of an impost of this description
six whole weeks before it was due, inasmuch as the majority of them
didn't see how they were to pay it when it _was_ due. So the Saxon came
to the grandee of his house, to the "Lord of Ducats" as he styled the
advocate. Siebenkæs couldn't find in his heart to disappoint the
patient soul with another "no" on the top of those he had borne so
good-humouredly; his wife and he scraped together the little small
change they had left out of the ducat, and sent him away rejoicing with
half of the rent, three gulden. All they had left for themselves
was--the question what they should do for light in the evening; for
there weren't even a couple of groschen in the house to get half a
pound of candles, and there were no candles _in natura_.

I cannot say that he here turned deadly pale, or fainted, or began to
rave. Praise be to every manly soul who has drunk the icy whey of
stoicism for only half a spring, and does not fall down paralysed and
frozen, like a woman, before the chill spectre of penury. In an age
which has had all its strongest sinews cut through except the universal
one, money, any diatribe, even the most extravagant, against riches, is
nobler and more useful than the most accurately just depreciation of
poverty. For pasquinades on gold dirt are agreeable to the rich,
reminding them that though their riches may take to themselves wings,
true happiness does not depend thereon; while the poor derive from them
not bitterer feeling merely, but also the sweeter satisfaction of
conquering the same. All that is base in man--thoughts, fancies, what
we look on as being examples--all join in one chorus in praise of gold;
why should we desire to deprive poverty of her true reserve force, her
_chevaliers d'honneur_, philosophy and beggars' pride?

The first thing Siebenkæs opened was not his mouth, but the door, and
then the pewter cupboard in the kitchen, from which he carefully and
with a good deal of gravity took down a bell-shaped tureen and three
pewter plates, and put them on a chair. Lenette could no longer stand
by in silence; she clasped her hands and said in a faint voice of
shame, "Merciful Providence! is it come to selling our dishes?"

"I'm only going to turn them into silver," he said; "as kings make
church bells into dollars, so shall we make our bell-dishes into coin.
There's nothing you need be ashamed about in converting trash of table
ware, the coffins of beasts, into currency, when Duke Christian of
Brunswick turned a king's silver coffin into dollars in 1662. Is a
plate an apostle, do you think? Great monarchs hare taken many an
apostle, if he happened to be a silver one, Hugo of St. Caro and others
as well, divided them (as it were) into chapters, verses, and legends,
sent them to the mint, and then dispatched them off all over the world
in that analysed form."

"Ah! stupid nonsense," she answered.

Some few readers will probably say "What else was it?" and I ought long
ago to have apologized, perhaps, for the style of speech, so
incomprehensible to Lenette, which the advocate makes use of.

He justified it satisfactorily to himself by the consideration that his
wife always had some DISTANT idea of what he was talking about, even
when he made use of the most learned technical expressions, and the
farthest-fetched plays upon words, because of its being good practice,
and of his liking to hear himself do it. "Women," he would repeat,
"have a distant and dim comprehension of all these things, and
therefore don't waste, in long tedious efforts to discover the precise
signification of these unintelligibilities, precious time which might
be better employed." This, I may observe, is not much encouragement for
Reinhold's 'Lexicon to Jean Paul's Levana,' nor for me personally
either, in some senses.

"Ah! stuff and nonsense" had been Lenette's answer. Firmian merely
asked her to bring the pewter into the sitting-room, and he would talk
the matter over sensibly. But he might as well have set forth his
reasons before a woman's skin stuffed with straw. What she chiefly
blamed him for, was that by his contribution to the shooting-club purse
he had emptied hers. And thus she herself suggested to him the best
answer he could have made. He said, "It was an angel that put it in my
head; because on St. Andrew's Day I shall regain everything that I turn
into silver now, and repewterise it immediately. To please you, I shall
keep not only the tureen and the plates I get as prizes, but all the
rest of the pewter ware, and put it all into your cupboard. I assure
you I had made tip my mind before to sell all my prizes."

What was to be done, then? There was no help for it. This banished and
expatriated table ware was lowered in the darkness of evening into old
Sabel's basket--and she was celebrated all over the town for
transacting this sort of commission agency or transfer business, with
as discreet a silence as if she were dealing in stolen gold. "Nobody
gets it out of _me_," she would say, "whose the things are. The
treasurer, who's dead and gone poor man--you know I sold everything he
had in the world for him--he often used to say there was never the
equal of me."

But, my poor dear young couple, I fear this Sabbath[40] or "Descent of
the Saviour into Hades" is but little likely to help you long, in that
antechamber of hell which you've got into. The flames are gone from
about you to-day, certainly, and a cool sea-breeze is refreshing you,
but tomorrow and the day after the old smoke and the old fire will be
blazing at your hearts! However, I don't want to put any restrictions
upon your trade in tin. We're quite right to have a good dinner to-day
though we know perfectly well we shall be just every bit as hungry
to-morrow again.

So the next morning Siebenkæs begged that he might be allowed to be all
the quieter that day because he had been obliged to talk so much the
day before. Our dear Lenette, who was a live washing-machine and
scouring-mill, and in whose eyes the washing bill and the bill of fare
had much of the weight of a confessor's certificate, would sooner have
let go her hold of everything in the world--her husband included--than
of the duster and the besom. She thought this was merely _his_
obstinate persistency, whereas it was really her own, in blowing the
organ bellows and thundering away upon her pedal reed stops right
behind her author's back during the morning hours, whose mouths had two
kinds of gold in them for _him_, namely gold from the golden age, and
ordinary metallic gold. She might have played with a thirty-two feet
stop out in the afternoon as long as she liked, but she wasn't to be
got out of her usual daily routine. A woman is the most heterogeneous
compound of obstinate will and self-sacrifice that I have ever met
with; she would let her head be cut off by the headsman of Paris for
her husband's sake, very likely, but not a single hair of it. And she
can deny herself to almost any extent for others' good, but not one bit
for her own. She can forego sleep for three nights running for a sick
person, but not one minute of a nap before bed-time, to ensure herself
a better night's sleep in bed. Neither the souls of the blest, nor
butterflies, though neither of them possess stomachs, can eat less than
a woman going to a ball or to her wedding, or than one cooking for her
guests; but if it's only her doctor and her own health that forbid her
some Esau's mess or other, she eats it that instant. Now men's
sacrifices are all just turned the opposite way.

Lenette, impelled by two imposing forces, what she was asked to do and
what she wanted to do, tried to find the feminine line of the
resultant, and hit upon the middle course of stopping her scouring and
sweeping as long as he was sitting at his writing. But the moment he
got up, and went to the piano for a couple of minutes, or to the
window, or across the doorstep, that instant back she would bring her
washing and scrubbing instruments of torture into the room again.
Siebenkæs wasn't long in becoming cognisant of this terrible
alternation and relieving-of-the-guard between her besom and his
(satirical) one; and the way she watched and lay in wait for his
movements drove all the ideas in his head higgledy-piggledy. At first
he bore it with really very great patience, as great as ever a husband
has, patience, that is, which lasts for a short time. But after
reflecting for a considerable period in silence, that the public, as
well as he, were sufferers by this room-cleaning business, and that all
posterity was, in a manner, watching and hanging upon every stroke of
that besom, which might do its work just as well in the afternoon when
he would only be at his law papers--the tumour of his anger suddenly
broke, and he grew mad, _i. e_. madder than he was before, and ran up
to her and cried--

"Oh! this is the very devil! At it again, eh! I see what you're about.
You watch till I get up from the table! Just be kind enough to finish
me off at once; hunger and worry will kill me before Easter, whether or
not. Good God! It's a thing I really can _not_ comprehend. She sees as
well as possible that my book is our larder--that there are whole
rations of bread in every page of it--yet she holds my hands the entire
morning, so that I can't do a line of it. Here I've been sitting on the
nest all this time and only hatched as far as letter E, where I
describe the ascent of Justice to heaven. Oh! Lenette! Lenette!"

"Very well," said Lenette, "it's all the same whatever I do, it's sure
to be wrong; do let me tidy the house properly, like any other woman."

And she asked him, in a simple manner, why it was that the bookbinder's
little boy (the language is mine, not hers), who played fantasias the
whole day long upon a child's toy fiddle, composing and enjoying whole
Alexander's Feasts upon it, didn't disturb him with his screeching
_un_harmonical progressions--and how he bore the chimneysweep's
sweeping the other day so much better than he did her sweeping of the
room. And as he couldn't quite manage to condense, just in a moment,
into few words the demonstration of the magnitude of the difference
which existed between these things, he found it better to get into a
rage again, and say--

"Do you suppose I'm going to make a great long speech and explanation
gratis, and lose dollar after dollar at my work? _Himmel_! _Kreuz_!
_Wetter_! The municipal code, the Roman pandects, forbid a coppersmith
even to enter a street where a professor is working, and here's my own
wife harder than an old jurist--and not only that--she's the
coppersmith herself. I'll tell you what it is, Lenette, I shall really
speak to the Schulrath about this." This did a great deal of service.

The produce of the Trinity dollar here arrived before the Schulrath; a
piece of polite attention which no one would have expected from a man
of so much learning and knowledge. No doubt all my readers will be as
much delighted as if they were husbands of Lenette themselves at the
fact that she was a perfect angel all the afternoon; her hands made no
more noise at their work than her fingers or her needle; she even put
off the doing of several things which were not necessary. She
accompanied a sister in the oratorical art, who came in with a divine
bonnet (in her hands, to be altered), all the way down stairs, not so
much out of politeness as thoughtfulness, that all the points of
principal importance connected with the doing up of the bonnet, which
had already been settled, might be gone over again two or three times
out of the advocate's hearing.

This touched the old noise-hunter, and went to the weak and tender
spot in him, his heart. He sought long in himself for a fitting
thank-offering in return, till he at last hit upon quite a new sort of

"Listen, child," he said, taking her hand very affectionately;
"wouldn't it be more reasonable in me if I were to amuse myself with my
writing in the _evening_? I mean, if the husband were to do his
creating at a time when the wife had no washing to do. Just think what
a life of nectar and ambrosia that would be; we should sit opposite to
each other with a candle between us--you at your sewing, I at my
writing--the other people in the house would all have their work done
and be at their beer--of course there wouldn't be customers with
bonnets coming at that time of night to make themselves visible and
audible. The evenings will be getting longer too, and of course I shall
have the more time for my writing fun, but we need say nothing about
that now. What do you think, or what do you _say_ (if you like the
expression better), to this new style of life? Remember too, that we're
quite rich again now--the Russian Trinity dollar is like so much found

"Oh! it will be delightful," she said, "I shall be able to do all my
household work in the morning, as a proper reasonable housekeeper

"Yes, just so," he answered, "I shall write away quietly at my satires
all morning, then wait till evening, and go on where I left off."

The evening of nectar and ambrosia came duly on, and was quite without
a rival among all evenings that had gone before it. A young married
couple, sitting one on each side of a table, working away quietly at
their work, with a candle between them, have a considerable notion what
happiness is. He was all happy thoughts and kisses; she all smiles, and
what little noise she made with the frying-pan seemed no louder to him
than what she made with her needle. "When people are earning double
working-pay by the light of one candle," he said, greatly delighted at
the domestic reformation, "they needn't, as far as I see, restrict
themselves to a miserable dip, the thickness of a worm, which they can
see nothing by, unless it be the wretchedness of its own light.
To-morrow we'll set up a mould candle, and no more about it."

As I take some credit to myself for selecting for narration in this
story such events only as are of universal interest, it will be
sufficient cursorily to mention that the mould candle duly appeared
next evening, and kindled a feeble strife, because, _apropos_ of this
candle, the advocate once more brought forward a new theory of his,
concerning the lighting of candles. He held the somewhat schismatic
opinion that the rational way of lighting all candles, more
particularly thick ones, was to light them at the thick end, and not at
the top or thin end; and that this was the reason of there being two
wicks projecting from every candle. "A law of combustion," he would
add, "in support of which I need only refer (at least for women of
sense) to the self-evident truth that, when a candle is burning down,
it keeps growing larger and larger at its lower extremity--just as
people who are burning down from debauchery grow thicker at theirs,
with fat and dropsy. If we light the candle at the top, we find the
result to be a useless lump, plug, or stump of tallow running all over
our candlestick. Whereas, if we light it at the bottom, the liquefied
grease from the thick end wraps itself gradually and with the most
exquisite symmetry all over the thinner end as if feeding it, and
equalising its proportions."

In reply to which, Lenette, with some force, adduced Shaftesbury's
touchstone of truth, ridicule. "Why, everybody that came in of an
evening, and noticed that I had put my candle upside down in the
candlestick, would burst out laughing; and it would be the wife that
everybody would blame." So that a mutual treaty of peace had to put a
period to this battle of the candle, to the effect that he should light
his candle at the bottom, and she hers at the top. And for the present,
as the candle common to both parties happened to be thick at the top,
he agreed to admit, without objection, the erroneous method of

However, the Devil, who crosses and blesses himself at such treaties of
peace, managed so to play his cards, that on this very day Siebenkæs
chanced, in his reading, to come upon the touching anecdote of the
younger Pliny's wife holding the lamp for her husband that he might see
to write. And it occurred to him that, now that he was getting along so
swimmingly with his selection from the said Devil's Papers, it would be
a splendid arrangement, and save him many interruptions, if Lenette
would snuff the candle always instead of his doing it himself.

"Of course," said she, "I shall be delighted." The first fifteen or
twenty minutes passed, and everything seemed to be all right.

The above period having elapsed, he cocked up his chin towards the
candle, by way of reminder to her to snuff it. Next, he gently touched
the snuffers with the tip of his pen, with the like object, not saying
anything however; and a little while after that, he moved the
candlestick a little bit, and said softly, "The candle." Matters now
began to assume a more serious aspect; he began to observe and watch
with greater attention the gradual obscuration of his paper, and
consequently the very snuffers which, in Lenette's hands, had promised
to throw so much light on his labours, became the means of impeding his
progress quite as effectually as the crabs did Hercules in his battle
with the hydra. The two wretched ideas, "snuff" and "snuffers," took
bodily shape, and danced hand in hand, with a sprightly pertness up and
down on every letter of his most biting satires. "Lenette," he had soon
to say again, "please to amputate that stupid black stump there, on
both our accounts."

"Dear me, have I been forgetting it?" she said, and snuffed it in a
great hurry.

Readers of a historical turn--such as I should wish mine to be--can now
see that things couldn't but get worse and worse, and more and more out
of joint. He had often to stop, making letters a yard or so in length,
waiting till some beneficent hand should remove the black thorn from
the rose of light, till, at length, he broke out with the word "Snuff!"
Then he took to varying his verbs, saying, "Enlighten!" or "Behead!" or
"Nip-off." Or he endeavoured to introduce an agreeable variety by using
other forms of speech, such as "The candle's cap, Capmaker;" "There's a
long spot in the sun again;" or, "This is a charming _chiaroscuro_,
well adapted for night thoughts in a beautiful Correggio-night; but
snuff away all the same."

At last, shortly before supper, when the charcoal stack in the flame
had really attained a great height, he inhaled half a river of air into
his lungs, and, slowly dropping it out again, said, in a grimly mild
manner, "You don't snuff a bit--as far as I can see, the black
funereal pyre might rise up to the ceiling for all you would care. All
right! I prefer to be the candle-snuffer of this theatre myself till
supper-time; and while we're at supper I shall just say to you, as a
rational man, what there is to say on the subject." "Oh! yes, please,"
she said, quite delighted.

When she had set four eggs on the table, two for each, he commenced:
"You see, I had been looking forward to my working at night being
attended with several advantages, because I thought you would have
managed this easy little task of snuffing the candle always at the
right time, as a Roman lady of high rank made herself do duty as a
candlestick for her celebrated husband, Pliny junior (to use a
commercial expression), and held his light for him. I was mistaken, it
appears; for, unfortunately, I can't write with my toes under the
table, like a person with no arms, nor yet in the dark, as a
clairvoyant might. The only use the candle is to me, in the
circumstances, is that it serves as an Epictetus lamp, enabling me to
get some practice in stoicism. It had often as much as twelve inches of
eclipse, like a sun, and I wished in vain, darling, for an invisible
eclipse--such as frequently occurs in the heavens. The cursed slag of
our candle hatches just these obscure ideas and gloomy night thoughts,
which authors (too) often have. Whereas, gracious goodness! if you had
only snuffed, as you ought to have done----"

"You're in fun, are you not?" she asked. "My stitches are much smaller
than your strokes, and I'm sure I saw quite well."

"Well, dear," he continued, "I'll proceed to point out to you that, on
the grounds of psychology and mental science, it isn't that it matters
a bit whether a person who is writing and thinking _sees_ a little more
or less distinctly or not, it's the snuffers and the snuff that he
can't get out of his head, and they get behind his spiritual legs, trip
up his ideas, and stop him, just as a log does a horse hobbled to it.
For even when you've only just snuffed the candle, and I'm in the full
enjoyment of the light, I begin to look out for the instant when you'll
do it next. Now, this watching being in itself neither visible nor
audible, can be nothing but a thought, or idea; and as every thought
has the property of occupying the mind to the exclusion of all others,
it follows that all an author's other and more valuable ideas are sent
at once to the dogs. But this is by no means the worst of the affair.
I, of course, _ought_ not to have had to occupy my head with the idea
of candle-snuffing any more than with that of snuff-taking; but when
the ardently longed-for snuffing never comes off at all, the black
smut on the ripe ear of light keeps growing longer--the darkness
deepening--a regular funereal torch feebly casting its ray upon a
half-dead writer, who can't drive from his head the thought of the
conjugal hand which could snap all the fetters asunder with one single
snip;--then, my dearest Lenette, it's not easy for the said writer to
help writing like an ass, and stamping like a dromedary. At least, I
express my own opinion and experience on the subject!"

On this, she assured him that, if he were really serious, she would
take great care to do it properly next evening.

And, in truth, this story must give her credit for keeping her word,
for she not only snuffed much oftener than the night before, but, the
fact is, she _hardly ever left off_ snuffing, particularly after he had
nodded his head once or twice by way of thanks.

"Don't snuff _too_ often, darling," he said, at length, but very, very
kindly. "If you attempt _too_ fine sub-sub-subdivisions (fractions of
fractions of fractions of fractions) of the wick, it'll be almost as
bad as ever--a candle snuffed too short gives as little light as one
with an overgrown wick which you may apply to the lights of the world
and of the Church, that's to say if you _can_. It's only for a short
while _before_ and _after_ the snuffing, _entre chien et loup_ as it
were, that that delicious middle-age of the soul prevails when it can
see to perfection; when it is truly a life for the gods, a just
proportion of black and white, both in the candle and on the book."

I and others really do not see any great reason to congratulate
ourselves upon this new turn of events. The poor's advocate has
evidently laid upon himself the additional burden, that all the time he
is writing he has to keep watching and calculating,--superficially
perhaps, but still, watching and calculating--the mean term, or
middle-distance, between the long wick and the short. And what time has
he left for his work?

Some minutes after, when the snuffing came a little too soon, he asked,
though somewhat doubtfully, "Dirty clothes for the wash already?" Next
time, as she let it be almost too long before she snuffed, he looked at
her interrogatively, and said, "Well? well?"

"In one instant," said she. By-and-by, he having got rather more deeply
absorbed than usual in his writing, and she in her work, he found, when
he suddenly came to himself and looked, one of the longest spears in
the candle that had yet appeared, and with two or three thieves round
it to the bargain.

"Oh, good Lord! 'Pon my soul, this is really the life of a dug!" cried
he; and, seizing the snuffers in a fury, he snuffed the candle--out.

This holiday pause of darkness afforded a capital opportunity for
jumping up, flying into a passion, and pointing out to Lenette more in
detail how it was that she plagued and tormented him, however admirably
he might have arranged things; and, like all women, had neither rhyme
nor reason in her ways of doing things, always snuffing either too
close or not close enough. She, however, lighted the candle without
saying a word, and he got into a greater rage than before, and demanded
to be informed whether he had ever as yet asked anything of her but the
merest trifles possible to conceive, and if anybody but his own wedded
wife would have hesitated for a moment to attend to them. "Just answer
me," he said.

She did not answer him; she set the freshly-lighted candle on the
table, and tears were in her eyes. It was the first time he had caused
her a tear, since her marriage. In a moment, like a person magnetised,
he saw and diagnosed all that was diseased and unhealthy in his system;
and, on the spot, he cast out the old Adam, and shied him
contemptuously away into a corner. This was an easy task for _him_; his
heart was always so open to love and justice, that the moment these
goddesses came into view, the tone of anger with which he had commenced
a sentence would fall into gentle melody before he reached the end of
it; he could stop his battle-axe in the middle of its stroke.

So that a household peace was here concluded, the instruments thereof
being one pair of moist eyes and one pair of bright kind ones; and a
Westphalia treaty of peace accorded one candle to each party, with
absolute freedom of snuffing.

But the peace was soon embittered, inasmuch as Penia, goddess of
poverty (who has thousands of invisible churches all about the country,
where most houses are her tabernacles and lazar cells), began to make
manifest her bodily presence and her all-controlling power. There was
no more money in the house. But, rather than place his honour and his
freedom in pledge, and incur obligations which he had less and less
prospect of repaying--I mean, rather than borrow--he would have sold
all he had, and himself into the bargain, like the old German. It is
said, the national debt of England, if counted out in dollars, would
make a ring round the earth, like a second equator; however, I have not
as yet measured this nose-ring of the British Lion, this annular
eclipse, or halo, round the sun of Britain, myself. But I know that
Siebenkæs would have considered a negative money-girdle of this sort
about his waist to be a penance-belt stuck full of spines, or an iron
ring, such as people who tow boats have on; a girdle compressing the
heart in a fatal manner. Even supposing he were to borrow, and then
stop payment, as nations and banking-houses do--a catastrophe which
debtors and aristocratic persons, who have their wits about them,
manage to avoid without difficulty, by the simple expedient of never
_beginning_ payment--yet, having only one friend whom he could convert
into a creditor (Stiefel), he couldn't possibly have seen this dear
friend, who was in the first rank of his spiritual creditors already,
figuring in the fifth rank, or that of the unpaid. He therefore avoided
such a two-fold transgression as this would have been--a sin against
both friendship and honour--by pledging things of less value, namely,
household furniture.

He went back (but alone) to the pewter cupboard in the kitchen, and
peeped through the rail to see whether there were two ranks of dishes
or three. Alas! there wag but one rear-rank man of a plate standing
behind his front-rank man, like double notes of interrogation. He
marched the rear-rank man to the front accordingly, and gave him for
travelling companions and fellow-refugees a herring-dish, a sauce-boat,
and a salad-bowl. Having effected this reduction of his army, he
extended the remaining troops so as to occupy a wider front, and
subdivided the three large gaps into twenty small ones. He then moved
these disbanded soldiers to the sitting-room, and went and called
Lenette, who was in the bookbinder's room.

"I've been looking at our pewter cupboard for the last five or ten
minutes," he said. "I really shouldn't have noticed, if I hadn't known
it, that I had taken away the tureen and the plates. Should you?"

"Ah, indeed, I do notice it every day of my life," she declared.

Here, however, being rather uneasy at the idea of what might be
the result of _too_ long an inspection, he hurried her into the
sitting-room, where the dishes were which he had just taken out, and
made known his intention of transposing, like a clever musician, this
quartett from the key of pewter into that of silver. He proposed the
selling of them, that she might be got to agree the more easily to
their being pawned. But she pulled out every stop of the feminine organ,
the clarion, the stopped diapason, flute, bird-stop, _vox humana_, and,
lastly, the tremolo stop. He might say whatever he liked; _she_ said
whatever _she_ liked. A man does not try to arrest the iron arm of
necessity, or to avert it; he calmly awaits its stroke; a woman tries
to struggle away from its grip, at any rate for a few hours, before it
encircles her. It was in vain that Siebenkæs quietly and simply asked
her if she knew what else was to be done. To questions of this sort,
there float up and down in women's heads not one complete answer, but
thousands of half answers, which are supposed to amount to a whole one,
just as in the differential calculus an infinite number of straight
lines go to form a curved one. Some of these unripe, half-formed,
fugitive, mutually auxiliary answers were----

"He shouldn't have changed his name, and he would have had his mother's
money by this time."

"Of course, he might borrow."

"Look at all his clients, well off and comfortable, and he won't ask
them to pay him."

"He never dreams of asking a fee for defending the infanticide."

"And he shouldn't spend so much money." "He needn't have paid that
half-term's rent in advance." For the latter would have kept him going
for a day or two, you see!

It is always a vain task to oppose the "minority of one" of the
complete and true answer to the immense majority of feminine partial
proofs of this sort; women know, at any rate, thus much of the law of
Switzerland, that four half or invalid witnesses outweigh one whole or
valid one.[41] But the best way of confuting them is, to let them say
what they have got to say, and not utter a word yourself; they're
certain to diverge, before very long, into subsidiary or accessory
matters, which you yield to them, confuting them, as regards the real
subject of argument, simply by action. This is the only species of
confutation which they ever forgive. Siebenkæs, unfortunately,
attempted to apply the surgical bandage of philosophy to Lenette's two
principal members, her head and her heart, and therefore commenced as

"Dear wife, in the parish church you sing against worldly riches, like
the rest of the congregation, and yet you have them fixed on your heart
as firmly as your brooch. Now, I don't go to a church, it's true, but I
have a pulpit in my own breast, and I prize one single happy moment
more than the whole of this pewter dirt. Tell me truly now, has your
immortal heart been pained by the tragical fate of the soup-tureen, or
was it only your pericardium? The doctors prescribe tin, in powder, for
worms; and may not this miserable tin, which we have broken into little
pieces and swallowed, have had a similar effect on the abominable worms
of the heart? Collect yourself, and think of our cobbler here, does his
soup taste any the worse to him out of his painted iron _saucière_
because his bit of roast meat is eaten out of it too? You sit behind
that pincushion of yours, and can't see that society is mad, and drinks
coffee, tea, and chocolate out of different cups, and has particular
kinds of plates for fruit, for salad, and for herrings, and particular
sorts of dishes for hares, fish, and poultry. And I say that it will
get madder and madder as time goes on, and order as many kinds of fruit
plates from the china shops as there are different fruits in the
gardens--at least, I should do it myself; and if I were a crown prince,
or a grand master, I should insist upon having lark dishes and lark
knives, snipe dishes and snipe knives; neither would I carve the haunch
of a stag of sixteen upon any plate I had once had a stag of eight
upon. The world is a fine madhouse, and one gets up and preaches his
false doctrine in it when another has done, just as they do in a Quaker
meeting. So the Bedlamites think that only two follies are veritable
follies, follies which are past, and follies which are yet to come--old
follies and new; but I would show them that theirs partake of the
nature of both."

Lenette's only reply was an inexpressibly _gentle_ request: "Oh!
please, Firmian, do _not_ sell the pewter."

"Very well, then, I shan't!" (he answered, with a bitter satirical joy
at having got the brilliant neck of the pigeon fairly into the noose
which he had so long had ready baited for it). "The emperor Antoninus
sent his real silver plate to the mint, so that I might surely send
mine; but just as you like: I don't care twopence. Not an ounce of it
shall be old; I shall merely pawn! I'm much obliged to you for the
suggestion; and if I only hit the eagle's tail on St. Andrew's Day, or
the imperial globe, I can redeem the whole of it in a minute--I mean
with the money of the prize; at all events, the salad-bowl and the
soup-tureen. I think you're quite right. Old Sabel's in the house, is
she not? She can take the things and bring back the money."

She let it be so now. The shooting-match on St. Andrew's Day was her
Fortunatus's wishing-cap, the wooden wings of the eagle were as waxen
flying-apparatus fixed on to her hopes, the powder and shot were the
flower-seeds of her future blossoms of peace (as they are to crowned
heads also). Thou poor soul, in many senses of the word! But the poor
hope incredibly more than the rich; therefore it is that poor devils
are more apt to catch the infection of lotteries than the rich--just as
they are to catch the plague and other epidemics.

Siebenkæs--who looked down with contempt not only on the loss of his
household goods, but on the loss of his money--was secretly resolved
to leave the trash at the pawnbroker's, unredeemed for ever, like
a state-bond, even though he should chance to be king (at the
shooting-match), and convert the transaction into a regular sale some
future day, when he happened to be passing the shop.

After a few bright quiet days Peltzstiefel came again to make an
evening call. Amid the manifold embargoes laid upon their supplies, the
risks attending their smuggling operations, and as a tear or a sigh was
laid as a tax which _must_ necessarily be paid upon every loaf of
bread, Firmian had had no time, to say nothing of inclination, to
remember his jealousy. In Lenette's case, matters were necessarily
exactly reversed; and if she really has any love for Stiefel, it must
grow faster on his money-dunghill than on the advocate's field all over
wells of hunger. The Schulrath's eye was not one of those which read
the troubles of a household in a minute, though they are masked by
smiling faces; he noticed nothing of the kind. And for that very reason
it came to pass that this friendly trio spent a happy hour free from
clouds, during which, though the sun of happiness did not shine, yet
the moon of happiness (hope and memory) rose shimmering in their sky.
Moreover, Siebenkæs had the enjoyment of being provided with a
cultivated listener, who could follow and appreciate the jingle of the
bells on the jester's cap, the trumpet fanfares of his Leibgeberish
sallies. Lenette could neither follow nor appreciate them in the very
least, and even Peltzstiefel didn't understand him when he _read_ him,
but only when he _heard him talk_. The two men at first talked only of
persons, not of things, as women do; only that they called their
chronique scandaleuse by the name of History of Literature and Men of
Letters. For literary men like to know every little trait and
peculiarity of a great author--what clothes he wears, and what his
favourite dishes are. For similar reasons, women minutely observe every
little trait and peculiarity of any crown princess who happens to pass
through the town, even to her ribbons and fringes. From literary men
they passed to scholarship; and then all the clouds of this life melted
away, and in the land of learning, the fair realm of science, the
downcast sorrowful head, wrapped and veiled in the black Lenten
altar-cloth of hardship and privation, is lifted up once more. The soul
inhales the mountain air of its native land, and looks down from the
lofty peak of Pindus upon its poor bruised and wounded body lying
beneath--that body which it has to drag and bear about, sighing
under its weight. When some dunned, needy scholar, some skin-and-bone
reading-master, a poor curate with five children, or a baited and
badgered tutor, is lying woeful and wretched--every nerve quivering
under some instrument of torture--and a brother of his craft, plagued
by just as many instruments of torture as himself, comes and argues and
philosophises with him a whole evening, and tells him all the latest
opinions of the literary papers, then truly the sand-glass which marks
the hours of the torture[42] is laid on its side--Orpheus comes, all
bright and shining, with the lyre of knowledge in his hand, into the
psychic hell of the two brethren in office, the sad tears vanish from
their brightening eyes, the snakes of the furies twine into graceful
curls, the Ixion's wheel rolls harmoniously to the lyre, and these two
poor Sisyphuses sit resting quietly on their stones and listen to the
music. But the poor curate's, the reading-master's, the scholar's, good
wife, what is her comfort in her misery? She has none except her
husband, who ought, therefore, to be very tender to all her

The reader was made aware in the first book that Leibgeber had sent
three programmes from Bayreuth. Stiefel brought the one, by Dr. Frank,
with him, and asked Siebenkæs to write a notice of it for the
'Kuhschnappel Heavenly Messenger.' He also took out of his pocket
another little book, to receive its sentence. The reader will hail both
these works with gladness, seeing that my hero and his has no money in
the house, and will be able to live for a day or two by reviewing them.
The second manuscript, which was in a roll, was entitled: 'Lessingii,
Emilia Galotti. Pro gymnasmatis loco latine reddita et publice acta,
moderante J. H. Steffens. Cellis 1788.'

It seems that a good many of the subscribers to the 'Heavenly
Messenger' have complained of the length of time which elapsed before
this work was noticed, drawing disadvantageous comparisons between the
'Messenger' and the 'Universal German Library;' for the latter,
notwithstanding the greatness of its universal German circulation,
notices good works within a few years of their birth--sometimes even as
early as the third year of their existence--so that the favourable
notice can frequently be bound up with the work, the first paper-covers
of it not being worn out before. The reason, however, why the 'Heavenly
Messenger' did not, and in fact could not, review more of the books of
the year 1788, was, that it was not until five years after that date
that it--first saw the light itself.

"Don't you think," said Siebenkæs, in a friendly manner to
Peltzstiefel, "that if I'm going to write proper notices of Messrs.
Frank and Steffens here, my wife should take care not to make a
thundering noise, swishing away with her broom at my back?"

"That might really be a matter of very considerable importance," said
Stiefel, gravely. Upon which a playful and somewhat abridged report of
the proceedings in the household action of inhibition was laid before
him. Wendeline fixed her kindly eyes on Peltzstiefel's face, striving
to read the _Rubrum_ (the red title), and the _Nigrum_ (the black body
matter) of his judgment there before it was pronounced. Both colours
were there. But though Stiefel's bosom heaved with genuine sighs of the
deepest affection for her, he nevertheless addressed her as follows--

"Madame Siebenkæs, this really won't do at all; for God hath not
created anything nobler than a scholar sitting at his writing. Hundreds
of thousands of people, ten times told, are sitting in every quarter of
the globe, as if on school-forms before him, and to all of these he has
to speak. Errors held by the wisest and cleverest people he has to
eradicate: ages, long since gone to dust and passed away, with those
who lived in them, he has to describe with accuracy and minuteness;
systems, the most profound and the most complex, he has to confute and
overthrow, or otherwise to invent and establish, himself. His light has
to pierce through massy crowns, through the Pope's triple tiara,
through Capuchin hoods and through wreaths of laurel--to pierce them
all and enlighten the brains within. This is his work; and this work he
can perform. But Madame Siebenkæs, what a strain on his faculties! What
a grand sustained effort is necessary! It is a hard matter and a
difficult to set up a book in type, but harder still to write it! Think
what the strain must have been when Pindar wrote, and Homer, earlier
still--I mean in the 'Iliad'--and so with one after another, down to
our own day. Is it any wonder, then, that great writers, in the
terrible strain and absorption of all their ideas, have often scarcely
known where they were, what they were doing, or what they would be at;
that they were blind and dumb, and insensible to everything but what
was perceived by the _five interior spiritual senses_, like blind
people, who see beautifully in their dreams, but in their waking state
are, as we have said, blind! This state of absorbedness and strain it
is which I consider to explain how it was that Socrates and Archimedes
could stand and be completely unconscious of the storm and turmoil
going on around them; how Cardanus in the profundity of his meditation
was unconscious of his Chiragra; others of the gout; one Frenchman of a
great conflagration, and a second Frenchman of the death of his wife."

"There, you see," said Lenette, much delighted, in a low voice to her
husband, "how can a learned gentleman possibly hear his wife when she's
at her washing and scrubbing?"

Stiefel, unmoved, went on with the thread of his argument: "Now, a fire
of this description can only be kindled in absolute and uninterrupted
calm. And this is the reason why all the great artists and men of
letters in Paris live nowhere but in the Rue Ste. Victoire; the other
streets are all too noisy. And it is hence that no smiths, tinkers, or
tinmen, are allowed to work in the street where a professor lives."

"No TINMEN especially," added Siebenkæs, very gravely. "It should
always be remembered that the mind cannot entertain more than
half-a-dozen of ideas at a time; so that if the idea of noise should
make its appearance as a wicked seventh, of course some one or other of
the previous ideas, which might otherwise have been followed up or
written down, takes its departure from the head altogether."

Indeed Stiefel made Lenette give him her hand as a pledge that she
would always stand still, like Joshua's sun, while Firmian was smiting
the foe with pen and scourge.

"Haven't I often asked the bookbinder myself," she said, "not to hammer
so hard upon his books, because my husband would hear him when he was
making _his_." However, she gave the Schulrath her hand, and he went
away contented with their contentment, leaving them quite hopeful of
quieter times.

But, ye dear souls, of how little use to you is this state of peace,
seeing ye are on half-pay and starving in this cold, empty, orphan
hospital of an earth--how little will it help you in these dim
labyrinthian wanderings of your destiny, of which even the Ariadne
clue-threads all turn to nets and snares? How long will the poor's
advocate manage to live on the produce of the pawned pewter, and on the
price of the two reviews which he is going to write? Only, we are all
like the Adam of the epic, and take our first night to be the day of
judgment, and the setting of the sun for the end of the world. We
sorrow for our friends, just as if there were no brighter future
YONDER, and we sorrow for ourselves as if there were no brighter future
HERE. For all our passions are born Atheists and unbelievers.

                              CHAPTER VI.


This chapter commences at once with pecuniary difficulties. The
wretched, leaky Danaid's bucket which our good couple had to use for
washing their groschen or two, their grains of gold-dust--few and far
between as they were--out of the sands of their Pactolus, had always
run dry again in the course of a couple of days, or of three at the
outside. On this occasion, however, they had something certain to go
upon, namely, the reviews of the two works; they could count upon four
florins certainly, if not upon five.

Early next day, after his morning kiss, Firmian seated himself upon his
critical judgment-bench again, and proceeded to pass his sentences. He
might have written an epic poem, so light were the trade-winds which
had hitherto been prevalent during the early hours of the day. From
eight o'clock in the morning till eleven in the forenoon, he was
engaged in holding up to the world in a favourable light the programme
of Dr. Frank of Pavia, which was entitled: 'Sermo Academicus de civis
medici in republica conditione atque officiis, ex lege præipue erutis.
Auct. Frank. 1785.' He criticised, praised, blamed, and made extracts
from this little production, till he thought he had covered enough
paper to earn what would suffice to redeem the pawned herring-dish,
salad-bowl, sauce-boat, and plates--his views on the work occupying one
sheet, four pages, and fifteen lines.

The morning had passed so pleasantly, in holding Vehmgericht in this
manner, that he thought he might as well go on, and hold another in the
afternoon on the other book. He had never ventured upon this before; in
the afternoons he had done advocate's work, not reviewer's, appearing
in the character of defendant (_maker_ of defence), not of fiscal
(prosecutor). He had ample reason for this, seeing that every afternoon
girls and maid-servants came with bonnets and caps, and with _mouths_
full of conversational treasures, which they at once unpacked; richer
in language than the Arabs, who have only a thousand _words_ to express
the same idea, these young women had a thousand _idioms_ for it, or
different ways of putting it;--and, as an organ when it's out of order,
immediately begins to cipher on twenty of its pipes or so at a time as
soon as you begin to work the bellows, though no notes may be pressed
down, so would they the moment the bellows of their lungs was set
a-going. He didn't mind this, however, seeing that at the particular
hours to which these feminine alarum clocks were set, he let his own
juristical alarum go rattling off too, and during the arguing of
Lenette's cases, went on with the arguing of his. He wasn't disturbed
by this; he maintained: "A lawyer is not to be put out, he can open and
close his sentences when he chooses--his periods are long tapeworms,
and can be lengthened or cut down with impunity--for each segment of
them is itself a worm, each comma a period."

But reviewing was another matter, and couldn't be done so well. At the
same time, I shall here faithfully transcribe for the benefit of the
unlearned (the learned have read the review long ago), so much as he
actually did manage to get done after his dinner. He wrote down the
title of Steffen's Latin translation of "Emilia Galotti," and proceeded
as follows--

"This translation meets a want which we have long experienced. It is,
indeed, a striking phenomenon, that so few of the German classics have
as yet been translated into Latin for the use of scholars, who, for
their part, have supplied us with German versions of nearly all the
Greek and Roman classic authors. The German nation can point to
literary productions of its own which are quite worthy of perusal by
scholars and by linguists, who, although they can translate them, do
not understand them, because they are not written in Latin.
Lichtenberg's 'Pocket Calendar' has appeared simultaneously in a German
edition--for the English, who are studying German--and in a French for
our own _haute noblesse_. But why should not German original works, and
even the very 'Calendar' itself, be made known to linguists and to
scholars by means of a good and faithful Latin translation? There can
be no doubt that they would be the very first to be struck by the great
resemblance which may be traced between the odes of Ramler and those of
Horace, if the former were but translated. The reviewer must confess
that it has always been matter of surprise, as well as regret, to him
that but two correct editions of Klopstock's 'Messiah' have as yet
appeared, the original edition and his own--and that there is no Latin
edition of it for scholars--(Lessing having scarcely translated the
'Invocation' in his miscellaneous writings)--nor one in the curial
style for lawyers, nor a plain prose one for the commercial world, nor
one in Jew-German for the Jewish community."

When he had got thus far, he was compelled to stop, because a housemaid
_wouldn't_ stop, but went on reiterating what her mistress had gone on
re-iterating, namely, how her night-cap was to be done up; twenty times
did she sketch the ground-plan and elevation of the said cap, and laid
weight on the necessity for speedy execution. Lenette answered her
tautologies with equivalent ones, paying her back to the full in her
own coin. Scarce was the housemaid out at the door, when the reviewer

"I haven't written a word while that windmill was clacking. Lenette,
tell me, is it really a positive impossibility for a woman to say,
'It's four o'clock,' instead of 'The four quarters to four have gone?'
Can no woman say, 'The head-clout will be ready to-morrow,' and then an
end of the matter? Can no woman say, 'I want a dollar for it,' and
there an end of the story? Nor, 'Run in again to-morrow!' and no more
about it? Can _you_ not do it, for instance?"

Lenette answered very coldly, "Oh! of course you think everybody thinks
just as you think yourself!"

Lenette had two feminine bad habits, which have sent millions of male
rockets, or pyrotechnic serpents--namely, curses--up skywards. The
first was, that whenever she gave the servant an order, she did it as
if it were a memorial in two copies, and then went out of the room with
her and repeated the order in question three or four times more in the
passage. The second was, that let Siebenkæs shout a thing to her, as
distinctly as man could, her first answer was, "What?" or, "What do you
say?" Now, I not only advise ladies always to demand a "second of
exchange" of this sort when they are in any embarrassment for an
answer, and I laud them fur so doing; but in cases where what is
required of them is attention, not the truth, this _ancora_ and _bis_
which they cry to a speaker who is anxious not to waste time, is as
cumbersome as it is unnecessary. Matters of this kind are trifles in
married life only so long as the sufferer by them does not complain of
them. But when they have been found fault with they are worse than
deadly sins, and felonies, and adulteries--seeing that they occur much
more frequently.

If the author were disturbed at his work by pleonasms of the above
description; what he would do would be, not deliver a serious lecture,
but (because this is a good opportunity) write the following


"The author of the work on 'Marriage' has said, 'A woman who does not
talk is a stupid woman.' But it is easier to be his encomiast than his
disciple. The cleverest women are often silent with women, and the most
stupid and most silent are often both with men. On the whole, this
statement, which has been applied to the male sex, is true also of the
female, namely, that those who think most have least to say; as frogs
cease croaking when a light is brought to the side of their pond.
Moreover, the extreme talkativeness of women is a result of the
sedentary nature of their occupations. Men, whose work is sedentary,
such as tailors, shoemakers, weavers, have in common with women not
only their hypochondriac fancies, but also their loquacity.

"The little work-tables, where feminine fingers are employed, are also
the playgrounds of the feminine imagination, and their needles become
little magic wands, wherewith they transform their rooms into isles of
spirits filled with dreams. Hence it is that a letter or a book
distracts a woman who is in love more than the knitting of a whole pair
of stockings. Savages say that the monkeys refrain from talking that
they may not be made to work; but many a woman talks twice as much when
she is working as when she is not.

"I have devoted much thought to the question, what purpose this
peculiarity subserves in the economy of the universe. At first it might
strike us that Nature has ordained these re-iterations of that which
has been already said with a view to the development of metaphysical
truths: for, as demonstration, according to Jacobi and Kant, is merely
a series, or progression, of identical propositions, it is evident that
women, who always proceed from the same thing to the same thing, are
continually demonstrating. There can be no doubt, however, that the
object which Nature has chiefly had in view is the following. Accurate
observers of nature have pointed out that the reason why the leaves of
trees keep up their constant fluttering motion is that the atmosphere
may be purified by this perpetual flagellation--this oscillation of the
leaves having very much the effect of a light and gentle breeze.[43] It
would, however, be very wonderful had Nature--always economising her
forces, Nature, who never does anything in vain--ordained this much
longer oscillation, this seventy years' wagging of the feminine tongue,
to no definite purpose. For the purpose in question, however, we have
not far to seek. It is the same which is subserved by the quivering of
the leaves of trees. The endless, regular, unceasing beat of the
feminine tongue is to assist in agitating and stirring up the
atmosphere, which would otherwise become putrescent. The moon has her
ocean of water, and the feminine head has its ocean of air, to stir
into salubrity and to keep in perpetual freshness. Hence a universal
Pythagorean noviciate would, sooner or later, give rise to epidemics,
and Chartreuses of nuns would become pesthouses. Hence it is that
diseases of the pestiferous type are less frequent among civilised
nations, who talk the most. And hence Nature's beneficent arrangement
that it is exactly in the largest cities--and moreover in the
winter--and moreover indoors--and in large assemblages--that women talk
most, inasmuch as it is exactly in these places and at these periods
that the atmosphere is most impure, and charged with the largest
proportion of carbonic acid and other products of respiration, &c.,
requiring to be thoroughly fanned and set in motion. And, indeed,
Nature here overthrows all artificial barriers and impediments;
for, although many European women have endeavoured to imitate
those of America--who fill their mouths with water in order to keep
silence--and, while making calls, fill theirs with tea or coffee, yet
these fluids have been found rather to facilitate than to prevent the
free flow of feminine speech.

"I trust that in this I am far from being like the narrow-minded
teleologists, who, to every grand sun-path, or sun-orbit of Nature,
must always be appending and intercalating little subsidiary
foot-tracks and 'ends in view. Such persons might permit themselves the
supposition (_I_ should be ashamed to do so) that the oscillation of
the female tongue, the use of which is sufficiently apparent in the
motion which it communicates to the atmosphere, may possibly serve to
give typical illustration to some thought or idea of a spiritual
nature--_e. g_. the female soul itself, perhaps.

"This belongs to that class of things with respect to which Kant has
said that they can neither be proved nor disproved. I myself should
rather incline, however, to the opinion that the talking of women is an
indication of the cessation of thought and mental activity--as in a
good mill the warning bell only rings when there is no corn left in the
hopper. Moreover, every husband knows that tongues are attached to
women's heads in order to give due notice, by their clanging, that some
contradiction, something irregular or impossible, is dominating in
them.[44] Similarly, H. Müller's calculating machine has a little bell
in it, which rings merely to give notice that some error has occurred
in a calculation. However, it now remains for the natural philosopher
to prosecute this inquiry, and to determine to what extent my views may
prove to be erroneous."

I may just mention that the above leaflet was written by the advocate.

He did not finish his review till the following morning. He had
intended to go on writing down his ideas on the subject of the
translation of Emilia Galotti till the money coming to him as the price
of the ideas should be enough to pay for new toes to his boots--Fecht
asked a sheet and a half for doing the pair--but he had not time for
this, as he was obliged to calculate the price of his notice by the
compositor's sight-rule, and get the money for it that very day.

The reviews were sent to the editor; the critical invoice amounted to
three florins four groschen and five pfennige. Strange! we smile when
we see the spiritual and the corporeal, intellect and hard cash, pain
and pecuniary compensation, stated as sums in proportion; but is not
our whole life an equation, a sum in "partnership" between soul and
body; and is not all action _upon_ us corporeal, and all _re_action
_from_ us spiritual?

The servant-girl brought back only "kind regards;" not the leaves of
silver which his ink should have crystallised into. Peltzstiefel had
not given the matter a thought. He was so absorbed in his studies
that he was indifferent to his own money, and blind to the poverty of
other people. He was capable, indeed, of noticing a _hiatus_; but it
must be in a manuscript--not in his own or other people's shoes,
stockings, &c. An inward fire blinded this fortunate man to the
phosphorescence of the rotten wood around him. And happy is every actor
in the school-theatricals of life who finds the lofty inward delusion
suffice to compensate him for the delusions without, or to hide them
from his view;--who is so carried away by the enthusiasm with which he
enters into and renders his spiritual _rôle_, that the coarse daubs of
landscapes of the scenery seem to bloom, and the branches to rustle in
the refreshing showers (of peas) from the rain-box--and who does not
wake to reality at the shifting of the scenes.

But this beautiful blindness of the Rath was very distressing to our
two dear friends; their little constellation, which was to have shone
in their evening sky, fell all down in meteoric drops upon the earth. I
do not blame Stiefel; he had an ear for distress, though not an eye.
But ye rich and great ones of the earth, who, helpless in the
honeycombs of your pleasures, swimming with clogged wings in your
melted sugar of roses, do not find it an easy matter to move your hand,
put it into your money-bag, and take out the wage of him who helped to
fill your honey-cells--an hour of judgment will strike at last for
_you_, and ask you if ye were worthy to _live_, let alone to live a
life of pleasure, when ye avoid even the _trifling_ trouble of _paying_
the poor who have undergone the _immense_ trouble of _earning_. But ye
would be better if ye thought what misery your comfortable, indolent,
indisposition to open a purse, or to read a little account, often
inflicts upon the poor; if ye pictured to yourselves the backward start
of hopeless disappointment of some poor woman whose husband comes home
without his money--the starvation, the obliteration of so many hopes,
and the weary sorrowful days of a whole family.

The advocate, therefore, put on his wicked silverising face again and
went prying about into every corner with his eyeglass, making himself
into a species of pressgang of the furniture. As a king or an English
minister sits up in his bed at night, rests his head on his hand, and
considers what commodity or what tree-stem full of birch-sap he may
stick his winetap of a new tax into, or (in another metaphor) so cut
the peat of taxation that new peat may grow in its place: thus did
Siebenkæs. With his letter of marque in his hand he scanned minutely
every flag that hove in sight; he lifted up his shaving-dish and set it
down; he shook the paralytic arms of an old chair till they cracked
again--he subjected it to a trial more severe, by sitting down in it
and getting up again.--I interrupt my period to observe _en passant_
that Lenette fully understood the danger of this conscription and
measuring of the children of the land, and that she protested
continuously and unavailingly against this game of pledges with
Job-like lamentations.--He also took down from its hook an old yellow
mirror, with a gilt leaf-pattern frame, which hung in the bedroom
opposite the green-railed bed, examined its wooden case and the back of
it, moved the glass of it up and down a little and then hung it up
again--an old firedog and some bedroom crockery he did not touch; he
whipt the lid off a porcelain butter-boat, made, according to the
plastic art of the period, in the shape of a cow, and glanced into the
inside of it, but set it back, empty and full of dust, as an ornament
on the mantelpiece again; he weighed, longer and with both hands, a
spice-mortar, and put it back again into the cupboard.

He looked more and more dangerous, and more and more merry; he drew out
with both arms the drawer of a wardrobe, shoved back table-napkins, and
begun to overhaul a mourning-dress of checked cotton a little ----. But
here Lenette flew out, seized him by his overhauling arm, and cried,
"Why not, indeed! But, please God, it shall _not_ come to _that_ with

He shut the drawer quietly, opened the cupboard again, and carefully
lifted the mortar on to the table, saying, "Oh! very well, it matters
little to me, it comes all to the same thing; the mortar will have to
take its departure." By covering this bell of shame with his open hand
by way of a damper, he was able to take out the pestle, its clapper,
without producing any ring or clang. He had been perfectly aware all
the time that she would rather pawn the garment of her soul (_i. e_.
her body) than the checked garment of that garment; but it was of set
purpose that, like the Court of Rome, he demanded the entire hand that
he might be the more likely to obtain a single finger of it--in this
case the mortar--and moreover he hoped the mere frequency with which he
reiterated his determination would save him the necessity of stating
any reasons, and that he would familiarise Lenette with the bugbear and
hobgoblin by keeping it continually before her eyes (I mean, with his
design upon the mortar). Wherefore he went on to say, "The fact is,
that it's very little that we have to pound in the course of a
twelvemonth, except when we have a quarter of a fat beast; at the same
time, just give me some idea why you're so anxious to keep the checked
gown--what on earth is the use of it? The only time you can wear it
will be when I depart this life. Now, Lenette, that's a terrible sort
of idea; I can't stand it. Coin the dress into silver--eliminate it
altogether; I'll send two pairs of mourning-buckles of mine along with
it; I hope I may never have anything to buckle with them again."

She stormed without bounds and preached with much wisdom against all
"careless, thoughtless householders;" and this for the very reason,
that she felt it was only too probable that he would soon take every
article of furniture in the place (which he had been feeling and
valuing, like a person buying bullocks) to the slaughter-house,
and--goodness gracious! the checked dress among the rest. "I had rather
starve," she cried, "than throw away that mortar for a mere song. The
Schulrath is sure to be here to-morrow evening, with the money for your

"Now you begin to talk sense," said he; and he carried the pestle
horizontally in both his hands into the bedroom, and laid it on to
Lenette's pillow--next bringing the mortar, and placing it on his own.
"If people should happen to hear it ring," he said, "they would think I
wanted to turn it into silver, as we were pounding nothing in it; and I
shouldn't like that."

The united capital contained in his greenish-yellow cotton-purse, and
her large money-bag (which she wore at her girdle), amounted to about
three groschen, good money. In the evening there would have to be a
groschen-loaf bought, for cash, and the remainder of the metallic-seed
must be sown in the morning to grow the breakfast- and dinner-crop. The
servant-girl went out for the bread, but came back with the groschen
and with the Job's message, "There's nothing left at the bakers' shops
at this time of night but two-groschen loaves; father (the cobbler
Fecht) couldn't get any either." This was lucky; the advocate could
enter into partnership with the shoemaker, and it would be easy for
these partners, by each contributing a groschen to the partnership
funds, to obtain a two-groschen loaf. The Fechts were asked if they
agreed to this. The cobbler, who made no secret of his daily
bankruptcies, answered--

"With all my heart. G--d d--n me! (Heaven forgive me for swearing) if I
and the whole crew of young tatterdemalions in the place have had a
scrap of anything to fill our mouths with the whole blessed day but
waxed-ends." In short, this coalition of the _tiers état_ with the
learned estates put an end to the famine, and the covenanting parties
broke the loaf in two and weighed it in a just balance, it being itself
both the weight and the thing weighed. Ah! ye rich! Ye, with your
manna, or bread sent from heaven, little think how indispensable to
poverty are small weights, apothecaries' measure, heller-loaves,[45] a
dinner for eight kreuzers (and your shirt washed into the bargain); and
a broken-bread shop, where mere crumbs and black-bread powder are
to be had for money; and how the comfort of a whole family's evening
depends on the fact that your hundredweights are on sale in lots of

They ate, and were content. Lenette was in good humour because she had
gained her point. At night the advocate put the things which were to be
pawned upon a soft chair. In the morning she facilitated his writing by
keeping very quiet. It was a good omen, however, that she did not put
the mortar back into the cupboard. And Siebenkæs fired off various
queries out of the said bomb-mortar in parabolic curves. He knew
perfectly well that the Loretto- and Harmonica-bell in question must
march that day or the next over the frontier for a small pecuniary
_Abzug-geld_.[46] Women always like to put everything off till the very
last possible moment.

Peltzstiefel came in that evening. It was both ridiculous and natural
to expect that the first thing the editor of the 'Heavenly Messenger'
would do would be to pay the critic his wages, so that he might at
least be able to set before his editor a candlestick with a candle in
it, and a beer-glass containing beer. Nothing can be more cruel than an
anxiety of this sort, because this kind of shame breaks in a moment all
the springs in the human machine. Siebenkæs wouldn't let it trouble his
head, because he knew Stiefel wouldn't let it trouble his. But Lenette
was to be pitied, inasmuch as the blushes of her shame were heightened
by her fondness for Stiefel! At last the Rath put his hand in his
pocket. They thought now he was going to produce the review-money; but
all he took out was his snuff-machine, his tobacco-grater, and he dived
back into his coat-tail pocket for half-an-ounce of rappee to put upon
this little chopping-bench. But he had grated the half-ounce already.
He searched his breeches-pockets for money to send for another
half-ounce. Truly--and here he swore an oath for which he would have
incurred a fine had he been in England--he had sent, like an ass, not
only his purse but also the money for the reviews, carefully counted
out and neatly wrapped in paper, with his breeches--they were his plush
ones--to the tailor's. He said it wasn't the first time, and it was a
lucky job that the tailor was an honest man; the only thing was, he
hadn't noticed how much there was in his purse. He innocently requested
Lenette to "send and get him an ounce of rappee; he would repay her
next morning, when he sent the money for the reviews." Siebenkæs
roguishly added, "And send for some beer at the same time, dear." He
and Stiefel looked out of window; but he saw that his poor wife--her
bosom torn with sighs, and suffering _peine forte et dure_--stole into
the bedroom and noiselessly put the spice-mill into her apron.

After a good half-hour, rappee, beer, money, and happiness entered the
room; the bell-metal of the mortar was transformed into sustenance for
the inward man, and the bell in question had been somewhat like the
little altar-bell, which in this case, besides _announcing_ a
transubstantiation, or transformation of the substance of the bread, as
it does in the Roman Catholic Church, had _undergone_ one itself. Their
blood no longer gurgled among rocks and stones, but flowed softly and
tranquilly along, by meadows, and over silver sands. Such is man. When
he is in the depths of misery, the first happy moment lifts him out;
when he is at the height of bliss, the remotest sorrowful moment,
even though it is down beneath the horizon, casts him to earth.
No great man, who has _maîtres de cuisine_, clerks of the cellar,
capon-stuffers, and confectioners, has any true enjoyment of the
pleasure it is to give and receive hospitality; he gets and gives no
thanks. But a poor man and his poor guest, with whom he halves his loaf
and his can, are united by a mutual bond of gratitude.

The evening wound a soft bandage about the pain of the morning. The
poppy-juice of sixty drops of happiness was taken hourly, and the
medicine had a gently soothing and exhilarating power. When his old,
kind friend was leaving, Siebenkæs gave him a hearty, grateful kiss for
his cheering visit, Lenette standing by, with the candle in her hand.
Her husband, as some little compensation to her for having pounded her
little fit of obstinacy to groats in the mortar, said to her in an
off-hand, cheerful manner, "You give him one, too." The blushes
mantled on her cheeks like fire, and she leant back, as if she had a
mouth to avoid already. It was quite clear that, if she had not been
obliged to perform the office of torch-bearer, she would have fled to
her room on the spot. The Rath stood before her beaming with
affectionate friendliness--something like a white winter-landscape in
sunshine--waiting till--she should give him the kiss. The fruitlessness
of this expectation, and the prematureness of her bending her head out
of the way, began to vex him a little at last. Somewhat hurt, but still
beaming as affectionately as ever, he said--

"Am I not worth a kiss, Madam Siebenkæs?"

Her husband said, "Surely you don't expect my wife to _give_ you the
kiss. She would set her hair and everything in a blaze with the

Upon this, Peltzstiefel inclined his head slowly and cautiously, and at
the same time commandingly, down to her mouth, and laid his warm lips
on hers, like the half of a stick of melted sealing-wax on the other
half. Lenette gave him more space, by bending back her head; yet it
must be said that while she held her left arm with the candle high up
in the air, for fear of fire, she did a good deal to push away the
Rath--another, more proximate, fire--politely with the other. When he
was gone, she was still just the least bit embarrassed. She moved about
with a certain floating motion, as though some great happiness was
buoying her up with its wings--the evening red was still bright on her
cheek, though the moon was high in the heavens: her eyes were bright,
but dreamy, seeming to notice nothing about her--her smiles came before
her words, and she spake very few--not the slightest allusion was made
to the mortar. She touched everything more gently, and looked out of
the window at the sky two or three times. She didn't seem to care to
eat more of the two-groschen loaf, and drank no beer, but only a glass
or two of water. Anybody else--myself for example--would have held up
his finger and sworn he was looking upon a girl who had just had a
first kiss from her sweetheart.

And I shouldn't have regretted having taken that oath had I seen the
sudden blush which suffused her face next day when the money for the
reviews and the snuff was brought. It was a miracle, and an
extraordinary piece of politeness, that Peltzstiefel should not have
forgotten about his having contracted this little loan--little debts of
two or three groschen always escaped his preoccupied memory. But rich
people, who always carry less money about them than the poor, and
therefore borrow from them, ought to inscribe trifling debts of this
sort on a memorial tablet, in their brain, because it is very wrong to
break into a pool devil's purse, who gets, moreover, no thanks for
these groschen of his which thus drop into the stream of Lethe.

                           *   *   *   *   *

Now, I beg to say, I should be happy to give two sheets of this
manuscript if the day of the shooting-match were but come, solely
because our dear couple build so upon it and upon its bird-pole. For
the position of these people is really going on from bad to worse; the
days of their destiny move with those of the calendar, from October on
to November, that is to say, from the end of summer to the beginning of
winter, and they find that moral frosts and nights get harder and
longer in the same ratio with those of the season. However, I must go
regularly on with my story.

I think there is no doubt that November, the month which is such a
_Novembriseur_ of the British, is the most horrible month of all the
year--for me it is a regular _Septembriseur_. I wish I could hybernate,
sleep, till the beginning of the Christmas month, December. The
November of '85 had, at the commencement of its reign, a dreadful
wheezing breath, a hand as cold as death, and an unpleasant lachrymal
fistula; in fact it was unendurable. The northeast wind, which in
summer it is so pleasant to hear blowing past one's ears, because one
knows it is a sure sign of settled weather, is, in autumn, only a sign
of steady cold. To our couple the weathercock was really a funeral
standard. Though they didn't exactly go out to the woods themselves
with baskets and barrows to pick up fallen branches and twigs, like the
poor day-labourer, they had to buy the stuff for firewood from the
wood-gatherers, by weight, as if it had been wood from the Indies, and
it had to be dried by the combustion of other wood before it would
burn. But this damp cold weather was more trying to the advocate's
stoicism, after all, than even to his purse; he couldn't run out and go
up a hill, and look about him, and seek in the heavens for that which
consoles and comforts the anxious and sorrowful, that which dissipates
the clouds which shroud our life, and shows us guiding nebulæ
(Magellan's clouds), if nothing else, gleaming through the fog-banks.
For when he could go up the Rabenstein, or some other hill, he could
get sight from thence of the aurora of the sun of happiness, though
that sun was under his horizon; the sorrows and torments of this
earthly life lay, writhing, like other vipers, in the clefts and
hollows beneath him, and no rattlesnake could rear itself with its
fangs up to his hill. Ah! there, in the free air, close to the ocean of
life which stretches on into the invisible distance of infinity, near
to the lofty heavens, the blue coal smoke of the stifling, suffocating
dwelling of our daily life cannot rise to us, we see its wreaths
hanging far down beneath; our sorrows drop, like leeches, from our
bleeding bosoms, and raised, for the time, above our woes, we stretch
our arms--no fetters on them now, though sore and marked, and bruised
with the galling iron--we stretch them out as if to soar in the pure
bright æther; we stretch them out, and fain would take to our bosom the
peaceful universe above us, we stretch them to the invisible eternal
Father, like children hastening home to Him--and we open them wider yet
to clasp our visible mother, created Nature, crying, "Oh take not this
solace, this comfort, away from me, when I am down there again among
the fog and the sorrow." And why is it that prisoners and the sick are
so wretched in their confinement? They are there shut up in their
holes, the clouds sail over them, they can only see the mountains far
away in the distance, these mountains whence, as from those of the
Polar regions in summer midnights, the sun, down below the horizon, can
be seen shining with a mild face, as if in slumber. But in this
wretched weather though Siebenkæs could not enjoy the consolations of
imagination, which bloom beneath the open sky, he could derive comfort
from reason, which thrives in the flower-pots of the window-sills. His
chief consolation, which I commend to everybody, was this: Man is under
the pressure of a necessity of two kinds--an every-day necessity,
which, everybody bears uncomplainingly, and a rare, or yearly-recurrent
necessity, which is only submitted to after struggles and complaints.
The daily and everlastingly recurrent necessity is this--that corn does
not ripen in winter--that we have not got wings, though so many
lower creatures have them--or that we cannot go and stand upon the
ring-shaped craters of the lunar mountains, and looking down into the
abysses, which are miles in depth, watch the marvellous and beautiful
effects of the setting sun's rays. The annual, or rarely recurrent,
necessity is that there is rainy weather when the corn is in
blossom--that there are a great many water-meadows of this world where
it is very bad walking, and that sometimes, because we have corns, or
no shoes, we cannot even walk anywhere. Only the annual necessity and
the daily are of exactly equal magnitude, and it is just as senseless
to murmur because we have paralysed limbs as because we have no wings.
All the PAST--and this alone is the subject of our sorrow--is of so
iron a necessity that in the eyes of a superior intelligence it is just
as senseless of an apothecary to mourn because his shop is burnt to the
ground as to sigh because he can't go botanising in the moon, although
there may be many things in the phials there which he has not got in

I mean to introduce an extra leaflet here on the consolations which we
may meet with in this damp, chilly, draughty life of ours. Anybody who
may be annoyed at these brief digressions of mine, and is scarcely to
be consoled, let him seek consolation in this--

                     EXTRA LEAFLET ON CONSOLATION.

A time may, that is to say, _must_ come when it shall be held to be a
moral obligation not only to cease to torment other people, but to
cease to torment ourselves; a time must and will come when we shall
wipe away the greater part of our tears, even here on earth, were it
only from proper pride.

It is true, nature is so constantly drawing tears from our eyes, and
forcing sighs from our breasts, that a wise man can scarcely ever
wholly lay aside his _body's_ garb of mourning; but let his soul wear
none! For if it is a simple duty or merit to endure minor sorrows with
proper cheerfulness, it is likewise a merit, only a greater one, to
bear the greatest sorrows bravely, just as the same reason which
enjoins the forgiveness of small injuries is equally valid for the
forgiveness of the greatest.

What we have principally to contend against, and to treat with due
contempt, in sorrow, as in anger, is its paralysing poisonous
sweetness, which we are so loth to exchange for the exertion of
consoling ourselves and of exercising our reasoning faculties.

We must not expect Philosophy to produce, with one stroke of the
pen, the converse effect to that which Rubens produced, when he
converted a smiling child into a weeping one with one stroke of his
brush. It is sufficient if she converts the soul's deep mourning garb
into half-mourning; it is enough when I can say to myself, "I am
content to bear that share of my sorrow of which my philosophy has not
relieved me; but for her it would have been greater--the gnat's sting
would have been a wasp's."

It is only through the imagination, as from an electric condenser, that
even physical pain emits its sparks upon us. We would bear the severest
physical pains without a wince if they were not of longer duration than
a sixtieth part of a second; but we never really do have an hour of
pain to endure, but only a succession of sixtieth parts of a second of
pain, the sixty separate rays of which are concentrated into the focus
and burning-point of a second, and directed upon our nerves by the
imagination alone. The most painful part of corporeal pain is the
_in_corporeal part of it, that is to say, our own impatience, and our
delusive conviction that it will last for ever.

We all know for certain that we shall have given up grieving for many a
loss, in twenty, ten, or two years why do we not say to ourselves,
"Very well--if this is an opinion which I shall cease to hold in twenty
years' time,--I prefer to abandon it to-day, at once? Why must it take
me twenty years to abandon an error, when I need not hold it twenty

When I awake from a dream which has painted for me an Otaheite on the
black background of the night, and find the flowery land melted away, I
scarcely sigh, and I think it was but a dream. How were it if I had
actually possessed this flowery island in waking life, and it had been
submerged in the sea by an earthquake? Why should I not, _then_ also,
say, "The island was but a dream"? Why am I more inconsolable for the
loss of a LONGER dream than for the loss of a SHORTER (for that is what
constitutes the distinction),--and why does man think a great loss less
necessary and less probable than a small?

The reason is that every sentiment and every passion is a mad thing,
demanding, or building, a complete world of its own. We are capable of
being vexed because it's past twelve o'clock, or because it's _not_
past, but only _just_ twelve o'clock. What nonsense! The passion wants
besides a personality of its own (sein eignes Ich), and a world of its
own,--a time of its own as well. I beg every one, just for once, to let
his passions speak plainly out, and to listen to them, and ascertain
what it is that they really each of them want; he will be dismayed when
he sees what monstrous things are these desires of theirs which they
have previously only half muttered. Anger would have but one neck for
all mankind, love would have but one heart, sorrow but one pair of
lachrymal ducts, and pride two bent knees!

When I was reading in Widman's 'Höfer Chronik' the account of the
fearful, bloody times of the thirty years' war, and, as it were, lived
them over again; when I beard once more the cries for help of those
poor suffering people, all struggling in the Danube-whirlpools of their
days--and saw the beating of their hands, and their delirious
wanderings on the crumbling pillars of broken bridges, foaming billows
and drifting ice-floes dashing against them; and then, when I thought
"All these waves have gone down, the ice is melted, the howling turmoil
is all sunk to silence, so are the human beings and all their sighs"--I
was filled with a melancholy comfort, a thought of consolation for
_all_ times, and I asked, "Was, and is, then, this passing, cursory,
transient burst of sorrow at the CHURCHYARD-GATE OF LIFE, which three
steps into the nearest cavern could end, a fit cause for this cowardly
lamentation?" Truly if, as I believe, there be such a thing as true
patience under an eternal woe, then, verily, patience under a
transitory sorrow is hardly worth the name.

A great but unmerited national calamity should not humble us, as the
theologians would have it--it should make us proud. When the long,
heavy sword of war falls upon mankind, and thousands of blanched hearts
are torn and bleeding--or when in the blue, pure evening sky the hot
cloud of a burning city, smoking on its funereal pyre, hangs dark and
lurid, like a cloud of ashes, the ashes of thousands of hearts and joys
all burnt to cinders and dust--then let thy spirit be lifted up in
pride, let it loathe, contemn, and despise tears, and that for which
they fall, and let it say--

"Thou art much too small a thing, thou every-day, common life, that an
immortal being should be inconsolable with regard to _thee_, thou torn
and tattered chance-bargain of an existence. Here upon this earth--the
ashes of centuries rolled into a sphere, worked into shape and form
from vapour by convulsion--the cry of one dreaming in a sorrowful
dream--I say, it is a disgrace that the sigh should cease only when the
breast which gives it utterance is resolved into its elements, and that
the tear should cease to flow only when the eye is closed in death."

But moderate this thy sublime transport of indignation and put to
thyself this question, "If He, the Infinite one, who, veiled from thy
sight, sits surrounded by the gleaming abysses, without bounds save
such as Himself creates, were to lay bare to thy sight the
immeasurability of infinity, and let Himself be seen of thee as he
distributes the suns, the great spirits, the little human hearts, and
our days, and a tear or two therein; wouldst thou rise up out of thy
dust against Him, and say, 'Almighty, be other than thou art!'"

But there is one sorrow which will be forgiven thee, and for which
there is recompense; it is sorrow for thy dead. For this sweet sorrow
for thy lost ones is, in truth, but another form of consolation; when
we long for them, this is but a sadder way of loving them still; and
when we think of their departure we shed tears, as well as when we
picture to ourselves our happy meeting with them again. And perhaps
these tears differ not.



