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Title: Villa Eden: - The Country-House on the Rhine
Author: Auerbach, Berthold, 1812-1882
Language: English
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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.

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                     BY THE AUTHOR OF "VILLA EDEN."


                            ON THE HEIGHTS.

Revised Edition. In one volume, with Pictorial Title. 16mo. Cloth.
Price, $2.00.


                               EDELWEISS.

One volume. With Pictorial Title. Square 16mo. Neat Cloth. Price,
$1.00.


                             GERMAN TALES.

One volume. Square 16mo. Cloth. Price, $1.00.

                           *   *   *   *   *

 -->_Mailed, post-paid, on receipt of the price, by the Publishers,_

                                         ROBERTS BROTHERS, BOSTON.



[Illustration: "_Be patient a few minutes longer! There's a man
beckoning to go with us_," _said the boatman to his passengers_.--VILLA
EDEN, Page 1.]



                              VILLA EDEN:


                    THE COUNTRY-HOUSE ON THE RHINE.



                         By BERTHOLD AUERBACH.


                  TRANSLATED BY CHARLES C. SHACKFORD.



                                BOSTON:
                           ROBERTS BROTHERS.
                                 1871.



       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
                           ROBERTS BROTHERS,
     in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
                             Massachusetts.



                    THE COUNTRY-HOUSE ON THE RHINE.

                    A ROMANCE, BY BERTHOLD AUERBACH.



                                BOOK I.



                               CHAPTER I.

                            THE APPARITION.


"Be patient a few: minutes longer! There's a man beckoning to go with
us," said the boatman to his passengers, two women and one man. The man
was gray-haired, of slender form, rubicund face, and blue eyes of a
kindly, but absent-minded and weary expression; a heavy moustache,
wholly covering the upper lip, seemed out of keeping with this
inoffensive face. He wore a new summer suit of that fashionable
material which seems be-dashed and be-sprinkled with white, as if the
wearer had purposely rolled himself in a feather bed. He had, moreover,
a pretty wallet attached to a leather belt, and embroidered with blue
and red beads.

Opposite the man sat a tall and stately woman, with restless eyes and
sharp features, that might once have been attractive. She shook her
head, vexed at the delay, like one not accustomed to be kept waiting,
got up, and sat down again. She wore a pale-yellow silk dress, and the
white veil on her gray round hat was wound about the rim like the band
around a turban. Again she threw back her head with a quick movement,
then looked straight down before her, as if not to show any interest in
the stranger, and boring with the point of her large parasol into the
side of the boat.

Near the man sat a smiling, fair maiden, in a blue summer suit, and
holding in her hand, by the elastic string, a small blue hat ornamented
with a bird's wing.  Her head was rather large and heavy, and the broad
forehead was made yet more massive by a rich abundance of braided hair;
a large curl on each side rested upon her shoulder and breast. The
girl's countenance was bright and clear as the clear day which shed its
beams over the landscape. She put on her hat, and the mother gave it a
little touch to adjust it properly. The girl exchanged quickly her
coarse leather gauntlets for delicate, glossy ones which she took out
of her pocket; and while drawing them on with great dexterity, she
looked at the new-comer.

A tall and handsome young man, with a full brown beard, a sinewy frame,
a gray shawl over his shoulder, and upon his head a broad-brimmed gray
hat with black crape, same down the steep and zigzag path with a
vigorous step to the shore. He stepped into the boat, and lifting his
hat while bowing in silence, displayed a noble white forehead shaded by
dark-brown hair. His countenance spoke courage and firmness, and, at
the same time, had an expression that awakened confidence and trust.

The girl cast down her eyes, while her mother once more fastened and
unfastened her hat-string, contriving at the same time, with seeming
carelessness, to place one long curl in front, and the other upon the
shoulder behind, so as to be becoming, and to look easy and natural.

The man in the mottled suit pressed the white head of his cane to his
lips. The stranger, seating himself apart from the others, gazed into
the stream, whilst the boat was moving rapidly through the water. They
landed at an island on which was a large convent, now a boarding-school
for girls.

"Oh, how beautiful! and are the lessons learned there?" asked the girl,
pointing to a group of lofty trees on the shore, clustered so near
together that they seemed to have grown out of one root, and with low
seats inside the grove. "Go on!" said the mother with a reproving look
to the girl, and immediately taking her husband's arm. The girl went on
before, and the stranger followed them.

In the thickets sang the nightingales, the blackbirds, and the finches,
as if they would proclaim, "Here is the peace and the rest of Paradise,
and no one disturbs us." The dark fir-trees with their sheltering
branches, and the long row of light-green larches stood motionless by
the shore, and bees hummed in the blossoming chestnut-trees. They
reached the convent. The building, without any architectural
peculiarity, had an extended prospect of the garden, the meadows on the
island, the river, and the mountains. It was shut up, and no human
being was to be seen. The old gentleman pulled the bell; a portress
opened a small window, and asked what was wanted. Admission was
demanded, but the portress replied that it could not possibly be
granted that evening. "Take in my card, and say to the good mother that
I am here with my wife and daughter," said the old gentleman. "Permit
me to add also my card," said the stranger. The three looked round,
struck by the pleasant tone of his voice. The stranger handed his card,
and added, "Please say to the worthy Lady Superior, that I bring a
message of greeting from my mother."

The portress closed the window quickly, while the four stood at the
entrance. "I took you for a Frenchman," said the old gentleman with a
kindly tone to the young man. "I am a German," he replied. "Have you
then a relative in the convent, and are you acquainted with the good
mother?" "No, I know no one here." The answers of the stranger were so
short and direct, that he gave no opportunity to continue the
conversation, and the old gentleman appeared to be a man of position
and character, who was accustomed to be addressed, and not to make
advances. He walked with the two ladies towards a beautiful flower-bed,
and placed himself with his companions upon a seat. But the girl was
restless, and walking up and down along the edge of the meadow, she
gathered the hidden violets. The young man remained standing as if
rooted to the spot, staring at the stone steps which led up to the
cloister-door, as though he must find out what various destinies had
already gone in and out over them.

Meanwhile, the old gentleman said to his wife, "That elegant young man
appears to me to be a gambler, who has lost all his means at one of the
neighboring baths. Who knows but that he wants to borrow money of the
Lady Superior?" She laughed at her husband for being disposed to see
now, for the third time during this journey, a criminal or a ruined man
in the persons they chanced to meet.

"You may be right," said the old gentleman; "but that's the mischief of
these showy, establishments, that one supposes everybody he meets has
something to do with them. Besides, just as it happened with our
daughter--"

"What happened with me?" asked the girl from the meadow. "Why,"
continued the father, "how often, when walking behind you at the baths,
have I heard people say, 'What beautiful false hair!' no one now thinks
that there is anything genuine."

The girl laughed merrily to herself, and then adding a violet to the
nosegay on her bosom, called out, "And I believe the stranger is a
poet." "Why?" asked the mother. "Because a poet must be handsome like
him." The old gentleman laughed, and the mother said, "Child, you are
manufacturing a poet out of your own imagination; but, silence! let us
go, the portress is beckoning to us."

The convent door opened, and the visitors entered. Behind the second
grated door stood two nuns in black garments with hempen cords about
their waists. The taller nun, an old lady with an extraordinarily large
nose, told them that the Lady Superior was sorry not to be able to
receive any one; that it was the evening before her birth-day, and she
always remained, on that day, alone until sunset; that there was a
further difficulty in admitting strangers to-day, as the children--for
so she called the pupils--had prepared a spectacle with which to greet
the Superior after sun-down; that everything was in disorder to-day, as
a stage had been erected in the great dining-hall; that the Superior,
however, had ordered that they should be shown over the convent.

The two nuns led the way through the main passage. Their step was hard
and noisy, for they wore wooden shoes fastened to the feet by leather
straps over the stockings. The smaller and prettier nun, with her
delicate features pinched up in the close-fitting cap, had kept herself
timidly in the background, allowing the other to do the talking. But
now she addressed the girl in the blue muslin dress, speaking in
French. The mother gave a nod of satisfaction to the father, as much as
to say, "There, now; you see it was worth while to let the child learn
something; that was my doing, and you only reluctantly consented." The
father could not refrain from informing the nun with the big nose that
his daughter, Lina, had returned, only six months before, from the
Convent of the "Sacred Heart" at Aix-la-Chapelle. The stranger also
spoke a few words in French to the pretty nun. But now, and as often as
he addressed her, she drew herself shyly back, apparently not from
timidity, but with a nervous involuntary shrinking into herself.

The breakfast-room, school-room, and music-room, and the large
dormitories were shown to the strangers, and they admired the neatness
and good order everywhere seen. Especially in the sleeping-rooms
everything was arranged as prettily and neatly, as if not real human
beings, much less careless children, inhabited them, but as if
everything had been made ready for fairy visitants. In one little bed
only was there any disturbance. Lina drew back the curtain, and a child
with great brown eyes looked up. The young man had also come to the
bedside. "What is the matter with the child?" asked Lina. "Only
homesickness." "Only homesickness," said the stranger in a low tone to
himself, while the lady asked, "How do you cure homesickness?" "The
housekeeper has a sure method; a child complaining of homesickness is
put on the sick-list, and must stay in bed; when she is allowed to get
up, the homesickness is gone, and she feels at home." "Go away, all of
you! go away! I want Manna, I want Manna," moaned the child. "She will
come soon," said the nun, soothingly, adding in explanation, "No one
but an American girl can pacify the child." "That must be our Manna,"
said Lina to her mother. The twilight was gathering, and through the
galleries, in the golden evening light, strange forms rustled in long
green, blue, and red garments, and then vanished within the cells.

The visitors went into the dining-room, at the farther end of which
there was the representation of a forest scene with a hermitage; and
there lay a doe bound with a red cord. The young creature fixed its
great eyes on the strangers, and tugging at its cord, tried to get
away.

The French nun said that the children, aided by one of the sisters who
had a natural talent that way, had themselves arranged the decorations.
Large choirs had been practicing, and one of the pupils, a very
remarkable child, had composed the piece which represented a scene from
the life of the Superior's patron saint.

The German nun regretted that no stranger could be present. A copy of
the song to be introduced in the play was lying upon a chair. The lady,
taking it up, read it and handed it over to the young man, who ran
through the verses. "It's astonishing that a child should have composed
them," said the lady. The young stranger felt obliged to make some
reply, and observed in a somewhat careless tone, "Our German language,
especially when used in rhyming, is an instrument that can easily be
drummed upon, and thrummed upon, by any child."

"I told you so; he is a poet," said the triumphant look of the girl to
her parents.

As they were leaving the dining-hall, now turned into a temporary
theatre, Lina remarked to the pretty Frenchwoman how sorry she was not
to be able to see her young friend, Hermanna Sonnenkamp; she herself
was obliged to return that very evening with her parents, as they had
been invited to attend, to-morrow afternoon, a reception at the
Countess von Wolfsgarten's.

The girl said this with a proud emphasis, as if assured that every one
must know what was the full significance of a reception at Count von
Wolfsgarten's. The Frenchwoman must have noticed it, for she replied,
"Here, on the contrary, we do not know each other by the names applied
to us in the world outside; we here know only our convent names."

"May I know yours?" "Certainly; I am called sister Seraphia." The girl
seemed now on more intimate terms with the French sister, since she
could call her "sister Seraphia;" and she rejoiced at the thought of
being able to tell at home, in her own little town, about the nun of
high rank, at least a princess, whose acquaintance she had made. They
walked back through the long gallery, and as they went down the steps,
there came up a snow-white form with great wings on its shoulders, and
a glittering diadem on its head, from which long black ringlets
streamed down over bosom and neck. Deep, black eyes, with long lashes
and thick brows, gleamed out of the pale countenance. "Manna!" cried
Lina, and "Manna!" echoed the vaulted ceiling. The winged apparition
grasped the hand of the speaker, and leading her aside down the stairs
said, "Is it you, dear Lina? Ah, I have only been with a poor child
pining with homesickness; to-day I cannot speak a word with any other
living soul."

"O, how wonderful you look! how splendid! To the child you must be a
real live angel! And how glad they will all be at home, when I tell
them."

"Not a word about it. Excuse me to your parents for flitting by them,
and--who, who is the young man here with you?"

The stranger seemed aware that they were talking about him, and looked
from below up to the wonderful vision. He shaded his eyes with his
hand, to take a better look, but he could see none of the features,
nothing but the mysterious shape and the two gleaming eyes.

"We don't know who he is; he joined us first in the boat; but," she
added, smiling at her own suggestion, "you can find out, for he sent a
greeting from his mother to the Superior; ask her by and by. Don't you
think him handsome?"

"O Lina! how you talk! May the Holy St. Genevieve intercede with the
dear God to pardon you for saying that, and me"--covering her face with
her hands--"for hearing it. Farewell, Lina, greet every one for me."

As the winged apparition swept along the corridor, she was unable to
hear Lina calling out that she would, to-morrow, tell them at the
Countess Wolfsgarten's all about her. The vision vanished. They left
the convent, and at the door the old gentleman said to the young man,
"It is a good thing for girls to be educated in a convent on an island,
away from the rest of the world." "Girls at the convent, and boys at
the barracks! fine world that!" answered the young man, in a sharp
tone.

Without a word in reply, the old gentleman, turning away, drew off a
few paces with the ladies as if he wished to have no further
intercourse with a stranger of such revolutionary sentiments. The
stranger hastened to the boat, and was speedily set across. The stream
was like pure, molten gold, and the stranger dipping his fingers into
it bathed his forehead and eyes. He sprang lightly ashore, and looking
over to the island-convent, saw the man, with wife and daughter, just
going down to the boat; he waved a distant farewell with his hat, and
with a rapid step went up the hill behind the ruins of the castle,
overlooking the convent. He continued sitting there for a long time,
gazing fixedly at the convent on the island. He heard songs from maiden
voices, saw the long row of windows brightly lighted up, and at last,
looking up to the stars, he exclaimed, "O mother!" What did that mean?
Perhaps his mother had said to him, that at some time or other a
wonderful experience would come over him. The nightingale in the
thicket sang on unceasingly, and the young man listened to the song,
but would gladly have silenced it in order that he might hear more
plainly the singing of the children in the convent, who with magic
power had conjured up a dream of heaven into their actual life, and for
one hour become choirs of singing angels. "Alone in the spring night,
amidst the Castle-ruins with beating heart! Can it be I?" said the
young man to himself.

He descended the hill, and as he reached the inn, met the man with the
two women just ready to start for the rail-road station. He would have
liked to ask the girl who that wonderful apparition was, but he
restrained himself. What would be the use? Better that thou knowest her
not; then the charm of the vision is pure and undisturbed. He went into
the inn; he sat there and read the bill of fare without knowing what he
was reading, and what he should select. He stared at the card until the
waiter came and asked for it, in order to give it to another guest. He
ordered what happened to meet his eye. "What wine would you like? We
have 'Drachenblut' of a choice vintage." "Bring some Drachenblut."

He ate and drank without knowing what; he only knew that he must eat
and drink something; absently he took up a newspaper lying upon the
table. What are convents? what are ruined castles? what is the
apparition of a girl with wings? Here is the world, the real, the
stirring, the actual world of to-day. You come into an inn, weary after
a wide survey from a mountain top, and involuntarily you lay hold of a
newspaper,--why is this? It may be that the eye and the mind, tired out
by the manifestations of unmoving nature, become refreshed by viewing
what is perpetually changing in the world; you are alone, you need to
hear some word spoken by one to many, and the newspaper tells you about
the world which has kept on its way while you were dreaming, while you
were losing yourself in the boundless prospect, and coming to yourself
again.

Yes, it is so now! How it was in other times, when one could live on in
undisturbed dreaminess, we can hardly imagine. At all times--whether in
the pressure of heavy affliction, when our own life has become a
burden, and the world indifferent, or in exalted feeling, when we are
transported, as it were, out of all actual existence--the newspaper
comes, and demands our attention, and calls to us as if we were to
coöperate everywhere in the various relations of the world.

What has America to do with the young man? and yet he has just read an
account of matters there; the choice of a new President of the Republic
was exciting all minds in the New World, and the name of a man who was
a pattern of uprightness and worldwide views, Abraham Lincoln, seemed
to penetrate everywhere, and to bring with it a great crisis in the
history of humanity. Deeply interested, he looked up smiling, for he
remembered that the Frenchwoman had said that an American girl could
alone console the homesick child, and that she had also composed the
play for the festival. Here a child plays with sacred stories, whilst
all is in commotion in her Fatherland. The thoughts of the young man
were again in the convent, and with the wonderful apparition.

Just as he was laying down the paper, his eye fell upon an
advertisement. He knit his brows, looked around, and read again; then
asking permission to keep the paper, he carried it with him to his
chamber. "A handsome man," said the guests, after he had gone;
"evidently a young widower, who wishes to find distraction from his
grief in a Rhine-journey; he wears a weed on his hat.'"



                              CHAPTER II.

                            "UP THE RIVER."


"Name: Eric Dournay. Title: Doctor of Philosophy, late Army-Captain.
Place of departure: name of a small University city. Destination: ----
Object of Journey: ----"

Such was the entry made by the young man in the register of the inn
early the next morning; and he now first noticed written above his
name, "Justice Vogt, Lady, née Landen, and Daughter, from"--a small
town on the Upper Rhine. That was then the mottled gentleman of
yesterday with the two ladies.

Eric, for so we shall hereafter call him, carrying his small valise,
went down to the steamboat-landing. The morning was fresh and bright,
life and song everywhere, and only one little cloud, like a slight
streak of mist resting half way up the mountainside. Eric walked with a
firm and erect step, taking in full draughts of the fresh morning air.
He stood at the landing, and looked into the water, from which a streak
of mist rose, and became dissolved in the air. Then he gazed long at
the island, where the morning bell was ringing to wake up the children,
who had been transformed the previous evening into legendary beings.
How would that girl with long, black hair and glittering wings open her
bright eyes? As if he must drive away this image, Eric took the paper
out of his pocket, and read again the advertisement. On came the
puffing steam-boat pressing her bow against the stream.

Eric had not noticed that two of the convent nuns, one of whom was the
pretty Frenchwoman, had been also waiting for the approaching boat. He
did not see them until after they had got on board. He gave them a
salutation, but received no response except a look of surprise. They
took their breviary, sat down upon the deck and said their prayers. On
seeing them, Eric thought he would ask who the girl was with the wings;
but he came to the conclusion not to do so, for no result could come
from this occurrence, and he wished to concentrate all his energies
upon the project he had in view. There were but few fellow passengers,
and the morning hour does not encourage sociability, as if the solitude
of sleep has yet an influence over human souls.

Eric stationed himself near the helmsman, who whistled incessantly in a
low tone: and lost in thought he looked at the upheaved water and the
shore. Pressing together his finely cut lips, he seemed determined
silently to take in the full poetic beauty of this river and landscape
that has never been adequately portrayed, and often shook his head as
he heard two persons here and there wasting in so-called conversation
the freshness of the morning and the quiet, inspiring influence of the
scenery. We shall often have occasion as we proceed, to impart
information about this youth. At present we will premise that Eric, the
son of respectable parents, receiving a careful education, entered the
military service, and then, voluntarily resigning his commission,
devoted himself to study. He had just obtained his doctor's degree,
working very hard to hasten this event, for only two months had elapsed
since the death of his father. On the evening of the day he had taken
his degree, his mother urged him to allow himself a few days'
recreation. Stroking his pale, thin face, she said, "You will regain
the fresh color of life; life and work are one's duty; that was always
what your father said and did."

It was to be determined when Eric returned what plan of life they would
adopt. The thought, which she could not keep down, was very painful to
the mother, that they could no longer continue in their former mode of
life without care and responsibility, but must make provision for the
future, a state of things never contemplated by her. And with pain that
she sought to repress, but could not wholly conceal, calling to mind a
saying of Lessing, she saw her son standing in the marketplace and
asking for work. Moreover, she hoped that her son would consent finally
to receive some position through patronage; at any rate he must again
recover his fresh, youthful looks. Had the mother seen him now, she
would have been astonished to see how quickly that had taken place; for
a brightness shone in his eye, and a color in his countenance more
brilliant and glowing than in his best and most tranquil days.

For the sake of giving some special object to his journey, she had
commissioned him to carry her greeting to the Superior of the convent.
He was now on his return, for a simple newspaper advertisement had
given an unexpected direction to his journey and his purposes.

Wonderful! thought Eric to himself, placing his hand upon the breast
pocket containing the newspaper, wonderful, how the calls are given
which send forth here and there the adventurous Ulysses!

Meanwhile he had sufficient youthful elasticity not to neglect, for the
sake of the goal, the pleasures to be enjoyed by the way. He watched
with an intelligent glance the machinery of the boat, and the life on
the river and on the banks. At the second landing the two nuns were to
stop, and the pretty Frenchwoman gave him a backward nod, as she
descended the side ladder. When in the boat she sat looking down with
folded hands; and on landing, she gave no further look behind.

The passengers changed at every landing. At one village came a band of
pilgrims, chiefly women with white kerchiefs on their heads; and when
they disembarked, a troop of Turners came on board, in their light gray
uniform, and immediately struck up a song upon the deck, whilst the
pilgrims sang upon the shore. In all the cities and villages they
passed bells were ringing on that bright spring day full of blossoms
and sweet sounds, and Eric felt all that intoxication which the
Rhine-life brings over the spirit,--that exhilaration of every faculty,
which comes no one knows whence, as no one can say what gives to the
wine of these mountains its flavor and its life. It is the breath of
the stream; it is the fragrance of the mountains; it is the virtue of
the soil; it is the sunlight that glows in man as in the wine, and
excites an ethereal gladness which no one can be free from, and which
no one can explain.

Eric was often spoken to, but he held himself aloof from all
companionship, wishing in the movement around him to be alone with the
delightful landscape. There are words which become poles of thought in
the meditation of the lonely. Eric heard one fellow traveller say to
another,

"I prefer to go up the river, for one can look at everything longer and
more closely, and it is a triumph of the human mind that we can make
headway against the current."

Against the current! That was the word which that day stuck fast to
Eric out of the thousand things he thought of and looked upon. Against
the stream! That was also his life-course. He had left the trodden
highway, and with bold self-determination he had marked out a path of
his own. It is well, for one there learns more perfectly the world
about him, and, above all, learns his own strength.

"Against the current!" said he, smiling to himself. "Let us see what
will come of it." It was high noon when he disembarked at a little
mediæval city.

A young man standing on the shore looked sharply at him, exclaiming,
"Dournay!" "Herr von Pranken!" answered Eric. They grasped each other's
hands.



                              CHAPTER III.

                           DRINKING NEW WINE.


"Before people have fairly done shaking hands, they say, 'Let us
drink.' It must be the river there that makes you long so to quench
your thirst."

So spoke Eric to the tall, fair youth of his own age, sitting opposite,
who had placed his nicely gloved hand upon a brown spaniel whose head
lay in his lap. The dog frequently looked up to Eric, whose deep,
musical voice perhaps produced an impression upon the creature.

"Here is the list of wines. What year and what vintage do you prefer?
Shall we take new wine, still lively and fermenting?" "Yes, new wine,
and from the mountain here upon which the sun lies so cheerily, and
where the cuckoo calls from the wood;--wine native to the soil, and
blood-relation of this beautiful region."

Pranken in sharp, military accent gave the order to the waiter,--"A
bottle of Anslese." The wine came, and was poured out golden into the
sparkling glasses; the two men touched glasses and drank. They sat
among the vines by the shore, where the refreshing landscape stretched
itself out over green islands in the river, over gleaming habitations,
over vineyards and mountains.

The boats by the shore were still, for the swell made by the steamboat
had subsided; here and there the distant rumbling of a railway train
was heard; on the smooth stream, in which the white clouds of heaven
mirrored themselves, beams of the noonday sun sparkled, and in the
foliage of the blossoming elder the nightingale sang.

"This is life!" said Eric, extending his arms. "After a day of
loneliness amidst the confused whirl of thoughts and of people, to meet
thus unexpectedly an old acquaintance is indeed like home; and let me
tell you, moreover, that I look upon this meeting as a good omen."

Otto von Pranken nodded acquiescingly. In the first surprise, he had,
perhaps, given Eric a warmer welcome than their acquaintance warranted;
but now that Eric made no assumption of intimacy he nodded, well
pleased. Eric has the tact to know his place; it's well. Pranken
immediately drew off his glove, and reaching out his hand to Eric,
asked, "Are you taking a pleasure-tour?"

"No, I am not in the situation, nor would this be the fitting time to
do so. You probably do not know that my father died two months ago."
"Indeed, indeed! and I shall be forever grateful to our good Professor;
the little that I learned at the military school--and it is little
enough--I owe altogether to him. Ah! what patience and what unremitting
zeal your good father had! Let us pledge his memory." Their glasses
clinked. "When I am dead,'" said Eric, and his voice had a tone of deep
emotion, "I should like that my son should thus with a companion pledge
my memory in the bright noonday."

"Ah! to die!" Pranken wished to turn the subject. "If I must die,
that's enough, without knowing what is said of me afterwards. It is in
a high degree offensive to me, that they have placed their burying
ground in the midst of the vineyard yonder."

Eric made no reply, looking with fixed gaze before him, and listening
to the cuckoo's voice calling at that moment from the churchyard. "Are
you an agriculturist?" he asked, as if summoning together his scattered
thoughts. "A sort of one; I have taken off, I don't know for how long
it will be, my lieutenant's uniform, and mounted the high jack-boots;
but I am bored by the one as much as by the other." He took his
nail-cleaner out of his pocket, and worked away industriously at his
nails; then with his pocket-brush he smoothed down again his carefully
parted but thin hair, occasionally looking up to his companion
opposite.

The two, sitting there for a little while without speaking, sharply
inspected each other. Two awkward people, who are placed in a position
of helpless antagonism, become mutually embarrassed; two clever people,
who know each other's cleverness, are like two fencers, who, familiar
with each other's ward and pass, will not risk a stroke or thrust.
Pranken bent over his glass, inhaled the bouquet of the wine, and said,
at length, half smiling, "Perhaps you will now abandon your late
Communistic views."

"Communistic! I had no idea that you, like so many others, cover up
everything unpleasant with that convenient formula of excommunication,
'Communism.' I should like to be a Communist. I mean that I should like
to see in Communism a form of organization adapted to the wants of
society, which it is not, and never can be. We must take some other
method than this, to get rid of the existing barbarism which compels
our fellow human beings to be without the most common necessities of
life. It is a bitter drop in my glass, that, while I can here at
leisure drink this mountain-wine, yonder are poor hard-driven laborers
who can never taste of it."

"To-day is a holiday, and no one labors then," said Pranken, with a
laugh. Already, in this first meeting, the contrast of these two young
men was plainly to be seen. Eric also laughed at this unexpected turn
from his comrade; but he was mature enough not to make a personal
matter out of a difference of theory. He therefore came back to neutral
ground, and the conversation flowed on quietly in recollections of the
past, and thoughts of the future.

In their carriage and gait, the military training of the two young men
was plainly to be seen; but in Eric the stiffness was tempered by a
sort of artistic grace. Pranken was elegant, Eric noble and refined;
every tone and movement of Pranken bespoke attention; but his demeanor
had that cool insolence, or--if that is too harsh a word--impertinence,
which regards every one outside of one's circle as non-existent, or at
least as having no right to exist.

Eric had an equally good figure, but he was more easy and dignified.
Eric's voice was a fine, deep baritone, while Pranken's was a tenor.
Their different characters could be seen also in their way of speaking.
Eric pronounced every word and letter distinctly; Pranken, on the other
hand, spoke with a lazy drawl, as if the vowels and consonants were too
much for him, and as if he must avoid all straining of the organs of
speech; the words dropped, as it were, out of his lips, and yet he
liked to talk, and made excellent points. Pranken's remarks were
forcible, and came out in jets, like the short canter peculiar to the
Royal bodyguard. When talking upon the most ordinary occurrence, his
manner was somewhat rattling and noisy, like one handling his
shoulder-belt, and joining or leaving a convivial company. Eric had
thought more than he had talked. A secluded student in the almost
cloister-like retirement of home, this bearing was wholly novel and
strange to him.

"Herr Baron," said the waiter, as he brought in a bottle of native,
sparkling wine, "your coachman wishes to know if he shall unharness the
horses."

"No," he replied; and while he was turning the bottle in the
wine-cooler he added to Eric: "I dislike to interrupt the brief joy of
this meeting with you. Ah! you have no idea what a terrible bore this
extolled poetry of rural life is!" Pouring out a glass from the
uncorked bottle, he said laughing, "Compost, and again compost, is the
word. The compost-heap is an Olympus, and the God enthroned upon it is
called Jupiter Ammonia." Pranken laughed aloud at his own witty
outburst, then drank off his glass, and complacently twirled with both
hands the ends of his moustache.

Eric led the conversation back to the beauty of the Rhine-life, but
Pranken interrupted by saying, "If now somebody would only take off the
paint from this lying Lorelei, with her song about the beauty of life
on the Rhine! So the poets always speak of the dewy morning, and we had
to-day a blast from the mountains, as if the angels in heaven had spilt
all their milk into the fire."

Eric could not help laughing; sipping at his glass, he said, "But the
joy of the wine!" "O, yes," replied Pranken, "the old topers drink as a
matter of business, but without any poetry. They sit together by the
hour, always the same set, and the same half-dozen anecdotes on hand;
or they interchange a superannuated jest, and then go home with red
face, and staggering feet, bellowing forth a song; and that they
call Rhine joyousness! The one really merry thing in this whole
Rhine-delusion is the landlord's garland." "What's that?" "When the
respectable godfather tailor or shoemaker has laid in a cask of choice
vintage, more than he can or wishes to drink, he hangs upon his house a
green garland; and the old German family room, with its hospitable
Dutch stove covered with green branches, and its gray cat under the
bench, is turned into a bar-room. They first finish up Smith street,
then Hare street, Church street, Salt street, and Capuchin street. They
drink the health of their own wine; this is the only mistress."

"Let us, too, rejoice in our wine," said Eric. "See how the sun still
glows in the noble juice which it has so joyfully smiled upon, and so
diligently ripened. I drink to thee, O Sun, past and present." With a
rapidity that seemed foreign from his ordinarily quiet mood, he emptied
the glass.

"I have always thought," replied Pranken, "that you were a poet. Ah, I
envy you; I should like to have the ability to write a satirical poem,
so peppered that the whole world would burn its tongue with it." Eric
smiled, saying that he had himself once thought that his vocation was
to be a poet; but that he had perceived his mistake, and was now
resolved to devote himself to some practical calling. "Yes," he said,
taking the newspaper out of his pocket, "you can perhaps render me a
service that will determine my whole life." "Gladly, if it is not
against--"

"Don't be alarmed, for it has nothing to do with theories of right, or
political matters at all. You can perhaps help me to an introduction."

"In love then? The handsome Eric Dournay, the Adonis of the garrison,
wants some one to do his wooing?"

"Nothing of that kind. I only want a situation as private tutor. Look
at this advertisement: 'I desire for my son, fifteen years of age, a
tutor of scientific education and high-breeding, who will undertake to
give him such training as shall fit him for a high station. Salary to
be fixed by mutual agreement. A pension for life after the conclusion
of the engagement. Address and references to be left at the railroad
station at ----, on the Rhine.'"

"I know about this advertisement, and even had a hand in writing it. I
must confess that we hit upon something rather unusual in the choice of
the expression 'high-breeding.'"

"Is a man of rank to be understood?"

"Certainly. I have no need of defending myself against the charge of
what the newspaper hacks call _feudalism_. In this case the point
insisted on is, that a tutor in a middle-class family, and especially
for a self-willed boy, must be a man of unimpeachable position."

"Certainly, that is all right and proper. Perhaps, although I'm not a
Baron, I have an unimpeachable position. I received the title of doctor
a few days ago."

Pranken gave him a condescending nod of congratulation, then added
quickly,--"And do you leave entirely out of sight that you quit the
army with the rank of Captain? I should lay special stress on the
military training. But no, you are not fit for a bear-trainer! The boy
is as untameable and crafty as an American redskin, and he knows just
where to lay hold upon the scalp-lock in every character, as he has
already proved on half a dozen tutors." "That would only give an
additional charm to the attempt." "And do you know that Massa
Sonnenkamp is a millionaire, and the heir knows it?"

"That doesn't alarm me, but rather tempts me on." "Well; I will take
you myself to the mysterious man. I have the good luck to stand high in
his favor. But no. Still better, you shall go with me first to my
brother-in-law's estate. You must remember my sister Bella."
"Perfectly, and I accept your hospitality. But I would rather you
should announce my visit to Herr Sonnenkamp--it seems to me I have
heard that name before, but no matter--and let me go to him alone."
Pranken threw a questioning glance upon Eric, who continued: "I know
how to appreciate your ready friendliness; but a stranger can never
quite do himself justice in presence of a third person."

Pranken smiled at Eric's quickness, feeling a sort of pride in having
so cultivated a man under his patronage. He took out his pocket-book,
and sat for a while with his silver pencil-case pressed against his
lips; the doubt arose whether he were doing wisely to recommend Eric to
the position; would it not be better to put him off, and bring forward
a man who would be quite under his own influence? but as Eric would
make the application for himself, and would, most probably, receive the
appointment, it would be better to establish a claim to his gratitude.
And in the midst of his hesitation a certain kindly feeling made itself
felt; it was pleasant to be able to be a benefactor, and he was for a
moment happy in the thought.

He wrote directly on a card to Herr Sonnenkamp, begging him to make no
engagement, as a highly educated gentleman, formerly an artillery
officer, was about to apply in person for the situation. He carefully
avoided speaking as a personal friend of the applicant, as he wished to
take no decided step without his sister's approval.

The card was sent off immediately, and Pranken played for some minutes
with the india-rubber strap of his pocket-book, before putting it back
into his pocket.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                     COMRADES WITHOUT COMRADESHIP.


Seated in an open carriage, the two young men were soon winding along a
road which led up the mountain. The air was full of dewy freshness, and
high above the vineyards the nightingales in the leafy woods poured
forth a constant flood of melody. The two men sat silent. Each knew
that the other had come within the circle of his destiny, but could not
anticipate what would be the consequence.

Eric took off his hat, and as Pranken looked at his handsome face with
its commanding, self-reliant expression, it seemed to him that he had
never really seen it before; a thrill of alarm passed through him, as
he began to realize that he was forming ties whose results could not be
foreseen. His face now darkened with anger and scorn, now brightened
with benevolence and good-humored smiles; he murmured to himself some
unintelligible words, and burst forth at intervals into an inexplicable
fit of laughter.

"It is truly astonishing, most astonishing!" he said to himself. "I
could hardly have believed it of you, my good Otto, that you could be
so generous and self-forgetful, so wholly and completely a friend.
People have always told you, and you have had the conceit yourself,
that through all your whims you were better than you would own to
yourself. Shame on you, that you would not recognize your innocence and
virtue! Here you are showing yourself a friend, a brother, a most noble
minister of destiny to another, who is a bit of humanity, nothing but
pure humanity, in a full beard. All his thoughts are elevated and
manly, but a good salary pleases even his noble manliness."

Pranken laid his head back on the cushions of the carriage, and looked
smiling up to the sky. He resolved to take good care that this specimen
of noble manhood, who was sitting by him in the carriage, should not
thwart his plans, and that what he could not bring about himself, his
sister Bella should accomplish. Pranken's whole bearing was forced and
unnatural. His uniform, worn ever since childhood, had given him not
only a feeling of exclusiveness, but also a definite, undisputed, and
exceptional position, which separated him from the ordinary mass of
men. Among his fellow-soldiers ha was lively, and high-spirited; not
specially remarkable for anything, but a good officer, knowing how to
take care of and to drill his horses and his men. Now that he had laid
aside his uniform, he felt in citizen's dress as if he were falling to
pieces; but he held himself all the more proudly erect, in order to
show by every movement that he did not belong to the common herd. In
the regiment there were always strict rules to be followed; now he was
under the command of duty and wearisome free-will. Left to himself, he
became painfully aware that he was nothing without his comrades. Life
appeared bare and dreary, and he had worked himself into a bitter and
satirical mood, which gave him in his own eyes, a certain superiority
to that blank, monotonous existence, without parade, or play, or
ballet. He looked with a sort of envy at Eric, who, poorer and without
advantages of social position, gazed around him so serenely and
composedly, feasting on the beauty of the landscape. Eric was certainly
the better off. Having become a soldier at a more mature age, he had
never lost his own individuality in the '_esprit de corps_' of army
life; and now that he was a civilian again, his whole appearance
changed, and his nature developed itself under a new and interesting
aspect.

"I envy you," said Pranken, after they had driven for sometime in
silence.

"_You_ envy _me_?"

"Yes! at first it vexed me and roused my pity, that a man like you
should enter the service of a private individual, and in such a
position! But perhaps it is fortunate for a man to be obliged to
determine on some career in order to make a living."

"Just for that reason," replied Eric, "will the task of educating the
young millionaire be a hard one. Two things only excite the powers of
men to activity: an idea, and worldly gain."

"I don't quite understand you."

"Let me make my meaning clearer. He who uses his power for the sake of
an idea enters the region of genius, however small and inconspicuous
may be the sphere of his activity. He who works for the sake of profit,
to supply the necessities, or the luxuries of life, is nothing but a
common laborer. The common need is the compelling power which plants
the vine on the steep mountain side, clears the forest, steers the
ship, and drives the plough. Where this common need unites itself with
the ideal, and this may be in every sphere of life, _there_ is noble
human activity. A nobleman, who busies himself in the world, has the
good fortune to be the inheritor of an idea,--the idea of honor."

Pranken nodded approvingly, but with a slightly scornful expression, as
much as to say, "This man to have the audacity to seek justification
for the nobility! Nobility and faith need not be proved; they are facts
of history not to be questioned!"

Again they were silent, and each asked himself what was to come of this
unexpected blending of their paths in life. As fellow-soldiers they had
been only remotely connected; it might be very different for the
future.

The valleys already lay in shadow, though the sun shone brightly on the
mountain-tops. They drove through a village where all was in joyous and
tumultuous movement,--in the streets, maidens walking arm in arm; young
men standing singly or in groups, exchanging merry greetings and jokes
and laughing jests; the old people sitting at the doors; the fountain
splashing, and along the high-road by the river, gay voices singing
together.

"O how full of refreshment is our German life!" cried Eric; "the
active, industrious people enjoy themselves in the evening, which
brings coolness and shade to the treeless vineyards."

They continued their journey in silence, when suddenly Pranken started
convulsively, for there came before him, as if in a dream, a vision of
himself, pistol in hand, confronting in a duel the man now seated by
his side. Whence came the vision? He could not tell. And yet, was it
meant to be a prophetic warning?

He forced himself to talk. A prominent trait of his character, which
belonged to him by nature and education was a social disposition, a
desire to please all with whom he came in contact. To drive away the
vision, and in obedience to this social impulse, he began to tell Eric
where he had been. By the advice of his brother-in-law, Count Clodwig
von Wolfsgarten, he had just paid a visit to a much respected landed
proprietor in the neighborhood, in order to enter upon a course of
instruction, if the arrangement should prove mutually agreeable.

The land-holder Weidmann,--who was often called the March-minister,
because as a pioneer to help stem the revolutionary current in 1848 he
was made minister for three days,--was considered, in all the
surrounding region, as an authority upon agricultural as well as
political matters.

Pranken talked on, and the more he talked the more he enjoyed his own
witty sallies; and the more he indulged in them, the more pungent they
became. He began: "I should like to know how this man will strike you;
he has, like"--here he hesitated a little, but quickly added--"like all
great reformers, a vast train of fine dogmas, enough to supply a whole
Capuchin monastery."

Eric laughed, and Pranken, laughing also, continued: "Ah! the world is
made up of nothing but humbug! The much-talked-of poetry of a landed
proprietor's life is nothing but a constant desire for lucre, tricked
out with paint from the glow of the morning and evening sky. This Herr
Weidmann and his sons think of nothing but the everlasting dollar. He
has six sons, five of whom I know, and all look impertinently well,
with pretentiously white, faultless teeth, and full beards. These
mountains, which travellers admire, are compelled to yield them wine
from the surface, and slate, manganese, ore, and chemicals from the
mines beneath. They have five different factories; one son is a miner,
another a machinist, a third a chemist, and so they work into each
others' hands and for their common interest. I have been told that they
extract forty different substances from beechwood, and then send the
exhausted residuum as charcoal to the Paris restaurants. Isn't that a
pretty love of nature? Then, as to Father Weidmann,--you enjoy the song
of the nightingales, I know. Well, Father Weidmann obtained from the
government an edict of protection for them, because they eat insects
and are very useful to the fields and woods. Father Weidmann lives in a
restored castle, but if a minstrel came there to-day he would get no
hearing, unless he sang the noble love by which Nitrogen and Hydrogen
are bound to Ammonia. I am almost crazed with super-phosphates and
alkalies. Do you think, it is a destiny worth striving after, to be
able to increase the food of mankind by a few sacks of potatoes?"

Before Eric could answer, Pranken added: "Ah, there is just nothing
that one would like to turn to. The army is the one profession."

As they were ascending a steep hill overlooking the river with its
islands, Pranken, pointing up the stream to a white house upon the
bank, said, "Yonder is the Sonnenkamp villa, which bears the name of
Eden. That great glass dome on which the evening sun is shining is the
palm-house. Herr Sonnenkamp is an enthusiastic gardener; his
conservatories and hot-houses excel those of princes."

Eric, standing upright in the carriage, looked back upon the landscape,
and the house where was to be, probably, the turning-point of his life.
As he sat down Pranken offered him a cigar. Eric declined, for he had
given up smoking.

"He who does not smoke will not do for Herr Sonnenkamp;" and he
emphasized the word Herr. "Next to his plants, he prides himself upon
his great variety of genuine cigars; and he was specially grateful to
me, when I once said to him that he possessed a seraglio of cigars. I
don't know how he who refuses a cigar can get along with him."

"I can smoke, but I am no slave to the habit," replied Eric, taking the
cigar.

"You seem to me not only a Doctor of Philosophy," said Pranken, "but
also a real philosopher."

The two travellers drove on in silence. Eric looked down, his mind
occupied with many and various thoughts.

O wonderful world! Invincible potencies hover in the air; a human soul
is journeying there and does not imagine that another is pressing
towards him, and that they both have one destiny. This is the greatness
of the human spirit, that there is a preparation for taking up into
itself, as if they had one life, some person whose name is not even
known, whose countenance has not been seen, and of whose existence
there has been no anticipation. He who has not lived for himself alone,
he who has dreamed, thought, labored, striven for the common good, he
is ready, each hour, to enter into the universal life, and utters the
creative word. Be soul of my soul, and speaks the word of salvation,
"Thou art thy brother's keeper."



                               CHAPTER V.

                THE OLD NOBLEMAN AND HIS BEAUTIFUL WIFE.


"To Wolfsgarten," was the direction upon the guide-board at the edge of
the well-kept forest where they were now driving, on the grounds and
territory of the nobleman. Every stranger who asks the way, and makes
inquiry concerning the large, plain mansion with steep gables beyond,
receives the reply that two happy people live there, who have every
blessing except that of children.

There are those who give satisfaction to the soul. Where two sit and
talk about them, each feels gratified in being able to perceive and
exhibit the pure and beautiful, and is grateful to the other for each
new insight; but, strangely enough, people soon tire of talking about
the purely beautiful. On the other hand, there are those who furnish an
inexhaustible supply of material for conversation which dwells chiefly
upon the unlovely features, whilst the attractive are mingled in and
brought to the surface with great effort; at the close the speaker
feels obliged to add, "But I am no hypocrite when I meet this person in
a friendly way, for while there is much to condemn, there is also a
great deal that is good." Clodwig was a character of the former, and
his wife Bella, born Baroness von Pranken, of the latter sort.

Clodwig was a nobleman in the best sense of the word. He was not one of
your affable people, on the same terms with every one. He had a
gentlemanly reserve and repose. The independent proprietor, the
manufacturer as well as the priest, the day-laborer, the official, and
the city-merchant, each believed that he was particularly esteemed and
beloved; and all considered him an ornament of the landscape, like some
great tree upon the mountain-top, whose shade and whose majestic height
were a joy, and a shelter from every storm.

The counsel and help of Clodwig von Wolfsgarten could be counted upon
confidently in all exigencies. He had been abroad for a long period,
and only since his second marriage, five years since, had he resided at
his country-seat. Bella von Wolfsgarten was much more admired than
beloved. She was beautiful, many said too beautiful for the old
gentleman. She was more talkative than her husband; and when she drove
out in a pony-carriage drawn by a span of dappled greys through the
country and villages, herself holding the reins, while her husband sat
by her side and the footman upon the back seat, everybody bowed and
stared. Many old people, who always find some special reason for any
new fashion, were inclined to see in this fact of Bella's holding the
reins a proof that she had the rule. But this was not so, by any means.
She was humble and entirely submissive to her husband. It was often
displeasing to him that she so excessively praised, even in his
presence, his goodness, his even disposition, and his noble views of
life and the world.

Eric had only a dim recollection of the commotion excited in the
capital by Bella's marriage, for it happened about the time that he
resigned his commission. He had frequently seen Bella, but never the
count. The count had been for many years ambassador from the small
principality to the papal court, and there Eric's father had become
acquainted with him.

Clodwig was known in the scientific world through a small archæological
treatise with very expensive designs; for next to music, which he
pursued with ardor, he was devoted to the science of antiquity with all
that earnest fidelity which was a characteristic of his whole being. It
was said in his praise, that there was no science and no art to which
he did not give his fostering care. Returning from Rome to his native
land, childless and a widower, he became an esteemed member of the
assembly of the nobility favoring what is called moderate progress; and
during the session, he associated much with the old Herr von Pranken,
who was also a member. He soon became interested in Bella von Pranken,
a woman of imposing manners, and a brilliant performer upon the piano.
Bella was now, if one may be so ungallant as to say so, somewhat
passée; but in her bloom she had been the beauty of that court circle,
where a younger generation now flourished, to which she did not belong.

Bella had travelled over a good part of the world. In the company of
two Englishwomen she had visited Italy, Greece, and Egypt. She had
hired an experienced courier, who relieved her from all care. On her
return to the court where her father was grand-equerry, she mingled in
society with that indifferent air which passes itself off as a higher
nature brought into contact with the common-places of daily life. She
conversed much with Clodwig von Wolfsgarten, who supposed that the
insignificant trifles of social life were considered by her as unworthy
of notice, and she gained the credit with him of possessing a refined
nature occupied only with higher interests. She constantly and actively
participated in Clodwig's fondness for archaeological pursuits. It was
a matter of course that they should find themselves in each other's
society, and if the one or the other was not present, Bella or Clodwig
was asked if the absent one was sick, or had an engagement. Bella had
no porcelain figures and nick-nacks of that kind upon her table, but
only choice copies from the antique; and she wore a large amber chain
taken from the tomb of some noble Roman lady. She possessed a large
photographic album, containing views of her journey, and was happy to
look over them again and again with Clodwig, and to receive instruction
from him. She also played frequently for him, although no longer
exhibiting her musical talent in society.

The entire circle for once did something novel: they carried from Bella
to Clodwig, and from him to Bella, the enthusiastic speeches of the one
about the other; and even personages of the highest rank took part in
furthering their intimacy. This became necessary from the timidity they
both experienced, when they became conscious of the possibility of a
different relation between them. Meanwhile success crowned the attempt,
and the betrothal was celebrated in the most select circle of the
court.

Mischievous tongues now repeated--for it was but fair that there should
be some compensation for the previous excessive good-nature--that two
interesting points of discussion had arisen. Bella, they said, had made
it a condition of the betrothal, that he should never speak of his
deceased wife, and the old Pranken had asked of the physician how long
the count might be expected to live. He must have smiled in a peculiar
way when the physician assured him that such old gentlemen, who live so
regularly, quietly, and without passion, might count upon an indefinite
number of years.

In the meanwhile, the conduct of Bella gave the lie to the malicious
report that she hoped soon to be a rich young widow. Clodwig had had an
attack of vertigo shortly before the wedding; and always after that
Bella contrived that he should be, without his knowledge, attended by a
servant. She devoted herself with the most affectionate care to the old
gentleman, who now seemed to enjoy a new life, and to gain fresh vigor
on returning to his paternal estate. At the baths, where they went
every summer, Clodwig and Bella were highly esteemed personages. She
was admired not only for her beauty, but also for her stainless
fidelity, and for her solicitous attention to her aged husband.



                              CHAPTER VI.

                           THE RECEPTION DAY.


It was yet bright daylight here upon the mountain-height, when they
approached the Wolfsgarten mansion. As they were making the last ascent
through the park, a beautiful girl in a figured blue summer-suit stood
in the path between the green trees. Getting sight of the carriage, she
quickly turned back again. Two light-blue ribbons, tied behind,
according to the fashion, floated in the evening wind. Her step was
firm and yet graceful.

"Ah," said Pranken, "to-day we have hit upon my sister's collation-day.
That pretty girl who turned about so quickly is the daughter of the
Justice, freshly baked out of the oven of the convent of the 'Sacred
Heart' at Aix. You will find her a genuine child of the Rhine, and my
sister has given her the appropriate name Musselina; there is in her
something of perpetual summer. Through this warm-hearted child we are
now already announced to the company."

While he was arranging his hair with his pocket-comb, he continued,--

"The family is very respectable and highly esteemed; the little one is
too good to be trifled with; one must have an inferior kind to smoke in
the open air."

Pranken suddenly became aware whom he was talking to, and immediately
added,--"So would our comrade, Don John Nipper, who was everlastingly
betting, express himself. Do you know that the wild fellow has now an
affection of the spine, and is wheeled about at Wiesbaden in a chair?"

Pranken's whole manner changed; and springing with joyful elasticity
out of the carriage, he reached out his hand to Eric, saying, "Welcome
to Wolfsgarten!" Many carriages were standing in the court-yard, and in
the garden they found the ladies, who with fans and parasols sat upon
handsome chairs around a bed of luxuriantly-growing forget-me-nots, in
the centre of which was a red rhododendron in full bloom.

"We are no peace-breakers; don't let us disturb you, good ladies,"
cried out Pranken from a distance, in a jesting tone. Bella greeted her
brother, and then Eric, whom she recognised at once. The wife of the
Justice and Fräulein Lina were very happy to renew the acquaintance of
yesterday; then were introduced the district physician's wife and
sister, the head-forester's wife and her mother, the apothecary's wife,
the burgomaster's wife, the school-director's wife, and the wives of
the two manufacturers. In fact, all the notabilities of the place
seemed to have assembled. The gentlemen had gone, it was said, to view
some prospect not very far off, and would soon be back.

The conversation was not very lively, and Eric's appearance awakened
interest. The director's wife, a large striking figure--Bella called
her the lay figure, for she knew how to dress well, and everything
became her--raised her opera-glass and looked round upon the landscape,
but took advantage of this survey to get a nearer look at Eric's face.
The manner in which she then balanced the glass in her hand seemed to
say that she was not altogether displeased with the view.

After the first question, how long it was since Eric had seen the
Rhine, and after he had informed them how everything had appeared under
a new aspect, and had affected him almost to intoxication, he said it
was very pleasant to see the young ladies wearing wreaths of fresh
flowers and leaves upon their heads. To this he added the remark, that
though it was natural and fitting for ladies to wear wreaths on their
heads, it was very comical when men, even on some rural excursion,
allowed the black cylinder hat to be ornamented with a wreath by some
fair hand.

Insignificant as was the observation, the tone in which Eric uttered it
gave peculiar pleasure, and the whole circle smiled in a friendly
manner; they at once felt that here was a person of original and
suggestive ideas.

Bella knew how to bring out a guest in conversation. "Did not the
Greeks and Romans, Captain," she asked, "wear badges of distinction
upon the head, while we, who plume ourselves so much about our hearts,
wear ours upon the breast?" Then she spoke of an ancient wreath of
victory she had seen at Rome, and asked Eric whether there were
different classes of wreaths. Without intending it Eric described the
various kinds of crowns given to victory, and it excited much merriment
when he spoke of the wreath made of grass, which a general received who
had relieved a besieged city.

The girls, who stood in groups at one side, made a pretence of calling
out to a handsome boy playing at the fountain below, and sprang down
the little hill with flying garments. On reaching the fountain, they
troubled themselves no further about the little boy they had called to,
but talked with one another about the stranger, and how interesting he
was.

"He is handsomer than the architect," said the apothecary's daughter.

"And he is even handsomer than Herr von Pranken," added Hildegard, the
school-director's daughter.

Lina enjoyed the enviable advantage of being able to relate that she
had met him yesterday at the island convent; her father had rightly
guessed that he was of French descent, for his father had belonged to
the immigrating Huguenots, as his name indicated. The apothecary's
daughter, who plumed herself highly upon her brother's being a
lieutenant, promised to obtain from him more definite information about
the captain.

In her free way, Lina proposed that they should weave a garland and
place it unexpectedly on the bare head of the stranger. The wreath was
speedily got ready, but no one of the girls, not even Lina, ventured to
complete the strange proposal.

Meanwhile Eric was sitting amidst the circle of ladies, and he
expressed his sincere envy of those persons who live among such
beautiful natural scenery; they might not always be conscious of it,
but it had a bracing influence upon the spirit, and there was a keen
sense of loss when removed into less interesting scenes. No one
ventured to make any reply, until Bella remarked,--"Praise of the
landscape in which we live is a sort of flattery to us, as if we
ourselves, our dress, our house, or anything belonging to us, should be
praised."

All assented, although it was not evident whether Bella had expressed
approval or disapproval. Then she asked Eric concerning his mother, and
as if incidentally, but not without emphasis, alluded to the sudden
death of her brother, Baron von Burgholz. Those present knew now that
Eric was of partially noble descent. Bella spoke so easily that
speaking seemed a wholly secondary matter to her, while seeing and
being seen were the things of real importance. She hardly moved a
feature in speaking, scarcely even the lips, and only in smiling
exhibited a full row of small white teeth.

Bella knew that Eric was looking at her attentively while he spoke, and
composedly as if she stood before a mirror, she offered her face to his
gaze. She then introduced Eric, in the most friendly way, to the
agreeable head-forester's wife, a fine singer, asking at the same time
if he still kept up his singing; he replied that he had been for some
years out of practice.

The evening was unusually sultry, and the air was close and hot over
mountain and valley.

A thunder storm was coming up in the distance. They discussed whether
they should wait for the storm at Wolfsgarten or return home
immediately. "If the gentlemen were only here to decide." The pleasant
forester's lady confessed that she was afraid of a thunder storm.

"Then you and your sister are in sympathy," said Eric.

"O," said the sister, "I am not at all afraid."

"Excuse me; I did not mean you, but the beautiful songstress dwelling
here in the thicket. Do you not notice that Mrs. Nightingale, who sang
so spiritedly a few moments since, is now suddenly dumb?" All were very
merry over this remark, and now each told what she did with herself
during a thunder storm.

"I think," said Eric, "that we can find out not so much the character,
as the vegetative life of the brain, the nervous temperament, as it is
called, by observing the effect which a thunder storm has upon us. We
are so far removed from the life of nature, that when changes take
place in the atmosphere that can be heard and seen, we are taken by
surprise, as if a voice should suddenly call to us out of the still
air, 'Attend! thou art walking and breathing in a world full of
mystery!'"

"Ah, here come the gentlemen!" it was suddenly called out. Two handsome
pointers springing into the garden went round and round Pranken's dog,
who had been abroad, smelling at him inquiringly, as if they would get
out of him the results of his experience. The men came immediately
after the dogs.

Eric immediately recognised Count Clodwig, before his name was
mentioned. His fine, well-preserved person, the constant friendliness
of expression on his smoothly shaven, elderly face, as yet
unwrinkled,--this could be no other than the Count Clodwig von
Wolfsgarten; all the rest had grouped themselves around him as a
centre, and exhibited a sort of deference, as if he were the prince of
the land. He possessed two peculiar characteristics seldom found
together: he attracted love, and at the same time commanded homage; and
although he never exhibited any aristocratic haughtiness, and treated
each one in a friendly and kindly manner, it seemed only a matter of
course for him to take the lead.

When Eric was introduced to him, his countenance immediately lighted
up, every feature beaming with happy thoughts. "You are welcome; as the
son of my Roman friend you have inherited my friendship," he said,
pressing more closely with his left hand the spectacles over his eyes.

His manner of speaking was so moderate and agreeable that he seemed to
be no stranger; while there was in the accent something so calm
and measured, that any striking novelty was received from him as
something for which you were unconsciously prepared. He had always
the same demeanor, a steady composure, and a certain deliberateness,
never making haste, having always time enough, and preserving a
straight-forward uprightness befitting an old man. When Eric expressed
the happiness it gave him to inherit the count's friendship towards his
father, and that of the countess towards his mother, a still warmer
friendliness beamed from Clodwig's countenance.

"You have exactly your father's voice," he said. "It was a hard stroke
to me when I heard of his death, for I had thought of writing to him
for several years, but delayed until it was too late."

When Eric was introduced now by Clodwig to the rest of the gentlemen,
it seemed as if this man invested him with his own dignity. "Here I
make you acquainted with a good comrade," said Clodwig, with a
significant smile, whilst he introduced him to an old gentleman, having
a broad red face, and snow-white hair trimmed very close. "This is our
major--Major Grassler."

The major nodded pleasantly, extending to Eric a hand to which the
forefinger was wanting; but the old man could still press strongly the
stranger's hand. He nodded again, but said nothing.

The other gentlemen were also introduced by the count; one of these, a
handsome young man, with a dark-brown face and fine beard and
moustache, the architect Erhardt, took his leave directly, as he had an
appointment at the limestone quarry. The school-director informed Eric
that he had been also a pupil of Professor Einsiedel.

The major was called out of the men's circle by the ladies; they took
him to task, the wife of the Justice leading off, for having left them
and gone off with the gentlemen, while always before he had been very
attentive to the ladies, and their faithful knight. Now he was to make
amends.

The major had just seated himself when the girls placed upon his white
head the crown intended for Eric. He nodded merrily, and desired that a
mirror should be brought, to see how he looked. He pointed the
forefinger of his left hand to Lina, and asked her if that was one of
the things she learned at the convent.

It soon became evident that the major was the target for shafts of wit,
a position which some one in every society voluntarily must assume or
submit to perforce. The major conferred upon his acquaintance more
pleasure than he was aware of, for every one smiled in a friendly way
when he was thought of or spoken about.

A gust of wind came down over the plain; the flag upon the mansion was
lowered; the upholstered chairs were speedily put under the covering of
the piazza; and all had a feeling of comfort, as they sat sociably
together in the well-lighted drawing-room, while the storm raged
outside.

For some time no other subject could be talked about than the storm.
The major told of a slight skirmish in which he had been engaged in the
midst of the most fearful thunder and lightning; he expressed himself
clumsily, but they understood his meaning, how horrible it was for them
to be murdering each other, while the heavens were speaking. The
Justice told of a young fellow who was about to take a false oath, and
had just raised up his hand, when a sudden thunder-clap caused him to
drop it, crying out, "I am guilty." The forester added laughing, that a
thunder storm was a very nice thing, as the wild game afterwards was
very abundant. The school-director gave an exceedingly graphic
description of the difficulty of keeping children in the school-room
occupied, as one could not continue the ordinary instruction, and yet
one did not know what should be done with them.

All eyes were turned upon Eric as if to inquire what he had to say, and
he remarked in an easy tone,--"What here possesses the soul as a raging
storm is down there, on the lower Rhine, and above there, in Alsace, a
distant heat lightning which cools off the excessive heat of the
daytime. People sit there enjoying themselves in gardens and balconies,
breathing in the pure air in quiet contemplation. I might say that
there are geographical boundaries and distinct zones of feeling."

Drawing out this idea at length, he was able to make them wholly
forget the present. The forester's wife, who had been sitting in the
dark in the adjoining room with her hand over her eyes, came into the
drawing-room at these words of Eric, which she must have heard, and
seemed relieved of all fear.

Eric spoke for a long time. Though his varied experience might have
taught him a different lesson, he still believed that people always
wished to get something in conversation, to gain clearer ideas, and not
merely to while away the time. Hence, when he conversed, he gave out
his whole soul, the very best he had, and did not fear that behind his
back they would call his animated utterances pertness and vanity. He
had a talent for society; even more than that, for he placed himself in
the position of him whom he addressed, and this one soon felt that Eric
saw farther than he himself did, and that he spoke not out of
presumption, but out of benevolence.

There is something really imposing in a man who clearly and fluently
expresses his ideas to other people; their own thought is brought to
light, and they are thankful for the boon. But most persons are imposed
upon by the "Sir Oracle" who gives them to understand, "I am speaking
of things which you do not and cannot comprehend;" and the Sir Oracles
carry so much the greater weight of influence.

The men, and more particularly the Justice and the school-director,
shrugged their shoulders. Eric's enthusiasm and his unreserved
unfolding of his own interior life had in it something odd, even
wounding to some of the men. They felt that this strange manner, this
extraordinary revelation of character, this pouring out of one's best,
was attractive to the ladies, and that they, getting in a word
incidentally and without being able to complete a thought, or round off
a period, were wholly cast into the shade. The Justice, observing the
beaming eyes of his daughter and of the forester's wife, whispered to
the school-director, "This is a dangerous person."

The company broke up into groups. Eric stood with Clodwig in the
bow-window, and they looked out upon the night. The lightning flashed
over the distant mountains, sometimes lighting up a peak in the
horizon, sometimes making a rift in the sky, as if behind it were
another sky, while the thunder rolled, shaking the ceiling and tinkling
the pendent prisms of the chandelier.

"There are circumstances and events which occur and repeat themselves
as if they had already passed before us in a dream," Clodwig began.
"Just as I now stand here with you, I stood with your father in the
Roman Campagna. I know not how it chanced, but we spoke of that view in
which the things of the world are regarded under the aspect of the
infinite, and then your father said,--methinks I still hear his
voice,--'Only when we take in the life of humanity as a whole do we
have, as thinkers, that rest which the believers receive from faith,
for then the world lives to us as to them, in the oneness of God's
thought. He who follows up only the individual ant cannot comprehend
its zigzag track, or its fate as it suddenly falls into the hole of the
ant-lion, who must also get a living. But he who regards the anthill as
a whole--'"

Clodwig suddenly stopped. From the valley they heard the shrill whistle
of the locomotive, and the hollow rumbling of the train of cars.

"But at that time," he continued after a pause, and his face was
lighted up by a sudden flash of lightning, "at that time no
locomotive's whistle broke in upon our quiet meditation."

"And yet," said Eric, "I do not like to regard this shrill tone as a
discord."

"Go on, I am curious to hear why not."

"Is it not grand that human beings continue their ordinary pursuits in
the midst of nature's disturbances? In our modern age an unalterable
system of movements is seen to be continually operating upon our earth.
May it not be said that all our doing is but a preparation of the way,
a making straight the path, so that the eternal forces of nature may
move in freedom? The man of this new age has the railroad to serve
him."

Clodwig grasped Eric's hand. Bright flashes of lightning illumined the
beaming face of the young man and the serene countenance of the old
count. Clodwig pressed warmly Eric's hand, as if he would say, "Welcome
again! now art thou truly mine." Love, suddenly taking possession of
two hearts, is said to make them one; and is it not also true of
friendship?

It was so here. The two confronted each other, not with any foreboding,
or excitement of feeling, but with a clear and firm recognition that
each had found his own choicest possession; they felt that they
belonged to each other, and it was entirely forgotten that they had
looked into each other's eyes for the first time only a few moments
before. They had become united in the pure thought of the Eternal that
has no measure of time; they may have stood there speechless for a long
time after unclasping their hands; they were united, and they were one
without the need of word, without external sign.

In a voice full of emotion, as if he had a secret to reveal, which he
could hardly open his lips to utter, and yet which he must not
withhold, Clodwig said,--"In such storms I have often thought of that
former period when the whole land from here to the Odenwald was a great
lake, out of which the mountain peaks towered as islands, until the
water forced for itself a channel through the wall of rock. And have
you, my young friend, ever entertained the thought that chaos may come
again?"

"Yes, indeed; but we cannot transport ourselves into the pre-human or
post-human period. We can only fill out, according to our strength, our
allotted time of three score years and ten." The major now came and
invited them to go into the inner saloon, where the company had
assembled. Clodwig again stroked softly Eric's hand, saying, "Will you
come?" Like two lovers who have just given a secret kiss and an
embrace, they rejoined the company. No one suspected why their
countenances were so radiant.



                              CHAPTER VII.

                         AN ILLUMINATING FLASH.


After the crisis of a storm has passed, a company of persons become
very lively, and have an additional feeling of home. They had withdrawn
into the inner music saloon, whose vaulted ceiling, brilliantly lighted
up, had even a festive appearance. Half way up the walls of the room
four balconies projected, and in the centre was the grand piano. On one
side was a circular seat, upon an elevated platform, where Bella was
sitting with the happy Justice's wife on the right, and the forester's
wife on the left.

The young girls were promenading arm in arm through the saloon, and
Pranken, full of his jokes, accompanied them; he carried in his hand a
rose out of Lina's wreath; when Clodwig and Eric joined the circle,
with the major, the young people came up to them.

Bella asked the major whether the work upon the castle, which Herr
Sonnenkamp had begun to rebuild, was still continued. The major nodded;
he always nodded several times before he spoke, as if carefully
arranging beforehand what he should say.

He asserted very confidently that they would find a spring in the
castle court-yard. Clodwig begged him to preserve carefully every relic
of the middle ages and the Roman period, and promised soon to go
himself, and superintend the excavations. The head-forester jestingly
observed, "Herr Sonnenkamp,"--everybody called him Herr, but with a
peculiar accent, as if they wished no further acquaintance with
him,--"Herr Sonnenkamp will probably now give his name to the restored
castle."

When Herr Sonnenkamp's name was mentioned, it seemed as if a dam had
been carried away, and the conversation rushed in headlong from all
quarters.

"Herr Sonnenkamp has a deal of understanding," said the
school-director, "but Molière maliciously observes, that the rich man's
understanding is in his pocket."

The apothecary added, "Herr Sonnenkamp loves to represent himself as an
incorrigible sinner, in the hope that nobody will believe him; but
people do believe him."

Eric caught the names Herr Sonnenkamp, Frau Ceres, Manna, Roland, Frau
Perini; it was like the chirping of birds in the woods, all sounds
mingled together, and no one melody distinctly heard. The wife of the
Justice, with a significant glance towards Pranken, said, "Men like the
major and Herr von Pranken can take up at once such mysterious,
interloping people from abroad, but ladies must be more reserved." Then
she gave it to be understood that the old established families could
not be too strict in receiving foreign intruders.

In a somewhat forced humor, Bella joked about the long nails of Frau
Ceres; but her lips trembled when Clodwig said very sharply, "Among the
Indians long nails take the place of family descent, and the one
perhaps is as good as the other."

All were amazed when Clodwig spoke so disparagingly of the nobility. He
seemed displeased at the detracting remarks upon the Sonnenkamp family;
he was above all meanness, and everything small and invidious was
as offensive to him as a disagreeable odor. Turning to Eric, he
said,--"Herr Sonnenkamp, the present subject of the conversation, is
the owner of many millions. To acquire such immense wealth is an
evidence of strength; or, I should rather say, to acquire great wealth
shows great vigor; to keep it requires great wisdom; and to use it well
is a virtue and an art."

He paused, and as no one spoke, he continued,--"Riches have a certain
title to respect; riches, especially one's own acquisition, are an
evidence of activity and service. Far easier does it appear to me to be
a prince, than to be a man of such excessive wealth. Such an
accumulation of power is apt to make men arbitrary; a very wealthy man
lives in an atmosphere saturated, as it were, with the consciousness of
supreme power, and ceases to be an individual personality, and the
whole world assumes to him the aspect of a price-current list. Have you
ever met such a man?"

Before Eric could reply, Pranken roughly broke in, "Captain Dournay
wishes to become the tutor of the young Sonnenkamp." All eyes were
directed towards Eric; he was regarded as if he had been suddenly
transformed, and clad in a beggar's garment. The men nodded to each
other and shrugged their shoulders; a man engaging in a private
employment, and such an employment too, had lost all title to
consideration. The ladies looked at him compassionately. Eric saw
nothing of all this. He did not know what Pranken meant by this
surprising revelation; he felt that he must make some reply, but knew
not what to say.

A painful pause followed Pranken's communication. Clodwig had placed
his hands upon his lips, that had become very pale. At last he said,
"Such an appointment will contribute to your honor, and to the honor
and good fortune of Herr Sonnenkamp."

Eric felt a broad hand laid upon his shoulder, and on looking round he
gazed into the smiling countenance of the major, who, pointing several
times with his left hand to his heart, said at last, "The count has
expressed what I wished to say, but it is better for him to have said
it, and he has done it much better than I could. Carry out your
purpose, comrade."

Pranken now came up, and said, in a very affable tone, that it was he
who had advised and recommended Eric. Lina had opened a window, and
called out in a clear voice, "The storm is over."

A fresh, fragrant air streaming into the saloon gave relief to their
constraint, and every one breathed freely again. A gentle rain still
pattered down, but the nightingales were again singing in the woods.
They now urged the forester's wife to sing. She declined, but could not
withstand the request of Bella, who very seldom played, that she would
sing to her accompaniment.

The forester's wife sang some songs with so fresh and youthful a voice,
so clear and simple, that the hearts of all the hearers were touched.
Lina also was urged to sing. She insisted that she could not to-day,
but, on receiving a reproving glance from her mother, she seated
herself at the piano, sang some notes, and then gave up. Without
embarrassment, as if nothing had happened, she said, "I have now proved
to you that I can't sing to-day."

The wife of the Justice bit her lips, and breathed hard with quivering
nostrils, at the foolish girl acting as if nothing was the matter. The
forester's wife sang another song; and now Lina, placing herself at her
side, said that she would sing a duet, but she could not sing alone.
And she did sing, in a fresh soprano voice, somewhat timidly, but with
clear and pure tone.

With unconscious simplicity, as if he were an old acquaintance, she now
asked Eric to sing. The whole company united in the request, but Eric
positively declined, and looked up surprised when Pranken joined in
with the remark, "The captain is right in not exhibiting at once all
his varied talents." It was said in the gentlest tone, but the
sarcastic point was unmistakable.

"I thank you for standing by me like a good comrade," said Eric,
looking round.

The sky was clear, only it still lightened over the Taunus mountains.
The company took their leave, with many thanks for the delightful day
they had spent, and the charming evening. Even the perpetually silent
"Mrs. Lay-figure" now spoke, appearing in her fashionable new hood,
which she had put on very becomingly. Just as they were departing, the
physician made his appearance. He had been detained by the storm while
visiting a patient in a neighboring village. He drove off with the
rest, having scarcely had time to say good-evening to the Count Clodwig
and Bella.

Bella drew a long breath when the reception was all over. There was
much conversation in the different carriages, but in one there was
weeping, for Lina received a sharp scolding for her behavior, in acting
as if she were nothing but a stupid, simple country girl. Instead of
being sprightly and making the most of herself, she behaved as if she
had come, only an hour before, from keeping geese. Lina had for a long
time been accustomed to these violent reproofs, but she seemed today to
take them more feelingly to heart. She had been so happy, that now the
severe lecture came doubly hard. She silently wept.

The Justice, who was no justice of the peace in his own family, took no
part in this feminine outbreak. Not until he was ready to take a fresh
cigar did he say, "This loquacious Dournay seems to me a dangerous
man."

"I think him very agreeable."

"Woman's logic! as if the amiability, instead of excluding, did not
rather include, the dangerous element. Don't you see through this very
transparent intrigue?"

"No."

"Then put together these facts: we come across him at the convent,
where the daughter of this exceedingly wealthy Herr Sonnenkamp is
living, and he acts as if he knew no one, and had no special end in
view. Now he wants to be the tutor of young Sonnenkamp. Ha! what a
flash!"

A bright flash of lightning illumined not only the landscape, but the
relation in which several people stood to each other. Especially the
Eden villa was as clearly defined in every part as if it were only a
few paces off.

"Just see," continued the Justice, "how this great pile of buildings
and the park are lighted up, and no one knows what is brewing up
here. Amazing world! Baron Pranken introduces this Dournay to his
sister-in-law and his father-in-law as a friend, and yet these two men
are sworn enemies."

The wife of the Justice was vexed with her husband. He was so animated,
and made such keen observations, alone with her and at home, while in
society he had hardly a word to say, and let others bear away all the
honors.

"Who is the father-in-law you speak of?" she asked, for the sake of
saying something.

"Why, Herr Sonnenkamp, of course; at least, he is to be. That
inexhaustible wealth of his is guano for the Baron Pranken; he needs
it, and why should he trouble himself about where it comes from?" Lina
threw her veil over her face, and shut her eyes. The Justice now
explained the special reasons why neither he, nor his wife, should
become mixed up in these affairs.

"This captain-doctor is a dangerous man, dangerous in many respects."
This was his last remark, and they were silent until they reached home.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                        CONFESSION OF TWO KINDS.


Otto von Pranken walked with his sister Bella up and down the garden.
Otto informed her that he had recommended Eric to Herr Sonnenkamp, but
that he was already very sorry for it.

Bella, who was always out of humor after she had made herself a victim
to the collation, turned now her ill humor against her brother, who had
introduced to her as a fitting guest one who was, or wished to be, a
menial, and above all, a menial of that Herr Sonnenkamp. With
mischievous satisfaction she added thereto, that Otto must take delight
in boldly leaping over difficulties, since he had recommended into the
family such an attractive person as this doctor--she made use of that
title as being inferior to that of captain. The natural consequence
would be that the daughter of the house would fall in love with her
brother's tutor.

"This Herr Dournay," she ended by saying, "is a very attractive person,
not merely because he is extraordinarily handsome, but yet more because
he possesses a romantic open-heartedness and honesty. Whether it is
genuine or assumed, at any rate, it tells, and particularly with a girl
of seventeen just out of a convent."

Otto answered good naturedly, that he had given his sister credit for a
less commonplace imagination; moreover, that Eric was an acknowledged
woman-hater, who would never love a real woman of flesh and blood. Yet
Pranken declared his intention of calling the next morning at the
villa, and telling Herr Sonnenkamp in confidence how very reluctant he
was to give the recommendation; that he should beseech him to dismiss
the applicant politely, for he might with propriety and justice say
that Eric would inoculate the boy with radical ideas; yes, that it
might further be said to Herr Sonnenkamp, that to receive Eric would be
displeasing at court. This last reason, he thought, would carry all
before it. Pranken had worked himself into the belief that to have a
secure position in the court-circle was the highest that Herr
Sonnenkamp could aim at.

Bella rejected this plan; she took pleasure in inciting her brother to
gain the victory over such an opponent; that would inspire him with
fresh animation. Moreover, that it might be well to offset the Lady
Perini, whose ecclesiastical tendencies no one had thoroughly fathomed,
by a man who was a representative of the world, and under obligations
of gratitude to them. And further it was not to be doubted that a
perpetual, secret war would exist between Donna Perini and this
over-confident Dournay, so that, whatever might happen, they would have
the regulation and disposal of matters in their own hands.

Bella forgot all her vexation, for a whole web of intrigue unfolded
itself clearly to her sight, agreeable in the prosecution, and tending
to one result. She was the confidante of Fräulein Perini, but she
herself did not wholly trust her, and Otto must remain intimate with
Eric; and in this way, they would hold the Sonnenkamp family in their
hands, for Eric would undoubtedly acquire great influence.

Otto strenuously resisted the carrying out of the part assigned to him,
but he was not let off. A cat sitting quiet and breathless before a
mouse-hole will not be enticed away, for she knows that the mouse will
come out; it is nibbling already; and then there is a successful
spring. Bella had one means of inducing her brother to do as she
wished; she need only repeat to him how irresistible he was, and how
necessary it was for him to gain that self-confidence which had
hitherto stood him in such good part. Otto was not fully convinced, but
he was persuaded that he soon would be. And, moreover, this Dournay was
a poor man whom one must help; he had taken today the sudden revelation
of his position in life with a good grace, and behaved very well.

Whilst brother and sister promenaded in the garden, Eric sat in the
study of Count Clodwig, that was lighted by a branching lamp. They sat
opposite, in arm-chairs, at the long writing-table. "I regret," Clodwig
began, "that the physician came so late; he has a rough rind, but a
sound heart. I think that you and he will be good friends."

Eric said nothing, and Clodwig continued: "I cannot understand why my
brother-in-law, in his peculiar manner, informed the company so
suddenly of your intention. Now it is a common topic of conversation,
and your excellent project loses its first naïve charm."

Eric replied with great decision, that we must allow the deed resolved
upon in meditation to come into the cold sharp air of the critical
understanding.

Clodwig again gazed at him fixedly, apparently surprised that this man
should be so well armed at all points; and placing his small hand upon
a portfolio before him as if he were writing down something new, he
resumed:--

"I have, to-day, been confirmed anew in an old opinion. People
generally regard private employment as a degradation, regardless of the
consideration that the important thing is, in what spirit one serves,
and not whom he serves. 'I serve,' is the motto of my maternal
ancestors."

The old man paused, and Eric did not know whether he was going on, or
waited for a reply; but Clodwig continued: "It is regarded as highly
honorable when a general officer, or a state official undertakes the
education of a prince; but is it any the less honorable to engage in
the work of educating thirty peasant lads, or to devote one's self, as
you do, to the bringing up of this wealthy youth? And now I have one
request to make of you."

"My only desire is to grant it."

"Will you tell me as exactly as possible how, you have so--I mean, how
you have become what you are?"

"Most willingly; and I will deserve the honor of being allowed to speak
so unreservedly, by not being too modest. I will speak to you as to
myself."

Clodwig rang a bell that stood upon the table, and a servant entered.
"Robert, what room is assigned to the doctor?" "The brown one directly
over the count's chamber." "Let the captain have the balcony chamber."
"If the count will pardon me, the luggage of Leonhard, Prince of
Saxony, is still in that room." "No matter; and, one thing more, I
desire not to be interrupted until I ring."

The servant departed, and Clodwig settled himself in the arm-chair,
drawing a plush sofa-blanket over his knees; then he said, "If I shut
my eyes, do not think that I am asleep."

In the manner with which Clodwig now bade Eric speak out frankly, there
was a trustful kindness, very far removed from all patronizing
condescension; it expressed, rather, an intimate sympathy and a most
hearty confidence. Eric began.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                               A SEEKER.


"I am twenty-eight years old, and when I review my life, it seems to me
so far to have been only a search. One occupation leaves so many
faculties dormant, and yet the torture of making a choice must come to
an end; and in every calling of life the entire manhood may be
maintained and called forth into action.

"I am the child of a perfectly happy marriage, and you know what that
means. I shared, from my third year, the education of the Prince
Leonhard. There was a perpetual opposition between us, the reason of
which I did not discover until later, when an open breach occurred. I
then saw for the first time, that a sort of dissimulation, which does
not agree with good comradeship, had made me outwardly deferential, and
inwardly uneasy and irritated. Perhaps nothing is more opposed to the
very nature of a child than a perpetual deference and compliant
acquiescence.

"I entered the military school, where I received marked respect,
because I had been the comrade of the prince. My father was there
my special instructor, and there I lived two years with your
brother-in-law. I was not distinguished as a scholar.

"One of the happiest days of my life was the one on which I wore my
epaulets for the first time; and though the day on which I laid aside
my uniform was not less happy, I am not yet free from inconsistency. I
cannot to this day, see a battery of artillery pass by without feeling
my heart beat quicker.

"I travel backwards and forwards, and I pray you to excuse disconnected
narration. I have, to-day, been through such a various experience; but
I will now endeavor to tell my story more directly and concisely.

"Soon after I became lieutenant, my parents removed to the university
city; I was how left alone. I was, for a whole year, contented with
myself and happy, like every one around me. I can remember now the very
hour of a beautiful autumn afternoon,--I still see the tree, and hear
the magpie in its branches,--when I suddenly reined in my horse, and
something within me asked, 'What art thou doing in the world? training
thyself and thy recruits to kill thy fellow-men in the most scientific
manner?'"

"Allow me to ask one question," Clodwig mildly interrupted. "Did the
military school never seem to you a school of men, and part of your
profession?"

Eric was confused, and replied in the negative; then collecting his
thoughts, he resumed: "I sought to drive away oppressive thoughts, but
they would not leave me. I had fallen out with myself and my
occupation. I cannot tell you how useless to myself and to the world I
seemed to be,--all was empty, bare, desolate. There were days when I
was ashamed of my dress, that I, a sound; strong man, should be loafing
about so well dressed, my horse perhaps consuming the oats of some poor
man."

"That is morbid," Clodwig struck in with vehemence.

"I see it is now; but then it was different in the first stress of
feeling. The Crimean war broke out, and I asked for a furlough, in
order to become acquainted with actual war. My commander, Prince
Leonhard, at the rifle-practice, casually asked me which army I meant
to join; and before I could reply, he added, in a caustic tone, 'Would
you prefer to enlist with the light French or the heavy Englishman?' My
tongue was tied, and I perceived clearly my own want of a clear
understanding of my position. How mere a cipher was I, standing there
without any knowledge of myself or the world! My outer relations shared
in the total ruin of my inner being. Must I relate to you all these
petty annoyances? I deserved to have them, for there was in me nothing
but contradiction, and my whole life was one single great lie. A
uniform had been given me; I was not myself, and I was a poor soldier,
for I abandoned myself to the study of philosophy, and wished to solve
the riddle of life. I am of a peculiarly companionable, sympathetic
nature, and yet the continued life among my fellow-soldiers had become
an impossibility.

"I bore it two years, then asked for my discharge; which I received,
with the rank of Captain, out of respect to my parents, I think. I was
free, at last, and yet, as I said before, it saddened me to break away
from my life.

"I was free! It was strange to look out into the world and say. World,
what do you want of me? What must I do for you? Here are a thousand
employments; which shall I take? I was ready for anything. I had a fine
voice, and many people thought that I might become a professional
singer, and I received overtures to that effect. But my own inclination
led in a very different direction. An earnest longing possessed me to
make some sacrifice for my fellow-men. Had I been a devout believer, I
think I should have become a monk."

Clodwig opened his eyes and met Eric's beaming glance. After a short
pause, Clodwig nodded to Eric, then folded his arms again on his
breast, laid his head back, nodded again, and closed his eyes. Eric
continued:--

"When I first went through the streets in a civilian's dress, I felt as
if I were walking naked before the eyes of men, as one sometimes seems
to be in troubled dreams. In such a helpless, forlorn state of feeling,
one grows superstitious, and is easily governed by the merest
accidents; The first person who met me, and stared at me, as if
doubting who I was, was my former captain, who had left the service,
and was superintendent of a House of Correction for men. He had seen
the notice of my discharge, and remembering some of my former attempts
in that direction, asked whether I meant to devote myself entirely to
poetry. I answered in the negative, and he told me that he was looking
for an assistant. My decision was soon made; I would consecrate myself
to the care and elevation of my fallen fellow-men. After entering on my
new occupation I wrote to my parents. My father replied to me, that he
appreciated my efforts, but foresaw with certainty that my natural love
of beauty would make a life among criminals unbearable to me; he was
right. I tried with all my might to keep in subjection a longing for
the higher luxuries of life, but in vain. I was without that peculiar
natural vein, or perhaps had not reached that elevated standpoint,
which enables one to look upon and to treat all the aspects of life as
so many natural phenomena. In my captain's uniform, I received more
respect from the prisoners than in my citizen's dress. This experience
was a sort of nightmare to me. Life among the convicts, who were either
hardened brutes or cunning hypocrites, became a hell to me, and
this hell had one peculiar torment. I fell into a mood of morbid
self-criticism, because I could not forget the world, but was
constantly trying to guess the thoughts of others. I tormented myself
by imagining what men said of my course. In their eyes I seemed to
myself now an idealistic vagabond, if you will allow the expression.
This I was not, and would not be, and above all, I was determined that
my enemies and deriders should not have the triumph of seeing me the
wreck of a fickle and purposeless existence.

"Ah, I vexed myself unnecessarily; for who has time or inclination to
look for a man who has disappeared! Men bury the dead, and go back to
their every-day work, and so they bury the living too. I do not
reproach them for it, it must be so.

"It became clear to me that I was not fitted for the calling I had
chosen. I lived too much within myself, and tried in every event to
study the foundation and growth of character of those around me, not
willing to acknowledge that the nature and actions of men do not
develope themselves so logically as I had thought. Besides, I was too
impassioned, and possessed by a constant longing for the beautiful.

"I thought of emigrating to the New World, but what should I do there?
Was it worth while to have borne such varied experiences and struggles
in order to turn a bit of the primeval forest into a cornfield? Still,
one consideration drew me toward America. My father's only brother, the
proprietor of a manufactory of jewelry, lived there, but was quite lost
to us. He had loved my mother's sister, but his suit was somewhat
harshly rejected, and he left Europe for the New World. He cast off all
connection with his home and family, and turned out of his house in New
York a friend of my father's who guardedly mentioned us to him. He
would hear nothing of us, nor even of Europe. I imagined that I could
reconcile my uncle, and you know that a man in desperate circumstances
looks for salvation to the most adventurous undertakings.

"My good father helped me. What he had always recognized as my true
vocation, from which I had turned blinded by the attractions of army
life, I now saw plainly. A thirst for loneliness arose within me; I
felt that I must find some spot of earth where no disturbing tone could
penetrate the inner life, where I could immerse myself in solitude.
This solitude which is inclusive of all true life, study, the world of
letters, now offered to me. My father helped me, while showing me that
my past life was not wasted, but must give me a new direction and a
peculiar success. He brought me a birth-day gift which I had received
in my cradle; the senate of the University; in which he had lectured
before his appointment as tutor of the prince, had bestowed upon me
soon after my birth its certificate of matriculation, as a new-born
prince receives a military commission."

Clodwig laughed heartily, rubbed his eyes, leaned forward with both
hands on his knees, looked kindly at Eric, and begged him to go on.

"I have little more to tell you. I soon schooled myself, or rather my
father schooled me, to live for universal ends, and to put aside all
personal aims as much as possible. I devoted myself to the study of
ancient literature, and every aspiration for the beautiful, which had
idealized the poet's vocation for me, found satisfaction in my
introduction to the classic world. 'Every man may glory in his
industry,' says the poet. I worked faithfully, and felt only in my
father's house the happiness of a child, and in my youth the joy of
mental growth. My father hoped that success would be granted me where
he had failed; he made me heir of those ideas which he could neither
establish as scientific truth, nor impart from his professor's chair,
if there ever were a happy home, made holy by lofty aspiration, it was
my parents' house. There my younger brother died, now very nearly a
year ago; my father, who already was sorely sick at heart, with all his
stoic fortitude could not bear this blow. It is two months since he
also died. I kept down the anguish of my bereavement, finished my
studies, and received my doctor's degree a few days ago. My mother and
I formed various plans, but have not yet decided upon any. I made this
excursion to the Rhine in compliance with my mother's advice, for I
have been working very hard; on my return we meant to come to some
decision. I met your brother-in-law, and I feel it my duty not to turn
away from the opening which has offered. I am ready to enter into
private service, knowing what I undertake, and believing that I am
thoroughly equipped for it. There was a time when I thought I could
find satisfaction only in working for some great public interest; now I
should be content to educate a single human being, still more to
co-operate in training to a fitness for his great duties one, who, by
his future lordship over vast possessions, represents in himself
manifold human interests.

"I have come to the end of my story. I do not wish that any one should
think better of me than I deserve, but I also wish to pass for what I
believe I am. I am neither modest nor conceited; I may be in dangerous
ignorance, for I do not in the least know how I am regarded by others;
I have shown only what I find in myself by honest self-examination. I
mean to be a teacher. He who would live in the spirit, and has not the
artist's creative power, must be a teacher; for the teacher is, so to
speak, the artisan of the higher being, and, like every artisan, is so
much the better workman, or teacher, the more of the artist spirit he
has and uses. A thought is the best gift which man can bestow upon man,
and what I give my pupil is no longer my own. But pardon me for having
fallen into this vein of preaching. I have shown you my whole life, as
well as I can; where I have left any gaps, pray question me."

"Nothing further is needed," said Clodwig, rising, and quietly laying
aside the sofa-blanket. "Only one question. Have you never had the
desire to marry, or has that not entered into your plans?"

"No, I shall not marry. I have heard so many men say, 'Yes, ideals, I
had them too, but now I live in and for my family.' I will not
sacrifice everything higher to the caprice of a pretty woman. I know
that I am at variance with the world; I cannot dissemble, nor can I
change my own way of thinking, nor bring others over to mine. I have
set myself a difficult life-task, which can be best carried out alone."

Clodwig stepped quickly towards Eric and said:--

"I give you my hand again. This hand shall never be withdrawn from you,
so long as it has life. I had something else in view for you, but now I
cannot and need not speak of it; I will subdue my own wishes. Enough;
press on quietly and firmly towards your goal; whatever I can do to
help you reach it, you have a right to demand. Remember you have a
claim upon me in every situation and condition of your life. You cannot
yet estimate what you have given, and are still giving me. Good night,
my dear young friend."

The count hastily withdrew, as if to avoid any further emotion. Eric
stood still, looking at the empty chair and the sofa-blanket as if all
were a dream, until a servant came, and, in a very respectful manner,
conducted him to his room.



                               CHAPTER X.

                             THE GOOD HOST.


When a man has laid open his whole history to another, he often seems
to himself emptied, hollow, and void,--what is left of him? how small
and contemptible he appears! But it was quite otherwise with Eric. From
a tower below in the valley rang clear a silver-toned midnight bell,
hung there in ancient times by a noble lady, to guide the lost wanderer
in the forest to a human dwelling. Eric heard it, and saw in fancy the
confessional in the church, with its believers bending before it, or
passing out into the world again made strong by its blessing. He had
confessed to a man whose life was consecrated by a pure spirit, and
felt himself not impoverished, but elevated and strengthened, armed
with self-knowledge for every relation of life.

He opened the window, and inhaled the cool, fragrant air of night. Over
the valley hung a thin mist; the clocks in the villages struck
midnight, and the Wolfsgarten clock chimed in sweet and low. Eric
resigned himself to the influence of nature's life and power as it
presses upward in the tree-trunks, moves in the branches, and refreshes
every bud. In the distance rolled a railway train. The nightingales
sang loudly, then suddenly ceased as if overpowered by sleep.

In nebulous forms, familiar and strange figures gathered around Eric.
How much he had experienced in this one day, though he had not yet
crossed the threshold of the house where perhaps his future lot was
cast! He had reviewed his past life, and had found a home of which he
had not dreamed yesterday. Ah, how great and rich is the world, and
true comrades live in it waiting only for our summons and the greeting
of friendly eyes!

All the fulness of life in the immortality of nature and the human
spirit flooded Eric's being. He felt a blessed elation; he had given up
his life, it was taken from him; he was freed from self, and lived and
soared in the infinite.

The moon rose over the mountains, a whispering thrill rustled through
the wood, the nightingale sang loud again, the mists rose from the
valley and vanished, and one broad beam glittered on a glass dome in
the distance. There lay Villa Eden.

Only after a vigorous resistance Eric finally yielded to weariness and
closed the window. A black trunk marked with the crest of Prince
Leonhard first attracted his notice, and he smiled to see how Clodwig
had shown his household in what honor he held his guest; this room had
been occupied by the Prince a few days before. Eric then gazed long on
a bust of Medusa, fascinated by the grand, powerful, beautiful face; on
the head with its wildly disordered locks were two wide-spread wings;
below the heavy frowning brow gleamed the great death-dealing eyes; the
mouth was haughtily curved, and on the lips lay scornful, defiant
words; under the chin two snakes were knotted together like a kerchief.
The aspect of the head was at once repulsive and fascinating.

Opposite the Medusa stood a cast of the Victory of Rauch, that
wonderful countenance recalling the face of Queen Louisa, the noble
head with its garland of oak-leaves not raised, but bent as if in
thought and self-control.   A strange pair were those two busts! but
there was no more time to dwell upon them. Eric was overcome by sleep,
but woke again after a few hours, when day had scarcely dawned.

There are hours and days of joyous and buoyant feeling, as if we had
found the key to all hearts; as if we held in our hands the magic wand
which reveals all living springs, and brings us near to every soul as
to a friend and a brother. The world is purified, the soul pervaded by
the deep feeling of unalloyed blessedness, which is nothing but
breathing, living, loving.

Encompassed by such an atmosphere, Eric stood at the window and looked
out over the river to the mountains beyond, the castles, the towns, the
villages, on the banks and on the heights. Everywhere thou art at home,
thou art living in a beautiful world. He went at once into the open
air, and strode on not as if he were walking, but as if borne onward by
some ineffable power. Drops of rain from the last night's storm hung
upon the tender green of the foliage, on the grass and flowers; no
breeze stirred the air, and frequent rain-drops, like a sudden shower,
pattered down from the overhanging branches. A ray of sunlight now
gleams upon every leaf and twig, and awakens an inexpressible movement;
the blackbird sings in the copse, and with his clear, shrill tone is
heard far above all the intermingling, chorus of melodies.

Eric stood motionless near a covered pavilion on the very ridge of the
mountain, and gazed long at a kite hovering with outspread wings over
the summit, and then letting itself down into the wood on the other
side of the river. What made him think at that moment of Herr
Sonnenkamp? Was it envy and dread of the little bird, whom evil tongues
called a bird of prey; and has he not the right to live according to
his might?

Eric's thoughts were wafted toward the boy, longing to mingle in his
dreams, and whisper to him, I am coming to thee. He endeavored for a
long time to get sight of the glass dome, but it was nowhere visible.
He went away from the river to an elevated plain, from which there was
again a view of valleys, heights, and mountains.

He stood in the midst of an extensive field, and for the first time saw
a vineyard which was just being planted. The laborers held implements,
like augurs, in their hands, and making with them holes in the loose
earth, they set out the young shoots in rows.

He saluted the laborers, and they answered him cheerfully, feeling from
the sound of his voice that he greeted every stranger as a brother. He
inquired how long it would be before the first vintage, and when an old
man answered clearly all his questions, he felt a new refreshment.

This conversation brought him back from his state of excitement, back
from his wandering into the infinite, again to the earth. He went away
expressing his thanks, and realising that he must bring this strain of
lofty feeling into subjection to actual life. He met laborers who were
going to a limestone quarry. He joined them, and learned that this also
belonged to the count, who had leased all his lands, not retaining for
himself even the management.

Receiving a friendly greeting from the overseer, he was shown a
manufactory of cement near by, and saw paving-tiles from excellent
patterns of the time of the Renaissance, which Clodwig had recommended,
and which found a ready sale.

Eric returned to the Castle, refreshed by the breath of nature as well
as by this glance into actual human life. A servant told him that the
count was expecting him. Clodwig, already fully dressed for the day,
took his guest by the hand, saying, "I shall ask you by and by many
questions, but only one now:--did your father despair at the last,
or--how shall I express it?--did he die in the belief of an orderly and
progressive unfolding of the social and moral world?" Eric then
depicted in vivid language derived from his own recollections, and
under the inspiring influence of his morning's exhilaration, how his
father, on the last night of his life, congratulated his son that he
was born into the new age, which need no longer exhaust itself against
opposing forms of violence. "My son," he said, "my heart thrills with
joy, when I contemplate how in this century a beauty, a freedom, and a
brotherly love unfold themselves which existed to us only in the germ.
As one example, my son, see how the State now educates its children,
and does it in a way that no Solon, no Socrates, ever could imagine.
Thou wilt live in a time when it will hardly be conceived that there
were slaves, serfs, bondmen, monopolies, and the whole trumpery of a
false world."

Eric added how happy it made him, that his father had departed in such
a cheerful mood, and that he, as a son, could so fully enter into his
hopes, and carry them out into life. He spoke in such an excitable
manner, that Clodwig placed his hand on his shoulder and said, "We will
not, in the morning, take such a distant flight." He expressed also his
satisfaction that he could enter so fully into the life of the coming
generation, for he had always been troubled lest he might lose all hold
upon the new time.

"We have had our morning devotions, now let us go to breakfast," he
said, turning round easily as he got up from his seat. "Yet one more
question: did your father never explain to you what occurred at his
sudden--you know what I mean--loss of favor at court?"

"Certainly; my father told me the whole, circumstantially."

"And did he not forbid you to speak of it to any one?"

"To others, but not to you."

"Did he mention me by name?"

"No, but he expressly enjoined it upon me to inform those whom I
honored with my whole soul, and so I can tell you."

"Speak rather low," Clodwig enjoined, and Eric went on.

"My father, in that last interview which no one knew anything about,
was to have received from the hand of the sovereign a title of
nobility, in order that he might be appointed to an office at court. He
said to the sovereign, 'Your highness, you make null the blessing of
the long years in which I have spent my best strength in the education
of my youthful prince, if you think I accept this on my own account, or
that I regard it as something belonging to the age in which we live.'
'I do not make a jest of such things,' the prince replied.  'Neither do
I,' said my father.

"Years after, his lips trembled as he related this to me, and he said,
that that moment, when he stood face to face with his pupil speechless,
was the bitterest moment of his life."

A silent pause now ensued between Eric and Clodwig, until the latter
said finally, "I understand, I understand; let us go."

They went into the breakfast-room on the ground floor, the doors of
which were wide open. Bella soon appeared; she thought that Eric looked
at her scrutinisingly, and quickly turning away, she went to a side
table to prepare the coffee.

"My wife," said Clodwig, "has already sent a messenger, this morning,
to Fräulein Perini, and I have added a message to Herr Sonnenkamp, that
you, dear Dournay, would present yourself this evening, or, what would
be better, early to-morrow morning."

"And I am to ask you to excuse my brother, who has set out, early
this morning, in company with a young man whom they call here the
Wine-chevalier, to the horse-market at Mannheim. Will you have coffee
or tea?"

"If you please, coffee."

"That is fine, and on the strength of that we are good friends," said
Bella, in a lively way. "It is an abominable excess of politeness, when
people reply to such a question, 'It makes no difference to me.' If it
makes no difference to you, dear polite soul, then give some decided
answer, and don't put off the choice upon me."

A merry key was thus struck, and they seated themselves at table. Bella
noticed that Eric observed her, and she knew that she looked better in
her pretty morning-dress, than in full evening costume. Her movements
were very elastic and graceful. She was a tall, noble, well-made
person; her soft, dark-auburn hair, now partly loose, was confined by a
fine point-lace kerchief, put on with apparent carelessness, as if one
had not taken a second look in the mirror, and tied under the chin. Her
complexion was fresh, as if she had just bathed her face in milk; and
in fact she did wash her face in milk every morning and evening. The
expression of her countenance was keen and bright. All was nobly
formed, except that she had a thin, compressed upper-lip, which a
malicious gentleman at court had once called the lip of a poisoner. It
was very vexatious to Bella that her voice was so masculine.

Her personal charms, her cordial and at the same time arch manners,
showed to great advantage in the light talk at the breakfast table; and
when at intervals she keenly watched Eric, she was surprised at his
appearance. Yesterday she had seen him first only in the evening
twilight, and afterwards by candle-light. He was manifestly a person to
be seen in full daylight; and in fact, there was now a brilliant
lighting up of his countenance, for the happy excitement of his whole
inner being showed itself in his mien, and he looked at Bella, as if he
would say, 'I have become almost the son of thy husband; let the same
noble union be formed between us.'

Bella was unusually friendly, perhaps because she had already used a
little artifice. A note, written in Italian to Fräulein Perini,
cautioned her in terms as decided in meaning, as they were carefully
worded in expression, of the necessity of subjecting the new-comer to a
sharp examination.

When Clodwig told the messenger that Eric would make his appearance in
the evening, or the next morning, she felt herself justified and at
rest in regard to her previous artifice; for Clodwig had never before
detained a guest with such determination of his own, and no one could
even boast of having made it appear that he was not sufficient for
himself.

Clodwig and Bella had promised each other to live only to themselves,
and until now they had faithfully kept the promise.

"I am a weary soul," Clodwig had said to Bella when he offered her his
hand, and she had answered, that she would refresh the weary one. She
had cut off every relation with the world, for she knew that friendly
visits last only for a few hours or days, and make the solitude
afterwards more keenly felt.

Bella was very amiable always, and to everybody, provided everybody
always did according to her will, and lived to please her. She really
had no love for people and no desire for their society; she wanted
nothing from others, and wished only to be left alone. The manifold
relations which Clodwig had formerly had with men and women were
repugnant to her, and he accommodated himself to the wish of his wife,
who lived wholly for him, so far as to reduce his extensive
correspondence and his personal intercourse to the smallest possible
limit. They kept up a periodical connection with only two social
circles in the neighborhood: one of these was the so-called
middle-class circle who were invited to collation, as it was named,
which we made acquaintance with yesterday; the other was a select
circle, of the noble families scattered around, who were invited twice
a year. Was this renegade captain now to change all this?

In the triumphant thought that she had banished him, Bella became more
and more talkative. Eric could not refrain from highly extolling that
mirthful excitement, that exuberant humor which pervades the Rhineland,
and takes possession of every one who comes within the sphere of its
inhabitants. At last he led the conversation again to Sonnenkamp, by
remarking that the manner in which the man was spoken about yesterday
was very puzzling to him.

Bella in an off-hand manner declared, that she found the man very
interesting, although this was going counter to the universal
Philistinism; that she regarded him as a conqueror, a bold Berserkir,
who had nothing to win for himself in this stock-jobbing age but gold.

There appeared to be a sympathetic attraction between Bella and
Sonnenkamp's speculative and daring spirit. Clodwig considerately
added,--

"I have often noticed, that so long as a man is accumulating wealth,
his prosperity seems to give universal satisfaction; men feel pleased,
as if they were accumulating too. But when he has attained his end,
they turn round and find fault, where before they had commended. Do you
understand anything of horticulture?"

"No."

"Herr Sonnenkamp is a very considerable horticulturist. Is it not
strange that in the laying out of parks we have wholly supplanted the
formal methods of French gardening, which now turn to the culture of
fruit, and find encouragement in the pecuniary profit that governs all
such operations? The English excel in swine-raising, their swine being
fat sides of bacon with four feet attached; the French, on the other
hand, having taken to fruit culture, have succeeded in producing
fabulous crops.

"Yes!" he concluded, smiling, "Herr Sonnenkamp is a tree-tutor, and,
moreover, a tyrannical tree-trimmer. To-day I can speak out more
freely. Sonnenkamp has always been, and will always be, a stranger to
me.

"Through all his external polish, and an increasing attention to the
cultivation of good manners, a sort of brutishness appears in him, I
mean brutishness in its original meaning of an uncultivated state of
nature."

"Yes," Bella remarked, "you will have a difficult position, and
especially with Roland."

"With Roland?" asked Eric.

"Yes, that is the boy's name. He would like to know much, and learn
nothing."

Bella looked round pleased with her clever saying. The parrot in his
great cage upon the veranda uttered shrill cries as if scolding. As she
rose, Bella said, "There you see my tyrant; a scholar who tyrannises
over his teacher in a most shocking manner."

