Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Waldfried - A Novel
Author: Auerbach, Berthold, 1812-1882
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Waldfried - A Novel" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcriber's Notes:
1. Page scan source:
      http://www.archive.org/details/waldfriednovel00auerrich
2. The diphthong oe is represented by [oe].



                          BY THE SAME AUTHOR.

                         _Authorized Editions._

WALDFRIED. A Novel. Translated by SIMON ADLER STERN, 12mo, cloth,
$2.00.

THE VILLA ON THE RHINE. A Romance. Translated by JAMES DAVIS. With a
portrait of the author. 16mo. Leisure Hour Series. 2 vols., $1.25 per
vol.; Pocket Edition, four parts, paper, uniform with the Tauchnitz
books, 40 cents per part, or $1.50 complete.

BLACK FOREST VILLAGE STORIES. Translated by CHARLES GOEPP. Illustrated
with fac-similies of the original German wood-cuts. 16mo, Leisure Hour
Series, $1.25.

THE LITTLE BAREFOOT. A Tale. Translated by ELIZA BUCKMINSTER LEE.
Illustrated, 16mo, Leisure Hour Series, $1.25.

JOSEPH IN THE SNOW. A Tale. Illustrated, 16mo. Leisure Hour Series,
$1.25.

                                   _HENRY HOLT & CO._,
                                          25 Bond Street, New York.



                           W A L D F R I E D

                              A  N O V E L

                                   BY

                           BERTHOLD AUERBACH



                         _T R A N S L A T E D_

                                   BY

                           SIMON ADLER STERN



                           _AUTHOR'S EDITION_



                                NEW YORK
                         HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
                                  1874



       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
                              HENRY HOLT,
       In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



                              Maclauchlan,
     Stereotyper and Printer, 56, 58 and 60 Park Street, New York.



                               WALDFRIED.



                              BOOK FIRST.



                               CHAPTER I.

In a letter bringing me his greetings for the New Year, 1870, my eldest
son thus wrote to me from America:


"We have been sorely tried of late. Wolfgang, our only remaining child,
lay for weeks at death's door. I avoided mentioning this to you before;
but now he is out of danger.

"'Take me to your father in the forest,' were the first distinct words
he uttered after his illness. He is a lusty youth, and inherits his
mother's hardy Westphalian constitution.

"In his feverish wanderings, he often spoke of you, and also of a great
fire, in strange phrases, none of which he can now recall.

"He has awakened my own heartfelt desire to return, and now we shall
come. We have fully determined to leave in the spring. I lose no time
in writing to you of this, because I feel that the daily thought of our
meeting again will be fraught with pleasure for both of us.

"Ah, if mother were still alive! Oh, that I had returned in time to
have seen her!

"Telegraph to me as soon as you receive tidings of brother Ernst. I am
anxious once again to behold Germany, which is at last becoming a real
nation. We who are out here in America are beginning to feel proud of
our Fatherland.

"We are surely coming! Pray send word to my brothers and sisters.

                                         "YOUR SON LUDWIG."

The postscript was as follows:

"DEAR FATHER,--I shall soon be able to utter those dear words to you in
person.

                                   "YOUR DAUGHTER CONSTANCE."


"DEAR GRANDFATHER,--I can now write again, and my first words are to
you. We shall soon join you at 'grandfather's home.'

                                   "YOUR GRANDSON WOLFGANG."

                           *   *   *   *   *

I had not seen Ludwig since the summer of 1849, and now I was to see
him, his wife, and his son. I instructed Martella to send the news to
my children and sons-in-law; and to my sister who lives in the Hagenau
forest I wrote in person.

Joyous answers were returned from every quarter. But the happiest of
all was Rothfuss, our head servant. And well he might be, for no one
had loved and suffered so much for Ludwig's sake as he had done.

Rothfuss is my oldest companion. We have known each other so long that,
last spring, we might have celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of our
first meeting. When that occurred, we were both of the same age--he a
soldier in the fortress in which I was confined as a political
prisoner. For one hour every day I was permitted to leave my cell for a
short walk on the parapet. On those occasions a soldier with loaded
musket walked behind me; and it often happened that this duty was
assigned to Rothfuss. His orders were not to speak to me; but he did
so, nevertheless. He was constantly muttering to himself in an
indistinct manner. This habit of talking to himself has clung to him
through life, and I doubt if any human being has a greater fund of
curses than he.

One day, while he was thus walking behind me, I heard him say quite
distinctly: "Now I know who you are! Oh!"--and then came fearful
oaths--"O! to imprison such a man! You are the son of the forest-keeper
of our district! Why, we are from the very same part of the country! I
have often worked with your father. He was a hard man, but a just one;
a German of the old sort."

"I am not allowed to accept money from you, but if you were to happen
to lose some, there would be no harm in my finding it."

"Of course you smoke? I shall buy a pipe, tobacco, and a tinder-box for
you, and what you give me over the amount will not be too much for me."

From that day, Rothfuss did me many a service. He knew how to
circumvent the jailer,--a point on which we easily silenced our
scruples. Five years later I regained my freedom, and when I settled on
this estate, Rothfuss, as if anticipating my wishes, was at my side.
Since that time he has been with us constantly, and has proved a
faithful servant to me, as well as the favorite of my children.

I had inherited the estate and the grand house upon it from my
father-in-law. As I was a forester's son, I found but few difficulties
in attending to the timber land, but the two saw-mills and the farm
that belonged to the estate gave me much trouble. For this reason, so
faithful and expert an assistant as Rothfuss was doubly welcome to me.

He is a wheelwright by trade, and can attend to anything that requires
to be done about the house. Near the shed, he built a little smithy,
and my boys were his faithful apprentices. They never asked for toys,
for they were always helping him in making some article of use. But my
son Richard had no liking for manual labor. He was a dreamy youth, and
at an early age manifested a great love of study.

Of my daughters, Bertha was Rothfuss' favorite. Johanna avoided him.
She had a horror of his oaths, which, after all, were not so seriously
meant.

While quite young she evinced much religious enthusiasm, and Rothfuss
used to call her "The little nun," at which she was always very angry,
for she was quite proud of her Protestantism. While preparing for
confirmation she even went so far as to make repeated attempts to
convert both myself and my wife.

While Richard was yet a mere student at the Gymnasium of our capital,
Rothfuss dubbed him "The Professor;" but when Ludwig came home from the
Polytechnic School to spend his holidays with us, he and Rothfuss were
inseparable companions. He taught Rothfuss all of the students' songs,
and insisted that this servant of ours was the greatest philosopher of
our century.

Ludwig had settled in the chief town as a master builder. He was also
known as "The King of the Turners." He was President of his section,
and his great agility and strength gained him many a prize. He was of a
proud disposition, and followed his convictions, regardless of
consequences. Older persons remarked that in appearance and bearing he
was the very picture of what I had been in my youth.

I am glad that all of my children are of a large build. Ludwig
resembles me most of all. Fortunately his nose is not so large as mine,
but more like the finely chiselled nose of his mother. His eloquence,
however, is not inherited. His oratorical efforts were powerful and
convincing, and his voice was so agreeable that it was a pleasure to
listen to it. He had very decided musical talent, but not enough to
justify him in adopting music as his profession. In spite of the advice
of his music teachers, he determined on a more practical calling. His
refined and easy manner soon won all hearts; and he was beloved by
those who were high in station as well as by the lowly laborers.

In the year 1849, Ludwig was laying out a portion of the great road
which was being built along the low land beyond the mountain. He was
the idol of his workmen, and always said, "For me they will climb about
the rocks that are to be blasted, like so many lizards, just because I
can myself show them how it is done." The road was divided into many
so-called tasks, each of which was assigned to a separate group of
workmen who had agreed to finish it by a certain day. As one of these
gangs was unfortunate enough to chance upon springs at every few steps,
the soft soil gave it much trouble, and greatly prolonged its labors.

The other engineers avoided the soft places when making their surveys.
But Ludwig, with his high boots, stepped right into the midst of the
laborers, and helped those who were working with their shovels and
spades.

He had also arranged the fire service of the whole valley, and had so
distinguished himself at the fire in the little town that he received a
medal in recognition of his having saved a life. The more excited
members of our political party were of the opinion that he ought to
refuse it, alleging that it was wrong for him to receive so princely a
decoration; but he replied: "For the present the Prince is the
representative of the popular voice." He accepted the badge, but
fastened it to the fireman's banner.



                              CHAPTER II.


I had been elected a member of the Frankfort Parliament.

September's days of terror were doubly terrible to me. I had been told
that my son Ludwig was leading a body of Turners who had joined the
malcontents, and that they had determined to reverse the decision of
the majority of the popular delegates, and to break up the Parliament.

At the imminent peril of my life, I climbed from barricade to
barricade, hoping to be able to induce the Turners to retreat, and
perhaps to find my son.

One of the leaders, who accompanied me as a herald, called out at the
top of his voice, "Safe-conduct for the father of Ludwig Waldfried!"

My son's fair fame was my best protection; but T could not find Ludwig.

I have suffered much, but those hours when, with my wife and my next
son Ernst, then six years old, I heard the rattling of muskets without
the door, were the most wretched that I can now recollect.

In the following spring, when the Parliament was dissolved, the
revolution had already begun with our neighbors in the next state.

For a long time the fortunes of battle seemed doubtful. I never
believed that the uprising would succeed; but yet I could not recall my
son. At that time we no longer heard the rattling of musketry, and I
can hardly bear to think of how we sat at home in sad but fearful
suspense. One thing, however, I would not efface from my memory. My
wife said, "We cannot ask for miracles. When the hailstorm descends
upon the whole land, our well-tilled fields must suffer with the rest."
Oh, that I could recall more of the sayings of that wise and pure
hearted being!

The uprising had been quelled; but of Ludwig we had no tidings. We knew
not whether he was lost, had been taken prisoner, or had escaped into
Switzerland.

One day a messenger came to me with a letter from my wife's nephew, who
was the director of the prison in the low country. He wrote to me to
come to him at once, to bring Rothfuss also, and not to omit bringing
passports for both of us. He could tell me no more by letter, and
cautioned me to burn his epistle as soon as I had read it.

"It is about our Ludwig: he lives!" said my wife. The event proved that
she was right. She induced me to take my daughter Bertha with me. She
was then but sixteen years old--a determined, courageous girl, and as
discreet withal as her mother. For to a woman paths often become smooth
which to men present insurmountable obstacles. Bertha was glad to go;
and when in the cool of the morning she stood at the door ready to
depart, with her mother's warm hood on her head, and her face all aglow
with health and youth, she said to me roguishly: "Father, why do you
look at me so strangely?"

"Because you look just as your mother did when she was a bride."

Her bright merry laughter at these words served in a measure to raise
our depressed spirits.

Terror and excitement reigned on every hand. When we reached the first
village of the next state, we found that the side nearest the river
bank had been destroyed by artillery. I learned that Ludwig had been in
command there, and had shown great bravery.

On the way, Bertha's constant cheerfulness lightened our sorrow. To
know a child thoroughly, you must travel with one alone. When Bertha
saw that I sat brooding in silence, she knew how to cheer me up with
her childish stories, and by engaging me in memories of an innocent
past, to dispel my sad thoughts. At that early day she gave an earnest
of what she was so well able to accomplish later in life.

In spite of our having the proper passports, we were everywhere
regarded with suspicion, until I at last fortunately met the son of the
commandant of our fortress. While he was yet a lad, and I a prisoner at
the fortress, I had been his teacher, and he had remained faithful and
attached to me. I met him at an outlying village where he was stationed
with a portion of his regiment.

He recognized me at once, and exclaimed, "I am doubly glad to see you
again. So you were not with the volunteers? I heard your name mentioned
as one of the leaders."

I was about to reply, "That was my son;" but Bertha quickly anticipated
me, and said, "That was not my father."



                              CHAPTER III.


After that the young officer bestowed but little attention upon me; his
glances were now all for Bertha, to whom he addressed most of his
remarks.

Who can foretell what germs may awaken into life in the midst of the
storm? My young pupil, who had but the day before been appointed first
lieutenant, gravely delivered himself of the opinion that there was no
real military glory in conquering volunteers. When speaking of me to
Bertha, he was profuse in his assurances of gratitude and esteem.

Bertha, generally so talkative, was now silent. The young officer
procured a safe-conduct for us, and we continued on our journey.

I have never yet seen the ocean, but the country, as it then appeared
to me, awakened impressions similar to those which must be aroused when
the tide has ebbed and the objects which before that dwelt in the
depths of the sea are left lying upon the strand.

At last we reached my nephew's. He conducted me to his official
residence, where I followed him through numerous apartments, until I at
last reached his room, where we were closeted under lock and key.

He then told me that, while walking through the town the day but one
before, he had met a young peasant with a rake on his shoulder, who,
while passing, had hurriedly said to him, "Follow me, cousin; I have
something to tell you."

The director followed, but not without first making sure of his
revolver.

When they had got into the thicket, the peasant suddenly turned about
and said to him, while he removed his hat, "Don't you know me? I am
Ludwig Waldfried." The director's heart was filled with terror. Ludwig
continued, "You, and you alone, can save me. Put me in prison until I
have a chance to run away. Our cause is lost; but for my parents' sake
as well as my own, I must escape."

The cousin was not unwilling to assist Ludwig, but was at a loss how to
go about it. Ludwig, however, had studied strategy. He had carefully
considered every step in advance, and now caused the director to enter
him on the list of prisoners under the name of Rothfuss.

A state of siege, dissolving as it does all forms of civil procedure,
made it possible to carry out so irregular a proceeding; aside from
which there was the inspiring effect of being engaged in a task that
required shrewd and delicate man[oe]uvring. It was this, too, that
helped to relieve my meeting with Ludwig of much of its sadness.

Still it could not but pain me to find that in order to save one person
it was necessary to victimize others. Ludwig guessed my thoughts, and
said to me, "I am sorry, father, that I am obliged to drag you into
this trouble. I know that such affairs are not to your taste; but there
is no help for it."

Rothfuss looked upon the whole affair as a merry farce. He did not see
the least harm in outwitting and deceiving the officers and the state.
And in those days there were many thousands who felt just as he did. It
is a fit subject for congratulation, and perhaps an evidence of the
indestructible virtue of the German people, that in spite of
Metternich's soul-corrupting teachings there is yet so much
righteousness left in our land.

When Ludwig had donned the Rothfuss' clothes, one could hardly
recognize him. The transformation afforded Rothfuss great delight.

"They can do no more than lock me up by myself, and I have always said
that 'he who is wet to the skin need not dread the rain.'"

This was a favorite saying of his. He had but one regret, and that was
that he would not be allowed to smoke in the prison; but, for Ludwig's
sake, he would gladly make that sacrifice.

We departed, taking Ludwig with us. My heart trembled with fear. The
knowledge that I was committing a breach of the law, even though it was
only caused by necessity and for the sake of rescuing my son, filled me
with alarm. I felt as if every one knew what I was doing; but it seemed
as if the people we met along the road did not care to interfere.

Here again Bertha proved a great treasure to us. She had a wonderfully
cheerful flow of spirits; and perhaps, after all, women are greater
adepts in the arts of self-control and deception than we are.

When we arrived near the borders of the Palatinate, Ludwig met a
companion who had been hiding there. He was a man of about my age. It
now became my turn to take part in the dangerous game. I was obliged to
remain behind and allow the fugitive to take my place at Bertha's side.
Bertha was equal to the situation, and at once addressed the stranger
as "father."

I followed on foot, imagining that every step would be my last.

I passed the border without mishap, and in the first village found the
rescued ones awaiting me. As our old comrade had already become drunk
on French wine, we left him behind at the village and took up our
journey to my sister, the wife of the forester at Hagenau.

The most difficult task of all was to endure the vainglorious boasting
of the Frenchmen. My brother-in-law treated us as if he were a gracious
nobleman, who had taken us under his protection. His neighbors soon
joined the party, and proud words were heard on every hand: the French
were the great nation--theirs was the republic--their country the
refuge of the oppressed and persecuted. And we--what were we? Rent
asunder and bound down, while our Rhine provinces were happy in the
faith that they would soon become a portion of proud and beautiful
France. Another brother-in-law, the pastor of Hünfeld, who had studied
at Erlangen, gave us some little consolation, for he said that in
science the Germans were the greatest of nations.

"Father," said Ludwig, "I cannot endure this; I shall not remain here
another day."

I felt as he did, and we took our departure for Strasburg. At the
Gutenberg Platz we were obliged to halt our horses, for the guard were
just marching by. All seemed as happy if a piece of good fortune had
just befallen them. All was as merry as a wedding-feast, while with our
neighbors beyond the line there was funereal sadness.

Strasburg was crowded with fugitives, by some of whom Ludwig was at
once recognized. We went with a party of them to the Grape Vine Tavern,
and whom should we meet at the door but the very comrade we had left
behind.

He had a curious contrivance about his throat. It was a simple rope
with a knot tied in it; and he called out to Ludwig that he too was
entitled to wear this grand cordon. He conducted us into the room
where, at a table apart from the rest, were seated young men and old,
all of whom had ropes around their necks.

"Ah! here comes the father of 'the King of the Turners'!" were the
words with which a large and powerfully built man welcomed me. I
recognized him as the man who had been my guide during the September
riots. "Hurrah, comrades! Here comes another companion. This way,
Ludwig; this is the seat of honor. All who are seated here are under
sentence of death, and as a badge we wear this rope about our necks."
And they sang:

            Should princes ask: "Where's Absalom?"
            And seek to learn his plight--
            Just tell them he is hanging high;
            The poor, unlucky wight.
            And though he's dead, he hangeth not
            From tree, nor yet from beam.
            He dreamt that he could Germans free
            And 'twas a fatal dream.

Their ribald jokes disgusted me, and I was therefore glad to chance
upon one who had been a fellow-member of the Frankfort Parliament, and
who shared my feelings at such distorted views of an unsuccessful
attempt at revolution.

I have known many pure-hearted, unselfish men, but never have I met
with one whose love of freedom was greater than that of our friend
Wilhelmi. Over and above that, he had a genuine love for his
fellow-men. There are, unfortunately, many lovers of freedom who are
not lovers of mankind, a contradiction which I have never been able to
understand.

Friend Wilhelmi gave me an insight as to the character of the old
refugee, who was by nature of a peaceable disposition, but, giving way
to the frenzy which in those days seemed to fill the very air, had lost
all self-control. He was unable to endure the sufferings of exile. A
deep longing for home preyed upon his spirits. To drown his grief, he
indulged in wine, and the result of his copious draughts was that he
became bold and noisy. This seemed to be his daily experience. In his
sober moments he sat brooding in silence, and was often seen to weep.
Wilhelmi had of course painted his picture in mild colors.

I must add that the refugee at last died in a mad-house in America. It
is sad to think of the many noble beings who were ruined and sacrificed
during those terrible days.

There was something inspiring in the words and thoughts of Doctor
Wilhelmi. When I heard his voice I felt as if in a temple. And at this
very moment memory revives the impression then made upon me.

Meanness and detraction were without any effect upon him; for he could
look over and beyond them. He had determined to emigrate to America
with his wife, who was his equal in courage and confidence. Bertha, who
found but little to her fancy in the rude and dreary life that here
environed us, and who was especially indignant that the soldiers who
had simply done their duty were referred to so contemptuously, spent
most of her time in Madame Wilhelmi's room. She was constantly urging
our speedy return. And Wilhelmi could endure neither the mockery of one
class of Frenchmen nor the pity of the others. Ludwig determined to
join his friend. Wilhelmi had a serious task with his comrades, for
nearly all of them were firmly convinced that the troubles in Germany
would be renewed with the morrow, and that it was their duty to remain
on the borders so that they might be at hand when needed. Wilhelmi, on
the other hand, warned them against such self-deception, which, if
persisted in, would only lead to the destruction of the mere handful
that was left of them. He often declared to me that he at last
acknowledged that our German nation is not fitted for revolution. It
has too many genial traits, and is devoid of the passion of hate. He
felt assured that, when the crisis arrived, the German monarchs would
of themselves see that, both for their own sakes and that of their
people, it would be necessary to introduce an entire change in our
political system. But when and how this was to be done (whether in our
lifetime or afterwards), who could foretell?

"We should not forget," said Wilhelmi, "the significance of the fact
that the German people, so long bound down by a system of police
espionage, has at last become aroused; nor will its oppressors forget
it. Now they are furious against the evil-doers; but a second
generation will not find so much to blame in their deeds, and, as you
well know, my dear friend, for you are a forester, there is an old
proverb which tells us that 'vermin cannot destroy a healthy tree.' The
May beetles would rather prey on the oak than on any other tree, but
although they destroy every leaf, and cause the tree to look like a dry
broom, it renews its leaves with the following year."

In olden times when men swore eternal friendship, a man would sometimes
say, "This is my friend, and without knowing what he intends to say, I
will swear that it is the truth, for he cannot tell a lie." In my own
heart I had just such faith in Wilhelmi.

I found it as sad to part from him as from Ludwig, and this
circumstance overshadowed the grief I felt when saying "farewell" to my
son.

"What does fate intend by driving such men away from home, and far
beyond the seas?" These were the parting words of my friend Wilhelmi.
They moved me deeply; but I could not answer his question.

I felt as if beholding a hail-storm beating down a field of ripened
grain. How many a full ear must have fallen to the ground?

I also met a young schoolmaster by the name of Funk. Although there had
been no real reason for his leaving home, he had fled with the rest. I
easily persuaded him to return with me.

He was full of gratitude and submissiveness. In spite of this, however,
my daughter even then, with true foresight, concluded that he was
deceitful. I was for a long while unwilling to believe this, but was at
last forced to do so.

Funk had done nothing more than attend to some of the writing in the
ducal palace which the revolutionists had taken possession of. But it
was with great self-complacency that he spoke of his having dwelt in
the very palace which, during his student years, he had never passed
without a feeling of awe.

I often thought of my son, but quite as frequently of that good old
fellow, Rothfuss. Ludwig is free, but how does Rothfuss endure his
captivity? And as it was just harvest time, it was doubly inconvenient
to be without him.

We were bringing home our early barley. I had walked on ahead and the
loaded wagon was to follow. I opened the barn door, the wagon
approached, and on it was seated Rothfuss, who call out at the top of
his voice, "Here I am on a wagon full of beer. So far it is only in the
shape of barley. Hurrah for freedom!"

As Rothfuss had been imprisoned by mistake, he was soon set at liberty,
and it was both affecting and diverting to listen to his accounts of
his experience as a prisoner.

He told us how good it is to be in jail and yet innocent. While he was
there, he was reminded of all the sins he had ever committed, and he at
last began to believe that he deserved to be locked up.

"By rights," said he, "every one ought to spend a couple of years in
jail, just because of what he has done. When we meet a man who has just
got out of prison we ought to say to ourselves: 'Be kind to him for it
is mere luck that you have not been there yourself.'" Thus spoke
Rothfuss. He had thought he would find it pleasant to be sitting in his
cell while the other folks were hard at work with the harvest, but it
had proved terribly monotonous. The meals were not to his taste, nor
could he enjoy his sleep. He could not endure such idleness, and after
the second day, he begged the inspector to set him at chopping wood; a
request which was not granted.

And was not Rothfuss the happiest fellow in the world, when he heard
the news of Ludwig's return?

He complained that it was rather hard to know of a thing so long
beforehand. Impatience at the delay would make one angry at every day
that intervened.

When I consoled him with the idea that the chief part of enjoyment lies
in anticipation, his face lighted up with smiles, and he said, "He is
right." When he praises me, he always turns away from me as if talking
to some one in the distance, and as if determined to tell the whole
world how wise I am. "He is perfectly right. It is just so. It is a
pleasant thirst when you know that there are just so many steps to the
next inn, and that the cooling drink which is to wash your insides and
make you jolly, lies in the cellar there, waiting for you."

Rothfuss had already started for the village, when he came running up
the steps and called out: "I have found another nest; the locksmith's
Lisbeth and our three Americans will be happiest of all when they hear
the news. It is well to drink, but if one can first pour out a joyous
cup for another, it is still better. I shall be back soon," he called
out as he hurried up the road.

The widow of Blum the locksmith lived in the back street. Her husband
had settled in the village, intending to follow his trade, and also to
till a small piece of land. Partly by his own fault, and partly through
misfortune, he had not succeeded.

He then desired to emigrate to America. His wife, however, had been
unwilling to do so until she could feel assured of their being able to
get along in the new world.

At home she had her own little house and her three children. For some
time the locksmith worked at the factory in the neighboring town,
returning to his home only on Sundays. His idea of emigrating had,
however, not been given up, and at last he departed for America with
the hope of mending his fortunes, and then sending for his wife and
children.

When he arrived there, the war between the North and the South was at
its height. He heard my son's name mentioned as that of one of the
leaders, and at once enlisted under him. Ludwig was delighted to have
one at his side who was both a countryman of his and a good
artilleryman.

It was not until after the locksmith had enlisted that he spoke of his
having left a family at home. At the battle of Bull Run he lost his
life, and his wife and children, who are still living down in the
village, are in regular receipt of the pension which Ludwig secured for
them.

When the widow heard the news, she came to me at once, and told me with
tears in her eyes, that she could hardly await Ludwig's return. She
speedily acquainted the whole village with the event that was to prove
a festival to my household, and when I went out of doors every one whom
I met wished me joy; especially happy was one of the villagers who had
been among Ludwig's volunteers in 1848, and was quite proud of his
having been able to lie himself out of that scrape.



                              CHAPTER IV.


Before I proceed further, I must tell you of Martella.

It were of course better if I could let her speak for herself; for her
voice, though firm, has an indescribably mellow and touching tone, and
seems to hold the listener as if spell-bound. She had thick,
unmanageable brown hair, and brown eyes in which there was hardly any
white to be seen. She was not slender, but rather short, although there
were moments when she would suddenly seem as if quite tall. Her manner
was not gentle, but rather domineering, as if she would say, "Get out
of the way there! I am coming!" In disposition she was wayward and
passionate, vain and conceited. It was only in our house that she
became pliant and yielding, and acquired mild and modest ways. I do not
mean _modest_ in the current acceptation of the word; she had genuine
respect for those who were higher and better than she. My wife effected
a miraculous change in her without ever attempting to instruct, but
simply by commanding her. She was the betrothed of my son Ernst, who,
as I have already mentioned, was with us at Frankfort in the year 1848.

It is difficult, and to us of an older generation perhaps impossible,
to discover what impression the events of 1848 must have made on a
child's mind.

For my part, I have learned through this son, that failure on the part
of the parents induces in their offspring a feeling which can best be
described as pity mingled with a want of respect. Like William Tell, we
had long carried the arrow of revolution in our bosoms, but when _we_
sent it forth it missed the mark.

In the autumn of 1848 my wife came to visit me at Frankfort and brought
Ernst with her.

Old Arndt was particularly fond of the lad, and often took him on his
knee and called him his "little pine-tree." When the Regent, on the day
after his triumphal entry, appeared in public, he met Ernst and kissed
him.

During the summer Ernst attended a preparatory school in the
neighboring town. But he seemed to have no real love for study, while
the teachers were over-indulgent with the handsome lad, who was always
ready with his bold glances and saucy remarks.

When I asked him what he intended to become, he would always answer me,
"Chief forester of the state."

To my great horror, I learned that he often repeated the party cries
with which members of the different factions taunted each other. I sent
him home after September, for I saw that his intercourse with those who
were high in station was making him haughty and disrespectful.

I am unable to judge as to the proper period at which a youthful mind
should be induced to interest itself in political questions. I am sure,
however, that if such participation in the affairs of the country be
chiefly in the way of opposition, it must prove injurious, for its
immediate effect is to destroy every feeling of veneration.

Years passed on, Ernst was educated at the house of my wife's nephew,
who was a professor at the Gymnasium at the capital. He also spent much
of his time with his sister Bertha, who had married Captain Von
Carsten.

I must here remark that my son-in-law, in spite of the obstinate
opposition of his haughty family, and the strongly marked disapproval
of all of his superiors, up to the Prince himself, had married
the daughter of a member of the opposition, and had become the
brother-in-law of a refugee who was under sentence of death. He is a
man of sterling character.

When it was time for Ernst to leave for the university, or, as he had
always desired, to attend the forester's school, he declared quite
positively that it was his wish to enter the army. He remained there
but one year. "The army of the lesser states," he said, "is either mere
child's play, or else all the horrors of civil war lurk behind it." He
visited the university only to remain there two terms, after which he
entered himself with Hartriegel, the district forester.

Ernst's unsteadiness gave us much concern, and I was especially shocked
by the sarcastic, mocking manner, in which he spoke of those objects
which we of the older generation held in reverence.

He was disputatious, and maintained that it was one's duty to doubt
everything. Indeed he did not even spare his parents in that regard,
and was bold enough to tell me and my wife which of our qualities he
most admired.

He once uttered these wicked words: "The present generation does not
look upon the fifth commandment as really a command: but I have a
reason for honoring my parents; and I am especially grateful to you,
father, for the good constitution I have inherited from you."

My hand itched when I heard Ernst's words; but a glance from my wife
pacified me, and I shall forever be grateful to her that I succeeded in
controlling myself. Had I given way to my just anger, I would have had
myself to blame for Ernst's desperate course and his lost life. That
would have been adding guilt to misfortune, and would have been
insupportable.

I had yet much to learn. As a father I was sadly deficient in many
respects. But, with every desire to improve herself, my wife was
already a perfect being, and could therefore be more to the children
than I was. I was disposed to neglect my family on account of what was
due my office. She was vigilant and severe, and supplied what was
lacking on my part. But although she was sterner than I was, the
children were more attached to her than to me.