The St. Andrew's shooting-match will take place in the seventh
chapter: the present one fills up the wintry thorny interval up to that
period--that is to say, the wolf-month with its wolf-hunger. Siebenkæs
would at that period have been much annoyed if any one had told him
beforehand with what compassion the flourishing state of his trading
enterprises was one day to be described by me, and, as a consequence,
read by millions of persons in all time to come. He wanted no pity, and
said, "If _I_ am quite happy, why should _you_ be pitying me?" The
articles of household furniture which he had touched, as with the hand
of death, or notched with his axe, like trees marked for cutting, were
one by one duly felled and hauled away. The mirror, with the floral
border, in the bedroom (which, luckily for itself, could not see itself
in any other), was the first thing to be tolled out of the house by the
passing- or vesper-bell, under the pall of an apron. Before he
stationed it in the train of this dance of death, he proposed to
Lenette a substitute for it, the checked calico mourning-dress, in
order to accustom her to the idea. It was the "Censeo Carthaginem
delendam" (I vote for the destruction of Carthage) which old Cato used
to say daily in the senate after every speech.

Next the old arm-chair was got rid of bodily (not like Shakespeare's
arm-chair, which was weighed out by the ounce, like saffron, or in
carats, like gold), and the firedog went in company with it. Siebenkæs
had the wisdom to gay, before they went away, "Censeo Carthaginem
delendam," _i. e_. "Wouldn't it be better to pawn the checked calico?"

They could barely subsist for two days upon the dog and the chair.

And then the process of alchemical transmutation of metals was applied
to the shaving-basin and the bedroom crockery, which were converted
into table-money. Of course he previously said "Censeo." It is scarcely
worth the trouble, but I may just observe here how little fruit was
born by this branch of trade; it was rather a woody branch than a
fruit-bearing one.

The lean porcelain cow or butter-boat would scarcely have served as
their nourishing milch cow for more than a day, if she had not been
attended by seven potentates (that is to say, most miserable prints of
them), who went "into the bargain," but for whom the woman at the shop
added some melted butter. Wherefore he said "Censeo." Many of my
readers must remember my mentioning that, a short time ago, when he was
distributing sentences of death among the furniture, he did not take
very much notice of certain table-napkins which were lying beside the
checked calico dress. Now, however, he acted as screech-owl, or bird of
death, and gallows-priest to them also, and routed them out all but a
few. When they were gone, he remarked, in an incidental manner, shortly
before Martinmas Day, that the napkin-press was still to the fore,
though it was not very clear what was the use of it, as there was
nothing for it to press.

"If such a thing should be necessary," he said, "the press might very
well get leave of absence on private affairs, until _we_ get through
the smoothing-press, oiling-press, and napkin-press of destiny, and
come out all smooth and beautiful ourselves, and can stick the napkins
into our button-holes on their return." His first intention had even
been to reverse the order of the funeral procession, and put the press
in the van of it as _avant-courier_ of the napkins, and in that event
he would only have had to invert his syllogism (as well as his
procession) in this way: "I don't see what we can do with the napkins,
or how we're to press them and keep them smooth, till we get the press
home again."

I am most firmly convinced that the majority of people would have done
as Lenette did with reference to my trade-consul Siebenkæs, and his
Hanseatic confederation with everybody who dealt in anything--that is,
clasped her hands above her head, and said, "Oh! the thoughtless, silly
creature! he'll soon be a beggar at this rate: the beautiful

Firmian's constant answer was--

"You would have me kneel down and howl, and tear my coat in
lamentation, like a Jew--my coat, which is torn already and pull my
hair out by the roots--that hair, which terror frequently causes to
fall off in a single night. Isn't it enough if _you_ do the howling?
Are you not my appointed _præfica_ and keening-woman? Wife, I swear to
you, and that as solemnly as if I were standing on pig's bristles,[47]
that if it is the will of God, who has given me so light and merry a
heart--if it be His will that I am to go about the town with eight
thousand holes in my coat, and without a sole to either shoe or
stocking that I am to go on always getting poorer and poorer" (here his
eyes grew moist in spite of him, and his voice faltered), "may the
devil take me and lash me to death with the tuft of his tail if I leave
off laughing and singing; and anybody who pities me, I tell him to his
face, is an ass. Good heavens! the apostles, and Diogenes, and
Epictetus, and Socrates, had seldom a whole coat to their backs--never
such a thing as a shirt--and shall a creature such as I let a hair of
him turn grey for such a reason, in miserable PROVINCIALISTIC times
such as these?"

Right, my Firmian! Have a proper contempt for the narrow heart-sacs of
the big clothes-moths about you--the human furniture-boring worms. And
ye, poor devils, who chance to be reading me--whether ye be sitting in
colleges or in offices, or even in parsonage-houses, who perhaps
haven't got a hat without a hole in it to put on your heads, most
certainly haven't got a black one--rise above the effeminate
surroundings of your times to the grand Greek and Roman days, wherein
it was thought no disgrace to a noble human creature to have neither
clothes nor temple, like the statue of Hercules; take heed only that
your soul shares not the poverty of your outward circumstances; lift
your faces to heaven with pride--a sickly faint northern Aurora is
veiling it, but the eternal stars are breaking through the thin
blood-red storm!

It was but a few weeks now to the St. Andrew's Day shooting-match,
which was Lenette's consolation in all her troubles, and to which all
her wishes were directed; however, there came one day on which she was
something worse than melancholy--inconsolable.

This was Michaelmas: on that day the press was to have followed
Lenette's Salzburg emigrants, the napkins, as their lady superior; but
nobody in all the town would have anything to do with it. The sole
anchor of refuge was one Jew, because there was no species of animal
(in the shape of articles of merchandise) which did not flee to his
Noah's ark of a shop. Unfortunately, however, the day when the
napkin-press applied to him was a Jewish feast-day, which he kept more
strictly than ever he did his word. He said he would see about it

Permit me, if you please, to take this opportunity of making a few
remarks of importance. Is it not a piece of most culpable negligence on
the part of the Government that, seeing the Jews are, as it were,
farmers-general and metal-kings of the Christians in German states, the
days of their feasts and fasts, and other times connected with their
worship, are not published and clearly made known for the benefit of
those very numerous persons who wish to borrow of them, or have any
business to transact with them? Those who suffer most from this
omission are just the upper circles of society, persons of birth and
rank, officials of high position; these are the persons who bring
papers and want money on Feasts of Haman, Feasts of Esther, of the
Destruction of the Temple, of the Rejoicing of the Law, and can't
obtain any. Surely the Jewish festivals, with the hours at which they
begin and end, ought to be given in every almanack--as they have
been fortunately, for a considerable time, in those of Berlin and
Bavaria--or in newspapers--or be proclaimed by the crier, and carefully
taught in schools. The Jew, indeed, has no need of a calendar of _our_
festivals, since we are always ready to put off and postpone, if he
likes, every Sunday of the year, though it were the first Sunday of it,
the feast of the Jewish Circumcision; and consequently hereafter, when
the universal monarchy of the Jews is actually established, he won't
take the trouble to append a Christian calendar to his own Jewish
calendars, as we now append the Jewish to our Christian. The necessity,
however, of inculcating in our schools a better and more exact
acquaintance with the seasons of the Jewish festivals, and with their
religious observances in general, will not be so fully manifest until
hereafter, when the Jews shall have elevated Germany to the proud
position of being their Land of Promise, leaving us to make our
crusade, and our return to the Asiatic land of promise, if we feel
disposed--to a holy sepulchre, and a sacred Calvary.

And yet _I_ think (to close this digression by another) that hereafter,
when we become the Christian numerators of Jewish denominators, we
should be wrong to set out, as modern crusaders, for the holy land, as
to which the Jews themselves trouble their heads but little. It is
certain that they will treat us with a far wider measure of the spirit
of tolerance than we, unfortunately, have extended to them; but their
genius for commerce, which they have hitherto been so much reproached
with, will be found to prove itself a guardian angel for us poor
Christians, and to take us under its tutelage, inasmuch as we are so
indispensably necessary to them as purchasers and consumers of the
unprepared hindquarters of the cattle (for it is only the fore-quarters
which they may eat, unless the veins are all taken out). Who else but
Christians can take the place of the beasts of burden--as no animal may
be degraded by working on the "Schabbes"[48] (Sabbath)--and perform the
necessary draught and other labour? and to whom are they to entrust the
performance of menial and manual employments, like the ancient
republicans, but to us, their nobler slaves and helots, whom they will,
therefore, be sure to treat with more consideration than they have
heretofore treated us when we have omitted to pay our promissory notes
as they became due.

I return to our poor's advocate, and record that on Michaelmas Day he
could get no money, and consequently no Michaelmas goose. Lenette's
grief at the absence of the goose of her ecclesiastical communion we
must all share. Women, who care less about eating and drinking than the
most ascetic philosophers--caring, indeed, more about the latter
themselves than about the former--are at the same time not to be
controlled if they have to go without certain _chronological_ articles
of diet. Their natural liking for burgherly festivities brings it about
that they would rather go without the appointed hymns and the gospel of
the day than without butter-cakes at Christmas, cheesecakes at Easter,
the goose at Michaelmas; their stomachs require a particular cover for
each festival, like Catholic altars. So that the canonical dish is a
kind of secondary sacrament, which, like the primary one, they take,
not for the palate's sake, but "by reason of the ordinance." Antoninus
and Epictetus could provide Siebenkæs with no efficient substitute for
the goose, with which to console the weeping Lenette, who said,
"We really _are_ Christians, whatever you may say, and belong to
the Lutheran Church; and every Lutheran has a goose on his table
to-day--I'm sure my poor dear father and mother always had. As for you,
_you_ believe in nothing." Whether he believed in anything or not,
however, he slipped off, though it was the afternoon of the Jewish
feast-day, to the Jew, who kept a nice pen of geese, with livers both
fat and lean, serving as a post-stable for country friends of his own
religion. When he went into his place he pulled a duodecimo Hebrew
Bible out of his pocket and put it down on the table, with the words,
"It was a great pleasure to him to meet with a keen, diligent, student
of the law; to such a man it would be a real satisfaction to make a
present of his Bible, without asking a halfpenny for it; as it was, an
unpointed edition (that is to say, one without vowels), he couldn't
read it himself, especially as even if it had _had_ points, he couldn't
have managed it. This napkin-press of mine, here"--he said, producing
it from under his coat-tails "I should be very glad if you would allow
me to leave with you, because I find it a good deal in my way at home;
I don't quite know what to do with it. You see, I have particular
reasons for being anxious to get hold of a goose out of your pen; I
don't mind if it's as thin as a whipping-post. _If you like_, you may
_call_ it giving it to me in charity on a holy day of this sort, for
all I care; it'll make no difference to _me_. If I should ever come and
take away the press again, it'll be an easy matter, and it'll be time
enough, to go into the transaction afresh."

It was thus that, in order to secure his wife the free exercise of her
religious observances, he _brought in_ this goose of controversy, which
_seemed_ to have some polemical bearing, as well as to be connected
with distinctive doctrines of faith; and next day these two Doctor
Martin Lutherists ate up the Schmalkaldian article (and, indeed,
_another_ Schmalkaldian article, a _commercial_ one--cold iron,
namely--has often been employed in defence of the articles of
theology). Thus was the capitol of the Lutheran religion saved, in an
easy manner, by the bird, which was roasted (so to speak) at the fire
of an _auto-da-fé_.

But on this particular morning up came the wigmaker, an individual whom
he was delighted to see generally, though _not_ to-day, for on the day
before, Michaelmas, the quarter's house rent was due, as we may
remember. The _Friseur_ presented himself as a sort of mute bill "at
sight;" yet he was polite enough not to _ask_ for anything. He merely
mentioned, in a casual manner, that "there was going to be an auction
of a variety of things on the Monday before St. Andrew's Day, and in
case the advocate might care to get together a few things for it, he
thought he would give him notice of it, as he held a life appointment
from the Houses of Assembly as auction-crier."

He was scarcely down stairs before Lenette gave deep, but not loud,
expression to her woes, saying he had "dunned them now, and that the
whole house must know all about their disreputable style of
housekeeping: had he not talked about furniture?" It was
incomprehensible how the poor woman could have fancied anybody had been
in the dark about it before! Poor people are always the first to nose
out poverty. At the same time Firmian had been ashamed to tell the
_Friseur_ that he had been obliged to appoint himself auctioneer of his
own furniture. Here he perceived that he blushed for his poverty more
before one person, and before the poor, than he did before a whole
town, and before the rich; and he flew into a furious indignation with
these execrable _eructations_ of human vanity in his noblest parts.

The path from hence to St. Andrew's Day, all bordered with nothing but
thistles as it is, cannot possibly seem longer, even to the reader,
than it did to my hero, who, moreover, had to take hold of the thistles
and pull them up with his own hands. The garden of his life kept
getting more and more like a _jardin Anglais_, where only prickly and
barren trees, but no fruit-trees, were to be found.

Every night, when he opened the latch of his bed-railings, he would
say, with great enjoyment, to his Lenette, "Only twenty (or nineteen,
or eighteen, or seventeen) days now to the shooting-match." But the
hairdresser and auction-crier had played the deuce and all with
Lenette, though the evenings were long and dark and splendidly
convenient for needy borrowers on deposit, veiling and hiding the
naked, abashed, misery of the poor; she was ashamed the people in the
house should know, and afraid to meet them. Firmian, who was astonished
equally at the inexhaustible resources of his brain and of his house,
and who kept saying to himself, "Do you know, I'm really curious to see
what I shall hit upon to-day again, and how I shall manage to get out
of _this_ difficulty now--" Firmian, a day or two after the Michaelmas
dinner, got his eye upon two more good articles of furniture--a long
cask-siphon and a rocking-horse (a relic of his childhood). "We haven't
a cask, and we haven't a baby," he said. But his wife implored him, for
heaven's sake, "not to put her to this shame. The horse and the siphon"
(she said) "are things that would stick out of the basket so terribly,
or out from under one's apron, and in the moonlight everybody would see

And yet _something_ must go! Firmian said, in an odd cutting, yet
sorrowful way, "It must be so! Fate, like Pritzel,[49] is beating on
the bottom of the drum, and the oats are jumping on the top of it; we
have got to eat off the drum."

"Anything," she said, faint and beaten, "except things that stick out
so." She searched about, opened the top drawer of the cupboard, and
took out a faded wreath of artificial flowers: she said, "Rather take
this!" and neither smiled nor wept! _He_ had often looked at it; but as
he had sent it to her himself last New Year's Day, the day of their
betrothal, and because it was so romantically beautiful (a white rose,
two red rosebuds, and a border of forget-me-nots) every fibre of that
tender heart of his would have stood out against parting with this
pretty relic--this memorial of better, happier, days. The patient,
resigned way in which she made the sacrifice of these poor old
flowers tore his heart in two. "Lenette!" he said, moved beyond
expression--"why, you know, these are our betrothal flowers!"

"Well, who's to be any the wiser," she said, quite cheerfully and quite
coolly. "You see they're not so _big_ as other things are."

"Have you forgotten, then quite," he stammered, "what I told you these
flowers meant?"

"Let me see," the said, more coldly still, and proud of the goodness of
her memory, "the forget-me-nots mean that I'm not to forget you, and
that you won't forget me--the buds mean happiness--no, no, the buds
mean happiness that's not quite all come yet--and the white rose--I
don't recollect now _what_ the white rose means----"

"It means pain" (he said, overwhelmed with emotion), "and innocence,
and sorrow, and a poor white face." He clasped her in his arms, as the
tears came to his eyes, and cried, "Oh! poor darling! poor darling!
What can I do? It's all beyond me! I should like to give you everything
the world contains, and I have nothing----"

He ceased suddenly, for while his arms were round her, she had shut up
the drawer of the cupboard, and was looking at him with calm, clear,
gentle eyes, not the trace of a tear in them. She resumed her petition
in the old tone saying, "I may keep the siphon and the horse, mayn't I?
We shall get more money for the flowers." What he said was, "Lenette!
Oh, darling Lenette," over and over again, each time more tenderly.

"But why not?" she asked, more gently each time, for she didn't
understand him in the least. "I had sooner pawn the coat off my back,"
was his answer. But as she now got the alarming idea into her head that
what he was driving at was the calico gown, and as _this_ put her into
a great state, and as she immediately began to inveigh warmly against
all pledging of large articles; and as he clearly perceived that her
previous coldness had been thoroughly genuine, and not assumed, he
knew, alas! the very worst, a grief which no sweet drops of philosophy
could avail to alleviate, namely--she either loved him no longer, or,
she had never really loved him at all.

The sinews of his arms were now fairly cut in two, the sinews of his
arms which had till now kept misfortune at bay. In the prostration of
this his (spiritual) putrid fever he could say nothing but--"Whatever
you please, dear; it's all the same to me now."

Upon that, she went out delighted, and quickly, to old Sabel, but came
back again immediately. This pleased him; sorrow having gnawed deeper
into his heart during the three moments she was gone, he could follow
up the bitter speech with these quiet words: "Put up your marriage
wreath along with the other flowers, there'll be a little more weight,
and a little more money for it; though it is nothing like such pretty
work as my flowers."

"My marriage wreath?" cried Lenette, colouring with anger, while two
bitter tears burst from her eyes. "No, that I positively _shall_ NOT
let go, it shall be put with me into my coffin, as my poor dear
mother's was. Did you not take it up in your hand from the table on my
wedding-day, when I had taken it off to have my hair powdered, and say
you thought quite as much of it as you did of the marriage ceremony
itself, if not more? (I noticed what you said very carefully, and
remember it quite distinctly). No, no, I am your wife, at all events,
and I shall never let that wreath go as long as _I_ live."

His emotion now took a new bent, one more in harmony with hers, but he
masked this behind the question, "What made you come back in such a
hurry?" It was that old Sabel had just been in at the bookbinder's, it
seemed, and Herr von Meyern had been there too. That young gentleman
was in the habit of getting off his horse and dropping in, partly to
see what new books the ladies were having bound at the bookbinder's,
and in what sort of pretty bindings, partly to stick up his leg
with its riding boot upon the cobbler's bench and get him to stitch a
top tighter, asking about all sorts of things during the process.
The world--(which expression can only mean the collection of female
tongue-threshers of empty straw belonging to Kuhschnappel)--may
undoubtedly conclude, if it be so minded, the Venner to be a regular
Henry the Fowler with respect to more women than one in the house, the
latter being a feminine _Volière_ to him; but I want proofs of this.
Lenette, however, didn't trouble herself about any proofs, but piously
fled out of the way of Rosa the birdcatcher.

I further relate (doing so, moreover, without any very marked blush for
the mutability of the human heart) that at this point Firmian's
compressed thoracic cavity grew several inches wider, so as to give
admission to a considerable modicum of happiness, for no other reason
but that Lenette had kept such a tight grasp of her marriage-wreath,
and had endured the Venner for so short a time. "She is faithful, at
all events, although she may be rather cool; in fact, I don't really
believe she _is_ a bit cool, either, after all." So that he was quite
pleased that she should have her way (which was _his_ also) about
keeping the wedding-wreath in the house and in her heart. Besides
which, without contending further about the betrothal-wreath, he let
her have that _other_ way of hers, though less willingly--this being a
proceeding which hurt _his_ feelings only, not hers. His old flower
keepsake was accordingly deposited in the hands of an obliging lady who
rejoiced in the title of "Appraiser," on the solemn understanding that
it was to be redeemed with the very first dollar which should drop from
the bird-pole on St. Andrew's Day.

The blood-money of these silken flowers was so parcelled out as to be
made available by way of stepping-stones in the muddy path leading to
the Sunday before the shooting-match. This Sunday (the 27th November,
1785) was to be followed by the Monday for which the auction had been
announced; on the Wednesday he (and I hope all of us with him) would be
in his place in front of the bird-pole.

It is true, however, that on the Sunday he had to ford a stream swollen
to a considerable extent by rainy weather; we will go through it after
him, but I give due notice that, in the middle, it is pretty deep.

The stomach of his inner man evinced a wonderful disrelish, and
exhibited a reversed peristaltic motion towards everything in the shape
of pawning, since the affair of the flowers. The reason was--there was
nothing more to which he could _refer_ his wife. At first, he used to
refer her to the shooting-match; but when the mortar and the chair had
evacuated the fortress without tuck of drum, they not being articles of
a sort to be obtained as prizes for shooting, he took to referring her
to public auctions at which he could always buy what he might require
at about half price. Finally, though still referring her to auctions,
he did so no longer with a view to import, but to export, trade--as a
seller, rather than as a buyer, of commodities; in which respect he
surpasses Spain.

He who has risen victorious over great and serious attacks of an
insulting or offensive nature, has often had to yield to very small and
trifling ones; and so it is with our troubles. The stout, firm heart,
which has beat strongly on all through long years of bitter trial and
affliction, will often break at once, like over-flooded ice, at some
lightest touch of Fortune's foot. Till now, Siebenkæs had carried
himself erect, and borne his burden without a bend, ay, and with a
merrier heart than many a man. Up to this hour, he really hadn't minded
the whole affair one single button. Had he not (merely to mention one
or two instances) pointed out that, in the matter of clothes, he was
better off than the Emperor of Germany, who (he said) had nothing to
put on, on his coronation-day in Frankfort, but a frightful old
cast-off robe of Charles the Great's, not much better than Rabelais's
old gown, though _that_ was not by several centuries so old as the
Imperial one? And once when his wife was sadly looking over his fading
perennial clothes flora, he told her all she had to do was to suppose
he was serving in the new world with a thousand or so of other Anspach
men, and the ship which was bringing out their new uniforms had been
captured by the enemy, so that the whole force had nothing to put on
but what they would have preferred to have been able to take off.
Likewise that what he had had to go upon, and to take his stand upon
for a considerable time past, had been something much superior to his
own pair of boots (by this he clearly meant pure apathy); as for his
boots, they, having been twice new fronted, had been shoved in like
pocket telescopes, or trombones, till they had become a pair of fair
halt-boots; just as the German _corpora_, also, by the influence of
long years of civilisation and culture, have got considerably taken in,
the long rifle having been docked into a short, or non-commissioned
officers' rifle.

But on the Sunday to which I am alluding, he was far too much scared at
the sight of one single bird of prey and of ill omen, flying athwart
the lonely Sahara desert in which his life was passing. He himself was
taken by surprise at this alarm of his; he would have expected anything
else but alarm under the circumstances. For as it had hitherto been his
custom to prepare himself for dark and tragic scenes by comedy
rehearsals of them--by which I mean, that he carefully read up,
beforehand, all the legal steps which Herr von Blaise could take
against him, thus taking up, in sport, and in advance, the burdens
which the future had in store--it astonished him greatly to find that
an ill, quite certain to come, and clearly foreseen, should prove to
have longer thorns, when it came up towards him out of the future, than
it seemed to possess while still at a distance.

So that when, on the Sunday, the messenger of the Inheritance Office
came, with the long-expected THIRD dilatory plea of the Heimlicher, and
with the third affirmatory decree written on the face thereof, as his
breast was in the condition of a vacuum (no air to breathe in it)
before his coming, his poor heart grew sick and breathless indeed, when
this fresh stroke of the air-pump exhausted the receiver even more
thoroughly than it had been emptied before.

Amid the multiplicity of matters which it has been my duty to report to
the public, I have omitted, on purpose, all mention of the second of
Mr. Blaise's dilatory pleas, because I thought I might assume that
every reader who has had as much as half a ship's pound weight of
legal documents through his hands--or one single settlement of law
accounts--would take it for granted, as a matter of course, that the
first petition for delay would infallibly be followed by a second. It
reflects much discredit on our administration of justice that every
upright, honourable counsel finds himself compelled to adduce such a
number of reasons (I wish I might say "lies") before he can be accorded
the smallest, necessary term of delay; he has got to say his children
and his wife are dying; that he has met with all kinds of unfortunate
accidents, and has thousands of things to do, journeys to make, and
sicknesses. Whereas it ought to be quite enough for him to say that the
preparation of the innumerable petitions for delay with which he is
overwhelmed, leaves him little time to write anything else. People
ought to notice that these petitions for delay tend, as all other
petitions do, to the protracting of the suit, just as all the wheels of
a watch work together to retard the principal wheel. A slow pulse is a
sign of longevity not only in human beings but in lawsuits. It seems to
me that an advocate who has any conscience is glad to do what he
can to promote the length of life in his opponent's suit--not in
his own client's, he would make an end of _that_ in a minute if he
could--partly to punish the said opponent, partly to terrify him, or
else to snatch, from his grasp a favourable judgment (a sort of thing
as to which nobody can form an idea whether it is likely or not)--for
as many years as possible; just as in 'Gulliver's Travels,' the people
who had a black mark on their brow were doomed to the torture of
eternal life. The object of the man of business on the opposite side is
a similar prolongation of the war to _his_ opponents, and thus the two
counsel immesh the two clients in a long drag-net of documents, &c.,
each with the best possible intentions. On the whole, lawyers are not
so indifferent to the question, "What is the law?" as to the question,
"What is justice?" For which reason they prefer arguing to writing; as
_Simonides_, when he was asked by the king the question, "What is God?"
begged for a day to consider his answer--then for another day--then for
another--and for another, and always for another, because no man's life
is sufficient to answer that question--so the jurist, when he is
asked, "What is justice?" keeps continually asking for more and more
delays--he can never reply to the question--indeed, if the judges and
clients would let him, he would gladly devote his whole life to writing
replies to a legal question of this sort. Advocates are so used to this
way of looking at matters, that it never strikes them that there is
anything unusual about it.

I return to my story. This blow of the iron secular arm, with its six
long thief- and writing-fingers, all but felled Siebenkæs to the earth.
The vapours about his path in life condensed to morning mist, the
morning mist to evening clouds, the clouds to showers of rain. "Many a
poor devil has more to do than he can manage," he said. If he had had a
pleasant, cheerful wife, he would not have said this; but one such as
his, who painfully _trailed_ her cross (instead of taking it up), and
was all lamentations--an elegiac poetess, a Job's comforter--was
herself a _second_ cross to bear.

He set to work and thought the whole thing over; he had hardly enough
left to buy the next year's almanack, or a bundle of Hamburgh quills
(for his satires used up Lenette's feather dusters much more than his
own energies, so that he often thought of cutting Stiefel's red
pipe-stalk into a pen); he would have been delighted to convert his
plates into something to eat (there were none left, however), following
the example of the Gauls, who used round pieces of bread as plates
first, and afterwards as dessert; or of the Huns, who, after riding
upon pieces of beef (by way of saddles) till it was partly cooked,
dined upon these saddles. His half-boots would need to be new fronted,
and abbreviated for the third time, before the arrival of the impending
shooting-match day; and of the necessary requisites for the performance
of that operation the only one in existence was the artist, Fecht the
cobbler. In short, for that important occasion he had nothing to put on
his back or in his pocket, his bullet-pouch, or his powder-horn.

When a man intentionally works his anxieties and apprehensions up to
the highest possible pitch, some consolation is sure to fall upon his
heart from heaven, like a drop of warm rain. Siebenkæs began
catechising himself more strictly, asking himself what it really was
that he was tormenting himself about. Nothing but the fear of having to
go to the shooting-match without money, without powder and shot, and
without having had his boots abbreviated for the third time! "Is that
really all?" he said. "And what, if you please, is there to make it a
compulsory matter that I should go there at all? I'll tell you what it
is" (he went on to himself), "I am the monkey complaining bitterly
that, having stuck his hand into a narrow-mouthed bottle of rice, and
filled it, he can't pull it out without a corkscrew. All I've got to do
is to sell my rifle and my shooting ticket; all I've got to do is to
open my hand and draw it out empty." So he made up his mind to take his
rifle to the barber on the day of the auction to be put up to sale.

All battered, bruised, and weary with the day, he climbed into his bed,
with the thought of which safe and sheltered anchoring ground he
consoled himself all day long. "There is this blessed property about
night," he said, as he sat and spread the feathers of his quilt level,
"that while it lasts we need trouble ourselves neither about candles,
coals, victuals, drink, debts, nor clothes; all we want is a bed. A
poor fellow is in peace and comfort as long as he is lying down: and,
luckily, he has only got to stand for half of his time."

The attacks of syncope, to which our souls and our cheerfulness are
subject, cease, as those of the body do (according to Zimmermann), when
the patient is placed in a horizontal position.

Had his bed been provided with bed-tassel, I should have called it the
capstan, whereby he heaved himself slowly up on the Monday morning from
his resting place. When he got up, he ascended to the garret, where his
rifle was nailed up in an old, long field-chest, to keep it safe. This
rifle was a valuable legacy from his father, who had been huntsman and
gun-loader to a great prince of the empire. He took a crowbar, and,
using it as a lever, prised up the lid with its roots, _i. e_. nails;
and the first thing he saw in it was a leather arm, which "gave him
quite a turn;" for he had had many a good thrashing from that arm in
bygone days.

It will not take me too far out of my way to expend a word or two on
this subject. This full-dress arm had been borne by Siebenkæs's father
on his body (as it might be in the field of his escutcheon) ever since
the time when he had lost his natural arm in the military service of
the before-mentioned prince, who, as some slight reward, had got him
his appointment as gun-loader to his corps of Jägers. The gun-loader
wore this auxiliary arm fastened to a hook on his left shoulder; it
being more like the arm of a Hussar's pelisse, or an elongated glove,
worn by way of ornament, than as a _mouth_ Christian of an arm
(pretending to be what it was not). In the education of his children,
however, the leather arm served, to some extent, the purpose of a
school library and Bible Society, and was the _collaborateur_ of the
fleshly arm. Every-day shortcomings--for instance, when Firmian made a
mistake in his multiplication, or rode on the pointer dog, or ate
gunpowder, or broke a pipe--were punished _not_ severely, that is, only
with a stick, which in all good schools runs up the backs of the
children by way of capillary sap-vessel or siphon, to supply the
nourishing juice of knowledge; or is the carriage-pole to which entire
winter-schools are harnessed, and at which they tug with a will. But
there were two other sorts of transgressions which he punished _more_
severely. When one of the children laughed at table during meals, or
hesitated, or made a blunder during the long table-grace or evening
prayers, he would immediately amputate his adventitious arm with his
natural one, and administer a tremendous thrashing to the little

Firmian remembered, as if it had happened yesterday, one occasion when
he and his sisters had been thrashed, turn about, for a whole half-hour
at dinner-time with the battle-flail, because one of them began to
laugh while the long muscle was swishing about the ears of another, who
was serious enough. The sight of the bit of leather made his heart burn
even at this day. I can quite see the advantage to parents and teachers
who try the expedient of unhooking an empty by an organic arm, and
smiting a pupil with this species of Concordat, and alliance between
the _temporal_ and _spiritual arms_; but this mode of punishment ought
to be _invariably_ the one made use of; for there is nothing which
infuriates children more than anything _new_ in the way of instruments
of punishment, or a new mode of application of those in general use. A
child who is accustomed to rulers and blows on the back, must not be
set upon with boxes on the ear and bare hands; nor one accustomed to
the latter treated to the former. The author of these Flower-pieces had
once a slipper thrown at him in his earlier days. The scar of that
slipper is still fresh in his heart, whereas he has scarcely any
recollection of lickings of the ordinary sort.

Siebenkæs pulled the arm of punishment and the rifle out of the chest;
but what a treasure trove there was beneath them! Here was help,
indeed! At all events he could go to the shooting-match in shorter
boots, and eat whatever he liked for some days to come. What most
astonishes both him and me in this affair (it is easily explicable,
however) is that he had never thought of it sooner, inasmuch as his
father was a Jäger; while, on the other hand, I must confess it could
not have happened on a luckier day, because it chanced to be just the
day of the auction.

The hunting spear, the horse's tail, the decoy bird, the fox-trap, the
_couteau de chasse_, the medicine-chest, the fencing mask and foil--a
collection of things which he had never had a thought of looking for in
the chest--could be taken over instantly to the town-house, and set up
to auction on the spot by the hairdressing Saxon.

It was done accordingly. After all his troubles, the little piece of
good luck warmed and gladdened his heart. He went himself after the
box--which was sent just as it stood to the auction, except that the
rifle and the leathern artery were kept back--to hear what would be
offered for the things.

He took up his position (on account of the excessive length of his
half-boots) at the back of the auctioneer's table, close to his hectic
landlord. The sight of this pile of heterogeneous goods and chattels
all heaped up higgledy-piggledy (as if some grand conflagration were
raging, and it had been collected in haste for safety; or as if it were
the plunder of some captured city), goods and chattels sold, for the
most part, by people on the downward path to poverty, and bought by
those who had arrived at poverty already--had the effect of making him
contemn and despise more every moment all this complex pumping
apparatus, this machinery for keeping the spring-wells of a few petty,
feeble lives in clear and vigorous flow; and he himself, the engineer
and driver of this machinery, felt his sense of manliness grow
stronger. He was furious with himself, because his soul had seemed
yesterday to be but a sham jewel, which a drop of aquafortis deprives
of its colour and lustre, whereas a real jewel never loses either.

Nothing awakens our humour more, nor renders us more utterly
indifferent to the honour paid to mere rank and worldly position,
than our being in any manner compelled to fall back upon the honour
due to ourselves (independently of our chance position), our own
_intrinsic worth_, our being compelled to tar over our inner being with
philosophy (as if it were a Diogenes' tub), by way of protection
against injuries from without; or (in a prettier metaphor) when, like
pearl oysters, we have to exude pearls of maxims to fill the holes
which worms bore in our mother-of-pearl. Now pearls are better than
uninjured mother-of-pearl; an idea which I should like to have written
in letters of gold.

I have good reasons of my own for prefacing what has to follow with all
this philosophy, because I want to get the reader into such a frame of
mind that he may not make too great a fuss about what the advocate is
going to do now: it was really nothing but a harmless piece of fun. As
the be-powdered lungs of the auctioneer were more adapted to wheezing
and coughing than to shouting, he took the auction-hammer from this
hammer-man and sold off the things himself. True, he only did it for
about half an hour, and only auctioned his own things; and even
then he would have thought twice about taking the hammer in hand and
setting to work, if it hadn't been such an indescribable delight
to him to hold up the horse's tail, the spear, the decoy-bird, &c., and
hammer on the table and cry, "Four groschen for the horse's tail,
_once_! five kreuzer for the decoy, _twice_!--going! Half-a dollar
for the fox-trap, once! two gulden for this fine foil, twice! two
gulden--going--going--and gone!" He did what it is an auctioneer's duty
to do, he praised the goods. He turned the horse's tail over and over,
and opened it out before the huntsmen who were at the sale (the
shooting-match had attracted many from a distance, as carrion does
vultures), stroked it with and against the hair, and said there was
enough of it to make snares for all the blackbirds in the Black Forest.
He held up the decoy-bird in its best light, exhibiting to the company
its wooden beak, its wings, talons, and feathers, and only wished there
were a hawk present, that he might bait the decoy and lure it.

The entries in his housekeeping account-book, which, on account of the
wretchedness of my memory, I have had to refer to twice, show that the
sum received from the huntsmen amounted to seven florins and some
groschen. This does not include the medicine-chest nor the long-necked
mask; for nobody would have anything to say to _them_. When he went
home he poured the whole of this crown-treasure and sinking-fund into
Lenette's gold satchel, taking occasion to warn her and himself of the
dangers of great riches, and holding up to both the example of those
who are arrogant by reason of wealth, and must therefore of necessity,
sooner or later, come to ruin.

In my Seventh Chapter, which I shall commence immediately, I shall
at length be able, after all these thousands of domestic worries
and miseries, to conduct the learned world of Germany to the
shooting-ground and present to them my hero as a worthy member
of the shooting-club, with a rifle and bullets, and properly and
respectably--well, _booted_, more than _attired_ for his bullets are
cast, his rifle cleaned, and his boots have put on their shoes,
Fecht having stitched, on his knee, the three-quarter boots down to
half-boots, and soled them with the--leather arm, of which enough has
been said already.

                              CHAPTER VII.


There is nothing which so much inconveniences me, or is so much to the
prejudice of this story (so beautiful in itself), as the fact that I
hare made a resolution to restrict it within the compass of four
alphabets. I have thus, by my own act, deprived myself of everything in
the shape of room for digressions. I find myself, metaphorically, in a
somewhat similar position to one which I once found myself in, without
metaphor, on an occasion when I was measuring the diameter and
circumference of the town of Hof. On that occasion I had fastened a
Catel's pedometer by a hook to the waistband of my trousers and the
silken cord which runs down the thigh to a curved hook of steel at my
knee, so that the three indexes on one dial (of which the first marks a
hundred steps, the second a thousand, and the third up to twenty
thousand) were all moving just as I moved myself. At this moment I met
a young lady, whom it was incumbent on me that I should see home. I
begged her to excuse me, as I had a Catel's pedometer on, and had
already made a certain number of steps towards my measurement of the
diameter of Hof. "You see, in a moment," I said, "how I am situated.
The pedometer, like a species of conscience, records all the steps I
take; and, with a lady, I shall be obliged to take shorter steps,
besides thousands of sideway and backward steps, all of which the
pedometer will put to the account of the diameter. So, you see, I am
afraid it's quite impossible that I _can_ have the pleasure of----"
However, this only made her the more determined that I _should_, and I
was well laughed at; but I screwed myself to the spot, and wouldn't
stir. At last I said I would go home with her, pedometer and all, if
she would just read off my indexes for me (seeing I couldn't twist
myself down low enough to see the dial)--read them off for me
twice--firstly, then and there, and secondly, when we got to her
house--so that I might deduct the steps taken by me in this young
lady's company from the size of Hof. This agreement was honestly kept;
and this little account of the occurrence may be of service to me some
day if ever I publish (as I have not given up all hopes of doing) my
perspective sketch of the town of Hof; and townspeople who saw me
walking with the said young lady, and with the pedometer trailing at my
knee, might cast it in my teeth and say it was a lame affair, and that
nobody could calculate as to the steps he might take in a lady's
company, far less apply them to the measurement of a town.

St. Andrew's Day was bright and fine, and not very windy. It was
tolerably warm, and there wasn't as much snow in the furrows as would
have cooled a nutshell of wine, or knocked over a humming-bird. On the
previous Tuesday Siebenkæs had been looking on with the other
spectators, when the bird-pole had described its majestic arc in
descending to impale the black golden eagle with outstretched wings,
and rise again therewith on high. He felt some emotion as the thought
struck him, "That bird of prey up there holds in his claws, and will
dispense, the happiness or the misery of thy Lenette's coming weeks,
and our goddess of Fortune has transformed herself and dwindled into
that black form, nothing left of her but her WINGS and BALL."

On St. Andrew's morning, as he said good-bye to Lenette, with kisses,
and in his abbreviated boots, over which he had a pair of goloshes, she
said, "May God grant you luck, and not let you do any mischief with
your rifle." She asked several times if there was nothing he had
forgotten--his eyeglass, or his handkerchief, or his purse; "And mind
you don't get into any quarrel with Mr. von Meyern," was her parting
counsel: and finally, as one or two preliminary thundrous drum-ruffles
were heard from the direction of the courthouse, she added most
anxiously, "For God's sake, mind and don't shoot yourself; my blood
will run cold the whole forenoon every time I hear a gun go off!"

At length the long thread of riflemen, rolled up like a ball, began to
unwind itself, and the waving line, like a great serpent, moved off in
surging convolutions to the sound of trumpets and drums. A banner
represented the serpent's crest, and the standard-bearer's coat was
like a second flag beneath the other. The town-soldiery, more
remarkable for quality than for quantity, shot the mottled line of
competitors at intervals with the white of their uniforms. The
auctioneering hairdresser--the only member of the lower ten thousand
who rejoiced in a powdered head--tripped along, keeping the white peak
of his cap at the due degree of distance from the leather pigtails of
the aristocracy, which he had that morning tied and powdered. The
multitude felt what a lofty position in this world really was, when,
with bent heads, they raised their eyes to Heimlicher von Blaise, the
director of the competition, who accompanied the procession in his
capacity of aorta of the whole arterial system, or elementary fire of
all these ignes-fatui--or, in a word, as master of the shooters' lodge.
Happy was the wife who peeped out and saw her husband marching past in
the procession--happy was Lenette, for her husband was there, and
looked gallantly up as he passed by. His short boots looked very nice,
indeed; they were made both in the old fashion and in the new, and,
like man, had put on the new (short) Adam over the old one.

I wish Schulrath Stiefel had given a thought or so to the St. Andrew's
shooting-match, and looked out of his window at his Orestes; however,
he went on with his reviewing.

Now, when these processional caterpillars had crept together again at
the shooting-ground, as upon a leaf--when the eagle hung in his
heavenly eyrie, like the crest of the future's armorial bearings--when
the wind instruments, which the troop of "wandering minstrels" had
scarce been able to hold firmly to their lips, blared out their loudest
now that the band was halted, and as the procession, with martial tramp
and rattle of grounded rifles, came with a rush into the empty echoing
shooting-house, everybody, strictly speaking, was more or less out of
his senses, and mentally intoxicated; and that although the lots were
not even drawn, far less any shot fired. Siebenkæs said to himself,
"The whole thing is stuff and nonsense, yet see how it has gone to all
our heads, and how a mere _unbroken_ faded flower-wreath of pleasant
_trifles_, wound ten times about our hearts, half chokes and darkens
them. Our thirsty heart is made of loose, absorptive mould; a warm
shower makes it swell, and as it expands it cracks the roots of all the
plants that are growing in it."

Mr. von Blaise, who smiled unceasingly upon my hero, and treated the
others with the rudeness becoming authority, ordered the lots to be
drawn which were to decide the order in which the competitors were to
shoot. The reader cannot expect Chance to stop the wheel of Fortune,
thrust in her hand, and, behind her bandage, pull out from among
seventy numbers the very first for the advocate; she drew him the
twelfth, however. And at length the brave Germans and imperial citizens
opened fire upon the Roman eagle. At first they aimed at his crown. The
eagerness and zeal of these pretenders were proportioned to the
importance of the affair: was there not a royal revenue of six florins
attached to this golden penthouse when the bullet brought it down--to
say nothing whatever of other crown property, consisting of three
pounds of tow and a pewter shaving-dish. The fellows did what they
could; but the rifle placed the crown of the eagle, not, alas! on our
hero's head, but upon that of No. 11, his predecessor, the hectic
Saxon. He had need of it, poor fellow! seeing that, like a Prince of
Wales, he had come into possession of the crown debts sooner than of
the crown itself.

At a shooting contest of this kind nothing is better calculated to
dissipate everything in the shape of tedium than to have arrangements
made for "running shooting" (as it is called) being carried on by those
who are waiting their turn at the birdpole. A man who has to wait while
sixty-nine other people slowly aim and shoot before his turn comes
round, may find a good deal to amuse him if, during that time, he can
load and aim at something of a less lofty kind--for instance, a
Capuchin general. The "running" or "swing" shooting, as carried out at
Kuhschnappel, differs in no respect from that of other places. A piece
of canvas is hung up, and floats to and fro; there are painted dishes
of edibles upon it, as on a table-cloth, and whoever puts a bullet
through one of these paintings obtains the original--just as princes
choose their brides from their portraits, before bringing home the
brides in person; or as witches stick pins into a man's image in order
to wound the prototype himself. The Kuhschnappelers were, on this
occasion, shooting at a portrait on this canvas, which a great many
persons considered to represent a Capuchin general. I know that there
were some who, basing their opinion chiefly upon the red hat in the
portrait, considered it to represent a cardinal, or cardinal-protector,
but these have clearly, in the first place, got to settle the point
with a third party, which differed from both of those above mentioned,
holding that it portrayed the whore of Babylon--that is to say, a
European one. From all of which we may form a pretty accurate estimate
of the amount of truth contained in another rumour--which I
contradicted in the first hour of its existence--namely, that the
Augsburg people had taken offence at this effigy-arquebusading, and had
written, in consequence, to the attorney-general representing that they
felt themselves aggrieved, and that it was an injustice to one religion
if, within the bounds of the holy Roman empire, a general of a
religious order should be shot to shivers, without a Lutheran
superintendent general being also shot to shivers at the same time. I
should certainly have heard something further about this, if it had
been anything but mere wind. Indeed, I have a shrewd suspicion that the
whole story is no more than a false tradition, or garbled version of
_another_ story, which a gentleman of rank belonging to Vienna recently
_lied_ to me at table. What he said was, that in the more considerable
towns of the empire, where the spirit-level of religious toleration has
established a beautiful equilibrium between Papists and Lutherans, many
had complained, on the part of the Lutherans, of the circumstance that
although there were equal numbers of night-watchmen and censors (that
is, transcendental night-watchmen), keepers of hotels, and keepers of
circulating libraries of each communion, yet there were more Papists
hanged than Lutherans; so that it was very clear, whether the Jesuits
had to do with it or not, that a high and important post such as the
gallows was not filled with the same amount of impartiality as the
Council of State, but with a certain bias towards the Catholics. I
thought of contradicting the story, in the most distinct terms, in the
'Literary Gazette' of December last, but Government declined to pay the
expense of the insertion.

However, although those who occupied themselves with the "swing"
shooting _did_ only have a Capuchin to aim at, the said swing shooting
was every bit as important a business as the shooting at the _standing_
mark. I must point out (in this connection) that there were edible
prizes attached to the divers bodily members of this said general of
his order, which had their attractions for riflemen of a reflective
turn of mind. An entire Bohemian porker was the prize appointed for him
who should pierce the heart of the Capuchin pasha--which heart,
however, was represented by a spot no bigger than a beauty-patch--so
that he who should hit this little mark would have need of all his
skill and nerve. The cardinal's hat was easier of attainment, for which
reason it was worth only a couple of jack. The honorarium of the
oculist who should succeed in inserting new (_leaden_) pupils into the
cardinal's eyes consisted of an equivalent number of geese. As he was
portrayed in the full fervour of prayer, it was well worth anyone's
while to send a bullet through between his hands, seeing that this
would be tantamount to knocking the two fore-quarters out of a
cantering, smoked pig. And each of the cardinal's feet rested upon a
fine hind-quarter or ham. I do not hesitate for a moment--whatever the
imperial burgh of Kuhschnappel may say to it--to record, with the
utmost distinctness, that no portion of the whole lord-protector was
more poorly endowed, or had a scantier revenue and salarium allotted to
it, than his navel; for there was nothing to be got out of that, with
however good a bullet, but a Bologna sausage.

The advocate had failed in his designs upon the crown; but fortune
chucked him the cardinal's hat to make up for it--the cardinal's hat
with two pike inside it. But some puissant necromantic spell of
invulnerability turned all his bullets aside from the eagle's head, and
from the general's too. He would fain have sent one eye, at any rate,
out of the face of the harlot of Babylon, but he could not manage that

Now the prize-lists--which are correct, seeing that they were made
out by the secretary, under the eyes of the president, Herr von
Blaise--state with distinctness that the head, the ring in the beak,
and the little flag, fell into the hands of numbers 16, 2, and 63.

The sceptre was now being aimed at; and Siebenkæs would have been very
very glad, for his dear little wife's sake (waiting for him now, as she
was, with the soup), to have sent that, at least, flying out of the
eagle's talons, and to have fixed it, by way of a bayonet, on to his

All the numbers who had tried their best to break off this golden
oak-branch had shot in vain, except the worst--the most to be dreaded
of all--his own predecessor and landlord. _He_ aimed, and shot--and the
gilded harpoon quivered. Siebenkæs fired--and the eel-spear came
tumbling down.

Messrs. Meyern and Blaise smiled, and uttered congratulations; the
blowers of instruments, crooked and straight, blew, in honour of the
advent of this new bird-member, a blast both loud and shrill (like the
Karlsbad people, when a new bath-guest arrives), looking closely and
carefully at their music as they did so, though they had played their
little _fanfares_ far oftener than the very night-watchmen. All the
infantas--I mean all the children--began a race for the sceptre, but
the buffoon dashed among them, and scattered them; and, taking up the
sceptre, presented that emblem of sovereignty to the advocate with one
hand, holding in the other his _own_ emblem of sovereignty, the whip.

Siebenkæs contemplated with a smile the little twig of timber--the
little branch, sticking to which the buzzing swarms of nations are so
often borne away; and he veiled his satisfaction under cover of the
following satirical remarks (which the reigning Heimlicher overheard,
and applied to himself):--

"A very pretty little frog-shooter! It _ought_, by rights, to be a
honey-gauge; but the poor bees are crushed by it, that their honey-bags
may be got out of them! The Waiwodes and the despots, child-like, put
the bees of the country to death, and take the honey from their
_stomachs_, not from, their _combs_. A truly preposterous and absurd
implement! It is made of wood; very likely a piece broken off a
shepherd's crook, and gilded, pointed, and notched--one of those
shepherd's staves with which the shepherds often drag the sheep's fat
out of them while they are feeding in the meadows!"

He had ceased to be conscious, now, when he emitted the bitterest
satirical matter (there was never a drop of it in his heart); he often
turned mere acquaintances into foes with some joke, made merely for the
sake of jesting; and couldn't imagine what made people vexed with him,
and why it was that _he_ couldn't have his little bit of fun with them
as well as any one else.

He put the sceptre into the breast of his coat and took it home, seeing
that they would not shoot up to his number again before dinner-time. He
held it up straight and stiff, as the king of diamonds holds his, and
said to Lenette, "There's a soup-ladle and sugar-tongs for you, all in
one!" the allusion being to the two pewter prizes, which, in company
with a sum of nine florins, had fallen to his share by way of
sceptre-fief. It was enough for one shot. And next he gave an account
of the catching of the pike. He expected that Lenette would, at the
very least, go through the five dancing positions and execute Euler's
"knight's move" on the chess-board of the room-floor, into the bargain,
within the first five seconds after hearing the news. She did what she
_could_ do, namely, nothing at all; and said what she knew, namely,
that the landlady had been holding forth, with bitter severity, to the
bookseller's wife, on the subject of the non-payment of the rent, and
further, concerning her own husband, whom she characterised as a
smooth-tongued flatterer and payer of compliments--a man who didn't
half threaten people. "What I tell you," repeated the sceptre-bearer,
"is, that I have this day had the luck to shoot a couple of pikes and a
sceptre, Wendeline Engelkraut!" and he banged his sceptre-knout in
indignation upon the table where the crockery was all set out. She
answered at last, "Well, Lucas came running a short time ago and told
me all about _that_; I _am so_ glad about it, but I should quite think
you will shoot a good many more things yet--will you not? I said so to
the bookseller's wife."

She was slipping into her old cart-rut again, you see, but Firmian
thought, "She can cry and mourn loud enough, but deuce a bit of
gladness can she show when a fellow comes home with a pike or two under
his arm, and a sceptre or so." It was just the same with the wife of
the gentle-hearted Racine, when he threw down a long purse of golden
Louis XVI. he had got hold of, on the table.

How, or whence, oh! beloved wives, cometh to you the naughty trick ye
have of making a kind of parade of an insupportable frigidity and
indifference, just on the very occasions when your husbands come to you
laden with good news, or with presents--that at the very moment when
Fate brightens the wine of your joy into "bloom," your vats grow turbid
with the lees of the _old_ liquor? Comes it from your custom of showing
only one of your faces at a time, like your sister and prototype, the
moon? or from a peevish discontent with destiny? or is its cause a
sweet, delicious, overflowing happiness and gladness, making the heart
too full and the tongue too hard to move?

I believe it is often from all these causes combined.

In men, again--sometimes, too, in women, but only in one out of a
thousand--it may arise from the sad thought of the sharks which tear
off the arm with which, down in the dark ocean, all breathless and
anxious, we have clasped hold of four pearls of happiness. Or, perhaps,
from a deeper question still. Is not our heart's inward bliss but an
olive-leaf which a dove brings to us, fluttering over the great deluge
foaming and seething all round us--an olive-leaf which she has culled
for us away in the far distant Paradise, high up above the flood, clear
and blissful in the eternal sun? And if all we attain of that whole
olive-garden is but one leaf, instead of all its flowers and its fruit,
is this leaf of peace, is this dove of peace, to give to us something
_beyond_ peace--namely, hope?

Firmian went back to the shooting-ground, his breast full of
growing hopes. The heart of man, which, in matters of chance,
makes its calculations in direct defiance of the theory of
probabilities, and when heads have turned up once, expects them three
times running--(although what _ought_ to be anticipated is the very
reverse)--or reckons upon hitting the eagle's talon became it has
knocked the sceptre out of it--this heart of man, uncontrollable alike
in its fears and in its hopes, the advocate took with him to the
shooters' trench.

He came not by the talons, however. And at the folded praying claws or
hands of the general of the Capuchins--these algebraic exponents or
heraldic devices of two forequarters of pork--aimed he alike in vain.

It mattered not; more was left of the eagle, when all was done, than
would be this day of Poland, if the latter, or its coat of arms--a
silver eagle in a bloody field--were to be set up on a throne or a
bird-pole, and shot at by a shooting-club composed of an army or two.

Even the imperial globe was not yet knocked down. Number 69, a
formidable foregoer, Mr. Everard Rosa von Meyern, had taken his
aim--eager to cull _this_ forbidden fruit--a Ribstone pippin and
football fit for a very prince, such as this imperial apple, was a
thing of too great price to be grasped for the sake of what was to be
gained along with it--'twas honour alone that fired his heart--he
pulled his trigger, and he might just as well have aimed in the
opposite direction. Rosa--this particular apple being too high out of
his reach--went, all blushes, in among the lady spectators, dealing out
apples of Paris all round, and telling each lady how lovely she was,
that she might be convinced how handsome he was himself. In the eyes of
a woman, her panegyrist is, firstly, a very _clever_ man, and, ere
long, such a _nice_-LOOKING one. Rosa knew that grains of incense are
the anise which these doves fly after, as though infatuated.

Our friend had no need to disquiet himself about any of the would-be
fruit-gatherers--about the second, eighth, or ninth, till it came to
the eleventh--and he was the Saxon, who shot like the demon in person.
There were few among the seventy who didn't wish this accursed
gallows-number at the deuce, or at all events into the vegetable
kingdom, where it is altogether absent.[50] The hairdresser fired,
struck the eagle on the leg, and the leg remained hanging aloft, with
the imperial globe in the talons.

His lodger (and lawyer) came up to the scratch, but the landlord stood
still in the trench, to satisfy his soul with curses of his luckless
star. As the former levelled the sights of his rifle upon the ball
above, he made up his mind that he would not aim at the ball at all,
but at the eagle's tail, so as simply to _shake_ the apple down.

In one second the worm-eaten world-apple fell. The Saxon cursed beyond
all description.

Siebenkæs all but offered up an inward prayer, not because a pewter
mustard-pot, a sugar-dish, and five florins came showering along with
the apple into his lap, but for the piece of good luck--for the warm
burst of sunshine which thus came breaking out from among the clouds of
the distant storm. "Thou wouldst prove this soul of mine, happy
Fortune," thought he, "and thou placest it, as men do watches, in all
positions--perpendicular and horizontal, quiet and unquiet--to see if
it will go and mark the time correctly in all, or no. Ay, truly! it

He let this little, bright, miniature earth-ball roll from one hand to
the other, spinning and weaving, as he did so, the following brief
chain of syllogisms:--"What a genealogical tree of copies! Nothing but
pictures within pictures comedies within comedies! The emperor's globe
is an emblem of this terrestrial globe of ours--the core of each is a
handful of earth--and this emperor's globe of mine, again, is a
miniature emblem of a real emperor's, with even less of earth--none at
all, in fact. The mustard-pot and sugar-dish, again, are emblems of
this emblem. What a long, diminishing series, ere man arrives at
enjoyment!" Most of man's pleasures are but _preparations_ for
pleasure; he thinks he has attained his _ends_, when he has merely got
hold of his _means_ to those ends. The burning sun of bliss is beheld
of our feeble eyes but in the seventy mirrors of our seventy years.
Each of these mirrors reflects that sun's image less brightly--more
faint and pale--upon the next; and in the seventieth it shimmers upon
us all frozen, and is become a moon.

He ran home, but without his globe, for he did not mean to tell her of
that till the evening. It was a great refreshment to him to slip,
during his shooting vacations, away from the public turmoil to his
quiet little chamber, give a rapid narrative of anything of importance
going on, and then cast himself back into the _mêlée_. As his number
was a next-door neighbour to Rosa's, and they had, consequently, their
holidays at the same time, it surprises me that he did not come upon
Herr von Meyern beneath his own window, inasmuch as that gentleman was
walking up and down there, with his head elevated, like an ant. He who
desires to destroy a young gentleman of this species, let him look for
him _under_ (if not _in_) a lady's window; just as an experienced
gardener, when he wants to kill woodlice or earwigs, needs only lift up
his flower-pots to annihilate them by the score.

Siebenkæs did not hit so much as another shaving the whole of the
afternoon; even the very tail, which he had attacked with such success
in his bold stroke for the conquest of the globe of the holy Roman
empire, resisted all his efforts to knock it off. He let himself be
drummed and fifed home by the town militia towards evening. When he got
to his wife's door, he there assumed the _rôle_ of Knecht Ruprecht (the
children's "Bogie," who, on St. Andrew's Day, bestows upon them, for
the _first_ time in their career, fruit, and fear along with the same),
and, growling in a terrible manner, chucked his (wooden) apple in to
her; a piece of fun which delighted her immensely. But really I ought
not to record such little trifles.

As Firmian laid his head on his pillow, he said to his wife, "This time
to-morrow, wife, we shall know if it be two crowned heads that we are
going to lay on the pillow, or not! I shall just _recall_ this
important minute to your memory to-morrow night, when we're going to
bed!" When he got up in the morning he said, "Very likely this is the
last time that I shall rise a common, ordinary person, without a

He was so anxious to have the mutilated bird (all wet with dew, a mass
of gunshot wounds and compound fractures) once more before his bodily
eyes, that he hardly knew how to possess himself in patience till the
time came. But it was only as long as he _did not_ see the eagle that
his hopes of shooting himself into a king at him endured. He was,
therefore, delighted to agree to a proposal made by the clever Saxon,
whose bullet had throughout the proceedings always cleared the way for
his number-neighbour's; the proposal was, "we go shares in gains and in
losses--in the bird and in the cardinal." This copartnership doubled
the advocate's hopes by the process of halving them.

But these companions in arms didn't bring down a single painted
splinter the whole of the afternoon. Each in his secret heart thought
the other was the bird of evil omen; for in matters of chance we are
prone to hang our faith upon a bit of superstition, rather than to
nothing at all. The fickle Babylonish harlot went fluttering off with
that amount of bashful coyness, that the hairdresser once sent a bullet
within an ace of the fellow who was working her backwards and forwards.

At last, however, in the afternoon, he sent his Cupid's dart right
through that black heart of hers, and, by consequence, through the pig
at the same time. This almost terrified Firmian; he said that if he
couldn't hit anything himself he would accept only the head of this
pig--this polypus in the heart of the Babylonian _fille de joie_. All
that was left of the bird was its _torso_, which stuck to its perch
like the very Rump Parliament, which these pretenders to the crown
would so fain have dissolved.

A regular running musketry fusilade of eager interest, enthusiasm,
emulation, now went flashing from breast to breast, fanned by every
puff of powder which rose in smoke as a rifle went off. When the bird
shook a little all the competitors shook also, except Herr von Meyern,
who had gone off, and--seeing what a state of excitement everybody was
in, especially our hero--marched away to Madame Siebenkæs, thinking
that he had a better chance of becoming, in _that_ quarter, king of a
queen than he had here of acquiring the sovereignty of the riflemen.
However, my readers and I shall slip into the Siebenkæs' chamber after
him presently.

Twice already had the seventy numbers loaded in vain for the decisive
shot; the obstinate stump still stuck glued to its perch, and scarce so
much as trembled; the poor tantalised hearts were torn and pierced by
every bullet that sped on its course. Their fears waxed apace, so did
their hopes, but most of all their curses (those brief ejaculatory
prayers to the devil). The theologians of the seventh decade of the
present century had the devil often enough in their pens--in their
denials or in their assertions of him--but the Kuhschnappelers had him
far oftener in their mouths, particularly the upper classes.

Seneca, in his 'Remedies for Anger,' has omitted the simplest of all,
the devil. True, the Kabbalists highly extol the therapeutic powers of
the word Shemhamphorash, which is a name of a diametrically opposite
character; but I have observed, for my part, that the spotted,
malignant fever of wrath, so readily diagnosed by the raving delirium
of the patient, is instantly relieved, dispersed, and mitigated, by
invoking the name of the devil, which is perhaps, indeed, quite as
efficacious a remedy as the wearing of amulets. In the absence of this
name, the ancients, who were altogether without a Satan, recommended a
mere repetition of the A B C, which, it is true, does _contain_ the
devil's name, only too much diluted with other letters. And the word
Abracadabra, spoken _diminuendo_, was a cure for corporeal fevers. As
regards the inflammatory fever of anger, however, the greater the
quantity of morbid matter which has to be ejected from the system
through the secretions of the mouth, the greater is the number of
devils necessary to make mention of. For a mere trifling irritation--a
mild case of simple anger--"the devil," or perhaps "hell and the
devil," will generally be found sufficient; but for the pleuritic fever
of rage I should be disposed to prescribe "the devil and his infernal
grandmother:" strengthening the dose, moreover, with a "_donnerwetter_"
or two, and a few "_sacraments_," as the curative powers of the
electric fluid are now so generally recognised. It is unnecessary to
point out to me that in cases of absolute canine fury or maniacal
wrath, doses of the specific, such as the foregoing, are of little
avail; I should, of course, let a patient in this condition be "taken
and torn by all the devils in hell." But what I would fain render clear
is that, in all these remedies, the real _specific_ is the devil; for
as it is his sting which is the cause of our malady, he himself has got
to be employed as the remedy, just as the stings of scorpions are cured
by the application of scorpions in powder.

The tumult of anticipation shook up the aristocracy and the sixpenny
gallery into one common whole. On occasions like this--as also in the
chase and in agricultural operations--the aristocracy forget what they
are, viz., something better than the citizen classes. An aristocrat
should, in my opinion, never for a moment lose sight of the fact that
his position with reference to the common herd is that which the actor
now a days stands in with respect to the chorus. In the time of Thespis
the whole of the tragedy was sung and acted by the chorus, while one
single actor, called the protagonist, delivered a speech or two,
unaccompanied by any music, bearing on the subject of the play.
Æschylus introduced a second actor, the deuteragonist; Sophocles even a
third, the tritagonist. In more recent times the actors have been
retained, but the chorus omitted, unless we consider those who applaud
to represent it. In a similar manner also, in this world of ours
(mankind's natural theatre), the chorus, _i. e_. the people, has been
gradually cleared off the stage, only with more advantage than in the
case of smaller theatrical ones, and promoted from taking part in the
action of the drama (which the protagonists (princes), deuteragonists
(ministers), and tritagonists (people of quality), are better fit to
do), to the post of spectators who criticise and applaud--what was the
chorus in Athens, now sitting at ease in the pit, near the orchestra,
and before the stage where the great "business" is going on.

By this time it was past two o'clock, and the afternoons were brief;
yet the saucy bird would not stir. Everybody swore that the carpenter
who had hatched it from its native block was a low scoundrel, and must
have carved it out of tough branchwood. But at last, all battered, with
nearly the whole of its paint broken away from it, it did appear to be
somewhat disposed to topple down. The hairdresser, who, like the common
herd in general, was conscientious towards individuals only, not
towards an aggregation of them, now without any scruple secretly
doubled his bullets (since he could not double his rifle), putting in
one for himself and one for his brother in arms, in the hope that this
decomposing medium might have the effect of precipitating the eagle.
"The devil and his infernal grandmother!" cried he, when he had fired
his shot, making use of the febrifuge or cooling draught above alluded
to. He now had to place all his trust in his lodger, to whom he handed
his rifle. Siebenkæs fired, and the Saxon cried, "Ten thousand devils!"
doubling in vain the dose of devils, as he had the dose of bullets.

They now, in despair, laid aside their rifles and also their hopes; for
there were more pretenders to this crown than there were to that of
Rome in the time of Galienus, when there were but thirty. This shooting
septuaginta had all telescopes at their eyes (when they had not rifles
there), that they might observe how there were a greater number of
bullets in this heaven-suspended constellation of theirs than there are
stars in the astronomical one of the eagle. The faces of all beholders
were now turned towards this Keblah of a bird, like those of the Jews
towards their ruined Jerusalem. Even old Sabel sat behind her table of
sweetmeats customerless, and gazing up at the eagle. The earlier
numbers didn't even give themselves the trouble of shaking a pinch of
powder into their pans.

Firmian pitied these oppressed hearts, swimming heavily in turbid,
earthy blood--for whom at this time, the setting sun, the bright array
of sky tints, and the broad, fair world were all invisible--or, rather,
all shrivelled up to a battered block of wood. The surest token that
these hearts were all lying fettered in the eternal dungeon of need and
necessity, was that none could make a single witty allusion either to
the bird or the kingship. It is only concerning matters which leave our
souls free and unshackled that we notice similitudes and connection.

"This bird," thought Firmian, "is the decoy of all these men, and the
money is what baits the lure." But he himself had three reasons for
desiring to be king: firstly, to laugh himself to death at his own
coronation; secondly, on account of his Lenette: thirdly, on account of
the Saxon.

The second half of the seventy gradually fired off, and the earlier
numbers began to load again, if it were for nothing but the fun of the
thing. Every one put in two bullets now. Our two Hanseatic confederates
came once more up to the mark, and Siebenkæs borrowed a more powerful
glass, screwing it on to his rifle like the finder of a telescope.

No. 10 loosened the bird from its joining to the pole. Nothing but the
sheer weight of it now retained it on its perch, for they had well nigh
saturated and incrusted the wood of it with lead (as certain springs
transform wood into iron).

The Saxon had but to graze the eagle-torso--ay, or even the perch of
it--nay, the very evening breeze had but to give an extra puff--to send
the bird of prey swooping down. He had his rifle to his shoulder--aimed
for a whole eternity (there were fifty florins hanging in the sky)--and
pulled his trigger. The powder flashed in the pan. The band had all
their trumpets ready at their lips--trumpets horizontal, music
perpendicular--the boys stood round ready to seize the fallen skeleton;
the buffoon in his excitement couldn't think of a joke to make--his
ideas were all up beside the bird; the poor, anxious, eager, excited
hairdresser drew his trigger once more, and again 'twas but a flash in
the pan. Great drops of perspiration bedewed him; he glowed, he
trembled; loaded, aimed, fired, and sent his bullet several ells, at
the least, away over the bird.

He stepped back, pale and silent, in a cold perspiration; not an oath
did he utter; nay, I suspect he offered up a silent prayer or two that
his co-partner might, by heaven's grace, capture the feathered game.

Firmian went forward, thinking as hard as he could about something
else, to keep down his thrilling excitement; aimed, not very long, at
this, his anchor in his little storms, as it hung hovering in the
twilight, fired; saw the old stump turn three times round in the air,
like Fortune's wheel, and, at last, break loose, and come pitching

As, when the old French kings were crowned, a live bird always
fluttered in the air; as, at the apotheoses of the Roman emperors, an
eagle soared skyward from out the funeral pyre, so did one swoop
downward from the heavens at the coronation of my hero.

The children screamed, and the trumpets blared. One moiety of the
assemblage crowded to see who the new king was, and to have a look at
him; while the other moiety streamed crowding round the jester, as he
advanced bearing that shattered bullet-case, the eagle's body, holding
it up above the heads of the throng. The barber ran to meet it, crying,
"Vive le roi," and adding that he was a king himself into the bargain;
and Firmian moved towards the door in silence, full of happiness, but
fuller of emotion.

And now it is time that we should all of us hurry to the town to see
how Rosa fares, what kind of throne he gains _chez_ Madame Siebenkæs
(while her husband is thus ascending _his_)--a richer throne, or only a
pillory--and what number of steps he climbs towards whichever of the
two it may prove to be.

Rosa knocked at Lenette's door, and straightway entered in at it, in
order that she might not have a chance of coming and ascertaining who
was there. "He had torn himself away from the shooting-match; her
husband was coming immediately, and he would wait for him there. His
rifle had once more been excessively fortunate." It was with these
truths that he came into the presence of the alarmed Lenette, bearing,
however upon his countenance, an assumed aristocratic frigid zone. He
walked, in an easy and unconcerned manner, up and down the room. He
inquired whether this April weather affected her health at all; as for
himself, it produced in him a kind of miserable prostrating low fever.
Lenette, timid and nervous, stood at the window, her eyes half in the
street, half in the room. He glanced, in passing, at her work-table,
took up a paper bonnet shape and a pair of scissors, and put them down
again, his attention being arrested by a paper of pins. "Why, these are
No. 8's," he said; "these pins are a great deal too large, Madame;
their heads would do for No. 1 shot. The lady whose hat you were
putting them in ought really to be immensely grateful to me."

He then went quickly up to her, and, from a spot a trifling distance
below her heart (where she had a whole quiver, or thorn-hedge of
needles planted, ready for use), he plucked one out with a dauntless
coolness, and held it up for her inspection, saying, "Look how badly
this is plated; 'twill spoil every stitch you take with it." He threw
it out of the window, and evinced symptoms of being about to pluck out
the remainder from that heart (where the fates had stuck none other
than such as were "badly plated"), and stick the contents of his own
needle-book into that pretty pincushion instead. But she waved him off
with an icy, repellant, gesture, saying, "Don't trouble yourself."

"I really wish your husband would come," ho said, looking at his watch.
"The king's shot must be over long ere this time."

He took up the paper cap-pattern again, and the scissors; but, as she
fixed on him a gaze of deep anxiety (lest he should spoil her pattern),
he took from his pocket a sheet of verses dipped in hippocrene, and, by
way of passing the time, he clipped this up, by wavy lines, into a
series of hearts, one within the other. This gentleman, who, like the
Augurs, always strove to carry off the _heart_ of the sacrifice--he,
whose own heart (like that of a coquette) constantly grew again as
often as he lost it (as a lizard's tail does)--he had the _word_
"heart," which Germans and men in general seem almost to shrink from
uttering, continually on his tongue, or, at all events, impressions of
it in his hand.

My belief that his motive for leaving behind him (as he did) his
needles, and his rhymeful hearts, was that he had observed of women
that they always think fondly of an absent person when they chance to
see something of his which he has left behind. Rosa belonged to that
class of persons (of both sexes) who never show any cleverness,
delicacy of perception, or knowledge of human nature, save in matters
relating to love of the opposite sex.

He now catechised out of her a number of cooking and washing receipts
of various kinds, and these, despite her cautious monosyllabicity, she
imparted--prescription fashion--in all their fulness, both of words and
of ingredients. At length he made preparations for departure, saying,
he had been most anxious for her husband's homecoming because of a
certain matter of business which he could not well discuss with him on
the shooting-ground, among so many people, and before Herr von Blaise.
"I shall come another day," he said; "but the most important point of
the affair I can mention to yourself," and he sat down before her, with
his hat and stick in his hand. Just as he commenced his recital,
however, observing that she was standing, he laid aside his hat and
stick to place a chair for her, opposite to his. His propinquity was
grateful to her Schneiderian membrane, at any rate; his odour was
paradisaic; his pocket-handkerchief a musk-bag, his head an altar of
incense, or magnified civet-ball. (Shaw has remarked that the whole
viper tribe has the property of emitting a peculiar, sweet scent.)