She took the parrot out of his cage, placed him on her shoulder,
fondled and caressed him, so that one almost grudged such wasteful
prodigality; and her movements were all beautiful, especially the
curving of the throat and shoulders.



                              CHAPTER XI.

                          MEDUSA AND VICTORIA.


Clodwig looked down for some time after Bella had gone. He nodded to
Eric as if he would greet him anew. But Bella soon returned, bearing
the parrot on her hand, and stroking it. She walked up and down the
room, lingering when Eric related how he had to-day, tearing himself by
force away from the view of the river, gone back into the country, and
had conversed with many persons.

Clodwig dwelt at length upon his pet theory, that traces of the Roman
Colonists were still preserved in the physiognomy and character of the
people.

Bella, apparently unwilling to be obliged to hear this again,
interrupted, with good-humored impertinence,--"When one turns himself
away from the Rhine, he has the feeling, or at least I have, that some
one, it may be Father Rhine himself, looks after me and calls out, 'Do
turn round!'"

"We men do not always feel that we are looked at," replied Clodwig, and
requested Eric to give his opinion about the earthen vase, a present
the day before from the Justice, which was standing on a side-table in
the breakfast-room. Eric readily complied, and they went into the
adjoining room, filled with a great variety of articles found buried in
the ground. Eric, fresh from the study of antiquities, showed himself
so familiar with all the related topics, that Bella could not refrain
from expressing her astonishment.

"You are a good teacher, and it must be a pleasure to be instructed
by you." Eric thanked her, and Bella continued with friendly
affability,--"Yes, indeed! many people give instruction in order to
make a brilliant appearance, and many deal forth their knowledge
reluctantly; but you, Doctor, teach like a beneficent friend who
delights in being able to impart, but takes a yet greater pleasure in
bestowing a benefit upon the recipient; and you impart in such a way
that one is not only convinced you understand the matter, but believes
that he himself does."

Clodwig looked up in amazement, for he had said the evening before
precisely the same thing of Eric's father, while making mention of the
fact that the only little treatise ever published by him had received
the disinterested help of Professor Dournay.

Bella withdrew after having thus shown her friendliness and her
admiring surprise. The two men sat together for a long time after this,
and then went to Eric's room, where Eric handed to the count a copy of
his Doctor's thesis; and it then first occurred to him how strangely it
had happened that he had there discussed the apocryphal treatise of
Plato, "Concerning Riches," and now he was to be called upon to educate
one under conditions of wealth. Eric and Clodwig were greatly struck by
this coincidence.

Clodwig requested Eric to translate the manuscript from Latin into
German. He did so, and it was to them a time of real enjoyment.

When they arose, Clodwig observed to Eric how strange it must appear to
him to find the Medusa and Victoria opposite each other; but he
confessed to a heresy which met with his own approval, though not in
accordance with the received scientific explanation. The Medusa was to
him the expression of all-consuming passion, which stiffens with horror
the sinning beholder who sees therein the image of himself; and it was
very significant that the ancients represented this entire abandonment
of all the higher spiritual nature through a womanly form, the
unrestrained indulgence of passion being opposite to the truly
feminine, and so the more unseemly. The Victoria of Rauch, on the other
hand, appeared to him to be the embodiment of an eminently modern
spiritual conception.

"This countenance is wonderfully like"--he did not finish the sentence,
but, stammeringly beginning another, continued: "This is not that
Goddess of Victory who wears proudly and loftily the crown upon her
gleaming forehead; this is the representation of victory which is
inwardly sad that there is a foe to be conquered. Yes, still further,
this Victoria is to me the goddess of victory over self, which is
always the grandest victory."

After Clodwig had made this remark, he said, "Now I leave you to
yourself; you have already talked too much to-day and yesterday." Eric
remained alone, and while he was writing to his mother, Clodwig sat
with Bella and said to her:--

"This young man is a genius, and ought not to live in a dependent
situation, bound to routine service; he ought to be free like a bird,
singing, flying, as he will, without any fixed and unalterable limits
of time and occupation, and especially he ought to be by himself. It is
a joy to meet with such originality and depth."

"Is he not too well aware of his own worth?" asked Bella, a flash of
displeasure gleaming in her eyes.

"Not at all. He does not wish to shine, and yet he is genuine light. I
feel as if I stood in the clear sunshine of the spirit; he is a man of
pure character, and I am at home with him in the inmost realities, as I
am with myself." Bella said nothing, and Clodwig continued:--"I like
especially in him, that he lets one who is talking with him complete
his sentence; he does not interrupt by any movement or any change of
feature; and in such an active and richly endowed mind this is doubly
valuable, and something more than mere civility."

Bella still kept silence, bent over her embroidery, on which she was
diligently intent. At last she looked up, and with a beaming
countenance, said, "I rejoice in your joy."

"And I should like to perpetuate this joy," Clodwig replied.

"He is a handsome man," added Bella.

Clodwig answered, smiling, "Now, since you have called my attention to
it, I am reminded how handsome he is. But he does not plume himself
upon his good looks, and I think _that_ to be genuine beauty, which,
when present has nothing strikingly prominent, all being in harmonious
combination, but which, when thought of afterwards, reveals new and
beautiful attributes and forms. Most handsome men are forever looking
into a mirror visible only to themselves. But why should I give up this
man to somebody else, and above all to this Sonnenkamp? I am situated
so that I can offer him a home with me for years! Why not do it?

"Why not?" said Bella, putting away her embroidery. "I need not assure
you that I have no other joy in life than yours. So it is now with this
brief happiness of yours, this childlike confidence you place in this
noble-looking man. I see also that he has something elevated in his
nature; he imparts much and gladly, is stimulating and quickening."

"Why not then?"

"Because we want to be alone! Clodwig, let us be by ourselves! It is my
desire that even my brother should soon leave us; every third person,
whether related by blood or by the most intimate spiritual ties, causes
a separation, so that we do not have exclusive possession of each
other."

While she was speaking, she had placed her hand on Clodwig's arm, and
now she grasped his hand and stroked it. As Clodwig went away, Bella
looked after him, shaking her head.

Bella came to the dinner-table handsomely dressed, and with a single
rose in her hair. The men appeared weary, but she was extremely
animated. She spoke a great deal of the happiness she had always had in
being at the house of Eric's parents, where no ignoble word was ever
uttered, for the mother cherished every high thought, like a priestess
tending and feeding the smallest flame of the ideal on the household
altar. Eric, who thought that he was proof against any further
excitement, experienced a new and elevated emotion.

They drove out at noon, and Bella was silent during the ride. They
visited a former Roman encampment. Bella sat alone under a tree, upon a
covering spread upon the ground, and the men walked about.

When they came together around the evening lamp, Bella seemed like an
entirely different person, having for the third time, that day, changed
her dress. She was now very lively.

Bella had never been, during her whole life, dissatisfied with herself;
she had never repented anything she had done, always saying. You were
fully justified, at the moment when you acted. She did not wish at this
time to appear in a false light to her husband's favorite, or as a mere
trifling appendage; Eric should know who she was, that she was not only
Clodwig's wife, but over and above all, Bella von Pranken.

She was ready to play as soon as Clodwig expressed the wish to hear
her. The quick and eager haste with which she took off her ringing and
rattling bracelets, which Eric at once with marked attentiveness
received from her hand and placed upon the marble table under the
mirror,--the manner in which she poised her hands like two fluttering
pinions, and then brought them down upon the keys, like a swimmer who
is in his element,--all served to show how resolved she was to occupy
no second place. And never, since she had been Clodwig's wife, had
Bella played as she now did in the presence of a third person,
reserving hitherto her masterly performance on the piano for Clodwig
alone. To-day her execution displayed such zest and skill that Clodwig
himself, who knew every peculiar excellence in her method of playing,
received a new surprise and delight.

During a pause, Eric seemed to strike the right key by remarking, that,
after such elevated enjoyment in the intercourse with noble persons and
in the wide survey of unbounded nature, there is nothing for the soul
but to let the feelings dissolve and die away in the unlimited and
shoreless ethereal atmosphere of music. A realm of waking dreams is
then opened to us, a feeling of the infinite is awakened, that creates
a something beyond what any word or look can express, and which is
never unfolded by any sight or sound of nature from the unfathomed and
mysterious depths of the human soul. As in answer to the inquiry, what
influence predominated in him before composing, Mozart said, 'nothing
but music which _would_ come out,'--the pure musical impulse without
any definite conception, without any limiting idea, only a rhythmic,
billowy undulation of tones,--so it is that we, after the tension of
thought and observation, through music are admitted into that pure,
undefined, yet all-encompassing realm, which is a chaos, but a chaos
that is no longer formless and void.

Bella, who sat reclining far back in a large arm-chair, gazed at Eric
in such rapt wonder, that he dropt his eyes, unconsciously fixed upon
her. To the surprise of both the men she suddenly rose, and bade them
good night. She first gave her hand to Clodwig, then to Eric, and then
to Clodwig again, and quickly went out.

Clodwig remained only a short time with his guest, and then he also
took his leave. Eric went, in a sort of ecstacy, to his chamber. How
rich was the world! what a day this had been from the dawn in the dewy
wood even until this moment! and human happiness was a reality! Here
were two who had attained rest and blessedness, such as could hardly be
believed to exist in the actual world.

While he was standing still upon the carpeted stairs, from unconscious
thoughts of the rich house he was about to enter, and conscious
thoughts of the full and rounded existence of his host and hostess, the
question suddenly occurred to him, Is this beautiful life, this
perfecting of the soul in an extended view of nature, and its
saturation in all that is beautiful in science and art, possible to
wealth only, to freedom from care and want, to emancipation from all
labor and from common needs?

As, holding the light in his hand, he entered the balcony chamber, he
remained standing terrified, as if a ghost had appeared to him, before
the bust of the Medusa, which with open mouth fixed upon him its
overpowering and paralyzing gaze.

How is this? how has this image so suddenly assumed this likeness? Did
Clodwig have any suspicion of it? It was indeed terrible.

Eric turned about, and now, as if it were some trick played upon him by
an evil spirit, the contrasted image also, the Victoria, has a likeness
to Bella when, silent and quiet, she modestly and humbly bent down her
head.

Had Clodwig any suspicion of this wonderful play of opposites, and did
he not acknowledge this, this morning when he avowed his heresy to the
received opinion?

The pulse in Eric's temples beat violently. He put out the light,
looked for a long time out into the dark night, and sought to recall
afresh to his recollection the bright plenitude of the day's
experience.



                              CHAPTER XII.

                            FRAU ADVENTURE.


In the morning Eric put on his uniform, for so Clodwig had advised with
cautious reference to a former experience. A horse had been placed at
his disposal, and his portmanteau was to be sent after him.

Clodwig's contracted brow grew smooth as the handsome, noble-looking
young man entered the parlor in his becoming uniform. After greeting
him, he pointed to Eric's arm, saying:--

"Take off the crape before you go."

Eric looked at him surprised, and Clodwig explained himself.

"You are not to be sentimental, and you must agree with me that it is
not well to enter, for the first time, a stranger's house, wearing a
badge of mourning. People often desire a sympathy which they cannot
expect to receive. You will be less disturbed in the end, if you
impress it upon yourself at first that you are entering service, and
moreover are to serve an extremely rich man, who would like to keep
everything unpleasant out of sight. The more you keep to yourself your
own personal feelings, the more free will you be."

Clodwig smiling quoted from Lucian's "Sale of the Philosophic Sects,"
where the Stoic as a slave cries out, "Even if I am sold, I am still
free within myself!"

Eric good-humoredly took the crape from his sleeve.

Bella had excused herself from appearing at breakfast, and sent Eric a
message of farewell till their next meeting.

The two men were now alone. Clodwig gave Eric a letter for Herr
Sonnenkamp, but begged him not to make any positive engagement until he
had seen him again, adding almost inaudibly, "Perhaps I shall keep you
for myself."

As a mother crams all the pockets of her son going away from home, so
Clodwig sought to give his young friend all sorts of instructions.

"I have but slight acquaintance with the boy," said he; "I only know
that he is very handsome. Do you not agree with me that it is a great
mistake to give a young soul the foundation principles which are to
determine his life-course, before this young soul has collected the
material of life or knows his own tendencies?"

"Certainly," replied Eric; "it is like building railroads in
uncultivated or half-civilized countries, before roads have made
possible the interchange of agricultural and manufactured products. The
root of the disease of modern humanity, as my father often said, lies
in the habit of teaching children dogmatically the laws which govern
the universe; it is a superfluous labor based on ostentation, which is
unfruitful, because it leaps over the first steps."

Clodwig nodded several times. This man might be trusted to sail out
into the open sea; he would always have a compass with him.

The time of departure came; Clodwig said,--

"I will go a little way with you."

Eric took his horse by the bridle, and they walked on side by side. The
old man often fixed an anxious, affectionate look upon his young
friend. He repeated that he considered it a highly honorable task to
train the young American for a useful life; then he advised him again
to keep this one object in view, and to turn resolutely from all gossip
concerning Herr Sonnenkamp, who had certainly left many rumors
uncontradicted, either because he was too upright to trouble himself
about them, or because he preferred to have some facts of his history
hidden by false reports. It was undoubtedly singular, that though he
was a German by birth, not a single relative had ever been seen at his
house; probably, however, he was of low origin, and helped his
relatives on condition that they should have no intercourse with him;
Major Grassler had hinted at something of that kind.

"One thing more," said Clodwig, standing still, "say nothing to Herr
Sonnenkamp of your having for a short time devoted yourself to the
supervision of criminals. I would cast no slur upon him, but many men
have an aversion to persons of such a calling."

Eric thanked him, seeing clearly his earnest desire to smooth the path
before him. They went on in silence until Clodwig said, "Here I will
turn back, and let me give you one warning."

"A warning?"

"Perhaps that isn't the right word; I only want to say to you, make up
your mind to pass in the world for an enthusiast. A man who seeks
anything in life except profit, pleasure, and honor, appears an
enthusiast to many people who have no sympathy with such a
predilection; the world cannot be just to such men, it must condemn
them, because it sees its own strivings condemned by them. You will
have to bear a martyrdom all your life long, if you remain true,--and I
believe you will; bear it with a proud self-respect, and remember that
a new, old friend understands you, and lives your life with you."

Suddenly the old man laid his hands on Eric's shoulders, kissed him,
and walked hastily away, without once turning.

Eric mounted and rode on; as he turned the corner of the wood, he
looked back and saw Clodwig standing still. Bella had watched the pair
from the balcony, which commanded a view of their whole course; now she
went to meet her husband, and was not a little surprised to observe in
his face an emotion which she had never seen there before; he seemed to
have been weeping.

"You were right," said Clodwig hastily, "it is better for us to remain
by ourselves. But I rejoice in this new generation which differs from
ours; it wavers no longer between the two poles of enthusiasm and
despair; it has, if I may so express it, a sort of intellectual
inspiration, and I believe it will bring more to pass than we have. I
am glad that I am not too old to understand these young people born
into an age of railroads. I admire and love this present age; never
before has every man in every calling known so definitely what he
wishes and ought to do, both in science and practical life."

Bella thought she must make some, reply, and said that young Sonnenkamp
would be fortunate to have such a guide.

"It pains me that he must enter that house."

"Yet you have recommended him."

"Yes, that's it exactly. One is punished sooner or later for
undertaking anything with half-sincerity or against his real
convictions. I have brought myself into closer relations with this Herr
Sonnenkamp, without really wishing it. In his house I always have a
feeling as if I were in a family where horse-flesh is eaten. But, good
heavens! it may be prejudice, custom; horse-flesh is also one kind of
meat. But now I am free from, anxiety for the excellent young man."

Clodwig seemed unable to cease talking of Eric; and as he recalled what
had passed, he was astonished at all that he had learned from him in so
short a time; pointing to an apple-tree in blossom, he exclaimed: "Look
at that tree in bloom, which when shaken covers every one with
blossoms, and yet its richness is unimpaired. Such is this Dournay."

Bella replied, that it must be a hard task for a man who was so spoken
and thought of to live up to the standard expected of him.

"May not such pleasure in imparting," she asked doubtfully, "be an
exaggerated self-esteem or pure vanity?"

"O no! this young man does not wish to make a show; he only wishes that
no moment of existence may be utterly wasted. He lets his active spirit
work, and he must take satisfaction in the notice and sympathy of
others; without this satisfaction, the pleasure of imparting would be
impossible. That is the faith which removes mountains of prejudice."

"Faith?" said Bella, smiling beforehand at her own nice distinction,
"it seems to me rather like the permanent embalming of a want of
faith." He very zealously endeavored to show how this was, rather, the
difficult and painful transmission of one's life.

He spoke long and eagerly. Bella appeared to listen, but hardly heard
what he said; she smiled to herself at the old diplomatist, who had
something incomprehensibly child-like, almost childish, about him. She
threw her head back proudly, conscious of her inflexible virtue, which
was strongly armed even against her husband, who wished to bring her
into constant intercourse with a young man so richly endowed.

In the mean time Eric had ridden on through the wood, filled with fresh
animation by the happy chance which had befallen him. He took a firm
hold of his horse's bridle, full of that confident spirit to which
every undertaking seems sure of success, or, at least, of only short
and temporary failure. He congratulated himself on the good fortune
that had helped him to win so easily and entirely a man of refined
character, who was evidently somewhat cautiously reserved towards most
men.

He had left his past life on the mountain behind him, and a new one was
beginning. Smiling, he thought, The heroes of old must have felt in my
mood, when they knew that they were under the protection of one of the
gods of Olympus.

At a turn in the wood he stopped, and, taking Clodwig's unsealed letter
from his pocket, read as follows:


"A neighbor's greeting to Herr Sonnenkamp, at Villa Eden.

"Had Fate granted me a son, I should consider it as a completion of the
great blessing, to be able to give him this man as a tutor.

                           "CLODWIG, COUNT VON WOLFSGARTEN.
WOLFSGARTEN CASTLE, May 4, 186-."


Eric set spurs to his horse, and rode gaily on through the wood, where
birds were singing amid the fresh young leaves. As he passed through
the village, he saw at the window of the Rath-haus, behind blooming
wall-flowers, a rosy, fair-haired maiden, who drew back quickly as he
bowed to her. He would have liked to turn his head to see whether she
was looking after him, but he did not venture to do so.

After a little while, it occurred to him that he was very vain to
believe that this lingering behind the flowers concerned him at all;
Lina had undoubtedly expected to see Baron von Pranken, when she heard
his horse approaching.

Eric was now riding along the river-bank in the valley. He was so full
of cheerfulness, that songs rose to his lips as they had not done for a
long time; he did not give them voice, but sang them in his soul. The
whole fulness and variety of thought, perception, and feeling were
stirring in his heart. As he saw the sun shining on the glass dome of
Villa Eden, it struck him like a lightning flash,--

Why is such a free, delightful existence denied me? why must I labor in
the service of others? Then came the thought. But what should I do with
such an indolent, selfish life? Then the riddle presented itself, How
is one to educate a wealthy boy?

And so strangely are thoughts associated in the human mind that Eric
felt, not that he could solve this riddle, but that he could understand
how the ancients had represented the idea of enigmatical questioning
and the riddle under the form of the Sphinx.

Then again came the inquiry, How can one educate a rich boy, who knows
that an estate like that, and untold wealth, are to be his, and who
sees no need for exertion in the life before him?

Eric had been looking down; now he threw back his head and smiled as he
thought, Neither pupil nor tutor is a mere abstract idea; both are
living, variously endowed beings. Such questions can receive no general
answer, and all riddles are like stormy weather out of doors, that,
seen through the dim atmosphere from the shelter of a house, seems
intolerable, but once out in the midst of it, one feels refreshed.

All his puzzling doubts and speculations seemed cleared away, and he
felt ready armed to wrestle with the problem. "Come on, riddle, I am
ready for you," he said almost aloud, and rode on at a quick trot.

In the midst of his doubts and thoughts a pleasant smile suddenly
spread over his face. He wondered whether he were not under some spell,
and all the frolicsome humor of youth came over him as he uttered aloud
a letter which he would write to his mother.


"DEAR MOTHER:

"You must let yourself be named Frau Adventure, for your son, Doctor
Adventure, Captain Hero, in the midst of railway cars and telegraphs,
has fallen upon Dream-land, where he is fed upon the sweet-bread of
praise, and the sugared almonds of protection, by a pair of spirits who
watch over the Holy Grail. He is now seated on a bay horse, and has the
magic word sesame of a sage hermit in his pocket, and all things come
at his bidding, and each says, 'Heart, what dost thou desire?' Dear
mother, if you want a quiet little island, only say so; I have
innumerable ones to dispose of.

"And there's a postscript, dear mother. Suppose the millionaire,
towards whom I am riding, should be Uncle Adam? That would make the
fairy tale complete."


At the thought that this fanciful conjecture might be a probability,
Eric stopped short. Then he rode briskly along the broad road, on each
side of which grew great nut-trees, dropping their caterpillar-like
blossoms on the path. The horse trotted on bravely, his black mane
flying in the wind as the rider lifted his cap to let the fresh air
cool his hot brow.



                                BOOK II.



                               CHAPTER I.

                           A MORNING IN EDEN.


The boats sail up and down the river, the railway trains move on this
side and on that, and persons from all countries, and in every relation
of life, get refreshment from the view.

There thou wouldst like to dwell, many a one thinks, and to pass away
thy days in the regular and constant enjoyment of nature, and in
voluntary labor, solitary, or in the society of congenial persons.

The banks of the Rhine have the appearance of being charming seats of
repose, while they also furnish enough of stirring life. The high-road
of intercourse with the world lies before the very threshold of the
house; and from the midst of solitude, every hour can unite itself with
the great world's varied and bustling activity.

Cheerful towns and villages along the banks, with their castles and
vineyards, their beautiful and well-kept country-seats, are everywhere
seen, forming an almost unbroken chain.

From town to town, and from house to house, stories are narrated of the
narrow escapes of the inhabitants, who saved themselves with resolute
strength from the ingulfing flood, or with the last energy of despair
reached the shore, many being dashed with violence upon the bank.

He who comes an entire stranger from abroad, and makes his home here,
can feel assured that it is at his option to cultivate an acquaintance
with the old residents, or to remain by himself. The continual current
of strangers, coming and going, allows him who remains to abide in
complete isolation.

Whose is that beautiful country-house yonder, which looks to the
passer-by, with its tower gleaming from a distance, like a white swan
nestling in the green bank? Travellers on the boats passing up and down
the river often ask this question, and receive the reply, that the
villa is called Eden, and that it is a real Eden, as far as one can
judge from the outside, for it is all shut up and guarded, with
spring-guns and steel traps the whole length of the garden walls. The
servants have permission to show the house and park only when the owner
is away on a journey, and then they take in a great deal of money.

One praises the wonderful stables with marble mangers; another, the
hot-houses all in bloom; a third, the beautiful arrangement of the
interior of the house; a fourth, the fruit-garden and the park, each
one according to his own peculiar taste. The owner is a rich American,
who has built this house, laid out the shady park, and changed the
half-swampy, ragged, and uneven meadow, extending down to the river,
into a fruit-garden that bears fruits of a size and beauty never before
seen in this region. He was rebuilding, too, the ruined castle there on
the height.

And what is the name of this man?

Sonnenkamp. Almost all his servants are foreigners; he visits only a
few persons in the vicinity, and seldom receives any one as a guest; no
one knows, indeed, who he is, or what he is. He has the finest horses,
but he, his wife, and a female companion drive and ride out together,
only at some convenient point to turn back again on the public highway.

On the morning that Eric rode to the villa, a large, thick carpet was
laid by servants in morning livery on the west side upon the extensive
gravelled square. A round table with green damask covering was placed
near a many-colored pyramid of fragrant flowers, and on the table was
afterwards set a large, ground crystal vase, with artistically arranged
flowers and bouquets, and plates for four persons.

A side-table was placed near a blossoming copse of laburnums and
variegated lilacs, and on it a large silver tea-urn with lighted lamp.
A thin vapor soon went up from the urn. Two great rocking-chairs were
put in suitable places near by.

A young man who stood aside, taking no part in the arrangement, looked
out upon the landscape, where one could enjoy a view extending over the
fruit-garden and the fountain, in whose basin two pairs of swans were
swimming, over the meadows; and now he turned away from the prospect,
inspected the preparations, and with the words, "All right," withdrew
with the servants. The tea-urn steamed, and the chairs and table seemed
to be awaiting the company.

A pert finch alighted upon the back of one of the rocking-chairs, and
whistled to his little mate in the trees: "that was a fine set-out, and
he would like, if he could, to do the same for his little ones."

The forward, impudent young father was, however, soon scared away, for
at the sound of approaching footsteps he started, and carelessly flew
directly over the hissing urn, whose vapor seemed to scald him, and to
change his course, so that he almost grazed the hat on the head of the
man who now came in.

The man limped a little with his right leg, but lie knew how to
disguise it so that this limping toned down the formidable impression
of his powerful, athletic frame.

He was a large, broad-shouldered man, in a well-fitted summer suit, and
a white neck-cloth with a standing shirt-collar after the English
fashion. The man of Herculean frame seemed to do all he could to
reduce, lessen, and soften the effect of it; but the finest garments
could do this only in a small degree. He wore a broad-brimmed straw
hat, so that at a short distance but little could be seen of his shaded
face. The young man who had superintended the arrangements a short time
before, bearing a large portfolio, followed the strong man.  The man in
the straw hat had sat down in the rocking-chair, which, together with
the portfolio, was made ready for him.

Removing the straw hat, which the valet Joseph at once took, he stroked
his smoothly-shaven, prominent chin with his large, fleshy hand, on
whose thumb, strange to say, was a ring like a single link of a chain,
a golden hoop with iron in the middle.

The man is Herr Sonnenkamp. His reddish face had deeply marked lines,
and over his broad brow a lock of gray hair was combed down. There was
a more than ordinary breadth between the bristling eyebrows, giving to
them the appearance of having been forcibly rent asunder. Whoever saw
this countenance once could never forget it.

The deeply-set, light-blue eyes had an expression of determination and
shrewdness; the shoulders were broad and somewhat round; the nose was
large, but not without a character of nobleness; the mouth was somewhat
curved with imperious disdain. The whole countenance was worn and
anxious, but a domineering energy was visible in all its traits.

The impression at the first was, that one would not like to have
this man for an enemy. "Hand here," he now said, taking out of his
vest-pocket a ring on which were suspended some very small keys.

Joseph held the portfolio in the most convenient position for
Sonnenkamp to unlock, and then took out the letters it contained.
Sonnenkamp speedily arranged them, placing together those with a
foreign stamp, and by the side of them a large pile having an inland
postage mark. Joseph now laid down the hat and the portfolio upon the
empty rocking-chair, and with his ready scissors cut every envelope.

Herr Sonnenkamp quickly ran over the opened letters, and put them
aside. He only looked at the seal and address of some of the inland
ones, and directed that they should be placed again in the portfolio;
he put two of the foreign in his pocket, and, placing the rest back
with his own hand, locked the portfolio.

The folding-doors of the terrace were opened, and Herr Sonnenkamp rose,
taking from the chair his broad straw hat. Two female forms appeared on
the terrace. One, tall, with a long, pale, sad face, wore a morning cap
with deep-red ribbons; and a flaming red shawl; the other was a small,
pretty figure, with sharp, bloodless features, piercing brown eyes, and
coal-black hair lying flat upon the head; she was one of those
countenances that have plainly never been youthful, and to which
advancing age can do no harm. Her dress was of black silk, and she had
suspended from her neck a mother-of-pearl cross that glistened and
shone upon her breast.

Herr Sonnenkamp  had that American trait, including in itself so much
that is good, of respectful courteousness and considerate care toward
his own household and relatives; he went to meet the two ladies at the
steps, nodded pleasantly to the lady in black, and extending his hand
to the lady in the red shawl, asked in a kindly tone after her health,
using the English language.

The lady, Frau Ceres, did not deem it necessary to make any reply. She
went to her seat at the breakfast table, and a female attendant
immediately placed a shawl over her lap, and a waiter pushed under her
feet a cushioned footstool.

The lady in black, Signora Boromea Perini, went to the side-table, and
took with a spoon from the tea-canister, which a servant held, the
requisite measure of tea.

"Where is Roland?" inquired Frau Ceres, in a listless tone.

"He will soon be here," answered Sonnenkamp, and made a sign to have
him sent for. Fräulein Perini brought the first cup to Frau Sonnenkamp,
to whom it appeared too great an exertion to pour in a couple of drops
of milk. In a very subdued tone, Herr Sonnenkamp asked, "Will you eat
anything, dear child?"

Frau Ceres sipped a spoonful, then half a one, and looked about, as if
spent with the effort. It seemed to be a burden to her to be obliged to
sip the tea herself.

"Where is Roland?" she inquired again. "It is inexcusable that he is so
irregular. Did you not say something, Madame Perini?"

"Nothing, my gracious lady."

Herr Sonnenkamp remarked in a very mild, pacifying tone, if she would
endure it patiently a little longer, Roland would receive, it was to be
hoped, a tutor at last who would bring him under the proper discipline.
He then spoke of the letter which Otto von Pranken had written to him.
At the mention of this name, Fräulein Perini let a biscuit fall into
her cup, and busied herself in fishing it out again, while Sonnenkamp
added that he should read no more applications, until he had become
acquainted with the person recommended by Herr von Pranken.

"Is the man one of the nobility?" asked Frau Ceres.

"I do not know," replied Sonnenkamp, though he did know very well; "he
is a captain."

Frau Ceres, without saying anything, determined within herself to wait
until this question of nobility was settled.

Fräulein Perini, feeling that she must speak for Frau Ceres as if
knowing what she thought, looked at her smilingly and observed, "One
seldom meets with so perfect a chevalier as the Baron von Pranken, at
least not in Germany; even more than the countess Bella he has----"

"I pray you," Herr Sonnenkamp here interposed, and his countenance had
the expression of a bull-dog trying to be tender, "I pray you not to
praise others at the expense of the countess; the ladies are bewitched
with Herr von Pranken, and for my part, I am with the countess Bella."

Frau Ceres gave an almost imperceptible shrug of the shoulders, and
held the gold spoon pressed to her lips. He boasts of being fascinated,
she rightly thought, and it is only for the sake of making a
complimentary speech.

"But where can Roland be?" she suddenly exclaimed, and pushed against
the footstool so that the table shook, and everything upon it rattled.

The servant, entering, said that Roland would not come to breakfast, as
he did not wish to eat anything to-day, but to remain with Nora, who
had five puppies.

"Then tell him," rejoined Sonnenkamp, and his countenance flushed a
dark red even to the roots of his thin hair,--"then tell him that if he
does not instantly come, I will have all the five young ones
immediately drowned in the Rhine."

The servant hastened out, and a beautiful youth, clothed in blue
velvet, soon made his appearance; he was pale, and his finely cut lip
quivered. He had evidently gone through a hard struggle.

The boy was tall and slender, and his features were strikingly
beautiful, delicately regular as if chiselled. He took off his
jockey-cap, and showed his dark brown hair, well arranged in thick
curls about his forehead.

"Come to me," said his mother, "and kiss me, Roland, you look so pale;
is anything the matter with you?"

The boy kissed his mother, and, shaking his head as if denying that
anything ailed him, said in a voice hovering between a falsetto and a
bass, "I am as well as my young dogs."

A deep color dyed his cheeks, and his lips became purple.

"I do not wish to punish you on the day that you receive your tutor,"
said Sonnenkamp, casting a glance toward his wife.

"I? a tutor again? no tutor for me," replied the boy; "and if you give
me one, I will soon make him take his leave."

Sonnenkamp smiled. This bold, defiant attitude of the boy seemed
specially to delight him. When Roland, who had just declined all food,
ate now heartily, his mother followed his example; in the satisfaction
of knowing that her son had so good an appetite, she also found one, so
that Fräulein Perini could not refrain from remarking to Roland,--

"See, Master Roland, how on your dear mother's account you should come
regularly at meal-time, for she can only taste food when you also
partake of it."

The boy gave Fräulein Perini a peculiar look, but made no reply; there
seemed to be no good understanding between the boy and the companion of
his mother. Fräulein Perini, however, showed her friendliness toward
the boy, promising to pay a visit with him to the young dogs after
breakfast.

"Do you know why dogs are born blind?" asked Roland.

"Because God has so ordained it."

"But why has God ordained it?"

Fräulein Perini looked puzzled at this question, and Herr Sonnenkamp
came to her help, saying that he who was continually asking the reason
why would never accomplish anything, and that Roland had fallen into
this way of constant questioning, because he was not willing to learn
anything thoroughly.

The boy looked down. A certain sullenness or dulness, perhaps both,
appeared in the expression of his face.

Frau Ceres left the breakfast table, seated herself in a rocking-chair,
and contemplated her long, delicate, almond-shaped nails.

Herr Sonnenkamp told her what a number of letters in German, French,
and English he had received in answer to his advertisement; the
candidates had generally enclosed their photographs, and rightly, for
personal appearance was significant.

Frau Ceres listened like one who is sleepy, sometimes closing her eyes.
When Sonnenkamp remarked how much misery there was in the world, a
constant looking for a perfect success, to which every man believes
that money is the one thing needful, she threw upon him a sidelong
glance of surprise, apparently not comprehending how any one could
live, and be destitute of means.

Fräulein Perini, the companion, was a useful mediator; she knew how,
while Frau Ceres remained apparently or really quite inattentive, to
keep up the conversation with short questions, or remarks, as she
occasionally looked up from her embroidery and cast a glance, the real
convent glance, shy but benignant, upon Herr Sonnenkamp. In this way
Frau Ceres could listen, without exerting herself to join in the
conversation.

Fräulein Perini seemed to serve Herr Sonnenkamp as a person upon whom
he could practice politeness; and they stood in the most courteous
relation to each other. He would, in fact, have been glad to dismiss
her long before, but she was fastened upon him like the rheumatism-ring
which he wore on his left thumb.

Frau Ceres was always carefully waited upon by Fräulein Perini; never
alone, she had a constant companion and attendant, and when they drove
out, Herr Sonnenkamp always left the seat next his wife to Fräulein
Perini, riding backwards himself. He could not be rid of her, and it
was best to treat her with polite consideration. Besides, she had many
excellent qualities, and best of all, no whims; she was always
even-tempered, never put herself forward, and always had an opinion,
which generally was one that caused no discussion. She never appeared
offended; if she was overlooked, she seemed not to notice it; or if
drawn into conversation, she was agreeable, and even witty; she was
always ready to help, to do for and to meet others, and never talked of
herself.

Every morning, summer and winter, she went to church, and was always in
order, as if ready for a journey at an hour's notice; she knew where
everything was in the house, and was never in the way in travelling.
She was always busy with embroidery, and there was no church for miles
around which had not an altar-cloth, or some part of the decoration, of
her work.

She spoke all the continental languages with ease, except German, which
she said she never could learn. Sonnenkamp was convinced, however, that
she understood it perfectly, and that her want of comprehension was
only a mask whose object it was easy to see.

Her relations with Roland were peculiarly distant. She treated him as
the young master of the house, but concerned herself no further about
him, even declining his father's proposal that she should instruct him
in the languages. She never stepped out of the circle that appeared
marked out for her; after being Manna's governess, she became wholly
and exclusively the companion of Frau Ceres; and this was a most safe
and honorable position.

The more Herr Sonnenkamp spoke of the recommendation of Herr von
Pranken, so much the more attentive Fräulein Perini seemed to become,
but she did not utter a single word; but when Herr Sonnenkamp asked her
what had been her feelings when she was first introduced to the family
at Nice, she answered, "I had the happiness to be introduced to you by
my noble guardian, the Dean."

Roland was impatient and beckoned to Fräulein Perini to go with him:
but Sonnenkamp requested her to remain with the mother, and in order to
manifest some sympathy in his son's joy, he himself accompanied him.

Roland was the only one whom the dog allowed to come near her; and when
Herr Sonnenkamp ventured it, she growled, and snapped at him with her
teeth. He was very angry, but he restrained himself and went away.

Roland brought his cross-bow and shot at the doves and sparrows in the
courtyard. Suddenly the boy left off. A horseman, with horse well in
hand, galloped up to the gate.



                              CHAPTER II.

                           THE ARROW CAUGHT.


"Shoot away, my boy, I'll catch the arrow!" the rider called from his
horse, and the boy stood still, as if he had seen a miracle. Eric had
heard much of Roland's beauty, but he was astonished at the charming
grace of his figure. The boy's whole being seemed strained with
amazement and excitement, like the bow which he held bent in his hand.
The rider feasted his eyes on the picture. Roland's head was bare, his
jockey-cap lay near him on a great dog resting at his feet, and just
raising his head as if to ask whether he should start up and drive the
stranger away.

"Shoot away! Fire!" cried the rider, in a commanding tone. "Have you no
courage?"

The arrow whizzed from the bow, the rider bent sideways and caught it
with a sure hand.

"Either you are a bad marksman, or you tried not to hit me!" he
exclaimed.

Astounded and motionless, with his bow lowered, the boy gazed at him
while he was approaching and dismounting, and then asked,--

"Can you be the hero Siegfried?"

"Ah! then you know about him," replied Eric, gaily. "No, my young
friend." He offered his hand to Roland, who seized it.

"Hero Siegfried wore no uniform with a red collar. But now help me to
dispose of my horse."

"It is like one of Count Wolfsgarten's horses."

"It is his."

"Ivan!" shouted the boy.

A groom appeared and led the horse to the stable. As Eric and Roland
followed, they heard from behind a partition near by a whining, and a
weak attempt at barking.

"You have some young St. Bernard dogs close by," said Eric.

"Yes; do you know them by their whimper?"

"I can't tell the particular breed in that way. I saw a St. Bernard dog
out there in the court; but I know by the sound that these puppies are
blind and not a week old."

The boy looked at Eric as if he were a magician; he opened a door, but
begged him to go no nearer, because the mother was very savage, and was
just then suckling all the five young ones. Eric did approach her,
however, and she looked at him without growling, and again the boy
gazed at the stranger in astonishment.

"_You_ can certainly tell me why dogs are born blind," he began.

Eric smiled. A boy who asks questions is desirous of instruction and
ready for it; it is only necessary to put things before him which will
lead him to question.

"Not only dogs," replied Eric, "but cats, eagles, and hawks come into
the world blind. It may be that those animals which need sharp eyes for
their support and protection have a gradual development of the power of
sight, so that they do not see the light, as the saying is, all at
once. Man even, though he opens his eyes at his birth, has no real
power of sight at first; he has to learn to see during his first year.
Man, like the brute, learns to use his limbs in his earliest years, but
one thing the brute wants, he can never acquire articulate speech."

A thrill passed over the boy as he listened to the stranger, whose
words again had a tone of strangely magnetic power. In the excited
state in which Eric had been for two days, and which reached its height
at this moment, it seemed to him as if he were acting out a fairy tale,
or one of those dreams in which one says to himself, in the wonder of
the dream-life, "Wake up, you are certainly dreaming!" There was
something which gave him a sense of being merely a spectator of his own
life, though he knew that he was actually living it. He compelled
himself to collect his thoughts, and said at last,--

"You are the son of Herr Sonnenkamp, are you not? and your name is
Roland?"

"Roland Franklin Sonnenkamp; what is yours?"

"Eric Dournay."

The boy started; he thought he had heard the name within a few days,
but was not quite sure.

"You are a Captain of Artillery, sir?" said he, pointing to the
uniform.

"I have been. Then you know the different uniforms, my boy."

"Yes; but Herr von Pranken doesn't speak to me so familiarly."

"I think we had better both keep up the familiar manner that we began
with," answered Eric, holding out his hand to the boy. Roland's hand
was cold, all his blood had rushed to his head. The boy was surprised
and taken captive in spite of himself.

"If you like," he began again, "you can have one of my puppies. Two I
mean to keep; one I shall bring up for my sister Manna; Baron von
Pranken is to have the fourth, and you may have the fifth."

His face beaming with satisfaction, Eric looked at the boy; this
pleasure in giving showed that there was something good to build upon.

"Perhaps you know that in Homer the host does honor to a guest by
bestowing some gift as a token of remembrance."

"I know nothing about Homer."

"Have none of your tutors told you anything of him?"

"All of them. They made a great talk about him, but it's stupid."

Eric led the conversation back, and asked, "Who helps you train the
dogs?"

"One who knows all about it, the huntsman Klaus, whom they call the
screamer; he will be pleased when I tell him that you knew how old the
puppies were by their whimper."

Eric nodded. A boy like this might easily be guided to knowledge, if
one could once get the lead.

Eric now asked Roland to conduct him to his father. As they were about
to leave the stable, a snow-white pony with long mane turned his head
quite round and neighed.

"That is my Puck," said Roland. He was evidently very happy in showing
the stranger all his treasures, almost like a little child who displays
a toy for the wonder of his playmate. Eric could not but praise the
beautiful creature, which looked at him with great, wild, shy eyes.

He took the boy's hand, and they went together through the large
botanical garden.

"Do you know about plants too?" asked Roland.

"No, I'm quite ignorant about them."

"So am I," said the boy, delighted; Eric's acknowledgment of an
ignorance which coincided with his own seemed to bring them nearer to
each other.

They passed over a plat where men were weeding and putting the ground
in order. A little old man, with a shy but shrewd look, was at work; he
took off his cap, and said good-morning. "Have you seen my father?"
asked Roland. "He is over there," replied the little man, pointing
toward the green-houses.

The long green-houses, constructed of pale-blue glass, came in sight. A
door stood open, within which a fountain was to be seen, in whose gray
marble basin lay blocks of stone with water plants growing in all their
crevices. Some of the trees which needed protection from the winter
were still here, and a few which did not thrive had thick wrappings on
trunk and branches.

They heard a voice. "There he is in the cold-house," said Roland. Eric
told him to turn back now, as he had something to say to his father
alone.

The boy stood as if rooted to the spot. In Eric's manner of ordering
him to go, there was an air of such irresistible authority that he did
not know what to make of it.

As Eric went forward, the boy stood motionless, then turned, snapped
his fingers, and whistled to himself.

Drawing a long breath, Eric stopped a moment to collect himself. What
if this boy were related to him by blood, and he were to find here his
missing uncle? Walking slowly and composedly, he entered the open door
of the green-house.



                              CHAPTER III.

                          THE FLAG IS HOISTED.


"Who's there? what do you want?" was asked by a form as it raised
itself up from a bed of black earth. A coarse, gray, sacklike linen
garment covered the form from head to foot; it was like that worn by
convicts, or rather, by the insane.

"What do you want? who are you? whom do you wish to see?" the man again
asked.

"I wish to see Herr Sonnenkamp."

"What do you want of him?"

"I would like to introduce myself to him."

"I am he. Who are you?"

"My name is Eric Dournay. Herr von Pranken had the kindness, day before
yesterday, to--"

"Ah! are you the man?" Sonnenkamp replied, drawing a long breath. With
trembling hands he unfastened the linen sack which he wore over his
coat, saying, with a forced smile, "You have surprised me in my
working-garb."

Rolling the sack together, and tossing it away, he said, "Was no
servant at hand? Do you always wear a uniform?"

It was the uniform then that gave him such a start, thought Eric. And,
on looking at the man, he was sure that he could not be his uncle. The
likeness of his missing uncle, which still hung in his father's study,
was present to his mind; it represented him as a slim, delicate form,
with a very prominent aquiline nose, and no trace of resemblance to
this athletic personage before his eyes.

"I am very sorry for having disturbed you," Eric resumed, convinced
that the first impression had been an unfavorable one. "I beg you
indeed to excuse me," he stammered out; "the Count von Wolfsgarten,
whose guest I have been, and from whom I bring to you a letter of
recommendation, has--"

"A letter from Count Wolfsgarten? Very welcome. I am very glad to see
you," replied Sonnenkamp, taking the letter.

"We have met very unexpectedly--there was no reason for
suspecting--prejudice as men--I mean--constraint--"

Sonnenkamp's tone had wholly changed; it had become gentle, kind,
almost tenderly beseeching.

He hastily ran his eye over the lines written by Clodwig, and then said
in a low tone,--

"I am very glad,--very welcome."

Looking, up from the letter, he made a sort of bow to Eric, and, as if
sure of acquiescence, remarked, "a nobleman--just what a nobleman ought
to be--is the Count Wolfsgarten. Do you stand as high in favor with the
Countess Bella?"

There was a touch of sarcasm in the tone of this last question.

Eric answered with an unmoved tone and look, "I am happy to enjoy
equally the favor of husband and wife."

"Fine, very fine," Sonnenkamp resumed. "But let us go out into the open
air. Are you a botanist too?"

Eric regretted that he had always neglected to extend his knowledge in
this direction.

Out in the open air, Sonnenkamp again surveyed the new-comer from head
to foot. Eric now for the first time noticed, that wholly forgetting
his military attire, he had taken off his cap. And when he perceived
the look with which he was surveyed, he realised what was the meaning
of private service, to give up one's self with his whole personal being
to the dominion of an individual.

In Sonnenkamp's survey there was something which made Eric feel as if
he were in a slave-market; and when Sonnenkamp stretched out his hand
with a peculiar gesture, it seemed as if he were about to take hold of
his chin, open his lips, and examine whether his teeth were all sound.

Eric shook his head at this strange fancy, and proudly stood erect,
feeling, that he must maintain his own ground steadily in the presence
of this man.

Sonnenkamp immediately gave orders to a servant near by to get
breakfast ready at the fountain.

"Did you come on horseback?" he asked.

"Count Wolfsgarten was kind enough to furnish me with a horse."

"You have already spoken with my son?"

"Yes."

"I am glad that you came in uniform," Sonnenkamp said, making no
further inquiries of Eric what he thought of the boy.

As if Eric were only a distinguished, well-recommended visitor,
Sonnenkamp now exhibited to him the object of his greatest pride. This
was a perfect collection of heaths, such as is rarely to be found. He
discoursed upon the nice distinctions in the different varieties, and
added: "I have been where the greater part of these heaths originated,
the table-land of the Cape of Good Hope."

"I am sorry," said Eric, "that my mother is not here, for she would
take great delight in this magnificent display."

"Is your mother a botanist?"

"Our botanical professor used to boast of her proficiency; but she
takes great pains to avoid every appearance of being a blue-stocking.
It must be very difficult to keep together these productions of
different climates."

"Very difficult indeed. These Ericas require, at the same time, a
regular temperature and a uniform moisture. You may often have noticed
how some little heath-plant with its delicate blooms, which is sent to
a lady for a flowers-stand, becomes dry and brittle after a few days.
This little plant will not endure the dry atmosphere of a room."

Sonnenkamp suddenly stopped, and smiled to himself. This stranger
professed only an ordinary degree of knowledge in order to be
agreeable, and to let the rich proprietor branch out and be eloquent
about his darling hobby. I can't be taken by such coarse bait, thought
Sonnenkamp. "Will you be so good as to put this tub from the stand upon
the ground?" he said, pointing to a very large Erica.

A momentary glance made Sonnenkamp aware that Eric understood well
enough that the motive was to find out whether he knew how to make
himself serviceable, and how to keep a humble position.

Eric complied very readily with the request, but Sonnenkamp had
immediately made up his mind, in spite of Clodwig's warm
recommendation, not to receive this man into his house.

He had two reasons. The stranger had seen him, as no other person could
ever boast, utterly thrown off his balance, and must therefore be
removed from his sight; now it appeared that he must maintain a
respectful demeanor, which was rather irksome.

He would, in the meanwhile, show to one so well-recommended every
respectful attention. He took pleasure in thinking how he would test
the man in all points, allow him to unfold himself in the consciousness
of a certainty of being employed, and then dismiss him without
assigning any reason for doing so.

All this passed through Sonnenkamp's thoughts while he was turning
round to lock the green-house door. The thing was as surely and as
firmly fixed in his mind as the door was surely and firmly looked.

"Do you speak English?" he asked, seeing his wife still sitting in the
rocking-chair; she had taken off the red shawl, and as she sat there,
her satin dress had a rich golden lustre.

"Captain, Doctor, I beg your pardon, what name?" said Sonnenkamp, in
introducing him.

"Dournay."

Frau Ceres gave a hardly perceptible nod, and, as if there were no one
else present, said in a peevish tone to her husband, that he paid no
attention to her, and had not said a single word to her about her new
dress. Sonnenkamp stood wholly at a loss to know what was the meaning
of this unexpected sally of his wife. Did she think it was a mark of
high-breeding to show the stranger such a degree of indifference? She
was not diplomatic enough for that. He turned, and as if apologising,
remarked to Eric that his wife loved gay colors.

In a tone of strict truth, Eric replied that he entirely coincided with
the gracious lady; that gay colors were in keeping with external
nature; and that people ought to be sunny and bright like the flowers.

Frau Ceres smiled at this friendly turn, and Eric continued in the same
strain, that it was a lamentable effect of the style of conversation
employed in society, that the expression even of a truth should be
regarded as mere civility and flattery, whenever it struck pleasantly
upon the ear; that words were deprived of their real meaning, and
people accustomed themselves to advance ideas which neither the speaker
nor the hearer actually believed; that our manner of talking in society
was like a card of invitation to an evening party, in which eight
o'clock was specified as the hour, when half past nine was meant; and
he who went at eight only brought the hosts into a dilemma.

Frau Ceres looked from Eric to her husband, and from her husband to
Eric, and as no one said anything, Eric continued, briefly pointing out
how colors in dress harmonised with the natural environment. But he
soon perceived that he was going too far in this exposition, and he
added that the attire of ladies approached nearer to the ethereal
bright plumage of the birds.

His mother now beckoned to Roland, who appeared in the distance. He
pointed to the summit of the tower. The mother looked up and smiled;
and the father also smiled when he saw the flag of the American Union
floating from its top.

"Who did that?" asked Sonnenkamp.

"I," Roland answered, with a joyous smile.

"What is it for?"

The boy's visage changed, and he cast a side-glance toward Eric.

Sonnenkamp screwed his under lip between his thumb and fore-finger into
a half-circle, and nodded silently.

Eric had noticed the boy's glance, and his heart beat for joy. He asked
the boy.

"Are you very proud of being an American?"

"Yes."

Eric was introduced to Fräulein Perini as she came up to them; grasping
the mother-of-pearl cross with her left hand, she made a very
ceremonious courtesy. Frau Ceres requested her to go with her to the
house. Sonnenkamp, Eric, and Roland remained by themselves.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                  THE BUYER EXAMINES WHAT IS OFFERED.


"Give me your hand, Roland," said Eric. The boy gave it, looking up
trustingly and joyfully.

"My young friend," Eric added, "I thank you for that testimony of
respect waving yonder; but now leave us, for your father wishes to
speak with me."

Father and son looked in amazement at the man who was giving his orders
in such a free and easy manner. The boy departed, Eric nodding to him
again.

After the two men were left by themselves, for a while no word was
spoken. Herr Sonnenkamp, who always carried his cigars loose in his
pocket, offered Eric a large, black, broken one, which he accepted and
lighted from the match Sonnenkamp held out to him, without taking it
into his own hand.

After drawing a few whiffs, he said,--"You will certainly agree with
me, that it is an impolite politeness for any one to insist on taking
the lighted match into his own hand; between this giving and taking,
one generally burns his fingers."

However insignificant this remark, it served for a beginning. Herr
Sonnenkamp leaned back in his chair, held the cigar-smoke for a long
time in his mouth, and then blew it out in perfect rings, which, as
they floated in the air, grew larger and larger until they vanished.

"You have great influence over the boy," he said, after a while.

"I think that the attraction is mutual, and this makes me hope that I
might succeed as the boy's tutor. Only love can educate, as love only
can create and form. An artist who does not love his calling can never
truly create. There are, indeed, many who love a child because they
give him instruction; but I can instruct only one whom I love."

"Fine, very fine,--noble. But Roland needs a strict hand."

"Love does not exclude but rather includes strictness; he who loves
requires perfection in himself, as well as in the object of his love,
and makes the highest demands."

Sonnenkamp nodded in a very friendly, even kindly manner; but there was
a sort of sneer upon his countenance, as looking down to the ground and
placing both hands upon his knees, he said:--

"We will speak now about personal matters; for things of that sort we
will find time by and by. You are a ----?"

"Philologist by profession; but I have devoted myself, by preference,
to practical education."

"I know that,--I know that," Sonnenkamp said, still looking down as he
spoke.

"I should like to know something about your personal history."

He did not look up, and Eric was deeply pained at the thought of being
obliged again to become his own biographer. He felt like a man who
speaks to a sober and cool listener after drinking with a set of boon
companions. He had unfolded himself freely and spontaneously to
Clodwig, the day before; and to-day he must do it in order to recommend
himself to a purchaser. And so it is! The seller must always say more,
and expatiate more upon his goods, than the buyer. Wealth was a
tyrannical power exhibiting itself under an entirely new form.

Eric, looking at the back of the man's head, and at his broad
neck,--for not a glance was vouchsafed him,--very soon lost all
sensitiveness as to his position of being a seeker after employment. He
was not the receiver, but the giver. A tone of self-respect breathed in
the words which he now uttered:--

"I offer you my free labor."

On hearing this, Sonnenkamp threw up his head quickly without changing
his position, cast a rapid glance upon the speaker, and let his head
immediately drop again.

"I mean," continued Eric, "that I offer to you and to your son all that
I am, and all the knowledge and science that I have made my own
hitherto. I look for no other reward than the free unfolding of my own
activity; and I have the feeling of freedom in doing this, since
whatever I may accomplish I accomplish also for myself, in bringing
that actually to pass which I have striven after, and which I have laid
down as a theoretical demand."

"I know what free labor is," Sonnenkamp said, looking towards the
ground. Then sitting upright, he added with a smiling countenance:--

"You are not dealing with a man of learning. I think we shall come
sooner to terms, if you will regard me as a common-sense man who only
wants to know the plain matter-of-fact."

"I had hoped," Eric replied, "that the introduction of Count von
Wolfsgarten--"

"I esteem highly the Count von Wolfsgarten, more highly than I do any
one else; but--"

"You are right; I will give you a personal explanation," Eric
interrupted.

Was it the cigar, or was it the painful position in which he felt
himself placed, that caused the sweat to start out upon Eric's
forehead? At any rate, he laid the cigar down, and perceiving with a
sort of surprise that he was wearing his uniform, began to explain
again that he had put it on, for that day, because Count Wolfsgarten
had advised him to do so.

Sonnenkamp again sat up wholly erect, feeling himself completely
fortified against this man, who, an entire stranger, had taken
possession of his house, his wife, his son, and thought even to
domineer over him, and make him a stranger in his own home. He would
let the applicant talk till he was tired.

"Go on, captain," he exclaimed, laying his right hand with the fingers
crooked upon the table, and then drawing it back again, as if he had
deposited a stake at play.

Eric had now become master of all his powers, and in a tone of cheerful
good humor, began in a wholly different style:--

"Excuse a scholar for not throwing off his scholastic method. In the
old poems, before the hero enters upon his career, the parents are
described; and although I am no hero, and what I have to unfold is no
record of personal prowess, yet allow me to give a preliminary account
of my father and mother."

Eric once more gave a brief and concise sketch of his life. Mindful of
Clodwig's advice not to say anything about his fancied mission to
educate convicts, an incident occurred to him, which he had, in an
incomprehensible way, wholly passed over before. He gave an account of
his once having had charge of a powder-mill. "I was driven away by a
revolting expression of my employer. From some cause never yet
explained, the mill blew up, and four men were killed. But what said my
employer when he reached the spot? Not one word of pity for the lost
men, but 'that it was a shame for so much good powder to be lost.'"

"What was the man's name?" asked Sonnenkamp.

Eric gave one of the most distinguished names of the principality, and
was not a little surprised to hear Sonnenkamp say, "A wonderful
man,--influential and powerful."

Eric found it difficult to continue his narrative with composure after
this incident, and ended by saying,--

"I beg that you will not regard me as a weak, restless person, for
having so often changed my calling."

"On the contrary," Sonnenkamp declared, "I have had experience enough
both in the old and new world, to teach me that the most capable people
are just those who determine for themselves upon their employment.
Whoever changes his calling must do so either from some external
necessity, or from real fitness for something else. Allow me to ask one
question. Do you believe it possible for a man who undertakes,
compelled by want or because he can find nothing better to do, some
employment, I do not like to call it a service, but a dependent
position--you know what I mean, but I am not familiar with the
German--is it possible for him to devote himself heartily to that
occupation? Will he not always feel himself bound, under obligation to
serve, and often ill at ease?"

"Your frank objection," Eric replied, "does me great honor. I know well
that the calling of an educator requires to be made supreme, from
morning until night. Nothing can be more desirable to me than to
perceive that you are as deeply interested in the matter as I could
wish."

Again a peculiar expression darted across Sonnenkamp's countenance; but
Eric, without appearing to perceive it, continued, in a voice full of
emotion, "It is not because I can find nothing better to do that I
apply for the position of tutor in your family. I agree with you, that
he who takes such a place merely from necessity can never fulfil its
duties, although I do not mean to assert, and unconditionally, that
inclination may not be developed, or as we say, that one may not make a
virtue out of necessity. My knowledge is not great, but I have learned
what one must do in order to learn, and therefore I think that I am
able also to instruct. As far as earnest sincerity of purpose is
concerned, I will yield to no one; and so far as I can judge, I venture
to say, that were I placed in the most favorable circumstances, I would
enter upon the calling of an educator in a spirit of freedom, with
joyful zeal."

"Right honorable, right honorable! go on!" Sonnenkamp interposed in
such a tone that Eric was somewhat confounded, hearing as he yet did,
in a measure, the echo of his own earnest utterance, now so strangely
interrupted. In a sort of triumphant tone, Sonnenkamp continued:--

"An amateur is all very well; but I prefer a man with a profession."

"I am entirely of the same opinion," Eric answered; "and I am amazed at
the good results practically secured in the new world, by adopting a
different course."

With constrained calmness he continued,--

"In regard to this matter, I have only one desire, and only one request
to make."

"And that is?"

Sonnenkamp again placed his hand upon the table as if he were laying
down a stake at play.

"I should like that you would not find it disagreeable to consider me
at first, for some days, a guest in your house."

Eric said nothing more, hoping that Sonnenkamp would answer at once in
the affirmative; but he cracked in two, abruptly, a cigar which he had
just lighted, and which did not seem to draw freely, and threw it away
into the shrubbery. His face became red again, and a mocking smile
played upon his lips, as he thought: "Very confident indeed! This young
man imagines that if he can only get a lodgment for a few days, he can
so bewitch every one that he will be deemed indispensable. We shall
see!"

As he maintained a persistent silence, Eric said:--

"It would be desirable as well for you as for me, before making a
permanent agreement, to know more of each other; and I especially
desire this on Roland's account."

Sonnenkamp smiled, and watched two butterflies chasing each other,
hardly giving any attention to Eric as he went on to state, that the
boy seemed to him in one respect too mature, and in another not mature
enough to be made acquainted with the selection of a tutor, and perhaps
to have a voice in it; therefore he must first know him as a guest in
the house, and afterwards as his tutor; also it was his own desire that
Roland should not know that his tutor received pay in money, or at
least, should not know the amount.

At the word money, Sonnenkamp seemed to come out of his
butterfly-gazing.

"What sum would you demand?" asked he, putting into his mouth a fresh
cigar that he had held for some time in his hand. Eric replied that it
was not for him, but for the father, to determine that.

Sonnenkamp brought his cigar to a glow with a few violent whiffs, and
with great unction declared how well he knew that no sum was large
enough to compensate adequately the painstaking duties of education and
instruction.

Then leaning back in his chair, crossing his legs, and holding on to
his left leg with the right hand, manifestly well satisfied with this
declaration of his noble sentiments, he said,--

"Would you be willing to give me an exposition in a few words of the
principles and method you must employ in the training of my son?"

"The method to be marked out in any particular case, the course I
should adopt in actual instruction, I myself do not as yet know."

"What! you yourself not even know that?"

"I must take my method from Roland himself, for it must be adapted to
the pupil's natural characteristics. Let me take an illustration from
your own surroundings. You see here the river. The boatmen have sounded
the bottom, and knowing where the shoal-banks are, keep well clear of
them. So must I, first of all, fathom, in the peculiar sense of that
word, the depths of Roland's nature."

Eric looking up continued:--

"Or let me take a yet more pertinent illustration. If you see that your
servants, in going from the house to the servants' quarters, take by
preference a short cut over a grass-plot artistically measured and laid
out, you will, if it is possible, give in to this beaten track, and not
obstinately adhere to your artificial plan, however correct it
may be, and however much in conformity with the principles of
landscape-gardening. You will adopt this natural foot-path as a part of
your plan. This is the method adapted to circumstances. Such
thoroughfares are found also in human beings."

Sonnenkamp smiled; he had, in fact, tried very hard, by means of
stringent prohibitions, to keep a bed of shrubbery in the middle of the
court-yard free from foot-passengers, and finally had laid out a
pathway through it.

"Agreed as to the method, but how about the principles?" He smiled with
self-satisfaction, for he perceived how nice a distinction he had
drawn. The man had made him conscious that, in an intellectual
struggle, he had here no mean antagonist.

"Here I must take a wider range," resumed Eric. "The great contest,
which runs through the history of humanity and the whole of human life,
shows itself in the most direct way in the training of one human being
by another; for here the two elementary forces confront each other as
living personalities. I may briefly designate them as individuality and
authority, or historic civilization and nature."

"I understand--I understand, go on!" was thrown in encouragingly by
Sonnenkamp, when Eric paused for a moment, anxious not to get lost in
generalities.

"The educator is necessarily the representative of authority, and the
pupil is a personality by the very endowment of nature," resumed Eric.
"There is continually then a balance to be adjusted between the two, a
treaty of peace to be made between the contending forces, which shall
at last become a real reconciliation. To train one merely as an
individual is to place a child of humanity outside of actual existence,
and for the sake of freedom to isolate him from the common life, and
make it burdensome to him; to subject him merely to prescribed laws is
to rob him of his inborn rights. The human being is a law to himself,
but he is also born into a system of laws. It was the great mistake of
Jean Jacques Rousseau, and the French Revolution, that in their
indignation at the traditions contradictory to reason, they thought
that an individual and an age could develop everything from themselves.
A child of humanity neither contains all within himself, nor can he
receive all from without. I think then that there is a mingling of the
two elements, and there must be an hourly and an imperceptible
influence exerted both from within and from without equally, inasmuch
as man is a product of nature and a product of history. It is through
the last, only, that man is distinguished from the beasts, and becomes
an heir of all the labors and all the strength of the past
generations."

Sonnenkamp nodded acquiescingly. His whole mien said, This man lays
down very aptly what he heard yesterday from the lecturer's desk; and
Eric continued,--

"Man alone comes into an inheritance, and an inheritance is the
heaviest human responsibility."

"That is something new to me. I should like to ask for a fuller
explanation."

"Permit me to illustrate: the beast receives from nature, from birth,
nothing except its individual strength and its stationary instinctive
capacity, while the human being receives from his progenitors and from
humanity a superadded strength which he has not in himself, but of
which he becomes possessor, and so he is the only inheritor. And let me
say further, that it is difficult to decide whether it is harder to
turn to good advantage that which a man is in himself, or that which he
may receive, as for example your son will, as an inheritance. Most
persons are of account only through what they possess. I consider this
last of no trifling importance, but--"

"Wealth is no sin, and poverty is no virtue," Sonnenkamp interrupted.
"I admit the depth and fineness of your perception in all this. I
confess it is new to me, and I think that you have taken the right
view. But whether, in the education of one individual boy, you shall
find occasion for such great fundamental principles--"

"While engaged in the work of instruction," Eric quietly replied, "I
shall not be likely to have directly before my eyes universal
principles, as everything must be developed from its own basis. While
one is loading, aiming, and firing off a musket, he does not define to
himself the various physical laws that come into play, but he must know
them in order to proceed in the right way."

Sonnenkamp was rather tired of this discussion; it was somewhat out of
his line, and he had the unpleasant consciousness, that while trying to
make an impression upon the stranger, he had himself been made to
appear infinitely small.

"Pardon, gracious sir," a groom interposed, as Eric was beginning to
expatiate anew. Sonnenkamp stood up hastily, and remarking that it was
time for his ride, with affable condescension he waived with his hand
the discussion to some other time.

He went quickly away. Roland came along the path, and called out,--

"I may ride out with Herr Dournay, may I not, papa?"

Sonnenkamp nodded, and departed with a hurried step. He mounted on
horseback, and was soon to be seen riding a spirited black horse along
the white high-road by the river. He made an imposing appearance as he
sat on horse-back; the groom followed him.



                               CHAPTER V.

                     A NEW PATRON AND A NEW TUTOR.


By Roland's direction his own pony had been saddled, and also a
horse for Eric. They mounted, and rode slowly through a part of the
village which joined the estate. At the very end of it stood a small
vine-covered house, with all the window-shutters closed. Eric asked who
owned it, and why it was shut up. Roland told him that it belonged to
his father, and that the architect, who built the villa, had lived
there, and sometimes his father also, when he came from Switzerland or
Italy during the building of the house, or the laying out of the park
and garden.

"Now for a good trot," said Eric; "take your bridle more firmly in your
left hand. Now!"

They started briskly, keeping side by side, but suddenly Eric's horse
shied and began to rear. Roland uttered a cry, but Eric reassured him,
saying, "I'll conquer him;" he drew his feet from the stirrups, and
rode off at such a pace that the horse was soon covered with foam and
quite submissive; then he rode back to Roland, who was waiting for him
in anxiety.

"Why did you throw off the stirrups?" he asked.

"Because I didn't want to hang by them if the horse fell backwards."

They rode on quietly near each other. Eric asked:--

"Which do you like best, to have some fixed object for your ride, or
simply to go over a certain distance, and then turn back?"

Roland looked puzzled.

"Didn't you understand my question?"

"Yes, perfectly."

"And what do you think?"

"I like to have some object, a visit to pay, at the end of my ride."

"I thought you would say so."

"Only think," said Roland, "they say I must have another tutor."

"Indeed."

"But I won't."

"What do you want?"

"I want to get away from home and go to a military school! Why should
Manna go to the convent? They always say that my mother can't eat
unless I am with her, but she'll have to eat when I'm an officer."

"Then you want to be an officer?"

"Yes, what else should I be?"

Eric was silent.

"Are you a nobleman?" asked the boy, after a pause.

"No."

"Shouldn't you like to become one?"

"We cannot make ourselves noblemen."

The boy played with his horse's long mane; glancing back, he saw that
the flag had been lowered from the tower. He pointed it out to Eric,
saying haughtily that he should hoist it again. His fine, delicately
cut, but pale face gained strength and color as it lost its weary look,
and assumed a daring expression.

Without noticing his domineering manner, Eric said how much he liked
Roland's pride in being an American.

"You are the first person in Germany who has commended it," cried the
boy joyfully. "Herr von Pranken and Fräulein Perini are always
ridiculing America; you are the only man,--but I beg your pardon, I
ought not to be talking so familiarly to you."

"Put away that notion; we want to be good friends."

The boy held out his hand, and Eric pressed it warmly.

"See, our horses are good friends too," said Roland. "Have you many
horses at home?"

"No, not any; I am poor."

"Wouldn't you like to be rich?"

"Certainly, wealth is a great power."

Roland looked at him in surprise; none of his tutors had said that to
him; they had all represented wealth as a temptation and a vanity, or
had extolled it for the sake of flattering him.

After some time, in which the boy was evidently thinking about Eric, he
said, "Are you French, like your name?"

"No, I am a German, but my ancestors were French emigrants. How old
were you when you came to Europe?"

"Four."

"Have you any recollection of America?"

"No, but Manna has. I can only remember a song which a negro used to
hum, but I can't quite recall it, and nobody can sing it to me."

As they rode up the mountain, the little man, whom they had seen at
work in the garden, stood aside to let them pass, and greeted them
respectfully. They drew up, and Roland asked Nicholas, as the dwarf was
called, why he was going home so early.

The little man replied that he was going home now at noon, and then
into the wood to get some of the new earth which Herr Sonnenkamp had
found. Up in the wood was a spring which contained iron, and Herr
Sonnenkamp had dug down and found the earth also impregnated with iron.
In this earth he had planted hydrangeas, and the flesh-colored flowers
had changed to sky-blue.

The little man could not express all his wonder at Herr Sonnenkamp, who
knew everything, and how to turn everything to account; it was no
wonder that he had grown so rich, while stupid men might go all over
the world, where millions were to be had, without ever knowing it.

But the little man took especial delight in telling them of a simple
device of his master, who always mixed juniper leaves with the earth
where he planted seeds of fruit-trees, and in that way kept away worms
and mice.

As they rode on, Eric expressed his admiration for a man, who, like a
second Columbus, was still making new discoveries in a world which
seemed already explored and parcelled out. His readiness to appreciate,
from a single example, Herr Sonnenkamp's greatness in this direction
made Roland draw himself up in his stirrups, struck with surprise as he
thought of the subject. He had never before heard his father so
praised.

"Is there no one in the neighborhood whom you would like to call upon?"
"No--or--yes, the major--but he is now at the castle. But up there in
the village the huntsman Claus lives, he has our dogs----will you go
with me to see him? I must let him know how Nora's puppies are; he was
with me an hour before you came."

Eric readily assented, and they trotted up the gentle ascent, turned
into a side path, and dismounted before a small cottage. Dogs of
various kinds came round them and jumped upon Roland; Puck also seemed
to have friends; he played with a brown badger-dog. An old man came out
of the house and touched his cap with a military salute. He wore the
short, light-gray cotton jacket which is the easy and comfortable
everyday dress of the country people along the Rhine, and he was
smoking a clay pipe, on which a sort of Ascension of Napoleon was
painted in glaring colors.

The tone and manner with which Roland presented his new friend to the
huntsman, showed that he knew how to take an imperious tone toward his
inferiors.

"Off with your cap," said he to the screamer; "only think, the captain
knew by their whimper how old and of what breed Nora's puppies were,
before he had seen them."

"Yes, one can do that," replied the screamer in a very loud voice, "one
can do that. Dogs have their own peculiar whine and bark, according as
they belong to a knowing or a stupid race; and stupid people, too, cry
and complain quite differently from smart ones."

He cast a pleased glance upon Eric, and held his pipe in his hand for
some time.

"You are right," said Eric. "I see you have had much experience and
reflection."

"May be so," answered the huntsman.

He led the way into his house, and when Eric asked what saint it was
whose picture hung on the wall, he replied, laughing,--

"That is my only saint, it is Saint Rochus of the mountain yonder, and
I like him because he has a dog with him."

There were many bird-cages in the room, and such a twittering and
confused singing, that one could hardly hear himself speak. The old man
was very happy in explaining to Eric how he taught birds that lived on
beetles and caterpillars to eat seeds, and how he got maggots and
weevils also, and he complained of Roland's want of interest in the
feathered tribe.

"No, I don't like birds," the boy declared.

"And I know why," said Eric.

"Do you? why then?"

"You have no pleasure in the free-flying creatures which you cannot
make your own, and you don't like them imprisoned either. You like dogs
because they are free and yet cling to us."

The dog-trainer nodded to Eric, as if to say, "You've struck the nail
on the head."

"Yes, I do like you!" cried Roland, who had two young spaniels in his
lap, while the mother stood by and rubbed her head against his side,
and the other dogs crowded round.

"Envy and jealousy," said Eric, "are striking characteristics of dogs.
As soon as a man caresses one, all the rest want to share the favor."

"There's one that doesn't trouble himself about it," said the trainer,
laughing.

In the corner lay a small brown dog, that only blinked at them
occasionally. Eric remarked that it must be a fox-hound, to judge from
its appearance.

"Right, he understands dogs!" cried the screamer, turning to Roland.
"You are right! I got that fellow out of a fox-hole, and he is and
always will be an unfaithful and ungrateful beast, who is not to be
trusted; do what you will for him, he is never thankful nor
affectionate."

The dog in the corner just opened his eyes and shut them again, as if
he didn't disturb himself about the talk of men.

Roland showed Eric his ferrets, which seemed to know him as he took
them out of the cage. He pointed out a bright yellow one, as an
especially cunning, tough rascal; he had given him the name of
Buchanan. The name of the other he would not tell; it was really Knopf,
but now he only said that he called him Master of Arts, because he
always considered so long before he went into a hole, and moved his
lips as if he were delivering a lecture.

They went into the garden, and the huntsman showed Eric his bee-hives.
Turning to Roland, he said,--

"Yes, Roland, your father's flowers are good for my bees, if the poor
little creatures didn't have to fly so far down to reach your garden. I
let my cattle feed in other men's pastures, and the world hasn't yet
got so far that rich men can forbid poor men's bees to suck honey from
their flowers."

A sharp glance shot from his eyes as he said this, which expressed the
whole rankling hostility of the poor towards the rich. The keeper
complained that Sonnenkamp cherished so many nightingales, which
certainly sang beautifully, but robbed the bees of their honey, and
even ate the bees with the honey. The nightingale, which men prize so
highly, is a cruel murderer of bees.

"Yes," answered Eric, "the nightingales do not know that the bees give
honey, and we cannot blame the birds for considering them as plagues
for whose destruction men will be grateful. However, they do not eat
them altogether for our sakes but their own."

The screamer looked first at Eric, then at Roland, and nodded as if
saying, "Yes, yes, that's quite another thing."

Roland now asked how far Griffin had been broken in. The reply was,
that he would now run at the man, but he was still too wild, and his
leap not quite regular, but he was beginning to seize hold. Roland
desired to see him do it; but the day-laborer, who allowed himself to
be experimented upon in that way, was not at home. Roland said that the
dwarf was at home, and he would be ready to do it. He himself went
after the dwarf.

After Roland had gone, the huntsman, Claus, hastily grasped Eric's
hand, saying, "I will help you to catch him, and I can give the fellow
slick into your hand."

Eric gazed in utter astonishment at the old man, who proceeded to
inform him that he understood very well what he had come for, and
whoever knew how could make out of Roland a proper man. He signified by
a very sly wink that Eric would some day be exceedingly grateful to
him, if he should help him out.

Before Eric could make any reply, Roland came back with the dwarf, who
allowed a pillow to be fastened over his shoulders, and stationed
himself at the garden-fence, holding fast by the palings with both
hands. A large Newfoundland dog was let out of a kennel, and sprang
about awkwardly in all directions, but at a whistle from the keeper
stationed himself behind him.

The keeper now called out, "Griffin! catch him! At him!"

With a bound the dog-leaped through the garden at the dwarf standing by
the fence, jumped upon him, bit into the pillow, tugged at him until he
fell over, and then placed his right fore-foot upon his breast, looking
back at his master.

"Bravo! bravo! You see he is a real devil!"

"You are right!" exclaimed Roland. "Devil! that's just the name--Devil
he shall be called. Now they will be afraid of me all over the
neighborhood."

Eric was shocked at this insolent bravado as well as at the off-hand
application of the idea. He appealed to the trainer whether a dog's
name ought to be changed who had already cut all his teeth.

"Certainly not," asserted the man; "a dog whose name is changed don't
know when he is called."

"And besides," added Eric, "it is wholly wrong to give a dog such a
name. A dog's name ought to have an _a_ in it, and have only one
syllable; the letter _a_ can be called aloud very easily."

"You are a great scholar; I never heard of the like before; you know
everything;" the screamer went on in high commendation, winking at the
same time merrily, and with half-sidelong glances.

Devil--for Roland persisted in giving the dog this name--would not come
away from the dwarf, prostrate on the ground, although both Roland and
the trainer called to him repeatedly. That was not a part of his
lesson. He held on until the trainer showed his whip.

Roland gave the dwarf a piece of money, for which he was very abjectly
grateful, and only wished that he might be thrown down in that way
three times every day by the dog. Eric looked on meditatively. How was
this rich youth to be made to learn to love, labor for, and influence
the world which so laid itself at his feet?

When the two left the cottage, the trainer escorted them a part of the
way, followed by a whole pack of dogs. They led their horses by the
bridle, and the trainer, keeping exclusively by the side of Eric, made
an ostentatious display of his whole stock of wisdom concerning the
training of dogs. The huntsman considered himself infinitely clever,
and all learned men stupid.

He seemed also to wish, in a sly way, to instruct Eric, when he said to
him that as soon as a dog can stand without stumbling over his own
legs, a beginning could be made. And it was an all-important thing not
to say much to a dog, but to use short, simple words, such as "go!"
"come!" "here!" but never any long speeches; and one must not make much
of him, but leave him to himself for whole days; and if he wished to
make friends, not to mind it, for if one gives too much attention to a
dog he becomes troublesome; and any one whom a dog is to respect must
not be found wanting at the hunt, especially when the dog is taken out
for the first time; if one has shot any game that the dog can fetch, he
will be faithful and true, but if one misses, he acquires no respect,
and never gains over the dog.

"Do you know Herr Knopf?" the screamer asked abruptly. Eric answered in
the negative.

"Yes; Herr Knopf," said the screamer, "has told me a hundred times,
that all the school-masters ought to be under my tuition. Dogs and
human beings are just alike. But the dogs are the more faithful beasts,
and let themselves be broken in, and bite only when the master orders
them to."

Eric looked at the man in astonishment; there was in him an
inexplicable bitterness, and this man was the boy's friend. He returned
to their former topic, and the screamer chuckled when he said that
beasts acquire something of the understanding of the men they are with.

The huntsman was very merry, and when they were about to separate, on
reaching the level ground, he took Roland aside, and said to him:--

"Thou blustering fellow! all thy ramrod priests and school-masters have
been of no account. That would be the man! Thy father ought to buy such
a man as that, and then something might be made of thee. But all your
money can't get him!"

The screamer said this ostensibly to Roland alone, but Eric was also to
hear it, for he must know that he ought to be grateful to him.

Just as they mounted, the huntsman said further,--

"Do you know that your father is buying up the whole mountain? Cursed
accumulation! Your father is buying the whole Pfaffen-street." At the
same time, pointing to the far extending wide-spread Rhineland, he
said,--

"In a hundred years, not one handbreadth of all those vineyards will
belong to those who rake and dig there. Must that be? Can that be
allowed?"

A brisk trot carried them back to the villa; Eric had made up his
mind; at the very moment when Eric had said to himself, "It is your
duty not to abandon the boy," he saw in the garden, near the small
vine-embowered house, a female form which vanished round the corner.

Had he really seen his mother, or had she been only present to his
imagination?

Quicker than one can compute, the idea was formed in his mind, that
here his mother and his aunt were to dwell; this house with its little
garden, its dwarf-trees, and its beautiful prospect was made ready for
her.

"Did you see a woman there in the garden?" he asked Roland.

"Yes, it was Fräulein Milch.

"Who is Fräulein Milch?"

"The Major's housekeeper."



                              CHAPTER VI.

         THE BREAD OF SERVICE AND THE BLESSING OF THE HUGUENOT.


When Eric and Roland returned from their ride, they learned that Herr
von Pranken had arrived. Eric's portmanteau had also been carried to
his room. The valet, Joseph, introduced himself as the son of the
Professor of Anatomy's servant, and he mentioned, with perceptible
emotions of gratitude, that Eric's father had given him a French
Grammar, out of which he had learned by heart French phrases, in his
spare moments at the Academic billiard-saloon, where he had been an
attendant. He had there laid the foundation of his present prosperity,
and he expressed his satisfaction at being able to thank the son of his
benefactor.

Joseph helped Eric in his arrangements, and gave him information
concerning the habits of the household; according to these, the next
thing to be done was, that each one, before dinner, which was regarded
as a sort of festive occasion, should repair in full dress to the
pleasure-ground in summer, and in spring to Nice,--as that part of the
covered walk on the terrace was called which had the best exposure to
the sun.

Eric laid aside his uniform; he entered the covered walk, and there
found Pranken and Fräulein Perini promenading up and down together.
Pranken approached Eric with a bland smile that flickered upon his
face, disappearing as quickly as it came. In the consciousness of his
rank and his social position, he could afford a perfect courteousness
of demeanor, in which even a certain degree of geniality might be
observed. With a bow he again took a position by the side of Fräulein
Perini, and continued his previous promenade and conversation with her.

Eric stood apart, and the admonition that he, as one in service, must
not be sensitive, struggled with his pride. But it might be regarded as
very considerate in Pranken, that he did not ask how it fared with his
application for the position of tutor.

Roland now entered in full dress, and the boy was amazed to see Eric in
citizen's clothes. Eric asked him, "Is your sister's name Manna?

"Yes; Hermanna, in fact, but she is always called Manna. Have you ever
heard of her?"

Eric had not time to reply that he had heard that name frequently
mentioned by Pranken and Fräulein Perini, for Sonnenkamp entered in a
black dress-coat, white neck-tie, and irreproachable yellow gloves. He
was very gracious to everybody, one might say _appetizing_ in his
manner, as if he would say, "I hope you will all enjoy your dinner."
Never was Sonnenkamp in a more cheerful mood, never more buoyant, than
during the quarter of an hour before dinner.

They went into the dining-saloon, a cool, square, vaulted room, lighted
from the roof.

The carved oak furniture here was very massive. A large side-board, set
out with beautiful antique vessels and Venetian glasses, displayed the
rich silver plate. The whole neighborhood said that Herr Sonnenkamp ate
out of golden plates; but this was a gossiping story.

They waited a few minutes in the dining-room until the folding-doors
opened, when two servants in the coffee-colored livery of the house
stood like guards, one on each side, and Frau Ceres, like a princess,
stepped between them. At the threshold she courtesied somewhat stiffly;
and Pranken, coming forward, conducted her to the table. A servant was
stationed near each person, and drew back the chair whilst he took his
seat; Fräulein Perini stood up behind her chair and leaned her arms
upon the back, held the mother-of-pearl cross in her folded hands, said
a prayer, made the sign of the cross, and sat down.

Frau Ceres, during the dinner, retained her yellow gloves, scarcely
tasting any food, and appearing as if she had come to the table merely
not to derange the order of things. She declined every dish, until Herr
Sonnenkamp said:--

"Do take something, dear child, do, I pray you."

In his manner, in making this request, there was a double tone, hard to
be distinguished separately. Sometimes it sounded like the call and
signal of a tamer of wild beasts, who allowed some subdued animal to
take the food lying before him; but again it sounded as when a father,
fondly and coaxingly, beseeches his peevish child to eat something for
his own good. Frau Ceres ate only a part of a bird, and some
sweetmeats.

Pranken's demeanour at table was that of an honored guest, to whom was
conceded the duty of paying particular attention to the hostess and
conversing with her. He gave a humorous account of the horse-market at
Mannheim, from which he had returned to-day at an early hour, with his
companion; he had bought for the fall-races a gray mare, which he would
be happy to transfer to Herr Sonnenkamp. And he soon took care to gain
the good will of Frau Ceres. She had a special aversion to the family
of the Wine-chevalier, who were very reserved towards the Sonnenkamp
household. He proceeded to relate some ridiculous swaggerings of the
Wine-chevalier, although he had been his own chosen companion.

He had also great skill in imitating the peculiar manner of speaking of
different persons, and in introducing; facetious anecdotes, which
produced a movement of the muscles in the weary face of Frau Ceres, and
frequently even a smile.

The conversation was carried on in Italian, which Pranken spoke pretty
well, but in which Eric was not fluent. For the first time in his life,
Eric sat at a table where he was obliged to keep as silent as the
servants who were in waiting.

Frau Ceres considered it her place not to leave the stranger wholly
neglected, and therefore she asked him in English if his parents were
still living.

Assuming a patronising tone, Pranken went into an account of Eric's
father and mother; he did it with marked friendliness of manner, and
dwelt with special emphasis upon the fact that Eric's mother belonged
to the nobility.

"Are you a Frenchman, as your name indicates?" Fräulein Perini
inquired.

Eric once more repeated that his ancestors had immigrated into Germany
two hundred years before; that he felt himself to be purely a German,
and rejoiced to be descended from the Huguenots.

"Huguenots?--ah, yes! they sing that," Frau Ceres said, taking a
childish delight in this knowledge.

Every one at the table was obliged to restrain himself from laughing
aloud.

"Why was the name Huguenots given to them?" asked Roland, and Eric
replied,

"Some people think that the name originated in the circumstance of
their holding their secret religious assemblies at Tours, only by
night, when the ghost of King Hugo appeared; but I am of the opinion of
those who consider it a German word, originally Eidgenosse, meaning
associates, and changed by the French into Huguenot."

Pranken nodded to Eric in a very friendly manner, as if he would give
him a testimonial of his excellent qualifications as a tutor.

"You take pride, then, in your descent from the Huguenots?" asked
Sonnenkamp.

"Pride is not precisely the word I should prefer," Eric answered.

"But you know that the Puritans, who were exiled to the New World on
account of their religious belief, were the parent-stock of that
substantial, conscientious, and courageous middle class; and that they
carried with them and transplanted into their new homes, as the Greeks
of old times into Sicily and Italy, a complete civilization."

The manner in which Eric uttered this, touching upon a great historical
series of events, suddenly gave to the conversation at table a wholly
new direction. They were at once taken out of the light, brief
witticisms, and piquant personalities, into an entirely different
atmosphere. Roland felt this to some extent, looked proudly at Eric,
and was glad that his voice and his thoughts so overmastered all.

Sonnenkamp himself recognised here the serene presence of a higher
nature, which always breathed in an elevated region; he could not help
feeling a certain respect for the man, and at last put the question,
"How do you associate the Pilgrim Fathers in America with the
Huguenots?"

"Let me briefly explain," answered Eric. "The new age has broken
through the stringent lines of demarcation between different
nationalities, as, for example, the Jews have become actual and
constituent parts of the various peoples among whom they have been
scattered. A haughty and tyrannical king drove the Huguenots out of
France, and they became Germans. The emigrating Englishmen imprinted
their culture upon America; the emigrating Huguenots, established among
a people already civilized, were obliged to adopt the social cultus of
their new fatherland. Permit me, Herr Sonnenkamp, to take you as an
example."

"Me? what do you mean?"

"You emigrated to America as a German, and the German emigrants in the
New World become assimilated to their adopted home, and their children
are completely American."

Roland's eye glistened, but whether it was that Pranken felt himself
cast in the shade by Eric, or that he endeavored to embarrass him as
much as possible, he exclaimed, with an odd mingling of humor and
pity,--

"It is very modest in you to place the Huguenots, who almost all
belonged to the gentry, in the same category with the Jews."

"I regard it as a matter of no consequence," Eric replied, "whether my
ancestors belonged to the gentry or not; they were engaged in the
common occupations of business and trade, and my immediate ancestors
were goldsmiths. The resemblance of the Jews with the Huguenots,
however, I must maintain. Every community exiled on account of its
religion, and scattered abroad, incurs thereby a double obligation:
first, to keep in view, over and above all nationality, the oneness of
humanity; and second, to contend against all fanaticism and all
exclusiveness. There is no one religion in which alone salvation is to
be found, and no one nationality comprising in itself all excellence."

Pranken and Fräulein Perini looked at each other in astonishment. Frau
Ceres was at a loss to comprehend what all this meant, and Sonnenkamp
shook his head over this sermon-like style of his guest, who
intermingled his world-wide historical views with the light table-talk;
and yet he could not get rid of the impression that there was before
him a nature that had its permanent abode in the region of pure
thought.

"You must unfold that to me yet more definitely at some other time," he
said, seeking to divert the conversation.

And Roland said:--

"Louis the fourteenth, who exiled your ancestors, is he the one who
destroyed the castles here on the Rhine?"

"The same."

It seemed difficult to draw the conversation away from a subject which
made it drag heavily, but it was suddenly diverted, for just then a
highly seasoned dish was brought in, of which Roland desired to eat.
His father would not permit it. His mother, perceiving it, cried out in
a shrill voice, "Do let him eat what he likes."

A glance from Eric met Roland's eye, and the boy laid down the morsel
that he was about putting into his mouth, saying, "I would rather not
eat it."

Sonnenkamp made a sign to the servant to re-fill Eric's glass with
Rauenthaler. This appeared to be his way of expressing his gratitude
for the glance of Eric.

No new topics for light conversation came up. Pranken was silent, and
it was uncertain whether he had exhausted his material, or whether he
wished to make Eric conscious by this reticence how pedantically, and
at the same time ostentatiously, he had disturbed the cordial good
feeling of the table.

The cloth was removed. Fräulein Perini again repeated a prayer in a low
tone, all stood motionless, and the servants having quickly drawn back
the chairs, they repaired to the veranda, where coffee was served in
very small cups.

Frau Ceres gave a biscuit to a snow-white parrot, and the parrot called
out, "God bless you, massa." Then she sank down into an easy-chair, and
Pranken placed himself near her on a low tabouret, sitting almost at
her feet.

Fräulein Perini selected a seat sufficiently near, if she wished to
take part in the conversation, and yet far enough off to allow Pranken
to speak with Frau Ceres alone.

Sonnenkamp beckoned to Eric to go with him into the garden. Roland
accompanied them without being asked.

The servant came to inform them that the huntsman Claus was with the
puppies, and begged that the young gentleman would come to him.

"I give you permission to go," the father said.

"But I would prefer to remain with you here," Roland replied.

There was an expression of childlike fondness in the tone and gesture,
as he grasped Eric's hand.

"If your father says that you may go, you should go," Eric quietly
answered.

Roland departed with lingering steps, halting at intervals, but still
he went.



                              CHAPTER VII.

                 AN EXAMINATION THAT ENDS WITH A LAUGH.


For some time, the two walked silently side by side. Eric was
dissatisfied with himself; he lived too exclusively in himself, and in
the longing to arrange everything according to his own mental laws, and
to express each truth in the most comprehensive way, throwing himself
into it in the excitement of the moment with perfect freedom and
naiveté, yet not unconscious of his intellectual riches.

Hence the hearers felt that, what he said was not only inopportune, but
was presented with a sort of zealous importunity. Eric acknowledged
this and was conscious of it immediately afterward, when he had
divested himself of himself; yet he was continually making the same
mistake, which caused him to appear in an ambiguous light, and as if he
were out of his appropriate place. Eric had a sort of clairvoyant
perception how all this was affecting Sonnenkamp, but he could not
discern the peculiar triumph that it afforded him over the visionary,
as he smiled to himself at the green youth who served up such
freshly-cooked dishes of sophomoric learning. He knows what it is, he
has passed through it all. People settle themselves down there in the
little university-town, and coming in contact with no one else, they
live in a fantastic world of humanity, and appear to themselves to be
personages of the greatest consequence, whom an ungrateful lack of
appreciation hinders from manifesting their efficiency in actual life.
And this captain-doctor now before him had only a small company of
ideas under his command.

Sonnenkamp whistled to himself,--whistled so low that nobody but
himself could hear the tune; he even knew how to set his lips so that
nobody perceived him to be whistling.

He placed himself in a chair on a little eminence, and showed Eric also
a seat.

"You must have noticed," he said at last, "that Fräulein Perini is a
very strict Catholic, and all our household belong to the Church; may I
ask, then, why you rang the changes so loudly upon your Huguenot
descent?"

"Because I wish to show my colors, and nail them to the mast; for no
one must ever take me for what I am not."

Sonnenkamp was silent for some time, and then he said, leaning back in
his seat,--

"I am master in this house, and I tell you that your confession shall
be no hindrance. But now"--he bent himself down, putting both hands on
his knees and looking straight at Eric--"but now--I came very near
falling from my horse to-day, which has never happened to me before,
because I was deeply engaged, while riding, in reflection upon what you
said to me--in brief--the main point of our conversation. How do you
think that a boy who is to engage in no business and who is to come
into possession of a million--or rather say, of millions--how do you
think that such a boy is to be educated?"

"I can give a precise answer to that question."

"Can you? I am listening."

"The answer is simple. He cannot be educated at all."

"What! not at all?"

"That is what I affirm. The great mysterious Destiny alone can educate
him. All that we can do is, to work with him, and to help him rule over
and apply whatever strength he has."

"To rule over and to apply," Sonnenkamp murmured to himself; "that
sounds well, and I must say that you confirm an impression which has
often before this been made upon me. Only a soldier, only a man who has
developed and trained his own inborn courageous energies, only such an
one can accomplish anything great in our time; nothing can be done by
sermons and books, for they cannot overcome the old, nor create the new
age."

In a changed, almost cringingly humble tone, Sonnenkamp continued,--

"It may appear in the highest degree strange, that I, a man of little
knowledge, who have not had time in the active business of life to
learn anything rightly,--that I should seem to subject you to
examination; but you must be convinced that I do it for my own
instruction. I see, already, that I have even more to learn from you
than Roland has.

"I pray you then to tell me what training--imagine yourself a father in
my circumstances--what training you would give your own son."

"I believe," Eric answered, "that fantasy can call up all sorts of
pictures, but a relation which is one of the mysteries of nature can
only be known through experience, and cannot be apprehended by any
stretch of the imagination. Permit me then to answer from my own
outside point of view."

"Very well."

"My father was the educator of a prince, and I think his task was the
easier one."

"You would then place wealth above sovereignty?"

"Not at all; but in a prince the sense of duty is very early awakened.
Not only pride but duty is a means, every moment, of inducing him to
conduct himself as a prince. The formal assumption of state dignity, in
which those in the highest rank are so accomplished, appears from a
very early age as an essential feature of their position, as a duty,
and becomes a second nature. Taste becomes connoisseurship. Pardon my
scholastic ways," Eric laughingly said, breaking in upon his
exposition.

"Don't stop--to me it is in the highest degree interesting."

Sonnenkamp leaned back in his seat, and gave himself up to the
enjoyment of Eric's discourse, as if it were some choice tid-bit: very
well for this man to go off into the regions of speculation, who in the
meanwhile could not call his own the chair on which he sat, nor the
spot of earth on which he stood, whilst he; Sonnenkamp, could proudly
call his all that was around him, and could obtain possession, if he
wished, of all that was within reach of his sight, and, as the keeper
said, buy up the whole of the Rhinegau.

"Continue," he said, putting a fresh cigar in his mouth.

"It may seem laughable," resumed Eric, "but it is certainly significant
that a prince receives, in his very cradle, a military rank. When
reason awakens in him, he sees his father always under the ordinance of
duty. I do not at all deny that this duty often sits very lightly upon
him, if it is not wholly neglected, but a certain appearance of duty
must always be preserved. The son of a rich man, on the other hand,
does not see the duty which wealth imposes placed so peremptorily
before his eyes; he sees beneficence, utility, the fostering Of art,
hospitality, but all this not as duty, but as free personal
inclination."

"You come round again to the obligation imposed by social civilization.
I pray you, however,--you have a decided talent for instruction, I see
that plainly; and I am at any rate thankful to Count Clodwig and to
you."

"A point for comparison occurs to me," Eric began anew.

"Go on," Sonnenkamp said, encouragingly.

"It was a custom, in the good old time, for German princes to learn
some trade. Irrespective of all else, they learned how to understand
and to esteem labor. The rich youth ought to have something like this,
without its being suffered to degenerate into a mere hollow
ceremonial."

"Very suggestive," Sonnenkamp asserted. He had proposed to himself only
to make inquiries of Eric, only to procure a new species of enjoyment
by allowing a learned idealist to open his whole budget; he had taken
especial satisfaction in the thought that Eric would do this for his
enjoyment, and would reap no advantage from it himself; he also
experienced a certain delight in being able for once to journey into
the region of the ideal--it seemed a very pretty thing--but only for
one hour, for one half-day; and now he was unexpectedly awakened to a
lively interest. He placed his hand upon Eric's arm, and said,--

"You are really a good teacher."

Eric continued, without remarking upon the compliment,--

"I set a very high value upon sovereignty; it is a great influence, and
confers independence and self-possession."

"Yes, that is true. But do you know what is the most desirable thing,
which money cannot buy?"

Eric shook his head, and Sonnenkamp continued,--

"A trust in God! Look! a poor vine-dresser was buried there day before
yesterday. I would give half my property to purchase of him for the
remainder of my life his trust in God. I could not believe what the
physician said, but it was only the truth, that this vine-dresser, a
real Lazarus covered with sores, in all his sufferings constantly said,
'My Saviour underwent yet severer pains, and God knows beforehand
why he inflicts this upon me.' Now tell me if such a faith is not
worth more than any millions of money? And I ask you now, do you
feel yourself able to give this to my son, without making him a
priest-ridden slave, or a canting devotee?"

"I do not think that I can. But there is a blessedness to be obtained
from the depths of thought."

"Is there? and in what does it consist?"

"According to my opinion, in the blissful consciousness of acting
according to the measure of our strength, and in harmony with the
well-being of our fellow-men."

"I think that if I, when a boy, had had an instructor after your stamp,
it would have been happy for me," Sonnenkamp exclaimed, in a tone
entirely different from before.

Eric replied, "Nothing that you could say to me would give me more
confidence and hopefulness than this utterance."

A quick movement of the hand, as if he were throwing away some object,
indicated that something went wrong with Sonnenkamp. This continued
conversation wearied him, for he was not used to it, and this sort of
immediate balancing of the ledger wounded his pride. Eric never
remained in his debt, and he himself had always the feeling that there
was something for him to pay.

For some time nothing was heard but the splashing of the fountain, and
the gentle flowing of the Rhine, and at intervals the note of the
nightingale singing unweariedly in the thicket.

"Did you ever have a passion for play?" Sonnenkamp asked unexpectedly.

"No."

"Were you ever passionately in love? You look at me in astonishment,
but I asked only because I should like to know what has made you so
mature."

"Perhaps a careful and thorough training has given me that serious
thoughtfulness which you are so kind as to call maturity."

"Well, you are more than an educator."

"I shall be glad if it is so, for I think that he who is to bring
anything to pass must always be something more than what his immediate
activity calls for."

Sonnenkamp again made a wry face, and once more jerked his hand as if
throwing something away. This readiness always to return the blow, and
this assured response, put him out of countenance.

They heard Pranken and Fräulein Perini walking up and down in a
side-walk.

"You must take care to stand in good relations with Fräulein Perini,"
Sonnenkamp said, as he rose; "for she is also--she is of some
importance, and is not very easily fathomed, and she has one great
advantage over most persons I know,--she has that most valuable trait
of never indulging in any whims."

"I am sorry to say that I cannot boast of any such trait, and I ask
your pardon in advance if I ever--"

"It is not necessary. But your friend, Pranken, understands very well
how to be on good terms with Fräulein Perini."

Eric considered that truth demanded of him to inform Sonnenkamp that he
had no right to call Pranken a friend of his. They were in the military
school together, and acquainted in the garrison, but their ideas had
never chimed together, and his own views in life had always been wholly
different from those of a rich elder son; he acknowledged the kindness
with which Pranken had facilitated his entrance into the family of
Sonnenkamp, but the truth must be spoken in spite of all feelings, of
gratitude. Sonnenkamp again whistled inaudibly; he was evidently amazed
at this courageous openness of mind, and the thought occurred to him
that Eric was a subtle diplomatist, he himself considering it the chief
peculiarity of diplomacy not to make any confession of being under
obligation of any sort. This man must be either the noblest of
enthusiasts or the shrewdest of worldlings.

Eric felt that this confession was untimely, but he could not
anticipate that this communication would counteract the whole
impression previously made upon Sonnenkamp.

On meeting Pranken and Fräulein Perini, Sonnenkamp greeted the Baron in
a very friendly way, and took his arm.

Eric joined Fräulein Perini. She always carried some nice hand-work;
with very small instruments and with a fine thread, she completed with
surprising quickness a delicate piece of lace-work. It was the first
time that Eric had spoken with her, and he expressed his great
admiration for her pretty, delicate work. But immediately it was fixed
as firmly as if there had been a written covenant between them,--We
shall avoid each other as much as possible, and if we are placed in the
same circle, we shall conduct ourselves just as if there were no such
persons in the world.

In contrast with the clear, full tone of Eric, Fräulein Perini always
spoke in a somewhat husky voice; and when she perceived that Eric was
surprised at hearing her, she said,--

"I thank you for not asking me if I am not hoarse. You cannot imagine
how tiresome it is to be obliged to reply, again and again, that I have
always spoken so from my childhood."

Eric gladly entered into this friendly mood, and related how
troublesome it was to a friend of his, born on the 28th of February, to
have the remark always made to him. It is fortunate for you that you
were not born on the 29th, for then you would have had only one
birth-day every four years. "He has now accustomed himself to say
pleasantly, 'I was born on the 28th of February, and it is fortunate
for me that I was not born on the 29th, for then I should have had only
one birth-day every four years.'"

Fräulein Perini laughed heartily, and Eric was obliged also to laugh.

"What are you laughing at?" Sonnenkamp asked, drawing near. Laughing
was the thing of all others that he most delighted in.

Fräulein Perini narrated the story of Eric's friend, and Sonnenkamp
laughed too.

The day continued after that serene and unruffled.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                              EYES OPENED.


While Eric was in the garden with Herr Sonnenkamp, Roland sat with
Claus near the young dogs. The huntsman asked him whether all was
settled with the captain, and seeing that he did not understand his
meaning, he laughed to himself as he thought he might win a double
reward.

"What will you give me," he asked, "if I manage to have the captain
stay with you as a companion and teacher? Whew!" he interrupted himself
suddenly, "you look like a dog whose eyes are opened for the first
time. Come, tell me--what will you give me?"

Roland could not answer; everything was giddy and confused in his
thoughts, and the young dogs seemed to be whirling round and round.

Joseph came into the stable, and after representing Eric's parents as
veritable saints, he concluded,--

"You ought to be proud, Master Roland; the father educated the prince,
and now the son is to educate you."

"Open the shutters, quick!" cried Claus suddenly. Joseph did so, and
the trainer took up one of the puppies, drew up its eyelids, and
exclaimed, "There, that's enough to show me that this one's eyes are
just opening. Now don't let any more light in, or they will be
spoiled."

In his interest in the animals, Claus forgot his shrewd two-fold plan;
he went with Roland and Joseph into the court, where Roland immediately
left them. He saw his father and Eric sitting together, and felt angry
with Eric for not telling him directly who he was. Soon overcoming this
feeling, however, he would gladly have hastened to him and embraced
him, but he restrained himself, and only approached when he heard the
whole party laughing.

He pressed close to Eric confidingly, and his eyes said, "I thank you;
I know who you are."

Eric did not understand his glance, until Roland said,--

"The others have had you long enough, now come with me."

He accompanied Eric to his room, and seemed to be waiting to talk with
him, but Eric begged to be left alone; he was inexpressibly weary, and,
like a heavy burden, there lay upon his spirit the consciousness that
he who enters the service of others cannot live his own life;
especially if he attaches to himself a faithful soul which he is to
mould, sustain, and guide, he must never be weary, never say, "Now
leave me to myself," but must be always ready, always expectant, always
at the beck and call of others.

Roland was much troubled at Eric's look of fatigue; he could not
suspect that he was extremely dissatisfied with himself. It was not
merely the weariness after imparting extensive and various knowledge
which often brings a sense of exhaustion, it was pure chagrin that he
had allowed himself to be beguiled into drawing a plan of vast extent,
and for what object? The education of a single boy.