Although Ernst's views of life gave me deep concern, he was often kind
and affectionate; for his good-nature was, at times, stronger than his
so-called principles.

I sought consolation in the thought that children will always see the
world in a different light from that in which it appears to their
parents. Even that which is ideal is subject to constant change, and we
should therefore be careful not to imagine that the form which is
pleasing to us, and to which we have accustomed ourselves, will endure
forever. And, moreover, was it not our wish to educate our children as
free moral agents, and was it not our duty to accord full liberty even
to those who differed with us?

I have often seen it verified that a perfect development cannot take
place with those who, either through birth or adverse circumstances,
are deficient in any important moral faculty. With all of Ernst's love
of freedom, he was entirely wanting in respect or regard for the
feelings of others. Piety, in its widest sense, he was utterly devoid
of. From his stand-point, his actions were perfectly just; as to their
effects upon others, he was indifferent.

On the Wiesenplatz in Frankfort, during the autumn of 1848, I had gone
through a heart-rending experience. And now, after many years, I
returned to the same spot only to be reminded of my former grief by
painful and conflicting emotions. I had gone to Frankfort to attend the
Schützenfest. The city was alive with joy; a spirit of unity had for
the first time become manifest. I was standing close by the temple for
the distribution of the prizes. Although surrounded by a gay and
laughing crowd, I was quite absorbed in my own reflections, when
suddenly a voice thus addressed me:

"Ah, father! Are you here, too?" I looked around to see who it was, and
beheld my son Ernst. He carried his rifle on his shoulder, and the
rewards for his well-aimed shots were fastened under the green ribbon
of his hat. Before I could get a chance to congratulate him, he had
said to me, "Father, you should not have come; I am sorry that I meet
you here."

"Why so?"

"Why! Because this is for us young lads. We are here for the purpose of
gaining prize-goblets by our lucky shots; and the great speeches that
are being held in yonder hall are nothing more than a mere flash in the
pan. They are trying to persuade each other that they are all heroes
and willing to bear arms for their Fatherland, and their talk is, after
all, a mere sham. The good marksmen have not come here for the sake of
their Fatherland and such stuff: all they desire is simply to gain the
prize--that, and nothing more."

"Do you not know that I, too, made a speech in there yesterday?"

"No. I was informed that some one named Waldfried had been speaking;
but I could not imagine it was you. One should have nothing to do with
such inflammable thoughts when fire-arms are at hand. If we were to
govern ourselves by your speeches, our brotherly-feeling would very
soon be at an end, and there would be naught but violence and murder
among us riflemen."

I tried to explain to him that our hope lay in our able-bodied youth,
and that we would not rest content until we had a real, united
Fatherland. To which he answered:

"Ah, yes. The students, those of brother Richard's sort, live on
yesterday: the politicians live on to-morrow: we live in the present."

His features trembled, and it was with an effort that he added,
"Forgive me, father; perhaps I, too, will have as much confidence in
mankind as you have, when I am as old as you are."

What could I answer to this? While all about me was loud with joy, my
soul was filled with sorrow. My youngest son denied the gods to whom I
offered up my prayers.

And yet, when I saw him among a group of riflemen, my fatherly pride
was aroused. His proud, lithe form towered above the rest. New-comers
saluted him, and the eyes of all seemed to rest upon Ernst with serene
satisfaction.



                               CHAPTER V.


One day Ernst visited us and went about for a long while in
silence,--now going out to Rothfuss in the stable, and then again
joining us in the room; but here again he uttered no word. Although I
could see that he was agitated, I did not ask him the reason. I had
been obliged to accustom myself to allow him to speak when it suited
him, and to avoid any advances on my part until it pleased him to seek
them.

We were just about to rise from the dinner-table when he said to us in
a hurried manner, "Before you hear it from others, I must announce it
to you myself:--I am engaged to be married."

We looked at each other in silence. Not a sound was heard, save the
ticking of the two Black Forest clocks in our room. At last my wife
asked: "And with whom?"

I could tell by the tone of her voice how many heavy thoughts had
preceded these words.

"With a healthy girl. I--I know all about selection in breeding,"
answered Ernst, while he lit his cigar.

I reprimanded him severely for his tone. Without changing a feature, he
allowed me to finish my remarks. After that he arose, threw his rifle
over his shoulder, put on his green hat, and left the house. I wanted
to call him back, but my wife prevented me. I reproached myself for the
violent manner in which I had spoken to him. Now he will rush into
misfortune--who knows what he may do next? With mild words, I might
have been able to direct him on the right path; but now he may,
perhaps, not return, and will even persuade himself to hate me.

My wife consoled me with the words: "He will return before nightfall."

And it was so. In the evening he returned, and addressing me with a
voice full of emotion, said: "Father, forgive me!"

Rothfuss was in the room at the time, and I beckoned to him to leave;
but Ernst requested that he should remain, and continued:

"I have done wrong. I am heartily sorry for it. I have also done wrong
to Martella. I should not have acted as I have done, but ought to
have brought her to you first of all. She deserves quite different
treatment--better indeed than I do. I beg of you, give back the words
that I uttered! Forgive me! and, above all things, do not make Martella
suffer for what I have said."

He uttered these words with a trembling voice. Rothfuss had left the
room. I held out my hand to Ernst, and he continued firmly:

"You have so often told me, and as I am always forgetting it, you will
have to tell it to me many a time again, that there is something in me
which causes me at times to express myself quite differently from the
way in which I intended to. I also know, dear father, that such a word
lingers in your memory like a smouldering spark, especially when the
word is uttered by your own child; and that in your grief you picture
to yourself the utter ruin of a character that can indulge in such
expressions. I understand you, do I not? Trust in me: I am not so bad,
after all.

"I do not believe in the possessed; and yet there must be something of
that kind. Enough on that point, however. Though I seemed cheerful, I
had a heavy heart; but now I am one of the happiest beings alive; and
if I were obliged to be a wood-cutter for the rest of my days, I could
still content myself. O mother, I would not have believed that I could
have found such a creature in a world in which all others are mere
pretence and _rouge_, lies and deceit.

"She is in perfect health, and as pure and as fresh as a dewdrop.
Although she has learned nothing, she knows everything. She cannot
couch it in words, but her eyes speak it. Her heart is so thoroughly
good,--so strong,--so pure,--indeed, I cannot find the right word for
it. She has no parents, no brothers or sisters. She is a child of the
woods, and as pure and as holy as the primeval forest itself.

"O, forgive me all! I cannot describe my emotions. Now I understand and
believe everything. They tell us that in the olden time, a Prince once
lost his way while hunting in the forest, and that he found a maiden
whom he placed upon his horse and led to his castle and then made her
his queen. Those stories are all true. I cannot make a queen of
Martella, but through her I am ennobled; and it grieves me that it will
not do to have our wedding at once. But I will wait. I can wait. Or, if
you like it better, we will wander forth to America, and, far from the
world, shall live there as our first parents did in Paradise. Believe
me, there is indeed a paradise.

"O mother! You are certainly all that a human being can be, but still
you have one fault;--yes, yes; you have wept--and the first commandment
should be, 'Man, thou shalt not weep.' And, just think of it, mother,
Martella has never yet wept! She is as healthy as a doe, and I swear it
to you, she shall never know what it is to weep. O mother! O father! in
the depths of the forest I have found this pure, innocent child, so
wise and clever, so strong and brave. This flower has blossomed in the
hidden depths of the forest; no human eye had ever seen her before. I
am not worthy of her, but I will try to become so."

His voice became thick. He beat his breast with both hands, and drew a
long deep breath. I have never yet seen a being so refulgent with
happiness. Thus, in the olden time, must they have looked who thought
they were beholding a miracle; and even now, when I write of these
things, feeble as my words seem, I tremble with emotion.

And could this be my child, my son, my madcap, who now felt so humble
and contrite. I had lost all memory of his former rudeness and sarcasm.
It was some time before we could answer his words.

The sun was going down in the west, its last broad rays fell into the
room, shedding a glow of light over all, and as we sat we heard the
evening chimes.



                              CHAPTER VI.


"I believe in your love," said my wife at last.

"O mother!" cried Ernst, throwing himself at her feet; and then kissing
her hands, he wept and sobbed while he rested his head on her knee.

I lifted him up and said, "We are independent enough not to ask where
our daughter-in-law comes from, so that she be but good and will make
our child happy."

Ernst grasped both of my hands and said, "I knew it. I do not deserve
your love, but now I shall try to be worthy of it."

"But where have you been since dinner-time?" said my wife, trying to
change the conversation.

Ernst replied that he had left the road and had wandered far into the
forest, where he had lain down and fallen asleep; and that within him
two sorts of spirits had been battling. The spiteful spirit had urged
him not to take back the rude words, and desired him, without heeding
father or mother, to wander forth into the wide world with his
Martella; she would follow him wherever he led.

The humble spirit had, however, warned him to return and undo the harm
he had done. The conflict had been a long one. At last he rose to his
feet and ran home as if sent by a messenger of happiness.

My wife listened attentively, and regarded him with that glance of hers
which seemed to penetrate the deepest recesses of the soul. No other
being can listen so attentively as she could, and no glance is as
soothing as hers was. She would not attempt to assist you when at a
loss for words, or by her manner imply that she knew what you meant.
She patiently permitted you to explain yourself, to stop or to
continue; and when she was listening, you could not but feel wiser than
you really were. Her glance illumined your very soul.

When Ernst had finished she said to him: "You are on the right path at
last. I know that you think you have already reached the goal, and that
all is done. But, believe me, and do not forget what I now tell
you,--the spiteful spirit will return again; now he only feigns death.
But rest content, for from this day you will be his master. I see this
as clearly as I see your very eyes. The best possession in the world is
now yours--pure, righteous love. Yes, you may well laugh, for now it is
your goodness that laughs."

Rothfuss came to tell me that the Alsatian cattle-dealer who wanted to
purchase our fat oxen, wished to see me. I was about to send word to
him to wait or to come some other time, but I understood my wife's
glance, which told me that I had better leave her alone with Ernst.

I left the room, and, while going, I heard her say, "Ernst, you must
now eat and drink something; such emotions as you have felt awaken
hunger and thirst."

When I returned, Ernst sat at the table eating his supper. He called
out to me, "Father, mother has arranged everything nicely, and if you
are satisfied, why--"

"Eat now, and let me speak," said my wife. And then she continued:

"From all that Ernst has told me--and we depend upon his
truthfulness--I am convinced that Martella is a real treasure-trove. No
one but such a girl could banish this spirit of unrest. We are, thank
God, so circumstanced that besides a good family name we can also
bestow worldly goods upon our children. Ernst and his bride[1] are both
young and can work for themselves. He loves in her the child of nature;
but he understands that there is much of good which she can and must
yet take up into this pure nature of hers. He used to say that he could
never be happy except with a woman who sang beautifully, but now he no
longer finds singing a necessity. But he cannot do without spiritual
sympathy and harmony in his higher life. She need not learn French; I
have forgotten what I once knew of it. But Ernst is accustomed to a
refined home; and when he goes home to his wife in his forest house, he
should be able to find refreshment and rest in noble and elevating
thoughts.

"If a forester is denied the proper delights of home and married life,
there is nothing left him but the pleasures of the tavern; and they
will certainly ruin him.

"Martella must not be confused or taught in school-girl fashion. That
which is noble and refined in life cannot be imparted by precept or
command. It must become a necessity to her, just as it has become to
our own son, and not until then can they both be happy.

"Neither will the world be satisfied with mere nature and forest
manners. Does it not seem the very thing that she of her own accord has
said to Ernst, 'Let me spend a year as a servant to your sister, the
captain's wife, or what would be still better, with your mother, and
then come for me? If you do not object, I think we had better do this.
Early to-morrow morning I shall drive over into the valley with Ernst,
and in the evening I shall return with Martella, who will remain with
us until all is arranged and she has become used to our ways and
customs, so that Ernst may live happily with her, not only in his
youth, but until his eighty-third year--for my father lived to that
age."

I do not know which to admire most in my wife--her shrewdness or her
kindness. She always had the right word at the right time.

I, of course, approved of her plan, and on the morrow she started off
with Ernst in the wagon. Rothfuss drove the two bays.

Towards evening, I walked down the road to meet them on their return.

The sun was going down behind the Vosges Mountains. The rosy sunset
shed its glow over the rocks and the waters of the brook.

The Englishman stood at the bank angling. He never saluted those whom
he met, but lived entirely for himself. Every year, as soon as the
snows began to melt, he came to our valley, and remained until the
winter returned. He dwelt with Lerz the baker, and was always fishing
up and down the valley. He gathered up his complicated fishing-tackle
and departed, followed by a day laborer carrying a fish basket.



                              CHAPTER VII.


I waited down by the village saw-mill, where they already knew that
Ernst's bride was coming to live with us. With all his gentleness and
candor, Ernst had announced this in order that we should be bound by
it. I met Rautenkron the forester, who was known in the whole
neighborhood as "The wild huntsman."

He was the best of shots, and could endure no living object. The people
thought he merely avoided men, but I knew that he hated them. He always
considered it a piece of good fortune when he heard bad news of any
one. He lived in solitude, for whenever he had been seduced into
helping some one he had always repented of it afterward. A ball had
once passed through his hat, and, during the examination, the
magistrate had said to the officer, "If he should ever be killed by a
shot, you had better examine the whole village, for we shall all have
had a share in it." He lived strictly within the law, however. He did
not want to be beloved: it was his boast that every one could say, "He
is severe, but just." He had no consideration either for rich or poor.

He was in the vigor of life, with a gray beard, aquiline nose, and
wondrously clear liquid blue eyes, of a piercing brilliancy.

He came up to me with a friendly air, that was quite unusual on his
part, and told me that Ernst had been with him that day.

Ernst had said nothing to me of this. Rautenkron declared that he did
not concern himself about other people, but that he was really sorry
that Ernst was about to throw himself away. Here was another young man
who was fit for heroic deeds, but was ruined in this good-for-nothing
age, and was about to sacrifice his life to a coquettish forest girl.
It was unpardonable that we should countenance him in this, and consent
to take a creature from out of the thicket into a house which had
always borne so honorable a name.

"Mark my words! She will be just like a young fox that is caught before
he has finished his growth,--he will never be perfectly tamed, but will
run away to his home when you least expect it, and be right in doing
so."

It is always galling to hear pure affection thus abused and
misconstrued.

I endeavored to change the subject, but Rautenkron affected not to hear
me, and indulged in the most violent language against the stranger.
Indeed, he prophesied that our thoughtless conduct would drag us into
misfortune, and called the miller to bear witness to what he thus told
me.

I abruptly refused to continue the subject, and now Rautenkron called
out to me, his eyes beaming with joy, "Enough. Let us speak of
something else. I have to-day done one of the prettiest deeds of my
life. Shall I tell you what? All right! You know Wollkopf the wood
dealer. He has such a mild, insinuating way about him, but always eyed
me as the usurer does a suspicious-looking pledge. He did not trust me.
'But,' thought I to myself, 'just wait! I will bide my time; he will
come yet.' And he has come at last, within shooting distance too. At
the last sale of wood in my district, he had bought a large lot of
logs, and then came up to me and said that he wanted to speak plain
German with me. Now listen to what the honored town-councillor--you
know that is his position--the acknowledged man of honor, calls plain
speaking! He offered me a bribe if I would keep such and such logs out
of his lot. Of course I agreed. Smoking our cigars, we went on walking
through the woods. I quickly cut down an oak sapling, pulled the
branches from it, and with the green wood beat the lean man of honor to
my heart's content. He cried out with all his might, but no one heard
him save the cuckoo, and I enjoyed beating him until he was black and
blue; just as the cuckoo enjoys swallowing the caterpillar which
poisons the fingers of your soft-skinned gentry. I tell you there is no
greater pleasure than administering personal chastisement to a sharper.
Men say that the kiss of the beloved one is good; perhaps it is, but
this is better.

"And when I was satisfied, and he too, I suppose, had enough, I let him
run, and said to him, 'Now, my sweet gentleman, you may sue me if you
choose; but, if you do, it will be my turn to tell my story.'"

While Rautenkron told his story, his features acquired an uncanny
expression of glee. I must admit that I did not begrudge the sharper
the beating he had received; and besides that, the recital had engaged
my attention, and thus had relieved me from the sad thoughts which had
before that filled my mind.

It was already dusk when the wagon arrived. It halted. My wife said to
the girl who was sitting at her side, "This is father. Speak to him."

"I hope you are well, father!" exclaimed the girl.

I heard Rautenkron beside me muttering angrily. His words, however,
were unintelligible. Without saying more he hurried off into the
forest.

"What ails the misanthrope now?" said my wife. "But why need that
trouble us? My child, you had better get out here and follow with
father."

I helped the child to alight. She seemed loth to obey.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


I was obliged to halt. I felt as if trying to drag a heavily laden
wagon up the hill.

But let me proceed. I have many a steep path yet to climb.

I stood with the girl on the highway. I extended my hand and uttered a
few words of welcome, but they did not come from the heart. Our wayward
son had imposed a great burden on us. The young maiden appeared to pay
no attention to what I was saying, but looked about in every direction.
As it was dusk, I could not see her distinctly. I could perceive,
however, that she was a powerful creature. She did not regulate her
step by mine, but I was forced to keep step with her unless I wished to
be left behind.

"What dog is this running after us?" said I.

"It is my dog. Isn't it so, Pincher? Aren't you my dog?"

The dog answered with a bark, and kept running back and forth, now up
the road and now down. When she whistled to him, in huntsman's style,
he obeyed.

"Master," asked she, without resting a moment while speaking, "and does
all as far as the eye can reach belong to you?"

"Why do you inquire?"

"Why? because I want to know. It must be jolly here in the daytime."

"Indeed it is."

"Is that the graveyard where I see the crosses and the white stones?"

"Yes."

"Can it be seen from your house?"

"It can."

"Too bad! that will never do. I can't bear to look out of the window. I
can't stay there, I won't stay; you must take away that graveyard; how
can one laugh or sing with that constantly before one's eyes? Or how
could I eat or drink? I once found a dead man in the forest. He had
been lying there ever so long, and was quite eaten away. I can't bear
to have Death always staring me in the face. I won't stay here."

I was obliged to stop. I felt so oppressed that I could not move from
the spot.

The oxen that I had sold the day before were just being led down the
hill. When Martella saw them she cried out, "Oh what splendid beasts!
are they yours?"

"They are no longer mine. I sold them yesterday, and they are to be led
to France."

"A pleasant meal to you, France!" said Martella, laughing boisterously.
I could not help noticing her hearty laughter, for I felt quite shocked
by it. What can this child be, thought I? What will become of our
tranquil household?

We arrived at the house. The room seemed lighted up more brilliantly
than usual. We ascended the steps, Martella preceding me. My wife was
waiting for us on the threshold, and taking both of Martella's hands in
hers, said, "Now, child, thou art at last at home."

"I am at home everywhere. And so is my dog. Isn't it so, Pincher?" said
Martella in a bold tone.

We entered the room. There were three lights on the table. My wife's
eloquent glance told me to have patience, and when I saw her lay her
hand on her heart I felt that she was confident that she could direct
everything for the best.

I now, for the first time, had a good look at Martella. In carriage and
feature she seemed as wild and defiant as a gypsy. Her face was full of
an expression of boldness. But she was indeed beautiful and fascinating
when she spoke, and even more so when she laughed.

"Why do you have three lamps on the table?" said she.

"That is the custom," answered my wife, "when a bride comes to the
house."

"How lovely!" exclaimed Martella. "The one light stands for us who are
as one. The other two lights represent the parents." And she laughed
most heartily. Her next question was, "Why do you have two clocks in
your room?"

"You ask a great many questions," I could not avoid answering. But my
wife said, "That is right. Always ask questions, and you will soon
learn all that you need know."

Martella may have imagined that she had been too precipitate, for she
soon said:

"To-morrow is yet another day. I am so tired. I would like to go to
sleep now. But I must have my dog with me, or else I cannot rest."

Indeed, her gentle good-night and her curtsey seemed strangely at
variance with her usually bold and defiant manner.

When she had left us, my wife said to me, "Do not take this affair to
heart. It is indeed no trifle. But remember that Ernst might have made
a much more serious mistake. He loves the wild creature, and our duty
is to help him as best we can. Let Rothfuss and me take charge of the
girl. For the present, you had better treat her with an air of reserve.
We two will attend to all. You may be glad that we have so faithful a
servant as Rothfuss. They are friends already, and he says, 'By the
time the potatoes are brought home, she will lay aside her red
stockings.' I was wishing for that on our way here. But she refused so
positively, that I desisted from my endeavors to persuade her."

After a little while, she continued:

"A voice in the forest helped me to bring all things about as they
should be. I heard the cuckoo's cry, and was reminded by that, that he
would leave his young in a strange nest, and that other birds would
patiently and affectionately nurture the strange birdling. We are
something like these cuckoo parents. What they do without thought, we
do consciously."

When at early dawn on the following day, I looked out of my window, I
saw Martella and her dog at the fountain in front of the house. Seen by
day, and in her light attire, she seemed wondrously beautiful and
fascinating.

She washed her face and plaited her thick brown hair. Her every
movement seemed free and noble, and almost graceful enough to please an
artist's eye.

She sang in a low voice, and would from time to time exclaim, "Cuckoo!"

Rothfuss, who saw that she was washing herself, called out to her that
she must not do that again. "The cows drink there, and if you wash
yourself in that basin, they will never go there again."

"I have already noticed," she replied, "that the cattle have the first
place in this house."

When she saw me, she called out in a clear, ringing voice:

"Good-morning, master. Ernst was certainly right when he told me that
it is lovely here. One can see so far in every direction. I shall yet
climb every one of those hills. How good the water is! Do you, too,
hear the cuckoo? He is already awake, and has bid me good-morning. Old
Jaegerlies[2] has often told me that I was the cuckoo's child. And do
you know that the cow got a calf during the night? A spotted cow-calf?
We have already given the cow something warm to drink. The calf drank
milk when it was hardly two minutes old. Rothfuss said it would be a
pity to kill the calf. I am going to drive out into the fields with
Rothfuss to get some clover. Yes, a cow has a good time of it in your
house. But look! the cuckoo is flying over your house! That is an
omen!"

She went to the stable, and I followed her a short time afterwards. She
looked on dreamily while the cow was licking the new-born calf, and
said at last,

"That is what you folks call kissing."

Rothfuss asked her:

"Are you fond of cows?"

"I don't know; I never had one."

He showed her our best cow and said,

"Three years ago, when she was a calf, she got the first prize at the
agricultural exhibition. She puts food to the best use. Everything that
she eats turns either to meat or to milk."

Rothfuss told Martella to put on a little jacket. They soon drove out
to the fields, and when she held up the scythe, she exclaimed,
"Cuckoo!" It seemed to me as if I were dreaming, and yet I remembered
quite distinctly that my wife had spoken to me on the previous night of
the cuckoo's young ones.

What a strange coincidence it seemed!

Martella returned from the fields in good spirits, and during the
morning lunch was quite cheerful. She was constantly talking of the
daughter-in-law, and the cow-calf that had come into the family during
the night before.

I then said to her, "I will give you the cow-calf. It is yours."

She made no answer, but looked at me with an air of surprise.

Rothfuss told me that when in the stable, she had said to the calf:
"You belong to me. But of course, you know nothing of it. You really
belong to your mother. But your mother belongs to the master, the
master belongs to Ernst, and Ernst belongs to me; and that is how it
is."

When evening came, Rothfuss expressed his opinion in the following
words:

"If her inside is like her outside, she need not be made any better
than she already is."

Our oldest maid-servant, Balbina, seemed quite kindly disposed to the
new arrival, and Martella said that Balbina had told her something with
the air of imparting a secret of which she was the only possessor. And
what was it? "Why, nothing more than that it is sinful to lie and
steal."

I have given the story of this first day in its smallest details. It is
only for the first green leaves of spring that we have an attentive
eye. They go on, silently increasing, until they become so numerous
that they excite no comment.



                              CHAPTER IX.


Martella did not become attached to any one in the house except
Rothfuss, whom she was constantly plying with questions about Ernst's
childhood. When in pleasant evenings during the week, and on Sunday
afternoons in clear weather, the youths and maidens would march through
the village, with their merry songs, she would sit with Rothfuss on the
bench by the stable, or, unattended by any companion save her dog,
would be up in the woods that lay back of our house.

When she had any special request, she would communicate it through
Rothfuss.

Among other things, she wanted to go out into the forest with the
wood-cutters. From her thirteenth year she had wielded the axe, and
could use it as cleverly as the men. We did not grant this wish of
hers.

Her craving for knowledge was insatiable, and I marvelled at the
patience and equanimity with which my wife told her everything she
wanted to know.

Things to which we had become accustomed were to her occasions of the
liveliest surprise. This did not seem to change, for she never could
get used to what with us had, through daily habit, become a matter of
course. To her all seemed a marvel.

Her glance was full of courage. Her voice seemed so full of sincerity,
that her strangest utterances required no added assurance of their
truthfulness. Her laughter was so hearty that it seemed contagious.

Rothfuss was quite proud that he could control Martella, just as he did
the two bays that he had raised from the time they were foals, and
delighted to speak of the fact, that our youngest--as he called
Ernst--was the best of marksmen. He had secured the best prize. For
there could be no other girl so wise and merry as Martella. And she was
so full of merry capers that the very cows looked around and lowed, as
if to say, "We, too, would be glad to laugh with you, if we only could.
But, alas! we cannot. We have not the bellows to do it with."

She had named her calf "Muscat." She would nurse it as if it were a
younger sister. She maintained that it was a perfect marvel of health
and wisdom, and that the old cow was jealous, and tried to butt her
because she had noticed that the calf had greater love for Martella
than for its own mother.

There was one point on which she and Rothfuss always quarrelled. She
had an inexplicable aversion to America, of which Rothfuss always spoke
as if it were Paradise itself. The manner in which Lisbeth, the
locksmith's widow, had been provided for, was his chief argument in its
favor. "None but a free state would provide so well for the families of
the men killed in battle. How different our Germans are about that."

Towards my wife and myself, Martella was respectful, but diffident.

Ernst came to us but twice during the summer, remaining but a few hours
each time.

He wanted Martella to walk or drive around the neighborhood with him,
but she refused, saying "that she would not leave home. She had been
away long enough."

Ernst was evidently provoked that Martella refused to go with him, but
kept his anger to himself.

In that summer, 1865, we had charming harvest weather, and I shall
never forget Martella's saying, "I shall help gather the harvest. I was
a gleaner once, and know that this is good weather for the farmers. To
cut the ears in the morning and carry home the rich sheaves in the
evening, without having had a storm during the day, is good for the
farmer, but not so pleasant for the poor gleaner. Storms during the
harvest time scatter the grain for the poor; for the farmers give
nothing away of their own accord."

Rothfuss looked towards me, and nodded approval of her words.

Towards the end of summer, Richard paid us a visit.

Richard had written to us some time before, and had referred to Ernst's
conduct in indignant terms. He felt shocked that one who had not yet
secured a livelihood for himself, had already linked the fate of
another with his own, and had inflicted her presence upon the
household. But from the first moment that he saw Martella, he admired
her more than any of us had done.

When he offered her his first brotherly greeting, she gazed at him with
her brilliant eyes, and said,

"I can see ten years ahead."

"Have you the gift of prophecy?"

"Oh pshaw! I don't mean that. What I mean is that in ten years from now
Ernst will look as you now do. But I hope that when that time comes, he
will not have to use spectacles."

Richard laughed, and so did Martella quite heartily.

There is nothing better than when two people laugh together at their
first meeting.

Later in the season, my daughter Johanna, who is the wife of a pastor
in the Oberland who had once been Ludwig's teacher, came with her
grown-up daughter to pay us a visit. Johanna's object in coming was to
receive the benefit of the milk cure.

At their very first meeting, she unintentionally affronted Martella.
Johanna always wore black silk netted gloves, and when, with too
evident an air of assumed kindness, she offered her hand to Martella,
the latter said to her:

"There is no need for a fly-net on your hand. I do not sting."

After this trifling circumstance, there was many a heart-burning
between Martella and Johanna. They were always at cross purposes.
Rothfuss was provoked, as he was unable to satisfy Martella that the
pastor's wife had not intended to affront her. Martella refused to be
convinced, and persisted in calling Johanna a "fly-net."

When she had once conceived an aversion for any one, she was immovable.
And when Johanna came to the cow stables, which she did twice every day
at milking-time, she would always in an ironical tone say, "Good-day,
madam sister-in-law."

Johanna found in this a cause for continued ill-feeling, to which, in
her discontented and susceptible condition, she readily gave way.

Johanna imagined that she had found the way to Martella's heart, by
assuring her how much she pitied her. But that only served to make
matters worse; for Martella resented any manifestation of pity.

As our household was conducted on a generous scale, there was much
that, in Johanna's eyes, contrasted unpleasantly with her own home. She
frequently alluded to the small pay her husband was earning, and often
gave us cause to remember that he would have been advanced much more
rapidly, if he had not been the son-in-law of a member of the party in
opposition to the government. She, in fact, made no concealment of her
belief that I was the cause of her husband's and her daughter's infirm
health. If it were not that I was in such great disfavor with the
government, they would long ago have been stationed in a more genial
climate, and would thus have recovered their health.

She maintained that our mode of living was not pious enough, and
thought it most atrocious that we indulged Martella in her heathenish
ways.

She did not care to go to the village pastor, with whom we had but
little intercourse, for she was angry at him. His position brought him
little work but generous pay, and she therefore coveted it for her own
husband. But then, the wife of our pastor happened to be the daughter
of a member of the consistory, which, of course, explains the whole
matter.