"She might readily see," he said, "that it referred to that wretched
lawsuit with the Heimlicher. The poor's advocate did not deserve,
indeed, that a man should interest himself in _his_ favour; but then,
you see, he had an _admirable_ wife, who _did_ deserve it." (He
italicised the word "admirable" by means of a hurried squeeze of her
hand.) "He had been fortunate enough to induce Herr von Blaise to defer
his 'no' three separate times, though he had not as yet been able to
speak to the advocate in person. But now, that a pasquinade of Mr.
Leibgeber's (whose hand was well known), had come to light near a
stove-statue at the Heimlicher's, nothing approximating to a yielding,
or a payment of the trust-fund, was to be dreamt of for a moment. Mow
this was a state of matters for which his very heart bled, particularly
as, since he had been in such poor health of late, he felt only too
keen a sympathy and interest in everything; he knew perfectly well what
an unhappy condition her (Lenette's) household matters had been placed
in by this lawsuit; and had often sighed, in vain, over many things. He
should be delighted, therefore, to advance whatever she might require
for current expenditure. As yet she did not know _him_ in the slightest
degree, and perhaps could scarce surmise what he did, from motives of
the purest benevolence, for six charities in Kuhschnappel--though he
could produce documentary evidence if she liked," and he did produce
and hand to her six receipts of the Charitable Commission. I should not
be giving proof of that impartiality of character which I bear the
reputation of possessing, did I not here freely admit, and clearly
place on record, that the Venner had, from his youth up, always shown a
certain disposition to benefit and assist the poor of both sexes, and
that his consciousness that he dealt in this large-hearted manner, did
(when compared with the narrow close-fistedness prevalent in
Kuhschnappel) give him some warrant for bearing himself with a certain
amount of proper pride towards those mean and miserly beings who sate
in judgment upon his little genial breaches of the moral laws. For his
conscience bore him witness that, conversely to the process whereby
spiders are metamorphosed into jewels, he spun his shining webs (of
gold and silver), and in their meshes, wet with the glittering dew of
tears, made an occasional capture from time to time.

But for a woman like Lenette (he continued) he would do things of a
much grander description; as proofs of which, given already by him, he
needed only to point to the fact that he had set at defiance the
Heimlicher's hostility towards her husband, and that he had more than
once quietly swallowed speeches of her husband's own, such as in his
social position he had never suffered anybody to address to him before.
"Name any sum of money you are in want of; by Heaven, all you have to
do is to ask for it."

Lenette, bashful and trembling, glowed red with shame at this discovery
of (what she had believed to be) the mystery of her poverty and her
pawnings. With the view of pouring a few drops of oil on the troubled
waters, he began, by way of preamble, to make some disparaging remarks
concerning his fiancée at Bayreuth. "She reads too much, and doesn't
work enough. I only wish she could have the benefit of a few lessons
from _you_ in housekeeping. And really, a lady such as you, with so
many attractions (quite unaware of them, too, herself), so much
patience, such wonderful diligence and assiduity, should have a
very different kind of household than this place for her sphere of
action." Her hand was by this time lying still in the stocks--the close
arrest--of his; her wings and her tongue, as well as her hands, were
tied and fettered by that fainthearted incapacity of self-assertion
which is born of the sense of poverty. When women were in question, Mr.
Everard's longings and likings paid no heed to boundary-marks; but
rather strove hard to obliterate them, and get rid of them altogether.
Most men, in the wild, unreasoning whirl of their appetites, are like
the jay, which tears the carnation to tatters in order to get at its

Upon her downcast eyes he now riveted a long gaze of fondness, not
withdrawing it, however, when she raised them up; and, by dint of
keeping his eyes very wide open, and thinking with great vividness on
pathetic and touching subjects, he managed to squeeze out about as much
water as would have sufficed to make an end of a humming bird of the
smaller sort.

In him, as in a fine actor, all false emotions became for the time real
and genuine; and when he flattered any one, he at once began to respect
him. As soon as he felt there were tears enough in his eyes, and sighs
enough in his breast, he asked her if she had _any idea_ what was
causing them. She looked innocently, and with kindly alarm, into those
eyes of his, and her own began to overflow. This greatly encouraged
him, and he said, "It is the fact that _you_ have not such a happy lot
as you deserve."

Ah! selfish pigmy! at such a moment you might have spared this poor,
anxious, trembling soul, sinking, well nigh, in an ocean of tears for
all the long, long past.

But he knew no sorrow save of the theatrical, the transient, the petty,
and the sham sort; and so he spared her not.

Yet that which he had expected would prove the bridge from his heart to
hers, namely, sorrow, became, on the contrary, the portcullis barrier
between them. A dance, or some _joyful_ tumult of the senses would have
brought him further with this _commonplace_, every-day, honest, and
upright woman than three pailfuls of selfish tears. His hopes rose
high, as he laid his flowery, sorrow-laden head upon his hands, down
into her lap.

But Lenette jumped up with such a suddenness that it nearly knocked him
over altogether. She gazed inquiringly into his eyes. Upright women
must, I think, have some instinct of their own concerning the
lightnings of the eye, by means of which they can distinguish between
the lurid flashes of hell and the pure coruscations of heaven. This
profligate was as little aware of the flashes of his eyes as was Moses
of the brightness of his countenance. Her glance shrunk before his
scorching gaze; at the same time I feel it incumbent on me as an
historian--seeing that readers by the thousand (and I myself into the
bargain) are all up in arms to such an extent against this defenceless
Everard--not to conceal the fact that Lenette had had her mind's eye
firmly fixed upon certain rather rude and free-handed sketches which
Schulrath Stiefel had drawn for her of the man[oe]uvring grounds of
rakes in general (and this one in particular), and, in consequence, had
pricked up her ears in alarm at each move he made, whether in advance
or in retreat.

And yet every word I write in defence of the poor rascal will only tell
against him now; indeed, there are many ladies whose acquaintance with
the Salic Law (or Mr. Meiner's work) teaches them that in former times
the penalty for touching a woman's hand was the same as for hewing off
a man's middle finger, namely, fifteen shillings, and who, being
indignant with Rosa for his hand pressures, would fain have him to be
duly punished therefor. I am convinced that these ladies would by no
means be pacified were I to go on speaking in his extenuation, for they
have doubtless learnt, out of Mallet's 'Introduction to the History of
Denmark,' that formerly persons who kissed without leave, and against
the will, were, by the law of the land, liable to be banished. And
there are very many women of the present day who are strictly governed
by the ancient pandects of Germany, and, in the case of lip-thieves
(since, in the eye of the law, banishment and confinement to one place
are held to be tantamount and equivalent one to another), they adjudge
them--not, it is true, to be _banished from_ their chambers, but to
_remain in_ them; similarly, they lodge debtors (to whom they have
given their hearts, and who insist on retaining possession of the same)
in the Marshalsea of the Matrimonial Torus.

When Rosa jumped up (as before set forth), he had nothing to urge in
extenuation of his false step but an aggravation or augmentation of it,
and accordingly he fairly took the marble goddess in his arms---- But
at this point my progress is barred for a moment by an observation
which has to be made ere I proceed; it is this: There are many kindly
beauties who cover their retreats or make amends for their denials by
concessions. By way of making themselves some amends for their hard
services in the campaign of virtue, they offer no resistance at all in
matters of the smaller sort, skilfully abandoning a good many
intrenchments and outworks (in the shape of words, articles of dress,
and so on), to enable them to deftly steal a march upon the enemy and
outman[oe]uvre him--just as clever generals burn the suburbs that they
may fight the better up in the citadel.

My sole object in making this observation is to point out that it did
not apply to Lenette in any respect whatever. Pure as she was in soul
and in body, she might have gone straight away into heaven just as she
stood, without changing so much as a stitch of her attire--have taken
her eyes, heart, clothes, everything except that tongue of hers, which
was uncultivated, rude, indiscreet; so that her resistance to Everard's
attempted burglary on her lips was unnecessarily grave and discourteous
(considering what a trifling case of orchard-robbery it really was),
much more so than it would have been had Lenette been able to drive the
Schulrath's highly-coloured prognostics concerning Rosa out of her

Rosa had anticipated a denial of a less unpleasant kind. His obstinacy
availed him nothing as against hers, which was the greater of the two.
A gnat-swarm of firm and passionate resolves buzzed about his ears; but
when at length (probably inspired thereto by the Schulrath) she said,
"Your lordship remembers that the Tenth Commandment says, 'Thou shalt
not covet thy neighbour's wife'"--from the crossroad between love and
hatred, on which he was standing, he suddenly made a great jump--into
his pocket and brought out a wreath of artificial flowers, "There!" he
cried, "take them, you nasty, inexorable creature! just this one
forget-me-not as a souvenir; devil fly away with me if I want anything
further!" If she _had_ taken it, he _would_ immediately have wanted
something further; but she turned her face aside and repulsed the
silken garland with both hands. At this the honeycomb of love in his
heart soured into very vinegar; he grew wild with fury, and throwing
the flowers right over the table, he cried, "Why, they are your own
pawned flowers--I redeemed them myself--so take them you _must_." On
which he took his departure, not, however, without making his bow,
which Lenette, all hurt and offended as she was, ceremoniously

She took the envenomed wreath to the window, to have a better light to
examine it by. Alas! these were indeed, and beyond all doubt, the very
roses and rosebuds whose steely thorns were wet with the blood-drops
from a pair of pierced hearts. Whilst she, thus weeping and bowed
beneath the weight of her woe, stunned and stupid rather than
observant, stood at her window, it suddenly struck her as a strange
circumstance that the torturer of her soul, though he had gone rattling
down the stairs in a hurry with noise enough, had never gone out at the
street-door. After a long and attentive watch, during which anxiety,
closely bordering upon terror, assumed the _rôle_ of comforter and
spake louder than her sorrow (the future, at the same time, driving the
past out of view), the becrowned hairdresser came galloping home (the
crown of his hat pointing heavenwards), and shouted to her in a mere
parenthetical manner as he dashed by, "Madame the queen!" for his great
idea was, that before anything else he should rush home, and there on
the spot, and without a moment's delay, make proclamation of the
kingship and queenship of four persons.

There now devolves upon me the duty of conducting my readers to the
corner where the Venner is cowering. From Lenette he had _descended_
(in two senses of that word) to the hairdresser's wife, one of that
common class of women who never so much as dream of an infidelity all
the year round--for no horse in all the kingdom is harder worked--and
commit one only when there appears on the scene some tempter, whom they
neither invite nor resist, probably forgetting all about the incident
by the time next baking day comes round. On the whole, the superiority
which the female middle-class is disposed to arrogate to itself over
that of a higher rank, is just about equally great as it is
questionable. There are not a great many tempters in the middle-class,
and those there are are not of a very tempting sort.

Like the earthworm, which has ten hearts that extend all the way from
one end of it to the other, Rosa was fitted out with as many hearts as
there are species of women; for the delicate, the coarse, the
religious, the immoral--every sort, in fact; he was always ready with
the appropriate heart. For as Lessing and others so frequently blame
the critics for narrowness and onesidedness in matters of taste,
inculcating upon them a greater universality of it--a greater power of
appreciation of the beautiful, to whatsoever times and nations
belonging--so do men of the world also advocate a universality of taste
for the _live_ beautiful, on two legs, not excluding any variety of it,
but deriving gratification from all. This taste the Venner possessed.
There was such a marked distinction between his feelings for the
wigmaker's wife and for Lenette, that, in revenge upon the latter, he
came to the determination, on the stair, to take a jump right over this
distinction and slip in to pay a visit to the landlady, while her
narrow-chested husband was away scheming and plotting in confederacy
for a crown in another quarter. Sophia (this was her name) had been
always combing at wigs in the bookbinder's on the occasions when the
Venner had been sitting there on the business of getting his novels and
life romances done up and bound, and there they had communicated to one
other, by looks and glances, all that which people are not in the habit
of confiding to third parties. Meyern made his _entrée_ into the
childless abode with all the confident assurance of an epic poet, who
soars superior to all prefaces. There was a certain corner partitioned
off from the room by boards: it contained little or nothing--no window,
no chair, a little warmth from the sitting-room, a clothes-cupboard,
and the couple's bed.

When the first compliments had been exchanged, Rosa took up a position
behind the door of this partitioned space, for the street passed close
by the window, and at this late hour he was anxious not to give
occasion to unpleasant surmises on the part of passers by. Of a sudden,
however, Sophia saw her husband run by the window. The intent to commit
a sin may betray itself by a superabundance of carefulness and caution;
Rosa and Sophia were so startled at the sight of the runner, that she
begged the young gentleman to get behind the partition until her
husband should go back to the shooting-range. The Venner went stumbling
into the _sanctum sanctorum_, while Sophia placed herself at the door
of it, and, as her husband entered, made as though she were just coming
out of it, closing the door after her. The moment he had stuttered out
the news of his elevation in rank, he darted out of the room, crying,
"She upstairs there knows nothing about it yet." Gladness and hurried
draughts of liquor had just blurred the sharp outlines of his lighter
ideas with a thin haze or fog. He ran out and called "Madame Siebenkæs"
up the stairs (he was anxious to be off again so as to join the
procession). She hastened half way down, heard the glad news with
trembling, and, either by way of masking her joy, or as a fruit of a
warmer liking for her husband now that fortune seemed kinder to him (or
it may have been, perhaps, _another_ fruit which joy commonly bears,
namely, anxiety, or shall I name it fear?), she threw down to him the
question, "Is Mr. von Meyern out yet?"

"What! was _he_ in my room just now?" cried he, while his wife echoed,
unbidden, from the door, "Has _he_ been in the house?" "He was here,
upstairs," Lenette replied, with a touch of suspicion, "and he hasn't
gone out yet."

The hairdresser's suspicions were now awakened, for the consumptive
trust no woman, and, like children, take every chimney-sweep they see
for the devil himself, hoof, horns, tail and all. "Things are not all
exactly as they should be here, Sophy," said he to his wife. The
passing brain-dropsy, induced by what he had drunk during the day and
by his half-share in a throne and fifty florins, had the effect of
screwing his courage up to such a pitch that he secretly formed the
idea of treating the Venner to a good sound cudgelling in the event of
his coming upon him in any illegal corner. Accordingly he started upon
voyages of discovery, first exploring the entrance passage, where
Rosa's sweet-scented head served him as a trail, or lure; he followed
this incense-pillar of cloud into his own room, observing that this
Ariadne's thread of his, this sweet odour, grew stronger as he went.
Here among the flowers lay the serpent--as, according to Pliny,
sweet-smelling forests harbour venomous snakes. Sophia wished herself
in the nethermost of Dante's hells, though in fact and reality she
_was_ there already. It dawned upon the hairdresser that if the Venner
would only stay where he was, in the closed titmouse-trap of the
partitioned corner, he should have bruin safe in his toils;
consequently he reserved till the last a peep into the said corner.
What is historically certain is, that he seized upon a pair of
curling-tongs wherewith to probe the dark corner and gauge the cubic
contents thereof. Into its dark depths he made a horizontal lunge with
his tongs, but encountered nothing. He next inserted this probe, this
searcher of his, into more places than one--firstly, into the bed,
next, under the bed (taking this time the precaution to keep opening
and shutting the tongs, which were not hot, on the chance of some stray
lock of hair getting caught in them in the darkness.) However,
all this trap captured was air. At this juncture he came upon a
clothes-cupboard, the door of which had always stood gaping ajar for
the last six years or so; the key had been lost just that time, and in
this slipshod household it was a matter of necessity to keep this door
open, otherwise the lock would have snapped to, and there would have
been no getting in. To-day, however, this door was close shut. The
Venner (in a profuse perspiration) was inside; the _friseur_ pressed
the lock home, and then the net was fairly over the quail.

The hairdresser, now master of the situation, quietly took the command
of his establishment at his ease; the Venner could not get out!

He despatched Sophia (as red as a furnace and loudly dissentient,
though forced to obey) for the locksmith and his breaching implements;
however, she quite made up her mind to come back with a lie, not with a
locksmith. When she had marched off he fetched Fecht, the cobbler, up,
to be at once his witness of and his assistant in that which he
proposed to accomplish. The shoe-stitcher crept into the room softly at
his heels; the phthisic haircurler went up to the canary-cage and
addressed the bird imprisoned therein (tapping the while with his tongs
on the gate of this fortress of Engelsburg) as follows: "I _know_ you
are in there, honourable Sir, make a move; there's nobody here but me,
as yet (there'll soon be more). I can break the cupboard open with my
tongs and let you out." Laying his ear close to the door of this
Spandau, he heard the captive sigh.

"Ah! you are puffing and panting a little, honourable gentleman," said
the wigmaker; "I am here at the door by myself now. When the locksmith
comes and breaks it open, we shall all see you, and I'll call the whole
house; but all I shall ask to let you jump out now, quietly, and be off
unseen, will be a mere trifle. Give me that hat of yours, and a
shilling or two, and give me your custom."

At length the miserable prisoner knocked upon the door and said, "I
_am_ in here; just let me out, will you, my man, and I'll do all you
say. I can help, from the inside, to break open the door." The wigmaker
and the cobbler applied their battering apparatus to the "parloir" of
this donjon-keep, and the captive bounded forth. During the breaking
open of the gates of jubilee the friseur parleyed or negotiated a
little more, and amerced the anchorite in the locksmith's fee; at
last, bringing Rosa forth, like Pallas in her mail, when she issued
from Jove's cranium into the light of day, "The landlord," said Fecht,
"couldn't have managed the job without me."

Rosa opened his eyes wide at the sight of this auxiliary deliverer from
the house of bondage, took off the sweet-smelling hat (which the
cobbler immediately clapped on to his own head), shed some drops of
golden rain from his waistcoat-pocket upon the pair, and, in dread of
them and of the locksmith's arrival, fled home bareheaded in the dark.
The friseur, whose bald pate was so near to the triple crown of the
emperors of old, and the popes of the present (for the eagle gave
him a crown, the Venner a hat, and his wife had nearly placed
something else----),--however, the friseur, in high satisfaction of
this new martyr-crown of felt, which he had been envying the Venner
the possession of all the afternoon, went back with it to the
shooting-ground, that he might have the gratification of marching home
in company with his co-emperor, attended by their subjects and their

The wigmaker took his hat off to his royal brother Siebenkæs (that hat
so much more worthy of a co-king than his former one), and told him
something of what had been happening.

The Heimlicher von Blaise smiled his Domitian smile to-day more
affectionately than ever, which made the bird emperor far from
comfortable; for friendliness and smiling make the heart colder when it
is cold to begin with, and warmer when it is warm--just as _spiritus
nitri_ does water. From a friendliness of this particular kind nothing
was to be expected but its opposite, as in ancient jurisprudence
excessive piety in a woman was merely a proof that she had sold herself
to the devil. Christ's implements of torture became holy relics; and,
conversely, relics of saints often become implements of torture.

Under the twinkling gleams of the wide, starry firmament (where new
constellations kept bursting into view, in the shape of banging
rockets) the grand procession marched along. The competitors who had
come after the king's shot had fired their rifles in the air, by way of
salute to the royal pair. The two kings walked side by side, but the
one who belonged to the guild of wigmakers found some difficulty in
standing (what between joy and beer), and would gladly have sat down
upon a throne. However, over these seventy Brethren of the Eagle, and
the two vicars of the empire, we are losing sight, and delaying to
treat of something else.

To wit, the town militia, who are also present, or more properly
speaking, the Royal Kuhschnappel Militia. Concerning this regiment I
think a good deal, and say only about half what I think. A city or
county militia regiment--and particularly the Royal Kuhschnappel
Militia--is a distinguished and important body of men, whose _raison
d'être_ is to scorn and show contempt for the enemy, by always turning
their backs upon him--showing him, in fact, nothing _but_ backs, like a
well-ordered library. If the enemy has anything in the nature of
courage, then our said force sacrifices to Fear like the ancient
Spartans; and as poets and actors ought in the first place to
experience and picture to themselves in a vivid manner the emotions
they are about to portray, the militia endeavours to give an
illustration, in itself, of that panic terror into which it would fain
throw the enemy. Now with the view of affording these men of war (or
"of peace" if you prefer it) the necessary amount of practice in the
mimic representation of terror, they are daily put through a process of
being terrified at the city gates. It is _called_ "being relieved."
When one of these men of peace is on sentry, another of them, a comrade
of his, marches up to his sentry box, shouts out words of command at
him in a warlike tone of voice, and makes hostile and threatening
gestures in close proximity to his nose; the one who is on sentry also
cries out in a similar voice, goes through certain motions with his
weapon, and then lays it down and gets away as fast as he can; the
conqueror in this brief winter campaign retains possession of the
field, and puts on the watchcoat which he has taken from the other man
by way of booty; but that they may each have an opportunity of being
terrified by the others, they take the part of conqueror turn about. A
warrior of this peaceful order may very often be most dangerous in
actual war, when, in the act of bolting, he happens, in throwing his
rifle away with the bayonet fixed, to throw it too far, and harpoon his
too proximate pursuer with it. Militiamen of this sort ("precious" they
are in every sense) are usually posted, for greater security's sake, in
public places where they are safe from injury, such as the gates of
towns, where these harpooners are protected by the town and gate; at
the same time I have often wished, in passing, that these students of
the art military were provided with a good thick stick, so that they
might have something to defend themselves with if anybody should try to
take away their muskets.

It will appear to many that I am but artfully cloaking the shortcomings
of the militia in these respects; I am prepared for this--but it is not
difficult to perceive that this species of praise also applies to all
small standing armies of lesser principalities--forces which are
recruited only that they may recruit. I shall here utter myself on this
subject a little. Vuillaume recommends educators to teach children to
play at soldiers, to make them drill and mount guard, in order to
accustom them, by this play, to firm and active habits both of body and
of mind; in short, to render them firm and upright. This soldier-game
has been carried on for a considerable time already in Campe's
Institute. But is Mr. Vuillaume really ignorant that scholar-drill,
such as he recommends, has been long since introduced by every good
prince of the empire into his dominions? Does he suppose it is anything
new when I tell him that these princes seize upon all strong young
fellows (as soon as they attain the canonical height) and have them
drilled, in order that they, the State's children, may thus be taught
_mores_, carriage, and all that has to be acquired in the State's
school? The truth is that, even in the very smallest principalities,
the soldiers often possess all the acquirements and accomplishments of
real soldiers; they can present arms, stand bolt upright at portals,
and _smoke_ at all events, if not _fire_--matters which a poodle learns
with ease, but a country bumpkin with more difficulty.

To these rehearsals of warlike business I attribute it that many
otherwise clever and sensible men have allowed themselves to believe
that this sham soldiery of the little States, is in fact a real
soldiery; they must otherwise have seen in a moment that with so small
a force neither could a small territory be defended, nor a large one
attacked; neither is there indeed any need for even this small force,
since in Germany the question of relative strength is merged in that of
equality of religion. Hunger, cold, nakedness, and privation are the
benefits which Vuillaume considers the soldier-game to hold out to his
scholars, as lessons in patient endurance and fortitude; now these are
the very advantages which the State schools above referred to confer
upon the young men of the country--and that much more thoroughly and
efficaciously than Vuillaume does--which, of course, is the entire
object of the institution. I am quite aware that there are not
infrequent cases in which perhaps a third part of the population
escapes being made into soldiery, and consequently gets none of the
valuable practice in question; at the same time there can be no doubt
that if we even get the length of having two-thirds of the population
with rifles on their shoulders in the place of scythes, the remaining
third (inasmuch as it has considerably less to mow, to thresh, and to
subsist upon) obtains the before-mentioned benefits (of cold, hunger,
nakedness, &c.), almost gratis, and without having to fire so much as a
single shot. Let but barracks be multiplied in a sufficient ratio in a
country, in a province, parish, town, village (as the case may be), and
the remainder of the houses will of themselves settle down, into
suburbs, and accessory and out-buildings to the barracks, nay, become
absolute conventual establishments, in which the three monastic vows
(the Prince alone being _père provincial_) are, whether _taken_ or
_not_, at all events most religiously _kept_.

We now hear the two vicars of the empire go into their homes. The
friseur's sole punishment to his wife is a narrative of the whole
affair, and a sight of the hat; while the advocate rewards Lenette with
the kiss which she had refused to other lips. If her story did not
please him, the teller of it did, and on the whole the only thing she
omitted was the flower-wreath, and the allusions made to it. She would
not cloud the happiness of his evening, nor bring back upon him the
pain and the reproaches of that other evening when she had pawned it.
I, like many of my readers, had expected that Lenette would have
received the news of the enthronisation far too coldly; she has
deceived us all; she received it even too joyfully. But there were two
good reasons for this; she had heard of it an hour before, and
consequently the first feminine mourning over a joy had had time to
give place to the joy itself. For women are like thermometers, which on
a sudden application of heat sink at first a few degrees, as a
preliminary to rising a good many. The second reason for her being thus
indulgent and sympathetic was the humiliating consciousness she
possessed of the Venner's visit, and of the wreath in its hiding-place;
for we are often severe when we are strong, and practise forbearance
when we stand in need of it.

I now wish the entire royal family and household a good night, and a
pleasant awaking in the eighth chapter.

                             CHAPTER VIII.


Siebenkæs, a king, and yet a poor's-advocate and member of a
wood-economising association, arose next morning a man who could lay
forty good florins down upon his table at any hour of the day. The
whole of that forenoon he enjoyed a pleasure which possesses, for the
virtuous and right-thinking, an especial charm--that of paying debts:
firstly, to the Saxon his house-rent, and then to the butchers, bakers,
and other nurses of this needy machine, our body, their little
duodecimo accounts. For he was like the aristocracy who borrow from the
lower classes, not money, but only victuals, just as there are many
judges who are bribeable with the latter, but not with the former.

That he does pay his debts is not a circumstance which should lower him
in the opinion of anybody who remembers that he is a man of very poor
"extraction"--scarcely of any "extraction" at all, in fact. A man of
rank is expected (as a thing becoming his position) _not_ to pay his
debts, for thanks to the papal indulgences granted to his noble
ancestors at the time of the Crusades, he need give his mind no trouble
on the subject of liability, and least of all should liabilities of a
_pecuniary_ nature cause him a thought. To place a man of a high and
delicate sense of honour, a courtier say, under an obligation (_e.g_.
to lend him money) is to wound his feelings to a greater or less
extent; and a wound of this sort to the feelings is a matter which his
refined sensitive nature naturally leads him to endeavour to forgive;
he will, therefore, do his utmost to drive the injury thus done him,
with all its attendant circumstances, completely out of his mind.
Should the person who inflicted this hurt upon his sense of honour
remind him of it, he will then, with genuine delicacy of feeling, make
as if he were scarcely aware that he had _been_ wounded. Rough young
squires, again, and officers on the march _do_ really pay, and
moreover, they coin (if the expression may be used) for themselves the
money they require, as is the case in Algiers, where every one
possesses the privilege of minting. In Malta there is current a
leathern coin of the value of eightpence, on which is the legend "Non
As, sed Fides." With leather money of a somewhat different description,
not circular in shape, but drawn out to some length, more like that of
the ancient Spartans (and, indeed, this sort of money usually gets the
appellation of dog-whips or riding-whips), the landed gentry and people
of village nobility pay their coachmen, Jews, carpenters, and others to
whom they owe money--_going on_ paying them, in fact, until they are
quite satisfied. Indeed I once stood at table and saw officers, men
most tenacious of their honour, take their swords from the wall or from
their sides, and therewith, when the boots asked for his money, pay him
in the true currency of antiquity (among the brave Spartans, also,
weapons were money), so that, in fact, the fellow's jacket got a better
brushing than most of the boots for cleaning which he wanted to be
paid. And looking at the matter all round, ought it _really_ to be
accounted a grave offence in military personages, even of the highest
rank, to pay their small debts? So that often, when some wretched
tailor asks for metal, they take the iron ell-measure from him, and
(while, moreover, applying to _him_ in person the very measure which he
applied to their furs) press--not perhaps _into_ his hands, but _on_ to
a part of his body on which "contour" lines might be drawn--not mere
coins, or bills on approved security, but a metal which Peru with all
its wealth does not boast the possession of, the aforesaid iron
to wit? In Sumatra the skulls of the enemy are their Louis d'ors and
head-pieces, and even _this_ species of currency--the hostile head of
the tradesman who has furnished goods--is often taken by the nobler
creditor, just by way of satisfying him "in full of all demands."
Neither in the Clausular Jurisprudence nor in the most recent Prussian
code is it enacted that a creditor is to stipulate in his bill which
species of currency he elects to be paid in by his noble debtor, the
metallic currency or the castigatory.

On this Thursday morning Siebenkæs had a tough and ticklish argument,
or piece of special pleading, to go through on the subject of the
half-heart or (half-pig) of the cardinal protector, which his co-king,
the hairdresser, pressed the acceptance of upon him, by way of making
more sure of duly sharing all the prizes which appertained to the
king's shot himself. But his having gained the twenty-five florin prize
did not add to the warmth of his arguments, and at last he agreed to
the arrangement that the animal should be eaten, pure and clean, like a
passover lamb, next Sunday in Siebenkæs's room by the lodgers
generally, and by the two rifle kings with their queens in company with
Schulrath Stiefel. The flower goddess of the days of man took at this
juncture a fingertipful or two of seeds of quickly blooming and quickly
fading flowers (such as like the hellebore come into blossom in our
December) and sowed them beside the path which Firmian's steps most
often trod. Ah, happy man, how soon will these forced blossoms fall
from your days. Will not your philosophic Diana-and-bread-fruit tree
(which takes the place, in your case, of an oak of lamentation) fare
like the cut plants which people put in lime-water in their chambers on
St. Andrew's Day, and which, after a hurried outburst of yellowish
leaves and feeble dingy flowers, fade and perish for good and all?

Sleep, riches, and health, to be truly enjoyed, must be interrupted; it
is only during the first few days after the burden of poverty or
sickness has been lifted from a man's shoulders, that the upright
posture, and the free breath, cause their fullest measure of delight.
These days lasted for our Firmian until the Sunday. He built a whole
cubic-foot of his Devil rampart (in his 'Selection from the Devil's
Papers'), he wrote reviews, he wrote law papers, he kept a careful eye
on the maintenance of the household truce (liable to be disturbed by
the question of the redemption of the pawned furniture). I shall treat
of this matter firstly, before proceeding to give an account of the
Platonic banquet of the Sunday. On Firmian's coronation-day he invested
twenty-one florins in a watch, with the view of avoiding frittering
away his money by driblets; he thought it well to cast an anchor of
hope into his watch-pocket. Then, when his wife talked of redeeming the
salad-bowl, the herring-dish, and other pledges a matter involving not
kisses only but half of his capital--he would say, "I'm not in favour
of it, old Sabel would very soon have to carry them off again; however,
if you're determined, pray have them out, I shall not interfere." If he
had offered any opposition, back they would have had to come; but,
inasmuch as he poured the greater portion of his cash into her money
bag, and as she marked its daily ebb--and as she could go and redeem
the furniture any day--why for that very reason she let it alone. Women
are fond of putting off, men of pushing on; with the former, patience
most speedily gains us our point; with the latter (ministers of the
crown for instance) _im_patience. I here once more remind all German
husbands, who have any pledge they do not wish to redeem, how to deal
with their fair registers.

Every morning she said, "Ah! we really must send and get back our
plates," to which he as regularly antiphonated, "_I_ don't think so; I
praise you rather for not doing it." And in this manner he caused his
own desire to assume the form of another person's desert. Firmian
understood some individual specimens of humanity, but not humanity as a
class, in its broad sense; he was embarrassed with every woman at
first, while her acquaintance was new, though not so afterwards when he
came to know her better; he knew exactly how one _ought_ to talk, walk,
and stand, in "society," but he never put this knowledge in practice;
he took accurate note of all outward and inward awkwardness of other
people, but yet retained all his own; and after treating his
acquaintances for years with the airs of a superior, experienced man of
the world accustomed to "society," he would suddenly find, on some
occasion of his being from home, that, unlike a true man of the world,
he had no effect or influence whatever on people to whom he was a
stranger; to make a long tale short, he was a man of letters.

Meanwhile, however, before the Sunday came, notwithstanding all the
peace-sermons and peace-treaties in his heart, he found that he had
plumped, before he knew where he was, right into the thick of a
household battle of the frogs and mice once more, which occurred as
follows:--It is matter of history, derived from his own statement,
that, as Lenette kept on ceaselessly washing her hands and arms, as
well as other things by the hundred (although, for the most part,
with cold water, it being impossible to have warm water continually
ready)--that, I say, he simply asked, in the gentlest tone in the
world, the kindly and half-playful question, "Doesn't that cold water
give you cold?" She answered "No," in a _sostenuto_ voice. "Perhaps
_warm_ water would be more likely to do so, would it?" he continued.
Her answer was, "Yes, it would," delivered in a snapping _staccato_.
Moralists and psychologists, who may be a good deal surprised at this
half-angry answer to a question so innocent, are, contrary to my
expectations, far behindhand in their knowledge of psychology in
general, and the psychology of this tale in particular. Lenette knew by
experience that the advocate, like Socrates, generally opened his
battles in the most dulcet tones, as the Spartans commenced theirs to
the sound of flutes, and, in fact, continued them in the same strain,
that, like the said Spartans, he might retain complete command of
himself. She therefore dreaded that, on this occasion also, his
flute-text might usher in a declaration of war against the feminine
form of government, of which the various provinces of work are divided
one from another by washing-waters, as the judicial districts of modern
Bavaria are by rivers.

"What key is a husband to play his tune in, I ask you all!" the
advocate would often cry with curses, "since, whether he takes it in
the major or in the minor, or plays piano or forte, it seems all the
same in the end?"

On the present occasion, however, all he was aiming at, his gentleness
of demeanour notwithstanding, was a preface to a proper system of
educating or training the bodies of children. For after her answer he
went on to say, "I am delighted to hear you say so. If we had children,
I see you would be continually washing them, and with cold water, too,
over their whole bodies, and this would invigorate them and make them
strong and hardy, since, as you say, it produces warmth." Her only
answer to this was to hold her hands aloft, folded for victory, like
the biblical prophet--for, in her eyes, a cold bathing of children was
a Herodian blood-bath. Firmian then developed with much greater
clearness his invigorating system of upbringing, while more and more
strenuously strove his wife against it, with all her feathers ruffled,
till by dint of able exposition on both sides of the respective
masculine and feminine systems of rearing, they had nearly reached a
point where they would have clashed together, like a couple of summer
thunderclouds, had not he dispelled these by firing the following shot:
"Good heavens! have _we_ any children? Why should we make fools of
ourselves in this way about the matter?"

"I was speaking of other people's children," was Lenette's reply.

Consequently, as I said above, war did _not_ break out, but, on the
other hand, the morning of the Sabbath of peace brake in, and with it
came the guests who were bent upon possessing themselves of (and
eating) the warm and divided heart, or pig, of the Babylonish harlot,
or Cardinal Protector. It seemed, in fact, as if some happy star of the
wise men of the East must be standing in the heavens above this
houseful of recipients of out-door relief, for there had, by good luck,
been a gale of wind on the previous Friday which had blown down some
half of the Government forest and strewn the path to Advent, for the
poor, so grandly with branches (and the trees attached) that the entire
staff of forest officials could not hinder the ingathering of such a
vintage. For many a long year the Morbitzer's house hadn't boasted
anything approaching to such a stock of timber, part of it purchased,
part adroitly collected.

And if every Sunday is--in a poor man's quarters--in itself and in the
nature of things, not only a sun-day, but a moon-and-stars-day into the
bargain a day when a poor fellow has his mouthful or two of food, his
trifle or two of good clothes, his twelve hours for eating and twelve
for lying down, besides the necessary neighbours to talk with--it may
be conjectured in what a superlative sort this particular Sunday dawned
upon the Morbitzer household, where everybody was as sure of eating his
share of the pig in the afternoon as of hearing the sermon in the
morning, and with as little to pay for the one as for the other, seeing
that it was a settled matter that the lodger of greatest dignity in the
establishment had determined that his coronation feast should be
celebrated nowhere but there, at the table with mere working men.

Old Sabel was on the spot before the earliest church-bell had begun to
toll. The rifle-king's crown-treasury could afford to appoint her
hereditary mistress of the kitchen, under Lenette, for a kreuzer or two
and a plate or so of victuals; but the queen looked upon her as a
superfluity and coadjutor, or auxiliary queen. A king on the chessboard
gets two queens whenever a mere ordinary pawn gets moved on to the
place of royalty, one of the royal squares (though he has not lost his
first consort); and indeed it is just the same when it happens under
the canopy of a throne. Lenette, however, would have preferred to have
washed, cooked, and served the meats with her own unassisted hands,
like a true Homeric or Carlovingian princess. The marksman-monarch
himself fled the noisy, dusty throne-scaffold of the day, and in a
loose old coat, happy and free, he rambled about the broad green levels
of the quiet, blue, latter autumn, checked by no interfering dry stems
or straw sheaves standing sentry on the plain, and bursting no thicker
barrier-chains than the webs of the spiders. Never do husbands more
happily and tranquilly take their walks abroad--out in the open
country, or, indeed, up and down in other people's rooms--than when, in
their own, the stamping-mills, the sugar and fanning-mills are at
work, whirling and roaring, and they promise themselves, at their
home-coming, the clean, finished product and outcome of all these
mill-wheels. Siebenkæs glanced with a poet's idyllic eye from his quiet
meadow into the distant noise-chamber, full of pans, choppers, and
besoms, and found true and deep delight in a peaceful contemplation of
the whirl of backwards and forwards assiduity going on there, and in
picturing to himself and joining in, the pleasant tongue-visions of the
hungry guests, till suddenly he grew red and hot. "You're doing a fine
thing!" he said, addressing himself; "_I_ could do that, myself, too!
But there's the poor wife scrubbing and cooking herself to death at
home, and nobody giving her even a thought of thanks." And the least he
could do was to vow, on the spot, that however he might find things
moved about and "put in order" in the house on his return, he would
accept and belaud it all without a word of demur.

And history vouches, to his honour, for the fact that when, on his
reaching the house, he found his bookshelves dusted and his inkpot
washed white on the outside, and all his belongings "put in order"--(in
a _different_ order to the previous one, be it observed),--he at once
praised Lenette in the kindest manner, without a shade of irritation,
and said she had performed her household processes and accomplished her
cleaning and brushing in a manner quite after his heart, for that it
was impossible to be _too_ exquisitely neat and spick and span in the
eyes of commonplace women, particularly such as composed the infernal
triumvirate who were to be present that day (_i. e_. the bookbinder's,
the barber's, and the shoemaker's wives); and on that account he had
left the intendance-general of the theatre of operations entirely to
her--whereas, in the case of scholars, like Stiefel and himself, the
room might be turned into a complete English scouring, carding, and
brushing apparatus--for men of their sort never glanced down at trifles
of that description from their sublime heights of mental contemplation.

But how pleasantly and cheerily did the president of the eating
congress put all things in train by this his kindly temper, even before
the assembling of the congress; though this appeared most fully after
it _had_ assembled. When the thirteen United States, by their thirteen
deputies, dine together at a round table to celebrate some arrangement
which they have jointly arrived at (and that they do so at least,
establishes the fact that when thirteen dine at a table the thirteenth
does not necessarily die), it is an easy matter for the thirteen free
states in question, paying, as they do, the expenses out of thirteen
treasuries, to treat their delegates as liberally as Firmian treated
his guests. It is pleasant to look at cattle grazing in the meadows,
but not so pleasant to see Nebuchadnezzar conducting himself like one
of them; and similarly it is repulsive to see a man of cultivation
pasturing with a too eager delight on the stomach's meadow, the
dinner-table (though it is not so in the case of the poor). Firmian's
guests were all of one mind, even the married couples; for it is a
leading characteristic of the lower classes that they enter into a
dozen treaties of peace and make as many declarations of war, in the
course of the four-and-twenty hours, and particularly that they ennoble
each of their meals into a feast of love and reconciliation. Firmian
saw in the lower classes a kind of standing troupe of actors playing
Shakespeare's comedies, and thousands of times fancied that the
dramatist himself was prompting them unseen. He had long coveted the
pleasure of having some enjoyment or other of which he could give away
some portion to the poor; he envied those rich Britons who pay the
score of a beershop full of labourers, or, like Cæsar, give free
commons to an entire town. The poor who _have_ houses give to the poor
who have not--one lazzarone gives to another--as shell-fish become the
habitations of other crustaceans, and earthworms are the habitable
universes of lesser worms.

In the evening arrived Peltzstiefel, who was too learned a man to eat
swine's flesh, or a measure of salt, among the untaught vulgar. And
then Siebenkæs could once more entertain an idea unintelligible to any
one but Stiefel. He could lay the sceptre and the tinted glass-ball of
the imperial globe upon the table, and in his capacity of king of the
feast and of the eagle, say that his long hair served him for a crown,
like that of the old Frank kings, his own crown having been knocked
down by his landlord's rifle; he could assert that the rule by which
only he by whose hands the eagle was brought down became king was
clearly imitated from the code of the Fraticelli Berghadi, who could
only elect to the papacy a person who had killed a child. That 'twas
true he had it not in his power to reign over Kuhschnappel so long by
fourteen days as the King of Prussia over the ecclesiastical see of
Elten (the latter period being one of _fifteen_ days)--that 'twas true
he had a crown and revenues, but the latter were sadly reduced, cut
down by one-half, in fact--and that he was far too much like the Great
Mogul, who formerly had an income of two hundred and twenty-six
millions a year, but now receives only the one hundred and thirteenth
part of that sum; however, at his (Siebenkæs's) coronation, though
there had been no general liberation of the _wicked_ prisoners, yet
_one good_ one had been released, namely, himself; also that, like
Peter the Second of Arragon, he had been crowned with nothing worse
than bread: finally that, under his ephemeral rule, nobody was
beheaded, robbed, or beaten to death; and--which delighted him most of
all--the feeling that he was like one of the ancient German princes,
who governed, defended, and increased a free people, and was a member
of that free people himself, &c. &c.

The throats in this royal chamber grew louder and drier as the evening
advanced; the pipes (those chimneys of the mouth) made of the room a
heaven of clouds, and of their heads heavens of joy. Outside, the
autumn sun brooded, with warm, flaming wings, over the cold, naked
earth, as if in haste to hatch the spring. The guests had drawn the
quint, (I mean the five prizes of the five senses) out of the ninety
numbers, or ninety years of the lottery of human life; the famished
eyes were sparkling, and in Firmian's soul the buds of gladness had
burst their leaflet envelopes and swelled forth into flower. Deep
happiness always leads love by the hand; and Firmian longed to-day,
with an unutterable longing, to press his heart, all heavy with bliss,
upon Lenette's breast, and there forget all his wants and hers.

These circumstances, in their combination, inspired him with a strange
idea. He determined, on this happy day, to go and redeem the pawned
silken flower-wreath and plant it in some dark spot out of doors, then
take her out there in the evening, or perhaps even in the night, and
give her a pleasant little surprise at the sight of it. He slipped out
and took his way to the pawnbroker's; but--as all our resolves begin in
us as tiny sparks, and end in broad lightning flashes--so, as he went,
he improved his original idea (of redeeming the wreath from pawn) into
an altogether different one, that of buying real flowers and planting
_them_ by way of goal of the nocturnal ramble. There was no difficulty
in getting red and white roses from the greenhouse of a gardener of the
Prince of Oettingen-Spielberg, who had lately come to the place. He
walked round under the upright glass roofs, all behung with blossom,
went to the gardener and got what he wanted--only no forget-me-nots,
for these, of course, the man had left the meadows to supply. But
forget-me-nots were indispensable, to make the loving surprise
complete. He therefore took his real autumn flowers to the pawnbroker
woman's, in whose hands his silk plants had been deposited, that he
might twine the dead, poor, cocoon forget-me-nots among the living
roses. What was his astonishment to learn that the pledge had been
redeemed and taken away by Mr. von Meyern, and that he had paid a sum
of money so considerable that the woman thought she still owed the
advocate a debt of thanks. It needed all the strength of a heart
fortified by love to keep him from going at once to the Venner
with a storm of reproaches for this move of warlike strategy--this
pledge-robbery--for he could scarce endure the thought (a mistaken
idea, 'tis true, only given rise to by Lenette's silence on the subject
of the garland) of his pure love's pretty token in Rosa's beringed and
thievish fingers. The brokeress, too, though she was not to blame,
would have been severely taken to task had it been any other day, one
less full of love and happiness; as it was, however, Firmian cursed in
a merely general manner, especially as the woman gave him silk
forget-me-nots of somebody else's, when he said he wanted some. When in
the street again, he was at variance with himself as to the spot where
he should plant his flowers; he wished he knew where to find some
fresh-dug bed of fine old mould, of which the dark colour should set
off to advantage the red and blue of the flowers. At length he saw a
field which is broken into beds at all seasons--in summer and in
winter, ay, in the bitterest cold--the churchyard, with its church,
hanging like a vineyard on the slope of a hill beyond the town. He
slipped in by a back entrance and saw the fresh-raised boundary-hillock
which marked the close of an earthly life, rolled, as it were, up to
the foot of the triumphal gate, through which a mother, with her
newborn child in her arms, had passed away into the brighter world.
Upon this earthen bier he laid his flowers down, like a funeral
garland, and then went home.

The members of the gladsome company had scarcely missed him; they were
floating, like fish benumbed in their element saturated with foreign
matter, paralysed with the poison of pleasure; but Stiefel was still in
his senses, and was talking with Lenette. The world has already learned
from the former portion of this history--the people of the house, too,
were well aware--that Firmian was fond of running away from his guests,
in order to throw himself back into their society with a greater zest,
and that he interrupted his pleasures in order that he might savour
them--as Montaigne used to have himself awakened from his sleep that he
might thoroughly appreciate what it was--and so Firmian merely said
that he had been out.

All the waves, even the most turbulent of them, subsided at last, and
there was nothing left in the ebb save those three pearl mussels, our
three friends. Firmian gazed with tender eyes upon Lenette's bright
ones, for he loved her the more fondly because he had a pleasure in
store for her. Stiefel glowed with a love so pure that, without any
serious error of logic, he was able to define and classify it to
himself as a mere sympathetic rejoicing in her happiness; particularly
as his love for the wife placed wings, not fetters, upon his affection
for her husband. Indeed the Schulrath's anxiety was directed altogether
to the reverse side of the question, his only doubt being whether he
had it in him to express his love with adequate force and ardour.
Therefore he pressed both their hands many times, and laid them between
his own; he said beauty was a thing to which he very rarely paid any
attention, but that he _had_ been observant of it that day, because
that of Mrs. Siebenkæs had appeared to such great advantage amid all
her labours, particularly with all these ordinary women about her, and
at _them_ he had not so much as looked. He assured the advocate that he
had considered his goodness and kindness to this admirable wife of his
as a mark of increased personal friendship for himself; and he
asseverated to her that his affection for her, of which he had given
some little proof as they came together from Augspurg in the coach,
would grow stronger the more she loved his friend, and through that
friend, himself.

Into this cup of joy of hers Firmian of course cast no drop of poison
relative to (what he _supposed_ to be) the news of the Venner's having
made prize of the flowers. He was so happy that day; his little toy
crown had so tenderly covered and soothed all the bleeding wounds on
that head of his whence he had lifted his crown of thorns just a little
way (as Alexander's diadem soothed the bleeding head of Lysimachus),
that his only wish was that the night might be as long as a Polar one,
since it was just as calm and peaceful, as bright and serene. In
moments like these the poison fangs of all our troubles are broken out,
and a Paul, like him in Malta of old, has turned all the tongues of the
soul's serpents to stone.

When Stiefel rose to go, Firmian did not detain him, but insisted that
he should allow them both to go with him, not to their own door only,
but to his. They went out. The broad heaven, with the streets of the
City of God all lit with the lamps which are suns, drew them on, out
beyond the narrow crossways of the town, and into the great spectacle
hall of night, where we breathe the blue of heaven, and drink the east
breeze. We should conclude and sanctify all our chamber feasts by
"going to church" in that cool, vast temple, that great cathedral whose
dome is adorned with the sacred picture of the Most Holy, portrayed in
a mosaic of stars. They roamed on refreshed and exalted by breezes of
the coming spring hastening to blow before their appointed time, those
breezes which wipe the snow away from the mountains. All nature gave
promise of a mild winter--to lead the poor, who have no fuel, gently
through the darkest quarter of the year--it was a season such as none
curse except the rich, who can order sleighs but not snow.

The two men carried on a conversation befitting the sublimity of the
night; Lenette said nothing. Firmian said, "How near together these
miserable oyster banks, the villages, seem to be, and how small they
are; when we go from one of these villages to another the journey seems
to us about the same in length as a mite's, if it crawled on a map from
the name of the one to the name of the other, might appear to it. And
to higher spirits our earth-ball may perhaps be a globe for their
children, which their tutor turns and explains."

"Yet," said Stiefel, "there may very possibly be worlds even smaller
than this earth of ours; and, after all, there _must_ be something in
ours since the Lord Christ died for it." At this the warm blood rushed
to Lenette's heart. Firmian merely answered, "More Saviours than one
have died for this world and mankind, and I am convinced that Christ
will one day take many a good man by the hand, and say, '_You_ have
suffered under your Pontius Pilate too!' And for that matter many a
seeming Pilate is very likely a Messiah, if the truth were known."
Lenette's secret dread was that her husband was really an absolute
Atheist, or at all events a "philosopher."

He led them by snaky windings and corkscrew paths to the churchyard;
but suddenly his eyes grew moist, as one's do when passing through a
thick mist, when he thought of the mother's grave with the flowers on
it, and on Lenette who gave no sign of ever becoming one. He strove to
expel the sadness from his heart by philosophic speeches. He said human
beings and watches stop while they are being wound up for a new long
day; and that he believed that those dark intervals of sleep and
death, which break up and divide our existence into segments, prevent
any one particular idea from getting to glare too brightly, and our
never-cooling desires from searing us wholly--and oven our ideas from
interflowing into confusion--just as the planetary systems are
separated by gloomy wastes of space, and the solar systems by yet
greater gulfs of darkness. That the human spirit could never take in
and contain the endless stream of knowledge which flows throughout
eternity, but that it sips it by portions at a time, with intervals
between: the eternal day would blind our souls were it not broken into
separate days by midsummer nights (which we call, now sleep, now
death), framing its noons in a border of mornings and evenings.

Lenette was frightened, and would have liked to run away behind the
wall and not go into the churchyard; however, she had to go in.
Firmian, holding her closely to him, took a roundabout path to the
place where the wreath was. He closed the little clattering metal gates
which guarded the pious verses and the brief life-careers. They came to
the better-class graves nearest the church, which lay round that
fortress like a kind of moat. Here there were nothing but upright
monuments standing over the quiet mummies below, while further on were
mere trapdoors let down upon recumbent human beings. A bony head, which
was sleeping in the open air, Firmian set a-rolling, and--heedless
of Lenette's oft-renewed entreaties to him not to make himself
"unclean"--he took up in both his hands this last capsule case
of a spirit of many dwelling places, and, looking into the empty
window-openings of the ruined pleasure-house, said, "They ought to get
up into the pulpit inside there at midnight, and put this scalped mask
of our Personality down upon the desk in place of the Bible and the
hourglass, and preach upon it as a text to the _other_ heads sitting
there still packed in their skins. They should have _my_ head, if they
liked to skin it after my decease, and hook it up in the church like a
herring's, upon a string, by way of angel at the font--so that the
silly souls might for once in their lives look _upward_ and then
_downward_--for we hang and hover between heaven and the grave. The
hazel-nut worm is still in _our_ heads, Herr Schulrath, but it has gone
through its transformation and flown out from this one, for there are
two holes in it and a kernel of dust."[51]

Lenette was terrified at this godless jesting in such close proximity
to ghosts; yet it was but a disguised form of mental exaltation. All at
once she whispered, "There's something looking down at us over the top
of the charnel house. See, see, it's raising itself higher up." It was
only the evening breeze lifting a cloud higher; but this cloud had the
semblance of a bier resting on the roof, and a hand was stretched forth
from it, while a star, shining close to the cloud's edge, seemed like a
white flower laid on the heart of the form which lay upon the bier of

"It is only a cloud," said Firmian; "come nearer to the house, and then
we shall lose sight of it." This furnished him with the best possible
pretext for leading her up to the blooming Eden in miniature upon the
grave. When they had walked some twenty paces, the bier was hidden by
the house. "Dear me," said the Rath, "what may that be in flower
there?" "Upon my life," cried Firmian, "white and red roses, and
forget-me-nots, wife." She looked tremblingly, doubtingly, inquiringly
at this resting-place of a heart, decked with a garland, at this altar
with the sacrifice lying beneath it. "Very well then, Firmian," she
cried, "I'm sure I can't help it, it is no fault of mine; but _oh_! you
_shouldn't_ have done such a thing! oh dear! oh dear! will you _never_
cease tormenting me!" She began to weep, and hid her streaming eyes on
Stiefel's arm.

For she, who was so delicately clever in nothing as in touchiness and
taking umbrage, supposed this garland was the silken one from her
wardrobe, and that her husband knew that Rosa had presented it to her,
and had placed the flowers upon this grave of a woman, dead in
childbed, in mockery either of her childlessness or of herself. These
mutual misunderstandings were to the full as confounding to him as to
her; he had to combat _her_ errors, and at the same time ask himself
what his _own_ consisted of. It was only now that she told him that
Rosa had some time since returned the pawned wreath to her. Upon the
green thistle-plant of mistrust of her love, a flower or two now came
out; nothing is more painful than when a person whom we love hides
something from us for the first time, were it but the merest trifle. It
was a great distress and disappointment to Firmian that the pleasant
surprise he had prepared should have taken such a bitter turn. There
was too much of the artificial about his garland to commence with, but
the foul fiend, Chance, had malevolently crisped and twirled it up,
with added weeds, into a more unreal and unnatural affair than ever.
Let us take care then not to hire Chance into the heart's service.

The Schulrath, at his wits' end, gave vent to his embarrassment in a
warm curse or two upon the Venner's head; he tried to establish a peace
congress between the husband and wife (who were sunk in silent musing),
and strongly urged Lenette to give her hand to her husband and be
reconciled to him. But nothing would induce her. Yet, after long
hesitation, she agreed to do it, but only on condition that he would
first _wash_ his hands. Hers shrunk away in convulsive loathing from
touching those which had been in contact with a skull.

The Schulrath took away the battle-flag from them, and delivered a
peace-sermon which came warm from his heart. He reminded them what the
place was in which they stood, surrounded by human beings all gone to
their last account; he bade them think for a moment how near they were
to the angels who guard the graves of the just, the very mother (he
pointed out) who was mouldering at their feet, with her baby in her
arms (and whose eldest son he himself was bringing along in his Latin
studies--he was then in Scheller's _principia_), might be said to be
admonishing them not to fall out about a flower or two over her quiet
grave, but rather to take them away as olive-branches of peace.
Lenette's heart drank _his_ theologic holy water with far greater zest
than Firmian's pure, philosophic Alp water, and the latter's lofty
thoughts of Death shot athwart her soul without the slightest
penetration. However, the sacrifice of reconciliation was accomplished
and mutual letters of indulgence exchanged. At the same time, a peace
like this, brought about by a third party, is always something in the
nature of a mere suspension of hostilities. Strangely enough they both
awoke in the morning with tears in their eyes, but could not tell
whether happy dreams or sad ones had left these drops behind.

                          FIRST FLOWER PIECE.



My aim in writing this fiction must be my excuse for its audacity.

Men, as a class, deny God's existence with about the same small
amount of true consideration, conviction, and feeling as that
with which most individual men admit it. Even in our regularly
established _systems_ of belief we form collections of mere words,
game-counters, medallions--just as coin-collectors accumulate
cabinetsful of coins--and not till long after our collection is made do
we convert the words into sentiments, the coins into enjoyments. We
may believe in the immortality of the soul for twenty years long, yet
it may be the twenty-first before, in some one supreme moment, we
suddenly perceive, to our astonishment, what this belief involves, and
how wonderful is the warmth of that naphtha spring.

In a similar manner to this, I myself was suddenly horror-struck at the
perception of the poison-power of that vapour which strikes with such
suffocating fumes to the heart of him who enters the school of
Atheistic doctrine. It would cause me less pain to deny immortality
than to deny God's existence. In the former case, what I lose is but a
world hidden by clouds; but in the latter, I lose this present world,
that is to say, its sun. The whole spiritual universe is shattered and
shivered, by the hand of Atheism, into innumerable glittering
quicksilver globules of individual personalities, running hither and
thither at random, coalescing, and parting asunder without unity,
coherence, or consistency. In all this wide universe there is none so
utterly solitary and alone as a denier of God. With orphaned heart--a
heart which has lost the Great Father--he mourns beside the
immeasurable corpse of Nature, a corpse no longer animated or held
together by the Great Spirit of the Universe--a corpse which grows in
its grave; and by this corpse he mourns until he himself crumbles and
falls away from it into nothingness. The wide earth lies before such
an one like the great Egyptian sphinx of stone, half-buried in the
desert sand; the immeasurable universe has become for him but the cold
iron-mask upon an eternity which is without form and void.

I would also fain awaken, with this piece of fiction, some alarm in the
hearts of certain masters and teachers (reading, as well as _read_);
for, in truth, these men (now that they have come to do their appointed
day's work, like so many convicts, in the canal-diggings and in the
mine-shaft excavations, of the "critical" schools of philosophy)
discuss God's existence as cold-bloodedly and chill-heartedly as though
it were a question of the existence of the kraken or the unicorn.

For others, who have not progressed quite so far as this I would
further remark, that the belief in immortality may without
contradiction, co-exist with the belief in Atheism, for the self-same
necessity which, in this life, placed my little shining dew-drop of a
personality in a flower-cup and beneath a sun, can certainly do the
same in a second life--ay, and could embody me with still greater ease
for a second time than for the first.

                           *   *   *   *   *

When, in our childhood, we are told that, at midnight, when our sleep
reaches near the soul and darkens our very dreams, the dead arise from
theirs, and in the churches ape the religious services of the living,
we shudder at death, because of the dead, and in the loneliness of
night we turn our eyes in terror from the tall windows of the silent
church, and dread to look at their pale shimmer to see whether it be
truly the reflection of the moon's beams--or _something else_!

Childhood and its terrors (even more than its pleasures) assume, in our
dreams, wings and brightness, shining glowworm-like in the dark night
of the soul. Extinguish not these little flickering sparks! Leave us
the dim and painful dreams even; they serve to make life's high-lights
all the more brilliant. And what will ye give us in exchange for the
dreams which raise and bear us up from beneath the roar of the falling
cataract back to the peaceful mountain-heights of childhood, where the
river of life was flowing as yet in peace, reflecting heaven upon its
little surface, on towards the precipices of the future course.

Once on a summer evening I was lying upon a quiet hillside in the sun.
I fell asleep, and dreamed that I awoke in a churchyard. The rattle of
the wheels of the clock running down as it was striking eleven, had
awakened me. I looked for the sun in the dark and void night sky, for I
supposed that some eclipse was hiding it with the moon. And all the
graves were open, and the iron doors of the charnel-house kept opening
and shutting, moved by invisible hands. Athwart the walls shadows went
flitting; but no bodies cast those shadows and there were others, too,
moving about out in the open air. Within the open coffins there were
none now asleep, except the children. Nothing was in the sky but sultry
fog, heavy and grey, ranging there in great clammy folds; and some
gigantic shadow closed and closed this fog as in a net, and drew it
ever nearer, closer, and hotter. Up overhead I heard the thunder of
distant avalanches, and beneath my feet the first footfalls of a
boundless earthquake. The church was heaved and shaken to and fro by
two terrific discords striving in it, beating in stormy effort to
attain harmonious resolution. Now and then a greyish glimmer passed
with rapid gleam flittering athwart the windows; but, whenever this
glimmer came, the lead and iron of the frames always melted and ran
rolling down. The fog's net, and the quaking of the earth, drove me
into the temple, past gleaming, glittering basilisks, brooding in
poison-nests beside the door. I passed among shadows, strange and
unknown to me; but they all bore the impress of the centuries. These
shadows stood all grouped about the altar, and their breasts quivered
and throbbed--their _breasts_ but not their hearts. There was but one
of the dead still lying on his pillow, and he was one who had but just
been buried in the church; he lay at peace, his breast without a throb,
a happy dream upon his smiling face. But now, as I came in (I, one of
the living), his sleep broke, he awoke, and smiled no more; with
painful effort he raised his heavy eyelids--and there was no eye
beneath--and in his beating breast there was no heart, but a deep wound
instead. He raised his hands, folded as it for prayer; but then his
arms shot out and came apart from his poor trunk, the folded hands came
off and fell away. Upon the dome above there was inscribed the dial of
eternity--but figures there were none, and the dial itself was its own
gnomon; a great black finger was pointing at it, and the dead strove
hard to read the time upon it.

And at this point a lofty, noble form, bearing the impress of eternal
sorrow, came sinking down towards our group, and rested on the altar;
whereupon all the dead cried out, "Christ! Is there no God?"

He answered, "There is none."

At this the dead quivered and trembled; but now it was not their
breasts alone that throbbed; the quivering ran all through the shadows,
so that one by one the shudder shook them into nothingness. And Christ
spake on, saying, "I have traversed the worlds, I have risen to the
suns, with the milky ways I have passed athwart the great waste spaces
of the sky; there is no God. And I descended to where the very shadow
cast by Being dies out and ends, and I gazed out into the gulf beyond,
and cried, 'Father, where art Thou?' But answer came there none, save
the eternal storm which rages on, controlled by none; and towards the
west, above the chasm, a gleaming rainbow hung, but there was no sun to
give it birth, and so it sank and fell by drops into the gulf. And when
I looked up to the boundless universe for the Divine eye, behold, it
glared at me from out a socket, empty and bottomless. Over the face of
chaos brooded Eternity, chewing it for ever, again and yet again.
Shriek on, then, discords, shatter the shadows with your shrieking din,
for HE IS NOT!"

The pale and colourless shades flickered away to nothingness, as frosty
fog dissolves before warm breath, and all grew void. Ah! then the dead
children, who had been asleep out in the graves, awoke, and came into
the temple, and fell down before the noble form (a sight to rend one's
heart), and cried, "Jesus, have we no Father?" He made answer, with
streaming tears, "We are orphans all, both I and ye. We have no

Then the discords clashed and clanged more harshly yet; the shivering
walls of the temple parted asunder, and the temple and the children
sank--the earth and sun sank with them--and the boundless fabric of the
universe Bank down before us, while high on the summit of immeasurable
nature Jesus stood and gazed upon the sinking universe, besprent with
thousand suns, and like a mine dug in the face of black eternal night;
the suns being miners' lamps, and the milky way the veins of silvery

And as he gazed upon the grinding mass of worlds, the wild torch dance
of starry will-o'-the-wisps, and all the coral banks of throbbing
hearts--and saw how world by world shook forth its glimmering souls on
to the Ocean of Death--then He, sublime, loftiest of finite beings,
raised his eyes towards the nothingness and boundless void, saying, "Oh
dead, dumb, nothingness! necessity endless and chill! Oh! mad
unreasoning Chance--when will ye dash this fabric into atoms, and me
too? Chance, knowest thou--thou knowest not--when thou dost march,
hurricane-winged, amid the whirling snow of stars, extinguishing sun
after sun upon thy onward way, and when the sparkling dew of
constellations ceases to gleam, as thou dost pass them by? How every
soul in this great corpse-trench of an universe is utterly alone? _I_
am alone--none by me--O Father, Father! where is that boundless breast
of thine, that I may rest upon it? Alas! if every soul be its own
father and creator, why shall it not be its own destroying angel too?
Is this a man still near me? Wretched being! That petty life of thine
is but the sigh of nature, or the echo of that sigh. Your wavering
cloudy forms are but reflections of rays cast by a concave mirror upon
the clouds of dust which shroud your world--dust which is dead men's
ashes. Look ye down into the chasm athwart the face of which the
ash-clouds float and fly. A mist of worlds rises up from the Ocean of
Death; the future is a gathering cloud, the present a falling vapour.
Dost thou see and know thy earth?"

Here Christ looked downward, and his eyes grew full of tears, and he
spake on, and said, "Alas! I, too, was once of that poor earth; then I
was happy, then I still possessed my infinite Father, and I could look
up from the hills with joy to the boundless heaven, and I could cry
even in the bitterness of death, 'My Father, take thy Son from out this
bleeding earthly shell, and lift Him to thy heart.' Alas! too happy
dwellers upon earth, ye still believe in Him. Your sun, it may be, is
setting at this hour, and amid flowers and brilliance, and with tears
ye sink upon your knees, and, lifting up your hands in rapturous joy,
ye cry each one aloud up to the open heavens, 'Oh Father, infinite,
eternal, hear! Thou knowest _me_ in all my littleness, even as Thou
knowest all things, and Thou seest my wounds and sorrows, and Thou
wilt receive me after death and soothe and heal them all.' Alas!
unhappy souls! For after death these wounds will _not_ be healed. But
when the sad and weary lays down his worn and wounded frame upon the
earth to sleep towards a fairer brighter morn all truth, goodness and
joy,--behold! he awakes amid a howling chaos, in a night endless and
everlasting; and no morning dawns, there is no healing hand, no
everlasting Father. Oh, mortal, who standest near, if still thou
breathest the breath of life, worship and pray to Him, or else thou
losest Him for evermore."

And I fell down and peered into the shining mass of worlds, and beheld
the coils of the great serpent of eternity all twined about those
worlds; these mighty coils began to writhe and rise, and then again
they tightened and contracted, folding round the universe twice as
closely as before; they wound about all nature in thousandfolds, and
crashed the worlds together, and crushed down the boundless temple to a
little churchyard chapel. And all grew narrow, and dark, and terrible.
And then a great immeasurable bell began to swing in act to toll the
last hour of Time, and shatter the fabric of the universe to countless
atoms,--when my sleep broke up, and I awoke.

And my soul wept for joy that it could still worship God--my gladness,
and my weeping, and my faith--these were my prayer! And as I rose the
sun was gleaming low in the west, behind the ripe purple ears of corn,
and casting in peace the reflection of his evening blushes over the sky
to where the little moon was rising clear and cloudless in the east.
And between the heaven and the earth, a gladsome, shortlived world was
spreading tiny wings, and, like myself, _living_ in the eternal
Father's sight. And from all nature round, on every hand, rose
music-tones of peace and joy, a rich, soft, gentle harmony, like the
sweet chime of bells at evening pealing far away.

                          SECOND FLOWER PIECE.

                        A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM.

A sky of glorious and sublime beauty was spread out above this earth; a
rainbow stood in the east, like the circle of eternity: a storm, with
broken wings, passed thundering, as if weary, along by the lightning
conductors, and away through the glowing gate of Eden in the west; the
evening sun gazed after the storm with a brightness tender as if it
shone through tears, resting its glance upon the great triumphal arch
of Nature. All enraptured with the loveliness of the scene, I closed my
eyes, and seeing nothing, save the sun shining warm and glowing through
my lids, listened to the thunder as it died away in the far distance.
And at length the mists of sleep sank down into my soul, and shrouded
all the spring in folds of grey; but soon there came luminous bands of
brightness piercing through the mist, and by-and-by shone many-tinted
lines of beauty, and ere long the dark face of my sleep was painted
with the brilliant pictures of the world of dreams.

And then I thought that I was standing in the second world, and all
about me a dim green grassy plain, which, in the distance, merged into
brighter flowers, and woods of glowing red, and hills so clear that you
could see the lodes of gold within them. Beyond these crystal hills
there glowed a bright rose dawn of morning, with dewy rainbows arching
it all over. All the shining woods were sprent with suns (where earthly
forests would have gleamed with drops of dew); while all the flowers
were draped with nebulæ, as earthly flowers are hung with gossamer. At
times the meadows shook, as waves of motion passed quivering over
them--but this was not because the zephyrs bent the grasses in their
play--it was that passing souls brushed them with unseen wings. I was
invisible in this second world, for there this shell of ours is but a
little shroud, a tiny fleck of fog not yet condensed.

And on the brink of this, the second world, reposed the holy Virgin
near her Son; and she was looking downward to our earth, there as it
floated dwarfed and far beneath, in its pale, feeble spring-time, on
the mighty face of the Ocean of Death. And every wave was tossing it at
will, and its dim light was nothing but the shadow of a shadow. Then
Mary's heart beat with a yearning pulse, when she beheld the old
beloved world, and all her soul grew tender, and she said, with
brightening glance, "Oh, Son! this heart of mine is full of longing,
and mine eyes with tears, for all these my beloved human friends! Raise
the earth near us, that I once more may look into the eyes of mine own
race, my brothers, and my sisters. Ah! my tears will fall when I behold
the living once again."

But Christ replied, "The earth is but a dream of many dreams; and thou
must sleep to see these dreams."

And Mary answered, "I will gladly sleep that I may dream of man." And
then Christ said, "Say what the dream shall show thee."

"Oh beloved! I would the dream would show me mankind's love. Love such
as hearts which meet once more in bliss after long painful parting only

And as she spake it, lo! the angel of Death stood close behind her, and
with closing eyes she sank upon his bosom, which was cold as polar ice.
And then the little earth rose quivering up, but as it neared it paled
and narrowed, and grew more dim and small. The clouds about it parted,
and the cleft mists gave to view the little night in which it lay, and
from a sleeping brook a star or two of the second world were mirrored
back. And all the children lay sleeping on the earth, and all were
smiling--for they had seen Mary appear to them as they slept, in
semblance of a mother. But, in the night, stood one unhappy being, the
power of outward grief almost gone from her, except in sighs which tore
her breaking heart. Even her very tears had ceased to flow. Oh! gaze no
more, sad soul, towards the west, where stands the house of mourning
all behung with funeral crape; nor to the east, upon the grave and
house of death. For this one day, turn thy sad gaze away from that
drear charnel house where the loved corpse is laid, so that the cool
night breeze may fan and wake him from his sleep earlier than if he
were shut up within the narrow grave! Yet, no! bereaved one, gaze thy
fill on thy beloved one while ho still is here, and ere he falls to
dust--and steep thy heart deep in the eternal woe.

As then an echo in the lone churchyard began to talk in faint and
murmuring tones, repeating the notes of the low-voiced funeral hymn
that rose within the house of mourning; and this after-song, floating
half-heard in air--as though the dead were chanting low--tore all her
heart in twain; and then her tears found vent and flowed anew, and wild
with sorrow she raised her voice and cried, "For ever silent! oh my
love, my love! Callest thou me once more? oh, speak again--but
once--only this once, once more, to me whom thou hast left for ever!
Ah, no! nothing but silence; no sound except the echo stirring among
the graves. All the poor dead lie deaf beneath, and not a tone comes
from the broken heart."

But when the mourning hymn ceased of a sudden, and the dying echo from
the graves sung faintly on alone, a tremor seized her, and her very
life shook in the balance; for the echo came nearer and nearer, and
from out the night one of the dead came close. And he stretched forth
his pale and shadowy hand and took her own, saying, "My darling, why is
it that you weep? Where have we been so long? for I have been dreaming
that I had lost you!" But they had not lost each other. From Mary's
closed lids there fell some happy tears, and ere her son could wipe
those tears away, the earth had sunk back to its place again--and on
its face this happy pair, restored to one another, and in bliss.