Eric's chief vexation was, however, that he was obliged to acknowledge
himself still so undisciplined; he must become more self-restrained
before he could give stability and right training to another. In this
state of discontent he hardly heard the boy, who talked on about the
wonderful opening of the dog's eyes, and kept asking him questions, and
looking inquiringly in his face.

A servant entered, and announced that the carriages were ready for a
drive.

Eric was startled. What sort of a life was this? To promenade in the
garden, ride, drive, eat, amuse one's self. How could he guard and
preserve his own inner life? How would it be possible to hold a young
spirit to a definite course of constant self-development?

Eric's pride rose; he had not worked all his life for this,--exercised
himself in earnest and strict renunciation for the sake of filling the
intervals between driving and banqueting. The plan would be unbearable;
he would have an arrangement which he could control and to which he
could give the tone of his own mind.

He went into the court with Roland, and politely asked to be excused
from the drive, as he felt the necessity of being alone for a few
hours.

This announcement was received by glances of various expression. Herr
Sonnenkamp said quickly, that he laid no sort of constraint upon his
guests: Pranken and Fräulein Perini exchanged looks in which there
seemed to be a malicious pleasure in the harm that Eric had done
himself by the wilfulness which led to a want of tact.

Roland said at once that he would like to stay at home with Eric, but
Pranken rejoined in an exultant tone:

"Herr Dournay just wishes to be alone; if you stay with him, my dear
Roland, the gentleman will just not be alone."

He uttered the word "gentleman" in a peculiarly disagreeable tone.

The second carriage was sent away. Fräulein Perini, Pranken, and Roland
entered the other; Sonnenkamp seated himself on the box; he was fond of
managing four horses from the box-seat; four-in-hand was a great
delight to him. This driving four-in-hand was generally taken for
ostentation, but it was only a personal gratification.

Frau Ceres also remained behind; she had already exerted herself to be
social quite enough for that day.

Eric watched the party drive off, then returned to his room.

He sat there alone in perfect quiet, more weary than it would have
seemed possible to become in so short a time, but the day Lad been one
of excitement, and full of a violent effort to make himself master over
novel circumstances. How much he had been through! It seemed years
since he looked over the Roman antiquities with Clodwig. During the day
he had been obliged to turn over and over, and to unfold his own
character and environment; he had tasted for the first time the humble
bread of servitude, and the feeling, half of friendliness, half of
ingratitude, the enigmatic in Sonnenkamp, in Roland, in Fräulein
Perini, and Frau Ceres, seemed to him like the dim memory of a dream,
like a far-off life, as his thoughts went home to his mother.

A profound home-sickness threatened to overcome him, but he shook it
off resolutely. It must not be! His military training helped him; his
orders were to stand at his post, keep a close watch, and never to
tire.

"Never to tire!" he said half aloud to himself, and the consciousness
of youthful vigor supported him. He felt that on the next day he could
meet the problems before him full of fresh courage; and one thought
above all others strengthened him, and lightened his heart: he had
remained faithful to the truth, and so should it always be. Truth is
that firm standpoint of mother-earth where the wrestling spirit is not
to be conquered and thrown.

In the distance, from the railway station across the river, he now
heard an idle locomotive blowing off steam. It snorted, shrieked, and
panted like a fabulous monster; and Eric thought. This engine has all
day been drawing trains of cars in which hundreds of human beings had,
for the time, been seated, and now it is resting and letting off its
hot steam. He smiled as he thought that he himself was almost such a
locomotive, and was now cooling himself, to be fired up anew on the
morrow.

Suddenly he was waked from sleep; for he had slept without intending to
do so. A servant announced that Frau Sonnenkamp wished to speak to him.



                              CHAPTER IX.

                           A TWILIGHT RIDDLE.


The sun had set, but a golden haze enveloped valley, mountain and
river, when Eric went with the servant, and from the corridor looked
out over the distant prospect. He was conducted through several rooms.
In the last, where a ground-glass hanging-lamp was lighted, he heard
the words, "I thank you,--be seated."

He saw Frau Ceres reclining on a divan, a large rocking-chair standing
before her. Eric sat down.

"I have remained at home on your account," Frau Ceres began; she had a
feeble, timid voice, and it was evidently, difficult for her to speak.

Eric was at a loss what to reply.

Suddenly she sat upright, and asked,--

"Are you acquainted with my daughter?"

"No."

"But you've been to the convent on the island?"

"Yes; I had a greeting to deliver from my mother to the Lady
Superior--nothing farther."

"I believe you. I am not the cause of her becoming a nun--no, not I--do
not think it," and reclining again on the pillow, Frau Ceres
continued,--

"I warn you, captain, not to remain here with us. I have been informed
of nothing--he has let me be informed of nothing--but do not stay with
us, if you can find any other employment in the world. What is your
purpose in coming into this house?"

"Because I thought--until an hour ago I believed--that I could be a
fitting guide to your son."

And now Eric gave utterance to his inmost feeling of unfitness for
being another's guide, and yet he must confess that no other person
could have a stronger inclination to be, only some other might perhaps
take it more easily. He unfolded from the very depths of his soul the
newly awakened longing to plunge into solitary meditation, and lamented
that one builds up an ideal of life and of work only to have it
shattered in pieces upon the rock of actual existence; but it was only
unvanquished self-seeking, for which his own thought, and not, the
world, was to blame.

"I am not learned--I don't understand you," Frau Ceres replied. "But
you speak so beautifully--you have such good expressions--I should like
always to hear you speak, even if I do not understand what you are
saying. But you will not let him know anything about my having sent for
you?"

"Him? Whom?" Eric wished to ask, but Frau Ceres raised herself up
hastily, and said,--

"He can be terrible--he is a dangerous man--no one knows it, no one
would imagine it. He is a dangerous man! Do you like me too?"

Eric trembled. What did that mean?

"Ah! I do not know what I am saying," continued Frau Ceres.

"He is right--I am only half-witted. Why did I send for you? Yes, now I
know. Tell me about your mother. Is she really a learned and noble
lady? I was also a noble lady--yes, I was one indeed."

A fresh shiver passed over Eric. Is this half lethargic, half raving
person really insane, and kept within bounds in society only by the
greatest care?

He had wished this very morning to write to his mother that he had come
into fairyland,--the fairy land was yet more marvellous than he had
himself fancied.

Eric depicted with extreme precision, as far as a son could, the
character of his mother; how she was always so very happy, because she
was contriving how to make others happy. He described the death of his
father, the death of his brother, and the greatness of soul with which
his mother endured all this.

Frau Ceres sobbed; then she said suddenly,--

"I thank you--I thank you!"

She extended her white hand to Eric, and kept saying,--

"I thank you! With all his money he has not been able to make me know
that I could weep once more. O, how much good it does me! Stay with
us--stay with Roland. He cannot weep--say nothing to him--I also should
like to have a mother. Stay with us. I shall never forget it of you--I
thank you--now go--go--before he returns--go--good-night!"

Eric went back to his chamber. What he had experienced seemed to him
like a dream; the hidden element of mystery which seemed at Wolfsgarten
to envelop the family of Sonnenkamp was more and, more evident. Here
were the strangest sorts of riddles. Roland, full of life and spirits,
came to him; the brief separation had given both a new and joyful
pleasure in meeting again; it was as great as if they had been
separated for years.

Roland asked Eric to tell him about the Huguenots; there had evidently
been much talk about them during the drive. Eric put him off, saying
that it was not necessary, at least not now, to dwell upon the horrible
tortures which human beings inflicted upon one another on account of
their religious belief.

Roland informed Eric that Herr von Pranken was going the next day to
visit Manna at the convent.

Eric was doubtful what he ought to do. If he were to forbid the boy's
informing him of what he heard, he would scare away his confidingness,
his perfect confidence; and yet it was disagreeable to himself to be
informed of things which might not be intended for him to hear. He
proposed to himself for the future, to request Sonnenkamp to say
nothing in the hearing of the boy which he ought not to know, Eric was
summoned once more to tea; Frau, Ceres did not make her appearance.

Eric was this evening perplexed, and lost the feeling of untroubled
security.

Should he tell Sonnenkamp that his wife had sent for him? But then he
must inform him of what she had revealed to him, though it was only
half uttered,--it was a warning, a speech wholly disjointed and
incoherent.

Eric also saw Roland looking at him as if beseeching. The boy felt that
some painful experience was going on in his new friend, which he would
gladly remove. And to Eric's affection there was superadded the feeling
of pity. Here was a manifestly distressing family relation under which
the boy must have suffered, and it was a fortunate thing that his
light, youthful spirits were untouched.

Eric was reminded continually of an experience of his in the house of
correction, The most hardened criminals had avowed always, with the
most triumphant mien, that it conferred the greatest satisfaction to
them to be able to conceal their deeds from the world; but the least
hardened disclosed, on the other hand, how glad they felt to be
punished; for the fear of discovery, and the constant endeavour to
conceal the crime, were the severest punishment.

Eric had now a secret; was he to let it be possible for a servant to
betray him, and himself appear untrustworthy?

When Eric was about to go to rest, Roland came to him and asked whether
he had anything to impart to him.

Eric replied in the negative, and the boy appeared sad when he said
good-night.



                               CHAPTER X.

                     A NEW DAY AND DARK QUESTIONS.


The morning dew glistened on grass, flower, and shrub, and the birds
sang merrily, as Eric walked through the park. There was evidence
everywhere of an ordering, busy, and watchful mind.

Eric heard, on the bank of the river, two women talking with each
other, as they carried on shore the garden-earth out of a boat.

"God be praised," said one, "who has sent the man to us; no one in the
place who is willing to work need suffer poverty any more."

"Yes," spoke the other, "and yet there are people here who are so bad
as to say all sorts of things about the man."

"What do they say?"

"That he has been a tailor."

Eric could hardly restrain himself from laughing aloud. But a third
woman, with a rather thick voice, said,--

"A tailor indeed! He has been a pirate, and in Africa stole a
gold-ship."

"And supposing he did," said the other, "those man-eaters have heaps of
gold, and are heathens beside, and Herr Sonnenkamp does nothing but
good with his gold."

Eric could not help smiling at these strange tales and implications;
and it was also painful to him that great wealth always stirred up new
and calumnious reports.

He went on farther. He saw from a height, with satisfaction, how the
main building and all its dependencies, with park and garden, were
combined in a beautiful harmony. Near the main building there were only
trees of a dark foliage, lindens, elms, and maples, which brought out,
by contrast, so much the more brightly the brilliant architecture of
the house built in a good Renaissance style. The arbored walks
converged gradually, as if conducting to the solidly-built mansion,
which seemed not to be built upon the ground, but as if it had sprung
up from the soil with the scenery that surrounded it; the stone
colonnades, the lawns, the trees, the elevations, all were an
introduction to the house; all was in harmony. The verandas appeared to
be only bearers of the climbing plants, and the whole was a masterpiece
of rural architecture, a work of natural poetry according to the laws
of pure art, so that all that was man's handiwork seemed as fresh as if
it had just come out of the builder's hand, and in such perfect
preservation, that one perceived that each tree, each leaf, each
lattice, was owned and carefully cherished by a wealthy man.

Eric, however, was not to be long alone; the valet, Joseph, joined him,
and with a pleasing deference offered to inform Eric concerning
everything in the household.

As Eric was silent, Joseph related once more that he had been a
billiard-boy at the University, Henry the thirty-second, for all the
boys must be called Henry. Then he had been a waiter in the Berne Hotel
at Berne, where Sonnenkamp had boarded for almost two summers long,
occupying the whole first floor--the best rooms in the world, as Joseph
called them--and had learned to know him, and taken him into his
service. Joseph gave rather a humorous account of the corps of servants
in the household, that it was a sort of menagerie gathered from all
countries. As in a poultry yard there are all sorts of fowls, and even
the peacock is not wanting, which shrieks so horribly and looks so
beautifully, so it was with the people here, for Herr Sonnenkamp had
travelled all over the world. The coachman was an Englishman, the first
groom a Pole, the cook a Frenchman, the first chamber-maid a
thoroughgoing Bohemian, and Fräulein Perini an Italian Frenchwoman of
Nice. The master was, however, very strict; the gardeners must not
smoke in the park, nor the grooms whistle in the stable, for all the
horses were accustomed to the whistle of the master, and must not be
disturbed. And moreover, Herr Sonnenkamp would rather not have his
servants look like servants, or have any peculiar dress of servants,
and it was only a short time ago that he had given in to his wife, and
dressed a few of them in livery. The servants were allowed to speak
only a few words, and there were particular words which Herr Sonnenkamp
used to each of them, and which each used in answering, and so all were
kept in good order.

Joseph related in conclusion, not without self-satisfaction, that he
had spread abroad in the servants' room the fame of Eric's parents; it
was a good thing for people to know where a man came from, for then
they had a much greater respect. But that Madame Perini was the special
mistress in the household, and would continue to be; she was really a
Fräulein, but the gracious Frau called her always Madame.

"The keeper is right," added Joseph. "Fräulein Perini is a woman with
the strength of seven cats, and a marten into the bargain."

Eric wished to hinder this revelation, but Joseph begged him to allow
everything to be spoken out, and to pardon him as being a University
acquaintance. He only added the information that Pranken was to marry
the daughter of the house.

"Ah! that is a beauty! not exactly a beauty, but lovely and charming;
formerly she was so frolicsome, no horse was too wild for her, no storm
on the Rhine too violent; she hunted like a poacher, but now she is
only sad--always sad--vilely sad."

Eric was glad when the gossiping youth suddenly drew out his watch, and
said:--

"In one minute the master gets up, and then I must be near him. He is a
man always up to time," he added as he went away.

Like confused echoes which gradually mingle into one sound, Eric
thought upon all that he had now heard about the daughter of the house.
And was not this the girl with wings, who had met him the day before
yesterday in the convent? Involuntarily standing still, and staring at
a hedge, a whole life-picture presented itself to his mind. Here is a
child sent to the convent, removed from all the world, from all
intercourse with people; she is taken out of the convent, and they say
to her: "Thou art the Baroness Pranken!" and she is happy with the
handsome and brilliant man, and all the dazzling splendor of the world
is showered upon her through him. It seems as if he had called it all
into being, and this without knowing what kind of a man her husband
is,--it will be indeed a good thing for her not to know.

He shook his head. What was the little cloister-plant to him?

Eric saw nothing more of the gorgeous beauty of the garden; he hastened
out of it with his eyes fixed upon the ground, wandered through the
park, and just as he came out of a copse of trees by the pond,
Sonnenkamp met him. He had a foreign look in his short gray
plush-jacket fastened with cord, and was especially glad to find Eric
already up, proposing to himself to show him the house and grounds.

He directed his attention first to a large tuft of prairie-grass; he
smiled as Eric imagined a stampede of buffaloes, and he made a peculiar
motion of throwing, in describing how he had caught many a one with the
lasso.

Then he led Eric to an elevation set out with beautiful, plane-trees,
which he pointed out as the very crown of the whole place. He prided
himself very much upon these fair and flourishing trees, adding that in
such a tract as the wine-district, destitute of shade, a thickly shaded
place was a thing to be taken into consideration against a hot day of
summer.

"You will perceive that I have gone beyond my own territory, in order
to add to its beauty; above there upon the height is a group of trees,
which I have kept in order and thinned out, laying out paths, and
making new plantations, in order to get a picturesque view. I have
built my house not to please the eyes of others, but where I could
have the best prospect from it. The peasant's house yonder was built
after a plan of my own, and I was very properly obliged to contribute a
part of the cost. That plantation beyond is a screen to hide the
glaring stone-quarry; and that pretty church spire above there in the
mountain-village,--that was built by me. I was very highly praised for
doing it, and a great deal of flattering, pious incense was burned for
me, but I can assure you that my sole motive in doing it was to gain a
fine view. I am obliged to change the whole character of the region--a
very difficult job--and here comes in the covetousness of people. Just
see, a basket-maker builds him a house yonder, with a horribly steep
roof covered with red tiles, that is a perpetual eye-sore to me; and I
cannot reach the fellow. He wishes to sell the house to me for an
extravagant price, but what can I do with it? He may just keep it, and
accommodate himself to my arrangements."

There was a violent energy in Sonnenkamp's manner of speaking,
reminding Eric of an expression of Bella's, that the man was a
conqueror; such an one has always something tyrannical in him, and
desires to arrange and dispose everything in the world according to his
own individual taste, or his own personal whims. The villages, the
churches, the mountains, and the woods, were to him only points in the
landscape, and they must all come into one favorite angle of vision.

And now Herr Sonnenkamp conducted his guest through the park, and
explained to him how he had arranged the grounds, and how through the
disposition of elevations and depressions he had broken up the
uniformity; but that in many cases he had only to bring out the natural
advantages, and give them their right effect: he pointed out the
careful disposition of light and shadow, and how he oftentimes set out
a clump of trees, a little group of the same species; which he mingled
together not in sharp and distinct contrast, but in regular gradation
of colors, such as we see in nature.

Sonnenkamp smiled in a very friendly way, when Eric, in order to show
that he comprehended, replied, that a park must appear to be nature
brought into a state of cultivation; and that the more one knows how to
conceal the shaping hand and the disposing human genius, and allows all
to appear as a spontaneous growth, so much the more is it in accordance
with the pure laws of art.

A little brook, which came down from the mountain and emptied into
the river, was made to wind about with such skill, that it kept
disappearing and appearing again at unexpected points, saying by its
murmur, "Here I am."

In the disposition of resting-places, particularly good judgment was
exhibited. Under a solitary weeping-ash that cast a perfectly circular
shadow, a pretty seat was placed for a single person, and it seemed to
say invitingly, "Here thou canst be alone!" The seat, however, was
turned over, and leaned up against the tree.

"This is my daughter's favorite spot," Sonnenkamp said.

"And have you turned over the seat, so that no one may occupy it before
your child returns?"

"No," Sonnenkamp replied, "that is entirely by chance, but you are
right, so it shall be."

The two went on farther, but Eric hardly saw the beautiful, comfortable
benches, and hardly listened while Sonnenkamp declared to him that he
did not place these on the open path, but behind shrubbery, so that
here was a solitude all ready made.

A table was placed under a beautiful maple, with two seats opposite one
another. Sonnenkamp announced that this place was named the school; for
here Roland at intervals received instruction. Eric rejoined that he
never should teach sitting in the open air; it was natural to give
instruction while walking, but regular, definite teaching, which
demanded concentration of the mind, demanded also an enclosed space in
which the voice would not be utterly lost.

Sonnenkamp had now a good opportunity to tell Eric what conclusion he
had arrived at in regard to the matter in hand, but he was silent. As
an artist takes delight in the criticisms of an intelligent observer,
who unfolds to him concealed beauties which he was hardly aware of
himself, so he took delight in perceiving how understandingly, and with
how much gratification, Eric took note of the various improvements, and
of the grouping of trees and shrubs.

They stood a long time before a group where the gloomy cedar was placed
near the hardy fir, and the gentle morning breeze whispered in the
foliage of the silver poplar, and caused the white leaves to glisten
like little rippling waves upon the surface of a lake.

Near a little pond with a fountain was a bower of roses, upon a gentle
elevation, patterned according to a dream of Frau Ceres; and here
Sonnenkamp remained stationary, saying:

"That was at the time when I was still very happy here in our
settlement, and when everything was still in a sound and healthy
condition."

Eric stopped, questioning whether he ought to tell Herr Sonnenkamp of
yesterday's strange occurrence. Sonnenkamp said, accompanying his words
with peculiar little puffs, as if he were lightly and carefully blowing
a fire,--

"My wife often has strange whims; but if she is not contradicted she
soon forgets them."

He appeared suddenly to remember that it was not necessary to say this,
and added with unusual haste,--

"Now come, and I will show you my special vanity. But let me ask you
one thing; does it not seem dreadful to you, who are a philosopher,
that we must leave all this, that we know we must die; and while
everything around continues to grow green and bloom, he who planted and
acquired the means to plant is here no more, but moulders in the dust?"

"I should not have believed that you indulged in such thoughts."

"You are right to answer so. You must not ask such questions, for no
one knows their answer," said Sonnenkamp sharply and bitterly; "but one
thing more. I wish Roland to understand rightly this creation of mine
and to carry it on, for such a garden is not like a piece of sculpture,
or any finished work of an artist; it is growing, and must be
constantly renewed. And why should there not be granted us the
certainty of transmitting to our posterity what we have conquered,
created, or fashioned, without fear that strangers will at some time
enter into possession and let all go to waste?"

"You believe," answered Eric, "that I know no answer to the first of
your questions, and I must confess, that I do not quite understand the
second."

"Well, well, perhaps we will talk of it again--perhaps not," Sonnenkamp
broke off. "But come now and let me show you my special pride."



                              CHAPTER XI.

                          SONNENKAMP'S PRIDE.


They stepped immediately out of the shady, well-wooded park, whose
margin was planted with noble white-pines, into a wonderful and
complicated arrangement of orchard-trees, in a level field several
acres in extent, that had a truly magical effect.

The plats were bordered with dwarf-apple and pear-trees that looked
very much like small yews; their stems were hardly two feet in height,
and the branches on each side so disposed on wires, that they extended
to the width of thirty feet. These were now in full bloom the whole
length, and the arrangement exhibited man's energetic and shaping
volition, where nature was compelled to become a free work of art, and
even warped into a dwarfish over-refinement. Trees of all imaginable
geometrical forms were placed, sometimes in circles and sometimes in
rows. Here was a tree that, from the bottom to the top which shot up
into a sharp point, had only four branches at an even distance from
each other, and directed to the four cardinal points. On the walls,
trees were trained exactly in the shape of a candelabrum with two
branches; others had stems and branches adjusted obliquely, like
basaltic strata. All was according to artistic rules, and also in the
most thriving condition.

Eric listened attentively while Sonnenkamp was informing him that the
limbs must be cut in, so that the sap might all perfect the fruit, and
not go too much to the formation of wood.

"Perhaps you have a feeling of pity for these clipped branches?"
Sonnenkamp asked in a sharp tone.

"Not at all; but the old, natural form of the fruit-trees so well known
to us--"

"Yes, indeed,"' Sonnenkamp broke in, "people are horrible creatures of
prejudice! Is there any one who sees anything ugly, anything coercive,
in pruning the vine three times every season? No one. No one looks
for beauty, but for beautiful fruit, from the vine; so also from the
fruit-tree. As soon as they began to bud and to graft, the way was
indicated, and I am only following it consistently. The ornamental tree
is to be ornamental, and the fruit-tree a fruit-tree, each after its
kind. This apple-tree, must have its limbs just so, and have just so
many of them, as will make it bear the largest apples and the greatest
possible number. I want from a fruit-tree not wood, but fruit."

"But nature----"

"Nature! Nature!" Sonnenkamp exclaimed, in a contemptuous tone.
"Nine-tenths of what they call nature is, nothing but an artificial
sham, and a whimsical conceit. The spirit of nature and the spirit of
the age are a pair of idols which you philosophers have manufactured
for yourselves. There is no such thing as nature, and there is no such
thing as an age; and even if there were both, you cannot predicate
spirit of either of them."

Eric was deeply struck by this apparently combative and violently
aggressive manner of speaking; and yet more so, when Sonnenkamp now
leaned over suddenly, and said:--

"The real man to educate would be he who was able to train men as these
trees are trained: for some immediate end, with no superfluous trash
and no roundabout methods. What they call nature is a fable. There is
no nature, or at least only an infinitesimal particle. With us human
beings everything is habit, education, tradition. There's no such thing
as nature."

"That is something new to me," Eric said, when he was at last able to
put in a word. "The gentlemen of tradition call us men of science
deniers of God, but a denier of nature I have never until now become
acquainted with, and never have even heard him mentioned. You are
joking."

"Well, yes, I am joking," said Sonnenkamp, bitterly.

And Eric, who seemed to himself to be utterly bewildered, added in a
low tone:--

"Perhaps it may be said that those who derive the laws of our life from
revelation deny nature, or rather they do not deny her, but disregard
her."

"I am not a learned man, and, above all, I am no theologian,"
Sonnenkamp abruptly broke in. "All is fate. Damage is done by worms in
the forest; there stands near us an oak-tree clean eaten up by them,
and there stands another all untouched. Why is this? No one knows. And
look here at these trees. I have watched what they call the economy of
nature, and here a thousand life-germs perish in order that one may
thrive; and it is just the same in human life."

"I understand," Eric said. "All the things that survive have an
aristocratic element wholly different from those things that perish;
the blossom that unfolds itself to the perfect fruit is rich, the
blighted one is poor. Do I rightly apprehend your meaning?"

"In part," Sonnenkamp replied, somewhat weary. "I would only say to you
that I have done looking for the man, for I despair of finding him, who
could train my son, so that he would be fitted in the most direct way
for his position in life."

For some time the two walked together through the marvellously-blooming
garden, where the bees were humming; and Eric thought that these,
probably, were the bees of Claus, the huntsman.

World passing strange, in which all is so unaccountably associated
together!

The sky was blue, and the blossoms so deliciously fragrant, and yet
Eric, deeply troubled in spirit, seemed to himself to be insnared when
he fixed his eyes upon a notice stuck up over the garden wall, which
ran thus:--

"Warning. Spring-guns and steel-traps in this garden."

He looked around to Sonnenkamp, who said, smiling,--

"Your look asks me if that notice yonder is true; it is just as that
says. People think that no one dares to do that now. Keep always in the
path near me."

Sonnenkamp appeared to enjoy Eric's perplexity and annoyance. And yet
it was a lie, for there were no spring-guns nor steel-traps in the
garden.

On this part of the wall, stars, circles, and squares, were shaped out
of the tree-twigs; and Sonnenkamp laid his hand upon the shoulder of
Eric, as the latter asserted that number and geometric form were given
only to man. Geometric form, indeed, was the basis of all
manifestation, and the straight line was never actually seen, but must
be wholly the product of man's conception. This was also the
characteristic mystery in the doctrine of Pythagoras.

"I have thought for a long time," Sonnenkamp said with a laugh, "that I
was a Pythagorean. I thank you for nominating me as one of the sect. We
must christen our new art of gardening the Pythagorean."

This outburst was in a bantering tone of contempt and satisfaction.

They came to the place called Nice, by the colonnade constructed in the
Pompeian style, which extended very far on the second terrace of the
orchard.

"Now I will show you my house," Sonnenkamp said, pressing against a
little door which opened upon a subterranean passage, and conducting
his guest into the habitation.



                              CHAPTER XII.

               A LOOK INTO THE HOUSE AND INTO THE HEART.


Men-servants and maid-servants in the under-ground rooms were amazed to
see Sonnenkamp and Eric make their entrance. Sonnenkamp, without
noticing them, said to Eric in English:--

"The two things to be first considered by a man consulting for repose,
as I am, are the kitchen and the stable."

He showed him the kitchen. There were dozens of different fire-places
for the different dishes, and each kind of meat and vegetables; each
viand had its special dish and pan, fire on the side and behind. The
whole science of the preparation of extracts was here transported into
the art of cookery. Eric was delighted with it as with a work of art.

Sonnenkamp pointed out to his guest for special notice the fact that
every fire-place and every stove in the house had its own chimney; he
considered that as of great importance, as he had by that means made
himself independent of the direction in which the wind might blow. The
architect had resisted him on that point, and he had undergone great
trouble and expense to have the requisite flues constructed, but by
this means new beauties had been developed.

Sonnenkamp now showed him the greater part of the house, through which
electromagnetic bell-wires ran in every direction. The stairs were
richly carpeted, everywhere were costly candelabra, and in the chambers
broad double-beds.

Everything was arranged with elegance and taste, a truly chaste
elegance and refined taste, where gold, marble, and silk contributed to
the artistic decoration, with no overloading of ornament, and with a
preservation of the appearance of home-like comfort. The furniture was
not standing about like things looking for some fitting place, but
every piece was adapted to the building itself, and seemed fixed, and
at home; and yet the arrangement had this peculiar feature, that all
the furniture appeared waiting for the inmates to come and occupy it,
and not placed there to be gazed at by them in passing to and fro.

The heavy silk curtains, hanging in thick folds, were matched with the
carpets; the large clocks in all the saloons were ticking, and the
delicate works of art on the mantles and brackets were tastefully
arranged. But it was plainly to be seen that this arrangement gave no
physiognomical indication of the character of the owner, but was only
the tasteful skill which every good upholsterer supplies to order; and,
above all, one felt the absence of anything like an heir-loom. Eric
could not rid himself of the impression that the persons here lived in
their own house as if it were a hired one, and it seemed to him that
Roland was following him, and that he must enter into the soul of the
boy, who was already aware that some day he would call all this his
own.

Sonnenkamp declared that he thought it contemptible for people to
embellish their houses with mediæval furniture, or the imitation of
that, while it answered the purpose neither of ornament nor of comfort.
When Eric replied to him, that Goethe had expressed the same thing,
Sonnenkamp answered: "That is very pleasant to me. I think that Goethe
understood life."

He uttered this in a very condescending tone, as much as to say, that
any one must esteem himself fortunate to have Herr Sonnenkamp recognise
his worth.

On the north side of the house in the large saloon, covered with a red
Persian carpet, was a half-octagon recess, in the middle of which stood
a handsome malachite table surrounded by fixed chairs.

Four large windows, or rather four single panes of glass six feet in
height, gave a free outlook; and in the spaces between the windows
tablets of marble were inserted, half way up, on which were sculptured
the four parts of the "Day" of Rietschel. The ceiling was ornamented
with fine stucco-work, from which a silver lamp seemed to fly forth,
rather than to hang down, for it took the form of a flying Cupid of
bronze, holding a torch in his hand, and this torch, as Sonnenkamp
immediately illustrated, could be lighted as a gas-burner.

"Only here," he said smiling, "do I have works of art, insomuch as I
would neither deceive myself nor others--I have no taste for creative
art. You, as the son of a Professor of Æsthetics, perhaps consider this
very barbarous?"

"Not at all, only honest; and I think you are so far entitled to do as
you think best."

"It is a duty for every one to be honest, and there is no choice in the
matter."

"Pardon me if I have expressed myself badly. I mean, that even the
realm of art is not free from rival claims; and he who has such a
manifest gift for landscape-gardening, ought to be content with that,
and can refrain from expressing himself in any other art."

Sonnenkamp smiled. This man, he thought, knows always how to come down
on his feet.

He led his guest into the music-saloon. It had no gilding nor satin,
only a centre-piece on the ceiling, and sea-green hangings on the
walls. In the niches made by two small chimneys were brown, stuffed
damask seats and sofas. This saloon seemed to be continually waiting
for a social company, either moving about, or quietly seated.

Sonnenkamp smiled when Eric said that he was pleased to see the
music-saloon so unadorned. The plain white had a sunshiny appearance,
as if the sun lingered on the walls, and the eye was not attracted to
any particular object, so that one could listen all the more
attentively, only one sense being called into activity.

Sonnenkamp was yet more and more delighted; and when Eric inquired,
"Which one of your family is musical?" he answered,--

"This saloon is intended for my daughter."

"Wonderful," said Eric; "yonder in the garden the upturned seat, and
here the music-saloon, is expecting her."

Sonnenkamp, as he often did, took his under-lip between his fore-finger
and thumb; he appeared to be either intending to say something, or
wishing to keep something back.

"As we are talking about my daughter, I will just show you her room,"
he said suddenly, opening a side-door.

They entered a little apartment, in which the Venetian blinds were
down. Sonnenkamp at once drew them entirely up. The prospect extended
over the long vine-arbor and beyond the Rhine. The room was plain, but
all was extremely pretty. A number of photographs, wreathed with blue
ribbon into a circle, in the centre of which was a large picture of the
pope, hung upon the wall. The white curtains of the white bed, now
drawn back, allowed a beautifully carved ivory crucifix on the wall to
be seen, while below it hung a neatly framed colored engraving, a sort
of diploma, admitting Hermanna, styled Manna Sonnenkamp, into the band
of good children.

A writing-table, a small book-shelf, tasteful chairs, everything showed
that here was the abode of a maiden who quietly lived within herself,
occupied chiefly with religious meditations. In the chamber itself
there seemed to be the hovering spirit of prayer, and one involuntarily
looked round to see the maiden herself come in, with those large
childlike eyes immediately cast down at beholding her sanctuary
intruded upon.

Eric's glance became fixed upon a handsome chimney-piece of green
marble, whose semi-circular edge was bordered with living ivy, while
the entire chimney-place was filled with flowers and growing plants. No
flower-pots were to be seen, for they were skilfully concealed; it was
all a mysterious growth of leaves and flowers.

"Does that please you?" Sonnenkamp asked. "Yes, my daughter always has
the chimney-place filled with flowers in summer, and I think that
Fräulein Perini has continued the practice in memory of her."

Eric continued to stare at the plants; and he fancied that he could
read something of the character of the maiden who in summer kept the
fire-place covered with flowers. Here Sonnenkamp laid a heavy hand on
his shoulder, and said:--

"Are you entirely honest? You have not come here on my son's account,
but on my daughter's."

"I do not comprehend," Eric replied.

"Were you not at the convent? Have you not seen my daughter?"

"Yes, both; but I had not the most remote knowledge of you, or your
daughter, or your son."

"I believe it. But have you not conceived the idle fancy, that by
taking up your abode in my house, you may perhaps win the affections of
my daughter?"

"I thank you for this directness," Eric responded, "and I will use
equal directness in my reply. I should consider it the misfortune of my
life, if I should have the feeling of love towards your daughter."

"Towards my daughter? Why so?"

"Because I should esteem it a misfortune to love a maiden of such great
wealth, without taking into view her Catholic opinions. I would never
marry so rich a girl, and I would let my heart break before I would do
it. I now beseech you--it is not entirely impossible that mistrust, by
and by, may be awakened from this source--I beseech you, openly and
directly, not to give me this situation in your family. It is better; I
have been this short time your guest, and I thank you for your great
kindness."

"Young man, you remain. I believe you, and I trust you. I thank you for
teaching me to have confidence again in a human being, and to believe
in a human being. You remain! Give me your hand--you remain! We will
settle all quietly. Moreover, my daughter is--and I give you here the
best testimony of my confidence--my daughter is as good as betrothed to
the Baron von Pranken. Now come into my own work-room."

They entered it. Everything here was arranged with a special attention
to convenience. For every frame of mind, and every season of the year,
for solitude and for society, chairs, tables, and sofas were disposed
everywhere for comfort, as much as one room could contain. There was a
vast space, and yet a homelike seclusion; and this south side was
admirably situated for a view of the landscape. Here could be seen,
outside, the smooth beeches and plane-trees, which hid from view the
bare-looking vineyards, and suffered the eye to rest upon the summits
of the wooded heights; and directly in front of the balcony window
there was a full view of the ruins of the castle, which, as Eric had
already heard, was being rebuilt by the order of Herr Sonnenkamp, and
under the special supervision of the major.

A single, beautiful painting hung here; it was a life-sized portrait of
Roland, in his seventh year. The boy sat upon an overturned antique
column, his hand upon the head of a splendid Newfoundland dog, and
gazing into the distance.

A large arm-chest stood here with weapons of all sorts.

While Eric was looking about, Sonnenkamp shoved back two doors which
were let into the walls, and he led the way into what he called his
library. No books were to be seen, nothing but great boxes, vessels of
porcelain and clay, as in a well-arranged apothecary's shop; and
Sonnenkamp explained that these contained seeds from all the different
parts of the earth.

From the seed-room a special stair-case led into the garden, and this
stair-case was entirely grown over with the Chinese honeysuckle, which
was now in full bloom with its clusters of blue papilionaceous flowers.
Sonnenkamp conducted his guest back into the large work-room, and there
said that it had, formerly, been his desire that Roland should have an
inclination to enter upon the active life which he himself had now
retired from. He spoke of trade. Eric was amazed at the vast,
comprehensive glance which Sonnenkamp took of the business of the
world: for him there was no isolated activity, no isolated product; one
part of the world subsisted only through another; and the whole earth
was for him one great market-place, where iron, wool, tobacco, and
grain received his attention at the same time, and whether in Sweden,
Scotland, the East Indies, or Havana, were brought to one common
warehouse.

Sonnenkamp seemed to be desirous, today, to compensate Eric for his
unreserved communication, and Eric was astonished at the broad and
strong grasp of the man's view, so that all his schemes were well
calculated and sure of success; this vast power of insight was visible
in all his talk. He had seen the wide world with that keen-sightedness
characteristic of the English and Americans, who, of all nations,
consume the smallest number of spectacles. He seized hold of the main
features, without burdening himself with the incidental, and without
being hindered by any afterthought; he described with great objectivity
what he had seen in foreign lands, as well as what he had done in his
own.

Sonnenkamp was well aware of the impression he had made upon Eric, and
nodded, smiling, when the latter expressed his opinion how grand it
must be not only to possess, but also to acquire and to be.

"Reflect seriously upon this," Sonnenkamp said,--"what would you make,
and what am I to make, of Roland? You have seen so much," he added with
a look of elation, "that you would not seek to change me and my family,
if you should undertake the education of my son."

This last remark dissipated, to a certain extent, the deep impression
which Sonnenkamp had made upon Eric. The whole appeared a premeditated
affair.

A servant came to inform Herr Sonnenkamp that Herr von Pranken wished
to take leave of him.



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                         DEVIL GETTING WONTED.


Pranken's horse stood saddled in the court, and Pranken himself was
walking up and down, snapping his riding-whip. In exceedingly good
spirits, and in a very amiable mood, he hastened to meet Sonnenkamp,
saying that he must take leave of him. There was a tone of bantering
politeness in their manner towards each other. When Sonnenkamp remarked
that Pranken was always surprising one, never saying that he was going
away until the very moment of starting, Pranken answered, with mock
modesty, that he was sure that he must in that way meet the approval of
his friend Sonnenkamp, for nothing was more disagreeable, and made life
more insipid and dull, than a constant talking over and discussion and
cooking up of plans; he shot the hare, and left it to be dressed by the
artists of the kitchen.

Pranken said all that with his usual rattling manner, as he twisted the
end of his light moustache. He took a cool leave of Eric, saying that
he hoped to find him still there on his return from a short journey.

"Should you, however, leave before I come back, have the kindness to
present my respects to the gracious--" he paused a moment, then added,
"to the Professor's lady, your mother."

He had taken off his glove when he said good-bye to Sonnenkamp, but
drew it on again before he held out his hand to Eric, and it was
evident that he did so intentionally. This coldness was rather
agreeable to Eric; a part of his debt of gratitude was removed as
Pranken treated him more distantly, and they could perhaps be more
harmonious and independent when they were thrown together.

Pranken called Sonnenkamp aside, and said, though he certainly
had recommended the young scholar--haughtily emphasizing this
expression--he would beg him not to conclude any hasty engagement
without making a strict examination himself.

"Herr Baron," replied Sonnenkamp, "I am a merchant--" he made a
watchful pause before continuing,--"and I know what recommendations
are, and how often one is forced to give them. I assure you that you
are free from all responsibility, and as to the examination myself--I
am a merchant, Herr Baron--" again the wary pause,--"the young man is
the seller, and a seller always has to lay himself open, and to show
what he is, more fully than the buyer, especially here, where the
seller is offering himself for sale."

Pranken smiled, and said that was the deepest diplomacy. He went to his
horse, vaulted nimbly into the saddle, and set off at a gallop.
Sonnenkamp called after him that he must see whether the magnolia in
the convent yard was thriving; he waved his hat to show that he
understood, and rode away at full speed.

"A charming, agreeable young man! always bright and merry," Sonnenkamp
said, as he looked after Pranken; and he went on to remark, at some
length, on his constant light-heartedness.

Eric was silent. There seemed to prevail in this circle into which he
was introduced, a perpetual commenting and remarking upon others. He
knew Pranken, he knew tins everlasting galloping style of utterance,
which is always so extremely animated, and even becomes enthusiastic
when the conversation can be turned into an emulous contest of
raillery. But this galloping genius had a deep foundation of
insincerity, for it was not possible to be strained up every moment to
this pitch: it could only be the result of violent tension, which must
perpetually make a show of energy, and in this constant effort the soul
must, consciously or unconsciously, put on a false appearance.

Eric quietly listened to his remaining statements, and only when
Sonnenkamp asked him whether he did not think that the man, who had
from his youth been conscious of a superior rank, could alone attain to
this regal and sportive mastery over life, only then did he answer,
that no fair province of life was shut out from the middle class.

Sonnenkamp nodded very acquiescingly. His saddle-horse was now brought
to him, and he immediately mounted and rode off.

Eric went in search of Roland, and found him with his dogs. The boy
desired that Eric should at once select one of them for himself. "And
only think," he added, "a day-laborer just informs me that the dwarf
has received a bite from Devil. Served the stupid fellow exactly right,
for trying to do what he wasn't fit to do."

Eric was shocked. Was it possible that a young heart could already be
so stony? He laid down to Roland at length how inhuman it was to regard
a human being as a mere puppet, and to have no further concern about
him, after one has had his sport out of him. His whole heart was moved
with feeling as he spoke. Roland disdainfully threw back his head.

"Why do you make no reply to me?" Eric asked.

"Ah! I had no idea that you would preach to me like all the rest."

Attracted by the beauty of the boy, and his bold spirit, Eric had come
to the determination to devote himself to him, and now, for an instant,
he experienced a revulsion of feeling, but only to devote himself with
fresh earnestness to his resolve. He would soften and thaw out this
soul, naturally hard, or made so by the training it had received.

Roland went up quietly to Eric, and requested him to ride out with him.
They rode together to the village. But Roland could not be induced to
visit the dwarf, whom Eric found lying on the bed, moaning and
groaning. When he arrived at the house of the huntsman, he did not find
Roland, who had gone with Devil into the woods upon the height.

The huntsman greeted Eric less submissively; he lifted his cap, indeed,
but only to cock it a little one side; he approached him in that
familiar way so common on the upper Rhine, where it always seems as if
one would touch glasses, and make himself friendly with you.

"Captain," he asked, "have you settled matters?"

"No."

"May I be permitted to say something to you?"

"If it is something good, why not?"

"That's just as one takes it. That one, down there"--he pointed
with his thumb back to the villa--"that one is buying up the whole
Rhine-land. But see you, that fox-hound there--"

"Stop," at once exclaimed Eric, proceeding to point out, in a very
decisive manner, that he had no right to speak so to him, and about
another person.

Eric was aware that he had not properly preserved his own dignity, or
this man would not have been able to approach him so familiarly; and he
was now more severe in repelling this forwardness than he intended. The
huntsman only puffed the more vigorously at his pipe, and then said,--

"Yes, yes, you are the one to seize the man down there by the throat,
and I see that you are too smart for me. You wish to get off from
thanking me; I want no thanks, and no pay."

He muttered to himself, that everything which came near the rich man
was always spoilt.

Eric must undo somewhat the impression he had made, for the huntsman
was the only one who could rival him in his influence over Roland. The
huntsman took, in very good part, Eric's expressions of friendliness,
but he remained silent. When Roland came back, Eric asked him nothing
about his excursion to the woods, and told him nothing about the dwarf.
It was Roland's place to ask him, but the boy said nothing, and they
both rode back in silence.

Eric immediately caused himself to be announced to Herr Sonnenkamp, and
informed him that he now felt compelled to assume a definite relation
with Roland.

"You find Roland, then, an excellent youth?"

"He has great boldness, determination, and--I know that a father can
only hear it with unwilling ears, but after your searching inquiries
yesterday, I may be permitted to hope that you are sufficiently free
to--"

"Certainly, certainly; only speak out."

"I find a degree of hard-heartedness, and a want of sympathy with the
purely human, surprising at such an age;" and Eric related how Roland
had deported himself in regard to the dwarf.

A peculiar smile darted over Sonnenkamp's features, as he asked,--

"And do you feel confident that you can make a corrupted nature noble?"

"Pardon me, I said nothing about a corrupted nature; I should say,
rather, that Roland is just now changing his voice, in a spiritual
sense, and one cannot judge what tone it will take; but so much the
more necessity is there for care in the kind of influence exerted."

"And what is your opinion of Roland's talents?"

"I think that he is not superior to the average. He has a good natural
understanding, and a quick comprehension, but persistency,--_that_ is
indeed very questionable, and I have already observed that he goes
along well enough a certain distance, then comes to a standstill, and
will pursue the thought no farther. I am not yet very clear in regard
to this mental characteristic; if it cannot be changed for the better,
I should fear that Roland would be unhappy, for he would experience no
abiding satisfaction, nor would he feel the delight, nor the
obligation, of perseverance. Yet this is, perhaps, drawing too fine a
thread."

"No, no, you are right. I place no reliance upon my son's stability of
character; he only lives from hand to mouth. It is a bore to him to do
anything of which he cannot see the direct result.

"That is the way with children. But such children never make sterling
men; therefore I wanted Roland to love plants, as he would then be
obliged to learn that there was something which can at no time be
neglected or forgotten."

"I am rejoiced," Eric replied, "that you here remind me of the most
vital points. First of all, the rich man, and the son of a rich man,
like the prince and the son of a prince, have only subservient friends.
Against my will I have become Roland's play-fellow, and so the
subsequent serious work will be interfered with."

"Is it impossible then, to combine work and play?"

"I hope to do so. But the necessity of work must be recognized." Eric
continued silent, and Sonnenkamp asked,--

"You have still another point?"

"Most certainly, and it is this. As I have already suggested, Roland
must acquire a steadfast relation to external things, an intimate bond
of union with them, as then only will he be at home in the world. He
who has no recollections of childhood, no deep attachment to that which
has transpired around him, is cut off from the very fountain-head of
genial and hearty affection. Question yourself, and you will find--your
return to Germany fully proves it--that the heartfelt, endearing
recollections of childhood were the very sustenance, what one may
perhaps call the spiritual mother's milk, of your deepest soul."

Sonnenkamp winced at these words, and Eric added,--

"Homelessness is hurting the soul of your son."

"Homelessness?" Sonnenkamp exclaimed in astonishment.

His face quivered for an instant, and his athletic strength seemed
eager to make some outward demonstration, but he restrained it within
the bounds of forced composure, asking,--

"Do I rightly apprehend you? Homelessness?"

"That is what I think. The inner life of the child needs training, that
it may cling to something; a journey is, perhaps, not harmful to the
soul of a child; at the best, it has little effect upon him. A child in
travelling has no distinct impression from all the changes of the
landscape; he takes delight in the locomotive at the station, and in
the wind-mill on the hill. One fixed point in the soul anchors it
firmly. I said that the human being ought to have an object to strive
for, but permit me to add to that, that he must also have a fixed point
of departure, and that is the home. You said, and I see it myself, that
Roland takes no real delight in anything; and is not that owing to the
fact that the boy is homeless, a child of hotels, with no tap-root in
any place, and still more, no deep-seated impressions, no pictures in
his memory which have become a portion of his very life, and to which
he returns from all his wayward fancies? He told me that he had played
in the Coliseum at Rome, in the Louvre at Paris, in Hyde-park at
London, and on the lake of Geneva,--and now, living in Europe, yet
always proudly conscious of being an American,--this causes--pardon me,
I only ask the question--does this not cause a restlessness of spirit,
which may be fatal to any growth?"

"I see," Sonnenkamp answered, leaning back his head, "you are an
incarnate, or one might rather say, an insouled German, who runs over
the whole world, in reality and in thought, and cajoles himself always
with the self-complacent notion, 'I am so whole-souled, and that is
more than the rest of you are.' Pah! I tell you that if I bestow
anything of worth upon my child, I believe it will be just this, that
he will be free from that sentimentality of a so-called settled home.
The whistle of the locomotive scares away all the homesickness so
tenderly pampered of old. We are in fact cosmopolites, and that is just
the greatness of American civilization, that, not being rooted in the
past, national limitations and rights of citizenship have no narrowing
influence upon the soul. The home-attachment is an old nuisance and a
prejudice. Roland is to become an untramelled man."

Eric was silent. After a considerable time, he said:--

"It is, perhaps, not beneficial, but tiresome, both to you and to me,
to deal in generalities. I would only say, that however little
calculated travelling may be to create an inner satisfaction, when
there is no definite object to be attained that one can all along hold
in view, much less can a life that has no special aim of action,
thought, or enjoyment, confer any central peace. If Roland now had some
special talent--"

"Do you find none at all in him?"

"I have discovered none as yet; and still it seems to me, that if he
had been born under different circumstances, he would have made a
serviceable lock-smith, or a good groom. I hope you do not
misunderstand that--I consider it a guaranty for human equality, that
what a man becomes, wholly or chiefly depends upon circumstances.
Hundreds of judges would have become, under different circumstances,
common laborers, and hundreds of common laborers would have become
judges. As I said before, it is to me a direct proof of the universally
diffused capacities of human beings, that only the few have the genius
that absolutely demands a special work."

"I understand, I understand. And do you think that you can train a boy,
of whom you have formed so low an opinion?"

"I have not a low opinion of Roland, neither of his head nor his heart.
He seems to me not unsusceptible of love, but it is to him an
enjoyment, not also a duty; he has the qualities belonging to the
average of men not marked by any special characteristic, and those are
entirely sufficient to form him, under judicious and proper direction,
into a good and honorable man, happy himself, and able to make others
happy. And I shall be very glad, in the meanwhile, if I am mistaken in
attributing to Roland no special genius."

"I honor and value highly your great earnestness," Sonnenkamp
interposed, "but I am just now in great haste. Inform Roland of your
position."

He seemed out of humor, as he rolled his cigar from one corner of his
mouth to the other, and busied himself with his papers, just as if Eric
were no longer present.

Eric left the work-room of Sonnenkamp, and betook himself to Roland. He
found the boy busily employed in chewing a piece of half-raw meat, and
giving the chewed morsels to the lately broken-in dog; the huntsman
affirmed that that would attach the dog to him inseparably. Eric looked
on a while, and then requested Roland to send the dog away, as he had
something to say to him.

"Can't the dog stay with us?"

Eric made no reply, for he saw that he must first settle whether he or
the dog had the deepest hold. On his casting a sharp look again upon
Roland, the boy said, "Come, Devil, wait here at the door," and
returning, he exclaimed, "There, now go on."

Eric took Roland's hand, and informed him that he had come to be his
tutor. Roland leaned his handsome head upon his partly closed hand,
gazing at the speaker fixedly with his large, restless, glowing eyes.

"I knew it," he said at last.

"And who told you?"

"The huntsman and Joseph."

"And why did you say nothing to me about it?"

Roland made no answer to this, only looking at the speaker, as if he
would say, "I can wait." He only once removed his gaze, when Eric
added, that he had wished to try first whether he was adapted to the
family. Roland still remained silent. The dog scratched at the door;
Roland looked towards it, but did not venture to open it. Eric opened
it. The dog sprang in, crouched down before Roland, and then went to
Eric and licked his hands; he seemed to be a mysterious messenger, a
silent yet eloquent interpreter between them.

"He likes you too!" Roland cried out in childish delight.

These were the only words spoken by the boy. Suddenly springing up, he
threw himself upon Eric's breast, where he was held in a firm embrace;
the dog barked as if he must express himself.

"We will be true to each other," Eric exclaimed, unclasping his arms;
"I had a brother of your age, and you are to be my younger brother."

Roland, without speaking, held Eric's right hand between both of his.

"Now let us at once begin our life, fresh and bright."

"Yes," replied Roland, "we'll make Devil fetch something out of the
water; he does it splendidly."

"No, my dear brother, we will go to work. Let us see what you have
learned."

Eric had noticed particularly, that Roland, who was deficient in every
other branch of knowledge, had a pretty good acquaintance with
geography. He tested him in this, and Roland was highly pleased to be
able to give him accurate answers. They gradually passed to the
consideration of other studies, and then Roland appeared confused, and
for Latin he had a hatred amounting to a personal hostility.

"We will quietly study what is necessary," Eric said consolingly, "and
then we will ride, drive, shoot, fish, and row."

This prospect cheered the boy very much, and when the clock struck in
the tower, he suddenly observed,--

"In one hour Herr von Pranken will be with Manna. I can learn to ride,
fence, and shoot, as well as Herr von Pranken, don't you think I can?"

"Certainly you can."

"I sent a letter, too, to Manna by Herr von Pranken."

"What language did you write it in?"

"English, of course. Ah! it just occurs to me,--all speak so highly of
your mother, let your mother come too; she might live out therein our
small, vine-covered house."

The boy could say no more, for Eric lifted him up, pressed him to his
breast, and kissed him. The boy had uttered what at first sight had
flashed through his own soul, and now it was evident that he bestowed
gladly, loved to confer benefits, and to contrive pleasure for others;
his hard-heartedness towards the dwarf disappeared as a mere
superficial blemish.

A servant came and announced that dinner was served. Holding each other
by the hand, Roland and Eric went to the dining-room.



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                                A RIVAL.


The dinner was as ceremonious as it had been the day before. Frau
Ceres, who appeared again at table, betrayed by no look or word that
she had conversed so confidentially with Eric; she addressed,
frequently, some brief remark to him; but again all were occupied in
urging her to eat something. Eric wondered at the patience with which
Sonnenkamp did this again and again.

After dinner, while they were taking coffee, Sonnenkamp observed to
Eric in a careless way, that a new applicant had presented himself, who
brought the highest recommendation from Roland's last tutor, the
candidate Knopf. He gave Eric to understand that they did not receive
every one at once to dinner, and ordered Joseph to introduce the
stranger.

A slim, sunburnt man entered. He was introduced to the company. Eric
was introduced by the title of Captain, Doctor being suffered
temporarily to rest in peace. The stranger, whose name was Professor
Crutius, had been a fellow-student with the candidate Knopf, had seen a
good deal of the world, and, finally, for several years, had been
professor in the military school at West Point, near New York.

He gave this information with great ease, but in rather a harsh tone of
voice.

Sonnenkamp seemed to have reserved this entertainment for the dessert,
to allow the two applicants to engage in a tilt with each other, while
quietly smoking his cigar. He was very shrewd in finding the points
where they could attack each other, but he was not not a little
surprised that Eric immediately laid down his arms; expressing his
thanks to the stranger, he said that he envied his rich experience in
life, and his wide survey of the world, while he himself had, to his
regret, been confined to the limited circle of the Principality and to
the world of books.

The stranger had made the discovery very soon that Fräulein Perini was
the hair-spring in the watchwork of this household, and he found that
they had some reminiscences in common. Crutius had accompanied an
American family to Italy, and had gone from thence to the New World.

In a manner showing candor and experience, he described the
characteristics of an American boy of the upper class, and how such a
boy must be managed. Without directly pointing it out, this description
was evidently intended for Roland, who sat gazing at the stranger.

Eric, standing with Sonnenkamp by the balcony-railing, which he grasped
tightly in his hands, said that he himself was not sufficiently
prepared, and that the stranger would be, probably, the most fitting
person.

Sonnenkamp made no reply, puffing out quickly cloud after cloud of
smoke into the air.

"Magnanimity," he thought to himself. "Magnanimity,--nothing but smoke
and vapor."

The stranger was very zealously engaged in conversation with Frau Ceres
and Fräulein Perini. Roland went to his father, and said, in a voice as
determined as it was low,--

"Send him away; I don't want him."

"Why not?"

"Because I have Herr Eric, and because Herr Knopf has sent him."

"Go to your own room; you have nothing to say about this," Eric
ordered.

The boy stared at him, and went.

Eric declared to the father that Roland's instinctive feeling was just;
the bitterness against his former teacher he could not at all judge of,
but it was evident that the boy wanted to be received by some entirely
unprejudiced stranger.

Sonnenkamp was surprised at this kindly appreciation on Eric's part,
especially when he went on to state how unpleasant a thing it must be
for the boy to be transferred in this way from one hand to another.
The stranger, in the meanwhile, had asked Fräulein Perini whether
Sonnenkamp had any relatives, whether that had always been his name,
and whether he received many letters. He touched upon one and another
point in his conversation, evidently to reconnoitre the state of
feeling entertained by the family concerning America; and when
Sonnenkamp, with great energy, asserted that he should like a dictator
for America, who would put to rout the rascality there, Crutius said,
that there were very many in the New World who really cherished the
conviction and desire that America would establish a monarchy, but
didn't dare to say so.

Sonnenkamp nodded to himself, and whistled again inaudibly.

"Where did you put up?" he abruptly inquired of the stranger.

Crutius named an inn in the village.

"There you are very well quartered."

The stranger's countenance changed for an instant. He had evidently
expected that his luggage would be sent for, and that he would be
received as a guest in the house.

Sonnenkamp thanked him very courteously for the call, and requested him
to give his address in full, so that he might be written to if there
should be occasion. The stranger's hand trembled as he took out his
well-worn pocket-book, and gave his card. He took leave with formal
politeness.

Sonnenkamp requested Eric to escort his fellow-teacher a part of the
way, and handed him several gold pieces, which he was to give to the
needy-looking man in a suitable manner.

"Is this friendly confidence, or is it expected as a service?" Eric
asked himself, as he went after the stranger.

He overtook him near the park-wall, and when Eric represented himself
to be also a teacher, the countenance of the professor changed, and he
exclaimed:--

"Ah! a teacher then, and perhaps my competitor?"

Eric answered in the affirmative.

Crutius looked sour at this; he had been gratified at the friendly
encouragement of the captain, whom he took to be an inmate of the
family, and he was grateful to him for the praise he had given him; but
now he turned out to be a teacher too! He gnashed his teeth a little
over this mistake.

Eric tendered him the present of gold with great delicacy, putting
himself on an equality with the stranger, making known his own poverty,
and declaring how impossible it often was not to accept from those who
had means.

"Ha! ha!" the stranger laughed out. "He knows me; he wishes to put me
under obligation and release himself!"

Eric said that he did not understand such expressions.

"Indeed!" the stranger said, laughing. "So innocence with a captain's
rank allows itself also to be bought? The whole world is nothing but an
old rag-shop. What matter! The den where the tiger devours his prey is
very fine and very tasty! paint and tapestry can cover up a good deal!
I ask your pardon, I have taken wine this morning, and I am not used to
it. Well, hand it over! My most humble compliments to Villa Eden! Ha!
ha! a very nice name!"

Without adding a word more, the stranger, grasping tightly the gold,
touched his hat, and walked off at a rapid pace.

Eric returned to Sonnenkamp in a meditative mood. Sonnenkamp invited
him to be seated, in a very friendly manner, asking.--

"Did he take the money?"

Eric nodded.

"And of course, with hardly a thank you?"

Eric said that the man had acknowledged, of his own accord, that he had
been drinking wine that morning, and was not used to it.

Pointing to a great packet of letters, Sonnenkamp said that they were
all applications for the advertised situation. He expatiated very
merrily upon the great number of persons who depend upon some wind-fall
or other; if one should only open a honey-pot, suddenly bees, wasps,
and golden-flies appear, nothing of which had been seen before. Then he
continued:--

"I can give you a contribution to your knowledge of men."

"Anything about Herr Crutius?"

"No; of your very much be-pitied dwarf. It is really refreshing to find
such a charming piece of rascality. I have known for a long time how
smart he was in stealing the black wood-vetch from the hill above; but
now the bite received in training the dog is nothing but a lie. I have
already informed Roland of it, and I am glad that he can become
acquainted so early with the vileness and deceitfulness of men."

"You will not keep the dwarf any longer in your employment, I suppose?"

"Certainly I shall. I am delighted that the droll little man has so
much rascality. It is a perfect satisfaction to play with the villainy
and roguery of people, and I should like to have half a dozen such on
hand, so as to teach Roland how to deal with chaps of that stamp."

"I would rather not be able to give him that instruction," said Eric.

"It is not for you to do that; you are here for something else."

Eric left Sonnenkamp's room, greatly depressed.

A servant informed him that Roland was waiting for him at the
river-bank; he went there, and Roland invited him to take a sail with
him on the Rhine. He unfastened the pretty boat from the shore, and
rowed expertly out into the stream; it was now a dark green, and the
islands above, with their dense foliage, seemed to be growing out of a
soil of liquid emerald.

A fresh breeze rippled the surface; Roland was happy that he could
unfurl the sail, and showed himself skilful in his mastery over the
elements. Every movement was so graceful that Eric took great delight
in looking at him.

Eric was a novice on the water, and he was glad to give Roland the
satisfaction of instructing him, and of showing him how the boat is
made to turn, and to go in any direction. There was a joyous tone in
Roland's voice that Eric had never remarked before.

And while they were sailing along with a full breeze, the splashing
waves striking against the boat, Roland spoke of the candidate Knopf,
who first made him really at home upon the water. Knopf could row,
sail, steer, and make the boat describe a circle in the water, better
than the best boatman. Yes, better than the boatman's wife even, a
large, powerful woman, who now called out to him as she steered a large
boat made fast to a tow-boat, while her husband, a not less powerful
form, leaned against the mast.

Roland, steering towards the tow-boat, made fast to the boat which the
woman was managing. She chatted with him without looking round, for she
must keep the exact course. When they had gone far enough, Roland
unfastened the boat, and sailed back with the current.

He gave a humorous account of the helmswoman's rule over her husband,
but Eric led the conversation to the candidate Knopf. Roland was not
inclined to say anything more about him, nor to speak of his previous
tutors, who were evidently regarded by him with as much indifference as
is a yesterday's waiter at a hotel, or a discharged servant. Who will
ask about people whom they have dismissed? It was only apparent, from
some words dropped by Roland, that this candidate must have had a warm
affection for his pupil.

Mention was made, also, of the dwarf, and Roland took it very coolly
that he had turned out a rascal, for he regarded all poor people as
rascals.

Eric had gained in this sail a new and deeper knowledge of his pupil;
pity was now added to the love he felt for the boy, who had so early
acquired a contempt for the world, and who appeared to have no person
and no thing to which he clung inseparably, and the thought of which
gave him new inspiration. Only with his sister did he seem to have any
real bond of affection, for as they were approaching the villa, he
said:--

"Just as I am now walking with you, Manna is walking with Herr von
Pranken. I think that you and Manna, when she comes, will also be good
friends."



                               BOOK III.



                               CHAPTER I.

                         THE SUBTERRANEAN CALL.


A fragrant strawberry glistens on the ground, beautiful to the eye, and
luscious to the taste. If there were some method of seeing, or even of
hearing, what was going on at the root of the plant, we might perhaps
be able to discern how the ammonia, homely, and of very pungent odor,
turned up conceitedly its nose, as much as to say, What indeed would
all this be without me?

The potash, on the other hand, brightly glistening and sweet-smelling,
is under no necessity of saying anything, for its very appearance says
already, All the scientific men of the upper world speak on my behalf.

And the hard, silicious earth, in its comfortable repose, might be
understood to say, I am an aboriginal inhabitant, and what do these
transient fellows want? To-day here, and to-morrow gone; I have already
lived through a great deal,--everything goes by fashion.

The maggot-worm grubs at the root, blinking with its cunning eyes, and
thinks, The rest are happy in rendering service, but I--I fatten
myself. The earth-worm rolls itself along in a proud feeling of triumph
that it can go through the streets and water-courses, whereon
everything is moving hither and thither. A mole, that has nestled in
the neighborhood, lies in wait for the moment when the maggot-worm is
taking a little nap, after its surfeit, and gobbles it up.

Such are the manifold operations of life and movement down there at the
roots, and such also are those in the servants' room of Villa Eden
above.

Herr Sonnenkamp has a wise rule, although many consider it
hard-hearted, that all his servants must be unmarried. They receive
good wages, are in want of nothing, but make no pretension to family
life. A beggar never comes into the well-kept garden, for he would
disturb its comfortable serenity. He receives alms, at the entrance,
from the keeper of the lodge, and the old cook oftentimes complains
that the remnants of food, which might nourish many a hungry one, go so
utterly to waste.

It is noon. They take their meals here, long before the table of their
master above is set. Two grooms and a third coachman, who keep watch in
the stables, eat by themselves in silence, for they must relieve the
others.

The superintendent here below is the head-cook, dressed in light
clothes, and called for shortness, "the chief;" of a burly and portly
figure, with a beardless face, and a large hawk-nose, he plays here the
marquis. His German is a sort of jargon, but he rules over the
subordinate cook and kitchen-maids, with absolute sway.

The watchmen have dined. A long table is laid for more than a dozen
persons, and they come in one after another.

The first who makes his appearance, or, rather, the one to whom the
first entrance is conceded, is the head-coachman, Bertram, with a
powerful, gigantic form. He has a great red beard, parted in two waving
masses coming to a peak, with an embroidered waistcoat covering his
hips, and over it a striped blue and white jacket, with just a slight
badge of distinction from that of the other coachmen.

With a greeting to the whole corps of servants, Bertram seats
himself at the head of the table with Joseph on his right, and the
head-gardener on his left. Next to this one, a little man, with seamed
face and rapidly glancing eyes, takes a seat; this is Lutz, the
courier. Then the rest seat themselves according to their rank, the
stable-boys and the men working in the garden being placed at the lower
end of the table.

The first female cook, a special favorite of Fräulein Perini, insisted
strenuously upon grace being said before dinner. Bertram, the travelled
coachman, a decided free-thinker, always busied himself during the
blessing with his great embroidered waistcoat, which he drew proudly
down over his hips. Joseph folded his hands, but did not move his lips;
the rest prayed silently.

No sooner was the soup removed, and a little wine sipped,--for the
servants had their wine every day,--than Bertram started the talk, and
upon a very definite topic.

"I was just waiting to see whether Lieutenant Dournay would recognise
me; I belonged to his battery."

"Indeed!" Joseph delightedly chimed in. "He was right popular, I'm
certain?"

Bertram did not consider it incumbent upon him to give a direct reply.
He only said that he could never have believed that Herr Dournay would
ever become a servant.

"Servant?"

"Yes, a servant like us; and because he knows something of books, a
tutor."

Joseph smiled in a melancholy way, and took great pains to bring the
table over to a correct view. First he praised the celebrated father of
Eric, who had received at least twenty decorations; and his mother, who
belonged to the nobility; and he was very happy to say that Captain
Dournay understood all about the sciences, and, to throw at their heads
the very hardest names which he could get hold of,--Anthropology,
Osteology, Archæology, and Petrifactology--all these the captain was
master of; he was a complete university in himself. But he did not
succeed in convincing the company that Eric was anything else than a
servant.

The head-gardener said, in a high-Prussian dialect:--

"Anyhow, he is a handsome man, and sits his horse well; but he don't
know a thing about gardening."

Lootz, the courier, praised Eric for speaking good French and English,
but of course, when it came to Russian, and Turkish, and Polish, the
learned gentleman didn't understand them; for Lutz himself, as a
journeyman tailor, having made the tour of all countries, understood
all languages. He had attended formerly Fräulein von Pranken, the
present Countess Wolfsgarten, and two English ladies, on their travels;
now he acted as courier for Herr Sonnenkamp on his journeys, and was
idle the rest of the time, unless one calls work the carrying of the
letter-bag to and from the railroad station, and the playing of the
guitar, which the little man practised a good deal, with the
accompaniment of his own whistling. He had also a secret service.

There appeared to be a tacit agreement at the table, that they should
make no reply to anything that Lutz said; he only received a smile from
the second female cook, with whom he had a tender but not acknowledged
relation.

A man with Sarmatian features and a Polish accent claimed for Herr von
Pranken the credit of having brought the man into the house. Bertram
gave Joseph a slight nudge, and proceeded to praise Herr von Pranken in
the most eulogistic terms, while Joseph winked slyly, as if he would
say. Just so; this shows again that the Pole is in the secret service
of Herr von Pranken.

Now they speculated whether Herr von Pranken would take up his abode in
the house after his marriage with Manna, for this event was regarded as
a settled thing.

A gardener, who stammered a little, remarked that it was said at the
village inn, that Herr Sonnenkamp had been a tailor. All laughed, and
the stuttering gardener, who was the special butt of the circle, was
more and more spurred on to talk, and bantered till he became blue in
the face. Bertram, taking both waves of his long beard in his hands,
exclaimed:--

"If any one should tell me that, I'd show him how his teeth taste."

"Just let people talk," said soothingly the head-gardener, with a smile
in advance at his own wisdom, as he added, "As soon as a man gets on in
the world he must make up his mind to be slandered."

One of the hostlers gave an account of a scuffle which had taken place
between them and the servants of the so-called Wine-count, who
reproached them with being the servants of a man whom nobody knew
anything about,--who he was, or where he came from; and that one of
them had gone so far as to say that Frau Sonnenkamp was a purchased
slave.

The secret, and, in fact, not very edifying history of several families
was now related, until the stout female cook cried out at last:--

"Do stop that talk! My mother used to say, that

          "'Whether houses be great or small.
            There lies a stone before them all.'"

The second gardener, a lean, thin man, with a peaked face, called the
squirrel, who often had prayers with the pious people of the
neighborhood, began a very evangelical discourse about evil speaking.
He had, originally, been a gardener, then a policeman in a northern
capital, where Sonnenkamp became acquainted with him, and placed him
back again in his first occupation, employing him frequently in
commissions that called for special circumspection.

An ancient kitchen-maid, who sat apart, holding in her lap the plate
from, which she was eating, cried suddenly:--

"You may say what you please, the gentleman who has just come marries
the daughter of the family. Just bear that in mind. Mark my words. He
hasn't come for the young gentleman, but for the young lady. There was
once on a time a prince and a princess in the castle, and the prince
put on a servant's dress--yes, laugh away, but it is just so."

Joseph and Bertram exchanged glances full of meaning.

Now there was a general joking. Every one wished to have his fortune
told by old Kate. The courier made fun of superstitious people, but
assumed a very forced smile when Bertram called out:--

"Yes, indeed, the tailors are all enlightened, they don't believe in
hell."

There was no end to the laughing now. Suddenly a voice sounded from the
ceiling:--

"Bertram is to put the horses to the glass-carriage, and Joseph to come
up."

The company at the table broke up; the hostlers went to the stables,
where they smoked their pipes, the gardeners to the park and the
green-houses. Joseph told two servants to set the dinner-table, and
there was stillness under ground. Only the kettles bubbled and hissed,
and the chief surveyed with lofty mien the progress of his work.

An hour later, Lootz received the letters which he was to carry to the
station, and, in a very casual and innocent way, related that the new
tutor had as adherents in the house, Bertram, who was formerly
stationed in his battery, and Joseph, who considered himself committed
to him as coming from the University. It had never been said in so many
words that Lutz was to be a spy over the servants, but it was
understood, as a matter of course, between him and his master.



                              CHAPTER II.

                          A SUNDAY FILLED OUT.


Eric had wished to write a letter to his mother out of fairy-land, when
he rode as if under a spell of enchantment through the wood, where all
was music, fragrance, and brightness. Yes, then! It was only a few days
ago, and yet it seems as if years had elapsed. How much in these few
days had Eric thought, seen, experienced! The letter is an entirely
different one.

On Sunday there was a change in the household arrangements, no common
breakfast being served. When Eric met Sonnenkamp in the garden, the
latter asked him if he would go with them to church. Eric answered no,
at once, adding in explanation, that by going he should be guilty of an
act of hypocrisy; as a mark of respect for a confession not his own, he
might perhaps be willing to go, but a different view would be taken of
it.

Sonnenkamp looked at him in surprise. But this straight-forwardness
seemed to have an effect upon him, for he said,--

"Good; one is at no loss to find out your opinion."

The tone was ambiguous, but Eric interpreted it favorably.

After all had gone to church, Eric sat alone, writing to his mother. He
began by saying that he seemed to himself like Ulysses thrown upon a
strange island; he had, indeed, no fellow-voyagers to take care of, but
he had for companions many noble sentiments, and he must watch sharp
lest they be turned into----

Just as he was writing the word, he stopped; that was not the proper
tone. He destroyed the sheet, and began again. He narrated, simply and
briefly, the interview, with Pranken, Clodwig, and Bella, saying that
as the Homeric heroes were under the special protection of the gods, so
to-day a different and better one was vouchsafed, and he was
accompanied by the spirit and noble character of his parents. In
speaking of Roland, he said that wealth had a peculiar power to excite
the fancy, and a mighty energy in carrying out its purposes, for Roland
had already removed her into the small, vine-covered house.

The bells were ringing in the village, and Eric wrote with flying speed
about his conception of the noble vocation of guiding in the right path
a human being, upon whom was conferred the great and influential power
of wealth.

And now, mingled with the ringing of the bells, there came suddenly the
recollection of that narrative in the Gospel of the rich young man
coming to Jesus. He did not remember the precise question and answer,
and he looked for a Bible in Roland's library, but there was no Bible
there; yet it seemed as if he could go no farther, until he had become
exactly acquainted with that incident.

He went down into the garden; there he came across the gardener, the
so-called squirrel, who was very happy to be able to give an
affirmative answer to the question whether he had a Bible. With words
full of unction he brought one to Eric, who took it with him to his
room.

He wrote no more, he read for a long time; then he sat there
motionless, his head resting upon his left hand, which covered his
eyes, until Roland returned from church, and laid down his prayer-book.
As Eric grasped now the hand which had deposited the book, the inquiry
darted through his soul. Wilt thou be able to give the youth a like
firm trust as a compensation, if thou shouldest----

His thoughts were interrupted, for Roland said,--

"You have procured a Bible, then?" With childish pleasure he informed
him that, by means of the gardener, it had been reported all over the
house. Eric felt obliged to declare to the boy that he held this book
in high esteem, and thought there was no other to be compared with it,
but that he had none of the customary ecclesiastical reverence for it.

"Do you know this?" Eric asked, pointing to the passage about the rich
young man.

Roland read it, and when Eric asked him what he thought of it, Roland
only stared, for he had evidently not perceived the difficulty of the
problem there enunciated. Eric avoided enlightening him now in regard
to the meaning of the parable; he would wait. A seed-grain lies at
first motionless in the earth, until it is stirred into activity by its
own vital forces. Eric knew that at this moment such a seed-grain had
fallen into the child's soul. He would bide quietly the time when it
should germinate and spring up.

He complied with Roland's desire that he would go with him to meet the
major, who came every Sunday to dinner. They walked for a while in the
road under the nut-trees, and then up the hill through the vineyards.
They saw, near a large open space where stakes only were standing, the
Major, with whom we have already become acquainted at Wolfsgarten; he
was to-day in full uniform, with all his badges.

Whilst the established nobility of the region were very reserved in
their visits to the Sonnenkamp mansion, the Major was the banner of
distinction to this household, Frau Ceres being especially delighted
that a man with so many badges should devote himself to her in so
friendly a way.  Evil tongues, indeed, reported that the Major, in
consideration of this attention to the ladies, and this Sunday display
of his badges, received no trifling addition to his not very large
pension, but this was pure scandal, for the Major, or rather Fräulein
Milch, strenuously refused to accept presents from any one in the
region, nor would they allow themselves to be in any manner dependent.

The Major was very happy to see them both.

"Have you got him so soon?" said he to Eric. "Be sure and hold him by a
tight rein."

And, pointing to the vineyard, he said: "Next season we shall have
there--so Herr Sonnenkamp says--the first wine. Have you ever drunk
virgin wine?"

Eric answered in the negative, and the Major delighted in being able to
explain to him that the first product of a vineyard was so denominated.

The Major's gait was nothing but a perpetual plunge forward and a
recovery of himself again; every two steps he stopped and looked round,
always with a smile. He smiled upon every one he met. Why were people
to be made unhappy because he has lost his toes? Why should they see a
troubled countenance? He informed Eric that he had frozen his toes in
the Russian campaign, and had been obliged to have them amputated; and
he smiled very cheerfully, as he said:--

"Yes, truly our German proverb is right. Every one knows best himself
where the shoe pinches."

He nodded his agreement with Eric, who made an application of the
proverb to the various relations of life.

Then he asked Roland whether his mother had yet risen; for Frau Ceres
made the no small sacrifice of getting up at nine o'clock, and, what
will be considered a not much inferior one, of completing her toilet in
a single hour, and going with the family to church. She always made up,
therefore, for the lost sleep by going to bed again before dinner, and
putting on afterwards, for the first time, her real Sunday apparel.

When they reached the level road, the architect met them, on his way
also to dinner; he joined Eric, while Roland went with the Major. The
men were all obliged to look at Roland's dogs, before they assembled in
the balcony-saloon. They found the doctor and the priest already with
Herr Sonnenkamp.

Eric had scarcely been introduced, when Frau Ceres appeared in splendid
full dress.

The Major offered his arm, the servants drew back the folding-doors,
and they went through several apartments into the dining-hall.

The Major had his seat at the left of Frau Ceres, and the priest at her
right; next to him was Fräulein Perini, and then the physician,
Sonnenkamp, the architect, Roland and Eric took their respective seats.

The priest said grace to-day aloud. The conversation was, at first,
wholly incomprehensible to Eric, for it was of persons and
circumstances that he knew nothing about. The great wine establishment,
the son of whose proprietor had bought, with Pranken, the beautiful
horses, was often mentioned. The head of the firm had realized enormous
profits, at a sale held at one of his wine-vaults up the stream. It was
reported that he intended to give up business entirely, and to reside
at the capital, for the shrewd old gentleman was very desirous of
gaining the consideration and good will of the court.

"I give him credit," cried the doctor, "of being infatuated with the
notion of getting ennobled."

Herr Sonnenkamp, who just that moment had put into his mouth some fish
cut up very fine, was seized with such a sudden and violent fit of
coughing, that all the table were anxious at seeing him turn so red in
the face; but he soon re-assured them, saying that he had only
incautiously swallowed a fish-bone.

The Major thought it unfitting that the great wine-merchant should
allow himself to stand as a government-candidate for the chamber of
deputies, and that, too, against such a man as Weidmann. Eric gave
attention when this name was now again mentioned; it was always as if
an indescribable train of honors waited upon it. But the doctor
continued, by saying that the Wine-count was only desirous of
satisfying his ambition, and his purpose to make himself acceptable to
the government, and that he would succeed even if he knew that he would
be beaten, for he appeared in the journals as a supporter of the
Government.

"Now, Herr priest," he directly asked, "which candidate will the clergy
vote for?"

The priest, a tall, slender form with white hair, and remarkably bright
eyes, which looked keen and quiet from beneath the massive eye-brows,
united both dignity and adroitness in his deportment. He would have
been very glad to remain silent, but he now said--moving his left hand,
with the thumb and forefinger joined--that there was really no
opposition to be made to Weidmann's good qualities as a citizen.

The doctor was obliged to put up with this indirect reply. But the
Major extolled very decidedly the noble character of Weidmann, who was
sure to triumph.

The Major always spoke with great difficulty, and turned purple even to
the roots of his white hair, whenever he was obliged to address not his
immediate neighbor only, but the whole table as well.

"You speak as a brother Freemason," said the physician, giving him a
nod.

The Major looked grimly at him, shaking his head, as if to say. One
should not jest about such things; but he said nothing.

Sonnenkamp was very free in declaring, that although he paid taxes in
this country, he should not vote; that he was cosmopolitan, and
considered himself and his family to be only guests in Germany.

Eric's glance and that of the doctor met, and both looked towards
Roland. What can be expected of a boy, to whom it is said. The State in
which you live is of no account to you at all?

The physician, having begun to make a butt of the Major, kept it up
incessantly. Known and liked as a jovial person, the physician was,
early in the day, in the hilarious mood of one who has just risen from
a well-spread table, and his very lively tone contrasted strangely with
the heavy delivery of the Major, who very willingly allowed himself to
be made the object of jesting. It seemed to him to be a man's duty to
minister, even passively, to his fellow-men; and his features always
said, My children, make yourselves merry, even if it is about me.

The priest, in the meanwhile, took the part of the persecuted Major,
but it was hard to tell whether it was not for the sake of keeping up
the raillery, for the Major smiled in a yet more puzzled way at his
advocate, than at his assailant. The priest always began in a sort of
narrative way, and as he went on, shot his well-aimed shafts on all
sides, preserving at the same time his polished and obliging manners,
and never losing sight, for a moment, of the respect due to his
spiritual calling; and he had, in particular, certain tranquillizing
motions with his handsome, delicate hands. The eyes of Fräulein Perini
seemed to expand, more and more, and to feast in gazing, as she looked
at the ecclesiastic, and listened to him with her eyes. Only she could
not repress her discomfort, when the priest, after the fashion of the
snuff-taking clergy, rolled up his blue linen pocket-handkerchief into
a ball, and, in the full flow of discourse, tossed it from one hand to
the other. She breathed more freely when he put the horrible blue
handkerchief into his pocket.

Fräulein Perini maintained a tranquil imperturbability towards the
rough and excitable temperament of the physician, while he regarded her
as a sort of colleague; and it was really the case, that she had some
medical knowledge. He had a particular respect for her, inasmuch as she
had never consulted him in regard to any ailment. She lived very
temperately, indulged sparingly in the luxurious entertainments and the
rich daily repast, seemed to have no wants, and devoted herself to the
service, or more properly, to the accommodation, of others. Doctor
Richard took the liberty, as a physician of extensive practice, to use
but little ceremony, and was as much the popular as the pampered despot
of the whole district, and especially of the Sonnenkamp household. He
was talkative at the table, eating but little, and drinking so much the
more to make up for it. He praised the wines, knew them all, how long
they had been kept, and when they were mellow. He inquired about an old
brand, and Sonnenkamp ordered it to be brought; the physician found it
harsh, rough, and immature. Herr Sonnenkamp would often look up
dubiously to the physician, before partaking of some dish, but he would
say in anticipation:--

"Eat, eat, it won't hurt you."

"The really best thing in the world would be to drink," Sonnenkamp
said, jestingly.

"It's a shame that you never knew the 'precious Borsch,'" cried the
doctor, "who once uttered that illustrious saying, 'The stupidest thing
in the world is, that one can't also drink what he eats.'" Turning to
Eric, he continued:--

"Your friend Pranken doesn't speak well of our Rhine-land, but this
ill-humor is only an epidemic catarrh while getting acclimated, which
every one must catch. I hope you will not be so long in getting over
it. Look at this bottle of wine,--all is corked up here that poetry,
the scenic art, and creative art can do to enchant and enliven us; the
drinker feels that he is not a common pack-horse, and though,
theoretically, he does not know what elements of the beautiful are
contained in such a bottle, he has no need to know, he tastes it; he
drinks in, in fact, the beautiful."

"Provided there is no adulteration," the architect suggested.

"Very true," the doctor cried in a loud voice; "we used to have very
few cases of delirium-tremens, now so common in our district; and
delirium-tremens is not from the wine, but from the alchohol in it. Do
you know anything about wine?" he asked, turning to Eric, and, as if
actual president, calling upon him for his opinion.

"Not any."

"And yet you have probably composed drinking-songs, where the chorus
always comes in, 'We will be merry, let us be merry, we've been merry,'
and after the first bottle, the merry gentlemen can't stand on their
rhimed feet any longer."

A glance towards Roland brought the doctor to his senses; it was not
well to make Eric a subject of ridicule in this way. He therefore
turned the conversation, and gave Eric, whom he called with special
friendliness Herr Colleague, an opportunity to narrate many interesting
incidents of the collegiate and military life. The Major nodded
approval; through Eric's conversation he was left in peace, and could
give his undisturbed attention to eating and drinking. Under the napkin
which he had pinned to his shoulders, he opened his uniform. It is
well, he thought, that Fräulein Milch has furnished me with such a nice
white vest, and it ought to be seen. He was on the best of terms with
the servants, and whilst they were changing the wine, it only needed a
wink to Joseph, a universal favorite, and he immediately poured out
some choice Burgundy from the sparkling crystal decanter for the Major.

The Major drank no more. The conversation had taken a happy turn, after
Eric began to speak of the Geneva convention for the care of those
wounded in battle. This was a good common point of union for the
priest, the physician, and the soldier, and, for a time, the
conversation at table was harmonious and well-sustained.

The Major, in a loud tone, declared that men who did not like to have
their names mentioned were the original movers in this, as in all other
humane arrangements. The physician remarked to Eric, in a lower tone
than ordinary, that the Major attributed to the Freemasons all the good
in the world, and if he wished to keep in his good graces, he must
never say anything against Freemasonry.

The entire table listened with great attention to Eric, as he asserted
that we ought to be proud to see in our century such an arrangement
established on the ground of pure humanity; and the priest himself
nodded in assent, when Eric added that the Christian religion, in its
self-sacrificing devotion to the care of the sick, had attained an
elevated position, purer and loftier than had ever before been reached,
in any age, and under any dispensation.

Roland was happy to see the gleaming eyes of all resting upon Eric, and
collected them all in one focus for him.

They arose from table, and a blessing seemed to have descended upon the
whole repast. The priest engaged in silent prayer, and the Major,
coming to Eric, pressed his hand rather tightly, saying in a subdued
tone:--

"You are one already, you must learn the signs."

Eric was so excited, that he hardly heard what the old man said,
although he expressed his highest possible esteem in this readiness to
accept him as a Freemason.

"See," cried the doctor, impudently, "see how much whiter the hair of
our Major has turned."

And it actually seemed so, for the face of the Major was so permanently
red, that its color seemed incapable of being deepened, and now from
the excitement of the conversation and the wine, the whiteness of the
hair was in reality discerned with greater distinctness.

"The Major's hair has become whiter," everybody now said, and the
bewildered smile, that was always round his mouth, exploded in a loud
laugh.



                              CHAPTER III.

                           THE WORLD OUTSIDE.


The doctor was informed, immediately after dinner, that many patients
were waiting for him, for it was generally known that he dined on
Sunday here at the villa. He hastily took a cigar from Sonnenkamp, and
said that Eric must accompany him, as he wished to speak with him. He
said this in a positive manner admitting of no refusal.

After they had turned the corner, the physician extended his hand to
Eric, saying in a hearty tone,--

"I am the scholar of your grandfather, and I also knew your father at
the University."

"I am very glad to hear it; but why did you not tell me that at once?"
The doctor looked at him awhile from head to foot, then he laid both
hands on his shoulders, and shaking his head, but in a cordial tone,
said,--

"I have been mistaken in you. I thought that the species idealist had
died out; you are doctor of world-wisdom, but not doctor of worldly
wisdom. Dear captain-doctor, what's the need of their knowing yonder
how you and I stand with each other?--So you wish to live with Herr
Sonnenkamp?"

"Why not?"

"The man can't weep if he would, and you--?"

"Well, and I?"

"With you the tear-sack is filled at every emotion, as when you spoke
there of your father, and of the noble care of the sick--you have a
talent for hypochondria."

Eric was struck. This style of personal criticism was novel to him, but
before he could reply, the doctor called to the waiting group of
patients standing at the entrance of the porter's lodge,--

"I am coming in a moment! Wait here for me, and I'll come back soon,"
he said now to Eric, and went up to the group, all of whom took off
their hats and caps. He spoke with one and another, taking out a blank
book with loose leaves, and writing several prescriptions, with the
back of a broad-shouldered man for a desk, and giving to others only
verbal directions.

Eric stood in a fixed attitude, and he realized that he was wanting in
worldly wisdom, but a deep feeling of happiness took possession of him,
that his grandfather and father sent him here a friend. An unknown and
inestimable inheritance was awaiting him in all places, like a harvest
gathering in from all quarters; he regarded the family and its rich
possessions with a different feeling; he was no longer poor.

The physician, coming back, said with a more cheerful countenance,--

"I am now free. Count Clodwig has told me about you, but he has given
me a wrong impression of you. Never mind! Every one sees, standing in
the centre of his own horizon, his own rainbow. I wished only to say to
you, that what one--pardon me--what one does for you, is hardly the
payment of interest, for no human being has done more for others than
your grandfather and your father. Now allow yourself for once to
undergo a regular examination. I saw you years ago, when you were
coupled with the prince."

The doctor receded a step from Eric, and continued,--

"The crossing of races is a good one. Father, Huguenot,--Mother, pure
German, real blond, delicate organization,--proper mixture of
nationalities. Come with me into the arbor. Will you allow me a brief
and concise diagnosis?"

Eric smiled; the physician's method of passing him under review and
pronouncing verdict upon him seemed extremely odd, but yet he felt
attracted.

Striking off on a twig the ashes from his cigar, the doctor asked,--

"Can you have intercourse with any one day by day, and not like him, or
at least have some regard for him?"

"I have never tried it, but I think not; and such an intercourse
assuredly hurts the soul."

"I expected this answer. For my part, I say with Lessing, It is better
to live among bad people, than to live apart from everybody. May I ask
still another question?"

But without waiting for a reply, he continued,--

"Have you ever experienced ingratitude?"

"I think that I have, as yet, done nothing which deserves gratitude.
Especially may we ask, Ought we to lay claim to any thanks, inasmuch as
what we do in behalf of others, we do, first of all, to secure our own
self-approval."

"Good, good. Wise already. Yet one thing more. Do you believe in
natural depravity, and if you do, since when?"

"If by depravity you mean the conscious delight in injuring others,
then I am no believer in it, for I am convinced that all evil doing is
only a stepping over the limits of a justifiable self-preservation; it
is only an excess caused by sophistry or passion. Perhaps the belief in
depravity is also merely passion."

The doctor nodded several times, and then said,--

"Only one question more. Are you sensitive--vulnerable?"

"I might perhaps urge your friendly testing as a proof that I am not."

The doctor threw away the cigar, which he had not wholly smoked up, and
said,--

"Excuse me, I was in an error; my final question has another at the end
of it. Now to conclude: Are you surprised, when you find simply stupid
some little man or some little woman in fashionable clothes, and with
polished address, and are you willing to take them as simply stupid,
without attributing to them principles of action, and a comprehension
of the principles of others?"

In spite of the evidently friendly intention, Eric's patience was
exhausted; he replied to this, not without some irritation, that he had
been through a great many surprising examinations here, but the present
was the most surprising of all.

"You will perhaps have some light upon it, by and by," the physician
said in a low tone, stealthily pressing Eric's hand, for he saw
Fräulein Perini coming along the path, and he went to join her.

The company at table met again at the fountain, chatted awhile, and
then separated. The priest and the Major invited Eric to call upon
them; the physician asked Sonnenkamp if Eric and Roland might not be
allowed to drive with him upon his round of visits. Sonnenkamp appeared
struck that Roland and Eric were linked together in this way, but he
nodded his assent. Eric and the doctor seated themselves in the open
carriage, and Roland took his seat with the coachman, who gave him the
reins.

The day was bright and full of the fragrance of flowers, bells were
ringing, and larks were carolling.

They drove to a village lying at a distance from the river. From, a
garden where the elder was in bloom came the beautiful music of a
quartette song, and under a linden in an enclosed place, boys and
youths were engaged in gymnastic sports.

"O this magnificent German land of ours!" Eric could not refrain from
exclaiming. "This is life! This is our life! To cheer the soul with
inspiring song, and the body with brisk motion,--this makes a people
strong and noble, and honor and freedom must be theirs! All that is
great belongs to us, as well as to the classic world."

The doctor, laying his hand quietly upon Eric's knee, looked him full
in the eye, and then begged him, if he remained here, to make himself
thoroughly acquainted through him with the Rhine life, and not allow
himself to be misled, if he should find much that was repulsive both
inside and outside of the house. "And if you can--I believe you alone
can, if you can't, I give it up--confer upon the boy there, not merely
joy in what he has, but joy in the great life of the nation and of the
community, which now he has not, then you will have accomplished
something that is worth living for. But the main point is, while you
are doing this, to have no thought of self, and then the blessing will
not fail. This is what I understand by the direction, 'Seek ye first
the kingdom of God--that is, the life of truth and of love--and all
things shall be added unto you.' Roland," he interrupted himself by
calling, "stop here."

The doctor got out, and went into a small but neat-looking house; Eric
and Roland went to the gymnastic-grounds. They were regarded at first
with great shyness; but when Eric readily showed a fine-looking youth,
who went through some exercise clumsily, how to do it better, and when,
stripping off his coat, he swung with agility on the horizontal bar,
every one became more familiar. Roland also attempted some of the
exercises, without much success, and Eric said that they would practise
them diligently, but it was unfavorable that they would be obliged to
engage in them by themselves, for there was much greater animation and
exertion of all the powers, when there was a common emulation.

A messenger came to call Eric and Roland back to the house where the
doctor had stopped. Just as the physician came out of the house, the
church-bell tolled; all the bystanders took off their hats, even the
doctor, and he said,--

"A human being is dead; the man has lived out the term of existence; he
was seventy-two years old, and yet yesterday, on his death-bed, he
gained comfort in the recollection of a little deed of beneficence.
In the year of the famine, 1817, he was travelling as a journeyman
cooper over the Lunenburg heath--he continually called it the Hamburg
heath--where there was no road; and after several hours he came across
a wretched hovel, in which were several children crying from hunger.
The cooper had some dried eels, and some bread in a tin box. He gave
all to feed the children, and they were happy. 'Mark;' he said to me
only yesterday,--'mark how it does me good, and always rejoices me,
that I could at that time feed the children, and perhaps they never
have forgotten it, that once a stranger appeased their hunger.' Is it
not beautiful that a man can gain solace from a single good deed? He
has suffered much, and death is a release to him.  Yes, my young
friend, such is the world! There outside all is in bloom, people are
singing, exercising, sporting, and in the meanwhile, a human being is
dying--pooh!" he cried, recovering himself, "I have not brought you
with me to make you troubled, Roland; drive the whole length of the
village to the last house." And turning to Eric, he said,--

"We are going to see cheerful poverty; you are now to look upon the
bright side. The man is a poor vine-dresser; has seven children, four
sons and three daughters, and in their poverty they are the merriest
people to be found anywhere, and the merriest of all is the old father.
His real name is Piper; but because he sings with his children and
practises them finely as often as he can get a chance, he is called
Sevenpiper."

They drove to the house; the daughters were sitting before the door,
the sons were at the gymnastic-ground. Sevenpiper immediately made his
appearance, and said that his sons should be sent for. The doctor then
asked how things were going with him.

"Ah, Herr doctor," he replied, in a loud tone, "it is always so; my
youngest always has the best voice." And turning to Roland, he added,--

"Yes, dear sir, I make my children rich too; each one receives from one
to two hundred songs as an outfit, and if they can't make their way
through the world with that, then they are good for nothing."

The sons came, and now a cheerful song was struck up, so that the
doctor and Roland were put into excellent spirits, and Eric, who
quickly caught the tune, sang with them.

The old man nodded to him, and when the song was ended, said,--

"Herr, you can sing too, that's a fact."

The doctor always carried a bottle-case in his carriage, and drawing
upon it now, every one became exceedingly merry; and Sevenpiper
informed them, and more particularly Roland, that the best thing in the
world was to be in good health, and make music for one's self.

The physician took leave, and at evening, Roland and Eric, in a joyous
mood, left the house. Sevenpiper's two oldest sons went with them to
the bank of the river, where they unfastened the boat, and rowed to the
villa.

The water was now very still and clear, and reflected the red glow of
the sunset-sky. Eric sat by himself in silence, during one of those
blissful hours when one thinks of nothing, and yet enjoys all. Roland
kept time in rowing with the sons of Sevenpiper; then, without stroke
of the oar, they let the boat float, and it glided noiselessly along in
the middle of the stream.

The stars were glittering in the sky when they arrived at the villa.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                   THE GOSPEL OF THE RICH YOUNG MAN.


The architect came in the morning for Roland, who was to make, under
his direction, some drawings of the castle-ruins.

Herr Sonnenkamp reminded Eric that he was to visit the priest, and he
set out soon after he had seen Fräulein Perini return from mass. The
priest's house had a garden in front, and was in silent seclusion in
the village itself silent. If the bell had not rung so loudly, and if
the two white Pomeranian dogs had not barked so loudly, one would have
believed that there could be no loud noise in such a well-arranged
establishment as this appeared to be at the very entrance-hall. The
dogs were silenced, and the housekeeper told Eric, who seemed to be
expected, to go up stairs.

Eric found the ecclesiastic in his sunny, unadorned room, sitting at
the table, and holding in his left hand a book, while his right lay
upon a terrestrial globe supported upon a low pedestal.

"You catch me in the wide world," said the ecclesiastic, giving Eric a
cordial welcome, and biding him take a seat upon the sofa, over which
hung a colored print, of St. Borromeo, which was well-meaning enough,
but not very beautiful.

A home-like peacefulness was in this room; everything seemed to express
an absence of all pretension and all assumption, and a simple desire to
pass the hours and the days in quiet meditation. Two canary birds,
here, however, in two cages, appeared to entertain a lively desire, as
did the dogs below, to give vent to their feelings. The ecclesiastic
called to them to be quiet, and they became dumb, as if by magic, and
only looked inquisitively at Eric.

The priest informed him that he was just following out on the globe the
journey of a missionary; and he caused the globe to revolve, while
saying this, with his delicate right hand.

"Perhaps you are not friendly to the missionary spirit?" he asked
immediately.

"I consider it," Eric replied, "to be the first step in the world's
civilization, and it is a grand thing that the missionaries have
everywhere spread a knowledge of written language, through
translations of a book revered as holy, and in that way have reduced to
an organic form, as it were, the inorganic languages of all peoples."

The priest closed the book that lay open before him, folded his hands
in a kind of patronising way, that seemed natural to him as the
official form of consecration, and then placing the tips of the fingers
of one hand upon those of the other, he said that he had heard of Eric
many favourable things, and that, from his own experience, he was
prepossessed in favor of those who changed their calling out of some
internal ground of conviction. To be sure, fickleness and restlessness,
never at ease in any regular employment, often led to this, but where
this was not the case, one could predicate a deep fundamental trait of
sincerity.

Eric thanked him, and added that the dignity of any vocation lay not in
the external consideration awarded to it, but in the preservation of
the purely human inherent in every calling.

"Very just," replied the ecclesiastic, extending one hand, as if with a
benignant blessing. "The ecclesiastical vocation is therefore the
highest, because it does not strive after gain, nor enjoyment, nor
fame, but after that which you--I know not for what reason--call the
universally human, when it ought simply to be called the divine."

A certain degree of humility, and a reluctance to make any opposition,
came over Eric, as he listened to the ecclesiastic setting forth in
such mildly discordant tones the precise point of difference. It
seemed, after every word, as if the sacred peacefulness of the place
gained fresh potency; nothing of the world's noise intruded there, and
all its busting activity was far away.

The park, and the country-house in the distance over the river, could
be seen from the window; the ecclesiastic took special notice of Eric's
lively interest in the beautiful, quiet view, and remarked,--

"Yes, Herr Sonnenkamp has arranged all that for himself, but the beauty
is also our gain. I really never go out of my house, except for some
parochial work."

"And do you never feel yourself solitary here in the country?"

"Oh no! I have myself, and my Lord, and God has me. And the world? I
had in the great city, even, nothing different--my parish, my church,
my house--what, besides these, is there, is not there for me."

A reminiscence of his early youthful years was awakened in Eric's soul,
and he told the priest that the thought had often presented itself to
him, in the midst of his jolly garrison life, that he had a fitness for
the ecclesiastical vocation, but that he could not devote himself to it
without a belief in revelation.

"Yes, indeed, one cannot make himself believe, but one can make himself
humble, and every one can and ought to do that, and then the grace of
believing is vouchsafed."

The ecclesiastic announced this as if it were a mathematical axiom, and
Eric replied in a modest tone,--

"Every man acquires a ground-work of thought and feeling, just as he
does his mother tongue, by hearing it spoken; and might it not be said
also, that his soul acquires a language which has no outward sound, but
which becomes embodied as a religious disposition and habitual
tendency, and which, if it is genuine, cannot be interfered with, for,
in this primitive stratum, root and soil are one and the same."

"You have studied the Mystics?" asked the ecclesiastic.

"Only partially. I should like to say further, that all fair
controversialists are obliged to agree upon something as unassailable,
or undemonstrable."

That holy stillness again possessed the place, where two human beings
were breathing, who desired each in his own way to serve the highest.

"You are at the age," the priest resumed, "when young gentlemen think
of marriage, and as is the prevailing fashion, marriage with a maiden
who has money,--a great deal of money. You appear so true-hearted, that
I must ask you directly, although I would much rather not, if it is
true that you are a suitor of Fräulein Sonnenkamp?"

"I?" Eric asked with vehement astonishment. "I?"

"Yes, you."

"I thank you," Eric said in a clear voice, recovering from his
amazement, "I thank you, that you question me so directly. You know I
am not of your church."

"And Fräulein Sonnenkamp is of our church, and it would be hard--"

"I was not thinking of that," Eric said, interrupting him. "Wonderful,
through what tests I must pass! First a supercilious cavalier, then a
nobleman, then a military officer, then a doctor, and now in the
priestly sieve."

"I do not understand you."

"Ah, truly," began Eric, "and I tell you, I confess to your noble, mild
countenance, and so I acknowledge to you, seeing you before me, that I
admire the undisturbed unity of your being from which comes the
Catholic law of celibacy as a dogma, and I allow myself to claim that
we have reached the same ideal stand-point. Yes, honored sir, I say to
myself, he who wishes to live for a great idea, whether he is artist,
scholar, priest, he can need no family, he must renounce its joys,
apart by himself without any hinderance, that he may fulfil his mission
in the perpetual service of thought."

"Divisus est! divisus est!" repeated the ecclesiastic. "The holy
apostle says that he who has a wife is divided, and he will be yet more
divided, whilst the lot of his children becomes his own. The
ecclesiastic has no changes of lot."

A smile passed over the countenance of the priest, as he continued:--

"Only imagine a priest married to a quarrelsome wife--there are also
peaceable women, gentle and self-sacrificing, and it is certain that
there are quarrelsome ones too--and now the priest is to mount the
pulpit in order to proclaim the word of peace and love, when an hour
before in dispute and scolding--"

The ecclesiastic suddenly ceased, placed the forefinger of his left
hand on his lips, and bethought himself, that he was wandering from the
real point. Did not Fräulein Perini inform him that Eric had visited
the convent before he came to this place? He looked at Eric, who had
led him from the direct inquiry, wondering whether he had done it from
prudence, or whether it was really from excitement. He hoped, indeed,
to attain his end in some different way; and, apparently in a very
natural manner, but yet with a lurking circumspection, he now asked
whether Eric really felt confident, from his position, of being able to
train a boy like Roland.

When Eric answered in the affirmative, the ecclesiastic further
asked:--

"And what do you mean to give him first, and in preference to
everything else?"

"To sum it up in few words," replied Eric, "I wish to give Roland joy
in the world. If he has this, he will furnish joy to the world; that is
to say, he will desire to benefit it; if I teach him to despise the
world, to undervalue life, he will come to misuse the world and the
powers entrusted to him in it."