One peculiarity of Martella's afforded Johanna many an opportunity to
read us homilies on our neglect of the child. No matter whether you did
her a service or gave her a present, Martella never uttered a word of
thanks.

I am unable to explain the trait. It may have been the result of the
simple life of nature in which she had been reared.

My son Richard, who passed a portion of the autumn holidays with us,
was of that opinion.

Richard had a way of laying aside his spectacles after he had been with
us for a day or two, and getting along without them until the day of
his departure. He thus, with every succeeding year, did much to
strengthen his overtasked eyes. I think he used to put his spectacles
in the keeping of Rothfuss, who would return them to him on the day he
left home.

On this occasion, however, he retained his spectacles, and spent less
of his time with Rothfuss than with Martella, who seemed to have become
fonder of him than of any of us. In the evenings and on Sundays, she
would take long walks with him in the woods, and would talk
unceasingly.

One evening Richard said:

"I received the great academical prize to-day. Martella said to me: 'I
can hardly believe that you are a professor; you are so--so wise, and
have so much common-sense, and can talk like--like a wood-keeper's
servant.' Can you imagine greater praise than that?

"And let me tell you, moreover, that Martella is full of wisdom. She
knows every creature, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.
And besides that, she can read the human heart thoroughly. I could not
repeat some of her opinions to you without committing a breach of
confidence. But I can tell you that she has split many a log, and knows
how to swing her axe to the right spot.

"Yes, Ernst is a lucky fellow; I am only fearful that he may not
understand her simple nature. She is too wayward. I trust that he may
learn to see in her a real incarnation of undefiled holiness and
majesty. It is true that in her case they manifest themselves in the
form of a girl not given to blissful tears, but the very embodiment of
joy itself.

"While walking along the road, she was chewing twigs of pine, and
handed a few to me, with the words: 'Taste them; there is nothing half
so good as these.'

"When I told her that, as she could get better and more regular fare,
she had better give up this habit of chewing pine needles, especially
as it excited her nerves, she answered: 'I think you are right. They
always excite me terribly.'

"We were about to cross a meadow. I was afraid of the wet places.
'Follow me,' said she, 'and be careful to look out for the molehills,
for there is always dry soil underneath them.'"

While Richard was thus discoursing with unwonted enthusiasm, Johanna
had risen from the table and had beckoned to her daughter to follow
her.

Richard and my wife had noticed this as well as I had done. They did
not allude to it, however, but continued their conversation, agreeing
that it was best for the present to let Martella have her own way. They
thought that she would in due time undoubtedly awaken to a longing for
life's nobler forms, and the deeper meaning that lay beneath them.

My wife had no set plan on which to educate Martella.

"She is to live with us, and that of itself will educate her. She sees
every one of us attending to his appointed labor. That will, of itself,
soon teach her where her duty lies, and will help to make her orderly
and methodical. She sees that our lives are sincere, and that, too,
must do her good."

My wife was careful to caution Richard against teaching her any
generalities, as they could be of no use to her.

Martella was not gentle in her disposition. She was severe towards
herself as well as towards others. She had no compassion for the
sufferings of others. Her idea was that every one should help himself
as best he could.

She had never cared or toiled for another being. Like the stag in the
forest, she lived for herself alone. My wife nodded silent approval
when Richard observed, "In a state of nature, all is egotism;
gentleness, industry, and the disposition to assist others are results
of culture."

On the very day on which Richard had to leave us, the Major arrived at
our house. He was on a tour of inspection, and had been examining the
horses which the law required the farmers to hold ready for government
uses.

Our village was not included in his district, and he had gone out of
his way to pay us this visit. He was in full uniform. His athletic,
hardy figure presented quite a stately appearance, and his honest,
cheerful manner was quite refreshing.

He was glad to be able to inform us that the ill-will of his superior
officers, in which even the minister of war had participated, had not
injured him with the Prince. Although there had been three competitors
for the position, the Prince had selected him, and had personally
informed him of his promotion with the words, "I have great respect for
your father-in-law, and believe that he is a true friend of the state."

The Major was not wanting in respect and affection for me, and his
behavior to my wife was marked by a knightly grace, and filial
veneration. When Richard told him how Martella had in himself seen her
own betrothed with ten years added to his real age, he replied: "I have
never said so, but it has often occurred to me that, when she is older,
Bertha will be the very picture of her mother as we now see her."

Richard was an excellent go-between for Martella and the Major, who had
brought a necklace of red beads which Bertha had sent to the new
sister-in-law.

Although Martella's face became flushed with emotion, she did not
utter one word of thanks. She pressed the beads to her lips, and then
stepped to the mirror and fastened the necklace on. Then she turned
towards us, while she counted us off on her fingers and said, "I am a
sister-in-law. Now I know everything, and have everything. I have a
pastor, a professor, a major, a forester, a great farmer, and--what
else is there? Ah, yes, now I know--a builder."

"Yes, we have one; but he is in America."

"I will have nothing to do with America," said Martella.

The Major ventured the remark that Ernst had acted unwisely in leaving
the service; he seemed made for a soldier, and the best thing he could
do would be to return to the army. But in that case he would have, for
a while at least, to postpone all thoughts of marrying.

"He need not hurry on my account," interrupted Martella; "I am sure I
shall put nothing in his way. I, too, shall need some time to make
myself fit. I shall have to put many a thing in here," pointing to her
forehead, "before I shall deserve to be a member of this family. Now I
have the necklace that my sister-in-law sent me, around my neck, and do
not mind being tied, and--Good-night!"

She reached out her hand to my wife, and then to each one of us. After
which she again grasped my wife's hand, and then retired.

Richard explained Martella's peculiar characteristics to the Major.
Both in thought and in action she was a strange compound of gentleness
and rudeness.

The Major asked whether we knew anything about her parents. Richard
replied that she had imparted facts to him that bore on the subject,
but that they were as yet disconnected and unsatisfactory, and that he
had given her his word of honor that he would reveal naught, until she
herself thought that the proper time had come.

We kept up our cheerful conversation for some time longer. Suddenly it
occurred to the Major to observe that the dispute between Prussia and
Austria was taking a dangerous shape, and that, according to his views,
Prussia was in the right. The military system of the confederation
could not last long in its present condition.

Thus we were brought face to face with serious questions.

Of what import was the transformation of a child of the forest, when
such weighty matters were on the carpet.

But while the clouds pass by over our heads, and the seasons depart,
the little plant quietly and steadily keeps on growing.



                               CHAPTER X.


In the winter of 1865 I left home to attend a session of the
Parliament.

My neighbor Funk, who was also a delegate, accompanied me.

It grieves me to be obliged to describe this man or even to mention
him.

He caused me much sorrow. He humiliated me more than any other man has
ever done, for he proved to me that I have neither worldly wisdom nor
knowledge of men. How could I have so egregiously deceived myself in
him? I am too hasty in determining as to the character of a man, and
when I afterwards find that his actions are not in keeping with my
conception of what they should be, the inconsistency torments me as if
it were an unsolved enigma. In one word, I have suffered much because
of a lack of reserve. Unfortunately I must give all or nothing. Even
now I cannot help thinking that he must be better, after all, than he
seems. I find, on comparing myself with him, that he has many an
advantage over me. He is twenty years younger than I am, and yet he
seems as if he had matured long ago. I shall never be that way, no
matter how long I live. I am always growing.

He had failed in the examination for a degree, and, disappointed and
vexed, had entered the teachers' seminary. He afterward actually became
a schoolmaster, but never forgot that he had once aspired to enter a
higher sphere of life.

When the revolution broke out he had hoped to find his reckoning in it.
He speedily found himself in a high position, and had no trouble in
accustoming himself to the princely palace in which the provisional
government had located itself.

I have already mentioned that I had brought Funk home from Strasburg
with me. I felt so firmly convinced of his innocence that I used all my
influence in his behalf, and even deposited a considerable sum as his
bondsman, in order that he might be tried without having to surrender
his liberty. He was pronounced innocent.

He made me shudder one day when he told me that the judges had
evidently imbibed my belief in his innocence.

Funk was a handsome man, and still retains his good looks. Annette, the
friend of my daughter Bertha, called him a perfect type of lackey
beauty. She was sure, she said, that he was born to wear a livery.
There was something so abject and cringing about him. She was not a
little proud of her discernment, when, some time after, I confirmed her
judgment by the announcement that Funk was actually a son of the Duke's
valet.

Funk did not resume his former position as a teacher. He became an
emigration agent. For during the first years of the reaction there was
a great increase in the number of emigrants from this country to
America.

Besides this, he had also become an agent for Insurances of all sorts
Fire, Life, Hail, and Cattle. His window-shutters were so covered with
signs that they presented quite a gay appearance.

He was chosen as one of the town-council, but the government did not
confirm him in office, which action of theirs gained him much credit
with the people. Two years after that, when he was elected burgomaster,
he knew how to bring it about that a deputation should wait upon the
Prince in person to urge his confirmation.

Funk induced his wife always to wear the old-time costumes of the
country people.

"That, you must know," he said to me one day, "awakens the confidence
of the country people." When I reproved him for this trick, he laughed
and showed his pretty teeth. There was, to me at least, always
something insincere and repulsive in his laugh, and in the fact
that he never wearied of repeating certain high-sounding phrases. But
what was there to draw me towards this man? I will honestly admit
that I have a certain admiration for combativeness, courage, and
shrewdness--qualities in which I am deficient.

My unsuspecting confidence in others is a mistake. But I have been thus
for seventy years, and when I reckon up results, I find that I am none
the worse for it. Although over-confidence in others has brought me
many a sorrow, it has also given me many a joy.

I have suffered much through others, and through Funk especially; but I
still believe that there are no thoroughly bad men, but that there are
thoroughly egotistical ones, and that the pushing of egotism beyond its
due bounds is the source of all evil.

If I had not helped him with all my influence, Funk would not have been
chosen a delegate to the Parliament. When he visited me, on the day
following the election, he addressed me in a tone of unwonted and
unlooked-for familiarity, much to the disgust of my wife.

After he had left she said to me, "I cannot understand you. I did not
interfere when I saw that you were trying to gain votes for Funk; that,
I presume, is a part of politics, and perhaps the party needs voters,
and just such bold and irreverent people. They can say things that a
man of honor would not permit himself to utter. But I cannot conceive
how you can allow yourself to be on so familiar a footing with that
man."

I assured her that the first advances had been made by him, and that
although they were undesired by me I did not choose to appear proud.

She said no more. But there was yet another reproof in store for me.

When I entered the stable Rothfuss said to me, "Why did you let that
grinning fellow get so near to you? Is he still calling out, 'God be
with thee, Waldfried! You will come to see me soon, will you not?' Such
talk from that quarter is no compliment."

I did not suffer him to go on with his remarks. My weak fear of hurting
the feelings of others had already worked its own punishment on myself.

When I left home for the session of 1865, Funk was waiting for me down
by the saw-mill. I found him with a young man, the son of a
schoolmaster who lived in the neighborhood. He took leave of his
companion, and turning to me exclaimed with a triumphant air, "I have
already saved one poor creature to-day. The simple-minded fellow wanted
to become a teacher. A mere teacher in a public school! A position
which is ideally elevated, but financially quite low. I convinced him
that he would be happier breaking stone on the road. We ought to make
it impossible for the Government to get teachers for its public
schools."

When I answered that he was wantonly trifling with the education of our
people, he replied, "From your point of view, perhaps you are quite
right." It was in this way that I first got the idea that Funk thought
he was controlling me. His subordination was a mere sham, and we were
really at heart opposed to each other.

He voted as I did in the Parliament, but not for the same reasons.

If Funk had been insincere towards me, it was now my turn--and that was
the worst of it--to be insincere towards him.

I was determined to break off my relations with him, and only awaited a
favorable opportunity for so doing. And yet while awaiting that
opportunity I kept up my usual relations with him.

It is x indeed sad, that intercourse with those who are insincere
begets insincerity in ourselves.

We reached the railway station, where we found numerous delegates, and
indeed two of our own party, who were cordially disliked by Funk. One
of them was a manufacturer who lived near the borders of Switzerland.
He was a strict devotee, but was really sincere in his religious
professions, which he illustrated by his pure and unselfish conduct. We
were on the friendliest footing, although he could not avoid from time
to time expressing a regret that I did not occupy the same religious
stand-point that he did.

The other delegate was a proud and haughty country magistrate--a man of
large possessions, who imagined it was his especial prerogative to lead
in matters affecting the welfare of the state. He had been opposed to
Funk during the election, and had ill-naturedly said, "Beggars should
have nothing to say." Funk had not forgotten this, but nevertheless
forced him, as it were, into a display of civility.

The two companions were quite reserved in their manner towards Funk,
and before we had accomplished our journey I could not help observing
that there was a pressure which would induce a clashing and a
subsequent separation of these discordant elements.



                              CHAPTER XI.


During the winter session of the Parliament I did not reside with my
daughter Bertha.

At a future day it will be difficult to realize what a separation there
then was between the different classes of our people.

There was a feeling of restraint and ill-will between those who wore
the dress of the citizen and that of the soldier. The Prince was, above
all things, a soldier, and when in public always appeared in uniform.

We delegates, who could not approve of all that the Government required
of us, were regarded as the sworn enemies of the state, both by court
circles and by the army, to whom we were nevertheless obliged to grant
supplies.

An officer who would suffer himself to be seen walking in the street
with a citizen who was suspected of harboring liberal opinions, or with
one of the delegates of our party, might rely upon being reported at
head-quarters.

Although he did not say anything about it, my son-in-law was much
grieved by this condition of affairs. Whenever I visited him he treated
me with respect and affection, as if he thus meant to thank me for the
reserve I had maintained when we met in public, and desired to
apologize for the rigid discipline he was obliged to observe.

We had a long session, full of fury and bitterness on the part of the
ministers and officers of the Government, and of the depressing
consciousness of wasted effort on ours. The morning began with public
debate; after that came committee-meetings, and in the evenings our
party caucuses, which sometimes lasted quite late. And all of these
sacrifices of strength were made with the discouraging prospect that
the fate of our Fatherland still hung in doubt, that our labors would
prove fruitless, and that our vain protest against the demands of our
rulers would be all that we could contribute to history.

The air seemed thick as if with a coming storm. We felt that our party
was on the eve of breaking up into opposing fragments. There was no
longer the same confidence among its members, and here and there one
could hear it said: "Yes, indeed, you are honest enough, and have no
ambitious or selfish views to subserve."

Funk was one of the most zealous of all in the attempt to break up the
party.

For a while he had undoubtedly aspired to the leadership. But when it
was confided to a gifted man who had availed himself of the declaration
of amnesty and had returned to his Fatherland some years before, Funk
acted as if he had never thought of the position.

Who can recall all of the changes in the weather that help to ripen the
crop!

A spirit of fellowship is praised both in war and in voyages of
adventure. The life of a delegate, it seems to me, combines the
peculiar features of both of those conditions. It is no trifling matter
to leave a pleasant home and to bid adieu to wife and children, and to
stand shoulder to shoulder, laboring faithfully day and night for the
common weal.

I have had the good fortune to gain the friendship of man. It differs
somewhat from the love of woman, but is none the less blessed.

I was not only a delegate from our district but also a member of the
German Parliament. I was in accord with the best men of my country, and
we were true to one another at our posts. May those who in a happier
period replace us act as faithfully and unselfishly as we did!

During the winter session my wife's letters were a source of great
enjoyment to me. She kept me fully informed of all that happened at
home, and especially in regard to Martella.

On the morning that I left home she came to my wife and said,
"Mother--I may call you so, may I not?--and I shall try to be worthy of
it; and when master returns, I shall call him father."

She pointed to her feet. My wife did not know what she meant by that,
until she at last said, "Rothfuss said that if I were to lay aside my
red stockings, I would be making a good beginning."

And after this she began again: "I shall learn all that you tell me,
but not from the schoolmaster's assistant. When he was alone with me
the other day, he stroked my cheeks and I slapped him for his
impertinence. I shall gladly learn all that you wish me to learn."

She remained with my wife, and appeared quite pliant and docile. My
wife had her sleep in her own bedchamber, and on the first night she
exclaimed, with a voice full of emotion, "I have a mother at last? O
Ernst, you ought to know where I am! How happy you have been to have
had a mother all your life!"

I took these letters to my daughter Bertha, who thoroughly appreciated
and loved Martella. She said that her own experience had been somewhat
similar; for her marriage had introduced her to an aristocratic and
military circle, in which she was at first considered as an interloper,
and where it took some time before she could acquire the position due
her. For even to this day the aristocracy retain the advantage that
those who are well born can enter good society, even though they be
utterly devoid of culture.

Annette, who had also married an officer, had become quite attached to
her, and the result of their combined efforts was that they at last
achieved quite a distinguished position. Annette, who was a Jewess by
birth, and very wealthy, had at first attempted to conquer her way into
society by dress and show. Yielding, however, to the counsels of
Bertha, she took the better course; and by adopting a simple and
dignified manner, free from any craving for admiration, the recognition
she merited was accorded her.

This friend of Bertha was, I confess, not at all to my liking. She had
received a good education, and even had a cultivated judgment; but she
was fain to mistake these gifts for genius, and imagined herself a
thoroughly superior woman--a piece of self-deception in which
flatterers encouraged her.

Her husband regarded her as a woman of superior gifts, and succeeded in
this way in consoling himself for the inconvenient fact of her being of
Jewish descent. His faith in her genius seemed to increase rather than
diminish, and it was his constant delight to sound its praises to
others.

Annette treated me with exceptional admiration, but she always seemed
desirous of making a parade of her appreciation of me, or in other
words, having it minister to her own glory. Mere possession or
undemonstrative emotion afforded her no pleasure. Her talents and her
reflections afforded her great enjoyment, and it was her constant
desire that others should have the benefit of it. She was always
inviting you to dine with her; and if you accepted her invitations, she
was never satisfied until you had praised the dishes which she could so
skilfully prepare. She sang with a powerful voice and drew very
cleverly, but wanted the world to know it, and to pay her homage
accordingly.

She always addressed me as "patriarch," until I at last forbade her
doing so. I was, however, obliged to submit to some of the other
elegant phrases in which she was wont to indulge. She had no children,
and often spent the whole day in the private gallery of the House of
Parliament, where she would not cease nodding to me until I at last
returned her salute.

One evening there was a party at Bertha's. The wife of the
Intendant-in-chief was among the guests. She was a beautiful creature,
slender and undulating in form, of majestic carriage, and yet withal
simple and unaffected. She had a charming voice, and sang many pretty
songs for us. She was so obliging too, that, yielding to the repeated
requests of her delighted auditors, she sang song after song.

I had known her as a young girl. She was the daughter of the chief
forester, and seemed to retain the woodland freshness of her childhood
days. But she had always been ambitious, and had thirsted for the
pleasures of city life, with which she had become acquainted while
going to the school which was patronized by the reigning Princess.

At one of the public examinations she had sung so delightfully that the
Princess had praised her performance; and I believe that her desire for
a brilliant life dated from that incident.

She was fond of dress and show, and had married the Intendant, who was
a dried-up, conceited fellow.

Her marriage had not been a happy one; and now she sang love-songs full
of glowing passion, of sobs and tears.

I was thinking of this, and asking myself how it could be possible,
when Annette sat down by my side and softly whispered to me:

"Do explain, if you can, how this woman, after singing such songs, can
leave the company and ride home with her disagreeable husband? I could
not sing a note if I had such a husband."

Annette cannot conceive of her ever having been in love. All her
singing of the pleasures and the pains of love is nothing more than
poetical or musical affectation. "But how did she thus learn to
simulate emotion. If she really felt all this she would either die or
become crazed on her way home."

From that moment I began to like Annette. She had gone much further
than I had dared even in my thoughts, and proved, at the same time,
that her heart was true, and that she could not separate her feeling
for art from the rest of her life.

Bertha showed my wife's letters to her friend, who conceived the most
enthusiastic affection for Martella. She often inquired whether there
was anything she could do for the charcoal-burner's daughter.

There was danger of offending her by refusing her gifts. Even a virtue
may at times assume a repulsive form. Annette's complaint--I cannot
express it otherwise--was a passion for helping others.

My wife wrote that Martella was like a fresh bubbling spring, which
only needed to be kept within bounds to become a refreshing brook; but
that this must be carefully done, for inconsiderate attempts to deepen
the channel or divert its course might ruin the spring itself.

My wife also informed us that Ernst had been home to pay a short visit.
He seemed quite pensive, and expressed his dissatisfaction with the
fact that Martella was looking so pale. He approved of the education
which she was receiving, but thought that her freshness and strength
should not be sacrificed. He said he had formed a plan to live with
Rautenkron, with whom he intended to practice, and also said that when
once in the quiet forest he would study industriously.

My wife strenuously objected to this course. She maintained that where
there was a will, one could attend to his duty in any position; and
moreover, that at the present time it was not well for Ernst and
Martella to see each other so often.

Martella was of the same opinion; and my wife could hardly find words
to express her delight that Martella was constantly acquiring
gentleness and consideration for others. Although at first she had been
loud and noisy, there was now something graceful and soothing in her
manner. She would arise early in the morning and dress herself in
silence, while my wife would feign sleep in order that Martella might
become confirmed in her gentle manners.

One evening, when Martella had been the subject of protracted
conversation, I returned to my room, and for the first time noticed a
colored lithographic print that had been hanging there. It was the
picture of a danseuse who had been quite famous some years before. It
represented her in a difficult pose, and with long, flowing hair. The
print startled me.

It was wonderfully like Martella; or was it simply self-deception
caused by her having been in our thoughts during the whole evening?

I felt so agitated that I lit the lamp again and took another look at
the picture. The likeness seemed to have vanished.



                              CHAPTER XII.


Towards the end of November, my wife wrote to me that Ernst had been at
home again, and that, several hours after his arrival, he had, in the
most casual manner, mentioned that he had successfully passed his
examination as forester. When my wife and Martella signified their
pleasure at this piece of news, he declared that he had only passed his
examination in order to prove to us and the rest of his acquaintance,
that he, too, had learned something, but that he was not made to be put
just where the state desired to place him, and that, in the spring, he
and Martella would emigrate to America, as he had already come to an
understanding with Funk in regard to the passage.

When he asked Martella why she had nothing to say on the subject, she
replied:

"You know that I would go to the end of the world with you. But we are
not alone. If we go, your parents and your brothers and sisters must
give us their blessing at parting."

"Oh! that they will."

"I think so too. But just consider, Ernst! We are both of us quite
young, and I have just begun to live. Do not look so fierce; when you
do that, you do not look half so handsome as you really are. And
besides, there is something yet on my mind which I must tell you, and
in which I am fully resolved."

"I cannot imagine what you mean; it seems, at times, that I really do
not know you as I once did."

"You do know me, and it grieves me to be obliged to tell you so."

"What is it? What can it be? You have become quite serious all at
once."

"I am glad that you can say so much in my praise, for I have need of
it; and I feel quite sure that you will approve of what I am going to
say.

"Just see, Ernst! I won't speak of anything else--but with mother's aid
I have begun so much that is good, that I cannot bear to think of
hurrying away while the work is half finished. You have passed your
examination; let me pass mine too. First let mother tell me that my
apprenticeship is at an end, and then I will wander with you; and we
shall be two jolly gadabouts, and have lots of money for travelling
expenses. Isn't it so? You will let me stay here ever so long; won't
you?

"Ah, that is right. You are laughing again, and I see that you approve
of what I have said. If you had not done so you should have had no
peace, for my mind is made up.

"The canopied bed next to your mother's is now mine; and indeed it is a
heavenly canopy that one must be slow to leave. And, as I told you
before, I have just begun to live."

Ernst looked towards my wife. It seemed as if doubt and pride were
struggling within him. When Martella had left the room and my wife
urged him to remain with us and to afford us the joy of having such a
daughter-in-law in our home, he was vanquished, and exclaimed:

"Yes, I am indeed proud of her! I must admit I never expected so much
of her. If she only does not grow over my head."

My wife wrote me that she only remembered a portion of what had
happened. The wisdom and feeling evinced by the child had surprised
her; and the subdued, heartfelt voice in which she had spoken had been
as delightful as the loveliest music. She had been obliged to ask
herself if this really was the wild creature who had entered the house
but three-quarters of a year ago. The change that she had devoutly
wished for had been brought about with surprising rapidity. Martella
had awakened to a sense of the duties life imposes on all of us.

Nothing can be more gratifying than to find that a just course of
action has produced its logical results.

Thus all was well. Ernst went out hunting with Rautenkron, and once
even prevailed on him to visit our house.

Rautenkron had but little to say to Martella. He would knit his heavy
eyebrows, and cast searching side-glances on the child. This was his
custom with all strangers. When taking leave of my wife, he inquired
whether we knew anything of Martella's parentage. All that we knew was
that she had been found in the forest when four years old. Jaegerlies
had cared for her until Ernst brought her to our house. Martella had
told more than that to Richard, but he had firmly refused to tell us
what it was. When Rautenkron had left, Martella said:

"He looks like a hedgehog, and I really believe that he could eat
mice."

In the last letter that I received before returning to my home, my wife
wrote me that Martella had displayed a very singular trait.

Rothfuss had become sick, and Martella, who was as much attached to him
as if she were his own child, could neither visit nor nurse him. She
had an unconquerable aversion to sick people. She would stand by the
door and talk to Rothfuss, but she would not enter his room. She was
quite angry at herself because of this, but could not act differently.

"I cannot help it--I cannot help it," she said. "I cannot go near a
sick person." He begged her to procure some wine for him; some of the
red wine down in the glass house. He knew that would make him well
again. Rothfuss found as much pleasure in deceiving the doctor as he
usually did in outwitting the officers.

Martella cheerfully entered into his plan; she got the wine for him,
and from that day he gradually improved in health.

It was quite refreshing to me to have my thoughts recalled to our life
at home. While the most difficult political questions and a struggle
against a system of police espionage were engaging us, a concordat with
the Pope had been submitted for our approval. It was the result of deep
and long-protracted intrigues, and was full of carefully veiled and
delicately woven fetters. I had been appointed as one of the committee
to whom the matter was referred, and after a heated debate, we
succeeded in securing its abrogation. The minister who had made the
treaty was disgraced. His accomplices allowed him to fall while they
saved themselves. Funk, in his own name and that of two associates,
gave his reasons for declining to vote on the question. They demanded
perfect freedom for every religions sect, and the abandonment on the
part of the state of its right to interfere with matters of faith.

It had been proposed that my son Richard, who was Professor of History
at the University, should be appointed as Minister of Education.

He had published a powerful work on this topic. My son-in-law informed
me that he had heard Richard's name mentioned in Court circles. In a
few days, however, the rumor proved to be an ill-founded one. A
declamatory counsellor received the appointment.

Although encouraged by my success, it was with a sense of overpowering
fatigue that I returned home at Christmastime. I felt as though I had
not been able to enjoy a night's sleep while at the capital: it was
only at home that I could breathe freely again and enjoy real repose.



                             CHAPTER XIII.


At home I found everything in excellent order. Rothfuss was still
complaining, and was not allowed to leave his bed; but he was mending,
and had naught to complain of but _ennui_ and thirst.

I cannot remember a merrier Christmas than that of 1865. We could
quietly think of our children we knew how they lived. Every Christmas
we would receive a long letter from Ludwig; and Johanna wrote us that
affairs were improving with her husband.

On the day before Christmas, Ernst arrived. He carried a roebuck on his
shoulder, and stood in front of the house shouting joyously. He waited
there until Martella went out to meet him. He reached out his arms to
embrace her, but she said, "Come into the house. When you get in there,
I will give you an honest kiss."

When I congratulated Ernst on his success in his examination, he
replied, "No thanks, father; I was lucky; that is all. I really know
very little about the subjects they examined me upon. I know more about
other things. But I passed nevertheless." It was delightful to listen
to Richard's sensible remarks; Ernst's conversation, however, was so
persuasive and so varied as to prove even more interesting than that of
Richard. He expressed himself quite happily in regard to the manner in
which one should, by stealth as it were, learn the laws of the forest
by careful observation, and referred to a point which is even yet in
dispute among foresters--whether a fertile soil or a large return in
lumber is most to be desired. I began to feel assured that my son, who
had so often gone astray, would yet be able to erect a life-fabric that
would afford happiness both to himself and to others.

Towards evening, when we were about to light the lamps, the Professor
arrived, to Martella's great delight.

"I knew you would be glad to see me," said Richard, "and I must confess
I like to come to my parents; but I have come more for the sake of
seeing you than any one else."

Richard congratulated Ernst, and promised to prepare a grand poem for
the wedding day.

The lights shone brightly, and joy beamed from every eye.

The Professor had brought some books for Martella, but had not been
fortunate in his selections. There were children's books among them,
and these Martella quietly laid aside.

Bertha had sent her a dress, Annette had contributed some furs, and
Johanna had sent her an elegantly bound Bible.

"I see already," said Martella, "that naught but good things are
showered down on me. Let them come. God grant that the day may arrive
when I, too, can bestow gifts. But now let us be happy," she said,
turning to Ernst. "When we are alone together in the wild-woods, let us
remember how lovely it is here. Look at the Christmas-tree. It was out
in the cold and was freezing; but now they have brought it into the
warm room, and decked it with lights and all sorts of pretty gifts. And
thus was I, too, out of doors and forgotten; but now I am better off;
the tree is dead, but I--" Richard grasped my hand in silence, and
softly whispered:

"Don't interrupt her. Always let her finish what she has begun this
way. When the bird singing on the tree observes that the wanderer is
looking up to it with grateful eyes, it flies away."

Martella tried on her furs, stroked them with her hand, and then lit
the lights on a little Christmas-tree on which were hanging some large
stockings--the first she had ever knit.