Then all at once there rose a spark of fire up from the earth, and
presently a soul hovered all trembling near the second world, as if in
doubt whether to enter there. And Christ a second time raised up the
earth ball, and the bodily frame from whence this soul had winged its
way was lying still on earth, marked with the scars and wounds of a
long life. Beside this fallen leafage of the soul a grey old man was
standing, and, speaking to the corpse, he said, "I am as old as thou;
why must my death be after thine, oh kind and faithful wife? Morning by
morning, evening by evening, now, what can I do but think how deep thy
grave, how far thy form has crumbled on its course to undistinguished
dust, till my time comes to lie and crumble with thee side by side! I
am alone! And _what_ a loneliness is mine! For nothing hears me now.
_She_ cannot hear! Well! well! To-morrow I shall gaze with such a woe
upon her faithful hands and her grey hairs that my poor broken life
must snap and end. Oh, thou All-merciful! end it to-day; spare me that
last great sorrow."

Why should it be that, even in old age, when man has grown so weary and
oppressed, and has descended to the lowest and last of all the steps
that lead him downward to his grave, the spectre, Sorrow, sits so heavy
upon him, bowing his head (where every bygone year has left its special
thorns) to earth with a new despair?

But the Lord Christ sent not the angel of death with the hand of ice;
for he himself looked on the bereaved old man, standing so near him
now, with such a glance of glowing solar warmth that the ripe fruit
broke from the tree. Like sudden flame his soul burst upwards from his
riven heart, and hovering above the second world rejoined that other
soul it loved so well; there knit together in silent close embrace,
like those of old, they trembled downward into Elysium, where no
embrace finds end. And Mary stretched, all love, her hands towards
them, and all joy and rapture from her dream, she cried, "Ah, happy
pair, ye are together now for evermore."

But now there rose a pillar of red vapour up on high above the hapless
earth, and clung there hiding with its dun folds a battle-field's loud
roar. At length the smoke parted asunder, and two bleeding men were
seen lying enlocked in each other's bleeding arms. They were two grand
and glorious friends, and they had sacrificed all to each other, ay!
and their very selves,--but not the Fatherland. "Lay thy wounds upon
mine, beloved friend. The past lies all behind us now, we can be
friends again; thou hast sacrificed me to the Fatherland, as I have
thee. Give me thy heart again, ere it bleeds quite away. Alas! we can
only die together now." And each gave to his friend his pierced and
wounded heart. But these glorious friends beamed with a lustre such
that Death shrank back, and the great berg of ice, wherewith he crushes
man, melted away at touching their warm hearts. And the earth _kept_
those two, who rose above her level like two lofty mountains, dowering
her with streams, with healing virtues, and with lofty views, she
giving only _clouds_ to them in return.

Mary in her dream here glanced and bent her head towards her son, for
truly he alone can read, support, and succour hearts like these.

Why does she smile now, like some happy mother? Is it because the earth
she loves so well, still rising nearer, seems to hover close above the
border of the second world, sweet with the flowers of spring, while
nightingales lie brooding, with those burning hearts of theirs pressed
on the grasses and the meadow blooms,--the stormy skies all brightening
into rainbows? Is it because the earth, never to be forgotten of her
heart, now shows so happy and so gay bedecked in its spring dress,
radiant in all its flowers, the joy hymn bursting from all its singers'
throats? No, not for this alone; that happy smile breaks over her
sleeping face because she sees a mother and her child. For this must be
a mother who bends down and holds her arms wide open, and calls in
sweet enraptured tones, "Come, darling child, come to my heart again."
This is her child, we see and know, standing all innocence, within the
ringing temple of the spring, by his good genius who teaches him--and
now goes running up to that smiling form--thus early blest, pressed to
that heart overflowing with a mother's love, scarce understanding the
blissful words she speaks. "Oh, dearest child, how thou delightest me.
Art thou happy too? Thou lovest me! Oh, look at me, my own, and smile
for evermore."

But now the very blissfulness of her dream woke Mary up; and with a
tender tremor she fell upon her own son's heart, saying with tears,
"None, save a mother, _knows_ what it is to love." And as she spoke the
earth sank to its place (where its own æther flowed around its orb),
and with it that glad mother with her arms about her child.

And all this bliss bursting upon my heart dissolved my dream. And I
awoke--but nothing had truly changed or passed away; for the mother of
my dream still clasped her child close to her heart here on earth's
face; she reads my dream, and, for its truth, forgives, perchance, the
dreamer who tells his tale.

                               BOOK III.

                              CHAPTER IX.


I should very much like to make an incidental digression about this
point; however, I feel that I don't dare.

You see there are, now-a-days, so very few readers (at all events,
of the younger and more aristocratic sort) who don't know
everything--while, at the same time, they expect their pet authors (and
I don't blame them for it) to know more than themselves--which is
impossible. By the help of the English machinery (now brought to such
high perfection), of encyclopædias, of encyclopædic-dictionaries, of
conversations-lexicons, of excerpts from conversations-lexicons, of
Ersch and Gruber's 'Universal Dictionaries of all the Sciences,' a
young man, after devoting his _days_ to it for a month or two (he has
no occasion to devote his _nights_) converts himself into a perfect
Senatus Academicus of all the Faculties of a University, which he
represents in his own single person; besides, in a sense, also himself
standing to it in the relation of the student-body at the same time.

I have never, myself, met with a phenomenal youth of the sort above
described, unless it were, perhaps, a fellow I once heard playing in
the Baireuth band, who represented in his own person a whole Royal
Academy of Music--a complete orchestra--inasmuch as he held, carried,
and played upon instruments of every kind. This Panharmonist
performing, to us partial harmonists only (as we were), blew a French
horn, which he held under his right arm, and this right arm bowed a
fiddle placed under his left; and that left arm beat, at the proper
moments, a drum which was fastened on his back; his cap was hung round
with bells, out of which he shook an accompaniment "alla Turca," by
moving his head, and he had a cymbal strapped upon each of his knees,
which he banged vigorously together; so that the man was all music,
from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot So that, one is
tempted to make this simile-man an occasion and ground-work of further
similes, and liken him to a prince who represents in his own person all
the instruments of his State, and all its members and representatives.
Now, in the presence of readers who are all-knowers, just as this man
was an all-player, how is a humble individual such as I, who am but a
mere Heidelberg master of seven arts, at the outside, and doctor of a
small trifle of philosophy, or so, to venture to take upon himself to
attempt such a thing as a bit of a digression with any approach to the
clever or the felicitous about it? No; the safe course, in the
circumstances, for me is to go quietly on with my story.

We find the advocate, Siebenkæs, once more, then, in full blossom of
hope; although that blossom is all sterile, and not of the sort which
bears fruit. After his royal shot, he had reckoned upon, at any rate,
as many happy days as the money would last for--upon fourteen at least;
but mourning-black, now the traveller's uniform, ought to have been the
colour of his upon his earthly night-journey--that _voyage pittoresque_
for poets. Though marmots and squirrels know how to plug up that
particular hole in their dwellings which chances to be on the side from
which the approaching storm is coming, men do not; Firmian thought if
the hole in his _purse_ was mended no more was necessary. Alas! a
better thing than money now departed from him--_Love_. His good Lenette
receded to a greater distance from his heart, as he did from hers, day
by day.

Her having concealed from him the fact that Rosa had given back the
wreath, formed in his heart (as foreign matter lodged in any vessel of
the body always does) the nucleus of a gradual deposit of stone about
it. But that was only a small matter.

For she brushed and scraped of a morning, and every morning, and that
whether (as the saying goes) he "liked it or lumped it."

She would persist, and insist, on communicating all her prorogations of
parliament and other decrees to the servant girl, in several duplicates
and revised copies, let him protest as much as he chose.

She asked him every thing she had to ask him (no matter what) two or
three separate times over; and that whether he shouted beforehand like
a quack doctor at a fair, or swore afterwards like one of his

She continued to say, "It has struck four quarters to four o'clock."

When he had proved, with immense care and trouble, that Augspurg was
not in the Island of Cyprus, she would return him the quiet
incontrovertible answer, "Well, it's not in Roumania either, nor in
Bulgaria, nor in the Principality of Jauer, nor in Vauduz, nor in the
neighbourhood of Hüshen--two very little, insignificant places, both of
them." He could never bring her to give an unqualified assent, when he
made the unconditional and positive assertion (in a loud voice), "It's
in Swabia--or the devil's in it." She would go no further than to admit
that it was situated, in a certain sense, and to some extent, between
Franconia, Bavaria, and Switzerland, &c.; it was only to the
bookbinder's wife that she would _acknowledge_ that it was in Swabia.

Burdens, nay, overloads, of this sort, however, can be borne more or
less easily and bravely by a soul fortified by the example of great
sufferers--such as a Lycurgus, who let himself be deprived of an eye,
and an Epictetus, who allowed his master to hack off his leg; and all
these little failings of Lenette's have been touched upon in a previous
chapter. But I have to tell of new shortcomings besides; and as regards
these, I leave it to unbiassed married men to determine whether they
are among the matters which husbands can, and should, put up with.

Firstly: Lenette washed her hands forty times in the course of the day,
at the very least; no matter what she touched, she must needs put
herself through this process of Holy Re-baptism; like a Jew, she was
rendered unclean by the propinquity of _everything_. She would far more
probably have followed the example of Rabbi Akiba, than have been in
the least astonished at his proceedings--who, when he was a captive in
prison, and in the direst distress for water, instead of quenching his
thirst with the very small quantity of it he could get, preferred to
use it for his ablutions.

"Of course it is right and proper that she should be scrupulous about
cleanliness," said Siebenkæs, "and more so than I am; but there are
limits to all things. Why doesn't she rub herself with a towel when
anybody breathes upon her? Why not purify her lips with soap after a
fly has deposited itself (and not _only_ itself) upon them? I'm sure
she turns our sitting-room into a regular English man-of-war, scoured
and holystoned from stem to stern every morning; and I look on as
pleased as any officer on her quarter-deck."

If a heavy Irish rain-cloud, or a waterspout with its attendant
thunders and lightnings, came over his and her days, she always managed
to put her husband right under water (like a Dutch fortress), with all
his courageous energy, and gave free course to all her tears. But when
the sun of happiness cast a feeble ray no broader than a window into
the room, Lenette would always have a hundred things, other than this
pleasant one, to attend to and to look at. Firmian had particularly
made up his mind that he would most thoroughly winnow the husks from
the corn of these few days during which he had a few shillings of ready
money in his pocket; that he would skim off the cream of them, and
completely hide, with a thick veil, the second Janus face, let it be
smiling or weeping over the past or the future, as the case might be;
but Lenette would insist upon rending this veil, and pointing to the
hidden face. "My dear soul!" her husband more than once implored her,
"do but wait till we're as poor as church mice, and leading the life of
a dog, again; then I'll groan and moan with you with the greatest
pleasure." And she only once made him any pertinent answer, namely,
"How long will it be before we're without a farthing in the house?" But
to this he was able to return a still more apposite reply: "If that is
your way of looking at the matter, you will never be able to enjoy a
single quiet, bright, happy day, unless one can give you his solemn
oath that there will never come another dark, cloudy, wretched one
again; in which case, of course, you can _never_ enjoy one. What king
or emperor--ay! and though he had thrones upon the head of him and
crowns under his tail--can ever be sure but that any post-delivery, or
any sitting of his parliament, may bring him a cloudy time of it; yet
he passes his happy day in his _Sans Souci_, or his _Bellevue_ (or
whatever he may call it), and enjoys his life." (She shook her head).
"I can prove it to you in print, and from the Greek." And, opening the
New Testament, he read out the following passage (inserted by himself
on the spur of the moment): "If, in a time of good fortune and
happiness, thou delayest the joy of thine heart until a moment shall
come in which nothing shall lie before thee save hopes in unbroken
sequence for whole years to come, then there can be no true happiness
on the face of this changing world. For after ten days, or years, some
sorrow shall surely come; and thus thou canst delight in no May-day,
though it shower blossoms and nightingales upon thee, since, beyond all
doubt, the winter will come thereafter, with its nights and its
snowflakes. Yet thou enjoyest thine ardent youth, not thinking with
dread upon the ice-pit of age, which is ready in the background, with a
gradually-increasing coldness to preserve thee for a certain season.
Look, then, upon the glad To-day as a long youth; and let the sad
Day-after-to-morrow appear unto thee but as a brief old age."

"The Latin or the Greek always has a more religious sound, I know," she
answered, "and we often hear the thing in the pulpit, too; and whenever
I do hear it preached I always go home and feel much comforted and
consoled, till the money's all gone again."

He had greater difficulty still to get her to jump for joy quite to his
liking at the dinner-table at mid-day. If, instead of their every-day
fare, some extraordinary fleshpot of Egypt should chance to be smoking
on the table--some dish such as the Counts of Wratislaw might have
served, and the Counts of Waldstein have carved, without a blush--then
Siebenkæs might be sure that his wife would have at least one hundred
things more than usual to finish and to put away before she could come
to dinner. There sits her husband, eager to begin; he looks round for
her, quietly at first, angrily after a while, but keeps command of
himself for two or three entire minutes, during which he has time to
remember all his troubles as well as think about the roast--then,
however, he discharges the first thunder-clap of his storm, and shouts,
"Thunder and lightning! here have I been sitting for a whole Eternity,
and everything getting as cold as charity. Wife! Wife!!"

In Lenette, as in other women, the cause of this was not ill-temper,
neither was it stupidity, nor stubborn indifference to the matter or to
her husband; she really could not do otherwise, however, and that's
quite sufficient explanation.

At the same time, my friend Siebenkæs--who will have this story in his
hands even before the printer's devils get hold of it--musn't take it
ill of me that I divulge to the world in general certain small
breakfast-failings of his own--which he has communicated to me with his
own lips. As he lay in his trellis-bed in the morning, before getting
up, with his eyes closed, there would suddenly flash upon him ideas for
his book, and forms in which to express them, such as never occurred to
him while he was sitting or standing during the day; and, indeed, I
have in the course of my reading found that there have been many men of
learning--such, for instance, as Descartes, Abbé Galiani, Basedow--I,
myself, too, whom of course I don't count, who belonged to the
Coleopterous family of backswimmers (_Notonectæ_), and got on quickest
in the recumbent position, and in whose cases bed has been the
brewing-kettle of their most brilliant and original ideas. I, myself,
could point to many such which I have written down immediately after
getting out of bed in the morning. Any one who sets himself to work to
explain this phenomenon should adduce in the first place the matutinal
power of the brain, and the fact of its lending itself with a more
nimble, as well as vigorous obedience to the impulses of the spirit
after its internal and external holiday of rest; next, the freedom and
facility both of thinking and of brain mobility, which the manifold
impulsions of the day has not yet begun to weary and impair; and,
lastly, the vigour which is a peculiar property of all firstborn
things--a vigour which our earliest morning thoughts possess in common
with the first impressions of youth.

Now, after the above explanations, it will doubtless seem clear that,
when the advocate lay in this fashion, sprouting and sending out long
shoots in the warm forcing-house of the pillow, and bearing the most
precious flowers and fruit, nothing could strike upon his ear in a
harsher and more distracting manner than the voice of Lenette calling
from the next room, "Come to breakfast, the coffee's ready." He
generally gave birth to one or two more happy turns of expression after
he _did_ hear it, pricking his ears all the while, however, in dread of
a second order to march. But as Lenette knew that he always allowed
himself a considerable number of minutes of grace after the summons,
she always cried, "Get up, the coffee's cold," when it was only just
coming to the boil. The notonectic satirist, for his part, had observed
the law which governed this precession of the equinoxes, and lay
quietly among the feathers breeding his ideas happy and undisturbed
when it was only once that she had summoned him, merely answering,
"This very moment!" and availing himself of the double usance
prescribed by law.

This obliged his wife, for her part, to go farther back, and when the
coffee was made and standing by the fire, to cry, "Come, dear, it's
getting quite cold." Now, on this system, of getting earlier on one
side and later on the other, matters became more critical every day,
with nowhere a prospect of extrication from the difficulty; in fact,
what was naturally to be expected was the arrival of a state of things
in which Lenette would end by calling him to get up a whole day too
soon; although, in the end, this would eventuate in a mere restoration
of the original condition of affairs, just as our suppers at the
present day threaten to become too-early breakfasts, and our breakfasts
unfashionably early dinners. Had Siebenkæs been able to bear the
process of grinding the coffee, he might have moored himself to that as
to an anchor of hope, and it would then have been a simple matter to
calculate the time the coffee would take to get ready; but this he
could not, for, in the absence of a coffee-mill, the coffee was bought
ready ground (by everybody in the house, for that matter). If Lenette
could have been induced to call him just one exact minute before the
coffee was boiling and smoking, _she_ would have done instead of the
coffee-mill--however, she could _not_ be induced.

What are trifling differences of opinion before marriage assume large
dimensions thereafter--as north winds are warm in summer and cold in
winter; the zephyr, when it is breathed forth by conjugal lungs, is
like Homer's zephyr, concerning the biting keenness of which the poet
sings so much. For this period onward, Firmian set himself to look with
much care and minuteness for every crack, feather, flaw, or cloudiness,
which might be discoverable in that diamond--Lenette's heart. Poor
fellow! this being the case with thee, soon, soon must the crumbling
altar of thy love go toppling down one stone after another, and the
sacrificial fire flutter and go out.

He now discovered that she was not nearly as learned a woman as Mdlles.
Burmann and Reiske. It is true no book wearied her, but neither did any
interest her, and she could read her one book of Sermons as often as
scholars can go through Homer and Kant. Her secular or "profane"
authors were only two; in fact, one married pair of authors--the
immortal authoress of her own cookery receipts, and that, lady's
husband--but the latter she never read. She paid his essays the tribute
of her profoundest admiration, but she never glanced into them. Three
sensible words with the bookbinder's wife were of more value in her
eyes than all the bookbinder's and bookmaker's printed ones put
together. To a literary man who is making new arguments, and new ink,
all the year long, it is incomprehensible how those persons who have
neither a book, nor a pen, nor a drop of ink in the house (except the
pale rusty liquid borrowed from the village schoolmaster) can exist at
all. Firmian sometimes appointed himself a species of special
Professor-extraordinary, and mounted the professional chair with the
view of initiating Lenette into one or two of the elementary principles
of Astronomy; but either she had no pineal gland (that manor-house of
the soul and its ideas), or else the chambers of her brain were
saturated, satiated, and crammed to the roof with lace, bonnets,
shirts, and saucepans; at all events, it was beyond his power to get a
single star into her head bigger than a reel of cotton. With
Pneumatology (Psychology), again, his difficulty was exactly of the
_converse_ sort. In this branch of science, where the calculus of the
infinitesimally small would have come to his aid with an equal amount
of serviceableness as that of the infinitely great in astronomy,
Lenette expanded and stretched out the dimensions of the angels, souls,
and so forth, passing the minutest and most ethereal of spiritual
beings through the stretching mill of her imagination, so that
angels--of whom the scholiasts would have invited whole companies to a
carpet-dance on the tip of a new needle (or have threaded them with it
by couples on one and the same point of space)--expanded on her hands
to such an extent that each angel would have filled a cradle by itself;
and as for the Devil, he swelled out upon her till he got to be pretty
much about the size of her husband.

Further, Siebenkæs discovered an iron-mould stain, a pock-mark or wart,
on her heart; he could never warm her into a true lyric enthusiasm of
Love, in which she should forget heaven and earth, and all things. She
could count the strokes of the town clock amid his kisses; though some
affecting story or discourse of his might bring the big tears to her
eyes, she could still hear the soup-pot boiling over, and run away to
it, tears and all. She would join devoutly in the hymns which came
resounding from the other lodgers' rooms of a Sunday, but in the middle
of a verse ask the prosaic question, "What shall I warm for supper?"
and he never could forget that, once, when she was listening,
apparently much interested and quite touched, to one of his
chamber-sermons on death and immortality, she looked at him,
thoughtfully it is true, but with a glance directed downward, and said,
"Don't put on that left stocking to-morrow morning till I've darned it
for you."

The author of this tale declares that he has sometimes been driven
nearly out of his mind by feminine _entr'actes_ of this sort, against
the occurrence of which there is no warranty for the man who soars up
into the æther in company with these beautiful birds of paradise, and
there hovers up and down with them, in the fond hope of hatching the
eggs of his phantasies upon their backs up among the clouds.[52] All in
an instant, down drops the winged mate, as if by magic, with a green
gleam, on to a clod of earth. I admit that this is but an excellence
the more; it makes them resemble the hens, whose eyes the Great
Optician of the Universe has made so perfect that they can see the most
distant sparrow-hawk in the sky as well as the nearest grain of malt on
the dunghill. It is to be hoped, indeed, that the author of this story,
should he ever chance to marry, may meet with a wife to whom he may be
able to give readings concerning the more essential principles and
dictata of psychology and astronomy without her bringing in the subject
of his stockings in the middle of his loftiest and fullest flights of
enthusiasm; but yet he will be well content should one possessed of
moderate excellencies fall to his lot--one who shall be capable of
accompanying him, side by side with him, in his flights, so far as they
may extend--whose eyes and heart may be wide enough to take in the
blooming earth and the shining heavens in great, grand masses at a
time, and not in mere infinitesimal particles; for whom this universe
shall be something higher than a nursery and a ball-room; and who, with
feelings delicate and tender, and a heart both pious and wide, should
be continually making her husband better and holier. The author's
fondest wishes go not beyond this.

Thus, then, while the flowers, if not the leaves, were falling fast
from Firmian's love, Lenette's was like a rose somewhat overblown,
whose beauty a touch will scatter to the earth. Her husband's endless
arguments wearied her heart at length. Moreover, she was one of those
women whose loveliest blossoms remain sterile and dead, unless children
troop around to enjoy them, as the flowers of the vine do not produce
grapes unless frequented by bees. She belonged to this class of women
also in this respect, that she was born to be the spiral mainspring of
a housekeeping engine--the stage-manageress of a great household
theatre. Alas! the market-value of the shares, and the state of the
treasury of the said theatre are well-known to everybody--from Hamburg
to Ofen.

Moreover, our couple, like ph[oe]nixes and giants, were childless: the
two columns stood apart and unconnected, no fruit garlands twining
about them to bind them one to another. Firmian had, in imagination,
thoroughly rehearsed the character of _père de famille_, and dispatcher
of invitations to be godfather, but it never came to a performance.

What was most of all effective in breaking him away from Lenette's
heart, however, was his dissimilarity to Peltzstiefel. The Schulrath
had in him as much of the wearisome, the deliberately circumspect, the
grave and reserved, the stiff and starched, the pompous and inflated,
the heavy and the dull, as----these three lines have; but this
delighted the very soul of our born housekeeper. Siebenkæs, again, was
like a jerboa from morning till night. She often said to him, "I'm sure
people must think you're not quite right in the head;" to which he
would answer, "And am I?" He concealed the beauty of his character
behind a comedy mask, and the trodden-down heels of the buskins he
always wore made his stature seem shorter than it really was. The brief
drama of his own life he turned into a mere burlesque and parodied
epic, and it was from higher motives than mere vain folly that he so
gave himself over to grotesque performances. In the first place he
delighted with a deep delight in the sense of freedom of soul, and
entire absence of all conventional trammels; secondly, he found
pleasure in the thought that he travestied--not imitated--the follies
of his fellow-men. In acting his part he had a double enjoyment--that
of comedian as well as that of the spectator. A person who puts humour
into action is a satirical _improvisatore_. Every male reader
understands this though no female reader does. I have often wished that
I could place in the hands of a woman, looking at the white sun-ray of
wisdom broken into a tinted spectrum by the prism of humour, some
powerful lens which should _burn_ that spectrum back into its pristine
whiteness,--but it is not to be done. The fine, delicate, womanly sense
of the fit, the proper, the becoming, seems to be torn and scratched by
the touch of anything angular and unpolished; these souls, so firmly
welded on to the every-day, commonplace, conventional relations of
things, cannot understand souls which place themselves in antagonism to
these relations. And therefore it is that humorists are so rare in the
hereditary kingdoms of women, courts--and in their realm of shadows,

Lenette could not be otherwise than much, and continually, vexed and
annoyed with this whistling, singing, dancing husband of hers--a
man who didn't behave to his very clients with anything like
proper professional gravity; who, sad to say--and people assured
her it was a fact--often walked in circles round the gallows on
the hill,--concerning whose sanity sensible people spoke very
doubtfully--as to whom she complained, that you would never think,
to see him, that he lived in a royal burgh, the capital of the
province--and who was respectful and reserved only before one person
in the world, namely, himself. Why, when maidservants, from the very
best houses in the place, came in--with linen to be made up, and so
on--didn't they very often see him jump up and, without a "With your
leave," or "By your leave," to anybody, run to his old, battered,
rattling piano (it still had all its keys, and nearly as many strings),
and there he would stand with a wooden yard-measure in his mouth, up
which, as over a drawbridge, the notes climbed to him from the
soundboard, then through the portcullis of his teeth, finally arriving
at his soul by way of the Eustachian tube and the drum of the ear. He
held this stork's-beak of a yard-measure between his teeth as described
in order to magnify the inaudible pianissimo of his piano into a
fortissimo at its upper end. However, humour looks paler when reflected
in narrative than in the vividness of reality.

That portion of earth's surface on which these two stood was riven into
two distinct islets by these continual tremblings of the soil, and
these islets kept drifting steadily further and further apart. And ere
long there came a serious shock of earthquake.

For the Heimlicher came on the stage again, with his plea of demurrer
to Siebenkæs's suit, in which all he demanded was justice and
equity--in other words, the money which was in question, unless Siebenkæs
could prove himself to be himself, that is to say, the ward, whose
patrimony the Heimlicher had hitherto kept in his paternal hands and purse.
This juridical Hell-river took Firmian's breath away and struck ice-cold
to his heart, though he had jumped over the three previous petitions for
postponement as easily as the crowned lion over the three rivers in the
Gotha coat-of-arms. The wounds which we receive from Fate soon heal,
but those inflicted by the blunt and rusty torture-implement of an
unjust man suppurate and take long to close. This cut, made into nerves
already laid bare by so many a rude clutch and sharp tongue, caused our
dear friend some severe pain; yet he had seen that the cut was coming
long before it came, and had cried to his spirit, "Look out--mind your
head!" Alas! there is something _new_ in _every_ pain. He had even
taken legal steps in anticipation of it. A few weeks before he
had had evidence sent from Leipsic, where he had studied, to prove that
he had formerly been known by the name of Leibgeber, and was,
consequently, Blaise's ward. A young notary there, of the name of
Giegold, an old college friend and literary brother in arms, had done
him the service of seeing all the people who had known of his
Leibgeberhood--particularly a rusty, musty old tutor, who had often
been present when the guardian's register-ships came in--and a
postman, who had piloted them into port, and his landlord and other
well-informed persons, who all took the Jus credulitalis (or oath of
conviction), and whose evidence the young lawyer forwarded to Siebenkæs
(like a mountain full of precious ore); he had no great difficulty, to
speak of, in paying the postage of it, as he was king of the marksmen.

With this stout club of evidence he resisted and withstood his guardian
and robber.

When Blaise's denial was lodged, the timid Lenette gave herself and the
suit up for lost; poverty, lean and bare, seemed in _her_ eyes now to
enmesh them in a network of parasite ivy, and there was no other
prospect for them but to perish and fall to the ground. Her first
proceeding was to burst into loud abuse of Von Meyern; for as he had
himself told her that his father-in-law's three applications for delay
had been the result of _his_ intercession, which he had made for her
sake alone, she looked upon Blaise's plea of demurrer as being the
first thorn-sucker sent forth by Rosa's revengeful soul in return for
the imprisonment and the sacking he had undergone in Firmian's house
(and half ascribed to her), and for what he had lost.

Up to the day of the shooting-match he had supposed that the husband
was his enemy, but not the wife; then, however, his pleasant conceit
had been embittered and proved to be groundless. But the Venner not
being present to hear her reproaches, she was obliged to turn the full
stream of her anger on to her husband, to whom she attributed all the
blame, because of his having so wickedly and sinfully changed names
with Leibgeber. He who has married a wife will be prepared to relieve
me of the trouble of mentioning that it made not the slightest
difference what Siebenkæs said in reply or adduced concerning Blaise's
wickedness (who, being the greatest Judas Iscariot and corn-Jew the
world contained, would have robbed him just the same if his name had
been Leibgeber still, and would have found out a thousand legal
byepaths by which to proceed to the plundering of his ward). It had no
effect. At last the following words were forced out of him: "You are
quite as unjust as I should be were I to attribute this document of
Blaise's to your behaviour to the Venner." Nothing irritates women so
much as derogatory comparisons; they apply them indiscriminately,
without distinction. Lenette's ears lengthened to tongues, like those
of Rumour; her husband was immediately out-bawled and unlistened to.

He was obliged to send privately to Peltzstiefel to ask where he had
been so long, and why he had utterly forgotten their house; Stiefel was
not even in his own house, however, but out walking, for it was a
beautiful day.

"Lenette," said Siebenkæs suddenly--he often preferred vaulting over a
marsh on the leaping-pole of an idea to wading painfully across it on
the long stilts of syllogism, and was anxious to banish from her memory
the innocent remark which he had let slip about Rosa, and which she had
so utterly misunderstood--"Lenette, I'll tell you what we'll do this
afternoon; we'll take a strong cup of coffee, and go and take a walk
and enjoy ourselves: it is not a Sunday, but it _is_ the day which all
the Catholics in the town keep holiday on as the feast of the
Annunciation, and the weather is really _too_ magnificent. We'll go and
sit in the big upstairs room at the Rifle Club-house, as it would be a
little too warm outside perhaps, and we can look down from the windows
and see all the heterodox people promenading in their best clothes--and
our Lutheran Stiefel among them, who knows?"

Either I am more in error than I often am, or this was a most agreeable
surprise to Lenette. Coffee, in the morning the water-of-baptism
and altar-wine of the fair sex, is their love-philter and their
waters-of-strife in the afternoon (the _latter_, however, only as
regards the absent); but what a wondrous mill-stream for the setting in
motion of the machinery of the ideas must an afternoon cup of coffee on
a common working-day be for a woman such as Lenette, who rarely had any
on other than Sunday afternoons; for before the days of the blockade of
the continent it cost too much money.

A woman who is really very much delighted needs but a very short time
to put on her black silk bonnet and take her big church-fan, and
(contrary to all her ordinary manners and customs) be _quite_ ready and
dressed for a walk to the Rifle Club-house, even going the length of
making the coffee during the process of dressing, so as to be able to
take it, and the milk, with her in her hand.

Our couple set forth at two o'clock in the happiest possible frame of
mind, carrying with them warm in their pockets what was to be warmed up
later on in the afternoon.

Even at two o'clock, early as it was, the western and southern hills
lay all beflooded with the warm evening glow with which the low
December sun was bathing them, while great glaciers of cloud, ranged
about the sky, cast their cheerful lights over the landscape. All about
this world there beamed a beautiful brightness, which cheered and
lighted up many a dark and narrow life.

Siebenkæs pointed out the eagle's perch to Lenette while they were
still at some distance from it--the alpenstock or boat-pole which had
so recently helped him out of his most imminent difficulties. When they
reached the Clubhouse he took her and showed her the shooter's-stand
where he had shot himself with his rifle up to the dignity of bird
emperor, and out of the Frankfort-Jew's-quarter of duns, liberating at
his coronation at least _one_ debtor, namely, himself. They had room
and to spare to "spread themselves out" (so to speak) upstairs in the
members' hall--he at a writing-table by the right-hand window, and she
with her work at another on the left.

How the coffee gave warmth to this December festival may be imagined,
but not described.

Lenette put on one stocking of her husband's after another--put them on
her left arm, that is, while her right wielded the darning-needle; and
as she sat, with a stocking generally quite open at the bottom, she
was, as regarded one of her arms at all events, like a lady with the
long, fashionable Danish mittens, with holes for the fingers. However,
she did not raise these arm-stockings of hers high enough to be seen by
the people walking in the upper walks, but kept nodding down her "your
very humble and obedient servant" from the open window to numbers of
the most genteel she-heretics as they passed, wearing her own works of
art upon their heads, in honour of the Annunciation-feast; and more
than one sent an obliging salute up to her roof-thatcher.

The strictest religious and political parity being established by law
in Kuhschnappel, it was natural that Protestants of position should
also go a-walking on this Catholic holiday. However, the advocate was
perhaps enjoying himself quite as much as his wife; he went on writing
his 'Devil's Papers,' and at the same time feasting his gaze upon the
high places, the _sommités_ of the landscape, if not of Kuhschnappel

When he first entered the room he had a most agreeable reception from a
child's trumpet, left there by accident; the paint was not quite all
licked away from it, and it was the smell of this paint, more even than
the squeak of the trumpet, which pleased him so very much, by recalling
the vague delights of Christmases of the past: so that pleasure was
heaped upon pleasure. He could rise from his satires and point out to
Lenette the great rooks' nests in the leafless trees, and the bare
tables and benches in the arbours, and the invisible guests who had
occupied seats of the blessed there on summer evenings, and still
remembered the time, looking forward to a repetition of it; and he
could draw her attention to the fields, where, late as it was in the
year, volunteer gardeneresses were gathering salad for him, namely,
corn salad or rampion, which he might have some of for supper if he had
a mind.

And now he sat at his window, with his eyes fixed upon the hills, all
flushed with the evening red, the sun growing larger as it sunk towards
them. Beyond these hills lay the lands where wandered his Leibgeber,
sporting away his life.

"How delightful it is, wife," he said, "that what parts me from
Leibgeber is not a mere wide level plain, with nothing but a hillock or
two cropping up here and there on it, but a grand, lofty wall of
mountains, behind which he stands as if behind the grating of a
monastery." This sounded to her almost as if her husband was glad that
this barrier stood between them; she herself had but little liking for
Leibgeber, and considered him to be a sort of coin-clipper to her
husband, who cut all his angles sharper than they were by nature;
however, in dubious cases like this, she was always glad to ask no
questions. What he _had_ meant was exactly the reverse of what she
supposed; he had meant that it is good, if parted from those we love,
that it should be by holy hills, because they are, as it were, lofty
garden-walls, behind which we picture the flowery thickets of our
Edens; whereas, on the other verge of the broadest barnfloor of a level
plain we only picture to ourselves a repetition of it sloping the other
way. And this applies to nations as well as to individuals. The
Luneburg moors or the Marklands of Prussia will not draw even an
Italian's longing gaze towards Italy; but when a Markman in Italy sees
the Apennines, his heart yearns to his German loved ones behind them.

As Firmian looked upon that sunny mountain-barrier between two severed
spirits, there was that in his eyes which much resembled tears; but he
only turned his chair a little away, that Lenette might ask no
questions; he was well aware of his old ingrained habit of getting
angry when anybody asked what brought tears to his eyes, and he strove
with it. Was he not, in fact, tenderness personified to-day, only
acting his comedy in the palest middle-tints before his wife, because
he was delighting in the fresh-growth of this enjoyment of hers, of
which he was himself the origin. It is true she did not discover the
existence of this, his feeling of delicate consideration for her; but
just as he was quite content when no one but himself (least of all,
_she_) perceived that he was poking fun at her (in the most delicate
manner), so was he content that she should be in utter ignorance that
he was causing her a little happiness.

At last they left the spacious room, the sun now robing them in
purple hues; and as they went he drew Lenette's attention to the
liquid, golden splendour shining upon the roofs of the greenhouses,
and he hung himself on to the sun--at that moment cut in two by the
mountain-range--that he might sink, with it, to his far-away friend.
Ah! how strong is love in distance--be it distance of space, or of
time, of the future or the past--ay, or that greater distance
still--beyond this world! And so the evening might very well have ended
in an altogether delightful manner, had not something intervened.

For some particularly ingenious evil spirit or other had taken the
Heimlicher von Blaise, and so set him down, promenading in the open
air, that the advocate must needs come within shooting range and
hailing distance of him just on a feast of the Annunciation for _good_
folks only. When the guardian went through the proper forms of
salutation--accompanying them with a smile such as, fortunately, can
never be seen on a child's face--Siebenkæs returned his salutes
politely, although with a mere clutching and jerking at his hat--which
he didn't take off. Lenette tried to make amends for this, by doubling
the profundity of her own bow and curtsey; but as soon as practicable
she administered to her husband a garden lecture, or, rather, a garden
_paling_ lecture, on his always, as if on purpose, irritating his
guardian whenever he had an opportunity. "Indeed, love," he said, "I
couldn't help it. I really meant nothing of the kind to-day, of all
days in the year."

The truth of the matter, indeed, is, that Siebenkæs had sometime before
complained to his wife that his hat, which was of softish felt, was
getting a good deal spoiled by having to be so often taken off to
people in the streets, and that he could think of nothing better than
to protect it with a coat of mail in the shape of a stiff cover of
green oilskin, so that when packed up in this pudding roll he might go
on daily employing it in those offices of out-door politeness which men
owe one to another, without ever having to take hold of the hat
_itself_ at all. Well, the first walk he took after assuming this
double hat, or hat's hat, was to a grocer's, where he disembowelled the
inner one from its envelope and swopped it away for six pounds of
coffee, which warmed the four chambers of his brain better than the
hare-skin had ever done; he then went tranquilly home, with only the
coadjutor hat on his head, undetected, and thenceforward bore the empty
case through the streets with a secret joy that, in a sense, he now
really took off his _hat_ to nobody--with other entertaining fancies
bearing on the subject of his sugar-loaf.

Of course, when he forgot--and on that day in particular, it was
perhaps excusable that he did so--to support his hat-case with the
necessary framework of artificial rafters, it was really almost an
impossibility to take this mere shell of a hat _right_ OFF for purposes
of salutation. The most he could do was just to _touch_ it courteously,
like an officer returning a salute; and thus, against his will, play
the part of a rude and ill-bred individual.

And it so happened that just on this very day get it off he could not.

It was so ordained, however, that matters should not even rest _here_
(as regarded our couple's promenade), but one of the above-mentioned
ingenious evil spirits changed the scene of the drama with such
nimbleness, that we have a fresh combination before our eyes before we
know where we are. Just in front of our wedded pair, a master tailor of
the Catholic confession was taking his walk, most sprucely attired in
honour of the Feast of the Annunciation, like all the rest of his
_pro_- and CON-fession. As ill luck would have it, this tailor, being
in a narrow walk, had (whether for fear of mud, or in the delight of
his soul over his holiday) so elevated his coat-tails that the
vertebral extremity, the _os coccygis_, or (shall we call it) insertion
of the spinal cord, of his waistcoat, was clearly exhibited; in other
words, the _background_ of his waistcoat, which, as we know, is
generally executed in colours more subdued than those used for the
brighter and more prominent foreground on the chest of the wearer. "Hy!
Mr.!" cried Lenette; "what are you doing with a lot of my chintz on the
back of you?"

The truth was that this tailor had put aside and taken possession of so
much of a nice green Augspurg chintz (sent to him by Lenette, on her
becoming a queen, to make her a new body) as he considered proper and
Christianly honest, calculating on the principle of "no charge for wine
samples," and this trifle of a sample had just barely sufficed to form
a sober background to his pea-green waistcoat; and he had contented
himself with so dim a reverse side for this waistcoat in the confident
expectation that it would never be seen. However, as the tailor went on
with his walk (after Lenette had shouted her query at him), as utterly
unmoved as if it had nothing on earth to do with _him_, the little
spark of her anger became a blazing flame, and, regardless of all her
husband's winks and whispers, she cried aloud, "Why, it's my very own
chintz, that I got all the way from Augspurg; do you hear, Mr. Mowser,
you've stolen my chintz, you blackguard, you!" Then, and not till then,
the guilty chintz-robber turned round with much _sangfroid_, and said,
"_Prove_ that, if you please! But, mind, _I'll_ CHINTZ YOU, if there be
such a thing as law in all Kuhschnappel."

At this she burst into a conflagration. Her husband's prayers and
entreaties were but as wind to her. "Ey! you riff-raff," she snapped
out. "But I'll have what's my own--you villain!" she cried. The only
reply the tailor vouchsafed to this attack was this--he simply lifted
his coat-tails with both hands high above the endorsed waistcoat, and,
bending a little forward, said, "There!" after which he strode slowly
on, keeping at the same focal distance from her, so as to bask in her
warmth as long as possible.

Siebenkæs was the most to be pitied on this rich feast day, when, in
spite of all his juristic and theological exorcisms, he could not cast
out this devil of discord--when by good luck his guardian angel
suddenly emerged from a side path, Peltzstiefel to wit, taking his
walk. Gone, so far as Lenette was concerned, were the tailor, the
quarter-ell of chintz, the apple of discord, and the devil thereof; the
blue of her eyes and the blush on her cheek fronted Stiefel as bright
and as fresh as the blue of the evening sky and the blush on its sunset
clouds. Ten ells of chintz and half that number of tailors with
waistcoat-backs of it into the bargain, were to her, at that moment,
feathers light as air, not worth a word or a farthing; so that
Siebenkæs saw on the instant that Stiefel's coming was as that of a
regular Mount of Olives all full of mere olive-branches of peace;
although for discord devils hailing from another quarter there might
without difficulty be pressed from the olives on said mountain an oil
which could not be poured on any fire of matrimonial difference which
_Stiefel's_ would be the bucket to put out. If Lenette was a tender,
delicate, white butterfly, silently hovering and fluttering about
Peltzstiefel's flowery path, _out of doors_--when she got him into her
house she was an absolute Greek Psyche; and, in spite of all my
partiality for her, I am bound, under pain of having all the rest
discredited, to insert in this protocol a clear statement (much as I
regret to do so) to the effect that on this particular evening she gave
one the idea of being nothing but some clear-winged translucent soul
free from all trammels of body--which, at some former time, while as
yet in the body, had stood in some love-relationship to the Schulrath,
but now hovered about him with upraised pinions, and fanned him with
fluttering downy plumes, and which at length weary of hovering, and
pleased to rest once more on the loved perch of a body, settled upon
Lenette's, there being no other feminine one at hand, and there folded
its wings to rest. Such seemed Lenette. But why was she thus to-day?
Stiefel's ignorance and delight at it were great; Firmian's very small.
Before I explain it, I will say, "I pity thee, poor husband, and thee,
too, poor wife. For why must the smooth flow of the stream of your life
(and of our own) be always broken by sorrows or by sins, and why cannot
it fall into its grave in the _Black_ Sea, without having to pass over
thirteen cataracts, like the river Dnieper?" However, the reason why
Lenette on this day in particular exhibited all her heart toward
Stiefel, almost bared of the cloister grating of the breast, was that
she was, just on this day, so keenly suffering under her misery--her
poverty. Stiefel was full of genuine, solid treasures; Firmian's were
all lacquered. I know that her Siebenkæs, whom before marriage she had
loved with the calm and cool regard of a wife, would have found that
she would have come to love him after marriage with the warm affection
of a _fiancée_, if he had only been able to give her the bare
necessaries of life. There are hundreds of girls who bring themselves
to believe that they love the man to whom they are engaged, whereas it
is not till after marriage that the play becomes a reality--and that
for good reasons, both metallic and physiological. In a well-filled
room and kitchen, filled with a comfortable income, and twelve
household labours of Hercules, Lenette would have been quite true to
the advocate, though an entire philosophical society of Stiefels had
sat down all round her, and would have said and thought, every hour of
the day, "No more, thank you--I am helped;" but as things were, in a
house and kitchen so empty as hers, the chambers of a woman's heart
grow full; in one word, no good comes of it. For a woman's soul is by
nature a beautiful _fresco_ painted on rooms, table-leaves, dresses,
silver salvers, and household plenishing in general. A woman has a
large stock of virtue, but few virtues; she needs a confined sphere and
social forms, and without these flower-sticks the pure white flowers
trail in the dust of the border. A man may be a citizen of the world,
and if he has nothing else to put his arms round he can press the
entire earthly ball to his bosom, although he can't put his arms round
much more of it than will make him a grave. But a citizen_ess_ of the
world is a giantess, and goes through the world with nothing but
spectators, and is nothing but a character on the stage.

I ought to have described the whole of this evening much more
circumstantially than I have done, for it was upon this evening that
the wheels of the _vis-à-vis_ phæton of wedded life began to smoke, as
a consequence of the friction they had recently been subjected to, and
threatened to break out into a blaze of the fire of jealousy. Jealousy
is like Maria Theresa's small-pox, which allowed that princess to pass
with impunity through thirty hospitals, full of small-pox patients, but
attacked her beneath the Crowns of Hungary and Germany. Siebenkæs had
had on that of Kuhschnappel (the Bird-one) for a week or two now.

After this evening Stiefel, who took an increasing delight in sitting
basking in the rays of the still rising Sun of Lenette, came oftener
and oftener, and considered himself the peace-maker, not the

It is now my duty to paint with the utmost minutiæ of detail the last
and most important day of this year, the 31st of December, with its
background and foreground all complete, and with all accessories.

Before the 31st of December arrived, of course Christmas came, a time
which had to be gilt, and which turned Siebenkæs's silver age (after
the Royal shot) into a brazen and a wooden age. The money went. But,
worse than that, poor Firmian had fretted, and laughed, himself into an
illness. A man who has all his life, upon the upper wings of Fantasy
and the lower wings of good spirits, skimmed lightly away over the tops
of all the spread-net snares and the open pitfalls of life, does, if
once he chances to get impaled upon the hard spines of the full-blown
thistles (above the purple blossoms and the honey-vessels of which he
used to hover) beat in a terrible way about him, hungry, bleeding,
epileptically--a glad, happy man finds in the first sunstroke of
trouble well-nigh his death-blow. To the polypus of anxiety daily
growing in Siebenkæs's heart add the effects of the work and excitement
of authorship. He was very anxious to get done with his 'Selections
from the Devil's Papers' at the earliest moment possible, so as to live
on the price of them and carry on the law-suit besides. So that he sat
through entire nights almost (and chairs as well). And in this way he
wrote himself into an affection of the chest, such as the present
author brought upon himself, and that, as far as he could make out,
simply by excess of bountiful generosity towards the world of letters.
He was attacked, just as I was, by a sudden pausing of the breath and
of the action of the heart, succeeded by a blank disappearance of the
spirit of life, and then by a throbbing rush of blood up to the brain;
and this came on most frequently while he was sitting at his literary
spinning-wheel and spool.[53]

However, not a soul offers either of us one single farthing, by way of
indemnification, on account of it. It would appear to be ordained that
authors are not to go down to posterity in the body, but only in the
form of portraits or plaster-casts; as delicate trout are boiled before
being sent away as presents, people don't put in the laurel-sprig
(which is stuck into our mouths as lemons are into the wild boar's)
until we have been killed and dished. It would be a gratification to my
colleagues and to me if a reader whose heart we have moved (as well as
its auricles) were only to say as much as, "This _sweet_ emotion of
_my_ heart was not produced without a hypochondriac palpitation of
theirs." We brighten and illuminate many a head which never dreams of
thinking. "Yes, I have to thank _them_ for this, it is true, but what
is their reward? Why, pains in their _own_ heads--kephalalgia and
neuralgia in various forms!" Ay, he ought to interrupt me in the middle
of a satire like this, and cry, "Great as is the pain which his satires
cause _me_, they cause _him_ far more; luckily, _my_ pain is only
mental!" Health of body only runs parallel with health of mind; it
turns aside and departs from erudition, from over-much imagination, and
from great profundity. All these as little indicate health of mind as
corpulence, a runner's feet, a wrestler's arms, indicate health of
body. I have often wished that all souls were bottled into their bodies
as the Pyrmont water is put into its flasks. The best strength of it is
allowed to escape first, because, otherwise, it would break the bottle;
but it would seem that it is only in the case of colleges of cardinals
(if we are to credit Gorani), cathedral chapters, &c., that this
precaution is adopted, and that _their_ extraordinary power of ability,
which would other wise have burst their bodies up, is, as a preliminary
measure, let off a good deal before they are put into bodies and sent
upon earth; so that the bottles last quite well for seventy or eighty

With a sick mind, then, and a sick heart, without money, Siebenkæs
begun the last day of the year. The day itself had put on its most
beautiful summer-dress--one of Berlin blue; it was as cerulean as
Krishna, or the new sect of Grahamites, or the Jews in Persia. It had
had a fire lighted in the balloon-stove of the sun, and the snow,
delicately candied upon the earth, melted into wintergreen, like the
sugar on some cunningly-devised supper-dish, as soon as the hills were
brought within reach of its warmth. The year seemed to be saying
good-bye to Time as if with a cheerful warmth, attended with joyful
tears. Firmian longed to run and sun himself upon the moist, green
sward; but he had Professor Lang, of Baireuth, to review first.

He wrote reviews as many people offer up prayers--only in time of need.
It was like the water-carrying of the Athenian, done that he might
afterwards devote himself to the studies of his choice without dying of
hunger. But when he was reviewing, he drew his satiric sting into its
sheath, constructing his criticisms of material drawn only from his
store of wax and his honey-bag. "Little authors," he said, "are always
better than their works, and great ones are worse than theirs. Why
should I pardon moral failings--e.g. self-conceit--in the genius, and
not in the dunce? Least of all should it be forgiven the genius.
Unmerited poverty and ugliness do not deserve to be ridiculed; but they
as little deserve it when they _are merited_--though I am aware Cicero
is against me here--for a moral fault (and consequently its punishment)
can, of a certainty, not be made greater by a chance physical
consequence, which sometimes follows upon it, and sometimes does not.
Can it? Does an extravagant person who chances to come to poverty
deserve a severer punishment than one who does not? If anything, rather
the reverse." If we apply this to bad authors, from whose own eyes
their lack of merit is hidden by an impenetrable veil of self-conceit,
and at whose unoffending heart the critic discharges the fury which is
aroused in him by their (offending) heads, we may, indeed, direct our
bitterest irony against _the race_, but the _individual_ will be best
instructed by means of gentleness. I think it would be the gold-test,
the trial-by-crucible, of a morally great and altogether perfect
scholar to give him a bad, but celebrated book to review.

For my own part, I will allow myself to be reviewed by Dr. Merkel
throughout eternity if I digress again in this chapter. Firmian
worked in some haste at his notice of Lang's essay, entitled
"Præmissa Historiæ Superintendentium Generalium Bairuthi non
Specialium--Continuatione XX." It was quite essential that he should
get hold of a dollar or two that day, and he also longed to go and take
a walk, the weather was so motherly, so _hatching_. The new year fell
on the Saturday, and as early as the Thursday (the day before the one
we are writing of) Lenette had begun the holding of preliminary feasts
of purification (she now washed daily more and more _in advance_ of
actual necessities); but to-day she was keeping a regular feast of
in-gathering among the furniture, &c. The room was being put through a
course of derivative treatment for the clearing away of all impurities.
With her eye on her _index expurgandorum_, she thrust everything that
had wooden legs into the water, and followed it herself with balls of
soap; in short, she paddled and bubbled, in the Levitical purification
of the room, in her warm, native element, for once in her life to her
heart's full content. As for Siebenkæs, he sat bolt-upright in
purgatorial fire, already beginning to emit a smell of burning.

For, as it happened, he was rather madder than usual that day, to begin
with. Firstly, because he had made up his mind that he would pawn the
striped calico-gown in the afternoon, though whole nunneries were to
shriek their loudest at it, and because he foresaw that he would have
to grow exceedingly warm in consequence. And this resolve of resolves
he had taken on this particular day, because (and this is at the same
time the second reason why he was madder than usual)--because he was
sorry that their good days were all gone again, and that their music of
the spheres had all been marred by Lenette's funereal Misereres.

"Wife!" he said, "I'm reviewing for money now, recollect." She went on
with her scraping. "I have got Professor Lang before me here--the
seventh chapter of him, in which he treats of the sixth of the
Superintendents-General of Bayreuth, Herr Stockfleth." She was going to
stop in a minute or two, but just then, you know, she really _could_
NOT. Women are fond of doing everything "by and bye"--they like putting
a thing off just for a minute or two, which is the reason why they put
off even their arrival in this world a few minutes longer than boys
do.[54] "This essay," he continued, with forced calmness, "ought to
have been reviewed in the 'Messenger' six months ago, and it'll never
do for the 'Messenger' to be like the 'Universal German Library' and
the Pope, and canonise people a century or so after date."

If he had only been able to maintain his forced calmness for one minute
longer, he would have got to the end of Lenette's buzzing din; however,
he couldn't. "Oh! the devil take me, and you, too, and the 'Messenger
of the Gods' into the bargain," he burst out, starting up and dashing
his pen on the floor. "I don't know," he went on, suddenly resuming his
self-control, speaking in a faint, piteous tone, and sitting down,
quite unnerved, feeling something like a man with cupping-glasses on
all over him--"I don't know a bit what I'm translating, or whether I'm
writing Stockfleth or Lang. What a stupid arrangement it is that an
advocate mayn't be as deaf as a judge. If I were deaf, I should be
exempt from torture then. Do you know how many people it takes to
constitute a tumult by law? Either ten, or you by yourself in that
washing academy of music of yours." He was not so much inclined to be
reasonable as to do as the Spanish innkeeper did, who charged the noise
made by his guests in the bill. But now, having had her way, and gained
her point, she was noiseless in word and deed.

He finished his critique in the forenoon, and sent it to Stiefel, his
chief, who wrote back that he would bring the money for it himself in
the evening, for he now seized upon every possible opportunity of
paying a visit. At dinner Firmian (in whose head the sultry, f[oe]tid
vapour of ill-temper would not dissolve and fall), said, "I can't
understand how you come to care so very little about cleanliness and
order. It would be better even if you rather _overdid_ your cleanliness
than otherwise. People say, what a pity it is such an orderly man as
Siebenkæs should have such a slovenly kind of wife!" To irony of this
sort, though she knew quite well it _was_ irony, she always opposed
regular formal arguments. He could never get her to enjoy these little
jests instead of arguing about them, or join him in laughing at the
masculine view of the question. The fact is, a woman abandons her
opinion as soon as her husband adopts it. Even in church, the women
sing the tunes an octave higher than the men that they may differ from
them in all things.

In the afternoon the great, the momentous, hour approached in which the
ostracism, the banishment from house and home, of the checked calico
gown was at last to be carried out--the last and greatest deed of the
year 1785. Of this signal for fight, this Timour's and Muhammed's red
battle-flag, this Ziska's hide, which always set them by the ears, his
very soul was sick: he would have been delighted if somebody would have
stolen it, simply to be quit of the wearisome, threadbare idea of the
wretched rag for good and all. He did not hurry himself, but introduced
his petition with all the wordy prolixity of an M.P. addressing the
house (at home). He asked her to guess what might be the greatest
kindness, the most signal favour which she could do him on this last
day of the old year. He said he had an hereditary enemy, an
Anti-Christ, a dragon, living under his roof; tares sown among his
wheat by an enemy, which she could pull up if she chose; and, at last,
he brought the checked calico gown out of the drawer, with a kind of
twilight sorrow: "_This_," he said, "is the bird of prey which
pursues me; the net which Satan sets to catch me; his sheep-skin
my martyr-robe, my Cassim's slipper. Dearest, do me but this one
favour--send it to the pawn-shop!"

"Don't answer just yet," he said, gently laying his hand on her lips;
"let me just remind you what a stupid parish did when the only
blacksmith there was in it was going to be hanged in the village. This
parish thought it preferable to condemn an innocent master-tailor or
two to the gallows, because they could be better spared. Now, a woman
of your good sense must surely see how much easier and better it would
be to let me take away this mere piece of tailor's stitch-work, than
metal things which we eat out of every day; the mourning calico won't
be wanted, you know, as long as I'm alive."

"I've seen quite clearly for a long while past," she said, "that you've
made up your mind to carry off my mourning dress from me, by hook or by
crook, whether I will or no. But I'm not going to let you have it.
Suppose I were to say to you, pawn your watch, how would you like
that?" Perhaps the reason why husbands get into the way of issuing
their orders in a needlessly dictatorial manner is, that they generally
have little effect, but rather confirm opposition than overcome it.

"Damnation!" he cried; "that'll do, that's quite enough! I'm not a
turkey-cock, nor a bonassus neither, to be continually driven into a
frenzy by a piece of coloured rag. It goes to the pawn-shop to-day, as
sure as my name's Siebenkæs."

"Your name is Leibgeber as well," said she.

"Devil fly away with me, if that calico remains in this house!" said
he. On which she began to cry, and lament the bitter fortune which left
her nothing now, not even the very clothes for her back. When
thoughtless tears fall into a seething masculine heart, they often have
the effect which drops of water have when they fall upon bubbling
molten copper; the fluid mass bursts asunder with a great explosion.

"Heavenly, kind, gentle Devil," said he, "do please come and break my
neck for me. May God have pity on a woman like this! Very well, then,
keep your calico; keep this Lenten altar-cloth of yours to yourself.
But may the Devil fly away with me if I don't cock the old deer's horns
that belonged to my father on to my head this very day, like a poacher
on the pillory, and hawk them about the streets for sale in broad
daylight. Ay. _I give you my word of honour_ it shall be done, for all
the fun it may afford every soul in the place. And I shall simply say
that it is your doing; I'll do it, as sure as there's a devil in hell."

He went, gnashing his teeth, to the window, and looked into the street,
seeing vacancy. A rustic funeral was passing slowly by; the bier was a
man's shoulder, and on it tottered a child's rude coffin.

Such a sight is a touching one, when one thinks of the little, obscure,
human creature, passing over from the f[oe]tal slumber to the slumber
of death, from the amnion-membrane in this life to the shroud, that
amnion-membrane of the next; whose eyes have closed at their first
glimpse of this bright earth, without looking on the parents who now
gaze after it with theirs so wet with tears; which has been loved
without loving in return; whose little tongue moulders to dust before
it has ever spoken; as does its face ere it has smiled upon this odd,
contradictory, inconsistent orb of ours. These cut buds of this mould
will find a stem on which great destiny will graft them, these flowers
which, like some besides, close in sleep while it is still early
morning, will yet feel the rays of a morning sun which will open them
once more. As Firmian looked at the cold, shrouded child passing by, in
this hour, when he was ignobly quarrelling about the mourning dress
(which should mourn for _him_)--now, when the very last drops of the
old year were flowing so fast away, and his heart, now becoming so
terribly accustomed to these passing fainting fits, forbade him to hope
that he could ever complete the new one--now, amid all these pains and
sorrows, he seemed to hear the unseen river of Death murmuring under
his feet (as the Chinese lead rushing brooks under the soil of their
gardens), and the thin, brittle crust of ice on which he was standing
seemed as if it would soon crack and sink with him into the watery
depths. Unspeakably touched, he said to Lenette, "Perhaps you may be
quite right, dear, after all, to keep your mourning dress; you may have
some presentiment that I am not going to live. Do as you think best,
then, dear; I would fain not embitter this last of December any more; I
don't know that it may not be _my_ last in another sense, and that in
another year I may not be nearer to that poor baby than you. I am going
for a walk now."

She said nothing; all this startled and surprised her. He hurried away,
to escape the answer which was sure to come eventually; his absence
would, in the circumstances, be the most eloquent kind of oratory. All
persons are better than their outbreaks (or ebullitions)--that is, than
their _bad_ ones; for all are worse than their _noble_ ones, also--and
when we allow the former an hour or so to dissipate and disperse, we
gain something better than our point--we gain our opponent. He left
Lenette a very grave subject for cogitation, however,--the stag's horns
and his word of honour.

I have already once written it. The winter was lying on the ground all
bare and naked, not even the bed-sheet and chrisom-cloth of snow thrown
over it; there it lay beside the dry, withered mummy of the by-gone
summer. Firmian looked with an unsatisfied gaze athwart unclothed
fields (over which the cradle-quilt of the snow, and the white crape of
the frost, had not yet been laid), and down at the streams, not yet
struck palsied and speechless. Bright, warm days at the end of December
soften us with a sadness in which there are four or five bitter drops
more than in that belonging to the after-summer. Up to twelve o'clock
at night, and until the thirty-first day of the twelfth month, the
wintry, nocturnal, idea of dissolution and decay oppresses us; but as
soon as it is one in the morning, and the first of January, a morning
breeze, speaking of new life, moves away the clouds which were lying
over our souls, and we begin to look for the dark, pure, morning blue,
the rising of the star of morning and of spring. On a December day like
this the pale, dim, stagnant world of stiffened, sapless, plants about
us oppresses and hems us round; and the insect-collections lying
beneath the vegetation, covered with earth; and the rafter-work of
bare, dry, wrinkly trees; the December sun hanging in the sky at noon
no higher than the June sun does at evening; all these combined shed a
yellow lustre as of death (like that of burning alcohol) over the pale,
faded meadows; and long giant shadows lie extended, motionless,
everywhere--_evening_ shadows of this evening of nature and of the
year--like the ruined remains, the burnt-out ash-heaps of nights as
long as themselves. But the glistening snow, on the other hand, spread
over the blooming earth under us, is like the blue foreground of
spring, or a white fog a foot or two in depth. The quiet dark sky lies
above, and the white earth is like some white moon, whose sparkling
ice-fields melt, as we draw nearer, into dark waving meadows of

The heart of our sorrowful Firmian grew sadder yet as he stood upon
this cold, burnt-out hearth-place of nature. The daily-recurring
pausings of his heart and pulse were (he thought) the sudden silences
of the storm-bell in his breast, presaging a speedy end of the thunder,
and dissolution of the storm-cloud, of life. He thought the faltering
of his mechanism was caused by some loose pin having fallen in among
the wheels somewhere; he ascribed it to polypus of the heart, and his
giddiness he felt sure gave warning of an attack of apoplexy. To-day
was the three hundred and sixty-fifth Act of the year, and the curtain
was slowly dropping upon it already: what could this suggest to him
save gloomy similes of his own epilogue--of the winter solstice of his
shortened, over-shadowed life? The weeping image of his Lenette came
now before his forgiving, departing soul, and he thought, "She is
really not in the right; but I will yield to her, as we have not very
long to be together now. I am glad for her sake, poor soul, that _my_
arms are mouldering away from about her, and that her friend is taking
her to his."

He went up on to the scaffold of blood and sorrow where _his_ friend,
Heinrich, had taken his farewell. From that eminence, as often as his
heart was heavy, his glance would follow Leibgeber's path as far as the
hills; but to-day his eyes were moister than before, for he had no hope
that he would see the spring again. This spot was to him the hill which
the Emperor Adrian permitted the Jews to go up twice in the year, that
they might look towards the ruins of the holy city and weep for the
place wherein their steps might tread no more. The sun was now
assembling the shadows which were to close in upon the old year, and as
the stars appeared--the stars which rose at evening now being those
which in spring adorn the morning--fate snapped away the loveliest and
richest in flowers of the liana-branches from his soul, and from the
wound flowed clear water. "I shall see nothing of the coming spring,"
he thought, "except her blue, which, as in enamel-painting, is the
first laid on of all her colours." His heart--one educated to be
loving--could always fly for rest from his satires and from dry details
of business-duty, sometimes, too, from Lenette's indifference and lack
of sympathy, to the warm breast of the eternal goddess Nature, ever
ready to take us to her heart. Into the free, unveiled, and blooming
out-door world, beneath the grand wide sky, he loved to repair with all
his sighs and sorrows, and in this great garden he made all his graves
(as the Jews made them in smaller ones). And when our fellows forsake
and wound us, the sky and the earth, and the little blooming tree, open
their arms and take us into them; the flowers press themselves to our
wounded hearts, the streams mingle in our tears, and the breezes
breathe coolness into our sighs. A mighty angel troubles and inspires
the great ocean-pool of Bethesda; into its warm waves we plunge, with
all our thousand aches and pains, and ascend from the water of life
with our spasms all relaxed and our health and vigour renewed once

Firmian walked slowly home with a heart all conciliation, and eyes
which, now that it was dark, he did not take the pains to dry. He went
over in his mind everything which could possibly be adduced in his
Lenette's excuse. He strove to win himself over to her side of the
question by reflecting that she could not (like him) arm herself
against the shocks, the stumbling-stones, of life by putting on the
Minerva's helm, the armour of meditation, philosophy, authorship. He
thoroughly determined (he had determined the same thing thirty times
before) to be as scrupulously careful to observe in all things the
outside _politesses_ of life with _her_ as with the most absolute
stranger;[55] nay, he already enveloped himself in the fly-net or
mail-shirt of patience, in case he should really find the checked
calico untranslated at home. This is how we men continually
behave--stopping our ears tight with both hands, trying our hardest to
fall into the siesta, the mid-day sleep, of a little peace of mind (if
we can only anyhow manage it); thus do our souls, swayed by our
passions, reflect the sunlight of truth as one dazzling spot (like
mirrors or calm water), while all the surrounding surface lies but in
deeper shade.

How differently all fell out! He was received by Peltzstiefel, who
advanced to meet him, all solemnity of deportment, and with a
church-visitation countenance full of inspection-sermons. Lenette
scarcely turned her swollen eyes towards the windward side of her
husband as he came in at the door. Stiefel kept the strings tight which
held the muscles of his knit face, lest it might unbend before
Firmian's, which was all beaming soft with kindliness, and thus
commenced: "Mr. Siebenkæs, I came to this house to hand you the money
for your review of Professor Lang; but friendship demands of me a duty
of a far more serious and important kind, that I should exhort you and
constrain you to conduct yourself towards this poor unfortunate wife of
yours here like a true Christian man to a true Christian woman." "Or
even better, if you like," he said. "What is it all about, wife?" She
preserved an embarrassed silence. She had asked Stiefel's advice and
assistance, less for the sake of obtaining them than to have an
opportunity of telling her story. The truth was, that when the
Schulrath came unexpectedly in, while her burst of crying was at its
bitterest, she had really just that very moment sent her checked,
spiny, outer caterpillar-skin (the calico-dress, to wit) away to the
pawnshop; for her husband having pledged his honour, she felt sure
that, beyond a doubt, he would stick those preposterous horns on his
head and really go and hawk them, all over the town, for she well knew
how sacredly he kept his word, and also how utterly he disregarded
"appearances,"--and that both of these peculiarities of his were always
at their fellest pitch at a time of domestic difficulty like the
present. Perhaps she would have told her ghostly counsellor and adviser
nothing about the matter, but contented herself with having a good cry
when he came, if she had had her way (and her dress); but, having
sacrificed both, she needed compensation and revenge. At first she had
merely reckoned up difficulties in indeterminate quantities to him; but
when he pressed her more closely, her bursting heart overflowed and
_all_ her woes streamed forth. Stiefel, contrarily to the laws of
equity (and of several universities), always held the complainant in
any case to be in the right, simply because he spoke _first_: most men
think impartiality of heart is impartiality of head. Stiefel swore that
he would tell her husband what he ought to be told, and that the calico
should be back in the house that very afternoon.

So this father-confessor began to jingle his bunch of
binding-and-loosing keys in the advocate's face, and reported to him
his wife's general confession and the pawning of the dress. When there
are two diverse actions of a person to be given account of--a vexatious
and an agreeable one--the effect depends on which is spoken of the
first; it is the first narrated one which gives the ground-tint to the
listener's mind, and the one subsequently portrayed only takes rank as
a subdued accessory figure. Firmian should have heard that Lenette
pawned the dress _first_, while he was still out of doors, and of her
tale-bearing not till afterwards. But you see how the devil brought it
about, as it really did all happen. "What!" (Siebenkæs _felt_, if not
exactly _thought_) "What! She makes my rival her confidant and my
judge! I bring her home a heart all kindness and reconciliation, and
she makes a fresh cut in it at once, distressing and annoying me in
this way, on the very last day of the year, with her confounded
chattering and tale-telling." By this last expression he meant
something which the reader does not yet quite understand; for I have
not yet told him that Lenette had the bad habit of being--rather
ill-bred; wherefore she made common people of her own sex, such as the
bookbinder's wife, the recipients of her secret thoughts--the electric
discharging-rods of her little atmospheric disturbances; while, at the
same time, she took it ill of her husband that, though he did not,
indeed, admit serving-men and maids and "the vulgar" into his own
mysteries, he yet accompanied them into theirs.

Stiefel (like all people who have little knowledge of the world, and
are not gifted with much tact,--who never assume anything as granted in
the first place, but always go through every subject _ab initio_)--now
delivered a long, theological, matrimonial-service sort of exhortation
concerning love as between Christian husband and wife, and ended by
insisting on the recall of the calico (his Necker, so to say). This
address irritated Firmian, and that chiefly because (irrespectively of
_it_) his wife thought he had not any religion, or, at all events, not
so much as Stiefel. "I remember" (he said) "seeing in the history of
France that Gaston, the first prince of the blood, having caused his
brother some little difficulties or other of the warlike sort on one
occasion, in the subsequent treaty of peace bound himself, in a special
article, to love Cardinal Richelieu. Now I think there's no question
but that an article to the effect that man and wife shall love one
another ought to be inserted as a distinct, separate, secret clause, in
all contracts of marriage; for though love, like man himself, is by
origin eternal and immortal, yet, thanks to the wiles of the serpent,
it certainly becomes mortal enough within a short time. But, as far as
the calico's concerned, let's all thank God that _that_ apple of
discord has been pitched out of the house." Stiefel, by way of offering
up a sacrifice, and burning a little incense before the shrine of his
beloved Lenette, _insisted_ on the return of the calico, and did so
very firmly; for Siebenkæs's gen tie, complaisant readiness to yield to
him, up to this point, in little matters of sacrifice and service, had
led him to entertain the deluded idea that he possessed an irresistible
authority over him. The husband, a good deal agitated now, said, "We'll
drop the subject, if you please." "Indeed, we'll do nothing of the
kind," said Stiefel; "I must really _insist_ upon it that your wife has
her dress back." "It can't be done, Herr Schulrath." "I'll advance you
whatever money you require," cried Stiefel, in a fever of indignation
at this striking and unwonted piece of disobedience. It was now, of
course, more impossible than ever for the advocate to retire from his
position; he shook his head eighty times. "Either _you_ are out of your
mind," said Stiefel, "or _I_ am; just let me go through my reasons to
you once more." "Advocates," said Siebenkæs, "_were_ fortunate enough,
in former times, to have private chaplains of their own; but it was
found that there was no converting any of them, and therefore they are
now exempt from being preached at."

Lenette wept more bitterly--Stiefel shouted the louder on that account;
in his annoyance at his ill success, he thought it well to repeat his
commands in a ruder and blunter form; of course Siebenkæs resisted more
firmly. Stiefel was a pedant, a class of men which surpasses all others
in a bare-faced, blind, self-conceit, just like an unceasing wind
blowing from all the points of the compass at once (for a pedant even
makes an ostentatious display of his own personal idiosyncrasies).
Stiefel, like a careful and conscientious player, felt it a duty to
thoroughly throw himself into the part he was representing, and carry
it out in all its details, and say, "Either" "Or" Mr. Siebenkæs;
"either the mourning gown comes, or _I_ go, _aut-aut_. My visits cannot
be of much consequence, it's true, still they have I consider, a
certain value, if it were but on Mrs. Siebenkæs's account." Firmian,
doubly irritated, firstly at the imperious rudeness and conceit of an
alternative of the sort, and secondly at the lowness of the market
price for which the Rath abandoned their society, could but say,
"Nobody can influence your decision on that point now but yourself. _I_
most certainly cannot. It will be an easy matter for you, Herr
Schulrath, to give up our acquaintance--though there is no real reason
why you should--but it will not be easy for me to give up yours,
although I shall have no choice." Stiefel, from whose brow the
sprouting laurels were thus so unexpectedly shorn--and that, too, in
the presence of the woman he loved--had nothing to do but take his
leave; but he did it with three thoughts gnawing at his heart--his
vanity was hurt, his dear Lenette was crying, and her husband was
rebellious and insubordinate, and resisting his authority.