"I regret," said the priest in a gentle tone, "that you are not a
believer; you are on the way to salvation, but you turn aside into a
by-path. Do you know what riches are? I will tell you. Riches are a
great temptation, yes, perhaps the greatest of our time; riches are a
force in nature, perhaps the most lawless, most untamable, and the
hardest to be governed. Riches are a brutal power, for which there is
no ruler, except the Almighty Lord; riches are below the brute, for no
brute has any more force than it embodies in itself. Man alone can be
rich, can have what he is not himself, and what his children cannot
consume. Here is the misery of it! Whoever gains so much of the world
hurts his own soul. I have tried to bring this family and this boy to
this, that they should at least make the acknowledgment, before every
meal, that what they enjoy in such luxurious abundance is only a gift.
Do you believe that this boy, conscious of his riches, and this whole
family, can receive a moral culture except through religion? A prayer
before one sits down to eat is a meditation, a recollection of the fact
that thou hast some one to thank for what thou dost enjoy. This takes
out the vainglorious pride, and gives humility instead, and makes one
give, even as he himself has been given to. Only where the fear of God
is, yes, fear, is there also the blissful feeling of His Almighty
protection. On the table of this rich man there is placed, every day, a
display of sweet-smelling, bright-colored flowers,--what does that
matter? On the poorest table of the neediest cottager is placed a
bouquet more beautiful and more fragrant, from the higher realm,
through the utterances of prayer; and the soul is filled, and this
first makes the filling of the body conduce to its health. But this is
only one thing. Above there, on the Upper Rhine, they call personal
property movables, and so it is! The riches of the present world are
nothing but movables, moving possessions, and they will move away.
Believe me," cried the ecclesiastic, laying his hand upon Eric's,
"believe me, the public funds are the misfortune of the present age."

"The public funds? I do not understand."

"Yes, it is indeed not so easy to understand. Of whom can one borrow
millions? of no one but the State. If there were no public funds, there
would be no one to lend such great sums; that's the way it is.
Formerly, a man could not acquire so many millions, because he could
not lay out so many millions; but now there are the public funds, and
everybody lives on interest-money, and interest is very properly
forbidden by the canons. See, in old times the rich man had a great
deal of real estate, many fields and forests, and he was first of all
dependent upon God's blessed sun, and when everything in good time had
ripened, and lay there in the sight of all, then he gave a tenth part
to the church. But now the riches are tucked away in fire-proof,
burglar-proof safes, not dependent on sun, not on wind and weather, are
not visible to the world, and have no tenth of the profit to give,--at
the most a trifling discount on the coupons to the banker; the harvest
of the bond-holder is the cutting off of coupons; these are the sheaves
of his harvest-home. If the Lord should come to-day, he would find no
temple from which to drive out the money-changers and traders, they
have erected for themselves their own temples. Yes, the stronghold of
Zion, to-day, to which princes, as well as rich men, make their
pilgrimage and commit themselves to its protection,--it is the Bank of
England! Have you ever once thought of this, what is to become of
humanity; what of States, if this increase of state-debts continues to
go on in this way? of course not. The whole earth will be one
tremendous mortgage, and mortgaged to whom? to him who lends on long
credit, but who will, some time or other, demand payment. A universal
conflagration will come, against which no fireproof vaults will avail,
and a deluge, which will wipe out the millions and millions upon
millions of State debts. I am not a man who delights in seeing mischief
done, but this I would say,--I should like to live to see the Bank of
England bankrupt. Only imagine it! At night the news comes. It is all
gone. Then will thousands of small men and small women see, for the
first time, how small they are, when they see themselves at once
stripped of all their trappings, and set down upon the bare earth."

Eric smiled. Every man placed in solitude, without an environment of
equalizing conditions, entertains readily peculiar notions that dart
through his mind; and he said that the earth would be burdened with
greater debts than it could pay, if it could only find those who would
advance the money. But the real possession of humanity was of more
value than the whole earth could pay for, as its greatest possession
was its ideal being, its power of working; and while, formerly, all
property was in the soil, it was just the problem of the modern age to
make available ideal and personal property. He wished further to add,
that even among the Romans in the time of the Republic itself, the
wealth of individuals was thus enormously excessive; but the
ecclesiastic, in his great excitement, seemed scarcely listening to
him, went to his book-case, took down a great Bible, and opening to a
passage, handed the book to Eric.

"There, just read; that is the only way that Roland can be educated.
Read aloud."

Eric complied, and read:--

"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and
kneeled to him and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may
inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him. Why callest thou me
good? there is none good but one, that is God. Thou knowest the
commandments,--Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do
not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother. And
he answered and said unto him. Master, all these things have I observed
from, my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him.
One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give
to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up
the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away
grieved; for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about,
and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches
enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his
words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them. Children, how
hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of
God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than
for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!"

"And now stand up and tell me," said the priest, in a trembling voice,
"tell me honestly, is not that the one and only method?"

"Honestly, no: I love and revere him of whom this is told, perhaps more
than many a church-believer, and it is particularly affecting to me,
and at this moment wonderfully touching is that passage, where it is
said here,--Then Jesus beholding him loved him. I see the handsome rich
young man in the presence of the sublime Master; the young man is
glowing and filled with a genuine ardor; then the Master dearly loves
him as he looks into his countenance. However--"

"That is incidental, that is incidental. Speak to the main subject,"
the priest interrupted.

"According to my view of the subject," Eric replied, "I must own that I
consider this teaching to have been given at a time when all actual
might, the power of the State, riches, and all the good things of life,
were contemned, and when they were obliged to reject everything which
had no reference to their purely ideal view. That could alone maintain
the uprightness of noble souls in a time of oppression under foreign
rule; and this teaching could have been given at a time only, and by a
soul, which sees all that is worth living for vanishing away, which
builds up a new creation, and in which pure thought has entire sway.
But if each one gives away, and gives away continually, who is there in
that case to be the recipient? And why is it that this doctrine, that
no one is to possess anything, has not become a command of the Church?"

"I am glad," answered the ecclesiastic, "that you have touched the real
point. Our Church has commands which are not universally binding, but
are only so for him who wishes to be perfect, as, for instance, the law
of chastity and of poverty. Only he who wishes to be perfect comes
under it."

"I ask," interposed Eric, "is the teaching of revelation, which is
amply sufficient for the purely spiritual, sufficient also for the
worldly? In the course of the development of humanity do not new social
conditions establish themselves in the world, as out of nature new
forces, steam, electricity--"

"Man," replied the priest, "is always the same from eternity to
eternity, the citizen only changes. But I see now, you are letting
yourself be guided into the right path. I do not desire--the rich man
himself did not desire it--that the boy shall be perfect, and therefore
the command to sell his possessions is not applicable to him. I only
say to you, you will not be able to educate this boy unless you give
him positive religion. The brute does all he has power to do; with it
there is no word 'ought;' but man does not do all that he has power to
do. Simply to do that for which one has the strength, or, yet more
properly, the inclination, and to do everything purely from
inclination, that is not the human; the human begins there where one
tramples his inclination under foot, and does what God's law commands.
Were every one to act according to his inclination, then should we be
sure, at no time, what would become of humanity. The law of God holds
it together, and holds it erect. Here is the significance of the law of
God, here begins the fall, which the gentlemen of natural science have
never got over. The animal has urgent impulses; man can voluntarily
awaken impulse, excite it, goad it, multiply it; where is there a limit
here, except in God's law? I am not speaking of any Church. You have,
so much I know, busied yourself chiefly with history?"

"Not so particularly."

"Well, you know this much: no people, no State, can be free, at least
we have no historical instance to the contrary, no people, no State,
can be free without a positive Church; there must be something
immovably fixed, and at this very day the Americans are free, only
because they subject themselves to religion."

"Or, rather, enfranchise it," Eric interposed, without being heard.

The priest continued:--

"I think that you desire to make a free man of this youth. We also love
free men, we want free men, but there can be no free men without a
positive religion, and, in truth, without one requiring a strict, legal
obedience. The highest result of education is equanimity--note it
well--equanimity. Can your world-wisdom produce a harmony of all the
tendencies and dispositions of the soul, a quietude of the spirit, a
state of self-renunciation, because our whole life is one continual act
of self-sacrifice? If you can produce the same result as religion,
then, justified by the result, you agree with us.  For my own part, I
doubt whether you can; and we wait for the proof, which you have yet to
give, while we have furnished it now for a thousand years, and still
daily furnish it."

"Religion," replied Eric, "is a concomitant of civilization; but it is
not the whole of civilization, and this is the distinction between us
and the ecclesiastics. But we are not to blame for the opposition
between science and religion."

"Science," interposed the priest, "has nothing to do with the eternal
life. Although one has electric telegraphs and sewing machines, that
has no relation to the eternal life. This eternal life is given only by
religion, and its essence remains the same, no matter how many
thousand, and thousand upon thousand, inventions he may devise in his
finite existence."

Eric inquired now in a diffident tone,--

"But how can the Church itself possess riches?"

"The Church does not possess, it only administers," the priest sharply
answered.

"I think that we are getting too far away from the point," Eric said,
coming back to the subject. "As we cannot expect that Herr Sonnenkamp
and his son Roland will give away all their property, the question
returns, how shall we get the right hold?"

"Precisely so," cried the ecclesiastic, suddenly standing up, and
walking with long strides up and down the room. "Precisely so; now are
we on the very point. Hear me attentively. Observe well, there is
something new started in the world, a still more homeless condition yet
in the higher moral order, and that is the moneyed aristocracy. You
look at me in amazement."

"Not amazed, but expecting what will come next."

"Very right. This moneyed aristocracy stands between the nobility and
the people, and I ask what it is to do? Must not a rich young man of
the middle-class, like Roland, thrown into the whirlpool of life, be
inevitably ingulfed?"

"Why he," asked Eric, "any more than the noble youth in the civil or in
the military service? Do you suppose that religion saves them from
destruction?"

"No, but something positive of a different kind; the historic
traditions of the nobility save them. The man of the nobility has the
good fortune to complete the preliminary period of youthful training,
with the least amount of detriment. He afterwards retires to his
estates, becomes a worthy husband, and respectably maintains his
position; and, even in the city, in the midst of the mad whirl, his
position in regard to the court, and to the higher class in the
community, keeps him within prescribed limits. But what does the rich
young man of the middle-class have? He has no honorable rank, no social
obligation, at least none of any stringency."

"Then it would be, perhaps, the greatest piece of good fortune to
Roland, if his father could be ennobled?"

"I cannot say," replied the priest. He was vexed that he had allowed
himself to be drawn so near to the subject of a very confidential
conversation with Sonnenkamp a short time previous to this. "I cannot
say," he repeated, adding besides, "If one could be ennobled with
seventeen descents, it might be well; but a new noble--let us say no
more of this. I desired to say, that the nobleman has honor,
traditionary, inherited obligation; the nobleman has established and
has to maintain the maxim, 'noblesse oblige,' 'nobility requires.' What
great maxim have riches established? The most brutal of all maxims, one
utterly bestial. And do you know what it is?"

"I don't know what you refer to."

"The maxim which this pursuit of gain sets up as its highest is, 'Help
thyself.' The beast does that, every one helps himself. Riches thus
stand between nobility and people; they occupy that morally homeless
position, without a recognized obligation, between nobility and people.
I understand by people, not only those who labor with the hands, but
also the men of science, of art, and even of the church. The people
have work; this moneyed class does not wish for honor, and only wants
labor so far as it can have others labor for it, and appropriate to
itself the product of their labor. What does it want? gold. What does
it want to do with the gold? procure enjoyment. Who guarantees this?
the State. What does it do for the State? There's the whole question!
Have you any answer?"

Eric's lips trembled, and he replied:--

"If the nobility feels itself obliged and entitled to assume the
leadership in the army for war, then are the young men of wealth to
feel themselves called to become leaders in the army of peace; and they
are to make good their position to the community, to their own circle,
and to their fellows, serving without compensation, and actively
engaged in entire subjection to authority, as a protection of the whole
State, and a sacrifice in all works of beneficence."

"Stop!" cried the priest; "the last is our work. You will never be able
to organize that without religion; you will never be able to effect,
that people, out of their opulence, out of their luxury, or, as you
would denominate it, out of purely humane emotions, shall visit the
dying in the huts of the poor, the helpless, the sick, and the
abandoned."

As if the ecclesiastic had invoked this high duty of his office, the
sacristan now came, and said that an old vine-dresser desired extreme
unction. The priest was speedily ready, and Eric departed.

When he came out into the road, and breathed the fresh air, he felt its
influence anew. Did he not come out of the atmosphere of incense? No,
here was more; here was a mighty power, which placed itself face to
face with the great riddle of existence.

Eric sauntered away, lost in thought, and it occurred to him again how
much more easy was the task of those who can impart some fixed dogmatic
principles which they do not originate, but receive; he, however, must
create all out of himself, out of his own cognition.

And can what comes out of your own cognition become a part of the
cognition of another?

Eric stood still, and the thought that he would educate himself while
educating another made his cheeks glow; the youth should acquire
knowledge from himself; for what is all culture which must be imparted
from one to another? nothing but help and guidance to him who has a
self-moving power.

Half way up the mountain, Eric stopped at the road which led to the
Major's. He looked down at the villa which bore the proud name of Eden,
and the Bible story came to his memory. In the garden are two trees,
the tree of life in the midst, and the tree of knowledge of good and
evil; Eden is lost for him who eats of the tree of knowledge. Is it not
always so?

Like a revelation the thought came to him, There are three things given
to man upon earth,--enjoyment, renunciation, and knowledge.

Sonnenkamp yonder--what does he wish for himself and his son?
enjoyment. The world is a spread table, and man has only to learn to
find the right means and the right measure of enjoyment. The earth is a
place of pleasure, and brings forth its fruits that we may delight
ourselves therewith. Have we no other calling than to drive, to eat, to
drink, and to sleep, and then to eat, drink, sleep, and drive again;
and is the sun to shine just for this?

What does the priest want? renunciation. This world has nothing to
offer, its enjoyments are only an illusive show, which tempt you hither
and thither, therefore turn away from them.

And what do you desire? And what ought those to desire whom you wish to
make like yourself? knowledge. For life is not divided into enjoyment
and renunciation, and knowledge rather includes both in itself,--is the
synthesis of both. It is the mother of duty and of all beautiful deeds.

In the old times, the combatants received out of an immeasurable height
a protecting shield from the hands of the gods; Eric received no
shield, and yet he felt that he was concealed from and protected
against all foes, and he was so happy in himself that he felt no desire
for any human being, no desire for anything beside; he was upborne by
the wings of knowledge.

He went yet farther on in the way. Peaceful, and enjoying an internal
satisfaction, he came to the Major's in the next village. He knew that
here he should have to stand no examination.



                               CHAPTER V.

                            THE GOOD COMRADE.


The Major lived in a beautifully situated house in the vineyard of a
rich vintner from the fortress, or rather, to use the proper
expression, of a brother of the order, for the central point of the
Major's life rested firmly, in Freemasonry, and he cherished it within
his life and thought, as his holy of holies; and if men talked of the
riddles of life, his face always said,--I see no mystery, all is clear
to me; only come to us, we have an answer to everything.

The small house which the Major inhabited was attached to the large
mansion; one side looked toward the highroad, and the other commanded a
view of the river and the mountains beyond. The Major confined himself
strictly to his little house, and his own special little garden with
its arbor. He watched over the larger dwelling and its garden, like a
castellan, but he never lived there, and often did not enter them for
the many months during which they stood empty.

Eric found the Major in his little garden, smoking a long pipe and
reading the newspaper, with a cup of cold coffee before him. An
exceedingly neat-looking old lady, with a large white cap, was sitting
opposite, engaged in darning stockings; she rose as soon as Eric
entered the garden, and hardly waited to be presented. The Major
touched his cap in military fashion, and took the long pipe from his
mouth.

"Fräulein Milch, this is my comrade, Herr Doctor Dournay, lately
Captain."

Fräulein Milch courtesied, took up her basket of stockings, and went
into the house.

"She is good and sensible, always contented and cheerful; you will
become better acquainted," said the Major, as she withdrew; "and she
understands men,--no one better,--she looks them through and through.
Sit down, comrade, you have come just at my pleasantest hour. You see,
this is the way I live: I have nothing particular to do, but I get up
early,--it prolongs life,--and every day I gain a victory over a lazy,
effeminate fellow, who has to take a cold bath, and then go to walk; he
often doesn't want to, but he has to do it. And then, you see, I come
home, and sit here in the morning:--and here is a white cloth spread
on the table, and before me stand a pot of coffee, good cream, a
roll--butter I don't eat. I pour out my coffee, dip in the roll which
is so good and crisp--I can still bite well, Fräulein Milch keeps my
teeth in order--then at the second cup, I take my pipe and puff out the
smoke over the world, and over the world's history, which the newspaper
brings me every day. I still have good eyes, I can read without
spectacles, and can hit a mark; and I can hear well, and my back is
still good; I hold myself as straight as a recruit--and look you,
comrade, I am the richest man in the world.  And then at noon I have my
soup--nobody makes soup like her--my bit of good roast meat, my pint of
wine, my coffee--with four beans she makes better coffee than any one
else can with a pound--and yet it has happened to me a thousand times
to have to sing this song to the fellow sitting here: You are the most
ungrateful fellow in the world, to be cross as you often are, and wish
for this and that which you have not. Only look round you; see how nice
and neat everything is,--good bread, a good arm-chair, a good pipe and
so much good rest,--you are the happiest man in the world to have
all this. Yes, my dear comrade, you may be deucedly learned--I beg
pardon--I mean, you may be very learned--look you--I never studied, I
never learned anything, I was a drummer--I'll tell you about it
sometime--yes, comrade--what was I saying? ah, that's it, you know a
thousand times more than I do, but one thing you can learn of me. Make
the best of life; now's the time, be happy now, enjoy yourself now,
this hour won't come back again. Don't always be thinking about
to-morrow. Just draw a long breath, comrade--there, what sort of air is
that? is there better anywhere?--and then we have our nice, clean
clothes on!--Ah, thank the Builder of all the worlds!--Yes, comrade, if
I had had any one, when I was your age, to tell me what I'm telling
you--Pooh, pooh!--What an old talker I am--I'm glad you've come to
see me!--Well, how do you get on? Are you really going to drill our
boy? I think you are the right man to do it, you will bring him into
line--you know, comrade, what that means--only a soldier can do that.
Only a soldier can school men. Nothing but strict discipline!--I'll
warrant, he'll come out right--he'll do well--Fräulein Milch has always
said, 'He'll come out right, if he only falls into the right hands.'
The school-masters are all of no use; Herr Knopf was very worthy and
good-hearted, but he didn't hold the reins tight. Thank the Builder of
all the worlds, now it's all right!--Thank you for coming to see me. If
I can help you, remember that we are comrades. It's very fortunate that
you have been a soldier. I have always wished--Fräulein Milch can
testify that I've said a hundred times, none but a soldier will
do!--Now let us make a soldier of Roland, a true soldier, he has
courage, he only wants the training!"

"I should like," answered Eric, "if I really have the position--"

"Really have the position? There's no doubt about it, I tell you--Pooh,
pooh; I'll wager something on that. But, I ask your pardon, I won't
talk any more--what were you going to say, comrade?"

"I think we ought not to train him for any special calling; Roland must
be a cultivated, wise, and good man, whatever his profession may prove
to be--"

"Just so, just so--excellently said--that's right--the fellow has given
me much anxiety! How foolish people are, to hanker after millions. When
they get them, all they can do is to eat their fill and sleep eight
hours, that's all any one can do. The chief point is--" here the Major
lowered his voice, and raised his hand--"the chief point is, he must
return to nature; that is all the world needs--to return to nature."

Eric luckily abstained from asking the Major what he precisely meant by
this mysterious proposition, for the Major would, unfortunately, not
have been able to tell him; but he was fond of the phrase, and always
used it, leaving every one to find out the meaning for himself.

"To return to nature, everything is included in that," he repeated.

After a while he began:--

"Yes, what was I going to ask?--Tell me, did not you have a great deal
to bear as a soldier, because you were a commoner and not a noble?"

Eric answered in the negative, and the Major stammered out,--

"Indeed, indeed--you--a liberally educated man, felt less of it. I
asked for my discharge. I'll tell you about it sometime."

Eric mentioned that he had been at the priest's, and the Major said,--

"He is an excellent man, but I call for no aid of the ecclesiastics.
You know I am a Freemason."

Eric assented, and the Major continued: "Whatever is good in me has its
home in that; we will talk farther of it--I will be your god-father.
Ah, how glad Herr Weidmann will be to know you."

And again, at the mention of Weidmann's name, it seemed as if a
beautiful view of the highest mountains of the landscape was brought
before the mind. The Major resumed:--

"But now as to the ecclesiastics. Look"--he drew his chair a little
nearer--"look at my drum, it's all there in that--look you, I was a
drummer--yes, smile away, if you like--look you, everybody says such a
drum makes nothing but racket, and I tell them there's music in
it, as beautiful as--I won't disparage any one--as beautiful as any
other--look you, then, I say,--mark my words--then I say, 'I will not
quarrel with you if you hear nothing but noise, but don't quarrel with
me, if I hear something else.' Look you, I have thought it all over,
everything else will be made by machinery, men are very clever, but
drum and trumpet-signals can not be made by machinery, human hands and
mouths are needed for that; I was a drummer, for example, I'll tell you
about it. Look you, I know by the sound what sort of a heart a man has,
when he beats a drum; where you, my brother, hear nothing but noise and
confusion, I hear music and deep meaning. Therefore, for God's sake, no
strife about religions; one is worth as much or as little as another,
they only lead the march; but the main thing is, how every man marches
for himself, how he has drilled himself, and what sort of a heart he
has in his body."

Eric was amused by the eccentricity of this man, who had a deep
earnestness and moral freedom peculiar to himself.

Standing his pipe near him, the Major asked,--

"Is there any human being in the world whom you hate, at the sight of
whom the heart in your body gives a twist?"

Eric answered in the negative, and said that his father had always
impressed it upon him, that nothing injured one's own soul like hatred;
and that for his own sake, a man ought not to let such a feeling take
root within him.

"That's the man for me! that's the man for me!" cried the Major. "Now
we shall get on together. Whoever has had such a father is the man for
me!"

He then told Eric that there was a man in the village whom he hated: he
was the tax-collector, who wore the St. Helena medal given by the
present Napoleon to the veterans, for the heroic deeds in which they
had taken part in the subjugation of their fatherland. "And would you
believe it!" exclaimed the Major, "the man has had himself painted with
the St. Helena medal; the portrait hangs framed in his room of state,
and under it, in a separate frame, the diploma signed by the French
minister. I don't bow to the man, nor return his bow, nor sit down at
the same table with him; he has a different principle of honor from,
mine. And tell me, ought there not to be some way of punishing such
men? I can only do it by showing my contempt; it is painful to me, but
must I not do it?"

The old man looked much astonished when Eric represented to him that
the man ought to be judged mildly, since vanity had great powers to
mislead, and besides, many governments had been well pleased to have
their subjects win the St. Helena medal, and the man, who was in the
service of the State, was not to be sentenced without hearing.

"That's good! that's good!" cried the old Major, nodding frequently,
according to his habit; "you are the right kind of teacher! I am
seventy years old, that is, I am seventy-three now, and I've known many
men, and let people say what they will, I have never known a bad man,
one really bad. In passion, and stupidity, and pride, men do much
that's wrong; but, good God! one ought to thank his heavenly Father
that he isn't such as he might very often have become. Thank you; thank
you: you have lifted the enemy from my neck;--yes, from my neck; he has
sat there, heavy and--look, here comes the man himself!"

The collector was walking by the garden; the Major went to the hedge
with many nods and gestures of his hand; he hoped, perhaps, that the
man would utter the first greeting; but as this did not happen, he
suddenly called out, with a voice like the explosion of a bomb,--

"Good-morning, Herr Collector!"

The man returned his salutation and went on. The old Major was entirely
happy, and passed his hand several times over his heart, as if a stone
or burden were removed from it. Fräulein Milch looked out of the
window, and the Major asked her to come out, as he had something very
good to tell her. She came, looking still neater than before, having
put on a white apron, in which the ironed folds were still fresh. The
Major told her that the collector was not to blame, for he had received
the St. Helena medal only in obedience to the government.

They went together to the house, and the Major showed his guest the
rooms where simple neatness reigned; then he looked at the barometer,
and nodded, saying to himself, "Set fair."

Then he looked at the thermometer screwed up by the window, and wiped
his forehead, as if he had not felt till then how hot it was.

A shot was heard in the distance, and the Major pointed out to Eric the
direction whence the sound came, saying,--

"I can hear the gun-practice from the fortress. I find that the
rifle-cannon have just the same sound as the smooth-bore. Ah, comrade,
you must instruct me in the new art of war. I don't know anything about
it, but when I hear them firing down there, all the soldier in me wakes
up."

He asked Fräulein Milch to bring a bottle of wine, one of the very
best. Fräulein Milch seemed to have it all ready; she brought bottle
and glasses directly, but gave the Major a significant look, which he
understood, and answered:--

"Don't be afraid; I know very well that I can't drink in the morning.
Pray, captain, give me your cork-screw. I take you to be the right sort
of man, and the right sort of man always has a cork-screw in his
pocket."

Smiling, Eric handed him his knife, which was fitted with a cork-screw.

While the Major was opening the bottle, he said,--

"And another mark of a genuine man is, that he can whistle. Comrade, be
so kind as to whistle once for me."

Laughter prevented Eric from drawing up his lips. The bottle was
uncorked, and they drank to good comradeship. The Major said,--

"Perhaps we are in better spirits here, than our friend Sonnenkamp in
his grand villa. But Herr captain, I say again, an elephant is happy,
and a fly is happy too; only the elephant has a larger proboscis than
the fly."

The Major laughed till he shook with delight at his comparison, and
Eric found the laughter contagious, and as often as they looked at each
other, the laughter began afresh.

"You show me the meaning of the proverb," cried Eric, "'a gnat may be
taken for an elephant,' and in fact it is correct; not the size, not
the mass, but the organism is the life."

"Just so, just so!" exclaimed the Major. "Fräulein Milch, come in again
a moment."

Fräulein Milch, who had left the room, re-entered, and the Major
continued,--

"Pray, captain, say that once more about the organism. That is the sort
of thing for Fräulein Milch, for, look you, she studies much more than
she chooses to let any one know. If you please, comrade, the organism
once more. I can't tell it half so well."

What was Eric to do? He explained his figure again, and the laughter
broke out anew.

Fräulein Milch recommended to Eric the school-master of the village, as
a remarkably fine writer, and the Major cried, laughing,--

"Yes, comrade, Fräulein Milch is a living roll of honor for the whole
region; if you want information about anyone, ask her. And for Heaven's
sake, don't let the Countess Wolfsgarten give you any medicine.
Fräulein Milch knows much more about it--and no one can apply leeches
so well as she can."

Eric saw the good old woman's embarrassment, and began to praise her
beautiful flowers, and thriving plants, which stood in the window. The
Major asserted that she understood gardening perhaps even better than
Herr Sonnenkamp, and if it were only known with what small means she
raised her plants, she would get the first prize at the exhibition,
instead of the gentlemen with their great forcing-houses.

Turning the conversation, Fräulein Milch said to Eric that it was the
chief misfortune of Roland, the poor rich boy, that he had no real
satisfaction.

"No real satisfaction?" laughed the Major; "just listen to that!"

"Yes," asserted Fräulein Milch, the ribbons and bows on her cap nodding
assentingly as she spoke, "he has merely pleasure and amusements that
money can buy, but they are not genuine; and any one who only drives
through the world for pleasure, with nothing to do in it, seeks
satisfaction in vain."

A gleam of pleasure from Eric's eyes rested on the good Fräulein, and
at that moment a secret bond of union, a sense of mutual understanding,
was formed between them.

Accompanied by both as far as the garden-gate, Eric left the house.
When the door was opened, a brown and white spaniel jumped upon the
Major.

"Halloo!" cried the Major, in a tone of mingled scolding and caress,
"where have you been again, you disorderly vagabond, who can tell
where? and here we've had a visitor; old as you are, you will never
learn good behavior and regular habits. Shame on you--shame!"

So spoke the Major to his dog Laadi, well-known in all the country
round; he kept a female dog, because the village dogs never fought with
her.

As the Major left the garden with Eric, he said,--

"Look at these two posts, these closely-trimmed ash-trees. Several
years ago I noticed that the one at the left got its leaves ten or
eleven days before the one at the right. Now, once the frost came
unexpectedly, and the leaves withered on the left-hand one, and it
drooped all summer; since then it has been prudent, and lets the other
get its leaves first, and then itself leaves out. Doesn't it seem as if
trees had understanding? Yes, dear comrade, everything is better
arranged in the world than we understand, and, look you, though I have
a pension and nothing to do, I have so many things to keep in sight,
that the day is often too short. Now, good-by, and remember that you
can always feel at home with us."

And as Eric shook hands, he added:--

"I thank you, for now I have another man to hold dear, and that's the
best thing in the world to keep one young and sound."

Eric had gone several steps, when the Major called to him to stop, and
coming up to him, said:--

"Yes, as to Herr Sonnenkamp--do not be led astray, comrade. Men of the
world either make an idol of a successful man, or they abuse him. Herr
Sonnenkamp is somewhat rough outside, but he is good at heart; and, as
to his past history, who is there who can feel satisfied with all his
past life? can any man? certainly not I, and I don't know anyone who
can. I have not always lived as I wish I had. But enough, you are wiser
than I."

"I understand perfectly," replied Eric. "American life is an existence
without a seventh day of rest; there is a continual working and
striving to win money, nothing else. If men have led such a life for
half a score of years, they lose the power of turning to anything else;
they say to themselves that if they only had enough--ah, those who
strive for gold never get enough--they say then they would devote
themselves to nobler ends. If it were only still possible! I understand
you, and wonder at Herr Sonnenkamp."

"Just so--just so," said the Major, "he must have dragged himself
through a good deal of mud, as a gold-hunter, to get such a great
property together. Yes, yes, I am easy--you are wiser than I. But now,
just for the first time, the main question occurs to me--look at me,
tell me honestly, is it true that you have been to see Fräulein Manna
at the convent?"

"I have been at the convent, and saw Fräulein Manna, but without
knowing her or speaking to her."

"And you didn't come to establish yourself in the house, in order to
marry the daughter?"

Eric smiled, as he said in reply, how strangely this question came to
him from every direction.

"Look you, comrade, put the maiden out of your thoughts, she is as good
as betrothed to Baron Pranken--I would rather you should have her, but
it can't be changed."

Eric at last got away, and went back toward the villa with cheerful
thoughts. Good powers were working together to keep Roland constantly
in a circle of thought and feeling, from which he might not deviate
through his whole life.

He stopped before a wide-spreading walnut tree, and looked up smiling
into its rich branches.

"Sonnenkamp is right," he said to himself; "the planting of trees and
their growth depend upon the surrounding heights and the prevailing
winds. There are nervous trees, which are killed by the blasts, and
others which only strike root when they are blown this way and that by
the wind. Is not the life of man such a plant? the men around it
constitute its climatic zone."

Eric thought he was constantly getting a better insight into the
influences which were helping, and those which were hindering, the true
growth of his pupil.

How rich is the world! Up there at the castle sits the old count by his
young wife's side, and creates for himself an ideal realm of thought,
after a full and active life;--here sits the old Major with his
housekeeper. How Bella would turn up her nose if she were compared with
that housekeeper, and yet--

Suddenly Eric heard carriage wheels behind him, and a man's and a
woman's voice called out to him.



                              CHAPTER VI.

                            A THIRD PERSON.


On the day that Eric had left Castle Wolfsgarten, an habitual visitor
made his appearance there; this was the son of the eminent
wine-merchant, the so-called Wine-count. He came once a week, to play
chess with the count. He looked young, but he was worn out in soul, not
knowing what to do in the world; he derived no satisfaction from the
business of his father, had money enough, had learned a variety of
things, was something of a musician, drew a little, had very various
talents, but no one predominant. All was wearisome to him; hollow and
stale seemed that enjoyment of life which was to be decorously pursued.
Wherefore should he devote himself to the restricted limits of some
regular pursuit, in order to make money? That is wholly needless. He
was a director in several railroads, and for a period it had satisfied
him to oversee and to manage, to be saluted respectfully, and listened
to obsequiously, by the subordinates held strictly to their place; but
that too became distasteful to him. Travelling, too, proffered him
nothing further, one had to drag along with himself continually such an
extra weight of ennui. He turned a disgusted eye upon the world which
had nothing to do for him, and in which he could do nothing. He had
cultivated one talent, that of chess-playing, and as Clodwig also took
great pleasure in the game, and was skilful in it, he came every week
to Wolfsgarten, and played with Clodwig, for it conferred upon him a
special regard in his own eyes, and in those of others.

He had also a great reputation, among all those in the neighborhood who
prided themselves upon the same qualities as he, of being a rake, and
appearing to the world as a gallant. He had a collection of lewd
pictures of every kind, and one must be very intimate with him to be
able to say that he had seen them all, even to the most carefully
hidden. Of course the Wine-chevalier presented a very respectable
appearance before the world. No one had ever seen him intoxicated, and,
in general society, he always played the part of one very condescending
and indifferent, who is yet so noble as to remain in intercourse with
these inferior people, as much as to say. One owes that much for old
acquaintance' sake. Mothers always warned their daughters of the
Wine-chevalier, just as one speaks to children of the wolf howling
outside there in the fields, but the mothers themselves did not take it
in bad part when he sometimes cast a languishing glance upon them, and
even when he frequently said something to them in whispers.

The Justice's daughter, Lina, was not so simple as the mother always
said, for she declared that the Wine-chevalier was that transformed
manikin in the fairy-tales, who travelled to learn what shivering
meant.

The Wine-chevalier of course kept himself fresh in his toilet and his
anecdotes, and in everything, externally and internally, that the
prevailing fashion required, from year to year, living also for several
months in Paris. He did not, like his father, speak of his friend this
and the other ambassador, minister so and so, and prince so and so, but
he let it be known that he lived in the most inseparable intimacy with
the most famous members of the Jockey Club.

The Wine-chevalier always experienced, besides, some degree of pleasure
in devoting himself to paying courteous compliments to the virtuous
Frau Bella, but she looked at him to-day, as if he were not present,
and as if she heard not a word of what he was saying. The count also
was so abstracted and absent-minded; that he speedily lost all the
games, often gazing at him with wonderment, sitting there in the same
chair that Eric had occupied.

A new ally to the Wine-chevalier made his appearance, but this was also
of no avail to-day. A corpulent man dressed with fastidious nicety
likewise called at Wolfsgarten; he was formerly a famous basso, who had
married a rich widow from the neighboring commercial city, and settled
down here in this beautiful region. At other times he was well received
by Bella, for he sang very agreeably with the remnant of his voice.
When he perceived that his greeting to-day was not so cordial as usual,
he said that he only came to make a passing call, and Bella was vexed
so much the more; she did not like to have Wolfsgarten regarded as a
place for casual visits. When both had departed, Bella and Clodwig
breathed again freely.

Clodwig went into the cabinet, where he kept the collection of objects
that had been excavated from the ground; but all here seemed changed.
The urns, the vases, the lachrymatories, swords, necklaces, and many
figures in relievo looked so very desolate, and a warrior, only half of
whose face in burnt clay could be dug out, wore to-day such a hideous
visage.

All looked so forlorn, as if these thousand things, brought out of the
darkness under ground into the light, were making their moan to
Clodwig: What then are we here for? There is something wanting to
us,--a piece to each. And if Clodwig had been able to exhibit his soul
with all its emotions, he, the well-regulated, would have had nothing
but potsherds to show. Something was wanting to him since Eric rode
off.

With closed lips, and restless eyes that seemed to be in search of
something, he went all day long through house and park. Bella succeeded
at last, in bringing him to say that the ideal of his whole life might
have been realized, but that he had strangely wanted the requisite
energy. He complained, for the first time, of feeling the hesitancy and
timidity of age. He made a pause, hoping that Bella would complete the
suggestion, but she kept silence; and in a very roundabout way, he
explained that people indulged in many luxuries, and yet not the right
ones. Finally he came directly to the point, that he considered it
wrong to have permitted Eric to depart, he had long wished for such a
man, and he might venture perhaps to say, that he would also contribute
to the advancement of the young scholar with the Apollo-form.

The upper lip of Bella quivered, and she said,--

"The captain"--she was going to say, the captain in Goethe's "Elective
Affinities," and stumbling over this thought, she continued:--"The
captain,--I mean, the doctor,--would certainly consider himself very
fortunate. But--we ought surely to speak openly. I have the happiness
of a firmly established good name, and we do not ask what people say--"

"Speak out direct," Clodwig said encouragingly, and Bella continued
after she had passed a fine pocket-handkerchief over her face:--

"Do you not think that this young man--would often--how shall I express
it?"

"Put us into an awkward position?" suggested Clodwig. Bella nodded, but
Clodwig had already thought that matter over, and he combated the
notion, dwelling upon the consideration of how great an enslavement it
would be of the good, if they must omit doing what was noble because
the bad committed the basest things under the cloak of deceit.

Bella now advised her husband to send a messenger to Eric immediately,
so that he might not enter into any engagement. Clodwig pressed her
hand, and went into his study, with an elastic step not often seen in
him. He began to write there, but soon came to Bella and said that he
could not write, and the simplest thing to do was to order the carriage
and drive over at once to Villa Eden.

Clodwig avoided, as a general thing, all immediate connection with
Sonnenkamp and his family, so far as it was possible with the intimacy
of his brother-in-law there, but to-day nothing was said of this, and
they drove off in good spirits.

Frau Bella often drew her veil down over her face and raised it again;
she was very uneasy, for she thought over a great many things, and when
she noticed the quick beating of her heart, she grasped hastily her
husband's hand, saying,--

"Ah! you are so good, so angel-pure! I could never have believed that I
should be continually discovering new excellencies in you."

With the utterance of these words aloud, she silenced in some degree
the voice speaking within her what she was not willing to acknowledge
to herself,--yes, she consciously disowned it. It is an
incomprehensible whim, a freak--not of passion, no--how could Bella
confess that of herself? It was the freak of an evil spirit! This young
man must possess some incomprehensible, bewildering, magic influence!
Bella hated him, for he had disturbed the quiet of her husband, and now
was attempting to do the same with her. He should atone for that! She
straightened herself back; she was resolved to interrupt the childish,
enthusiastic plan of her husband by the very means of her going with
him, and if Eric did not perceive her opposition, she would acknowledge
it in so many words, and thereby induce him to decline.

Entertaining this thought, she looked up again in a cheerful mood, and
Clodwig, perceiving it, settled upon a room for Eric, and laid out the
new household arrangement.

A new member of the family too was to be added for Bella, as she was to
invite Eric's mother to visit them. It was fortunate that Bella had
already known her for some time before, and held her in high esteem.
Clodwig informed her that the Dournays also were really of the
nobility, and their appellation was Dournay de Saint Mort, and that
they had dropped the title only at the expulsion of the Huguenots from
France, and he would see to it, in case Eric made a suitable marriage,
that his title was renewed,--yes, he could probably do more in his
behalf.

Bella asked jokingly, whether he might not desire to adopt him as a
son. Clodwig declared that he was not disinclined to do so. With a
bitter smile, but to all appearance very lively, Bella answered that it
would seem very strange for her to have a son only a few years younger
than she was herself.

Now the disentombed antiquities danced joyously before the eyes of
Clodwig, and indulged in all sorts of antics. Frau Bella, on the other
hand, was exceedingly out of humor; it was a perpetual astonishment to
her, that her husband felt so deep an interest in these matters. She
had not used deception when, the winter before their betrothal, she had
appeared to be a cultivated nature, recognizing the more serious depths
of existence, and had manifested an interest in the art-productions of
the classic age, in the sciences, and in the higher realities of life;
she had, in fact, not wilfully misled him, for she had always supposed
that every one regarded these as conversational topics, proper subjects
for small-talk. And in regard to the study of the historical
development of the past and the present, it appeared to her as a
tacitly conventional pastime.

She was terror-stricken to perceive that these great thoughts
constituted her husband's very life, that he sorrowed and rejoiced in
all that related to the world's progress as in family occurrences, and
moreover that he was even religious. He did not speak, as she did, of
the dear God, but he would remain in devout contemplation at every
manifestation of the Eternal Providence, and wherever a contradiction,
a riddle, presented itself, he experienced even a degree of feverish
disturbance.

Bella did not confess to herself that the whole appeared to her
horribly pedantic, like a preacher or a pedagogue; she had not thought
that she was to marry a pedantic professor, instead of a live man.

But whether avowed or not, this whole matter of cherishing a so-called
higher interest was extremely wearisome to her. Every one plays only
his part in life, and who is to regard it in serious earnest? Those
poor devils, the scholars and the philanthropists, may do so, if they
please, but not a man of a higher station. Now it appeared that Clodwig
was ready to break up a regular routine existence, tedious indeed, but
yet tranquil and honorable, by the sudden introduction of a stranger.
It was pure calumny, when they said of Bella that she had married the
count in the hope of becoming soon a rich and attractive widow. The old
Head-equerry had looked out for a good marriage settlement, and a
certain part of the income of the great estate was retained and
invested yearly, which did not go to the heir by the collateral line.
As I have said, it was unmitigated slander that Bella had gone to the
altar cherishing a hope of widowhood, but to her alarm--she covered it
up whenever she became conscious of it--she found herself growing
prematurely old by the side of her husband, who was old enough to be
her father.

And who knows how much money Clodwig will spend upon this adventurer,
Dournay, who has no regular occupation, and besides, is not in favor at
court! But the worst is, that this young man, with his confident
expectation of success, will wholly withdraw from her the attention of
her husband. They will study with one another, and make explorations,
whilst thou wilt be sitting all alone, thou, the young and fresh heart
that has devoted itself so nobly, so truly, so self-forgetting, to the
care of the old man!

Bella was sorely vexed at Eric, because he made her entertain evil
thoughts, and suddenly, while looking at her husband, she cried,--

"In God's name! Your lips are white. What is the matter?"

Were her evil thoughts suddenly to be realized? But Clodwig answered,--

"It's nothing. Look! There he stands. What a wonderful form! I fully
believe that he is occupied with thoughts of deepest moment, as he
stands there dreamily, gazing down at the grass."

The carriage rolled on. Eric heard his name called, and looked in
amazement at the husband and wife, who gave him a cordial greeting. He
was made to take a seat in the carriage, and Clodwig's glance to his
wife said, "Hast thou ever seen a nobler specimen of a human form?"

Eric was asked whether he had accepted definitely the situation, and
when he replied in the negative, Clodwig extended his hand to him, and
said,--

"You will find a welcome with me."

Nothing farther could be said, for just then Sonnenkamp trotted up on
his black horse, and he was extremely glad to be able to salute such
visitors; he was very much surprised, however, to see Eric on such
intimate terms with them. He rode up to the coach-door, and very
joyfully and respectfully welcomed the guests to the villa.

Hardly had they left the carriage, when another drove into the court,
and the physician got out.



                              CHAPTER VII.

                     THE FIRST ROSE IN OPEN GROUND.


Eric acquired an entirely new regard by the arrival of Clodwig and
Bella. For the first time Sonnenkamp called him "dear friend."

Herr Sonnenkamp offered his arm to Bella, which she accepted, turning
slowly toward him, that Clodwig might see how great a sacrifice she was
making; her hand rested lightly on Sonnenkamp's arm. As she was thus
walking on, holding the arm of the master of the house, she stopped
full of wonder, for there was a rose blooming in full beauty upon a
rose-bush raised in the open air.

Herr Sonnenkamp hastened to pluck it, and presented it to her in some
pretty words. Bella said that she was very much obliged to him, and
seemed not to notice that he again proffered his arm. They went at once
to the hot-houses. Joseph, who was always present at the right time, as
if specially summoned, received from his master orders to inform
Fräulein Perini and Frau Ceres of the visit. Joseph understood.

The doctor had been summoned to Frau Ceres, but when she learned what
guests had arrived, she immediately declared that she was well; but she
was cunning enough to say to the doctor, that merely seeing him had
made her well. Doctor Richard understood.

In the meantime, Clodwig had said to Eric, "You don't remain here; you
go with us. I can't leave you."

He jerked the words out briefly and rapidly, as one utters in a
compressed, uniform tone something which has lain in his mind for a
long time.

Just then, Roland came down the mountain, with his camp-stool and
drawing-board, and Bella called out to him, while far off, in a very
friendly "welcome."

"How handsome he is!" said she to those standing about her. "He who
could fix permanently this image of the marvellous boy as he is
coming along, would have a picture out of the Grecian age, by changing
camp-stool and portfolio into spear and shield."

Bella perceived the look of happiness in Eric's eyes, and said to
him:--"Yes, Herr Doctor, I once gave to an artist at the capital the
design for a picture as I saw Roland; he had sprung across the road,
and had cast an alms into the hat of a street-beggar sitting upon a
heap of stones; and as he sprang back, so well formed and graceful,
every muscle stretched, and his countenance so beaming with the delight
of beneficence, it was a wonderful sight that can never be forgotten."

Clodwig looked down to the ground; Bella was evidently not aware that
it was not she, but he, who had thus seen Roland and given the order to
the artist.

Roland was very much surprised at the visit, and the manner in which he
was greeted, Bella saying to her husband,--"Clodwig, kiss him for me!"
Clodwig embraced the youth, who now turned to Eric with a puzzled look.

"If the Herr Captain remains with us, you must visit us often, dear
Roland," said Bella.

Sonnenkamp was at a loss to know what that meant, but the danger of
losing Eric seemed immediately to affect the youth, so that he looked
up in a help-imploring way. And it was now clear to Eric, what was
intended in regard to him, and he now for the first time understood
what was interrupted by Sonnenkamp's coming up to the carriage.

They took only a hasty look at the greenhouses, for Bella said that
when it was green and blooming outside, the imprisonment of the plants
had something oppressive to her.

Fräulein Perini soon appeared, sent by Frau Ceres, to make known her
intention not to be sick to-day.

Bella and Fräulein Perini had separated themselves from the men; they
had much to say to each other, and Eric was naturally the first
subject. Bella could not forbear expressing her surprise to Fräulein
Perini, that she had so completely seen through the singular man,
although Fräulein Perini had not really yet said anything. But this
remark forced her to reply, though nothing of her real opinion was
given; for Fräulein Perini said that she constantly felt fresh
admiration at the German learned world, meaning to include Bella, who
was to be almost looked upon as a learned woman.

Bella took no notice of this equivocal compliment; she assumed a
matronly tone, while confessing that she had no near relation to the
young men of the day, and was not sure that she understood them.
Neither one of the ladies seemed to come out fully with her opinion,
and each appeared to regard the other as cherishing a secret
inclination for Eric.

"Do you know," said Frau Bella, looking very attentively at the rose
which Sonnenkamp had given her, "do you know that this man with the
double title has an insultingly low opinion of the female sex?"

"No, I did not know that, but it may be a part of that radical heresy,
as Baron von Pranken calls it, which he parades with such manifest
conceit."

"But what opinion have you formed about Herr Dournay?"

"I have not formed any opinion about him."

"Why not?"

"I am not impartial; he does not belong to our church."

"But supposing that he did belong to our church, how would you then
regard him?"

"It is not to be supposed. This complacent self-assumption is not
possible with a person who has subjected himself to the divine law; his
deportment is that of a prince travelling incog., or more properly, as
Herr Baron von Pranken says, 'the man coaches round the world in a
lecturer's invisible chair.'"

The two women laughed. Bella had found out enough. She very carefully
impressed upon Fräulein Perini the necessity of exerting all her
influence against the reception of a man proud of his unbelief.
Fräulein Perini held her cross with her left hand, and looked somewhat
mischievously at Bella. Then the countess does not wish to have him
here. Is she trying to bring him into her own house, and getting up a
nice intrigue against her husband? She hinted, not without mischievous
satisfaction, that Herr von Pranken, who had occasioned all this, must
also find the proper remedy. Bella gave out also that Eric was,
perhaps, unsuitable in another view; and here, for the third time, it
was expressly said, that Eric was a "dangerous" man.

Fräulein Perini had spoken of it as applicable, in two respects, to one
present and to one absent, for the special interest of Bella had not
escaped her penetrating eye.

Quickly, and in order to conceal how well she had hit the mark, she
added, that a man like Otto von Pranken had certainly no one to be
afraid of. She spoke with sympathizing eagerness of his journey, that
perhaps it was imprudent, but one must let the passionate youthful
heart take its own course, and it often brought about the right result
better than cautious deliberation and consideration. But Fräulein
Perini spoke very plainly, and Bella replied as plainly, in
condemnation of Pranken's desire to go counter to the social
ordinances, but any such tendency must be indulged, though with great
reluctance on their part.

Again the conversation reverted to Eric; and Bella was now extremely
good-humored. She pitied the man's aged mother, regarded the
self-conscious bearing of the youth as in reality timidity; he carried
a haughty outside, that he might cover up thereby the menial
dependence. An elevation of the eyelids disclosed that Fräulein Perini
was slightly hurt, and Frau Bella quickly added, that pious natures are
never really oppressed by dependence, for they, have in themselves a
higher position, yes, they are through piety constituted the equals of
anybody.

Fräulein Perini smiled; she understood how kindly Bella; treated her,
and there was no need of the friendly pressure of the hand to make her
perceive it.

A servant came, and announced that Frau Ceres would receive the
gracious countess in the balcony-saloon; she was not allowed by her
physician to go out into the open air.

Fräulein Perini accompanied Bella as far as the outside-stairs, and
made there a very polite courtesy; Bella, however, grasped both her
hands with irrepressible cordiality, and said that she should like such
a friend as Fräulein Perini for daily intercourse; she pressingly urged
her to confer the honor of a visit without any delay.

When the rustling of Bella's garments was no longer heard, Fräulein
Perini clawed with her little hand like a cat, which, silently lurking,
has caught something; contemptuously she opened her eyes, always so
veiled, and her small mouth almost uttered the words,--

"You are all deluded."

Frau Ceres complained of her constant suffering, and Frau Bella
attempted to console her, saying that she had everything, and
especially such splendid children. She knew not which to praise most,
the charming attractions of Roland, or the angelic nature of Manna.

Bella seldom came into Sonnenkamp's house, but when she came there, she
was always seized by a passion which is perhaps peculiarly a woman's
passion. She lived at Wolfsgarten in an abundance which left nothing to
be desired, but as soon as she drove through the gate of Villa Eden, an
evil spirit came over her; and the demon's name is Envy--envy of this
exuberant superfluity, where there was no dragging along under the
burden of old lumber and decaying remnants, but everything newly
created. And as often as she thought of Frau Ceres, sparkles flashed
before her eyes, for she saw then the diamond ornaments of Frau Ceres,
such as the reigning princess herself did not possess.

She was thoroughly condescending and gracious to Frau Ceres, and she
was happy that she could be condescending. These people can buy
everything for themselves, but not a noble, historically famous name;
and if the proposal of Otto succeeds, it is only the covering up of
lowness with a fresh varnish, which is always begging, "Do not touch
me, if you do, I shall rub off."

Eric was here also naturally a prominent subject of conversation, and
Frau Bella pressed the rose to her mouth, in order to hide her laugh,
when Frau Ceres said,--

"I should like to have the Herr Captain for myself."

"For yourself?"

"Yes.  But I don't think I can learn anything more, I am too old and
too stupid. He hasn't let me learn anything."

Frau Bella contested very zealously this modesty. Was not Frau Ceres
beautiful and young? She might be taken indeed for Roland's sister. Was
she not prudent and elegant in her deportment? Frau Ceres smiled and
nodded continually, appearing to believe that it was all true. But now
Bella felt obliged to take her leave, as she desired to spare the
delicate organization of Frau Sonnenkamp.

Frau Ceres looked up timidly at these words; she did not know whether
that was praise or blame. Bella took leave, kissing Frau Ceres upon the
forehead.

Herr Sonnenkamp had left the count and Eric; he had many things to see
after in the house, also letters and despatches had come in, which
required an immediate answer. He sent moreover for the Major to dinner,
and gave orders that if they did not find him at home, they should go
for him to the castle.

Clodwig went with Roland and Eric to their room, and before they were
aware, they became engaged so earnestly in conversation that they
wholly forgot Roland. The youth sat there dumb, looking sometimes at
one, and sometimes at the other. He did not understand what they were
saying, but he could feel how much they were enjoying. When Clodwig had
retired to his own room, Roland seized Eric's hand and cried:--

"I will also learn, I will also study all, whatever you want; I want to
be like you and Clodwig."

A thrill passed through Eric's soul. The invitation from Clodwig was
exactly the ideal of all that he could desire, but here was an actual
duty of life; he could not choose any longer what course, to take.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                                I SERVE.


The Major fortunately came as they were about to sit down to dinner. He
was extremely glad to meet Clodwig and Bella here; every manifestation
of friendliness between individuals was a cordial to him: it confirmed
his proposition that all human beings were immeasurably good, and he
could thereby silence the revilers and the doubters. He was grateful to
Clodwig and Bella, as if he had received a personal favor; he looked at
the chairs as if he would enjoin them to seat right comfortably their
occupants. He extended his hand to Eric as to a son; he had become
thoroughly attached to him, and now he complained to him, with the tone
of a child who has eaten dainties by stealth, that he had allowed
himself to be enticed; for, wishing to see for himself whether the
workmen at the castle had good food to eat, he had made trial of it,
and it tasted so unexpectedly good, that he had completely satisfied
his appetite.

Eric comforted him with the suggestion, that the nice dishes might yet
perhaps find some spare room.

The Major nodded; he said, to Joseph the magic word, "Allasch." Joseph
understood. At a small side-table he poured out from a bottle
surrounded by little glasses; the Major drank off the tonic.

"That's a quartermaster;" then he nodded to Eric, and his face laughed
all over, as Eric responded:--

"Of course, the spirit orders the vulgar mass to give way."

Frau Ceres did not come to dinner. They had hardly taken their seats,
before the physician was called away; he immediately rose. Sonnenkamp
entreated him to remain, but Clodwig said in a very decided tone, that
he would like to urge him to obey the summons, for if one placed
himself in the situation of those who were expecting the physician, it
would appear a cruel thing to be detaining him here meanwhile for one's
own enjoyment.

"That is a nobleman, a genuine nobleman!" said the Major to Eric, and
Roland, on hearing it, looked round as if somebody had suddenly seized
hold of him. Is his father, then, not noble, for desiring the contrary?

Eric had a feeling of what was passing in the boy's mind, and said to
the Major, so that Roland could not but hear him,--

"Herr Sonnenkamp spoke on the very just supposition, that the country
people very often exaggerate the danger, and needlessly hurry the
physician."

"That's true. I've made a mistake,--I thank you, comrade."

Roland drew a long breath, he gave Eric a smile; he would have liked to
embrace and to kiss him.

Eric understood this smile. The table seemed disturbed, for the
physician, who had easily and briskly led the conversation, left a gap
by his departure; and as they were obliged to sit more closely together
bodily, in order to fill up this vacant space, so it seemed as if they
must now also for the first time draw nearer together spiritually. And
the call made upon them to go, in imagination, with the physician to
the bedside of a moaning patient, and to the lamenting relatives, had
also interrupted the pleasant mood with which they had seated
themselves in good cheer at the table.

Eric, who might well consider that the visit of Clodwig and Bella was
meant for him, felt under a double obligation to entertain the guests
as well as he could, and bring the company at table into a congenial
mood. But while he was yet in search of some thoughts to direct the
general conversation, the Major stole a march upon him.

He smiled beforehand very pleasantly, for he had something to tell, and
now was the aptest time.

"Herr Sonnenkamp," he began, and his face again became blood-red, for
he had to speak in the presence of many persons,--

"Herr Sonnenkamp, it is said in the newspaper that you are soon to
receive a great number of visitors."

"I? In the newspaper?"

"Yes. It is not said in so many words, but I infer so. It is said
there, that an emigration is now taking place from America, on account
of the high cost of living there; many families are coming from the New
World to Europe, because they can live with us at more reasonable
prices, and in a pleasanter way."

The Major congratulated himself, that he had pushed forward into the
gap something very agreeable and very suitable. He drank off, at one
draught, with great gusto, a glass of his favorite Burgundy.

Sonnenkamp remarked in a careless way, that probably a prejudice would
be created against Americans, like that which existed against English
travellers.

No one again took up the conversation; they would gladly have heard
Clodwig talk, but he was constrained from the feeling that he had
intruded into a strange house, had there sat down as a guest, and yet
all the time, he was intending to commit a theft. This made him ill at
ease and reserved.

Eric took a different view of his deportment. He gave a fortunate turn
to the conversation, referring to Goethe's poem which extolled America
because it had no ruined castles, and passing on to the favorite
pursuits of Clodwig and of Sonnenkamp, and indeed drawing a parallel
between a fondness for antiquity and for the rearing of plants. Eric
was very animated and communicative, introducing matters which, he knew
would awaken interest, and yet in the very midst of his talk there was
an accompanying feeling of self-reproach. Until now, throughout his
whole life, he had simply replied to questions put to him, and had
always spoken either to impart something to others, or to enlighten
them; now he was speaking with the view, at any rate with the secondary
view, of appearing well, taking pleasure in the effect of this and that
expression. He was startled when he became aware of it, and continued
speaking further. He repelled the reproachful suggestion, saying to
himself that it was really his duty to play the part of host. His eyes
glistened, and he brought Sonnenkamp and Clodwig into a state of
pleasant animation. The ladies also received their share. But Bella had
a manner,--and since she had it, it must be well-mannered,--when she
was not leading the conversation,--no matter who was speaking, or what
was spoken about,--a manner of introducing into the little circle,
where it was a disturbing element, a dialogue with the person sitting
next to her, and hindering him, even if he wished to do so, from
falling into the general stream of conversation.

Eric had vanity enough to make him note her want of interest; it vexed
him at first, but afterwards he thought no more about it.

Herr Sonnenkamp was very well satisfied with the family-tutor, who not
only made a good appearance in his own sphere, and gave to him the
rightful consideration, but whose very presence was an ornament of the
house, and brought to his table the noblest of the land.

Clodwig again requested that he might be immediately informed of every
remains of Roman Antiquities discovered in the restoration of the
castle; Sonnenkamp promised it with readiness, and gave an extremely
humorous account of the silly motives attributed to him for rebuilding
the castle. Some said he wished to figure in "Bädeker's Traveller's
Manual," which people carried with them in the summer season, when they
passed up and down the river, so that the castle might be pointed at,
and the bored English, with finger upon the line of the book, might
gape at it awhile with open mouth; but that really an æsthetic reason
determined him. He honestly confessed that he intended, in rebuilding
the castle, to give a harmonious finish to the view from his work-room
window, desiring at the same time to make some contribution to the
beauty of the German fatherland.

There was always a peculiar tang in Sonnenkamp's utterance of these
words, "German fatherland;" one could detect therein something like
deep-seated savage hate, and yet the tone was rather that of tender
pity and commiseration. Sonnenkamp knew that Clodwig was, of all things
else, a patriot, and he was ready to strike this chord. Eric looked at
Roland, to see if he noticed the hypocrisy, for it was no longer ago
than Sunday, that Sonnenkamp had expressed himself so strangely and
contemptuously, when the conversation turned on the subject of voting.
But Roland's features were motionless.

In one view, it was encouraging that the inconsiderate mind of the
youth did not perceive the contradiction; while in another, Eric saw
here an enhancement of the difficulty of his work as an educator; it
was indeed his principal problem, to awaken and to establish in the
mind of his pupil the consecutiveness and interlinking of all thought
and all action.

Sonnenkamp expatiated, too, on the many strange things imputed to him;
and yet no one had really made the charge: but he himself, together
with Pranken, had spread the report, that he was desirous of giving his
own name to the castle, the line of the original family having long
since become extinct. It was reported that the Rauhenberg coat of arms
was not accurately known, and yet that it was purposed to place it
again over the entrance of the restored castle.

Clodwig, who prided himself, notwithstanding all his liberality, in
knowing the genealogy of all the princely and noble families, with
their coats of arms, affirmed that the Rauhenberg coat of arms was
unmistakably certain, and that it had as a device a Moor's head on a
blue ground in the left field, and in the right, a pair of scales. The
family had greatly distinguished itself in the crusades, and had been
at that time invested with a high judicial function.

Sonnenkamp smiled in a very friendly manner, and he almost grinned, as
he requested the count to favor him, as soon as possible, with a
drawing.

Eric's rich store of knowledge was again a matter of surprise, as he
excited attention by the information he gave concerning armorial
mottoes.

They were in very good spirits whilst assigning to some one of their
circle of acquaintance one and another motto, which sometimes seemed a
laughable contrast to the real character, and sometimes a striking
expression of it.

"What motto would you select for yourself?" Sonnenkamp asked Eric; and
he gave for a reply these two simple words:--

"I serve."



                              CHAPTER IX.

                            A DOUBLE RESCUE.


It happened, as if by accident, that Eric and Frau Bella walked
together, and Bella tried a little experiment to see in what direction
it would be safe to venture, by remarking that she was surprised at
Eric's understanding her good husband so thoroughly, for it was not so
easy to live with him as it seemed. She said this very warily, and it
might be taken for simple praise. Eric replied:--

"The world is so much the more indebted to you, gracious lady, for the
count has gained new youth through you."

Bella nodded. Eric had quietly and securely taken the first step toward
a good understanding; to recognize her sacrifice was a delicate
politeness on his part. She went on to speak very enthusiastically of
Clodwig, and of her happiness in being able to do anything towards
cherishing a pure spirit, without making any demand for herself. It was
so beautiful to sacrifice one's self, to serve quietly, unrecognized
and unnoticed; and here there came in a word about the childlike mind,
so placed that Eric could apply all she had said to his vocation as a
teacher.

Eric expressed his agreement with her, simply and without
embarrassment, and Frau Bella could not tell whether he had really not
understood her, or whether he chose to seem not to understand. She knew
how to intimate with delicacy how difficult it was to deal with just
such a man as Clodwig, though he seemed so unexacting and so yielding;
she begged Eric to help her in making the evening of his days
completely happy; she said all this with a tone of feeling which was
not to be mistaken.

Eric expressed his doubt whether it would be well to disturb so
peaceful a life by the introduction of a third person; he acknowledged
that he was still wanting in tact, was capricious, and passionate.

"You are so sincere that you have no need of being diffident," answered
Bella.

She looked searchingly at Eric; her fan fell, and as he picked it up
she gave him her hand in thanks. With much tact and elegance of
expression, but with emotion which made her breast heave, she extolled
the good fortune which allowed her to devote herself to a noble man,
and to have a friend who thoroughly understood her. Eric could not tell
whether the latter part of her remark applied to him or to Clodwig.

"There he comes!" cried Bella suddenly. "See, it is a peculiarity of
his never to carry a cane, though he needs it."

She went to meet her husband, and he turned his steps towards her.
Clodwig seated himself under a fine cedar, where pretty rustic chairs
were placed; Eric and Bella stood before him. And now Clodwig explained
his whole plan, painting so attractively the pleasantly busy life which
they would lead together, that Eric's cheeks glowed. In a voice full of
emotion he expressed his gratitude, and said that he felt bound by duty
to the decision which his heart had made.

Bella rested one hand on Clodwig's chair, and Eric went on to say that
he rejoiced that anything so attractive had been offered him, because
he derived thence an assurance that he had chosen the right course,
that which accorded with his duty. A great and difficult task was laid
upon him in Roland's education, and the very fact, that so different
and charming a life was now opened to him, made him happy by renewing
and confirming his confidence in his decision; and the offered
alternative helped him to recognize his choice as a real duty.

For a while Clodwig looked down, and Bella, taking her hand from his
chair, stood suddenly erect. Then, as Eric represented his delight in
Roland, and the mysterious, happy attraction which he felt towards him,
even towards his faults, Clodwig smiled, as he looked up into the
branches, for just as Eric felt drawn to Roland with enthusiastic love,
he was drawn to Eric; the sentiments were exactly analogous. Yet he was
unwilling to give Eric up, and pointed out to him again that he could
not cut off all other influences in educating Roland, but that he would
have to contend with elements which perhaps he could never conquer.

"Ah, there comes the doctor," he interrupted himself; "are you willing
to call in a third person to the decision?"

"No one but myself can make the decision," answered Eric, "however
difficult it may be; but I have not the least objection to entrust the
office of umpire to our friend."

This was done; but, to the surprise of all, the physician decided
against both parties; he expressed his wish that some one would enable
Eric to see Italy and Greece.

Before Clodwig could answer, Eric interposed, saying that he was bent
on finding some employment, so that he could support himself and his
mother from his own means.

Rising with difficulty, Clodwig said,--

"Young friend, give me your arm." He stood erect, and turned toward
Eric, on whose arm his hand lay heavy and trembling.

"I don't know," said he, "I should not think I was the man who had been
through such hard experience as I have; I am today undergoing a bitter
experience. Is it old age which makes it so difficult for me to give up
a desire? I have learned to do so before now. Yes, yes; a man becomes
childish--childish; a child cannot give up."

He leaned heavily on Eric, who was shaken to the depth of his soul by
the emotion of the noble man. He did not know what to reply, and
Clodwig continued:--

"I feel as if I knew not where I am. Do you not think it is very
close?"

"No. Will you not sit down?"

Hastily loosing his hold of Eric's arm to pass his hand over his face,
Clodwig said,--

"My young friend, when I die--"

Hardly had he uttered the word, when he sank down: Eric caught him in
his arms. Bella, who was walking behind with the physician, uttered a
cry; the physician hurried to the spot; Eric stooped, raised Clodwig in
his arms like a child--all this was the work of a moment.

Clodwig was carried into the great drawing-room, and laid upon a sofa.
Bella sobbed aloud, but the doctor soothed her. He had a remedy with
him which soon restored Clodwig to consciousness; he begged Eric and
Bella to leave the room as soon as the count had spoken.

Outside, Bella threw herself on Eric's breast, and he trembled as he
felt her breath on his face, and a thrill ran through him as the
beautiful woman leaned upon him in such passionate and unrestrained
excitement.

"You are our helper, our friend in need! O my friend, my friend!"

Sonnenkamp entered hastily, and Bella, standing erect, with wonderful
composure addressed him, saying,--

"Herr Sonnenkamp! our mutual friend. Captain Dournay, is a blessing to
us all; with the strength of a giant he carried my husband. Thank him
with me."

Eric was astonished at this rapid recovery of self-control.

The physician came out, and Sonnenkamp asked anxiously,--

"How is he? how is he?"

His mind was set at rest by the doctor's declaration that it had been a
very slight attack, which would have no bad consequences. Clodwig
requested that Eric would come to him.

Eric entered the drawing-room. Clodwig sitting upright held out his
hand to Eric, saying, with a wonderfully bright smile,--

"I must finish my sentence; I was going to say: When I die, my young
friend, I should like to have you near me. But don't be anxious, it
will not be for a long time yet. There, now sit down by me. Where is my
wife?"

Eric went to call her, and she entered, with the physician and
Sonnenkamp.

The doctor was not only willing, but expressly desired that Bella and
Clodwig should return directly to Wolfsgarten. Sonnenkamp raised
various objections, wishing to keep his noble guests with him, and
saying with great hospitality,--

"Consider my house exactly as if it were your own."

"Will you permit Herr Dournay to accompany us?" asked Clodwig.

Sonnenkamp started as he answered quickly,--

"I have no permission to give the captain, but if you are determined to
go, I would ask him as a favor to accompany you, with a promise of
returning to us."

"You will go with us also?" begged Bella of the physician, who
assented.

So the four drove off through the mild spring night; little was said,
though once Clodwig seized Eric's hand, with the words, "You are very
strong."

Eric and the doctor spent the night at Wolfsgarten. In the early
morning, the physician prepared for departure while Eric was still
sleeping soundly; he woke him and said,--

"Doctor, remain here to-day, but no longer."

Eric stared at him.

"Did you understand me?"

"Yes."

"Now, good-bye."

Again Eric spent a whole day at Wolfsgarten. Clodwig was as cheerful
and serene as ever; Bella's bearing toward Eric was shy, almost timid.

In the evening Sonnenkamp and Roland rode over, and Eric returned with
them to Villa Eden. Sonnenkamp was in very good spirits, and the blood
mounted to Eric's face as he said, looking sharply at him,--

"Countess Bella will make a beautiful widow."

On the evening of the following day the physician appeared again at
Villa Eden; he had been at Wolfsgarten and brought a good report. He
took Eric aside, and said,--

"You have confided to me that you neither expect, nor will accept in a
personal interview, a decisive answer from Herr Sonnenkamp. I approve
of that; it can be much better settled by letter. You will see more
clearly, away from him, and so will he. So I advise you to leave the
house; every hour that you remain is your ruin."

"My ruin?" Eric was startled.

The physician said, smiling,--

"Yes, my dear friend, this forced exhibition of yourself, which has now
lasted almost a week, is injuring you."

He continued, after a pause,--

"No man can be on parade for a week without receiving some harm. You
must go away, or you will become an actor, or a preacher, or both
together. You repeat what you have learned, and repeat it with the
conscious purpose of producing a given effect. Therefore away with you!
you have been examining, and examined, long enough. Come with me, spend
the night at my house; to-morrow return to your mother, and wait
quietly for what may come next."

"But Roland," asked Eric, "how can I leave the boy behind? His heart
has turned to me, as mine has to him."

"That's well, very well. Then let him wait and long for you. Let him
learn that the rich cannot have everything. Let him feel obliged to sue
for you. All that will give you a power of incalculable influence in
the family and over your pupil. Let me act for you now; to-morrow
morning you will see with my eyes."

"There is my hand. I'll go with you!" answered Eric.

There was great surprise in the house when the announcement of Eric's
sudden departure was made; an hour had scarcely elapsed when he entered
the physician's carriage.

Eric was glad that his leave-taking of Roland was hurried. The boy
could not understand what had happened; his emotion prevented him from
speaking. After Eric had seated himself in the doctor's carriage,
Roland came with one of the puppies and laid it in his lap, but the
physician gave it back, saying that he could not take it, it was too
young to be taken from the mother; but he would see that Eric should
have it eventually.

Roland gazed wonderingly after the departing guests. In the boy's heart
there was a confused whirl of all the feelings which he had experienced
in the few days since Eric's arrival; but Eric did not look back. In
his father's house the boy felt as if abandoned in a strange land. He
took the young dog by the nape of the neck, and was about to throw it
from him, but the puppy whimpered pitifully, and he pressed it to his
breast, saying,--"Be quiet, nothing is hurting you; but I'm not a dog,
and I don't whine, now don't you whine any more either. He didn't want
either of us." Roland carried the dog to its mother, who was very glad
to see her pup again.

"I'll go to my mother, too," said Roland; but he had first to be
announced. She allowed him to enter, and when he lamented that Eric had
gone so suddenly, she said,--

"That's right; I advised him to go."

"You? Why?"

"Oh, your stupid _why_! One can't be always answering your why!"

Roland was silent, and his mother's kiss almost pained him.

He wanted to go to his father, but found that he had driven to the
castle with the Major.

Deserted and lonely, he stood in the court; at last he went into the
stable, sat down by his dogs and watched their amusing actions; then he
went to his horse, and stood quietly leaning on his neck for a long
time.  Strange thoughts rolled tumultuously through the boy's brain.
The horse and dog are yours; only what one can buy and possess is his
own.

Like a flash of lightning, just seen, then gone again, there woke in
the boy's soul the idea that nothing but love can give one human being
possession of another. He was not used to steady thinking, and this
into which he had fallen brought on a real headache. He had his horse
saddled, and rode off over the road which Eric and the doctor had
taken.



                               CHAPTER X.

                         THE PRACTICAL NATURE.


Eric sat quiet and thoughtful by the doctor's side, and was disturbed
by no word from him, seeming to himself to be driven hither and thither
by wind and wave. A few days before, he had ridden to this place on a
stranger's horse, and now he sat in a stranger's carriage; he had
become intermingled with the life and destiny of so many persons, and
this could no longer count for anything in his and their existence. He
could not anticipate, however, that an unexpected event was awaiting
him.

"You believe then in education?" asked the doctor at last.

"I don't understand what you mean."

"I place no dependence whatever on education; men become what nature
fits them to be. They attain, under all relations, what is called their
destiny. As the human being lies in his cradle, so he lies in his
coffin. Some little help comes from talents and capabilities, but as a
whole they are only incidental; the natural bias gives the home blow."

Eric had no heart to enter upon these discussions; he was weary of this
everlasting game of words.

The doctor continued:--

"I have a peculiar grudge against these people; it vexes me that these
rich people should buy for themselves the fragrant fruits of higher
culture; then, again, I am consoled by the word of Him who stood at the
very centre of thought, and said, 'A rich man cannot enter into the
kingdom of God.' The rich are too heavily ballasted; they have a
pampered existence, they are removed far from the actual needs of life,
and they withdraw themselves from the natural influences of the
seasons; they flit into different climates and out of them again, and
everywhere they have comfortably prepared swallow-nests. It would be an
intolerable heartlessness of fate, if, without any irksome toil, they,
are to have also the higher joys as a possession, which belong alone to
us."

"There is no royal road to geometry, is Euclid's saying," Eric
interposed; "science and knowledge are acquired only through labor, and
what I want to do with this boy can all be comprehended in one word: I
want to give him self-activity."

"Just so," replied the physician; "yes, that's it! we who live to the
spirit have the advantage over the rich in this respect, that we are
alone by ourselves; the rich man does not know the silent growth in the
dewy stillness of solitude; he always has so much, he never has
himself, and never himself alone. This is what I understand by that
verse of the Bible, 'What shall it profit thee, if thou shalt gain the
whole world, and lose thine own soul? That is to say, Art never alone
in thyself, with thyself? He who has nowhere to lay his head, he can
yet carry his head high and free. You see it was to some purpose that I
studied theology for two years, until I came to see that though much
cannot be effected, yet more is to be done by practising quackery on
the body, than on the soul."

The doctor could not speak, he laughed so heartily. At last he said,--

"The great question always is, how receptivity itself confers upon one
all that is desirable. That would be your principal task, to awaken and
to perfect in Roland his power of receptivity. He must first of all, be
taught in a regular way. In what he knows of the world, he is yet a
child, and in what he desires of the world, he is a man, one may say a
live man."

Eric had much to say in reply, but he smiled to himself, for he thought
how easy it is to theorize. The doctor had justly found fault with him
for enlarging upon so many topics, and now he was to perceive that he
could be silent. He said nothing, and the doctor continued:--

"As to the rest, I can tender you effectual aid, if you conclude to
accept the position. Pity that you are not a medical man; as I look at
it, no one but a physician should be an educator. Have you taken notice
that the young fellow has a poor digestion? a young man in these times
ought to be able to digest pebble-stones! I cannot bring it about that
only simple kinds of food should be given him. The noble and the rich
eat without hunger, and drink without thirst. This young man can have
everything but one real, substantial enjoyment. It is a small matter,
but take it just for an example: Roland receives no enjoyment from new
clothes. Now strike this joy out of your childhood, out of your youth.
I must confess, that I can take pleasure for weeks in a well-fitting
garment, as often as I put it on. What are you smiling at?" the
physician interrupted himself.

"I am thinking of a theological friend," answered Eric. "How he would
be astonished, if any one should say to him, that the fall, which
brought with it the consciousness of nakedness, has become the very
foundation of all the enjoyment that comes from weaving, making, and
sewing clothes."

The doctor smiled too, but he stuck to his subject, and went on,--

"Food and clothes are of the greatest importance, but the third most
important thing is sleep; it is the regulator of life. Air,
nourishment, and sleep are the three fundamental conditions of
vegetative life. I believe, captain, that I know something about you
already, but I cannot pronounce a full verdict upon you, until I have
seen you sleep. Our nineteenth century sleeps poorly; our education,
our labor, and our politics ought to be so arranged that people can
once more get better sleep. I should like to be able to write a history
of sleep, showing how different nations and different ages have slept;
that would lay bare to us the deepest roots of all the manifestations
of civilization. As far as regards Roland, there is in him a strange
blending of temperaments from the father's and the mother's
constitution."

The doctor pictured out the muscular organization of Sonnenkamp, and
the struggle he was obliged to make every moment with his violent
natural tendencies. "A certain indomitable energy in him always enters
a disclaimer against his mildness, which is at once seen to be a result
of self-compulsion and of voluntary effort. He is a suppressed
pugilist, and he has in fact, as he once himself boasted in an
unguarded moment, an iron fist. The old Germans must have possessed
this stalwart force, who, with their naked arms, overthrew and crushed
the mail-clad Romans."

The physician laughed, and he could hardly succeed in narrating how,
when he first saw Sonnenkamp, he always looked for the club which
seemed to belong to such a man's hand. When he behaved in a friendly
way, then it seemed always as if he said. Be quiet, I won't hurt you.
And moreover, Sonnenkamp had a heart-disease, according to all
pathologic signs, and he was obliged, therefore, to guard against every
agitating emotion.

He cautioned Eric, particularly, not to make easy terms with Sonnenkamp
when he came to a definite understanding, for if he did he would lose
all hold upon him.

"You see," he said, "the priests, and we physicians, always give our
masses and receipts in Latin; for who would gulp down for us sulphuric
acid, if that were written on the paper in good German? So you will see
that you can make an impression upon Herr Sonnenkamp only by a certain
mysterious loftiness; otherwise he fancies that he can make quick work
with you."

The doctor then gave a very humorous description of the sleepy
existence of Frau Ceres, to whom the sharp-tongued, but still more
envious Countess Wolfsgarten had given the epithet "crocodile," because
she really had some of the traits of that monster as he basks in the
sun. For Herr Sonnenkamp, there was no mode of activity in which he
could let out his energies; and for Frau Ceres, there was no exertion
that was not an effort. She was not really to be blamed for having her
dress changed three times a day, without sticking in a single pin
herself; that she walked about her chamber for hours together, looked
at herself from every point of view, fed her parrot, played "patience,"
and cherished her nails. The poor creature ought always to live simply
and naturally, but even those more highly endowed cannot do that. She
was indeed weak and dependent, but she was also artful and capricious.

Eric was on the point of confiding to the doctor his interview with
Frau Ceres, but before he could open his lips, the doctor began to
narrate:--

"It may be now almost a year since an occurrence took place which I
could not have believed possible. I was sent for to the villa. The
daughter of the house was in a condition of muscular rigidity, and at
the same time delirium, which I could not comprehend. Fräulein Perini
told me that the girl had clasped her hands together so tightly, that
they had been drawn apart only by the aid of two servants, although the
girl herself opposed no resistance, and when I came the fingers were
still clenched. I could never find out what extreme mental excitement
could have produced such a condition of the body; I could only learn
this much, that Herr Sonnenkamp had refused his wife something or other
which she strongly desired. She revenged herself by confiding to her
daughter, who had hitherto reverenced her father as a higher being,
something which put the poor girl into this state of excitement. But
when she recovered, she continued melancholy, until they sent her to
the convent, where she gained new animation."

Eric turned the conversation to the reasons why Sonnenkamp was so much
hated and calumniated. The physician readily took up the subject, and
explained that the poor nobility looked out for every blemish as a
natural defence against a man of such immeasurable wealth, who almost
personally insulted them by his outlays. Herr von Pranken was the only
one favorably disposed towards him, and he was so, not merely because
he wanted to marry his daughter, but there was also a natural
attraction to each other, for Herr Sonnenkamp was deeply interested in
himself, and Herr von Pranken deluded his neighbor as himself. "And
now, my friend," concluded the physician, "now see to it, how you come
into this house with the right understanding."

"I have one request," Eric at last began. "Let me hear what you would
say to a friend concerning me, if I were absent. Will you do that?"

"Certainly; this is what I intended to do. You are an idealist. Ah! how
hard a time people have with their ideal! You idealists, you who are
always thinking, toiling, and feeling for others, you seem to me like a
landlord who has an inn on the road, or in some beautiful situation. He
must get everything in readiness, and pray to God all the time: Send
good weather and many guests! He himself cannot control either weather
or guests. So the counsel is very simple. Don't be a landlord of the
inn of ideality, but eat and drink, yourself, with a good zest, and
don't think of others; they will themselves call for their own portion,
or bring it with them in their knapsack; if not, they can go hungry and
thirsty. I have found that there are only two ways of coming to terms
with life: either to be wholly out with  the world, or wholly out with
one's self. The youth of to-day have yet a third way: it is to be at
the same time out with the world and with themselves.

"That is, I am sorry to say, my case."

"And just for that reason," continued the doctor, taking off his huge
glove, and laying his hand on Eric's shoulder, "just for that reason, I
should desire for you some different lot--I don't know what--I cannot
think of any."

A long row of wagons loaded with stripped beech-boughs came along the
road. The physician gave the information that they had already
extracted from these branches various chemical substances, and now they
were carrying them to a powder-mill. Eric said that he knew it, that he
had been ordered to a powder-mill in the mountains for a long time, and
was employed there.

The doctor was silent, and looking up, he saw that some one was
greeting him. An open carriage drawn by two dapple-gray horses came
towards them, and a handsome young man, sitting in it and driving
himself, was already bowing from a distance.

The doctor ordered his carriage to be stopped.

"Welcome!" he cried to the young man. They shook hands from their
vehicles, and the doctor asked,--

"How are Louise and the children?"

"All well."

"Have you been to your mother's?"

"Yes."

"How are your parents?"

"They are well too."

The doctor introduced the young man as Herr Henry Weidmann, his
daughter's husband.

"Are you the son of the Herr Weidmann whom I have so often heard of?"

"Most certainly."

"Where is your father now?" asked the doctor.

"Yonder there in the village; they are considering about establishing a
powder-mill."

Something seemed to come into the doctor's mind like a flash; he turned
quickly round to Eric, but did not utter a word. The young man asked
excuse for his haste, as he was obliged to be at the station at a
particular hour, and soon took leave.

The young Weidmann said hurriedly to Eric, that he hoped this would not
be their last meeting, and that next time he hoped they would not pass
each other in this way, and that his father would be glad to see him.

The two carriages drove on, each in its own direction.

The doctor informed Eric that his son-in-law was a practical chemist,
and he murmured to himself,--

"Trump called for, trump shown." Eric did not understand him; he
thought, smiling, how Pranken had spoken of Weidmann's sons, with the
impertinently white teeth.

The carriage drove on. Just as they were entering the next village, the
steamboat from the upper Rhine came along; the doctor ordered the
coachman to drive as rapidly as possible, in order to reach the landing
in time. They went at a tearing gallop. The doctor cried,--

"I have it now! I have it now!" He struck Eric's arm at the same time,
as if he were giving a blow upon the table that would make the glasses
jingle, and he held it with no gentle grasp.

The carriage reached the landing just as the plank was thrown from it
to the steamboat. The doctor got out quickly, and told the coachman to
say to his wife that he would not be home until evening; then he took
Eric by the arm, and went with him on board the boat. Only after it had
got under way, could Eric ask him if he were going to visit a patient.
The doctor nodded; he thought that he was safe in saying so, for he had
a patient with him whom he was curing constitutionally.

The physician was immediately greeted by acquaintances on board, and a
company around a punch-bowl invited him and his friend to join them; he
touched glasses, but did not drink, for he said that he never took
mixed drinks. The company was merry; a deformed passenger played upon
an accordion, and accompanied the singing.

On the deck, at a little table upon which stood a bottle of champagne
in a wine-cooler, the Wine-cavalier was seated, and opposite him was a
handsome woman, with a great deal of false hair, and also peculiarly
attractive charms of her own. They were smoking cigarettes, and
chatting very fast in French. The Wine-cavalier avoided meeting the
physician's eye, and the physician nodded to himself, as much as to
say, "Good, a little shame yet left."

When they came in sight of the village which his son-in-law had
mentioned, the doctor told Eric that he would now inform him directly
that he was going with him to Weidmann's; he was the man who understood
how to help him, and his advice was to be unconditionally followed. For
a time Eric was perplexed, but then it appeared to him again as a
strangely interesting thing, that now perhaps he was to pass through an
entirely new and unanticipated examination. He and the doctor entered
the boat which landed the passengers from the steamboat, and those on
board, with glass in hand, bade them farewell; the steamboat was soon
out of sight. Even the boatman knew the doctor, and said to him,
greeting him in a familiar way,--

"You will find Herr Weidmann yonder in the garden."

They landed at the quiet village. Eric was introduced to Weidmann. He
was a lean man, and, at first sight, seemed uninteresting; his features
had an expression of quiet self-possession and intelligence, but in his
gleaming eye lay a burning enthusiasm. Weidmann sat with several
persons at a table, on which were papers, bottles, and glasses.

He nodded in a friendly way, and then turned to the persons with whom
he had been conversing.



                              CHAPTER XI.

                         STRIVE TO MAKE MONEY.


It is not well to hear a man so much spoken of and praised, before
seeing him face to face. It seemed incomprehensible to Eric how this
man exerted such a wide influence, and impossible for himself to enter
into his life. The doctor was immediately called away, for the
landlord's father being sick, his arrival was regarded as very
fortunate. Eric walked up and down the shore; he seemed to himself to
be thrown into a strange world, and to be borne along by strange
potencies. How long it was since he had left Roland, how long since he
went by this village, which was then to him only a name! Now, perhaps,
some eventful occurrence was to take place here, and the name of this
village to be stamped indelibly upon his life.

"Herr Captain! Herr Weidmann wishes me to ask you to come into the
garden," the boatman cried to him.

Eric went back into the garden, where Weidmann came to him, with an
entirely different mien, saying that he would now, for the first time,
bid him welcome; previously he had been very busy. A short time
afterwards the doctor also came.

The three now seated themselves at the table in a corner of the garden,
where there was an extensive prospect, and Weidmann began in a humorous
way to depict "the heroic treatment" of the doctor's, practice, who
liked to deal in drastic remedies. A suitable point of agreement was
established between Eric and Weidmann, while they united in a
facetious, but entirely respectful assault upon the doctor.

Eric learned that the doctor had already proposed that he should
undertake the superintendence of the powder-mill. Weidmann, in the
meanwhile, explained that the difficulties were too great, and that the
government threw in the way all sorts of obstacles, although they
wanted principally to open a market in the New World, and with this
view, his nephew, Doctor Fritz, had sent over from America, and had
well recommended, one of the men with whom he had just been conversing.
And his nephew desired that they would find some experienced German
artillery officer, who would emigrate to America, and there take charge
of a manufactory of gunpowder and matches, with the sure prospect of
soon making a fortune.

The doctor looked towards Eric, but he smiled and shook his head in the
negative.

Weidmann informed them further, that a discovery had been lately made
of a deposit of manganese, and that they were desirous of forming a
company to work the mine; that a man who knew how to regulate matters
might easily make himself acquainted with the business.

He also looked inquiringly at Eric, and then made him the direct offer
of a considerable salary, and an increasing share of the profits.

Eric declined, courteously and gratefully, as he had not entirely
decided whether he would engage at all in any new pursuit. The doctor
entered warmly into the matter, and extolled the superiority of our
age, in which men of ripe scientific attainments devoted themselves to
active employments, and, through their independent property; created a
commonalty such as no period of history had ever before known.

"'This is ours, this is ours,' we commoners can say. Don't you think
so?"

"Most certainly."

"Now then, go thou and do likewise."

And he added to this, how glad the Weidmann family would be to receive
him into their circle.

Eric smilingly replied, that he felt obliged to decline this very
friendly offer; that he valued very highly the independence which
property gives, but was not adapted to a life of acquisition.

"Indeed?" cried the doctor, and there was something of contempt in his
tone. "Do you know how the question of our age is put? It is, To use,
or to be used? Why are you willing to be used by this Herr Sonnenkamp?"

"You surely would not want me to use other people, and appropriate to
myself the product of their labor?"

"It is not well," interposed Weidmann, "to generalize in this way upon
a wholly personal question. I see--I expected that the utter separation
of the rich and the poor would vitally interest you; but here we have
our doctor, and he will agree with me, that it is with the so-called
social maladies as with those of the body. We know to-day, better than
any period has ever known, the scientific diagnosis of disease, but we
are ignorant of the specific remedy, and a disease must be known a long
time, and known very thoroughly, before its method of cure is
discovered; yet we must put up with it, in the meantime, and let it
pass."

"Have you had no craving to be rich?" the doctor cried, apparently
excited.

"It would be unwise to have a craving for what I cannot obtain through
my own capabilities."

Weidmann's eye was quietly fixed upon Eric's countenance; the latter
was aware of it, and whilst he thought, at this moment, that he could
with a motion of his hand quietly relinquish all the offered riches of
the world, the temptation came over his soul. What it would be for one
to be free from all the cares of life, and to be able to devote himself
to life itself; and he saw also how he could gratify every wish of his
mother and his aunt.

But no; the first wish of his mother will be that he should remain true
to himself. And the more Clodwig there, and here the physician, wanted
to turn him aside from his vocation, so much the clearer was it to him,
that he not only must abide by that vocation, but that he also had
incurred a moral obligation to Roland.

Weidmann related that he had received a letter from New York, from his
nephew. Doctor Fritz, who was going to send immediately his young
daughter to be educated in Germany. The conversation now turned upon
persons and things with which Eric was unacquainted.

The boatman came to inform them that the last steamboat was now coming
up the river.

The doctor and Eric took hasty leave of Weidmann, who warmly shook
Eric's hand, and requested him to claim his help in any situation in
life where he could be of service.

The physician and Eric got into the boat and were rowed to the
steamboat. Hardly a word was spoken by them during the passage to the
town, where they were to disembark.

When they reached it, men and women were walking under the
newly-planted lindens, for it is always a significant event of the day
when the steamboat arrives, which remains here over night. The wife of
the doctor was also at the landing, and she went homeward with Eric and
her husband. She was very friendly to Eric, whom she had already met at
Wolfsgarten; Eric, indeed, had no recollection of her, for at that time
he had scarcely noticed, in fact, the modest, silent woman.

Many persons were waiting at the house for the physician. Eric was
shown into his chamber, and then into the library; he was glad to see
that the physician kept abreast with all the new investigations of his
science, and he hoped through his help to fill up many a gap in his own
knowledge.

The twilight came on; as Eric was sitting quietly in a large chair, he
heard a horse trotting by the house. He involuntarily stood up, and
looked out; he thought that the rider who had just passed was Roland,
or had only his own imagination, and his continual thinking about the
boy, deluded him?

There was an air of comfort in the physician's house, and everything
gave evidence of solid prosperity; but the physician was obliged to go
from the tea-table to a neighboring village.

Eric walked with the doctor's wife along the pretty road on the bank of
the river, and there was a double satisfaction in her words, as she
said that she greatly desired that her husband could have constant
intercourse with such a mentally active friend as Eric, for he often
felt himself lonely here in the town, and he was often obliged to
depend wholly upon himself.

Eric was happy, for he perceived in this not only a friendly
appreciation of himself, but also the deep and intelligent esteem of
the wife, who would like to bestow upon her husband a permanent
blessing.



                              CHAPTER XII.

                        A CHEERFUL LITTLE TOWN.


There was a genuine neighborly feeling among the inhabitants of this
small town. People called out to friends who were standing at the
windows and on the balconies, or walking in the streets; groups were
formed, where much chatting and jesting went on, while from windows,
here and there piano-playing and singing were heard.

The justice's wife and her daughter Lina joined Eric and his hostess.
People were surprised that he was leaving Sonnenkamp's house, as the
report had already spread that he was to remain there. And now Eric
learned that Roland had really ridden through the town, passing several
times before the physician's house, and letting his horse prance so
that it frightened one to look at him.

Lina was burning with eagerness to speak to Eric alone for a moment,
and she found her opportunity when they met the school-director and his
wife, and the two elder ladies stopped to inquire about the health of
the forester's wife, who lived in the director's house. Lina went on
with Eric, and said abruptly:--

"Do you know that your pupil Roland has a sister?"

"Certainly. I have heard so."

"Heard so? Why, you have seen her. She was the young girl with the star
on her forehead, and the wings, who met us in the twilight on the
cloister steps."

"Ah, indeed!"

"Ah, indeed!" mimicked Lina. "Oh! you men are dreadful; I have always
thought that you----"

She stopped and Eric asked:--

"That I--what of me?"

"Ah, mother is right, I am too heedless and clumsy, and say everything
that comes into my head; I should have believed you now----"

"That you may do; it is a sin to be untrue, and a double sin to be so
towards you."

"Well then," said Lina, taking off her straw hat, and shaking the curls
in her neck, "well then, if you will honestly confess, that Manna made
an impression on you at that time, I will tell you something; but you
must be frank and sincere."

"My dear young lady, do you think I would say no? You tempt me not to
be sincere."

"Well then, I'll tell you--but please keep it to yourself won't
you?--Manna asked me who you were, and that's a great deal from her.
Oh, Herr Captain, wealth is a dreadful thing; people offer themselves
only for the sake of a girl's money--no, I didn't mean to say that--but
try to manage that Manna shall not be a nun."

"Can I prevent it?"

"Did you see the wooden shoes that the nuns wore? Horrid! Manna would
have to wear those shoes, and she has the prettiest little foot."

"But why shouldn't she be a nun, if she wants to?"

Lina was puzzled, she was not prepared for such an answer. She
remembered, too, that she was a good Catholic.

"Ah," she said plaintively, "I fancied to myself--I am a silly child,
am I not?--in old times a knight used to enter a castle disguised as a
squire or something else--well, I thought now the squire must be a
tutor and then--"

She could not go on with her fancy sketch, for her mother overtook
them, rather anxious lest her daughter had made some of her dreadfully
simple speeches in her walk with the stranger.

"May one know what you are talking about so earnestly?" asked the
Justice's wife. Lina drew a long breath, and put her hat-elastic in her
mouth, which her mother had often forbidden, as Eric answered with
great unconcern,--

"Your daughter has been reminding me that I was not very attentive when
we first met on the convent island. I must ask your pardon now, madame.
It relieves my mind of a burden of self-reproach to have the
opportunity of excusing myself to you, and I earnestly beg that you
will carry my apologies to your husband. One meets in travelling so
many people who think to make themselves of importance by being
ill-tempered, that one catches the unfriendly spirit, and harms himself
the most. If I had not had the good fortune to meet you again, a little
misunderstanding would have remained between us. Ah! on such a
beautiful evening, by your beautiful river, where people are so
friendly and cheerful, one longs to do some good to every one he meets,
and to say, Rejoice with me, dear fellow-mote, dancing in the sunlight,
for the little time which is called life."

Eric was very animated, and the Justice's wife much pleased with his
demeanor. The evening walk was most refreshing. Lina directly gave up
to her mother the place next Eric, and walked on the other side of the
doctor's wife. The walk lasted a long time, till the doctor's carriage
was heard in the distance by his wife, who knew the sound of its wheels
before the others could distinguish anything.

The doctor joined them with a fresh fund of cheerfulness, saying,--

"I was sent for to receive a confession, and now I have lost an
excellent reminder."

He went on to tell them that a man had lived in the next village, the
sight of whom had always given him a stab in the heart, for the man had
sworn a false oath about a hundred florins which he owed him. But as
time went on, he had become quite grateful to this person for serving
him as a reviver of his faith, because every time he met him he felt a
fresh belief in the meanness of mankind, which one easily forgets. Now,
before his death, the man had confessed to him and given back the
money. So here he was, a hundred florins richer, but he had lost his
faith. How could he laugh now at the world, if he had no longer the
meanness of men to laugh at?

"What will you do now with the hundred florins?" asked Lina.

"What would you do with them?"

"I don't know."

"What would _you_ do, captain?" said the physician, turning suddenly to
Eric; "what would you do, if you had a million to give away?"

"I?" asked Eric, somewhat taken aback. He did not understand the reason
of the sudden question.

"Yes, you."

"I never thought about it, but first I would found valuable
scholarships at all the German universities. The man of wealth ought to
be able to reflect how he is cultivating the mind of the man of
genius."

"Good," answered the doctor, "every one thinks first of his own circle.
Here's my little friend Lina; if she had a million to give away, she
would spend it all on blue muslin, and dress all the female world in
it. Wouldn't you, Musselina?"

Lina was silent, and her mother said, "Give some smart answer; can't
you think of one?" Lina apparently could not think of one, but there
was a pleasant, merry tone in the intercourse between the doctor and
the child.

After their friends left them, the doctor said to Eric,--

"You can become familiar with a new method of instruction here. The
Justice's lady tries with all her might to make her daughter a pert,
worldly chatterbox, but fortunately the child has a simple, genuine
nature which can't be spoiled, and when you talk with her alone she is
full of bubbling life, and rightly deserves the name of Musselina."

The doctor was more friendly than ever in his bearing towards Eric, for
he saw that he had wished to interfere in his life too hastily and
roughly. He expressed regret that Eric had not seen Herr Weidmann to
advantage that day, as the latter had been preoccupied, or something
had gone wrong with him, and he advised Eric not to adopt a wrong
impression in regard to him. The doctor smiled, well pleased, when Eric
replied that he should not allow himself to form an opinion of a view
on the Rhine which every one admired, if he had seen it only through
rain or mist. The physician had evidently been thinking much of Eric
during his drive; he always addressed him to-day as Herr Captain in a
very marked manner, and he explained this when he held out his hand in
bidding him good-night, by saying,--

"You are the first soldier with whom I have ever been able to live
quite comfortably. With all other officers, I have always had a feeling
of--I can't say fear, exactly--but a certain consciousness of being
unarmed in the presence of an armed man. You soldiers always have an
air of preparation, of readiness for attack, in which there's much
that's good. I take back my words; perhaps a soldier can be a still
better educator than a physician. Well, good-night!"

When Eric was alone, everything vanished which he had seen or
experienced during the day, and Roland's form alone remained before
him. He tried to fancy what the boy's thoughts were in riding after
him. He sought to transport himself into the boy's state of feeling; he
could not entirely do so, for Roland was full of anger with Eric, for
deserting one who was so truly and fondly devoted to him. The boy felt
as if he had been robbed, and so he rode over to the town fancying that
Eric must be coming to meet him, or must be watching for him at the
window; he rode back weeping with anger.

The world, of which he was to possess so much, appeared to him
worthless and strange, while it seemed to Eric, who had nothing but his
own thoughts, bathed in a dew of blessing. In the stillness of the
night he thought over the hospitable and homelike reception he had met
from Clodwig, and now from the physician, and hospitality seemed to him
the purest fruit of noble manhood. In ancient times men entertained
gods and angels, and they still entertained them, for in freely
offering what one has to a stranger, whose very existence was yesterday
unknown, the divine is unfolded in the pure soul.

Up yonder at Wolfsgarten, Eric had met with a fatherly good-will, based
upon congeniality of thought--here with the doctor, as much goodwill as
difference of opinion; but here, too, that personal friendliness which
is so satisfying and home-like.

There was Bella who always wished to make an impression in her own
behalf, and here was the doctor's wife, who wished nothing for herself,
who thanked Eric in her heart, and wished only that her husband might
have the good fortune to be able to talk over learned subjects with
another man. And were these many forms, were all these events, to be
only the passing occurrences of a journey?



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                       AGAIN ALONE WITH THYSELF.


"In the morning," the doctor often said, "I am like a washed
chimney-sweeper." He rose, summer and winter, at five o'clock, studied
uninterruptedly several hours, and answered only the most pressing
calls from his patients. Through this practice of study he not only
kept up his scientific knowledge, but as he bathed his body in fresh
water, so was he also mentally invigorated; let come what would of the
day, he had made sure of his portion of science. And that was the
reason--we may congratulate ourselves upon knowing this secret--that
was the reason why the doctor was so wide awake, so ready primed, and
so vivacious. He himself designated these morning hours to an old
fellow-student as his camel-hours, when he drank himself full, so that
he could often refresh himself with a draught in the dry desert. And
life, moreover, did not seem to him a desert, for he had something
which thrived everywhere, and was all-prevailing, and _that_ was an
indestructible cheerfulness, and an equanimity, which he attributed
above all to his sound digestion.

So was he sitting now; and when he heard Eric, whose room was over his
study, getting up, he sent word to him to come soon to breakfast; and
in this hour the freshness of the man was yet wholly unimpaired. His
wife, who had to be busy, or rather, who made herself busy about
household matters, in order not to oblige her husband to enter into any
conversation on less learned matters, had soon gone into the garden, in
which flourished many scions and seeds of various kinds out of
Sonnenkamp's garden. But the doctor conversed with Eric upon no
scientific topics.

In the breakfast-room there hung portraits of the parents and the
grand-parents of the physician, and he took occasion to give some
account of his own life. His grandfather and father had been boat-men,
and the doctor had been present at the golden wedding of both, and
expressed his hope to celebrate also his own. And after he had
portrayed his own struggle with life, he proceeded to ask Eric about
his pecuniary affairs, and those of his mother.

Eric disclosed the whole state of the case; he described how his mother
had noble and rich friends; on whom she placed great expectations, but
he did not believe in, and to speak honestly, he did not desire, any
help of that sort. The doctor asserted in confirmation, that no one
would help them substantially and handsomely; he unfolded, as he went
along, wholly heretical views upon beneficence; he expatiated upon the
nonsense of leaving endowments and legacies in one's will, and on
scattering small donations. He thought it was much handsomer, and more
permanently beneficial, to make an individual or a family entirely
independent, so that they may thereby be the means of accomplishing
greater good. He stated that he had often attempted to bring this
about; nothing of this kind was to be effected with Herr Sonnenkamp,
who would have nothing further to do with people into whose hat he had
cast an alms.

The conversation, in this way, having once more turned upon Sonnenkamp,
the doctor offered to take upon himself all the external financial
arrangements with Sonnenkamp, insisting upon Eric's consent to his
doing so.

"And do you take no farther trouble about this man," said the doctor,
opening an egg. "See, it is all a fair exchange. We devour this egg
with the greatest zest, while the hen got her living out of the
manure-heap."

Eric was happy with this lively, practical man. He expressed his
satisfaction that, here in this little town, there were so many noble
persons, who could constitute a rich social environment. The doctor
contested this, for he considered that the necessity of being thrown
upon one another, and the not being able to make a selection, as one
can do in a great city, belittled, contracted, and created gossip. One
had, indeed, in a great city, no larger circle than was here formed for
the direct participation in the various duties of life, but the
necessity of contracting marriages within such a limited circle did not
permit the existence of a free social community.

"On the whole," he said in conclusion, "we are no more to each other
than a good whist-party."

It was time to think of departing. Eric left the house with a feeling
of serene satisfaction. The doctor drove him to the nearest railroad
station, where he got out and warmly shook Eric's hand, repeating the
wish that they might be able to live together.

The train, meanwhile, stopped longer than usual at the little station,
waiting the arrival of the train from the lower Rhine which was behind
time. A merry crowd of men, young and old, greeted the doctor and
seated themselves in the same car with Eric. The doctor told him that
they were wine-testers, who were going to a sale which was to take
place to-day at the wine-count's cellar. He called Eric's attention
specially to a jovial-looking man, the gauger, the finest judge of wine
in the district. The doctor laughed heartily when Eric said to him,
that he had also gone about the whole district testing wines, that is,
the spiritual wine of character.

"Strange how you make an application of everything!" laughed the
physician. "Count Wolfsgarten, Pranken, Bella, Sonnenkamp, the
huntsman, Sevenpiper, Musselina, Weidmann, Fräulein Perini, the Major,
the priest, I, and Roland--a fine specimen-catalogue of wines. Look out
that you do not stagger as you come out of the wine-cellar."

The doctor suddenly turned round, and cried:--

"You may yet induce me to put something in print. I am verily of the
opinion, that though there must be some consumers who are not
producers, there are no graduated German heads that don't want, at some
time or other, to write a book; perhaps that helps them to study. And
when you come again, you will, perhaps, bring me to the point of
writing my history of sleep."