"Come along," she said to Ernst, "let us go to Rothfuss; and, Richard,
you had better come with us, too, and help us sing."

Carrying the burning tree in her hand, and accompanied by Ernst and
Richard, she went, singing on her way, to the room in which Rothfuss
lay.

"You are the first person," she said to Rothfuss, "to whom I can give
something. I only knit them; the wool was given me by my mother."

"Oh!" exclaimed Rothfuss, "no wizard can do what is impossible. Our
Lord makes the wool grow on the sheep; but shearing the sheep, spinning
the wool, and knitting the stockings we have to do for ourselves."

On the next day, while we were seated at table, Rothfuss entered,
crying, "A proverb, and a true one; she has put me on my feet again. I
have got well."

I cannot recall a merrier Christmas than the one we then enjoyed. There
were no more like it, for in the following year the crown had departed.

My wife's father had, after withdrawing from his position as a teacher,
employed himself in translating Göethe's Iphigenia into Greek. He had
left his task incomplete. As a Christmas present for mother, Richard
had brought lovely pictures to illustrate the poem, and in the antique
room of our house, in which we had casts of the best Greek and Roman
statues, Richard would read aloud to my wife.

Martella always had an aversion to this large room, and when she was
called in there would look around for a while, as if lost, and then
with scarcely audible steps leave the apartment.

My wife loved all her children, but she was happiest of all with
Richard. He seemed to have succeeded to her father's unfinished labors,
and when he was in her presence she always seemed as if in a higher
sphere. Richard had a thoroughly noble disposition and dignified
bearing.

Mother repeatedly read Ludwig's letter, and said:

"The Free-thinkers could not bring about what we are now experiencing:
that on a certain evening and at an appointed hour all mankind are
united in the same feeling. Do you believe, Richard, that you
philosophers could bring about such a result?"

Richard thought not; but added that the forms assumed by higher
intellectual truth were constantly changing, and that just as they had
given the church in heathen ages a different character, so they might
at some future time effect changes in later forms of religious belief.

Martella entered the room at that moment, and my wife's significant
glance reminded Richard that he had better not prolong the discussion.
We were a happy circle, and Richard was especially so because he had
made common cause with me in the last exciting question. The future of
our Fatherland, however, did not afford him a pleasant outlook. He
believed that the great powers were playing a false game and were only
feigning to quarrel in order that they might the more successfully
divide up the lesser states among themselves. He felt sure that their
plan was to divide up all the rest of Germany between Prussia and
Austria. I, too, had sad thoughts in this connection, but could not
picture the future to myself. This alone was certain: our present
condition could not last. In the meanwhile we awaited Napoleon's New
Year's speech. His words would inform the world what was to become of
it.

In our happy family circle we forgot for a little while the feeling of
deep humiliation that hung over all, and the doubts that always caused
us to ask ourselves, "To whom will we belong?"

It is indeed sad when one is forced to say to himself, "To-morrow you
and your country may be handed over to some King."



                              CHAPTER XIV.


Whenever I returned from Parliament, it seemed as if I had left a
strange world. Although my labors there were in behalf of those dearest
to me, I was too far removed from them to have them constantly in my
mind. And for many a morning after my return the force of habit made me
wonder why the usual amount of printed matter that had been handed me
while at the capital was not forthcoming.

I found the affairs of the village in good order.

That was the only time that I can write about--the time when my wife
was still ...

I have been gazing out over the mountain and into the dark wood, that
I, or rather she, planted, and then I lifted my eyes up to heaven. The
stars are shining, and it is said that light from stars that have
already perished is still travelling towards us. May the light that was
once mine thus flow unto you when I am no longer here. But to proceed.

For three-and-twenty years I filled the office of burgomaster, and was
of great use to our parish. Above all things, I built up its credit. To
accomplish this I was obliged to be severe and persistent in
prosecuting the suit. But now things have so far improved that the
people at Basle regret that no one in our village desires to borrow
money from them.

The two chief benefits that I have procured for our village are good
credit and pure water.

Just as credit is the true measure of economical condition, so is water
the measure of physical well-being.

I converted the heath into a woodland. It was twenty-three years ago,
and I was the youngest member of the town council; but, aided by my
cousin Linker, I induced the people of our parish to plant trees in the
old meadow, and to this day every one of our people derives a moderate
profit from the little piece of woodland that we now have there. Its
value increases from year to year.

My cousin Linker had been a book-keeper in the glass-house down in the
valley. He married a daughter of the richest farmer in the village, and
became quite a farmer himself.

I learnt a great deal from him. In business matters he was greatly my
superior, for he was shrewder, or in other words, more distrustful,
than I.

Until about five years ago, we were partners in an extensive lumber
business. We built the first large saw-mill in the valley. It had three
saws, and all the new appliances, and a part of our business was to saw
up logs and beams. I also built a saw-mill, which is conducted on the
co-operative system, for the benefit of the villagers.

When the Parliament had determined upon having a fortress erected
in our neighborhood, our business friends offered us their
congratulations. They well knew that this would require so much lumber
as to give rise to a profitable business. And this, I must confess, is
a point which I would like to forget. But who, after all, leads a life
which is entirely pure, and without being in the slightest spoiled with
intercourse with the world.

Cousin Linker conducted a large business in his name and mine. I did
not take any active part in the negotiations, although I was
responsible for what was done. He would often say, "You are absurdly
virtuous. One like you will never get on in the world."

Joseph, my cousin's only son, and of the same age as our Ludwig, had
married my daughter Martina, who died shortly after the birth of their
first child. Her son Julius was a forester's apprentice. Joseph married
again, but he is still faithful to me and mine, while we are quite
attached to his second wife and her three daughters.

Joseph is now burgomaster, and I hope he will one day occupy my
position as a member of the Parliament. He works zealously for the
public good, and has one great advantage that did not exist in my time.
For nowadays there are numerous good burgomasters in the neighborhood,
and it is therefore easier to carry out desirable measures.

Last winter, Joseph induced the people of Brauneck, the next village,
to combine with ours in laying out a road through the common woods, and
the wood taken out was worth more than twice the cost of the labor.

Joseph inherited my cousin's shrewd business notions. He caused
hundreds of little branches to be gathered up and prepared for
Christmas-trees, and at the proper time would send them to the railway,
and have them sent down the country. I did my share in building the
road, for it passes right by my land, and is of great use to me. I do
not think of cutting down any of the lumber. The red pine may stand for
another twenty years. I could almost wish that this wood might remain
forever, for it is _hers_!

In the following spring, a gust of wind tore away some of the finest
branches, and the first planks made of them were used to construct a
coffin.

But I will not anticipate. It was in the third year after our marriage
that I returned home one evening with a large load of red-pine
saplings. I was sitting on the balcony with my wife, later in the
evening, and was telling her that I intended to set the five-year-old
shoots down by the stone wall, and that I had therefore chosen hardy
plants, in which the root was in proper proportion to the crown, but
that it was always difficult to find conscientious workmen, who would
look out for one's interest while attending to the matter.

My wife listened patiently while I explained the manner in which the
shoots should be planted.

"Let me attend to this work," said she. "It is well that forest-trees
do not require the same care as animals, or fruit-trees. Rude nature
protects itself. But it will afford me pleasure to tend the shoots with
great care."

"But it is fatiguing."

"I know that, but I can do something for the forest that brings us so
many blessings."

I gladly consented. And thus we have a fine grove down by the stone
wall.

While the children were growing up, my wife knew how to invest the
planting of trees with a festive character. Richard and Johanna soon
grew tired of it. But Bertha, Ludwig, Martella, and at a later day
Ernst, were full of zeal, and had an especial affection for the trees
which they had planted with their own hands.

My wife was perfectly familiar with every nook in the woods, and when
the new road was laid out she pointed out to Joseph a clear and fresh
spring which had remained undisturbed, while we in the village were
often poorly supplied with good drinking water. She persuaded him to
alter its course so that it would flow towards the village; and now,
thanks to her, we have a splendid spring which even in the heat of
summer furnishes us with an abundance of cool and pure water.

To this day we call it the Gustava spring.

Every year, at my wife's birthday, it is decorated by the youth of the
village.

She seemed to live with the woods that she had planted. Without a trace
of sentimentality, I mean exaggerated susceptibility, she rejoiced in
the sunshine and the rain, the mists and the snow, because they helped
the plants, and this state of mind contributed to the quiet grace and
dignity which so well became her.

On Christmas afternoon we could, in our sleighs, ride as far as the
wood and the village beyond it.

Martella told us that she, too, had planted thousands of white and red
pines, but that there was not a tree that she could call her own.

She called out unto the snow-covered plantation: "Say: Mother."

"Mother," answered the distant echo.

"And now say: Waldfried."

"Waldfried" was the answer. We returned home, happy and light-hearted.
Ernst remained with us until New Year's Day, and seemed to have
regained his wonted cheerfulness.

It was with pleasure not unmixed with jealousy, that Ernst saw how
Martella hung on Richard's lips while listening to his calm and clear
remarks on the topics that arose from day to day. His explanations were
such that the simplest intellect could comprehend them. I cannot help
thinking that Ernst's glances at Martella often were intended to convey
some such words as these: "Oh, I know all that, too, but I am not
always talking about it!"

"I did not know that you could talk so well," said Martella on one
occasion. At times we had quite heated discussions.

With my sons it cost me quite an effort to defend my faith in the
people.

Ernst and Richard, who rarely agreed on any question, united in their
low opinion of the people.

Ernst despised the farmers, and said he would not confide the charge of
the woods to them, as they would inconsiderately destroy the whole
forest if they had the chance.

Richard adduced this as a proof that it would always be necessary to
teach the people what, for their own good, should be done as well as
left undone.

He dwelt particularly on that severe sentence, _terrent nisi metuant_.
The mass of the people is terrible unless held in subjection by fear.
History, which was his special science, furnished him with potent
proofs, that the people should always be ruled with a firm hand.

Joseph listened silently to the discussions carried on by the brothers.
He was always glad to hear what those who were educated had to say. He
never took part when generalities were discussed. It was not until they
began to conjecture as to what Napoleon, the ruler of the world, might
say in his next New Year's address, that his anger found vent in sharp
words.

Later generations will hardly be able to understand this. These men
were seated together in a well-ordered house in the depths of the
forest; and even there the spirit of doubt and questioning, that could
not be banished, was constantly at their side, and pouring wormwood
into their wine.

There was no unalloyed happiness left us--no freedom from care. Will
not the Emperor of the French hurl his bottles at us in the morning!
What will he not attempt for the sake of securing his dynasty and
gratifying the theatrical cravings of his people! The whole world was
in terror. Everything was in a state of morbid excitement, and, as
Ernst said, "watching like a dog for the morsel that the great Parisian
theatrical manager might throw to it;" and here Richard interrupted
him.

Richard had a great love for established forms. He always expressed
himself with moderation. Ernst, however, would allow his feelings to
run away with him, and would often find that he had gone too far.

Richard, who had had his younger brother at his side during the years
spent at the Gymnasium, still regarded himself as a sort of teacher and
guide to Ernst, and could hardly realize how that youth could have been
so self-reliant as to get himself a bride under such peculiar
circumstances.

Richard confessed that he desired to achieve a career. "My time will
come. Perhaps I may have to wait until I have gray hairs, or none at
all; but I shall, at all events, not allow love to interfere with my
plans. I shall not marry, unless under circumstances that will help to
secure the end I have in view."

I had accustomed myself to leave both sons undisturbed in their views
of life. They both agreed in regarding me as an idealist, although
their reasons for reaching this conclusion were dissimilar.

I love to recall the passage in Plutarch's Lycurgus. The old men are
singing, "We were once powerful youths;" the men sing, "But we are now
strong;" and the youths sing, "But we will be still stronger than you
are!"

The world progresses, and every new generation must develop the old
ideas and introduce new ones. It will go hard with us old folks to
admit that these are better than ours; but they are so, nevertheless.

When Richard was alone with me, he expressed his great delight in
regard to his youngest brother; and as the journals of that day
contained a call for participants in the German Expedition to the North
Pole, Richard would gladly have seen Ernst take a part in the
enterprise. He maintained that Ernst was endowed with qualities that
would gain him distinction as a student of nature, and that a voyage of
discovery would make a hero of him. For he had invincible courage,
fertility of invention, fine perception, and much general knowledge,
combined with the ability to see things as they are.

Ernst was full of youthful buoyancy, just as he had been in the
earliest years of his student life. He was the life of the house,
constantly singing and yodling; and his special enthusiastic friend,
Rothfuss, one day said to me while in the stable, "I knew it. I knew
all about it. Our Ernst cannot come to harm. Why, just listen to his
singing. A tree where a bird builds its nest is in no danger from
vermin."



                              CHAPTER XV.


At a meeting of the burgomasters of the neighborhood, held on New
Year's day, it was determined to call a general meeting of electors, to
assemble in the chief town of the district, and to receive a report in
regard to the last session of the Parliament.

On New Year's Day Ernst left us, as the Prince and his ministers
intended to hunt during the next few days in the district which was in
charge of his chief.

When he was about to leave, Martella said to him, "You have good reason
to feel happy. The walls have heard you with joy, and every being in
there thinks well of you and me."

"And you?" asked he.

"I need not be thinking of you. For you are my other self."

It was a clear, mild, winter day when, accompanied by Joseph and
Richard, I drove to the neighboring town in which the meeting was to be
held. It was Richard's intention to return to the University at the
close of the meeting.

Rothfuss had fully recovered. Displaying his new stockings, and wearing
his forester's coat, he sat up on the driver's box, while he managed
the bays. Although he entertained a deep contempt for mankind in
general, and for that portion of it that lived in our neighborhood in
particular, he was always willing to take part in anything that was
done in my honor.

He often remarked that the people did not deserve that one should walk
three steps for their sake. He would never forget the way in which they
had treated the chieftains of 1848; or that a man like Ludwig, to whom
he always accorded most generous praise, was obliged to leave his home,
while no one had a thought for him, or for the one who had suffered
himself to be imprisoned for his sake.

The road led through the valley, and was cheerful with the sound of the
sleigh-bells. Rothfuss cracked his whip, and soon distanced all the
other drivers.

Here and there, sleighs might be seen coming down the hillside. At the
village taverns, teams were resting, and from every window, as well as
from passers on the highway, came respectful greetings, and at times
even enthusiastic cheers.

In token of his thanks, Rothfuss cracked his whip still more loudly.

He would look around from time to time, as if noting how much pleasure
these tokens of respect afforded me. But once he said to Richard, "It
is all very well, Mr. Professor; but if the weather were to change, all
these cheers would freeze in the mouths that are now uttering them. We
have known something of that kind already."

I must admit, however, that these attentions did my heart good. There
is nothing in the associations of home that is more grateful than to be
able to say to one's self, "I live in the midst of my voters. I do my
duty without fear or favor, and without my asking for office, my
fellow-citizens select me as their representative in the councils of
the nation."

Like the breath of the woods such homage has a fragrance peculiarly
its own. I cannot believe in the sincerity of one who, from so-called
modesty, or affected indifference to the opinions of his
fellow-citizens, would refuse office when thus offered to him. I
frankly admit that it is not so unpleasant to me to find that others
think at least as well, or even better of me, than I do.

This of course brings to mind Rautenkron the forester, who would
stoutly combat my opinion in this matter, for he thinks that a love of
such honors is the worst sort of dependence.

When I arrived at the meeting, I made my report in a quiet
matter-of-fact manner. It is time for our people to learn that the
affairs of the state should have a higher use than merely to serve as
the occasion for fine speeches. Funk was sitting on the front bench,
with a follower of his on either side of him. One of them was known as
Schweitzer-Schmalz. He was a fat, puffed up farmer, who, to use his own
words, took great delight in "trumping" the students and public
officials.

But a few words as to Schmalz. A man of his dimensions requires more
space than I have just given him. He was one of those men who, when
prosperous, continually eat and drink of the best. A red vest decked
with silver buttons covered his fat paunch, and was generally
unbuttoned.

His name was Schmalz, but he had been dubbed Schweitzer-Schmalz,
because of his having once said, "I do not see why we should not be as
good as our neighbors the Swiss."

He hated the Prussians; first and foremost, for the reason that one
ought to hate them. This is the first article of faith in the catechism
of the popular journals. And although questions as to the religious
catechism might be tolerated, this article must be received without a
murmur. Besides, they were impertinent enough to speak high German; and
he knew, moreover, that abuse of the Prussians was relished in certain
high quarters.

He attempted by his boasting to provoke every one, and was himself at
last provoked to find that the whole world laughed at him. He had a
habit of rattling the silver coins in his pocket while uttering his
unwelcome remarks.

Funk aided and encouraged him in his swaggering ways. Funk's other
follower was a lawyer of extremely radical views. Funk always acted as
if he were their servant, although, as he himself said, he was the
bear-leader.

In his confidential moments, he would often say: "The people is really
a stupid bear; fasten a ring in its nose, and you can lead it about as
you would a sheep, and the best nose-ring for your purpose is the
church."

The question of extending a branch of the valley road into the
neighboring state, gave rise to a lively debate. I declared that no
private association would undertake the enterprise, unless interest on
the investment were guaranteed, and that I would oppose it, because its
promised advantages were not sufficient to justify us in voting the
money of the state for the purpose, instead of spending our own.

The effect of this was a very perceptible diminution of the favor with
which I had been regarded. And when, afterward, a vote of thanks to me
was proposed, it was coldly received.

I was just about to descend from the tribune, when I heard Funk say to
Schmalz, who was sitting by his side, "Speak out! It is your own
affair." Schmalz now asked me why I had voted for the abolition of the
freedom of the woods, or, in other words, the privilege of gathering up
the moss, and the small sticks of wood with which to cover the floor of
the stables. To him personally it was a matter of little concern, but
humbler and poorer people could not so well afford to do without it.

This gave rise to much loud talk. All seemed to be speaking at once,
and saying, "Such things should not be tolerated."

When I at last obtained an opportunity to make myself heard, I told
them that the community had an interest in the preservation of the
forests, and suggested that it was necessary to seek other means of
gaining the object to be attained, in order that the forests need not
suffer.

And when I went on to tell them that we would be unable to take proper
care of our forests until we had a general law on the subject applying
to the whole empire, and that the lines separating our different states
ran through the midst of our woods, I heard some one call out, "Of
course! He owns forests on both sides of the line." And Schmalz laughed
out at the top of his voice, holding his fat paunch the while. "What a
fuss the man is making about a few little sticks!" he said.

I descended from the tribune, feeling that I had not convinced my
constituents.

At the banquet all was life again. Herr Von Rontheim was among the
guests. He had courage enough to confess to being one of the
opposition, of which he had become a member against his will. He was an
impoverished member of the old nobility. In figure and in education he
seemed intended for a courtier. But now he was filling an office that
entailed much labor upon him. He attended to his duties punctually and
carefully, but in a perfunctory manner. He had given in his adhesion to
the late liberal ministry. In view of his position at Court, this was
an ill-considered step; for, when the ministers were removed, he was at
once ordered to the capital, and assigned to official duties that he
found it hard to do justice to, for his education had better fitted him
for the life of a courtier than for that of a painstaking government
deputy.

Rontheim sat beside me, and assured me that the fall of the one man who
had been appointed minister to the federation would soon draw that of
the rest after him.

He spoke as if he knew all about the matter, and merely wanted to find
out how much I knew on the subject. The artifice was too apparent,
however; he knew just as little as I did. In the course of
conversation, he asserted that the existence of the lesser German
States does not find its justification in greater privileges than are
accorded by the general government, but because they can thus secure a
more perfect administration of the minor details of government--a view
on which I had touched in my report.

I was not a little astonished when he told me, in the strictest
confidence, that I had been mentioned at Court with special approval.
He assured me that he knew this, for he had lots of relatives there. He
had indeed once been called upon to furnish information in regard to
myself and my family; and he felt assured that his report had reached
the ears of the Prince. He felt convinced that, with the next decided
turn in affairs, it would not be my son Richard, but myself, to whom an
exalted position would be offered. He said that he intended to report
my behavior of that very day, in a quarter where the courage which can
face popular disfavor would be appreciated. He treated me more
cordially than ever, and plainly signified that he felt assured of my
good-will.

I had never given him an occasion to joke with me, and when I replied
that what he had told me was so great a surprise that I did not know
how to answer him, he said that he fully appreciated my feelings. He
furnished me with another bit of information, which was a much greater
surprise. He told me that my son Ernst had, but a short time before
that, applied at the office of the kreis-director[3] for permission to
emigrate to America, and had requested them to furnish him with the
requisite documents, at the earliest possible moment.

Ernst still owed two years of military service, and his release could
only be effected as an act of grace on the part of the government.
This, the director added, presented no difficulty, if I chose to exert
my influence. The whole affair seemed a riddle to me.

Ernst had, in all likelihood, committed this hasty action during a
sudden fit of impatience, and I determined to reprove him at the first
opportunity. It seemed very strange that he should be so careful to
prevent me from knowing of an undertaking which he would be unable to
accomplish without my assistance.

I must have looked very serious, for several old friends of mine
approached me and assured me that in spite of the popular opposition
they still were true and faithful to me.

I feel tempted to give the names of a large number of wealthy
farmers and magistrates, who are of much more consequence than
Schweitzer-Schmalz, and who represent the very backbone of our country
life. But when I have said that they are conscientious in public
affairs and just and honorable in private ones, I have told all that is
necessary.

Among the guests there was the so-called "peace captain," a tall and
well-dressed wealthy young dealer in timber. While still an officer, he
had fallen in love with a daughter of the richest saw-mill owner in the
valley. The father refused his consent to the marriage unless the
lieutenant would give him a written promise to resign from the army as
soon as a war should break out. The lieutenant did not care to do this
and preferred resigning at once, which he did with the rank of captain.
He had become quite conversant with his business, although there was
something in his manner that made it seem as if he had just laid off
his uniform.

He still retained one trait of his military life, and that was an utter
indifference to politics. It was merely to honor me that he attended
the banquet; and besides, was I not the father-in-law of an officer in
active service? The captain, whose name was Rimminger, seated himself
at my side.



                              CHAPTER XVI.


The banquet seemed to be drawing to a close, and conversation had
become loud and general, when we were suddenly called to order and told
that Funk was about to address us. I ought to mention, in passing, that
Funk belonged to the next district, and was therefore not one of our
voters. He ascended the platform. He generally seemed loth to ascend
the tribune; but when there, his fluent discourse and ready wit enabled
him to control the most obstinate audience.

He began, as usual, by saying that it hardly became him to speak on
this occasion. He was not a voter, and if he were to express the praise
and the thanks due me, to whom he owed his present position, it might
appear as if he were endeavoring to make his private feelings the
sentiment of the audience.

He repeatedly referred to me as the "estimable noble patriarch," and
inveighed in fierce terms against those who would, by a vote of want of
confidence, express their disapproval of the actions of their
representative, who had followed his honest convictions instead of the
opinions of this or that constituent.

He then indulged in an explanation of his reasons for having voted with
the opposition. He possessed the art of repeating the speeches of
others as if they were his own. He repeatedly used the expression "a
free church in a free state," and several times used the word
"republic," when he would immediately correct himself in an ironical
manner, and to the great delight of many of his auditors.

Funk's words filled me with indignation.

When I beheld him standing up before this audience and expressing such
sentiments, I felt as if it were a punishment that I had richly
deserved; for in his case I had assisted a man in whom I had not full
confidence, to a position of honor and importance. I was so occupied
with thoughts of the speaker that I hardly noticed what he was saying,
until I was aroused by hearing him defend me against the charge of
being a Prussian.

"And even if he were a Prussian, we should not forget that the
Prussians are Germans as well as the rest of us. We are far ahead of
them, and for that very reason it is our duty to help them." And then
he began to praise me again, and told them what a noble action it was
that a man who had a pastor for one son-in-law, and one of the first
nobles in the land for another, whose son was to-day a professor, and
might to-morrow be a minister, to receive into his house a girl who had
come to him naked and destitute.

Uproarious laughter followed these words, and Funk exclaimed:

"O you rogues! you know well enough that when I said 'naked and
destitute,' I only meant _poor and without family connections_."

He described me and my wife as the noblest of beings, and repeatedly
referred to Martella.

I asked myself what could have been his reason for introducing
Martella's name before this audience; and then it occurred to me that
he had cherished hopes that my son Ernst would have married his
daughter, who was at that time receiving her education at a school in
Strasburg.

He closed by proposing cheers in my honor. They were immediately
followed by cries of "Hurrah for citizen Funk!"

Funk was impudent enough to walk up to me afterwards and offer me his
hand, while he assured me that he had put a quietus on the opposition
of the stupid bushmen, a term which he was fond of using when referring
to the farmers.

I declined to shake hands, and ascended the tribune without looking at
him. "We have had enough speeches," cried several of the audience,
while others began to stamp their feet and thus prevent me from
speaking. Silence was at last restored, and I began. I am naturally of
a timid disposition, but when in danger, I am insensible to fear, and
quietly and firmly do that which is needed.

I told them that Herr Funk had spoken as if he were a friend of mine,
but that I here publicly declared that he was not my friend, and that I
was no friend of his; and that if he and his consorts really believed
the opinions that they professed, I had nothing in common with them.
For reasons best known to himself, Herr Funk had dragged my family
affairs before the assembly. I was happy to say that I had done nothing
which I need conceal. And further, as Herr Funk had found it proper to
defend me against the charge of being a friend of Prussia, I wished it
known that I was a friend of Prussia, on whose future course I based
all my hopes for the welfare of Germany.

I should not give up my office until the term for which I was elected
expired: when that time came they might reelect me, or replace me by
another, as they thought best.

Virtuous indignation aided me in my effort, and when I finished my
remarks, Richard told me that he had never heard me speak so well. I am
by nature soft-hearted, perhaps indeed too much so; but I can deal
unmerciful blows when they are needed. There is an old saying that a
rider should alight and kill the mole-cricket that he sees while on his
way, for it destroys the roots of the grass. It was a similar feeling
that made me refer to Funk in the way I had done.

To the best of my knowledge, I had never before that had an enemy; now
I knew that I had one. And an enemy may be likened to a swamp with its
miasmatic vapors and noisome vermin. It had been reserved for my later
years to teach me what it is to have enemies and how to meet their
works.

The worst of all is, that a fear of committing injustice makes us
insincere. And when at last this fear gives way to one's horror of
wickedness, they say, "He was not truthful; he was hypocritical, and
simulated friendship for one whom he despised."

Be that as it may, I was, at all events, glad that I would not again
have to take Funk by the hand. It has been my great fault and
misfortune that I could never learn to believe in the utility of
falsehood. Perhaps it was nothing more than a love of comfort that
actuated me; for it is very troublesome to be always on one's guard.
Where I might have done myself good through shrewdness and foresight, I
had simply made myself an object of pity.

It seemed that the affair was not to pass over without a fracas. The
anger which I had controlled found vent through another channel, none
other than Rothfuss.

I saw him standing in the midst of a crowd, and heard Schmalz cry out,
"Let me talk; I would not soil my hands to beat the servant of that
man!"

"What?" cried Rothfuss; "I want nothing to do with the 'fat Switzer,'
for wherever his shadow falls you can find a grease-spot."

Uproarious laughter followed this sally. Funk forced himself into the
midst of the crowd, and placing himself before Schmalz called out, "You
had better hold your tongue, Rothfuss, or you will have to deal with
me."

"With you?" said Rothfuss, "with you? I have but one word to tell you."

"Out with it!"

"Yes," said Rothfuss, "I will tell you something that no human being
has ever yet said to you."

"Out with it!"

"What I mean to tell you has never before been said to you--_You are an
honest man._"

Contemptuous laughter and wild shouts followed this sally, and, when it
looked as if blows were about to fall, and the kreis-director
approached and ordered them to desist, Rothfuss called out, "Herr
Director, would you call that an insult? I said Herr Funk was an honest
man. Is that an insult?"

The officer succeeded in restoring order and we departed, taking
Rothfuss with us.

I had paid the full penalty of my acquaintance with Funk, but felt so
much freer and purer than when I entered the banqueting room, that I
did not regret what had occurred.

Richard wanted to meet his train, and Joseph left for a point down the
Rhine in order to close a contract for railroad ties. I went to the
station with them, and when the train had left, I accepted the
invitation of Rontheim, who had walked down to the railroad with us,
and went home with him.



                             CHAPTER XVII.


There are houses in which you never hear a loud word, not because of
any previous agreement on the part of its inmates, but as a natural
result of their character. He who enters there is at once affected,
both in mood and in the tones of his voice, by his surroundings. Such
is the peaceful household in which kind and gentle aspirations fill all
hearts and where every one works faithfully in his own allotted sphere.

I felt as if entering a new and strange phase of life when Rontheim
ushered me into the richly carpeted and tastefully furnished
drawing-room. I was cordially received by his wife, a graceful and
charming woman, and his two beautiful and distinguished-looking
daughters.

Although in exile, as it were, the mother and the daughters had
succeeded in creating a pure and lovely home, and had held aloof from
the petty jealousies and small doings of the little town in which they
were residing. Although they saw but little company, they exchanged
visits with some of the so-called gentry. They had paid several visits
to our village, and a friendly intimacy with my wife had been the
result. She did not allow this, however, to induce her to visit the
town more frequently than had been her wont. She carefully avoided
excursions of any kind, from a fear that they might interrupt the quiet
tenor of her life or render society a necessity.