And as the Schulrath said farewell for ever, a bitter, bitter sorrow
stood fixed in the eyes of his beloved Lenette--a sorrow which, though
the hand of time has long since covered it over, I still see there in
its fixity; and she could not go down stairs, as at other times, with
her sorrowing friend, but went back into the dark, unlighted room,
alone with her overflowing breaking heart.

Firmian's heart laid aside its hardness, though not its coldness, at
the sight of his persecuted wife in her dry, stony grief at this
falling to ruin of every one of her little plans and joys; and he did
not add to her sorrow by a single word of reproach. "You see," was all
he said, "that it is no fault of mine that the Schulrath gives up our
acquaintance; he ought never to have been told anything about the
matter,--however, it's all over now." She made no reply. The hornet's
sting (which makes a triple stab), the dagger, thrown as by some
revengeful Italian, was left sticking firm in her wound, which
therefore could not bleed. Ah! poor soul; thou hast deprived thyself of
so much! Firmian, however, could not see that he had anything to accuse
himself of; he being the gentlest, the most yielding of men under the
sun, always ruffled all the feathers on his body up with a rustle in an
instant at the slightest touch of _compulsion_, most especially if it
concerned his honour. He _would_ accept a present, it is true, but only
from Leibgeber, or (on rare occasions) from others in the warmest hours
of soul communion; and his friend and he both held the opinion that, in
friendship, not only was a farthing of quite as much value as a
sovereign, but that a sovereign was worth just as little as a farthing,
and that one is bound to accept the most splendid presents just as
readily as the most trifling; and hence he counted it among the
unrecognised blessings of childhood that children can receive gifts
without any feeling of shame.

In a mental torpor he now sat down in the arm-chair, and covered his
eyes with his hand; and then the mists which hid the future all rolled
away, and showed in it a wide dreary tract of country, full of the
black ashy ruins of burnt homesteads, and of dead bushes of underwood,
and the skeletons of beasts lying in the sand. He saw that the chasm,
or landslip, which had torn his heart and Lenette's asunder, would go
on gaping wider and wider; he saw, oh! so clearly and cheerlessly, that
his old beautiful love would never come back, that Lenette would never
lay aside her self-willed pertinacity, her whims, the habits of her
daily life; that the narrow limits of her heart and head would remain
fixed firmly for ever; that she would as little learn to understand
him, as get to love him; while, again, her repugnance to him would get
the greater the longer her friend's banishment endured, and that her
fondness for the latter would increase in proportion. Stiefel's money,
and his seriousness, and religion, and attachment to herself combined
to tear in two the galling bond of wedlock by the pressure of a more
complex and gentle tie. Sorrowfully did Siebenkæs gaze into a long
prospect of dreary days, all constrained silence, and dumb hostility
and complaint.

Lenette was working in her room in silence, for her wounded heart
shrunk from a word or a look as from a cold fierce wind. It was now
very dark, she wanted no light. On a sudden, a wandering street-singing
woman began to play a harp, and her child to accompany her on a flute,
somewhere in the house downstairs. At this our friend's bursting heart
seemed to have a thousand gashes inflicted on it to let it bleed gently
away. As nightingales love to sing where there is an echo, so our
hearts speak loudest to music. As these tones brought back to him his
old hopes, almost irrecognisable now,--as he gazed down at his Arcadia
now lying hidden deep, deep, beneath the stream of years, and saw
himself down in it, with all his young fresh wishes, amid his long lost
friends, gazing with happy eyes round their circle, all confidence and
trust, his growing heart hoarding and cherishing its love and truth for
some warm heart yet to be met in the time to come: and as he now burst
into that music with a dissonance, crying, "And I have never found that
heart, and now all is past and over," and as the pitiless tones brought
pictures of blossomy springs and flowery lands, and circles of loving
friends to pass, as in a camera obscura, before him--_him_ who had
nothing, not one soul in all the land to love him; his steadfast
spirit gave way at last, and sank down on earth to rest as quite
overdone, and nothing soothed him now but that which pained. Suddenly
this sleep-walking music ceased, and the pause clutched, like a
speechless nightmare, tighter at his heart. In the silence he went into
the room and said to Lenette, "Take them down what little we have
left." But over the latter words his voice broke and failed, for he saw
(by the flare of some potash-burning which was going on opposite) that
all her glowing face was covered with streaming, undried tears, though
when he came in she pretended to be busily wiping the windowpane dimmed
by her breath. She laid the money down on the window. He said, more
gently yet, "Lenette, you will have to take it to them now, or they
will be gone." She took it; her eyes worn with weeping met his (which
were worn with weeping too); she went, and then their eyes grew
well-nigh dry, so far apart were their two souls already.

They were suffering in that terrible position of circumstances when not
even a moment of mutual and reciprocal emotion can any longer reconcile
and warm two hearts. His whole heart swelled with overflowing
affection, but hers belonged to his no more; he was urged at once by
the wish to love her, and the feeling that it was now impossible, by
the perception of all her shortcomings and the conviction of her
indifference to him. He sat down in the window seat, and leaned his
head upon the sill, where it rested, as it chanced, upon a handkerchief
which she had left there, and which was moist and cold with tears. She
had been solacing herself after the long oppression of the day, with
this gentle effusion, much as we have a vein opened after some severe
contusion. When he touched the handkerchief, an icy shudder crept down
his back, like a sting of conscience, but immediately after it there
came a burning glow as the thought flashed to his mind that her weeping
had been for another person than himself altogether. The singing and
the flute now began again (without the harp this time), and floated in
the rising, falling waves, of a slow-timed song, of which the verses
ended always with the words, "Gone is gone, and dead is dead." Sorrow
now clutched him in her grasp, like some mantle-fish, casting around
him her dark and suffocating folds. He pressed Lenette's wet
handkerchief to his eyes hard, and heard (but less distinctly), "Gone
is gone, and dead is dead." Then of a sudden his whole soul melted and
dissolved at the thought that perhaps that halting heart of his would
let him see no other new year save that of the morrow, and he thought
of himself as dying; and the cold handkerchief, wet with his own tears
now as well as hers, lay cool upon his burning brow, while the notes of
the music seemed to mark like bells each stroke of time, so that its
rapid flight was made distinguishable by the ear, and he saw himself
asleep in a quiet grave, like one in the Grotto of the Serpents, but
with worms in place of the serpents, licking off the burning poison of

The music had ceased. He heard Lenette moving in the next room and
getting a light; he went to her and gave her her handkerchief. But his
heart was so pained and bleeding that he longed to embrace some one, no
matter whom; he was impelled to press his Lenette to his heart, his
Lenette of _the past_ if not of _the present_, his _suffering_, if no
longer his loving, Lenette; at the same time he could not utter one
word of affection, neither had he the slightest wish to do so. He put
his arms round her slowly, unbent, and held her to him, but she turned
her head quickly and coldly away as from a kiss which was not
proffered. This pained him greatly, and he said, "Do you suppose I am
any happier than you are yourself?" He laid his face down on her
averted head, pressed her to him again, and then let her away; and this
vain embrace at an end, his heart cried, "Gone is gone, and dead is

The silent room in which the music and the words had ceased to sound
was like some unhappy village from whence the enemy has carried off all
the bells, and where there is nothing but silence all the day and
night, and the church tower is mute as if time itself were past.

As Firmian laid him down on his bed, he thought, "A sleep closes the
old year as if it were one's last, and ushers in the new as it does,
our own lives; and I sleep on towards a future all anxiety, vague of
form, and darkly veiled. Thus does man sleep at the gate behind which
the dreams are barred; but although his dreams are but a step or two--a
minute or two--within that gate, he cannot tell _what_ dreams await him
at its opening; whether in the brief unconscious night beasts of prey
with glaring eyes are lying in wait to dash upon him, or smiling
children to come trooping round him in their play; nor if, when the
cloudy shapes beyond that mystic door come about him, their clasp is to
be the fond embrace of love, or the murderous clutch of death."

                               CHAPTER X.


I really cannot wish my hero a happy new year on a new year's day when,
on his awaking in the morning, he rolls his swollen eyeballs heavily in
their sockets towards the dawn, and then buries his worn and stupefied
head deep again in his pillow, as he does now. A man who scarcely ever
sheds a tear is always attacked in this way by physical, as a
consequence of moral, pain. He lay in bed much later than usual,
thinking over what he had done, and what he had now to do. He awoke,
feeling; much cooler towards Lenette than he had done when he went to
bed. When two hearts can no longer be brought together by the influence
of some mutual, warm emotion, when the glow of enthusiasm no longer
links them together, still less can they mingle and unite when the glow
has passed away, and chilly reserve has resumed its sway. There is a
certain half-and-half state of partial reconciliation in which the
vertical index of the jewel-balance, in its glass-case, is turned by
the lightest breath from the tongue of a third person; to-day, alas!
the scale on Firmian's side sunk a little, and that on Lenette's went
down altogether. He prepared himself, however, and dreaded at the same
time, to give and to return the new year greetings. He took heart, and
entered the room with his usual hearty step, as if nothing had
happened. She had let the coffee-pot turn into a refrigerator rather
than call him, and was standing with her back to him, at the drawer of
the _commode_, tearing hearts to pieces, to see what was inside them.
The hearts in question were printed new year's wishes in verse, which
she had received, in happier days, from her friends in Augspurg; the
kindly wishes were hidden behind groups of hearts clipped out and
twined together in spiral lines. As the Holy Virgin gets behung with
"_assignat_" hearts of wax, so do other virgins with paper ones; for
with these fair maidens all warmth and enthusiasm gets the name of
"heart," much as map-makers fancy that the outline of burning Africa
has a considerable resemblance to a heart.

Firmian could well divine how many a longing sigh the poor soul had
heaved over so many a ruined wish and hope, and all her mournful
comparisons of the present time--with those smiling days gone by--and
all that sorrow and the memory of the past spake to the gentle, tender
heart. Alas! since even the happy greet the new year with sighs, the
wretched may well be allowed a tear or two. He said his "good morning"
gently, and had he received a gentle answer, would have gone so far as
to add _his_ wishes to the stock of printed ones; but Lenette, who had
been oftener hurt, and more deeply too, on the previous day, than he
had, snarled back at him a cold and hasty reply. So that he could not
offer any wishes; she offered none; and thus stonily and thus miserably
they went elbowing one another through the gate of the new year.

I must say it; he had been looking forward for something like eight
weeks to the happiness of this new year's morning--to the blissful
union of their hearts--to the thousands of loving wishes which he would
offer--to their close embraces and happy silences of lips upon lips!
Ah! how different it all was; cold, deathly cold! On some other
occasion, when I have more paper, I must explain at full length why and
wherefore his satirical vein served the purpose of a ferment, a leaven
or yeast, or, say a kind of irrigating engine to that sensitive heart
of his of which he was both proud and ashamed at once. The royal burgh
of Kuhschnappel itself had more to do with it than anything else. Upon
this town, as upon some others in Germany, the dew of sensibility has
never fallen (as if these places were made of metal), whilst their
inhabitants have provided themselves with hearts of bone, on which, as
on frozen limbs, and witches bearing the _stigmata_ of the devil, it is
impossible to inflict wounds of any consequence to speak of. Amid a
population possessed of this sort of frigidity, one is, of course,
inclined to pardon--and even go out of one's way in search of--a little
warmth, even of an exaggerated kind,--whereas a man who had been living
about 1785 in Leipzig, where nearly all hearts and arteries were
injected full of the spirit of tears, might have been disposed to carry
his humorous indignation at that circumstance a little too far, in the
same way that cooks dish up watery vegetables with more pepper in wet
weather than in dry.

Lenette went three times to church that day, not that there was
anything extraordinary in that. It is not so much with respect to the
church-goers that the words "three times" in this connection, alarming
as they are, horrify one. The church-goers may sometimes, perhaps, be
all the better for going so often; but it is for the sake of the
unfortunate clergy who are obliged to preach so many times in one day,
that they may think themselves lucky if all that happens to them is
that they go to the devil and don't lose their voices into the bargain.
The first time a man preaches, he certainly moves _himself_ more than
anybody else, and becomes his own proselyte; but when it comes to the
millionth time or so of his laying down the moral law, it must be much
the same with him as with the Egerian peasants, who drink the Egerian
waters every day, and consequently cease to be susceptible to their
derivative qualities, however visitors may be affected by them.

At dinner our melancholy pair sat silent, except that the husband,
seeing the wife preparing to go to the afternoon service at church,
which she had not been in the habit of attending for some time, asked
her who was going to preach. "Most probably Schulrath Stiefel," she
said, although he usually preached only in the morning, but just now
the evening preacher couldn't preach, he had received "a chastisement
from God--he had put out his collar-bone." At another time Siebenkæs
would have had a good deal to say as touching the latter clause of her
sentence; but on the present occasion (circumstances being as they
were), all he did was to strike his plate with one of the prongs of his
fork, and then hold it up to one of his ears, while he stopped the
other; this droning bass, this humming harmony, bore his tortured soul
away upon the waves of music, and this echoing sound-board, this
vibrating bell-tongue, seemed to be singing to him (by way of new
year's greeting), "Hearest thou not the distant bell ringing at the
close of thy chill life's high mass? The question is, shalt thou, when
next new year's day comes, be able to hear; or lying, by that time,
crumbling into dust?"

After dinner he looked out of window, directing his gaze less to the
street than to the sky. There, as it chanced, he saw two mock suns, and
almost in the zenith the half of a rainbow with a paler one
intersecting it. These tinted stars began strangely to sway his soul,
making it sad, as if he saw in them the reflected image of his own dim,
pale, shattered life. For to man, when swayed by emotion, Nature is
ever a great mirror, all emotion too; it is only to him who is
satisfied and at rest that she seems nothing but a cold, dead window
between him and the world beyond.

When he was alone in the room after dinner, and the jubilant hymns from
the church, and the glad song of a canary in a neighbour's room came
upon his weary soul like the movement and the tumult of all the joy of
his youth, now buried alive in the tomb; and when the bright magic
sunshine broke into his chamber, and light cloud-shadows slid athwart
the spot of light upon the floor, questioning his sick, moaning heart
in a thousand melancholy tropes, and saying, "Is it not thus with all
things? Are not your own days fleeting by like vapours through a chilly
sky, above a dead earth, floating away towards the night?"--he could
but open his swelling heart by means of the soft-edged sword of music,
that so the nearest and heaviest of the drops of his sorrow might be
set free to flow. He struck a single triad chord upon his piano, and
struck it once again, letting it gradually die away; the tones floated
away as the clouds had, the sweet harmony trembled more slowly and more
slowly, grew fainter and fainter, and ceased at last; silence, as of
the grave, was all that was left. As he listened, his breath and his
heart stopped, a faintness came over him which extended to his very
soul; and then--and then--as floods wash the dead from out of the
churches and the graves, in this morbid hour of dreams, the stream of
his heart came flowing again, and bearing upon its billows a new corpse
from out the future, torn all unshrouded from its earthly bed; it was
his own body; he was dead. He looked out of window towards the
comforting and reassuring light and star of life, but the voice within
him cried on still, "Do not deceive thyself; before the new year's
wishes are said again, thou wilt have departed hence."

When a shivering heart is thus all shorn of its leaves and standing
bare, every breeze that touches it is a freezing blast. With what a
soft, warm, gentle touch Lenette would have had to touch it so as not
to startle it. A heart in this condition is like a clairvoyante, who
feels a chill as of death in every hand which touches from beyond the
charmed circle.

He determined to join the corpse-lottery (as it was called) that very
day, so as to be able at all events to pay the toll or tax on his
departure for the next world. He told Lenette so, but she thought this
was only another of his harpings on the subject of the mourning dress.
Thus cloudily passed the first day of the year, and the first week was
even more rainy. The garden-hedge and fencing round Lenette's love for
Stiefel were completely cut down and pulled up now, and the love was to
be clearly seen of every passer-by. Every evening at the time when the
Schulrath used formerly to come, vexation and regret graved a deeper
furrow on her round young face, which as time went on turned wholly
into a piece of carving fretted by the hand of grief. She found out the
days when he was to preach, so that she might go and hear him, and
whenever a funeral passed, she went to the window to see him. The
bookbinder's wife was her "corresponding member," from whom she
constantly drew fresh discoveries concerning the Schulrath, and
repeated the old ones with her over and over again. What an amount of
warmth the Schulrath must have gained by reason of his focal distance,
and her husband have lost on account of his proximity will be at once
apparent; just as the earth derives least warmth from the sun when they
are nearest together, i. e. in winter! Moreover another event came just
then to pass which increased Lenette's aversion. Von Blaize had
secretly circulated a report that Siebenkæs was an atheist and no
Christian. Respectable old maiden ladies and the clergy, form a
charming contrast to the vindictive Romans under the Empire, who often
accused, the most innocent people possible of being Christians, in
order that they might obtain a martyr's crown. The old maids and
parsons aforesaid rather take the part of a man who is in a position of
this kind, and deny that he is a Christian; and in this they contrast,
likewise with the Romans and Italians of the present day, who always
say "there are four Christians here," when they mean "four men." In St.
Ferieux, near Besancon, the most virtuous girl used to be presented
with a lace veil of the value of live shillings by way of a prize; and
people like Blaize are fond of throwing a prize for virtue of this
kind, namely, a moral veil, over the good. This is why they are fond of
calling thinking men infidels, and the heterodox wolves, whose teeth
help to smooth and polish,--which is the reason why wolves are engraved
upon the best steel blades.

When Siebenkæs first told his wife this report of Blaize's (that he was
no Christian, if not, indeed, altogether an infidel), she didn't pay
very much attention to it, inasmuch as it seemed out of the question
such a thing could be true of a man to whom she had united herself in
the holy state of matrimony. It was not until sometime afterwards that
she remembered that, one month when there had been a long period of dry
weather he had spoken disparagingly (without the least hesitation), not
only of the Roman Catholic processions (for she did not think THEY WERE
of very much use herself), but concerning the Protestant's prayers for
rain, inquiring, "Do the processions, miles long, in the Arabian
deserts, which go by the name of caravans, ever lead to the production
of a single cloud in the sky, let them pray for rain as hard as they
choose?" And "Why do the clergy get up processions only for rain or
fine weather? why not to get rid of a severe winter, when at all events
those who took part in the processions would feel a little warmer; or,
in Holland, for bright sunny weather and the dispersion of fog; or
against the aurora-borealis in Greenland?" "But what he wondered at
most," he said, "was why those converters of the heathen, who pray so
often, and with so much success for the sun when he's only behind a
cloud or two, should not supplicate for him in circumstances of
infinitely greater importance--in the polar regions, namely, where for
months at a time he never appears even when the sky is altogether
cloudless? Or why," he asked in the last place, "do they take no steps
to petition against the great solar eclipses (which are seldom very
enjoyable occurrences), suffering themselves to be outdone by savage
nations in this respect, for as the latter _do_ howl and pray them
away?" Many speeches, in themselves innocuous at first, nay sweet,
acquire poisonous properties in the storehouse of time, as sugar does
when kept for thirty years in a warehouse.[56] These few words,
candidly spoken out in the course of common conversation, took a great
hold upon Lenette now that she sate under Stiefel's pulpit (made of
apostles all carpentered up together), and heard him offering up one
prayer after another, for, or against (as the case might be), sickness,
government, child-birth, harvest, &c., &c.! How dear, on the other
hand, Peltzstiefel grew to her; his very sermons became, in the most
charming manner, regular love-letters to her heart. And indeed
clericality does, at all times, stand in a very close relation to the
feminine heart; that's why "hearts" formerly meant the clergy on German
playing cards.

Now what all this time did Stanislaus Siebenkæs think and do? Two
contradictory things. If a hard word escaped him, he was sorry for the
feeble, forsaken soul, whose whole rose-border of enjoyment had been
hoed up, whose first love for the Schulrath lay languishing in sorrow
and famine; for the thousand charms of that imprisoned nature of hers
would have opened in all their beauty to some heart she loved, which
_his_ was not. "And can I not see," he said further, "how impossible it
is that the pin's or needle's point can act as a lightning conductor to
the sultry, lightning-charged clouds of her life, in the same way that
the pen's point does for mine. One _can_ WRITE a good deal of one's
mind, but one can't _stitch_ very much off it. And when I consider what
swimming-belts and cork-jackets for the deepest floods _I_ am prepared
with, in the shape of the self-contemplation of the Emperor Antoninus
and in Arrianus Epictetus, of neither of whom _she_ knows even the
binding, let alone the name (to say nothing of my astronomy and
psychology); and what splendid hands at the fire engine-pumps _they_
are to me when I blaze up in a conflagration of anger as I did just
now, while _she_ has to let _her_ anger burn itself out, verily I ought
to be ten times more gentle with her, instead of being ten times more
irritable." If it happened, on the other hand, that he had not given
but had _received_ a few hard words, he thought of her warm longing for
the Schulrath which she could so readily increase and magnify in secret
during her wholly mechanical work, to any extent; and of the continual
yielding of his own too soft heart; a thing for which his strong-souled
Leibgeber would have scolded him, while his wife would have done so for
the contrary defect, which she was not likely to encounter in her stiff
unyielding Stiefel, judging by the recent unceremoniousness of style in
which he, the other day, gave his notice of the calling in of his
capital of Regard.

In this frame of mind, one day when his spirit was heavy with anger, he
put to her, as she was starting again to go to the Schulrath's evening
sermon, the simple little question, why it was she used formerly to go
so seldom to the evening service, and now went so often? She answered
that it was because the evening preacher, Mr. Schalaster, always
used to preach in the evenings, but that since he had put out his
collar-bone the Schulrath had taken his duty. Heaven forbid that she
should go to the evening services when Mr. Schalaster's collar-bone was
well again. By slow degrees he drew out of her that she considered this
young Mr. Schalaster a most dangerous disseminator of false doctrine, a
man who by no means adhered to Luther's bible, but believed in
_Mosheh_, and in Jesos Christos, Petros and Paulos, and, in fact,
_os'd_ all the Apostles in such a manner as to be an offence to all
Christian folks; nay he had gone the length of naming the Holy
Jerusalem in such an extraordinary way that she couldn't so much
as say it after him; it was soon after this that he had put out his
collar-bone, but far be it from her to judge the man. "No, don't,
dear," her husband said, "perhaps the young gentleman may be a little
nearsighted, or he mayn't know his Greek Testament so well as he ought,
the _u_'s in it are sometimes a good deal like _o_'s. Ah! how many
Schalasters there are who do in their several sciences and doctrines,
say Petros for Petrus, and where there's not the slightest occasion,
and nothing in the shape of a stumbling-block in the path, breed
dissension among mankind by means of consanguineous vowels."

On this particular occasion, however, Schalaster drew our couple a
little nearer together again. It was a satisfaction to Siebenkæs to
find that he had been a little mistaken up to this point, and that it
was not only love to Stiefel which had taken her to evening church, but
that regard for purity of doctrine had something to do with it as well.
The distinction was fine, it is true; but in time of need one catches
at the minutest fragment of comfort; and Siebenkæs was delighted that
his wife wasn't _quite_ so deeply in love with the Schulrath as he had
been supposing. Let no one hear speak despairingly of the delicate
gossamer web which supports us and our happiness. If we _do_ spin and
draw it out of _ourselves_, as the spider does hers, yet it bears us
pretty firmly up, and, like the spider, we hang safe and sound in the
middle of it, while the storm-wind rocks both our web and us uninjured
to and fro.

From this day Siebenkæs went straightway back to his only friend in the
place, Stiefel, whose little mistake he had forgiven from his heart
long long since--half an hour after it happened, I believe. He knew
that the sight of him would be a consolation to the exiled evangelist
in his Patmos-chamber, and that his wife would find a consolation in it
too. Yea, he carried greetings which had never been intrusted to him
backwards and forwards between the two.

The little scraps of news of the Schulrath, which he would let drop of
an evening, were to Lenette as the young green shoots which the
partridge scratches up from beneath the snow. At the same time, I am
not concealing the fact that I am very sorry both for him and for her;
although I am not such a wretched partisan of either as to withhold my
love and my sympathy from two people who are mutually misunderstanding
and making war upon each other.

Out of this grey sultry sky, whose electrical machines were being
charged fuller and fuller every hour, there broke, at last, a first
harsh peal of thunder--Firmian lost his law suit. The Heimlicher
was the catskin rubber, the foxtail switch, which charged the
Inheritance Chamber, the goldsmith's pitch-cake of Justice, full of
pocket-lightning. But the suit was adjudged to be lost on the simple
ground that the young notary, Giegold, with whose notarial instrument
Siebenkæs had armed himself, was not as yet duly matriculated. There
cannot be very many persons unaware that in Saxony no legal instrument
is valid unless drawn up by a notary who has been duly matriculated,
while, at the same time, documentary evidence can be of no greater
force in another country than of that which it possessed in the country
where it was drawn up. Firmian lost his suit, and his inheritance along
with it. However, the latter remained untouched, for, perhaps, nothing
can keep a sum of money safer from the attacks of thieves, clients, and
lawyers, than the fact of its being the subject of a lawsuit--nobody
can touch it then. The sum is clearly specified in all the documents,
and these documents would have, themselves, to be got out of the way
before the _money_ could be got at. Similarly, the good man of the farm
rejoices when the weevil has papered his cornricks all over with white,
because then the corn which has not had the heart of it eaten out by
the spinner is safe against the ravages of all other corn worms.

A lawsuit is never more easily won than when it is lost--one lodges an
appeal. After payment of the costs, ordinary and extraordinary, the law
concedes the _beneficium appellationis_ (benefit of appeal to a higher
tribunal), although this benefit-farce cannot be of much avail to
anybody who has not had certain other benefits conferred upon him

Siebenkæs had the right to appeal; he could with ease adduce evidence
of his name and wardship through a duly matriculated Leipzig notary.
All he wanted was the worktool--the weapon for the fight, which was
also the subject of it--to wit, money. During the ten days which the
appeal (f[oe]tus-like) had wherein to come to maturity, he went about
sickly and thoughtful. Each of these decimal days exercised upon him
one of the persecutions of the early Christians and decimated his hours
of happiness. To apply to his Leibgeber, in Bayreuth, for money, the
distance was too long and the time too short; for Leibgeber, to judge
by his silence, had probably leapt ever many a mountain on the
leaping-pole, the climbing-spurs, of his silhouette-clipping. Firmian
cast everything to the winds, and went to his old friend, Stiefel, that
he might comfort himself and tell all the story. Stiefel fumed at the
sight of marshy bottomless paths of the law, and pressed upon Siebenkæs
the acceptance of a pair of stilts whereon to traverse them, namely,
the money necessary for the appeal. Ah! this to the disconsolate,
longing, Schulrath was almost tantamount to another clasp of Lenette's
beloved, clinging hand; his honest blood, coagulated by all these days
of mere icy cold, thawed once more and began to flow. It was through no
cheating of his sense of honour that Firmian, who preferred starving to
borrowing, at once accepted Stiefel's money, looking upon each dollar
as a little stone wherewith to pave the path of the law, and so pass
over it unbemired. His principal idea was that he would soon be dead,
and that, at all events, his helpless widow would have the enjoyment of
his inheritance.

He appealed to the Supreme Court and ordered another instrument to be
drawn up in Leipzig.

These fresh nail-scratches of fortune, on the one hand, and Stiefel's
kindness and money, on the other, laid up a fresh accumulation of
oxygenous, or acidifying, matter in Lenette, and, at the same time, the
acid of her ill-humour became (as acids in general do) stronger in a
time of frost, and on this subject I shall here communicate the few
meteorological observations which I have to make.

They are as follows:--Since the misunderstanding with Stiefel, Lenette
was mute the whole day long, recovering from this lingual paralysis
only in the presence of strangers. I presume there must exist some
physical cause for the phenomenon that a woman is frequently unable to
speak except in the presence of strangers, and we should be able to
discover the reason of the converse phenomenon, that a mesmerized
subject can converse only with the mesmerizer or with persons who are
_en rapport_ with him. In St. Kilda everybody coughs when a stranger
arrives in the island, and although coughing is not exactly speaking,
perhaps, yet it is a preliminary whirring of the wheels of the
mechanism of speech. This periodic or intermittent dumbness, which,
perhaps, like the non-periodic or continued form of the complaint may
be the result of the suppression of (surface) outbreaks, is nothing new
to the medical world. Wepfer mentions the case of a paralytic woman who
could say nothing except the Lord's Prayer and the Creed; and cases of
dumbness are of frequent occurrence in matrimonial life, in which the
wife can say nothing to the husband beyond a word or two of the
extremest necessity. There was a fever-patient at Wittenberg who
couldn't speak a word the whole day long except between 12 and 1
o'clock; and we meet with plenty of poor dumb women who are only in a
condition to speak for about a quarter of an hour in the course of the
day, or can just manage to get out a word or two in the evening, and
are obliged to have recourse to _dumb-bells_ by way of helping out
their meaning, using for that purpose plates, keys, and doors.

This dumbness, at last, so worked upon poor Siebenkæs that he caught it
himself. He mimicked his wife as a father does his children for their
good. His satiric humour often had a good deal the appearance of
satiric _ill_-humour; but this was done with the sole view of keeping
himself at all times perfectly calm and cool. When chamber-wenches
distracted him most utterly as he was in the depths of his auctorial
sugar-refinery and beer-brewery, by converting (with Lenette's
assistance) his room into a regular herald's chancellery and orator's
tribune, he could always bring his wife, at all events, down from the
platform by striking three blows on his desk with his bird-sceptre
(this was by virtue of an arrangement which he had come to with her on
the subject). Also, on the many occasions when he would find himself
sitting over against these talking Cicero-heads, powerless to frame an
idea, or to write a line, and regretting the loss (not so much to
himself as to the innumerable mass of persons of the highest condition
and intelligence) of the thousands of ideas which were thus abstracted
by these adepts in the art of talk--he could give a tremendous thump
with his sceptre-ruler, upon the table, such as one gives to a pond to
make the frogs cease croaking. What pained him most with regard to this
robbery of posterity was the thought that his book would go down to it
shorn of its fair and due proportions as a consequence of all this
fugitive chatter. It is a beautiful thing that all authors, even those
who deny the immortality of their own souls, seldom have anything to
say against that of their names. As Cicero declared that he would
believe in the second life, even were there none, they cleave to a
belief in the second, eternal, life of their names, however their
critics may demonstrate the contrary.

Siebenkæs now most distinctly intimated to his wife, that he should not
speak any more at all, not even concerning matters of the utmost
necessity, and this because he simply could not and would not be
distracted or chilled in the fervour of composition, by long angry
discussions concerning talking, washing, or the like, neither be
induced to lose his temper with her about such matters. Any given
matter of perfect indifference can be spoken of in ten different tones
and mistones, and, therefore, with the view of not depriving his wife
of whatever enjoyment she might derive from speculating as to the
_tones_ in which things were capable of being said, he gave her to
understand that for the future he would speak to her only in writing.

I am ready, here, with an explanation of the fullest description as to
this proceeding. That grave and earnest person, the bookbinder, was
exercised in his mind, all through the ecclesiastical year, by nothing
to such an extent as by the conduct of his "Rascal," as he styled his
son, a bit of a _mauvais sujet_, who was a better hand at reading a
book than at binding one--always clipping the edges askew, or cropping
them too closely, or doubling or halving the dimensions of the damp
sheets by screwing the press too tight. Now these were matters of a
sort which his father could by no means endure, and he lost his temper
over them to such an extent that he would not _speak_ to this child of
the devil and his realm, not so much as a syllable. Such sumptuary laws
and golden rules connected with bookmaking, therefore, as he had to
communicate to his son he delivered to his wife, in her capacity of
postmistress, and she (using her needle by way of rod of office) would
then get up in her distant corner of the room and transmit the commands
of the father to the son, who would be planing away at no very great
distance. The son, who had to deliver all _his_ questions and answers
to the postmistress in the same manner, approved of this arrangement
most thoroughly; his father's tongue gave much less trouble than
before. The father got into the habit of this system and ceased to
treat of anything by word of mouth, no matter what. He even got to
trying to express his views concerning his son's proceedings by means
of looks, darting burning glances at him, like a lover, as he sat
opposite to him. An eye full of glances, however (notwithstanding the
fact that there are ocular letters, as well as palatals, labials, and
glossals), is at best but a box of confused pearl type. But as, by
good fortune, the invention of writing, and the institution of the
post-office have enabled a man, who is drifting round the North Pole
on a slab of ice, to communicate with another who is sitting in a
palm-tree amidst parrots in the torrid zone--this father and son (when,
thus divided, they sat opposite to one another at the work-table) were
provided with a means of sweetening and lightening their separation by
help of an epistolary correspondence carried on across the table.
Business letters of the utmost importance were conveyed from one to the
other unsealed, and in complete safety, for the mail bags, the
mail-packet of this penny-post, consisted of a pair of fingers. The
interchange of letters and couriers between these two silent powers
took place over roads so smooth, and by such an admirable system of
"Poste aux Anes" without interruption and free from all delay, that the
father could, without difficulty, receive a reply on a subject of
importance from his correspondent within one minute of its despatch
(such was the facility of communication), in fact, they were quite as
near to one another as if they had been next door neighbours. I would
here beg any traveller who may visit Kuhschnappel before I do so to saw
off the two corners of the table, of which the one served as _Bureau
d'Intelligence_ to the other, put both these bureaux in his pocket and
exhibit them to the curious in some great city or company--or to me in

Siebenkæs partially copied the bookbinder's system. He cut out brief
letters of decretal in anticipation, to be ready for the occasions when
they should be required. If Lenette put an unforeseen question to which
there wasn't an answer in his letter-bag, he would write three lines
and pass them across the table. Such notes of hand or orders in council
as had to be renewed daily, he ordered the return of in a standing
requisition, so as to save paper, and not be obliged to write a fresh
order on this subject every day; for he merely passed this particular
paper back across the table again. But what said Lenette to all this? I
shall be better able to answer this question after relating what
follows here. There was only one occasion on which he _spoke_ in this
deaf and dumb institution of a house of his; it was while he was eating
salad out of an earthenware-dish, which had poetical as well as
pictorial flowers on it by way of ornament. Lifting the salad with his
fork, he disclosed to view the little _carmen_ which bordered this
dish, and which ran as follows:--

                 "Peace feeds, but strife
                  Consumes our life."

Whenever he lifted up a forkful of his salad, he was in a position to
read one or the other foot of this didactic poem; and he did so aloud.

"Well, and what said Lenette to all this?" we inquired above. Not a
word, I answer. She wasn't going to let _his_ sulks and silence
diminish _hers_ in the slightest degree, for in the end it seemed clear
to her that he was holding his tongue out of sheer ill-temper, and she
wasn't going to be outdone by him in that respect. And, in fact, he
carried matters further and further every day, continually passing new
broken tables-of-the-law across the table to her, or carrying them
round to her side. I shall not catalogue the whole of them, but merely
quote a few specimens, e. g. 'The Forty-eight-pounder Paper' (he
gratified himself by continually inventing new titles for these
missives), of which the contents were: "Stop the mouth of that tall
sewing creature there, who sees perfectly well how busy I am with my
writing, or I shall seize her by that throat with which she's baiting

"The 'Official Gazette' paragraph:"--"Let me have a little drop of some
of your dirty wash-water; I want to get the ink off these raccoon paws
of mine." "The Pastoral Letter:"--"I want to get a glance or so at
'Epictetus on what Man has to endure,' could I find a moment of some
sort of peace; don't disturb me." "The Pin-paper:"--"I happen to be in
the middle of a satire, of the hardest and severest nature, on the
subject of women; take that screeching bookbinderess down stairs to the
hairdresseress, and yell away there as sprightlily as ye have a mind."
"Torture-bench Note," or rather "Folio:"--"I have held out, this
forenoon, through well-nigh as much as is possible; I have fought my
course through besoms, feather-dusters, women's bonnets, and women's
tongues. Is there no hope that, now that evening is falling, I may have
a little, brief hour of peace, in which to try to get some slight idea
of the sense of these terrible Acts of Parliament before me here?"
Nobody can convince me that it was any blunting of the stings of these
visiting cards of his (which he left upon her so very frequently), that
he occasionally translated writing into speech, and when other people
were present, jested with them concerning cognate subjects. Thus he
said on one occasion to Meerbitzer, the hairdresser, in Lenette's
presence, "Monsieur Meerbitzer, it's incredible what my housekeeping
costs in the course of the year. Why, that wife of mine, there as she
stands, gets through half-a-ton of food or so by herself alone, and"
(when she and the barber both beat their hands together above their
heads) "so do I, too." He showed it to Meerbitzer, printed in
Schötzer's book, that every one _does_ consume about that quantity of
sustenance in the course of the year; but did anybody in that room
fancy such a thing was possible?

Ill-will towards a person is a kind of catalepsy of the mind, and so is
sulking; and in this mental catalepsy, as in the bodily, every limb
remains immovably fixed in the position which it chanced to be in when
the attack came on. Moreover, mental catalepsy has this feature in
common with corporeal--that women are more subject to it than men.
Consequently the only effect upon Lenette of her husband's little joke
(which _had_ the outward semblance of being a piece of ill temper,
although it was in reality only carried on with a view to the complete
maintaining of his own calmness and self-control) was to redouble her
stiffness and chilliness. Yet how very little she would have minded it
had she but seen Stiefel even once in the course of the week, and had
not the cares connected with those house expenses of hers (which melted
down and swallowed up all the pewter-plattery of the eagle's perch)
decomposed and dried up the very last drop of happy warm blood in her
wretched heart. Ah! sorrow-laden soul! But, as things were, there was
110 help for her, nor any for him whom she so terribly misunderstood.

Poverty is the only burden which grows heavier in proportion to the
number of dear ones who have to help to bear it. Had Firmian been
alone, he would scarcely have so much as glanced at the holes and ruts
in the streets of life; for destiny lays down little piles of stones
for us every thirty steps with which we may fill the holes up. And he
had a haven of refuge, a diving-bell, to fly to in the strongest gale
that might blow--in the shape of his watch (to say nothing of his
glorious philosophy), which he could always turn into cash. But that
wife of his, and all her funereal music and Kyrie Eleisons, and a
thousand things besides, and Leibgeber's inexplicable silence, and his
growing ill-health--the continual immixture of all these impure matters
into the breeze of his life converted it into a sultry, unnerving
sirocco blast--a wind which creates in a man a dry, hot, sickly thirst,
which often makes him put that into his breast which soldiers put into
their mouths to cure bodily thirst, namely, cold powder and lead.

On the 11th of February, Firmian sought relief.

On the 11th of February, Euphrosyne's day, 1767, Lenette was born.

She had often mentioned this to him, and oftener yet to her
sewing-customers. However, he would have forgotten all about it but for
the Superintendent-General Ziethen, who had printed a book in which he
reminded him of the 11th of February. The superintendent had given due
notice, in this work of his, that on the 11th of February, 1786, a
segment of South Germany would be sent down, by an earthquake, into the
realms below, like so much corn laid by a summer storm. As a
consequence, the Kuhschnapplers would have been lowered, upon the
dropped coffin-cords or lowered drawbridges of sinking soil, into hell
by entire companies at a time, instead of going there as single
_envoyés_, as theretofore was the usage. However, nothing came of all

On the day before the earthquake, and before Lenette's birthday,
Firmian repaired to the lifting-crane--the springboard of his
soul--namely, the old height where his Henry had taken his farewell.
The forms of his friend and wife stood, dim and vague, before his
soul's sight. He thought upon the circumstance that since his friend
had left him there had been about the same number of ruptures and
divisions in his married life as, according to Moreri, took place in
the Church from the time of the Apostles down to Luther's days, namely,
124. Labourers, innocent and simple, silent and happy, were smoothing
the spring's path. He had passed by gardens where they were clearing
the moss and the autumn-leaves away from the trees--by beehives and
vine-stocks being transplanted, cleaned, pruned--by osiers being
trimmed and dressed. The sun shone bright and warm over the land, all
rich with buds; and suddenly he was struck by one of these sensations
which often come upon imaginative men--and this is why these are
somewhat apt to be a little fanciful and visionary--it seemed to him as
if his life dwelt, not in a bodily heart, but in some warm and tender
tear, as if his heavy-laden soul were expanding and breaking away
through some chink in its prison, and melting into a tone of music--a
blue æther wave.

"I must and will forgive her, on her birthday," cried his softened
heart and soul; "I have little doubt that I have been too hard upon her
all this time." He resolved that he would have the Schulrath into the
house, and the calico-gown beforehand, and make her a birthday present
of the pair, and of a new sewing-cushion. He grasped his watch-chain
and pulled out that Elijah's and Faust's mantle, which was to bear him
away over all his ills by being converted into cash. He went home with
every corner of his heart glowing with sunshine, artfully made his
watch stop, and told Lenette he must take it to the watchmaker's to be
repaired (and indeed its movements hitherto had been like those of the
planets above us, a forward movement at the beginning of the
terrestrial or clock-day, afterwards stationary, and latterly
retrograde). In this fashion he concealed his projects from her. He
took the watch himself to the market-place and sold it, though he knew
very well he would never be able to write with comfort unless it was
ticking on his table (like the nobleman mentioned by Locke, who could
only dance in one particular room, in which there was an old box
standing). Also, in the evening, the redeemed, checked shirt-of-blood,
or seedbag of evil weeds, was clandestinely introduced into the house.
Towards evening Firmian went to the Schulrath, and with all the warmth
of his eloquent heart told him of his resolve and everything connected
with it--the birthday, the return of the calico, his request to _him_
to come and see them again, his own imminent death, and his resignation
to everything. Warm breath of life was breathed into Stiefel, long
languishing in absence and love (which, together, had gnawed him into
paleness, as lime does the shadows of a fresco), when he heard that on
the morrow the beloved voice of his Lenette, longed for during all this
weary time (_she_ could hear _his_, by-the-by, in church, of course),
would once more stir the chords of his being.

I must here just glance at a defence, for a moment, as well as an
accusation. The former relates to my hero, who seems rather to have
rumpled his honour's patent of nobility to a greater or less extent, by
having made this request to Stiefel; but, then, we must consider that
his _intention_ in making it was to do a great kindness to his
suffering wife, and a small one to himself. The fact is, that the very
strongest and roughest of men cannot hold out in the long run against
the everlasting feminine sulking and undermining. For the sheer sake of
a little peace and quietness, a man who may have sworn a thousand oaths
before marriage that he _would_ have his own way in that condition of
life, comes, in the long run, to let his wife have _hers_. The
remainder of Siebenkæs' conduct I have no need to defend, since 'tis
not possible to do so, but only necessary. The accusation to which I
alluded is against my own fellow-labourers, and it is--that they differ
so widely in their romances from this Biography and from real life, in
describing the ruptures and reconciliations of their characters as
being possible, and as actually occurring, in periods of time so brief
that one might stand by and time them with a stop-watch in one's hand.
But a man does _not_ break with a person he loves all in an instant;
the rendings alternate with little re-bindings with bands of silk and
flowers, till at length the long alternation between seeking and
shunning ends in complete separation, and it is then, and not till
then, that we wretched creatures are at our wretchedest. The same is
generally true of the _union_ of souls; for though at times an unseen
infinite Arm seems suddenly to press us upon some new heart, yet we
have always long _known_ this heart, in the Gallery of the Saints of
our longing devotion and often taken the picture down, uncovered, and
adored it. It became impossible to Firmian (sitting in the evening in
his lonesome chair of anxiety and suspense) to keep all that love of
his waiting with any sort of patience for the morrow. The very
restraint which was upon him made his love wax warmer; and when his old
familiar fear--that he would die before the equinox came round--fell
upon him, it terrified him more than it was wont; but not the thought
of death. What shook him was the idea of Lenette's difficulties, and
how she would ever find the money requisite for the performance of the
final trial, the anchor-proof[57] of his humanity. As it chanced, he
had plenty of money among his fingers at this very moment. He sprang up
and ran that very evening to the manager of the corpse lottery, so
that, at all events, his wife should be entitled to a capital of fifty
florins at his death, and be able to cover his body decently over with
a little earth. I don't know the exact sum he paid; but I am quite
accustomed to embarrassments of this description, which novel-writers,
who can invent any sum they please in a case of this sort, have no idea
of, but which are exceedingly troublesome to a writer of actual
biography, who does not put down anything which he is not in a position
to substantiate by documentary evidence, and a reference to records.

On the morning of the 11th of February, that is to say on the Saturday,
Firmian entered his room, feeling very tender-hearted (for every
illness and weakness softens our heart--loss of blood, for instance,
and trouble), and all the more so because he was looking forward to a
kindly, peaceful day. We love much more warmly when we are looking
forward to making somebody happy than we do half an hour after, when we
have done it. It was as windy this morning as if the gales were holding
tournament, or riding at the ring, or as if Æolus were shooting his
winds out of air-guns. Hence many people thought either that the
earthquake was beginning, or that a few people here and there had
hanged themselves for fear of it. Firmian met a pair of eyes in
Lenette's face, from which, even at that early hour, there had fallen a
warm blood-rain of tears, on this first of her days. She had not in the
slightest degree guessed at his tenderness towards her, or at that
which he had in his mind. She had had no thought of anything of the
kind; her only idea had been, "Ah, me! since my poor father and mother
have been dead and gone, there is not a soul that ever remembers I have
a birthday." Something or other was evidently pre-occupying her. She
looked once or twice, very inquiringly, into his eyes, and seemed to be
making up her mind to something; so he put off for a time the
outpouring of his full heart, and the unveiling of his twofold
birthday-present. At last she came up to him slowly, with the colour in
her face, tried in a troubled way to get his hand into hers, and said,
with downcast eyes, in which, as yet, there were no tears, "We will be
friends again to-day. If you _have_ hurt me, and given me a little
pain, what I want is to forgive you from my heart. Do you the same to
me." This address rent his warm breast in twain, and at first all
he could do was to be dumb, and clasp her in this silence to his
o'er-fraught heart, saying, after a time, "Forgive _thou_ me only! for,
ah! I love thee far more than thou lovest me." And here, at the thought
of bygone days, the heavy tear-drops rose from the depths of his laden
heart, and flowed, silent and slow, as the deep streams flow. She gazed
at him much astonished, saying, "We are going to be friends, then, are
we, to-day? and it is my birthday. But, ah, me! it is a sad, sad
birthday, too." It was only at this point that he remembered his
birthday-present. He ran and brought it that is to say, the cushion,
the calico-dress, and the news that Stiefel was coming in the
evening. At this she began to shed tears, and said, "Ah! did you
really do all this yesterday? And you remembered that this was my
birthday? Oh! it was so kind of you, and I do so thank you for it;
particularly--particularly--for the delightful--cushion. I never
thought you would remember anything about my wretched birthday at all!"
His manly, beautiful soul, which kept no watch upon its enthusiasm (as
women's do), told her everything, including the fact that he had joined
the corpse-lottery the day before, so that she might be able to put him
under ground at less expense. Her emotion became as strong and as
visible as his own. "No, no," she cried at length, "God will preserve
you; but, then, there's _this_ terrible day; who knows if we shall ever
see another morning. Tell me, what does Mr. Stiefel think about the
earthquake?" "Don't distress yourself on that score," said Firmian; "he
says there won't be anything of the kind."

Reluctantly he let her away from his glowing heart. Until he went out
into the free air (for writing was utterly impossible) he gazed
continually upon her bright, shining face, whence all the clouds were
quite cleared away. He practised upon himself an old trick he had
(which _I_ have learnt from him); when he wished to love some dear
person very dearly, and forgive him everything, he looked long on his
face. For we (that's to say he and I) see in a human face, when it is
old, the finger-board, the counting board, of all the bitter pains and
sorrows which have passed so rudely over it; and when it is young, it
is like a bed of flowers on the slope of a volcano, whose next eruption
will split it into shivers. Either the future or the past is written on
every face--making us gentle and tender, if not sad.

Firmian would have been delighted to have held his new-found, restored
Lenette to his heart all the day long; at all events till evening came;
but her house-work and other occupations were so many bars' rest in
this music, and her lachrymal ducts were sources of appetite, as well
as of tears. And she had not the courage to question him concerning the
metallic source of his gold-bearing stream, upon whose gentle waves she
was floating now. But her husband gladly divulged the secret of the
sale of his watch. The actual estate of matrimony was to-day to him
what the pre-nuptial period is always--a _cymbale d'amour_--having a
sounding-board at each of its faces which doubles, not the strings of
the instrument, but the tone of those it has. The entire day was like a
piece cut out of the full moon, unclouded by the slightest haze, or
rather out of the second world, into which the people of the moon
themselves proceed. Lenette, in her morning glow, was like the
(so-called) Moss of Violet Stone--the Iolite--which gives out the
perfume of a miniature-bed of violets, if you but rub it till it gets a
little warm.

At evening finally appeared the Rath, all a-shake with agitation. He
looked just the least bit haughty, but when he tried to wish Lenette
many happy returns of the day, he could not do it for tears, which were
in his throat quite as much as in his eyes. His embarrassment served to
conceal hers; but _at length_ the opaque mist cleared away from among
them, and they were able to look at one another. And then they were
very happy; Firmian forced himself to be so; the other two required no

The heavy storm-clouds, then, ceased for a time to hang and sweep so
low, as they had been doing of late, over their comforted, softened
hearts. The boding comet of the future was shorn of its sword, and went
sweeping on, far brighter and whiter, into the blue expanse of heaven,
passing athwart more brilliant constellations. And there came into
their evening a brief letter from Leibgeber, of which the joy-bringing
lines bedeck and adorn our hero's evening, as well as our next chapter.

Thus did the quick, transient, quivering _Flower-pieces_ of Fantasy
mature in the brains of our triple alliance (as in the reader's own)
into actual and living flowers of joy--as the fever-patient takes the
flowers patterned upon his waving bed-curtain to be real and tangible
forms. In truth, this winter night, like one of summer, would hardly
quite cool down and die out on their horizon, and when they parted at
midnight they said, "We have all had a very happy time."

                              CHAPTER XI.


In my last chapter I practised a deception on the reader out of pure
goodwill towards him; however, I must let him remain undeceived until
he has read the following letter of Leibgeber's:--

                                          "Vaduz February 2, 1786.


"In May I shall be in Bayreuth, and you must be there too. I have
nothing else of any consequence to write to you now--however, this is
quite important enough, namely, that I _order_ you to arrive in
Bayreuth upon the first day of the month of gladness, because I have
something of the most extraordinarily mad and important kind in my head
concerning you, and that as sure as there is a heaven above us. My joy
and your happiness depend on your making this journey. I would reveal
the whole mystery to you in this letter if I were certain that it would
fall into no hands but your own. Come! You might travel in company with
a certain Kuhschnappler, of the name of Rosa, who is coming to Bayreuth
to fetch his bride home. But if (which God forbid) this Kuhschnappler
be that Meyern, of whom you have written to me, and if the said
goldfish is about to come swimming here to freeze (rather than to warm)
his pretty bride with his dry, wizzened arms (as in Spain they put
serpents, something like him, round bottles to cool them), I shall take
care, as soon as I get to Bayreuth to give her a very distinct idea of
him, and shall maintain that he's ten thousand times better than the
Heresiarch Bellarmin, who committed adultery a great deal oftener
during his career--two thousand two hundred and thirty-six times,
to wit. I have the most anxious and heartfelt longing to behold
the Heimlicher von Blaise; were he but a little nearer at hand I
should--(seeing that there's always something sticking in that throat
of his which he has some difficulty in getting down, such as an
inheritance, or somebody else's house and land),--I say, I should give
him a good hard thwack every now and then in the small of his back (by
way of a cure) and await the outcome--I mean, of the mouthful. I myself
have been limping about the world in all directions, with my silhouette
scissors, and am now taking a little rest in Vaduz at a studious,
bibliothecarian Count's, who really deserves that I should like him ten
times better than I do. But, you see, my fondness for _you_ is fully as
much as my heart can hold; and (to speak in general terms) the human
race, and this green cheese of a world which it keeps on gnawing at,
seem to me more and more rotten and stinking every day. I _must_ say to
you, '_Fame_ may go to the devil!' I think I shall decidedly dip down,
disappear, and get out of the way altogether, almost immediately, run
right into the thick of the crowd, and come to the surface every week
under a new name, so that the fools shan't know who I am. Ah! there
were a few years, once on a time, when I really _did_ wish to be
something--if not a great author, at least a ninth elector--to be
mitred, at any rate, if not belaurelled--if not (now and then) to be a
pro-rector, certainly (and very often) to be a dean. At that period of
my life I should have been exceedingly delighted had I suffered the
most atrocious tortures from gallstones, because I should have been
able to erect (with those eliminated from my system) an altar or temple
in my own honour, higher than the pyramid mentioned by Ruysh in his
'Cabinet of Natural Science' as having been constructed of the
forty-two gallstones of a certain noble lady. Siebenkæs, in those days
I could have gotten me a beard of wasps (as Wildau used to have one of
bees)--a stinging beard of wasps, for nothing else but to become famous
thereby. 'I quite admit' (said I, at the period in question) 'that it
is not accorded to every son of earth (neither should he expect it), as
it was to Saint Romuald (as Bembo mentions in his life of him), that a
city shall beat him to death, merely to be enabled to filch his holy
body by way of a relic; but he _may_, I think, without being unduly
conceited, entertain a desire that a few hairs, if not of his fur-coat
(as of Voltaire's, in Paris), yet, at all events, of his head, may have
the good luck to be plucked out as a souvenir by people who have a
certain opinion of him. (Here I chiefly allude to the reviewers.)'

"At the time in question I thought as above set forth, but _now_ my
views are far more enlightened. Fame is a thing altogether unworthy of
fame. I was once sitting, on a cold, wet evening, on a boundary-stone,
considering myself carefully, and I said, 'Now, _is_ there really
anything in the wide world that can be made of you? What is it? Have
_you_ any chance of becoming (like the deceased Cornelius Agrippa)
Secretary of State for War to the Emperor Maximilian, and
Historiographer to the Emperor Charles the Fifth? Will YOU ever hoist
yourself up to the position of Syndic and Advocate of the city of Metz,
Physician in Ordinary to the Duchess of Anjou, and Professor of
Theology in Pavia? Do you find that the Cardinal of Lorraine is as
anxious to stand godfather to your son as he was to Agrippa's? And
would it not be ludicrous if _you_ were to give out (and give yourself
airs about it) that a Margrave in Italy, and the King of England, the
Chancellor Mercurius Galinaria, and Margarita (a Princess of Austria),
had all wished to have you in their service in the same year? Wouldn't
it be ludicrous, and a lie into the bargain, to say nothing of the
utter impossibility of the thing, seeing that all these people exploded
into the sleeping-powder of death so many years before _you_ flashed up
in the shape of the priming and detonating powder of life! In what
well-known work (let me ask you) does Paul Jovius style _you_ a
_portentosum ingenium_? What author reckons you among the _clarissima
sui sæculi lumina_? If it had been the case that _you_ stood in
extraordinary credit with four cardinals and five bishops--with
Erasmus, Melancthon, and Capellanus--wouldn't Schröckh and Schmidt have
mentioned it, _en passant_, in their "History of the Reformation"? Even
supposing that I were actually reposing side by side with Cornelius
Agrippa under his great grove of shrubbery of laurels, the same lot
would be mine and his; we should both rot away in obscurity beneath the
thicket, and it would be centuries before anybody came to lift the
branches and take a look at us.'

"It would do me no more good were I to go about the matter more
knowingly, and have myself belauded in the 'Universal German Library.'
I might stand for many a long year, with my wreath of bays round my hat
in that chill pocket-Pantheon, in my niche amongst the great _literati_
lying and sitting round me on their beds of state--we might all (I say)
wait begarlanded there, all alone together in that Temple of Fame of
ours for many a long year before a single soul came and opened the
door, and looked in at us, or entered and knelt down before me; and our
triumphal car would be nothing but a wheelbarrow, on which our temple,
with all its riches, should be whirled occasionally to a public
auction. Yet I might, perhaps, soar above all that, and make myself
immortal, could I but indulge a demi-hope that my immortality would
reach the ears of any but those who are themselves as yet in this
mortal life. But can it afford me the smallest gratification when I am
compelled to perceive that it is exactly to all the most renowned and
celebrated of people, over whose faces the laurel is growing, year by
year, in their coffins (as the rosemary does over humbler dead), that I
can never be anything but an unexplored Africa--particularly to Shem,
Ham, and Japhet; to Absalom and his father; to both the Catos, the two
Anthonys, Nebuchadnezzar, the Seventy Interpreters, and their wives; to
the seven wise men of Greece; even to mere fools, such as Taubmann and
Eulenspiegel? When a Henry IV., and the four Evangelists, and Bayle
(who knows all the rest of the learned), and the charming Ninon (who
knows them better still), and Job, the bearer of sorrows--or, at all
events, the author of Job--don't know that there ever was such a thing
as a Leibgeber on the face of the earth: when I am, and must ever
remain, to a whole bye-gone world (_i. e_., six thousand years replete
with great and grand men and nations), a mathematical point, an
invisible eclipse, a wretched _je ne sais quoi_, I really do not see
how posterity (in which there mayn't be so very much after all), or the
next six thousand years, can do anything to speak of by way of

"Besides, I cannot tell what description of glorious heavenly
hosts and archangels there are upon other world-balls, and on the
little spheres in the milky way--that paternoster bead-chaplet of
world-balls--seraphs, compared to whom I cannot be looked upon as
anything but a sheep. We souls do, it is true, progress to a
considerable extent, and ascend to loftier levels. Even here upon earth
the oyster-soul develops into a frog-soul, the frog-soul into a
cod-fish, the cod-fish into a goose, thence to a sheep, an ass--aye, or
even an ape--and ultimately into a Bush Hottentot (for we can suppose
nothing higher than that). But a peripatetic climax of this kind begins
to cease inflating one with pride when the following reflection occurs
to one. Among the various individuals which compose a species of
animals (among whom there _must_ certainly occur geniuses, good, sound,
common-sense intelligences, and absolute blockheads), we find that we
remark and take notice only of the latter, or, at most, of the
extremes. No species of animals (considered collectively) is close
enough to our retina to admit of our perceiving its delicate middle
tints and gradations: and thus must it be with _us_ when some spirit,
sitting in heaven, looks at us in the mass. He is so far away, that he
will find some trouble (very vain trouble, too) in drawing a proper
distinction between Kant, and his shaving looking-glasses--the
Kantists; between Goëthe and his imitators; and will see little or no
difference between members of faculty and dunces, professors'
lecture-rooms and lunatic asylums; for little steps are wholly lost to
the sight of one who is standing on the uppermost of them.

"Now this deprives a thinker of all pleasure and courage; and,
Siebenkæs, hang me if I ever sit down and grow one bit famous, or give
myself the trouble either to build up or to pull down any learned or
ingenious system whatever, or write anything at all of greater length
than a letter.

                                         "Thy (not my) Self,


"P.S. I wish it would please God to grant me a second life after this,
that I might have the opportunity of dealing with a few _realities_ in
the next world; for this one is really altogether too hollow and
stupid; a wretched Nürnberg toy; nothing but the falling froth of a
life; a jump through the hoop of eternity; a rotten, dusty, apple of
Sodom, which, splutter as much as I will, I can't get out of my mouth.

To readers who think the above piece of humour not sufficiently
serious, I shall prove, in another place, that it is _too_ serious, and
that it is only an _oppressed_ heart which can jest in this fashion;
that it is only an eye which is in much too feverish a condition--with
the fireworks of life darting round it like the flying fire-flashes
which precede _amaurosis_--which is capable of seeing and picturing
such fever-forms.

Firmian understood it all, at the time in question at all events. But I
must go back to the 11th of February, in order to half-deprive the
reader of his sympathising enjoyment of the re-union of the trefoil of
friends which then took place. Lenette's trembling petition that her
husband would pardon her, was but the forced hot-bed fruit of Zichen's
earth-shaking prophecy. She thought that she herself, and the ground
she stood upon, were about to be let down; and it was at the near
approach of death (whom she thought she already saw wagging his tiger's
tail) that she held out to her husband a hand of Christian peace. For
(and _to_) that beautiful soul of his (_dis_embodied) hers wept tears
of love and of rapture. But very probably she, to some extent, confused
her happiness with her love--satisfaction with fidelity; and (it
may be suspected) the eagerness with which she was looking forward
to enwrapping the Schulrath, that very evening, in a warm and
tender--_gaze_, found outward expression in the shape of an unusual
degree of affection for her husband. It is here most essential that I
should communicate to all and sundry persons one of the most valuable
of all my maxims; in dealings with even the very best woman in the
world, it is of the utmost importance that we should make excessively
certain, and discriminate with the utmost accuracy, what it is which
she really wants (at the time being), and particularly _whom_--(this is
not always the person who is thus discriminating). There is in the
female heart such a rapid coming and going, and fluctuation, of
emotions of every kind; such an effusion of many-tinted bubbles which
reflect everything, but most particularly whatever chances to be
nearest, that a woman, under the influence of emotion, shall, while she
sheds a tear for _you_ out of her left eye, go on thinking, and drop
another for your predecessor or successor (as the case may be) out of
her right. Also a feeling of tenderness for a rival falls half to a
husband's share; and a woman, even the most loyally faithful, weeps
more at what she thinks than at what she hears.

'Tis very stupid that so many masculine persons among us are stupid
precisely on this point; that a woman thinking (as she does) more of
other people's feelings than of her own, is, in this matter, neither
the deceiver nor the deceived; what she is is the deception itself--the
optical deception and the acoustic.

But Firmians seldom make well-digested reflections of this sort
concerning elevenths of February until the twelfth. Wendeline was in
love with the Schulrath; that was the fact of the matter. Like all
women of any sense (in Kuhschnappel), she had believed in the
superintendent-general, and in the kick he had administered to the
earth, until Peltzstiefel, in the evening, unhesitatingly pronounced
the idea of such a thing to be simply _impious_, when she abandoned the
prophetic superintendent and gave in her adhesion to the incredulous
worldling, Firmian. We all know that he had every bit as much of the
masculine failing of overdoing consistency as she had of the feminine
one of carrying inconsistency too far. It was foolish, therefore, in
him to think that he was going to regain, by means of one grand
effusion of the heart, an affection embittered by so many small
effusions of gall. The grandest benefits, the loftiest manly
enthusiasm, are incapable of uprooting, all in an instant, a feeling of
ill-will which has rooted itself all over a person's heart with a
thousand little spreading fibres. The affection which we have deprived
ourselves of by means of a long-continued, gradual process of chilling,
is only to be regained by an equally lengthy process of warming.

In a word, it became evident in the course of a day or two that things
were just as they had been three weeks before. Lenette's love had
flourished and grown to such an extent, by reason of Stiefel's absence,
that there was not room for it any longer under its bell-glass--it was
shooting out leaves beyond the edge of it into the open-air. The _Aqua
Toffana_ of jealousy at last permeated every vessel in Firmian's body,
flowed into his heart, and gnawed it slowly in pieces. He was but the
tree on which Lenette had inscribed her love for another, and was
withering by reason of the incisions. He _had so_ hoped that the
Schulrath, recalled to them on Lenette's birthday, would have healed
all wounds, however deep; or at all events cicatrized them over:
whereas, what he really had done was to open them all wider than
ever--all unconscious as he was of it. Ah! what pain this was to the
wretched husband! He grew poorer and weaker, and more miserable--both
outwardly and inwardly--as the days went by, and gave up all hope of
ever seeing the First of May and Bayreuth. February, March, and April
passed over head--all heavy, dripping clouds, without a single break of
blue sky or blink of evening-red.

On the 1st of April he lost his law-suit for the second time; and on
the 13th (Maunday Thursday) he finished, for ever, his 'Evening Paper'
(this was the name he gave to his diary, because he wrote it of an
evening), meaning to consign _that_, along with his 'Selections from
the Devil's Papers' (as far as they were completed) into Leibgeber's
most faithful hands (at Bayreuth), in place of his body, so soon to
vanish and be resolved into its elements. For, he thought, those hands
would fainer clasp his soul (which was in the papers) than his poor
meagre body--of which, _du reste_, Liebgeber always possessed a second
unaltered edition (a perfect _facsimile_ copy, so to speak) at all
times at hand, in the shape of his own. I have no hesitation in here
quoting, without emendation, the whole of this concluding page of the
'Evening Paper'--Firmian's 'Swan Sung,' which--which went off by the
following post.

"Yesterday, my law-suit was wrecked on the shoal of the Court of Appeal
of the second instance. The defendant's counsel, and the Court, brought
to bear upon me an old Statute, of force in Kuhschnappel as well as in
Bayreuth, which enacts that a deposition made before a notary is not
valid--depositions having to be made before the Court. These two
hearings of my case render the uphill path to the third a little
easier. For my poor Lenette's sake I have appealed to the Lower House,
my kind Stiefel advancing me the necessary cash. Truly, in applying to
the oracles of Justice we have to fast and mortify, just as much as was
_de rigueur_ in consulting the heathen oracles of old. I have reason to
hope that I shall be able to effect my escape from the clutches of the
knaves of the State;[58] or (shall I say), from these game-keepers and
their _couteaux de chasse_, and hunting-spears or swords of Themis. I
think I shall get through their hunting-tackle of legal proceedings,
the toils, nets, and gins of their Acts of Parliament--not by my purse
(which is fallen away to the thickness of an insect's feeler, and could
be drawn, like a leather _queue_, through the smallest mesh in any of
their legal nets)--but with my body, which, as it approaches the
topmost of their nets will be turned into dust of death, and will then
fly free through and over every trap they can set.

"I desire to lift my hand away from this, my evening paper, to-night
for the last time, ere it becomes an absolute martyrology. If one could
give away his life as a gift, I should be very happy to give mine to
any dying person who would care to accept it. At the same time, let
nobody suppose that because there chances to be a total eclipse of the
sun above my head, I think, for a moment, that there must be one in
America as well; or that I imagine the Gold Coast must be snowed up for
the winter because a snowflake or two happen to be falling in front of
my own nose. Life is warm and beautiful; even mine was so once. If it
must be that I am to melt away, even before these snowflakes, I beg of
my heirs, and of all Christian people, that they will not publish any
part of my selection from the 'Devil's Papers,' except that which I
have copied out fair, which extends as far as the 'Satire upon Women'
(inclusively). And as regards this diary of mine, in which one or two
satirical fancies crop out here and there, I beg, also, that not a
single one of these may be put into print.

"Should any curious inquirer into the history of this
day-and-night-book of mine be anxious to discover what the heavy
weights, the nests, the clothes hung out to dry upon my branches,
really consisted of, that they should so bend my top shoot and my
branches down (and all the more curious to know it, inasmuch as I have
written humorous satires)--(though, indeed, my sole object has been to
nourish and support myself by help of these satire prickles of mine,
absorbent vessels, to me, like those of the torch-thistle), I beg to
inform him that he seeks to know more than I know myself, and more than
I mean to tell. For man and the horseradish are most biting when
grated; and the satirist is sadder than the jester, for the same reason
that the Urang-Utang is more melancholy than the ape, namely, because
he is nobler. If this paper does really reach your hands, my Henry, my
beloved, and you wish to hear somewhat concerning the hail which has
kept falling deeper and deeper upon my young seed-crop--count not the
melted hailstones, but the broken stalks. I have nothing left to give
me joy, save your affection--everything else is battered down into
ruin. Since, for more reasons than one,[59] it is most unlikely that I
shall ever come to you at Bayreuth, let us part, on this page, like
spirits, giving each other hands of air. I detest the sentimental, but
Fate has wellnigh grafted it on to me at last, in spite of myself, and
I swallow great spoonsful of that satiric Glauber's salt, which is
generally so good a remedy for it--as sheep, who have caught the rot
from feeding in damp meadows, are cured by licking salt. I say I
swallow great spoonsful, about the size of my prizes at the
bird-shooting, without the least perceptible effect. But, on the whole,
it matters little. Fate, unlike our Sheriffs' Courts, does not wait
until we are well before she inflicts her sentence. My giddiness and
other premonitory symptoms of apoplexy, give me to understand, with
sufficient clearness, that I shall soon be subjected to a good Galenian
blood-letting,[60] by way of remedy for the nose-bleedings of this
life. I cannot say that I am particularly glad of it, or anxious for
it. On the contrary, I am annoyed with people who demand that Fate
shall at once unswaddle them (for we are swaddled in our bodies, the
nerves and arteries being the swaddling-bands)--as a mother does her
infant just because it cries, and has a little pain in its stomach. I
should be glad to remain swaddled for a while to come among the rest of
the 'Children of the Rope,'[61] particularly as I cannot but fear that,
in the next world, I shall be able to make little or no use of my
satirical humour. However, I shall have to go. But when that comes to
pass, I should like to ask you, Henry, to come some day to this town,
and make them uncover your friend's quiet face, which will scarce
manage to put on the Hippocratic mien again. Then, my Henry, when you
gaze long upon the grey, spotty, new moon-face there, and think that
very little sunshine ever fell thereon--no sunshine of love, of fame,
or fortune--you will not be able to look up to heaven, and cry out to
God, 'And now, at last, after all his sorrows and troubles, Thou, O
God, hast annihilated him altogether; when he stretched his arms, in
death, towards Thee, and that world of thine, Thou hast broken him in
sunder as he lies there--poor soul!' No, Henry, when I die, _you_ will
be compelled to believe in Immortality.

"Now that I have finished this 'Evening Paper' of mine, I am going to
put out the light, for the full moon is shedding broad, imperial sheets
of brightness into the room. Then, as there is no one else awake in the
house, I will sit down in the twilight stillness, and, while I gaze at
the moon's white magic amid the black magic of night, and listen to
great flocks of birds of passage as they come flying hither from warmer
lands through the blue, clear moonlight--while I am passing away into a
sister country--I will stretch my feelers out from my snail's shell
once more before the last frost closes it up for ever. Henry, I want to
picture to myself to-night, clearly and brightly, all that is now over
and past; the May of our friendship--every evening when we were too
much moved by emotion and could not but fall into each other's arms--my
hopes, so old and grey now that I hardly know them to be mine--five
old, but bright and happy, springs which I still remember--my dead
mother, who, when she was dying, gave me a lemon, which she thought
would be put into her coffin, and said, 'Ah, I wish it were going into
my bridal garland.' And I will picture to myself, also, that moment,
now so near, of my _own_ death, when thy image will rise before the
broken sight of my soul for the last time--when I shall part from thee,
and, with a dark, inward pang, which can no more bring a tear into my
cold and glazing eyes, sink away from thy shadowy form into the dark,
and from amid the thick and heavy clouds of death, call to thee with a
faint and hollow cry, 'Henry, good-night! good-night! Ah, fare thee
well! for I can say no more.'"