The train from the lower Rhine whistled, and the doctor, grasping
Eric's hand again, said with emotion,--

"We are friends! take notice, that if either one of us is to be no
longer the other's friend, he pledges himself to give a week's notice.
And now farewell."

The last word was cut off, for the locomotive whistled, and Eric set
out towards home.

He was sitting with downcast eyes when he heard some one in the car
say,--

"There's young Sonnenkamp on horseback!"

Eric looked out, and caught one more glimpse of Roland, just as he
disappeared behind a little hill.

Eric heard nothing of the lively talk, often interrupted by loud
laughter, which the wine-party kept up; he had much in the past and
future to think over, and he was glad when the party left the car at
the next station, and he remained alone. He felt some repentance, and
some doubt whether he had not acted wrongly and unwisely in not
concluding an arrangement with Sonnenkamp, but he soon took courage
again and cast his regret behind him.

We are rapidly rolled along by the power of steam. And in spirit? How
far are we masters of our destiny?

At several stations, school-boys, with their satchels on their backs,
entered Eric's car. He learned, in answer to his questions, that they
lived with their parents in country-houses and distant villages, but
went every day to school in the city, returning home in the evening.
Eric thought long on the new race of youths which is growing up; taking
their places in the noisy railway-train in the early morning, then
assembling for instruction, and going home again over the railroad;
these boys must and will learn to guard, in the restlessness and tumult
of the new age, their own inner life, which is, indeed, quite different
from ours. And then he looked farther on into a future, when the
alarming growth of the great cities shall cease, and men shall again
live outside of them, where the green fields, the rushing streams, and
the blue sky shall be daily before their eyes, and yet it shall be
granted them to make their own the elements of culture, and all which
is now supplied by the union of men in large towns. Then again will
country air force its way into the soul.

At the time when Eric and the doctor were setting out, the justice's
wife sat with her husband and her daughter over their morning coffee.
The conversation turned on the evening walk with Eric, and the lady
repeated his frank apologies.

"Very good, very good," said the justice. "He is polite and clever, but
it's well that he has gone; he's a dangerous man."



                                BOOK IV.



                               CHAPTER I.

                    THE STRUGGLE IN A CHILD'S HEART.


The sparrows in the alders and willows on the shore of the
convent-island twittered and chattered noisily together, they had so
much to say to each other about what they had experienced during the
day; and who knows whether their to-day was not a much longer interval
of time than ours? One puffed up by his experience--perhaps we should
say _her_ experience, for the feathers had lost their colors from
age--sat quietly in the crotch of a bough, comfortably resting against
the trunk; he echoed and re-echoed his delight at the splendid time he
enjoyed over the river, under the closely-trimmed branches of a shady
linden, in the inn-yard by the shore.

The waiter there had long delayed removing the remnants of an English
breakfast, and there were cakes, the pieces, alas! too large, abundance
of eggs, honey, and sugar; it was a feast without parallel. He
considered that the real joy of existence had its first beginning when
one wished to know nothing more of all other things, and had supreme
satisfaction in eating and drinking alone. Only in mature life did one
really come to that perception.

Others would listen to nothing from the swaggering fellow, and there
was an irregular debate, whether lettuce-seeds or young cabbage-heads
were not much better than all the cooked-up dishes of men. A young
rogue, fluttering around his roguish mate, reported to her that behind
the ferryman's house, there hung from the garret-window a bulging bag
full of flax-seed; if one only knew how to rip open the seam a little,
one could gradually eat up all the tidbits, but it must be kept a
profound secret, else the others would come too; and hemp-seed, it must
be acknowledged, was just the most precious good which this whole round
earth could furnish. The rogue was of the opinion that her delicate
bill was exactly the nice thing to pick open the seam; it was the most
contemptible baseness in human beings, to hang up in the open air just
the most tempting dainties all fastened and tied up.

A late-comer, flying up in breathless haste, announced that the
scarecrow, standing in the field, was nothing but a stick with clothes
hung upon it.

"Because the stupid men believe in scarecrows, they think that we do
too," laughed he, and flapped his wings in astonishment and pity at the
manifest simplicity.

There was a frantic bustle in the alders and willows, and almost as
frantic in the great meadow, where the girls from the convent caught
hold of each other, chattered together, tittered, teased one another,
and laughed.

Apart from her noisy companions, and frequently passing under the
alder-trees where there was such a merry gathering of the birds, walked
a girl slender in form and graceful in movement, with black hair and
brilliant eyes, accompanied by a tall and majestic woman in a nun's
dress, whose bearing had an expression of quiet and decisive energy.
Her lips were naturally so pressed together, that the mouth seemed only
a narrow streak of red. The entire brow was covered with a white
kerchief, and the face, the large eyes, the small eyebrows, the sharp
nose, the closely pressed lips, and the projecting but rather handsome
chin, had something commanding and immovable.

"Honored mother," began the maiden, "you have read the letter from
Fräulein Perini?"

The nun--it was the superior--only turned her face a little; she seemed
to be waiting for the maiden--it was Hermanna Sonnenkamp--to speak
further.

As Manna, however, was silent, the superior said:--

"Herr von Pranken is then to make us a visit. He is a man of good
family and good morals, he seems a wordling, but he is not one exactly.
He has, indeed, the impatience of the outside world; I trust, however,
that he will not press his wooing as long as you are here our child,
that is to say, the child of the Lord."

She spoke in a very deliberate tone, and now stopped.

"Let us go away from here; the noise of the birds above there allows
one hardly to hear herself speak."

They went by the churchyard, in the middle of the island, to the grove
growings near a small rocky ledge, which the children called the
Switzerland of the island; there they sat down, and the superior
continued:--

"I am sure of you, my child, that you will decline hearing a word from
Herr von Pranken that has any reference to protestations of love, or to
the soliciting your hand in marriage."

"You know, honored mother," replied Manna,--her voice was always
pathetic, and as if veiled with tears;--"you know, honored mother, that
I have promised to take the veil."

"I know it, and I also do not know it, for what you now say or
determine is for us like a word written in the sand, which the wind and
the footsteps of man may efface. You must go out again into the world;
you must have overcome the world, before you renounce it. Yes, my
child! the whole world must appear to you like your dolls, which you
tell me of,--forgotten, valueless, dead,--a child's toy, upon which it
is scarcely conceivable that so much regard, so much love, should be
lavished."

For some time all was still, nothing was to be heard but the song of
the nightingale in the thicket, and above the river ravens were flying
in flocks and singing--men call it croaking--and soaring to their nests
in the mountain-cliffs.

"My child," began the superior, after a while, "to-day is the
anniversary of my mother's death; I have to-day prayed for her soul in
eternity, as I did at that time. At the time she died--men call it
dying, but it is only the birth into another life--at that time, my vow
forbade me to stand by her death-bed; it cost me hardly a struggle, for
whether my parents are still out there in the world, or above there in
heaven, it makes no difference to us. Look, the water is now tinged
with the glow of evening, and people outside, on the hills and on the
banks, are speaking in raptures of nature, that new idol which they
have set up, for they are the children of nature; but we are to be the
children of God, before whose sight all nature seems only a void, under
whatever color it may appear, whether clothed in green, or white with
snow."

"I believe, I comprehend that," Manna said assentingly.

"That is why I say it to you," continued the worthy mother. "It is a
great thing to overcome the world, to thrust it from one's self, and
never to long for it a single instant, and to receive in exchange the
eternal blessedness, even while we dwell here in the body. Yes, my
child," she laid both hands upon the head of Manna, and continued, "I
would like to give you strength, my strength--no, not mine, that which
God has lent me Thou art to struggle hard and bravely with the world,
thou art to be tried and sifted, before thou comest to us forever, to
the fore-court of the Kingdom of Heaven."

Manna had closed her eyes, and in her soul was the one only wish, that
now the earth might open and swallow her up, or that some supernatural
power would come and lift her up over all. When she opened her eyes,
and saw the marvellous splendor of the sunset sky, the violet haze of
the mountains, and the river glowing in the red beams of evening, she
shut her eyes again, and made a repellant movement with her hand, as if
she would have said,--I will have nothing of thee; thou shalt be naught
to me; thou art only a doll, a lifeless thing, on which we waste our
love.

With trembling voice Manna mourned over her rent and tempest-tossed
spirit; a few days before, she had sung and spoken the message of the
heralding angels, while dark demons were raging within her. She had
spent the whole day in prayer, that she might be worthy to announce
such a message, and then in the twilight a man had appeared before her,
and her eye had rested on him with pleasure; it was the tempter who had
approached her, and the figure had followed her into her dreams. She
had risen at midnight, and wept, and prayed to God that he would not
suffer her to fall into sin and ruin. But she had not conquered. She
scorned and hated the vision, but it would not leave her. Now she
begged that some penance might be imposed upon her, that she might be
allowed to fast for three days.

The superior gently consoled her, saying that she must not blame
herself so bitterly, because the self-reproach increased the excitement
of fancy and feeling. At the season when the elders were in bloom and
the nightingales sang, a maiden of seventeen was apt to be visited by
dreams; Manna must not weep over these dreams, but just scare them away
and mock at them; they were only to be driven off by ridicule.

Manna kissed the hands of the superior.

It became dark. The sparrows were silent, the noisy children returned
to the house, and only the nightingale sang continually in the
shrubbery. Manna turned back to the convent, the superior leading her
by the hand. She went to the large dormitory, and sprinkled herself
with holy water. She continued praying silently long after she had gone
to bed, and fell asleep, with her hands folded.

The river swept rustling along the valley, and swept rustling by the
villa where Roland slept with contemptuously curled lip; it rushed past
the streets of the little town, where Eric was speculating upon this
and that in the doctor's house; it rushed by the inn where Pranken,
leaning against the window, stared over at the convent.

The moon shone on the river, and the nightingales sang on the shore,
and in the houses thousands of people slept, forgetting joy and sorrow,
until the day again dawned.



                              CHAPTER II.

                             A GREEN TWIG.


Os the west side of the convent, under the lofty, wide-spreading,
thickly-leaved chestnut-trees, beeches, and lindens, and far in among
the firs with their fresh shoots, stationary tables and benches were
arranged. Girls in blue dresses were sitting here, reading, writing, or
busy with their hand-work. Sometimes there was a low humming, but not
louder than the humming of the bees in the blossoming chestnut-trees;
sometimes a moving this way and that, a change in one's position, but
not more than the fluttering of a bird in the trees overhead.

Manna sat at the table beneath a large fir-tree, and at a little
distance from her, on a low seat under a lofty beech on whose trunk
many names were carved, and on which was suspended a framed picture of
the Madonna, sat a little child; she looked up frequently at Manna, who
nodded to her, indicating that she must study her book more diligently,
and be as busy as the rest. The child was nicknamed Heimchen, because
she had suffered so much from homesickness, and Heimchen had become the
pet of all the girls. Manna had cured the child, to all appearance at
least, for on the day after the representation of the sacred play, she
had received permission from a lay-sister who presided over the
gardening, to prepare for the child a separate little garden-plat; and
now she seemed to be taking root in the foreign land, as did the plants
which she had since watered and cared for, but she was inseparable from
Manna.

Manna worked diligently; some pale blue paper was lying before her, and
she was painting on it, with a fine brush, pictures of the stars in
color of gold from small shells.

She prided herself especially on having the neatest writing-books,
every leaf ruled very regularly with lines close together, and
uniformly written upon, neither too coarse nor too fine. Manna had
received, a few days since, the highest mark of honor ever conferred on
a pupil, by being unanimously made the recipient of the blue ribbon,
which the three classes of the children, namely, the children of Jesus,
the angels of Mary, and the children of Mary, had adjudged to her.
There had hardly been any election, so much a matter of course did it
seem that nobody but Manna could be designated for the blue ribbon.
This badge of distinction gave her a sort of right to be considered a
superior.

While she was thus drawing, and frequently running her eye over the
children left under her care, she had a book open by her side; it was
Thomas à Kempis. While putting in the stars, which she did with that
delicate and beautiful finish attainable, perhaps, only in the convent,
she snatched a few sentences out of Thomas à Kempis, that her soul
might be occupied with higher thoughts during this trifling occupation.

The stroke of oars sounded from the shore on that side: the girls
looked up; a handsome young man was standing in the boat, who lifted
his hat and waved it, as if saluting the island.

"Is he your brother? your cousin?" was whispered here and there.

No one knew the stranger.

The boat came to land. The girls were full of curiosity, but they dared
not intermit their work, for everything had its allotted time. Luckily,
a tall, fair-complexioned maiden had used up all her green worsted, so
that she must go to the convent for more, and she nodded significantly
to the others that she would find out who was the new arrival. But
before the blond girl could come back, a serving-sister appeared, and
informed Manna Sonnenkamp that she was to come to the convent. Manna
arose, and Heimchen, who wanted to go with her, was bidden to remain;
the child quietly seated herself again on her little stool under the
beech-tree from which hung the picture of the Madonna. Manna broke off
a little freshly-budding twig from the tree under which she had been
sitting, and placed it in her book as a mark; she then followed the
sister.

There was great questioning among those who remained: Who is he? Is he
a cousin? But the Sonnenkamps have no relatives in Europe. Perhaps a
cousin from America.

The children were uneasy, and seemed to have no longer any inclination
for their studies. Manna had given to a companion the blue sash which
she wore on her right shoulder, and this one felt it incumbent on her
to keep strict order.

Manna came to the convent. As she entered the reception-room, to find
the lady-superior. Otto von Pranken rose quickly and bowed.

"Herr von Pranken," said the superior, "brings you a greeting from your
parents and Fräulein Perini."

Pranken approached Manna, and extended his hand, but as she had the
book in her right hand, she gave him in a hesitating manner her left.
Pranken, the fluent talker, only stammered out--for Manna's appearance
had greatly impressed him--the expression of his satisfaction at seeing
Manna so well and so much grown, and of the joy it would give her
parents and Fräulein Perini to see her again, so much improved.

The stammering manner of Pranken, moved as he was by repressed feeling,
lasted while he continued to speak further; for in the midst of his
involuntary agitation, he became suddenly aware that this evident
emotion could not fail to be noticed by Manna, and must produce some
impression upon her. He skilfully contrived to keep up the same tone
with which he had begun, and congratulated himself on his ability to
play so well a bashful, timid, and surprised part. He had many
animating narratives to give of her family at home, and congratulated
the maiden on being allowed to live on a blissful island until she
could return to the mainland, where a pleasant company of friends
formed also a social mainland. Pranken contemplated with a great deal
of self-satisfaction this comparison, as pretty as it was new.

Manna did not say a great deal; at last she asked,--

"Who may this Captain Dournay be, of whom Roland writes to me so
enthusiastically?"

Pranken winced a little, but he said smilingly,--

"I was so fortunate as to find a poor young man to instruct our
Roland--permit me to speak of him so, for I love him like a brother--in
a variety of matters. I think that it will do Roland no harm to acquire
information from the man."

"Roland writes me that he is an intimate friend of yours."

"Herr Dournay has probably said so to him, and I will not contradict
it, if Roland is thus led to entertain a higher respect for a teacher.
But, my dear Fräulein, I may venture to say to you that I am somewhat
sparing in the use of the word friend, and I would therefore rather
not--"

"Then tell me something of the character of this man who calls himself
your friend."

"Excuse me from giving the particular details. You yourself will
certainly agree with me, that it is our duty to help toward the good
one who is striving to turn from the error of his ways, even if we
cannot wholly blot out the past."

"What, then, has this Herr Dournay done?" interposed the superior. "I
should be sorry on his mother's account, who was a companion of my
youth; she is a Protestant, to be sure, but she is what the world calls
good and noble."

Pranken appeared perplexed, but with a motion of the hand which implied
careful consideration, kind intentions, and a sort of delicate
reservation, he said, looking down at the floor,--

"Honored mother, and dear Fräulein! Spare me from making such a
statement here in the convent, and consider what I have touched upon as
if it had not been said. When I look around me here--as little ought
certain words, not perhaps so inappropriate in the world outside, to be
spoken aloud in this pure air, as unsaintly pictures, to use a mild
expression, to hang by the side of the pious, transfigured forms upon
these pure walls. Permit me to say to you, I have special guaranties
that the poor young man will not conduct himself unworthily."

Manna's countenance suddenly assumed an expression of noble indignation
as she said,--

"But I cannot conceive how they can commit my brother to the charge of
a man, who--"

Pranken prayed to be excused for interrupting her. He conjured her by
what was high and holy, to forget that he, in his zeal for the truth,
had said anything against a former comrade; he had done it
involuntarily in his contemplation of purity and loveliness. He
besought so earnestly, he manifested so good a heart, so full of human
love, that Manna now voluntarily extended to him her hand, and said,--

"I believe you. Ah, how rejoiced I am you are so good!"

Pranken was happy, but determined that Eric should not be received into
the family. It seemed more and more puzzling to him that he should
himself have raised up such an antagonist; he was now doubly out of
humor with Eric, for he had been the occasion of his being untrue and
unjust, and Pranken was too proud to be so misled, especially when a
little caution on his own part might have prevented the necessity of
it.

"Might I venture to request you to show me the lines?" he now said. "My
object is to see how good a judge of men Roland has become. Would you
be willing to show me what our splendid brother has written of this
Herr Dournay?"

Manna blushed, and replied that they had better say no more about the
captain; and she besought Pranken to do all he could to remove the man
out of the house, if it were still a possible thing. Pranken promised
to do all in his power, and he recovered his natural elasticity while
he prayed Manna, in a lively tone, but subdued to the proprieties of
the place, that instead of giving him so easy a task, she would
commission him, like a knight of the good old times, to contend against
the dragon-brood. And yet, while calling it easy, he felt in his own
heart that the task could not rightly be called so.

The superior rose; she thought that it was high time, and a good time,
too, to break off the conversation. Pranken had renewed his
acquaintance, and that must suffice for the present. The superior was
not so resolutely bent upon the convent for Manna, as to desire that
Pranken might not win her affections. Such a house and such a family,
endowed with such incredible wealth, might be of great advantage to the
convent and to the Church.

"It was very kind in you to visit us," she now said. "Carry my
greeting, I pray, to your sister, the Countess Bella, and say to her
that she is remembered in my prayers."

Pranken saw that he was expected to take leave, and yet he wanted to
say something more definite, and to hear some word which should give
him the desired security. His countenance suddenly lighted up, as he
said, with such modesty and such friendly feeling that one could not
refuse compliance,--

"Fräulein Manna! We erring creatures outside like to have a lasting
token in our hands."

"What do you want?" quickly and sharply struck in the superior.

"Honored mother! I would beseech you," Pranken said, turning quickly
with humble mien toward the severe lady, "I would beseech you to permit
Fräulein Sonnenkamp to give that book into my hand."

"Wonderful!" cried Manna, "I wanted to do that! I wanted to give it to
you to carry to my brother. Ask him to read every day a chapter,
beginning from the place where the green twig is put, so that he may
receive every day the same thoughts into his soul that I do."

"What happiness this harmony of feeling, this oneness of sentiment,
gives me! It would be a profanation to try to describe it!"

The superior was at a loss what to do, and Pranken continued:--

"I beseech you, then, my honored Fräulein, to pardon my presumption; I
would like to request you to give me this holy book for my own
edification, and that I too may be allowed to keep even step with your
brother and you."

"But my name is written in the book," said Manna, blushing.

"So much the better," Pranken wanted to say, but luckily he was able to
withhold it; he turned to the superior, folded his hands, and stood as
if praying her to grant his petition. The superior nodded her head
several times, and at last said,--

"My child, you may, perhaps, comply with this request of Herr von
Pranken. And now, farewell."

Pranken received the book. He left the convent. As he sat in the boat,
the ferryman said to him,--

"Perhaps some maiden over there is betrothed to you?"

Pranken did not reply, but he gave the ferryman a whole handful of
money. His heart throbbing with bliss, Pranken rushed up the bank, and
immediately sent a telegram to his sister.



                              CHAPTER III.

                   HERCULES IN A HAIR-DRESSER'S SHOP.


The telegraphist was very much astonished, but did not dare to express
his surprise, when the handsome, noble young man, with the polished
exterior and the unassuming air, through which there was plainly
discernible a feeling of condescension towards a public officer, handed
in a telegram mysteriously worded, and running thus:--


"God be praised! a green twig from the island of felicity. New
genealogical tree. Heavenly manna. Endless possessions, A consecrated
one, new-born.

                             "OTTO VON PRANKEN."


Pranken walked about in the tasteful, well-arranged grounds of the
station, looked up to the mountains, down to the river, to the island;
the whole world was as if freshly created to him, he seemed to himself
in a new earth; a veil was removed from everything, and all was
ravishingly beautiful. In a copse, where no one saw him, he knelt down;
and while he knelt he felt inexpressibly happy, and as if he never
wished to rise again. He heard a noise in his vicinity, stood upright,
and brushed his knees carefully. It was nothing but a beggar that
disturbed him. Without waiting to be spoken to, Pranken gave him a
considerable sum of money, and after the beggar had gone away, he
called him back and gave him as much again.

The air was loaded with aromatic fragrance, intermingled with that
delicate resinous perfume that comes from the opening buds; innumerable
rose-buds hung from the trellises, as if waiting for the word to open;
from the steep wall of rock, where a passage for the railroad had been
cut, a cuckoo called, and thousands of birds joined in with their
song. The whole world was full of blossoming fragrance and music of
birds,--all was redeemed, ransomed, blessed.

The people at the station thought that the young man who was thus
walking to and fro, sometimes hurrying, sometimes standing still,
sometimes looking up, and then casting his eyes to the ground, must be
expecting a relative by the next train; but Pranken was waiting for no
person and no thing. What could there be in the world to come to him?
He had everything. He could not conceive how he could stay here, and
Manna be over there; no moment ought to pass away without their being
together, one, inseparable.

A finch now flew away from the tree beneath which he was standing; it
flew over the river to the island. Ah! could I also fly over and
look at her and greet her from the tree, and at evening fly to her
window-sill, and look upon her until she went to sleep, and in the
morning when she awoke!

All the feelings that ever moved the heart of youth now took possession
of Pranken, and he was frightened at himself, when that demon of vanity
and self-conceit, whose growth he had so fostered within him, whispered
in his ear. Thou art a noble, enthusiastic youth! All great qualities
are thine! He now hated this evil spirit, and he found means of driving
him out.

He sat in a retired arbor and read in Thomas à Kempis. He read the
admonition: "Learn to rule thyself, and then thou canst rule the things
of the world." Pranken had, until now, regarded life as a light jest,
not worth the trouble, indeed, of attempting to do any thing with it.
He had that contemptuous tone with which one orders a poodle to jump
over a stick, and he looked up amazed as to what this should mean.

Is it possible that there is such a way of thinking as this, even in
those who belong to the church? "In my father's house are many
mansions, and perhaps, it is very well to show for once to the children
of the world, that they are not the sole possessors of the right to
sport freely with the world."

All was to Pranken more and more amazing, more and more enigmatical,
and, at the same time, more and more illuminated. If the buds there
upon the hedge could tell, in the moment when they open, how the light
thrills through them, it would be like what was now taking place in the
soul of this young man. And if a man, who had heard the old legend
without believing it, should find down there in the river the
Niebelungen treasure, the old, beautiful, splendid, rare and solid
jewelry--he would feel as Pranken did when he really discovered, for
the first time, the Christian doctrine in this searching and impressive
little book. All is here so comprehensive, expressing thine own inner
conflicting desires, and expressing them with such tenderness, and
disclosing their secret springs, and giving too, the directions how
thou canst lay aside what is wrong, and make the true thine own.

Pranken sat there a long time in a reverie; railway trains came,
railway trains went; boats went up and down the river, but Pranken
heard and saw all as if it were only a dream. The noon-day bell at the
convent first aroused him. He went to the inn.

He met here a comrade, who was making a wedding tour with his young
bride. Pranken was warmly welcomed; they were very glad to meet him.
Pranken must join a water-party on an excursion to the mountains, after
dinner; but he declined, he knew not why. But he looked at the young
bride and bridegroom with gleaming eyes; so will it be,--so will it be,
when he journeys with Manna! It thrilled him with ecstasy to think that
he should be alone with her, alone out in the wide world! Why can he
not, even now, go for her and bring her out? He promised to himself to
learn patience.

They were very merry at dinner-time, and Pranken was delighted that he
could still crack his old jokes; his comrade should not have a fine
story to tell at the military-club, its members should not have a
chance to jeer; and the stout Kannenberg should not bet a flask of
Canary that this pious mood was only one of Pranken's whims. Pranken
brought out his witticisms as if he had learned them by rote, and it
seemed to him a century ago, almost as if it had been in a previous
state of existence, that there had been such a thing as appearing on
parade.

At table, Pranken heard accidentally that, on the next day, a
pilgrimage was to leave the town near by with great pomp. The
new-married couple took counsel whether they should not be spectators
of the display at the place of pilgrimage; they would decide in the
evening.

After Pranken had accompanied them to the boat, he went to the station,
and took a ticket for town; he was glad to be able to be in time for
the evening service at the cathedral. He reached the town and smiled
compassionately, when obliging servants in the streets offered
themselves as guides to places of amusements; he smiled
compassionately, when a servant in the church asked the "gracious
gentleman," whether he should show him everything. Pranken knelt among
the worshippers.

Refreshed, and satisfied with himself, he left the church. He strolled
through the town, and stood long before a hair-dresser's shop. No one
would have thought, and Otto von Pranken least of all, that there was a
battle-field destined for him, not outside in the wild contest of arms,
but before a great window filled with various perfumes, false hair for
men and women, with dolls' heads, whose glass eyes stared under the
artificial brows and lashes. Over the door was printed in golden
letters, "Hair-dressing and shaving done here." Is it not laughable
that a battle is to be fought here? so far from being laughable, it is
serious, bitter, earnest.

Pranken had made a heroic resolve to take part in the pilgrimage, and
indeed he wanted to unite himself with the pilgrims in a humble manner,
and join in their prayers and mortifications. And in the meanwhile, not
to attract attention, and all alone, to allow the change to proceed
silently in himself, it seemed expedient, first to get rid of his very
noticeable whiskers and moustaches; and it was very important to make
recognition difficult, for he feared that some one might meet him and
change his determination, and other people be guilty of the sin of
mockery. And he was especially troubled in regard to the young married
couple, who wished to make the pilgrimage. He would be one of the
sights of their journey which they could talk of on their return home.
And, besides, how many might be seduced into impiety by laughing over
it, and they certainly would laugh at Otto von Pranken's being among
the pilgrims! Therefore, for your own sake, and that of others, you
must be disguised somewhat.

So with heroic resolution--and it was certainly heroic, for who would
be willing to deprive himself of an ornament so highly prized and not
to be replaced at pleasure?--Pranken entered the fragrant shop, sat
down in an arm-chair, and looked at his beard and moustache reflected
in a great mirror hanging opposite. His eyes almost overflowed. A great
white apron, a true sacrificial mantle for the sacrificial lamb, was
thrown over him, and an exceedingly polite young man, who had no
suspicion of the priestly office assigned to him, asked,--

"Does the gracious gentleman wish to be shaved, or to be curled?"

"Curled," answered Pranken, quick as lightning, for it came to him like
an inspiration, that he would mingle with the pilgrims curled and
elegantly dressed; this would be a fuller and deeper confession, and it
would bring more honor to the sanctuaries, if it were seen that a man
of rank, evidently a military officer, offered to them his veneration.

Finally, with hair nicely dressed, Pranken went out of the shop, and in
all the large windows of all the stores he passed, he looked not
without satisfaction at his rescued treasure,--his beard and moustache.

He smiled victoriously upon the world.

Pranken knew of an inn, in the town, which was the resort of the élite
of the nobility, and he went there hoping to find some companion of
equal rank, and with the firm determination to induce him to go on the
pilgrimage with him. He found no one whom he knew, and he could not
remain in the public parlor, for he saw there, on entering, a famous
actress, who was fulfilling here a star engagement, and whom he had
formerly known; he pretended not to recognize her and withdrew to his
own room.

The morning came; the bells rang for the pilgrims to take their
departure. Pranken formed a weighty resolve. Nothing hasty! he
said to himself. Make no show! Give the world no opportunity for
misconstruction! One has a duty to perform to the world and to the
past! One must be putting off the old man, by degrees, and let the new
man be unfolded.

From the window of the inn Pranken saw the pilgrims go forth, as he
puffed clouds of smoke from his cigar. Then he went to the station,
bought a ticket, and returned to Wolfsgarten.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                            BITTER ALMONDS.


In the country where the tankard rules, the ladies assemble to take
coffee, and wine and coffee are equal in this respect, that they can be
had at all seasons of the year. In spring and summer, it is pleasant to
drink them on a gentle eminence, in a shady arbor where there is a fine
view of the country around; in autumn and winter, in comfortable rooms
furnished with an abundance of sofa-cushions, embroidered in patterns
of parrots or fat woolly dogs.

The coffee-party has the advantage of being given in succession by
various persons, and as the pint of wine is not strictly a pint, but
can be increased at pleasure, so coffee is only a modest expression for
the May-bowls and fruits of the culinary art which follow it; and a
hostess who wishes to do something surpassing the rest sends to the
great city for ice, to be brought over the railroad.

The Justice's wife led off in the spring coffee-parties. The little
garden behind the house was very pleasant, where the lilacs were
blooming in all their glory, but the surrounding houses overlooked it,
and it was better to have the party in the best parlor opening upon the
balcony.

The rustling chintz covers were taken off the sofa-cushions. The
invitations were sent out, among the rest to the Countess Wolfsgarten,
who had returned an acceptance; but the regular course of proceeding
was, that about an hour before the appointed time, a delicately
scented, prettily written note should arrive, in which Frau Bella
expressed her regret that an unfortunate head-ache would deprive her of
the long anticipated pleasure of meeting the highly respected wife of
the Justice, and her much esteemed company.

To-day, contrary to all expectation, the Countess had come herself, and
had indeed arrived before any of the rest of the party, which was not
exactly the thing in fashionable society.

The Justice's wife sent Lina directly into the state parlor to place
one more chair, for they had felt quite sure that the Countess would
not come.

"I expect my brother to-day, he has been down the Rhine," Frau Bella
soon said.

She did in fact wish to carry her brother home from the town, that she
might hear more of Manna and the enigmatical telegram; but she had a
second purpose in view, and an opportunity of carrying it out soon
presented itself.

The Justice's wife complained that Captain and Doctor Dournay--"what is
one to call him--?"

"Call him simply doctor."

That Doctor Dournay, then, had paid a visit to the priest, to the
major, and to the physician. The Major's housekeeper had told the
beadle a great deal about him. But very singularly, though he seemed to
be a man of excellent manners, he had neglected the very central point
of the town, which was certainly the Justice's court. He had certainly
apologized very humbly when he spent the night at the doctor's, and the
doctor's wife said that he was soon to return and enter Sonnenkamp's
service with a salary more than double that of a Justice. Herr von
Pranken had done a very kind thing in getting this position for the
young man, who, it was to be hoped, would show himself worthy of his
recommendation.

Bella nodded acquiescingly, and praised the Justice's wife for
acknowledging in so friendly a manner the kindness which it was a duty
to show to an unfortunate man, but added that she must certainly see
the danger also, that an untrustworthy man could be injured in no way
more than by benefits, which served only to nourish enemies, who lay in
wait for the right moment to show themselves in their true light.

The Justice's wife was delighted with the manner in which this lady of
acknowledged intellect dressed up her own plain commonsense so finely.
She assented, and felt much pleased with the idea, that, as soon as one
enjoyed personal intercourse with the Countess Wolfsgarten, one could
think more clearly and understand everything better. Both ladies smiled
contentedly, and each declared that the other was dressed most
becomingly and tastefully, though of course with the acknowledgment
that Frau Bella was the most marked in this respect, for to attempt to
rival her would be folly.

Bella certainly looked very animated. She spoke lightly--for the matter
must not be misrepresented--of the slight attack of illness which the
Count had had at Villa Eden, when "Herr Dournay" who had lifted him had
behaved right bravely. The Justice's wife launched out in praise of the
Count, and of the care which was taken of his life.

Frau Bella led the conversation back, and with cautious circumspection
insinuated that Eric had omitted a visit to the Justice, because he
felt a certain shyness of legal tribunals, and still more of all
faithful servants of the reigning king.

With considerable eagerness, the Justice's wife pressed for further
information, and under a promise of strict secrecy--though, of course,
the Justice must know all--she was informed that people knew of certain
political declarations, even of printed announcements in a foreign
paper, or rather a paper published beyond the boundary line, which had
induced the former Lieutenant Dournay to ask for his discharge, before
it was given him without his asking.

"Then why was the rank of captain given him?" asked the Justice's wife.

"You question with as much shrewdness as the Justice himself," replied
Bella.

She did not seem prepared for this inquiry, and only said that it was
not for her to wish to stand in the way of a poor young man's earning a
living. Very likely it had been done--at this point she seized the hand
of the Justice's wife and held it between her own, as if signifying
that she was entrusting a great secret to her charge--very likely it
had been done for the sake of his mother, who had been a favorite lady
of honor to the dowager princess; of course the matter was kept as
quiet as possible.

Bella tried to put on a pleased smile, and to repress an expression of
mild compassion, when the Justice's wife said,--

"There my husband guessed right again. As we were driving home from
your reception--ah, what a pleasant, cheerful time we had--my husband
said to me and my daughter, 'Children, I tell you, this Herr Dournay is
a dangerous man.' Oh, men are always more keen-sighted, and know more
about each other than we women can ever find out."

She seemed to be losing herself in general reflections on mankind,
which she liked to make, saying that any one who lived over a
ground-floor full of legal documents took a very gloomy view of men.

This did not seem to be what Bella wanted to-day. She asked very
carelessly,--

"Has your husband spoken to Herr Sonnenkamp of his very sagacious
opinion that this Herr Doctor Dournay is a dangerous man?"

"It's true that would be proper," said the Justice's wife. "Will you
not tell my husband, gracious lady, that he ought to make his views
known? He doesn't heed me, I'm sorry to say, but he is glad to do
anything for you."

"Don't ask me," Bella replied. "You must see that I cannot mix myself
up in this affair. My brother has a sort of regard toward his former
comrade although they were not in the same regiment, and my husband has
taken a morbid, I mean enthusiastic fancy to the young man. You are
quite right; your husband is bound--"

Bella did her work so securely, that she felt sure that the Justice
would go to Sonnenkamp before evening, and Herr Dournay might make the
most of his confident bearing somewhere else, for Bella wished, on many
accounts, that Eric should not be established in the neighborhood; he
caused her uneasiness, almost pain indeed. As she tapped one hand with
the closed fan which she held tightly grasped in the other, she
inwardly repeated the words of the Justice: This Dournay is a dangerous
man.

The Justice's wife was a woman of democratic principles; she was the
daughter of a Chief-Justice who had offered unbending resistance at the
time when Metternich ruled Germany, and, besides, she had a comfortable
property of her own, which helps one to keep to liberal ideas. She felt
a sort of democratic pride in not yielding anything to the nobility;
but she saw in Frau Bella an amiable, highly intellectual lady, and she
submitted to her, without acknowledging to herself that her submission
amounted to subserviency toward a countess. Bella was acute enough to
see and understand it all, and treated the Justice's wife with that
confidence which is shown only to equals; but she took care to be more
than usually amiable, that the Justice's wife might attribute her visit
to some other than the real object.

Lina entered the room, looking like a charming little housekeeper in
her blue dress, and high-necked, white apron. Her mother sent her away
again very soon, as the child must not be present if the gracious lady
had still any private matter to speak of.

"Your dear child has developed finely, and she speaks very good
French."

"Thank you," said the mother. "I don't know much of the young people
of the present day; but Lina is still so slow, there's nothing piquant
about her, and she is frightfully simple. Just think, the child has
formed a fancy--how she ever got hold of such ideas in the convent, is
a mystery to me--but only imagine, she believes that this Herr Captain
Dournay has forced himself in as Roland's tutor, only because he is
secretly in love with Fräulein Manna, whom he saw at the convent."

Frau Bella pretended much surprise, and heard the story of the meeting
with Eric again, but the Justice's wife soon led the conversation back
to the failure of all her efforts to make Lina a wide-awake girl.

Frau Bella might have said to her, if she had been disposed, You want
to change this child, who has no special talent or beauty, from her
genuineness and openness; you are continually teasing her to be
lively, arch, and merry, to sing and to jump! You want to turn your
fair-complexioned daughter with clear, light-blue eyes, into a
dark-haired maiden with flashing brown eyes! Frau Bella might have said
all this, but she did not. She pressed her thin lips close together;
her nostrils quivered; she despised, at this moment, the whole of
mankind. She was spared the necessity of saying anything, however, for
the ladies who were invited came in successively. They were
particularly glad to meet the Countess Wolfsgarten, and yet every one
was a little vexed that she could not be the first in dress and
appearance.

Ah, such a coffee-party of the fair sex!

There are some things, institutions, and arrangements, that have
received a bad name, and cannot get rid of it again; this is the case
with this fine institution of coffee-drinking. As soon as any
favorable mention is made of it, every hearer and reader is convinced
that is only downright irony, or a good-humored jest; for it has been
settled, once for all, that this coffee-drinking of the ladies is only
a hoax, and a pretence of kindly intercourse, with the participants.
And yet this institution is a very excellent one, except when cards
are introduced, and they carry it so far as to get up a regular
gambling-party, as do the ladies at the small capitals, who have a
handsome book with black morocco-binding, lettered on the back, "Hours
of Meditation," but containing, inside, only blank leaves on which to
mark down the points, and to enter the score. But that is only in the
smaller capitals; here in our sociable little town, civilization has
not advanced so far. Cards are not yet the book of salvation from all
the evil of ennui; here they rely upon their own resources, the best
way they can. And why should they not talk of persons, and occasionally
say something pretty severe? What do other people, yes, even the men,
in higher spheres, and at the tankard? Do they converse always about
abstractions?

To be sure, there is talk here of town news, and whoever takes no part
in this, holding himself aloof, does nothing for the town, nothing for
his neighbor. And these ladies, who here have something to say about
the so-called higher dignitaries, as well as the so-called inferior
people, they are the same ladies who have established benevolent
reunions, and behave in a strictly proper manner. So let us be pleasant
and well-disposed guests, without any tendency to find fault, at this
coffee-drinking of the fair sex.

Here comes Frau White. She is called Frau Coal behind her back, for she
is the wife of a wood and coal-dealer. She has black locks and a dark
complexion, which looks as if she had never washed herself thoroughly;
and since the good woman is aware of her being nicknamed Mrs. Coal, she
always dresses herself in dead-white colors, which are not very
becoming to her dark hair and complexion by bright daylight, but by
lamp-light she is very charming to look at. Unfortunately she has the
defect of squinting, and with so sweet an expression, as if her eyes
had been permanently arrested in the midst of a killingly affectionate
glance.

Here is the wife of the cement-manufacturer, a tall and stately woman,
never laughing, always inexpressibly serious, as if she carried about
with her some great secret; she has no secret to impart, except that
she has nothing to say.

Here sits the handsome wife of the school-director, a little too portly
perhaps, nicknamed the Lay-figure because she is always dressed so
finely; she has a perpetual smile upon her face, and one might almost
imagine that she would still smile and show her beautiful teeth, even
if she were to be the bearer or hearer of the tidings of death.

Here is the wife of the steamboat agent, a very fine looking woman, the
mother of eleven children. The whole company are quite provoked with
the little, plump, good woman, who never lets her cup stand on the
table, but holds it up in her left hand, and repeatedly dips into it
her biscuit, nodding assent to every one's remark, and seldom giving
her own opinion, or, when she does, speaking with her mouth so full,
that nobody understands her.

Here are the two Englishwomen who reside in the town; they were plain
citizens, much beloved, without any title of lady, but were truly
lady-like in appearance, for the reason that they needed no rank to set
them off. They passed their time at home, did not depend upon visiting,
and were like their own island, which produces all that man requires.
Whenever the two ladies went into society they were always fresh, and
were very cordially welcomed; and the amiable, awkward way in which
they spoke German, and made use of strange constructions, served to
increase the general kindliness. Bella was especially friendly toward
the Englishwomen. The ladies' conversation was all intermingled
together, like the singing of birds in the woods. Each one sings its
own song, then polishes its own bill, and has no concern about the
rest,--hardly hears them. Only two remarks were generally listened to
and repeated; once, when Frau White made the happy observation that one
would be aware of Count Clodwig's many badges of distinction, even if
he did not wear any, which the Justice's wife took occasion to report
to Bella; and again, when they came upon the subject, no one could tell
how, whether the men's smoking was agreeable or disagreeable, Frau
Lay-figure said that her good man often expressed the wish that he
could be passionately fond of smoking, so as to wean himself from being
so fond of her. Frau Bella had that perpetual complaisant smile which
is so cold, and yet so fascinating.

The conversation only grazed Herr Sonnenkamp lightly. It remained fixed
upon Eric, and why should it not? Here in the summer time, thousands
frequent the little town, and swarm on the road leading to the old
castle and to the other objects of interest for sight-seers, but when
had there been a person who remained among them, and such a noteworthy
personage too? Eric was a strange bird who wanted to take refuge in the
mysterious house of Sonnenkamp; they will do him no harm, ruffle not
one of his feathers, but each one wishes to have her say concerning
where he comes from, and how he looks.

The Justice's wife remarked that she would have liked to invite the
Major to the coffee-drinking, for he could tell the most about the
captain-doctor.

The ladies were busy, of course, with their crochet, embroidery and
sewing; but these are only make-believe labors, for one must not seem
to be wholly idle.

When they understood that Eric's mother was a lady of unimpeachable
nobility, each one wanted to make out that she had perceived that in
him at once, it was something that could not be concealed. Bella
accorded to this remark one of her most friendly looks of general
approval.

When the Justice himself now came, for a little quarter of an hour, to
join the company, Bella requested him to take a chair by her; she
declared that they were very happy in this harmless circle, and she
desired that no disturbing element should ever enter, to have only a
decomposing influence upon it.

The Justice looked at her with his good-natured eyes, wholly at a loss
to know what she meant, and stroked his obstinate whiskers; he could
not imagine that this was intended to prepare the way for what his wife
was to impart to him. He excused himself and soon went away; his wife
informed them that Lina had joined the Liederkranz of the town; they
were practising now for the great musical festival which was to be held
in the neighboring city, and to Lina would undoubtedly be assigned a
solo-piece.

Frau Bella spoke very advisingly, and at the same time very
discouragingly. She expressed her dislike of musical festivals, being
convinced in her own mind that she alone understands music, and that
the music which she fancies is the only genuine music. In these days,
hundreds of young people of both sexes, of ordinary standing in
society, sing in the musical festivals an oratorio of Händel, Haydn,
Bach, and this vexed Bella; these people are convinced that they know
something. If she had had power, she would have had the police put a
stop to these meetings. For this reason, Frau Bella had a special spite
against the oratorio, but she only said,--"I have no appreciation of
it;" and inasmuch as she said, "I have no appreciation of it," this
ought to be ample evidence that there is nothing in it to be
appreciated.

She was exceedingly gracious and condescending. She said that she did
not question the merits of the German masters in oratorio. The truth
is, that it was extremely repugnant to her to have the Justice's
wife, the wife of the school-director, and the two daughters of the
head-forester, and even perhaps the tailor's and cobbler's daughters,
presuming to be interested in high art, when not one of them could
sound a single true note.

Lina now acquired a new importance, for there was a general expression
of desire to hear her sing. The English ladies asked very pressingly
for a German song, but Lina, who usually was not backward, to-day was
not willing to comply. Her mother's eyes flashed, but Frau Bella placed
her hand upon the arm of the angry mother, and an unheard of event
happened; saying that she did not blame Lina for not being willing to
begin to sing abruptly, without any preparation, she arose, went to the
grand piano, preluded, and then played a sonata of Mozart in masterly
style. All were happy, and the Justice's house, highly exalted, for
none could boast, except the Castle Wolfsgarten and the castles of the
nobility, that Bella had ever touched a key in any other than her own
house.

Bella received overwhelming laudation, but she rejected it, and in a
half serious, half contemptuous way, maintained that every one who wore
long dresses wanted to play the piano. Bella was a genuine sister of
her brother; she could be happy a whole day if she succeeded in
uttering one pointed speech, and she took great delight now in
saying,--

"Every girl, now-a-days, thinks she must learn to knit a musical
stocking."

She continued to repeat these words, musical stocking, in a measure of
three-fourths time. Every one laughed, the English ladies looked up in
surprise, and Bella, was glad to explain to them what she meant by
these words, adding,--

"Yes, they knit a stocking out of notes, and the great thing with them
is, not to drop a single stitch. I truly believe that the good children
consider the four movements of the sonata to be the four parts of the
stocking; the top is the first movement, the leg is the adagio, the
heel is the scherzo, the toe is the finale. Only one who has a real
talent for it ought to be allowed to learn music."

This was generally agreed to, and they spoke of the amount of time
spent upon the piano in youth, and that after marriage it was given up.

The Justice's wife had been appealed to, and if there can be a higher
heaven in heaven itself, it was opened when Frau Bella praised Lina's
singing, which she had heard, and requested that Lina might make her a
visit of some weeks, when she could, perhaps, give her some
instruction. The glance which the Justice's wife cast to her husband
was inexpressibly joyful; and how delightful it is to have the
ladies ear-witnesses of all this! It seemed to her that she was very
good-natured and very condescending, to be still friendly and affable
with the doctor's wife, and also, indeed, with Frau Coal and the
merchants' wives.

Bella extolled now, in the warmest terms, the delicious, spicy cakes
which the Justice's wife knew how to make so excellently well; she
would like to know the ingredients. The Justice's wife said that she
had a particular way of giving them their flavor by putting into them a
certain quantity of bitter almonds; and she promised to write out the
receipt for her, but she resolved in her own mind never to remember to
do it.

They had hardly tasted of the May-bowl, and declared that no one else
knew how to mix it so well, before the Justice was informed that Herr
von Pranken had arrived. The Justice went down, his wife detained
Bella, and Lina, looking out of the window, saw that Pranken decidedly
refused to come in for a moment. Bella now drove away, after taking a
very hasty leave.

When she had gone, it seemed to all as if the court had withdrawn; they
drew near to each other in a more confidential way, and had for the
first time a really easy and home-like feeling.

The English ladies were the first to take their departure; the rest
would not be less genteel than they, and in a short time the parents
and the child were by themselves.

The wife took her husband into an adjoining room, and impressed upon
him very earnestly, that it was the duty of a Justice to keep his
district clean.

The Justice was faithful in his office, and whoever spoke of him would
always affirm that he was the best man in the world. But he had no
particular zeal for his calling; he was in the habit of saying,--Why am
I mixed up with the affairs of other people? If I were a man of
property, I would have nothing to do with the quarrels of other
persons, but live quietly and contentedly to myself. But inasmuch as he
had been inducted into the office, he performed its duties with
fidelity. He was very reluctant to come to the determination to
interfere in the matter of Eric, and he consented only when his wife
told him in so many words, that the countess Bella had expressed the
wish that he should.

They had come to the best understanding, when suddenly a slam, crash,
and shriek were heard. Lina had let fall a whole tray full of cups.

The Justice's wife could not give a more satisfactory evidence of her
serene content, than by saying, as she did, to Lina,--

"Be quiet, dear child. The mischief is done; it's of no sort of
account. Cheer up, you've looked so blooming, and now you're so pale. I
could almost thank God for sending us this trifling mishap, for in
every joy there must be some little sorrow intermingled."

Lina was quiet, for she could not tell what she was thinking of when
the coffee-tray fell out of her hands.



                               CHAPTER V.

                            THE WORLD-SOUL.


"Why did you not look in, for a moment, upon the worthy people?" asked
Bella of her brother, after they had both taken their seats in the
carriage.

Whenever she came from a company where she had been amiable, this mood
continued awhile, and she would look smilingly into the air, then
smilingly upon the furniture around; it was so now. There was in her
the dying echo of a pleasant and cheerful frame of mind, but her
brother came out of an entirely remote world, having spoken to-day with
no one,--who would have thought it of him?--but his own soul, or more
properly, Manna's soul.

"Ah! don't speak to me of the world," he said; "I wish to forget it,
and that it should also forget me. I know it well, all hollow, waste,
wilted, mere puppet-show. If you have been helping the puppets dance
there awhile, you can lay them away again in the closet of
forgetfulness."

"You seem rather low-spirited," said Bella, placing her hand upon her
brother's shoulder.

"Low-spirited! that's another catchword! How often have I heard it
used, and used it myself! What is meant by low-spirited? nothing. I
have been knocked in pieces, and newly put together again. Ah, sister,
a miracle has been wrought in me, and all miracles are now clear to me.
Ah! I may come back to the words of the world, but I do not see how."

"Excellent! I congratulate you; you seem to have really fallen in
love."

"Fallen in love! For God's sake, don't say that; I am consecrated,
sanctified. I am yet such a poor, timorous, wretched child of the
world, that I am ashamed to make my confession even to you, my only
sister. Ah! I could never have believed that I should feel such
emotion--I don't know what to call it--exaltation, such rapture
thrilling every nerve. O sister, what a maiden!"

"It is not true," said Bella, leaning her head back against the soft
lining of the carriage, "it not true that we women are the enigma of
the world; you men are far more so. Over you, over Otto von Pranken,
the ballet connoisseur, has come such a romantic feeling as this! But
beautiful, excellent, the mightiest power, is the power of illusion."

Pranken was silent; he heard Bella's words as if they were uttered in a
past state of existence. When, where, did they speak and think of the
ballet? And yet, at these words there came dancing before his memory
merry, aerial, short-dressed, roguish, smiling forms. His heart
thumped like a hammer against the book, the book placed there in his
breast-pocket. He was about to tell his sister that for several days he
had no longer known who he was; that he was obliged often to recall to
mind his own name, what he had wished, and what he still wished;
that he went like one intoxicated through the world, which was
only a flitting by of passing shadows; here were swiftly darting
railway-trains, there towns and castles reflected in the river: all
were fleeting shadows which would soon be gone, while only the soul had
real being, the soul alone.

Such had been the influence of Thomas à Kempis, so had he read the
words on which Manna's dark-brown eye had rested. All this passed
through his mind; he could not make his sister comprehend the
transformation, he could hardly comprehend it himself. He came to the
conclusion to keep it all to himself; and changing his tone, with great
self-command, he said smiling:--

"Yes, Bella, love has a sort of sanctifying power, if the word is
allowable."

Bella told him in a bantering way, that he uttered this like a
Protestant candidate for the ministry, who is making a declaration of
love in the parsonage arbor to the minister's blonde little daughter,
clad in rose-colored calico. She looked upon it, however, as an
excellent, very commendable guaranty of his feelings, that he had
declined, in his present state of mind, to enter the Justice's house;
she praised his intention of breaking off now his flirtation with Lina.

Otto nodded, with a feeling of shame; and he began now to speak of
Manna, in so gentle a tone, and in such serious earnestness, that Bella
was more and more amazed. She let him go on without interruption, and,
clasping together the fingers of her right and left hand, she said to
herself in a low tone:--

"Nut-brown eyes seven times, gazelle three times, glorious beyond all
count."

They drove through a little, fragrant pine-wood, and it seemed to
Pranken as if this perfumed air from without, and that from the book in
his bosom, enveloped him, enwrapped him in its sweet odors, and
elevated him above everything. He said, looking fixedly before him:--

"Since our great-uncle, the Archbishop Hubert, no one of our family has
entered the service of the church; I shall--"

"You?"

"I shall," continued Pranken, "dedicate my second son to the church."

It appeared exceedingly comical, and yet Pranken said it with the
deepest seriousness, while leaning comfortably against the back of the
carriage, and puffing thick clouds of smoke in quick succession from
the cigar in his mouth.

Bella, who always had some direct reply or some apposite remark to make
in continuation, now said nothing, and Otto, who found it very hard to
change the tone of conversation, seemed to himself to be under a spell.
He, the merry one, he, always so free and easy, was reduced to the
level of some intrusive Swaggerer in a convivial company, who had
pretended to be a boon-companion, and must drink and drink, whether he
relished it or not.

"I should like to give you one piece of advice," said Bella at last.

"I should like to hear it."

"Otto, I believe that your feeling is genuine, and I will also believe
that it will last; but, for heaven's sake, don't let anything of it be
perceived, for it will be considered hypocrisy, and the abject
submission of a suitor, to win by this means this pious, wealthy
heiress. Therefore, for the sake of your own honor, for the sake of
your position,--I pass by every other consideration,--keep all these
extravagances under safe lock and key. Otto, it is not my mouth that
speaks, I am but the mouth-piece of the world: lock up all these
heavenly sensations. Forgive me if I have not used the right word; I
can think now of no other. In short, be the same as you were before you
took this journey, at least in presence of the world. Are you offended
with me? Your features are so painfully contracted."

"O, no, you are shrewd and kind, and I will do as you say."

As if a new stop had been drawn out, Pranken immediately asked:--

"What's the state of things at the Villa? Is the All-wise, the great
World-soul, still there?"

"You mean, perhaps, your friend?" Bella could not refrain from
bantering her brother.

"My friend? He never was my friend, and I never called him so. I
have allowed myself to be bamboozled only through pity. It is a
long-standing trait in our family, that we are not able to see anyone
in misfortune, and I, when I help an unfortunate one, come readily into
a more intimate relation with him than is natural and proper. If one
wishes to rescue a man from drowning, one must grasp him in his arms
and to his heart, but this does not make him our bosom-friend."

Here was again the flippant, galloping style of speaking, but there was
a depth of thought in the illustration derived from the meditations of
the previous days.

Bella handed her brother a note which Fräulein Perini had given her for
him. Pranken broke the seal and read it; his countenance became
cheerful. He put the letter in his breast-pocket, but as it did not
seem to suit the neighborhood of Thomas à Kempis, he took it out again,
and put it in another pocket. Then he folded his arms over his breast,
and looked peacefully and serenely before him.

"Might I be permitted to read Fräulein Perini's note?" said Bella,
extending her hand.

Otto took it out, hastily ran through it again, and handed it to his
sister. It contained the information that Eric had gone away, and that
he had held a secret interview with Frau Ceres; the details must be
given by word of mouth.

Otto said that he wanted, some time or other, an answer to this riddle.

"The riddle is solved for me," said Bella exultingly. "Lina, the
Justice's daughter--it just occurs to me that Egmont's Clara had no
surname, needed none--well, Lina, the Justice's daughter, has declared
to all the world, that the Captain World-soul was with her at the
convent where Manna is, and without saying a word about it, he gets
himself introduced by you, the next day, to her father. You then, as
well as the rest of us, have been taken in by this loftily sublime
World-soul."

Pranken drew a long breath, doubled up his fist, and then made a
repelling motion with his hand. Bella imparted the further information
that she had seen to it, at the coffee-party, that the World-soul--this
word seemed to her just the one to designate Eric--should be obliged to
seek another abiding place; the Justice would give the finishing stroke
to him. Bella perceived, to her amazement, that Otto did not agree with
her in this method of proceeding. It was entirely unworthy of the
higher life--he did not explain whether he meant the higher social or
spiritual life--to intrigue in this way against a poor deceitful
wretch; he would much rather go openly to work, and directly enlighten
Sonnenkamp.

Bella was in very good spirits, and took it in good part. She began
with saying, that it was in the highest degree contemptible to make
such a stir about the appointment of a private tutor, a personage that
must always play a subordinate part, however fine may be his
appearance. She advised her brother, in the mean while, not to let the
Justice be beforehand with him if he himself wanted to have credit in
the matter.

Otto declared his intent to visit Herr Sonnenkamp the next day, and
then to cut off Dournay's secret threads. But he let the next day, and
yet another, pass by, without going to the villa. If other tools and
other hands did the work of annihilation, so much the better. The
Justice should have time to carry out his design. Otto read Thomas à
Kempis, to see if there was not some direction given for such a case;
he found none.



                              CHAPTER VI.

                           SKILFUL STRATEGY.


On the third day after his return, Pranken set out for the villa. He
stopped at the Justice's, for he wanted to know what he had done. But
the Justice said, modestly as well as wisely, that he did not think it
fitting to take any step before speaking with Herr von Pranken, who had
recommended his friend to the house; he was ready, however, to drive
with Herr von Pranken to Villa Eden.

Pranken bowed his thanks. He must then himself take a part in the
affair. He did not decline the offer of the Justice, perhaps the
pedantic little man might serve as a reconnoitering party, to find out
where, and in what condition, the enemy was.

In his new frame of mind, Pranken was not inclined to enter into any
intrigue, and he said to himself that this was nothing of that sort;
but strategy was always permissible, even required. One must lay hold
of the enemy wherever and howsoever he can. Pranken drew himself up
erect, and laid down the precise method of proceeding: he would pretend
to apologise for Eric, in order to help the Justice accomplish his
object more directly. He was, again, the spirited, confident, captain
of the horse-guards leaping the barriers.

The Justice requested that he would see the ladies, while he got ready
for the drive. He had not yet shaved. The good Justice lived all the
year round in violation of the law; every day his mustaches were liable
to fell a sacrifice to the stringent regulation of the Prince, that the
officers of the civil service should not wear a moustache. He gave as
an excuse for wearing it his suffering from tooth-ache, but the real
reason was, that he wanted to hide the loss of his teeth.

Pranken went up stairs. The Justice's wife welcomed him, and could not
find words strong enough to describe her rapturous admiration of Bella,
and the regret of the whole company that Herr von Pranken had not come
in for a moment.

"Might one be allowed to ask where you have been?" enquired the wife of
the Justice.

"I have been to see a dear friend on the lower Rhine."

"Might one ask the name of the friend?"

"Herr von Kempen."

She congratulated Pranken on having such intimate friends; if they
could be always worthy of his friendship. The conversation might
naturally, at this point, have brought in Eric, but Pranken refrained,
and asked after Fräulein Lina. The mother said that her child was
learning to cook, which every good housewife ought to be able to do;
only it was to be regretted that there were no cooks fit to give any
instruction. Pranken expressed himself in praise of this proceeding,
and spoke of the demoralised condition of service, for which they had
to thank the revolutionists, who undermined all fidelity and all
belief.

The lady considered this very true, and was again on the point of
referring to Eric, when luckily the Justice entered. He had put on his
official dress, and his sword, making an almost ridiculous appearance,
but Pranken was highly delighted at this respect for the occasion. They
drove together to the villa. When Pranken left the Justice's house, he
twirled his mustaches, in a most serene state of self-satisfaction and
content. He is still honorable in the highest degree, shamefully good
would many of his comrades call it, so to spare the girl. With this
feeling of exemplary virtue--and it has a fine relish--he was extremely
amiable, and full of elasticity, feeling convinced that he was, every
instant, a benefactor of the family, and that at no small sacrifice on
his own part.

Lina looked at them from the servant's room near the kitchen, as
they drove off; she stood behind the flowers in full bloom upon the
window-seat, and, as she inhaled the fragrance of a new-blown monthly
rose, a fragrance not less sweet breathed through her soul. When she
could no longer see the carriage in which her father sat with the
baron, she hastened to the best room, opened the piano, and sang, with
clear voice and ardent expression, love-songs to the world in general.
Her mother came in, with her hair in disorder, and considered it wholly
incomprehensible that Lina should be singing, while two pots put there
in the kitchen were boiling over.

"You'll never be anything but an ignoramus; except a little bit of
language you learned there, the convent has only made you simpler than
ever."

Lina went into the kitchen again, and stood before the hearth, lost in
reverie. She would like to have heard what her father and Pranken had
to say to one another.

Their conversation was very constrained. Pranken praised the Justice
for his zeal in keeping his district pure; the Justice complained that
he had, in this case, no overt acts to proceed upon, only a supposed
dangerous tendency. He understood how to draw Pranken out, and the
latter narrated many charges, of course wholly unjust, an appearance of
treason among others, which had been brought against Eric. He prayed
him, however, to spare the poor, young man to whom the Prince himself
had been merciful, and he thanked the Justice for neutralizing the
effects of the impulse, by which he himself had been violently carried
away. The Justice did not know exactly what course he ought to take,
and he was terrified when they came in sight of the villa.



                              CHAPTER VII.

                             A SUBSTITUTE.


Roland had gone to sleep with anger in his heart, on the evening of the
parting, and he awoke in sorrow. It seemed impossible that Eric could
have left him, and so strong was his faith in the bond between them,
that he wished to go to Eric's room to ask forgiveness for having
dreamed such evil things of him. But it was all true. He went to the
room; it was empty, with only the doctor's diploma lying upon the
table, a sign that it had not been all a dream.

Roland was not to remain long alone; he was summoned to his father.

His father introduced him to a man of gentlemanly bearing, who spoke
only in French and somewhat broken German. This agreeable-looking young
man, the Chevalier de Canne by name, was from French Switzerland, and
came warmly recommended by a banker in the capital, who did not himself
know the fountain-head of the stream which had brought the man to him,
for it was all Fräulein Perini's work.

Fräulein Perini was never seen to send her letters by post, for they
went through the hands of the priest, but her relations with the French
clergy were such, that, by safe mediation, a lay-pupil who could be
depended on was called to the position in Sonnenkamp's household.
Sonnenkamp's prejudices against such a connection were well known, and
it was carefully concealed.

By his modest and dignified bearing the Chevalier knew how to win the
favor of the whole household, not excepting Herr Sonnenkamp. In
contrast with Eric, he had about him something impersonal, so to speak;
never obtruding any peculiar expression of his own special views,
skilfully agreeing with everything, and succeeding, without flattery,
in giving back each person's own words in such a way that they seemed
to the speaker remarkably significant and excellent. He was able so to
illustrate and interpret even the few words which Frau Ceres uttered,
that one would believe he had long known the lady; he was besides
especially welcome to Herr Sonnenkamp, from having a thorough knowledge
of botany. With Fräulein Perini, he said grace before dinner, with so
modest and elegant an air that it only added to the attractiveness of
his appearance. Everyone was charmed except Roland, who, without
knowing why, was constantly comparing the Chevalier with Eric. For the
first time, he begged his father to send him to some school, no matter
what one, and promised to be perfectly tractable; his father would not
yield to his desire, but declared instead that Roland was very
fortunate to have such a tutor found for him.

Roland could not complain that the Chevalier made his studies a burden
to him, but he could not put Eric out of his thoughts. He had already
thrice written to him directly, letters like the lament of a maiden who
tells her lover how she is urged to a loveless marriage, and implores
him to come to her. He begged Eric, who knew nothing of his angry mood,
to forgive him for having fallen away from his allegiance for a moment;
he clung to the hope that his father, who always spoke well of Eric,
would still summon him.

So wrote Roland; he did not send the letters, but carelessly left them
lying open, and the Chevalier took copies, which Fräulein Perini
received.

Eric had in Joseph a firm ally in the family. He asked Roland
continually when Eric would return, told him much of his parents and
his grandfather, and also of a brother who was just Roland's own age.
This gave new intensity to the longing after Eric, for Roland thought
he would bring his brother with him, and then he would also have a
brother and comrade.

Several days had passed thus; Roland was sitting on a camp-stool, near
the road, where there was a fine view of the park, from which the tower
of the castle seemed to spring up as a natural growth. Roland was
drawing, and the Chevalier, who was a master in the art, sat near him.
Roland soon saw that he had heretofore received too much assistance; he
was now really painstaking and earnest. The Chevalier drew whatever
Roland was drawing, and, from time to time, they compared their work.
His teacher had advised him to make drawings of all the views of the
castle before it was rebuilt, and Roland had succeeded in doing so.
Sometimes he believed that he had done it himself, then it all seemed
like a humbug to him, for the teacher had really done most of the work.

Roland heard carriage-wheels, his heart beat, it was certainly Eric
coming. He hurried to the road, and saw Pranken sitting by the Justice.

The Chevalier had followed Roland, who stood staring at the carriage.
Pranken held out his hand and asked Roland to introduce the gentleman;
Roland was obliged to mention his name, and the Chevalier added, in a
tone of studied respect, the position he held. Pranken nodded in a very
friendly manner, and left the carriage to walk with Roland, telling him
that he brought him greetings from his sister, and that he wanted to
speak with him alone, by and by, as he had an important message for
him. Then he praised the noble bearing of the stranger, and said that
such a man was far better than a conceited German doctor.

"Eric has a right to be conceited, but he is not," answered Roland.

Pranken twirled his moustache; he might be easy, and let Eric have due,
since he was out of the way.

Roland felt an anxiety for which he could not account; he had a
foreboding that something was going on which concerned Eric. At the
villa Pranken left Roland to the Chevalier, to whom he nodded
graciously; he asked the Justice to go without him to Herr Sonnenkamp,
and, while the Justice stared in astonishment, vanished, without
waiting for an answer, and went to find Fräulein Perini.

There was a most cordial greeting between the two, who held out both
hands to each other. When Pranken asked about the Chevalier, Fräulein
Perini pretended to know nothing of him; Pranken spoke strongly of the
good impression he had received of the man, and affected not to suspect
that she had brought any secret influence to bear in the matter.

Then came an account of the visit to Manna. Not fully, but in some
measure, Pranken made known what a change had taken place in himself.

Fräulein Perini listened attentively, holding her pearl cross in her
left hand; then she gave the particulars of Eric's secret visit to Frau
Ceres, which she had referred to in her note: she showed Pranken a
letter, which she had received from the superior in answer to her
inquiries about the meeting between Eric and Manna. A copy of a letter
from Roland to Manna, in which Eric was mentioned, was also at hand.

But now all the chivalry in Pranken's nature showed itself, increased
by a moral and religious impulse. He stretched out his hand, as if he
would shelter Manna from every breath, and said firmly and decidedly,
that not a syllable more should seem to put her in a doubtful position.
The whole thing was nothing but a school-girl fancy of the Justice's
silly daughter, Lina. Manna's radiant being should not be dimmed by the
least cloud of suspicion, for she was pure, and great, and noble.
Pranken felt himself her knight, the defender of innocence, and he was
noble enough to extend his defence to Eric, who was blameless in this
respect: honorable feeling and elevated sentiment required that he
should do him justice. Fräulein Perini watched Pranken's noble ardor
with surprise, as he continued:--

"From this moment let us forget Lina's childish fancy; neither you, nor
I, nor my sister, nor Herr Sonnenkamp, who fortunately knows nothing of
it, you say, will ever cherish a thought of it again."

Fräulein Perini, instead of being hurt, was quite happy at this
greatness of mind and acuteness in Pranken; she was modest enough to
make a jest at the petty ideas of women. With great tact she declared
that this was now the true knight's service, for the ground on which
the tournament was held in our days was higher than of old.

Fräulein Perini would, on no consideration, come into collision with
Pranken, knowing what power she would thereby put out of her hands.
Pranken left her, with calm self-satisfaction, to go to Herr
Sonnenkamp: he was almost ready to defend Eric since he was already set
aside. With great peace of mind he laid his hand on the book in his
breast pocket; the man who spoke in it would be content with him.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                                BALAAM.


Pranken found the Justice and Sonnenkamp engaged in general
conversation; the greeting between him and the master of the house was
very cordial, and he seated himself astride on a chair.

"I will tell you, honored friend," began Pranken,--he liked to call
Sonnenkamp "honored friend" before people,--"I will tell you, by and
by, about my journey. Now, let me congratulate you on having apparently
found the right man for our Roland."

Herr Sonnenkamp answered that he should hardly keep the Chevalier; he
was only in the house on trial. Something seemed to tell him that the
highly cultivated Swiss would lead Roland's disposition too much
towards the clergy and the church. Eric was exactly the man whom he
should like the best.

Pranken looked around, as if to make sure whether the enemy was taking
up a new position, and said,--

"We must undoubtedly estimate the true market-value of this man."

Sonnenkamp looked at him sharply, as Pranken rattled out the words
"market-value." Did the baron think he must adapt his language to him,
the merchant? He could not guess that Pranken prided himself on the
expression which he had carefully arranged beforehand; he answered,--

"The market-value of the man is not small, but this Captain Doctor is
an eccentric man, and eccentric men are very agreeable, but one can not
rely upon them."

With the warmth of a new convert Pranken dwelt on Eric's scepticism,
and the necessity of Roland's being trusted to the guidance of a truly
religious man, who might, at the same time, know the world and its
ways.

Sonnenkamp asked, smiling,--

"Then would you really advise making an ecclesiastic of Roland?"

"If it were his mission----"

Pranken played with his moustache, as he noticed Sonnenkamp's watchful
look, bit his lips, and quickly corrected himself.

"If it were his true vocation, who would take the responsibility of
holding him back? Perhaps it would be the noblest thing for him to
renounce the treasures of this world, in order to win eternal
treasure."

The Justice played, in an embarrassed manner, with his sword-belt;
these words of unction from the Captain of the Guards seemed to him
incomprehensibly, and yet they could not be spoken in jest. He avoided
meeting the eye of either of his companions. Sonnenkamp looked serious.
It only appeared inconceivable to him that the young man could speak so
incautiously, if, not satisfied with the prospect of Manna's rich
dowry, he wished to appropriate Roland's portion.

In the consciousness of superiority, and in the triumph of playing with
men, Sonnenkamp stated that Doctor Richard had spoken to him of Eric so
enthusiastically, that it would seem that one could not bring the man
back fast enough in a coach and six.

"Ah, the doctor!" exclaimed Pranken, swinging his right hand as if it
held an invisible riding-whip. "The doctor! Of course! Atheists and
Communists stand by each other. Has the doctor also told you that he
had a private conversation with Herr Dournay on Sunday?"

"No; how do you know it?"

"By an accident. I heard--through--through a servant: there was a
pretence of going to give medical advice, then a rubbing of hands, and
the remark that there was no need of Herr Sonnenkamp's knowing that
they were united by old ties."

Sonnenkamp thanked him warmly for this information, but inwardly it
grated upon him. A suspicion that one of his servant's was in Pranken's
pay, was confirmed. The Pole, to whom Pranken always spoke so
pleasantly, must be the man, and he should leave the house.

Sonnenkamp whistled inaudibly, only from the position of his lips could
it be seen that he was whistling.

The Justice considered it his duty to permit no attack on the doctor,
inasmuch as he was the official district-physician; their positions
called for mutual support. After he had defended the doctor from any
harsh judgment, while Pranken continually stroked his beard and
mustache, he gave the conversation a turn by saying:--

"Herr von Pranken had the best intentions in recommending him, but
might I express my opinion of the young man?"

Sonnenkamp replied that he should attach much weight to the opinion of
the Justice. This was the moment when the strategic movement ought to
be made. Pranken set himself more firmly on his chair, and cheered the
Justice on to the charge, crying,--

"Explain yourself clearly. I ought to reproach myself for not having
considered that any connection with this young man would be looked upon
as a disrespect to the supreme authorities, even as an act of
hostility."

"Allow me," answered the Justice, with a tone and manner as if he were
in the court-room, remanding the accused into custody, "allow me to
keep within the limits which it behooves me to observe."

Pranken was beside himself with this Justice; this little,
insignificant, almost impotent mannikin maintained a deportment which
was quite incomprehensible. Pranken had expected that he would work
Sonnenkamp into a state of great excitement, and would give him an
indelible impression of the hatred of the court towards Eric, and what
really came? An exceedingly mild, most prudently-weighed, amicable
consideration.

The Justice had called Eric a dangerous person considered only as a
man, as a member of society. He said he did not know how rightly to
express himself; he had meant it only in a moral sense; but he
immediately took back the word _moral_, for Eric was known to be a
highly moral man. And when he now came to the question whether, through
any association with Eric, one would draw upon himself the displeasure
of the court, a mild and benignant loyalty beamed from the countenance
of the little man.

"The princes of our line," said he, "are not vindictive, but, on the
contrary, extremely generous and forgiving; and our present reigning
master! Good heavens! he has his peculiarities, but they are quite
innocent, and with them he has inexhaustible kindness of heart, and do
you think he would persecute the son of his teacher and the comrade of
his brother's youth? I would sooner assert that he would show favor to
any one who should assist Herr Eric--this Herr Eric, who has made it
impossible for him to aid him in person."

Pranken was in despair. He looked at the Justice as if he were a
hunting-dog that would not obey. He kept opening and shutting his hand,
which seemed to feel a desperate longing for a whip; he made signs to
the Justice, but in vain, and at last he smiled bitterly to himself. He
looked at the Justice's mouth, thinking that his teeth must have grown
again, he spoke fluently and decidedly as he never had done before. Ah,
these bureaucrats! thought Pranken, pulling up his top-boots. Yes,
these bureaucrats are not to be depended on!

"I am very glad," he cried at last, with a forced smile, "I am
delighted that our respected Justice dispels all apprehension.
Certainly, these official gentlemen understand their business
excellently."

The Justice received his stab, but it did not penetrate the uniform.
Sonnenkamp seemed to have played with the two men long enough. With an
air of triumph, he went to his writing-table, where several sealed
letters lay, tore the cover from one which he selected, and gave them
the enclosed sheet, saying,--

"Read that, Herr von Pranken, and you too, Herr Justice, read it
aloud."

And the Justice read,--


                                          Villa Eden, May--, 186-.

RESPECTED HERR CAPTAIN DOCTOR DOURNAY,--You will not take it ill of an
old and experienced man, honored sir, if he takes the liberty of
questioning from his one-sided, practical point of view, whether you
are not committing an injustice in employing your mind, so richly
endowed by nature, and furnished with knowledge, upon a single boy,
instead of a large community. Allow me to say to you that I regard mind
and knowledge as capital, and you make of your capital an investment at
far too low a rate of interest. I honor the nobleness of mind and the
modesty so manifest in your offer, but feeling assured that you
entirely mistake yourself, when you think that you can be satisfied in
so limited a sphere. I must, no less decidedly than gratefully, decline
your offer to undertake the education of my son.

I desire that you would give me the opportunity, by offering you a
situation for a year, with no special employment attached to it, to
show to you how truly I am, most respectfully,

                              Your obedient servant,
                                    HENRY SONNENKAMP.


While the Justice was reading, Sonnenkamp whistled to himself, keeping
time with one foot thrown over the other, manifestly very well
satisfied with the letter.

He received it back with a triumphant glance, put it in a fresh
envelope, and addressed it to Eric. While he was writing the address,
he said,--

"I should like very much to take the man into my house on a different
footing; he should do nothing but sit at the table and converse. Why
should not that be had for money? If I were a Prince, I would appoint
conversation-councillors. Are not the chamberlains something of this
sort?" he asked Herr von Pranken, with a slight touch of sarcasm.

Pranken was disturbed. There was often in this man a height of
presumption, which did not spare even the sacred precincts of the
court; but Pranken smiled very obsequiously. Lootz was summoned through
the speaking-tube, the letter was put into the post-bag, and Lootz
departed.

Roland was waiting for Pranken, who now went with him into a retired
place of the park, and there gave him an account, of his journey, and
delivered to him a second copy of Thomas à Kempis. He pointed out to
Roland the place where he was to begin reading that day, and what he
was to read every day; but always secretly, whether his tutor should be
a believer or an unbeliever.

"Isn't Eric coming back any more?" asked Roland.

"Your father had written to him a decided refusal before I came, and
the letter has been put into the post before this."

The boy sat upon the bench in the park, and stared fixedly, the book
open in his hand.



                              CHAPTER IX.

               DEJECTION AND COURAGE IN A CHILD'S HEART.


At the table, Frau Ceres thought that her son looked very pale; she
besought the Chevalier not to tax him so severely, and especially not
to let him draw so long out of doors.

The Chevalier entirely coincided with this; it was his plan to have
Roland draw from plaster-models, and after that, he would take him out
into the free air.

"Taken out into free air?" said Roland to himself; and it seemed to
strike him that there was a contradiction in the idea of being taken
into the free air.

Sonnenkamp was unusually cheerful at dinner; his contempt for men had
to-day received new confirmation, and he had fresh conviction of his
ability to play with them. He enjoyed a special sense of freedom in the
thought that this Herr Dournay, who undertook to dictate matters for
him and for so many other people, was now done with. Yet he must
acknowledge to himself, that he could, probably, have made no better
choice for his son.

After dinner, Pranken allowed the Justice, who was in a hurry, to be
driven to town in Sonnenkamp's carriage; he himself remained in very
confidential conversation with Sonnenkamp, who admired the art with
which a young man, who was a suitor for a wealthy maiden, worked
himself into a state of enthusiasm thereat.

After Pranken had departed, Sonnenkamp went to the conservatory, where
Roland soon came to him and said:--

"Father, I have a request."

"I shall be glad, if it is a request that I can grant."

"Father, I promise to learn everyday the names of twenty plants, if you
will give me Herr Eric again."

"Very nice of Herr Dournay to teach you to promise me that."

The boy looked at his father, as if confounded, his lips swelled, and
gazing timidly around upon the plants, as if he called upon them to
bear testimony that he was speaking the truth, he cried:--

"Eric has not said to me anything of the kind, any more than those
plants have; he has not taught me to say that; but if he had, I would
learn it from him, and from nobody but him."

"Not even from me?" exclaimed Sonnenkamp.

The boy was silent, and his father repeated the question:--

"Not even from me?"

His tone was vehement, and he doubled up his great fist.

"Not even from me?" he asked the third time.

The boy drew back, and cried with a thrilling voice:--

"Father!"

Sonnenkamp's fist unclosed, and with forced composure he said:--

"I didn't mean to punish you, Roland--come here--nearer--nearer yet."

The boy went to him, and his father placed his hand upon his forehead,
which, was hot, while the father's hand was cold.

"I love you more than you can understand," said the father. He bent
down his head, but the boy stretched out both hands, crying with a
voice full of anguish:--

"Ah, father! I beseech you--father, I beseech you, not to kiss me now."

Sonnenkamp turned and went away. He expected that the boy would follow
him, and clasp him round the neck, but he did not come.

Sonnenkamp stood in the hot-house near the palms; he felt chilly;
then he asked himself: "Why does not the child love you? Is that
crack-brained German revolutionist, that Doctor Fritz, in the right,
who used the words in a published letter: Thou who extirpatest filial
and parental love in thy fellow human beings, how canst thou hope for
the love of thine own children?"

He could not comprehend how these words, which were uttered in a
contest long gone by, and which he wished to forget, now came into his
mind. Suddenly a loud cry made the strong man shudder.

"God bless you, massa! God bless you, massa!" seemed to be uttered by
the voice of a spirit.

He searched about, and found his wife's parrot, which had been brought
in its cage to the hot-house. The gardener, when summoned, informed him
that Frau Ceres had ordered the parrot to be brought here, as the
dwelling-house was too cold for it.

"God bless you, massa! God bless you, massa!" cried the parrot behind
Sonnenkamp, as he was leaving the palm-house.

Roland, in the meanwhile, stood as if rooted at the spot where his
father had left him; the park, the house, everything swam round before
his eyes. Joseph then came. Roland was rejoiced that there was yet one
human being with whom he could lament over Eric's expulsion. He told
him what had happened, and made complaint about his father.

"Don't say anything to me that I cannot repeat to your father,"
interposed Joseph. He was a prudent and faithful servant, who would
have nothing to do with secrets, or with tale-bearing. His father had
impressed that upon him, when he went away from his home, and he had
resolutely and faithfully kept his counsel.

Roland asked Joseph if he was not going to return soon to his native
city; Joseph replied in the negative, but went on to tell, with great
animation, how splendid it was the first time he had leave to go home.
He described very minutely the road, and whom he met at this place and
at that, and how his mother was peeling potatoes when he stepped into
the house, and how then his father came in, and all the neighbors, and
expected to see him wearing golden clothes, because he was in the
service of so rich a man. Joseph laughed at this simplicity, but Roland
did not. He went back to the house, and it seemed to him as if the
whole house thrust him out. He went into Manna's chamber; he thought it
would seem homelike here, but the pictures on the wall, and the flowers
in the chimney-place, looked at him so strange and so inquiring. He
wished to write to Manna, and tell her of all his troubles, but he
could not write.

He left the house and went into the court; here he stood for a while,
looking round dreamily. The Chevalier came out and asked him if he did
not want to do something; Roland stared at him, as if he did not
recognize who he was, and made no reply. He took his cross-bow, but he
did not draw the string. The sparrows and doves flew about hither and
thither; the handsome dogs crowded up to him and sniffed around him,
but Roland was like one bewildered.

He went to the river-bank, followed by his great dog, Devil, and there
he sat down under the huge, tall willows, putting his hat on the ground
near him, for his head seemed on fire. He bathed his brow with water,
but his brow was no cooler. He did not know how long he had been
sitting there, gazing fixedly into vacancy without any conscious
thought, when he heard some one call him by name. He involuntarily
clapped his hand upon the muzzle of the dog lying near him, scarcely
breathing himself, in order not to betray his place of concealment. The
voice grew fainter, and ceased to be heard. He still sat quiet, and
cautioned the dog in a low tone to be still also; the dog seemed to
understand him.

Roland took put of his side-pocket the letter he had written to Eric,
and read it; his eyes overflowed with tears of longing and grief, and
getting up, he hurled the letter into the river.

The night came on. Noiselessly, as a hunter who is stalking a deer,
Roland left his lurking-place, and wended his way through the narrow
path of the vineyard back from the river. He wanted to go to the
huntsman, he wanted to go to the Major, he wanted to go to somebody who
would help him. Suddenly he stopped.

"No! to nobody--to nobody!" he breathed low to himself, as if he hardly
dared trust the silent night.

"To him! to him!"

He crouched down, so that nobody should see him in the vineyard,
although it was dark. He did not stand erect, until he came to the
highway above.



                               CHAPTER X.

                  HELPING ONE'S SELF, OR BEING HELPED.


Eric turned homewards, like a man, who, coming out of a saloon
illuminated with dazzling brilliancy, to his study where burns a
solitary lamp, involuntarily rubs his eyes, which having become
accustomed to the greater degree of brightness, require it, and are
unable without it to see so clearly and distinctly as before.

The peril of wealth lies in the fact that it may ruin not only the
possessor, but the non-possessor. Language has not completely covered
the whole case, when it calls this dissatisfaction and unrest of soul,
envy, grudging, churlishness; it is not this at all, it is rather the
severe torment of the unanswered question, Why art thou not as rich?
No, this thou dost not desire; but why art thou not, at least, placed
out of the reach of anxious care? The struggles of human life are hard
enough, why must thou have, in addition, this wrestling with sordid
want?

The most cruel suffering which the perception of riches inflicts upon
the non-possessor is, that it produces in him an unwillingness to work,
a supineness, a consciousness of servitude, and yet worse, that it
makes all effort appear questionable. What avails all thy contriving,
thy aspiration, all thy superstructure of great thoughts, so long as
there are human beings near thee, inhabiting with thee the same earth,
and perishing with starvation!

The ant in the pathway is better taken care of, for there are no ants
who are glutted, while others near by are hungry. What is all labor,
so long as this monster still stalks in the midst of us! Has that
world-wisdom, has that religious doctrine, the victorious power of
truth, if it cannot annihilate this monster?

Eric shut his eyes, and dreamed in broad daylight that disturbed dream
of our age, which attends the clatter of the locomotive. The locomotive
rushed along with rapid piston-beat, making a strange accompaniment to
the meditation of the silent passenger. He had his eyes closed, and yet
he now perceived that they were passing through a tunnel. And as such a
plunge into the darkness of earth suddenly interrupts all conversation,
so does it break off the thread of silent thought.

When they emerged into the light again, the current of Eric's thoughts
became changed. A smile came over his countenance, which looked as if
he were asleep, as the thought occurred to him that a rich vein was
opened for a treatise upon the theoretical and practical treatment of
poverty, philosophically, religiously, politically, and morally, in
ancient times. The bitterness of the feeling of poverty was thereby
lessened and removed, for poverty itself came into the realm of
science. And his meditation proceeded farther; for to the historical
view of poverty there was added a consideration of its essential
nature. Man alone can be poor and rich. The whole world of human
society is a linked chain of inquiring glances, as if each would say to
the other, "Thou hast what I have not."

In external nature, no creature looks to another differently
constituted, no created thing troubles itself about another; each bird
in the wood has its own range for procuring food for its young, and no
other one of the same species builds its nest within that circuit,
obliging it to struggle for insects and grubs to feed its brood. The
animals of a like species, of like characteristics, of like means of
defence and attack, alone live together in one herd, but they have no
union. Man alone comes into a union with beings of a like species,
those who, endowed by nature with the same faculties, are furnished by
destiny with greater force than he himself possesses.

The clattering continued without interruption, the locomotive whistled,
and the thought took hold of Eric's soul, that the grandest idea which
humanity has ever revealed out of the mouth of an individual has been
this: "No one is poor and no one rich, when we direct the thought to
the Eternal. The Fatherhood of God bridges over the abyss."

The wheels upon the iron rails went on beating time, and gave a new
rhythm to Eric's thought, who now opened his eyes, saying to himself,--

"So it is! The children of God are borne along in the first, second,
and third class railway carriages by the same power, the power of
steam, whether they sit upon soft or hard benches; it makes no
difference."

People got in, people got out; Eric took no notice of them, and they
did not disturb his meditation. He quietly smiled upon all, and saw
them as in a dream, wholly forgetful of himself, as one looks upon the
movement hither and thither in an ant-hill, where each may carry its
pine-needle, its little seed-grain.

Eric first waked up when his ticket was called for, as they approached
the university-town, and then he roused himself as if he had just come
out of a deep, dream-disturbed sleep; he composed himself ready to
greet his mother. He got out. No one was awaiting his arrival.

The hills around, which had formerly seemed to Eric so bright and
beautiful, and where he had strolled alone or with his father, engaged
in the contemplation of vast, world-important thoughts, these hills now
appeared so low and so small, and the river so insignificant! His eye
had taken in wider and more extensive views, and a larger standard of
measurement had unconsciously been made his own.

He saw the old forms at the station, he saw the university-simpleton,
which every smaller university has, who grinned at the doctor, and bade
him welcome. He saw the students with their caps of various colors, who
were amusing themselves with making passes in the air with their canes,
and playing with their dogs. All this seemed to him like a forgotten
dream. And how was this? Had it not formerly been his highest desire to
live and to teach here?

He went through the town,--nowhere anything pleasing to the eye; all
was narrow, angular, contracted. He came to the paternal mansion;
the narrow, wooden steps seemed to him so steep; he entered the
sitting-room. No one was there. Mother and aunt had gone out. He went
into his father's library: the books, formerly arranged in such good
order, and which, hitherto, no one had ventured to disturb, were lying,
for the most part, upon the floor; a tall, lean man, looking over the
spectacles on the tip of his nose, stood staring at him with surprise.

Eric introduced himself; the man took the spectacles in his hand, and
gave as his name that of a well-known antiquary in the capital, who had
come to purchase the library.

So his mother's hope was gone, thought Eric. He remarked to the
antiquary how valuable his father's annotations were, which were to be
found on almost every page of every book.

The antiquary shrugging his shoulders, replied that these comments were
valueless, and that they even detracted from the value of the books. If
his father had written a great book, which gave him a great reputation,
these notes would then have value; but his father had all his life been
intending to write a great work, but had never accomplished it; and so
all the notes and comments, even if valuable in themselves, were for
the antiquary a depreciation in the worth of the books.

The tears came into Eric's eyes, already excited as he was by what he
had gone through.

The whole labor of his father's life was not only to be lost, but to be
worse than lost. Here was no leaf on which the eye of the sleeping one
had not rested, here were his private thoughts, his feelings and his
rich wisdom, and this was to be flung away into the world, despised,
and perhaps appropriated by some stranger for his own profit.

Eric blamed himself for not accepting decidedly and immediately the
position with Sonnenkamp; he might have effected it, and then have
received a considerable sum of money. He blamed himself for letting the
old cavalier pride get the better of him.

Eric looked sorrowfully upon a whole pile of manuscript sheets, books,
and inserted printed scraps, which his father had been collecting and
preparing his whole lifetime.

Eric's father had intended to write a book with the title, "The Real
Man in History;" but he had died before accomplishing his purpose. Many
valuable notes, even single portions, had been written out, but no use
could be made of them, for each separate remark was considered in three
different ways, and the leading idea had been contained in the head of
the professor alone. All the sciences and the most remote facts of
history had been drawn together, but the leading and connecting thought
of the whole had vanished with the man himself, now resting in the
ground; no entire form could be constructed out of these fragments.
Only one thing was often pointed out, that the title should be, "The
Real Man."

The first and larger part was to have collected those traits, scattered
in the course of ages, out of which the image of God could be
constructed as it was manifest in all the actual unfoldings of
humanity; the second part was then to give an exact account of the
manifestations of the soul's life in the past, to be as definitely
determined as past events in external nature; and from there onwards
was the point to be designated where genius, that miracle in the
intellectual sphere, lays the foundation for new developments. This was
what Eric thought, at any rate, when he tried to arrange the papers
left by his father; then the leading and fundamental thought vanished,
and all this matter collected with such laborious industry seemed
utterly useless. As a treasure-digger, who must raise the treasure
without speaking, so his father seemed to have closed his lips upon
what he had already done, and upon what he intended to do.

Eric went back to the sitting-room, and the deep emotion of his heart,
the whole uncertainty of his position, the growing strangeness of his
home--all these were gathered into the thought of the lost labor, the
useless toil of his father.

He looked around the room; it seemed to him inconveniently crowded with
old furniture. He, who generally examined himself so closely and judged
himself so severely, did not suspect that the sight of luxurious wealth
and the late recognition of his own poverty had thrown a dark veil over
all surrounding objects.

He collected himself, for he heard his mother and aunt returning.

His mother was heartily glad to see her son, but Eric was deeply
troubled when she told him that she should have thought it quite right
if he had accepted the situation with Sonnenkamp without reference to
her, because, in their present position, it seemed double good fortune.

Eric saw that his mother, whom nothing had ever been able to bend, was
now not only bent, but broken, and while he looked into her sorrowful
face, he bitterly felt that his scruples and his sacrifice appeared
superfluous.

His mother, repressing her own feelings, had written to the widowed
princess, whose maid of honor she had been, giving an account of her
situation. She had poured out her whole heart to the noble lady, and
spoken of the great good fortune of the princess in being able to
render essential help to her, who had never asked any favor; she
requested a limited sum of money in order not to be obliged to sell the
library of her husband, which was a sacred family possession, and had
great value for her son. Tears came into her own eyes, as she read over
the letter she had written. And now the mother handed to her son the
reply of the dowager princess. She had answered through her secretary
in well-expressed, sympathetic, and gracious terms. A small sum of
money was enclosed, not half enough for the object in view.

The mother had had the desire to return this small sum, with the shrewd
reply that, perhaps, the subordinate employed had not enclosed the full
amount determined on by the princess; but she did not do it; one must
not offend these high personages; one must even return humble thanks,
in order not to forfeit their unsubstantial good-will.

Eric promised to have the library secured within a week.

He went immediately to his chamber, and wrote a letter to Count
Wolfsgarten. He stated in plain words his state of mind at reaching his
paternal home, in what condition he had found it and his mother, and
finally he quoted to Clodwig his declaration,--

"I feel so much a friend to you, that I can allow myself to be placed
under obligation by you."

Eric had written that he should feel no change towards Wolfsgarten,
even if he refused his request. But feeling that this was not true, he
tore up the letter and wrote another, leaving out this assurance. It
was no trifling matter for Eric, the first time in his life, to present
himself as a petitioner, yes,--he tormented himself with the word,--as
a beggar.

Eric now spoke directly of his journey. His mother heard him through
quietly, except that when Bella was mentioned, she said,--"Bella
Pranken is a woman who cannot be counted on."

The old plans were discussed anew. Eric wanted to establish an
educational institution, and his mother and aunt were strongly inclined
to this, as they had many connections with the best families of the
country; but they were not agreed whether they should have an
institution for girls or for boys. Eric was in favor of the latter, as
he could have more direct relations with that; but his mother wanted
him to make a scientific journey for several years, so as to acquire a
reputation at once by means of some great work, and not creep on in the
plodding path. She and the aunt would, in the meanwhile, earn so much
at the capital that Eric could live free from care.

They came to the conclusion to make no positive decision until Herr
Sonnenkamp's letter should be received. The mother said that it would
be the fulfilment of one of her ideals of life to take possession of
the vine-covered little house; and she entertained a sanguine hope of
attaining some influence over the lad surrounded by the dangers of
riches; she should be glad to do so, as he was just the age of the son
she had lost.

Eric visited his old teacher and friend, Professor Einsiedel, who was
his chief instructor. He was a high-priest of science, a man who,
engaged continually and exclusively in the region of pure thought, and
in investigations for the extension of the sphere of knowledge, lived
entirely alone, regular, methodical, systematic, free from all
excitement, eating and drinking an incredibly small quantity, but
always attracted by new developments of truth, always open-eyed to look
into the widespreading realm of thought.

Professor Einsiedel had been a friend of Eric's father, and he always
lamented that he, who was continually striving after the best and the
perfect, had not accomplished the good, which is necessarily
incomplete. His axiom was, that we must be contented with having made
some small, individual contribution, and that this extends to become a
part of the great whole. We never accomplish anything that gives us
perfect satisfaction, and to which we have nothing more to add. Only of
the Creator can it be said, that on ending his work. He saw that it was
good. The absolute mind can alone effect that the created existence
shall correspond to the creative thought, the actual to the ideal; the
finite mind must always have over it the idea of what it can do, and
what it ought to do.

Whenever Eric came to the professor with any scientific inquiry, he
received at once direction as to the best and most direct sources of
information; he would even, with the greatest disinterestedness, place
at the disposal of every one his own carefully prepared notes. It was
the same to him whether it were published under his own name or under
that of another person, provided it went forth to the world.

In the professor's study was a picture by Rembrandt, a small
copper-plate engraving, which was almost a portrait of the professor
himself. It represented Faust in his night-cap, gazing at the magic
circle illuminated by its own light. Faust is an old, wizzled-up little
man, sorely in need of the rejuvenating draught. Professor Einsiedel
had no such magic potion, but he drank new life, every day, from the
ancient classics.

When Eric now called upon him, to get help and advice, he found the
good old professor--living entirely alone, and troubled not so much by
being alone, as by the necessity of taking care of life--in rather an
odd plight. He regretted that Eric did not devote himself exclusively
to science, but admitted also that Eric's natural tendency was to some
practical and personal activity. And with a smile, peculiarly his own,
he said,--

"You are a well-formed man, and you ought to make money out of that,
for it is worth something. Yes, yes, that will be a help."

Eric, in his restlessness and in his ardent desire not to be waiting,
but to do something for himself, went the next day to the capital, for
he had heard from the antiquarian, that an elderly man who conducted a
very respectable institute was about to retire, and wanted to transfer
it to good hands.

He came to the capital where he had lived as an officer many years,
respected and without care. Several comrades in their uniform seemed
not to know him; others bethought themselves after he had passed, and
called out, "Ah, is it you? Good-morning!" and went on. He went through
the capital, where he was born, and where he felt at home, making
inquiries like a stranger; he hoped it would again seem familiar and
homelike to him, when he should go out into the streets from an
established place of abode and a daily employment.

He was well received by the school-proprietor, and the conditions were
acceptable. The respect in which his parents were held was of great
advantage to him here; but the necessity of adopting the old
regulations and methods made him hesitate. Without coming to any
definite arrangement, he left the school-building.

He met now in one of the streets an old friend of his father, the
present minister of education, who, stopping him, and inquiring about
his mother and his own welfare, offered him the situation of custodian
in the cabinet of antiquities, with the assurance that he should soon
be promoted to the directorship. Eric promised to take the matter into
consideration.

Just as he left the minister, an oldish man, who had been waiting for
him under a house-porch, came up to him and greeted him in a very
friendly manner. Eric could not call to mind who he was, and the
man said that Eric had once done him a good turn in the house of
correction, and thanked him for it; he was now in a very good situation
as servant of the chancellor, and with a half-sly, half-pious
expression of countenance, he offered to render Eric any service that
was in his power.

Eric thanked him; he did not notice that many persons, who went by and
recognised him, regarded this companionship as very odd.

Now the comrade who had taken Eric's place, and had become an actual
captain, came from parade; he took Eric with him to the military
club-house, and Eric was cheerful and lost all thought of the troubles
of life. In the club-house there was much talk about Otto von Pranken
and his marriage with a Creole worth many millions. Eric did not
consider it necessary to say that Manna was no Creole, and that he had
some knowledge of how the matter really stood.



                              CHAPTER XI.

                        WHERE ART THOU, ROLAND?


"Where is Roland?"

Sonnenkamp asks Joseph, Joseph asks Bertram, Bertram asks Lootz, Lootz
asks the head-gardener, the head-gardener asks the Little-squirrel, the
Little-squirrel asks the laborers, the laborers ask the children, the
children ask the air, Fräulein Perini asks the Chevalier, the Chevalier
asks the dogs, and Frau Ceres must find out nothing from any of them.

Sonnenkamp rides at full speed to the Major, the Major asks Fräulein
Milch, but she, who knows everything, this time knows nothing. The
Major rides to the castle; Roland's name is called out in all the
excavations and dungeons, but there is no answer.

Sonnenkamp sends the groom to the huntsman, but he is off to the field,
and not to be found.

Sonnenkamp rides to the railroad station, taking with him Puck,
Roland's pony, and often looking at the empty saddle. He asks at the
station, in an indifferent tone, if Roland had not arrived, as if he
were expecting his return from a journey. No one had seen him.
Sonnenkamp rides back to the villa, and asks hurriedly if he has not
come, and when they say no, he rides to the next station up the river.
He asks here also, but less cautiously, and here nothing is known. The
servants rush hither and thither as if bewildered.

Sonnenkamp returns to the villa; the Major is there; Fräulein Milch has
sent him, as perhaps he can render some assistance. She thinks that
Roland has certainly gone to the convent. The Major and Sonnenkamp
drive to the telegraph-office, and send a message to the convent; they
are extremely impatient, for there is no direct telegraphic
communication, and so it will be two hours before an answer can be
returned. Sonnenkamp desires to wait here, and sends the Major to the
town, where he was to see the doctor, and make inquiries everywhere,
but not so as to excite any observation.

Sonnenkamp goes up and down at the station, and places his hot brow
against the cool stone pillars; all is quiet and empty. He went into
the passengers' room; he found that the seats at the station were not
made for comfortable rest; it was horribly inhuman. In America it is
different, or it isn't--no matter.

He went out; he saw the men loading a freight-car,--they did it so
leisurely; he looked at a stone-cutter who was using a pick and a
hammer: he looked fixedly at him as if he himself wanted to learn the
trade. People everywhere were working so quietly; they might well do
so, they had not lost a son. He observed the telegraph-wires, he had an
impulse to cry throughout the whole world, even where it would be of no
possible avail,--

"Where is my son?"

Night comes on. The railway-train rolls in, and Sonnenkamp steps back
in terror; it seems to him that the locomotive would rush directly upon
him. He composes himself, he looks about, he strains his eyes, he sees
nothing of Roland. The people disperse, and all is again still.

Sonnenkamp went to the telegraphist, and asked again if the telegram
which had been sent had reached its destination. The reply was, "Yes."
The clicking of the telegraph-lever thrilled him; he felt the same
blows in his throbbing temples. He requested the operator to remain
there during the night, as one could not tell but that a message might
be sent to him, or he might want to send one.

But the operator refused, although a large sum of money was offered
him; he was not allowed to change the arrangements without orders from
his superiors. He ordered his assistant to stay there as long as he
himself remained; he closed the door with a bang, and went off. He was
evidently afraid of Sonnenkamp.

Sonnenkamp was again alone. Then he heard the stroke of oars on the
river.

"Is it you, Herr Major?" he cried out into the starlight night.

"Yes."

"Have you found him?"

"No."

The Major got out of the boat; there was no trace of Roland in the
town. An answer could not be received from the convent before early the
next morning. Now the thought presented itself, that perhaps Roland was
with Count Wolfsgarten. A messenger was sent thither, and they returned
to the villa.

When Sonnenkamp extended his hand to the Major to help him into the
carriage the latter said,--

"Your hand is so cold to-day."

It shot through Sonnenkamp's brain, like an arrow, that he had wanted
to punish the boy to-day. If the boy, with this thought in his mind,
had drowned himself in the waters of the Rhine!

The ring on his thumb burned into his flesh, as if it were red-hot.

Joseph met them on their way back to the villa.

"Is he there?" cried the Major. Sonnenkamp could not himself ask the
question.

"No; but the gracious lady has got hold of it."

In the village through which they drove, people were still standing
together in groups, and chatting in the mild spring-night. They met the
priest, and Sonnenkamp requested him to accompany them to the villa.

When they arrived at the court of the villa, Sonnenkamp remained
sitting in the carriage, as if he had lost himself, and did not get out
until he was spoken to. He gained strength and self-possession after
his feet touched the ground.

Lights flitted to and fro, and shone through the lofty windows of the
house. Now a shriek was heard, and he hurried in. In the great saloon,
Frau Ceres, in her night-dress, was kneeling before a chair, her face
hidden in the cushion. The priest stood by her side, Fräulein Perini
was pouring an effervescent powder into a glass. Sonnenkamp went
quickly to his wife, placed his hand upon her shoulder, crying,--

"Ceres, be quiet."

The lady turned round, glared at him with glowing eyes, then sprang up,
tore open the garment on his breast, shrieking,--

"My son! give me my son, you--"

Sonnenkamp held his broad hand over her mouth; she tried to bite him,
but he kept her mouth closed, and she was still.

Sonnenkamp requested the priest and Fräulein Perini to leave his wife;
Fräulein Perini hesitated, but a wave of his hand gave her decided
orders to go. She and the Ecclesiastic left the room. Now Sonnenkamp
took Frau Ceres up in his arms, as if she were a child; carried her in
to her chamber, and laid her upon the bed. Her feet were cold, and he
wrapped a cloth around them in such a manner, that they were firmly
bound. After a while, Frau Ceres slept, or only pretended to be asleep;
it was the same either way. He went out into the balcony-chamber, where
the Ecclesiastic, the Major, and Fräulein Perini were sitting together.
He urged the priest to betake himself to rest, thanking him very
warmly; he said the same to Fräulein Perini, with an odd mingling of
courteousness and authoritativeness in his manner; he requested the
Major to stay with him.

For an hour he sat with the Major at the open balcony-door, looking up
at the starry heaven and listening to the rushing river; then he
requested the Major to go to bed; the day would enable them to proceed
quietly on sure ground. He himself lay down in the ante-chamber to his
wife's room; he went again softly to her bed, shading the light with
his hand; she was sleeping quietly, with burning cheeks.

All was still at the villa. Sonnenkamp was waked up when the messenger
returned from Wolfsgarten; they knew nothing of Roland there.

"Is Herr von Pranken coming?" asked Sonnenkamp. The messenger did not
know.

Sonnenkamp was very weary, and exhausted from want of sleep, but he
could not rest; he stood at the balcony and listened to the singing of
the birds and the rushing of the river; he saw the sun rise in the
heavens, he heard the clocks strike; the whole world, so fresh and
beautiful, seemed to him a chaos. His daughter at the convent, and his
wife ready, at any moment, to testify the most horrible things against
him, and his son disappeared, leaving no trace! Perhaps his corpse is
floating yonder in the water! It seemed to Sonnenkamp, for a moment, as
if he must throw himself headlong from the balcony, and put an end to
his life. Then he stood erect and took a fresh cigar.