Rontheim's wife and daughters had been used to the life of a court, and
even now acted as if with the morrow they might be recalled to court.
When they accompanied the director, on his frequent official journeys,
they would discover every spot in which there were natural beauties.
Scenes that we had become indifferent to, through habit, or in which we
saw nothing but the uses to which they might be put, had in their eyes
quite a different meaning. They would spend whole days in the valleys
where no one resorted but the harvesters, or on the mountains where
they would meet no one but the foresters. They sketched and gathered
flowers and mosses, and their tables and consoles were decorated with
lovely wreaths of dried leaves and wild flowers. They would often
assist the poor children who were gathering wild berries, and show them
how to weave pretty baskets out of pine twigs. They were in frequent
intercourse with our schoolmaster's wife, who was quite a botanist.

The second daughter, who was interested in drawing, asked me about the
new paintings in the Parliament House; and the elder daughter jokingly
declared that it was a pity that one could never find out what had been
played at the theatre until the day after the performance.

I was forcibly impressed by the evident effort with which Herr Von
Rontheim endeavored to suppress any sign of a consciousness of superior
birth. He showed me a recently restored picture of one of his
ancestors, who had been a comrade of Ulrich Von Hutten, and had
distinguished himself during the Reformation. He intimated that
although the noble families had built up the state, he cheerfully
admitted that its preservation had fallen into other hands.

His kind manner did not quite serve to veil a certain air of
condescension.

During the course of our rather desultory conversation, Madame Rontheim
had rung for the servant, and had given her orders to him in a whisper,
of which I heard the last words, "Please tell Herr Ernst to come in."

The words startled me. Could she have meant my son?

A few moments afterward, a bright-cheeked and erect-looking ensign
entered the room, and saluted us in military fashion. I had forgotten
that Rontheim's only son was also named Ernst, and I now recalled the
fact of his being in my son-in-law's regiment. The ensign referred to
the fact, and also told me that all of his comrades had regretted my
son's leaving the army. His constant flow of spirits and fertility of
invention, had won him the admiration of all of his companions.

Madame Rontheim spoke of my daughter Bertha in the kindest terms, and
praised the tact she had displayed in introducing a new element into
their circle.

The eldest daughter ventured to speak in disparagement of Bertha's
friend, Annette, but the mother adroitly changed the subject, and began
talking about Martella.

As I felt that, in all probability, there had been all sorts of false
tales in regard to Martella, I told them her story. When I ended,
Madame Rontheim said to me, "In taking such a child of nature into a
well-ordered and cultured home, you have pursued the very best plan. I
feel assured that the result of your wife's quiet and sensible course
will both surprise and delight you. Pray tell your wife that I have for
some time intended to visit her, but have concluded to wait until it
may be convenient to her and her charge to receive me."

While seated with this charming circle at their tea-table--an
institution which this family had introduced in our forest
neighborhood--I had quite forgotten that Rothfuss was outside taking
charge of the sleigh. But now I heard the loud crack of his whip, and
bade my hosts a hasty farewell.

When I got into the sleigh, Rothfuss said, "Madame, the baroness, has
sent out a hot jug as a foot-warmer for you."

On our way down the hill, Rothfuss walked at the side of the sleigh,
and said to me, "She sent me some tea: it is by no means a cooling
drink, but does not taste so bad after all; it warmed me thoroughly.
Before I drank it, I felt as wet as a drenched goat. Ah, yes! One of
your people of rank is worth more than seventy-seven of your stupid
voters. In all of the crowd that we met to-day there were not a dozen
people with whom I would care to drink a glass of wine."

Rothfuss judged of all persons by their fitness as boon companions. He
would drink gladly with this one, but would not care to drink with the
next; and he would often say that there were some whose very company
sours the wine they pay for.

I felt sure that he had heard some one abusing me.

When I left home in the morning, I felt as if supported by the
consciousness of the respect and confidence of my fellow-citizens, but
now--

Suddenly the remarks of the kreis-director recurred to me.

Had the confidence of one party been withdrawn from me, because it was
suspected that the others were trying to lure me to their side? I have
neither the desire nor the proper qualifications for a more exalted
position in the service of the State.

And what could Ernst's notion of emigrating have meant? "Who knows,"
thought I to myself, "what I may yet have to witness on the part of
this son who is always flying the track?"

The night was bitter cold; the snow which had melted during the day had
frozen hard, and our sleigh creaked and rattled as we hurried along the
road.



                             CHAPTER XVIII.


I have always discouraged a belief in omens, and yet when I saw the
strange cloud-forms that floated before the face of the moon that
night, shadowy forebodings filled my soul. The ringing of the
sleigh-bells was full of a strange melody, and, down in the valley, I
could hear the raging of the torrent which seemed as if angered at the
thought that the frost king would soon again bind it with his fetters.

The sleigh halted at the saw-mill. When I looked up towards the house I
saw that there was a light in the room.

"What are you doing?" I asked Rothfuss.

"I am taking the bells off, so that the mistress may not hear us."

Although we had supposed that no one had noticed our coining, we heard
soft steps advancing to meet us when we reached the house. Martella
opened the door for us.

I entered the room. It was nicely warmed and lighted. The meal which
had been prepared for me was still on the table.

Rothfuss drew off his boots and went off to his room on tiptoe.

"Do you not want to go to bed, Martella? Have you been sitting up all
this time?"

"Indeed I have; and oh, do take it from me!"

"What ails you?"

"Oh, what a night I have passed! I do not know how it all came about;
but mother had gone to bed, and I sat here quite alone in this great,
big house. I looked at the meal that was waiting for our master; at the
bread that had once been grain, the meat that had once been alive, and
the wine that had once been grapes in the vineyard.

"It seemed to me as if the fields and the beasts all came up to me and
asked, 'Where are you? What has become of you?' And then I could not
help thinking to myself, 'You have so many people here--a father, a
mother, one brother who is so learned, and another who is in another
world, a sister who is a major's wife, and one who is a pastor's, and
besides this, my own Ernst; and all these say: "We are yours and you
are ours."' When I thought of that, I felt so happy and yet so sad. And
then the two clocks kept up their incessant ticking. It seemed as if
they were talking to me all the time. The fast one said to me, 'How did
you get here, you simple, forlorn child, whom they found behind the
hedge? Run away as fast as you can! Run away! you cannot stay here; you
must go off. All these people about you have made a prisoner of you;
they feel kindly towards you, but you cannot stay. Run, run away! Run,
child, run!'

"But the other clock, with its quiet and steady tick, would always say,
'Be thankful, be thankful, be thankful! You are snugly housed with
kindly hearts; do what you can to earn their kindness by your
goodness.'

"They kept it up all the time. All at once I heard the cry of an owl. I
had often heard them in the forest, and I am not afraid of any of the
birds or beasts. Then the owl went away and all was still. I don't know
how it happened, but all at once I thought of summer and cried out
'Cuckoo!' quite loud. I was frightened at the sound of my own voice,
for fear that I might wake up the mistress; and when I thought of that
I felt as if I could die for grief. And then again I felt so happy to
think that the heart that was sleeping there was one that had taken me
up as its own. When the large clock would say 'Quite right, quite
right,' the busy little one would interrupt with 'Stupid stuff, stupid
stuff; run away, run away!'

"When the hour struck midnight, I opened the window and looked out
towards the graveyard. I am no longer afraid of it; the dead lie there;
they are now resting and were once just as happy and just as sad as I
now am.

"I do not know how all these things should have come into my mind. I
felt cheered up at last, and closed the window. Everything seemed so
lovely in the room, and I felt as if I were at home. At home in
eternity, and could now die. I did not fear death. I had fared so well
in the world--better than millions--and master," said she, kneeling
down before me and clasping my knee, "I will surely do all in my power
to deserve this happiness. If I only knew of something good and hard
that I might do. Tell me if there is such a thing; I will do it
gladly."

It seemed that night as if an inexhaustible spring had begun to bubble
up in the heart of the child.

She sat down quite near me and told me, with a pleased smile, that
mother had bidden her to go to bed; but that she had stealthily gotten
up, had sent Balbina, the servant, to bed, and had herself watched for
me; and that she now felt as if she did not care to sleep again.

"I am living in eternity, and in eternity there is no sleep," she
repeated several times.

The child was so excited that I thought it best to engage her mind in
some other direction. I asked her about Ernst's plan of emigration. She
told me that he had had that in view some time ago, but had now given
up the idea.

We remained together for some time longer, and when I told her that she
should always call me father now, she cried out with a happy voice:

"That fills my cup of joy! Now I shall go to bed. He whom you have once
addressed as 'father' can never find it in his heart to send you out
into the world. I shall stay here until they carry me over to the
graveyard yonder; but may it be a long while before that happens!
Father, good night!"

How strange things seem linked together! On the very day that Funk had
so unfeelingly dragged the child's name before the public, her heart
had awakened to a grateful sense of the world's kindness.



                              CHAPTER XIX.


Nothing so nerves a man for the battle with the outer world as the
consciousness of his having a pleasant home, not merely a large and
finely arranged household, but a home in which there reigns an
atmosphere of hope and affection, and where, in days of sorrow, that
which is best in us is met by the sympathy of those who surround us.
Through Gustava, all this fell to my lot. Although the battle with the
world would, at times, almost render me distracted, she would again
restore my wonted spirits; and it is to her faithful and affectionate
care that I ascribe the fact that the long struggle did not exhaust me.
She judged of men and actions with never-failing equanimity, and her
very glances seemed to beautify what they rested upon. Where I could
see naught but spite or malice, she only beheld the natural selfishness
of beings in whom education and morals had not yet gained complete
ascendancy.

She judged everything by her own lofty standard, but strange to say,
instead of belittling men, this seemed to make them appear better. When
she found that she could not avoid assenting to evil report in regard
to any one, she did so with an humble air that plainly signified how
grieved she was that men could be thus.

Speaking of Funk, she would say, "I have no desire to hurt any one's
feelings. In nature there is nothing that can properly be called
aristocratic. In botany the nettle is related to hemp and to hops; and
if Funk seems to have somewhat of the nettle in his composition, one
should be careful to handle him tenderly, and thus avoid pricking one's
fingers."

It was during that very winter, in 1866, that the purity and dignity
that were inborn with her seemed more than ever infused with new and
added grace. She always lived as if in a higher presence.

It soon proved that my anticipations of evil were overwrought. My
compatriots were, for the greater part, in accord with me. On every
hand I received assurances of that fact; and, above all, Joseph omitted
no opportunity of repeating to me the respectful terms in which he had
heard my name mentioned among the people. I really think that he was
instrumental in causing others to bring these good reports to my
notice. Martella had become the blessing, the life and the light, I may
say, of our house. Her readiness to oblige, her adaptability and her
desire for self-improvement, had so increased that we felt called upon
to restrain rather than to urge their exercise.

My wife had learned of Funk's attempt to injure us by dragging the
child's name into publicity. Perhaps the news had been carried even
further; for a letter reached us from my daughter, the pastor's wife,
in which she informed us that the illness of her husband made such
demands upon her time that she required an assistant about the house,
and desired us to send Martella to her. She added that her husband
joined her in this wish, because it seemed improper that Martella
should remain in our house any longer. My wife was not unwilling to
send Martella to her for a while; but I insisted that she should stay
with us in spite of all idle talk.

About that time we received letters from the major and from Richard,
both of whom wrote without the other's knowledge, and to the effect
that Prussia's proposal to the German Diet might lead to a conflict,
the consequences of which it was impossible to foretell. Thus public
and private affairs kept us in unusual excitement, when an unexpected
event claimed our attention.

A rumor had long been current in our family that we had relatives of
high rank living in Vienna. Up to the year 1805, our village and the
whole district had belonged to Austria. All of the more ambitious and
talented among our people had been drawn to Vienna, either by their own
desire to advance themselves, or by the inducements the government held
out to them; for it was the constant aim of Austria to gain the
attachment of the landed interests.

At the beginning of the last century, an uncle of my father had moved
to the Imperial city, where he attained a high position. He had
embraced the Catholic religion, and had been ennobled. Ernst, who
always called that branch of the family "the root brood," had long
cherished the plan of hunting up our relatives, in the hope of thus
finding a better opening for himself.

Towards spring we received a visit from our neighbor, Baron Arven. He
was accompanied by a young bridal couple. He introduced the husband,
who was an officer at the garrison of Mayence, as a relative of mine.
The wife belonged to the family of the Baroness Arven, and was from
Bohemia. They seemed sociable and charming people, and both sides were
inclined to make friends with each other, but without success. Our
thoughts and feelings were pitched in different keys.

The young couple left us in order to repair to the capital. On their
departure, I gave them a letter to Bertha, and the Major. They wrote to
me in the kindest manner, and remarked that they would be pleased if
Ernst could assume the charge of the forests on their estate in
Moravia.



                              CHAPTER XX.

Spring had come, and the air was filled with the resinous odor of the
pines. I was sitting by the open window, and reading in a newspaper
that Bismarck had asked the Diet for a constituent national assembly,
to be voted for directly by the people. Could it be possible? I took up
the country journals: they reviled this proposal, and could not conceal
their fear that the most powerful weapon of the revolutionary party had
been destroyed.

While I was sitting there, buried in thought, I heard a rider rapidly
approaching. It was Ernst. He hurriedly greeted us, and showed us an
order recalling him to his regiment.

Martella cried out aloud. Ernst pacified her. He told us that he was no
longer a subject of this country. He had given notice of his intention
to emigrate, and that would protect him. It was spring-time, and the
best season of the year to go forth into the wide world. I could only
tell him that I doubted whether he would be allowed to leave the
confederation.

"Confederation!" he exclaimed; "what a glorious name!"

He gave me a look that I shall, alas! never forget. He seemed to be
collecting his senses, and as if struggling with his thoughts, and then
said: "As far as I am concerned, my life is of no consequence to me.
But, father, there will be war, in which what the books call Germans
will be fighting against Germans. Have you raised me for this? Is this
all that you are in the world for--that your son should perish, or even
conquer, in a war between brethren? Either issue is equally
disgraceful. I do not know what I would not rather do than take part in
that."

I endeavored to pacify Ernst, and told him that these were diplomatic
quarrels, that would not lead so far after all. I could not conceive of
the possibility of war. However, I consented to Ernst's request to
accompany him to the borough town, in order to confer with the
kreis-director in regard to the steps that were necessary. I sincerely
hoped to obtain further particulars there, and felt that all would
again be peacefully arranged.

My wife had sent for Joseph and had asked him to accompany us, for she
saw how fearfully excited Ernst was, and desired us to have a mediator
with us. She judged wisely.

"I shall return to-morrow," said Ernst to Martella, when all was ready
for our departure.

"And if you do not return to-morrow," she answered, "and even if you
must go to war at once, nothing will happen to you. You are the
cleverest of all; and if you care to become a major, do so; and I shall
learn how to be a major's wife--for I can learn anything."

She was wondrously cheerful; she seemed to have vanquished her fears,
and thus, both for herself and Ernst, lightened the pain of parting.

Joseph informed me that Funk was everywhere joyously proclaiming that
now at last the crash must come, and that proud Prussia with its
Junkers would be cut to pieces, or, to use his own words, demolished.
Ernst beat the bays so unmercifully and drove so furiously, that I
ordered him to halt, and insisted on Joseph's taking the reins. Ernst,
in a sullen mood, seated himself beside me.

In the valley we a saw lumber wagon halting on the road, and from afar
recognized the horses as Joseph's.

Carl, a servant of Joseph's, and son to the spinner who lived up on the
rock, was surrounded by a group of raftsmen, woodsmen, and teamsters,
who were all gesticulating in the wildest manner.

We halted as soon as we reached the team. Carl, a handsome,
light-haired fellow, with a cheerful face and good-natured eyes, came
up to us and told us that this would be his last load; he had been
summoned as a conscript, and would have to leave that very evening and
walk all night, in order to reach the barracks in time.

The old meadow farmer, who had joined the crowd exclaimed, "Yes,
Napoleon is master. When he fiddles, Prussia and Austria must dance as
he chooses, and the small folk will soon follow suit. Yes, there is a
Napoleon in the world again. I knew the old one."

We did not think it necessary to answer the man. While Joseph was
giving his servant money to use by the way, others approached and
declared that they, too, had been conscripted, and requested us to tell
them why there was war.

"You simple rogues," cried out Ernst, "that is none of your business!
If you didn't wish it, there could be no war. You are fools, fearful
fools, if you obey the conscription!"

I snatched the whip from Joseph's hand, and beat the horses furiously
while I called out to the crowd:

"He was only joking!"

Joseph assumed the task of bringing Ernst to reason. He declared that
if I had not been present, he would have written the answer that Ernst
deserved in his face.

"Do so, you trusty Teuton!" replied Ernst.

Speedily controlling himself, Joseph added, "Forgive me; but you are
most exasperating. How can you bear to drag yourself and your father to
the very brink of ruin with such idle speeches? You are unworthy of
such a father."

"Or of such a Fatherland," answered Ernst.

I felt so oppressed that I could hardly breathe.

We rode on for a little while, and at last Ernst inquired, in a
submissive tone, "Will you permit me to smoke a cigar?" I nodded
approval, and from that time until we reached the town, not a word was
uttered.

On the road that led up to the kreis-director's house, we saw the young
iron merchant, Edward Levi, an honorable and well-educated young man.
He was standing at the door of his warehouse, and saluted us in
military fashion.

Ernst beckoned to him to approach.

"Have you not already received your discharge?"

"I have; and you, I suppose, will now soon be an officer?"

"So I have heard."

We reached the director's house. The director could of course only
confirm the fact that Ernst's notice of his intention to emigrate was
as yet without legal effect. He furnished us with a certified copy of
it, and added that he might be able to procure Ernst's discharge; but
that, at all events, Ernst would be obliged for the present to join the
troops.

Rontheim believed that war was imminent, and I could not help noticing
an expression of deep emotion in the features of the man whose face was
always veiled in diplomatic serenity. In those days I heard the sad
question which so often afterward would seem to rend our hearts:

"What will become of Germany--what will become of the world--if Austria
be successful?"

I could easily see that it was as painful to him as it was to me to
have a son go forth to war.

On our way down the steps we met the director's daughter.

She extended her hand to Ernst, while she said, "I congratulate you."

"For what, may I inquire?"

"Your betrothal."

"Ah, yes; I thank you."

"I presume your intended is full of sad thoughts now."

"She does not do much thinking on the subject."

"Is your nephew obliged to join the army?"

"My nephew! Who can you mean?"

"Julius Linker," blushingly answered the young girl.

"No; he is not yet liable to military duty."

"Will you be good enough to give my kindest greetings to my brother?"

"With pleasure."

On our way Ernst seemed quite amused, and indulged in jokes at the
thought of Julius' being such a child of fortune. His life was
evidently moving in a smooth current, for the half-fledged youth had
already been lucky enough to win the love of so charming a girl.

I felt quite reassured to find that Ernst's thoughts had taken another
direction. He emphatically declared himself ready to join his regiment,
and asked me to let him have some money. He thought there was no need
of my accompanying him to the capital, but I felt loth to leave him,
and, although I should not have done so, I promised to endeavor to
procure his discharge.

We again met Joseph, who expressed his regret that the conscription of
his valuable servant Carl would oblige him to return to his home, for
he had intended to accompany us to the capital.

It was necessary for him, however, to go to the fortress, for he had
accepted a contract to furnish fence rails.

Joseph is a very active patriot, but he is quite as active as a
business man. He has the art of combining both functions, and Richard
once said of him with justice: "With Joseph, everything is a stepping
stone, and all events contribute to the success of his business plans."

We were seated in the garden of the Wild Man Tavern, when we heard a
great uproar in front of the house of Krummkopf, the lumber merchant.

A company of conscripts had marched up before the house, in which there
resided a young man who had purchased his discharge from military
service, and they cursed and swore that they who were poor were obliged
to go to war, while the rich ones could remain at home.

Joseph, who recognized many of his workmen among the young folks,
succeeded in pacifying them.

We accompanied Ernst to the railway. At the depot I found Captain
Rimminger, the lumber merchant, who was just superintending the loading
of some planks. When I told him that he ought to feel glad that he was
no longer a soldier, he silently nodded assent. He did not utter a
word, for he was always exceedingly careful to avoid committing
himself.

At the depot we saw conscripts who were shouting and cheering, mothers
who were weeping, and fathers who bit their lips to control their
emotion.

At every station where Ernst left the train, I feared that he would not
come back; but he did return and sat by my side quietly, speaking only
in reply to my questions. For a while he would sit absorbed in thought,
and then he would stand up and lean against the side of the railway
coach, in which position he would remain immovable. I felt much grieved
that the heart of this child had become a mystery to me.

We arrived at the capital. I had lost sight of Ernst in the crowd, but
afterwards found him talking with the ensign, the director's son. Ernst
desired to go to the barracks at once. I accompanied him to the gate,
which he entered without once turning to look back.



                              CHAPTER XXI.


I remained standing near the gate and saw constant arrivals of more
young men. Men and women desired to accompany them inside the barracks,
but were always ordered back by the guard.

Carl, the son of the spinner who lived on the rock, was also among the
arrivals. Without any solicitation on my part, he promised to keep an
eye on Ernst.

It had become night; the gas-lamps were lit, and yet I stood there so
buried in thought, that the lamp-lighter was obliged to tell me to move
on.

There I was, in the capital in which there lived so many of my friends,
and my own child; indeed, two of my children.

Where should I go first? Our club-house was in the vicinity, and I went
there. They praised me for having come so soon, for while I had been at
the borough town they had telegraphed for me.

They were in hourly expectation of a government order, convoking the
Parliament. What we were expected to discuss no one knew; but every one
felt that it was necessary for us to assemble. I could not bring myself
to believe that war was really possible, and there were many who shared
my opinion.

Funk was there also. He offered me his hand in a careless manner, and,
feeling that in such times enmity should be at an end, I shook hands
with him.

Funk rejoiced that the grand crash was at last to come. Prussia would
have to be beaten to pieces, and a federation founded; for the present,
with a monarchical head.

The minister, who was well known as an arch-enemy of Prussia, had sent
word to the committee of our party that he would come to us that same
evening, and bring the order convoking us with him. He did not come in
person, but contented himself with sending the written order. Of what
use could we be when the harm had already been done. What were we?
Nothing but a flock without any will of our own.

I went to Bertha's house. I found her alone; her husband was at his
post, busy day and night. It had suddenly been discovered that the
troops were not fully prepared.

I had not been there long, before her friend Annette entered, from
whom as usual I was obliged to endure much praise. Annette found it
quite--she was about to say "patriarchal," but checked herself in
time--that I had come to assist Bertha.

"Only think of it," she continued, putting all her remarks in the form
of questions, as was her wont: "Would you have thought that Bertha
would be much less resigned than I? I have always wished that I might
be so gentle and self-controlled as Bertha; and now I am the quieter of
the two. Have I not as much love for my husband as any woman can have
for hers? Have I not given up everything for his sake? Now I say to
myself, 'Did you not know what you were doing when you married a
soldier? Is the uniform merely for the parade and the court ball?
Therefore, rest content. In this world everything must be paid for. It
is necessary to accept the consequences of one's actions.' Am I right
or wrong?"

Annette always closed with a note of interrogation, and of course I was
obliged to respond affirmatively.

Bertha smiled sadly, and said in a weary voice: "Yes, father, I must
admit it; I have always thought that war was one of those things of
which one only learned in the hour devoted at school to history. I only
knew of the Punic wars and the Peloponnesian war--for we never got as
far as modern history--and thought of these things as of what had once
been. But I honestly admit that I did not think they would come to pass
again in our time."

"Just think of it, Bertha," said Annette, while she drew a thick volume
from her satchel, "this is the Bible. You know that I never take
quotations at second-hand, but prefer looking them up myself. This
morning while the hairdresser was with me, it occurred to me that the
Bible says the wife should leave her father and her mother for his
sake. So I sent for the Bible, the very one that the dowager princess
presented me with when I was christened. I hunted up the passage, but
what did I find? Why, that for this the 'man would leave his father and
mother,'--the man. Now just look, it says the man; and why should it
say _the man_? He is not a domestic plant, like us girls!"

The vivacity of the pretty and graceful woman cheered me, and I must
admit that from that time my opinion of Annette changed. She seems
imbued with much of that power of self-reliance which is a peculiar
characteristic of the Jews; they are nothing by inheritence, and are
obliged to make themselves what they are.

But Annette seemed to guess at my silent thoughts, and continued, "Do
not praise me, I beg of you! I do not deserve it. I am quite different
when I am alone; then I am tormented with horrible fancies. And let me
tell you, Bertha, when our husbands leave, you must keep me with you. I
cannot be alone. I am beginning to hate my piano already. I do not go
into the room in which it stands. Ah, here come our husbands!"

We heard advancing steps. The Major entered, and greeted me politely,
but seemed quite gloomy.

I told him that I had brought Ernst.

"I hope he will do himself credit," said the Major in a hard voice.

I told him that the Parliament was about to reassemble, whereupon the
Major with great emphasis said, "Dear father, I beg of you do not let
us talk politics now. I have the greatest respect for your patriotism,
your liberalism, and for all your opinions. But now it is my uniform
alone that speaks; what is inside of it has not a word to say."

He pressed both hands to his heart, and continued:

"Pshaw! I, too, once believed in 'German unity,' as they are fond of
calling it,.... and even had hopes of Prussia. But now we will show
these impudent, mustachioed Prussian gentlemen what we are made of."

I was careful not to reply to his remarks, in which I could easily
notice the struggle that was going on within him. He was on duty; and
it is wrong to talk to a man who is at his post.

What sort of a war is it in which they know no other cry but "Let us
show them what we are made of!"

And if the victory is achieved, what then? An invisible demon sat
crouching on the knapsack of every soldier, making his load heavier by
a hundred-fold.

We seated ourselves at the table. The Major seemed to feel that he had
been harsh towards me, and was now particularly polite. He asked about
mother, Martella, and Rothfuss. He told us that he had that day heard
from our newly discovered cousin, in a letter from Mayence, in which he
had expressed the hope that they might stand side by side on the
battle-field, and thus again become bound to each other.

The Major had nothing more to say. He poured out a glass of wine for
me, and drank my health in silence. Annette used every exertion to
dispel the dark cloud under which we were laboring.

She asserted that her saddle horse seemed to know that it would soon be
led forth to battle, and told us a number of marvellous stories about
that clever animal. She was very fond of telling anecdotes, and had
considerable dramatic talent.

"Dear father," said the Major, "I believe I have not yet acquainted you
with my darling wish."

"I do not remember your having done so."

"My request is, that when we leave, Bertha and the children should
remain with you until the end of the campaign, which from present
indications will not extend to your neighborhood.

"They are now, at last, constructing a telegraph line through your
valley--it has been deemed a military necessity, and that will enable
us to hear from each other with dispatch."

"And will you accept an unbidden guest?" interposed Annette. "I know
that you will say 'yes,' and I promise you that I will be quite good
and docile."

I extended my hand to her, while she continued:

"You know that it has for a long while been my wish to be permitted to
spend some time with your wife. Iphigenia in the forest, in the German
pine forest! Oh, how charming it was of your father-in-law to name his
daughter so! Are pretty names only intended for books? Of course,
Grecian Iphigenia should not knit stockings. Did not your father-in-law
begin to translate Goethe's 'Iphigenia' into Greek, but fail to
complete it? Is not Iphigenia too long a name for daily use? How do you
address your wife?"

"By her middle name, Gustava."

"Ah, how lovely! 'Madame Gustava.' And the forest child? I presume she
is still with you? And now I shall at last become acquainted with your
noble and faithful servant, Rothfuss, who said that 'one who is
drenched to the skin need not dread the rain.'"

As far as our all-engrossing anxiety would permit it, Annette's
volubility and liveliness contributed greatly to our relief.

We had just left the table when Rolunt, the Major's most intimate
friend, entered. He had at one time been an officer in the service of
the Duke of Augustenberg, and had thence returned to his home, where he
was now professor at the military school.

Now political conversation could not be restrained, although the Major
refrained from taking part in it.

Rolunt was furious that, no matter how the war might end, Germany would
be obliged to give an indemnity, in the shape of Nice, to France.

We had the galling consciousness that one nation presumed to decide the
affairs of another, with as much freedom as it would regulate the taxes
or the actions of its own citizens.

We remained together until it was quite late, and when we separated, it
was with crushed hearts.

The Major insisted on my staying at his house; the war, he said, had
done away with all minor considerations.

On the following day there was another session of the Parliament. The
government demanded an extraordinary credit, which was accorded,
although it was hoped that we might escape being drawn into war; for
both the government and the legislature fondly expected that our
troubles might be arranged by diplomacy.

Who, after all, was the enemy that we were fighting against?

I went to the barracks. I was refused admission. Fortunately, I saw the
ensign approaching, and, under his protection, I was allowed to enter.
Ernst, who had already donned the uniform, was lying on a bench. He
seemed surprised to see me.

"Pray do not say a word until we get outside."

He received permission to go out for half an hour, and soon stood
before me in his smart attire. There was something graceful and yet
determined in his bearing.

When we gained the street, he asked me whether there was any chance of
his discharge.

I was in a sad dilemma. I had taken no steps, because it was only too
evident that my efforts would have been of no avail.

It was this that made me hesitate in answering him, and Ernst
exclaimed, "All right. I know all about it."

My very heart bled, pierced as it was by the same sword that rent my
Fatherland in twain.

I endeavored to persuade my son that there are times when our own wills
and thoughts are of no avail against the great current of Fate.

"Thanks, father, thanks," answered Ernst, in a strangely significant
tone.

I could only add, "I feel assured that you will do your duty. Do not
forget that you have parents and a bride."

He seemed to pay but little attention to my words.

He took off his helmet, and said, "This presses me so: I am unused to
it. It seems to crush my brain."