                      END OF THE 'EVENING PAPER.'

                              CHAPTER XII.


Once, in the Easter week, when Firmian came home from a half-hour's
pleasure-trip full of forced marches, Lenette linked him why he had not
come back sooner, because the postman had been with a great, enormous
packet, and had said that the husband must sign the receipt for it
himself. In a small establishment like Siebenkæs' an occurrence such as
this ranks among the world's greatest events, or the principal
revolutions in its history. The moments of waiting lay on their souls
like cupping-glasses and drawing plasters. At length the postman, in
his yellow uniform, put an end to the bitter-sweet hemp beating of
their arteries. Firmian acknowledged the receipt of fifty dollars,
while Lenette asked the postman who had sent them, and where they came
from. The letter commenced thus:--

"My dear Siebenkæs,

"I have received your 'Evening Paper' and 'Devil's Selections' all
safely. The rest by word of mouth.


"But listen! If the future course of my waltz of life is a matter of
the slightest interest to you--if you care in the least degree about my
happiness, my plans, or ideas--if it is anything to you but a matter of
the supremest indifference that I frank you as far as Bayreuth,
providing you with board, lodging, and travelling expenses all on
account of a project whose yarn the spinning-mills of the future must
either manufacture into gin-snares and gallows-ropes (for my life), or
else into rope-ladders and best bower anchor-cables--if this, and other
matters more momentous still, have the smallest power over you,
Firmian, for heaven's sake, on with a pair of boots and start!"

                           *   *   *   *   *

"And, by thy holy friendship!" said Siebenkæs, "I will on with a pair,
though the bolt of apoplexy should flash out of the blue sky of Swabia,
and strike me down beneath a cherry-tree in full blossom. Nothing shall
prevent me now!"

He kept his word, for in six days from thence we find him, at eleven
o'clock at night, ready for his journey, with clean linen on his back,
and in his pockets--with a hat-cover on his head (secretly freighted
and stuffed with an old soft hat)--his newest boots (the antediluvian
pair s relieved from duty, being left behind in garrison)--and a
tower-clock, borrowed from Peltzstiefel, in his pocket--and fresh
bathed, shaven, and kempt, standing by his wife and friend--both of
whom kept their eyes fixed, with a gladsome, courteous watchfulness
upon the departing traveller only, and did not, for the time being,
look at all at one another. He took his leave of the pair while it was
still night, being minded to pass the rest of it in his arm chair (of
many sorrows), and be off about three o'clock, while Lenette should
still be snoring. He committed to the Schulrath the office of
treasurer-in-chief of the widow's fund to his grass-widow, and the
managership, or, at least, the "leading business," of his miniature
Covent Garden full of Gay's Beggar's Operas, the theatrical journal
whereof I am here writing for the edification of a full half of the
world. "Lenette," he said, "when you want any counsel, apply to the
counsellor here; he is going to do me the favour to come and see you
very often indeed." Peltzstiefel made the most solemn promises to come
every day. Lenette did not go down stairs to the door with the
Schulrath when he went away, as she usually did, but remained above,
and drawing her hand out of her replenished money-bag (the starved
stomachic coats of which had hitherto been rubbing together), snapped
it to. It is not of sufficient importance to be recorded that Siebenkæs
asked her to put out the light, and go to her bed, and that he gave her
charming face his long parting kiss, and said good night, and took the
tender farewell, almost within the Eden-gate of the land of dreams with
that redoublement of fondness with which we take our leave of those we
love, and greet them when we come back to them again.

The watchman's last call at length drew him from his sleeping chair out
into the starlight, breezy morning; but, first, he crept once more into
the bed-room to the rose-maiden dreaming there, warm and happy, pulled
the window to (for there was a cool air from it falling upon her
unprotected breast), and would not suffer his lips to touch her in an
awakening kiss. He gazed at her by the light of the stars and early
blush of dawn, till he turned his eyes away (fast growing dim) at the
thought, "perhaps I may never see her again."

As he passed through the sitting-room, her distaff seemed to look at
him as if it were a thing of life; it was wrapped in broad bands of
coloured paper (which she had put on it because she had not got silk);
and there was her spinning-wheel, too, which she used to work at in the
dark mornings and evenings when there was not light enough for sewing.
As he pictured her to himself working industriously at them while he
was away, every wish of his heart cried out, "Ah, poor darling! may all
go well with her, always, whether I ever come back to her or not."

This thought of the _last time_ grew more vivid still when he was out
in the open air, and felt a slight giddiness produced, in the physical
part of his head, by agitation and broken sleep, as well as natural
regret at the sight of his home receding from view, and the town
growing dimmer, and the foreground changing into background, and the
disappearance of all the paths and heights on which he had so often
walked a little life into his benumbed heart, frozen by the past
winter. The little leaf whereon, like a leaf roller, or miner-worm, he
had been crawling and feeding, was falling now to earth behind him, a
skeleton leaf.

But the first spot of foreign, unfamiliar soil, as yet unmarked by any
"Station of his Passion," drew, like a serpent-stone, an acrid drop or
two of sorrow-poison out of his heart.

And now the solar flames shot higher and higher up upon the enkindled
morning clouds, till, at length, hundreds of suns rose in an instant in
the sky, in the streams and pools, and in the dew-cups of the flowers,
while thousands of varied colours went flowing athwart the face of
earth, and one bright whiteness broke from the sky.

Fate plucked away most of the yellow, faded leaves from Firmian's soul,
as gardeners remove those of plants in spring. His giddiness diminished
rather than otherwise as he went on; the walking did it good. As the
sun rose in heaven, another, a super-earthly sun, rose in his soul. In
every valley, in every grove, on every rising ground, he broke and cast
away a ring or two of the chrysalis-case of wintry life and trouble
(which had been clinging so tightly to him), and unfolded his moist
upper and nether wings, and let the breeze of May waft him away, on
four outspread pinions, up into the bright air among the butterflies,
but higher than they, and over loftier flowers.

And then with what a burst of power the life within him began, under
this new impetus, to boil and seethe, as, issuing from a diamond-mine
of a valley all shade and dewdrops, he walked a pace or two up through
the heaven-gate of the spring. It was as if some great earthquake had
upheaved a new-created flowery plain, all dripping from the ocean,
stretching further than the eye could reach, all rich in youthful
powers and impulses. The fire of earth glowed beneath the roots of this
great hanging garden, and the fire of heaven flamed above it burning
the colours into the trees and flowers. Between the white mountains, as
between porcelain towers, stood the bright tinted, flowery slopes like
thrones for the fruit goddesses. And all over the face of this great
camp of gladness, the cups of the flowers and the heavy dewdrops were
pitched, like peopled tents. The earth teemed with young broods, and
sprouting grasses, and countless little hearts; and heart after
heart, life after life, burst forth into being from out the warm
brooding-cells of Mother Nature--burst forth with wings, or silken
threads, or delicate feelers--and hummed, and sucked, and smacked its
lips and sang. And for every one of these countless honeysucking trunks
a cup of gladness had long since been filled and ready.

In this great market-place of this living city of the sun, so full of
glory and sounding life, the pet child of the infinite Mother stood
solitary--gazing, with bright and happy eyes, delighted, around him
into all its innumerable streets. But his eternal Mother wore her veil
of immeasurable immensity, and it was only the warmth which pierced to
his heart which told him that he was lying upon her breast. Firmian
reposed from this two hours' intoxication of heart in a peasant's hut.
The foaming spirit of a cup of joy like this went quicker to the heart
of a sick man such as he than to those of the commoner run of

When he went out again the glory had sobered down into brightness, and
his enthusiasm into simple happiness. Every red ladybird fluttering on
its way, every red church-roof, and every sparkling stream as it
glittered and glistened with dancing stars, shed joyous lights and
brilliant colours upon his soul. When he heard the cries of the
charcoal burners in the wood, the resounding cracking of whips, and the
crash of falling trees, and then, when coming out into the open, he saw
the white châteaux and roads standing out against the dark-green
background like constellations and milky ways, and above the shining
cloud specks in the deep blue sky; while lights flashed and darted
everywhere, now down from trees, now up from streams, now athwart saws
in the distance--there was no such thing as a foggy corner left in his
soul, nor a single spot in it all unpenetrated by the spring sunshine:
the moss of gnawing, corroding care, which can grow only in damp shade,
fell from his bread-trees and trees of liberty out here in the glad,
free air, and his soul could not but join in the great chorus of flying
and humming creatures which was rising all round him, singing, "Life is
beautiful, and youth is lovelier still; but spring is loveliest of

The bygone winter lay behind him like the dark, frozen South Pole; the
royal burgh of Kuhschnappel like some deep, dreary school-dungeon with
dripping walls. The only spot in it over which broad, gladsome sunbeams
were intertwining was his own home, and he pictured to himself Lenette
in that home as commander-in-chief, free to talk, cook, and wash at her
own sweet will, and with her head (and hands, too) full all day long of
the delight that was coming in the evening. He was glad from the very
depths of his heart that, in that little egg-shell of hers, that
sulphur-hut and chartreuse, she should enjoy the glory and brightness
which that angel Peltzstiefel would bring with him into her St. Peter's
prison. "Ah! in God's name," thought he, "may she be as happy as I
am--nay, and happier, too, if that be possible."

The more villages he came to, with their troupes of strolling players
(of inhabitants), the more did life in general seem to assume a
theatrical guise--his past troubles were transformed into leading
parts in the drama, or Aristotelian problems--his clothes into stage
costumes--his new boots became _cothurna_--and his purse a theatre
treasury--while a delicious stage-recognition was awaiting him in the
arms of his beloved Henry.

About half-past three in the afternoon, in a Swabian village, whose
name he did not inquire, his whole soul melted of a sudden to tears, so
that he was completely astonished at the unlooked-for and rapid
_attendrissement_. His surroundings at the time would have rather led
him to anticipate a contrary effect. He was standing by an old
thorn-tree, rather crooked, and dead at the top; the village women were
on the green washing their clothes, which glistened in the sunlight,
and throwing down chopped eggs and nettles to feed the downy, yellow
goslings; a gentleman's gardener was clipping a hedge, while a herd-boy
was summoning his sheep (clipped already for _their_ part) round the
thorn-tree, with his _cornemuse_. It was all so youthful, so pretty, so
Italian! The beautiful May had half (or wholly) unclad everything and
everyone--the sheep, the geese, the women, the shepherd-minstrel, the
hedger, and his hedge....

Why was he thus moved to tenderness in this gladsome and smiling scene?
Partly because he had been so happy all day, but chiefly by the
shepherd bassoonist calling his flock together with that stage
instrument of his beneath the thorn. Firmian had helped a shepherd of
this sort, with a crook and a reed-pipe, to drive his own father's
sheep home hundreds of times when he was a boy; and the tones of the
_Ranz des Vaches_ brought back in an instant his own rose-coloured
childhood--it arose from out its dew of the morning, its bowers of
budding blossoms and sleeping flowers, and stood before him in heavenly
guise, and smiled in all its own innocence dressed in its thousand
hopes, saying, "Behold me! see how lovely I am; we used to play
together, you and I; how much I used to give you!--grand kingdoms,
broad meadows, and gold, and a great, endless Paradise beyond the
hills. But it seems you have nothing left now. And how pale you are,
and worn! Come and play with me again!"

Who is there amongst us to whom Music has not brought back his
childhood a thousand times? She comes and says, "Are not the rosebuds
blown yet which I gave you?" Yes, yes, they are blown; they were white
roses, though!

The evening made his joy-flowers close, folding their petals together
above their nectaries; and an evening dew of melancholy fell ever
heavier and thicker upon his soul as he went on his way. Just before
sunset he came to a village; I am sorry to say I cannot remember
whether it was Honbart, or Houstein, or Jaxheim; but of this I am
pretty certain, that it was one of the three, because it was near the
River Jagst, and in Anspach, on the borders of Ellwangen. His
night-quarters lay smoking down in the valley before him. Before going
on into them he lay down on the hill-side beneath a tree, whose
branches were the cathedral chancel of a choir of singing creatures.
Not far from him gleamed the trembling tinsel of a piece of water,
glittering in the evening sun; and above him the golden leaves and the
white blossoms rustled like grasses waving over flowers. The cuckoo
(always her own sounding-board and multiplying echo) talked to him from
the tree-top in mournful tones of sorrow; the sun was gone; the shadows
were throwing thick veils of crape over the brightness of the day. He
asked himself, "_What_ is my Lenette doing now? Of whom is she
thinking? Who is with her?" And here there fell about his heart, like a
band of ice, the thought, "Ah! but _I_ have no loved one whose hand I
can clasp!"

After drawing to himself a vivid picture of the tender, delicate,
beautiful, woman whom he had so often invoked, but never met--to whom
he would have given and sacrificed--oh! so gladly--so much! not only
his heart and his life, but his every wish, his every whim--he went
down the hill with streaming eyes, which he strove in vain to dry; but,
at all events, any kind womanly heart (among the readers of this tale)
which has loved in vain, or to its own detriment, will forgive him
these burning tears, knowing, from sad personal experience, how the
soul seems to journey on through a desolate wilderness, where the
deathly Samiel wind blows ceaselessly, while lifeless forms lie
scattered around, dashed to earth by the blast, their arms breaking
from their crumbling trunks when the living touches them in act to
clasp them to his own warm heart. But ye, in whose clasp so many a
heart has grown cold, chilled by inconstancy or by the frost of
death--ye should not mourn so bitterly as do those lonely souls who
have never _lost_, because they have never _found_; who yearn for that
immortal and eternal love of which even the mortal and transient reflex
has never been vouchsafed to bless them.

Firmian carried with him into his night-quarters a tranquil, though a
tender, heart, which healed itself in dreams. When he looked up
from his slumbers, the constellations, set in his window as in a
picture-frame, twinkled lovingly before his bright and happy eyes, and
beamed upon him the astrological prophecy of a happy morrow.

He fluttered, with the earliest lark, up out of the furrow of his bed,
with as many trills as he, and quite as much energy. That day, fatigue
plucking the bird-of-paradise wings from his fancy, he could not quite
get out of the territory of Anspach. The day after, he reached Bamberg,
leaving on the right hand Nürnberg--that and its _Pays Coutumiers_ and
_Pays de Droit écrit_. His path led him from one paradise to another.
The plain seemed to be one great mosaic of gardens; the hills seemed to
crouch closer to the earth, as if to let men the more readily climb up
upon their backs and humps. The groves of deciduous trees were like
garlands, twined and placed to adorn Nature on some great festal day;
and the setting sun often glowed through the trellis-work of some leafy
balustrade on a hill-side, like a purple apple in some perforated
fruit-vase. In one valley one longed to take one's mid-day sleep; in
another, one's breakfast; in this stream, to see the moon reflected
when she stood in the zenith; to see her rise behind this group of
trees; to see the sun rise out of that green trellised bed of trees at
the _Streitberg_.

When he arrived the next day at Streitberg, where all those delights
could be indulged in at once, he might easily have seen the top
of the spire of Bayreuth put on the blushing tints of the evening
Aurora--unless he was a much worse walker than his historian; however,
he did not care to do so. He said to himself, "I should be an ass were
I to go rushing, all dog-tired and dried up as I am, upon the first
hour of a delicious reunion and meeting of this sort; neither he
(Leibgeber) nor I would get a wink of sleep; and what should we have
time to talk about at this hour in the evening? No, no, better wait,
and get there the first thing in the morning, about six o'clock, and so
have the whole day before us for our millennium."

Accordingly he passed the night in Fantaisie, an artificial pleasure,
rose, and flower-valley, half a mile from Bayreuth. I find it a very
hard and difficult matter to reserve the erection of my paper model of
this Seifersdorf miniature valley (which I should so much like to
introduce at this point), until I find a roomier place for it than the
present; however, I can't help it, and should I not find such a place,
there is sure to be ample space in the blank pages at the end of the

Firmian started, then, in company with a body of bats and beetles--the
advanced guard of a beautiful bright day--and bringing up the rear (so
to speak) of the people of Bayreuth, who had just finished their Sunday
and Feast of the Ascension (it was the 7th of May): and he walked so
late that the moon, in her first quarter, was casting deep, strong
shadows of the blossoms and branches upon the greensward. Thus late in
the evening, then, Firmian climbed a height from whence he could look
down, with tears of joy, to Bayreuth--where the beloved brother of his
soul was waiting for him and thinking of him--as it lay softly veiled
in the bridal night of spring, and broidered over with shining flakes
of Luna's radiance. I can affirm in his name with a "Verily" that he
nearly did what _I should_ have done myself; that is to say, _I_, with
a heart welling up in such a warm sort of manner as _his_ was, and on a
night all so adorned and pranked out with gold and silver, should have
made but one bound into the Sun Hotel, and into my Leibgeber's arms.
However, he went back again into his odour-breathing Capua (Fantaisie),
and there, in the brief intervening space of time between his return
and supper and evening prayer time, he met--beside a dried-up
water-basin or fish-pond, peopled by a race of deities transformed into
stone--he met with nothing less than an exceedingly charming adventure.
I proceed to give an account of it.

Beside the wall which surrounded the little lake in question, there was
a lady standing; she was dressed all in black except her veil, which
was white; she had a bouquet of faded flowers in her hand, and was
turning it over with her fingers. She was looking towards the west,
that is to say, away from him, and seemed to be contemplating partly
the confused mass of stone _Suisseries_, and the coral-reef of
sea-horses, tritons, and so on, and partly a temple, in artificial
ruins, which was close by. As he passed slowly on he saw, by a side
glance, that she threw a flower, not so much _at_ as _over_ him, as if
this sign of exclamation were meant to rouse a pre-occupied person from
his _reverie_. He looked round a little, just to show that he was
really awake and observant, and went up to the glass-door of the
artificially-ruined temple, in order to linger a little longer in the
vicinity of this enigma. Inside the temple, facing him, there was a
mirrored pillar, which reflected all the foreground and middle distance
(including the fair unknown) in the green perspective of a long
background. Firmian saw, in the mirror, the lady throw her bouquet at
him bodily, and then roll an orange (which would not fly so far as the
flowers) towards his feet. He turned round with a smile. A soft voice
cried in an eager, hasty way, "Don't you know me?" He said, "No;" and
ere he had added, more slowly, "I am a stranger," the unknown Lady
Abbess had drawn near to him, and lifted the Moses veil rapidly from
her face, and asked, in a louder tone, "Don't you, _now_?" And a female
head which might have been sawn from the shoulders of the Vatican
Apollo (only softened by some eight or ten feminine traits, and a
narrower brow) glowed upon him like some bust illumined by the flare of
a torch. But, on his repeating that he was a stranger, and when she
examined him more closely, and without her veil, and let her gauze
portcullis down again (which movements took altogether about as long as
one beat of the pendulum of an astronomical clock), she turned away
saying, "I beg your pardon," in a tone which expressed more womanly
annoyance than embarrassment.

A very little thing would have set him off to follow her in a
mechanical sort of manner. He immediately set about adorning all
Fantaisie with plaster-casts of her head (instead of the stone
goddesses)--of her head, which had but three pleonasms in the face of
it--too much colour in the cheeks, too much curve in the nose, and too
much wild fire (or rather material for kindling it) in the eyes. "That
is the sort of head," he thought, "which would be well in its place in
an opera-box, beside the sparkling one of some royal bride (ay, and
hold its own there), and might contain all the wisdom it might
deprive--other people of."

One carries a magic adventure such as this into one's dreams with one,
for it is like a dream itself. The month of May now stuck in little
flower-sticks to all Firmian's drooping, trembling, joy-flowers (as she
had done to Nature's), and lightly bound them to them. Ah! with what
brightness do even little joys beam upon the soul when it stands on
some spot all darkened by clouds of sorrow--as stars shine out in the
empty sky when we look up at it from a cellar or deep well.

On the exquisite morning which followed, the earth rose with the sun.
Siebenkæs had his friend of all time in his head and heart more than
the unknown of yesterday; although, at the same time, he took care that
his path should lead him by the ocean, and the shell out of which that
Venus had arisen--for mere curiosity's sake--which led to no result.
And so he waded away through the moist radiance and cloudy vapour of
the glittering silver-mine, tearing down in his passage the
gossamer-wreaths all behung with seed-pearls of dew which hung upon the
flowers; brushing (in his eagerness to reach his Olympus of yesterday)
the chilled butterflies and dew-drops from off the branches, all
a-flutter with the insect swarms (the key-board of a harmonica framed
in flowers). He climbed to his place in the great "Auditorium" all
delight at length. Bayreuth lay behind a glowing drop-curtain of mist.
The sun (in his character of "king" of this drama) stood on a hill-top,
and looked down at this many-tinted curtain, which took fire and
blazed, while the morning breezes caught and bore away its fluttering,
sparkling, tinder fragments, and scattered them over the gardens and
the flowers. And soon nothing save the sun was shining; nothing round
him now except the sky. Amid this radiance Siebenkæs made his entry
into his dear friend's camp of recreation and head-quarter city,
whereof all the buildings looked as if they were a glittering, solider
sort of air-and-magic castles fallen down from the æther. It was
strange, but, on noticing certain window-curtains drawn in (which the
street breeze had been toying with), he could scarcely help feeling
certain that it was the "Unknown" of yesterday who was doing it,
although at that time of the morning (it was barely eight o'clock) a
Bayreuth lady would have as little got through her flower-sleep as the
red mouse-ear, or the Alpine hawksbeard.[62] His heart beat quicker at
every street. It was quite a pleasure to him to lose his way a little,
as to some extent delaying and adding to his happiness. At length he
attained his perihelion--that is to say--reached the Sun (Hotel), where
was the metallic sun which had attracted to it _his_ comet, as the
astronomical sun does comets in general. He inquired the number of
Leibgeber's room; they said it was number 8, at the back of the house,
but that he had gone that day on a trip into Swabia, unless he was
still upstairs. Fortunately there just then came in from the street an
individual who testified to the correctness of the latter hypothesis,
and wagged his tail at sight of Siebenkæs--Leibgeber's dog to wit.

To storm up the stairs, to burst open the door of joy, to fall upon the
beloved breast, was the work of a single instant; and then the barren
minutes of life passed unseen and unheard by the close, silent union of
two human creatures, who lay clinging together on the waters of life,
like two shipwrecked brothers floating, embracing and embraced, on the
chill waves, with nothing left them save the heart they die upon....

As yet they had not said a word to one another. Firmian, whom a longer
continuance of troubles had made the weaker of the two, wept without
disguise at sight of the face of his newly recovered friend. Heinrich's
features were drawn as if by pain. They both had their hats still on.
Leibgeber, in his embarrassment, could think of nothing to hold on to
except the bell-rope. The waiter came running in. "Oh! it's nothing!"
said Leibgeber; "except, by the way, that I shan't go out now. Heaven
grant," he added, "that we may get fairly into the thick of a long
talk! Drag me into one, brother!"

He had no difficulty in beginning one with the pragmatic detailing of
the _Nouvelle du Jour_--or rather _de la Nuit_--in short, the town (or,
more properly speaking, the country) news of what had taken place on
the previous day in the vicinity of the veil of the beautiful _Je ne
sais quoi_.

"I know her" (Leibgeber answered), "as I know my own pulse; but I don't
intend to say anything whatever about her just now. I should be obliged
to sit still and wait here for such a time. Put the whole thing off
till we are sitting in Abraham's warm bosom in the Hermitage, which is
the second heaven of Bayreuth, next to Fantaisie,--for Fantaisie is the
first heaven, and the whole country is the third."

They then made an ascent into heaven in every fresh street they came
to, and also in every subject of conversation which they fell upon.
"You shall knock my head off its stalk like a poppy," said Leibgeber,
on Firmian's betraying (I regret to say) as great a curiosity as the
reader's own to know the secret, "before I transform _my_ mysteries
into _yours_, either to-day, or to-morrow, or the day after that. Thus
much I will tell you, that your 'Selections from the Devil's Papers'
(your 'Evening Journal' contains matter more morbific) are perfectly
divine, and very heavenly indeed, and not at all bad, and by no means
without beauties; but, on the whole (let us say), passable enough."
Leibgeber then told him how delighted he was with the work, and how it
surprised him that he, a lawyer in a little country town, with nobody
in it but a parcel of shopkeepers and juristic souls, with a sprinkling
of higher officialities, should have managed to rise in these satires
to such a freedom and purity of art; and, indeed, when _I_ first read
the 'Selections from the Devil's Papers,' I said, myself now and then,
"I am sure _I_ couldn't have written anything of the kind in Hof in
Voigtland, and I _have_ written one or two pretty good things there,

Leibgeber placed a crown on the top of the laurel wreath by declaring
that it was much easier for him to laugh at the world aloud, and with
both lips, than under his breath and with the pen, and this in
accordance with well-tried rules of art. Siebenkæs was beyond himself
with delight at his friend's praise. But let no one grudge a pleasure
of this sort to our advocate, or to any other worker who, in solitude,
and without a single soul to give him a word of praise, has gone
steadfastly forward along the path of art which he has honestly chosen,
unsupported, unassisted by the smallest encouragement of any kind,
whom, at last, on reaching the goal, the fragrance of a leaf or two of
laurel from a friend's hand, penetrates, strengthens, and recompenses,
with an aroma as of Araby the Blest. If even the far-famed and the
self-satisfied stand in need of a little of the warmth which is
derived from other people's opinions, how much more the diffident and
the unknown! Ah! lucky Firmian! to what a distance in the far
south-south-west did the passing thunder-storms of thy life now go
drifting away. When the sun fell upon them, nothing of them was to be
seen but a gentle fall of rain.

At the _table d'hôte_ he observed with delight, in the case of
Leibgeber, how wonderfully a constant intercourse with men and cities
loosens the tongue though, at the same time, the heart puts on the
bridle which has been taken from the lips. Leibgeber thought nothing of
talking about himself, and this in the most humorous manner, before all
sorts of grand councillors of state and chancery officials dining at
the Sun--a thing which he, a cabined, cribbed, confined parish advocate
would scarce have dared even after a good bottle of wine. As the
discourse which he delivered on this occasion pleased the parish
advocate, I shall build it into this history, and place over it the

                       LEIBGEBER'S DINNER SPEECH.

"I think I may venture to say that of all the Christians and persons of
name and title seated at this table, not one was made into one with
such wonderful difficulty as I was. My mother, a native of Gascony, was
on her way to Holland, by sea, from London, where she had left my
father as diocesan of a German community. But, never since there has
been such a thing on the face of the earth as a councillor of the
German empire, did the German Ocean rage and insurge so terrifically as
upon the occasion in question when it was my mother's lot to be
crossing it. Pour all hell, hissing lakes of brimstone, boiling copper,
splattering devils, and all, into the cold ocean, and observe the
crackling, the roaring, and the seething of the hell-flames and
ocean-waves contending, till one of these hostile elements swallow up
the other, and you have a faint (but, at dinner-time, a sufficient)
idea of the infernal storm in which I came upon the sea, and into the
world. When I tell you that the main braces, the topsail sheets, and
the main topgallant stays (to say nothing of the crossjack braces and
fore topgallant halyards, which were in a worse state still)--and when,
moreover, the mizen topsail, and the foretop mast staysail rigging, and
the flying jib (to say nothing of the spanker)--when things so
accustomed to the sea as these (I say) felt as if their _last hour_ was
come, it was a real ocean miracle that a creature so tender as I was at
that time should have managed to commence his _first_. I had about as
much flesh on my body then as I have fat now, and may have weighed, at
the outside, about four Nürnberg pounds, which (if we may credit the
authority of the best anatomical theatres) is at the present moment
about the weight of my brain alone. Besides which, I was the merest of
beginners. I had seen absolutely nothing of the world, except this
infernal gale. I was a creature, not so much of _few_ years as of
_none_ at all (though everybody's life commences some nine months
sooner than the parish registers indicate), excessively tender and
delicate--having been (in opposition to all the rules of hygiene) kept
much too warm, swaddled, and coddled during these very first nine
months in question, when I ought rather to have been undergoing a
preparation of some kind to enable me to bear the chill atmosphere of
this world. And thus, quarter-grown, a tender flower-bud, liquidly soft
as first love, when I made my appearance during a storm such as was
raging (I added one or two feeble squeaks, with some difficulty, to its
roar), what was to be expected was, that I should be extinguished
altogether, even before it calmed down. People didn't like the idea of
my going without something in the shape of a name--without some little
vestige of Christianity of some kind--out of this world, which is a
place whence we _do_ carry away even less than we bring into it with
us. But the grand difficulty experienced was that of _standing_
godfather, in a rolling, plunging vessel, which pitched everything and
everybody higgledy-piggledy that wasn't made fast. The chaplain was
(luckily) lying in a hammock, and he baptized down out of thence. My
godfather was the boatswain, who held me for five whole minutes; but
inasmuch as he couldn't, without help, stand steady enough to enable
the chaplain to touch my brow with the water without missing me, he was
held by the barber's mate, who was made fast to a marine, who was made
fast to a boatswain's mate, who was made fast to the master-at-arms,
who sat upon the knee of an old bluejacket, who held on to him like
grim death.

"However, neither the ship nor the child (as I afterwards ascertained)
came to any detriment; but you all see, do you not, that, hard as it is
for any one amid the storms of life, to become, and continue, a
Christian, or to get a name--be it in a directory, in a literary
gazette, in a herald's college, or upon a medal--yet there are few who
have had the same difficulty as I have had in acquiring the mere _first
elements_ of a name--the groundwork, the binomial root, of a Christian
name, whereon, at a subsequent period, the other _great_ name might be
engrafted--and to get hold of a faint smattering of Christianity, as
much as a catechumen and candidate as yet in a speechless and sucking
condition might be capable of. There is but one thing more difficult to
make; the greatest princes and heroes can only do it once in their
lives--the mightiest geniuses--even the three electors of the Church,
the Emperor of Germany himself, with all their united efforts, can't do
more, were they to sit for years, stamping in the mint with all the
latest improvements in coining machinery."

The whole of the company entreated him to explain what this was that
was so hard to frame.

"'Tis a crown prince," he answered, quietly; "even a reigning sovereign
finds it no easy matter to produce an appanaged prince--but, let him
try as he will, even in the best days of his life, he can never produce
more than one specimen of a crown prince; for a Seminarist of that sort
is none of your accessory-works, but the prime mover, the regulator,
the striking and driving-wheel of the whole nation. On the other hand,
gentry, counts, barons, chamberlains, staff-officers, and above all,
common people and subjects of the altogether every-day sort--to be
brief, a scurvy crew of that description--a _generatio æquivoca_--can
be brought into being by a prince with such wonderful ease that he
creates these _lusus naturæ_ and virgin swarms, or _protoplasmata_, in
considerable numbers even in his earlier days, although in riper years
he may not manage to turn out an heir to his throne. Yet, after so much
preliminary drill, so many trial-shots, one would have taken one's oath
the other way!"

                     END OF LEIBGEBER'S TABLE-TALK.

In the afternoon they paid a visit to that verdant, pleasure place, the
Hermitage, and the alley leading thither seemed to their happy hearts
to be a path cut through some beauteous grove of gladness. That young
bird of passage, Spring, was encamped all over the plain around, her
unladen floral treasures scattered about the meadows, and floating down
the streams, while the birds were drawn up into air upon long sunbeams,
and the world of winged creatures hovered all about in intoxication of
bliss amid the exquisite scents shed abroad by kind Nature.

Leibgeber determined to pour out his heart and his secret at the
Hermitage that day, and (by way of preliminary) a bottle of wine or so
to begin with.

He begged and constrained Siebenkæs first of all to deliver a
diary-lecture concerning his adventures by land and by water up to the
present time. Firmian complied, but with discretion. Over his stomach's
barren year, over his hard times, over the (metaphorical) winter of his
life (upon whose snow he had had to make his nest, icebird-like), and
over all the bitter northerly wind, which drives a man to BURY himself
in the earth (as soldiers do)--over all these he passed lightly and
quickly. I myself must approve of him for so doing; firstly, because a
man would be none who should shed a bigger tear over wounds of poverty
than a young lady drops at the piercing of her ears, for in both cases
the wounds become points of suspension for jewels; secondly, because
Siebenkæs would not cause his friend the slightest pain on the score of
their change of names, the main source of all his hunger-springs.
However, his friend knew, and sympathised with him sufficiently to
consider that his pale, faded face and his sunken eyes constituted a
sufficient almanac month-emblem of his frost-month or winter-picture of
the snowed-up tracts of his life-road.

But when Siebenkæs came to speak of the deep and secret wounds of his
soul, it was all he could do to keep back the drops of blood-water
which pressed to his eyes; I mean the subject of Lenette's hatred and
love. But while he drew a very indulgent picture of her little love for
him, and her great love for Stiefel, he used much brighter colours for
the historical piece which he painted of her admirable behaviour to the
Venner, and of that gentleman's wickedness in general.

"As soon as you have done," said Leibgeber, "you must allow yourself to
be informed that women are not _fallen_ angels, but FALLING ones. By
all the heavens! while we stand patient, like sheep being shorn, they
stick the shears oftener into our skins than into our wool. I should
think of the fair sex if I were to cross the bridge of St. Angelo at
Rome, for there are twelve statues of angels there, holding the
implements of the Passion, each a different one; one has the nails,
another the reed, another the dice, and similarly each woman has a
peculiar torture-instrument of her own to apply to us poor lambs. Whom,
think you, for instance now, is the Palladium of yesterday, your
unknown beauty, going to tether to her bed-post with the nose-ring of a
wedding-ring? But I must tell you about her. She is altogether
glorious: she is poetic; full of romantic, enthusiastic admiration for
the British, and for intellectual people in general (consequently for
me), and lives with an aristocratic English lady, a sort of companion
to Lady Craven and the Margrave at Fantaisie yonder. She has nothing,
and accepts nothing; is poor and proud, daring to rashness, and pure as
the day; and she signs herself '_Nathalie Aquiliana_.' Do you know
who's going to be her husband? A horrible, burnt-out, used-up wretch--a
feeble, puny creature, whose egg-shell was chipped a week or two before
its time, and who now goes cheeping about our toes like a chicken with
the pip; a fellow who copies Heliogabalus (who put on a new ring every
day) in the matter of wedding-rings; a hop-o'-my-thumb whom I could
sneeze over the North Pole (and I should like very much to do it), and
whom I have the less need to give you any description of, inasmuch as
you have just given _me_ one of him yourself: when I tell you his name,
you will see that you know him pretty well. This magnificent creature
is going to be married to the Venner Rosa von Meyern!"

Firmian fell, not _from_ the clouds, but right _into_ them. To make a
long tale short, this Nathalie is the Heimlicher's niece, of whom
Leibgeber wrote some account in our first volume. "But, listen,"
continued Leibgeber, "I will let myself be hewn and hacked into crumbs
smaller than those of Poland--into clippings not big enough to cover a
Hebrew vowel--if this affair comes to anything; for I am going to put a
stop to it."

Since Leibgeber (as we know) was in the habit of talking to the lady
every day (his spotless soul and his bold mind having unspeakable
attractions for her), all he had to do in order to break the marriage
off, was simply to repeat to her what Siebenkæs had told him concerning
her bridegroom elect. It was his intimacy with her, and his resemblance
to Siebenkæs which had led to her mistaking Firmian for him on the
evening of his arrival.

The majority of my readers will urge against me and Leibgeber the same
objection which Siebenkæs brought forward--that, Nathalie's love and
marriage for money were quite out of harmony with her character, and
her disregard for riches. But, in one word, all she had ever as yet
seen of that gaudy flycatcher, Mr. Rosa, was his Esau's hand, that, is
to say, his writing, _i. e_. his Jacob's voice; he had only written her
a few irreprehensible, sentimental letters of assurance (pin-papers,
stuck full of Cupid's darts and stitching-needles), and so given
guarantee of the _documentary_ nobility of his heart.... The
Heimlicher, moreover, had written to his niece, saying, on St.
Pancrasius' day (May 12th, that is in four days' time), the Venner
would come and present himself, and if she refused him, let her never
call herself his niece again, and starve in her native village for all
he cared.

But, speaking as a man of honour, I really have never had above three
of Rosa's letters in my hands for two or three minutes, and in my
pocket for about an hour; and they were really not so very bad--far
more moral than their author.

Just as Leibgeber said he would assume the office of consistory, and
divorce Nathalie from Rosa before their marriage, she came driving up,
with one or two lady friends, and got out of the carriage; but instead
of going with them to where the company were assembling, she went away
alone, by a solitary side walk, to the so-called Temple. In her haste
she had not noticed her friend Leibgeber sitting opposite the stables.
I ought to explain here that when the Bayreuthians go to the Hermitage
they have been in the habit, ever since the days of the Margrave, of
sitting in a little wood, all breezes and cool shade, in front of the
extensive farm-buildings and stables, but having the loveliest of
prospects just at their backs, which they could easily substitute for
the blank wall upon which they feast their gaze, by merely getting up
and going a little way out of the wood on either side.

Leibgeber told Siebenkæs he could take him to her in a moment, as she
would be sure to sit down in the temple (as she usually did) to enjoy
the enchanting view of the city towers and the hills, as they lay in
the light of the evening sun beyond the shrubberies. He added that,
unfortunately, she cared too little about appearances; and _would_ go
to the summer-house all by herself, greatly to the distress of the
English lady, who, after the manner of her countrywomen, didn't like
going anywhere alone, and wouldn't trust herself to go near even a
gentleman's clothes cupboard without an Insurance Company and Bible
Society of women with her to protect her. He said he had it on good
authority that a British lady never permitted the _idea_ of a _man_ to
enter her head without at once surrounding it with the number of ideas
of _women_, necessary to bridle and restrain him, should he begin
behaving (in the four chambers of her brain) with that amount of
freedom which he might employ if _at home_ there.

They found Nathalie in the open temple, with some papers in her hand.
"I bring you our author of the 'Selections from the Devil's Papers,'"
said Leibgeber, "which I see you are just reading; will you allow me to
introduce him to you?" After a passing blush at having mistaken
Siebenkæs for Leibgeber, in Fantaisie, she said to him, very kindly and
pleasantly, "It would take very little to make me mistake you for your
friend again, Mr. Siebenkæs; and you seem almost exactly alike in mind,
as well as in body. Your satire is often exactly like his; it is only
your graver 'Appendices' which I was just reading, and which I like
very much, that seem to me as if they hadn't been written by him."

I have not at present time to make--(for Leibgeber's unauthorized
communication to one friend of the papers of another)--excuses
occupying long pages of print to readers who may insist upon extreme
delicacy in matters of this description. Suffice it to say that
Leibgeber took it for granted that every one who liked _him_ would join
with him in liking his friends, and that Siebenkæs (and even Nathalie)
would see nothing in his unhesitatingly communicating these papers, but
a mere passing on of a friendly circular letter, pre-supposing, as he
did, the existence between them of a triple elective affinity.

Nathalie scanned the pair--particularly Leibgeber, whose big dog she
was stroking--with a kindly and observant look of comparison, as if she
were trying to find out dissimilarities between them; for, in fact,
Siebenkæs seemed to her to be scarcely as like his friend as she had
thought. He was taller and slighter, and younger in the face; but this
was because Leibgeber, whose shoulders and chest were more strongly
built, bent his strange, earnest face more forward when he talked, as
if he were speaking into the earth. He himself said he never _had_
looked really young, not even at his baptism--as his baptismal
certificate would prove--and wasn't likely to grow much younger now
till he arrived at his second childhood. But when Leibgeber
straightened his back somewhat, and Siebenkæs bent his a little, they
looked very much like one another; however, this is more a hint for the
drawer-up of their passports than anything else.

Let us felicitate the Kuhschnappel lawyer on this opportunity of
enjoying a few minutes' conversation with a lady of position, and of
such many-sided cultivation as even to be capable of appreciating
satires. All _he_ wished was that a ph[oe]nix of this sort--such as,
hitherto, he had only seen a pinch or so of the ashes of in actual
life, or a ph[oe]nix-feather or two preserved in a book--might not take
wing and disappear _instanter_; but that he might be lucky enough to
listen to a long talk between her and Leibgeber, as well as help to
spin it out himself. But suddenly her Bayreuth friends came hurrying up
to say that the fountains were just going to play, and there wasn't a
moment to be lost. The whole party, therefore, went towards the
waterworks, Siebenkæs' whole care being to keep as close as he could to
the noblest of the spectatresses.

They stood by the basin, and looked at the beautiful water artifices,
which, no doubt, have long since played before the reader, either on
the spot, or in the pages of the various writers of travels, who have
expressed themselves on the subject of them at sufficient length, and
in adequate terms of laudation. All kinds of mythologic demigod-ical
demibeasts spouted forth streams; and from out this world, peopled with
water-gods, there spouted a crystal forest, whose descending branches,
liana-like, took root again in the earth. They enjoyed for a long while
the sight of this talkative, intercommingling water-world. At length
the fluttering, ever-growing water-forms sank down and died; the
transparent lily-stems grew shorter and shorter, as they watched them.
"Why is it, I wonder?" said Nathalie to Siebenkæs, "that a waterfall
lifts up one's heart; but this dying-down of these springing jets, this
visible sinking away of these grand streaming beams of water, always
makes me sad and anxious? We never see any such falling in of high
things in real life."

Siebenkæs was thinking out the apt and comprehensive reply to this true
and just expression of Nathalie's feeling, when all at once she jumped
into the water to rescue, with as little delay as possible, a child who
had fallen in, a few steps away from her; for the water was there about
waist-deep. Before the men who were present had so much as _thought
about_ it, she had _done_ it; and she was right, for in this case
rapidity without reflection was the good and true thing. She lifted the
child out, and gave it to the women; but Siebenkæs and Leibgeber took
her hands, and lightly raised the fiery creature (all blushes, of body
and of soul) on to the bank. "What does it matter?" she said, with a
smile, to the alarmed Siebenkæs, "I shall be none the worse," and
hurried away with her friends (who were all shocked into
speechlessness), having first begged Leibgeber to come next evening,
with his friend, to Fantaisie. "That of course I shall do," he said;
"but first of all, I am coming to see you by myself early in the

The crying need of our two friends was now to be alone with one
another. Leibgeber, under the new excitement, could scarce wait to
attain the birch wood, where he meant to continue their previous
conversation regarding Siebenkæs' domestic and conjugal affairs. With
respect to Nathalie, he briefly pointed out to his astonished friend
that what so much delighted him in her was just the unhesitating,
downright straightforwardness which marked all her thoughts and
actions, and her manly cheerfulness, athwart which the world, and
poverty, and chances and accidents of every kind merely passed floating
away, like light, shining summer clouds, never darkening her day. "Now
as regards you and your Lenette," he went on (when they reached the
solitude of the little wood), as quietly as if he had been talking
continuously up to that instant, "if I were in your place, I should
take an alterative, and get rid of the hard gall-stone of matrimony for
good and all. You will never really be able to bear the pain of the
bonds of wedlock, though you scrape and scratch away at them for years
to come with all your finest hair-saws and bone-saws. The Divorce Court
will give _one_ grand cut and tear--and there you are, free of one
another for ever and ever."

The idea of a divorce terrified Siebenkæs, although he saw very clearly
that it was the only possible breaking-point for the storm-clouds of
his life. He was far from grudging to Lenette either her freedom, or
the marriage with Stiefel, which would infallibly result; but he
felt quite sure that, however much she might wish for it, she never
would consent to an enforced separation, on account of her strong
regard for appearances,--also that on their road to this parting both
she and he would have to pass many a bitter hour of heart-strain and
nerve-fever,--and that they could hardly afford to pay for a betrothal,
much less for a divorce.

It was likewise an accessory circumstance, that it was more than he
could bear to think of the sight of the poor innocent soul, who had
shivered at his side through so many a cold storm of life, going away
for ever from his home, and from his arms--ay, and with _that
handkerchief_ in her hand, too!

All these considerations, with many stronger, and many weaker, he laid
before his friend, finishing up with this final one: "I assure you,
moreover, that if she went away from me, tag and baggage, and left me
by myself in that empty room (as in a grave), and in all the blank,
cleared-out spaces, where, when all's said and done, we have sat
together through so many kindly happy hours, and seen the flowers
growing green about us--she never could pass by my window (while she
bore my name, at all events, though no longer mine), but something
within me would bid me throw myself down, and dash myself in pieces at
her feet. Would it not be ten times better," he continued in an altered
tone, "to wait till I fall down upstairs in the room (or what does my
giddiness mean), and be taken out of the window, and out of the world,
in a better fashion? Friend Death would take his long erasing knife,
and scrape my name (and other blots into the bargain) out of her

Contrary to all expectation, this seemed to make Leibgeber merrier and
livelier than ever. "Do so!" he said; "it's the very thing! Die by all
means! The funeral expenses can't possibly come to anything approaching
the costs of the other kind of separation; and besides, you belong to
the Burial Society." Siebenkæs stared at him in astonishment.

He went on in a tone of the utmost indifference: "Only I must tell you
it will do neither of us much good, if you dawdle a long time at your
saddling and bridling, and take a year or two about your dying. I
should think it much more to the purpose were you to be off to
Kuhschnappel as soon as ever you can, take to your sick-bed and
death-bed directly you get there; and die as quickly as ever you can
manage it. And I'll give you my reasons. For one thing your Lenette's
year of mourning would be out just before Advent, so that she would
require no dispensation, if she wanted to marry Peltzstiefel before
Christmas. It would suit me very well, too, for I could then disappear
in the crowd, and I shouldn't see you again for some considerable time
to come. Besides, it is anything but a matter of indifference to
yourself, for of course the sooner you're appointed Inspector the

"This is the very first of your jokes, dear old Henry," said Siebenkæs,
"of which I don't understand one single word."

Leibgeber, with a disturbed countenance, whereon a whole history of the
world was legible, and which indicated, as well as gave rise to, the
greatest possible anticipation of something of immense importance to
come, pulled a letter from his pocket and handed it to Siebenkæs in
silence. It was a letter of appointment by the Count von Vaduz,
constituting Leibgeber Inspector of the Chief Bailiwick of Vaduz. He
next handed him a letter in the count's handwriting. While Firmian was
reading the letter, Leibgeber brought out his pocket-diary, and calmly
muttered to himself, "From the quarter-day after Whitsunday, it says,
does it not? to the time when I am to enter upon my office; that is to
say, from to-day--St. Stanislaus' Day. Ah! only think of that--how odd
it seems--from St. Stanislaus' day one, two, three, four--_four_ weeks
and a half."

Firmian, much pleased, was handing him back the letter, but he wouldn't
take it, but pressed it back to him, saying, "I read it long ago, long
before _you_ did. Put it in your pocket."

And here Heinrich, in a burst of solemn, impassioned, humoristic
enthusiasm, knelt down in the middle of a long narrow path, which
looked between the trees of the thick grove like some subterranean
passage (the weathercock of the distant steeple ended off the
perspective of it as if with a turnstile)--knelt down facing the west,
and gazed through the long green hollow way upon the evening sun,
sinking earthward like some brilliant meteor, its broad beams darting
down upon the long green path, like forest-water gilt by the spring; he
gazed fixedly at it, and his eyes all blinded (and lighted up) by its
sheen, he began to speak as follows:--

"If there be a good spirit near me, or a guardian angel of mine or of
his, or if _thy_ spirit surviveth still thine ashes, oh! my old,
_kind_, loving father, so deep in thy grave, then draw near, oh! thou
dim and ancient shade, and grant to thy stupid, silly son (still
limping about here in this fluttering, ragged shirt of a body) this
one, one favour, the first and the last, and enter into Firmian's
heart, and (while giving it a good sound shaking) address it as
follows: 'Die, Firmian, for my son's sake, though it be but in jest and
in appearance only. Throw away your own name, go in his (which was
yours before) to Vaduz as Inspector, and give yourself out to be him.
My poor son here (like that _Joujou de Normandie_ whereon he is
sticking, which circles round the sun upon strings of sunbeams) would
fain go whirling about _upon_ said Joujou himself for a little while
longer. Before all you parrots the ring of eternity is still hanging,
and you can hop on to it and rock upon it if you will. But he does not
see the ring; don't deprive the poor Poll-parrot of the pleasure of
hopping about on the perch of this earth till, when he has wound his
life's thread some sixty times about its reels, the reel gives a ring
and a snap, the thread breaks, and all his fun is over and done!' Oh!
kind spirit of my father, stir up my friend's heart this day, and guide
his tongue, that it may not say 'No,' when I ask him, 'Will you do all
this.'" Blinded by the evening sun, he felt for Firmian's hand, crying,
"Where's your hand, dear friend? and do not say 'No.'"

But Firmian, quite carried away by emotion (for this sudden outburst of
Leibgeber's long pent-up excitement was most contagious), speechless,
and all in tears, like an evening shade, knelt down before his friend
and fell on his breast, and said in a low tone (for he could do no
otherwise), "I am ready to die for you a thousand deaths, any death you
please: only say what death I can die for you. All I ask is, tell me
plainly what you would have me do. I swear to you beforehand that I
will do whatever you tell me; I swear it by your dear father's soul. I
will gladly give my life for you, and you know I have nothing but that
to give." Heinrich said, in a most unusually subdued voice, "Let's get
away in among the Bayreuthians. I certainly have an attack of
hydrothorax this afternoon, or else a hot mineral spring inside my
waistcoat; 'pon my word, any ordinary heart ought to have a
swimming-belt on, or a scaphander, in a vapour-bath of this kind." But
up at the table under the trees, among the people come to keep the
Whitsuntide fair, the great holiday and festival of spring--up there
among people all happy and enjoying themselves, emotion was easier to
conquer. Here Heinrich quickly unrolled the ground-plans and elevations
of his castle in the air, the building grants of his Tower of Babel. To
the Count von Vaduz (whose ears and heart opened and expanded to him
hungrily) he had given his sacred word of honour that he would return
to him as Inspector. But his idea was that his dear coadjutor and
substitute, _cum spe succedendi_, Firmian, should take his place and
personate him: Firmian, who was such a tautology of him in mind and
body, that both the count, and the theory of distinctive differences
itself, would have been puzzled to tell one of them from the other.
Even in the worst of years the Inspectorship brought in an income of
1200 thalers; that is to say, the exact amount of Firmian's whole
inheritance (now sealed up with the law's leaden signet); so that when
Siebenkæs re-assumed his old name of Leibgeber, he would regain just
what he had lost by changing it. "For," said Leibgeber, "now that I
have read your 'Devil's Papers,' I can't endure or swallow the notion
of your lying fallow any longer in Kuhschnappel; sitting there in
solitude, like a pelican (or an unicorn, or an unknown hermit) in the
wilderness. Now, will it take you as long to think about the matter as
it takes the Chief Clerk of the Chancellery there to shake the ashes
out of his pipe, when I tell you that, though _you_ are a fellow who
could fill any and every office in the world splendidly, there's only
one calling I can follow--that of a _Grazioso_; for though I _know_
more than most people, I can't put my knowledge to any practical use
except satirising, and my language is a parti-coloured _Lingua Franca_,
my head a Proteus, and I myself a delightful compilation of the devil
and his grandmother. Besides, if I _could_ do anything else, I
_wouldn't_. What, am I, in the very flower of my days, to stamp
and neigh, like a state draught-horse, a government prisoner in
the donjon-keep, the shoeing travis of some miserable office
counting-house, with nothing to look at but my saddle and bridle
hanging on the stable-wall, and the loveliest Parnassuses and Tempe
valleys wooing the free feet of the sons of the Muses just outside! In
the very years when my milk of life is inclined to throw out a little
cream--(and the years when a fellow sours and turns to curds and whey
come on so fast)--shall I go and throw the rennet of an appointment
into my morning milk? Now, as for _you_, _you_ have a different song to
sing altogether; you are half a man of office already, and you are
married into the bargain. Ah! it will beat all 'Bremish Contributions
to the Pleasures of Wit and Understanding;' it will be a business far
beyond every existing comic opera, and every funny novel that ever was
written, when I go back to Kuhschnappel with you, and you make your
will and depart this life. And then when, after we have paid you the
last honours, you jump up again (in a good deal of a hurry) and take
yourself off to receive greater honours still; not to enter into the
bliss of the departed so much as to become a _bonâ fide_ live
Inspector; not to appear before a tribunal, but to take your seat upon
one yourself. Joke upon joke wherever we turn! I can't quite see _all_
the consequences of it yet, or only in a very half-and-half sort of
way; the burial club will have to pay your afflicted widow (you can
pay them back again when you're in cash). Death will fop off your
ring-finger, all swollen with the betrothal ring. Your widow will be
able to marry anybody she pleases (yourself if she likes), and so will

Here, all of a sudden, Leibgeber slapped his leg forty times running,
and cried, "Ey! Ey! Ey! Ey! Ey! I can hardly wait till you're fairly
dead and off the hooks; only think of this, your death may make two
women widows instead of one. I will persuade Nathalie to insure herself
a pension of 200 dollars a year, payable on your death, in the Royal
Prussian Provident Widows' Fund[63] (you can pay them it back again as
soon as you get your money). When your widow that is to be gives the
Venner the sack, _you_ must privately provide _her_ with a sack of
breadfruit. And supposing you really could never pay them back, and
were to die in sober earnest, _I_ should take care that their treasury
was none the worse for it as soon as I was in funds again." For
Leibgeber lived in a constant mysterious state of intermittent fever
between riches and poverty (which he has never explained), or, to use
his own expression, between the inspiration and expiration of that
breath of life (Aura Vitalis) called money. Any other but this man, who
played his game of life with such a dashing boldness, whose blazing
fire for the true, the right, and the unselfish, had gleamed upon the
advocate for so many a year as if from a lighthouse-tower, would have
startled Siebenkæs, particularly in his capacity of lawyer, or have
made him very angry, instead of over-persuading him. But Leibgeber
thoroughly saturated him, nay, burnt him through and through with the
etherial playfulness of his humour, and hurried him resistlessly on to
the commission of a mimic deception, which had no aim of selfish
untruthfulness or deceit.

Firmian, however, notwithstanding his intoxication of mind, retained
sufficient control over himself to think, at least, of the risk which
Leibgeber would run in this transaction. "Suppose," said he, "anybody
should come across my dear _real_ Heinrich (whose name I steal) in the
vicinity of me, a coiner of false names, what then?

"Nobody ever will," said Heinrich, "for as soon as you have re-assumed
your own canonical name of Leibgeber, and given up 'Firmian
Stanislaus,' which was conferred upon me at such a stormy baptismal
font (and Heaven grant you may do so!), I shall, under names altogether
unheard of--(perhaps, indeed, that I may have the gratification of
being able to keep 365 name-days in the course of the year, I shall
take every name in the calendar, one after the other)--I shall throw
myself off the dry land (under these names or some of them) into the
great ocean, and propel myself with my dorsal, ventral, and caudal fins
(and any others I may have besides), through the waves and the billows
of life towards the thick, muddy sea of death; so that 'twill probably
be many a day before we meet again."

He gazed fixedly towards the sun, then sinking in glory beyond
Bayreuth; his motionless eyes shone with a moister sheen, and he
continued, more slowly, thus: "Firmian, the Almanac says this is St.
Stanislaus' Day; it is your name-day, and mine, and the death-day of
that wandering, migratory name, because you will have to give it up
after your mock death. I, poor devil as I am, would fain be serious
to-day--for the first time this many a long year. Go you home, alone,
through the village of Johannes; I shall go by the alley; we'll meet
again at the inn. By Heaven! everything is so beautiful here, and so
rose-coloured, that one would think the Hermitage was a piece of the
sun. Don't be very long, though!"

But a sharp pang of pain shot, with swelling folds, athwart Heinrich's
face, and he averted that image of sorrow and his blinded eyes--(which
were full of radiance, and of water, too)--and marched rapidly off past
the spectators, looking as if at something very far away with a face of
apparent attention.

Firmian, alone, with tearful eyes, fronted the gentle sunlight
dissolving into varied tints over the face of the green-hued world.
Close beneath the sun-fire the deep gold-mine of an evening cloud was
falling in drops upon the hill-tops which lay under it; the wandering
shifting gold of the evening sky lay, all transparently, upon the
yellow-green buds and red and white hill-tops, whilst a great,
grand, immeasurable smoke, as if of an altar, cast a strange, magic
reflection--all shifting, distant, translucent hues--athwart the hills.
The hills and the happy earth, reflecting the sun as it sank, seemed to
be receiving him in their arms, and taking him into their embrace. But
at the moment when the sun dipped wholly beneath the earth, there came
(as it were) the angel of a higher light into this gleaming world
(which seemed, to Firmian's tearful eyes, to tremble like some
flickering fiery meteor of the air); this angel advanced, flashing like
day, into the midst of the night-torch-dance of the living, who, at his
coming, turned pale, and halted still. But, as Firmian dried his eyes,
the sun set, the earth grew stiller and paler yet, and night, dewy and
wintry, came forth from the woods.

But that melted heart of his longed for its fellows, and for all whom
it knew and loved; it throbbed insatiate in this lonely prison-cell,
our life; it yearned to love all humanity. Ah! the soul which has had
to give up much, or has lost much, is too, too wretched on such an
evening as this.

In a blissful, tranced reverie, Firmian went his way through the
blossomy fragrance, among the American flowers which open to the sky of
_our_ night, through the closed meadows (chambers of sleep), and under
dew-dropping flowers. The moon stood on the pinnacle of the heavenly
temple in the midday effulgence which the sun cast up to her from the
deeps beneath the earth and her evening-blushes. As Firmian passed
through the leaf-hidden village of Johannes (where the houses were all
scattered about in a great orchard), the evening bells from the distant
hamlets were lulling the slumbering spring to sleep with cradle-songs.
Æolian harps, breathed on by zephyrs, seemed to be sending forth their
tones from out the evening-red, their melodies flowed softly on into
the wide realm of sleep, and there took the form of dreams. Firmian's
heart, moved to its very centre, yearned for love--and for very longing
he felt impelled to press his flowers into the white hands of a pretty
child in Johannes--just that he might _touch_ a human hand.

Go, dear Firmian, with that softened heart of yours, to your
deeply-moved friend, whose inner being, too, stretches its arms out
towards its likeness; for, to-day, you are nowhere so happy as
together. When Firmian entered their common chamber (which, was dark
save for the glow of the red twilight in the west), Heinrich turned to
meet him; they fell silently into each other's arms and forgot all the
tears which burned within them, even those of joy. Their embrace ended,
but their silence did not. Heinrich threw himself on his bed, in his
clothes, and covered himself up. Firmian sank upon the other bed and
wept there, with closed lids. After an hour or two of excited fancy,
heated by visions and by pangs of pain, a soft light fell upon his
burning eyelids; he opened them, and there hung the pale, glowing moon
over against his window. He rose up; but when he saw his friend
standing pale and motionless, like a shadow cast by the moon upon the
wall--and suddenly there came up from a neighbouring garden (like a
nightingale's voice awaking), Rust's melody to the words--

                "'Tis not for this earthly land
                  That Friendship weaves her holy band"--

he fell back under the load of bitter memory; an emotion, too great to
bear, a spasm, closed his sad eyes, and he said, in hollow accents,

"Heinrich! oh believe in immortality. How can we love, if we perish!"

"Peace, peace!" said Heinrich. "To-day I am keeping my name-day,
and that is enough; for man, certainly, has no birth-day, and,
consequently, no death-day either."

                             CHAPTER XIII.


When, in my last chapter, I spoke of ladies who were given to brevity
of sleep, and awoke six hours before their sisters at the Antipodes, I
think I did well not to cram into my twelfth chapter (among the
numerous events so tightly packed there) a model of a certain clock,
composed of men and women, which I invented a considerable time ago,
but to reserve it for this thirteenth chapter, where I shall now
introduce it, and set it up. I believe this humanity clock of mine was
suggested to me by Linnæus' flower clock at Upsal, whose wheels were
the earth and the sun, and the figures on its dial were flowers,
whereof one always awoke and opened later than another. I was living at
the time in Scheerau, in the middle of the market-place, and had two
rooms. From the _front_ room I was able to see all the market-place and
the palace buildings, while my back room looked into the Botanical
Gardens. Whoever maybe living in these rooms now is in possession of a
delightful, ready-tuned harmony between the flower clock in the garden
and the mankind clock in the market-place.

At 3 A.M. the yellow meadow goatsbeard awakes--also brides--and then,
too, the stable-boy begins rattling and feeding the horses under the
lodger. At 4 (on Sundays) awake the little hawksweed, and ladies who
are going to the Holy Communion (_chiming_ clocks these may be called)
and the bakers. At 5, kitchen-maids and dairy-maids awake, and
buttercups; at 6, sowthistles and cooks. By 7, a good many of the
wardrobe women of the palace, and the salad in the Botanical Gardens,
are awake, as well as several tradeswomen. At 8, all their daughters
and the little yellow mouse-ear--all the colleges and the leaves of
flowers, piecrust, and law-papers, are open. At 9, the female
aristocracy begin to stir, and the marygolds, to say nothing of a
number of young ladies from the country, in town on a visit, glance out
of their windows. At 10 and 11, the Court ladies, the whole staff of
lords of the bedchamber, the green colewort and pippau of the Alps, and
the Princesses' reader, arouse themselves from their morning slumber;
and (so brightly is the morning sun breaking in through the many-tinted
silken curtains) the whole Court curtails a morsel or so of its sleep.
At 12, the Prince; at 1, his consort, and the carnation in her
flower-vase--have their eyes open. What gets up at later hours in the
afternoon--about 4 o'clock, say--is nothing but the red hawksweed and
the night, watchman (a cuckoo clock), and these two are but evening
dials, or moon clocks. From the hot eyes of the poor devil who opens
them only at 5 (with the jalap), we turn our own away in sorrow; he is
a sick man, who has _taken_ some of it (the jalap), and only passes
from fever-fancies of being griped with hot pincers to genuine, waking

I could never tell when it was 2 o'clock, because I, and a thousand
other stout gentlemen and the yellow mouse-ear, were always asleep at
that hour; though I awoke, with the regularity of an accurate repeater,
at 3 in the afternoon and at 3 in the morning.

Thus may we human creatures serve as flower clocks to higher
intelligences when our petals close upon our last bed, or as
sand-glasses when our sands of life are run so far out that they are
turned over into the other world. On such occasions, when seventy of
man's years have ended and passed away, these higher intelligences may
say, "Another hour already! Good God! how time flies!"

And this digression reminds me that it really _does_ fly! Firmian and
Heinrich lived on in great cheerfulness of spirit towards the jocund
morning which was so close at hand, though the former could by no means
take root upon any chair or room-floor all the forenoon; for, in his
mind's eye, the curtain kept always rising upon the _opera buffa e
seria_ of his mock death, and displaying its burlesque situations. And
at present (as was always the case, indeed) the presence and example of
Leibgeber heightened his sense of humour and power of expressing the
same. Leibgeber, who had gone through all the stage-business and
scene-shifting of the sham death in an exhaustive manner weeks ago (in
fancy), was thinking little about it now. The problem occupying him at
present was how to extract the wick (that is to say, the bride) out of
Rosa's wedding-torch, all painted and moulded as it was. Heinrich was
at all times forcible, free, and bold, furious and implacable as
regards anything unjust; and his righteous indignation often had much
the appearance of vengeance, as here in Rosa's case, and in that of
Blaise. Firmian was more kindly; he spared and pardoned, often, indeed,
at the (apparent) expense of honour. _He_ could never have plucked
Nathalie's epistolary lover out of her bleeding heart with Leibgeber's
forceps and knife. His friend, at leaving for Fantaisie that day, had
to promise the gentlest of behaviour, and, for a time, silence on the
subject of the Royal Prussian Widows' Fund. It would, of course, have
made a terrific, bleeding wound in Nathalie's feeling of rectitude had
the most distant hint been uttered of such a matter as metallic
compensation for a spiritual loss such as that involved in her
separation on moral grounds from the immoral Venner. She deserved to
conquer (and was well able to do so), with the prospect of her victory
reducing her to poverty.

Heinrich did not come back till it was somewhat late, and his face was
a little troubled, though it was a happy face too. Rosa was discarded,
and Nathalie pained. The English lady was at Anspach with Lady Craven,
eating her butter--(for she made butter as well as books). When he had
read out to Nathalie all that was written on Rosa's black board and
sin-register (which he did gravely, but perhaps louder than was
necessary, and with scrupulous truth), she rose up with that grand
grace which is a characteristic of enthusiasm of self-sacrifice: "If
you are yourself deceived in this as little as you are capable of
deceiving, and if I may believe your friend as I do you, I give you my
sacred word that I will not allow myself to be persuaded, or
constrained, to anything. But the subject of this conversation will be
here himself in a few days, and I owe it to him as well as to my own
honour, to hear him, as I have given my letters into his hands. Oh! it
is hard to have to speak so coldly!" As the moments passed, the rose
red of her cheek paled to rose-white. She leant it on her hand, and as
her eyes grew fuller, and tears dropped at last, she said, strongly and
firmly, "Be in no anxiety, I shall keep my word; and then, cost what it
may, I will tear myself from my friend, and go back to my poor people
in Schraplau. I have lived quite long enough in the great world, though
not _too_ long."

Heinrich's unusual seriousness had overpowered her. Her confidence in
his truth was immovable, and that (strange reason!) just because he had
never seemed to fall in love with her, or to pass beyond the condition
of friendship, and so did not measure her affection by his own. Perhaps
she would have been angry with her bridegroom's married attorney
(_i. e_. Firmian), had he not had three or four of the best possible
excuses; to wit, his general mental resemblance to Leibgeber, and his
physiognomical resemblance to him (which his paleness purified and
refined at this juncture).

Her yesterday's request to Leibgeber to bring Siebenkæs with him in the
evening was now repeated (to the former's joy), though her heart was
aching in every corner. But let none take umbrage at her half-mourning
for the Venner (now setting and near the horizon), or her erroneous
estimate of him; for we all know that women (Heaven bless them!) often
think sentiment and integrity, letters and actions, tears and honest
warm blood, to be equivalent one to another.

In the afternoon Leibgeber took Siebenkæs to her as a sort of
syllogistic figure in support of his argument, or set of _rationes
decidendi_ (for the Venner was a collection of _rationes dubitandi_).
Aquiliana received Siebenkæs with a blush, which came and went in an
instant; and then with the least dash of _hauteur_ (result of
modesty!), yet with all the kindness and good-will which she owed to
his interest in her future. She lived in the English lady's rooms. The
flowery valley lay without, like a world before its sun. One advantage
connected with a rich pleasure-garden of this sort is that a stranger
advocate finds that he can attach the floating spider-threads of his
talk to the branches of it, until they have been woven into the
finished art-work of a glittering web, which can float in the free air.
Firmian could never emulate these clever men of the world, who only
need a listener to be able to begin spinning a conversation; who, like
the tree-frogs, can cling firmly to anything they chance to hop on to,
however smooth, and polished it may be; yea, who can even keep afloat
in a space devoid of air, and all objects whatever (which a tree-frog
cannot). A man of Siebenkæs' free and independent soul cannot, however,
long remain embarrassed by his unfamiliarity with his surroundings; he
must speedily recover his freedom by virtue of his innate superiority
to chance, external circumstances; and his unassumed and unassuming
simpleness soon amply compensates for his lack of the great world's
artificial and assuming simplicity.

Yesterday he had seen this Nathalie in the happy exercise and enjoyment
of all her powers, and of nature and friendship, smiling and
enchanting, and crowning the delightful evening with an act of brave
self-devotion. Alas! how little remained to-day of all these joys, so
tender and so bright. In no hour is a lovely face lovelier than at that
immediately succeeding the bitter one, when tears for the loss of a
heart have passed over it; for the sight of the loveliness in its
sorrow, during that hour itself, would be too sad to bear. For this
beautiful creature, who hid the sacrificial knife deep in her heart,
where it had been plunged, and gladly let it smart there, that but the
wound's bleeding might be delayed, Siebenkæs would gladly have died--in
a way more serious than had been intended--could it have been of any
service to her. Is it a thing so strange that the bond between them
grew closer and stronger as the sand run down in the hourglass, when we
consider that, swayed by an unwonted three-sided seriousness (for even
Leibgeber was overtaken by this feeling), their hearts, at sight
of the gala-beauty of the spring, were filled with tender, longing
wishes?--that Siebenkæs, with his pale face, worn, and stamped with all
the traces and marks and signs of recent, bygone, trouble and pain,
shone, this day, with a soft and pleasing sheen, as of evening
sunlight, on her sight, all weakened by her tears?--that she thought
with pleasure on his (rather singular) merit of having, at all events,
embittered some of her faithless suitor's infidelities--and that every
note he touched was in the minor mode of his tender nature, because he
was seeking to atone for, and cast into shade, the circumstance that it
had fallen to his lot to lay waste at one fell stroke so many of this
innocent, unknown creature's hopes and joys--that even his greater
share of modest, respectful reserve, became him, and set him off by
contrast with his counterpart, the bolder and more outspoken Heinrich?
With all these charms of accidental circumstance (which win the female
world far sooner than charms of a bodily kind), Firmian was endowed in
Nathalie's eyes. In _his_ eyes she had attractions greater still, and
altogether new to him: her cultivation and acquirements; her manly
enthusiasm, her delicate refinement; her (most flattering) way of
treating _him_--(none of her sex had ever before glorified him with
anything like it, and this particular species of charm plunges many a
man who is unused to female companionship, not only into rapture, but
into matrimony),--and (two crowning delights) the facts that the whole
affair was fortuitous and out of the common, and that Lenette was the
exact antipodes of her in each and every respect.

Alas! poor starved, hungering Firmian. There are always a gallows, and
a notice-board marked "No thoroughfare," on the banks of the streamlet
of _your_ life, even now that it has become a pearl-bearing brook. Your
marriage ring must have pinched you a good deal, and felt very tight in
a warm, temperature like this, as, indeed _all_ rings feel tight in a
warm bath, and loose in a cold one.

But either some naiad of a diabolical turn of mind, or some ocean god
who loved a jest, took always the greatest delight in perturbing and
disturbing the sea of Firmian's life, and stirring up the sand at the
bottom of it just when its waters were sparkling and glowing
enchantingly with phosphorescent sea creatures, or some electric matter
or other, and his ship leaving a long shining wake behind her in it.
For just as the glory and the beauty of the garden outside were growing
moment by moment, and embarrassment vanishing away with equal rapidity,
the painful memory of the late bereavement fading out of remembrance;
just when the pianoforte (or, say, the pianissimo fortissimo), and the
songs, duets, and trios were being opened and got ready; in fine, just
as the honey-cells of their orangery of happiness, their permitted
flesh-pots of Egypt, and deep communion cup of love were all ready to
their lips, who came with a pop into the room but a certain bluebottle
fly on two legs, who had often flown into Firmian's cup of joy before

The Venner, Rosa von Meyern, made his appearance on the scene, lovelily
attired in saffron silk, to pay his bride his privileged ambassadorial

Never in all his career did this young gentleman arrive otherwise than
too soon or too late; just as he was never serious, but either
lachrymose or jocular. The three faces were now each a long duodecimo
edition of themselves; Leibgeber's was the only one which was not
stretched on the wire-drawing press, but it was dyed a fine red by his
inborn detestation of fops and maiden-hawks of every kind. Everard had
come primed with one idea (taken from Stolberg's 'Homer'), which was,
to ask Nathalie, on his entrance, whether she were a goddess or a
mortal (in the manner of Homer's heroes), since _he_ could only pretend
to contend with the latter race. But at sight of the masculine pair
whom the Devil levelled at his head like a double-barrelled gun,
everything inside it turned to cheese and curd, immobile; _twenty_
kisses wouldn't have enabled him to get his great idea a-flow again. It
was five days before he got what little there was inside the bones of
his head into such a fair way of recovery as to make shift to deliver
himself of this idea to a distant relation of my own (how else should I
have known anything about it?) in a tolerable degree of preservation.
At all times nothing so paralysed him in female society as the presence
of a man; he would have stormed an entire convent of women sooner than
have laid siege to a single couple of novices (to say nothing of a
canoness), had but a single wretched man been alongside them.