He went down into the park; the trees were quivering noiselessly in the
early dawn, and their leaves rustled and whispered when the morning
sunbeam stirred them into music and motion. The birds were carroling;
they had their home and their family, and to them no child was
missing----

Sonnenkamp wandered hither and thither. This soil is his, these trees
are his, everything is green, blooming, breathing a fresh life. Does he
still breathe for whom all this had life, for whom it all was to live,
for whom it was planted and set in order?

"Why is it? why is it?" shrieked Sonnenkamp through the park. No reply
came from without; perhaps one came from within, for he pressed both
hands, doubled up, against his breast.

He came into the orchard. There stood the trees, whose branches he had
shaped according to his pleasure; they stood in full blossom, and now,
in the first morning beam, the blossoms were falling down like a low
rustling rain upon the ground, that looked white as if covered with
flakes of snow.

The lighter the morning became, the more confident did Sonnenkamp feel
that Roland was floating there a corpse in the river, which was now of
a reddish purple, a stream of blood; the far-extending water was
nothing but blood! He uttered a deep groan, and stretched out his hand,
as if he must grasp and throttle something. He seized hold of a tree
and shook it, and shook it again and again, so that there was scarcely
a blossom left upon it; he stood there covered all over with the
petals. And now he broke out into a scornful laugh.

"Life shall not vanquish me! Nothing! Not even thou! Roland, where art
thou?"

At this instant he saw a white form, with a strange head-covering,
glide through the orchard, and vanish behind the trees. What is that?
He rubbed his eyes. Was that a mere fancy, or was it a reality?

He went after the apparition.

"Stop," he cried, "there are steel-traps there, there's a spring-gun
there!" A woman's voice uttered a lamentable, shriek. Sonnenkamp went
up to her, and Fräulein Milch stood before him. "What do you want here?
What's the matter?"

"I wanted the Herr Major."

"He is still asleep."

"I may also tell you," Fräulein Milch began, composing herself, "it
leaves me no rest."

"Out with it,--no preliminaries!"

Fräulein Milch drew herself up haughtily and said,--

"If you are in that humor, I can go away as I came."

"Excuse me, what then do you want?" he asked gently.

"I had a suggestion for you."

Sonnenkamp composed himself to listen patiently, and nodded to her to
go on. She now said that she could not rest, she did not know whether
the Major had suggested it. Sonnenkamp broke off impatiently a
blossoming twig, and Fräulein Milch continued,--she thought that the
Herr Captain Dournay might perhaps know where Roland was; they ought to
telegraph to him.

Sonnenkamp thanked the old dame with a very obliging smile, and said,
exercising great self-command, that he would wake up the Major, and
send him into the garden; but Fräulein Milch begged that he might be
allowed to take his sleep quietly. She turned back to her house, and
Sonnenkamp walked on through the park.

The roses had bloomed out during the night, and from hundreds of stems
and bushes sent their fragrance to their owner, but he was not
refreshed by it. Here is the park, here are the trees, here is the
house, all this can be acquired, can be won. But one thing cannot be
won: a life, a child's life, a child's heart, a union of soul with
soul, which can never be sundered, and can never come to an end.

And again came to him that cutting sentence,--You have killed the
noblest impulses in your fellow-men, the feeling of father, and mother,
and child. Now it is you who suffer!

Why does the word of that opponent in the New World hover around him
to-day, today, as it did yesterday? Is that terrible man, perchance, on
board that boat which is now steaming up the stream in the first
morning light?

He could not imagine that, at this very moment, the child of this man
was speaking to his own child.



                              CHAPTER XII.

                       WHAT IS STIRRING BY NIGHT.


The roses in the garden, and in the youth's soul, all opened during the
night.

To Eric! Roland's open mouth would have said, but no sound was uttered,
he said it only to himself. It was a clear starlight-night, the waning
moon, in its third quarter, hung in the heavens, giving a soft light,
and Roland was penetrated with such a feeling of gladness, that he
often threw out his arms, as if they were wings with which he could
easily fly. He went at a quick pace, as if he were pursued; he heard
steps behind him, and stopped; it was only the echo of his own
footsteps.

At a distance a group of men, standing still, were waiting for him. He
came nearer; they were wooden posts, painted black, intended to fence
in a vineyard. He moderated his pace, and would have sung, but he
feared to betray himself by any sound. He stood still upon an
elevation, and heard far below upon the river the wheezy puffing of a
tow-boat; he saw the lights upon the masts of the boats in tow, and
they moved along so wonderfully! He counted them, and there were seven.

"They are also awake," he said to himself, and it occurred to him, for
the first time, that people were obliged to be awake, and to labor at
night to earn their living, as the engineers there on the tow-boat, the
helmsmen, and the boatmen on the boats in tow.

Why is this? What forces men to this? The boy angrily shook his head.
Why did this trouble him? He walked on over the high level plain, and
then ascended a hill behind it. He took a childlike pleasure that his
shadow accompanied him. He kept always the middle of the road; the
ditches by the wayside looked dismal and haunted. He was startled at
the shadows which the trees cast in the light of the moon, and was glad
when he came where it was clear and bright. When he drew near to a
village, he felt secure, for although everybody was asleep, yet he was
in the midst of human beings. The boy had been told that, by night,
thieves and murderers go about on all the roads to rob and to murder.
What did he have about him for them to rob? His watch and chain. He
took out his watch, wanting to conceal it.

"For shame!" he suddenly cried. He became conscious how afraid he was
in the depth of his soul; he would not be afraid. He boldly summoned up
the dangers which he wanted to encounter, rejoiced over them, and cried
aloud,--

"Come on! Here am I, and here is Devil too! Isn't it so, Devil? Just
let them come on!" he said to the dog caressingly. The dog leaped up to
him.

He passed through a village. All were asleep, except that here and
there a dog barked, scenting Devil's proximity. Roland ordered him to
be quiet, and he obeyed. The boy recognized the village as the one
where he had been with the doctor and Eric on Sunday: here was the
house where the man had died; here on the opposite side was the
gymnastic ground, where he had exercised with Eric. At last he came to
the house of Sevenpiper, where the entire orchestra were now asleep. He
stood awhile, considering whether he should not wake up some one in the
house, either to go with him, or to be sent to his father. He rejected
both suggestions and went on.

The night was perfectly still; the only sound was the occasional
barking of a dog at a distance, as if disturbed in his sleep. A brook
rippled by the wayside, and he was glad to hear its strange sound; it
went as if chatting with him for a while, and then disappeared, and all
was silent. He passed through a ravine, where it was so dark from the
high trees on both sides that he could not see the path; quietly
composing himself, he went forward, thinking how beautiful it must be
there in the clear daylight. He emerged from the ravine, and was
rejoiced to be in the highway again. Over the ridge of a mountain shone
a star, so large, so brilliant, always, going up higher, and gleaming
so brightly! Does Manna know what star this is?

There was a light in the first house of a village; he stopped. He heard
voices. The woman inside was mourning and lamenting, that, on the
morrow, her only cow was to be sold. Taking his resolution quickly,
Roland placed several gold pieces upon the window-sill of the lower
room, and knocked on the window-pane, crying,--

"You people! there is, some money for the cow upon the sill."

He ran breathlessly away, a sort of trouble coming over him, as if he
were a thief; he did not stop until he had gone some distance,
crouching down in a ditch. He could not tell why he had run from there.
As he now lay there and hearkened whether the people followed him, he
laughed merrily to himself, to think that it must seem to them to have
been some spirit that goes about healing men's sorrows, and making them
grateful. No one came. He went on vigorously, happy in the thought of
what he had done, and thinking that when he had a great deal of
money--as he would have at some time--he would go about secretly in the
world, and thus make everybody happy wherever his footsteps went.

When he fixed his gaze again upon the path, he saw a strange-looking
man in the field by the wayside, who was aiming a gun directly at him.
Roland, trembling, stood still, and asked the man what he wanted; the
man did not move. Roland set the dog upon him, and the dog came back,
shaking his head. Roland went up to the form, and laughed and trembled
at the same time, to find that it was nothing but a scarecrow.

A wagon, groaning under its heavy load, came nearer and nearer. It was
a strange creaking and clattering, as the wagon swayed upon its axle,
and the wheels grated upon and crushed the stones. Roland came to the
conclusion that the wagon had only two wheels, and was drawn by one
horse. He kept still, in order to determine this, and then he heard the
sound of several hoofs. He awaited the approach of the wagon, and saw
that there were two horses harnessed tandem to a wagon with only two
wheels. Roland went on one side, and waited for the wagon to go by; the
driver walked near it, whistling and cracking his whip. Roland walked
on, keeping at a little distance behind the wagon. A fearfulness had
taken possession of the youthful wanderer by night, and now he felt
himself near a human being who was awake; if any danger threatened he
could call upon him. "Yes," he said inwardly to himself, "this is how I
would call out,--

"'Help! help!'"

But no danger presented itself. And he said to his dog, as if in
derision,--

"Shame that nobody assails us, to give us both a chance to show how
courageous we are."

But he was terrified when all at once he heard nothing more of the
wagon; it had stopped at the toll-gate. When it again creaked he was in
good spirits once more. The wagon halted at the first house of the next
village. The hostler, who seemed to have been expecting the driver, was
not a little amazed to see, by the light of the lantern which he had
with him, a handsome boy with sparkling eyes. "Hi! who may this be?"
the servant cried, leaving his mouth wide open with astonishment and
terror, for the great dog sniffed about his legs, then placed himself
in front of the terrified fellow, showing all his teeth, and blinking
back to his master, as if waiting for the watchword, "Seize him!"

Roland ordered the dog to come away. There must have been something in
his voice that produced a feeling of respect in the driver and in the
servant.

They asked him whether he would not also take a drink. Roland said yes.
And he sat now at table, touching glasses with the teamster by the
light of a solitary oil lamp. The servant was inquisitive, and said
with a smirk, pointing to Roland's delicate hand,--

"That's a splendid finger-ring; how that stone does shine! That is
worth ever so much, isn't it? You! make me a present of that."

The landlord, in the sleeping-room adjoining, hearing this, came in,
ghostlike, in his shirt and drawers. Roland was now asked who he was,
whence he came, and where he was going. He gave an evasive answer.

The teamster left, and Roland, keeping by his side, listened to the
narration of his way of life. He learned that the wagon was loaded with
new stone bottles, which were carried to a neighboring mineral-spring,
and thence were sent into all the world, even as far as Holland. Roland
was astonished to find how many kinds of occupation were requisite,
before the mineral-water was drunk at his father's table. For the
teamster, Holland was the end of the world; he was amazed when Roland
told him that there were many countries, even whole divisions of the
earth, much farther off than Holland. The teamster was surprised at
Roland's extensive knowledge, and inquired if he had ever been so far
away.

Roland gave an indirect reply. And now the teamster told him that he
himself was an honest fellow, that he had earned by hard work
everything which he had upon his back, and he would go hungry and beg,
before he would get anything by dishonest means. He advised Roland, if
he had done anything which made him afraid of being punished--if
perhaps he had stolen the ring--he had better return and give
everything up. Roland set the man at rest.

The road led through a small forest of handsome oak-trees. The
screeching of an owl was heard, Sounding like a mocking laugh.

"Thank God," said the teamster, "that you are with me; did you hear
that laugh?"

"That is no laugh, that was a screech-owl."

"Yes, screech-owl--that's the laughing spirit."

"The laughing-spirit? Tell me what that is."

"Yes; my mother heard it once in broad daylight, when she was just a
little girl. The children were at one time out there in the wood, to
get acorns. You perhaps know that they shake down the acorns and place
a white cloth under the tree, and catch them in that; it makes the best
food for hogs. Well, the children are in the woods on a fine afternoon
in autumn, the boys get up into the tree and shake down the acorns, and
there is such a rattling! Then they hear, all at once, in the thicket a
loud laugh. 'What is that?'--'O,' says my mother, 'that is a spirit.'
'What!' says a saucy fellow there, 'if it's a spirit, then I will just
for once take a look at him.' He goes into the thicket, and when he
once gets into the thicket, there sits a mighty little dwarf upon a
tree-stump; his head is almost bigger than his whole body, he is gray
all over, and he has a long gray beard. And the boy asks, 'Is't you
that laughed so?' 'Nobody else,' says the dwarf, and laughs once more,
exactly as before. 'You have shaken down the acorns, but there is one
fallen down under the cloth, deep into the moss, that you will not
find, and out of that acorn will grow up a tree, and when it is large
enough it will be cut down, and out of one part of the boards a cradle
wilt be made, and out of the other part a door, and a child will be
laid in the cradle, and when that child shall open that door for the
first time, I shall be released. Until that time I must wander about,
because I have been a forest-trespasser, and lived on dishonest means.'
The little dwarf laughs again, and then vanishes into the tree-stump
Since then he's been heard many a time, but nobody's seen him again.
Everybody knows the oak-tree in the forest, but no one disturbs it."

Roland shuddered. He did not believe in the story, but he gave
attention while the teamster continued to relate to him how hard it was
to get rid of possessions dishonestly acquired.

Gradually it began to be twilight. Roland extended his hand to the
teamster, and bade him good-bye, as he wished to stay here and wait
awhile. The teamster seated himself upon the wagon-shafts, and fixed
himself comfortably, as it was now day, and he could doze a little.

The boy sat down upon a pile of stones, gazing into vacancy, and
listening to the gradual dying away in the distance of the rattling and
creaking wagon. For the first time in his life, he represented to
himself in imagination the way in which a human being lives. He saw, as
in a dream, the teamster arriving at his place of destination, he saw
him lying in the shed upon the bundle of hay which he afterwards threw
to his horses.

Roland had never yet been so alone, so without attendance, so conscious
that no one could call to him; it seemed that he now saw, for the first
time, the world and all that is in it. He followed the path of a little
beetle, which crept swiftly along the ground and scrambled up a stalk.

Incomprehensible thoughts were stirring in his youthful spirit. What an
infinite fulness of existence is the world! In the hedges of wild
roses, just opening their buds by the roadside, sat motionless beetles
and insects of all kinds, and a great buzzing and humming came from one
open flower-cup to another. Here had beetles, butterflies, flies, and
spiders spent the night, and the well-roofed snails were quietly housed
upon the twigs.

He saw a field-mouse come out of its hole; first it remained resting
upon the edge, listening, looking round, moving its chaps, and finally
it slipped out, and quickly disappeared into another hole among the
grass. A variegated beetle, in the early morning, ran across the
field-path, fearing the public road, and feeling perfectly safe only
among the thicket of the grain.

A hare ran out, and Devil sprang after him; Roland involuntarily felt
at his side to seize hold of his gun.

As if emerging from beneath the surface of an overwhelming flood of
impressions, Roland rose up. The sun had risen; he could not endure its
splendor, and with eyes fixed upon the ground he went on. But his step
lagged, for a voice spoke in him:--

"Turn back to father and mother!" But suddenly he cried aloud,--

"Eric!"

"Eric!" was repeated again in multiple echoes, and Roland walked on
now, as if called by the mountains themselves. It seemed to him, not as
if he walked, but as if he were lifted up and carried along. The night
without sleep, the wine, all that he had experienced, excited his
imagination, and it seemed as if he must now meet with something
which no one else had ever met with--something inexpressible,
incomprehensible, miraculous. He looked round, expecting to see it;
something must certainly come to him and say, "For thee have I waited;
art thou here at last?" And as he thus looked round, he noticed that
the dog had left him. The wood yonder was near, the dog had evidently
run after a hare or a wild rabbit. Roland whistled, he wished to call
aloud, "Devil! Devil!" but he did not utter the word. He called the old
name, "Griffin!" The dog bounded towards him, his tongue lolling from
his mouth; he was wet with the dew of the corn-field through which he
had run. Roland found it difficult to keep the dog off, for he seemed
perfectly happy to have his name again; he looked up intelligently,
panting quickly.

"Yes, your name is Griffin!" Roland cried to him. "Now down!" The dog
kept close to his feet.

As the road now led through the forest, Roland turned aside, and laid
himself down on the moss under a fir-tree; the birds sang over his
head, and the cuckoo called. The dog sat near him, and seemed almost
jealous that Roland did not vouchsafe him a single glance. Roland
parted his jaws, and took delight in the magnificent teeth; then he
said,--his own hunger might have made him think of it,--

"The next place we come to where there's a butcher, you shall have a
sausage."

The dog licked his chaps, jumped round and round as if he understood
the words, chased the crows which were that early looking for their
food in the field, and barked at the rising sun.

The tired boy was soon asleep; the dog placed himself by his side, but
he knew his duty, and did not lie down; he remained sitting, and
resisted sleep. Occasionally he winked, however, as if it were hard
work to keep his weary eyes open; then he shook his head, and kept
faithful watch by his master. Suddenly Roland awoke. A child's voice
awakened him.



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                        THE LILY OF THE VALLEY.


Roland rubbed his eyes; before him stood a child, a little girl in a
snow-while dress and blue sash. Her face was rosy, great blue eyes
beamed out from it, and long golden curls hung loose over her neck. In
her hand she held a bunch of wild-flowers.

Griffin stood in front of the child, and kept her from coming nearer.

"Back, Griffin!" cried Roland, rising; the dog fell behind his master.

"This is the German forest!" said the child with a foreign accent, and
a voice that might belong to a princess in a fairy tale. "This is the
German forest! I have only been gathering flowers. Are you the forest
prince?"

"No, but who are you?"

"I have come from America. My uncle brought me here this morning, and
now I am to stay in Germany."

"Come, Lilian! Where are you staying so long?" cried a man's voice from
the road.

Roland saw through the trees an open carriage, and a tall, stately
gentleman with snow-white hair.

"I'm coming directly," answered the child; "I have some beautiful
flowers."

"Here, take this one from me," said Roland, gathering a full-blown lily
of the valley.

The little girl threw down all the flowers which she held, took
Roland's, cried, "Good-bye," and ran to the carriage. The man lifted
her in as she pointed back to the wood; the carriage rolled away, and
Roland stood once more alone.

Whoever could then have looked down from the vault of heaven would have
seen a marvel, for at the very moment when the child was talking with
Roland, Sonnenkamp stood on the terrace, lost in thoughts which made
him shiver in the frosty morning air.

Roland pressed his hand to his brow. Had it really happened, or had he
only dreamed? He still heard the roll of the carriage in the distance,
and the plucked flowers on the ground bore witness that he was living
in the actual world. But had the child really said that she was from
America? Why had he not followed her then? Why had he not spoken to the
old man? And now no one could tell him who they were, and whither the
child had gone.

For a while Roland gazed at the flowers before him, but picked up none
of them. Griffin barked at him, as if to say, Yes, and men assert that
there are no more miracles! He sniffed round the gathered flowers, then
ran off on the track of the child and of the carriage, as if he wished
to fulfil his master's desire to detain the people, that he might talk
with them. Roland whistled and called him; Griffin came, and Roland
reproved him:--

"You don't deserve to have any sausage, you are so unfaithful."

Griffin lay down beseechingly at his feet; he could not explain how
good his intention had been.

"Well, now we will go," said Roland. And they took up their march
again.

He heard the whistle of a locomotive in the distance, and went in that
direction. The wood was soon passed, and the road led again through
vineyards. On a side-path Roland saw several women carrying powdered
slate, from a great heap, into a newly-planted vineyard. On its border,
near a hedge, burned a fire, close to which stood pots, whose contents
an old woman was stirring with a dry bough. Roland stopped, and the old
woman called out to ask him to join them; he went up to the group, and
saw that coffee was boiling. The other women, young and old, came
nearer, and there was much jesting and laughter. They turned their
baskets up and sat upon them; such a seat was also prepared for Roland,
and a sort of cushion placed upon it, as they asked him whether he were
not a prince. Roland answered, no; but it flattered him to be taken for
a prince in this way; he was very condescending, and knew how to joke
with his companions. An old vine-dresser, the director of the work,
told Roland, whom he held in some regard as being of the masculine
gender, that he drank no coffee: it was a stupid custom, which sent
money out of the country to America, never to come back.

Roland was struck by this second mention of America. The whole party
listened attentively when he told them that it was not coffee, but
sugar, which came from America.

"And our sugar," said the old woman, "has all staid in America, for we
haven't any."

The first cup, and the cream off the milk, were given to Roland, with a
bit of black bread. He wished to give the people something in payment,
but now discovered that he had not his porte-monnaie about him. He knew
that he had had it in the inn; the knavish-looking hostler must
certainly have stolen it from him. He soon overcame his trouble about
the lost money, however, and told the people that, some time or other,
he would show kindness to a stranger, in return for what he had
received.

He wandered on. He had learned what it was to enjoy the kindness and
bounty of poor men, now that he was himself poor and helpless; that was
his best experience.

The world is beautiful and men are good, even if a hostler could not
resist a well-filled purse. With these cheering thoughts, he went on
his way and soon reached the railway-station. Ha had carefully avoided
any of the nearer stations, where he was known and might easily be
traced; he wished, after making a circuit, to take the cars at a
distant point.

Here Roland was accosted, like an old acquaintance, by a man in
worn-out clothes, and with one boot and one old slipper on his feet.

"Good-morning, my dear Baron! good-morning!" cried this shabby-looking
personage, coming close up to him.

It was doubly disagreeable in this fresh morning, after such a night,
to come within the atmosphere of this man so impregnated with brandy,
who was excessively confiding in his manner towards Roland. A railway
official, in the most polite manner, begged the half-drunken fellow to
leave the traveller in peace; he nodded knowingly to Roland from a
distance, as if there were some important secret between them.
Roland learned that the man belonged to a respected family of the
nobility: his relations had wished to help him, and had made him an
annual allowance, but it was of no use. Now he was boarding with a
baggage-master, and his whole amusement was in the railroad. Every one
showed him due respect, because he was a baron, and very much to be
pitied.

Roland shrank from the man as if he were a ghost. The excitement of the
night, and of all which he had been through, was still affecting
him, yet the thought was present to him how strange it was that a
half-witted, half-intoxicated man should be so respectfully treated,
simply because he was a baron.

Roland succeeded in borrowing money for his journey from the restorator
at the station, with whom he left his diamond ring in pawn. He bought a
ticket for the university-town, and at last took his seat in the car,
where he could not refrain from saying to a fellow-passenger,--

"Ah! it is good that we are off."

His neighbor stared at him; he could not know how happy it made the
sorely weary boy, to be carried along towards Eric without any effort
of his own.

"Where lies your way, Herr Baron?" asked the neighbor,

Roland named his destination, but looked in surprise at the man who
called him Baron; had he become one in the course of the night? At a
junction, where a new set of officials took charge of the train, his
neighbor, who was leaving it, said to one of them,--

"Attend to the young Baron, who is sitting there."

Roland was pleased to be so called, and a peculiar feeling came over
him of the satisfaction one must have in being really a baron; then one
would have a lasting title with lasting honors in the world. The
thought only passed through his mind, and quickly vanished, as he began
directly to imagine Eric's pleasure at seeing him; his face glowed with
impatience and longing.

Suddenly a painful thought struck him. Where had he left the dog? He
had quite lost or forgotten him. But on rolled the cars through
valleys, cuts, and tunnels, and it seemed to Roland a year, since he
left his home.

Not far from the university, where the road again divided, some
students entered the train. They soon let their fellow-passengers
understand that they had performed the great exploit of drinking a
May-bowl at their fathers' expense: for anybody could drink native
wine. They had also brought some provision into the car, and in their
generosity or their ostentation they wanted Roland to drink with them,
but he declined with as much modesty as decision.

Twilight had gathered when they reached the university-town.

Roland asked for Doctor Dournay; one of the students, a fine-looking
youth who had kept aloof from the noisy party, told him to come with
him, as he lived near the widow of the professor. As Roland went with
him, a strange fear came upon him: what if he could not find Eric? or
if Eric would have nothing more to do with him? How much might have
happened since they parted!

With beating heart he ascended the steep, dark, wooden staircase. At
the top, the door of a room opened, and at the door stood a woman, who
asked,--

"Whom do you wish to see?"

"The Herr Captain Dournay."

"He is away from home."



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                               A NEW SON.


Roland asked to be allowed to come in and wait, and was led into the
sitting-room; the servant maid told him that Eric had gone to the
capital, but might possibly return that day. His mother had gone to the
grave of a son, of whose death this was the anniversary. The maid went
out to light the lamp, and Roland was alone in the room where the
twilight shadows gathered; he sat in the corner of a sofa, weary, and
his mind full of varied thoughts.

Wonderful! there are so many human dwellings in the world, one can
enter them, and all at once one is seated in a strange house.

Outside, in accordance with an old custom, there sounded from the tower
a choral, played by trumpets. Roland dreamed of the outer world, no
longer conscious where he was, but remembering only that he had once
travelled through many countries and towns, and that everywhere in the
houses lived men, who led their own lives, of which other people knew
nothing.

Eric's mother entered. She stopped at the door, as Roland rose,
saying,--

"Good-evening, mother."

Stretching out her arms, the mother cried,--

"In Heaven's name, Hermann--thou?"

"My name is not Hermann. I am Roland."

The mother approached him trembling; just then the aunt came in with a
light, and all was explained. Roland said that he had followed Eric,
because he wished never to leave him. The mother kissed him, weeping
and sobbing.

Steps were heard on the stairs, and Eric entered. Roland had no
strength to rise from his seat as Eric exclaimed,--

"You--here!"

Roland could hardly utter the words to explain what he had done. He
stared wildly at Eric, who stood before him like a stranger, without
even holding out his hand. As soon as Roland had finished speaking,
Eric said sternly,--

"If you were my son, I would punish you severely for your self-will,
and the anxiety you have caused your family."

"You may punish me, I will not stir. No one in the world could punish
me like you; you do not punish like----"

The beating of his heart prevented his finishing what he was about to
say, and perhaps also an aversion to complaining of his father
restrained him. He had forgotten till now what had last incited him to
run away, and only remembered the longing for Eric; now he looked
around him, as if he saw his father's upraised hand in the air.

The mother took him again into her arms, saying,--

"Your willingness to bear punishment atones for and washes out
everything."

"Stay here with my mother," said Eric, sternly; "I will come back
directly." He hurried out, and sent a telegram to Herr Sonnenkamp, with
the inquiry whether he would come for Roland, or wished to have him
brought home.

When Eric returned, he found Roland already asleep on the sofa. He was
tired out, and it was with great difficulty that they could awaken him
to be put to bed. Eric sat a long time with his mother, talking of the
wonderful manner in which fate seemed playing with them.

His mother related how, as she came from the churchyard, the painful
thought had oppressed her that even she, his own mother, could not
quite recall how Hermann had looked. She could bring his face to mind,
because it was preserved in the photograph which hung, in its frame of
immortelles, just over her sewing-machine in the bay-window. But
Hermann's motions, his gait, his way of throwing back his head with its
thick brown hair, of laughing, jesting, and caressing; the sound of his
voice, the low, dove-like laugh,--all these had vanished from her--his
mother. So she had walked on, with downcast eyes, often stopping, as
she tried hard to call up the image of the lost one. So she had come
home, and here came to meet her a form like Hermann, and it had cried
out to her,--"Good-evening, mother!" in his very tone. She could not
tell why she had not fainted, and she spoke now of Roland with the same
delight which Eric had felt when he saw him for the first time.

Eric, on his side, told her of the reasons for and against undertaking
the school, and then of the Minister's offer. He would there enter a
position which his father had not reached, and which would, perhaps,
have saved his life. The idea of receiving an appointment by
inheritance, and through favor, without any merit of his own, oppressed
him somewhat.

His mother soothed both these scruples, which were really one, and
quite uncalled for, as he had the right to collect the debt which was
due to his father, and still more if it was over due.

Very lightly she touched upon the good fortune of the nobility, in
being able to receive what had been stored up by past generations, and
to hand it down to future descendants. With a slightly jesting tone she
said,--

"Our professor of political economy used to say that capital was
accumulated labor; so family standing is nothing but accumulated
honor."

There were times, though they were rare, when the mother, from the
standpoint of her inherited opinions and habits, saw in many of the
sentiments and views of the burgher class an obstinate and perverse
independence which she could not approve. In her husband this had
rarely and slightly shown itself, but in Eric it was more active; he
had that haughty self-reliance which makes a man unwilling to thank any
one but himself for his position and power.

She had never repented leaving her own class to marry her husband, she
had been too happy for that; but she saw in Eric's position something
like a grievous consequence of her own act. Moved by these thoughts,
which she never expressed, she said,--

"I can easily understand how you feel drawn to this American; there is
the greatest honor in being a self-made man. Let us unite the two plans
then. You can bring it about, since the boy is in your hands, that the
American shall entrust him to you, and you can at the same time
maintain an independent position."

Eric replied that his objection to the situation did not consist simply
in his receiving it as a favor; the task of conducting foreign visitors
of princely rank through the art-collections was distasteful to him; he
did not think that he could conform himself to it.

Suddenly his mother remembered that a letter had come for him, and she
gave it to him. It was from Clodwig. The noble man placed at Eric's
disposal twice the sum that he had asked for. Eric was made happy by
this news, and his mother nodded with hearty assent when he said that
the gift rejoiced him, but still more did the assurance that his
confidence in men had met with so glorious a confirmation.

Midnight was past, and mother and son still sat together. Eric begged
his mother to go to bed and leave him to wait for Sonnenkamp's reply.
He sat long alone in the night, thinking over all which had passed,
till sleep overcame him.

In the spirits of men, as well as in the history of nations, thoughts
and sentiments are formed which are to be brought into action from
their own free will, when suddenly there comes an over-mastering fact,
which converts the free choice into an inevitable necessity. Thus
Eric's entrance into Sonnenkamp's household seemed to have been made an
unavoidable necessity by Roland's rash step.

Eric went again, with scarcely audible steps, into the boy's room. So
wholly was his spirit turned toward him that the sleeping child moaned,
"Eric," but soon, turning over, slept soundly again.

Eric went back to the sitting-room, and then it first occurred to him
that there was no night-watch at the telegraph office in Sonnenkamp's
neighborhood; the father could not receive the news till morning. Eric
also now went to bed.

Everything was late in the house of the professor's wife the next
morning; Eric slept longest. When he entered the sitting-room, he found
Roland already with his mother, holding a small wooden coffee-mill in
his left hand and turning it with his right. This mill was an heir-loom
which had belonged to Eric's grandfather, who had been a distinguished
anatomist at the university. The mother had already told Roland this,
and had shown him all sorts of ancient household furniture, also relics
of the times of the Huguenots.

"Ah, how pleasant it is here with you!" cried Roland to Eric, as he
entered.

Something of long-established family existence opened upon the young
spirit, and, at this morning hour, with the friendly eyes of three
people resting upon him, Roland felt very content in the simple,
old-fashioned, domestic life.



                              CHAPTER XV.

                            AN EXTRA TRAIN.


"I've been through a great deal, but that I should ever be obliged to
go through this! If we can only come out of this with a whole skin!
This may be called a wanton exposure of one's life--and one has no
weapons of defence."

Such were the Major's words, stammered out at intervals, as he held on
to a tassel of a first-class railway car, and looked sorrowfully at the
dog Laadi lying at his feet, while he was travelling with Herr
Sonnenkamp in an extra train. Herr Sonnenkamp appeared to feel a joy in
this mad speed.

"In America," he said, "they go three times as fast in an extra train."

He seemed to experience a secret satisfaction in showing the Major that
there was a courage wholly different from that of the battle-field,
which he possessed and the Major did not. He had accounts to tell of
trips made in America on wagers. And when they stopped to take in
water, Sonnenkamp took leave of the Major, saying that he was going to
ride on the locomotive, for he must try once more how that seemed.

The Major sat with Laadi alone in the only car attached to the
locomotive; he stared fixedly out of the window, where trees,
mountains, and villages flew by like a whirlwind, and he thanked God
that Fräulein Milch knew nothing of his consenting to make such a mad
trip with Herr Sonnenkamp on an extra train.

And why is this man in such a hurry? The Major does not understand it.
Sometimes he was stingy about a kreuzer, and so very modest that he
wished to make no show and to excite no observation, and then again he
was very lavish with his money, and did every thing to attract people's
attention. The Major did not understand the man. He must certainly have
been a locomotive-driver; and what is there that he may not have been!

"Yes, Laadi," exclaimed he, speaking to the dog, "come, lie down by me.
Yes, Laadi; neither of us could ever dream of going through this! If we
only once do get through it! Yes, Laadi, she will mourn for you too if
we are killed."

The dog growled away to himself; he must have been full of wrath also
at the fool-hardy Sonnenkamp.

Madder and madder was the speed: down they went over descending grades
near the river, and the Major expected every instant that the
locomotive would run off the track, and the passenger-car be dashed in
pieces and tumbled into the stream. Yes, there came over him such a
settled fear, or rather expectation, of immediate death, that he braced
his feet against the back of the seat, and thought to himself,--

"Well, death, come! God be praised, I have never harmed anybody in the
world, and Fräulein Milch has been cared for, so that she will never
suffer need."

Tears wet his closed eyes, and he made a strange face in order to
stifle his tears; he was unwilling to die, and then, too, when there
was no need of it. He opened his eyes with rage, and doubled up his
fists; this extra train is wholly unnecessary; Roland was known to be
in good hands. But this man is such a savage!

The Major was very angry with Sonnenkamp, and yet more with himself,
for being drawn into any such mad freak. All his heroic mood was gone,
he was wholly unreconciled to the position, he had been duped, this was
not fit for him. Fräulein Milch is right; he is weak, he cannot say no.

Whenever he looked out he became dizzy. He found a lucky expedient; he
placed himself so as to ride backwards. There one sees only what has
been gone over, and not what is coming. But neither does this do any
good; it is even more terrible than before, for one sees now the bold,
short curves which the road makes, and the cars incline on one side as
if to plunge over. And now tears actually flow out of the Major's eyes.
He thought of the funeral service which the lodge, would perform for
him after he was dead; he heard the organ-peal, and the dirges, saying
to himself,--

"You eulogize me more than I deserve, but I have been a good brother.
The Builder of all the worlds is my witness that I meant to be."

The car rolled on at a more measured speed, and the Major consoled
himself with the thought that no accident had ever yet happened on this
road. But no, he went on thinking, perhaps one would be safer on a road
where some accident has already happened; the people here are too
careless, and thou must be the first victim. Which would Fräulein Milch
consider the more dangerous, a road which had already experienced
mishaps, or one like this, that has now to meet with them for the first
time? I must take care to put the question to her. Don't forget it,
Laadi, we must ask her. He had now overcome all fear, and he became so
free and cheerful that he ridiculed his own apprehensions, thinking
that the millionaire on the locomotive had a much greater stake
involved, putting his life in peril, and that he would not do it if
there were any real danger.

The dog must have scented out the peril of the rapid journey, for she
was in a continual tremble, and looked up appealingly to her master.

"Thou art a lady, and thou art afraid," said the Major, addressing her.
"Take courage! Thou art not so faint-hearted. Come! so--so--get up into
my lap. Clean enough, clean enough," he said, smilingly, as the dog
licked his hand.

And from the midst of his anguish, the Major was already pleasing
himself with the thought, how, in a few days, in the quiet arbor in his
garden, he will tell Fräulein Milch of the imminent peril. He caressed
Laadi, and rehearsed to himself the whole story of the impending
danger.

They arrived at the station where the road branches off to the
university-town. Here they are told that no extra train could be
furnished, as there was only one track. They must wait an hour for the
next regular train.

Sonnenkamp stormed and scolded over these dawdling Europeans, who did
not know how to put a railroad to its proper use; he had arranged,
indeed, by telegram for a clear track. But it was of no use. The Major
stood at the station, and thanked the Builder of all the worlds that
all was so unalterably fixed. He went away from the river, and saluted
the cornfields, where the standing corn, in its silent growth, allowed
itself to be in no way disturbed out of its orderly repose; he rejoiced
to hear, for the first time this season, the whistling of the quail,
who has no home in the vineyard region; and he gazed at the larks
singing as they flew up to heaven.

A train had come into the station and stopped. The Major heard men's
voices singing finely, and he learned that many persons, who were
already seated in the cars, were emigrating to America. He saw mothers
weeping, fathers beckoning, and while the locomotive was puffing at the
station, many village youths stood on the platform together, in a
group, and sang farewell songs to their departing comrades. They sang
with voices full of emotion, but they kept good time.

"It will rejoice Fräulein Milch when I relate this to her," thought the
Major, and he mingled among those who remained behind, giving them
words of consolation; he went to the emigrants and exhorted them to
continue good Germans in America. In the midst of his weeping, an old
man cried:--

"What are you waiting for? make it go ahead!"

The rest scolded the man for his rudeness, but the Major said,--

"Don't take it ill of him, he cannot do differently, he is too
miserable." The old man nodded to the Major, and all the rest looked at
him in surprise.

In the mean while, the train arrived which was to carry those going on
the branch road.

"Herr Major! Herr Major!" shrieked the employés of the road from
various quarters. They had great difficulty in bringing the Major over
to the other side of the train.

"One might almost envy you, you are such a child; you allow yourself to
be distracted by every occurrence on the way, and to be drawn, away
from your destination like a child."

"Yes, yes," laughed the Major--he had recovered his broad
laugh--"Fräulein Milch often tells me that."

He told Sonnenkamp of the affecting parting of the emigrants and their
friends, but Sonnenkamp seemed to have no interest in it. Even when the
Major said that the Freemasons had taken all pains to block the game of
the kidnappers who cheated the emigrants, even then, Herr Sonnenkamp
remained speechless. The Major sat by him in silence.

They reached the university-town. No one was there to receive them, and
Sonnenkamp was very indignant.

The family of the professor's wife were at breakfast. Roland drank his
coffee out of the cup which had Hermann's name upon it, and Eric said
that they must be at the station in an hour, since Herr Sonnenkamp
would probably come by the express train: it was not to be supposed
that he would come by the accommodation train, which had no connection
with the West. Just as Eric was saying this, there was a knock; the
Major walked in first, and after him, Sonnenkamp.

"Here is our devil of a boy!" cried the Major. "Here is the deserter
himself!"

The awkwardness of the first interview was thus removed. Roland sat
immovable upon his chair; Eric went to meet Sonnenkamp: he turned then
to the boy, and ordered him to ask his father's forgiveness for what he
had done. Roland complied.

The mother prayed Herr Sonnenkamp not to punish the boy for his
wilfulness. His father replied, good-humoredly, that, on the contrary,
this bold stroke of the boy gave him particular delight; he showed
courage, resolution, and self-guidance: he would rather reward him for
it. Roland looked at his father in amazement, then grasped his hand and
held it fast.

Eric requested his mother and aunt to retire with Roland to the study,
and he remained with the Major and Sonnenkamp. Sonnenkamp expressed his
satisfaction and gratitude to Eric, who must certainly be familiar with
magic, to have so bewitched his son that he could not live apart from
him.

"Do you think so?" Eric asked. "I must express to you my astonishment."

"Your astonishment?"

"Yes; I have, I am sorry to say, no talent at all of that sort, but I
may be permitted to say that I almost envy those who can accomplish
such things."

Sonnenkamp looked inquiringly at Eric, who continued:--

"It is a master-stroke of pedagogical science that you have effected. I
see now that you have declined my service in Roland's hearing, in order
to induce him to act from his own free-will; this will bring him under
my influence as nothing else would be likely to do."

Sonnenkamp looked amazed. Is this man making fun of him? Does he wish
to ridicule him, or, by means of this refined policy, to get the better
of him still farther? This would be a touch of diplomacy of the highest
order. Pranken is probably right, and Eric is a wily trickster under
the mask of honest plainness. Well, let it be so. Sonnenkamp whistled
to himself in his inaudible way; he would appear not to see through
Eric. He let it be understood that he had played a nice game with
Roland, and he smiled when the Major cried:--

"Fräulein Milch said so--yes, she understand everybody, and she has
said,--Herr Eric, he is the man who sees clear through Herr
Sonnenkamp's policy. Yes, yes, that is a whole extra train of
smartness."

Sonnenkamp continued smiling deprecatingly and gratefully, but his
astonishment was renewed, when Eric now made the declaration,--

"Unfortunately, life itself is so self-willed, that the best-laid
logical chain is cut in two; I find myself obliged, on my part, to
decline positively your friendly offer."

Sonnenkamp again whistled inaudibly.  Another stroke of diplomacy,
then! He could not grasp him; the antagonist has enticed his foe out of
his stronghold; Sonnenkamp joined battle in the open field. Eric
related that he had the offer of acting director in the Cabinet of
Antiquities, with the promise of a permanent appointment.

"That's it," nodded the Major to himself, "that's it, screw him, make
terms for yourself, as a singer does who is in demand; you can have
your own price, they must give you all you ask."

But the Major's look suddenly changed, when Eric continued,--

"From your practical American standpoint you would certainly approve of
my refusal, if that were necessary, in order to attain higher
conditions, whether internal or external, of my own freedom. But I tell
you frankly, that I have no motive for this refusal, except the duty of
gratitude towards my patron."

Sonnenkamp answered, assentingly,--

"I am very far from desiring to interfere at all with your plan of
life. I regret to be obliged to give it up, but I give it up."

"Yes," interposed the Major, "you give it up, and he declines. That's
no go. The youth, what is he going to do? What becomes of him?"

Sonnenkamp and Eric regarded the Major in silence, who uttered the
decisive words,--"What becomes of Roland?"

Eric was the first to collect himself, and requested that Sonnenkamp
would commit his son to him for a year at the capital; for he himself
must acknowledge that he should no longer be happy or at rest, until he
could expend his best energies for the boy, in order to establish him
in a noble career in life; and that it would be the best plan for
Roland also to be brought up in the companionship of others, and he
would see to it that he had good companions.

Sonnenkamp pressed his fingers to his lips, and then said,--

"Such a plan cannot be talked of for a moment; my breath is gone, when
I know that the child is away from me. I must therefore beseech you,
not a word of this."

He now requested the Major to leave him alone with the Captain.

The Major complied at once, and did not take it at all amiss, that
Sonnenkamp disposed of him so readily.

And now that they were alone, Sonnenkamp said, rubbing his chin
repeatedly,--

"I see clearly the difficulty of consigning Roland to any one but you;
I have already dismissed the man who was employed by me. But now, one
question. Were you not, voluntarily, employed in the House of
Correction?"

"Why do you ask, since the asking tells me that you already know?"

"And do you think that you can now be Roland's preceptor?"

"Why not?"

"Do you think that it will not revolt the boy, or at least deeply wound
him, when he shall at some time learn by chance, that he is under a man
who has had the management of convicts?"

"Roland will not learn this by chance. I shall tell him myself, and he
will have understanding enough to perceive that this is no degradation
of my personal worth, but--I say it with all modesty--an exaltation of
it. With my own free will, and holding an honorable position, I desired
to devote myself to my fallen fellow-men; and I can only regret that I
must acknowledge myself to have no talent for this. I am of the
conviction that every man, whatever he has done, can become once more
pure and noble; I was not able, unfortunately, in that position, to
carry out my conviction."

Sonnenkamp listened, with closed eyes; he nodded, and thought that he
must say something laudatory to Eric, but he did not seem able to bring
it out.

At last he said,--

"I have introduced this matter only to show you that I keep nothing in
reserve; we are now, I hope, of one mind. Might I ask you to call the
Major, and let me join the ladies?"

The Major came, and when Eric was alone with him, naturally related
first of all the terrors of the extra train, and that the clattering
was no longer a perceptible beat, but one continued rumble. He knew how
to imitate it very exactly, and to give the precise difference of sound
when going by the stations, and the mountains, and over the dikes.

Eric could have replied that he was accurately acquainted with the
road; he had gone over it a few days before, without speaking a word,
engaged in his own meditations, but the Major did not suffer himself to
be interrupted; he asserted that no one had ever before so rode, and no
one would ever ride so again, so long as Europe had its iron rails, for
Sonnenkamp had fired up after the American fashion.

Then he said,--

"I have come to know Herr Sonnenkamp very thoroughly, since his son
went away. I have, indeed, no son, and cannot enter completely into his
way of expressing himself, but such lamentation, such reproaches
against himself, such raving, such cursing,--our hardest corporal is a
tender nun in comparison--such words he brought out. It must truly be a
fact! In countries where good tobacco grows, and snakes and parrots,
Fräulein Milch has said, there the soil of men's hearts is much hotter,
and there things grow up, and creatures creep out and fly about, such
as we have no sort of idea about. And how Frau Ceres carried on, I'll
not speak of.

"But you know who first told where the youth is? Fräulein Milch told
it. And do you know what she said? 'If I were a young girl, I would run
after Herr Eric too, over mountain and valley.' That is to say, she has
said that in all honor; she has never loved any one but me, and we have
known each other now for nine and forty years, and that is something.
But why do we speak of such things now? we shall have time enough for
this by and by. You are right, you are smarter than I thought for; it
is shrewd in you not to make terms at once. Now he has come to you,
into the house, you can make whatever conditions you want to. In his
raving he cried,--A million to him who restores my son to me! You can
claim the million, it belongs to you; I am witness of that."

Eric declared that he was irresistibly attracted towards the boy, but
that he could not come to terms, for it would be the highest kind of
ingratitude if he should decline the position that had been offered to
him in such a friendly way, and of which a report had certainly been
made, before this time, to the Prince.

In what light would he stand with his patron, and with the Prince, who
had, besides, grounds of displeasure with him, if he should now say,
"Thank you kindly; I have, in the mean while, made a previous
engagement elsewhere"? The Major drummed with the fore and middle
fingers of his right hand rapidly upon the table, as if his fingers
were drumsticks.

"Bad, very bad," he said. "Yes, yes, fate often takes an extra train
too; everything has an extra train now-a-days."

Eric said, in addition, that service to an individual had its
difficulty; he might perhaps be able to consent to appear ungrateful,
and forfeit forever all favor, but he feared lest, in the dependent
servitude to the rich man, he might often be troubled with the thought
how much more free he might have been in the service of the State.

The Major continued to drum and drum, repeating the words,--

"Bad--very bad!"

He uttered the words so oddly, that it sounded like a crow, in the
freshly-turned furrow, gulping down an earthworm.



                              CHAPTER XVI.

                              WE HAVE HIM.


While the Major and Eric were sitting together, Sonnenkamp was with the
mother in the library; Roland and the aunt, in the recess, had a great
book open before them, containing outline drawings of Greek sculpture.

The boy now looked up and cried,--

"Father, only think that Herr Eric must sell this fine library of his
father's, and there is not a single leaf here that his father has not
written on, and it must go now into the hands of strangers."

"It would be a favor to me," said Sonnenkamp, turning to the aunt, "if
you, gracious Fräulein, would take my son out to walk; I have something
to say to Frau Dournay."

Roland went away with the aunt.

Sonnenkamp now asked the professor's wife if what Roland had stated
were true.

She replied in the affirmative, adding that the danger was over, as
Count Wolfsgarten had furnished the required sum of money.

When Sonnenkamp heard the name and the amount, a surprising
transformation seemed to take place in him. He said that he allowed no
one the privilege of helping Eric in money-matters; he claimed that as
exclusively his own. And now, having once begun to be beneficent, a new
strength seemed to be unfolded in him; he considered himself very
fortunate in being permitted to render assistance to such an excellent
family, even if Eric should not remain with him.

The professor's widow could not refrain from confessing that it
required great strength of soul to receive favors, and that her family
were not accustomed to it. She spoke of her son.

"He is a child in feeling," she said, "without anything false,
incapable of any indirection, a strong, steadfast, sincere, manly, and
noble character. I ought not, as his mother, to say this, but I can
only congratulate you. You can entrust to him that which you value
most, as the precious jewel of your life, and I tell you that whoever
loves Eric has a heaven in his heart, and whoever does not love him is
without a heart."

Sonnenkamp rose, drawing a deep breath; he would have liked to say, How
happy was that man who could call this woman mother; but he restrained
himself. He stood before the flower-stand, which was artistically
arranged, by an invisible contrivance, in a pyramidal shape, and all so
well cared for and ordered, that it was a pleasure to behold it. He led
the conversation to botany; Eric had informed him that his mother had a
knowledge of it, and he was happy to meet in her an associate in his
special pursuit--for he considered botany his specialty.

He turned the conversation, aptly and sympathizingly, to the lady's
past history. He asked first, whether she would not take pleasure in
coming, at some time, to the Rhine.

She replied that she should like much to do so, and that she had a
special desire to see once more, before she died, a friend of her
youth, the present Superior of the island-convent, and principal of the
seminary.

"Are you so intimate with the Superior?" said Sonnenkamp, and something
occurred to him which he could not make clear to himself, but he
evidently impressed it upon himself to reserve this for further
consideration. He smiled in a very friendly manner, when the lady dwelt
at length, in a pleasant way, upon the strangeness of life. There sits
a lady in her cage, and here another has her nest in a little garden,
and they cannot come to each other. The older one becomes, indeed, so
much the more enigmatical seem often the interwoven threads of human
relations in the world.

She added, gently closing her eyes, that it had seemed so only since
the death of her husband, for she had been able to say everything to
him, and he had unfolded clearly and harmoniously what seemed to her a
confused puzzle.

Sonnenkamp experienced something like a feeling of devotion, as the
wife said this.

She made mention now of her life as a lady of the court, and her eyes
glistened while speaking of the Princess dowager.

"I had not only the happiness and the honor," she said, "to visit and
oversee with her, and yet oftener in her name and by her order, the
many various institutions of beneficence of which her highness was the
protectress, but I had the yet more important and often more
melancholy, though blessed and refreshing duty, to visit those, or to
institute inquiries concerning those, who applied to the Princess for
assistance, often with heartrending cries for help. The greater part of
the letters were entrusted to me, either to bring in a report
concerning them, or to answer them. This was a sad, but, as I said
before, a blessed and an ennobling service."

While the lady was thus speaking, placing at the same time her
delicate, soft hand upon her heart, as if she must repress the
overflowing feelings of this recollection, her whole countenance was
illuminated by an inexpressible tenderness.

Sonnenkamp rose suddenly, as if some irresistible power had called to
him, and there was deep feeling in his voice, as he said,--

"Might I be allowed, noble lady, to offer you a compensation, if you
will be induced to live in our neighborhood? I am no prince, but I am,
perhaps, as much overrun with begging letters. Our good Major
frequently helps me in instituting inquiries. But you, honored lady,
could render much more effectual service in this matter; and even if
one cannot render assistance in every case, it is always a consolation
to the poor to receive at least a friendly answer, and your look is
radiant with a mother's blessing."

It was an hour in which Sonnenkamp experienced a blessedness such as he
thought himself wholly incapable of receiving, and his fixed purpose
was,--

"This must be; here is the starting-point in life which you have so
long desired, and all the past is annihilated."

Sonnenkamp had formed an entirely different notion of the professor's
widow and her sister-in-law. He saw in Eric's mother a stately lady of
fine mind and high-bred manners; she was pale, and this paleness was
very much increased by her black cap and her mourning dress.

The aunt seemed to him still handsomer.

It was a peculiar gesture that Sonnenkamp made in the air; it was as if
he seized hold of the two ladies: for he mentally transplanted them to
his splendid rooms, where they did the honors of the house, adorning
his house, and his house adorning them, and when company were present a
whist-table was formed, as a matter of course.

Sonnenkamp was obliged to restrain himself from asking the ladies at
once whether they played whist, and with the consciousness that he was
thinking about it, and with the exertion of self-control necessary to
keep it to himself, his countenance assumed a variety of expressions.

During the conversation Roland had left the room, holding the aunt's
hand; he now came in with Eric and the Major, holding in his hand a
large letter with the seal of the ministry of education.

Roland said,--

"I beseech you, aunt, let me speak."

All were surprised at the appearance of the boy, who now said, holding
up the letter,--

"The aunt has confided to me, that here is the decree appointing you to
be director for the keeping of the beautiful bronze and marble statues
of antiquity. Eric, I am not made of bronze or marble, and when you are
there among those figures it will freeze you, and it will also freeze
me forever, if you abandon me. Eric, don't do it; don't do it to
yourself, or to me. Stay with me, I will stay with thee. I beseech you,
Eric, do not leave me; I am not plaster; I am not marble; do not leave
me. I beseech thee, Eric, do not forsake me--do not forsake me."

All were thrilled by this scene, and while the boy was speaking thus,
the Major said in a low tone,--

"This is no child. What can it be? The lad speaks just as if a holy
spirit possessed him!"

Eric went to Roland, raised him in his strong arms, held him high up,
and said,--

"Roland, as I hold you now, and you hold me, so hold fast to me with
all the strength of your life! We will together grow into something
great; here is my hand."

The letter was forgotten. The mother begged to be permitted to open
it, and she had hardly run it over, when she cried with a lightened
heart,--

"Thank God, Eric, you need not be ungrateful."

The letter contained an expression of regret that the place had been
already given to a young man of the nobility, who had shown himself
unfitted for a diplomatic post.

Sonnenkamp requested them to let him have the letter; he might perhaps
make use of it as a document against Eric's enemies, who charged him
with being in ill-favor at court. And now he desired that mother and
aunt would remove at once to Villa Eden; but Eric answered positively
in the negative. He himself agreed to go, but his mother and aunt could
not before the autumn; he must first become initiated, with Roland
alone, into the family life.

No one was happier, that everything had turned out so well, than the
Major. It was decided to start to-day. The Major promised that he and
Fräulein Milch would help the mother and aunt in all the arrangements,
when they removed later in the season; nothing else would do, as
Fräulein Milch must be consulted in everything. He now requested leave
of absence for an hour, to visit friends in the university-town, whom
he did not know personally.

After the Major had gone, Sonnenkamp said, in a kindly tone of
patronage, that the Major probably had some brother Freemasons to
visit. Eric also asked to be excused, as he had yet to take leave of
one man.

He went to see Professor Einsiedel. The Professor was always uniformly
ready for every friendly call, but as uniformly angry, if, forgetting
the hour of his lecture, any one came during the half hour previous; he
could be very angry. His anger consisted in saying,--

"But, dear friend! how could you forget this? You must surely know that
I have a lecture at two o'clock, and can now see no one. No, I must beg
you very earnestly--very--very--very earnestly beg you to note my
lecture-hour."

And while saying this, he pressed one's hand with great good-nature.

When Eric said that it would be of no service for him to note this for
the future, as he was going to leave town to-day, Einsiedel requested
to be informed of the hour when the train left; perhaps he would then
meet him, but he would not make a definite promise, for if he did, it
would disturb him in the delivery of his lecture.

Eric left him. The Professor went with him to the door, took off his
black cap, and excused himself for not accompanying him down the steps,
"I beg earnestly--very--I lecture at two," he turned back into his
study. Eric was sure that the Professor would see him again.

The whole town lifted up their eyes, as the six persons were going to
the station. Sonnenkamp escorted Frau Dournay, the Major the aunt, and
Eric held Roland by the hand. They had to wait for the train to come
in. Suddenly Professor Einsiedel made his appearance; and it was a
great deal for the slender little man to do, as it interrupted the
regular order of the day.

Eric introduced the Major and Sonnenkamp. Sonnenkamp had no special
word to say to him, and the Major, notwithstanding his kind feelings
towards everybody, could not find just the right friendly expressions
with which to address this delicate, feeble-looking person, when Eric
introduced him as his teacher and master. Roland, on the contrary, with
hearty pleasure seized the hand of the little man, soft as a child's,
and said,--

"Do you know how you seem to me? You are my grand-teacher; for Herr
Eric is my teacher, and you are his teacher, and so you are my
grand-teacher; and if you want a dog, I will send a dog to you."

Professor Einsiedel quoted some Greek words out of Plato to Eric, which
expressed the joy one feels in a beautiful animated youth; then he
patted the boy on the shoulder, thanked him for the offer of the dog,
and said that as he did not like to bid goodbye in the rush, he would
now bid them farewell before the train arrived. He considered that
those who were waiting at the station had already started on their
journey, and taking Eric aside, he said in a voice trembling with
emotion,--

"You are well enough off, and you must also marry, for the apostle Paul
says, 'Whoever careth for the things that are of the world ought to
marry.'" He requested him to write more particularly concerning
Clodwig's antiquities, then shook him by the hand. Roland also extended
his hand to the professor.

Eric looked after the little man going away, who was in his eyes a
walking temple of the spirit of wisdom; and the good little man rubbed
his tender hand on his coat, for Roland had pressed it a little too
hard.

The train came thundering in. The leave-taking was hurried. Roland
kissed repeatedly the mother and aunt, and Sonnenkamp kissed the
mother's hand.

His mother said in a low tone to Eric on taking leave,--

"You are forsaking me. I am at rest, I know you are not forsaking
yourself, and so you are still with me. Go, then; hold thyself within
thyself, and me in thee, and it will be well with thee, and well with
me."

In the railway-car the Major bent towards Eric and whispered,--

"I have learned something about your father."

"What is it?"

"Something good for you and for me. Your father, who has gone to the
eternal home, belonged to our brotherhood. It is your right to claim
assistance, and my duty to give it. I only beg that you will never
thank me; we are not allowed to thank one another."

At the first station the Major took Eric aside, and asked him whether
he had made a positive agreement as to salary, indemnification at
dismissal, and pension after the completion of the tutorship. Eric
treated the subject with indifference, and the Major gave him to
understand that he had full power to grant all his demands. He advised
Eric to strike now while the iron was hot. But Eric not seeming at all
disposed to take up with the advice, the Major desisted, murmuring to
himself,--

"Here now, Fräulein Milch is always saying that I am not practical; and
here now is a man who is so learned, and can turn himself round and
face about seven times before I can get up on my feet, and he is ever
so much less practical than I am." The Major was almost delighted that
Eric was so unpractical; he could tell Fräulein Milch all about it.

On the way the diamond ring was redeemed, and Eric said to Roland,--

"Let your father take the ring; I would prefer that you would not wear
a ring for the future."

Roland gave the ring to his father, and the Major said, humming to
himself,--

"He has him! He has him by bit and curb."

It was evening when they drove by the small vine-covered house. Roland
pointed out the house to Eric with glistening eyes, but uttered no
word. They drove into the grounds of Villa Eden, where the air was
laden with the fragrance of roses, for all the roses in Sonnenkamp's
garden were in fresh bloom.

"We have it," cried the architect from the castle to the Major, as he
was getting out.

"Have what?"

"We have found the castle-spring."

"And we have _him_," cried the Major, pointing to Eric.

And from this day, the Major began many of his stories with the
words,--

"At the time I rode with Herr Sonnenkamp in the extra train."



                                BOOK V.



                               CHAPTER I.

                              HIGH ABOVE.


The rosebuds in the garden had opened in the spring night, and rare
flowers blossomed out in the soul of the youth.

With transcendent delight, Roland welcomed his recovered teacher to the
house. He went in high spirits to his mother's room, but she was so
exhausted that he could not see her. He forgot Fräulein Perini's
distant reserve towards him, and announced to her jubilantly, that Eric
was there, and would now remain; she was just to say so to his mother.

"And have you no inquiries to make about the Chevalier?"

"No: I know that he is gone; he was not with me even when he was here.
Ah, forgive me, I don't know what I am saying! O, why does not the
whole world rejoice!"

Roland's rejoicing received the first check when Fräulein Perini said,
that no one could estimate correctly the inconsolable distress which
his mother had suffered from his flight.

The boy stood still, but he felt assured that now all would go well;
that everybody must now be well and strong.

He came across Joseph in the court, and joyfully informed him that he
now was acquainted with his native city; he nodded to all the servants,
he greeted the horses, the trees, the dogs; all must know and rejoice
in the fact that Eric was here. The servants looked at Roland in
astonishment, and Bertram, the coachman, drew his long beard through
the fingers of both hands, and said,--

"The young master has got, during these two days, a man's voice."

Joseph smilingly added:--

"Yes, indeed, a single day at the University has made him a different
being. And what a being!"

In fact, Roland was wholly different. He returned to his home as from a
voyage; yes, even as from another world: he could not comprehend how
everything should appear so changed, illuminated so brightly; he had
been alone with himself, and had gained possession of himself in
solitude.

Eric had made no definite agreement about his salary, and Sonnenkamp
said to the Major, smiling:--

"These enthusiastic Idealists have a concealed policy. The man does as
people do when they are invited to dinner; they let themselves be
served by the host and hostess with some nice dish, and so receive a
larger stare than they would have helped themselves to."

Eric had only made one demand, that he should inhabit with Roland the
house-turret, remote from all noise, and furnishing an extensive
prospect. This was granted, and Eric felt himself strangely free in
these handsome, spacious rooms, with their outlook upon the river and
the landscape.

How confined is one's life in those small, close apartments of the
University-town, and yet how far the spirit can extend itself beyond
that narrow enclosure! And these carpets, this elegant furniture, how
soon will it become an ordinary thing, forgotten and unconsidered, like
the wide view of the landscape! It seemed to Eric as free, as
inspiring, and as commanding, as if--he himself laughed when the
comparison came into his mind--as if he were living on horseback. We
can go very comfortably over hill and vale with a light walking-staff,
but to sit on horseback, and course away, with a double, triple
strength united to our own, and elevating us above the ordinary level,
this is a rare exhilaration.

Roland came to Eric, and he expressed to the boy his joy at the
beautiful and peaceful life they would live here; but Roland begged:--

"Give me something to do, something right hard; try and think of
something."

Eric perceived the boy's state of excitement; sitting down near him, he
took his hand, and showed him that life seldom furnished a single deed
on which one could employ the whole strength of his voluntary powers;
they would work quietly and steadily, and make each other wiser and
better. The boy was contented, and looked at Eric as if he would, with
his eyes, draw him into his soul, and make him his own. Then he lightly
touched Eric's shoulder, as if to be newly assured that he was really
with him.

Now they put things in order, and Roland was glad to render all kinds
of assistance. In spite of his former deliberation, Eric had entered
upon the new relation so unexpectedly, and plunged into it so suddenly,
that he had hardly settled upon anything. Then there was so much to be
discussed with his mother, deciding what he would take with him, and
what he would leave behind, that they postponed all to a future
arrangement by letter.

When temporary order was established, Eric complied with Roland's
request to go with him upon the platform of the tower. They sat down
here, and looked about, for a long time, in every direction. Eric could
not restrain himself from telling the boy how new and beautiful all
life appeared to him. They had formerly built castles upon the heights,
for strife, for feuds, and for robbery of travellers upon the highway;
but we, we work with the powers of nature, we endeavor to gain wealth,
and then we withdraw, and place our dwelling upon an elevated site, in
some lovely valley, and desire to take in only the eternal beauty,
which no one can take away. The great river becomes a highway, along
which industrious and noble men erect their habitations. The
generations after us will be obliged to say that, at this time, men
began to pay loyal homage to nature, as had never before been paid in
the history of humanity; this is a new religion, even if it has no
outward form, and shall never acquire any.

"Go on speaking, go on, on further," said Roland, nestling up to Eric;
he could not say that he would like to hear just the sound of his
voice; he closed his eyes and cried again: "Go on speaking!" Eric
understood the imploring call, and went on to relate, how, when he
stood for the first time upon the Righi, looking at the setting sun, he
had been impressed with the thought whether there might not be some
form, some service, by which the devotional feelings of these assembled
spectators, in this temple of nature, might find expression. He had
learned that this was impossible, and perhaps was not needful: nature
imparts to each one a joy of his own, and joy in nature to each a
private feeling of devotion, in which no others can share. Then
extolling the happiness of being able thus in one's own house, on a
tower erected by one's self, to appropriate the world, and the beauty
of the earth, he showed how wealth, its pursuit, and its possession
might be the basis of a grand moral and social benefit. Riches, he
explained, were only a result of freedom, of the unfettered employment
of activities, and must have only freedom as their resultant product.

Roland was happy; he did not comprehend the whole, but he felt, for the
first time, that wealth was neither to be despised nor to be gloried
in. All his teachers, hitherto, had endeavored to impress upon him
either the one view or the other.

Joseph came to the tower, and asked whether Eric and Roland wished to
dine together in their room; he was answered in the affirmative. They
were happy, sitting together, and Roland cried:--

"We two dwell upon an island; and if I ever live in the castle, you
must also live with me. Do you know what one thing more I want?"

"How! you want one thing more?"

"Yes; Manna ought to be with us. Don't you think she is now thinking of
us?"

"Probably not of me."

"Yes, indeed! I have written to her about you, and this evening I am
going to write again, and tell her everything."

Eric was puzzled, for a moment: he did not know what he ought to do.
Ought he to restrain the boy from writing about him? There was no
reason for doing so, and he would not disturb Roland's impartial
candor.



                              CHAPTER II.

                       A SPIRIT'S VOICE BY NIGHT.


Roland was writing in his room, and, as he wrote, frequently uttering
the words aloud to himself. Eric sat silent, looking at the lamp. What
was the use now of wishing? He stood in front of the unpacked books;
there were but few. During the last fifteen minutes before going to the
train, he had gone once more into his father's study, and locked up the
papers left by him; glancing his eye around the library, he took down a
book, the first volume of Sparks's handsome edition of the works of
Benjamin Franklin. This volume contained the autobiography and the
continuation of the life. Some leaves were inserted in the handwriting
of his father.

And now he read, on this the first night of his new occupation, these
words,--

"Look at this! Here is a real man, the genius of sound understanding
and of steadfast will. Electricity is always here in the atmosphere,
but does not concentrate itself and become visible lightning.

"This is genius. Genius is nothing but electricity collected in the
atmosphere of the soul.

"With this book a man would not be alone, if he were alone on an
island; he would be in the midst of the world.

"No philosopher, no poet, no statesman, no artisan, no member of the
learned professions, and yet all of these combined in one; a pet son,
with Nature for his mother and Experience for his nurse; an outcast
son, who, without scientific guidance, finds by himself all medicinal
herbs in the wild woods.

"If I had a youth to educate, not for any special calling, but that he
might become a genuine man and a good citizen, I would place my hands
upon his head and say, 'My son, become like Benjamin Franklin--no,--not
this; develop thine own being, as Benjamin Franklin developed his.'"

Eric rested his chin upon his hand, and gazed out into the darkness of
the night.

What is that? Are there miracles in our life? He looked to the right
and to the left, as if he must have heard the voice of his father; as
if he had not written, but was speaking the words,--My son, become like
Benjamin Franklin!

Eric, with great effort, continued his reading:--

"It is indeed well for us to form ourselves after the first men of the
old world, the period of generative, elementary existence; the
characters of the Bible and of Homer are not the creations of a single,
highly endowed mind, but they are the embodiments of the primitive,
national spirit in distinct forms, and embrace a far wider compass than
the span of individual existence.

"Understand me well. I say, I know in modern history no other man,
according to whose method of living and thinking a man of our day can
form himself, except Benjamin Franklin.

"Why not Washington, who was so great and pure?

"Washington was a soldier and a statesman, but he was not an original
discoverer of the world within himself, and an unfolder of that world
from his own inner being. He exerted influence by ruling and guiding
others; Franklin, by ruling and guiding himself.

"When the time shall ever come, and it will come, that battles shall be
spoken of as in this day we speak of cannibals; when honorable,
industrious, humane labors shall constitute the history of humanity,
then Franklin will be acknowledged.

"I would not willingly fall into that sanctimonious tone, the remnant
of pulpit oratory, that comes out in us whenever we approach the
eternal sanctities; and I hope our tone must be wholly different from
that of those who claim to speak in the name of a spirit which they
themselves do not possess.

"God manifested himself to Moses, Jesus, Mohammed in the solitude of
the desert; to Spinoza in the solitude of the study; to Franklin in the
solitude of the sea." (This last clause was stricken out, and then
again inserted.) "Franklin is the man of sober understanding, who knows
nothing of enthusiasm.

"The world would not have much beauty if all human beings were like
Franklin; his nature is wholly destitute of the romantic element, (to
be expressed differently," was written in the margin, and attention
called to it by a cross,) "but the world would have uprightness,
truthfulness, industriousness, and helpfulness. Now they use the word
love, and take delight in their beautiful sentiments; but you are
permitted to speak about love when you have satisfied those four
requirements." (This last sentence was underlined with red ink.)

"In Franklin there is something of Socrates, and there is specially
noticeable a happy vein of humor; Franklin enjoys also a good laugh.

"Franklin is, through and through, good prose, intelligible,
transparent, compact.

"We do not have to educate geniuses in the world. Every genius trains
himself, and can have no other trainer. In the world we have to form
substantial, energetic members of the common weal. What thou dost
specially, whether thou makest shoe-pegs or marble statues, is not my
business but thine.

"We shall never be in a right position in regard to the world, if
we do not believe in purity, in the noblest motives; the inmost of
humanity is revealed to us only on this condition. There is no better
coat-of-mail against assaults, than faith in the good which others do,
and which one is to do himself; one hears then, within, the inspiring
tones of martial music, and marches with light and free step onward
through the contest of life.

"It is the distinguishing and favorable feature in Franklin's life,
that he is the self-made man; he is self-taught, and has discovered by
himself the forces of nature and the treasures of science; he is the
representative of those, who, transplanted from Europe to America and
in danger of deterioration and decay, attained a wholly new
development.

"If we could have, like antiquity, a mythological embodiment of that
world which is called America, which carried with it the gods of
Europe,--I mean those historical ideas which the colonists carried over
with them, and yet freely adopted into their own organic life,--would
you have these ideas embodied in a human form,--here stands Benjamin
Franklin. He was wise, and no one taught him; he was religious, and had
no church; he was a lover of men, and yet knew very well how bad they
were.

"He not only knew how to draw the lightning from the clouds, but also
the stormy elements of passion from the tempers of men; he has laid
hold of those prudential maxims which are a security against
destruction, and which fit one for self-guidance.

"The reason why I should take him for a master and a guide in the
education of a human being, is this:--he represents the simple,
healthy, human understanding, the firmly established and the safe; not
the erratic spirit of genius, but those virtues of head and of heart
which steadily and quietly promote man's social happiness and his moral
well-being.

"Luther was the conqueror of the middle ages; Franklin is the first in
modern times to make himself. The modern man is no longer a martyr;
Luther was none, and Franklin still less. No martyrdom.

"Franklin has introduced into the world no new maxim, but he has
expressed with simplicity those which an honest man can find in
himself.

"In what Franklin is, and in what he imparts, there is nothing
peculiar, nothing exciting, nothing surprising, nothing mysterious,
nothing brilliant nor dazzling; it is the water of life, the water
which all creatures stand in need of." (Here it was written on the
margin,--Deep springs are yet to be bored for, and to be found here)
"The man of the past eighteenth century had no idea of the people,
could have none, for it was wrung and refined out of the free thinking
that prevailed even to the very end of the century, even to the
revolution.

"He who creates anew stands in a strange and hostile, or, at least,
independent attitude towards that which already exists.

"Franklin is the son of this age; he recognizes only the in-born worth
of men, not the inherited. (Deeper boring is yet to be done here)."

With paler ink, evidently later, it was written,--

"It is not by chance, that this first not only free-thinking,--for many
philosophers were this,--but also free-acting man was a printer.

"In the sphere of books lies not the heroism,--I believe that the
period of heroic development is past,--but the manhood of the new age.

"Because our influence is exerted through books, there can be no longer
any grand, personal manifestation of power." (Here were two
interrogation-points and two exclamation-points in brackets, and there
was written in pencil across this last remark,--"This can be better
said.")

Then at the conclusion there was written in blue ink,--

"Abstract rules can form no character, no human being, and can create
no work of art. The living man, and the concrete work of art contain
all rules, as language contains all grammar, and these are the good and
the beautiful.

"He who knows the real men who have preceded him, so that they live
again in him, enters into their circle; he sets his foot upon the holy
ground of existence, he is consecrated through the predecessors who
trode it before him."

And again, in a trembling hand, there was written, at a late period,
clear across the previous writing:--

"Whoever takes a part in the up-building of the State and the
community, whoever fills an office and makes laws, whoever stands in
the midst of the science of his time, becomes antiquated in the course
of the new civilization that succeeds him; he is not, by virtue of his
position, an archetypal pattern of the coming age. He only is so, who
discerns, clears up, lays hold of and establishes anew, those eternal
laws of the human spirit, which are the same from the beginning and
throughout all time; therefore Franklin is not a pattern, but rather a
method."

And now, finally, came the words, which were twice underlined:--

"My last maxim is this:--'Organic life, abstract laws!' We can make
brandy out of grain, but not grain out of brandy. He who understands
that, has all that I have to say."

Eric had read so far, and now he leaned back, and endeavored to form an
idea of his father's thought, and to catch the whole meaning of these
often half-expressed utterances.

He felt as if he were walking upon a mountain-top in the midst of
clouds, and yet seeing the path and the goal.

He placed his hand upon the manuscript leaves, and a happy smile came
over his countenance; then he arose, and almost laughed aloud, for the
expression of the architect, on his arrival, occurred to him.

"We have it!"

"Yes," he cried, "I have it, I have the spring, from which clear,
sparkling water shall flow forth for Roland and for me."

He found no rest; he opened the window, and looked out for a long time
on the night. The air was full of the fragrance of roses, the sky full
of the glory of stars; occasionally a nightingale sang, and then
ceased, while in the distance, where the river was dammed up, the frogs
kept up a noisy croaking.

Now Eric heard a man's voice--it is the voice of Pranken below on the
balcony--which was saying in a loud tone,--

"We attach much, too much importance to it. Such a family-tutor ought
properly to wear a livery; that would be the best."

"You are very merry to-day," replied Sonnenkamp.

"On the contrary, very serious; the sacred order of things, without
which neither society nor the state can exist, has a sure support in
the differences of rank being maintained, if each one shows his
particular class. Service--"

Eric closed the window softly; he deemed it unworthy to listen.

The nightingales sang outside in the thicket, and the frogs croaked in
the swamp.

"Each sings in its own way," said Eric to himself, as he thought of the
cheering words of his father, and the expression of the young baron.



                              CHAPTER III.

                       THE OLD UNDER A NEW FACE.


On the morning, Roland wanted to ride before doing any thing else; but
Eric, whose maxim was that the day could be consecrated only by taking
some good influence into the soul, made him read aloud the first
chapter of Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. This was the dedicatory
act of their new occupation, and when they were called to breakfast,
both were very animated. They could take an equal satisfaction with
Fräulein Perini, who returned from mass with Herr von Pranken.

Eric had not mistaken, Pranken was there. He greeted Eric with a sort
of studied respectfulness, but he fulfilled, after his way, the demands
of sincerity; whilst he, as a man who has nothing to conceal, openly
acknowledged that he had frequently thought it would be better that
Eric should not enter upon the position, with great decision, and in a
tone of satisfaction, he added to this, that there were mysterious
presentiments in the soul, which we must humbly acknowledge; and so
this self-willed act of Roland's was the finger of fate, which laid
upon Eric, as upon all the others, the duty of compliance.

Eric looked at Pranken in utter amazement. He had mistaken this man;
Pranken brought forward principles of conduct which he should never
have supposed, nor would now have attributed to him.

The breakfast passed off cheerfully; the amusement was at the Major's
expense, more indeed while absent, than while present. He had naturally
narrated to Pranken the terrors of the extra train, and Pranken knew
how to tell the story again very much to their entertainment; he could
imitate the Major's thick way of talking, and Fräulein Milch was always
spoken of as Fräulein Milch with the black eyes and the white cap.

After breakfast, Eric requested Herr Sonnenkamp that he and Roland
might, for the future, be excused from this breakfasting in common, and
might be left alone together until dinner-time.

Sonnenkamp looked at him with surprise. Eric explained that he asked
this on the first day, in order that there might be no precedent of
custom established. It was thoroughly needful to keep Roland
undisturbed, and in a persistent determination; this could only be done
by leaving to them at least half of the day, and the freshness of the
morning. Sonnenkamp agreed to it, shrugging his shoulders.

At breakfast it had been casually mentioned that Bella and Clodwig
would dine with them to-day.

Eric saw at once the chief difficulty of his calling, which lay in the
liability of diversions becoming interruptions. He drew a line of
demarkation between himself and all the household, especially
Sonnenkamp, which was not expressly defined, but yet could not be
overstepped; and this was so much the more difficult, as Eric was not
taciturn, and readily entered into the discussion of all matters. But
what was this line? There was a something in him which said to each one
that he must not ask more than Eric was ready, on his part, to answer.
He labored with Roland, and found out where the boy was well-grounded
in knowledge, where there was only a partial deficiency, and where
there was total ignorance.

A carriage drove into the court. Roland looked towards Eric. He did not
appear to have heard the rattling wheels.

"Your friends have arrived," said Roland. He avoided saying that he
himself was very impatient to greet Clodwig and Bella, and, under the
form of a reprimand, to receive praise for executing the bold deed. But
Eric insisted that they had no friends except duty; that there was
nothing and nobody there for them until they had performed their duty.

Roland clasped his hands tightly together under the table, and
compelled himself to be quiet.

Suddenly, in the midst of a mathematical axiom, he said,--

"Excuse me, they have fastened Griffin by a chain, I know it by his
bark; they must not do it: it spoils him."

"Let Griffin and everything else alone; all must wait," Eric said,
maintaining his stand.

Roland pranced like a horse who feels the rein and spurs of the rider.

Soon, however, Eric went with Roland down into the court. Roland was
right; Griffin was chained. He loosed him, and both boy and dog seemed
unchained, madly sporting together.

Bella was with Frau Ceres.

A servant informed Eric that Count Clodwig was expecting him. Clodwig
came to meet Eric with great cordiality, greeted him as a neighbor, and
rejoiced that the boy had exhibited so much energy.

"If we were living in the ancient times," he added, "the boy would have
received a new name from this exploit." What Clodwig said of Roland
was, at the same time, noble in sentiment and good in the manner of
expression.

When they were at the dinner-table, Eric heard in what way Bella jested
with Roland; the boy was beaming with delight, for Bella told him of
the hero, Roland.

Eric was greeted in a friendly but measured way, by Bella; she called
him repeatedly, "Herr Neighbor," and was extremely unconstrained. It
could seem to her now as a laughable piece of prudery and timidity,
that she had endeavored at one time to exert an influence to remove
Eric from the vicinity. Had then the man made an unusual impression
upon her? It appeared to her now like a dream, like a mistake.

Eric had thought of this first meeting with a sort of anxiety; now he
chided also his vanity.

"Shall you have the library of your father brought here?" asked
Clodwig.

Eric replied affirmatively, and Bella stared at him. He knew now why
Bella had been so indifferent and unconcerned; he had received money
from her husband, and he now ranked, therefore, very differently in her
estimation.

At dinner he saw Frau Ceres again, for the first time; and when he went
to her, she said in a very low tone, "I thank you," but nothing
further; the words were very significant.

They were in good spirits at table. They thought that the journey would
be a benefit to Frau Ceres. It would be a suitable preparation for the
journey to the baths. One and another day was named for setting out.

Eric did not know what this meant; Roland saw his inquiring look, and
said to her in a low tone,--

"We are all going to see Manna, and bring her back to journey with us
to the baths. This will be jolly and fine."

Eric experienced anew that the chief difficulty of a life so abounding
in means and so unconfined by regular duties was, that every one in the
family, and the boy especially, was living either in the reaction from
some dissipating amusement, or in the expectation of engaging in it. He
would wait quietly, until the question was asked him, in order then to
make his resolute decision of some account.

After dinner it happened, as if by chance, that Bella walked with Eric.
She first told him how happy Clodwig was that Eric was to remain now in
his neighborhood, and then suddenly standing still, and with a
furtively watchful look, she said,--

"You will shortly see Fräulein Sonnenkamp again."

"I?"

"Yes. You journey with us, do you not?"

"No one has so informed me."

Bella smiled.

"But surely you will be glad to see Fräulein Sonnenkamp again?"

"I did not know that it was she when I met her."

Bella smiled again, and said,--

"I have seen enough of the world to have no prejudice. The daughter of
the house and my brother Otto--Ah, you know well enough what I wish to
say."

"No, gracious lady, you give me credit for too much wisdom."

"It should offend me if you are reserved towards me, and are on such
intimate terms with the outside acquaintances of the family. The
Major's housekeeper boasts of your being her favorite, and yet do you
know nothing of the private betrothal?"

"Not until this moment. I offer my congratulations, and I am proud,
gracious lady, that you initiate me with such confidingness into your
family affairs."

"Do you know," cried Bella quickly, "do you know that I promise myself
a great deal of pleasure from you?"

"From me? What can I do?"

"That is not my meaning, to speak in direct terms. I have thought a
great deal about you. You are of an impulsive disposition, but you are
still an enigma to me, and I hope that I also am to you."

"I had not allowed myself, indeed--"

"I allow you to allow yourself. Then, Herr Captain, or Herr Doctor, or
Herr Dournay, but, at any rate, Herr Neighbor, we will make a contract.
I shall try to resolve for myself the contradictions and oddities of
your nature, and make such investigations as I am able to; on the other
hand, I allow you to do the same with me. Do you not find this
attractive?"

"Attractive and dangerous."

Bella straightened herself up, and Eric continued:--

"Dangerous for me, for you know what friend Hamlet says, that if our
deserts are known, 'who can escape a whipping?'"

"I am glad that you are not polite, but neither should you be
diffident."

"I mean, that it might be dangerous for me, not for you."

"I am too proud to sell, or to throw away politeness, as the Austrian
proverb says."

"I am glad that you are too proud for it too."

"And now tell me in what way you saw Manna, and how she appeared to
you."

Eric narrated the casual meeting, and how he had first learned her name
through the daughter of the Justice.

"Ah, indeed, indeed, Lina," said Bella, and her fingers moved very
rapidly, as if she were playing a piano in the air. It was an agreeable
recreation to look upon the playing of this sentimental game, for Lina
had a decided penchant for Otto. But the naïve Innocence knew very well
that Otto had a preference for Manna, and it was not so very bad a plan
to introduce to Manna so handsome a suitor as Eric.

While Bella was walking with Eric, Pranken had taken Roland very
confidingly by the hand, and visited with him the stables and the young
dogs; then he led him into an unfrequented part of the park, very
remote from the road. Their talk was very naturally about Eric, and
Roland could not find words to tell how all-wise and all-good he was.
Pranken rebuked, with a stern countenance, the application of such
words to a human being, and he impressed very strenuously upon him,
that he could learn much from the worldly man that would be
advantageous to him in the world, but there was a highest which he was
not to entrust to him, and wherein he was to be in no way obedient.

And now he spoke of Manna. There was an expression of devotion in his
words, as well as in his tone. He took the book, which he always
carried over his heart, out of his breast-pocket, and showed Roland the
exact place which Manna reads to-day; by running away, Roland had let
several days slip without reading the same passages, but he could now
catch up by diligence. But, more than all, Herr Dournay need know
nothing of it, for no one of a different faith should step between
Roland and his God.

Pranken seated himself with Roland under a great nut-tree, by the road,
and read aloud some expressive passages. The boy looked at him in
wonderment. The Wine-chevalier rode by; he called out a greeting to
Pranken, but the latter returned it with only a friendly wave of the
hand, and continued his reading.

It was like a release to Roland when Bella and Eric came along, engaged
in a merry, jesting conversation. He called to them, and shortly after
joined Eric; and Bella went by the side of her brother, who twirled his
moustaches and surveyed his handsome boots. When Eric and Roland had
departed, Pranken straightened himself up, and began to appeal directly
to Bella's conscience for coquetting and trifling thus with a young
man.

Bella stood still, seemingly at a loss whether to laugh at her brother
or sharply reprove him; but she concluded in favor of the former
course, and ridiculed the new convert.

"Ah," she cried, "you are very properly afraid that this Herr Dournay
will be pleasing to the glorified Manna, and you suppose the same in
regard to me. You have just hit it. The man has something bewitching
for us women, provided we are shut up in the bonds of wedlock, or in a
convent."

Pranken did not fall in with this tone; he repeated, that every jest,
every act of trifling, bordered upon a sin, and jesting was liable to
remove imperceptibly the boundary line. He was so zealous, that he took
the book out of his breast-pocket, and read aloud to Bella a passage
having reference to the subject.

Bella looked with astonishment when Otto exhibited so pious a book: she
pointed out to her brother, meanwhile, what impregnable virtue was; she
made fun of the young man, who had a truly revolting self-confidence.
Moreover, Otto could be wholly at rest, if there was the appearance of
an understanding between her and Eric; yes, she would willingly make,
so far, a sacrifice for him; her virtue would be secure from every
misconstruction, and she would assume this appearance, in order to free
Otto from a dangerous rival.

"I am, indeed, in earnest," she concluded. "Are the good to deny to
themselves a friendly intercourse, because the bad conceal under this
appearance all kinds of baseness? That would be a world turned upside
down; that would be the subjection of the good to the evil."

Bella was not aware, or she did not think it worth while to take note
of it, that she here set forth a remark of her husband. Pranken looked
at her with surprise. Was he, in fact, misled by his newly awakened
zeal, or was this only a nicely-woven veil, a mere outside show of
virtue? He was in perplexity; he was at a loss what to say in reply to
this jesting and playful tone, to these insinuous and flexible evasions
of his sister.



                              CHAPTER IV.

                           A FRUSTRATED PLAN.


Eric found great difficulty in keeping his pupil steadily at his
lessons, so completely was he taken up with the thought of the journey.

The day came for the journey to the convent; it was a bright day of
sunshine.

Eric requested that he might remain behind; Sonnenkamp immediately
agreed, adding kindly that it would probably be agreeable to Eric to
have a few quiet days alone. This considerateness appeared very
friendly to Eric, who returned it by saying that it should be his
endeavor not to estrange Roland from his family.

Pranken drove over with his sister, and Bella told Eric that Clodwig
sent a message, begging for his company during their absence. Eric
became thus aware, for the first time, that he had never been expected
to join the party; he immediately stifled the sensitive feelings
arising from this, as well as from some other occurrences. Roland alone
urged him pressingly to go with them, saying, unreservedly,--

"Manna will be very much vexed if you do not come; she ought to see you
too."

Sonnenkamp smiled oddly at this entreaty, and Pranken turned away to
conceal his features.

Roland took a most affectionate leave of Eric; it was the first time
that he was to be parted from him for hours and through the night: he
promised, meanwhile, to tell Manna much about him. Something unusual
must have been passing in the boy's mind, for just at the moment of
departure, he said to Eric,--

"You and the house, you don't go away from your place."

Eric pressed his hand warmly.

They drove to the steamboat in three carriages. Pranken with Frau
Ceres, Sonnenkamp with Fräulein Perini and Bella, and, in the third
carriage, Roland and the servants.

They drove a short distance up the river to take the boat, and as they
afterwards shot quickly past the Villa, Eric was standing on the
beautiful, wooded hill, whence there was a view down the stream, where
the mountains seemed to meet to compel the river to spread out into a
lake. Roland waved his hat from the boat, and Eric answered the
greeting in the same way, saying to himself,--

"Farewell, boy dear to my heart."

Whoever understands the meaning of the fact that Eric could not send a
greeting into the distance, where it was inaudible, without speaking an
earnest word of love,--whoever understands this, has the key to the
depths of Eric's character.

The boat puffed by, the waves in its wake plashed for a while against
the shore, and tossed the pretty pleasure-boat up and down, then all
was still again. The steamboat shot down the stream, and the party on
board was very cheerful. Pranken occupied himself with special
attentions to Frau Ceres, who, wrapped in fine shawls, sat on the deck.

Roland had received permission to take Griffin with him. All on board
were struck by the handsome boy, and many expressed their admiration
aloud.

For a short distance the Wine-count and his son, the Wine-chevalier,
travelled with them. The old gentleman, a tall, distinguished-looking
man, wore his red ribbon in his button-hole; the young man was very
much pleased to meet Pranken there, and especially happy to be able to
salute Frau Bella.

Towards Sonnenkamp and his family both these old inhabitants had
hitherto borne themselves with some reserve; to-day they seemed to wish
to change this reserve for a more friendly manner, but Sonnenkamp held
back, not choosing that they should make advances to him now that they
saw him in a position of honor; and he was evidently relieved when they
left the steamer, at the second stopping-place, where there was a large
Water-cure establishment. On the landing stood the steward of the
prince's household with his invalid son, waiting for the two gentlemen.
Bella received a most respectful bow from his Excellency, and she told
Herr Sonnenkamp, as they went on their way, that it was almost a
settled matter, that the daughter of the rich wine-merchant was to
marry the invalid son of the steward.

The day was bright and clear; hardly a breath of wind blew upon the
swiftly-moving boat. Roland frequently overheard: some one whispering
half aloud to some passenger, newly come on board, "There is the rich
American, who is worth ten millions."

A special table was laid on deck for Sonnenkamp's party, and Joseph had
it ornamented with flowers and brightly-polished wine-coolers.
Sonnenkamp's servants, in their coffee-colored livery, waited on them.

At table Roland asked,--

"Father, is it true, that you are worth ten millions?"

"People have not yet counted my money," replied Sonnenkamp, smiling;
"at all events you will have enough to allow you to order such a dinner
as we have to-day."

The boy did not seem satisfied with this answer, and Sonnenkamp
added,--

"My son, one is rich only by comparison."

"Mark the words, rich only by comparison," repeated Pranken; "that's a
fine expression; it includes a whole balance-sheet."

Sonnenkamp smiled; he was always pleased when any one dwelt on an
expression of his with special emphasis.

"Ah, travelling is so pleasant, so jolly, if we only had Eric with us!"
cried Roland.

No one answered. The boy seemed unusually talkative, for as the
champagne was opened, and Bella proposed Manna's health, he said to
Pranken,--

"You ought to marry Manna."

The ladies gave an odd look at the two men; Roland had given utterance
to the wish of all. He became more and more the central object of the
conversation and the jesting, and more and more talkative and
extravagant; he uttered the wildest nonsense, and at last complied with
Pranken's request that he would imitate the candidate Knopf. He
smoothed his hair back, took snuff from his left hand, which he held
like a snuff-box, and constantly tapped; he suddenly assumed a
perfectly strange voice and expression, as, in a stiff, wooden manner,
he declaimed the fourth conjugation, and the precepts of Pythagoras,
with a mixture of all sorts of other things.

"Now can you mimic Herr Dournay?" asked Pranken.

Roland was struck dumb. A stony look came into his face, as if he had
seen some monster; then he grew suddenly calm, and looked at Pranken as
if he would annihilate him, saying,--

"I will never again imitate Candidate Knopf, that I vow from this day
forth."

The boy, who was excited by wine and by talking, became suddenly quiet,
and disappeared, so that the servants had to be sent in search of him.
He was found on the forward deck with his dog, great tears in his eyes;
he allowed himself to be led back to his friends without opposition,
but he continued silent.

The steamboat glided on and on; the vineyards glowed in the midday
sunshine, and soon it was said,--

"Only two more stops, then comes the convent."

Roland went back to his dog, and said,--

"Griffin, now we are going to Manna; aren't you glad?" It was still
high noon when they landed by the weeping-willows on the shore, and
entered the refreshing shade of the park which surrounded the convent.
The servants were left in a large inn on the other bank of the river.

No one was on the shore awaiting the travellers, although their coming
had been announced beforehand.

"Manna not here?" asked Sonnenkamp as he sprang ashore, and the fierce
look, which he generally knew how to conceal, came into his face.

Frau Ceres only turned her head towards him, and he became gentle and
mild.

"I only hope the good child is not sick," he added, in a tone which
would have suited a hermit doing penance.

They went to the convent, whose doors were closed; the church alone was
open, and a nun, with veiled face, was prostrate in prayer, while the
bright sunshine sparkled out of doors. The visitors, who had crossed
the threshold, drew quietly back; they rang at the convent door, and
the portress opened it. Herr Sonnenkamp inquired whether Fräulein
Hermanna Sonnenkamp were well; the portress answered in the
affirmative, and added, that if they were her parents, the Superior
begged them to come to her in the parlor. Sonnenkamp asked Bella,
Pranken, and Fräulein Perini to wait in the garden; he wished Roland to
stay with them, but the boy said,--

"No, I'm going with you."

His mother took his hand and spoke for the first time.

"Very well, you can stay with me."

Griffin remained outside. Roland and his parents were shown into the
presence of the Superior, who received them with a very friendly and
dignified bearing. She asked a sister who was with her to leave them
alone, and then requested the visitors to be seated. It was cool and
pleasant in the large room, where hung pictures of saints painted on a
gold background.

"What is the matter with our daughter?" asked Sonnenkamp at last,
breathing deeply.

"Your child, whom we may call our child also,--for we love her no less
than you do,--is quite well; she is generally yielding and patient too,
but sometimes she shows an incomprehensible self-will, amounting almost
to stubbornness."

A rapid flash from Sonnenkamp's eyes fell upon his wife, who looked at
him and moved her upper lip very slightly. The Superior did not notice
this, for while she spoke she either closed her eyes or kept them cast
down; she quietly continued,--

"Our dear Manna refuses to see her parents, unless they will promise
beforehand that she may remain with us at the convent through the
winter; she says that she does not yet feel herself strong enough to
enter the world."

"And you have granted her this condition?" asked Sonnenkamp, as he ran
his hand through his white neck-handkerchief, and loosened it.

"We have nothing to grant to her; you are her parents, and have
unconditional power over your child."

"Of course," burst out Sonnenkamp, "of course, if her thoughts are
influenced--but I beg your pardon, I interrupted you."

"By no means, I have finished; you have to decide whether you will
agree to the condition beforehand; you have full parental power. I will
call one of the sisters to conduct you to Manna's cell; it is not
locked. I have only performed the child's commission, now act according
to your own judgment."

"Yes, that I will do, and she shall not stay here an hour longer!"

"If her mother has any voice in the matter," began Frau Ceres.

Sonnenkamp looked at her as if some speechless piece of furniture had
spoken, and Frau Ceres continued, not to him, but to the Superior,--

"I declare as her mother that we will lay no compulsion upon her; I
grant her this condition."

Sonnenkamp started up and clutched the back of a chair; there was a
violent struggle within him, but suddenly he said, in a most gentle
tone,--

"Roland, go now to Herr von Pranken."

Roland was forced to leave the convent, his heart beating fast. There
was his sister in a room above; what was to happen to her? Why could he
not go to her, embrace and kiss her, and play with her long dark hair
as he used to do? He went out of doors, but not to Pranken; he entered
the open church, and there he knelt and prayed with deep fervor. He
could not have said for what he prayed, but he asked for peace and
beauty, and suddenly, as he looked up, he started back; there was the
great picture of St. Anthony of Padua, and, wonderful to say, this
picture resembled Eric,--the noble, beautiful face was Eric's.

The boy gazed long at it; at last he laid his head on his hands,
and--blessed power of youth!--he fell asleep.



                               CHAPTER V.

                          SECRET, SILENT LOVE.


The parents entered Manna's cell. Manna calmly met them, and said,--

"Welcome, and may God's blessing be with you!" She extended her hand to
her father; her hand thrilled as she felt the ring on her father's
thumb. Then she threw herself upon her mother's breast and kissed her.

"Forgive me," she cried, "forgive me! Do not think me heartless; I must
do so--no, I will to do so. I thank you, that you have granted my
request."

"Yes, indeed, we put no constraint upon you," said the mother; and
Sonnenkamp, who had not yet assented, was obliged to comply with her
wishes.

Manna's countenance became suddenly lighted up; she said that she was
glad to see her parents looking so well, and that she prayed for them
daily, and that heaven would hearken to her prayer. Manna had a tone of
voice in which one seemed to feel the repressed tears; this voice
appeared to affect Sonnenkamp, so that he placed his hand upon his
heart, and his posture and look were as if he were making a silent vow.

When Manna asked after Roland, he said, with the mien of one speaking
to a person who has been ill and is just convalescent, that Roland was
in the park, and Manna must go with them, and greet the ladies and Herr
von Pranken.

When her father mentioned this name, a slight shudder went over Manna,
but she said with immediate composure,--

"I will see no one but you and Roland."

A lay-sister was sent for Roland. Meanwhile, Manna explained, that,
according to the regulations, she must return for a year to the world,
and then--she hesitated a moment, and ended with the words--if her
present resolution continued, she would take the veil.

"And will you never tell me, why and how this thought has sprung up in
you?" asked Sonnenkamp in a supplicating tone.

"Indeed I will, father, when it is all over."

"I don't comprehend! I don't comprehend it!" cried Sonnenkamp aloud.
Manna hushed the loud tone of her father with her hand, signifying to
him that here in the convent no one spoke so loud.

Roland, after whom they had been looking for a long time, was terrified
and shrank back, when, awakened suddenly by a form clothed in black, he
found himself in the church. He was conducted to Manna. He embraced his
sister heartily, crying out,--? "You good, bad sister!"

He could say no more, from the impetuosity of his feelings.

"Not so violent," said the maiden, soothingly. "Indeed! what a strong
lad you have got to be!"

"And you so tall! And you look like him, but Eric, is handsomer than
you are. Yes, laugh if you will! Isn't it so, mother? Isn't it, father?
Ah, how glad he will be when you return home, and how much you will
like him too!"

Roland talked sometimes of St. Anthony, sometimes of Eric, mingling
them together, and telling what an excellent man he had for a teacher
and friend: and when Manna said that she should not go home until
spring, Roland ended by saying,--

"You can very well imagine how Herr Eric looks; when you go into the
chapel, look at St. Anthony, he looks exactly like him, exactly as
good. But he can also be strict; he has been an artillery-officer."

Again the father made the request, and the mother joined in it, that
Manna would accompany them in their journey to the baths, after which
she would be allowed to come back to the convent.

Manna informed them that she could not interrupt her studies and her
retreat.

The strange, thrilling tone of her voice had something saddening in it,
and when she now stated how earnestly she hoped to become clear and
resolute in her determination to be constant to the religious life,
tears came into her mother's eyes. But her father gazed fixedly at her;
he hardly saw his child, hardly knew where he was. He heard a voice,
which once--it seemed incredible that he was the same person--he had
heard many, many years ago; and as he thus gazed, he saw not his child,
not the scenes around him, he saw nothing but a neglected little mound
of earth in the churchyard of a Polish village. He passed his broad
hand over his whole face, and, as if waking up, he looked now at his
child, and heard her saying,--

"I shall be constant to the life."

He had heard all that had here transpired, and yet his thought and his
internal eye had been fixed upon a far distant scene, scarcely
comprehensible. Now he repeated his request that Manna would just go
with them into the park, and salute the friends; that she ought not to
slight them; but Manna firmly persisted that she could not go.

Manna had requested a sister to send for Heimchen; the child came, and
looked wonderingly at the strangers. Manna pointed out to the child her
parents and her brother. The child, scarcely glancing at the parents,
nestled up to Roland, when Manna said,--

"This is my brother I have told you of."

"I like you," said the child, "I like you."

She was as confiding with Roland as if she had always played with him.
"And will you be my brother?" asked the child.

Manna declared how happy it made her, to be able to do so much for the
child.

Sonnenkamp hummed to himself,--

"Yes, yes, that's the way. I know what you are, a child who takes to a
stranger child. But enough!"

He rose hastily.

The parents and Roland left the cell. Manna remained there with
Heimchen.

Upon the steps, Sonnenkamp said to his wife,--

"This is your doing! The child is estranged from me; you have turned
her heart from me, you have said to her----"

A strange laugh, a laugh sounding as if it came from some other person,
was uttered by Frau Ceres. Roland stared at her; here is something
incomprehensible to him.

The parents and the boy rejoined the visitors in the park, and
Sonnenkamp informed them very calmly that he had given permission to
his daughter, in order not to interrupt and disturb her education by
outside impressions, to remain at the convent until Easter. Pranken
darted a strange glance at Sonnenkamp, and then expressed his
admiration of the imperturbable composure with which Sonnenkamp
accomplished everything.

Bella and Fräulein Perini had walked over the island. They did not
return for a long time; at last they came from the room of the
Superior.

Evening was approaching, and as they embarked on the boat, Roland
cried, looking towards the convent,--

"Good-night, Manna."

Manna had heard the good-bye, she had slipped into the park, taken a
farewell look at the departing visitors, and then went quietly into the
chapel.

As they reached the shore, they heard the choir of girls' voices
singing with clear tone at the convent.

"This may sound very fine to him who has no child joining in it," said
Sonnenkamp to himself.

In the large inn there was hurrying and commotion, as if a prince had
arrived with his suite, for Sonnenkamp was fond of making a display of
his wealth. The large garden was festively illuminated, this party of
travellers was served with special consideration, and every other
arrival, on this evening, hardly received any attention. When all was
still, a boat, in which Pranken sat, rowed over to the convent. He
landed on the island, and heard the music of a harp from an open
window. That came from Manna, he was sure. Soon a light was visible in
a cell, here and there, windows were opened, the heads of girls
appeared and looked out once more into the night; then the windows were
closed, the lights extinguished, and the harp-playing ceased.

Pranken saw the church open, and entering, he knelt down and prayed
silently. Then he heard a light step, and a sound, as if some one knelt
down before the altar; a thrill passed over him, and yet he did not
look up, and if he had, he could not have recognized any thing in the
darkness lighted only by the solitary, ever-burning lamp. The form
arose, and went towards the open church door. The moon cast a broad
beam as far as the middle aisle of the church; now, as the form stood
in the doorway, Pranken approached and said,--

"Fräulein Manna, a friend. Fear not, a man, who through you has known
salvation, stands before you. I have not come to shake your holy
resolve, I have only come to tell you what I have become by your
instrumentality. No, I cannot tell you--but you ought to know this,--if
you take the veil, then I also will renounce the world; apart from each
other, so long as we live on this earth, we will live for heaven.
Farewell, a thousand times farewell, thou pure, thou blessed one!
farewell!"

The young man and the maiden looked upon each other as if they were no
longer living creatures of human passions, as if they were transported
above the world. Manna could not utter a single word; she simply dipped
her hand into the vessel of holy water, and sprinkled Pranken's face
three times.

With hasty step, Pranken went to the shore. Manna stood and laid her
hand upon her brow.

Has all this been only a vision of her own fancy?

Then she heard the stroke of oars in the river, and a voice again
cried:--

"Thou pure, thou blessed one!"

Then all was still.

On the other side a chain rattled, the boat was drawn up to the shore,
and no sound was heard; only the waves of the river, which are not
heard by day, rippled and plashed and murmured in the still night.
Manna thought that she could hear the blood as it flowed through her
heart, so full, so oppressed, and yet so blissful.



                              CHAPTER VI.

                       A DAY WITHOUT PEN OR TYPE.


Eric stood on the shore gazing after the boat, from which Roland was
waving at a distance his white handkerchief. To see a person so
attached to us flitting away from us in a vessel, seems as if one
should love a bird which soars freely up into the air where it cannot
be reached; and yet it is different. Human love connects by invisible
ties, and this signalizing from afar is a sign of a thought in
common, of communication of feeling and participation of interest,
notwithstanding all separation by space.

When the boat had disappeared, and only a light streak of vapor floated
along the vine-covered slopes, Eric remained standing upon the hill,
and as the faint mists hovered in the air, so hovered in his soul the
last words of Roland's farewell,--"You and the house do not move from
your place."