He looked very handsome, but very sad. We were standing before the
office of the State Gazette, when suddenly the street seemed filled
with groups of excited people, listening to a man who had climbed to
the top of a wagon and was reading off a dispatch just received from
Berlin, to the effect that there had been an attempt to shoot Bismarck,
but that the ball had missed aim.

"Curse him!" cried Ernst; "I would not have missed aim."

I reproved him with great severity, but he insisted that one had a
right to commit murder. I replied that no one would ever have that
right, and that this deed had been as culpable as the assassination of
Abraham Lincoln; for if any one man has the right to be both the judge
and the executioner of his enemies, you will have to accord the
privilege to the democrat as well as to the aristocrat.

"Let us cease this quarrelling," he answered; "I have no desire to
dispute with you. I am firm in my belief that one is justified in doing
wrong for the sake of bringing about a good result. But, I beg of you,
father, let us now and forever cease this quarrelling."

His face showed his conflicting emotions, and he kissed my hand when I
gently stroked his face.

The crowd had dispersed in the meanwhile, and we proceeded on our way.

Ernst suddenly stopped and said to me: "Farewell, father. Give my love
to mother and Martella."

He held on to my hand quite firmly for a moment or two longer, and then
said, "I must go to the barracks."

His eyes plainly told me that he would like to say more that he could
not express; but he merely nodded, and then turning on his heel,
departed.

"Write to us often!" I called out to him. He did not look back.

I followed after him for a while, keeping near enough to hear his firm
step and the rattling of his spurs. I fondly hoped that he would yet
return to me, and tell me of the thoughts that oppressed his heart.

I met many acquaintances on the way, who saluted me and extended their
hands. They wanted me to stop and talk with them, but I merely nodded
and passed on.

In my eager haste I ran against many people, for I did not want to lose
sight of my son. There he goes! Now he stands still--now he turns.
Surely-- At that moment a company of soldiers marched down the street
to the sound of lively music; we were now separated. I could not see my
son again. I returned to Bertha and the Major, and the latter promised
me to keep a watchful eye on Ernst, and to send us frequent tidings in
regard to him, in case he should neglect to write.

I rode to the depot. I was fearfully tired, and felt as if I could not
walk another step.

As the trains were quite irregular, I was obliged to wait there for a
long while.

I felt--no, I cannot--I dare not--revive the painful emotions that rent
my bosom. Of what avail would it be? My son was going forth to war, and
I had brought him here, myself.

"Brother fighting against brother." I fancied that I had been talking
to myself and had uttered these words; but I found that they were
frequently repeated by the excited groups that were scattered about the
depot. All about me there was ceaseless turmoil. People were rushing to
and fro, yelling, shouting, cursing, and laughing. I sat there absorbed
in thought, not caring to see or hear anything more of the world, when
a familiar voice said to me, "How charming, father, that I should meet
you here!"

My son Richard stood before me; he had finished his lectures and was
about to return home.

Accompanied by him, I started for home.

Richard informed me of the political divisions among the professors,
and thus afforded me a glimpse of a sphere of life entirely different
from my own. Even the immovable altars of science were now trembling,
and personal feeling had become so violent that the friends of Prussia,
of whom Richard was one, could not appear in public without being
subjected to insults. On our way home, we stopped for dinner at the
garrison town, where we heard the most contemptuous allusions to the
"Prussian braggarts," as they were termed.

It was said that they had no officers who had ever smelt powder. That
what had been done in Schleswig-Holstein had been achieved by the
Austrians; and that if they ever dared go so far as to fight, they
would be sent home in disgrace.

I do not know whether they really believed what they said, or whether
they were simply trying to keep up their courage. But, on every hand,
one could hear them say, "They will not let matters proceed so far;
they are loud talkers and nothing else."

I was quite beside myself; but Richard begged me to remain silent. He
thought it was well that matters had come to this pass.

Whoever had brought on this war had assumed a great, but perhaps
unavoidable, responsibility. It was the sad fiat of fate, and none
could foretell where the sacrifice and suffering would end. History
would march on in its appointed path, even though sin and suffering be
its steppingstones.

And then he pointed to our surroundings, and added, "Such fellows as
these will never be converted by speeches; nothing but a thorough
beating will teach them reason."

I have found that sober history tells us very little of all those
things. She brings the harvest under shelter and enters the result; but
who stops to ask how the weather may have changed while the grain was
ripening?

But to us who live in the present, such things are not trifles; and I
cannot help maintaining that the war of 1866 was forced on the people
against their will, as far as I can judge, and I have spoken to many on
the subject. The Prussians did not desire war; the conservatives did
certainly not wish for it, for Austria was, spite of all, the bulwark
of their principles. The liberals did not want it; nor did the soldiers
go forth with cheerful hearts. But necessity had become incarnate in
the brain of a single statesman: separation from Austria was the end to
be gained, and though it went hard, that result must be achieved.

But the operation was a difficult and a painful one.



                              CHAPTER XXII.


Before the train left the station, the newsboys were running about
offering copies of extra issues of the journals, with news that the
Diet had raised the German colors: black, red, gold.

And thus the Diet dared to unfurl the flag which we had always regarded
with devotion,--for the sake of which we had been persecuted,
imprisoned, or exiled. It seemed as if the holiest of holies had been
denied and dishonored.

"It is the death-bed repentance of a sinner who has not enough time
left to do good in," said Richard, who divined the thoughts that were
passing through my mind.

A large company of soldiers was on the train, and went as far as the
next garrison town.

But how could they have found it in their hearts to sing?

Haymaking had begun, the cars were filled with the fragrant odor of the
newly mown grass. The laborers in the fields would look up from their
work, and raise their scythes on high when they saw us pass.

And now, when it seemed as if my Fatherland was to be laid waste and
destroyed, I became more than ever sensible of my great affection for
it.

These woods, these fields and villages, were all to be laid waste, and
shrieks of woe would resound from the flames. I felt it as keenly, as
if beholding a beloved relative in the grasp of death.

The train was just moving away from the station when I heard a soldier
call out to me, "Grandfather!"

I recognized him: it was my grandson Martin, the son of my daughter
Johanna. He nodded to me, and when I turned to look at him, I saw the
lieutenant collaring and buffeting him for speaking without orders
while in the ranks.

We had proceeded but a short distance when I observed that Funk was on
the train. He kept at a distance from us. He had bought a large bundle
of extra newspapers, which he distributed to the people at the
different stations.

When we reached our circuit town we repaired to the Wild Man Tavern,
where, while waiting for a conveyance, we seated ourselves under the
newly planted lindens. While sitting there, engrossed by thoughts of
the country's troubles, I learned of another trouble nearer home.

I am old enough to know something of human wickedness, but I admit that
I am, even to this day, frequently surprised by the shape that human
meanness will sometimes take.

At a side table was seated Funk's special satellite--the baker Lerz,
of Hollerberg. He was accompanied by his wife, and both looked about
them with an air of serene contentment. The baker was a sensual,
self-complacent man, who had a habit of smiling and moving his lips, as
if he were smacking them at the thoughts of a feast he had just been
enjoying. He had just been involved in an unclean piece of business, in
which he had sworn that he was innocent, although, according to my
conviction and the general belief, he had perjured himself in so doing.
But what does such an unconscionable voluptuary care for that? When the
peril was passed, all care was at an end.

The baker approached me and inquired if I would like to ride home with
him; for the government levies had rendered it difficult to obtain a
conveyance. I declined; Fortunately, my neighbor, the young meadow
farmer, who had been taking hay over to the railway station, was
passing by at the time, and so I rode home with him.

A little way out of the town, we came up with a young woman who was
walking along the road. She had covered her head with a large white
kerchief, and was carrying an infant in her arms.

Her head was bent forward; and it is generally a sign of deep thought
if one who is walking along a road does not look around at the rapid
approach of a vehicle. And this woman was Lerz's victim.

The meadow farmer, who was, usually, a man of few words, leaned back
from his seat on the front bench, and whispered to me, "Such a fellow
as Lerz ought not to be permitted to take an oath."

The meadow farmer had for a long while been my worst enemy, simply
because I had deprived him of his greatest enjoyment--venting his spite
on others.

Although it may, in these pages, seem as if I had cherished too high an
ideal of the people, I desire right here to say that I have found among
the lower classes that which is noblest and highest in man. But I have
also found much that is mean and revolting. Envy and malice are
characteristics almost peculiar to the farmer, and are especially shown
about the time of irrigating the meadows. It affords him peculiar
pleasure to wait until a neighbor has set his water-traps, and to sneak
out and reverse them so as to make the water flow on to his own
meadows.

The authorities had forbidden the watering of meadows after two o'clock
on Sunday morning, but it availed nothing. I appointed a servant who
was to have the sole right of setting the water-gates and opening them
again; and the meadow farmer could not forgive me for this. I had
robbed him of the pleasure of wreaking his spite on others.

It was not so much on account of the advantage he had gained thereby;
but, like the rest of them, he had found it great sport to outwit the
"gentleman farmer," as they called me.

The meadow farmer really hated me and Joseph; for if it had not been
for us he would have been the first man in the village. Wherever he
went, they inquired, "How goes it with Waldfried?" or "How is Joseph
Linker?" It annoyed him that they did not ask after him first of all.

He would have been glad to take a share in politics, but was too mean
to bestow the requisite amount of time upon such matters; and then he
would say, "Such folks as Funk should not be permitted to put in their
say; there is nothing behind him."

We had just reached the saw-mill, down in the valley, when we saw a
large hay-wagon coming along the road in the direction of the meadow.
Martella sat on top: Rothfuss was walking beside the horses.

Martella alighted. She looked quite troubled. She welcomed Richard, and
asked me, "Where have you left Ernst?"

"He is not with us."

"Where then?"

We had no time to reply before Martella called out, "So he must go to
war after all!"

"Of course."

"Of course? Of course?" Martella asked repeatedly. She stopped for a
moment, and removing the rake from her shoulder rested herself upon it.

I told her that in all likelihood there would be no war, and that all
the clamor was nothing more than angry threatening on both sides.

"That is not true!" cried Martella; "you should not tell me an
untruth!"

"Martella, this is my father!" cried Richard.

"And mine too," she interrupted; "forgive me! Because you are my father
you should forgive me; if you did not you would not and could not be my
father. Forgive me! Oh! they will shoot my good, kind Ernst!"

She sat down by the roadside and covered her face with both her hands.
In a little while, however, she yielded to our entreaties, and
accompanied us to the house, but without speaking a word on the way. As
soon as we arrived there, she hurriedly left us and hastened to the
barn. In a few moments she returned and cried out with a loud voice,
"Mother, Richard is here!"

The child's temperament was strangely variable.

My wife was especially delighted at Richard's return. "With one
exception," she said, smiling (for she could not reconcile herself to
Richard's remaining unmarried), "you always did the right thing at the
right time. We need both a son and a Professor. Perhaps you will be
able to make Martella understand what is meant by the words State and
Fatherland."

She told us that Martella, who was generally so quick of apprehension,
found it impossible to form any conception of those ideas, and that,
naturally enough, in her present troubles, this was doubly difficult.
For, even in our eyes, the events as well as the duties of that sad
period seemed like a horrible enigma.

It seemed as if thinking of Martella had relieved my wife from the
weight of her own trouble. When I informed her of the expected arrival
of Bertha and the children, her face beamed with joy. She at once
repaired to the rooms that they were to occupy, and seemed, in
anticipation, to enjoy the thought of entertaining those who were
dearest to her.

I had told my wife nothing of Annette's coming. She was, however,
gifted with a prophetic insight that bordered on the marvellous.
Results which to others were yet invisible were, by her, discerned with
unerring foresight. She at once devoted two large rooms opening on the
garden to Annette.

Martella hurried about, helping to get the house in order, and seemed
as if there was nothing to depress her spirits.

Rothfuss complained to me that the "forest imp," as he at times called
Martella, left him no peace, day or night. She wanted him to tell her
why people had to be soldiers, and why there was such a thing as war;
and she had abused the Prince in terms that would secure her seven
years in the fortress of Illenberg, if her remarks were reported to the
authorities.

She had once even wanted to run off to the Prince and tell him how
wicked it was to command human beings to shoot one another, and that he
should, at all events, give her lover back again, for the war was
nothing to Ernst or to her.

Rothfuss called the professor to his assistance.

Richard declined the commission, remarking that it was not necessary
for every maiden to know why her lover was forced to go to the wars,
and that, in the present instance, he hardly knew the reason himself.

Notwithstanding this remark, he essayed to speak with Martella on the
subject, and I have never seen him so nervous and confused as on that
occasion; for Martella called out to him, "Do not say a word: it is all
of no use." Then she embraced him, and kissed him, and pressed him to
her heart.

Martella's ardent kisses had so surprised and confused him that it was
some time before he could collect himself. I had never seen him so
unnerved before. I believed that I understood the cause of his emotion.

Martella was a riddle which to Richard seemed more difficult of
solution than to any of us.

What we had all failed to accomplish was brought about by the
simple-minded Spinner.

Had she been told that she could be of use, or had she divined it? She
came up to Martella and said, "Child, your lot is a hard one; but look
at me: mine is still harder. My best child, indeed my only one,--for
the others had left me to starve,--has also gone to the war; and though
a lover be ever so dear, he is not a son, as you will sometime know
when you have a son of your own."

After that, Martella was quite resigned. She had, of course, not
acquired any idea of the significance of the word "State;" but she now
felt that the fate of all beings was ordained by a great overruling
power.

Joseph kept us constantly informed of the excitement that reigned
through the neighborhood. Funk was the chief spokesman. He announced
that the time was about to arrive when Germany would become a free
confederation like our neighbor Switzerland.

I do not think that one of those loud talkers believed in the
fulfilment of such hopes; but, for the time being, it afforded them an
opportunity of indulging in high-sounding phrases. On the other hand,
we knew that to "abolish Prussia," as their phrase ran, would simply be
the first step towards preparing for Germany the fate of Poland.
And yet my own kindred--my son, my son-in-law, and Martin, my
grandson--were fighting to accomplish that very object.



                              BOOK SECOND.



                               CHAPTER I.


We were seated on the balcony when we saw Bertha and her children
coming up the hill towards the house. My wife at once arose, and opened
the two folding-doors, as if with that action she were opening wide our
hearts to receive them.

Realizing the fact that there was no escaping from our troubles, Bertha
had conquered her sorrow, and now appeared as fresh and cheerful as if
she had just been drinking at the fountain of youth.

As soon as the first greetings were over, my wife inquired about Ernst.

Bertha had seen him but once, as his captain had sent him up the
country to get transportation for horses.

"That is bad; they should not have sent him there. O Ernst, poor, dear
Ernst!" suddenly shrieked my wife.

She grew pale and fell back on a chair. We feared that she would faint.
Bertha rushed to her aid, but she speedily recovered herself, and her
trembling lips were the only sign, of the emotion she had passed
through. She did not tell us why she had found it so wrong of them to
send Ernst on that errand. She accompanied Bertha to her room, and
stroking the light locks of little Victor, whom she had taken on her
lap, said, "He looked just as you do when he was a little boy, except
that he had blue eyes."

"Yes," said Bertha, "my husband has often noticed that Victor bears
great resemblance to Ernst."

"And Uncle Ernst promised me a horse," said Victor.

"Did he?" said my wife, with pleased looks: "If he did that, it is all
right, but sad enough for all. Still, others have their burdens to bear
as well as we."

Martella's first meeting with Bertha as well as with Annette, resulted
in mutual attraction.

Bertha was obliged to tell Martella all that she knew about Ernst, and
while she was holding the hand of the strange child, the latter must
have felt a consciousness of the candor and straightforwardness of
Bertha's character, for she looked into her face with sparkling eyes.

Martella asked Bertha whether Ernst had sent the broken ring by her.

Bertha said he had not.

She removed a ring from her finger and offered it to Martella, who
declined it.

When Annette offered both her hands to Martella, and said that she had
for a long while been anxious to make her acquaintance, Martella was
quite confused, and looked down towards the ground. When she raised her
head, her eyes fell on a light green necktie which Annette wore.

"How pretty it is!" were her first words.

Annette immediately removed the tie, and fastened it about Martella's
neck.

"It is quite warm, yet," said Martella; and Annette replied, "How
lovely! Let us regard that as a good omen."

When Bertha, who rarely gave way to sentiment, returned and joined us
again, she said, "Let us now be thrice as kind and loving to one
another as we have been, and be indulgent with each other's moods. It
is only by such means that we can manage to live through these terrible
times."

Bertha and her daughter Clotilde, a charming, graceful child about nine
years of age, were so clever in anticipating every wish of my wife's,
that, although it had always been her wont to be serving others and
providing for their comfort, she was now obliged to let them have their
own way.

Martella seemed almost inseparable from Rothfuss, and Victor was always
with the two. He accompanied them out to the fields and into the woods;
and it was difficult to say which of the two was the happier, Rothfuss
the old, or Victor the young, child.

It would have been difficult also to say which of the two, Victor or
Martella, cut wilder capers, for the young play-fellow with the soldier
cap seemed to make her forget all her trouble. She was quite proud of
her skill in leaping, and loved to display it.

Bertha maintained that, in spite of rough manners, many of Martella's
movements were full of wondrous grace; and when she would turn around
five or six times on one foot, Victor could never imitate her.

On the very day of her arrival, Annette awakened great interest in the
village.

She ascended to the top of the church steeple, where none of us had
ever been. She waved her handkerchief from the little window in the
belfry, until we took notice of her and returned her salute. All of the
villagers who were not engaged in the fields had gathered in groups,
and were looking up at the church steeple.

When she joined us at dinner, she told us that she had already found
out everything. The school-master had told her of the woods that had
been planted by my wife, that she had already been at the Gustava
Spring, and that the water had tasted as if it were pure dew.

"Ah, how fortunate you are to own all this! The very air you breathe is
your own."

She talked incessantly, and many of her remarks were quite
entertaining. She plied Richard with so many questions that he looked
quite displeased, and soon left the table.

"I can tell by the professor's looks that he is musical; is he not?"

"Indeed he is; he is esteemed an excellent violincello player."

"I can assure you that I asked no one, and I am so glad that my
intuitions did not deceive me."

While Annette was paying a visit to the school-mistress, Richard gave
vent to his anger at her; but my wife pacified him. Annette could not
enjoy the quiet possession of anything, and was always anxious to
impart what she knew and felt to others. She was evidently of a very
hospitable nature, and would, in good time, acquire repose of manner.

During the first few days, while we were yet without news of any kind,
and before the journals had given us any information as to the
movements of the troops, Annette did not allow us to get a moment's
rest.

The way she worried us all, and Richard in particular, was quite
provoking; and yet this lesser trouble made us forget the greater one.

My father-in-law had converted the large corner room on the ground
floor of our house into a veritable temple of beauty. He had, from time
to time, purchased casts of the best antique statues, and had carefully
arranged them along the walls and on pedestals, placing beautiful
engravings between them.

He had thus brought the immortal types of beauty into the depths of the
forest. The room in which he had placed the statues, and which Richard
jokingly entitled "Athens," was a favorite haunt of ours.

Annette was greatly surprised to find such treasures with us, and said
to Richard, "These undying types of a past great civilization are at
home everywhere. It is because they no longer have, and indeed never
did have, anything in common with the life of fashion, that they are
thus immortal. Do you not agree with me?"

She always insisted on having an answer to her questions. Then she
would briskly add: "Now I understand the meaning of the Niobe; she is
the old spinner who lives out on the rock." When we laughed at this
conceit of hers, she told us, "Oh! I beg your pardon, I mean that she
is the embodiment of a mother's grief in time of war."

Pointing to a statue of Iphigenia, she inquired, "Herr Professor, can
you tell me how the Grecian priestesses spent their time? Do you think
it possible to be constantly offering sacrifices and uttering lofty
thoughts?"

Richard admitted that he could not give her the desired information;
and Annette was quite delighted that she had posed the professor. She
did not give up troubling him, however.

All her notions of life in the country had been derived from books, and
she was quite shocked to find that the mere money value or utility of
trees was the only point of view in which they were regarded.

Notwithstanding her overflowing, emotional temperament, she had quite a
taste for details, and even for figures. At the first sight of a
prettily situated village, she would always make inquiries in regard to
the number of its inhabitants, their means, and manner of living. I was
obliged to tell her all about my own household--how many acres of
timber there were ready to cut, and how much was young timber; the
amount of our annual production, how much live-stock my meadows would
support, how much fruit my orchards gave me, and also how the work was
divided amongst the four men-servants and three maids that we employed.

She examined the whole establishment, from the stable to the loft. She
seemed to take especial delight in the happy combination we had
effected between the fruits of culture and the pursuit of husbandry.
There was a certain air of solid comfort and good taste in our home. It
had descended from the times of my father-in-law, and had been kept up
by us.

With good judgment, Annette thought that the very best site had been
selected for our house. The hill beyond the hollow at the back of the
house protected us on three sides, but was not near enough to deprive
us of fresh air, or to keep out the gentle breezes that would come up
from the valley after sunset and carry away the miasmatic vapors, thus
affording us healthful and refreshing sleep during the night. A barn,
which the meadow farmer had so placed that it destroyed part of the
view down the valley, was a great eyesore to Annette.

She asked Richard why the air with us was so cool and invigorating, and
was very grateful when he explained the theory of the dew-fall to her.

She was full of charming ingenuousness, for she once said. "I do not
doubt that you enjoy the singing of the birds, but I honestly confess
that I do not. It is pleasant to know that the little animal up in the
trees is so joyful; but, nevertheless, there is no beauty in tones
without connection or expression. I find that there are no more tones
in the scale of the finch than in that of the barn-yard rooster; and
why do we prefer the notes of the finch?"

Richard often felt annoyed that Annette was constantly keeping every
one about her on pins and needles, and seemed to desire his special
approval of all that she did. He maintained that she was entirely
deficient in mental balance.

The temperaments of Annette and Bertha were in marked contrast to each
other.

When they were seated opposite each other and engaged in conversation,
Bertha would bend forward, while Annette would lean back in her chair,
as if immovable.

Bertha's mere presence exerted a grateful influence, while Annette felt
that she must always be doing something, in order to inspire others
with an interest in her.

Bertha, with all her affection for Martella, remained somewhat reserved
towards her, while Annette was open and confiding, as with a sister.
She was incapable of any other relations than those of perfect intimacy
or absolute indifference.

Richard noticed all these peculiarities, and when he mentioned them to
me, I was almost startled to find how carefully he had been observing
Annette.

He was obliged, however, to agree with my wife when she said,
"Annette's habit of requiring her friends to interest themselves in
whatever engages her attention, is both innocent and childlike. A child
will always think that its whip or its ball is of as much importance to
others as to itself. Bear in mind, moreover, that Annette takes a
lively interest in all that others do, and naturally enough supposes
that they resemble her in that respect."

Annette had gone from the school-house one day, to pay a visit to my
nephew Joseph, who was a friend of her brother, the lawyer, who resided
in the capital. She found that there were well-furnished rooms in his
house, and a few days later removed there. She frankly admitted that
she was too noisy for our home, and that it were better that she should
visit us for a few hours at a time, instead of living with us.

She at once set about rearranging the furniture and removing
unnecessary decorations in her new quarters; and, on the next day,
while the carpenters were busily engaged in making the changes she
had ordered, she drove over to the city to visit the family of the
kreis-director, with whom she had formerly been intimate.

She returned in the evening, bringing their eldest daughter, whom she
intended to keep with her as a companion. A large wagon carrying sofas,
rocking-chairs, and all sorts of furniture followed.

Although Annette had intended to lead a quiet and contemplative life,
she might have been seen in the village at any hour of the day. She
speedily acquainted herself with all of its features. She had, by
rearranging the furniture in her own rooms, made them habitable and
tasteful, and she now desired to effect a corresponding transformation
in the houses of the wood-cutters; but the wives of the well-to-do
farmers looked askance. Whenever she met one of the villagers, she
would greet him or her politely, and would ask both old and young what
they had had for dinner. She insisted that this was the most important
of all questions. The people, however, found it great sport to answer
her with lies.

She had speedily become attached to the wife of the school-master, but
disliked to go to the clergyman's house.



                              CHAPTER II.


Our clergyman was the son of poor parents. His father had been a
beadle. He is without a single spark of genius, but is said to have
distinguished himself by great application. He attends to his duties
methodically, but in a cold and perfunctory manner. During the summer,
he spends much of his time fishing; in the winter, he is almost always
at home. He is well-skilled in that game of chess which requires but
one player. He lost his father while he was quite young, and in order
to be able to aid his mother and his many brothers and sisters, he
married a wealthy, but half-witted girl, whom he never cared to take
into society. Politics had no attractions for him.

Formerly, if a beggar applied to him for alms he would have him sent up
into his room, and would ask him, "What good will it do if I give you
that which will only help you for a moment or so? Come and listen"--and
he would then read the beggar a sermon, or a chapter out of the Bible.
But, of late years, the beggars had piously avoided his house.

Our school-master, on the other hand, is a clever and wide-awake man.
He, too, had taken part in the political movements of 1848, but when
placed on trial was acquitted. Ever since that time, he has held aloof
from political affairs. He married a woman who is exceedingly clever,
and who brought him some money besides.

The clergyman has no children: the school-master has three--two sons,
one of whom is a merchant down by the fortress; the other is a
machinist, and resides in America. He is said to have quite a large
business. The daughter is the wife of the inspector of roads. The
school-master is quite proud that he can say, "If I were to give up my
position to-morrow, I could afford to live without work"--a state of
affairs to which the skill and economy of his wife has greatly
contributed. The couple lead a loving and tranquil life. They are hale
and hearty, and, as it often happens when two persons have lived
together many years, they have grown to look very much alike. Their
garden was filled with teeming flower-beds. Florists from the
neighboring watering-places would come daily to purchase flowers, and
thus the garden had become a source of considerable profit.

But now that the war had emptied the watering-places, the flowers were
left to perish for want of purchasers.

Annette instructed the school-master's wife in the art of drying
flowers, and making pretty bouquets of them.

Carl's mother, who lived in a little house out by the rock, worked
every day in the garden of the school-master's wife.

Annette was attracted by the woman. She was short and thin, old and
stooping, but had wonderfully clear and sparkling eyes, and Annette
felt quite happy to think that this old woman, who was almost deaf,
could by means of her eyes still have so much enjoyment.

During the summer, the spinner, as had been her wont every year, would
scrape off the bark from the branches of the elderberry tree, and
afterward tie up the branches in bundles. Annette did great damage by
explaining to her--she had only learned it herself the day before--that
they would be used to make gunpowder. When the old woman heard that,
she felt as if she could not bear to touch the wood; but, as she had
undertaken the task, she was obliged to finish it, and so went on with
her work, although it was not without murmuring.

Through Annette's insinuating herself into the intimacy of others, much
that happened in our village acquired clearer colors, and greater
importance in my eyes.

I told her the history of the spinner. She had had a husband, a tall,
handsome man. He had been employed as a laborer on the road, but had
wasted all his earnings at the tavern.

Besides that, he had been a sportsman, and had loved, above all things,
to roam through the woods with the forester and his attendants, in
search of game.

While these things were going on, the wife had, with her own earnings,
reared four children, who were always among the tidiest in the village.
Whenever anyone expressed pity that she had so thoughtless and
inconsiderate a husband, she would say, "Oh, that's all right. If he
were not so shiftless a fellow, he would never have married me; he
would have gone and married some woman better, handsomer, and richer
than I was."

When the building of the railway was begun, he gave up his situation
and went to work in the valley; but he would never bring home a
groschen of money. Indeed, on one occasion, when he received a larger
sum than usual, he drove up in a carriage with two comrades, and the
three were not content until the last kreutzer had been spent.

But yet with all this no word of complaint ever fell from the lips of
his wife; and when, at last, her husband lost his life while blasting a
rock, she bewailed his death, saying that he was the best man in the
world.

Two of her sons and one daughter were employed at Mulhausen; but they
would not help the mother. Carl, who had been Joseph's servant, and was
now with the troops, gave all his earnings to her, and would not suffer
her to accept a gift from any one.

When Annette knew this, she was all attention to the spinner; but it
required much clever management to be able to do her a service. Besides
that, it was awkward that the spinner was so indistinct of speech, that
with the exception of her son Carl and the school-master's wife, there
was hardly any one who could understand her.

Richard and Bertha shook their heads while watching Annette's
movements, and could not refrain from commenting on them. But my wife
would always tell them that Annette was of an active temperament, and
was only happy when assisting others. She also told them that Annette
had interested herself for the baker Lerz's victim and her child, and
that she had given the clergymen of the neighboring villages
considerable sums to be distributed among the poor. And, further, that
it was much to her credit that she would not allow herself to be driven
away from her work by rudeness on the part of those whom she was trying
to benefit.

We soon had an amusing instance of this.

One Sunday afternoon, while we were up in the arbor, Annette had seated
herself with Rothfuss and Martella on a bench in front of the house.
She was trying to find out from Rothfuss how much he loved his horses
and cattle.

Rothfuss knew nothing about loving them. All he said was, "Feed them
well, and they will work for you."

She was quite provoked that the tinkling of the bells of the cows that
were grazing on the mountain patches was inharmonious. She said that
she would buy bells that were in accord with each other, and present
them to the owners of the cows.

She conversed quite familiarly with Rothfuss and Martella, and asked
them to look upon her as their companion.

To which Rothfuss replied, "I have nothing against the Jews--they are
all the same to me. In the place where I was born, there were lots of
Jews, and I was on good terms with all of them. Two of them served in
the same regiment with me; and in my village there was a splendid girl
whom they called 'the little beauty;' she was strong and healthy and
jolly. She loved to dance with me; and, if I could only have afforded
to marry, I would have been bound to have her. And you may take my word
for it, she would not have refused me.