A standing troupe of players, such as I now see before my pencil, never
performed in Fantaisie. Nathalie was lost in amazement (little polite),
and in a quiet comparison of this original edition with her epistolary
ideal. The Venner, who took for granted that the result of her
observations was just the opposite of what it really was, would have
been delighted had he had it in his power to be a manifest
contradiction, an antipodes to himself. I mean, he would fain have
shown himself both cold and angry at finding her in the society of this
couple, and also confidential and tender, so that this beggarly pair
might be filled with envy and vexation at the sight of his harvest and
vintage. And inasmuch as he was quite as greatly (only much more
agreeably) struck with, and surprised at her appearance, as she with
his, and as he had time enough before him for revenge and punishment,
he chose rather to adopt the line of bragging and vaunting with the
view of seasoning and blessing the visit of these two lawyer fellows
with a good spice of envy. Moreover, he had the advantage of them in
possessing a light horse-artillery body, and he could _mobilise_ his
army of physical charms quicker than they could. Siebenkæs was
thinking of nothing nearer at hand than--his wife. Before Rosa's
arrival he had been browsing on the idea of her as on a meadow of
bitter herbs, for the rough, chapped bark of the conjugal hand was by
no means capable of touching his self-love with the delicate, etherial,
gentle, _snail-antennæ_ touch of this unmated beauty's eiderdown
fingers. But now the idea of Lenette became a pasture of sweet and
succulent verdure; for his jealousy of Rosa (domiciled in two different
quarters) was less awakened by Lenette's behaviour to him than by
Nathalie's relations with him. The grimness of Heinrich's glances
increased amain; they wandered up and down over Rosa's summer hare-skin
of yellow silk with a jaundiced glare. In an irritable impulse to be
doing something or other, he fumbled in his waistcoat pocket, and got
hold of the profile of Herr von Blaise which he had clipped out (as we
may remember) on the occasion when he stamped the glass wig to pieces
(and with respect to which profile the only thing which had been
distressing him for a twelvemonth past was that it was in his pocket,
and not affixed to the gallows, where he could have stuck it with a
hairpin the evening he went away). He pulled it out, and tousling it
between his fingers, he glided nimbly backwards and forwards between
Nathalie and Rosa, murmuring to Siebenkæs (with his eyes fixed on the
Venner), "À la silhouette."[64]

Everard's self-love divined these flattering (and involuntary)
sacrifices of the self-love of the other two, and he went on firing off
at the embarrassed girl (with ever-growing superciliousness, directed
to Siebenkæs's address) fragments from the story of his travels,
messages from his friends, and questions concerning the arrival of his
letters. The brethren, Siebenkæs and Leibgeber, sounded a retreat, but
did so like true males; for they were the least bit annoyed with poor,
innocent Nathalie, just as though she could have marched up to this
sponsus and letter bridegroom of hers the moment he came into the room,
with a salutation such as, "Sir, you can never be lord of mine, even
were you nothing worse than a scoundrel, idiot, fright, prig,
man-milliner," &c. But must we not, all of us (for I don't consider
myself an exception), smite upon our bony, sinful breasts, and confess
that we spit fire the moment modest girls refrain from spitting it
instantly at those whom we may have nigrified or excommunicated in
their presence; that further we insist upon their discarding wicked
squires instantaneously, although they may not be in such a hurry to
receive them that they should care as little what forced marches and
honourable retreats their cottiers and dependents may have to make, as
we fief-holders do ourselves; and that we are offended with them when
they have an innocent opportunity of being false; even when they do not
avail themselves of it? May Heaven improve the class of persons of whom
I have just been treating.

Firmian and Heinrich roamed for an hour or two about the enchanted
valley; it was full of magic flutes, magic zithers, and magic mirrors.
But they had neither ears nor eyes. What they found to say concerning
events heated their heads to the temperature of balloon furnaces, and
Leibgeber blew a fanfare of mere satiric insults out of the reverse end
of Fame's trumpet at every female Bayreuthian he met taking her evening
walk. He announced it as his opinion that women were the unsafest ships
in winch a man could embark on the great open ocean of life--slaveships
in fact, or bucentaurs (or shuttles[65] which the Devil weaves his nets
and gins with)--and the more so that, like other ships of war, they are
so often and so scrupulously washed, sheathed on the outside with
poisonous copper, and have about the same amount of bunting and tarry
tackle (ribbons) flying about them. Heinrich had gone to Nathalie's,
indulging the (highly improbable) anticipation that she would at once
unhesitatingly accept and act upon his friend's deposition of evidence
in his capacity of an eye- and ear-witness concerning Rosa's canonical
_impedimenta_ (or ecclesiastical marriage disabilities), and it was his
disappointment on this score which was so gnawing upon his mind.

But just as Firmian was discussing and expatiating upon the Venner's
lisping and indistinct mode of speaking (his words seemed to curl about
the top of his tongue with no power of expression in them), Heinrich
cried out, "Hallo! there the dirt-fly goes!" It was the Venner,
floundering as a pike does in the net he has been brought to market in.
As the woodpecker (naturalists call most gaudy-plumaged birds
woodpeckers) winged his flight closer by them, they saw, as he passed
them, that his face was a-glow with anger. Doubtless the cement which
had attached him to Nathalie was broken and dissolved.

The two friends waited a little while longer in the shady walk, hoping
that they might meet her; but at length they made their way back to
town, meeting, as they went, a maid of hers, who was taking the
following letter to Leibgeber:--

"You and your friend were, alas! quite right, and all is now at an end.
Please to let me rest, and reflect for a time in solitude over the
ruins of my little future. When people's lips are wounded and stitched,
they are not allowed to talk, although it is not my lips but my heart
that bleeds, and that for your sex. Ah! I blush when I think of all the
letters I have written, which it has been such happiness to me to
write--and, alas! under such a delusion!--yet I have no real reason to
do so after all. You have yourself said that innocent pleasures should
give us as little cause to be ashamed as blackberries, although, when
the enjoyment is past, there may be a black stain on the lips. But, at
all events, I thank you from my heart. As I must have been disenchanted
one day, it was kind that it was not done by the wicked sorcerer
himself, but by you and your most honest and truthful friend, to whom
please to offer my very kind regards and remembrances.


                                             "A. Nathalie."

Heinrich had expected the letter to be one of invitation, "for" (said
he) "her empty heart must feel a cold void, like a finger with its nail
cut too short." Firmian, whom matrimony had taught, and furnished with
barometer scales and meteorological tables for observance of women,
knew enough to be of opinion that a woman must, in the very hour when
she had dismissed one lover (on purely moral grounds) be a little
over-cool towards the person who has persuaded her thereto, even were
he her _second_ lover. And (I take leave here to add, myself) for the
very same reasons she will exceed in warmth towards this second
immediately afterwards.

"Ah! poor Nathalie!" Firmian wished unceasingly "May the flowers and
blossoms be court-plaister for the wounds of your heart; may the soft
æther of spring be a milk-cure for your oppressed panting bosom." It
seemed unspeakably sad to him that an innocent creature like this
should be thus tried and punished, as though she were guilty, and be
compelled to draw the purifying air of her life from poison plants, and
not from wholesome ones.

The next day all Siebenkæs did was to write a letter (in which he
signed himself Leibgeber), informing the Count von Vaduz that he was
unwell and as grey and yellow as a Swiss cheese. Heinrich had left him
no peace until he did this. "The count," said he, "is accustomed, in my
person, to a fine, blooming, sturdy Inspector; but, if he is properly
prepared for the thing by a letter, he will really believe you to be
me. Luckily we are neither of us men who would be asked to unbutton in
any custom-house; nobody would fancy there was anything inside _our_
waistcoats but skin and bone."[66]

On the Thursday Siebenkæs, standing at the hotel-door, saw the Venner,
in an Electoral habit, with a full-dress parade head, and a whole
Barth's vineyard in his face, driving to the Hermitage between two
young ladies. When he carried this news upstairs, Leibgeber swore--(and
also cursed)--to the effect that the scoundrel wasn't worthy of the
society of any young lady, unless her head was a Golgotha and her heart
a _gorge_ (or _cul_) _de Paris_. He was quite bent on going to see
Nathalie then and there, and telling her the news, but Firmian
prevented him by main force.

On the Friday she herself wrote to Heinrich as follows:--

"I have mustered up courage to revoke my prohibition, and beg that you
and your friend will come to-morrow to beautiful Fantaisie, when (it
being Saturday) it will lie depopulated. I keep my arms about Nature
and Friendship; there is no room in them for anything besides. Do you
know, I dreamt last night that I saw you both in one coffin there was a
white butterfly fluttering above you, and it grew larger and larger
till its wings were like great white shrouds; and then it covered you
both over and hid you with them, and there was no motion beneath. My
dear, dear friend arrives the day after to-morrow--and to-morrow,
_you_. And then, I must bid you all adieu.

                                               "N. A."

The Saturday in question occupies the whole of the next chapter, and I
can form some sort of idea of the reader's eagerness to be at it from
_my own_; and all the better, seeing that _I_ have read (to say nothing
about writing) the said chapter already, which he has not.

                              CHAPTER XIV.


It was not the deeper blue of the sky (which, on the Saturday, was as
rich and pure as in winter, or by night)--nor the thought of actually
standing in the very presence of the sorrowing soul whom he had driven
from Paradise with the Sodom apple of the serpent (Venner)--nor his own
feeble health--nor memories of his own domestic life;--it was none of
these matters taken singly, but the combination of all these semitones
and minor intervals together which attuned our Firmian to a melting
_maestoso_, and gave to his looks and thoughts (for his afternoon
visit) much such a kind and degree of tenderness as he expected he
should find in Nathalie's.

What he did find was precisely the reverse. In and about Nathalie there
reigned such a noble _cold_, serene gladsomeness as you may find upon
the loftiest mountain peaks; the cloud and the storm are _beneath_,
while around there rests a purer, colder air, but a deeper blue, too,
and a paler sunlight.

It cannot, of course, surprise me that you are on the tenter-hooks of
anxiety to hear the account she is going to give of her rupture with
Everard. But her account of it was so brief--it might have been
written round a Prussian dollar--so that I must supplement it with
mine, which I have taken from Rosa's own written record of it. The fact
is, the Venner, five years afterwards, wrote a very passable novel (if
we may credit the praise bestowed upon it in the 'Universal German
Library'), into which he artfully built the whole of the rupture with
Nathalie--(that severance between soul and body); at all events, this
is the conclusion to which sundry hints of Nathalie's would point us.
The said novel, accordingly, is my fountain of Vaucluse. Emasculate
intelligences, such as Rosa's, can only reproduce _experiences_; their
poetic _f[oe]tuses_ are nothing but adopted children of the actual.

To be brief, what took place was as follows. Scarce were Firmian and
Heinrich gone out among the trees, when the Venner brought up his
reserve of vengeance, and asked Nathalie, in a tetchy manner, how it
was that she could tolerate visitors of such a poor and plebeian sort.
The haste and the coldness of the departed pair had already set
Nathalie on fire, and this address made her blaze forth in a flame upon
her yellow-silken questioner. "A question such as that," she answered,
"is very little short of an insult;" and she immediately added one of
her own--for she was too warm and too proud to dissemble in the
slightest, or to hold other than the straightest course with him. "You
call at Mr. Siebenkæs's pretty often yourself, do you not?" "Oh!" said
this empty braggart, "I call on his _wife_ (to speak the simple truth);
_he_ is merely my pretext." "Really," said she, making her syllables
last as long as her look of scorn. Meyern, amazed at this behaviour, so
very unlike the tone of the antecedent epistolary correspondence (he
gave the twin cronies the credit of it)--Meyern, whom her beauty, his
own money, and her poverty and dependence upon Blaise (to say nothing
of his position of betrothed bridegroom), had now inspired with the
utmost audacity--Meyern, this brave and courageous lion, undertook,
without a moment's hesitation, a task which nobody else would have
ventured upon, namely, that of humiliating and bringing to her proper
senses this irate Aphrodite, by reading to her the catalogue of his
Cicisbean appointments, and, in general terms, unfolding before her the
long perspective of the hundreds of gynæc[oe]a and jointure-houses open
to him. "It is such an easy matter to worship false goddesses and open
their temple doors, that I am charmed to be restored to the worship of
the true feminine godhead, through my Babylonish captivity to you."

All her crushed heart sighed forth, "Ah! then it is all true--he is a
wicked wretch, and I am miserable indeed." But she kept silence,
outwardly, and went and looked out of the window, in anger. Her soul
was one of those whose seats are the knight's upper dais of womankind;
it was ever eager to do rare, heroic acts of self-devotion and
self-sacrifice; indeed, a fondness for remarkable and out-of-the-way
greatness was the only littleness about it. And now, when the Venner
tried to make amends for his braggadocio by a sudden jump into a light
and sportive tone (a tone which, in minor warfares with the ordinary
fair sex, heals breaches much quicker and better than a more serious
one)--and proposed a walk in the pretty park to her, as being a spot
better adapted for a reconciliation--this noble soul of hers spread
wide its pure white pinions and soared away from out the foul heart of
this crooked pike with his silver scales for ever! And she drew near to
him and said (all a-glow, but dry-eyed wholly), "Mr. von Meyern, I have
quite decided--we are parted for ever. We have never known each other,
and our acquaintance is at an end. I will send you back your letters
to-morrow, and you will have the goodness to return mine to me." Had he
employed a more serious tone, he might have kept hold of this strong
soul for some days--perhaps weeks--longer. Without looking at him
anymore, she opened a casket and began arranging letters. He tried, in
a hundred speeches, to flatter and pacify her; she answered never a
word. His heart boiled within him, for he gave the two advocates the
blame for all this. At length he thought he would humble this deaf mute
(as well as make her alter her determination), by saying, as he now
did, "I don't know what your uncle in Kuhschnappel will say to all
this. _He_ appears to me to set a much greater value upon my sentiments
towards you than you do yourself; indeed, he seems to consider our
marriage as essential to your happiness as I think it to mine." This
was a burden heavier than her back, so sore bent down by Fate, could
bear. She shut up the casket hurriedly, sat down, and rested her
bewildered head upon her trembling arms, shedding burning tears, which
her hands strove in vain to hide. A reproach of our poverty uttered by
lips we have loved, darts like red-hot iron into the heart, and
scorches it dry with fire. Rosa, whose vengeance, now wreaked, gave
place to the most eager love, (in hopes that her feelings were of the
same selfish type as his own), threw himself on his knees before her,
crying, "Oh! forget it all! What are we breaking with one another
_for_, if we come really to think about it? Your precious tear-drops
wash it all away. I mingle mine with them in rich abundance."

She arose with haughty port, leaving him on his knees. "My tears," she
said, "have not the smallest reference to anything connected with you.
I _am_ poor, and I would not be rich. After the base, ignoble insult
you have put upon me, you shall not stay and see me weep. Have the
goodness to leave the room." So that he retired; and--when one
considers the weight of the sacks he had to carry--sacks of every kind
(including one full of muzzles)--he really did it in a surprisingly
brisk and lively manner, holding his head pretty high. His command of
his temper and his apparent good humour strike one the more (for I may
give him what praise he deserves), that he retained them and took them
home with him, and this on an afternoon when, with the two finest and
longest levers in all his collection he had utterly failed in touching
the smallest point in Nathalie's heart, or the auricles thereof. One of
these levers was his old one, which he had tried upon Lenette--that of
gradually twisting himself in, corkscrew fashion, in spiral serpentine
lines of petty advances, approaches, attentions and illusions; but
Nathalie was neither weak nor light enough to be penetrated thus. The
other lever was one from which something might really have _been_
expected in the way of effect--though it actually _had_ less than even
the first. It consisted in showing his old scars (like an old warrior),
and rejuvenating them into wounds; in this manner he bared his
suffering heart, pierced by so many a false love, and which (like a
dollar with a hole in it), had hung as a votive offering upon so many a
shrine. His soul put on Court mourning (of sorrow) of all degrees,
whole and half, in hopes of being, like a widow, more enchanting in
black. The friend of a Leibgeber, however, could be softened by manly
sorrows only--the womanly sort could but harden her.

Meanwhile (as we have said), he left, his _fiancée_ without any pity
for her self-sacrifice indeed, and equally without the slightest
indignation at her refusal of him. He merely thought, "She may go to
the devil;" and he could scarce sufficiently congratulate himself that
he had so easily escaped the incalculable annoyance of having to endure
life with a creature of the kind from one year's end to another, and to
pay her the necessary respect throughout an infernal, long matrimonial
life. On the other hand, his bile was mightily stirred against
Leibgeber, but more particularly against. Siebenkæs (whom he suspected
of being the real judge of his Divorce Court), and he laid the
foundation of several gall-stones in his gall-bladder, and of a slight
bilious yellow tint in his eyes, with hating the advocate, which he
could not do enough.

We return to the Saturday. Nathalie derived her calmness and serenity
partly from her own strength of mind, but also in good measure from the
pair of horses (and of rose maidens) with whom Rosa had been seen
driving to the Hermitage. A woman's jealousy is always a day or two
older than her love. Moreover, I know of no excellence, no weakness,
shortcoming, virtue, womanliness, _manliness_, in a woman which does
not tend rather to enkindle than to appease jealousy.

Not only Siebenkæs, but even Leibgeber (anxious to breathe some warmth
upon her freezing soul, all stripped of its warm plumage), was this
afternoon serious and cordial, not (as he usually did) dressing his
rewards and punishments up in irony. Perhaps, too, her gratifying (and
flattering) readiness to obey him tamed him down to some extent.
Firmian had, in addition to the reasons above set forth, the more
powerful ones--that the English lady was expected home the next day but
one, and her coming would put a stop to all this garden pleasure, or
interfere with it at all events--that he who knew well, from his own
experience, what the wounds of a lost love were, had a boundless
compassion for hers, and would gladly have given his own heart's blood
to make up for the loss of hers--moreover, accustomed all his life to
bare, mean and empty rooms, he felt a keen enjoyment in being in the
richly-furnished, bright and tasteful chamber he was now in, and
naturally carried over a portion of this to the account of their
inhabitant and hermit.

The maid-servant, whom we have seen this week already, came in just
then, with tears in her eyes, faltering out that she was going to
confession, and hoped she had done nothing to displease her, &c., &c.
"Anything to displease me?" cried Nathalie; "most certainly not--and I
know I can say the same in your mistress's name;" and went out of the
room with her and kissed her, unseen, like some good genius. How
beautiful are pity and kindness to distress, in a soul which has just
risen up in might to resist oppression.

Leibgeber took a volume of 'Tristram Shandy' from the English lady's
library, and lay down with it on the lawn under the nearest tree, with
the view of making over to his friend the undivided fruition of this
anise, marchpane and honeycomb of an afternoon of talk, which to him
was merely so much every-day household fare. Moreover, all that day
when he made any sign of jesting, Nathalie's eyes would implore him,
"Please do not, for just this one day. Do not take pains to point out
every pock-pit which Fate has left upon my inner soul to him--spare me
for this once." And lastly (which was his principal reason), it would
be much easier for Firmian to tell this sensitive Nathalie (now upon
one-eighth pay) all his project of making her his appanaged widow, his
heiress in jest--to tell it to her wrapped in a triple shroud, written
in distorted characters.

Siebenkæs looked upon this undertaking as a sort of day's work at
fortification making, a journey across the Alps--round the globe--into
the grotto of Antiparos, a discovery of the longitude; he had not the
slightest notion how even to _begin_ to set about it. Indeed, he had
previously told Leibgeber that, if his death were but a real one,
nobody would be more ready to talk to her about it, but that for a sham
death, he really could not sadden her; so that she would have to
consent, altogether by some chance, and unconditionally, to become his
widow. "And is my death a thing so very improbable after all?" he said.
"Of course it is," answered Leibgeber. "If it were not, what would
become of our death in jest. The lady will e'en have to make the best
of it." It would appear that he dealt with women's hearts in a fashion
somewhat colder and harder than Siebenkæs, in whose opinion (hermit
connoisseur as he was of rarities in the shape of strong female souls)
a delicate, suffering one like this could not be too tenderly treated.
However, I do not set up to judge between the two friends.

When Leibgeber had gone out with Yorick, Siebenkæs went and stood
before a fresco representing the said Yorick, and poor Maria with her
flute and her goat. For the chambers of the great are picture-bibles,
and an _orbis pictus_,--they sit, eat and walk in picture exhibitions,
which makes it all the harder a matter for them that two, at least, of
the greatest expanses in nature--the sky and the sea--cannot be painted
over for them. Nathalie went up to him, and at once cried out, "What is
there to see in that to-day? Away from it!" She was just as open and
unconstrained in her manner with him as he could not manage to be with
her. She displayed the warmth and beauty of her soul in that wherein we
(unconsciously) un_veil_, or un_mask_ (as the case may be), ourselves
more completely than in anything--namely, her mode of bestowing praise.
The illuminated triumphal arch which she erected over the head of her
English lady-friend, elevated her own soul so that she stood at that
gate of honour as conqueror, in laurel wreath, and glittering collar of
the Order of Goodness and Worth. Her praises were the double chorus and
echo of the other's excellence; she was so warm and so earnest! Ah!
maidens, fairer are ye a thousand times when ye twine bridal-wreaths
and laurel garlands for your companions than when ye plait them crowns
of straw, and bend them collars of iron.

She told him how fond she was of British men and women, both in and out
of print, although she had never seen any until the previous winter.
"Unless," she said, with a smile, "our friend outside may be considered

Leibgeber, out on his grass mattress, raised his head and saw the
couple looking down at him with faces of regard; and the shimmer of
love shone forth in three pairs of eyes. One single moment of time thus
clasped three sister souls together in one tender embrace.

The maid coming back from confession about this juncture in her white
dress--('twas heavy-wing _cases_ rather than light butterfly wings to
her)--with a trifle of pretty-tinted ribbon about it here and there;
Firmian looked at this absolved one for a minute or two, and then took
up her black and gold hymn-book, which she had laid down in her haste,
finding inside it a whole pattern-card of silks, besides peacock's
feathers. Nathalie, who saw a satirical expression dawning on his face,
drove it away in an instant. "Your sex attaches just as much value to
adornment as ours. Look at your Court dresses, the Coronation robes at
Frankfort, and uniforms and official costumes of all kinds. Then, the
peacock was the bird of the old knights and poets, and if you make vows
upon his feathers, or wear garlands of them, _we_ may surely wear them,
or at all events _mark_ (if not reward) songs with them." Every now and
then a barely polite expression of astonishment at what she knew
escaped the advocate in spite of himself. He turned over the leaves of
the festival hymns, and came upon gilt figures of Our Lady, and found a
picture wherein were two parti-coloured blotches (supposed to represent
two lovers), and a phosphorescent heart, which the male blotch was
offering to the female with the words:

           "And is to thee my fond love all unknown!
            How my heart burns is here full plainly shown"

--the whole surrounded by a tracery of leafwork. Firmian loved family
and society miniature pictures when (as in this case) they were
exceedingly poor as works of art. Nathalie saw and read this; she took
the book in haste, snapped the clasp to, and then, when she had done
so, said, "You have no objection, have you?"

Courage towards women is not inborn, but acquired. Firmian had had
familiar experience of very few; wherefore this natural awe made him
look upon every feminine body--particularly if of any standing in
society--as a kind of sacred Ark of the Covenant whereon no finger
might be laid; (for though it is proper to rise superior to
considerations of rank where men are concerned, it is otherwise with
women), and upon every female foot as that on which a Queen of Spain
stands, and every female finger as a Franklin point emitting electric
sparks. If in love with him, I might have likened her to an electrified
person, _feeling_ all the sparks and mock pains she emitted. At the
same time, nothing could be more natural than that his reverent
timidity should diminish as time went on, and that at length, (at a
moment when she was looking the other way) he should take courage to
deftly snatch hold of the end of one of the ribbons in her hair between
his fingers--and she never be aware of it. It may have been by way of
preliminary studies towards the execution of this feat that he had
previously once or twice tried the effect of taking up into his hands
things which had been a good deal in hers--such as her English
scissors, a broken pincushion, and a pencil-case.

Taking heart of grace hereupon, he thought he would venture to take up
a bunch of wax grapes (which he imagined to be made of stone, like
those upon butter-boats). He gripped them, accordingly, in his fist as
in a wine-press, crushed two or three of them to pieces, and then
proffered as many petitions for mercy and pardon as if he had knocked
over and broken the porcelain Pagoda of Nanking. "There's no harm
done," she said, laughing. "We all find plenty such berries in
life--with fine ripe skins--no intoxicating juice--and as easily
broken--or easier."

He was in terrible dread lest this glorious, many-tinted rainbow of
happiness of his should melt away into evening dew, and it disconcerted
him that he no longer saw Leibgeber reading upon the flowery turf.
Outside, the world was brightened into a land of the sun--every tree
was a rich, firm-rooted joy-flower--the valley a condensed universe,
ringing with music of the spheres. Nevertheless he had not the courage
to proffer his arm to this Venus for a stroll through the sun, _i. e_.
the sunny Fantaisie; the Venner's fate, and the fact that there was a
late harvest of a few visitors still walking about the gardens,
rendered him bashful and mute. Of a sudden Leibgeber knocked at the
window with the agate-head of his stick, crying, "Come over to dinner.
My stick-head is the Vienna lantern.[67] We are sure not to get home
before midnight." He had ordered a dinner in the café. Presently he
cried out, "There is a pretty child here asking for you." Siebenkæs
hurried out, and found it was the very child into whose hand he had
pressed his flowers on the evening when, after the great feast-eve at
the Hermitage, he had been soaring along on the wings of fancy through
the village of Johannis. "Where is your wife, sir?" asked the child;
"the lady who took me out of the water the day before yesterday? I have
some beautiful flowers here that my godpapa sent me to give her. Mother
will come and give her best thanks, too, as soon as she can, but just
now she's in bed very unwell."

Nathalie, who had heard what the child said, came down, and said, with
a blush, "Is it I, darling? Give me your flowers, then." The child,
recognising her, kissed her hand, the hem of her dress, and, lastly,
her lips, and would have recommenced this round of kisses, when
Nathalie, in turning the flowers over, came upon three silken
counterfeits amidst its living forget-me-nots and red and white roses.
To Nathalie's questions as to whence these costly flowers came, the
child answered, "Give me a kreuzer or two, and I'll tell you." This was
done, and she added, "I got them from my godpapa, and he is a very,
very grand gentleman;" then ran away among the bushes.

This bouquet was a veritable Turkish Selam-and-Flower riddle to them
all. Leibgeber accounted with ease for the child's sudden marriage of
Nathalie and Siebenkæs, by the circumstance that the advocate had been
standing beside her at the water-side, and people, who had seen no one
so constantly with her as himself, had been misled by the bodily
likeness between them.

Siebenkæs's mind, however, ran more on the machine-master, Rosa (so
fond of setting his patchwork life-scenes for every woman to play her
part before), and the resemblance these silk flowers bare to those
which the Venner had once redeemed from pawn for Lenette in
Kuhschnappel struck him at once; yet how could he sadden this gladsome
time, and spoil the pleasure of receiving these votive flowers, by
giving words to his suspicions? Nathalie insisted upon a distribution
of this floral inheritance, inasmuch as each of the three had taken
part in the rescue, and Siebenkæs and Leibgeber had, at all events,
rescued the rescuer. She kept the white silk roses for herself,
allotted the red ones to Leibgeber (who would not have them, but asked
for a proper, real, living rose instead, which he immediately put in
his mouth); to Siebenkæs she gave the silken forget-me-nots, and one or
two living, perfume-breathing ones as well (souls, as it were, of the
artificial ones). He took them with rapture, and said the tender real
ones should never wither for him. Nathalie here took a brief temporary
leave of the pair, but Firmian could not find words to express all his
gratitude to his friend for the means he had adopted to prolong this
little day of grace which orbed his whole life round with a new heaven
and a new earth.

No King of Spain ever took as little out of some six, or so (at the
outside), of the hundred dishes which, by the laws of the realm, are
daily served at his table, than Siebenkæs did that day out of one.
Historians, worthy of credence, inform us, however, that he managed to
drink a very little--a little wine it was--and that in a considerable
hurry for he could not be happy enough that day to satisfy Leibgeber.
The latter, not apt to be easily swayed by heart and feeling, was all
the more delighted that his beloved Firmian should at last have a pole
star of happiness shining in the zenith point of the heavens above his
head, beaming down genial warmth upon the blossoming time of his few
scattered flowers.

The rapid rate at which his duplex enjoyment kept on moving enabled him
to steal a march upon the sun, and he arrived once more at the villa,
whose walls were now tinted red by his beams, while the glory of
evening was gilding its windows into fire. Nathalie, on the balcony,
was like some sunlit soul, just ready to take wing after the departing
sun, hanging with her great eyes upon the shining, quivering world
rotunda all full of church-music--and on the sun flying downward from
this temple, like some angel--and at the holy, luminous tomb of night
into which earth was sinking.

When they came under the balcony (Nathalie beckoning them to come up to
her) Heinrich handed him his stick, saying, "Keep that for me. I have
enough to carry without it--if you want me, blow the whistle." As
regarded his _morale_ and physique, our good Henry had the kindest and
softest of human hearts within his shaggy, Bruin breast.

Ah! happy Firmian, happy in spite of all your troubles. When now you
pass through the door of glass and on to the floor of iron, the sun
confronts you, and sets for a second time. Earth closes her great eye,
like some dying goddess! Then the hills smoke like altars--choruses
call from the woods--shadows, the veils of day, float about the
enkindled, translucent tree-tops and rest upon their many-tinted
breast-pins (of flowers), and the gold-leaf of the evening sky throws a
dead-gilt gleam towards the east, and touches with a rosy ray the
vibrating breast of the hovering lark, far up evening bell of Nature.
Ah! happy Firmian, should some glorious spirit from realms afar wing
its flight athwart earth and her spring tide, and, as he passes, a
thousand lovely evenings be concentrated into one burning one--it would
not be more Elysian than this, whereof the glow is now dying out around
you as the moments fly.

When the flames of the windows paled, and the moon was rising heavily
behind the earth, they both went back into the twilight room, silent,
and with full hearts. Firmian opened the pianoforte and, in music, went
through his evening once more. The trembling strings were as tongues of
fire to his full heart; the flower-ashes of his youth were blown away,
and two or three youthful minutes bloomed back into life.

But as the music poured its warm life-balsam upon Nathalie's swollen
heart in all its constraint (for its wounds were only closed, not
healed), it melted and gave way, the heavy tears which had been burning
within it flowed forth, and it grew weak and tender, but light.
Firmian, who saw she was passing once more through the gate of
sacrifice towards the sacrificial knife, stopped the sacrificial music,
and tried to lead her away from the altar. Just then the first beam of
the moon alighted, like a swan's wing, upon the waxen grapes. He asked
her to come out into the silent, misty, after-summer of the day, the
moonlit evening. She placed her arm in his without saying yes.

What a sparkling, gleaming world! Through the branches, through the
fountains, over the hills and over the woodlands, the flashing molten
silver was flowing, which the moon was fining from out the dross of
night. Swiftly shot her glance of silver athwart the rippling wavelet,
and the glossy, shining, gently-trembling apple-leaves, pausing to rest
upon the marble pillars and birch-tree stems. Nathalie and Firmian
paused upon the threshold of the magic valley (it gleamed like some
enchanted cavern, where night and light were playing, and all the
founts of being--which by day cast up sweet odour, melody of songs and
voices, feathery wings, translucent pinions--seemed sunk in voiceless
slumber deep into some silent chasm). They looked up to the mountain,
the Sophienberg, with its summit flattened as by the weight of years; a
great mist Colossus was veiling all its Alp-like peak; next at the
pale-green world, lying asleep beneath the shimmering radiance of the
far-off silent suns, gleaming depths of silver star-dust, flowing faint
and far before the ever-brightening rising moon; and then at one
another, with hearts full to the brim of holy friendship, such a gaze
as only two blest angels, new created, free and gladsome, bend in
rapture on each other. "Are you as happy as I?" he asked. "No," she
answered, involuntarily pressing his arm, "that I am not; for, on a
night like this should follow, not a day, but something far lovelier
and richer--something that should satisfy the heart's thirst, and
staunch its bleeding for ever." "And what should that be?" he asked.
"Death," was her answer. She lifted her streaming eyes to his and said,
"You think so, too, do you not? Death for _me_." "No, no," he added
quickly, "for _me_, if you will, not for _you_." To break the course of
this overpowering moment, she added hurriedly, "Shall we go down to the
place where we first met, and where, two days too soon, I became your
friend;[68] and yet it was not too soon. Shall we?"

He obeyed her; but his soul was still a-swim among his precious
thoughts, and as they went down the long, hollow, gravel-way, besprent
with the shadows of the shrubs, and moonlight rippling over its white
bed (flecked with shadows for stones), he said, "Yes, in an hour like
this, when death and sleep send forth their brothers to us, a soul like
yours may think of death.[69] But I have more cause than you, for I am
happier. Oh! of all guests at Joy's festival-banquet, Death is the one
whom she loves best to see; for he is himself a joy, the last and
highest rapture upon earth. None but the common herd can associate
humanity's lofty flight of migration into the distant land of spring
with ghosts and corpses here below on earth; as when they hear the
owls' voices when they are going away to warmer countries they take
them for the cries of goblins. But, oh! dear, dear, Nathalie, I cannot
and will not bear to think of what you say as in any shape connected
with _you_. No, no, so rich a soul must come into full bloom in a far
nearer, earlier spring than that beyond this life! Oh, God! it _must_!"
They had reached a wall of rock over which a broad cascade of moonlight
was falling; against it leant a trellis of roses, whence Natalie
gathered a spray, all green and tender, with two young rose-buds just
beginning to swell, and, saying "You will never blow," she placed it on
her heart, and said (looking at him with a strange expression), "While
they are young they scarcely prick at all."

And when they got down to the stone water-basin--the sacred spot where
they first met--and could as yet find no words to utter what was in
their hearts, they saw some one come up out of the dry basin. Though
they smiled, it was a smile full of emotion--in all three cases--for
this was their Leibgeber, who had been lying in wait for them in
hiding, with a bottle of wine, among the imaged water-gods. A certain
something there had been in his troubled eyes, but it had been poured
out by way of libation to this spring night from our cup of joy. "This
port and haven of your first landing here," said he, "must be properly
consecrated, and _you_ (to Nathalie) must join in the pledge. I swear
by Heaven that there is more fruit hanging on its blue dome to-night
within reach than ever hung on any green one." They took three glasses,
pledged one another, and said (some of them, I imagine, in somewhat
subdued tones). "To friendship! may it live for ever! may the spot
where it commenced be always green! May every place blossom where it
has grown, and, though all its flowers may fade, and its leaves fall
and wither, may it live on for ever and for evermore!" Nathalie was
obliged to turn her eyes away. Heinrich laid a hand upon the agate head
of his stick (but only because his friend's hand which was holding it
was over the top of it, that he might give the latter a warm and hearty
pressure), and said, "Give it me; you shall have no clouds in your hand
to-night;" for nature had graven cloud-streaks on the agate in her
subterranean studio. Any heart--not Nathalie's only--must have been
touched by this bashful cloaking of the warm token of friendship. "Are
you not going to stay with us?" she asked somewhat faintly, as he was
leaving them. "I'm going up to the landlord," he said, "to see if I can
get hold of a flute or a horn, and if 1 do 1 shall come out and
musicise over the valley, and play the springtime in."

When he was gone his friend felt as if his youth had gone with
him. Suddenly he saw, high above the whirling may-beetles and the
breeze-born night-butterflies, and their arrow-swift pursuers, the
bats, a great train of birds of passage winging their way through the
blue, like some broken cloud, coming back to our spring. Then flashed
upon his open heart the memory of his lodgings in the market-town, and
the time when he saw a similar flight of (earlier) birds of passage,
and thought that his life would soon be at an end. These recollections,
with all their tears, brought back the belief that he was soon to die;
and this he must tell Nathalie. He saw the wide expanse of night
stretched over the world like some great corpse but her shadowy limbs
quiver under the moonlit-branches at the first touches of the morning
breeze awaking in the east. She rises towards the coming sun as a
dissolving vapour, an all-embracing cloud, and man says "It is day."
Two crape-covered thoughts, like hideous spectres, fought within
Firmian's soul. The one said, "He is going to die of apoplexy, so he
never can see her more." And the other said, "He is going through the
farce of a pretended death, and then he never _must_ see her more."
Overborne by the past as well as by the present, he took Nathalie's
hand, and said, "You must pardon my being so deeply moved to-night. I
shall never see you more. You are the noblest of your sex that I have
ever met, but we shall never meet again. Very soon you must hear that I
am dead, or that my _name_, from one cause or other has passed away,
but my _heart_ will still be yours, be _thine_. Oh! that the present,
with its mountain-chains of grave-hillocks, but lay behind me, and the
future were come, with all its open graves, and I stood on the brink of
my own! For I would look once more on _thee_, then throw myself into it
in bliss."

Nathalie answered not a word. She faltered suddenly in her walk, her
arm trembled, her breath came thick and fast. She stopped, and, with a
face as pale as death, said, in trembling accents, "Stay here on this
spot; let me sit alone for a minute on that turf-bank. Ah! I am so
headlong!" He saw her move trembling away. She sank, as if overwhelmed
with some burden, down upon a bank of turf. She fixed her blinded eyes
upon the moon (the blue sky around it seemed a night, the earth a
vapour); her arm lay rigid on her lap; she did not move, except that a
spasm, distantly resembling a smile, played about her lip; her eyes
were tearless. But to her friend, life at that moment seemed a realm of
shadows, whose outlines were floating and blending in endless changes
of confusion; a tract all hollow, sunken mine-shafts full of mists in
the likeness of mountain-spirits, with but _one_ single opening of
outlet to the heavens, the free air, the spring, the light of day; and
_that_ outlet so narrow, so remote, and far above his head.

There sat Nathalie in the white crystal shimmer, like some angel upon
an infant's grave; and, suddenly, the tones of Heinrich's music broke
in, like bells pealing in a storm, upon their souls as they paused, all
stunned (like Nature before the thunder breaks), and the warm river of
melody bore away their hearts, dissolving them the while. Nathalie made
an affirmative sign with her head, as if she had come to some
conclusion: she rose and came forward from the green, flowery grave
like some enfranchised, glorified spirit; she opened her arms wide, and
came towards him. Tear after tear came coursing down her blushing face,
but as yet her heart could find no words; sinking under _the_ WORLD
which was in her heart, she could totter no further, and he flew to
meet her. She held him back that she might speak the first, her tears
flowing faster and faster, but when she had cried, "My first _friend_,
and my last--for the first and last time," she grew breathless and
dumb, and, overburdened with sorrow, sank into his arms, upon his lips,
upon his heart.

"No! no!" she murmured; "Oh! Heaven, give me but the power to speak.
Firmian! my Firmian! Take all my happiness away with you--all that I
have on earth. But never, by all you hold most sacred, never see me
more in this world. Now" (she added very softly), "you must _swear_
this to me." She drew her head back, and the tones of Heinrich's music
flowed between and around them like the voice of sorrow. She gazed at
him, and his pale care-worn face wrung her heart with agony; with eyes
dim with tears, she implored him to swear that he would never see her

"Yes, noble, glorious soul," he answered, in trembling tones; "yes,
then, I _swear_ to thee I will never see thee more." Mute and
motionless, as if smitten by the hand of death, she sank with drooping
head upon his breast; and once again, like one dying, he said, "I will
never see thee more." Then, beaming like some angel, she raised her
face, worn with emotion to him, saying, "All is over now; take the
death kiss, and speak no more." He took it, and she gently disengaged
herself from his arms. But as she turned away, she put back her hand
and gave him the green rosebuds with the tender thorns, and saying,
"Think of to-night," went resolutely away (trembling, nevertheless),
and was soon lost in the dark-green alleys, where but few beams of
light struck through.

And the end of this night every soul that has loved can picture for
itself without the aid of any words of mine.

                           FIRST FRUIT PIECE.


                                  Flachsenfingen, 1st April, 1795.


A breaker of his word like you--who made such a solemn promise to come
to my feast, and yet did not come--will have to be punished by
having his mouth--not stitched up (which is what savages do to
word-breakers,) for that would be a loss only to your hearers--but
_made to water_. When I shall have painted a full and faithful picture
of our peace-festival of the soul for you, I shall stop both my ears
against the curses which you will pour out on your evil genius. At this
feast we all philosophised, and we were all converted, except me, who
could not be reckoned a convert, inasmuch as I was myself the converter
of the heathen.

Our flotilla of three boats--(the third we were obliged to take in
deference to the timidity of the ladies)--got under way about one
o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th of March, ran into the stream,
gained the open water, and soon after one we were well in sight
of the very anther-filaments and spider's-webs on the island. At a
quarter-past two we landed--the professor, his wife, and a girl and
boy--Melchior--Jean Paul--the Government Counsellor,--Flamin--the
lovely Luna--(off goes the first of your curses here!)--the
undersigned, and his wife.

Some Burgundy was then disembarked. At the commencement of spring
(which was to take place that day at 38 minutes past 3 o'clock) we
meant to enter upon a "stream of life," coloured and sweetened after a
most superlative sort. With the island, Cato, many of us were quite
enraptured, and nearly all of us wished we had paid a visit to this
beautiful bowling-green in the Rhine--thin pleasure camp amid the
waves--long before. Luna, elder Cato--if I mistake not thou hast seen,
certainly once at the very least, that tender soul, which ought to
dwell in (and heighten the tint of) a white rose in place of a
body--Luna shed tears, half of delight (for they were half of sorrow
for _everybody_ who was not there), half of delight not so much at the
families of alders upon the rounded bank, or the Lombardy poplars lying
trembling in intoxication of bliss in the gentle air which breathed
about them, or the sunny green paths, as at _all this_ together (in the
first place), and at the spring sky and the Rhine (which was showing
that sky a picture, as it were, of its antipodean sky somewhere over
America), and at the peace and gladness of her soul--but (above all) at
the Alp in the centre of the island.

The Alp will be sketched, if an opportunity offers, in this letter. I
at once asked Luna where _you_ were. She said, "At the Frankfort Fair."
Was she right?

When a party arrives at a place it is not, like the _Anguis Fragilis_,
to be broken into ten twitching fragments by every touch of chance.
Even the ladies kept with us, for I had deprived them of all
opportunity of doing anything in the shape of household labour, by the
arrangements I had made for the dinner. This Barataria Island was going
to be an intellectual _Place d'Armes_ and theatre of war that day. I
love disputation. Intellectual bickerings further and heighten the
happiness of congenial society, just as lovers' quarrels are a renewal
of love, and fisticuffs a necessity of Marionette operas. Certain
people are like the Moravians, among whom the confessor and penitent
change places, each laying a picture of his soul before the other, his
own police-notice of an absconded criminal--his own advertisement in
the "Hue and Cry"; and I am like them. Any blemish or shortcoming which
I discover in myself or other people I immediately publish over half
the town in a universal German gazette, as ladies do the witnesses'
depositions of evidence concerning strangers. For the last three weeks,
dear Cato, my soul has been glowing in the brightest sunlight of peace
and love, cast upon me by the deceased chief _Piqueur_ (a man who had
not a trace of either the one or the other about him)--and now I cannot
rest till I entail this precious legacy upon all of you.

As _Lieutenant de Police_ of the island, I possessed the power of
issuing police regulations with respect to the conversation permissible
thereon, and I directed the thread of _our_ talk towards the _Piqueur_
in question. But the wasps came buzzing out of their nests; the first
of them being your brother, Melchior, who drove his sting into the
_Piqueur's_ avarice, saying that people who didn't bestow their plunder
upon the poor till they were in their own coffins, were like pikes who
eject their (swallowed) prey when caught themselves; they should rather
do as Judas Iscariot did--cast their pieces of silver into the church
_before_ their hanging. The next wasp was your second brother, Jean
Paul, who said, "Misers are the only people who haven't had enough of
life when they die. Even when they are in the very grip of Death's
hand, they would fain grasp hold of money with their own. Like
cap-mushrooms, when they are broken off, they cling terribly to the
earth's surface with, their bleeding moiety."

"Ah!" said I, "_everyone_ is a thorough miser as regards something or
other, I am sorry to say. I cannot now be so hard upon a man who
confines himself to mortifying and chastening _himself_ as I used to
be. Where is the extraordinary difference between one of your learned
antiquary mint-assayers who distils, evaporates, and injects all the
pleasures of his life into the rust of a collection of coins--and a
miser who counts and weighs the specimens in _his_ cabinet like so many
votes at an election? Not, in reality, so great a difference as there
is between _our opinions_ of the two." I thought I had a fine chance of
turning deftly to the subject of the _Piqueur_ at this point, but the
entire company called out to me to tell them what o'clock it was. In my
capacity of Viceroy, I had disarmed all the islanders of their watches
at the landing-place (as if they had been so many swords), that they
might pass their day in a blissful eternity, where time was not. The
only one allowed to keep his was Paul--and this was because it was one
of the new Geneva sort, whose hands always point to 12 o'clock, only
telling the real time when one touches a spring.

It was now past three. In thirty-eight minutes, spring, that pre-heaven
upon earth--that _second_ paradise--would make her grand processional
progress over the ruins of the _first_. Already the clouds were all
cleared away from the sky, spring breezes played coolingly about the
sun, burning in the blue; on a vine-clad hill by the Rhine shore, a
solo-singer from the great choir of spring--a nightingale--sent on in
advance of her--was pouring out her song in a smooth-grown thicket of
pruned cherry-trees; through the open trellis-work of the boughs we
could see the notes vibrate in the feathers of her throat.

We climbed up the artificial Mount St. Gothard. It was set round with
turf-banks and leafy niches; an oak stood on its summit by way of
crown. Man (day-fly, as he is, playing above a ripple of time) cannot
do without watches and date-indicators on the banks of the time-stream.
Although every day is a birthday and a new year's day, he must have one
of his own into the bargain. Thirty-eight minutes struck in us. And
down from the waves of throbbing blue above us came floating a broad
breath of breeze, rocking the swelling grapes and the bare grafts, the
delicate young branchlets, and the strong, sharp-pointed winter-corn,
and lifting the soaring pigeons higher in their flight. The sun, above
Switzerland, looked, in blissful intoxication, at his own face
reflected in the sublime glittering ice-mirror of Mont Blanc, parting
(unaware) day and night into equal halves, as if with two arms of fate,
and throwing down equal portions to every land and every eye. We sang
Goethe's "Hymn to the Spring." The sun sent us down (like dew) from the
hill-top to the valley--the earth swelling loose fell rustling at our
feet; and wine (Lethe of life) hid from our sight the misty bunks
within which it rolled its way--mirroring only heaven and flowers.
Clotilda said (not to us, but to her Luna)--(and here, dear Cato, I am
drank with remembering; and I beg, accordingly, to invite you, at once,
for the 10th of April), "Ah! dearest, how beautiful the world is
sometimes. We ought not to think so poorly of it. Are we not like
Orestes in the 'Iphigenia'--fancying we are in exile, though we really
are in our own native land."

With every downward step from the hill we sank back into the workaday
marsh-meadow of life. "What the better are we," cried Melchior, quite
angrily, "for all this splendour in and around us, when to-morrow a
single passionate earthquake may hurl down an avalanche of snow-masses
upon all that is warm and blooming in us? it is the April of the human
heart--not the April of the universe--that causes me such vexation. We
are always at our hardest just after an _attendrissement_--and moved to
tears just after some murderous rage--as earthquakes set warm springs
flowing. Now I know quite well that, to-morrow, at the sitting of the
council, I shall attack and oppose everybody and everything. Pitiable!
pitiable! And you are not a whit better, Flamin."

"Not a whit," said Flamin, with touching candour. Luna and my wife took
the Professor's wife between them (each taking one of her children in
her lap), and sat down upon the green nether slope of the hill, on the
sunny side of the nightingale. We, however, were too restless to sit
down. "Alas!" (said Jean Paul, walking up and down, with his hands
folded and hanging, and his hat thrown away, so that his _eyes_, at all
events, might be higher and freer). "Alas! is _any_ one a whit better?
We take a vow of universal love to our fellow men whenever we are
deeply touched--when we have buried some one, or have been thoroughly
happy, or have committed some grand transgression, or looked long and
closely at Nature, or are intoxicated with love, or some earthly form
of intoxication: but we are really only perjurers, not philanthropists,
as we fancy ourselves. We long and thirst for the love of others--but
it is like mercury, it feels and looks like fountain water, and flows
and glitters like it--but it _is_ cold, dry, and heavy in reality. It
is just those very people upon whom Nature has bestowed most gifts (and
who, consequently, should not covet other people's, but be content with
distributing their own), who, like princes, demand the more from their
fellow men the more they _have_ to give them, and the less they _do_
give them. Dissensions are the more bitterly painful, the more alike
the souls are between whom they take place, just as discords are
harsher the nearer they approach the unison. We forgive without reason
because we have found fault without reason, for a rightful and
righteous anger must, of necessity, be everlasting. Nothing is a
stronger evidence of the miserable subordination of our reason to our
ruling passion than the fact that we place such a flat every-day matter
as _time_ among the cures for hate, grief, love, &c.; our impulses are
to _forget_ to conquer, or to grow _tired_ of doing so--our wounds are
to be sanded over with the Margrave's sympathetic powder of drift-sand
out of Time's sand-glass! Too miserable a business altogether! But can
anything make a better of it? Certainly, least of all my complaints of

"The fact is," said the serene, gentle, Professor (who only uses a
_very_ few pedantic tints in his style of painting), "_feelings_ of
love to our fellow men[70] are useless without _reasons_." "So are
reasons without feelings," said Paul.

"Consequently," continued the Professor (for I could _not_ manage to
get my _Piqueur_ brought to bear anyhow, but had to keep him idly
in reserve), "the two have to be combined like _genius_ and
_criticism_--of which the former can produce only master-pieces and
scholar-pieces, the latter only something of an everyday sort between
the two. What I think is, that our lack of love arises, not from our
coldness, but from a conviction that others do not deserve it. The
coldest of men would acquire a greater warmth of feeling for their
fellows if they acquired a higher opinion of them."

"But," asked Clotilda, "must we not forgive even the _wrong_ done by
our enemies? The _right_ is not matter for forgiveness."

"Of course it is not," he answered, but would let himself be no further
diverted from his point. "The only ugliness and hatefulness which we
can truly experience hatred for is that of a _moral_ sort."

"In opposition to that view of the question," said Jean Paul, "I might
adduce the fierce combats of animals, and nurseries in a state of war;
for in neither of these cases is there any idea of _immorality_ of the
enemy, although _hatred_ of him exists. But were I to adduce these
cases, I could answer myself--at least, so so. If we directed our
hatred against things other than the immoral, we should be just as
angry with the hanging branch which strikes us in the face as with the
person who broke it so that it should be so placed as to do so. The
rage of a chastised child is quite a different thing from the alarmed
instinct of self-conservancy--the feeling of avoidance of nitric acid,
or of bodily hurt. The former has in it a duplex sense of dislike, the
two components of which are most dissimilar--the one referring to the
cause, the other to the effect. We must distinguish between beings
which are capable of morality, and such as are not, in _kind_--not in
_degree_; those _incapable_ of morality can never be made capable of it
by the mere lapse of time, or step by step. Whence, if children at any
period of their age were _utterly_ non-moral beings, it would follow
that they could never, at _any_ period, _begin_ to _become_ moral
beings. In brief, their anger is nothing other than a dim sense of
other people's injustice. As to the animals, 1 don't know what else to
say than that there _must_ be in them something analogous to our moral
sense. Those who (like us) believe them to have immortal souls, must,
as a matter of course, concede them _some_ beginnings some
pre-existent germs of morality--although these may be overpowered and
kept in the background by their animal natures even to a greater extent
than (for instance) conscience is in sleep, drunkenness, or insanity.
But alas! all this is night within night! And I hope this obscurity
will be considered some excuse, Professor, for the manner in which I
have obstructed and built out _your_ light."

"Now," he went on, "since hatred only concerns itself with _moral_
defects, how strange it is that we never hate _ourselves_, even for the
gravest moral defects."

"_I_ think," said Flamin, "that one _does_ sometimes feel the
_deadliest_ hatred of one's self, for over-haste."

"And then," said Jean Paul, "your argument would apply just as well to
love--at least it would half apply. Come, let's hear what you've got to
say to that?"

"We never _hate_ ourselves," I said. "We _despise_ and _pity_
ourselves, when we have done wrong. Although--I _must_ add this--we
hate all men, our ownselves excepted, for vices. Can this be right?"
"Self-hatred," went on the Professor, "is not possible, for hatred is
nothing but the wishing of evil to the object of it--_i. e_., a desire
to punish, not for _bettering's_ sake, but for _punishing's_. But the
most repentant of sinners never can wish himself made the subject of a
chastening of this kind; and even if he could, such a wish would be
merely a _disguised_ desire for _bettering_--_i. e_., for greater
happiness. But to a transgressor other than ourselves we hardly can
concede _rapidity_ of conversion, not, at all events, until he has gone
through a proper expiation. What distinguishes our feeling concerning
other people's errors from our feeling concerning our own is a sham
self-love. The very minutest particle of hatred desires the unhappiness
of its object; that is what I have got to prove now."

His own wife here interrupted him with the words, "My heart tells me,
as plainly as possible, that I could never wish any serious misfortune
to happen to my bitterest enemy--such as money troubles, or anything
about her children. I could not bear even the idea of a tear being
brought to her eyes on my account."

"No, I suppose not," he went on. "The better nature within us never
wishes its antipode a broken leg, would not leave him without a strip
of lint, or a wish for his recovery. But I know that that same 'better
nature' does take a delight in his minor skin-wounds--his being put to
confusion, his sleigh slipping down hill backwards, his losing his
hair. The gentlest of souls hides, at the back of its tender sympathy
with great troubles, its _untender_ satisfaction with small ones, such
as call for condolence (_a smaller thing than sympathy_). The tenderest
of people, people incapable of indicting the smallest wound imaginable
on their enemy's _skin_, are delighted to make a thousand deep ones in
his _heart_." "Ah!" said Luna, "how can that be possible?" "I don't
think it _would_ be possible," Clotilda answered her, "if the pain of
the soul had as definite a physiognomy, and as real tears, as that of
the body."

"Exactly," said the Professor; "that is just where it is. To make
ourselves feel more gently towards the wicked we have only to think of
them as delivered wholly over into our hands. For what harm would one
do them then? The moment they _acknowledged_ their fault we would stay
the rack, and bid the torture cease. What redoubles our indignation,
and renders it everlasting, is the very impossibility of inflicting any

"Yes, that is quite true," said Melchior. "The oftener I read of these
two live guillotines of their age, Alba and Philip (whose lips were
shears of the Parcæ), or of those two other mowers of mankind, Marat
and Robespierre, the deeper does the aquafortis of anger etch their
condemnation into my heart, although death has drawn up their Acts of

"And yet, after all," I put in (leaving the Piqueur in the rear for the
present), "if anybody would deliver over the King and the Duke to you
and me here this afternoon, and a couple of caldrons of boiling oil
into the bargain, _I_ feel quite certain I couldn't throw one of them
in--at any rate till the oil had stood a long time in the cold. I
should let them off with a good flogging--say 100 lashes, or so. Ah!
what a cast-iron sort of fellow were he who should not soothe, and
comfort with cooling, healing touch (had he the power) a heart breaking
with anguish, a face whereon the worm of suffering was ploughing its
tortuous track! At the same time (I continued, rapidly; for I was
determined to bring in my Piqueur somehow or other), where emotion is
concerned, the memory of past errors is not the smallest safeguard
against new ones."

"You see, you won't allow me to speak," the Professor broke in. "I
still owe you a tremendous number of proofs, and I am most anxious to
acquit the debt. Our _hatred_, being an emotion, always turns every
_action_ into a _whole life_; every _attribute_ into a _personality_
(or, to speak more accurately, because our only mode of _seeing_ any
personality is by its reflection in the mirror of its attributes)
converts _one_ attribute into the sum of them. It is only in the case
of liking--of friendship--that we find it easy to separate the
attribute from the personality. Hatred can not do it. Nay, in the case
of liking, the _converse_ transformation takes place--that of the
personality into the attribute. We hate as if the object of our hatred
had never possessed any virtues, or inclination to them--neither pity
nor truthfulness, love of the young, one single good hour, anything
whatever. In brief, since it is with the _individuality_ of the person
whose punishment we are decreeing that we are angry (not with its
characteristic of the moment), we make him out to be a _wholly_ wicked
being. Yet such a being is not conceivable. The voice of conscience
speaking in that being would be of itself _one_ goodness in him, even
though it spoke in vain; the pain of that conscience would be another;
each joy and each impulse of his life another."

"Ah! how delightful," said Luna, "that there is nobody so utterly bad;
nobody whom one would have to hate altogether."

"You see," he continued, "it cannot be the _me_ of a person that we
hate; for the _me_ is still the same _me_ when it improves, and wins
our regard."

In the warmth of our discussion we were losing sight altogether of one
of the two concave mirrors which distort other people's moral
distortions for us even more wildly than they are distorted to begin
with--I mean, our own egotism. Often, when I have seen and heard women
squabbling in the market-place (women of whom one was just as good as
the other, and with just as good an opinion of herself), and one
hurling her invectives with delight, like a red-hot stone, at the
other's head, which seethed and swelled in waves of anger around that
stone, while a third woman kept calm and cool in the midway-path
between, I have been ashamed of the human race--ashamed that the
self-same reproach, or immorality, which _ought_ to produce exactly the
same effect upon all the three, should make _too_ strong an impression
on the one, too weak a one on the other, none whatever on the third.

Paul pointed to the _second_ of these distorting mirrors--our bodily
senses. For these render the vinegar of hatred doubly bitter by
throwing into its fermenting-vat these parts of the enemy which _they_
take cognizance of--his clothes, movements, gestures, tones, &c.

Here we reached the Gordian knot which only I could cut with the
Piqueur. "Who is to save us from these bodily senses?" I inquired (with
a certain amount of hopeful expectancy). Melchior answered, "I do not
allow them to influence my philanthropy, at all events. They are the
straw which feeds the flame under that ascending windbag balloon, the

Jean Paul thrust me back from the Gordian knot. "I," he said, "have an
admirable sweetener at all times in readiness to apply when a sinner
embitters my senses. I take him, and (like a victorious enemy) strip
all the clothes off him, not leaving him so much as his hat or his wig.
When once I've got him standing there before me, cold and wretched as
any corpse (I mean, of course, in imagination), I begin to feel sorry
for the scoundrel. But this is not enough. I have got to sweeten myself
a good deal more than this; so I proceed to slit him up with a long,
slicing cut from top to bottom into three cavities (as if he were a
carp), so that I can see his heart and brain pulsating. The mere sight
of a red human heart (Danaid's bucket for happiness--safe storehouse of
so many a sorrow) makes my own soft and heavy; and I have often not
forgiven a street robber till the Professor has been shewing us his
heart and brain in the anatomical theatre. 'Thou unhappy, sorrowful
heart,' I have always found myself thinking, with deep, sympathetic
emotion, 'how many a blood-billow has gone surging through thee,
glowing and freezing in the same moment.' But if all this process
failed to have its effect, I should proceed to extremities, and smite
my enemy dead; then take the naked, fluttering, trembling soul--like an
evening moth--out of its brain-chamber chrysalis, and, holding up the
quivering night-creature between my forefinger and thumb, gaze at it
without a trace of rancour left in me."

"To picture one's enemy to one's self as unclothed, or disembodied,"
said I, "so as to be able to put up with him, as though he were dead
(perhaps that is the chief reason why we love the dead), is just the
operation _I_ perform too. I often try to soften the unpleasant effect
which some repulsive physiognomy produces upon me by thinking of it as
scalped, and with its skin folded back."

And now I determined, seriously and in earnest, that the sceptre and
throne insignia of the conversation, should no more depart from my
hands. Wherefore I commenced as follows: "But who is to provide us with
the time and the power, not only to remember, but to act upon, this
precious and reliable principle, or rule of conduct, right in the thick
of this world's Pyrrhic war-dance, and the rapid evolutions of our
emotions? Who is to stoke the æther-flame of philanthropy with a
sufficient supply of combustible matter, seeing that there are such
hosts of people continually drowning it out, smothering it up, and
building it in! Who is to make up to us for the lack of a gentle, quiet
temperament? Who, or what?"

Just as I was going to fix the Piqueur on to this lance-shaft by way of
point, the cold dinner was brought, and the Professor's wife went to
fetch her children. For the dinner had to be over before sunset;
because, like a fresh supply of green firewood, it would drown out the
flame of enthusiasm for a time, and break the unity of its vertical,
purple fire pyramid. The company, therefore, waited in vain for me to
go on with what I had to say. I shook my head, expressing, by nods,
that I should do so when we were all together again, and sitting down.

While we were at dinner I was able to set up my speaking machine, and
set it a-going at my ease.

"I asked you once or twice before dinner," I commenced, "_who_ can
invigorate and quicken our principles of love to our fellows, and set
them fully to work? I answer, the chief Piqueur can; only I'm afraid
I've made go many false starts, and baulked in so many of my runs
before making this grand jump of mine, that I have led you to entertain
far greater expectations concerning it than it (or I) may be able to
fulfil. A day or two before the stump-end of the chief Piqueur's
life-candle fell down and went guttering out in its candlestick-socket,
he sent for me to the side of his bed of suffering and begged me--not
to prescribe for him, but--to make a thorough inspection of his house.
He drew my head down close to his wretched pillow, and said, 'You see,
doctor, Death has got his hunting-knife at my throat. But I'm not sorry
to go, and what little I leave behind me in the shape of worldly gear
goes all to the poor. It's but little that I have ever thought of
scraping together for _myself_, and that is a comfort to think on now.
It's for the _poor_ that I have screwed and saved, pinched and pared;
and when a man has done that it's a pleasure to him to make his will;
he knows it will be paid back again _elsewhere_. But there's one hard
stone at my heart still. You see I have neither chick nor child
belonging to me, and when the breath is out of my body, the old woman
who keeps my room in order will be in the house by herself. She's an
honest body enough, but as poor as a church mouse, and pretty sure to
help herself to something before the seals are put on my effects. Now,
doctor, you are a man who are just as good to the poor as I am myself;
you often prescribe for them gratis; I want to ask _you_ to go through
the house with the notary (I don't trust _him_ a bit more than I do the
old woman), take an inventory of what there is, and have a regular
notarial instrument drawn up concerning my property. I've left the
whole of it to the Poor-house and the Institution for Destitute
Gamekeepers. The notary must begin with my breeches under the pillow
here, because my purse is there.'

"A man whose stubble Death is in the very act of turning up with his
plough, has, upon me, a more powerful claim than that of the _first_
request--that of the _last_. I came the next day, bringing with me the
notary, and also my dislike to the dying man and his distrustful
suspicions. With gay indifference I helped to protocol the effects in
the sick-room--his shooting-jacket, worn into shining patches by his
old game-bag--his old guns and knives--even such matters as a leather
over-shoe for his thumb, and a long mummy bandage for his nose, which
he had worn on occasions when he had hurt himself in these members with
his gun.

"As we went through the other silent chambers--empty snail-shells of
his shrivelled, dried-up life--my frozen blood began to thaw within me,
and to move in warm, light mercury-globules. But when I came to the
lumber-room, with the notary, and tuned over the rag-fair of his old
night-shirts--(caterpillar cases and blood-shirts of his feverish
nights, in which I seemed still to see him groaning and thirsting)--and
his _Pathebrief_,[71] and his name copied from thence with all its
flourishes on to his pointer's collar--and the picture of his pretty
mother with him as a smiling infant in her lap--and his wife's bridal
garland of wire, covered with green silk--(Oh! for goodness' sake do
_not_ interrupt me with talk--I've had enough of that, Heaven knows).
When I took in my hands these opera-costumes, these theatrical
properties, in which the sick player down-stairs had performed his
_probe-rolle_[72] of a Harpaxus for the benefit of the poor--not only
did the poor fellow's _moral_ emptiness of treasury, and miserable rate
of monthly salary, strike me with pain, but, moreover, I wished him _no
heavier suffering, no severer punishment, than he would wish for
himself, were he really to repent in good earnest before his plunge
into the depths of the soil_. No, not so much, for the matter of that.
Therefore, my dislike to him was gone. For I put myself in his
place--not _outwardly_ only, as people generally do, fancying
themselves in another person's physical place with _their_ own souls,
_their_ own wishes, habitudes, &c.--but _inwardly_--in _his_ mind, his
youth, wishes, sufferings, thoughts.

"'Poor _Piqueur_,' I said, as I went down-stairs; 'I have no more
satiric pleasure now over your gnawing suspicion, your errors, your
self-shooting covetousness, your hungry avarice. You have got to live
through a long eternity with that self, that "me" of yours, the best
way you can, just as I have with mine. You have got to rise with that
self of yours at the Resurrection, and go about with it, and look after
it, and care for its welfare. And, of course, you can't but be _fond_
of _yourself_, just as _I am_ of _myself_, and put up with all that
self's defects and shortcomings whether you will or not. Go in peace
then into the other world, where the broken glasses of your harmonica
of life will be replaced with fresh-tuned ones--in the great home of
all the spirits!'

"The old woman met us on the stairs crying out that the man was dying.
I went to his bed-side, looked upon his cold, yellow, senseless form,
and saw that he would very soon throw off his last stage-dress, his
body. Next day the tolling bell announced that, he had returned to the
dust--gone back into the ground--that, stage dressing-room of souls and
flowers. (And we are _rung_ off and on to that stage, as well as

"Meanwhile I made an experiment with my modified and mildened system of
treatment, upon the poor notary devil; the day after I tried it on the
jurists who came from the college. (Jean Paul! communicate your idea to
us by-and-bye--do _not_ interrupt me just now)--I did this, I say, and
found that I was able to establish a heart-peace even with the
plebeians among them--who dishonour their calling--the only really
_free_ one in all the body politic. For in the cases of these lawyers,
and those of my own medical colleagues from whose breasts I have been
so often in such a hurry to cut off, and melt down, the medals of
honour which they have cast for themselves, I have had merely to take
away the roof from over their heads, lift the rafters from their walls,
and bare their houses to the four winds of heaven. Then I could look in
and see everything there--their housekeeping, their unoffending wives,
their sleep (_i. e_., mock-death), sicknesses, sorrows, birth-days, and
funeral-days, and this reconciled me to them! Of a truth, to love a
man, I have only to think of his children, his parents--the love he
feels and inspires. One can easily perform this philanthropic
transmigration of soul at any moment, without help of the balloon of
phantasy, or the diving-bell of profound reflection. Good heavens! it
_does_ seem hard (and a shame and disgrace into the bargain) that it
should have taken me thirty years of my life to understand properly
what it is that self-love is really driving at--my own and everybody
else's--what it wants is, to be surrounded with mere repetitions of
its own 'me.' It insists upon every infant on earth being a parson's
son (as I am)--that everybody shall have lost, and gained, noble
friends--that everybody shall be an M.D., and have studied at
Göttingen--that his name shall be Sebastian, and that he shall be an
overseer of mines, and write his life in forty-five dog-post-days--in
brief, that this world shall contain a thousand million Victors instead
of one. I beg that everybody may send spies into his soul, to look
carefully about them and see whether it be not the case that there are
thousands of instances in which what we hate a man for is, either that
he is as fat as a prize pig, or as lean as a stick of vermicelli--or
that he is a district secretary, or a Roman Catholic watchman in
Augspurg, and wears a coat white on the one side, and green on the
other--or that he eats his veal with melted butter;[73] (or, at all
events, hate them _more_ for these reasons; for when we are
_indifferent_ to people, all their external characteristics, beautiful
or ugly, merely increase our indifference). People are so deep sunk in
their dear selves that everybody yawns at the _menu_ of everybody
else's favourite dishes, but expects _them_ to be interested when _he_
reads out _his_ to _them_."

That feathered echo, the nightingale, was singing to us phrases of the
music of the spheres, to us inaudible until thus repeated to us by her.
But I had my rapid descent from my Mont Cenis to finish, and could but
give utterance to my applause (of the bird and her music) by a hasty
nod. "Heavenly! Elysian! I've been hearing it every now and then. But,
one thing more. Since my sentimental journey in other people's souls, I
have been happier and fatter than I used to be, in ball-rooms,
anterooms, and large assemblages (hot lark-spits which roasted all the
fat out of a Swift). This enduring of transgressors includes a greater
enduring still of fools and dunces, although the great world makes war
on these three tolerated sects in just the contrary ratio.

"The amnesty thus granted to humanity makes the duty of loving more
easy to perform; moreover, it renders the deep blissfulness of
friendship and love more justifiable; for the glow, the fire of the
latter often vitrifies and calcines the heart towards the rest of
mankind. And this is the reason why the last and best fruit...."

Clotilda looked inquiringly here, as if begging to be allowed one word
of remonstrance with me for forgetting to put myself in the place of
those whose transformation I was thus extolling. I reddened, and
paused. "This," observed Jean Paul, "is the reason why a concert-room
audience cries out the loudest against noise or disturbance just
during the loveliest adagios--when people are most deeply touched--and
swear and weep at the same time."

"I cannot help being ashamed of an experience of my own," said
Clotilda. "The other day I cried so at reading Silly's letters (in
Allwill's Papers) that I was obliged to put the book down. Then I went
to the casino with my head full of what I had been reading--and I
dare not tell you what hard opinions I entertained, several times that
very evening, of several people of my acquaintance. I expected of
_them_ that they should all be in exactly the same mood of mind as
myself--although, of course, they had not just come from reading
Silly's letters."

"That is exactly what I was coming to," concluded I. "The last and best
fruit, which ripens late in a soul ever warm, is tenderness towards the
hard--patience with the impatient--kindly feeling for the selfish--and
philanthropy towards the misanthropic."

It is a very odd thing, beloved Cato, but Jean Paul has just come and
told me a murder-tale of human iniquity, which goes hissing through my
heart like a red-hot iron. All my _theories_ stand bright and clear as
stare around my soul, but I can do nothing save look inactively down
upon the billows in which my blood is foaming, heated by this
subterranean earth-fire, and wait until they cool down and subside.
Alas! we poor, poor mortals! Jean Paul, who knew the story the day
before yesterday, and had consequently all that time to put the cooling
process in practice in advance of me, is going to take charge of the
picture exhibition of our insular flower-pieces in my stead, and add a
postscript to this. Which is well, for to-day I really could not do it.
By the 10th of April the air will have cooled; then _you_ are sure to
be coming, as the French election meetings begin then. We must keep the
"settling weeks" of your great feast and fairtide here. Alas! in what a
disquiet condition have I to stop writing to you. _You_ will go on
reading, but not


                           *   *   *   *   *

                        POSTSCRIPT BY JEAN PAUL.