What a commotion, what an upheaving and swelling, there is in the soul
of youth, until it comes to some expression, like an opening blossom!

But that which is closed and wrapped up in the bud has an equal beauty
and depth of sentiment, but it is not manifest to us, and does not
breathe upon us with such a fragrant and charming loveliness.

So thought Eric as he looked at an acacia-tree, whose buds were yet
unopened, and which had put forth not even a green leaf.

Eric was now alone at the villa. He inhaled the quiet, the peace, and
the stillness in full draughts, as if, after long days and nights of
travel upon the noisy steam-cars, he should suddenly come into the
silent woods; yes, as if he were lying deep down at the bottom of the
river, and over him were gently rippling the cooling waves. He did not
read, he did not write, he enjoyed only an unfathomable rest.

He did not mean to comply with Clodwig's invitation to visit him, until
the next day. Eric was certainly removed from all selfishness, but the
freedom of living for a whole day without being called upon to talk,
and of being entirely by himself, had a charm for him as if he had now,
for the first time, escaped out of the captivity of servitude, and
acquired the disposal of himself. The thought came over him at one
time, that Clodwig was expecting him but he said almost aloud,--

"I cannot!--I must not!" He wished to pass a single day without
speaking or being spoken to, to be by himself, alone, speechless,
solitary, referring to no one, and no one referring to him.

He thought, for one moment, of writing to his mother, but he dismissed
the idea. No one was to have anything of him, he would have all of
himself. This perpetual obligation to think for others, this striving
for them and love to them, seemed to him a painful and keen suffering;
there was now, in the depths of his soul, a call for solitude. For a
single day only would he be an egoist, live in absolute rest, and let
no book, no relation of life, no longing, no endeavor, deprive him of
aught of this entire loneliness.

This villa was called Eden, and he would, for one day, be the first man
alone in Eden. He looked at a tree and nodded to it. Fixed thus,
abiding in himself, like this tree, would he live for just a single
day.

He lay down in the park under a spreading beech-tree, and dreamed away
the day. There is a low, gladsome rippling of being and of feeling,
without definite thought or volition, which is the inmost desire of
those harassed with restless thought and anxious care. Eric lay thus,
happy in himself, contemplating and breathing alone, so that the step
of a gardener upon the grating gravel aroused him as from a dream. The
gardener began to rake the path; it was a strangely harsh sound. Eric
would have liked to bid him keep still, but he forbore, and said to
himself, smiling,--

"Thou art just such a raker of the paths."

He looked into the branches of the trees, and as the gentle breeze
moved them to and fro, so he allowed his thoughts to be swayed hither
and thither, with no desire, no conscious endeavor,--simply living. All
was peaceful and silent within him. How long, ever since its first
shooting forth, has such a leaf been moved by the wind the whole summer
long, until it drops, and then--well, then?

A smile passed over his countenance. We are no longer alone,
because there is a second self, and one is conscious of his own
unconsciousness. And the thought proceeded farther. Yes, solitude,
this is the rest upon the mother-earth, this is the story of Antæus,
who is inspired with fresh strength from the ever-present energies of
mother-earth, as soon as he touches her. We are raised from the ground
by our constant thinking, and so are rendered powerless. And farther
yet went his dreaming and meditation. This is one trouble of wealth,
this is its curse, that it does not enter into the heavens, cannot
again be immersed in the primitive might of earthly being, for wealth
possesses everything except this, a deliverance from the world, a being
alone with one's self. Ballast! ballast! too much ballast!

The doctor's word came into his mind, and the word ballast again and
again recurred to his thoughts, just as the finch in the tree over his
head continually repeated the same notes.

In the midst of this dreaming and unlimited contemplation, he fell
asleep, and when he waked up, he was invigorated and full of a fresh
life; for the first time, since a long period, he felt at home within
himself. He smiled, for a new thought occurred to him, and, as it were,
shone through him. Adam slept in Paradise, and when he waked, he saw
his wife by his side; a world is his, and also another who is to become
one with him.

It was one of those days and hours in which all the past and the
present, all that humanity has ever dreamed and ever obtained for
itself by toil, bright with a reflected glory, and gleaming in its own
splendor, stands before the eyes. All riddles seem solved. All is
peaceful, harmonious, and divine.

So must it be to the thoughtful man when he awakens from the sleep of
death, and the eternal life opens to his view.

But the struggle must be entered upon anew, in order to maintain the
battle of life.

Eric went into the park and around the house, and took in all with
newly opened eyes; he had forgotten how all looked, it had been put far
away, and now he surveyed everything like a man newly awakened and
endowed with fresh strength.

It is well that the world abides, and is always ready in its place when
we return to it again from the sphere of unconscious forgetfulness.

A whole day passed, in which Eric read nothing and wrote nothing.

The next morning, ordering his horse to be saddled, he mounted and rode
towards Clodwig's house.

He had scarcely been riding fifteen minutes, when a boy called to him,
and brought him a letter. He read it, nodded, and rode in good spirits
to the village.



                              CHAPTER VII.

                           OUR FRIEND KNOPF.


On the bright summer days people sail joyously up and down the river,
everything sparkles and glitters in the sunlight, and is full of
gladness. Who there thinks how much sorrow, how much weariness,
anguish, and care, dwell within the houses they pass by? Look yonder at
the high-perched village, that seems to rise so prettily out of the
river, and sends to us now the sound of bells; there goes a poor
village schoolmaster, with depressed countenance, from the church to
the school-house. But to-day his face is lighted up, for a faithful
friend stands in front of the schoolhouse, and extends to him his hand.

"Hey! you here, Herr Knopf?" cried the schoolmaster.

"The free Republic of the United States gives me a day's freedom. You
see before you an independent man. Ah, dear Fassbender, I am specially
born to be a teacher of girls; I tell you that previous to the deluge
of their first ball, girls are the choicest blossoms of our planet."

Knopf related to his fellow-teacher how happy he was to have for a
pupil a bright American girl, quick of apprehension; and his homely
countenance, as he spoke, assumed a wholly different expression.

Knopf had, in fact, an ugly face, it was so full of seams. His nose,
mouth, brow, even his eyebrows, which projected somewhat over his
light-blue eyes whenever he wore no spectacles, as was now the case,
all seemed kneaded out of dough. But now, as he spoke of his pupil, his
countenance, was lighted up.

He made known that he had come hither, in order to give Roland's
present instructor some hints concerning the character of his pupil,
and the manner in which he could best be advanced. He had already been
walking since before sunrise, and it was a refreshing walk. He felt now
that it was not needful for him to go to the villa, he would make an
appointment with the tutor to meet him here, and requested that a boy
might carry a note from him to Captain Dournay.

The children came up one after another, and saluted Herr Knopf, whom
they already knew. A curly-headed boy was very happy to be the bearer
of the note to Villa Eden, instead of being obliged to sit in school.

Knopf knew a beautiful spot back of the village, under a linden on the
crown of the hill, where there was a wide prospect on every side.
Strolling thither, he laid himself down under the tree, and surveyed
the landscape with a joyful glance.

           "In grass and flowers I love to lie,
            And hear afar the flute's sweet sigh,"

he said almost aloud to himself. And since in our steam-puffing times
there is no flute to be heard, Knopf screwed his cane, which was
intended also for a flute, into the right shape, and played upon it the
tune set by Conrad Kreuzer to Uhland's song. He was more pleased at the
thought that others would hear this at a distance, than that he was
hearing it himself.

No boat went up or down the stream that he did not signalize it with a
white handkerchief. What matter if those on board were strangers? He
has given them a sign that he on the height here is happy; they below
there are to be happy too. The signal may tell them that.

Yes, Knopf deserves to be known more intimately.

The son of a poor schoolmaster, Knopf had gone through his university
course with great difficulty, and had passed his examination; but now
he fell into great misfortune. On the very first day of his year of
probation, the boys stamped and hissed, and the more he bade them be
quiet, so much the more noisy were they; and the more enraged he
became, so much the more insolent was their derision. The director came
to his assistance, but as soon as he went away from the schoolroom, the
noise and stamping began afresh. It was granted to Knopf to pass his
year of probation in a distant city; but some invisible sprite must
have spread abroad his mishap, for very soon after he began teaching,
the same thing happened here. And now he gave up entirely the office of
a public school teacher.

Knopf was abundantly liked at the capital as a teacher of girls.
Inasmuch as he was so fabulously ugly, mothers could entrust their
half-grown daughters to his private instruction, without the least
anxiety lest they should fall in love with him. He was conscientious
and painstaking, but he did not succeed. He was liked in all the
families, but no one wished to employ him exclusively, or for any
considerable length of time; he was only a temporary teacher. No other
one had so many deceased scholars as he, for many were committed to his
instruction only after they became ailing.

Knopf had been much at the watering-places, and when the parents could
not go with their children to the baths, he was entrusted with that
service; he was both tutor and attendant. He was also teacher for some
time in an asylum for idiots, and his conscience often reproved him,
then and afterwards, for not remaining in that position; but he
asserted that he was too much a devotee of the beautiful.

Yes, he wanted to explore what kind of humane institutions were
established among the Greeks and Romans. He found that they had very
few children morally and physically diseased. Knopf had a plan, which
he held on to for some time, of establishing an institution for the
care of sick children at some salt-spring; for iodine is the watch-word
of the cultivated, that is, the possessing world, whose humours are
acrid: he hoped to find an associate for the sacred iodine. Meanwhile
he remained a make-shift teacher for girls.

Greek and Roman mythology was his strong point, and it is extremely
important that a maiden in cultivated society should make no mistake in
that. His favorite pursuit was, however, the interpretation of the
poets, especially the romantic. Of course, he was himself a poet, but
modestly, only to himself. There, were probably in the capital few
albums, begun by very young girls and afterwards abandoned, which did
not contain a sonnet, or oftener a triolet, beautifully written by Emil
Knopf for his dear pupil. He had also a musical knowledge sufficient to
direct the private practising of pupils, and he was particularly
strict, yes, even unmerciful, in keeping time. He could also draw
sufficiently well to give assistance in that respect, especially in
drawing flowers. He was also handy and popular in wedding-games,
whenever one of his pupils was married. He not only knew how to make
the maidens speak, in the language of flowers, as "I am the rose," "I
am the violet," but he could bring out jokes and sportive allusions;
and while the players in their fine dresses were declaiming; and
forming charming tableaux, he sat in the prompter's box, and breathed
to them the words. How happy he was, too, at some public dinner, and
how assentingly he nodded, when this or the other speaker recited by
heart, or read from a manuscript, the toast he had himself composed!

Emil Knopf was one of the most serviceable of men; he was proud of
never having advertised in the newspapers; he was recommended from
mouth to mouth, and for the most part from one fair mouth to another,
one mother speaking in his commendation to another, and the fathers
smiling and saying, "Yes, Herr Knopf is a very conscientious teacher."

If he were in a house where smoking was disagreeable, he chewed roasted
coffee-berries, and he was just as contented with that. Knopf liked to
take snuff, but he did it only when he was alone, and very quietly; he
carried a colored and a white pocket-handkerchief, so that the
gentleman and the lady of the house might not notice that he took
snuff. One very peculiar habit he could not break himself of, that of
hitching up the trousers on both legs, as if they were going suddenly
to drop down from his body.

But this is no sufficient reason for his appearing destined to be only
a temporary teacher, nothing but a pedagogical nurse for a few weeks.
Knopf is taken into some family until the stress of sickness or need of
some kind is over, and then he is dismissed with very courteous, very
friendly words; but still always dismissed. Fourteen half-yearly
terms--Knopf always reckoned by the semester, and we must do the same
by him--Knopf lived at the capital; and, during this period, he always
intended to procure a wholesale quantity of a brand of cigars which
should taste right, but he never made up his mind. Fourteen semesters
he smoked, from week's end to week's end, different kinds of cigars on
trial, and was perpetually asking what was the price by the thousand,
but he never succeeded in getting the thousand at one time.

Knopf was, naturally, one of the clumsiest of mortals, but he trained
himself to be one of the best swimmers and gymnastic performers, so
that he was, for a time, assistant teacher of gymnastics. Having been
employed twice in the country, where it is so difficult to procure
piano-tuners, he had been led to learn how to tune pianos himself; but
he would never do it except in the house where he happened to be
temporarily living. Several persons asserted that he could also knit
and do plain sewing, but this was unmitigated slander. He could darn
stockings in a most masterly style, but no one had ever seen him do it,
he always did it secretly by himself.

Knopf had come to Herr Sonnenkamp likewise as a temporary candidate and
temporary teacher; here a longer tarrying seemed to be allotted to him,
and a future free from anxiety. Knopf had an enthusiastic love for
Roland, and although the boy learned nothing thoroughly with him, Knopf
used to say to his crony, the teacher Fassbender,--

"The Gods never learned anything, they had it all in themselves. Who
can tell us the name of Apollo's teacher of music, or with what
chief-butler Ganymede served his apprenticeship? Fine natures have all
in themselves, and do not require instruction. We are only cripples
with all our learning; we are tyrannized over by the four Faculties,
but life is no four-sided figure."

This, then, is our friend Knopf; and he was called "our friend Knopf"
in the best families of the land.

Knopf had just left off playing the flute, and was now sitting with his
writing-tablets upon his knee, looking sometimes, round upon the
landscape, sometimes writing rapidly a few words; then he would put his
pencil in his mouth, and seemed ruminating for some new turn of
expression. One could see the road for a great distance, leading from
the village, by the villa, to the neighboring hamlet. Now Knopf saw a
man on horseback coming towards him. He transformed speedily his flute
into a walking-stick again, concealed his tablets, and then hastened
across the vineyard down to the highway.

"Yes, he who sits a horse so well, he is just the right teacher for
him," said Knopf. He took off his hat; while still at a distance, the
rider nodded to him.



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                        A WALK IN THE OPEN AIR.


The rider approached, and was soon by the side of Knopf, who, unable to
utter a word, looked in surprise at the noble figure. Eric said,
however,--

"Have I the honor of seeing my colleague, Herr Knopf?"

"Yes, I am he."

Eric swung himself quickly from the saddle, and held out his hand.

"I thank you," he said; and at every word which he spoke, at every tone
of his voice, Knopf's face brightened; more and more knots and seams
showed themselves all over it, as Eric continued,--

"It was my intention to visit you very soon; but I did not want to do
so, until I had made my own independent observations on all sides."

"Very right," answered Knopf, "every judgment received from others is a
prejudice." With constantly increasing admiration, Knopf looked at
Eric, saying,--and the words sounded like a confession of love,--

"I am glad that you are really a handsome man. Ah, you may smile and
shake your head, but that counts a great deal in this family, and
especially with Roland. The Spartans had the wise law,--horrible
indeed, but embodying a deep principle--that no deformed child should
be allowed to live. All men ought properly to be handsome."

Eric placed his hand on Knopf's shoulder, unable to answer a word;
admiration and a desire to laugh contended within him, but admiration
conquered. A man of such an appearance must have overcome much in
himself to be able to express himself in this way. He went with Knopf
to the village, telling him that he ought to have come to see him at
the villa, and that he would have found him quite alone, if he wished
to avoid the family, for they had gone with Herr von Pranken to the
convent, to bring Manna home.

"Ah, poor girl!" said Knopf, pityingly. "I can venture to say, that I
have already had more than fifty lovely noble maidens as pupils, and
not one-half, no, not one-quarter of them have married as I should have
wished. Ah, Herr Colleague, you see I have never in my life repeated in
one house what happened in another, and you can understand that it has
been a difficult duty. Mothers always want to find out what goes on
here and there, but I have refrained, on principle, from telling
anything. Whoever gossips to me will gossip about me, my mother always
said. I have taken heed of that, and so have got on very well."

Eric was delighted with the true-hearted man, and he quickly drove away
the thought that Pranken was going to bring the rich bride for himself
from the convent. What was the maiden to him?

He left his horse at the village inn, and Knopf conducted him to a spot
under the lindens on the hill-top, and there explained his views about
Roland.

"I must, like a child," he began, "tell you of my last observation, and
my last trouble. You are not in a hurry? I must honestly confess to
you, that nothing in our time vexes me so much, as to find people
always in a hurry."

Eric set his mind at rest, by telling him that he had the whole day at
his disposal, concluding,--

"Now, go on."

"Then for my last trouble. As I walked hither over the mountain, past
the forest-chapel yonder, all was fresh with dew, the birds were
singing undisturbed, heedless of the ringing of the matin bell in the
chapel above, and of the railroad bell below. What did self-sufficing
nature, in this season of early spring love, care for these sounds? But
that isn't exactly what I meant to say to you," he interrupted himself,
placing his hand upon his tablets, which undoubtedly contained a poem
in this strain. "Only this--as I was walking along the wood-path, I
heard children's voices, clear and merry, and a mild and gentle one
seemed to have control over them. There came up the mountain a
beautiful maiden--no, I beg your pardon, I did not see that she was
beautiful till afterwards--I was just taking it comfortably, and had
removed my spectacles in the green forest; now I put them on again, and
saw first some beautiful, plump, white hands. The girl saw me, and I
don't know what she may have thought, but she seemed frightened, and
took the hand of her oldest brother, a boy of thirteen; two younger
boys were following her. I passed them with a greeting; the maiden made
only a slight acknowledgment, but the boys said 'good-morning,' aloud.
We went our different ways, and I looked long after them.

"I turned back to the chapel. The quiet and order reigning there, where
no human beings dwell, everything ready for their devotion, those holy
vessels, the pictures, the candles, and the good priest. I don't
believe a man who so bows down, kneels, and raises his hands in prayer,
can be wholly a hypocrite; the lowest criminal in the jail would be an
angel compared with him. The sermon itself was only a milk-and-water
affair. But would you believe it? my real reason for going back had
been a wish to see the maiden again, but I felt ashamed of having
entered the church from such a motive, and I slipped out on tip-toe.
And then all personal feeling dropped from me, and the great trouble
came over me."

"What do you mean?"

"The trouble caused by our freedom oppressed me. The girl, hardly out
of school, walks, in the fresh morning, through the mountain wood with
her three young brothers, and they wander to the forest chapel, whence
the bell calls to them. Think, if these four young creatures had had no
such goal for their morning walk, none so safe and beautiful, what
would it have been? a walk in the open air, nothing more! In the open
air--what is that? It is nothing and nowhere. But to enter a firmly
founded temple, where the organ is sounding, and holy hymns are sung,
this must give fresh life to the youthful souls, and they bring home
from their morning walk, leading through the open air, to a fixed goal,
a wholly different refreshment for their spirits. And up there a divine
service goes on, whether men come to it or not; nothing depends on the
special character of a congregation, nor on the particular degree of
culture of a particular man. It holds its course, uncaring whether it
is received or not, like eternal nature; whoever comes may take part in
it; no one asks, no one need know, whence he comes. If I could be a
believer, I would be a Catholic, or a Jew of the old faith. But what is
our life? a walk in the open air, without limit, but also without a
destination! You see that I cannot but be sad, for I cannot compel
myself to anything different, to anything positive. And as it is with
me, so is it with this age, and yet we must regain something different;
our life ought not be simply a walk in the open air, but through the
open air to a firm, safe, home-like destination about which human
spirits may gather. Oh, if I could only define it, seize upon it, and
the millions of thirsting, pining human souls with me! And do you
know," Knopf concluded, "then I thought of you and Roland? Do you now
understand me?"

"Not perfectly."

"Ah, I have been too vague again. Plainly, then, this has been and is
now my thought,--whither can you lead Roland? Into the open air. But
what is he to do there? What will he find? What will he have? What will
restrain or draw him onward? That is the point, there lies the hard
riddle. The religion, the moral fortress, whither we have to lead the
rich youth, has no walls, no roof; it has no image, no music, no
consecrated form of words--there's the trouble! Do I make it clear to
you?"

"Yes, yes, I understand you perfectly," said Eric, seizing the hand of
his companion. "You express my very deepest thoughts; I hope, though,
that it may be granted us to give a human being something that he may
hold to within himself, without leaning on any outside support. Have
not we two, who now stand here, this inward hold?"

"I believe so, or rather, I am sure of it. I thank you, you make me
quite content," cried Knopf, with animation. "Ah, world! here we sit,
and look off into the distance, watching for some sign, some word,
which may penetrate and renew all our being; it comes not from without,
it comes only from within ourselves. And in Roland there lies a
complete human being, a genuine, primitive nature, in spite of all that
has been done to smother it; he has bold presumption and wonderful
tenderness, at the same time. He has many fine feelings, but youth
cannot explain its feelings; if it could, it would be no longer youth.
All sorts of elements exist in Roland, but we grown people cannot
understand a child's heart. Let us ask ourselves whether, in our
childhood, our best friends understood us as we really were. You will
accomplish this, you are called to it."

"I?"

"Yes, it is so. A great, inscrutable plan guides all existence and
binds it together. A wonderful law in the world, which some men call
Providence, others fate, decrees that a man like you must be led in
far-off paths, through various callings, and armed for his work, till
he stands ready in his noble beauty. Ah, do not shake your head, let me
go on; it is a holy thought, that a mysterious power, which we must
name God, has led you hither to train a beautiful human being, an
Apollo-like creature, who is to have nothing to do in the world but to
be noble and to feel nobly. I did not rightly manage Roland; I sowed
before I knew whether the soil was prepared. Today, as I saw a man
raking in the vineyards, I thought, there is Copernicus."

"Copernicus?" asked Eric, in perplexity.

"Understand me aright; the first man who dug up the ground with pointed
stick, horn, bone, or stone, in order to plant seeds, he moved the
earth, he was the father of our culture, as Copernicus at last
discovered that the whole planet is in motion."

"What do you think, then, is now to be made of Roland?" said Eric,
bringing him back to the subject.

"What is to be made of him? A noble man. Is it not a mistaken
course to drive a human being to goodness, by the sight of all sorts of
misery and weakness? That makes him morbid, sentimental, and weak.
The Greeks had a different method, that of energy, cheerfulness,
self-reliance,--that makes him strong. Our virtue is no longer
'virtus,' but only a feminine hospital-work. Ah," continued Knopf, "the
genuinely noble man, or the genuine man, is the unexamined man, a
species no longer to be found in Europe. We are all born to be
examined. That was the greatness of the Greek, that they had no
examination commissions. Plato took no degree, and do you know, that is
the greatness which is bringing forward a new Greece in America, that
_there_ also, properly speaking, there are no examinations."

"Don't wander so far," interposed Eric.

"Yes," Knopf went on unheeding, "Roland is the unexamined human being;
he need learn nothing in order to be questioned about it. Why must
every modern man become something special? '_Civis Romanus sum_,' that
ought to be sufficient."

Again Eric drew him back from his digression, asking,--

"Can you suggest any vocation for Roland?"

"Vocation! vocation! The best that can be learned is not found in any
plan of study, and costs no school-fees. The division of callings, on
which we so much pride ourselves, is nothing but a Philistine tyranny,
a compulsory virtue. Common natures return payment by what they do,
noble ones by what they are. Thus it is, if a noble being exists, and
freely acts out his nature, he adorns humanity and benefits it. I have
tried to guard in Roland a simple unconsciousness of wealth; we are not
placed here merely to train ourselves to be brothers of mercy. Not
every one need serve; to perfect one's self is a noble calling. I
respect Cicero's maxim: 'He who does nothing is the free man.' The free
man is the idler."

Eric disputed this, and Knopf was no little surprised, that Eric had
the exact passage from Cicero in his memory, and could prove that
Cicero only made the assertion that no man was free who was not
sometimes idle: _non aliquando nihil agit._ He said besides that the
statement of the German poet, that there could be a noble life without
activity, without labor, was still more an error. He tried, however, to
put an end to these general considerations. What effect could their
thoughts and discussions, as they sat there on the hill-side, bring
about concerning the vocation of humanity?

Knopf remarked assentingly that he had wandered too far, and said,--

"You ought to take Roland away from here."

"It would certainly be best, but you must know that it cannot be
brought about."

"Yes, yes. I have tormented myself much with the idea whether there is
any possibility of making Roland imagine himself poor, but, if a
negation is logically susceptible of the comparative degree, that is
still more impossible. I have read Jean Jacques Rousseau's _Emile_, and
have found much that is good in it; I have also studied the treatise on
Riches which is ascribed to Plato; and in Aristophanes there is to be
found deep insight into poverty and wealth. If you will sometime come
to Mattenheim, I will show them all to you."

Eric made some slight inquiries as to the causes which had removed
Knopf from the family, but Knopf did not tell him; he only gave him to
understand that Roland had been led astray by the French valet Armand,
who had since been dismissed from the house. With unusual haste, he
then left the subject, and said that he had hesitated about coming to
Eric, but Herr Weidmann had read the wish in his face, and had
encouraged him in it.

Eric promised soon to go to Mattenheim. Knopf was very happy to hear of
Roland's industry and obedience, and Eric told him how from the life of
Franklin he was giving him not only a personal ideal, but also taking
occasion to lead him, as they studied Franklin's course of education,
to perceive, acknowledge, and supply his own deficiencies.

"Do you know," exclaimed Knopf, springing up, "what can make one
happier than those great words of Archimedes,--I have found it! Still
more blessed are the words. _Thou_ hast found it! Yes, you have found
it!" he cried, drawing up his trousers; he would have liked to embrace
Eric, but he did not venture.

And when Eric told him that he had been drawn to this most simple
method by some notes of his father's, Knopf exclaimed, looking up into
the free air,--

"Blessings on thy father! Blessings on thee, eternal Spirit! O world,
how great and noble thou art! Now we know what one becomes, when one
walks in the open air; one grows into a free man, a Benjamin Franklin.
Here are two people on a hilltop by the Rhine, and they send a greeting
to thee in eternity. Ah, pardon me!" said he, "I am not generally, like
this, you may depend upon it. But, Herr Captain, if you ever, desire
anything great and difficult of me, remind me of this hour, and you
shall see what I can do."

Eric changed the subject by asking Knopf to tell him about his present
pupils.

"Yes," said Knopf, "there it is again. Her parents have sent the child
to Germany, because there was danger that yonder, in the land of
freedom, her spirit would be fettered, for Dr. Fritz and his wife hold
liberal opinions in religion, and are patterns of nobility of mind. The
child was in an English school, and after the first half year, she
began to wish to convert her parents, and constantly declared her
determination to become a Presbyterian. She wept and prayed, and said
she could find no repose because her parents were so godless. Is not
this a most noteworthy phenomenon? Now her parents have sent the child
to Germany, and certainly to the best home that could be found."

Knopf took a letter from his pocket; it was from Dr. Fritz, who, as a
representative of German manhood and philanthropy, was busily working
in the New World for the eradication of that shame which still rests on
the human race in the continuance of slavery. Dr. Fritz gave the
teacher an exact sketch of his little girl's character, which showed
great impartiality in a father. He also pointed out how the child ought
to be guided. In the letter there was a photograph of Dr. Fritz, a
substantial-looking man, with a full beard, and light, crispy curling
hair; something of youthful, even ideal aspiration spoke in the
expression of the strong and manly face.

With an air of mystery Knopf then confided to Eric, that the child had
lived in the New World within the magic circle of Grimm's tales,
and it was strange--he could not find out whether it was pure fancy or
fact--but the child had had an adventure on her journey that seemed to
belong to a fairy tale.

"Her name is Lilian," said Knopf, "and you know that in English our
mayflower is called the lily of the valley, and the child received a
mayflower from some being in the wood who did not know her name. A
wonderful story she has woven together in her little blond head, for
she constantly insists that she has seen the wood-prince."

"You are secretly a poet," said Eric.

Involuntarily Knopf's hand went to his breast-pocket, where his tablets
lay hidden, as if he suspected that Eric had stolen them from him.

"I allow myself now and then to string a verse together; but don't be
frightened, I've never troubled any one else with them."

Eric felt cordially attracted towards this man, so dry in outward
appearance, and yet so deeply enthusiastic; and as the bells rang again
in the village, he said,--

"Now come and make me acquainted with the schoolmaster."



                              CHAPTER IX.

                                ANTHONY.


The schoolmaster of the village was stiff and formal in manner; he
received the Captain very humbly. The three were soon seated together
at the inn, and the village teacher related the history of his life.

He was sixty-four years old, but seemed still very vigorous. He had the
same reason for complaining which all public teachers have, and related
with a mingled pride and bitterness that his son, twenty-one years of
age, was receiving more than twice the pay in a cement-factory of the
young Herr Weidmann, than his father was receiving after a service of
two and thirty years. He had four sons, but not one should become
a schoolmaster. Another son was a merchant, and the oldest a
building-contractor in America.

"Yes," cried he, "we schoolmasters are no better off than any common
day-laborer."

"Would you remain a schoolmaster," asked Eric, "if you had a
competency?"

"No."

"And you would never have become one?"

"I think not."

"This is the deplorable part of it," cried Knopf, "that riches always
say, and say rightly, I ought not to remove all need, for through this
the beautiful and noble build themselves up; need calls into being the
ideal, the virtuous. See here, Herr Captain Colleague, Herr Sonnenkamp,
who is a good deal of a man, of wide observation, says,--

"'I must not trouble myself concerning the people about me, neither
must Roland, for if he did, he would lose all comfort of his life; he
would never be able to ride out, without thinking of the misery and
suffering he witnessed in this place and in that.' See, here is our
riddle. How can one at the same time be a person of elevated thought,
and be rich? We teachers are the guardians of the ideal. Look at the
villages all around; there is in them all a visible and an invisible
tower, and the invisible is the ideality of the schoolmaster sitting
there with his children. I honor you, because you also have become a
schoolmaster."

Eric looked up in a sort of surprise, for his vanity was inwardly
wounded at being reckoned a schoolmaster, but he quickly overcame it,
and was happy in the thought. He prevailed upon the village
schoolmaster to go on with the history of his life. He was a good
mathematician, had been employed in the land-registry and in the
custom-house; he lost his situation when the Zollverein was
established; for two years he looked round for something to do, almost
in a starving condition, and then became a schoolmaster. He had married
well, that is, into a wealthy family, so that he was able to give his
sons a good education.

Evening had come on. Eric promised the village schoolmaster to give him
something to do with the instruction of Roland.

Knopf accompanied Eric for some distance, and then requested him to
mount his horse.

Knopf stood looking after Eric for a long time, until he was hidden by
a bend of the mountain, and his puffed lips addressed words in a low
tone to him, after he had disappeared.

On the way home, Eric was surprised that he thought less about Roland,
than he did about Manna, who was to arrive this evening.

Laughable old stories, how the tutor fell in love with the daughter of
the house, and was expelled by the hard-hearted, rich father, and here
he stands before the house all lighted up, he hears music; above, the
lovely one celebrates her marriage with a very noble coxcomb, and a
pistol-shot--no; it would be more practical to find some better
situation.

Eric had humor enough to dismiss every such fancy; he would remain
distant, composed, and respectful towards the daughter of the house.

When he rode up to the villa, the carriages had already arrived, and
Eric received from Herr Sonnenkamp a reproof for his want of
friendliness in not remaining at home, or taking note of the hour of
their arrival.

After the conversation that he had had with Knopf, the feeling of being
in service seemed to him now very strange; or was this reception
intended to give him a hint of how he was to conduct himself towards
Manna?

Eric made no reply to the reprimand, for such it was. He came to
Roland, who warmly embraced him and cried,--

"Ah! with you only is it well, all the rest are--"

"Say nothing about the rest," interrupted Eric.

But he could not restrain Roland from relating the disappointment of
all, that Manna did not return with them.

Eric breathed more freely.

Roland mixed up in his relation an account of Bella's getting out at
the water-cure establishment on their return, because a message from
Count Clodwig had informed her that he would meet her there. Finally he
said,--

"What does all the rest amount to? You are there in the convent, and I
have told Manna that you look just like the Saint Anthony in the church
of the convent. Yes, laugh, if you please! If he should laugh, he would
laugh just like you; he looked just as you look now. Manna told me the
story. The saint has been praying to heaven, and the Christ-child has
laid himself there in his arms, when he was all alone, and he looks at
him so lovingly, so devoutly."

Eric was thrilled; a pure living being has also been given into his
hands. Is he worthy to receive it, and can his look rest purely upon
it?

They sat together without speaking, and Roland, at last, cried,--

"We will not leave each other again, ever. To-day when I sat there upon
the deck, all alone, it seemed to me--I was not asleep, I was wide
awake--it seemed that you came, and took me in your arms and held me."

Roland's face glowed; he was feverishly excited, and Eric had great
difficulty in calming him down. But what he could not easily do was
easy for the dogs; Roland became the self-forgetting child again, when
he was with the dogs, who had grown so astonishingly in a few days.

Pranken also came in a very friendly way to Eric, and said that he
admired his stimulating power, for Roland had exhibited during their
absence a susceptibility of mind and a sensitiveness of feeling, which
no one would have supposed him capable of.

Now say what you please, candid reader! Yesterday, an hour ago, you
held in little esteem some man's judgment, you saw distinctly his
limitations, and now he shows that he recognizes your worth, he praises
you, he extols you, and suddenly, without being aware of it, your
opinion is changed concerning him whom you before regarded as one-sided
and contracted, especially if you are a person struggling with
yourself, withdrawn into yourself, and often self-doubting.

This was the case with Eric. Pranken seemed to him a man of very good
judgment, very amiable indeed; and he even expressed openly his
satisfaction, that the friends of the family stood by him and cheered
him in his difficult work of education.

Pranken was content; Eric manifestly acknowledged his position; he
showed this by not accompanying them on the journey, and not thrusting
himself into the family; perhaps also there was a certain touch of
pride in not wanting to appear as a part of the retinue; at any rate,
Eric did not seem destitute of tact.

Pranken understood how to make this patronizing protection appear as a
sort of friendly confidence.



                               CHAPTER X.

                          ENTICEMENTS ABROAD.


Eric and Roland lived together in the castle, for so the rooms in the
turret were called, as if they had taken possession of a new abode, and
were all alone; no sound from the human world penetrated here, nothing
but the song of birds, and the ringing of the bells of the village
church on the mountain.

A regular employment of the time was instituted; until noon they knew
nothing of what was going on in the house, and Roland lived almost
exclusively in the thought of Benjamin Franklin.

New analogies were continually presenting themselves, and it was
especially productive of them that an American youth, a rich youth
besides, who had never been deprived of anything, should lay out for
himself a life full of deprivations. Roland lived and moved wholly in
Franklin; he spoke, at the table, of Benjamin Franklin, as if he were a
man who had just appeared, and was invisibly present and speaking with
them. Roland wished to keep a regular record of what he thought and
did, exactly as Franklin had done, but Eric restrained him, knowing
that he would not persevere in it, being as yet too fickle. And this
calling one's self to account was peculiarly adapted to one who stood
alone, or was seeking the way by himself. But Roland was with Eric from
morning till night. They repeated Franklin's physical experiments, they
entered into his various little narratives, and Roland would often ask
on some occurrence:--

"What would Franklin say to that?" Eric had been in doubt whether he
should say anything to Roland of the interview with Herr Knopf. He was
waiting for a more suitable time; he felt that the fixed order of
Roland's method of life should not now be disturbed.

There was a great commotion at the villa, for the entire contents of
the hothouse were brought out into the park, and a new garden was made
in the garden. Roland and Eric did not see it until everything was
arranged.

Pranken made a brief visit almost every day, and when he remained to
dinner, he spoke a great deal of the princes of the church; he always
called the bishop the church-prince. A second court-life seemed to have
been opened to him, and this court had a consecrating element, was
self-ordering, and needed no Court-marshals.

Herr Sonnenkamp enquired with much interest about all the arrangements
at the Episcopal court; but Frau Ceres was wholly indifferent, for she
had discovered that there was no court ball given, and no ladies were
visible, except some very worthy and respectable nuns. Frau Ceres
entertained a great dislike to all nuns, principally because they had
such great feet, and wore such clumsy shoes and cotton gloves. Frau
Ceres hated cotton gloves; and whenever she thought of them, she
affirmed that she experienced a nervous _shiver_.

The days were still; the trees from the South grew green and fragrant,
with those that were native to the soil; but the quiet days came to an
end, for they were packing up and making other preparations in the
house. Lootz was the director, and huge trunks had already been sent
off.

It was a rainy morning: Eric and Roland were sitting together with
Franklin's life again before them. Eric perceived that Roland was
inattentive, for he often looked towards the door.

At last there was a knock, and Sonnenkamp, who had never before
disturbed their morning's occupation, now entered the room. He
expressed his satisfaction that the course of instruction had been so
regularly arranged, and he hoped that it would suffer only a temporary
derangement from the journey, as they could immediately resume it on
arriving at Vichy.

Eric asked in amazement what this reference to Vichy meant, and was
told that the family, with the whole corps of servants, male and
female, as well as Roland and Eric, were going to the mineral baths of
Vichy, and from there to the sea-baths at Biarritz.

Eric composed himself with great effort; the struggle had come sooner
than he anticipated, and he said that he did not know what Roland
thought about it, but that, for his own part, he had made up his mind,
that he could not take the journey to the Baths.

"You cannot go with us? Why not?"

"It is unpleasant to me to make this declaration in Roland's presence,
but I think that he is sufficiently mature to comprehend this matter. I
think, I am firmly convinced, that a serious course of study cannot be
resumed at a fashionable watering-place, and then continued at
Biarritz. I cannot begin the instruction after my pupil has been
hearing, in the morning, all kinds of music at the fountains. No human
being can be confined there to earnest and fixed thought. As I said, I
consider Roland mature enough to decide for himself. I will remain here
at the villa, if you desire it, until your return."

Sonnenkamp looked at Eric in astonishment, and Roland, supplicatingly.
Sonnenkamp did not appear to rely upon his self-command sufficiently to
meet the family tutor in the requisite manner, and he therefore said in
a careless tone that the matter could be discussed in the evening. In a
half-contemptuous manner, he begged pardon for not having informed Eric
of his plans for the summer at the University-town.

Eric now sat alone with Roland, who, in silence, looked down at the
floor. Eric let him alone for awhile, saying to himself. Now is the
critical time, now is the trial to be made.

"Do you understand the reasons," he at length asked, "why I cannot and
will not continue our life of study, this life that we pursue together,
in a place of amusement?"

"I do not understand them," said the boy, perversely.

"Shall I explain them?"

"It is not necessary," replied the boy, sullenly.

Eric said nothing, and the silence enabled the boy to realize how he
was behaving; but there was something in the soul of the youth that
rebelled against anything like subjection. Taking up a different topic,
Roland asked:--

"Have I not been diligent and obedient?"

"As it is proper that you should be."

"Do I not deserve now some amusement?"

"No. The performance of duty is not paid for, and certainly not by
amusement."

Again there was a long silence, the boy turning up and down the corners
of the biography of Franklin, which he had just been reading. Without
saying anything, Eric took the book out of his hand and laid it down.
With his hand upon the cover, he asked,--

"What do you think that Franklin would now say to you?"

"I can't tell what he would say."

"You can, but you do not choose to."

"No, I cannot," said the boy. He stamped insolently with his foot, and
his voice was choked with tears.

"I have a better opinion of you than you have of yourself," said Eric,
taking hold of the boy's chin. "Look at me, don't look down to the
earth, don't be out of humor."

Roland's countenance was unmoved, and the tears stood motionless in his
eyes. Eric continued,--

"Is there any good thing in the world that I would not like to give
you?"

"No; but----"

"Well, but what? Go on."

"Ah, I don't know any. And yet--yet--do go for my sake, go with us; I
could not take pleasure if you were not with us--I there, and you here
alone."

"Would you like to journey then without me?"

"I will not do it, you are to go too!" said the boy, springing up and
throwing himself upon Eric's neck.

"I declare to you most decidedly, I do not go with you."

Roland let his hands fall, when Eric grasped them, saying,--

"I could also say in my turn, Do stay here for my sake; but I will not.
Look up brightly, and think how it would be if we remain together here.
Your parents travel to the Baths; we stay here and learn something
regularly, and are happier than we should be on the promenade, with the
music of the saloon, happier than by the sea-shore. See, Roland, I have
never been to France, nor seen the sea. I renounce the pleasure, I
prefer the duty; and do you know where my duty lies?"

"Ah, the duty can go with us wherever we go," cried the boy, smiling
amidst his tears. Eric was obliged to laugh too; at last he said,--

"This duty cannot travel abroad. You have had distractions enough all
your life. Come, be my dear comrade, my good fellow. Have confidence in
me, that I can see reasons which you cannot."

"Yes, I do have confidence, but it is so splendid, you can't imagine
it, and I will show everything to you."

A whirlwind seemed to have seized Roland, so that he turned round and
round. It came over him with a rush, that he had forced Eric to remain
with him, that he had forced his father to give Eric to him, and now he
was about to desert him! But there was the enticement of the music, the
pleasant journeys, the protecting ladies, and the roguish girls who
played with him. Suddenly he cried,--"Eric! thy mother!" for she had
said to him on taking leave, Be so worthy, that Eric will never leave
you! This thought was now aroused within him, and on the other hand,
there were the carriages driving, and the merry troop riding on
horseback, and he among them. How could this old, grave lady, clad in
mourning, who stood in the path, detain him? It was like a feverish
waking dream.

"Eric! thy mother!" cried he again, and then he said, embracing him,--

"Eric! I remain with you! now help me, so that they shall not take me
away without you."

"You are not to be obstinate with your parents, but you have now also a
duty to me; you must not leave me, as I must not leave you."

It was a hard struggle to gain the consent of the parents to Roland's
remaining at the villa with Eric. Frau Ceres was brought over the
soonest, but Sonnenkamp held out, and Roland looked on in perplexity.
The desire arose in him that his father would withhold his consent, and
Eric be prevailed on to go with them.

Eric took the father aside, and told him that he considered it would be
the ruin of Roland, if now when he had voluntarily pledged himself, and
was constrained to do what was best, the whole should be upset; the
youth had never, on account of various distractions, come to any
knowledge of himself. He declared that, grievous as it would be to him,
he should be obliged to leave the family, if Roland went with them. He
had not said this to Roland, for Roland should not be permitted to
think upon the possibility of the tie being severed. He besought
Sonnenkamp to employ now a little policy; it would not be wrong. He was
to say to Roland, that he wanted to test his constancy, and he was glad
that he had stood the trial; that he had hoped Roland would make the
proposal to stay with Eric, and he gave his consent.

Inwardly chafing, Sonnenkamp complied with this proposition, and Roland
saw himself released on the one side, and bound on the other.

On. the next day, the parents set out on the journey.

Eric and Roland drove with them to the railroad station, and when the
approaching train was signalized to be near, Sonnenkamp took his son
aside, and said to him,--

"My boy, if it is too hard for you, jump into the car, and leave the
Doctor to himself. Believe me, he won't run away from you; there is a
golden whistle by which every one can be called. Be bold, young
fellow."

"Father, is this also a part of the test you have put me to?"

"You are a plucky youth," answered Sonnenkamp, with emotion.

The train rumbled in. A great number of black trunks, studded with
yellow nails, were put on board, Joseph and Lootz showing themselves
expert travelling-marshals. Boxes, bags, portmanteaus, bottles, and
packages were placed in the first-class car which Sonnenkamp, Frau
Ceres and Fräulein Perini occupied. Roland was kissed once more,
Sonnenkamp whispering at the same time something in his ear. The train
rolled away, and Eric and Roland stood alone on the station-steps.

They went silently back to the villa. Roland looked pale; every drop of
blood seemed to have left his face.  They reached the villa, where all
was so silent and desolate.

After they had got out of the carriage, Roland grasped Eric's hand,
saying,--

"Now we two are alone in the world. What can one undertake at such a
time?"

The wind roared in gusts through the park, and shook the trees, whose
blossoms went whirling into the air, while the river tossed up its
waves; a thunder-storm was coming on.

Eric ordered the horses to be put again to the carriage, and entered it
with Roland, who asked,--

"Where are we going?"

Eric quieted him with the assurance that he was about to show him a
miracle. They drove down the road, where the wind was dashing about the
branches of the nut-trees, while the lightning flashed and the thunder
rolled overhead.

"Where are we driving?" Roland asked again.

"We are now going to school to Franklin. I can now show you how the
lightning is tamed." And they drove on to the railroad station.

The telegraphist gave Eric a very friendly reception. Eric showed his
pupil, in the office of the telegraph, the electrical current in a
pretty little glass box, where a blue spark darted rapidly hither and
thither, and then vanished over the connecting wires. At every flash a
sharp click came from the connecting rods, and, at the same instant,
the little blue flame appeared and then vanished.

Eric was glad to be able to exhibit this to his pupil, and the
telegraphist added many important and interesting details. He related
how they were inexpressibly troubled in their communications during a
thunderstorm, for incomprehensible words came over the wires, and he
was once hurled by a shock of electricity against the stove yonder. He
showed the metal plates to draw off the lightning, which often struck
and cut off the conducting rods as nicely as if done with a sharp file.

They had removed the lights, and saw only the little blue flame, which
Roland watched with childish delight. It was easy to explain the
operation of the electro-magnetic telegraph, and Roland said,--

"Even if Franklin was not acquainted with this, he yet first caught the
lightning."

"Do you think that he could know what would be the results?"

Eric endeavored to explain to Roland, that in all discovery, invention,
creation and action, there is a great bond of unity, a continual
process of development. And here in this dark room, while the little
blue flame was dancing, and the three persons hardly venturing to speak
aloud soon became utterly speechless, the soul of the youth was touched
with a feeling of devotion, and raised far above the range of ordinary
experience. The separation from his parents, the pleasure that had
allured him, all had vanished, had sunk out of sight, as if he were
living on some star remote from the earth.

The storm had ceased, and a copious rain was falling; when the window
was re-opened, Roland said, gently taking Eric's hand, and looking out
into the night,--

"Can one not imagine, that the soul in the bodies of human beings moves
like the electrical spark on the wire?"

Eric made no reply. He saw that the boy was beginning to see something
of the enigma of life; he must work it out for himself, and could not
and must not be helped at present. And this trifling question gave
assurance that the higher life could be preserved in the youth; he had
overcome the desire of dissipation, and had given himself up to what
could not be made slavishly subject to his will.

The telegraphist gave an account of Sonnenkamp's frightful appearance
and conduct on the night that Roland was missing. He said in a
low tone to Eric, that he himself was afraid of the man, and that
notwithstanding the considerable sum of money which he offered him to
remain there through the night, he had pleaded as an excuse the want of
official orders, because he would not remain alone with Sonnenkamp for
all the gold in the world.

Eric perceived that Roland had heard the last remark notwithstanding
the low tone, and said in a jesting way, that a man who has to deal
with the nervous filaments extended over the earth might very readily
become nervous himself.

The telegraphist assented, and had many wonderful stories to tell. When
Eric went with Roland into the passenger's room, he was surprised to
see Roland's quick eye for the laughable characteristics of people. He
had observed very shrewdly the peculiarities of the telegraphist, and
imitated him very exactly. Without a direct rebuff, Eric endeavored to
explain to his pupil, that those persons who are partly engaged in
work, and partly in science, in that middle region of the vocations of
life, such as apothecaries, surgical operators, lithographists,
photographists, and telegraphists, are easily carried from one extreme
to the other. Telegraphy created a certain excitability, and
susceptibility, on account of the direct arousing of the faculties and
the operation at great distances, which give to the soul a certain
tension and excitation.

Eric sought to explain all this to his pupil; he would have liked to
give him the just views which are embraced in the knowledge of
psychological principles, but he led him back to the wonderful in what
they had seen, and he succeeded in his purpose of deeply impressing
this upon the soul.

The stars were glittering in the heavens, when they returned home from
their glance into the mysterious primitive force of earth's being.

Eric could not restrain the impulse to picture to his scholar what had
been probably the feelings of that people of the desert, on the evening
of that day when Jehovah had revealed himself to them in thunder and
lightning upon Mount Sinai; how it must have been with them when they
went to rest, and how it must have seemed to the souls of thousands, as
if the world were created anew.

Eric hardly knew what he was saying, as he drove through the refreshed
and glistening starry night. But the feelings of the boy and the man
were devotional. And after they reached home neither wished to speak
one word, and they quietly bade each other good-night. But Eric could
not go to sleep for a long time. Is the light in the soul of a human
being an incomprehensible electric spark that cannot be laid hold of,
and which flashes up in resolve and act? So long as there is no storm
in the sky we send at will the spark over the extended wire; but when
the great, eternally unsubdued, primitive forces of nature manifest
themselves, the human message is no longer transmitted, and the sparks
spontaneously play upon the conducting wires. Chaos sends forth an
unintelligible message.

A time will come when thou shalt no longer be master of the living soul
of thy pupil, in which, with all thy heedful precaution, rude,
uncontrolled elements are at work. What then?

There is no security given for the whole future, and in the meantime,
what concerns us is to fulfil quietly and faithfully the duty of the
day.



                              CHAPTER XI.

                  THE FRUIT IS SET ON THE GRAPE-VINE.


There is stillness in the vineyards on the mountain-side, and no
persons are among the green rows, for the vines, which until now were
allowed free growth, have been tied up so that the blossoms may not
flutter about. The hidden blossom makes no show, but a sweet fragrance,
just faintly perceptible, is diffused through the air. Now, the vine
needs the quiet sunshine by day, and the warm breeze by night; the
bloom must be set as fruit, but the flavour, the aroma, and the
strength are not brought out until the autumn. After the fruit has
become set, storm and tempest may come; the fruit is vigorous, and sure
of attaining its future noble destiny.

Roland and Eric went hand in hand over the country, with no definite
object in view; the town was quiet, and the scattered country-houses
were deserted.

Bella, Clodwig, and Pranken had set out on a journey to Gastein, the
Major to Teplitz, the Justice with his wife and daughter to Kissingen.
Only the doctor remained at his post, and he is now alone, for his wife
has gone to visit her daughter and grandchildren. Eric had determined
at the very first, before he knew of the journey to the Baths and of
being alone, to decline every distraction and every connection with a
wide circle of acquaintance, wishing to devote himself exclusively and
entirely, with all his energies, to Roland. And so they were now
inseparably together, from early in the morning until bedtime.

He only who lives with nature, day in and day out knows all the changes
of light, so various and fleeting, and only he who lives exclusively
with one person knows thoroughly the sudden upspringings of thought,
when all is illuminated and stands out in prominent relief. Eric was
well aware that Roland frequently dwelt upon the pleasures and
dissipations of a life at the Baths, and that the youth had often to
force himself to a uniform round of duty, struggling and inwardly
protesting to some extent against it; but Eric looked upon it as the
prancing of an untamed horse, who resists bit and bridle, but soon is
proud of his trappings. Numberless elements influence, move, form, and
expand whatever is in process of growth; man can bend and direct that
which is taking form and shape, but to affect the changes beyond this
stage is not in his power.

Eric brought three different influences to bear upon his pupil. They
continued to read Franklin's life; Roland was to see a whole man on
every side. The political career, which Franklin gradually entered
upon, was as yet not within the range of the youth's comprehension; but
he was to form some idea of such varied activity, and Eric knew, too,
that no one can estimate what may abide as a permanent possession in a
young soul, even from what is but partially understood. The White House
at Washington took rank in Roland's fancy with the Acropolis at Athens
and the Capitol at Rome; he often spoke of his ardent desire to go on a
pilgrimage thither.

It was hard to fix the youth's attention upon the establishment of the
American Republic and the formation of the Constitution, but he was
kept persistently to it.

Eric chose, for its deep insight, Bancroft's History of the United
States.

They read, at the same time, the life of Crassus by Plutarch, and also
Longfellow's Hiawatha. The impression of this poem was great, almost
overlaying all the rest; here the New World has its mythical and its
romantic age in the Indian legend, and it seems to be the work not of
one man, but of the spirit of a whole people. The planting of corn is
represented under a mythological form, as full of life as any which the
myth-creating power of antiquity can exhibit.

Hiawatha invents the sail, makes streams navigable, and banishes
disease; but Hiawatha's Fast, and the mood of exaltation and
self-forgetfulness consequent thereon, made upon Roland the deepest
impression.

"Man only is capable of that!" cried Roland.

"Capable of what?" asked Eric.

"Man only can fast, can voluntarily renounce food."

From this mythical world of the past, which must necessarily retire
before the bright day in the progress of civilization, they passed
again to the study of the first founding of the great American
Republic. Franklin again appeared here, and seemed to become the
central point for Roland, taking precedence even of Jefferson, who not
only proclaimed first the eternal and inalienable rights of man, but
made them the very foundation of a nation's life. Roland and Eric saw
together how this Crusoe-settlement on a large scale, as Frederic Kapp
calls it, unfolded into a high state of culture; and that sad weakness
and compromise, which did not immediately abolish slavery, also
constituted a knotty point of investigation.

"Do you think the Niggers are human beings like us?" asked Roland.

"Undoubtedly; they have language and the power of thought, just as we
have."

"I once heard it said, that they could not learn mathematics,"
interposed Roland.

"I never heard that before, and probably it is a mistake."

Eric did not go any farther in this exposition; he wished to cast no
imputation upon the father, who had owned large plantations tilled by
slaves. It was sufficient that questions were coming up in the boy's
mind.

Nothing better could have been contrived for Eric and Roland; than for
them to learn something together. The architect, a man skilled in his
business, and happy to have so early in life such an excellent
commission entrusted to him, was communicative and full of information.
The castle had been destroyed, as so many others were, by the barbarous
soldiers of Louis XIV. encamped in Germany, exactly a hundred years
before the French Revolution. An old main-tower, the so-called Keep,
had still some remains of Roman walls, concrete walls, as the architect
called them.

"What is concrete?" asked Roland. The architect explained that the
inside and outside layers consisted of quarry stone laid in regular
masonry, and between, stones of all sizes were thrown in, and then the
whole was evidently cemented together with a sort of heated mortar.

Only one-third of the tower had apertures for light; the rest was solid
stone wall.

The whole region had made use of the castle as a stone-quarry, and the
corners had especially suffered, because they contained the best
stones. The whole was grown over with shrubbery, the castle-dwelling
had wholly disappeared, and the castle itself, originally Roman, had
probably been rebuilt in the style of the tenth century. From a drawing
found in the archives only a few additional characteristics could be
made out; but from single stones and angles much of the general
structure could be copied, and the architect showed how he had planned
the whole, and he was particularly glad to have discovered the spring,
out of which they had taken, to use his own expression, "a great deal
of rubbish and dirt."

The insight into the inner mystery of a man's active calling produced a
deep impression upon the youth, and he followed out the whole plan of
construction with great diligence; and he and Eric always placed before
them, as a reward for actual work accomplished, this instructive
conversation with the architect, and even frequently a permission to be
actively employed. It was a favorite thought of Roland's to live here
at some future time alone at the castle, and he wanted to have had some
hand in the building.

Roland and Eric were regularly but not accidently, at the castle when
the masons and the laborers engaged in excavation were paid off on
Saturday, evening. The time for leaving off work being an hour earlier
than usual, the barber came from the town and shaved the masons, and
then they, washed themselves at the fountain; a baker-woman with bread
also came out from the town, and the workmen placed themselves, one
after another, under the porch of a small house that had been
temporarily erected. Roland frequently stood inside the room, with the
foremen, and heard only the brief words,--

"You receive so much, and you, so much."

He saw the hard hands which received the pay. Frequently he stood
outside among the workmen themselves, or by their side, observing them;
and the boys of his own age received his particular notice, and he
thanked all heartily, when they saluted him. Most of them had a loaf of
bread wrapped up in a cloth under their arm, and they went off to the
villages where they lived, often singing until they were out of
hearing.

Eric knew that it was not in accordance with Sonnenkamp's ideas for
Roland thus to become familiar with different modes of life, for he had
once heard him say,--

"He who wishes to build a castle need not know all the carters and
quarrymen in the stone-pits around."

But Eric considered it his duty to let Roland have an unprejudiced,
acquaintance with a mode of life different from his own. He saw the
expression of Roland's large eyes while they were sitting upon a
projecting point of the castle; where the thyme sent up its sweet odor
around them, and they looked out over mountain and valley; with the
bells sending out their peal for the Sunday-eve; and he felt happy, for
he knew that an eye which so looked upon the hard-working hands, and a
thought which so followed the laborers returning to their homes, was
forming, an internal state that could not be hardheartedly unmindful of
one's fellow-men. Thus was a moral and intellectual foundation laid in
the soul of the youth. Eric took good heed not to disturb the
germinating seed by exposing it to the light.

One evening, when they were sitting upon the castle, the sun had
already gone down, and the tops of the mountains only were tinged with
the glowing sunset, while the village, with its blue slate-roofs
and the evening smoke rising straight in the air, seemed like a
dream--Roland said,--

"I should like to know, how it is that no castles are to be found in
America."

Eric repeated with pleasure Goethe's verses,--

     "America, to thee is given
      A better fate than here is found!
      No mouldering castle-towers hast thou,
      No monumental columns fallen;
      No gloomy shadows of the past,
      No vain and useless strife
      Becloud thy heavens serene.
      To-day suffices with its good;
      And, sing your children in poetic strains,
      Be it on higher themes
      Than robbers, knights, and haunting ghosts."

Roland learned them by heart, and wanted to know more of Goethe.

In their quiet walks Eric repeated to him many of Goethe's poems, in
which not man, but nature herself seems to have produced the
expression. The towering spirit of Goethe, with Hiawatha and Crassus,
was now added to the sedate and unexciting study of Benjamin Franklin.

Roland felt deeply the influence of the various moral and spiritual
elements in whose circle he lived: Eric was able to quote apt passages
from the classic poets of antiquity, as well as of his own country to
his pupil. This revealed to Roland's perception the double
manifestation of all life, and made him long for the real and true.

One day, when Eric and Roland were sitting on the boundary of a field,
they saw a hare which ate a little, ran off, and then ate again. Roland
said,--

"Timid hare! yes, why shouldn't he be timid? he has no weapons of
attack or of defence; he can only run away."

Eric nodded, and the boy went on.

"Why are dogs the enemies of hares?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, I can understand how the dog and the fox are enemies; they can
both bite: but why a dog should hate and pursue a hare, that can do
nothing but run, I can't understand." In spite of all his knowledge,
Eric often found himself in a position where nothing but conjecture
could help him; he said,--

"I think that the dog in a wild state found his chief food in the
defenceless animals, as the fox does. The dog is really a tame cousin
of the fox; education has changed him only so far that he now bites
hares to death, but does not eat them. Animals that feed on plants live
in the open air, but beasts of prey, in caves."

For a short time the boy sat silent, then he suddenly said,--

"How strange!"

"What is it?"

"You will laugh at me, but I have been thinking,"--as he spoke a bright
smile broke over the boy's face, showing the dimples in his cheeks and
chin,--"the wild animals have no regular hours for their meals, they
eat all day long; dogs have only been trained by us men to take their
food at certain times."

"Certainly," replied Eric; "the regulation of our lives by fixed hours
only begins with education."

And without tedious or unnecessary diffuseness, Eric succeeded in
bringing before his pupil what a great thing it is to measure time, and
to set our daily life to the rhythm of the universe, of the whole
starry world.

Improbable as it may seem, it was really the fact, that from the time
of this conversation, which began with so small and insignificant a
matter, but took so wide a range, the hours of study of the pair were
strictly fixed: Roland wished to have no more unoccupied time. This was
a great step in his life; what had before seemed like tyranny was now a
self-imposed law.

A few weeks later, Roland himself gave up his favorite companions for
Eric's sake. On their walks through fields and over mountains, and
their visits to the castle, the dogs had been taken as a matter of
course. Eric was ready to reply to every question of his pupil, but a
disturbing companion was always with them so long as Roland never went
out without one of his dogs, and there could be no connected thought
while the eye rested on the animal, however involuntarily. The dog
constantly looked up at his master and wanted his presence
acknowledged, and wandering thoughts followed him as he ran. It was
difficult for Eric to bring Roland to leave them at home; he did not
directly order him to do it, but he several times replied to his
questions, by saying that he could not answer when their attention was
given to calling the dogs and watching their gambols. When this had
been repeated several times, Roland left the dogs at home, and saw that
Eric meant to reward him for his sacrifice by his ready answers to all
his questions. Eric led Roland into departments of knowledge, but took
care not to impart too much at once; on many points he put him off till
a later period, drawing him constantly to follow out the suggestions of
his own observations. Yonder lies the field, and there is the vineyard
where the grapes grow, collecting and transmitting within themselves
all the elements which float in the air, or repose in the earth; and
more than all, the rolling river sends forth into the fruit an
immeasurable strength and a mysterious fragrance. The growth goes on by
day and night, through sunshine and dewy shade; rain and lightning and
hail do their work, and the plants live on to their maturity. Each
separate plant is at first hardly to be noticed, but it grows to meet
its nature-appointed destiny.

Who can name all the elements which mould and build up a human soul?
Who can say how much of what Eric cherished in Roland has grown and
thriven up to this very hour? And yet this unbroken growth brings the
mysterious result which forms our life.

Roland and Eric were present every morning and evening when the lawns
were sprinkled, and when the shrubs and flowers in tubs and pots were
watered; they helped in the work, and this endeavor to promote growth
seemed to satisfy a thirst in themselves. There was a sense of
beneficence in doing something to help the plants which gave beauty and
freshness to day and night.

"Tell me," Roland once asked timidly, "why are there thorns on a
rose-bush."

"Why?" answered Eric. "Certainly not that we may wound ourselves with
them. The butterfly and the bee do not hurt themselves with the thorns
of the rose nor with the spines of the thistle; they only draw honey
and pollen from the flower-cups. Nature has not adapted herself to the
muscular conformation of man, nor indeed to man at all. Everything
exists for itself, and for us only so far as we know how to use and
enjoy it. But, Roland," he added, as he saw that the boy did not well
understand him, "your question is wrongly put. For what purpose? and
why? these are questions for ourselves, not for the rosebush."

The park and garden blossomed and grew, and everything in its place
waited quietly for the return of its master; in Roland, too, a garden
was planted and carefully tended. And the thought comes, Will the
master of this garden, and will his flowers and fruits, bring comfort
and refreshment to those who live with him on the earth?

The nightingales in the park had grown silent, the intoxicating
sweetness of the blossoms had fled, there was a quiet growth
everywhere.

And while the days, were full of mental activity, in the quiet nights
Roland and Eric walked along the mountain paths, and feasted their eyes
on the moonlit landscape, where on one side the mountains threw their
shadows, and in sharp contrast the moonlight rested on the vineyards,
and the stars shone above and sparkled in the river. An air of blessed
peace lay over the landscape, and the wanderers drank it in as they
walked on, breaking the silence only by an occasional word. These hours
brought the truest benediction; in them the soul wished only to
breathe, to gaze, to dream with open eyes, and to be conscious of the
inner fulness, and of the on-flowing, quiet, prosperous growth of
nature. The vine draws nourishment from earth and air, and in such
hours all that is developed in the soul by nameless forces ripens
there, with all that streams into it from without.



                              CHAPTER XII.

                A HUNTER'S PLEASURE AND A HUNTER'S PAIN.


Eric took great care not to change Roland's bold and determined
character into one of morbid enthusiasm. He interposed between the
studies an equal measure of physical exercise, fencing, leaping,
riding, swimming, and rowing. He was glad that he had to call in no
other teacher, and he gained new strength, and maintained his constant
intercourse with his pupil, by taking the lead in these recreations.

With Fassbender's help, he also taught Roland to take measurements out
of doors. Fassbender was extremely skilful in such work, but he
constantly showed a humble submissiveness towards Roland, which caused
Eric much vexation; and when he said one day that he should tell his
friend Knopf how industrious and clever Roland was, the boy tossed his
head in displeasure. He evidently wished to hear nothing more of Knopf;
perhaps, too, he had something in his memory of which he would not
speak to Eric.

Eric laid out a shooting-ground for Roland also, not wishing to
withdraw him from his accustomed life out of doors, where he had roved
at pleasure; only it was distinctly understood that exercise in the
open air was to come after mental work, never before it.

One great difficulty lay in moderating Roland's passion for hunting.
Eric did not wish to repress it altogether, but only to keep it within
due limits. Now, in midsummer, there was only rabbit-hunting, and Claus
came to take Roland out with him. Former teachers had left Roland to go
alone with the huntsman, but Eric accompanied them, and Roland drew in
new life as they went through the vineyards.

Eric's attention was roused at hearing Claus say that Manna had been an
extremely bold rider, even as a little child, and afterwards as a
growing girl, and that her father had always taken her with him on a
hunt, where she showed the wildest spirit. Rose and Thistle were the
dogs which had belonged to her, and now whenever they heard her name,
they noticed it directly, and looked sharply round as if expecting her.

Eric would have liked to ask how it happened that a bold and spirited
girl, who delighted in hunting, could now be living like a penitent in
a convent. It was hard to bring this picture of her, hunting with her
gun and with her dogs, into harmony with the picture of the winged
apparition. But he took care to ask Roland no questions, and behaved to
the huntsman as if he had known it all before.

His father had left Roland his favorite dogs, Rose and Thistle; they
were small, but powerfully built, with broad chest and strong back, and
they appeared to understand when Roland praised them. The smaller, the
female, with red chops and many scars on her head, always licked his
hand while he extolled her wonderful courage, and hung her head when he
said he was sorry that she was not so obedient as the somewhat larger
male, Thistle. With sparkling eyes, which seemed to glance with modest
pleasure, Thistle looked at Roland when he explained to Eric that the
dog would obey only English words, but by their use could be managed
perfectly; if he called out to him "_zuruck_!" Thistle looked at him as
if deaf; but the moment he said "Come back!" he fell back a foot behind
him.

They passed a low oak-tree; Roland seized a branch, and shook it,
crying "Hang!" and Thistle sprang up, caught the branch with his sharp
teeth, and remained hanging to it till Roland told him to let go. Rose
performed the same trick, and even outdid herself, for she whirled
round several times as she hung, and then, with a sudden jerk, broke
off the branch and brought it to Roland. The boy and the dogs were very
happy together, and seemed to understand equally well where they were
going.

They went by the huntsman's house, where the two ferrets were put into
a basket. On the edge of the wood, Roland took out the pretty little
yellow creatures, which moved in a sort of snake-like way, and put
muzzles on them, caressing them as he did it. They then went into the
thicket, where fresh burrows were soon found; over some of the outlets,
nets were spread, and Roland was delighted at the skilful way in which
Eric fastened them down with pegs, which he made from twigs cut from
the trees. The ferrets were let loose, and very soon a rustling was
heard, and some rabbits came into the nets, and were soon bitten and
shaken to death by the dogs. The ferrets were sent in again, and the
hunters stood before the holes to shoot the rabbits as they came out;
Roland missed, but Eric hit his mark.

Eric was far from saying anything to Roland of the cruelty shown,
especially in the net-hunting, and the manner in which the dogs bit at
the eyes of the poor creatures, and never let go till all struggling
ceased; he was enough of a hunter to overlook this. Claus knew how to
smother pity by inveighing against the confounded rabbits, which gnawed
at the young vines and spoiled them and all that was best in the
fields; he imitated one of the peasants who always struck at a rabbit
with his stick, crying,--

"Have I got you at last, you damned--"

After they had gone farther on, Rose went into a hole; and they heard
her barking deep down under ground. She had found a fox. The hunter's
excitement awoke in Eric, and they all stood quietly on the watch.
Thistle was also sent into the hole, and his bark was heard far below,
but the fox did not come out. Soon Rose appeared with her nose torn and
bleeding; she looked up at the hunters and went back into the hole;
whining and barking were heard, and at last the dogs came back,
streaming with blood, but no fox appeared; they waited long, but in
vain.

"They have killed him," said the huntsman in triumph; "we shall never
get him."

Roland was full of "tender compassion for the dogs, but Claus consoled
him with the assurance that they would soon get over their hurts.
Roland said he could not understand how dogs could bite a fox to death,
when a fox had such sharp teeth; the huntsman shrugged his shoulders,
but Eric answered:--

"The fox bites sharply, but does not hold on."

Roland looked at Eric in surprise, feeling that he was a man from whom
everything could be learned; all Eric's knowledge had hardly made so
much impression as this single remark.

Again they sent the ferrets into a fresh burrow; only one came out;
they waited long and left the huntsman on the spot, but the second
ferret was not to be seen. Roland was inconsolable for the loss of the
fine little creature, so bright and tame. When Eric said that the
animal would die of hunger in the woods, with its mouth so firmly
muzzled, Roland walked on for some time in silence. Suddenly he put his
hand into the basket, took out the other ferret and let it loose, then
took aim and shot it down; he left the dead creature lying undisturbed
in the wood, and walked home with Eric without a word. He looked long
at his gun; Eric knew that it would be many days before its report
would be heard again, and so it was.

From the time of this last hunt, a coldness and ill-humor, reluctance
and listlessness, appeared in Roland; he was not exactly rebellious,
but did everything without interest, and often looked strangely at
Eric.

Eric did not know what to do; for several days he was much disquieted,
feeling that he was no longer a novelty to Roland, and that the sense
of satiety which torments the rich, who never can long enjoy the same
thing, increased as it was in Roland by his wandering life, was
producing apathy and discontent in him; he must be taught to greet with
pleasure the day which brought no new thing, but only a repetition of
the day before.

The huntsman came to Eric, took him aside, and said:--

"I've found the ferret that ran away from us."

"Where?"

"In the wood yonder, there it lies with its muzzle on, starved to
death, and eaten up by the ants."

"We will say nothing of it to Roland."

"Certainly not. Do you know what the ferret's name was?"

"No."

"It was Knopf. He only called it 'master,' because you were present. It
always vexed me; Herr Knopf is certainly superstitious, dreadfully
superstitious, but one of the best men in the world. Roland has told
me in confidence, that, on the journey which he made to force you
to come back, a spirit appeared to him in the wood one morning, a
fairy-princess, as stupid, superstitious men would say,--a wonderful
child with light curling hair, but she spoke English,--only think,
spirits speak English too now,--she came to him early in the morning in
the forest. That's the sort of stuff Herr Knopf has put into his head.
I don't want to say anything against Herr Knopf; he's a good man, he
taught poor children for nothing, and did good, much good, but belief
in spirits and such nonsense ought to be put an end to. Don't you
notice how bad Roland looks now? I think the belief in spirits is to
blame for this. Drive it out of his mind right sharply."

Eric doubted whether this was what produced Roland's continued
ill-humor, but he was struck by his having told the huntsman something
which he had never confided to him. But he would not force his
confidence and disturb the boy's mind; he would wait quietly till the
cloud passed over.



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                FRESH WINE, FRESH SONG, AND FRESH FAME.


The Doctor had called, in the meanwhile, but only for a brief quarter
of an hour at a time; he commended Eric for so taking upon himself the
entire direction of Roland, and devoting himself to him so exclusively;
he desired that no intervention of his should interrupt the inflowing
of the moral and spiritual influence.

Eric now detained him, speaking of Roland's paleness, which he thought
an indication of sickness.

"Indeed?" cried the Doctor. "Has it taken so soon? I am glad that it
has made its appearance on the surface so early and so decidedly."

"What is it? What is it, then?"

"It's all right and normal; symptoms all good. My dear young friend, I
call it usually the May-cold. Just consider a moment! Roland was
born for a huntsman, and I was afraid you would turn him into a
pebble-gatherer or a beetle-sticker. I see very plainly, that you would
like to give him a deeper apprehension of life, but there lies the
danger that he will take it too seriously; now the best prescription
for life is, to take life easily."

Eric chimed in with this, acknowledging that he was far from desiring
to make Roland a pattern youth, perfect in every particular. The Doctor
continued:--

"As I said before, our lad is troubled with the May-cold. Whenever
there is a change in the relations of life, as change of occupation, or
marriage, where the previous independence is given up, after the first
weeks of bloom, notwithstanding all the happiness enjoyed, comes in the
May-cold, just as we see in nature. They say that it comes from the
Alps, from the melting of the icebergs there; perhaps icebergs of
egotism melt within, and at any rate, it is like a renewed struggle of
winter with summer, like a struggle of solitariness with sociality.
Don't be despairing! Let the days of chilly convalescence pass over the
lad, and all will be well. Don't press him hard in these days; he is
already beginning to feel as if he had come under a yoke. Moreover, I
will give him some medicine, so that he shall think he is not well;
this will be an advantage to him, and to you too, for you can then give
way to him, as an invalid is expected to be perverse, and to be
humored, as a matter of course."

The Doctor now came more frequently. He proposed to Eric to make a
longer visit at Mattenheim, in accordance with Weidmann's invitation,
as the contemplation of a life full of a many-sided activity would
refresh both teacher and pupil. Eric replied that he did not consider
it right to leave, for any length of time, the house that had been
entrusted to his care. The Doctor assented, thinking it better that
Roland should first become thoroughly familiar with the Rhine-home.

Eric and Roland now often accompanied the Doctor some distance on his
rounds, and both acquired together a deeper acquaintance with the life
of the Rhineland. The Doctor explained that he had an object in this,
holding that it was a very important thing in a man's life to make a
point of getting the best wines that could be had, and carrying out his
point. Roland could and should do that. It was no less important to
procure the good wine of the world, than its beautiful works of art.
And if a sense of his dependence upon the Rhineland were instilled into
Roland, much that was noble would result, especially if he could be
brought into connection with the family of Weidmann.

The Doctor was the best of directories, knowing every house and its
inmates very intimately, and speaking of everybody with discriminating
justice, showing the dark as well as the bright side with equal
impartiality. House after house furnished them with a refreshing sketch
of life, and cellar after cellar with a refreshing draught.

"They talk about the deterioration of the race," said the Doctor
edifyingly, "and there seems to be a chronic ailment, but it is not
dangerous. People use themselves as filters and pour in wine; so it has
always been; and so it will be. If the sun shines very hot, they think
they are entitled to drink; and if the weather is disagreeable and wet,
they must strengthen themselves with a good draught."

They alighted at a house, which had in front a statue of the Holy
Mother with a lantern in her hand.

"Up-stairs here," said the Doctor, "pure genuine wine is sold; the man
here supplies the church and the church dignitaries with the communion
wine, which must be unadulterated. This man's father is a famous
embroiderer of church-cloths, and his brother an illustrious painter of
saints; and when people can turn their religion to any profit, they it
hold it in sacred earnest. The main point is, not to impugn the
uprightness of believers, and then they are inclined not to question
the uprightness of us unbelievers."

They went on farther to another house, and the Doctor said:--

"Here dwelt a merry rogue, who has actually made the house haunted; he
was an old screech-owl, a mason by trade. It's known that he had a
little chest made by a carpenter, with a lock by a lock-smith; and this
chest he walled into the cellar, which he built alone by himself. It is
now believed that there must have been a considerable sum of money
concealed therein; and yet he may have been rogue enough to hide there
an empty box, in order to play a joke upon those who should come after
him. And now the people are undecided whether to pull down the house or
not, in order to find the box. It's possible they may find an empty
one, and have a demolished house for their pains."

The Doctor gave such a turn to his information about men and things,
that Roland could derive advantage from it.

The Doctor greeted in a very friendly way an old man with a crafty
countenance, who was sitting in front of his house. The man asked the
physician if he would not take another drop of "the black cat," and
they went with Eric and Roland into the cellar, where they drank a
fiery wine from a cask on which, in fact, a black cat was sitting,
though it was an artificial one with shining glass eyes. The old man
was excessively merry; and clinking glasses with Roland, he said:--

"Yes, yes, we are all bunglers compared with your father."

Then, with great gusto, he praised the shrewdness and craft of
Sonnenkamp, and Eric looked timidly at Roland, who appeared to be but
little affected by what was said; when they went away the Doctor
said:--

"This is the genuine peasant, for the genuine peasant is really the
greatest egotist, thinking only of his own profit, though the whole
world beside should fall to pieces. This is the old burgomaster who
lent money to people needing it, and when a bad season came, he made an
immediate demand for it, with unrelenting harshness, so that their
vineyards were sold at public auction; and now he possesses a large
landed property, yielding the best wines. Yes; he is a cunning rascal."

This narrative produced a wholly different impression upon Eric from
what it did upon Roland, for the latter considered that the rascality
was a matter of course. Eric looked askance at the Doctor, for he could
not conceive how he could be on such friendly terms with the
burgomaster; and when he further asked whether the man was respected,
he received an emphatic response in the affirmative, inasmuch as
property secured respect in the country.

They also stopped at the gauger's, the good-humored brother of the
whole country around, and were led by him through the wine-vaults, and
supplied with many a good drop to drink. The gauger always liked to
tell stories that were not always fit for a boy to hear, but the Doctor
soon led him to a different subject.

The gauger always carried with him some flour bread, which he called
his "little sponge." "With straw," he said, "they tie up the wines, and
with this little piece of bread, that has been grown from the straw, I
fasten in the wine." They had calculated that the gauger had drunk,
during his life-time, seventy butts of wine; but he asserted that they
had been very tender to him, for he had drunk a great deal more than
that.

It was a merry, exhilarating life into which Eric and Roland were
inducted, and when they returned to their strict method of study, there
was a deep realization of the fact that they were living in the midst
of a merry region, where existence can be easily wasted in play.

It was midsummer, and there came cold, windy, disagreeable days, when
it seemed that summer had departed, and yet it could not be, it must
become hot again. The nightingale was voiceless; it had not ceased to
sing all at once, but seemed to utter occasionally single notes from
memory, while there were heard more frequently the thin voices of the
linnets, or the full, short call of the blackbirds. The summer shoots
on the leafy trees showed that the summer had reached its height, and
was declining; the forest-trees had attained their season's growth, and
the song of birds had ceased, except that the unwearied black-cap still
twittered, and the magpies chattered among the branches.

Eric and Roland often, sailed upon the Rhine, and Eric sang; he was
rejoiced to hear Roland say:--

"Yes, it is so. A person can sing at all seasons of the year, if he has
a mind to."

Eric nodded, feeling that the consciousness of art and of a free
humanity had been awakened in Roland; and he now said that they would
absent themselves for a few days from the house, and proposed to Roland
two plans: either they would go to Herr Weidmann's, of whom there had
been so much said, or to the great musical festival that was to take
place at the Fortress. Boats ornamented with parti-colored streamers,
having singers on board, went up the river and were greeted at all the
landings with the firing of cannon. Roland requested to go to the
festival, and he wanted to walk a part of the way, desiring to see
again, and this time in company with Eric, the road over which he had
wandered by night.

They set out in good spirits, and Roland was very talkative, relating
to Eric all his adventures. They came to the wood, and Roland gave an
account of his falling asleep, and of his wonderful dream. He blushed
while telling it, and Eric did not ask what his dream was. Roland went
silently into the wood.

"Here it is; here it is!" he suddenly exclaimed. "Here is my
porte-monnaie! God be praised and thanked, I have not been robbed.
Come, let us go to the village, where the hostler lives whom I
suspected, and I will give him all the money."

They proceeded to the village, but the hostler was not there, having
been drafted into the military service.

Roland was very sorry at that, and wrote down the man's name in his
memorandum-book.

The two went on through the country clothed in the green of summer, and
when they reached the railroad, took the cars for the Fortress. All was
here decked with flags, and the whole town appeared in holiday attire.
Men and women streamed in from all quarters, some on boats and some in
the cars, singing in clear tones, and were received with a hearty
welcome. Eric was happy to be able to say to his pupil:--

"Remember that this belongs to us. Neither the Greeks nor the Romans
had such celebrations, nor any other nation but us Germans."

They spent the night at the Fortress, and the next morning all
assembled, the hundreds of male and female singers, and a great crowd
of listeners, in the festival hall now properly ornamented, but at
other times used as a fruit-market. A gloomy rumor was spread through
the assembly; the singers shook their heads, and clapped together their
hands, while among the audience there was a commotion and a rustling.

A man of fine voice, an experienced singer, had been suddenly taken
ill.

"Look yonder," said Roland; "there sit nuns, and there are pupils, in
the school-dress that they wear at Manna's convent. Ah, if Manna should
be here too!"

Eric said to Roland:--

"Stay here; I will see if I can be of any assistance. I depend upon
your not quitting this seat."

He went up to the singers on the platform, and spoke earnestly to the
leader, by whose side he stood. Men came up to them while they were
talking together, and went away again. Suddenly all eyes were turned
towards Eric, and a whispering and a buzzing went through the assembly.
Master Ferdinand, the conductor, tapped with his baton, and his look,
which directed and inspired all, was smiling. There was silence, and in
a tone that won all hearts he said:--

"Our baritone has unfortunately been taken ill, and this gentleman by
my side, who does not wish his name to be mentioned, has kindly offered
to undertake the solos for our absent friend. You, as well as we, will
be grateful to him, and willingly extend to him the requested
indulgence, as he has made no rehearsals with us."

A universal applause was the reply.

The choruses began, and their tones, like the voice of many waters,
moved Roland's soul. Now Eric rose. All hearts were beating. But at the
first tone he uttered, each one of the singers, and each one of the
listeners, looked to his neighbor and nodded. It was a voice, so full,
so deep, so penetrating the heart, that all held their breath as they
listened. And when he had ended, a storm of applause broke forth which
seemed almost to shake the hall.

Eric sat down, and the choruses and then other solo performers sang;
again he rose, and yet again, and his voice seemed to grow still more
powerful, and to penetrate more deeply into the hearts of all.

But how was it with Roland, one of the thousands who listened, and who
were thrilled by the sound of this voice, in the depths of their souls?

The choruses rolled in like billows of the resounding sea, but when
Eric sang, it was as if he stood upon the deck of a noble ship, and
ruled over all; and this voice was so near to Roland in its
friendliness, and yet so nobly exalted! The youth was possessed by that
feeling of blissful, dreamy gladness which music awakes in us,
transplanting it into the depths of our own life, and causing us to
forget our own dreams, and merging our own individual self in the sad
and blissful element of being.

Roland wept; Eric's voice seemed to waft him upwards into an invisible
world, and then the choruses began again, and he seemed to be
transported into a heavenly state of existence.

Roland wanted to tell his neighbor who the man was, for he heard on all
sides questions and conjectures; but he said to himself:--

"No one else knows who he is, except me."

His eye now swept again over the collection of girls dressed in blue,
and one of them nodded to him. Yes, it is she! it is Manna! He
requested those sitting near him to let him pass through them; he
wanted to go to his sister and to tell her who it was that had just
brought such blessedness into the hearts of all. But he was repelled
with vehemence, and his neighbors scolded about the saucy youth, who
was so restless and out of humor, and wanted to create a disturbance.

Roland remained quiet, and by that means let slip the suitable
opportunity of the intermission, for pressing through the crowd to
Manna.

The Oratorio was ended, but the applause of the assembly, did not seem
likely to end. There was a universal call for the stranger's name.

"Name! Name!" resounded from a thousand lips, with noisy demonstrations
and shouts.

Then Master Ferdinand tapped with his baton again upon his desk,
nodding in a friendly manner to Eric, who held back, and all cried:--

"Silence!"

Eric rose, saying in a composed voice,--

"My sincere thanks. That I have been able to take part here, has been
to me a divine service, a service to divine art; and because I do not
desire by any unfamiliar name to lessen the feeling of devotion
awakened within you, and for this reason only, have I been reluctant to
give you my name."

"Name! Name!" was again called out by the assembly.

"My name is Doctor Dournay."

"Huzza! Huzza!" burst out the whole assembly, and the orchestra played
a threefold flourish, all shouting:--

"Huzza, Doctor Dournay."

Eric was almost crushed, and his shoulders ached with the
congratulatory strokes upon them.

He saw himself surrounded by those who were already acquainted with
him, and those who desired to make his acquaintance. The assembly
dispersed.

Eric looked around for Roland, but he was nowhere to be seen. He walked
about the square in front of the music-hall, and then returned to it;
here he found everything in confusion, for they were rushing in every
direction; setting the tables for the festival-dinner. He waited a long
time, for he felt convinced that Roland had got lost in the crowd, and
would come back here.

At last Roland came, with glowing cheeks.

"If was she!" he exclaimed. "I went with her and her schoolmates to the
boat, and they have now set off.

"O Eric, how splendid it is, how splendid, that you sang, for the first
time, to her! And she said you could not be so godless, for you sang so
devoutly. She said that I was not to tell you this, but she is a rogue,
she meant that I should tell you. O Eric! and the Justice's Lina, and
the Architect; too, are among the singers; they are walking arm in arm,
and they recognised you, but they did not betray you. O Eric, how you
did sing! it seemed to me that you could fly too; I was every moment
afraid that you would spread your wings and fly away."

The youth was in a state of feverish excitement.

An usher came to invite Eric and his brother--such he supposed Roland
to be--to be present at the dinner and to sit near the director.

Others came who knew him, and strangers who wished to be introduced.

A photographer, who was one of the solo singers, besought Eric to allow
him to take his photograph, while he was waiting for dinner, as
hundreds and hundreds of the singers wanted to have a picture of him.

Eric declined, with thanks, these manifestations of friendliness, and
took, with Roland the first boat to return to the villa.

Roland went into the cabin, and he was soon sound asleep; Eric sat
alone upon the deck, and he was troubled with the thought of having
been brought so prominently before the public. But he considered, on
the other hand, that there are times when our powers do not belong to
ourselves alone, and when we cannot ourselves determine what we will
do: I did what I was obliged to do, he thought.

When they came to the stopping-place, Roland had to be waked up. He was
almost dragged into the row-boat, and he was so confused and
bewildered, that he did not seem to know what was going on around him.

After they had disembarked, he said:--

"Eric, your name is now repeated by thousands and thousands of people,
and you are now very famous."

Roland, who had never sung before, now sang, the whole way home, a
strain of the chorus.

They found at the villa letters from Eric's mother and from Herr
Sonnenkamp. His mother wrote, that he must not mind it if he were
reproached with having sold so cheaply, and so speedily his _ideal_
views, for people were angry, and were partially right in being so, at
his abrupt departure without saying good-bye.

Eric smiled, for he knew right well how they would have their fill of
jesting about him around the so-called black table at the Club-house,
where, year after year, the shining oil-cloth was spread over the
untidy table-cloth. It appeared incomprehensible to him how he could
ever have fancied spending there a day of his life, or a bright
evening.

Sonnenkamp's letter made a wholly different impression; he authorized,
Eric, in case he thought it worth while, to take the journey to
Biarritz with Roland.

"My father will like it, too, that you have received so much honor; the
nun, indeed, who accompanied Manna, said that he would not take it
well, that you had made yourself so notorious."

Eric looked disturbed. The feeling of servitude and dependence came
over him. He had pledged his whole personal being to Sonnenkamp's
service, and in all his actions he must first ask himself the question,
how they may perhaps be taken by his master.

The whole day was now strewed over with ashes, and in place of the
lofty feelings that had animated him, he now experienced a degree of
depression of spirit.



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                           ONE'S FELLOW-MAN.


Again the days flowed quietly on in work and recreation. One day Claus
came and asked Roland to keep his promise of showing him the whole
villa from top to bottom.

"Why do you want to see it?" asked Eric.

"I should like for once to see all the things which rich people have,
to know what they do with all their money."

A knavish glance shot from the huntsman's eye, as he spoke. Eric gave
the requested permission; he would have preferred to send a servant,
but he went himself with the man, of whom he felt a sort of dread, not
liking to leave him alone with Roland. He could scarcely give a reason
for his uneasiness, except that the manner in which the huntsman dwelt
upon the rich and poor might confuse Roland's mind.

They went through all the stories of the house, and Claus, who hardly
dared to put his foot down, kept saying,--

"Yes, yes, all this can be had for money! what can't be got for money?"

In the great music-hall, he stood on the platform, and called to Eric
and Roland:

"Herr Captain, may I ask a question?"

"If I can answer it, why shouldn't you?"

"Tell me fairly and honestly, what would you do, if you--you are a
liberal-minded man and a friend of humanity--what would you do, if you
were the owner of this house and so many millions?"

The huntsman's loud voice resounded through, the great hall with a
discordant echo, which seemed as if it would never cease.

"What would you do?" he repeated. "Do you know no answer?"

"It is not necessary for me to give you one."

"All right; I knew you couldn't."

He came down from the platform, saying, "I am field-guard, and as I
wander about at night, it seems to me as if I were possessed of an evil
spirit, which I can't get rid of. I can't help thinking all the time,
what would you do if you had many millions? It drives me almost crazy;
I can't get away from it, and it appears that you can't answer the
question, either."

"What would you do?" asked Eric.

"Have you no idea?"

"If I had much money," answered Claus, laughing maliciously, "first of
all I'd cudgel the Landrath to a jelly, even if it cost a thousand
gulden; it's worth the money."

"But then?"

"Yes, then--that I don't know."

Eric looked at Roland, who looked back at him with dull, troubled eyes,
and compressed lips. The unconsciousness of wealth to which Knopf had
alluded seemed destroyed, suddenly and unseasonably uprooted. Roland
could never be led back to it, and yet was not mature enough to see his
way forward.

Eric said to Roland in English, that, he would clear up the matter for
him, but that it was impossible to find an answer fit for an ignorant
man.

"Would an ignorant man have asked the question?" answered Roland in the
same language.

Eric remained silent, for he could not disturb and spoil the clear
preception of his pupil, even to relieve and set him at rest.

"Ha, ha!" laughed the huntsman scornfully, "now I'm rid of it, now,
you've got it. Wherever you go or rest you will hear what I've been
asking myself in all the passages and all the rounds. Very well! if you
ever find the answer, let me have the benefit of it."

He put on his hat and went away. It was impossible to fix Roland's
attention upon anything throughout that day; he sat alone in his room;
late at night, after Eric had been asleep, he heard him go into the
library to get something.

Eric let him take his own course, then going into the library, he saw
that it was the Bible which he had taken; he was probably reading the
passage concerning the rich young man; the seed, which had until now
lain dormant, was beginning to sprout. Eric had pursued his work of
quiet preparation until now, when an outside influence had come in, and
with rude grasp had awakened what should have slept on. What is all our
teaching and preparation for? It is the same in external nature; the
buds swell quietly till a wild tempest bursts them suddenly open. Now
the wild tempest had swept over Roland, and Eric could not shelter him.

Very early the next morning Roland came to Eric's room, saying,--

"I have a favor to ask."

"Tell me what it is. I will grant it if I can."

"You can. Let us forget all our books to-day, and come with me to the
castle."

"Now?"

"Yes; I have a plan. I want to see myself how it is. Let me, just this
one day."

"Let you do what?"

"I want to work like the masons' apprentices up there. I don't want to
eat and drink anything except what they do, and I want to carry loads
up and down like them."

Eric went to the castle with Roland, but on the way, he said,--

"Roland, your purpose is good, and your wish pleases me, but now
consider. You are not undertaking the same work as the men yonder, but
work much harder, for you are not accustomed to it; this one day would
bring ten times as much fatigue to you as to them, for you come to it
from different circumstances. What is habit to them is new to you, and
doubly difficult; and, moreover, you are not like them, for you have
been tenderly and carefully nurtured; your bed is wholly unlike theirs;
you have tender hands; it is quite a different sort of strength which
you possess. So you would not learn what poor people feel, who have
nothing but their native energy to help them support life."

Roland stood still, and there was an echo of what he had read in the
night in the question, as he asked with a troubled voice, "What shall I
do then, to make my own the life of my fellow-men?"

Eric was struck by his tone, and by the form of his question; he could
not tell Roland how happy he felt, but he was sure at this moment that
a soul, which bore and cherished such desires within it, could never go
far astray, nor lose the sense of the union and mutual dependence of
mankind. He restrained himself from expressing his feeling, however,
and said,--

"Dear Roland"--he had never before said dear Roland--"the world is a
great labor-association; the same task is not laid upon all of us,
but it is enjoined on every one to feel himself the brother of his
fellow-men, and to know that he is the guardian of himself and of his
brothers. What we can do is, to prepare ourselves and hold ourselves
ready to stand by our brother's side, and reach out a hand to him as
often as the call may come. The work which will one day be yours is
different from that of the laborers yonder, who carry stone and mortar;
your work is greater, and more productive of happiness. Come, the time
has arrived for you to see into many things."



                              CHAPTER XV.

                    LIFE, AND THE EXTERNALS OF LIFE.


In the Bible it is related, how the boy Isaac went with the Patriarch
Abraham up the mountain-side where the sacrifice was to be offered. He
walked on, silent and thoughtful, till at last he asked,--

"Where is the offering?"

He did not know that he himself was to be the offering.

So Roland followed Eric, silent and thoughtful; he had offered to
sacrifice himself, but the sacrifice was refused. What next?

Above, on a spur of the mountain, overlooking the surrounding country,
they sat down; the wild thyme spread its fragrance around them. Eric
took the hand of his pupil and began,--

"Well, it must be,--it ought to have come later,--I had hoped that you
would not have come to this question for a long time, and then in some
other way. Do you know what wealth is?"

"Yes; when a man has more than he needs."

"How does a man get this superfluity?"

"By inheritance and by earning."

"Can a brute animal be rich?"

"I should think not."

"Certainly not; every animal is, and has, only what he has been and has
had from his birth. Now, to go farther, are the men of these times
better than those of old times?"

"I think so."

"Will men ever be better than now?"

"I hope so."

"And how will they become better?"

"By civilization."

"Is civilization possible, when a man has to work hard from morning
till night for the satisfaction of his physical needs?"

"Hardly."

"How then can a man do anything for the improvement of himself or his
fellow-men?"

"He needs leisure for this."

"And does not that leisure come only when he has gained through his
labor a surplus of wealth?"

"It seems so."

"Remember this, then: wealth is an accumulation of power which is not
obtained by one's own labor."

"Stop, wait a minute," said Roland. He thought for a moment and then
said,--"I have it, I understand it now; pray go on."

"What, now, should a man do, who comes into possession of so much power
that he has not worked for?"

"I do not know."

"Then I will tell you. By means of what a man has beyond the absolute
needs of life, he attains those things which beautify and elevate life,
art and science. Wealth, alone, makes possible the progress of the
human race; that a man can become rich involves his higher destiny; he
lives by others, and for others; without accumulated surplus, without
capital, there can be no higher knowledge of life, no advancement of
it, no science and no art. Wealth is the possibility and the obligation
to gain and increase, for one's self and for others, the higher
benefits of existence; the rich man is not rich for himself; whatever
advantages he possesses in the way of knowledge, of improved machinery,
of invention, he has and uses in order to obtain more wealth than his
necessities demand; these advantages he possesses only by means of
others who have worked before him. In the last analysis, then, the rich
man is so through his own means, or for his own advantage; he is only
an administrator of the accumulated results of labor, and he must so
administer it as to serve the highest good of mankind. Look around!
there lie the fields, the vineyards,--whose are they? There stand
stones, boundary-stones, placed here and there over the land, as points
of legal division between mine and thine; no one can step over the
boundary of another, or encroach on another's domain; they are the
scattered stones, which, in the eye of the imagination, help to form
the great temple of law which protects humanity. Not so evident, but
not less firmly fixed, are the boundary-stones throughout life; you may
not encroach on what belongs to another, on the results of his labor
and of his natural powers. See! there the boatman directs the helm;
there the vine-dresser digs the ground that the rain may reach the
roots of his vines; the bird flies over the river; men row and dig,
animals fly and crawl, only to gain a living. Then comes temptation to
man and says,--'Let others work for you; live upon the sweat of their
brow; their bones are yours, consider them not; take gold for their
labor, gold weeps not, gold hungers not, gold complains not,--it only
glitters; when you have it, you can sing, dance, drive over men's
heads, be carried on their extended arms; don't hang back! the world is
a field of plunder where each one takes what he can seize.' So speaks
the tempter, but the spirit of the true life says,--'You are only what
you are in yourself; whatever worldly possessions you have are indeed
yours, but are not you; to-morrow they may no longer be yours; but
to-day they are, and you may multiply them a thousandfold, so that they
may be a blessing to you, and yours, and those around you.'

"If you have not genius--that is not to be acquired--then get character
and education, which can be acquired, and by means of them gain all
which is worth the gaining. Glory and greatness are good, but every one
cannot attain them; every one can be contented in himself and helpful
to others. Wealth is an instrument useful for many purposes, but only
when one knows how to use it. You cannot destroy the evils that are in
the world--hunger, sickness, and crime; but you must not fling away the
power that lies in your hand; the great duty is yours to beautify and
elevate the world. Rejoice in your possessions, for they enable you to
create beauty and to give joy. First of all, create in yourself beauty
and joy, the power of self-denial, pleasure in accomplishment; and be
ready to stand firm in yourself, if outward supports should be taken
away. He who places the centre of gravity of his being outside of
himself, on something upon which he leans, falls when that support is
removed. Be firm in yourself, keep your centre of gravity in yourself,
learn to know and to rightly value yourself and the world around you.
The present is a time of preparation; you have as yet no duties towards
others. Your only duty is to yourself. Bind together the powers within
you, and do not dissipate your being; and if you are your own master,
you are always rich; but if you have not control of yourself, you are
always poor, even were millions in your possession. If you possess
yourself, you are lord of your riches."

They were both silent for a long time. It is impossible to say in what
direction any given thought may lead, or what previous thoughts are
associated in its development.

"I should like to know," began Roland, "how it seemed when America was
first discovered."

Eric explained to the boy what a revolution in ideas the great
intellectual discoveries of the sixteenth century had made. There stood
a man in a little German town, who said, and proved, that the earth on
which we live is no fixed point; it turns continually on its axis and
in its orbit around the sun. The whole mode of thinking of mankind for
centuries was entirely changed. Man lives, then, on this ball that we
call earth; he harvests and builds, he travels by land and sea, upon a
ball which is constantly turning. When the heart of mankind first
learned that, a shudder must have passed through it; the heavens were
removed, there was no more sky, the whole old idea of a king of the
world, sitting enthroned thereon, was overthrown; what was called the
sky, was only the firmly-bound, countless order of constellations,
which move in their orbits, attracting and repelling each other.

Then came another man, who said, "There is no man on earth, who,
sitting on his throne, holds in himself the eternal spirit which gives
him the right to teach and dictate what men shall believe and hope."
Dissension appeared in the Church, and tore the civilized world
asunder.

"And still another man, with his companions, entered a ship, sailed
towards the north and discovered a new world. In the house which we
inhabit, an immeasurably large room was suddenly opened, wherein dwelt
men who knew nothing of our life, while we, on the other hand, were
ignorant of the endless variety of plants and animals, of boundless
forests and rushing torrents, that existed there. The discoveries of
Copernicus, of Luther, and of Columbus, must have produced a revolution
in the minds of men at that period, to which nothing in our age can be
compared. If we should be told now that all private property was to be
given up, so that no one should longer possess anything for himself
alone, the revolution in our minds would not be greater than it was in
men's minds at that time."

Roland sat gazing in wonder at the man, who placed him upon such a
height that he could see all life and being forming itself anew, and
unfolding before his eyes. Eric paused, in order that the vivid
impression, which it was evident he had made upon his pupil, should not
be disturbed and effaced by further speech. The question arose in his
mind, whether he had not given to the boy ideas and suggestions which
he was not able to grasp; but he comforted himself with the example of
the Church. She gives the young soul what it does not yet desire, what
it is not yet able to understand; but she gives it in the hope that it
will bear fruit in riper years. May we not--must we not do the same?

The quiet thought of the two, reaching out towards the infinite, was
disturbed, by the architect, who came to tell them that a Roman tomb
had been discovered, and in it, an urn, a chair, and a skeleton. Eric
went with Roland, and this disinterment of a man so long dead gave the
boy a shock. What is the world? What is life? A future age finds the
skeleton of a man which it passes by with indifference, and only
asks,--"Are there, withal, the remains of the industry of former
times?"

What is life?

As if waking from sleep, Roland heard Eric express his joy at the
discovery, which would give so much pleasure to Count Clodwig. And now
all the boy's thoughts were turned into a new channel, and his
perplexing doubts forgotten. Eric rejoiced in the versatile mind of
youth, which at one moment is entirely absorbed in some overpowering
thought, and the next is engrossed by another which entirely displaces
the first. This is the blessing and joy of youth. Roland was full of
plans for the foundation of a museum, and Eric encouraged him in them,
and took pains to show that here was an example of what possessions
really mean; these historical treasures did not belong to him who
called them his, but to the world, which from them could learn
something of former ages; no one could have them for himself alone.
This is the true idea of possession, freed from all material weight.
Thus ought we to look upon all the possessions of the world.

This incident seemed to lead the boy's mind to composure. But as they
were going home, he asked,--"Now tell me, Eric, what would you do if
all this wealth were yours? Can you tell, Eric, now?" "Not exactly. I
think I should waste much of it in experiments, in trying to alleviate
the sufferings of humanity. I have often speculated about it, and the
first greeting that came to me was,--'What is a million? What are
millions? What do they mean?'" As Eric was silent, Roland asked, "Well,
have you found what they mean?" "I have first made this clear to
myself. In order to know how great value any sum possesses in itself, I
have first asked, 'How much bread could be bought for a million?' And
by means of this somewhat childish question, I came, as I believe, upon
the right road."

"Which is?"

"I tried to find how many families a million would support. That, I
think, is the road, but of course I have not yet reached the end. I
repeat, however, that first of all we must make sure that we are strong
enough to do the right, at all times, under all circumstances. What
time or circumstances may demand of us, no one can determine
beforehand."

"Stay by me always, and help me," begged Roland. Eric took the boy's
hand and pressed it, and they went on quietly towards the house.



                              CHAPTER XVI.

                            A GOOD NEIGHBOR.


There is many a chance which seems like a summons. Eric and Roland had
spoken of Clodwig on the mountain, and when they reached home, they
found a message from him, saying that he and the Countess had returned
from the baths, and would visit them to-morrow.

Clodwig was brown from his summer-journey, and Bella looked younger
than before, and seemed, as she swept with her long train through the
house and park, somewhat like a peacock. As soon as they arrived,
Roland gave an account of the curiosities found on the mountain, and
his face fairly shone with delight when Clodwig asked him to consider
them the starting-point of a museum for himself; for in making a
collection of this kind, he would experience a pleasure to which
scarcely anything else could be compared. Roland nodded to Eric, and
Clodwig told them he had made many valuable acquisitions in his
journey, which would soon be sent to him. He had met daily at the Baths
a celebrated antiquarian, who had once been a teacher of Eric.

Eric apologized to Clodwig for having slighted his friendly advance, in
not visiting him before he set out on his journey, and now another
pleasant trait was seen in Clodwig,--that he had not one trace of
sensitiveness. Kindness of heart and self-respect combined to cause
this trait; he excused every neglect of himself, and, as a man of
unquestioned position never thought of injury or slight.

"You are exempt from all apologies with me," he said, taking Eric's
hands and holding them as though he were the young man's father. "You
have cured me of selfishness. I had not believed that there was so much
of it left in me, my dear young friend. Yes, you shall mould your own
life, and I will rejoice that I have you for a neighbor. A good
neighborhood, with the ancient Romans, was not merely a political
arrangement."

They touched glasses and drank to the good neighborhood, and as the old
Count drank, his eyes beamed upon Eric.