"You are a sensible woman; one can talk to you about all sorts of
things. You are not like Baroness Arven, who once ordered me to take my
cap in my hand while I was speaking to her. You are better than she is.

"Yes, indeed; my first love was a Jewess.

"And then there was Myerle the horse-dealer, who often came to see us.
He looks just like you;--are you related to him? I know him intimately;
he is a sharp fellow, and a man of his word, and always gives two crown
thalers drink-money. Of late he has been trying to make it Prussian
thalers, but that won't go down.

"The Jews are just like us in everything. There is only one thing that
they cannot do--they don't know how to drink; and they don't try it,
either. But in all other respects they are just like us. 'He who is wet
to the skin need not dread the rain.'"

"And you, Martella," asked Annette, "what do you think of the Jews?"

"I? I don't think of them at all. I want nothing to do with them. In
the forest they always told me that my mother must have been a Jewess;
but it is not true."

"Who is your mother, then?"

"Who? Why, Madame Cuckoo;--just ask her."

Martella walked away.

Annette joined us and told us all that had happened, adding: "One is
always getting new and interesting ideas. Rothfuss and Martella,
comparing their religion with mine, look upon themselves as nobles who
vouchsafe me their favor. I accept it with thanks."

My wife, however, looked over to us with a significant glance that
seemed quite distinctly to say, "There, you can see now that she is
free from prejudice, and full of imperturbable kindness."

Notwithstanding her love and respect for us, Annette found great
pleasure in her intimate relations with the neighboring family of Baron
Arven. This may have been the result of her having formerly been kept
in the background.

Her constant journeyings to and fro were the occasion of our making
some delightful acquaintances.

Just beyond the boundary line, where I owned a large piece of woodland,
there resided a young forester, who was of noble birth, and a relative
of Annette's husband. We had before that been strangers to each other;
but Annette knew how to draw him and his wife into our circle, and we
were charmed by the simple manners of these highly cultivated people.

Our family was so widely extended that we found it quite easy to trace
a distant relationship to our newly discovered friends. The young wife
was the daughter of a high official. Though living in the woods, she
did not neglect her intellectual life, and found good music of great
assistance in that regard. She had also been able to bring up sturdy
boys; and we were quite pleased to learn that her only rule with them
had been _truthfulness and obedience_. These two requisites had been
firmly and inexorably insisted upon, and as a result the boys did their
parents great credit.

The new element that Annette had thus introduced into our circle often
caused us to forget that the very next hour might bring us the saddest
news.



                              CHAPTER III.


It was eventide. The clear tones of the village bell filled the valley
and were echoed back from the mountains opposite. The young woods down
by the stone wall seemed transparent with the reflection of the rosy
sunset, and all looked as if bathed in golden clouds.

We were sitting in the arbor, and every one was probably thinking to
himself, "Perhaps at this very moment men of the same nation--yea,
brothers--may be murdering one another on the battle-field."

In a low voice, and with an absence of all that resembled her usual
excessive excitability, Annette remarked that my wife ought to feel
very happy to think that she had planted yonder wood.

At that moment we saw a carriage coming up the hill.

"It is father!" exclaimed the daughter of the kreis-director, and ran
to meet him.

We observed that he opened the carriage door for her, and that she
entered it and remained with him.

Annette remarked that she had given orders that all telegrams should be
sent to Herr Von Rontheim, who would forward them to us as speedily as
possible. This must be a matter of importance, however, as he had come
in person. But let his tidings be what they may, we would stand by and
support one another.

Rontheim entered.

He brought us the news of a great victory gained by the Austrians, who
were said to have penetrated into Silesia. His manner of imparting this
was in accord with our feelings, and was quite free from any spirit of
rejoicing. A brief telegram had brought the news.

Rontheim seemed quite ill at ease and soon left, taking his daughter
and Annette with him. A little while after that, Joseph arrived, and
told me privately that he wished that Richard and I would come over to
his house.

I was struck with fear, and felt that there was bad news in store for
me.

Without knowing why, I felt alarmed.

When I entered Annette's apartment, Rontheim was seated at a table on
which there was a lighted lamp. In his hand there was a newspaper. He
did not rise to receive me, but requested me to be seated.

He grasped my hand firmly while he said, "You are a strong man, a just
father--no father can be blamed for what his child may do.--Your son
Ernst has deserted."

Those were his words: I have written them down with my own hand. Could
I, at that time, have believed that I would ever be able to do this!
But to this day, I cannot tell what rent my heart and crazed my brain.
All that I can recollect is that I felt as if a bullet were piercing my
brain, and found it strange that I knew even that much of what was
going on. I remember Richard's throwing his arms about my neck, and
crying, "Father! Dear father!" and all was over.

When I recovered consciousness my first thought was, "Why live again?
Death has been conquered."

The next thought that flashed upon me was, "But my wife!--She foresaw
it all, yet how will she bear this burden?"

Annette came up to me and seemed to guess at my thoughts, for with a
voice choked with tears she said:

"Do not tell your wife of this to-night. In the morning, when day
approaches, if you wish me to tell her of this, I am at your service.
But how cold your hands are!"

She knelt down and kissed my hands.

The director handed the newspaper to Richard. I noticed how his hand
trembled while he held it. I asked to have it handed to me, and read
the proclamation of my son's dishonor and the order for his arrest.

When I at last started to return home, I was obliged, for the first
time in my life, to lean on my son Richard for support. Annette had
asked permission to accompany me. We declined her proffered aid. The
kind-hearted, impulsive creature was all gentleness and desire to
assist me.

I arrived in front of the house. There stands the large and
well-ordered house,--but no joy will ever enter there again.

The wind from the valley was swaying the red beech to and fro; the
fountain swelled and roared while its waters glistened in the broad
moonlight. All this to be seen again and again, and yet--"daily
suicide"--

"What are you saying, father? What do you mean by those words?" asked
Richard.

It was not until then that I became aware of my having uttered them.

For Ernst, for my poor child, no day would ever more begin with the
love of life. "Daily suicide"--in this phrase his deed and its
consequences seemed to concentrate themselves. I was obliged to sit
clown on the steps, and not until then was I able to shed tears.

How often Ernst had run up and down there! I could yet remember the
first time that he climbed those steps on all fours, turning his pretty
head with its light curls towards me when I called out to him, and
waiting quietly until I would come and take him up in my arms!

But now he had conjured up a restless demon whom no cry or supplication
could exorcise.

At this very moment I can distinctly remember how I wished that all the
sorrow and pain might descend on my own head and be gathered up into my
own heart, in order that I might bear them for others.

"Master, why are you sitting at your own threshold like a strange
beggar?" were the words with which Rothfuss surprised me. "I have
already heard what our madcap Ernst has done; do not let that grieve
you to death--that will do you no good. In this world, every one must
carry his own hide to market. It is bad enough in all conscience, but
there is courage in it for all. There are hundreds and thousands of
them who would like to do what he has done; but they follow the drum
with its rat-tat-tat, and put on airs into the bargain. Do you know
what I think of this matter?--Do not interrupt me, Heir Professor; I
know what I am talking about--I say that every large family must
have its black sheep, and I would rather a thousand times have a
good-for-nothing than an idiot, the very sight of whom makes one's hair
stand on end.

"Yes, indeed; my mother was right. Her favorite maxim was: 'Better sour
than rotten,' and 'To be hard of hearing is not half so bad as to have
poor eyes.'

"In every family there is something; or, as the poor woman once said:
'There is something everywhere,--except in my lard-pot, where there is
nothing at all.'"

Rothfuss would not rest until I got up again.

I went up the steps with him and into the room. He drew off my boots,
and was full of kind attentions.

Addressing me in a whisper, he offered to tell the news to his mistress
in the morning, as he thought that he was best fitted for the task.

He meant to speak of it in such a way that she would take it as his
stupid talk and give him a thorough scolding, and thus wreak her anger
on him. He thought that would be the best way, because that would help
to break the first shock of the news, and then it would be easier to
endure the rest.

The only other thing that troubled Rothfuss was how he might stop
Funk's evil tongue. He felt sure that with the exception of Funk,
others would be as much grieved as we were.

That was the trouble. The news would enlist the attention of the busy
world, those who pitied as well as those who rejoiced in the sufferings
of others.

But what matters the world: it can neither help nor hinder our griefs.

I have experienced much bitter suffering:--I have gazed into the grave
that had received all that had been dearest to me on earth, but no pain
can be compared to that of grief for a son, who, though living, is
lost.

Morning had already dawned. The birds were singing in the trees; the
sun had returned; all life seemed to awake anew; and at last I found an
hour's sleep.

"Destroyer of sleep!" were the first words I uttered when I awoke.

How can he enjoy a moment's rest, or swallow a morsel of food while he
knows that his parents are sorrowing for him.

I have often been advised--it is easy enough to say the words--"Make up
your mind to blot his name from your memory." But it is not so easy to
follow such counsel.

My wife softly slumbered through the whole night. Will she ever again
have so refreshing a sleep?



                              CHAPTER IV.


The morning was bright and clear. We were seated around the breakfast
table, every one of us doubly oppressed. We were grieved on our own
account, and troubled by the thought that the mother's heart was soon
to become rent by the sad tidings.

Richard had told the news to Bertha.

My wife seemed to be watching Bertha, and at last reproved her for
having been weeping again. "It is our duty," said she, "to accept the
inevitable with resignation. Mankind might well be likened to the
plants in the field, which are obliged quietly to submit to the storm
that descends on their heads."

We exchanged hurried glances, but Bertha did not reply.

"Will my wife be as strong in a few moments from now?" was the question
I inwardly asked myself.

Rothfuss was heard cracking his whip in front of the house. He was
about to drive out into the fields, taking Martella with him.

His intention was to tell her all that had happened as soon as he
reached the fields, so that she might there spend her rage, and not
annoy the household by her noise.

Victor rode along with them.

My wife inquired whether the newspaper had not yet come, or why I was
not reading it, and wished to know what was the matter.

The moment had arrived. I gathered up all the courage that was yet left
me, and said, "We will take you at your word--'It is our duty to accept
the inevitable with resignation.'"

"What is it? Tell me."

"Our son Ernst has--deserted!"

"After all!" exclaimed my wife, while she laid her clinched fists on
her heart, as if to prevent it from bursting, and with compressed lips
stared into vacancy.

Fearing that she would faint, the children and I rushed to her
assistance.

"Never mind; all will be over in a moment. I can now breathe again. And
now, I beg of you all, be silent." She closed her eyes. We remained
standing around her in silence. Not a sound was heard, save the rapid
ticking of the clocks and the innocent singing of the thistle-finch.

At last, she removed her hands from her face and gave way to a torrent
of tears. With her hands folded on her breast, and softly, without a
loud sign of pain, she thus lamented:

"O my son! My poor son! My poor, unhappy child! You are now a fugitive
in the wide world, and without a home--lost and distracted--a wandering
proof of the confusion of our broken household, now rent in twain and
bereft of peace. His heart is a wayward one. It is easier to spoil a
human being than to improve one. Let him who believes that this war is
just before God rise up and plunge his sword into my son's heart!"

She had raised herself while uttering the last sentence; when she
finished, she fell back in her seat again. She then suddenly and
energetically sat up again, and asked, "Does Martella know of this?"

I replied that Rothfuss had taken her out into the fields with him in
order to tell her all.

"It is well," she answered. "Give me the newspaper, that I may read the
letter of arrest. This was the reason the director came to us yesterday
and departed without saying good-by. Give me the advertisement which
thousands are now reading--I am his mother."

I was obliged to tell her that I had given the paper to Rothfuss, who
had asked for it in order that he might show it as a proof to Martella.

My wife nodded approvingly, and said, "Yes, Martella. Listen to what I
am about to say. Ernst has run away because he was unwilling to fight
in this fratricidal war. That is true enough, as far as it goes; I
feel assured of that. But let me tell you something more--he is
unfaithful--unfaithful to his parents, his brothers and sisters, and
his betrothed. I beg of you, Henry, do not contradict me! Promise me
one thing."

"Whatever you wish."

"You, my husband, and you, my children, faithfully promise me that,
when I am no longer with you, you will firmly and inviolably cherish
Martella as a child of the house and as one of the family."

We promised all that she asked.

"I have one other request to make. Whatever may happen, do not for a
moment conceal aught from me; do no violence to yourselves for my sake.
I can support everything as long as I know all."

Her next wish was that we should all go out into the fields, for she
felt sure that Rothfuss would not be able to control Martella, who, she
feared, might run away and rush into suffering or death.

Richard said that he would be able to assist Rothfuss, and that he knew
the direction in which they had gone.

He hurried away to meet them.

"You had better go in and join them," we heard Richard say as he left
the house, and then he ran off on his errand.

A moment later, Annette joined us. Although usually quite courtly in
her manner, she was now diffident and timid, and in heartfelt tones
begged us to consider her as one of us, and permit her to assist in
bearing our affliction.

My wife extended her arms towards her, and for the first time embraced
and kissed Annette.

"I have brought smelling-salts and other restoratives," said Annette in
a cheerful tone, while the thick tears were running down her cheeks.
"But, dear Madame Gustava, you need nothing of that kind; you are as
firm as a forest-tree."

"Ernst will never again return to his forest," complained my wife.

Neither Bertha nor I were able to utter a word, but Annette said to my
wife, "You have a right to indulge in the deepest grief. I shall never
attempt to persuade you otherwise. I know how galling it is when
friends come and imagine that they can console us by smoothing over or
belittling our griefs. It is well, after all, that I am with you. It is
indeed true that I only feel your sorrows through sympathy, while the
blow itself has descended on your heads. With all my sincere sympathy,
there are hours when I can forget your sorrows, and am thus better able
to be of use to you."

My wife again took Annette's hand and pressed it to her own forehead.

"Do you believe," said my wife, addressing Annette; "do you believe
that Ernst sees his actions in their true colors?"

"I do not."

"I hope that it is so. Indeed, I really trust that my child does not
reason clearly on this subject. I would rather have him think himself
right in what he is doing; for he will then be able to endure his days,
and to sleep peacefully at night."

"How happy one is to watch the growth of bright, youthful memories in a
child's soul; but after such a deed, it were kindest to wish that he
might forget everything." And then turning towards me, she added, "I
feel so badly to think that my favorite maxim is now dead."

"Which?"

"When I was asked how one could best bring up children, I would always
answer, 'Let your married life be pure, for thus alone can you have
good, righteous children.' But it seems that even this is no longer the
case."

No one replied. Annette told us that she had just received a dispatch.
The tidings of victory were false, and the very reverse of the first
news was the true report, for the Prussians had penetrated into
Bohemia.

"Ah, how soon there will be more grieving mothers! If the woful cries
of all these mothers could be concentrated into one utterance, who is
there that could hear it, and still live?"

Thus lamented my wife. We sat in silence.

Richard entered, saying, "Mother is right; she looks far ahead." He
told us that Martella had shouted with joy when Rothfuss had told her
of Ernst's flight; she had praised his adroitness.

And Victor called out, "For shame! Uncle Ernst is a coward! For shame!
Uncle Ernst is a bad man!"

Martella raised the scythe and was about to hurl it at Victor, but
Rothfuss fortunately parried the stroke. Martella now wrestled with
Rothfuss, and called out to Victor, "You soldier's child! Keep quiet,
you soldier's child!" She seemed to use the words reproachfully.

Suddenly she exclaimed, "I know where Ernst is! I am going to
him--away, away from all of you!"

She started on a brisk run, but was caught in the arms of Richard, who
was just coming up.

When Richard told us all this, his voice seemed broken, and, for some
time, he stood with his eyes cast on the ground. Then he went on to
tell us that Martella had become quiet and gentle, and had willingly
consented to ride home again, when he told her that mother wanted to
see her; and that now she was down in the barn, and was sitting on the
clover, waiting until she was sent for.

Martella was called up to the house. When she entered the room, my wife
requested us to leave. I have never learned what passed between them.

I was quite surprised at what Rothfuss told me.

When Richard caught Martella in his arms, she cried out, "No, no; you
shall not kiss me!" and pushed him from her with such force, that he
would have been thrown to the ground if Rothfuss had not come to his
assistance.

Richard had told us nothing of that.



                               CHAPTER V.


When Edward Levi, the iron merchant, came to out village, he cautiously
went, first of all, to my nephew Joseph; he then sent for me, and
handed me a letter from Ernst. It was written in a firm hand, and read
as follows:


"To my parents I say farewell. I leave my so-called Fatherland forever.

"It grieves me to know that I must grieve you, but I cannot help it.

"If thousands had done what I did, it would have been praised as a
noble deed. Must we sacrifice ourselves to this degenerate Fatherland?

"I cannot murder my compatriots, nor do I care to allow them to murder
me.

"Take care of Martella for my sake. I will write to her myself.

                                         "YOUR LOST SON."


"You must pluck such a child from your heart--you must forget him
entirely."

These were Joseph's words after he had read the letter. Many others
spoke just as he did. But he who has ever heard the word "father" from
the lips of his child, knows that this is impossible. From that time I
always said to myself, "No day without sorrow." Do you know what it
means never to have a pure, bright, happy day?--"no day without
sorrow?" And yet, I admit it, I was not without hope. I felt a quiet
assurance that Ernst would be all right in the end. How it was to be
brought about, I did not know; but I felt that the seeds of
indestructible virtue and purity were yet lurking amidst this mass of
ruin and rottenness. There might yet be a turn in the tide of affairs,
that would draw the current of my son's life into the proper channel.
My wife mentioned his name only once after that. But her love for the
child was stronger and firmer than her resolution.

She took pains to be about and to keep up an interest in all that was
going on: but, from the moment that she was shocked by the news of
Ernst's desertion, it was evident that it cost her an effort to control
her will.

She seemed constantly tired. She rarely went out--hardly ever as far as
the garden, where she would walk but a short distance before sitting
down on a bench. She would often sit in an absent manner, gazing into
vacancy, and when addressed would seem as if hurriedly collecting her
thoughts.

Martella had also received a letter. It contained a ring; but she would
not show any one, not even my wife, what Ernst had written. Edward
Levi, the iron merchant, acted with great good sense and delicacy. He
attempted neither to explain things nor to console us; but gave us the
simple account of how the affair had happened. If it had not related to
my own son, and had not been so full of sadness, Ernst's ingenuity in
the matter would even have afforded us amusement.

It was late in the evening when he arrived at the town in which Levi
resided. He went to the police-office at once, and ordered a forester
whom he found there to produce Edward Levi, who arrived shortly
afterward, and to whom Ernst used these words:

"You have been a soldier and can be trusted. I shall confide my secret
to you."

He then informed him, with an air of great secrecy, that he had been
ordered to enter the Prussian lines as a spy, and requested him to
provide him at once with some French money and the dress of a Jewish
cattle-dealer; and also to bring to him a cattle-dealer provided with a
correct passport.

After all this had been successfully accomplished, Ernst wrote the two
letters and handed them to Levi, with instructions not to deliver them
until three days had elapsed.

He started off with his companion. On the way, he asked him to show him
his passport: it was handed to him but not returned. He carefully
instructed the cattle-dealer to address him by the name of Rothfuss.

"Why, that is the name of the old servant that your father thinks so
much of!"

"That is the very reason I have chosen it; you will have no difficulty
in remembering it. What is my name?

"The same as the servant's."

"No--but what is it?"

"Rothfuss. Why, every child knows the name. Might I inquire--"

"No; you need ask no questions."

They journeyed on together as far as Kehl, where Ernst suddenly
disappeared. The drover waited all day, in the vain hope of seeing him
again, and at last returned home.

Ernst had in all likelihood gone to my sister, who lives in the Hagenau
forest, or to my brother-in-law, the director of the water-works on the
Upper Rhine. Before leaving, he handed a bag of money that belonged to
the state to Edward Levi, for safe-keeping.

Joseph, who was always ready to assist others, at once offered to
journey after Ernst, in the hope of overtaking him and consulting with
him as to his future.

I had instructed Rothfuss to make up a package of the clothes that
Ernst had left behind him, and I was at Joseph's house when he brought
the bundle there.

Martella wanted to accompany Joseph; but, finding that he would not
consent, she turned around to her dog, and said: "Pincher, go with
Joseph and hunt your master!"

The dog looked up at her, as if knowing what she said, and then ran
after Joseph.

While I was yet with Joseph, a copy of our newspaper came to hand; it
had been sent to me marked.

The marked passages read as follows:

"Father Noah, the Prussian lickspittle"--I recognized Funk by these
very words--"has allowed a dove to desert from his ark.

"We cannot but regard the rumor that the father had urged his son to
take this step, because of his own aversion to fighting against the
beloved Prussians, as a malicious invention.

"We do not believe the party of these beggarly Prussians, or this
weak-minded old gray-beard, endowed with the requisite firmness.

"But the noble Caffre's pride in his virtue must have received a
fearful blow."

I must admit that this low personal attack gave me much pain. I was,
however, more grieved to think that party hatred could induce men to
indulge in such abuse.

Joseph remarked, "One should indeed always have an enemy, in order to
find out what criticism and explanation our deeds may be subjected to."

Joseph was a burgomaster. The game-keeper came to report to him.

My very heart trembled with fear, and I felt ashamed of myself in the
presence of the game-keeper.

He had the description and order of arrest for my son in his pocket.

One does not find how far and how deep honor has spread its roots,
until it is lost.

Unrest, the most hateful demon in the world, had been conjured up in
our house.

Now that our pride was broken, we at last noticed how proud we had
been.

One day, when walking through the village, I met the perjured baker,
Lerz of Hollerberg. He extended his hand to me in a friendly manner.
Did he regard me as one of his equals? I withdrew my hand.

He shrugged his shoulders contemptuously and went on his way.

The first neighbor who visited me was Baron Arven, who lives about a
mile and a half from our house.

I believe I have not yet referred to this man. His dignified and quiet
demeanor betokened a really brave and noble character. He was just what
he seemed to be--free from all pretence or deceit.

I must add a few words in regard to his family. Following the bent of
most of the dwellers in our part of the country, he had gone down the
Danube and had entered the Austrian army. He afterward left the service
and returned to the family estate, bringing with him a wife who was a
native of Bohemia, and who held but little intercourse with the
neighborhood. Her only familiar companions were the clergy.

The Bishop had stopped there on two occasions while making his pastoral
journeys.

She led a life of seclusion in the castle, or rather the convent; for
the estate on which they lived had, at one time, belonged to a
religious order.

The Baron had two sons, splendid fellows, who were serving in the
cavalry. He is a member of our upper chamber. He is a man of but few
words, but always votes with the moderate liberals.

He has no respect for the people; their coarse morals and manners are
repugnant to him. He does not deny that mankind in general have equal
rights; but, as individuals, he would only accord them such
consideration as their education, their means, or their social position
would entitle them to. In this respect he is a thorough aristocrat.

The farmers speak of him with love and veneration, although he is never
friendly towards them. He is very active as the President of our
Agricultural Association. He has the finest cattle and the best
machines, and his special hobby is to stock the many woodland streams
and lakes of our vicinity with fish.

He is passionately fond of the chase and of fishing, and possesses the
art of getting through with his day in the most approved and knightly
manner. Rautenkron acts as his forest-keeper.

That very day, the Baron came riding along, followed by his two fine,
large dogs. He alighted at Joseph's house and saluted Annette, with
whom he had become acquainted at the capital, for he spent several
months there with his family every winter. The family of Von Arven
owned an old mansion in the city.

He came up to me, offered me his hand in silence, and seated himself.

I could not help thinking of some words from the Book of Job, that had
always so deeply affected me: "And none spake a word unto him, for they
saw that his grief was very great."

"My dear neighbor," he at last said, "I see that you, too, have been
highly assessed in the impost of misfortune that every one of us must
pay. I shall spare you any words of attempted consolation, and only add
that there are thousands who would like to do just as your son has
done."

And then, in his calm and collected tone, he spoke of this horrid war,
in which Germans were fighting against each other. Napoleon's darling
hope was that Austria and Prussia might mutually weaken each other, so
that he might be the master and the arbiter of peace, and could then
dictate his own terms. Arven had at one time been an Austrian officer,
and was naturally not partial to Prussia. He had an inborn aversion to
Northern harshness; but with his knowledge of the organization of the
Austrian armies, he felt free to say that Prussia would be victorious.
Although both of his sons were in our army, he said this with great
calmness.

The Baron's presence exerted a gentle, soothing influence on our
household. When I told my wife that he had expressed a wish to speak
with her, she came into the room; and when the two were conversing with
each other, it was like a beautiful song of mourning.

The Baron's presence always produced a subdued tone, an atmosphere of
quiet refinement--an influence like a subtile, pleasing perfume
lingered in the room long after he had taken his departure.

And now, when he was conversing with my wife, she gave utterance to
thoughts that otherwise we might never have become acquainted with.
When conversing with strangers, she revealed far more of her pure and
elevated views of the world than when she was with us alone.

Shortly after the Baron's departure, we were visited by Counsellor
Reckingen, who came over from the city to see us. He usually lived in
strict seclusion from the world. While sailing on Lake Constance, he
had lost his young wife. He had plunged in after her, and had succeeded
in reaching the bank with her, only to find that life had fled. Since
that time, he had lived in solitude, devoting himself to the education
of the little daughter who was left to him.

Under these circumstances, I could not but appreciate his kindness in
paying me this visit.

He seemed to have become quite unused to conversation. He said but
little, and soon went out into the garden in front of our house, in
order to plant some rose-slips that he had brought with him.

I was greatly gratified by the visit of a deputation of my
constituents. It consisted of three esteemed farmer-burgomasters of the
neighborhood. They made no allusion to the grief which had befallen me;
our conversation referred only to the war; and when Martella brought in
wine, they looked at the child with curious eyes.



                              CHAPTER VI.


Ought we to bear the blame of our son Ernst's having wandered from the
right path?

By our example and precept we have guided our children in the path of
virtue, but who can control their souls? I have caused many a fallow
soil to bear fruit, and up on the bleak hills have raised sturdy trees.
Nature's law is unchanging; but if not even a tree can mature without
harm coming to it, how much less can a human soul be expected to do so.
We have lived to see naught but what is good and proper in our son
Richard. His development is so natural and consistent. In his earliest
youth, he decided to devote himself to science. He has steadily
advanced, swerving neither to the right nor the left, and has always
been full of the conscious power of the clear and temperate mind that
grasps the laws underlying the phenomena presented by the world of
thought and of action.

We can neither take credit to ourselves, in the one instance, nor
acknowledge that we were in fault in the other.

My wife had been true to herself, and yet full of resignation in the
first shock of this bitter grief; but now there came an insurmountable
desire to quarrel with her lot, and the puzzling question, "Why should
this happen just to us?" was again awakened.

I dislike to admit it, but truth forces me to say that this was brought
about by the arrival of my daughter Johanna.

Johanna also had her troubles. Her husband was sickly, her son was in
the army, and she seemed chosen for suffering; but chosen by reason of
a higher faith. With inconsiderate zeal, she attempted to awaken the
same faith in us. At that very moment, she thought, when we were
crushed and bowed down by sorrow, our redemption should take place. She
assigned the impiety of our household as the cause of our son's
disobedience.

The education which my wife had received from her father was, as some
would call it, a heathen one; for she had received more instruction
from the classics than from the Bible.

We were seated in our statue gallery. The door that led to the garden
was open; my wife had been eagerly reading from a book, which she now
laid aside with the remark, "That does one good."

"What were you reading?" inquired Johanna.

My wife made no answer, and Johanna repeated her question, when she
said, "I have been reading the Antigone of Sophocles, and I find that I
am right."

"In what respect?"

"It has renewed my recollection of an idea of my father's. When I was
reading the Antigone aloud to him for the first time, he said, If a
woman acted in this way, she would be doing right; but a brother should
not have done so. With a sister, or with a mother, the natural law of
love of kindred is above that of the state, which would have treated
the brother as a traitor to his country. And in this lies the deeply
tragic element--that innocence and guilt are so closely interwoven, and
that two considerations are battling with each other. You men may pass
judgment on Ernst; you require unconditional submission to the lawful
authorities. You are right, because you are men of the law. But, with
Antigone, I rest myself upon that higher law which is far above all
laws that states may frame!

    "'It lives neither for to-day nor for yesterday, but for all time,
      And none can know since when.'

"This book is to me a sacred one."

"Mother!" cried Johanna, with a voice trembling with emotion, "mother,
how can you say that, while I here have the only sacred book in my
hand?"

"In its own sense, that, too, is sacred; but it teaches me nothing of
the deep struggles between the human heart and the laws of the state."

"Mother," cried Johanna, kneeling before her; "here is the Bible. I
implore you to give up those profane books; they cannot help you.
Listen to the Word of God!"

"To me he speaks through these books," answered my wife.

"Mother, we are mourning for the lost son."

"Our son is not lost; he is a sad sacrifice."

Richard entered. Mother said to him, "Read me the story from the
Gospel."

"What do you refer to?" inquired Richard.

"Mother means the Parable of the Prodigal Son," interrupted Johanna;
and holding the Bible on high, she continued: "Here it is: Gospel of
St. Luke, fifteenth chapter, eleventh verse."

"Not you, but Richard, shall read it."

"But, mother--"

"Richard, I wish you to read it."

He had just taken the book, when Annette entered. She asked whether she
was disturbing them.

My wife said that she was not, and requested her to sit down at her
side.

In a calm and full voice Richard read:

"'And he said, A certain man had two sons:

"'And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the
portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his
living.

"'And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and
took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance
with riotous living.

"'And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land;
and he began to be in want.

"'And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he
sent him into his fields to feed swine.

"'And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine
did eat; and no man gave unto him.

"'And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my
father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

"'I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I
have sinned against heaven, and before thee.