Our Victor's virtuous indignation will soon be over and past. The
reason why he, and I too, now, have made a written confession of the
cure of our disposition to censure our fellows, is, that we may be
compelled to be excessively ashamed of ourselves if ever we chide for
more than a minute, or hate for more than a moment. This all embracing
love demands a sacrifice, which is made with greater hesitation than
one would expect--the sacrifice of the pleasure of being satisfied with
one's self--which anger adds to the contemplation of other people's
faults (and satire to the contemplation of other people's follies)--by
way of a sweetening ingredient, and whose place is taken by a pure and
unalloyed regret at the frequency with which the disease shifts its
seat, and at the chronicity of the bleeding of the wounds and scars of
helpless man.

However, for the present, what I would fain do is to steer our floating
island, and its blessed twilight, close up to your view.

The sun was sinking towards the cloud Alps, and glowing white over
France in the west as if it should shortly drop down on its plains as a
gleaming shield of freedom, or fall into its billowy ocean as a
wedding-ring between heaven and earth. The shades of evening were
already overflowing the first two steps of the hill, and the darkening
Rhine seemed to be passing an arm of night around the earth. We
ascended our little steps as the sun descended his great ones, seeming,
as we ascended, to rise from his burning grave with the face of a saint
at the Resurrection. The hill lifted up our eyes and our souls.
Remembering my shortcomings I took Victor's hand, and said, "Ah! dear
Victor! could it but come to pass that one could make a treaty of peace
with all mankind, and with one's own self--if one's shattered heart
could absorb and retain, from out the leaven of the hating and hated
world, nothing but the sweet, mild, life-sap of love--as the oyster,
amid mud and slime, takes nothing save bright pure water into his
house. Ah! if one but knew that such an event were about to come to
pass of a truth, an evening of happiness such as this would refresh
and fill one's thirsting breast, (all _cracked_ with thirst and
dryness)--would still the everlasting sigh." Victor answered (not
looking round, but keeping his glowing and beglowed face--which his
loving heart suffused with a brighter tint--turned to the sun, now
burning half sunk in the earth), "Perhaps," he said, "that time may
come; a time when we shall all be happy when a human being smiles--even
should he not deserve it--when we shall speak kindly to every one--not
by way of a mere sacrifice to the laws of polite society, but for very
love--and there will be no difficulties, no complications, for hearts
which will no longer have any inward annoyance to conceal. To-day the
spring sun rests upon the world like the eye of a mother, and shines
warm upon every heart, the wicked as well as the good. Yes, thou
Eternal One, we here now give our hands and our hearts to thy whole
creation, and no longer hate anything which thou hast made." We were
overpowered, and we embraced with tears, and no words, in the first
darkening of the night. Over the sun's burial place stood the zodiacal
light, a red grave pyramid, flaming unmoved up into the silent deep of

The City of God which hangs displayed on high above our earth, built on
the arch of the Milky Way, appeared from out the endless distances with
all its shining sun-lights.

We came down from the hill--each spot of earth was a hill just then; an
unseen hand lifted our souls on high above the dark vapour-circle, and
they looked down as if from alps, seeing nothing save gleaming peaks of
other mountain ranges--for all the mean, all that was not the high, all
graves, petty goals, and life careers of humanity, were veiled in heavy

We lost each other amongst the paths, but in our hearts we were all
together. We met again, but the silence in our souls was not broken,
for each heart beat just as did all the others, and there was no
difference, save the being alone, between a prayer and an embrace.

The scattered flames of our emotion had gradually merged into one
glowing sun sphere, as the ancients believed that the fluttering
after-midnight fires thickened ere morning into a sun.[74]

But I, a stranger, alas! in this paradise stood beneath the leafless
branches, sad, and alone, beside the dark-blue Rhine stream where the
stars were mirrored--it glided, with gently heaving wavelets, over the
German soil, binding two great republics[75] together, like some
heavenly band; and to me it seemed as though the thirst, the fire, of a
breast no broader even than mine could be quenched with nothing less
than the waters of this great river. Alas! we are all like this. In the
transient clasp of our little grandeurs and blisses, we long to rest,
and _die_, upon something _great_. We long to cast ourselves into the
depths of the heavens when we see them glitter and sparkle above us--or
down upon the many-tinted earth, when her flowers and grasses wave--or
into the endless river, flowing as if from out the past onwards into
the future.

Our ladies and the children had gone away--departing in silence from
this anchorage of hours so happy--I saw them as they floated over the
wavelets, singing like swans, and dropping spring flowers into the
ripples, that they might float back as souvenirs to us upon our island
shore. The children were sleeping softly in their arms, between the
glories of the heaven and of the earth, lulled by the arms, the songs,
and the ripples.

When it was 12 o'clock, and the first morning of spring was come,
Victor summoned us all to the hill, we knew not wherefore. All around
and beneath us was the music of the rush of the Rhine, and through it,
came gliding clear the bright spring-melody of the nightingale; the
stars of the twelfth hour sank, drop by drop, into the darkened grave
of the sun, and went paling out among the grey ashes of the western
clouds. Suddenly a straight, beautiful flame shot up in the west, and
music came palpitating through the darkness.

"Do you not think of your France," said Victor, "the first hour of day
is breaking for _her_ this 21st of March--the day when the six thousand
primary assemblies form themselves, like stars, into one constellation,
that one law may burst into being from out a million hearts."

As I looked up to the sky, the Milky Way struck me as being the beam of
the balance of hidden destiny, in whose weighing-pans (which are
worlds) the broken, shattered, bleeding nations are weighed out for
eternity. These destiny scales waver up and down as yet, because it was
only a century or two ago that the weights were put into them.

We drew closer together, and (inspired by the night and the music)
said, "Thou, poor country! may thy sun and thy day rise higher ere
long, and cast away the blood-shirt of its morning red. May the higher
genius wipe away the blood from thy hands, and the tears from thine
eyes! Oh! may that genius build, support, and guard for ever the Grand
Freedom Temple which is vaulted over thee like a second heaven: but
also comfort every mother and every father, every child and every
wife--and dry all eyes which weep for the beloved, crushed hearts which
have bled and fallen, and now lie under that temple as basement

What I am going to say now can only be said to my brother, for nobody
else would pardon it. Victor and I got into a boat, which was made fast
with a rope to the bank, and which was drifting about with the current.
We worked ourselves back to the bank, and then let the boat drift
northwards again upon the ripples. In our souls (as in the world
without us) sadness and exaltation were strangely blent: the music on
the bank came and went--tones and stars rose and fell. The vault of
heaven showed in the Rhine like some shattered bell, and up above us
the dome of the temple wherein dwelleth Eternity lay in calm and
motionless rest, with all its unchanging suns. From the eastward the
spring breathed upon us, and the tree skeletons in the churchyard of
the winter felt the presage of a near resurrection. Of a sudden Victor
said--"It feels to me as though the river here were the stream of
Time--our fluctuating life is carried along upon the waves of both
towards the midnight." Here my brother called to me from the island,
"Brother, come into harbour and sleep; it is between one and two

This fraternal voice, coming to me athwart the music of the wavelets,
suddenly brought a new world--perhaps the under-world--into my open
soul. For a lightning flash of memory gleamed in a moment over all my
dim being, reminding me that it was on this very night two-and-thirty
years ago that I had made my entry upon this overclouded earth,
shrouded with daily nights--and that this hour, between one and two
o'clock, in which my brother was calling me into haven and to sleep,
was the hour of my birth (which so often deprives man of both).

There come to us moments of twilight in which it seems as though day
and night were in the act of dividing--as if we were in the very
process of being created or annihilated; the stage of life and the
spectators fly back out of view, our part is played out, we stand far
off, in darkness and alone, but we have still got on our theatre dress,
and we look at ourselves in it, and ask, "What is it that thou art,
_now_, my _me_!" When we thus ask ourselves this, there is, beyond
ourselves, nothing of great or of firm--everything has turned to an
endless cloud of night (with rare and feeble gleams within it), which
keeps falling lower and lower, and heavier with drops. Only high up
above the cloud shines a resplendence--and that is God; and far beneath
it a minute speck of light--and that is a human "Me"!

The heart is made of heavy earth, and therefore it cannot long endure
such moments. I passed on to those sweeter seasons in which the full,
tear-intoxicated heart neither can, nor will, do aught but simply weep.
I had not the courage to drag my dear Victor down from the sublime
region in which he was to my trifling pettinesses--but I asked him to
remain beside me for a little time in this stillness which lay so
silently upon the dark stream as it went flowing toward midnight and
the south. Then I leant and pressed myself fondly to his side--and my
little tears fell unseen into the great river--as though it had been
the great stream of Time itself, into which all eyes drop their tears,
and so many thousand hearts their blood-drops--for all which it neither
swells nor flows the faster.

I thought as I gazed at the Rhine, "And thus, too, the dancing, billowy
current of Life goes flowing on its course from out its source--hidden
like the Nile's. How little, as yet, have I done, or enjoyed! Our
deserts, and our enjoyments, what petty things they are! Our
_metamorphoses_ are greater; our heads and our hearts go into the
ground irrecognisable--altered a thousandfold--like the head of the man
with the iron mask.[76] Ay! and _did_ we but change! but we change so
little in the earth, or even in ourselves. Every moment is to us the
goal of all that have come before it. We take the seed of life for the
harvest of it--the honey-dew on the ears for the sweet fruit--and we
chew the flowers, like cattle! Ah! thou great GOD! what a night lieth
around our sleep! we _fall_ and _rise_ with closed eyelids, and fly
about blind, and in a deep slumber."[77]

My hand was hanging into the water, and the cool ripples buoyed it up
and down. I thought, "How straight and immovable the little light
within us burns, amid the blasts of Nature's storm! Everything around
me contends and clashes together with gigantic might. The stream seizes
upon the islands and the cliffs--the night-wind comes upon the river,
and stalks across it, thrusting its wavelets back, and wages its strife
with the forests--even up there in the tranquil blue, worlds are
working against worlds--the eternal, endless mights flowing and
rushing, like rivers, one against another, they come together in whirl
and roar--and on the face of that eternal whirl the little worlds float
eddying round the sun-vortex; nay, those shimmering constellations
themselves rising zenithwards with that grand and gentle peace and
calm--what are they but mountain ranges of raging sun-volcanoes,
stretching into infinity beyond the reach of mind to follow. And yet
the human spirit lies at rest amid this storm, peaceful as a quiet moon
above a windy night. In me, at this moment, all is gentle peace. I see
my own little life-brook running by me, falling, with all the rest,
into the river of Time. The clear-eyed soul looks through the raging
blood-rivers which are flowing round it, and through the storms which
darken and obscure it, and sees, beyond them all, quiet meadows,
gentle, peaceful waters, moon-shimmer, and a lovely, beautiful,
tranquil, placid, peaceful angel slowly wandering there." Yes, yes;
within my soul there was a quiet Good Friday--wind-still, rain-free,
and mild--neither cold nor over-warm--though shrouded in a tender

But a clear consciousness of rest is speedily the undoing thereof. I
saw, floating near the island, three hyacinths which Clotilda had
dropped into the wavelets as she went away. "Now, in this, thy
birth-hour," I said to myself, "the ocean of eternity is washing
thousands of little hearts on to the stony shore of this world; how
will it be with them one day when their birthday feast comes round? And
what are your countless brothers who, with you, came thirty-two years
ago into this vapour-ball, thinking now? Perhaps some terrible sorrow
makes them think with bitterness of their first hour. Perhaps they
sleep now--as I have slept--and must again--only deeper, deeper." And
then all my younger and older friends, now sleeping that deeper sleep,
fell heavy upon my broken breast.

"I know, I think," my Victor said, "what you are reflecting on so
silently, and regretting so mutely." I answered "No," and then I told
him all.

Then we went quickly back, and I put my arms about my other brother,
and my heart went out in longing towards thee. At length we took our
departure from this building-place of a more peaceful system of
doctrine for our hearts--this quiet island; and the lofty hill--grand
pedestal of the vases of our joy-flowers, chancel of the great temple,
light-house tower in our haven of rest--seemed to gaze long after us,
the hanging garden of our souls lying upon it in starry light.

And as we came to the shore, Hesperus, as star of the morning (spark
which springs and shines so near the sun), rose up above the morning
mists, and earlier than even the Aurora of morning, proclaimed his
sire's approach. And as we thought that he shines, too, as the star of
evening upon our nights here below, and yet adorns the east, and the
after-midnight hours with the first of the glittering pearls of dew,
each said to his gladsome heart, "And so shall all the evening stars of
this our life shine upon us as stars of morning at a future day."

Think thou, too, of morning, my brother, when thou art looking upon the
even; and when a sun is setting for thee, turn thee about and thou
mayest see a moon rising in the east. The moon gives warrant that the
sun is shining still--as Hope says, there still is happiness. But come
now soon to thy Victor--and to

                                    Thy Brother,

                                                J. P.

                            END OF BOOK III.

                                BOOK IV.

                              CHAPTER XV.


If on some dewy, warm and starry night of spring the miners in some
salt mine were to have their great penthouse-roof of earth lifted away
from over their heads, and find themselves thus, of a sudden, brought
out from their confined, candle-lit cellar into the wide, dim,
sleeping-hall of nature--out of their subterranean stillness in among
the breezes, the perfumes, the whisperings of the spring--these miners
would be exactly in Firmian's case, whose heretofore prisoned, silent,
and serene soul the night just past had driven out of its prison with
might, darkening it with new sorrows and joys, and a whole new world.
Heinrich maintained a most speaking silence concerning the night in
question, and, on the other hand, Firmian betrayed a mute hunting after
speech. Strive as he might to fold those wings of his (which had been
stretched all moist from under their wing-covers on that foregoing
night for a first time), they _would not_ fold quite short enough to go
back under them again. Matters got to feel very oppressive and sultry
for Leibgeber after a time. On that previous night they had come back
in perfect silence to Bayreuth and to bed, and he wearied at the
thought of all the demi-shades and demi-tints which would have to be
got ready on the palette before so much as four bold touches could be
given to the picture of the night.

Perhaps there is nothing more regrettable than that we do not all have
the hooping-cough at one and the same time--or are not all suffering
the sorrows of Werther--or are not all twenty-one, or sixty-one--or
have not all hypochondria--or are not all spending our honeymoons--or
indulging in games of banter. How charming it would be (were we all
choristers singing in the same coughing-tutti) to find everybody else
in just the same condition as ourselves--and put up with them
therefore, and forgive in them that in which they were just like _us_!
But as things really are--now when the one coughs to-day, and the other
not till to-morrow (the simultaneous company-coughing in church always
excepted); when one has to be taking dancing-lessons while another is
saying his prayers in the conventicle; when one father's daughter is
being held up at the font while the other's son is being lowered into
his little grave;--_now_, when destiny is always striking on the hearts
about us chords quite unrelated to the key of our own, or, at any rate,
superfluous sixths, major sevenths, minor seconds;--now, as things are,
in this universal lack of unison and harmony, what can be expected but
a screeching cat-charivari--and, if we can't have a little melody, we
must be content with a little _arpeggio-ing_ up and down.

By way of a fever for conversation, or pump-handle wherewith to force a
drop or two up from the heart, Leibgeber caught hold of Firmian's hand,
and embraced it softly and warmly with all his fingers. He put one or
two unimportant questions concerning what walks and expeditions they
should think of for the day. But he had not foreseen that this
hand-clasp would be the means of landing him in deeper difficulties of
embarrassment,--for he found that it was now incumbent on him to keep a
control on his _hand_ as well as on his tongue--and he couldn't let
Firmian's hand drop all in a moment, like a hot potato, but found it
necessary to let it out of his clasp by a gradual _diminuendo_. This
species of careful watch over his feelings was a process which made
Leibgeber blush with shame, and drove him nearly frantic; and, indeed,
he would have thrown even this description of mine of it into the fire.
I am given to understand that he never could bring himself to utter the
word "heart" even to women--who always have their _heart_ (namely the
word) on their tongues, like a kind of _globus hystericus_. He said,
"It is the bullet-screw of their real hearts,--the button on their
fanfoil; and, to _me_, it is a poison _bolus_, a pitch-ball for the Bel
of Babel."

So his hand escaped, on a sudden, from its close arrest; he seized his
hat and stick, and cried: "I see you are just as great a goose as I am
myself: _instanter_, _instantius_, _instantissime_, in three words, did
you talk to her about the Widows' Fund? Yes or no--not another
syllable. I go Out at that door this instant!" Siebenkæs brought out
all his items of news on this subject as rapidly as possible, so as to
be quit of each and all of them for ever. "She is certain to agree to
it. I said nothing to her about it. I _can_ NOT. But _you_ can quite
easily. And you must. I am going no more to Fantasie. And we shall have
a grand time of it this afternoon, Heinrich! The music of our lives
shall be of a sounding sort. The pedals of the joy-notes are all ready
on our harps to be pressed down; and we'll press them!" Heinrich,
partly recovering his equanimity, said, as he went out, "The Cremona
strings of the human instrument are made of living membrane, the breast
is only the sounding board--and the head is the damper."

Solitude lay around our friend like some beautiful country--all the
echoes, driven away from him, and wandering, lost and astray, could
find their way back to him now athwart it. And on the crape-veil, woven
of the twelve past hours, which had laid itself over his life's
loveliest historical picture, he could tremblingly trace that
picture's lines with crayon-pencil, and trace, and trace them over
again, a thousand and a thousand times! But a visit to the beautiful
Fantasie--blooming richer and fairer as the hours went by--this he must
deny himself; for he must not be a _living_ hedge, to fence and bar
Nathalie from that Valley of Blossom. He must pay for bliss with
privation. The charms of the town and neighbourhood had still their
bright, many-tinted skins--but their sweet kernels were gone.
Everything was to him as some dessert dish which had, in the older
time, had coloured sugar sprinkled over it, which was now, somehow,
turned to coloured sand. All his hopes--all the flowers and fruit of
his life (as is the case with our higher ones)--now grew and matured
beneath the ground, like those of the subterranean vetch;[78] I mean,
in the sham grave into which he was going. How little he had--and yet,
how much! His feet were upon prickly rose branches, and all round the
Elysian fields of his future he saw thorny bushes, bristly undergrowth,
and a wall built, beginning at his grave. His Leipzig rose valley was
dwindled into the one green rosebud-twig, which had been transplanted,
unblown, from Nathalie's heart to his. And yet, how much he _had_. A
forget-me-not, from Nathalie, for all his life to come (the silken ones
she gave him were but the hulls of that whose blossom was immortal and
eternal); a springtime in his soul at last, at last after all these
many springs--to be _so_ beloved, for the first time by a woman as an
hundred dreams and poets had pictured to him that men _might_ be
beloved. To pass, in an instant, at a single step, from his dingy
lumber room of old law papers and books into the fresh, green, flowery,
golden age of love,--for the first time, not only to gain a rare and
priceless love like this, but to take away with him _such_ a parting
kiss, like a sun into all his coming life, to light and warm it through
and through for ever! _This_ was bliss for one who had had his cross to
bear in former days. But, more than this, he was free to let himself be
borne along upon the beauteous waves of this river of Eden without care
or constraint, inasmuch as Nathalie never could be his, nor should he
ever see her more. In Lenette he had loved no Nathalie as in the latter
no Lenette. His wedded love was a prosaic summer day of sultry
hay-making, but _this_ was a poetic spring night of starlight and
flowers, and his new world was like the name of the spot where it was
created--Fantaisie. He did not deceive himself as to the fact that, as
he was going to die before Nathalie, he was loving, in her, merely a
departed spirit, and that _as_ a departed spirit--nay, while yet in
this life, of a truth, for _him_, a pure and glorified risen soul; and
he freely put the question to himself whether there were any reason why
he should not love this Nathalie (thus departed into the past, for
_him_) as truly and fondly as any other, departed long since into a yet
remoter past--the Heloise of an Abelard or St. Preux, or a poet's
Laura, or a Werther's Lotte for whom his dying was not even to be as
real as Werther's.

With all his efforts, he could not manage to say more to Leibgeber
than, "She must have been very, very fond of _you_, this rare,
exceptional soul--for it is only to my resemblance to you that I can
ascribe her heavenly kindness to _me_--who am so little like other
men--and have never been cared for by women." Leibgeber--and he himself
as soon as he said it--laughed at this almost idiotic statement; but
what is any and every lover, during his May month, but a dear, genuine,
simple sheep?

Leibgeber soon came back to the hotel with the news that he had seen
the English lady on her way to Fantaisie. Firmian was very glad of it.
She rendered his resolve to shut himself out of the entire circle of
delight easier to execute. For she was the Count von Vaduz's daughter,
and consequently must not see him (Siebenkæs) at present, having to
believe him hereafter to be Leibgeber. Heinrich botanised, however, the
whole day on the flowery slope of Fantaisie, with the view of
discovering and observing the flower _goddess_, rather than the
flowers, with his botanical glasses (to wit, his eyes). But no goddess
appeared. Alas! our poor wounded Nathalie had _so many_ reasons for
keeping aloof from the ruins of her loveliest hours--for fleeing the
scene of conflagration (now overgrown with flowers) where she might
encounter him whom she meant to meet no more.

A few days after this, the Venner Rosa von Meyern honoured the company
at the _table d'hôte_ in the 'Sun' with _his_.... If the author's
calculations as to dates do not wholly mislead him, he was at
dinner there on that occasion himself. But I have only an indistinct
recollection of the two advocates, and none at all of the
Venner--because coxcombs of his description are an uninteresting
species of animals, and there are whole game-preserves and zoological
gardens full of them to be met with at all times. I have more than once
met with characters, in the body, whom I have subsequently taken
careful wax casts of from the crowns of their heads to the soles of
their boots, and then exhibited them about the country in my collection
of wax-work figures. But I wish I always knew beforehand exactly
_which_ of the people whom I happen to be dining or travelling with
chances to be the one who is going to have his portrait painted in this
way. I should note down, and store up a thousand trifling, minute
peculiarities, and lay them down in my epistolary cellars. As it is, I
sometimes find myself obliged (and I confess it freely) to set to work
and _coolly lie_ a number of matters of minor importance--for instance,
that a thing takes place about six o'clock, or about seven--if I happen
to be wholly without documentary evidence on the point. Wherefore if is
a moral certainty that if three other authors had sat down, on the same
morning with me, to give the world an account of Siebenkæs's wedded
life derived from the same historical sources as mine, that we four,
however great our devotion to truth, would have produced family
histories containing much the same amount and description of inaccuracy
as we find in those which the four Evangelists have given us; so that
our tetrachord would have stood in need of a good tuning with a
tuning-pipe in the shape of a "Harmony" of our Gospels.

Meyern dined at the 'Sun,' as we have said. He told Siebenkæs with a
triumph, which was not without a dash of menace, that he was going back
to Kuhschnappel next day. He was vainer than ever--probably he had
offered his hand to some fifty of the fair sex of Bayreuth, as though
he had been the giant Briareus, with fifty wedding-rings on his hundred
hands. He was as greedy of the fair sex as cats are of _marum verum_;
which is why both are surrounded with _metallic_ guards by their
possessors. When the clergy rivet poachers of this description,
alive, to one particular animal of their chase by means of a strong
wedding-ring, and the animal of the chase in question drags them
through every thicket till they are scratched and bled to death,
philanthropic weekly-papers would say that it is too severe a
punishment; and it is so, no doubt, for the poor animal of the chase.

On the following day Rosa really did send to ask whether Siebenkæs had
any message to send to his wife, as he was going back to see her.

Nathalie was invisible still. All that Firmian saw of her was a letter
for her which he saw shaken out of the post-bag when he went (as he did
every day) to see if there was one from his wife. Lenette did not
require more hours to write a letter than Isocrates did years for a
panegyric on the Athenians--no more, but just the same number, namely
about ten. Judging by the handwriting and the seal, the letter for
Nathalie was from the (step) father of his country, Herr von Blaise.
"Thou darling girl," thought Firmian, "with what deliberation he will
pass the burning focus of his burning-glass (formed of the ice of his
heart) over every wound of thy soul! How many secret, tears wilt thou
weep--and no one to count them; and thou hast no hand now to dry them
and hide them, except thine own!"

One exquisite, blue afternoon he went alone to the only pleasure garden
which was not barred against him--the Hermitage. Memories met him every
where--all painfully sweet memories. At every spot he had lost, or
renounced, something of life or heart--had become a hermit, in
accordance with the place's name. Could he forget the great, dim glade
where, beside his kneeling friend, and before the setting sun, he had
sworn to die, and part from his wife and from all the world he knew?

He left the joy-place, turned his face to the setting sun (which almost
hid, in its brightness, the prospect from his sight), and strolled in
circles round the town. With a deeply moved heart he gazed after the
gently radiant luminary as it sank, amid the glowing cloud-embers,
towards that distant spot where his widowed Lenette would be standing
in her silent room, with her face lighted up by the evening red. "Ah!
dear, good Lenette," the voice within him cried, "why can I not press
thee to this full, tender heart, here in this paradise, in bliss? I
should love thee better here, and forgive thee easier."

Yes, of a truth, it is thou, kind Nature--never ending Love, who
changest, in us, distance of body into nearness of soul. It is thou
who, when we are utterly happy in some distant spot, bringest to us
from afar, in fancy, the beloved forms of those whom we have had to
leave--they come like beautiful music, or like happy years--and we
stretch out our arms to the clouds that go soaring over the hills
beyond which lie the dwellings of those whom we love the best. Our
severed hearts open to those distant ones as the flowers which open to
the sun unfold their petals even on days when there are clouds between

The splendour died away, leaving the blood-like track of the sunken sun
in the blue; the earth with her gardens seemed to stand out brighter
and clearer. Then suddenly Firmian came on the green Tempè Vale of
Fantaisie, lying before him all loveliness of sight and of sound,
tinted with the red of the evening clouds and with the white of
blossoming boughs. But over it stood an angel with a gleaming cloud
streak for sword, saying, "Here enter thou not! Knowest thou not the
Eden from whence thou hast gone out?"

Firmian turned him about, and there, in the gloaming of spring, leaned
upon the wall of the first of the Bayreuth houses he reached on his
homeward way; so that the wounds of his eyes might have a chance to
grow whole--that he might not meet his friend bearing scars which would
have to be "explained." Leibgeber was not in, however, but there was
something there of a very unexpected kind--a letter from Nathalie to

Ye who have keenly felt--or deeply regretted--that there is a
Moses-veil, an altar-railing, a prison-grating, made both of body
and earth--stretched out for ever and aye, between one soul and
another--_ye_ cannot well blame this poor, deep-touched, solitary
FRIEND, that he took up the cold paper unseen, and pressed it to his
burning lips, and to his trembling heart. For of a truth, every
_body_--even the human body, is, from the soul's point of view,
merely the sacred _reliquiæ_ of an invisible spirit; and not only the
letter, which you kiss, but the hand which wrote it, too, is, like the
lips, whose kiss _you think_, assures you--(but it is a deceptive
assurance)--of the _closeness_ of your union, your _flowing_ or
_fusing_ into one, only the sacred outward and visible sign of a
something higher and dearer; and these deceptions differ only in their

Leibgeber came in, opened the letter, and read it aloud:

"To-morrow morning at five o'clock, I shall be turning my back upon
your beautiful town. I am going to Schraplau. But I cannot leave this
lovely valley, oh dear friend, without once again giving you the
assurance of my unchanging friendship, and conveying to you my thanks
and wishes for yours. I should so have liked to say good-bye to you in
a more living manner; but my long leave-taking from my English friend
is not yet over, and I have now _her_ wishes to combat (as I had my
_own_ before) before I can bury myself in, or rather, wing my flight to
my village solitude. This beautiful spring has sorely wounded me, and
that with joys as well as with sorrows. But (if I may go so far afield
for a comparison), my heart, like Cranmer's, is left for those I love,
unconsumed amid the ashes of my funereal pyre. May all go well! well!
with you--better than can ever be the case with me, a woman. Fate
cannot take much from you, nay, nor give you much either. There are
smiling eternal rainbows playing around _all_ the waterfalls for you;
but the rain-clouds of a woman's heart must drop for many a long day ere
they are brightened by the sad, yet cheering tints of the Iris which
memory casts upon them at length. _Your_ friend is with you still, no
doubt. Press him warmly to your heart, and tell him, all that _yours_
wishes, and _gives_ him, mine _wishes_ him; and never will he, or you,
whom he loves, be forgotten by me. Always

                                     "Your    NATHALIE."

During the reading of this, Firmian stood with his face pressed to the
window, and lifted towards the evening sky. Heinrich, with a true
friend's delicacy of perception, took the answer out of his lips, and
said, looking to him, "Yes, this Nathalie is good and kind, in very
truth, and a thousand times better than thousands of other people are;
but I will let myself be driven over by her carriage, and crushed
beneath the wheels of it, if I don't wait for her at four o'clock in
the morning, get into the carriage, and sit down beside her. Ay,
verily! I will get her to lend me both her ears, and I will fill them
full--or my own are longer than any elephant's, though he _does_ use
his for fly-flappers."

"Yes, do, dear Henry," said Firmian, in the most cheerful tones he
could force from his oppressed throat. "I shall give you three lines to
take in your hand, just that you may have something to give her, since
I an never to bee her again."

There is a certain lyric intoxication of heart, during which people
never ought to write letters, because, in the course of fifty years or
so they may, perhaps fall into the hands of people who are without
either the heart or the intoxication. However, Firmian wrote, and did
not seal; and Leibgeber did not read.

"_I_ bid you farewell, too! But _I_ cannot say 'Don't forget me.' Ah!
forget me! But leave me the forget-me-not which you gave me--to keep
for evermore. Though Heaven is past and over, death has yet to come.
And mine is now very near, and it is for this reason alone that I, and
my dear Leibgeber even more urgently, have a favour to beg of you; but
such a _strange_ favour. Nathalie, do not refuse. Your soul's sphere is
far, far above that of the feminine souls which are shocked and
frightened at everything out of the commonplace track. _You_ can dare,
and can venture, nor need you fear to risk that great heart of yours
(and happiness) on any cast. And now, as I spoke to you on _that_
night, for the last time, this is the last time I shall write to you.

"But Eternity remains for thee and me!

                                                           "F. S."

His sleep was nothing but dreams all night, that he might be sure to
awaken Leibgeber in the morning. But as early as three o'clock, the
latter, in his capacity of letter-carrier, and _Maître des Requêtes_,
was posted under a great linden-tree, whose hanging beds, thronged with
a sleeping world of inhabitants, overhung the alley by which Nathalie
was to come. Firmian, in bed, enacted Henry's part along with him, in
fancy, thinking to himself, "Now she is bidding the English lady
good-bye; now she is getting into the carriage; now she is passing the
tree, and he is taking her horses by the bridle." He phantasised
himself into dreams which stabbed his heart with pictures of her
repeated refusals of his petition. What a quantity of dark and cloudy
weather is born of one single, bright, starry night, in the physical
world as well as in the moral. At last he dreamed that she stretched
her hand to him, from her carriage, with tears in her eyes, and the
green rose-twig on her breast, and said, in low sweet tones, "I _must_
say no! Could _I_ live long, if _you_ were dead?" She pressed his hand
so warmly that he awoke. The pressure was there, and lasted, and before
him was the beaming daylight, and his beaming friend, who said, "She
has agreed, while you've been snoring here."

He had been within a hair's breadth of missing her. She had not taken
so much time to dress and depart as others do to _un_dress and arrive.
A rose-branch, wet with dew, whose leaves pricked sharper than its
thorns, was on her heart, and the long parting had tinted her lids with
red. She was delighted to see him, though a little frightened, and
anxious to hear. He gave her Firmian's open letter, to begin with, by
way of credential. Her eager eyes shone out once more through two
tear-drops, and she asked, "What am I to do?" "Nothing," said
Leibgeber, in an artful manner, half jest, half earnest, "except allow
the Prussian Treasury to remind you of his death twice a-year, as if
you were his widow." She answered, "No!" pronouncedly, on one note,
behind which, however, there was only a comma, not a full stop. He once
more went through his petitions, and his reasons, adding, "Do it, at
least, for _my_ sake, if for no other reason. I can't bear to see him
baulked of a wish, or disappointed in a hope. He is a bear whom that
bear-leader, the State, keeps dancing all the winter, without a wink of
winter sleep, whereas _I_ seldom take my paw out of my mouth, but suck
away continually. He kept awake all last night, so as to make sure of
calling me in time, and he is counting the moments anxiously at home
now." She read the letter again, syllable by syllable. He did not ask
for a final answer, but spun out a talk on other subjects--the morning,
her journey, the village of Schraplau. The morning had already raised
her pillar of fire beyond Bayreuth, the town kept adding pillars of
smoke; in a few minutes he must out of the carriage and back. "And so,
fare you well," he said, in the softest of tones, with one foot on the
carriage-step; "may your future grow brighter and brighter, like the
day about us. And now, _what_ last word am I to carry to my _good_,
_dear_ beloved Firmian?" (I shall make a remark in a minute or two.)
She lowered her travelling-veil like the drop curtain of a drama which
is done, and said in low and stifled accents, "If I must, I must; so
let _this_ be, also. But you are giving me _another_ great sorrow to
take with me on my way." Here he jumped down, and the carriage, bearing
this poor soul--poor now in so many ways--rolled on with her over the
shattered ruins of her youthful life.

If he had got a "No" instead of this hard wrung-out "Yes," he would
have caught her again on the other side of the town, and been her
fellow-traveller for another fragment of her journey.

1 said above, that I should "make a remark;" it is this: that the
friendship or love which a woman has for a man is fed by that which she
sees existing between him and his friends, and grows visibly in
consequence--converting it, polyp-fashion, into its own substance. It
was for this reason that Leibgeber, by instinct, had given such warm
expression to _his_. In the case of us, masculine lovers, again, this
sort of electric coating, or magnetic armature of our love with the
friendship of our beloved object with other women is most uncommon.
What pleases _us_, is to see her shrinking from everybody else, growing
hard and frozen to them on our account, handing _them_ nothing but ices
and cold pudding, but serving us with glowing goblets of love. This
process of making the heart, like wine, more fiery and strong,
and generous, by freezing it at the boiling-point, may please a
short-sighted selfish soul; but never a clear-seeing, kindly, loving
one. At all events, the author declares that, whenever _he_ has caught
a glimpse--in a mirror or in water--of the reverse aide of the
Janus-head, of which the other side has been smiling in love upon him,
frowning in dislike upon the rest of the world, he has made a face or
two of the same disliking sort on the spot--at the Janus-head. For the
mere contrast's sake, a girl should never slander, find fault, or
dislike, at all events, while she is a lover; when she is a married
woman, the mistress of a house, and has children, and cows, and
servants, of course no reasonable man or husband, can possibly object
to a moderate amount of bad temper, and a little scolding now and then.

Nathalie had acceded to the strange proposal for many reasons; just
because it _was_ a strange one; and then the word "widow" would, to her
romantic heart, be constantly weaving a mourning-band of sorrow,
binding her and Firmian together, and winding in charming and fanciful
wreaths round the events, and the vows, of the night of their good-bye.
Besides, to-day, she had been gradually ascending from one emotion to
another, and had reached a height where her head began to reel.
Moreover, she was boundlessly unselfish, and consequently never
troubled herself to think whether a thing had the _appearance_ of
selfishness or not. And, lastly, she cared less about appearances in
general, and the conclusions people drew from them than, perhaps, a
young lady _should_ care.

Leibgeber, now that all his goals were reached, emitted a long,
gladsome zodiacal light; and Firmian did not darken it with the full
depth of his mourning night shadow, but only with the half-tints
thereof. At the same time, he felt he could not visit either of
Bayreuth's pleasure-places, Eremitage or Fantaisie, which were
Herculaneum and Portici to him now. Yet he _must_ pass by the latter on
his homeward way, and disinter many things that were buried. He did not
care to delay his return much longer; not only was the moon set now,
which had shed a new silvery radiance upon all the white flowers and
blossoms of the spring, but Leibgeber, besides, was a death's head
_memento mori_, always saying, in the most unmistakable manner--though
with neither lips nor tongue--"It must be borne in mind that thou hast
got to die, in Kuhschnappel, in jest." Leibgeber's heart burned for the
world without, the flames of his forest-conflagration were eager to
dart and play uncontrolled over alps, islands, capital cities; the
Vaduz water reservoir of acts of parliament--paper _lit-de-parade_ and
_lit-de-justice_--would have been to _him_ a heavy, suffocating,
feather-bed, such as people in a hopeless state of hydrophobia used to
be smothered by out of compassion. In fact, a small town could as
little endure him as he could endure a small town. Indeed, even in
Bayreuth--a larger place--there were sundry _Commissaires de Justice_
at the _table d'hôte_ at the 'Sun' Hotel, who told me with their own
lips, that when Leibgeber spoke his table-speech (reported in Chapter
XII.) on the subject of Crown Princes, they thought it was a deliberate
satire on a particular Margrave then reigning; whereas all his satires
were really directed against the human race in _general_, not against
individuals. Again, how thoughtlessly he conducted himself during the
poor eight days which he spent in our good town of Hof im Voigtlande.
Are there not credible "Varisker" (as according to some authorities the
inhabitants of Voigtland were called in Cæsar's time--though others
consider "Narisker" to have been the word), who have assured me that he
bought bergamot pears in the open market-place, near the court-house,
and cakes at a baker's stall, in his best suit of Sunday clothes? And
are there not Nariskers of the fair sex, who, having observed his
proceedings thereafter, are ready to depose that, though stall-feeding
is a matter of universal enjoinment, he nevertheless ate this
food-offering in the open air like a prince, and on the march, like a
Roman army? There are witnesses, who waltzed with him, to testify that
he went to masked balls in a _robe de chambre_ and a cocked-hat and
feathers, and that he had worn both all the previous day in earnest,
before putting them on in the evening in jest. A Narisker not without
some brains, and possessing a good memory, who was not aware that I had
the fellow under my historical hands, repeated the following somewhat
audacious utterances of Leibgeber's.

"Every man is a born pedant. There are very few who are hung in chains
_after_ they are dead: but almost every one _is_ hung, in most accursed
chains, _before_ death; and, therefore, in most countries, 'Freeman'
means provost-marshal, or hangman. Jest, as such, ought to be serious;
therefore, as long as one is only in jest, it is wrong to jest in the
slightest degree. He held, that the spirit which brooded, creating,
over the ink of colleges was (as many Fathers of the Church held that
to be which, according to Moses, moved upon the face of the waters)
_wind_. In his eyes, worshipful councils, conferences, deputations,
sessions, processions, &c., were not, at bottom, wholly without a spice
of comic salt, looked upon as grave parodies of stiff and empty
seriousness, more especially as in general there was but one member of
the conclave (or perhaps his wife) who really voted, decided, or ruled,
the mystic _corpus_ itself, sitting at the green table, chiefly for the
joke of the thing; just as, in flute clocks, though there is a
flute-player screwed on outside whose fingers work up and down upon the
flute, which grows out of his mouth, and children are beyond themselves
with delight at the talent of the wooden imposition, every clockmaker
knows that it is _inside_ that the wheels are which act on the hidden
pipes with their pinions." I answered that these sayings showed that
Leibgeber was of a rather audacious and ironical turn of mind. It is,
perhaps, to be desired, that everybody were in a position to do what
the author does in this place, namely, beg all Nariskers to have the
goodness to point to any single word or deed of his which can be called
satirical, or not exactly adapted to fit on to the cap-block of a _pays
coutumier_. If he is not speaking the truth, he begs that he may be
contradicted without the slightest hesitation.

The winnowing-fan which blew Siebenkæs out of Bayreuth on the following
day, was a letter from the Count von Vaduz, in which he expressed his
friendly regret on account of Leibgeber's cold-fever and tallowy
appearance, at the same time begging him to hasten his entry upon the
duties of his office. This letter was to Siebenkæs as a wing-membrane
wherewith to hasten his flight to his seeming cocoon-grave, in order to
issue forth from it a young full-fledged inspector. In our next chapter
he turns him about, and quits the beautiful town. In what remains of
this, he is taking private lessons in silhouette clipping from
Leibgeber, whose _rôle_ he is to succeed to by dying. The
master-cutter, and scissorial-mentor did nothing, in this connection,
worthy of being handed down to posterity by me save one thing, as to
which I do not find a word in my documents, which was told me by Mr.
Feldmann, the keeper of the hotel, who was carving at table when it
occurred. It was only that a stranger who was dining there clipped out
a profile of Leibgeber, among others; while Leibgeber, seeing what he
was about, clipped out, under cover of the table-cloth, a silhouette of
this supernumerary copyist's _own_ head and shoulders, and when the
latter handed him his, Leibgeber returned the compliment, saying "_al
Pari_!" thus paying him in his own coin. This stranger made airs of
various kinds, as well as silhouettes, but succeeded best with the
_phlogistic_ sort, which he made with his lungs, without any difficulty
to speak of, and in which he throve and took on colour, as plants do;
this sort of air can be breathed, and is designated by the name of
"wind," to distinguish it from the other phlogistic gases which can not
be inhaled. When this phlogistic wind-maker (who gave admirable
lectures from town to town, on the other gases, from that portable
professorial chair, his body) had departed with his cutter's wages,
Heinrich contented himself with the following remarks.

"Thousands of people ought to travel and teach both at once. He who
limits himself to three days can certainly (as a species of private
tutor extraordinary) in that time read excellent lectures on every kind
of subject which he knows little or nothing about. Thus much I
see already, that there are brilliant comets--shining wandering
stars--revolving round me and others, and throwing flying lights upon
us concerning electricity, gases, magnetism, in short natural science
in general; but this is but a small matter. May this duck's wing choke
me if these rostrum carriers, and travelling professors (travelling
scholars they are not), might not lecture upon science of _every_ kind,
with great advantage, at all events, upon the minuter branches. Could
not _one_, for instance, travel and read lectures upon the first
century after Christ's birth, or the first millenary before it (which
is no longer), I mean, tell ladies and gentlemen all about it in a
lecture or two, a second undertaking the second, a third the third, an
eighteenth our own? I can quite imagine travelling medicine-chests for
the soul of this kind. But as far as I am concerned, I should by no
means stop at this point--I should advertise myself as a peripatetic
private tutor in branches of the minutest possible order; _e. g_., in
electoral courts, I should give lessons concerning the obligations to
be entered into by the nominees to government appointments; in all and
every place I should give exegetical instruction concerning the first
verse of the first book of Moses--the _kraken_, the devil (who _may_,
perhaps, be more or less the same as the other), on Hogarth's
tail-piece, in connection with Vandyke's headpieces, on coins and in
portraits; on the true distinction between the Hippocentaur, and the
Onocentaur, which is more like that between genius and German criticism
than anything else; on the first paragraph of Wolf, or even of Pütter;
on the funeral bier of Louis (XIV.) the be-grandised, and the public
rejoicings under it; on the academic licences which a passing
lecturer may allow himself to take, in addition to that of pocketing
his fee--the greatest of which is often that of shutting the
lecture-room door, (to make a long story short) on _everything_, in
fact. If we go on in this way (I can't help being struck), that
when circulating high schools have got to be as common as village
schools--when savants ply backwards and forwards like live shuttles
between the towns (and they have begun to do so already), attaching
Ariadne threads (of _talk_, at all events) everywhere, to everything,
with the view of weaving them into something or other--if we go on on
this road, I say, when each sun of a professor--on the Ptolemaic
system, moves about among the dark orbs (fixed upon necks), which
surround him, and casts his light upon each in turn (a state of things
wholly opposed to the Copernican system, according to which the sun
stands still on the professorial rostrum in the centre of the orbits of
the revolving planets or students)--if we go on (I say once more, on
this road), one may be pretty sure that the world will really come
to be something at last; a _learned_ world, at the very least and
lowest--philosophers will obtain the true philosopher's stone--gold;
what fools will obtain will be the philosophers, and knowledge of every
kind: and moreover the restorers of science will get set upon _their_
legs. All soil would then be classic soil--so that people would of
necessity have to plough, and fight on, classic soil. Every gallows
hill would be a Pindus, every prince's throne an oracle-cave of
Delphi--and I should be obliged to anyone who should show me such a
thing as a single ass in the whole of Germany, _then_. This is what
would necessarily happen if all the world were to set out upon learned,
and instructive, journeys--that portion of it being, of course,
necessarily excepted which would be obliged to stay at home if there
were to be anybody to listen and pay (like the _point de vue_, in
military 'evolutions,' for which the adjutant is generally told off)."

Here he suddenly jumped up, and cried, "I wish to Heaven I could go to
Bruckenau;[79] there, on the bath tubs, should be my professorial
chair, and seat of the Muses. The tradesman's, the country gentleman's
wife or daughter should lie, like a shell fish, in her closed basin and
relic-casquet, with nothing sticking out but her head (just as is the
case in her ordinary costume), her head which it would be my business
to instruct. What discourses, _à la_ St. Anthony of Padua, should I not
hold with these tender tench--or sirens--though they might better be
described as fortresses protected by moats, or wet ditches. I should
sit lecturing and teaching upon the wooden holsters of their glowing
charms (phosphorus-like, kept in water!) But this would be nothing
compared to the benefits I should bestow upon society were _I_ to have
_my_self cooped into an _etui_, or scabbard of the kind, and then be
net a-going like a water-organ, and, like some water-god, devote my
pedagogical talents to the edification of the class of students sitting
on my tub-lid! True, I should have to make my illustrative gestures
under the warm water, because the only part of me out of my sheath
would be my head (like the hilt of a dagger), with my master's cap on
it. But the loveliest of doctrine,--luxuriant rice-ears, and succulent
aquatic plants sprouting in the water--a play of philosophic
water-works, and so forth, should be emitted from the bath, and send
away all the beauties (whom, in fancy, I see thronging round my
quaker's and Diogenes' tub) besprinkled with learning and instruction
of the most superlative description. By Heaven! I ought to be off to
Bruckenau this instant, not so much as a watering-place guest as in the
capacity of a private tutor."

                              CHAPTER XVI.


Firmian took his departure. He was sorry to leave the hotel, which had
been a royal "Sans Souci" and "mon repos" to him, and turn his face
away from its comfortable chambers towards his own bare comfortless
rooms. To him who had never known any of the comforts--the soft
_paddings_, so to speak, of this hard life of ours--who had never had
any other Jack but the boot-jack, it had been an enormous pleasure and
enjoyment to have the power of ringing that leading actor, John the
waiter, up from his _coulisses_ with such facility, and that too with
plates and glasses in his hand, out of which said actor enjoyed
nothing, only Siebenkæs and the public so doing. Just at the door of
the hotel, he made to Mr. Feldmann, the landlord, the following
eulogistic address, which shall be made him once more in print by me,
by way of an additional blazon to his coat of arms, the moment it gets
through the press. "There is only one thing which your guests have to
desire, that they have not got, and that is the most important of all
things--time. May your sun reach the sign of the crab, and remain in
it." Several Bayreuthians who were standing by thought this was a
miserable satire.

Henry went with Firmian some thirty paces beyond the Reformation
church, as far as the church-yard, and tore himself away from him with
less difficulty than usual, for he expected to see him again in a few
weeks' time--on his death-bed. He would not go as far as Fantaisie with
him, wishing to allow him to sink, in silence and undisturbed, and lose
himself in the enjoyment of the magic echoes of the spirit-harmonies of
that night of bliss wherewith all the garden would be vocal.

Alone, then, Firmian entered into the valley as into some holy temple,
all sacredness and awe. Every thicket seemed, to his eyes, glorified
with super-earthly light, the stream, a stream flowing out of Arcadia,
and the whole valley a Vale of Tempè, transported thither and unveiled
to view. And when he came to the dear and holy spot where Nathalie had
prayed him to "think of that night," it seemed to him that the sun was
shedding a heavenlier brightness; and that the hum of bees in the
blossoms was music of spirit-voices wafted on the air, and that he must
needs prostrate himself and press his heart upon the dewy sward. Upon
this trembling sound-board he once more retraced the old path by which
he had walked with Nathalie, and, now in a rose espalier, now from some
streamlet, now from the balcony, now from some leafy nook or trembling
stem, string after string, breaking from silence, gave forth once more
its old lovely tone. His enraptured heart swelled, even to pain; a
moist transparent shimmer was over his eyes, and dissolved into a great
tear-drop. His eyes, drunken with weeping, distinguished nothing save
the brightness of the morning and the whiteness of the flowers; details
were hid by the flowery vail of dreaming, in whose lily perfume his
soul sank down, soothed to a restful sleep. It was as if hitherto, in
the enjoyment of being with his Leibgeber he had only felt half the
real strength of his love for Nathalie; with such a new might and
breeze of heaven did that love come breathing upon him in this solitude
with ethereal tire. A world all youth burst into blossom in his heart.

Of a sudden the bells of Bayreuth came ringing into this world,
striking for him the hour of his farewell to it; and there fell on him
that anxious sadness with which we linger, too long, beside a place
where we have been happy, when the time has come when we must say
Adieu. He went upon his way.

What a brightness fell upon all the hills and meadows, with the thought
of Nathalie, and that imperishable kiss! The green world, which had
been but a series of pictures for him, as he came, was now all speech
and language. There was a light-magnet of happiness all day long in the
dimmest corner of his being; and when, in the thick of distractions,
conversations and the like, _en route_, he cast a sudden glance into
himself, he found a continual sense of blissfulness within him.

How often he turned back to the Bayreuth hills, beyond which he had
lived real days of youth, for the first time in his existence! Behind
him Nathalie was journeying on towards the east, and breezes from that
quarter--airs which had breathed gently around the distant, lonely
one--came wafting back to him, and he drunk the æther-stream like the
breath of one beloved.

The hills sunk low on the horizon; his paradise was whelmed in the blue
of heaven. His west and Nathalie's east flowed asunder, and parted
wider, faster and faster as the moments sped. One beautiful plain
receded, flying behind him, after another; and he hastened past the
flower-decked limbs of Spring as she lay outstretched on earth,
alternating between looking and enjoying, as in early days gone by.

Thus he came at evening to the village in the valley by the Jaxt, where
on his journey to Bayreuth, he had passed in review, with tears, his
loveless days; but he came with a new heart, full to the brim with love
and happiness; and tears flowed this time too. Here where, amid the
melting magic lights of evening, he had asked himself, "What womanly
soul has ever loved _you_ as your old dreams have so often pictured to
your heart you _might_ be loved by one," and had given himself so sad
an answer; here he could think on that Bayreuth night, and say, "Yes!
Nathalie has loved me!" And then the old sorrow rose again, but
glorified, from the dead. He had made to her a vow of invisibility here
on earth; he was now journeying on towards his own death; he was to
die, and never see her more. She was gone before him--had _died_ first,
as it were; she had merely taken away with her into the long, dim,
coming years of her life the grief of having loved and lost, _twice_.
"And I look into my own life here, and weep, away from her," he said,
wearily, and closed his eyes undried.

Another world altogether opened upon him in the morning--not a new
world by any means--the old, old familiar one. Just as if the
concentric magic circles which surrounded Nathalie and Leibgeber
reached no further than the little Valley of Longing on the Jaxt, and
could include nothing beyond it. Every step towards home translated the
poetry which had come into his life to poetic prose. The Imperial
market-town (that frigid zone of his life) was nearer to him; his
torrid zone, over which the faded petals of his ephemeral joy-flowers
were fluttering still, was far away behind him.

But, on the other hand, the pictured imagery of his domestic life kept
growing clearer and brighter, taking the form of a picture-bible, while
the paintings of his month of bliss died away into a dark picture
gallery. I think the weather, which was rainy, had some connection with

Towards the end of the week the weather, as well as penitents and
churchgoers, puts on other shirts and clothes.

It was Saturday, and cloudy. Damp weather affects the walls of our
brains as it does the walls of our rooms; the paperings of both imbibe
the moisture, and get curled up into clouds, until the next dry day
smooths both out again. Under a blue sky, I long for eagles' pinions;
under a cloudy one, I only want a goose's wing to write with. In the
former case we are eager to be off and out, into the wide world; in the
latter, all we want is to sit comfortably down in our arm-chair. In
short, clouds, when they drop, make us domestic, citizenish, and
hungry, while blue skies make us thirsty, and citizens _of the world_.

These clouds of this Saturday formed a kind of palisade about the Eden
of Bayreuth. Every big drop which fell on the leaves made him think
longingly of the wifely, wedded heart, which was his lawful property
(and which he was soon to lose), and of his poor little lodging. At
last when the ice-floes of the rugged-clouds melted into grey foam,
and the setting sun was drawn like a sluice, out of this suspended
mill-pond, and it poured down in consequence, Kuhschnappel came in

Discordant, jarring fancies clanged in contention within him. The
commonplace, narrow-minded, provincial town, seemed, when contrasted
with freer and more liberal places and societies, so crowded and
crushed together, so official in style, and full of Troglodytes--with
doggrel, and table-verses by way of poetry--that he felt it would be a
satisfaction to drag out his green trellis-bed into the market-place in
broad daylight, and go to sleep beneath the very windows of the local
"quality," without minding a brass-farthing what the upper council
might think, or the lower council either. The nearer he came to the
stage he was to die upon, the more difficult did this first rôle of his
(and last but one) appear to him.

_Away_ from home we are bold and daring: we resolve, and undertake;
_at_ home, we pause and hesitate, and delay.

Yes, and the smoke and smells of the mean streets gnawed into him,
matters which, of themselves unaided, so sorely affect and depress us
that there are very few indeed who can raise their heads wholly beyond
these effluvia. For in man there nestles an accursed tendency towards
still-sitting ease and comfort; like a big dog he lets himself be poked
and pinched a thousand times before he takes the trouble to get up,
rather than growl. Once fairly on his legs, however, he is not in a
hurry to lie down again. The first heroic deed (like the first earned
dollar, according to Rousseau) costs more than the next thousand. The
prospect of the long, difficult, tedious and risky financial and
surgical operation of a stage death stung our Siebenkæs on the domestic

But the nearer he drew to the gallows-hill (that mouse-tower of his
old, narrow life), the quicker and the clearer did the thoughts of the
heart-oppressing stamping-mills of past days, and of his approaching
salvation, vibrate in alternation in his mind. He kept thinking that he
would have to suffer care, anxiety, and struggle of all sorts, as of
old, because he kept losing sight of the open sky of his future, just
as we go on suffering the pain and fear of a painful dream for some
time after we have awakened from it.

But when he saw the house where dwelt his Lenette, whose voice he had
not heard for so many a day, the pain all vanished from his heart, the
trouble from his eyes, nothing being left in them but affection and its
warmest tears.

"Ah! am I not going to tear myself, so soon, from her for ever, and
make her shed tears of delusion, and wound her with the terrible wounds
of a funeral and mourning? and then, poor darling soul, we shall see
each other no more!" he thought.

He quickened his pace. He squeezed close past the shop windows of his
co-commandant, Meerbitzer, with his head thrown back, and his eyes
fixed upon the up-stairs windows. Meerbitzer was in the house,
splitting the Sunday wood; and Firmian signed to him not to give note
of his presence by any sort of sentry-challenge. The old associate czar
signed back to him, with outstretched fingers, that Lenette was alone
in the room up-stairs. The old familiar ripieno voices of the house,
the querulous scolding of the book-binder's wife, the damper-pedal
effect of the eternal prayer and curser, Fecht, met him like so much
sweet provender, as he climbed the stairs. The waning moon of his
movable pewter property shone silvery and glorious upon him from the
kitchen, everything fresh from its font of regeneration; a copper
fish-kettle, which poisoned no vinegar as long as it was unmended,
glowed upon him through the kitchen smoke like the sun in a November
fog. He opened the door of the sitting-room gently; he saw no one in
it, but heard Lenette making the bed in the bed-room. With a whole iron
foundry hammering in his breast, he made a long, noiseless stride into
the room, which was all in apple-pie order, with its Sunday shirt of
white sand on already (upon which the bed-making river goddess and
water nymph had expended all her aquatic arts in the production, of a
highly-finished masterpiece). Ah! everything was so full of rest and
peace, so tranquilly reposing after the whirl and turmoil of the week.
The rain stars had risen upon everything, except his ink bottle, which
was quite dry.

His writing-table was, so to speak, _manned_ by two or three large
heads, which, being cap-blocks, had on their Sunday bonnets, already,
which would be transferred from them in their capacity of _Curatores
Sexus_, next morning, to the heads of the ladies of the members of

He pushed the bed-room door wider open, and there, after this long
separation, he saw his dear wife, standing with her back to him.

Just then he fancied he recognised Stiefel's fulling-mill steps coming
up stairs; and, that he might pass his first minute on her heart unseen
by a stranger eye, he said twice, softly, "Lenette!"

She started round, crying "Oh good gracious! is it you?" He had clasped
her in his arms, before she got these words out, and rested on her
kiss, saying, "Good evening, good evening, and how are you, and how
have you been?"

His lips stifled the answers. But suddenly she pushed him back and
struggled out of his arms, while two other arms clasped him swiftly,
and a bass voice said, "Here am I as well; you are welcome back, praise
and thanks be to God." It was the Schulrath.

Poor, fevered human creatures that we are! driven back and repulsed
asunder by our own lackings, and those of others, yet continually drawn
together again by never-ceasing longings, in whom one hope of finding
love falls away to dust after another, whose wishes come to nothing but
_memories_. Our feeble hearts are at all events glowing and right full
of love in that hour when we _come back_ and meet again; and in that
other hour when we part, disconsolate,--as every star seems milder,
larger, and lovelier when it is rising, than when it is overhead. But
to souls which _always_ love, and are _never_ angry, these two
twilights (when the morning star of meeting, and the evening star of
parting shine) are too sad to bear for to _them_ they seem like

                             CHAPTER XVII.


The last chapter was as brief as our delusions. It was one itself,
alas! poor Firmian. After the first stormy mutual catechisings, and
particularly, after the giving and receiving of all the mutual news, he
saw more and more clearly that Lenette's invisible church, in which
Stiefel filled the part of soul's bridegroom, was become very much of a
_visible_ one. It was as if the earthquake of the recent happiness had
rent in twain the veil of the Holy of Holies, the inmost sanctuary,
wherein Stiefel's head fluttered by way of cherub. But, to speak the
truth, I am telling a lie here, because it was Lenette's special
_object_ to _show_ and _display_ a _particular_ liking for the
Schulrath, who, in his delight thereat, went fluttering on from Arcadia
to Otaheite, and from thence to Eldorado, and from thence to Walhalla,
which was a certain indication, that, up to this point, his good
fortune, during Firmian's absence, had been _less_. He related that,
"Rosa had broken with the Heimlicher; that the Venner, whom the latter
had wanted to utilise as a spinning machine, had turned into an engine
of war against him. The cause of all this had been the niece in
Bayreuth, whose engagement the Venner had broken off, because he had
caught her being kissed by a gentleman there."

Firmian grew red as fire, and cried "Miserable cockroach! It was _she_
who broke off her engagement with that wretched lying scoundrel, not
_he_ who broke off his with her. Ah! Herr Schulrath, be that poor
lady's true knight and champion, and run this wretched abortion of a
lie through and through wherever you came across it. From whom did you
get hold of this evil weed?" Stiefel pointed calmly to Lenette, saying,
"From _her_!" "And where did _you_ get hold of it?" Firmian cried to
her in amazement. "Mr. Von Meyern," she answered, with her face all
glowing red, "was here calling, and told it me himself." "But I was
fetched immediately," Stiefel interrupted, "and I skilfully sent him
about his business." Stiefel then asked for a correct version of what
had happened. Firmian thereupon, timidly, and with many changes of
tone, made a highly favourable report of the rose-maiden and her
conduct of the matter ("rose-maiden" in a threefold sense, on account
of the roses in her cheeks, of her victorious virtue, and the green
rosebuds she had given to him). But on Lenette's account he awarded her
a _proxima accessit_ only, not the gold medal. He had to bind the
Venner, by way of sacrificial ram, to the horns of the altar in place
of Nathalie, or, at all events, harness him by way of saddle-horse to
her triumphal car, and relate without disguise how Leibgeber had been
the person who broke off the engagement, and, as it were, dragged her
back by the sleeve, as she was making the first step into the
Minotaur's cave--by means of his satiric sketches of Meyern.

"But it was _you_, of course," said Lenette, _without_ any tone of
interrogation, "who told Leibgeber all about him, to begin with."

"Yes," said he.

We of the human race give to words of one syllable, to "Yes," and "No,"
at all events, more intonations, and shades of intonations, than the
Chinese themselves. The yes in question was a rapid, toneless, cold
yes, being merely meant for a "What then," or "Suppose I did." She
interrupted a digressive speech of Stiefel's with a point-blank,
target, bull's-eye question:

"_When_ had you been with her V"

At last Firmian, with his battle-telescope, saw hostile movements of
all kinds going on in her heart; he made a playful diversion, and said,
"Herr Schulrath, _when_ did you come to see Lenette?"

"Three times every week at least, and, very often, oftener than that;
always about this time of the evening," he answered.

"_Very_ well," said Firmian, in a kindly and playful fashion. "I'm not
going to be jealous, but be good enough to remark--and my Lenette will
please to do so too--that _I_ was with Nathalie, _along with Leibgeber,
twice_ in all; once in the afternoon, once in the evening, walking
about the grounds of Fantaisie.

"Well, Lenette?"

She parted her cherry lips, and her eyes were like Volta's electric

Stiefel went away, and Lenette (from a countenance on which there
seemed _two_ fires burning, the fire of anger and a lovelier fire)
flashed after him a spark of eye love, calculated to blow up the whole
powder-mill of a jealous husband. The married pair were scarce alone,
when, by way of propitiating her, he asked her if that confounded
Venner had been plaguing her again; and then the firework which had
been fixed ready on the scaffold of her face, went hissing off.

"Oh! of course _you_ can't endure him. You are jealous of him, on
account of this beautiful, _learned_, INTELLECTUAL, Nathalie of yours.
Do you suppose I don't know quite well about you and her going about a
whole night among the trees--and hugging and kissing! A pretty story!
Ah fie! I never would have believed it of you. No wonder Mr. Meyern
said 'Good morning' to her, learning and all. Oh yes! you'll excuse
yourself, no doubt."

"I should have talked to you about all that most innocent affair,"
answered Firmian, tranquilly, "while Stiefel was here, if I had not
seen quite well that you knew of it. Am _I_ annoyed because _he_ kissed
_you_ while I was away?"

This irritated her still more; firstly, because it was impossible
that Firmian could know of a certainty that it was true--(and it
_was_!),--and secondly, because she thought "You can forgive it very
easily now that you care more for another woman than you do for me."
But then, for the self-same reason (inasmuch as _she_ cared more for
another man than she did for _him_), _she_, of course, ought to have
found no difficulty in forgiving him too. But, as usual, instead of
answering his question, she put one herself: "Did _I_ ever give anybody
silk forget-me-nots, as _somebody_ did to _somebody_? Thank goodness!
mine are still in my drawer."

Here _two_ hearts contended within him--a _tender_ heart which was
pierced by this unintentional association of forget-me-nots so
dissimilar--and a _man's_ heart, which was powerfully stirred and stung
by this detestable defensive and offensive alliance with the fellow
who, as was evident now, had sent the innocent child, whom Nathalie had
rescued, to Fantaisie by way of a stalking-horse, behind which to
conceal and mask himself, and the toils he had spun. As Siebenkæs now,
with an outburst of anger, converted his judgment-seat into a stool of
repentance for the Venner, whom he stigmatised as a canker-worm of
feminine buds, a sparrowhawk, a housebreaker as regarded matrimonial
treasures, and a crimp, trepanner, and soul-stealer of mated
souls--vowing with the utmost warmth that it was Nathalie who had
scornfully sent Rosa to the right-about, not Rosa who had rejected her:
and as, of course, he interdicted her in the most peremptory terms from
everything in the nature of dissemination or repetition of the Venner's
lying demi-romance, he turned his unfortunate wife into a sour,
pungent, Erfurt radish, from head to foot.

Let us not fix our eyes too long, or too magisterially, upon this
heat-rash or purulent fever of poor Lenette's. For my part, I am going
to leave _her_ alone, but make an onslaught on her entire sex at once.
I shall be doing so, I trust, when I assert that women never paint with
more caustic colours (Swift's black art is but weak water-colour in
comparison) than when they have to portray the bodily unlovelinesses of
other women. Further, that the prettied of faces roughens and bristles
into an ugly one, when it expresses anger with the feminine recruiting
officer more than pity for the deserter. To speak accurately: Every
woman is jealous of all other women, because--not, perhaps, her own
husband (or lover, as the case may be), but--all other men are
attracted by them, and are consequently not true to _her_. Therefore
every woman takes the same vow concerning these vice-queens of this
earth that Hannibal took concerning the Romans, and keeps it just as
religiously. For which reason every woman has the power which Fordyce
says all animal bodies possess--that of making all others cold; and,
indeed, every woman must of necessity be an enemy and persecutor
of a sex which consists entirely of rivals. And it is probable that
many--for instance, nuns in their convents, and Moravians--call each
other sisters, or sister-souls, with the view of giving some sort of
expression to the nature of their sentiments for each other; since
sisters are just the very people who quarrel the most. This is why
Madame Bouillon's _parties quarrées_ consisted of three men and only
one woman. It may be that it led St. Athanasius, Basilius, Scotus, and
other teachers of the Church to entertain the belief that, with the
single exception of the Virgin Mary, all women would rise as men at the
Day of Judgment, in order that there may be no anger, or envy, or
bickerings in heaven. There is but one queen who is beloved, nourished
and cherished by many thousands of her own sex--the queen-bee of the
workers (who are of the feminine gender, according to the most recent

I shall close this chapter with a sort of preliminary word for Lenette.
The foul fiend Rosa, by way of giving like for like (or rather _worse_
for like) had emptied whole basketsful of the seed of evil-weeds into
Lenette's open heart, and unpacked compliments, to commence with, and
news of her husband; then, afterwards, disparaging matter. She had
believed him all the more readily because it was a clever, learned, and
intellectual woman whom he was nigrifying, breaking with, and offering
up as a sacrifice. What she most hated in Nathalie _was_ her
cleverness, her learning, and intellectualness; for it was the want of
those that had brought _herself_ to such shame. Like many women, she
thought that the _heads_ of Venuses were not "the true article" (as
some connoisseurs think is the case with the Venus de Medici). What
provoked her most of all was that Firmian should take another woman's
part more than his own wife's--nay, at his own wife's expense; and that
Nathalie, in her _conceit_ and _pride_, had got ready a _sack_ to give
such a nice, _rich_ gentleman, instead of weaving a _net_ to hold him
with. She was also very much annoyed that her husband had _admitted_
everything, as she considered his candour was only lordly indifference
as to what she might feel on the subject.

What did Firmian do? He forgave. His two reasons for doing so were good
ones--"Bayreuth" and "the grave." The former had parted him from her so
long; the latter was soon to part him from her for ever. A _third_
reason might perhaps be this: Lenette, as regarded his love for
Nathalie, was _not_ so very utterly the reverse of right.

                              CHAPTER XVIII.


Although Sunday was come, and the Vicar's eyes were no more open than
his congregation's (because, like many of the clergy, he kept his
physical eyes shut while preaching), my hero went to him to get his
certificate of birth, because this was wanted for the Brandenburg
Widows' Fund.

Leibgeber had charged himself with the rest. Enough of the subject--for
I don't care to say more about it than I can help; because some years
ago--long after all Siebenkæs's pecuniary affairs had been settled up
to the last farthing, and his debt to the Fund duly paid--the 'Imperial
Gazette' publicly accused me of bringing discredit upon Integrity and
Widows' Funds by the last book of this story of mine, and considered it
to be its (the 'Gazette's') duty to take me pretty severely to task on
the subject, according to its measure of ability. But are the advocate
and I the same person? Does not everybody know that my proceedings as
regards my married life in general, and the Prussian Widows' Fund in
particular, have been quite unlike those of Siebenkæs in every respect,
and that to this very hour I have never departed this life, either in
jest or in earnest, in all these years during which I have regularly
paid a considerable annual contribution to the institution in question?
Nay, do I not mean--(and I need have no hesitation in saying so)--to go
on paying my yearly _quotum_ for as many more years as I can--so that,
when I die, the fund may have got more out of me than out of any other

These are my views on the subject; but I must do Siebenkæs the simple
justice to state (to his credit) that the views by which he was
actuated differed very, very little from my own. The only thing was,
that, in Bayreuth, he had immolated his own truthful heart to the
stormy urgency of his friend, Leibgeber, which had imbued and
intoxicated him, in a moment of enthusiasm, with that cosmopolitan
spirit of his which, in the boundless soul-transmigrations which, in
the course of his never ending journeyings he passed through, had come
to look upon life too much as a mere game at cards, and stage-play--as
a Chicken-hazard, and Opera Buffa and Seria combined. And as, besides,
he knew Leibgeber's pecuniary circumstances, and his contempt for money
(and his own into the bargain), he had undertaken a _rôle_ which was
anything but well suited to him, and as to which he had as little
foreseen the torture of difficulty which it would cost him to act it,
as the penitential sermon which was to be preached from Gotha
concerning it.

At the same time it was a great piece of good luck that it was _only_
Becker's 'Gazette' that found out about Nathalie's straw-widowhood, and
not Lenette! Heavens, if the _latter_, with her silk "Forget-me" (for
the "not" had altogether disappeared from it), in her hand, had got
wind of Firmian's adoptive marriage! I neither desire to judge the fair
sex, nor to be judged by them. But at this point I would fain put to
all my lady readers (and most particularly to _one_ of them), two
rather weighty and important questions.

"Would _you_ not bend down from your judge's seat, and hand my hero, if
not a _flower_-wreath, an _oak_-wreath, at all events, for his good and
kind behaviour to this feminine couple? Or (inasmuch as there are four
female hands playing a duet sonata on his heart), a bouquet for his
button-hole at the very least?" Dearest lady readers, you could not
possibly have given a better verdict--although my surprise at it is not
so great as my gratification. My second question nobody shall put to
you but yourselves. Let each of you ask herself, "Suppose _you_ had
this fourth book of my story put into your hands, and _were_ Lenette
her very self, and consequently knew to a hair all about the whole
business from beginning to end; what would you _think_ of your husband
Siebenkæs' proceedings? What would you _do_?"

I will answer the question for you: "Weep, storm,[80] chide, be very
angry, not speak a word, break things, &c." So terribly does
selfishness falsify, corrupt and degrade the most delicate moral
feelings, coercing them into the giving of two totally diverse verdicts
upon one and the same case. Whenever I am wavering, or in any
hesitation, concerning the worth of a character, or conclusion, I
always find it helps me to come to a decision in a moment if I
represent it to my mind's-eye as coming wet from the press in a novel
or biography. If it seems right _then_, it is certain to _be_ right.

It was far better, and more becoming, for Graces to dwell hidden in the