It was an animated account that Clodwig and his wife alternately,
interrupting each other, gave of their having turned aside from their
direct course, and spent a night in the University-town for the purpose
of visiting Eric's mother and remaining an entire day with her. At last
Clodwig left the field to his wife, who told with great feeling
and earnestness of the life of the noble lady. She described the
piano-forte in its old place, and the beautiful, dignified figure
sitting at work before her window filled with flowers. On the wall
before her hung the portraits of her dead husband and of her son, and
in a frame by itself was a lock of her mother's hair, hanging between
the crayon portraits of her parents. Still she was not at all
melancholy, but cheerful and interested in every subject, taking part
in every discussion.

Then Bella described the lovely valley, and their visit to the renowned
mountain-chapel; and Eric could almost hear his mother's voice, and see
her gentle face, as she sat by the beautiful lady, listening to
Clodwig, and nodding assent and pleasure. It was for Eric an hour of
deep and quiet happiness, laden with the memories of his home.

And not less beaming were Roland's eyes, as he asked:--

"And didn't she speak of me?"

"Almost more than of her own son," Bella answered. And then she turned
again to Eric, and could not say enough of the impression which had
been made upon her by the sight of a woman like his mother, who, living
in another world, yet retained such an interest in this; who, having
given up so much, yet possessed everything in herself.

Clodwig smiled, for Bella was repeating the very words he had used; but
she continued,--"I think I never understood you, Captain, until I had
the happiness of meeting your noble mother. We agreed to write to each
other, from time to time, although she absolved me on the spot from any
feeling of obligation to do so."

More and more happy, and at home, did Eric feel with Clodwig and Bella,
and it seemed as though the spirit of his mother was lingering near
them with a benediction.

"But we must not forget your aunt!" Clodwig exclaimed, and then went on
to say that he had renewed an old acquaintance with her; he remembered
well the dazzling beauty of Fräulein Dournay, and what an excitement
was produced when she, a citizen's daughter, was presented at court,
and invited everywhere. The story went that she and Prince Hermann, who
died in his youth, had loved each other with the purest love, and, for
his sake, she had refused all offers of marriage; but of this Clodwig
did not speak.

As they were walking in the garden after dinner, Bella said to
Eric:--"You have had a very beautiful, happy youth; but one thing was
wanting."

"What is that?"

"A sister."

"I would be glad to think that she had come to me," Eric replied, in a
low voice.

Bella looked down, for a minute, and then called Roland to her. They
went on to the castle, and Clodwig begged the Architect, for the sake
of his young friend, Roland, to be very careful whenever traces of
further remains were discovered.

The company sat down on a projection of the castle-wall, where the
Major had made a comfortable seat. Clodwig and Roland were together,
and Bella and Eric were sitting at a little distance from them. She was
inclined to be romantic. She had brought from Paris all the new
fashions, but now she said to Eric, How foolishly we burden ourselves
with superfluities! Then, without any apparent cause, she remarked,
that everybody thought she was fond of display and fashion; but she
would like best to live in a little fisherman's hut, on the Rhine, in
one quiet room, with a bright fire.

"And who would make this fire?" Eric inquired.

Bella started at this question. "We must not be romantic," said she.
Then I there was a long pause.

At last Eric began. "You have learned to know my mother; if you had
known my father, you would have found great pleasure in him too."

"I did know him, but I thank you; I understand that you would have me
share all that is yours." There was a heartfelt expression in her
voice, and her eyes beamed, and she fixed them upon Eric with such a
look, that he turned his own away. Biting her lip, she continued: "You
have seen,--yes, you have certainly noticed how I look at you. Now I
must fulfil one of Clodwig's wishes, because I think that perhaps I may
succeed. He wants me to take your likeness, and I will try; but I must
have your young friend with you. Roland, come here," she called, as she
saw the boy approaching; and then she explained, with blushes
overspreading her face, that she had wished to surprise Clodwig with
the portrait on his birthday, but that that was impossible now, and she
must do it openly.

"Please, Roland, sit down on the Captain's knee. So,--yes, just
so,--put your right hand on his shoulder, but farther forward. Yes; now
put your head a little more to the left. Pray say something, Captain.
You must be telling Roland something."

"I've nothing to say," replied Eric, smiling.

"That will do; I see the motion of your lips; it will be difficult, but
I hope to catch it. When will you sit to me?"

Clodwig was delighted, and said he never liked surprises; a
well-prepared and long-expected pleasure was much more desirable. He
urged Eric and Roland to be his guests at Wolfsgarten, until the family
should come back. But Eric declined with equal friendliness and
firmness; he did not like to disarrange the daily routine which he had
laid out for Roland; and Clodwig approved of his resolution, and
promised to come again soon to the villa with Bella, and have the
portrait taken there. Bella wished a photograph of Eric and Roland in
the positions she had chosen for them, but Clodwig said that a portrait
taken with the help of a photograph was always stiff and unnatural; he
condemned photographs of human figures, of which they could give only
the mere form, and often wholly out of drawing. Roland had a word to
say also, in regard to the picture. Why not have Griffin in it? Clodwig
agreed, saying the dog would make a very good foreground.

Bella was out of humor. She had enjoyed companionship and gaiety so
long, that she was reluctant to go back to her lonely life among the
antiquities; perhaps there were further unacknowledged reasons for her
regrets. The visit to Eric and Roland was a welcome reprieve to her;
but the proud Captain was so reserved, and had always some great
principle so ready to apply to even the smallest action, and her
husband--his worst weakness was beginning to show itself, the doting
fondness of old age--whenever the Captain spoke, Clodwig was wholly
absorbed in the young man.

Her features seemed suddenly to become thin and faded, and to lose all
roundness. She noticed this, and recovered her self-control. She was
especially friendly, and when Eric took leave of her and kissed her
hand, he thought he felt a returning pressure on his lips, but perhaps
it was a mistake, or arose from some awkwardness on his part. While he
was thinking about it, Roland said,--

"I don't know why, but I did not feel comfortable while the Countess
was looking at me, did you? and she looked at you so strangely."

"It was the critical look of an artist," answered Eric; but his own
words choked him. Who knew whether this reply was the exact truth?



                             CHAPTER XVII.

                             TO FORM A MAN.


The Major sent no notice of his approaching visit; he came himself, he
looked very fresh with his reddish-brown face, and his snow-white,
short-cut hair, and he said that as often as he had bathed in the warm
spring, he felt as if he could remember the very first bath after he
was born. He seemed to himself, every time, literally like a new-born
child, with an unseen nurse, who bent smiling over him and dipped him
gently in the spring. He smiled at everything, at the trees, the roofs,
the houses, and now at the faces of his friends.

He was very glad that Eric had taken the boy out of the ranks and was
exercising him alone; it was hard, to be sure; but more progress could
be made in one day, than in weeks by the other method.

He begged Eric to excuse himself in a few words to Fräulein Milch for
not visiting her when she was so lonely, and he urged Eric to come
soon, for the Grand Master was there.

The Major, as has been said, lived in a wing of the country-house,
beautifully situated on the mountain-side, of which he had the care.
With the greatest solicitude the Major preserved his own independence
in life, but he felt a deep obligation toward the Grand Master, whose
universal friendliness and agreeable conversation he was never weary of
extolling. He always wanted to share with him every pleasure and
advantage, and now what had he better than Eric, whom he praised so
continually that his stock of eulogistic expressions became completely
exhausted, and he found more than usual difficulty in saying what he
wished.

On his first leisure evening Eric visited the Major. He easily made
peace with the Fräulein; and the Major laughed till he choked and had
to be brought to with a slap on the back, because he had made a joke, a
most unusual thing with him, about Eric's confinement for six weeks.

Fräulein Milch told of Eric's glory at the singing festival, and the
Major said,--

"That's good. At our feasts, singers are very important. But can you
sing, 'These holy halls'?"

Eric regretted that the air was too low for his voice.

"Then sing something else; sing for Fräulein Milch."

Eric had difficulty in declining this friendly request, and Fräulein
Milch thanked him, and helped him carry out his wish to defer the
performance to some appointed evening. The so-called Grand Master was
as disagreeable in his behavior, as Fräulein Milch was charming. There
was something unpleasantly patronizing in his manner; it seemed as if
he were so accustomed to flattery, that only a simple unpretending
nature, like the Major's, could be at ease with him. The Major took
great pains to bring his true friends together, but he did not succeed.
The Grand Master behaved arrogantly towards Eric throughout. He
addressed him only as "Young man," and gave him instruction and advice,
as if Eric were in his employ. It required all Eric's self-possession,
to show the man, good-temperedly, the impropriety of his treatment for
the Grand Master was so inconsiderate as to speak, even in Roland's
presence, of the want of experience of the "young man," who had, of
course, come to him only to listen to his oracular sayings; and his
whole manner of speaking had something oracular about it, as he
gesticulated with outstretched hands, as if sowing seed. Eric kept his
temper enough to treat this insolent creature as a singular, natural
phenomenon. He patiently allowed himself to be patronized, and when
Eric had gone, the Head Master said to the Major,--"That young man has
ideas."

It is true, Eric had not expressed any ideas, but he had listened well,
and so was awarded praise for them, which was a great deal from the
Grand Master, who considered that nobody but himself had properly any
ideas; and the whole world ought to come to him to be taught. When Eric
returned to the Major's, he found a messenger, who had come to say that
Clodwig, Bella, and Pranken would come there the next day. Roland had
gone into the court with Fräulein Milch to admire the young ducks.

The Major now asked on what terms Eric stood with Pranken. Eric could
only answer that Pranken had been very friendly, and considerate, in
his treatment of him.

The Major, who had risen through every grade of the militia from
drummer-boy up, lived in a constant state of resentment against the
haughtiness of his noble-born comrades; he admonished Eric, however, to
conduct himself gratefully towards Pranken, who was really a very
well-mannered fellow, in spite of his noble birth; an obstacle that it
was very hard for the Major to get over. He thought that Pranken
deserved Eric's gratitude for having introduced him into his present
position, and reminded Eric that he had also been the means of his
gaining so valuable a friend as Clodwig.

As Eric and Roland were going towards home, Eric said,--

"Now, Roland, we will show that we do not allow ourselves to be
disturbed; come what will, we will have our studies uninterrupted; we
won't see visitors except in play-hours. You see, Roland, this is one
great difficulty in life. From complaisance towards the world, and from
an unwillingness to appear disobliging and ungracious to our friends,
we often allow our own privacy to be invaded. Against this we must
stand firmly: each must just be something for himself, and then come
out into the world. He who cannot exist for himself may possess the
world, but not himself."

In the consciousness of fulfilling his duty, Eric became again strong
and self-contained, and scattered every disturbing influence far away.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                            UNDER-CURRENTS.


The visit took place. Pranken rode behind the carriage in which Clodwig
and Bella were seated; on the back seat of the carriage stood a
frame-work covered with paper, and a handsome box ornamented with
inlaid work, which held the crayons.

Eric and Roland received the guests, and Eric begged them to make
themselves at home; he had had everything arranged by the servants; he
would himself be at their service in an hour, when lessons were over.

The visitors looked at each other in astonishment.

Pranken looked strangely changed; a deeper seriousness was in his face;
now he shrugged his shoulders, and burst into a mocking laugh.

Bella thought Eric's conduct extremely formal and pedantic; Clodwig
declared it showed a beautiful trait of character; but Pranken saw only
idle display in this assumption of duty; the young man--he said this
quite in the tone of the Grand Master--the young man wished to make a
great impression with his faithfulness to duty.

Meantime they made themselves comfortable, and it was not to be denied
that Eric had shown great thought for the pleasure of his guests, in
his floral decorations, and other arrangements.

The hour was soon over, and Eric returned to his guests in that fresh
and cheerful mood, which only the conquest over one's self and the
consciousness of duty fulfilled can ever give.

He had selected a good room, looking towards the North, and after a
lunch the drawing began.

Clodwig remained with his wife; Roland, who was to be drawn later, went
with Pranken to the stables. Pranken conducted himself in the house as
Sonnenkamp's natural representative, or as a son of the family; he had
the horses brought out, he examined the gardenwork, and praised the
servants.

"I never saw you looking so serious and anxious," said Clodwig to Eric.
And, indeed, Eric's expression was full of uneasiness, for he suspected
that Pranken was now talking about him to Roland.

What can all education, all firm guidance effect, when one is not sure
for a moment that some foreign influence is not working against it? We
must comfort ourselves by thinking that no one man can form another,
but the whole world forms each man. Eric, meanwhile, could not but
dread what Pranken might be saying to his pupil.

First, Pranken asked whether Roland had read the daily portion in the
book that Manna sent him.

Roland said, no, directly, and then came a confused jumble of Benjamin
Franklin, of Crassus, of Hiawatha, of the observations of storms by the
telegraphist, and of Bancroft's History of the United States.

Pranken nodded; he asked if Roland wrote often to Manna, and Roland
said yes.

Pranken now told him that he had trained a snow-white Hungarian horse
for Manna, and added:--

"You can tell her so. When you write, or not, as you please."

He knew, of course, that Roland was sure not to forget any information
which he was allowed to impart, especially if it was about a snow-white
horse with red trappings. Pranken promised that Roland should himself
ride the animal some day.

"Has it a name?" asked Roland.

Pranken smiled; he perceived that his communication had interested
Roland extremely, and he answered,--

"Yes, its name is Armida."

Just then Roland was called in, as he was needed for the sketch. When
the outline was completed, the drawing was laid aside for awhile.

In a half-confidential, half-commanding tone, Pranken asked Eric to go
out with him alone, and in a friendly, even unusually friendly manner,
he entered into a discourse upon Roland's education. And now, for the
first time, Eric heard Pranken speak seriously of his strict religious
convictions.

He was amazed. Was this all put on, in order to win more securely the
rich heiress educated in the Convent?

But it certainly was not necessary for Pranken, when no one could see
and remark upon it, in travelling, and at the Baths, to unite himself
so closely with ecclesiastics. Was it not rather probable that a
conversion had really taken place in this worldly man, and that upon
just such a nature the stability and unchangeableness of the Church
would take the surest hold?

"I consider it my duty, and you will give me the credit of considering
it a duty," said Pranken suddenly, laying his hand on his heart, "to
give you some confidential information."

"If I can do anything, I shall feel myself honored by your confidence;
but if I can be of no use, I would rather avoid an unnecessary share in
a secret."

Pranken was astonished at this reluctance, and was inclined to be
displeased, but he restrained himself, and continued, in a higher
tone:--

"You know that Herr Sonnenkamp--"

"Excuse me for interrupting you. Does Herr Sonnenkamp know that you are
making this confidential communication to me?"

"Good Heavens!" Pranken broke out,--"but no, I am wrong, I respect this
regard to your position."

He was silent for a few minutes; it occurred to him that, instead of
what he had meant to say, he might warn Eric not to have too much to do
with Bella. But would not this be an insinuation against his sister? He
decided to go back to his first plan, and said shortly,--

"I think I may tell you that I am almost a son of this house, Fräulein
Sonnenkamp is as good as engaged to me."

"If Fräulein Sonnenkamp is like her brother, I can congratulate you
heartily, I thank you for your unexpected, and as yet undeserved,
confidence; may I ask why you have honored me with it?"

Pranken became more inwardly enraged, but outwardly still more
flattering; he nervously worked his right hand, as if he were using a
riding-whip, but he smiled very condescendingly and said,--

"I have not been mistaken in you." After a pause he continued:--"I
acknowledge fully your considerateness."

He did not answer directly the question as to the cause of his
confidence, and there was hardly time, for Roland now called Eric to
the sitting.

"One would think ten years had passed since I left off drawing," said
Bella, "you look so much older now."

Eric could not speak out his thoughts. The way in which Pranken had
treated him, and the manner in which he had borne himself, disturbed
him very much. He was sitting now quite still, but it seemed to him as
if he were being rent asunder. He felt that there was something
fundamentally false in his relations with Pranken. They were both aware
of the contrast and discord which existed between them; they ought
either to have been open enemies, or to have passed each other with
indifference; and yet some spell seemed to draw them together, and to
persuade them into apparent friendliness.

All misery springs from untruthfulness. The world would be quite a
different place, and much misery would be saved, could we be true at
all times, and not allow ourselves to be led into lasting relations and
obligations, while we silence the inward remonstrance by saying,--It
will all turn out well; the matter need not be taken so seriously. But
in thousands of cases the lie is concealed, veiled, beautified, as in
that Bible-story, where the serpent overcomes all opposition, all
argument, by the words,--"Only eat, and you will not die, but only
become wise."

The great punishment of a relation founded on false grounds is, that it
constantly demands from us farther untruthfulness; either openly
recognized as such, or concealed by our self-deception, and at last the
lie takes on the appearance of virtue, changes all the foundation of
our character, silences the protests which our better nature makes, and
says, you must not desert your friend; you have been friends so long,
you have received so much from him, and have done so much for him; it
would break up your whole life; you would take a large portion from it,
if you gave him up. No! you must now hold firmly together. And so the
lie grows and poisons life. All sorrow and all unhappiness, all
misunderstanding and deceit, arise from the fault that man will not be
faithful to himself. The devil of lies goes about, seeking whom he may
devour.

It is true there is no devil that you can see so as to describe him in
the military style, but close by every divine idea which in its
ultimate foundation is nothing but Truth, dwells the Lie, and is always
capable of assuming the form and language of its neighbor.

All these thoughts were tossing and raging in Eric's soul as he sat for
his portrait. Could any one at that moment have painted the picture of
his soul, it would, have been an unparalleled distortion.

At last, Bella declared she could not draw him as he then looked, and
the sitting was postponed.

They all went to dinner, which passed cheerfully, for the Doctor joined
them. In the evening, they went out rowing on the Rhine, and Roland
told how beautifully Eric could sing; but Eric could not be persuaded
to give them a single song. He was bantered on having displayed his
talent at the musical festival, by Pranken especially, who spoke in a
friendly tone, but with a most cutting manner.

In the evening, when the fire-flies were darting here and there in the
dusky park, Eric walked with Bella, while Clodwig sat in the balconied
room, turning over the leaves of an album filled with new photographic
views of Rome, and, at many a page, looking far away into the past.

Roland walked with Pranken, and they talked of Manna. Pranken knew well
how to suggest what he should write of him. In walking, they passed and
repassed Eric and Bella, and Pranken looked surprised at seeing his
sister leaning on the young man's arm. Like glancing fire-flies, the
brilliant flashes of wit lighted up their conversation, but left longer
trains of light behind them. Bella and Eric spoke in a low tone, and
often, as the others passed near them, they stopped speaking. Bella
talked again about her good husband,--she always called him her "good
husband,"--and said how thoughtfully Eric understood him, not only, if
she might say so, with his mind, but with his heart.

"You have made a new phrase," said Eric, and Bella repeated her
newly-coined expression, with as much pleasure as if she had found a
new style of head-dress which suited her face alone.

Eric was pedantic enough to go back to the original subject of
discussion, and said warmly, how delightful it was to find Beauty and
Peacefulness, not only in one's own ideal, but in real life; to reach
out one's hand to them and look into their calm, clear eyes.

"You are a good man, and I believe an honest one," said Bella, and
pulling off her glove she lightly tapped with it on Eric's hand.

"It is no merit to be honest," said Eric. "I could almost wish I could
be untruthful; no,--not untruthful, but a little more reticent
sometimes."

It was charming and edifying, to hear how Bella now extolled the beauty
and happiness of a thoroughly honest nature; and she spoke in a tone of
deep emotion, as she added, that she might have won early in life a
most brilliant lot, if she could have feigned, a very little love. Eric
did not know what to answer, and this caused one of those pauses which
Pranken, passing with Roland, observed.

Bella went on to say, that it is always a blessing to do anything to
help a human being; it falls to the lot of one person, to do this for a
fellow-creature in the morning of life--here she bent her head towards
Eric--while another does it for one in the decline of life, when the
sacrifice, quiet and unrecognized, can only be rewarded by the
consciousness of the service rendered.

At a bend of the road, it happened, very naturally, that Eric walked
with Roland, and Pranken with his sister. Roland was jealous of Bella,
of every person; jealous at every word, at every look, that Eric
directed to any one but himself; he wished to have him wholly to
himself. And as Roland now exhibited his childish humor, Eric shrunk
into himself affrighted; he had not only allowed himself to be diverted
from Roland, but perhaps also had been committing a wrong in a
different direction. There was yet time for him to retrace his steps.
He went to bid Clodwig good-night, and he was almost pleased to find
that he had already retired to rest.



                              CHAPTER XIX.

                        READ BY ANOTHER'S EYES.


On looking at the picture, the next day, Bella was painfully
dissatisfied with her work. What she had done with so much care and
diligence seemed to her false in drawing and expression. She grew
positively angry over it, and would have made a fresh beginning had not
Clodwig, by his gentle persuasions and judicious praise of the many
excellencies of her picture, succeeded in soothing her. She could not
help saying, however, with some bitterness, that it was her fate to
have everything she undertook turn out otherwise than she had desired,
and upon Clodwig's assuring her that such was the necessary result of
every attempt to embody our conceptions, she exclaimed impatiently, "I
am not what I am." The real cause of her discontent was hard to
determine. It was more than the mere dissatisfaction of the artist and
disappointment in her own powers.

The strict discipline which Eric had wished to maintain was now much
broken in upon. Bella always carried through whatever plan she had laid
out for herself, acting upon her favorite theory that it was well to
allow men to think they had some authority, but that must be all.

Roland soon turned the conversation to the subject always uppermost in
his mind, the life of Franklin. Bella expressed a wish to learn
something about it, and Clodwig, after a little sketch had been given
of what bad been already gone over, was quite ready to resume the
reading where it had been dropped before. Eric and Roland, who sat upon
a raised platform, listened eagerly. The reading gave rise to many an
animated discussion, for Bella entered with remarkable ease and
readiness into everything that was presented to her. Eric was disturbed
by her speedy detection in Franklin of "a certain dry pedantry, a
stinginess of nature," which her acute criticisms set forth in strong
relief. He could feel the emotion her words caused in Roland, who was
sitting on his knee.

In these days, it is impossible for a young man of Roland's antecedents
and present position to preserve a perfect ideal. If rightly guided,
and established on a solid footing, it might perhaps be useful for him
to see his ideal attacked, and even distorted.

With all the eloquence at his command, Eric stated the difficulty that
beset the enlightened mind of the present day, in having no
authoritative voice in the place of that of the Church, to say at every
point of life's journey, "Follow thou me." We moderns must recognize
what is pure and lofty in noble natures, though cramped by the many
limitations incident to our age and individual constitution.

Bella's pencil worked rapidly while he was speaking, and she often
nodded, her head assentingly. When he ended she looked full at him, and
said,--

"You are the best teacher I ever met with;" then, with beaming eyes and
glowing cheeks, she turned again to her work.

"That depends upon the pupil," answered Eric, politely acknowledging
the compliment.

"I want you, now," continued Bella, still blushing deeply, "I want you
to lay your hand on Roland's head. Please do; it will give precisely
the effect I desire. Please do as I say."

He consented, protesting at the same time that the idea did not please
him, for Roland should learn to carry his head free.

Bella shook her head with vexation, and continued her work, no longer,
however, on the figure of Eric, but solely on that of Roland.

"Now I have it!" she suddenly exclaimed; "that is it! You resemble
Murillo's St. Anthony."

"That is just what I noticed," cried Roland. "Manna scolded me for it
at the musical festival."

Clodwig also agreed with his wife.

"It is a favorite picture of mine," he said. "How plainly I can see it
now before me! The figure of Anthony on his knees, with a knotted staff
beside him; the landscape barely indicated; a tree in the background,
and the thicket near by. Angels are playing on the ground and floating
in the air; one turns over the leaves of the Saint's book, while
another holds up to an angel hovering in the heavens a lily which has
grown from the earth; the flower thus forming, as it were, a link
between heaven and earth."

Eric was somewhat embarrassed by Roland's relating how he had fallen
asleep in the chapel of the convent, and how suddenly the black nun
stood beside him, and he saw the picture above him.

A request of Eric's that the reading might stop here, and the reasons
on which he based his request, assumed various shapes in the minds of
his hearers.

"To-day's experience convinces me," he said, "that we cannot control
our thoughts or pursue them to any worthy issue, when obliged to remain
in a position foreign to those thoughts, or in one at least that has no
connection with them. There is a mysterious sympathy between our
thoughts and the position and state of our bodies."

Eric's words worked in four different ways upon the party assembled. In
his own case, they served to describe his position as tutor. Roland
thought of the masons at work on the castle, and wondered what they
must be thinking of while perched in mid air on their scaffoldings, or
while hammering the stone. Clodwig, too, must have found the words bear
in some way upon his life, for he shook his head and pressed his lips
hard together, as he was wont to do when thinking. But upon Bella they
produced the most striking impression; she suddenly let fall from one
hand her pencils, and from the other the bread which she used for the
occasional erasing of a line. Eric instantly restored them to her, and
she took them from him with a vacant look and no word of thanks. He
had brought before her the picture of her married life. Thus this one
key-note had struck four different chords.

For a long time no word was spoken.

The presence of Clodwig and his family at Villa Eden caused great
excitement in the neighborhood, and appeared to place the tutor in a
very peculiar position, Pranken, however, viewed the matter quite
differently, and, as acknowledged son of the house, invited to Villa
Eden the Justice, with his wife and daughter, who had just returned
from the Baths.

His manner towards Lina was particularly friendly and intimate; he took
long walks in the garden with her, and made her tell him about her life
in a convent, which she did most amusingly, giving comical descriptions
of the sisters, the Superior, and her different companions. Her only
object in staying at the convent had been the learning of foreign
languages. Lina's perpetually gay spirits began to have a cheering
effect upon the melancholy Pranken. Something of the Pranken of old
times was roused within him. Why need the present be empty and barren?
it said. Bella has her flirtation with the Captain, why should he not
have his with Lina? Why not indulge in a little harmless jesting,
perhaps even admit the excitement of some feeling? He could control
himself at any moment.

The old Pranken, the Pranken of the days before, seized his rescued
moustache with both hands and twirled it in the air.

It was a good idea, during this pause in his life, to amuse himself
with the Justice's Lina. He could imagine himself transported back to
the days before that visit to the convent, and add this to the many
other experiences of his past life which Manna would have to forget.

Lina meanwhile received his attentions very unconcernedly, showing
equal friendliness of manner towards both him and Eric, whom she always
called her brother in music.

There was a constant stream of jesting and laughter in the Villa and
park. One day Pranken induced his brother-in-law to go boating with
Lina and himself, while Bella remained at home to draw. He wanted to
take Roland also, wishing, with a certain recklessness, to leave the
other two alone together for once. But Roland would not leave Eric; he
even openly avoided Pranken's society.

Lina sang gaily as they sat together in the boat. Her love-songs were
given with a sweetness, an abandonment, that Pranken had never heard
from her before. Clodwig described her singing to his wife, on his
return, as being as simple and beautiful as a field flower.

Bella begged the Justice and his wife to let her take Lina back with
her to Wolfsgarten. The Justice's objections were overruled by his
wife, and Lina was full of delight at setting off with Bella and
Clodwig.

Pranken rode beside the carriage.

The quiet of this loneliness weighed heavily again upon Eric and
Roland, after the animated society of the last few days. Eric, beside,
was out of tune, weary and dull. He found it a burden to be obliged to
devote himself from morning to night to this boy, to have to watch his
undisciplined, and often capricious, fluctuations of mind. He longed
for the society of Clodwig; still more, though he hardly acknowledged
it to himself, for that of Bella. There had been a novelty, an
animation, an excitement, an atmosphere of graceful elegance, about the
rooms, which were now so desolate. Nevertheless, he resisted for
several days Roland's entreaties that they should make the promised
visit to Wolfsgarten. The house had been entrusted to his care, and he
refused to leave it, until Pranken, at length, offered to take all the
responsibility upon himself. There was a sting in his words, as he said
to Eric,--

"You were present at the musical festival, and left the house then in
charge of only the servants. Besides, as I say, I assume the entire
responsibility."



                              CHAPTER XX.

                   ENTERING INTO THE LIVES OF OTHERS.


Beautiful it is in the valley, on the river's bank, where the waters
glide by so swiftly, yet so undisturbed; beautiful to see how they
glisten in the daylight, reflecting every passing change in the sky,
and bearing to and fro the hurrying boats; and again in the evening, to
hear the quiet murmur of the stream, as it lies under the radiance of
the moon. But beautiful it is also to look from the mountain-top, over
the forests, the terraced vineyards, the villages, the cities, and the
far-reaching river.

A fresh impulse and animation were now given to the life at
Wolfsgarten. The picture of Eric and Roland was brought to completion,
and Eric set in order Clodwig's cabinet, thus introducing his pupil to
the curiosities of antiquity. There was singing and laughing, there
were walks and rides in the neighboring forests, and many a memorable
conversation.

Bella often took the parrot with her when she walked with Eric through
the park and the forest. The bird took a great antipathy to Eric, and
would scold at him from its place on its mistress's shoulder. Sometimes
she let it loose with the injunction, "Be sure and come home at night,
Koko;" and Koko would perch upon a tree, and fly this way and that,
through the forest, always returning at evening. Her freed slave, Bella
called him, at such times.

Now, however, Koko had been absent two days. Clodwig offered every
reward to get the bird back again, never remarking how quietly his wife
took her favorite's loss.

As a matter of course, Bella walked with Eric while Roland and Lina
roamed about together in the forest, Lina delighted at being allowed to
revel in a child's freedom. At other times, when Eric and Bella were
strolling through park and forest, Roland would sit in the potter's
workshop, where the clay from the neighboring hills was moulded. He had
the whole process explained to him, and was amazed to see what care and
labor a single vessel required. Two boys, of about his own age,
trampled the clay with their naked feet in order to render it pliable,
after which workmen formed it into tiles and architectural ornaments.
At a potter's wheel sat a handsome, powerfully-built youth, turning it
with his bare feet; then he lifted the clay with great care into the
required shape, formed the rim and the nose, and almost tenderly raised
the finished vessel from the wheel, and set it in its place on a shelf
with the others. He always took precisely the quantity of clay required
for the vessel, and never allowed his heavy hands to make on it an
impression which he had not designed.

Roland watched the whole scene thoughtfully. Could these men be helped
by money? No; their life might be made richer, but they must still
work.

The young man who shaped the vessels was dumb. He would give Roland a
friendly glance when he entered, and then quietly keep on with
his work. The master praised him very highly to Roland, who, being
desirous of doing something for him, presented him with his handsome
pocket-knife. It contained many instruments within it, and much
delighted the poor mute.

Roland told Eric what he had seen, and what thoughts had come into his
mind. He had noticed that the workmen had their food brought them, from
a great distance, by old women and little children, and asked whether
no better arrangement could be made for them.

Eric looked at the boy with unsympathizing eyes as he spoke. How he
would once have rejoiced in this proof of his pupil's interest in the
welfare of his fellow-men; but now he seemed wholly absorbed in other
matters.

A beautifully engraved card brought to Wolfsgarten a piece of news
that proved a fertile subject of conversation,--the betrothal of the
Wine-count's daughter with the son of the Court-marshal. It seemed an
extraordinary step on the part of the young man, who was suffering with
a mortal disease, but still more extraordinary that the lady, a fresh
young girl, overflowing with life and health, should have made up her
mind to such a union. Lina, who was well versed in the private history
of every one in the neighborhood, accounted for it by saying that the
Wine-count's daughter had always expressed a great desire to be a
widowed baroness. There was a deep undertone of meaning, a something
not wholly expressed, in Bella's way of speaking of this connection,
particularly when addressing Eric, which seemed to take for granted
that he would understand what she half concealed.

The newspaper brought another piece of intelligence, the return of the
Prince's brother from America, where he had been a careful observer;
and his bringing with him for the Prince a freed slave, in the person
of a handsome African.

While they were still discussing the impression which a sight of the
American Republic must make on a German prince, Roland came in from the
forest, exclaiming,--"I have him! I have him!"

He was holding the parrot by his claws.

"There you are again, my freed slave!" cried Bella, as the bird tore
himself from Roland's grasp, and, perching upon his mistress's
shoulder, began a violent scolding at Eric.

Clodwig did not allow himself to be easily interrupted in a discussion
he had once entered upon, and proceeded to state the results of his
observations in the world. Bella took an active part in the
conversation. It sometimes seemed to Eric, that there was nothing
beyond a certain superficial cleverness in her ready flow of words; but
he rejected the criticism as a pedantic one.

His life among books, he said to himself, had rendered him
unsusceptible to this easy, graceful, brilliancy, while his profession
as teacher led him to be always on the watch for an elaborate network
of thoughts and impressions, where there was meant to be nothing but a
simple expression of natural feeling. He now gave himself freely up to
the pleasure of enjoying the close companionship of so richly endowed a
nature. These butterfly movements of the mind he began to look upon as
legitimately feminine characteristics, which were not to be roughly
criticized. Hitherto he had been familiar, in his mother and aunt, only
with that severe and business-like conscientiousness, in all
intellectual and moral matters, which borders on the masculine; here
was a nature that craved only to sip the foam of life. Why require
anything further of it?

When Bella was one day walking with Eric in the park, Roland and Lina
meanwhile sitting with Clodwig, she complained of not being able to
repress the religious doubts that often beset her, while, at the same
time, existence without a belief in a compensating future life was a
terrible enigma. Without wishing to weaken this idea, Eric sought to
give her the assured peace which can be found in the realms of pure
thought. There was a strange contradiction in the hearts of these two,
imagining, as they did, that they were speaking of things far above and
beyond all life, while in reality they were talking of life itself, and
that in a way whose significance they would not willingly have
acknowledged to themselves.

Suddenly Bertram came riding towards them, his horse white with foam,
and while at a distance cried out,--

"Herr Captain, you must return instantly."

"What has happened?" asked Eric.

Clodwig came up with Roland and Lina, and Pranken also appeared at the
windows, all anxious to know what had happened.

"Thieves! robbers!" cried Bertram. "The villa has been broken into, and
Herr Sonnenkamp's room entered."

A few moments later, Eric and Pranken were in the wagon driving back to
the villa. Pranken's vexation was extreme, for he had taken the whole
responsibility upon himself.

For a long time neither of the three spoke, until at last Roland broke
the silence, by asking Eric what he thought Franklin would have thought
and said of such a robbery.

Pranken replied with some warmth, "I should think a son's first
question would be, 'What will my father say to it?'"

Roland and Eric were silent. Again they drove on for a long while
without a word being spoken. Eric was tormented by accusing thoughts.
He seemed to himself doubly a thief. These men had broken into the
rooms of the villa by night; what had he done? He had forgotten the
soul entrusted to him, and, worse still, after being received by the
kindest friendship, he had, under cover of lofty thoughts and noble
sentiments, in word, thought, and look been faithless to the most
precious trust in the person of his friend's wife. He pressed his hand
to his heart, which beat as if it would burst his bosom. Those men, for
having stolen gold, would be overtaken by the justice of the law; but
for himself,--what would overtake him? Conscious that Roland's eyes
were fixed upon him, he cast his own on the ground in painful
confusion.

Finally he controlled himself, and said in a trembling voice, that he
should assume the entire responsibility; he acknowledged Pranken's
friendliness, but felt that in such a case as this, no one could
interpose between himself and the consequences of neglect of duty. So
severely did he reproach himself, that Roland and Pranken looked at him
in amazement.



                              CHAPTER XXI.

                     LEARN THE EVIL THAT IS IN MAN.


Villa Eden had hitherto been surrounded by a mysterious magic. Fear and
envy had given rise to the report that there was something wrong about
the inmates; about Herr Sonnenkamp, whom everybody saw, and Frau Ceres,
whom scarcely anybody saw. The threats of spring-guns and man-traps
posted upon the walls imbued the ignorant people in the neighborhood
with an almost superstitious fear. It was even said that Herr
Sonnenkamp had smeared the trap with a poison for which there was no
antidote. The servants of the house affected somewhat the reserve of
their superiors; they had little intercourse with others, and were
hardly saluted by them. But the mysterious dragon, which, no one knew
how or where, kept secret watch over the villa, seemed nothing but a
scarecrow after this robbery; the beautiful white house was stripped of
its charm; it was as if all the bolts were thrown back. Quickly the
report gained ground that the house-servants had committed the robbery.

The people on the roads and in the villages through which the carriage
passed looked up and nodded to Eric, Roland, and Pranken, as they drove
swiftly by. The few who raised their caps did it hesitatingly, as if
they, like the rest, would say, It is all up now with your master; the
officers will soon find out what has been going on among you.

The three men found everything in confusion at the villa when they
arrived.

The porter at once expressed conviction that the robbery had been
committed by persons belonging to the house, because all the doors had
been closely fastened, and not a dog had barked; showing that the
thieves must have been familiar with the house, and well known to the
dogs.

The officers were already on the spot. Sonnenkamp's work-room had been
entered, and treasures stolen whose value could not be estimated, among
them a dagger with a jewelled handle. The thieves had even tried to
force the fire-proof safe, but in vain. Great goblets of gold and
silver which stood upon the sideboard in the dressing-room had
disappeared, as well as Roland's gold watch, which, when he went to
Wolfsgarten, he had left on the table beside his bed. His pillow had
also been taken, but was afterwards found on the wall, where it had
served to make a smooth and easy passage over the broken glass which
had been intended to make the wall insurmountable.

Two footprints were discovered in the park and behind the hot-house.
The thieves must have stumbled among the heaps of garden mould, for on
one of these was plainly visible the impression of a human body; one of
the thieves had evidently fallen there. Here was also found a pair of
the dwarfs old boots, which, on being compared with the footprints in
the garden, were found exactly to correspond. Thus a clue was gained,
though a very uncertain one. The dwarf just then came by, on his way to
his accustomed work, and listened in astonishment to an account of what
had happened. He was allowed to work on undisturbed.

The officer who had charge of the investigation, and his assistants,
the burgomaster of the village, and some of the chief men, were
assembled in the balcony-room, examining the various servants. Roland
stood apart, his eyes fixed upon the pillow which had been stolen and
made use of by the thieves in climbing the wall. He grew very pale, as
he stood there listening to the questions that were asked of one man
after another, in the hope of extorting something from each.

The dwarf appeared, and said that a pair of boots had been stolen from
him.

"Yes," replied the officer at once, "the theft was committed in your
boots."

The dwarfs face wore a simple expression, as if he had not understood
what was meant.

The officer ordered his instant arrest. He complained piteously that
the innocent were always the ones to be suspected, and Roland begged
that the poor creature might be allowed to go free.

"I will throttle any one who touches me," cried the dwarf, his
excitement seeming to make a different being of him.

At a sign from the officer, two men quietly bound the poor creature's
hands behind his back.

Eric led Roland away. Why should he see this night-side of human
nature?

Happily the Major appeared at this moment, and Eric delivered Roland to
him.

"Here is a lesson for you, young man," said the Major. "Everything can
be stolen from you, except your heart, when in the right place, and
except what you have in your head; they can never be stolen from you.
Mark that."

The officer had the servants brought before him, and questioned them as
to the persons who had lately visited the villa. They mentioned the
names of many, but the porter said,--

"The Herr Captain took the huntsman by himself over the whole house,
and when he left he said to me, 'You guard the rich man's money and
treasures, when it would be better to throw the doors wide open, and to
scatter it abroad in the world.'"

Eric could not deny that the huntsman had observed everything very
closely, and had talked in a confused way about the distinction of rich
and poor; yet he thought he could answer for the man's honesty.

The officer made no answer, but despatched two of his men to search the
house of Claus.

The huntsman smiled and shrugged his shoulders, when he saw what their
intention was. Nothing was found, but in a kennel was chained a dog
that barked incessantly.

"Unfasten the dog's chain," said one of the men to Claus, who had
followed them through all the rooms and into the court, saying nothing,
but keeping his lips moving all the time.

"What for?"

"Because I bid you; if you don't do it at once, I shall shoot the dog
through the head."

Upon the dog being set free, the kennel was searched, and in it, under
the straw, were found Roland's watch and the jewel-hilted dagger. Claus
was immediately bound and put under arrest, in spite of his earnest
protestations of innocence. On the way from his house to the villa he
kept raising his chains, as if to show them appealingly to the fields,
the vineyards, and the heavens.

A list was made out of the stolen articles as far as they could be
described, and Roland was summoned to sign his name for the first time
to an official document.

"There is no calculating the effect such a thing must produce on the
boy," said Eric to the Major, who was standing by.

"It will do him no harm," replied the Major; "his heart is sound, and
Fräulein Milch says, 'A young heart and a young stomach are quick
digesters.'"

Fräulein Milch was mistaken this time, for at sight of Clans brought in
in chains, Roland uttered a cry of distress.

A new scent was presently started. The groom, who had been in Pranken's
pay as a spy, and afterwards dismissed by Sonnenkamp, had, within the
last few days, been seen and recognized in the neighborhood, though he
had taken great pains to disguise himself. Telegrams were immediately
despatched in all directions for the arrest of the supposed thief, and
also to Sonnenkamp.

The priest came, lamented what had happened, using a noble charity in
speaking of the disaster, and begged Eric not to lay it too much to
heart, because, devoted as he had been to learning and science, he
could naturally have no proper knowledge of the wickedness of his
fellow-men, and had naturally allowed himself to be taken unawares by
it.

Eric was more humbled in spirit than the priest thought reasonable. He
remembered having once said, that the man who consecrates himself to an
idea must renounce all else; and now he was humiliated by standing in
the presence of one who, in his way, acted up to this sentiment, while
he himself had allowed the excitement of mental dissipation to drag him
down from his high standard.

The priest repeated, that is all our plans we should take into account
the wickedness of mankind; and Eric, who hardly knew what answer to
make, assured him that he was well aware of the necessity, having
voluntarily passed some time in a House of Correction, for the sake of
restoring guilty men to their better selves. Neither Eric nor the
priest, who praised him, noticed the effect which this confession
produced upon Roland. He was, then, in the hands of a man who had tried
to counsel criminals, who had lived in a House of Correction! A fear
and repugnance took possession of the boy's soul. Eric's motive was
forgotten; Roland seemed to himself humiliated. He sat a long time
silently buried in thought, his face covered with his hands.

The priest approached him at last, and admonished him not to let this
accident dishearten him, but only let it teach him not to place his
trust in the treasures of this world, particularly in his own
possessions; neither to have that so-called faith in humanity, which is
a deceitful faith, exposed to daily shocks; for there was but one sure
and abiding faith, that in God, the supreme being, eternal and
unchanging, who never deceives.

Roland remained silent and absorbed for some time after he and Eric
were left alone; finally he asked:--

"Does my father know what you once were?"

"Yes."

"Why did you not tell me?"

"Why? I had no reason for concealing it from you, or for telling you."

The boy again covered his face with his hands, and Eric, feeling that
the course he was here called upon to defend was one undertaken from
the purest motives, while within him he was conscious of a guilt which
none but himself could upbraid him with, explained to Roland how he had
felt it his duty to devote himself to the most unhappy. He spoke so
touchingly that the boy suddenly raised his head, and, holding out his
hand to him, exclaimed in a tone of the deepest feeling:--

"Forgive me! Ah, you are better than all."

The words smote Eric to the soul.

The officers of the law had left the villa, and even Pranken had ridden
away. Roland went about the house, looking fearfully behind him, as if
he had seen a ghost, an evil spirit. The stairs had been trodden by
wicked men, the doors had been tried by their instruments; the house
and all its treasures had been desecrated; he had lost pleasure not
only in the things which had been plundered, but still more in those
which could not be taken, which the thieves had been obliged to leave.

He begged Eric not to leave him for a moment, so great was his fear. At
night he was unwilling to go to bed; rest seemed impossible to him in a
place where the hands of robbers had taken the pillows from his bed.
Eric yielded to his entreaties that he would remain by him, and said,
after Roland had finally gone to bed,--

"I owe you an answer to your question,--What would Franklin have said
to this robbery? I think I know. He would have had no compassion on the
thieves; he would have given them up to the full penalty of the law;
but at the same time he would have maintained, that the wickedness of
individuals should not be allowed to rob us of our faith in humanity;
for if thieves could inflict that loss upon us, they would be robbing
us of more than hands can touch."

Roland nodded assent. Long after he had fallen asleep, Eric stood by
the bedside, thoughtfully watching the boy, who had had to learn this
lesson thus early,--Of what use is all this subtle study; of what
advantage any conscious training? An invisible, irresistible power, the
great current of life's experience, educates a man far more than a
single human teacher can do, and in a different way.

Long did Eric stand at the window, gazing out upon the river and the
vine-covered hills. We all work according to the strength that is in
us; the result of our labors lies not in our hands, but in the control
of that invisible, all-embracing power whose origin we know not, and
which we can only call God.

Eric was deeply moved. This event could not afflict his young charge so
deeply as it did him, for he was conscious of a power mightier than any
effort of his own thoughts, drawing him back from the edge of an abyss.
He looked into the future, and a fixed resolve was formed within him.

He was summoned away by a messenger from the officer who had conducted
the examination, bringing a telegram from Sonnenkamp. It ran thus:--

"Journey to sea-shore given up; coming home; shall find thieves, under
whatever title."



                                BOOK VI.



                               CHAPTER I.

                       THE MASTER AT HOME AGAIN.


Herr Sonnenkamp returned to his villa like a ruler to his castle where
a mutiny has lately broken out. Every step in his house, every glance
at a servant, said, I am here again, and with me authority and order.

Eric did not lay upon Pranken the blame of what had happened, but
confessed that he himself had been guilty of neglect of duty.
Sonnenkamp seemed to take pleasure in seeing Eric humbled. He was one
of those who love to rule others. With enough humanity in him to make
him prefer a willing obedience, he yet had no rest, when that proved
impossible, till his man was subdued and brought to his feet; then, and
not till then, was he willing to raise him up, for not till then was he
sure of the mastery. This self-reliant Captain-doctor had assumed a
demeanor that was unbecoming in him; now he was humbled, and would have
to be grateful for every act of kindness and friendliness done him.
Sonnenkamp had no suspicion of the satisfaction Eric took in his
humiliation, or of his motives for it; he regarded this humble
submission as a triumph of his authority, while to Eric himself it was
a confession of weakness in having been tempted by the magic of Bella's
charms to forget the strict watchfulness which was his duty.

Sonnenkamp soon perceived that the amount of the robbery was
insignificant. He said, with a certain malicious pleasure:--

"The knaves stole my jewelled dagger; it has a poisoned point, which is
death to whomsoever it scratches."

Eric had hardly power left to tell that the dagger was already in
possession of the officers of justice, so great a horror thrilled him.
Why should this man keep a poisoned dagger?

Pranken and the Major soon appeared, and Pranken was honest enough to
take the whole responsibility upon himself. He could not refrain from
saying, however, that Eric had previously left the villa to go to a
musical festival, and had won a surprising reputation there. Sonnenkamp
said, with a smile:--

"You kept Roland at home instead of letting him go to the Baths, in
order to keep him free from excitement; have you preserved him from
it?"

Eric was prevented from answering by the arrival of the priest, to whom
Sonnenkamp, who had never made any gift to the church, announced his
intention of presenting to it the gold and silver vessels which had
been taken from the sideboard. As if involuntarily, he added:--

"I don't want them any more in my house. You, reverend sir, will give
them a fresh consecration."

Eric expressed in a whisper to the Major, who stood by him, his
pleasure at this arrangement, and his belief that it would exert a
salutary influence on Roland, whose peace of mind had been in a great
measure destroyed by the robbery. Sonnenkamp heard his words, though
spoken in so low a tone, and said:--

"My highly honored Herr Captain, let me tell you honestly that I have
nothing to do with sentimentalities, and that I desire Roland should
early acquire a knowledge of these so-called well-disposed lower
classes, and learn that they are nothing but a mass of conspiracy
against the holders of property, awaiting the first favorable
opportunity to break out, or rather to break in."

Sonnenkamp was in the highest degree animated and cheerful. His only
cause of regret was, that there should have been so much talk made
about the affair in the neighborhood, and that so much valuable time
had to be lost in the processes of law. Frau Ceres said not a word
about the robbery; it almost seemed as if she had not heard of it. She
only rejoiced that Roland had grown so much during her absence. She
told Eric that she had met at the Baths a most aristocratic and amiable
lady, a relation of his mother, who had spoken of her with great
enthusiasm.

The very first evening after the return of Sonnenkamp and his family, a
carriage drove up in which were Bella and Clodwig. Eric was delighted
to greet his friends, but was somewhat shy of Bella.

"We have come to protect you from this savage," she whispered to him
behind her fan; "we will show him that you belong to us. And now you
will leave everything and come to us, will you not?"

The words thrilled Eric; he could only bow his thanks.

Bella observed her husband's embarrassment as he stood with Sonnenkamp.
His fine and sensitive nature could never overcome a feeling of
timidity, of terror, whenever he found himself confronted with this
herculean shape. Bella helped him out of the difficulty by saying
jestingly, "Herr Sonnenkamp, you must have seen many strange things in
your life; did you ever happen to fall in with thieves who openly
confessed they had stolen, or were proposing to steal?"

Sonnenkamp looked at her in amazement.

"We are such thieves, in broad daylight," she cried, laughing, and
turning to her husband she continued:--

"Now do you speak, dear Clodwig."

Clodwig hesitatingly expressed his wish to have Eric live with him.
Sonnenkamp's sharp glance fell upon Bella. The forefinger of his left
hand was already raised in playful menace against her, and he was on
the point of saying, "I understand you," when he checked himself, and,
laying his finger on his lips, said:--

"I am glad to see that our Herr Eric"--with a peculiar emphasis on the
word "our"--"that our Herr Eric stands so high in your good graces."

Eric was struck by the peculiar stress laid upon the word "our." He
seemed to have become a piece of property. Still more surprised was he
at Sonnenkamp's offering him his hand the next moment and saying:--

"You remain ours, do you not?"

Eric bowed.

Bella dwelt, with intentional emphasis, upon the particulars of her
visit to Eric's mother in the University-town. She evidently desired to
let Herr Sonnenkamp know that a man of Eric's rank and position was not
to be crushed on account of a trifling act of neglect. Sonnenkamp
whistled to himself inaudibly, as if some plan were ripening in him.

Bella contrived again to be alone with Eric, and expressed to him her
satisfaction at the success of her little plot. She knew, she said,
that Sonnenkamp would not let him go, but she also knew that he would
humble him on account of the neglect he had been guilty of, and
therefore persuaded Clodwig to drive over at once. Eric was full of
gratitude.

"Did you notice," she asked in a low voice, "what a look Herr
Sonnenkamp gave me, and how he raised his finger at me? This man
imagines that our friendship is something more than friendship; to the
impure nothing is pure. I think you will not misunderstand me, if I
sometimes intentionally slight you in the presence of this spying
knave."

She gave Eric her hand, and held his long and tightly pressed. Neither
suspected that from behind a bush two eyes were fixed upon them, and a
sharp ear heard their every word. When they had passed on, Sonnenkamp
drew a deep breath as a relief from the long constraint he had put upon
himself.



                              CHAPTER II.

                       AN INALIENABLE POSSESSION.


The next morning came the tidings that the groom whom Sonnenkamp had
dismissed shortly before his journey, suspecting him of being a spy of
Pranken's, had been arrested in the capital in the very act of offering
for sale a large silver goblet. Roland brought the news to Eric, and
this was only one of the many interruptions liable at any moment to
break in upon the hours of study and thought, in consequence of this
robbery. Of what use were lessons when the mind was thus excited? What
lasting impression could be made? At one time Eric thought of going
hunting more frequently with Roland, in order to amuse him and let him
gain fresh elasticity and powers of observation by the pursuit of new
objects. But he finally decided on the opposite course, that of helping
his pupil not by amusement, but by closer application to his studies.
Great was his satisfaction, therefore, at having Roland say to him,--

"Let us forget all else and quietly go on with our work."

The boy's love of study had received an impulse which made every
interruption distasteful to him, and led him to look for his best
pleasures in his books.

Roland soon became conscious of a fresh energy in Eric, without being
able to conjecture its cause; it was the exaltation that follows a
danger escaped, escaped by one's own effort. Whenever Eric thought of
the days at Wolfsgarten, and his trifling with those feelings which
should be the finest of the human heart, he seemed to himself a thief.
He had recklessly staked the entire capital which he had so laboriously
won; he had allowed himself, under a pretended interchange of noble
thoughts, to toy with Bella: to flirt, as he called it in plain
language, with Clodwig's wife. To his mind, he had violated a
sanctuary; how small, how infinitely small in comparison, seemed the
offence of these poor people! He felt deeply humbled in his own eyes.
How gladly would he have made a pilgrimage with Roland to some temple
where he could purify himself, and where Roland could gain new
strength! Whither should he turn?

It is easier for one wearied in the exciting race of life, and burdened
in conscience, to enter into the invisible temple built with hands than
into the visible temple of science; yet Eric succeeded in doing this.
What he would with difficulty have accomplished for himself, perhaps
would have failed to accomplish, he did from duty to another. He lost
himself in the love of knowledge, and everything became clearer and
more intelligible. As an experienced swimmer delights in the onward
rush of the waves, dives below the surface to rise again to the light,
and with vigorous arms divides the waters; so Eric plunged into
science, and felt his heart swell with joy when the mighty waves roared
towards him. Gone were all petty fears and anxieties, all self-contest.

In Roland, too, deep currents were stirred. He often went about as in a
dream. The ground beneath him, which he now knew to be in constant
motion, swam before his eyes: the heavens were no longer there; the old
world was dissolved and a new one revealed; while mingling with all
this new life within him was the thought that all private property
would be abolished, and poverty and riches divided equally among men.
Eric observed this excitement in the mind of his pupil. Roland said to
him one day timidly,--

"Tell me, Eric, if there will ever come to be no more private property
in the world, and consequently no more thieves."

Eric was startled to see how this strange idea had taken hold of the
boy. He explained that he had only brought that up as an illustration;
the thing itself was an impossibility; he had only meant to show what a
radical change might be worked in the minds and lives of men.

Fresh evidences of this unaccountable tendency of the boy's thoughts
were constantly appearing. One day he asked Eric to go with him to the
huntsman's, to see how his wife and children were faring. He said he
had met the man's son, a cooper in the service of the Wine-count, a
little while ago, and had offered to shake hands with him, telling him
the son was not to blame for what the father had done, even if he had
done anything wrong, which he certainly had not; but that the cooper
had stared at him, and instead of taking his offered hand, had drawn
his hammer from his leather apron, swung it back and forth for a while,
and finally walked off.

When Eric and Roland approached the huntsman's house, the birds in the
cages were singing, busiest among them the blackbird, with his
incessant chirp of thanksgiving, and the dogs were bounding merrily.
The wife looked ill and slatternly, and was full of complaints. She
told how she had wanted to let all the birds out after her husband was
taken to prison, but her son, the cooper, insisted on everything being
left as it was till his father came back, which was sure to be very
soon; Sevenpiper had in the mean while undertaken to do part of her
husband's work, and the cooper attended to the night duties, though he
had to work so hard through the day. Everything should be done
properly, that the place might be kept open for her husband.

Eric offered her a sum of money, which she refused, saying that her
son, the cooper, had forbidden her to accept anything from Sonnenkamp's
family.

"If this man is innocent, as I believe he is," said Roland, when they
were in the villa again, "what can make up to him for all the anxiety
and distress he has had to suffer?"

Eric had no satisfactory answer to give; he could only say that this
was another proof of the fact that the best things in life could not be
supplied by money.



                              CHAPTER III.

                   THE NEW ALLIES, AND A SUMMER FETE.


Hardly two weeks had gone by before the lessons were interrupted again.
Frau Ceres, who was generally very quiet and took no interest in
anything, often referred to a promise she had made to take Roland to
see the Cabinetsräthin, (wife of the _cabinet-minister_), whose
acquaintance she had formed at the Baths.

A grand excursion to the capital was decided upon, which Eric alone was
not invited to join. The party set out in two carriages. Frau Ceres,
Fräulein Perini, and Roland in one, and Sonnenkamp and Pranken in the
other.

Pranken began at once to express his satisfaction at the friendly
interest Sonnenkamp had shown in the Church; he had on his side already
put things in such a train that they could count upon the co-operation
of the higher clergy, who were very influential at Court, in carrying
out their plan. He felt some compunctions at profiting by his frequent
and intimate intercourse with the Prince-cardinal, as a piece of
diplomacy; but he was vain enough to wish to pass off upon the world in
general and Sonnenkamp in particular, as a stroke of worldly wisdom,
the inward illumination which he secretly gloried in. He rejoiced at
the relation thus easily established with the Cabinetsräthin, upon whom
outside pressure could be brought to bear in a way hardly possible with
her husband.

As they drove by a handsome villa, whose shutters were all barred,
Pranken suggested that Herr Sonnenkamp should buy it in order to sell
it again at a low price to the Cabinetsräthin, who, as he knew, had
long cherished a strong desire for such a residence. Sonnenkamp
consented, on the condition that it would accomplish his object. It
would be one of the levers, Pranken assured him, though not the only
one.

Although the two were alone together, neither of them, singularly
enough, mentioned their plan by name, till Sonnenkamp said that the
Cabinetsräthin had told him a title of nobility was to be conferred on
the wine-merchant, and that he wished he might get one first; for he
thought he had a better right to the distinction, though he was not
going to marry his daughter to a dying man, but rather to the freshest
and liveliest of noblemen.

Pranken smiled his thanks, but replied that this priority of the
Wine-count,--it could hardly be called precedence--was rather
advantageous than otherwise, as it made the conferring of titles appear
not so much a matter of private negotiation.

"Your difficulties are greater than those of the Wine-count," he added:
"for the Prince-cardinal stayed in his house on his last circuit, so
that the Wine-count has on his side the church party, which is as
discreet as it is powerful, while you, I would say we, have no party.
So much the better; the victory will be all our own."

They reached the capital.

The Cabinetsräthin was delighted, and expressed to Pranken, whom she
constantly treated as the head, in fact the president of the party, her
great pleasure that a watering-place acquaintance should have ripened
into a new friendship.

Pranken insinuatingly remarked that they might become neighbors too.

The country-house was glowingly described, and the fact cautiously yet
emphatically stated, that Sonnenkamp had already bought the place for
the sake of inducing some noble friends to settle there by letting them
have it at a moderate sum.

The lady was delighted; she knew the house very well, it having once
belonged to friends of hers whom she had been in the habit of visiting
there. She quite envied the people who should live in such a home and
have such noble neighbors. She had told her husband, she said, that it
was a disgrace to the State that such a man as Herr Sonnenkamp should
have no title.

Having thus prepared the way, Pranken disclosed his plan to the
Cabinetsräthin, who assured him it could not but be a most desirable
thing for society, to have a man of Herr Sonnenkamp's importance
admitted to a higher rank. Sonnenkamp assumed an air of great shyness
and modesty. A maiden receiving her first offer, which she was quite
prepared for, could not have looked more bashfully on the ground; he
actually blushed.

They drew their chairs nearer together, as if now for the first time a
right friendly and confidential intercourse was established among them.
The lady begged that nothing might be said to her husband upon the
matter at present; she would manage that part herself; but it would be
a good plan to set some other influence at work; if Count Wolfsgarten,
for instance, would start the subject at court, it would be easy to
play into his hands.

Pranken laid great stress upon the cordial friendship that existed
between Clodwig and Sonnenkamp, but urged that a matter of this kind
needed to be handled with the greatest delicacy, such as only a lady of
the Cabinetsräthin's acknowledged tact was capable of.

Sonnenkamp declared that he did not ask for a title; it must be offered
him; his friends must see to that. He rejoiced in the delicacy with
which the Cabinetsräthin handled the matter, and he handled it in like
manner; his whole demeanor said, This is something quite out of the
common course.

He moved his hand quietly, as if he were stroking the back of a very
soft cat.

"Are there vineyards attached to this country-house?" suddenly asked
the lady.

"To the best of my knowledge," answered Pranken, "there are three acres
most favorably situated."

He winked at Sonnenkamp, as much as to say that these must of course be
purchased also.

Sonnenkamp at once lost his character of modesty and bashfulness; here
was a question of money; here he was master. He wanted to tell the lady
that he could not deal in any other than a business-like manner; when
he had fairly got his patent of nobility she should take possession of
the country-house and vineyards besides; but he was afraid to say it
before Pranken, and besides it seemed hardly necessary to come out with
it just yet. When it came to the point, he would be man enough not to
allow himself to be cheated. There was a triumphant smile upon his
face.

The Cabinetsrath entered, saluted Sonnenkamp with formal politeness,
and expressed his thanks for the courtesies shown his wife at Vichy.

The party went into the hall, where were Roland and the son of the
house, a cadet. Roland's beauty immediately attracted all eyes, and
made him the centre of the group. The Cabinetsrath congratulated him on
having for a tutor such a finished scholar as Eric, although he was
somewhat eccentric in his theories, and as Roland answered some
question that were addressed to him by saying he should like to be an
officer, advised him to enter the school of cadets as soon as possible.

Pranken said in an aside to the Cabinetsräthin that he entirely
approved of Herr Sonnenkamp's plan not to let Roland enter the school
till he had received a title, thus sparing him many embarrassments; for
if the boy were suddenly admitted to the nobility while in the school,
there would be no end to the jokes he would have to endure from his
companions.

The Cabinetsrath spoke of the rebuilding of the ruins, of Sonnenkamp's
well-known skill in horticulture, and of the complimentary manner in
which he had often heard them spoken of in the highest circles.

Sonnenkamp craved permission to send some of his products occasionally
to the royal table, especially his beautiful bananas, which were now
particularly fine. Pranken thought Herr Sonnenkamp's success in grape
culture the most remarkable, for he managed to have fresh grapes upon
his table every month in the year.

The Cabinetsrath replied that this courtesy would no doubt be very
acceptable, but he had no authority to speak in the matter. The
Marshal, who was a cousin of Herr von Pranken, would unquestionably
accept the offer.

Pranken at once took Herr Sonnenkamp to see the Marshal, while Roland
rode out with the cadet. Frau Ceres remained with the Cabinetsräthin,
and apparently caused that lady great surprise by urging her to accept
the coral necklace which she wore upon her neck, and which her friend
had so much admired.

The lady was obliged to accept it, but begged Frau Ceres to consider it
as a token of the intimacy of their private friendship, and not to
mention the gift to any one else. She repeatedly declared that she used
her interest for her friends without the least motive of selfishness.
She laid great stress upon this point, being convinced that Frau Ceres
was a party in the plan for gaining her by presents.

Frau Ceres looked at her in amazement, and thought herself again
horribly stupid; the woman was speaking of things of which she knew
nothing.

The party had not proposed to spend the night in the capital, but on
the minister's wife proposing an excursion to some pleasure-grounds,
Pranken insisted on their remaining till the next day. It would be a
great advantage to have the two open carriages, with Frau Ceres and the
Cabinetsräthin in one, and Sonnenkamp, Pranken, and the Cabinetsrath
in the other, drive through the streets of the capital to these
pleasure-grounds, where the best and most select society would be
assembled. The best society should see that Sonnenkamp was already
admitted to close intimacy with Count Pranken and the Cabinetsrath.

On the way the Cabinetsräthin was seized with an idea as amiable as
it was wise. Both these merits delighted her, and not less her own
good-nature. She should win an ally and help a poor woman. With great
condescension and pity, she spoke of Eric's mother, who had with a
foolish enthusiasm sacrificed her position to a so-called ideal love.
Here the Cabinetsräthin looked towards Pranken, between whom and
herself so close a league was already established that she did nothing
without his approval. A scarcely perceptible nod from him showing her
that she might continue, she appealed to Herr Sonnenkamp to do
something for Eric's mother; if possible, even to receive her into his
house. Aunt Claudine also was spoken of in terms of the highest praise.

The Cabinetsräthin imagined that her relations with the Sonnenkamp
household would be much more easily maintained, if the Professor's
widow and the aunt formed a part of it; then her intercourse would be
in a manner with them, and not with this man. In fact it would be her
duty to see as much as possible of these noble women, in order to
soften their position of dependence; and that advantage, with many
others, would be easily secured when she had established herself in
that country-house, which of course had several acres of vineyard
attached to it.

Thus there was a mingling of motives, with a good and animating result.

Sonnenkamp smiled blandly, but all the while was saying to
himself,--These nobles hold together more closely than a band of
thieves; in fact they are thieves, for all this impoverished nobility
wants to bolster itself up by me.

He acceded politely to the lady's proposition, with the inward
reservation, You have not that estate yet, and the Professor's widow
may sit for a while longer at her sewing-machine.

They drove by the country-seat of the Prince, who had lately returned
from America. Here everything was in perfect order, and a table, with
servants in attendance, was spread in a long, narrow pavilion erected
in a grove by the roadside. The sound of military music came from a
public garden, and the trees were hung with bright-colored lamps. The
officers of the Guard were holding a summer-fête here. Bands of music
followed each other in quick succession, one beginning to play the
moment the other ceased. The officers were already seated at a table
spread under a great tent in the middle of the public garden; while at
smaller tables near by sat the dignitaries of the capital, with their
wives and daughters, in gay summer dresses.

The two carriages drawn by Sonnenkamp's noble horses' attracted great
attention. Pranken quickly gave the necessary directions, and
established his party at one of the best tables, towards which many
eye-glasses were instantly directed. Pranken, after speaking with his
comrades and shaking hands with one and another, soon returned to
Sonnenkamp and his party.

The Cabinetsräthin leaned in the most friendly way on Sonnenkamp's arm;
Pranken escorted Frau Ceres; Roland and the cadet shot arrows at a
target, Roland always hitting the bull's eye.

Sonnenkamp was introduced to the General, and received from him a
promise soon to visit Villa Eden. Pranken was glad to be able to show a
new recruit in the person of Roland.

As evening came on, the bright-colored lamps were lighted. Suddenly
there was a firing of cannon, a beating of drums, and a shouting of
huzzas, in honor of the arrival of the Prince from his estate to grace
the banquet of the officers. Both bands struck up, "Hail to the Chief,"
and all was rejoicing. Happiest of the whole company, perhaps, was
Sonnenkamp, who had been presented to the Prince and received a few
commonplace words from him. Though the words were nothing, the world
had seen the Prince speak with him and give him a friendly greeting.

They drove back to the capital in a high state of delight. The colored
lamps kept shining and the music sounding.

The next morning it was announced in the papers:--

"Yesterday evening the cuirassiers of the guard celebrated their annual
festival on Rudolph's Hill. His Highness, Prince Leonhard, graced the
entertainment with his presence. Among the guests was Herr Sonnenkamp,
of Villa Eden, with his highly-respected family."



                              CHAPTER IV.

                          THE PLACE IS TAKEN.


While the Sonnenkamp family was at the capital, Eric rode to
Wolfsgarten. He had fought down every traitorous, unholy thought within
him, or rather had prevented such from rising, and thought only of the
obligation that rested on him to show his appreciation of the noble
friendship which Bella had certainly manifested towards him, by
speaking to her of the excellence and truly admirable elevation of her
husband's character. That was his sole purpose, and with a clear and
happy spirit he rode on his way.

He found Clodwig alone, Bella having driven out to make a visit.
Clodwig was glad to have Eric for once all to himself; in former visits
he had too often had to amuse himself with the boy, while Eric walked
with Bella. Clodwig told of the son of a friend of his, the Russian
Ambassador at Naples, who had come to pursue under his guidance the
study of husbandry in Germany. The fact of the abolition of serfdom by
the Emperor of Russia was producing a great moral and economic effect.
The landowners would have to increase their own resources, as well as
those of the soil; from mere landowners they must become husbandmen.
The young Prince, like most other princes, had been a little wild in
Paris, but there were the germs of good in him, and a power of will
which encouraged the most favorable hopes. A sort of sacred zeal for
self-sacrifice and devotion to the lower classes was not uncommon among
the Russians, and often took such strong possession of the gay and
dissipated as to recall the conversion of those saints we are told of,
who, from the wildest debauchees, have suddenly been made conscious of
their moral responsibilities.

"But be on your guard," he said, as if instructing Eric. "No
aristocracy in the world is so eager for knowledge as that of Russia;
but unhappily their zeal and aspirations run themselves out in a year
or two, and they easily fall back into lazy indifference. They have a
great talent for imitation, but how persevering it will be, or whether
they can produce anything new, remains to be proved. Perhaps this
freeing of the serfs is a great moral turning-point."

Eric thought it a glorious proof of the free spirit of the age, that
this enfranchisement was the work not of the clergy, whose office it
might seem peculiarly to be, but of pure and simple humanity, having no
ecclesiastical stamp.

"That idea had not occurred to me," answered Clodwig, expressing his
gratitude in word and tone.

The two men were still engaged in far-reaching discussions concerning
the power of the spirit, and Clodwig was just expressing his pain at
the power which brute force exercises over the spirit, so much greater
than man is willing to acknowledge to himself, when Bella entered. Her
face glowed as she greeted Eric; and her companion, an elegant but
rather blasé-looking young man, gave him a gracious salutation. He was
glad, he said, that Eric spoke French so fluently, for his own German
was very clumsy; and he added that Eric's French descent was apparent
in his accent, which was such as only a French tongue was capable of.

After separating for a short time, the party reassembled for a second
breakfast in the room opening on the garden.

Clodwig must have strongly impressed upon the Russian the advantages he
would derive from intercourse with Eric, for the young man addressed
him at once by saying, "I should be very glad if you would let me learn
something from you."

He said it so confidingly, and with so much of a child's submission,
that Eric gave him his hand, saying,--

"I am sure I shall be able to learn something from you too."

"Except whist, which every one says I play exceedingly well, I am
afraid there is nothing to be learned from me," laughed the Russian.

Then, as a man who at once looks to the producers for a knowledge of
the products of a country, he said,--

"I hear that philosophy has gone out of fashion in Germany; can you
tell me any reason for the fact?"

Clodwig nodded; the topic was well chosen, and the question modestly
put.

Eric suggested as his opinion, without having any definite information
to give on the subject, that perhaps philosophy was regarded less as a
separate science, and had become the groundwork of all the sciences.

"Are you of opinion," asked the Prince, "that the categorical
imperative of Kant, and the French Revolution, have tended to the same
results?"

Bella laid back her head, and looked up into the blue sky. The men were
entering upon themes which, in deference to her, ought to be postponed
to another time, but she would be patient and listen.

Eric explained that the principle of Kant, "So act that you can wish
the rule of your actions to be the rule of all human actions,"
established the same ideal as the French Revolution, with its equality
before the law; there are to be no more privileged classes.

"But does not this equality destroy all greatness, all genius?" asked
the Russian.

Bella thought this a good opportunity for breaking her silence, and
quickly choosing her side, she added:--.

"I would go further, and ask if richly endowed natures do not make new
laws in the intellectual and political world, as well as the æsthetic."

Clodwig smiled to hear his wife thus trotting out her hobby-horse, but
Eric answered, smilingly,--"That is the miserable mistake for which
Jesuitism in the Church, and frivolity in the world, are equally
answerable. Peculiar natures have been granted by the world, and have
come to claim for themselves, certain exceptional privileges and
immunities, which, if generally allowed, would be subversive of human
society. What are called superior natures have greater responsibilities
than others, but no exceptional rights. Before God and the moral sense
of humanity, we are all equal, as Christianity exhaustively expresses
in the words, 'we are all children of God.' Children are equal before
their father. But the Church grants indulgences; the State, rights of
primogeniture; sophistry, moral exemptions. No single man of iron will
come to establish the new kingdom of equality; the kingdom is at hand;
its road is the iron rail, its horse is the steam."

"You speak well; it is a great pleasure to me to have made your
acquaintance," said the Prince to Eric. "I pray you to come often to
see me; or will you let me come to you?"

Eric, who, in his excitement, had said more than he intended, expressed
his thanks, saying at the same time that he must consecrate his time
and strength to his pupil. He was angry with himself at thus speaking
out his whole heart on every occasion, instead of adopting the light
conversational tone of society. He thought he knew what the young noble
meant by his compliment. A beautiful way of speaking, indeed! A new
dish, a new sauce, new music, charming capriccios! None but a fool
would expose the treasures of his heart to them.

Eric was struck with the expression of Bella's face; it was set and
hard. What have I done, she thought, that he should read me such a
lesson about no one claiming exemption from the rule of morality? She
was thoroughly angry, and with difficulty forced a smile to her face.
She soon controlled herself, however, and managed to make the two young
men enter upon a little passage of arms before her.

The Prince had the advantage of Eric in a knowledge of current events,
and in practical experience of the world. Eric readily granted the
victory to be on his opponent's side in many instances.

As they were walking in the garden, the Prince leaning familiarly on
Eric's arm, he asked if Eric was acquainted with Herr Weidmann, to whom
Clodwig intended to send him.

Eric replied that he had only seen him once or twice, but that he was
universally esteemed.

"If you should happen to have any friend like yourself," said the
Prince, pressing Eric's arm as he spoke, "if you should know any one
whom you could recommend to be my guide and instructor, I could make
provision for him for life, or--excuse the question--would you yourself
perhaps--?"

Eric declined the honor, but promised to bear the subject of an
instructor in mind.

Bella joined them, and Eric walked by the side of the other two, his
mind agitated by a variety of emotions. He had pondered so carefully on
the best way of drawing himself and Bella back from that dangerous
boundary line of friendship, and here his pains had been thrown away,
for another already occupied his place. His vanity was secretly wounded
that this man of the world, with his prettily-dressed nothings, should
at once have become a greater favorite than he with his tiresome
solidities and all his historical luggage. At heart he was indignant at
Bella's familiarity with the Russian, and a strange confusion of
feeling arose within him. Should he be glad to think this woman nothing
but a coquette, trifling now with one man and now with another? or did,
Bella thus act only to make less marked her intimacy with himself,
which she desired not to display before others?

His mind was harassed by opposite emotions; one moment he was glad of
the lesson he had received, for now he could go back to his work with
an unburdened mind; the next he was again angry with himself for his
ignorance of the ways of polite society.

The Doctor's arrival changed as usual the current of the conversation.
One sharp glance embraced Bella, Eric, and the Russian, and seemed to
reveal to him their respective positions. Bella and the Doctor always
had a little private warfare going on between them.



                               CHAPTER V.

                           A HARSH JUDGMENT.


The Doctor desired Eric to tie his horse to the back of the carriage,
and drive with him part way to the villa.

When the two were seated together, the Doctor began, after first
puffing out a long breath:--

"A beautiful woman is Countess Bella, and a clever. She loves her
parrot, which, apparently, is allowed to fly at liberty in the forest,
but must return obediently to his mistress's shoulder."

"Permit me one observation," interrupted Eric. "I have noticed that
here in the country, and wherever the society is limited, the
conversation is apt to turn upon a third person, and generally--not in
your case, perhaps, but in the case of most persons whom I have heard
talk--in a not very charitable way. Do you not consider this a proof of
narrowness, or whatever else of that nature you may choose to call it?"

The Doctor perceived that Eric was disinclined to pursue this subject,
but he nevertheless replied:--

"The human race affords the most abundant material for conversation,
and of that race the most inexhaustible matter is furnished by the
variety woman. I am not meaning now to speak of Bella, but of myself. I
have discovered in this woman an entirely new variety."

"With your permission, honored Herr Doctor, the Countess seems to be in
perfect health."

"Did you never know Frau Bella before?"

"But slightly," said Eric reluctantly.

"I, however, knew her well. She made a marriage of convenience, as many
others have done, and I think none the worse of her for it. My opinion
on such matters differs from that of most men. The Countess is modest
as far as her talents are concerned, but is proud of her morality. I
happen to know that she told the Count before the betrothal, that she
was too insignificant for him, was, in fact, not worthy of him. In
regard to intellect, her modesty was sincere, though somewhat
exaggeratedly expressed. She has talent, but no soul; she is all
seasoning, no solid food. But morally this confession was perfectly
true; morality with her is only propriety."

"I must beg you--" interposed Eric.

"And I must beg you," broke in the Doctor, "to let me finish my
sentence. Her morality I mean is that of the world, which considers
only the outward marriage essential, and knows no relation of marriage
save a relation of the outward tie. To Count Clodwig, purity and beauty
are a law; every sin against them offends his nature; he could not be
guilty of the smallest violation of them, even if no mortal eye should
detect it."

In the pause which ensued, Eric's heart beat hard. Was the man
describing Clodwig's purity, in order to show him how base would be the
slightest approach to injuring or betraying such a friend?

The Doctor continued:--

"A man can receive no higher honor than that of being Clodwig's friend.
I do not love the aristocracy; nay, I may even say I hate them; but in
this Count Clodwig there is a nobleness which perhaps can only come to
perfection through the fostering care of generations, and cannot be
fully developed among us commoners, where everything is a fresh
conquest smelling of the new varnish, which is always likely to crack
away. There is a steady, even temperature about Clodwig, never
amounting to a hot blaze, but always a beneficent warmth. You see I
have learned from you to make illustrations," he said playfully, then
continued, more seriously:--

"His one passion is for rest, which makes it the more remarkable that
he should have sacrificed so much of it for your sake. I do not agree
with the wicked world in pronouncing Countess Bella to be a very dragon
of virtue. On the contrary, she must have every week, or every month at
farthest, some fair name to destroy, or, better, some guilty person to
use her cat's claws upon; like a well-trained hound, she likes best to
attack a poor hare in the eyes; then she is satisfied, perfectly polite
and obliging, harming nobody, for she is not really cruel and pitiless.
She speaks very kindly of any one so long as he is unfortunate; when
people are humbled she readily pardons them; as soon as a man is sick
she is most kindly disposed towards him, but as long as he keeps well
he need expect nothing but severity from her. She has beautiful and
abundant hair, but that does not please her so much as the being able
to tell of this woman or that, how many pounds of false hair she wears.
If she can say that any woman is scrofulous, she is quite happy; for
she would have only the Prankens perfectly sound. Once let her make an
assertion, and she never retreats from it; better that her husband,
Pranken, the whole world, should be illogical, than that she should be
mistaken. Bella von Wolfsgarten never allows herself to be mistaken.
She has never worn an unbecoming dress, has never said a word which
might not be engraved upon stone. That she calls character; that she
calls strength,--never to confess to a mistake. Let the logic of the
whole world go to the devil first! She can make the eggs dance nicely
in conversation. Did you ever receive one of her dainty little notes?
She can dance even upon paper with the most supple grace."

Eric passed his hand across his brow; he no longer knew where he was.
The Doctor threw away a half-smoked cigar, and continued:--

"The wicked world hopes, and, alas! its hopes cannot be fulfilled
without stabbing our noble Clodwig to the heart,--it hopes that this
dragon of virtue will one day find its unsaintly George. But that would
have to be a man whose ambition is, as we say, to be successful with
the women; not one to whom the words love, magnanimity, aspiration, are
realities, and who could not use them as a cloak for other ends."

Eric knew not what to answer. He clenched his fist to keep himself
still, for he felt himself trembling.

The Doctor pulled a string which brought the drag against the wheel;
the wagon went creaking and scraping down the hill; they looked over
the precipice, at the bottom of which a little brook was babbling over
rocks. Such an abyss had opened before Eric. When they were driving
again comfortably through the valley, the Doctor resumed:--

"When I say the wicked world, I am not using merely a figure of speech.
I must explain to you what this new variety is that I have discovered
in Frau Bella. It is this. There have been, and there exist still, many
women who are, or who imagine themselves to be, no matter which, very
unhappy, or consider themselves very unfortunate because they have such
inferior husbands,--men who love horses, dogs, and such like, while
they themselves are lofty, unappreciated, ethereal souls. This new
variety, however, which Frau Bella represents, is different. She is
unhappy because of the greatness of her husband. Had she one of those
well-trained puppets which are in the world for the purpose of wearing
a court-dress, she might be unhappy, but loftily so; she could look
upon herself as a fair flower-crowned victim, suffer with patience,
bewail her fate, be on a pinnacle in fact, a being ever debarred from
the noblest emotions of the heart. But by the side of the husband she
has, she grows constantly more odious, more insignificant. He
humiliates her by casting her into the shade; nay, more: by condemning
her immature ideas only by a raising of his eyebrows. In fact,--she
does not, I think, acknowledge it to herself,--she hates her husband
for making solemn earnest of her light trifling with intellectual and
moral things; he compels her to acknowledge mistakes and follies, and
severely enough is he punished for doing so. I understand now the fable
of the Harpies. The modern harpies besmear every noble thought till it
becomes unpalatable and nauseous; and thus must Clodwig wrestle and
fight for the common daily bread of the spirit. With all this, she is
not without nobleness; she likes to help the sick, only is somewhat
despotic in recommending her remedies. But do you know what the most
dangerous thing about Frau Bella is?"

"Indeed I do not; I cannot imagine what climax you have yet to reach."

"A very simple one. We hear the devil talked about in the churches,
but in these days he appears as a very complaisant, very noble and
self-sacrificing demon, who comes to us and says,--Here, you are the
friend of this woman; avail yourself of her esteem for you, her
confidence in you, to put her in the right frame of mind; you must
teach her to appreciate her husband, to honor him as he desires to be
honored. This sophistical demon seems to be very subtle, but is really
the clumsiest of all; for never did one human being learn to value
another, least of all, a wife her husband, through a third person's
influence. There is a final impulse of life, and a final impulse of
love, which must come from the person himself; and where that does not
exist, the tongues of angels would be employed in vain. Have you seen
the head of Medusa? The ancients esteemed the victory over Medusa to be
the greatest achievement of Theseus; she is poisonous beauty. In
ancient times she hardened men to stone, in modern, she softens them
into effeminacy. I have a special hatred against this Frau Bella; do
you know why? Because she makes a hypocrite of me every time I go to
Wolfsgarten. I have no business to be so polite as I am to her; and the
fact that I am so, out of regard to Clodwig, is no excuse. No one has
such a bad effect upon me as this Frau Bella; she makes a hypocrite of
me, and she kindles in me such a passion for destruction as I had not
thought myself capable of. She is a quack doctress. If I prescribe a
medicine, she always knows beforehand what I am going to prescribe.
Medicinally I have pretty much broken down her pretensions, but
intellectually she has more than ever. She has family medicines and
figures of speech at her tongue's end, as if she had been a deep
student, whereas the root of her whole nature is want of reverence, an
impertinent meddling with every subject; for everything is a vain show
to her mind; she has no respect even for herself, knowing that she is
herself nothing but a vain show. One deep-rooted trait in her is
ingratitude. Come what may to her, she will still be ungrateful. If you
want to see the exact opposite to Bella, look at the Major, who is
grateful for everything, even for the very air he breathes. That old
child of a Major is seventy years old, and has not yet lost faith in
human goodness. If the devil incarnate were to appear, he would find
something good in him; but this Bella is without principle. A man may
be evil-minded, and yet have strength and active powers left for the
world's service; but an evil-minded woman is wholly evil and only evil.
Do you know who would be a fit mate for Frau Bella?"

"I know nothing about it," cried Eric in despair; he felt as if he must
jump out of the wagon.

"The only man who would do for her, the only man capable of subduing
and governing this whole menagerie which bears the name of Bella, is
Herr Sonnenkamp; in fact, there is a secret sympathy between them."

Eric was glad he could laugh; but the Doctor continued:--

"I am a heretic, my young friend; I believe that woman is an inferior
variety in the human race. A man can never be so bad as a woman, can
never be so hypocritical. For the latter quality, to be sure, women are
not responsible, having been taught from childhood that the world cares
only for appearances. But the main defect is, that they have no broad
humanity; they, do not go down to the first principles from which all
things start; they regard everything as being sewed and colored, in the
same way that their hats and mantillas are by the mantuamakers. On the
other hand, they stand under the curse of the beasts: they cannot
heartily rejoice with another; slander is a peculiar symptom of
blood-thirstiness. Throughout all nature, the female is the crudest."

Eric sat still and heard all this talked at him. When they arrived at
the place where the Doctor was to get out, the good man puffed out
another long breath, and said, his face glowing with his earnestness,--

"Now I, feel better. I have been choking with this for a long while.
Thank you for having listened so patiently. Young friend," he
continued, laying his hand kindly on Eric's shoulder, "I am angry with
the poets, who, from fear of giving offence to women, have dressed up
this clever show-woman. If I have said too much of Frau Bella, as is
possible, I yet pray you to keep in mind the truths I have told of her,
which I have not exaggerated, and which I am ready any moment to
maintain."

Eric took his horse by the bridle, but did not mount; he travelled on,
lost in thought. That he should have heard such things against Bella,
and should have so poorly defended her, pained him. With a look almost
of devotion he gazed upward to the cloudless heaven above him; he would
keep himself free from the guilt of palliating his own faults. His
heart turned to Roland, and something within him said, I hope from this
time to be worthy to educate a human being; for never again shall any
criminal trifling with thoughts and feelings have place in me. I was
vain; I was pleased at appearing brilliant, at being praised by a
handsome woman, at feeling the light touch of her warm glove upon my
hand. No such man should dare to say, I will in all purity educate a
human being. I hope now I am a man who can.

With a feeling of inward happiness he pursued his way and reached the
villa.

A telegram was awaiting him, saying that the family would spend the
night in the capital.

Eric was alone.



                              CHAPTER VI.

             A RECEIPT FOR THE FIRST INSTALMENT OF SALARY.


Frau Ceres expressed herself in the morning strongly disinclined to
return to the villa. The fête on Rudolph's hill still floated before
her fancy, and she wanted to have another just like it to-day. She
urged the Cabinetsräthin at least to go back with her to the villa and
make her a visit. The invitation was declined, but a visit promised at
an early date.

Frau Ceres was so much out of spirits, that to cheer her up Sonnenkamp
made Pranken sit in the carriage with her, while he drove with Roland.
When he was alone with his son, he questioned him on all kinds of
subjects; he even went so far as to ask him how often Eric visited the
Countess Bella, and whether they often took walks alone together.

Roland was perplexed.

On the road they overtook the saddle-horses, which had been sent
homewards in advance of the party. The horses were wholly enveloped in
coverings, so that only their eyes and feet were visible. Sonnenkamp
ordered a halt to be made; the creatures' great eyes were fixed with a
singular expression on their master from under their close coverings.
He severely reprimanded one of the grooms, whom he had seen at a
distance sitting on one of the horses instead of walking by the
animal's side. The next act of disobedience should lose the man his
place. As they drove on, Roland made the remark that these horses were
better clothed than many men.

Sonnenkamp threw a sidelong glance of surprise at his son, but made no
answer.

All at once Roland beckoned to the driver to stop. He had noticed by
the road-side the teamster, employed in carting the stone bottles to
the mineral-spring, whom he had walked with on that eventful night.
Alighting, Roland held out his hand to the man and requested him to
tell the hostler, when he met him, that he was innocent; whereupon he
resumed his seat in the carriage, the teamster all the while staring
after him, while his father desired him to tell him more about the
strange rencontre.

Roland related all he knew, not omitting the legend of the laughing
sprite; but the story about this sprite seemed to have no effect upon
Sonnenkamp's risibles; and when Roland remarked, that he liked to
familiarize himself with the life of poor people battling with abject
misery, Sonnenkamp whistled the inaudible tune to himself. At the same
time, the more Roland talked, the more surprised did his father appear
at the mental activity of the lad; and the conversation in the old
castle, after Claus had questioned him, was brought back to his mind
with strange associations and connections.

Sonnenkamp was inwardly debating what to do. To dismiss Eric on the
spot would not answer, on Roland's account; such peremptory dismissal
might only make him cling all the more obstinately to his erroneous
views and tendencies. Besides, it would be ill-advised to bring about a
rupture with Eric, on account of the Cabinetsräthin, especially since
she had expressed herself strongly on the point of procuring the
assistance of Eric's mother; above all else, however, Clodwig had to be
considered, for the connection with Clodwig was not Pranken's, but
Eric's work, and Clodwig was the most powerful ally in the execution of
the plan.

Sonnenkamp was actuated by a twofold jealousy: the clergy had taken one
child from him; this time, a man of the world was on the point of
taking away the other. He did not disapprove in direct terms of Eric's
ideas, he merely cautioned his son as to there being no need of such
utter submission to a paid person, adding that he saw no necessity of
his fretting too much about his studies, which might do well enough for
people who had to fight their way in life, but certainly not for a
young man who required just about knowledge enough to be able to
express an opinion of his own. He admonished his son not to allow his
life to be disturbed by fantasies; and found it an easy task once more
to make the glitter of a soldier's life in the capital appear very
attractive to him.

Soon after the first salutations were exchanged, Sonnenkamp enquired of
Eric where he had been the day before; putting this question very much
like a master, whose servant's time is by right his own, and who is
therefore justified in demanding a proper account thereof.

Eric told him of his visit to Wolfsgarten, dwelling more particularly
on a description of the Russian prince.

Sonnenkamp smiled; he was pleased to see, that this proud virtue knew
so well how to hide his deviations from the straight path.

Roland was evidently inclined to break through the strict discipline
which Eric had introduced, and which he himself had re-established;
whenever he stayed through a lesson he looked sullen, the instigations
of his father beginning to show their effect. A glance at Eric
frequently would show the latter, that Roland almost looked upon him as
his jailor. Hitherto Roland had only seen things with Eric's eyes, and
regarded whatever happened to him as if he were expected to accept it
for Eric's sake, all this was now at an end. In the dim distance still
resounded, the notes of martial music and the laughter of military
officers conversing gaily.

Eric could not but notice this change in his pupil; it made him feel
sad. He could devote all his energy to Roland. Roland received it much
against his will; and since he no longer hesitated to manifest his
displeasure, his ill-humor of old returned and revived. Again and again
the hardship of a tutor's profession presented itself to Eric's mind.
He lived the past over again. In his garrison, when off duty, he had
lived quietly by himself; at the parental home he was allowed to
indulge in his own fancies, his mother having been habituated by his
father to the belief that she ought to wait quietly to be spoken to,
inasmuch as learned men ought not to be disturbed in their reflections;
and Eric had been treated in the same way: he was never disturbed, and
was left entirely to his own thoughts. Now, however, at table, or while
out driving, he had to answer the numerous queries of both pupil and
father, who were fond of asking questions, and having intricate ones
solved for them. For a long, long time, he had been accustomed to an
independent life, devoted to his own mental improvement; now, however,
it seemed to him as if, together with his state of servitude, he were
losing himself, as if he were but the shadow of his former past, and
nothing new nor fresh was stirring in him, while all his former
thoughts and feelings appeared to require a forcible awakening. Eric
mourned over his mental decline. Formerly he had hardly dared to
confess to himself, that he had derived new animation and pleasure from
being near Bella--and that was to cease henceforth. What then remained
for him?

He stood aghast at perceiving, that the whole sanctity of his inner
self had been staked on another being, and a new revelation came to
him, which made Sonnenkamp's dissatisfaction, as well as that of his
pupil, appear as a just penalty. He redoubled his zeal, but in vain.

An event, seemingly trifling, and of a surprising nature, brought the
disturbing elements to a crisis. Sonnenkamp paid Eric the first
instalment of his salary in Roland's presence, looking all the while
triumphantly at his son. Eric trembled, but quickly recovered his
self-control. He took the gold and advanced a step or two towards the
window at which Roland was standing. Sonnenkamp supposed, for a moment,
that he was going to throw the gold out of the window, but Eric said,
in a tone of forced composure:--

"Roland, take my pay and carry the money to my room. There you may wait
for me."

Roland took the gold, looking confusedly at his father and Eric.

"Do me the favor of carrying that gold to my room," repeated Eric. "And
now go." Roland went. He carried the money as if it were a heavy
burden, and repaired to Eric's room, where he deposited it on the
table. He then turned to go, when the thought suddenly occurred to him,
that he ought also to watch it; he was on the point of locking the
room, when he remembered, that Eric had ordered him to wait for his
coming. He stood there, while everything seemed to be whirling around.
What had happened?

Suddenly Pranken came in to bid him good-bye. He congratulated Roland
upon his speedy deliverance from Eric. Then only did he realize what
had happened, and what was to follow. Pranken referred slightingly to
Eric, as to a man to whom he might make certain concessions from sheer
pity. Merrily he bade Roland farewell. After he had gone. Roland felt
that he could no longer have any love for Pranken, and realized a sense
of loss; he quietly remained standing at the table, looking down upon
the money before him. In a childlike way he began to count the sum
Eric had received. For what length of time had he received it? He could
not make it out, and turned angrily aside to look out of the window.
Behind him on the table lay the money; he felt as if somebody near him
were whispering all the time: Forget me not!

Meanwhile Eric was still in the room with Sonnenkamp, who, with an air
of great astonishment, said,--

"You are wantonly destroying all attachment between us."

Eric replied, that he might perhaps have chosen a more appropriate
time, and that nothing but the manner in which he had been paid had
compelled him to act as he had done.

"Have I hurt your feelings?"

"I am not very sensitive. I appreciate money as far as it deserves to
appreciated and am always pleased at receiving my honest wages. I am
inclined to think that I love your son more than--no matter! there is
no standard to measure love by,--it can only be measured by itself."

"I am obliged to you."

"I beg your pardon, sir; allow me to finish my sentence. Just because I
love your son, I prefer to have the blame fall upon me rather than upon
his father."

"Upon me?"

"Yes, sir. I might have paid you back for the way in which you paid me
off in my pupil's presence; I might have told you that free labor--I
abstain from using the word love, and simply confine myself to refer to
such work as one man will do freely for another--can never be paid. I
suppressed my feelings, because I wished that your son should love and
respect you more than he does other people, than even myself."

Sonnenkamp clenched his fists. He stared at Eric for awhile, but soon
looked down; he had to exert great self-control in order not to betray
that he trembled.

At last he said,--

"I don't know what you mean by some expressions you have used, and I
don't want to know. But I am the man to put a bullet through the
forehead of him who attempts----"

"I very readily comprehend your excitement," said Eric, quietly
straightening himself up and looking Sonnenkamp coolly in the face.

"Who are you? Who am I?" asked Sonnenkamp, while his features were
strangely distorted.

"I am your son's tutor, and I know the accountableness of my position;
I am in your service; this is your house, you can turn me out of it at
once."

"I will not do that--not that! Have I said that I would? I must only
explain myself to you, and you must explain yourself to me. Have you
not said to Roland that the time will come, or has already come, when
there would no longer be any private property?"

Eric assured him that he had not the remotest purpose of doing anything
of the kind; he was sorry that he made use of the illustration, and
regretted Roland's misconception.

"Let us sit down," said Sonnenkamp, his knees trembling. "Let us talk
calmly, like reasonable men, like friends, if I may be allowed to say
so."

He whistled to himself, and then said, in a wholly different tone,--

"I must tell you, that irrespective of this mistake, your whole tone of
thought seems to me dangerous to my son. You seem to me, in fact, a
philanthropist, and I honor that; you are one of those persons who
would like to thank every common laborer in the road for his toil, and
pay him also as much as possible. You see I believe your philanthropy
is genuine, and not taken up merely for the sake of popularity. But
this philanthropy--I speak without any disguise--is not the thing for
my son. My son will have, at some time, a princely income; and if a
rich man must go through life in this way, always looking around to see
where there is poverty, where there is not adequate compensation, he
would be condemned to greater wretchedness than the beggar in the
ditch. The worst thing that could be done to my son would be to make
him sentimental, or even pitiful and compassionate. I am not one of
those men, and I would not have my son to be one, who are eternally
longing after the ineffable, and, as I believe, unattainable; I want
for myself and for my son a practical enjoyment of existence. Believe
me, a contraband-trade will be driven in feelings, if one persuades
himself that men in lower conditions have the same susceptibilities
that we have."

"I thank you," replied Eric, "for this straightforward plainness of
speech, and I am glad that you have given me the opportunity to tell
you that I have endeavored to make Roland good-hearted, but not
weak-hearted. He is to comprehend the goodly advantages of his life, so
that he may receive and make his own the noblest and the highest; he is
to be a noble administrator of the grand power that is to be put into
his hands."

Eric unfolded this more in detail, and Sonnenkamp, extending his hand
to him, said,--

"You are--you are--a noble man, you have also to be my educator. Forget
what has happened. I trust you now, unconditionally. I confide in you,
that you will not alienate from me the heart of my child, that you will
not make him a soft-hearted helper of everybody, and everything."

Sonnenkamp jerked these words out forcibly, for he inwardly chafed,
that this man, whom he wanted to humble, had humbled him, so that he
was compelled to stand before him like a beggar, entreating a stranger
not to alienate from him the heart of his child.

"Why,"--he at last began again, "I pray you, I only ask for
information, for I am convinced that you have good grounds for every
such step,"--a spiteful glance, notwithstanding all his guarded
discretion, gleamed forth at this question--"I only ask for
information, why you have restrained Roland from making a free use of
his purse, as, since my return, I have been informed is the case."

"I cannot give definite reasons for all my doings, but I have a valid
one for this. Roland lavishes and squanders money, and he does it
ignorantly and wantonly, while I consider the control of money a part
of self-control."

And now Eric informed Sonnenkamp what an impression the robbery had
made upon Roland. Exultantly Sonnenkamp cried out:--

"I am rejoiced that he has found out so early how completely one is
surrounded in the world by knaves; he will be cautious whenever he
comes to manage his own affairs. Yes, Herr Philosopher, write down in
your books: The one trait in which man surpasses the brutes is, that
man is the only animal who can dissemble and can lie. And the sooner
and the more perfectly my son can know that fact, so much the better am
I pleased. I should be very glad if Roland had been through the second
grade of schools."

"The second grade?"

"Yes; the first is, to bestow benefits upon people, and then to get an
insight into their rascality; the second is, to play games of chance,
believing that one can make any gain thereby. Debts of beneficence and
debts of the gaming-table are not very willingly paid."

There was a certain fatherly tone in Sonnenkamp's voice, as he praised
Eric's transcendental benevolent intents, at the same time warning him
of the baseness of the whole brood of human creatures. His fundamental
maxim was, that man is a wolf to his fellow-man.

When Eric came to Roland, the latter stretched out both his hands to
him.

"I thank you," cried the boy, "for treating me as my father treated
you; yes, I will have nothing more to do with money. I beseech you,
forgive my father for paying you like a servant."

Eric had great difficulty in making an explanation to the boy, so as
not to disturb and bewilder his natural feelings and perceptions. The
son must preserve love and respect for his father.

"Put away the gold," Roland entreated. Eric immediately put it away out
of sight, for he saw how it annoyed the youth.

"Give me something," he then besought,

"I have nothing to give," answered Eric. "But you will know henceforth,
that one human being can give something to another which is of more
value than all the gold in the world; we will both hold fast the
proverb: A friend who can desert you was never your friend."

Roland kissed the hand which had received the gold. Eric was opposed to
all sentimentality, but here he had witnessed the opening of a flower,
and had inhaled its earliest fragrance, and this flower was a youth's
heart.

"We will go and see the Major," said Roland at last; it was evident
that he wanted to be with some person who had nothing to do with all
this perplexity, and simply lived his own quiet life.

They went to the Major's, but did not find him in. They walked for a
long time together, until after dark, without speaking a word.

Sonnenkamp also walked about the park in the silent night, inwardly
chafing at the thought that there was always something to conceal, for
a single expression of Eric's that day had awakened a powerful struggle
within him. That expression was, free labor. And then he began to
wonder how it had happened that he had allowed himself to do anything
to wound Eric, while it was still his intention to send for his mother.
It produced a thrill of satisfaction in him, when he thought how
infinitely charitable people would consider that. If he himself could
only have believed that it was true charity! But he knew what his own
object really was. No matter! If the world believes in the noble and
kindly, that is enough. She who is rouged, knows that she has not red
cheeks, but she takes pleasure in the thought that the world believes
she has, and she is gay and girlish.

Sonnenkamp had desired that Pranken should purchase the neighboring
villa which they wished to sell to the Cabinetsräthin. Pranken had
declined to do it in a friendly manner, and for good reasons, that it
would seem a natural measure for Sonnenkamp to take, in order to secure
a good neighbor. Sonnenkamp did not know whether to hope or fear that
Pranken had already taken measures beforehand, and thereby made a
profit for himself. Was he to be over-reached? But it would be fine if
his son-in-law had such a prudent eye to his own advantage.

Sonnenkamp did not concern himself much the next few days with house or
garden, with Roland or Eric; he visited the country-house, offered to
purchase the vineyards appertaining to it, and became completely
convinced that Pranken had taken no steps in the matter. He was well
satisfied to acknowledge to himself that he had not been thoroughly
acquainted with the nature of the nobility; Pranken was a man who would
have nothing to do with any clandestine methods of gaining a pecuniary
profit.

The Wine-count was his principal competitor for the country-house
offered for sale; it was said he wanted to purchase it for his
son-in-law, the son of the Marshal of the Prince's household.
Sonnenkamp closed the bargain immediately.



                              CHAPTER VII.

               NOT EASILY DIGESTED BY ONE OF THE GUESTS.


If Claus had heard in prison that Sonnenkamp had bought another
country-house, he would certainly have exclaimed,--

"Yes, indeed. Of course he'll buy up the whole Rhineland yet." But he
learned nothing of it.

The legal inquiry was protracted, and the Judge was sufficiently well
disposed to draw up new papers for the interrogation of Eric and Roland
at the villa; yet this unpleasant occurrence interrupted the course of
instruction more than one could have believed.

Entertainments also were not wanting, for Roland one day announced to
Eric:--

"Count Wolfsgarten is to give a grand fête; father and mother are
rejoiced; and you and I are also invited."

Sonnenkamp was very well satisfied with Pranken for having brought this
about; Eric's coöperation was no longer of any account. It was settled
with Pranken, that Clodwig, who was the most influential member of the
Committee for conferring nobility, should be gained over to favor the
object now exclusively occupying their attention, and induced to take
actively the initiative.

Sonnenkamp stood before his armory, and before the large money-safe
built into the walls; here were many potent agencies, but they were of
no help in this matter, where personal influence alone availed. He was
despondent for a short time; then he proudly drew himself up, thinking
that he had already succeeded in other undertakings, and here also
there would not be wanting to him the requisite means.

He had a severe contest with Frau Ceres on the day they were to go to
the fête; she wanted to wear all her jewelry to dinner, and even
Fräulein Perini could not divert her from her purpose, by representing
how irrefragably settled it was that no diamonds should be worn by
daylight. Frau Ceres wept like a little child, and she preferred to
remain at home if this pleasure was begrudged her.

Sonnenkamp entreated her to dress plainly, and not annoy the Countess
by wearing jewels worth twenty times what she herself possessed; and it
was promised her, that at the next fête given at the house, she might
appear in full costume.

But Frau Cores persisted in saying that she would not accompany them if
she could not wear her jewels.

"Well, then," said Sonnenkamp, "I will send a messenger to Wolfsgarten
immediately, to inform them that you will remain at home."

He had a groom sent for at once, and gave him orders to saddle a horse,
in order to ride immediately to Wolfsgarten. He went off. Frau Ceres'
look followed him with a very angry glance; she was then the miserable
child who must remain at home, when all the rest were going to the
fête. After a time, she hastened to Sonnenkamp's room, and announced
that she would go with them in the way they desired.

Sonnenkamp regretted that he had already sent the messenger off, and
now Frau Ceres besought him, with tears, to send a second messenger
announcing her coming. Sonnenkamp asserted that th