"'And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy
hired servants.

"'And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way
off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his
neck, and kissed him.

"'And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and
in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

"'But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and
put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

"'And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be
merry:

"'For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is
found. And they began to be merry.

"'Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to
the house, he heard music and dancing.

"'And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.

"'And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed
the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.

"'And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out
and entreated him.

"'And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve
thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandments; and yet thou
never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.

"'But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living
with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

"'And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have
is thine.

"'It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy
brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.'"

When Richard had finished, he placed his hand on the open book and
said, "This story has much dramatic interest. The father, the two sons,
the servant, are clearly and strikingly drawn; and with correct
judgment; the mother is not mentioned, for here it would not do to have
double notes--a variation of emotion on the part of the father and one
on the part of the mother. I might, indeed, say that a mother would
have dwelt on the appearance her son presented on his return; while
here it is left unnoticed. Further--"

"What do you mean? You are not among your students," angrily
interrupted Johanna.

"You are right," continued Richard, with a quiet smile; "my students
are polite enough to permit me to finish a sentence without
interrupting me. I will also state, first of all, that this ingenious
parable makes no mention of the sister. I do not know what a sister
would have said in that affair."

Johanna jumped from her seat in anger; her features seemed distorted
with passion. She opened her mouth to answer him, but could not utter a
word.

"Shall I go on, mother?" asked Richard.

"Of course; speak on."

"In the first place, the pure spirit which here reveals itself is as
fully acknowledged by us as by the pious believers.

"To me the all-important point is, that it illustrates a view of the
relation between parents and children, which is completely the reverse
of that fostered by the ancient civilization, in which the children
suffer for the sins of their parents. Just think of the curse of the
Atrides. In our days, it is quite different, and the fate of the
parents--their happiness as well as their sorrow--depends upon the
conduct of their children.

"The individual to whom such affliction comes is subject to the great
and universal law of the newer life."

"Is there anything else you would like to say?" inquired Johanna, in an
angry voice. She had some time before that snatched the Bible out of
Richard's hands, and had been reading in it ever since, as if she
thought that the best way to counteract the influence of the heresies
he had been uttering. With all that, she seemed to hear every word that
was said.

"I certainly have, if you will permit me. To me this story seems a
repetition, in a new shape, of a subject already treated in the same
book. The story of Joseph in Egypt is a family history that borders on
the region of fable, narrated without any regard to the moral that
underlies it, and yet representing to us the reward of innocence. This
story which tells of a son who had been a real sinner, and for that
reason was not permitted to return as a viceroy amid joy and splendor,
but in the garb of a beggar, has another lesson for us. Viewed from the
stand-point of the Old or New Testament, or even by our own feelings,
it tells the story of redemption. Yes, every human being who falls into
sinful ways, shall be obliged to eat the husks;.... but he is not lost.
When through self-knowledge his soul has been humbled in the dust, He
who never fails will lift him up again, for it is far easier to avoid
sin than, before God and one's own soul, to confess having sinned."

After a pause of a few moments, Richard continued: "There is an
excellent painting of the Prodigal's Return. It is by Führich. The
artist has chosen the moment when the father is embracing his long-lost
son, now kneeling at his feet; the son, however, dares not venture to
embrace his father; bent down towards the earth, he folds his hands
upon his breast in humble, silent gratitude."

Johanna seemed to think that she might as well abandon all attempts to
change our views of religious matters. She arose from her seat and,
pressing the Bible to her bosom, left the room without uttering another
word.

"Come into the garden with me," said my wife to Richard. I was left
alone with Annette. Great tears were rolling down her cheeks. After a
little while she said that now she was at last really converted, but
not in the way that the church would wish her to be. She could at last
understand that the best consolation and the most elevating reflection,
in time of sorrow, is to consider individual suffering a part of a
great whole, and as a phase of the soul-experience of advancing
humanity.

She regretted that Bertha had not been with us. She felt sure, also,
that her husband would have been a delighted listener. He had always
felt attracted to Richard, although he had never become intimate with
him.

She hurried home in order, as I fancy, to write out for her husband's
benefit her impressions of what she had just heard.

Johanna left us that very day. She said that she now felt as a stranger
in our home, and consoled herself with the thought that she could feel
at home in the house of a Father whom we, alas! did not know.

We were neither anxious nor able to prevent her departure. And why
should I not confess it?--we felt more at our ease without her.



                              CHAPTER VII.


As far as she could, Bertha led a self-contained and secluded life. She
frankly admitted that she was not in the mood to worry about her lost
brother; her heart was filled with thoughts of her husband, the father
of her children.

When haymaking began on the mountain meadows, Bertha would go out and
assist in scattering the newly mown grass. She hoped that physical
exercise would enable her again to enjoy the refreshing sleep of her
childhood, and was quite happy when, in the morning, she found herself
able to tell us that she had passed a night in dreamless sleep.

Annette suffered greatly from the heat. Bertha, however, said that it
was best to expose one's self to the sun, because the heat would then
be less oppressive. She was quite delighted to see how the sun browned
her own children.

Annette again introduced the subject of the parable of the Prodigal
Son, when Richard, with an ironical smile, replied, "I am glad to see
that you can dwell on a subject and again return to it; and I shall
only add, that in the Old Testament the history of a nation is
conceived in a popular manner, while the New Testament is a history in
which one exalted and idealized man serves as the sole and central
figure. The real life of the family, the relations of parents and
kindred, is not emphasized in the latter. Life, there, is isolated, and
looks only towards heaven.

"In the Old Testament, the life of the family is in constant action,
and superfluous figures which serve no moral in themselves are also
introduced.

"To express myself symbolically, I should say Moses has a brother and a
sister who are also important figures. Jesus, on the other hand, stands
alone against the golden background, and no relationship of His is
mentioned except that to His mother, which was afterward poetically
invested with a higher significance."

"Accept my thanks; I believe I understand you. If one were able always
to regard individual suffering as merely part of the world's
development, one would be saved from all pain," said Annette.

Richard's look was one of surprise, almost of anger, at these words.

When we were together, most of his attentions were for the daughter of
the kreis-director. Her calm and gentle manner seemed to him the very
opposite of Annette's; and it may have been his desire to let Annette
see that cultivated womanhood consists of something more than
incessantly propounding questions, or in keeping a man in a constant
trot to prove his gallantry by providing for the intellectual
requirements of the ladies.

"I greatly fear," said Richard to my wife, "that Annette is one of that
class of beings with whom everything resolves itself into talk, and of
whom one might well say that what to us is a church, is to them a
concert." And he went on to complain that, in the strict sense of the
word, Annette did not have a nice ear; that where she thought she fully
understood one's meaning, she usually misconceived it. When he had
finished, my wife answered with a quiet smile:

"Be careful: the professor is again showing himself in you. It seems to
me that the professor finds it annoying to have listeners who are not
all attention."

Richard was a severe judge of his own motives and actions, and frankly
confessed that he deserved the reproach. Nevertheless ne could not
accustom himself to Annette's presence.

He had much knowledge of men, and constantly lived in a certain equable
atmosphere of his own; and the impulsive, changeable traits of Annette
were therefore repugnant to him.

She, too, felt the antagonism, and one day said to him, quite
roguishly, "The forester is the type of many men. I had always thought
that he found it refreshing to breathe the pure air of the woods; but I
find that he is constantly smoking his vile tobacco."

The petty war between Richard and Annette enabled us, for many an hour,
to forget the greater war that was raging out of doors. Annette was
quite anxious in her care for my wife, and could never fully gratify
her desire to be with her always.

Although Richard attempted to conceal it, it was quite evident that he
had a decided aversion to Annette.

He would sometimes spend whole days with Rautenkron the forester, and
was more frequent in his visits to Baron Arven than he had formerly
been.

But in the evenings, when we were all together, Annette seemed to
possess the art of drawing him out in spite of himself.

And thus we led a simple and yet intellectual life, while, without
doors, armies speaking the same language were arrayed against each
other with deadly intent.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


"Pincher is here again; he could not find him," said Martella one
morning. Her dog had returned during the night.

At noon, Joseph returned from Alsace. He had not succeeded in finding
Ernst, who had remained at my sister's house but one day, and had
seemed excited and troubled while there.

He had understood that Ernst had met some one at the railway station,
as if by appointment.

Joseph, who was always so cool and collected, seemed remarkably nervous
and excited.

I thought that he had perhaps seen Ernst after all, and was not telling
us all that he knew; but he assured me, in a somewhat confused manner,
that he had concealed nothing. He told me that he was out of sorts,
simply because of the triumphant and malicious airs that the Alsatians
had displayed. Business friends of his, among whom there was a deputy
who seemed to be well posted, insisted upon it as a fact that the
Prussian statesman had offered the French Emperor a considerable
portion, if not all, of the left bank of the Rhine, on condition that
the Emperor would not prevent him from using his own pleasure towards
Germany, if conquered.

The left bank of the Rhine! How often I, too, while in Alsace had heard
it said that France must take possession of this left bank, as a matter
of course; for the Frenchmen thought themselves the lords of creation,
with whom it was only necessary to express a wish in order to have it
gratified.

Would I yet live to see the ruin of my Fatherland? At that very moment,
Germans were battling against Germans, in order that the aims of France
might be served.

I asked Joseph and Richard whether they could conceive of such a thing
as a German selling and betraying his Fatherland.

We had no assurance of this, and thought it best to encourage each
other's faith in humanity.

The failure of Joseph's mission had only served to arouse my own deep
sorrow anew.

My son lost! When night came, I could not make up my mind to retire.
For a long while, I sat gazing at the starry heavens, and the dark
forest-covered mountains. Where is he now? Can it be possible that he
is not thinking of us? He is in danger, and may work his own ruin. How
gladly would I fly to his help, if I only knew how!

At last one goes to his couch, thinking: "To-morrow something definite
must be done." But the morning comes, and the deed is left undone. Thou
hast waited this long, and shalt wait still longer. And thus the days
pass by, while naught is accomplished. When I lay awake at nights,
thinking of my son, I felt as if with him; and when, by chance, other
thoughts arose in my mind, the one great grief would thrust them aside.
It seemed as if my soul had for a time left the body and had now
returned to it again.

The fear of sleeplessness is almost worse than the reality; but one
falls asleep at last without knowing how, and so it shall some day be
with our final sleep.

And, often, when the tired body had fallen asleep, the troubled soul
would awaken it again.

At these moments I would say to myself, "Life is a solemn charge." It
went hard with me to renounce perfect happiness.

One morning, when I was just about to go out into the fields, Martella
came running towards me. She was almost out of breath, and told me that
the captain's wife was over in the garden of the school-master's wife,
and had fainted. She had received a letter with bad news. Her husband
had been shot in the forehead, and was dead.

My wife hurried on ahead of me, and stepped as quickly as in the days
of her youth.

When I reached the garden gate, Annette was already sitting on a bench.
She had her arms around Gustava's neck, and had buried her face in my
wife's bosom.

She raised her head and said, "The flowers still bloom." Then she
covered her face with her hands, and sobbed bitterly.

My wife placed her hand on Annette's head, and said, "Weep on. You have
a right to lament. Let them not dare come and say, 'Conquer your pain,
for hundreds suffer just as you do.' Were there thousands to suffer
this same grief, every one must suffer it for himself, and through life
carry a wounded heart. You are very, very unhappy. You were life and
joy itself: you must now know what it is to be sad. It is a hard
lesson, and although I bear my burden, that will not lighten yours.
That you must bear for yourself, as none besides you can."

Annette raised her head, and when she saw me, extended her hand, saying
at the same time:

"You knew him well; but no one knew him as I did. He was a hero, with a
soul as pure as a child's. Can it be? Can it be possible that he lives
no more? Can a mere bullet put in end to so much beauty, so much
happiness? Surely it cannot be! Why should it have been he? Why should
this stroke fall on me? Forgive me, Bertha, you were stronger and more
determined than I. And how your husband will mourn him! Victor, do you
know what has happened? Uncle Hugo is dead! And in the very hour of his
death I may have been laughing. Alas, alas! Forgive me for making you
all so sad. I cannot help myself."

We had not yet left the garden, when the kreis-director entered. He was
accompanied by a tall gentleman who was a stranger to us.

"Max, you here!" exclaimed Annette. "While I was happy, you did not
come to me, but now you do come. How kind!"

She threw her arms around his neck, and I then learned that he was her
brother.

We retired, leaving them together.

I had known that Annette was an orphan. I now learned that her brother,
who was a lawyer of renown, had given up all intercourse with his
sister, because of her having embraced Christianity. He had wished her
to remain true to the faith of her ancestors, and to contract only a
civil marriage. For her husband's sake, however, she had embraced the
Catholic religion. This was the first intimation I had of her being a
Catholic.

A sudden shower forced us to withdraw into the house.

It is depressing to think that while we were absorbed by the deepest
despair, a petty annoyance could cause us to flee. We entered the
school-room.

"There it is!" exclaimed Annette, pointing to the blackboard; "there it
stands!"

On the blackboard were the words, "War, Victory, Fatherland, Germany,"
as a writing-copy for the children.

"Children are taught to write it," said Annette, "but where is it? All
life is a blackboard, and on it are written the words, '_Death_,
_Grief_, _Tears_.'"

The old spinner entered. She walked up to Annette, took her by the
hand, and uttered a few words which none of us could understand.

Annette called upon us all to bear witness, that from that very hour
she would give the spinner a considerable annuity in case her son
should lose his life; but that, even if he were to return in safety,
she would nevertheless make her a yearly allowance.

Her brother objected that at such a time it were wrong to make a vow.
She could, from year to year, give the old woman as much as she thought
proper; but that she ought not, at this moment, to make a promise which
would be irrevocable, and for life.

We all looked at him with surprise.

He added that he, too would be happy to contribute a generous sum to
the annuity.

Annette returned to her dwelling, in order to prepare for her
departure. Her orders were, that her rooms should remain in the same
condition as she left them, as it was her intention to return.

"Your master is dead," she said to the brown spaniel; "your eye tells
me that you understand my words. You must remain here; I shall return
again. He loved you, too; but rest quiet: we can neither of us die yet.
You are well off--you can neither wish for death for yourself, nor seek
it: you cannot think of these things. Yes, you are well off."

I can hardly find room to mention all the strange images that were
called up by Annette's words. Her richly endowed and many-sided mind
was in unwonted commotion.

The shower had passed away; the grass and the trees were radiant with
the sunlight, and the lines of the opposite hills were clear and
distinct.

Annette stood at her window gazing into the distance, while she uttered
the words:

"While the earth decks itself with verdure and brings forth new life,
it receives the dead. Let no one dare come to me again and say that he
understands the world and life!

"Where is the professor?"

My wife was the only one who could quiet Annette, and she said, "If I
could only go with you!"

"You will be with me in spirit, I am sure," replied Annette.

She extended her hand to my wife, saying, "I can assure you of this: I
will so conduct myself, that you could at any moment say to me, 'This
is right.'--I have been wild and wayward; I am so no longer; hereafter,
I will be strong and gentle."

The carriage drove up and we accompanied Annette down the hill as far
as the saw-mill.

There was a rainbow over our heads; it reached from our mountains to
the Vosges.

Annette held a handkerchief to her eyes. My wife and Bertha were
walking on either side of her.

The only time I heard her speak was when she said to Bertha:

"Your husband has lost his best comrade. The Major will live; there
shall yet be some happy ones on earth. I shall write you from the
camp."

Rothfuss was ploughing the potato field. He was walking with his back
towards us.

Annette called to him. He came out into the road and inquired what was
the matter.

"My husband is dead. I am going to bring him and lay him in the earth
which you are now ploughing," said Annette in a firm voice.

Rothfuss extended his hand to her. He seemed unable to utter a word,
and was excitedly swinging his cap about with his left hand.

At last, in a loud voice, and stopping after every word, he exclaimed:

"I would--rather--not--be--King--or Emperor--than have--that--rest--on
me."

He returned to the field and continued his work.

When we reached the valley, Annette said, "I shall not say 'good by;' I
shall need all my strength for the other sad affair."

She quickly stepped into the carriage; her brother, Rontheim, and the
daughter of the latter following her.

The carriage rolled away.

On our way back to the house, my wife was several times obliged to sit
down by the roadside. The sad events of this day had deeply affected
her.

We were seated under an apple-tree, when my wife, taking me by the
hand, said, "Yes, Henry, how full of blossoms that tree once was; but
May-bugs and caterpillars and frost and hail have destroyed it. And
thus it is with him, too."

She was not as demonstrative as I was; she could bear her sorrow
silently; but the thought of Ernst did not leave her for a moment.

When we got back to the house she fell asleep in the armchair, and did
not awaken until sunset, when Richard, whom we had not seen all day,
returned.

He admitted that he had heard of Annette's bereavement, but had kept
out in the woods to be out of the way, as he thought there were enough
sympathizers without him, and that he could not have been of any
service.

My wife looked at him with surprise.

Richard told us that during the rain-storm, which had been quite heavy
in the woods, he had been with Rautenkron.

The gloomy man had spoken of Ernst with great interest, and had
incidentally inquired in regard to Martella. He was quite enraged that
he, who never read a newspaper and did not want to have anything to do
with the world, was obliged to know of this war, as one of his
assistants and a forest laborer had been conscripted. He felt quite
convinced, too, that Prussia would be victorious.

For a long while there was no news from the seat of war, except reports
of marching and countermarching.

After that, there came a letter from the Major, who lamented the death
of the Captain, and wrote in terms of admiration of the noble and
composed bearing of Annette.

Richard, who, during Annette's presence, had, as far as possible,
affected solitude, was now again with us almost constantly.

He spoke quite harshly of Annette, and said that she was always
expressing a desire for repose and a quiet life, while at the same time
she was constantly disturbing every one. She would allow no one to live
in his own thoughts; her only desire was, that the thoughts and
feelings of others should be the reflection of her evanescent emotions.

He thought it likely, however, that she might emerge from the refining
fire of a great grief, purer and firmer than she had ever been.

"I know now," said my wife to me one evening, "why Richard went out
into the woods. It was well of him."

I did not understand it, and she, in order to tease me, refused to
explain. She seemed quite pleased with her secret, and I was only too
happy to see her smile once again.



                              CHAPTER IX.


"Thank God, they have beaten us!" were the words with which Joseph
entered our house the next morning, carrying an extra paper in his
hand. In those words was concentrated the whole misery of those days.
"If Prussia would only march into the South German palaces! That is the
only way to bring about a proper understanding."

This was the second idea that Joseph expressed.

An armistice was concluded. Bertha wished to return home at once. A
letter from her husband was received, requesting her to remain at our
house, and informing her that he would join her there immediately after
the return of the troops.

He also informed us that he had received a letter from the widow of our
Austrian cousin; her husband had lost his life at Königgratz.

We also received news from Annette. In a few short words she informed
us of her wretched journey with the corpse of him who had been all her
joy, and had been sacrificed to no purpose.

The postscript contained special greetings for Richard, both from her
and from his friend, a medical professor, who had introduced himself to
Annette as a friend of ours, and had been of great service to her.

Sad tidings threw the village into excitement.

Carl, who had been the favorite of the whole village, had fallen. It
was both sad and gratifying to hear how every one praised him. Even the
taciturn meadow farmer stopped me on my way to the spinner's cottage,
and said, "He was a steady young fellow."

If I had replied by asking him to contribute a stated sum for the
support of the destitute widow, he would have looked at me as if I were
crazy, to think of making such a suggestion to him. According to his
views of life, poor people were sent into the world to starve, and the
rich in order that they might eat to their heart's content and fill
their iron cooking-pots with gold.

The meadow farmer was accompanied by a peasant-prince from the valley
on the other side of the mountains, where the succession falls to the
minor, the youngest son inheriting the estate.

It was said that the only daughter of the meadow farmer had been
determined on as the wife of this young peasant. He had inherited a
considerable sum in securities, and now sought a wife. Love did not
enter into the question; all that was required was to keep up the name
and the honor of the peasant-court; and, while a noble life cannot
result from such a union, it generally proves a respectable and
contented marriage.

I remembered that there had been a rumor in the village that Marie, the
daughter of the meadow farmer, loved Carl.

When I drew near to the house of the spinner, I saw Funk coming out,
Lerz the baker following him. I think Funk must have seen me; otherwise
there could have been no reason for his remarking to his companion in
quite a loud voice, "What do you think of your beggarly Prussians now?
This is their work--to kill the son of a poor widow. If he had been a
prince, they would have gone into mourning, and for seven weeks would
have eaten out of black bowls and with black spoons!"

It went hard with me to enter the widow's cottage, after hearing those
words. The old woman, who had always been so quiet and contented, and
who had never left her dwelling, unless it was to go earn her daily
bread, was now quite urgent in her demands. She asked for money, so
that she might go and witness the burial of her son, and know where
they laid his body. She also wanted to go to the Prince, for whom her
son had lost his life. She knew that she, a poor woman, had a better
right to a good pension than the Captain's widow, who was a great lady.

When my wife came, the old woman said, "You are better off than I am.
Your son still lives, but mine is dead. They told me that you once said
your son was more than dead. But, tell me, what does it mean to be more
than dead? Ah, you do not know. The Prussian sought out the best heart
of them all. He knew what he was about. Of all the thousands who say
'mother,' there was no better child than my Carl. Your Ernst is also a
good lad. They were born on the same day. Don't you remember? My
husband was quite tipsy when he came home that evening. He was
gloriously full, and so jolly! He must have known that he was soon to
be the father of such a splendid boy.

"Oh, my poor Carl! You may hunt the land through, but you will never
find so handsome a lad as my Carl. He did not get his good looks from
me; but his father was just as good-looking as he--nay, almost more so.

"Ah, it will be a long while before you find so pretty a fellow as
Carl--one who will sit down beside his mother of a Sunday afternoon and
tell her merry jokes, so that her heart may be gladdened, although his
own be sad.

"Yes, go and seek another such as he!

"Don't go away, Waldfried! There is no one left with whom I can talk.
Or send Martella--to me she will do."

On our way home, my wife gently said, "His regiment was not once in
battle."

This was the first intimation I had received of her careful reading of
the newspapers. Ernst's regiment had not fired a single shot, and all
our suffering had been to no purpose.

We sent Martella over to the spinner's cottage, where she remained all
night.

On the following morning, Martella returned. She was quite joyful, and
maintained that Ernst had been saved and would soon return to us.

She had arranged everything with the old spinner. The two of them would
go to the Prince, and the spinner would say to him, "My son is dead!
but give me the one who was born on the same day, and wipe out all that
stands against him!" Or else the spinner would say, "My tears shall
wash away all the charges that stand written against him on the slate."

It went hard to make Martella understand that this plan was nothing
more than an idle dream.

The battle was over, and peace had been concluded.

Although Austria was separated from Germany, there was, as yet, no real
Germany. While the high contracting parties were framing the chief
clauses of their treaty, the Frenchman who was looking over their
shoulders took the pen in his own hand and drew a black mark across the
page, and called it "the line of the Main."

The Major came home, and the joy of Bertha and her children knew no
bounds. The Major, however, seemed unable to shake off a deep fit of
melancholy.

He was a strict disciplinarian. He never allowed himself to say aught
against his superiors or their orders; but now, he could not keep down
his indignation at the manner in which the war had been conducted. When
a nation really goes to war it should be in greater earnest about its
work.

There was much distrust, both as to the courage and the loyalty and
firmness of the leaders. While the Major's feelings as a soldier had
been outraged, there were many other thoughts which suggested
themselves to him as a lover of his country, and in regard to which he
maintained silence.

He told us that Annette had behaved with dignity and composure when she
went to receive the body of her husband. But now it was evident that
she had attempted too much; that she was unwell, and would be obliged
until autumn to repair to the sea-side, where her mother-in-law would
be with her.

When the Major remarked that he had heard it said that in this war even
slight wounds might prove fatal, because every one was so filled with
mortification, on account of this unholy strife, that the very idea
itself would serve to aggravate even the slightest wound, my wife
exclaimed, "Yes, it is indeed so. There are wounds which are made fatal
by the thoughts of those who receive them."

We all felt that she was thinking of Ernst, and remained silent.

The Major did not mention Ernst's name, nor did he inquire whether we
had heard from him.

He had heard of the death of Carl, and was just about to pay a visit to
his mother, when Rothfuss came rushing into the room in breathless
haste, and told us that Carl was down in the stable, and begged that we
would go to his mother and gently break the news of his safe return to
her.

We had Carl come up to us, and learned from him that he had been cut
off from his companions during a reconnoissance, and taken prisoner,
and had thus by mistake been entered in the list of the killed.

When he heard this, the Major inveighed furiously at the want of system
that obtained everywhere.

I decided that I would go to his mother, and that Carl and the Major
should follow me a little while later.

I went to the spinner's cottage. She sat at her spinning-wheel; and I
could not help believing myself the witness of a miracle, for as soon
as she saw me, the old woman called out, "Will he come soon?"

She then told me that she had awakened during the night--she was quite
sure it was not a dream--and had heard the voice of her son saying
quite distinctly, "Mother, I am not dead--I will soon be with you. I am
coming--I am coming!" And she had heard his very footsteps.

"I went to the pastor's," she said, taking off one spindle and putting
on a new one; "the pastor had given orders to have the church-bell
tolled on account of Carl's death; but I will not allow it--my Carl is
alive, and I do not want to hear the bells tolling for his death."

I told her that in time of war there was necessarily much confusion,
and that I, too, believed that her son was still alive, and would
return again. I was just about to say that I had already seen Carl,
when he stepped out from behind the wood-pile, and called out,
"Mother!"

The spinner remained seated, but threw her spindle to the far end of
the room.

Carl fell on his knees before her and wept.

"You need not weep--I have done enough of it myself, already," said
she. "But I knew it--you are a good child, and you would not be so
cruel as to die before me. Get up and pick up my spindle. Have you
eaten anything, Carl? You must be hungry."

When Carl told her that he did not wish for anything, she replied,
"Indeed, I have nothing but cold boiled potatoes. Now, do tell me, how
did it seem when you were dead? You surely thought of me at the last
moment? Tell me, did you not last night at three o'clock, wherever you
were, say to yourself, 'Mother, I am not dead: I shall soon be with
you--I will come soon--I will come soon?"

Carl answered that he had really uttered those very words at the time
mentioned.

"That is right," said the old woman.

She arose from her seat, took her son by the hand, and went on to say,
"Now, come up into the village with me. Let us go with these gentlemen.
Major, I thank you for the honor of your visit. I suppose I may go
along with you?"

We returned homewards.

It was already known through the whole village, that the young man who
had been lost and so sincerely deplored had returned. Friends poured
forth from every doorway, while from the windows cries of "Welcome
Carl!" were heard.

On our way we met Marie, carrying a bundle of clover on her head. She
threw her bundle away and hurried towards Carl; but when she came up to
him she suddenly stopped, as if frightened.

"Good-day, Marie. I am glad that you, too, have come to bid me
welcome," said Carl.

He extended both his hands to her, and she took hold of them, but did
not utter a word.

We walked on, and when I turned to look back, I saw Marie sitting on
the bundle of clover, with her face buried in her hands.

Rothfuss was the jolliest in the party.

"Now one can see how untruthful the world is," he exclaimed. "Did not
every one say how much he would give if only Carl were alive! He is
here, now, and is alive again, and what do they give? Nothing. One
ought not to do people the favor to die; anything in the world but
death."

We reached the house. Carl's mother walked up to my wife and said,
"Madame Waldfried, here he is--my son Carl. Just as he has come back to
all that is good, so will Ernst surely return. They were born on the
same day--do you remember? There was a great storm at the time; and the
nurse came directly from your house to mine. And at that very moment
the lightning struck the tree that stands behind my house and tore it
to pieces; and then the nurse said, 'This boy will see something of
war.'

"You did not believe in it, but it came to pass, nevertheless. Down in
the valley there is a spring, and a mother's heart is like a spring,
for it flows by day and night. Your Ernst--my Ernst--will return
again."

No one dared reply, but with Ernst everything was different.

The old woman now begged that we would inform "the great lady," as she
always called Annette, of Carl's return. The Major promised to do so;
and when he and I were alone together, he mentioned Ernst's name for
the first time, and informed me that the commander of his division had,
in the presence of the entire corps of officers, expressed his great
regret that his brother-in-law had deserted.

Ernst had brought pain and disgrace on us all; but there was still
another trouble in store for us.

A letter reached us from Johanna, in which she informed us in short,
hard sentences that her son Martin had died of the wound he had
received; and that her husband, who had been an invalid for many
months, could not long survive him. I told the Major of this, but kept
the news from the rest of the family.

On the day before the Major left us, we had received a letter from
Ludwig in America. He was delighted to know that the Diet had been
dissolved, and thought that he now saw the dawning of a great era for
our Fatherland. The Americans already spoke with great respect of
Germany, and of the power of Prussia and its leaders.

There was a bitter tone in the remarks of the Major when he said, "Ah,
yes; thus things seem to those who are far away, and get all their
information from newspaper reports. If I only knew how I could turn my
talents to use in the New World, I would ask for my discharge and
emigrate to America."

This man, who had never known anything of discord or dissension, was
now, like many others, torn by conflicting doubts.

The children had left; the house was quiet again, and winter
approached.

Martella seemed filled with new life, and was glad that she could be
alone with my wife again. When Annette wrote to us that she would spend
the whole or a part of the winter in the village, Martella said, "That
is well, too: she is so entertaining to mother."



                               CHAPTER X.


The Diet was again convoked; and I can hardly describe how hard I found
it to leave my home and resume the disagreeable and exhausting
occupations that now devolved on me.

In company with Joseph, I drove into town, on my way to the capital,
when Annette called to me from the warehouse of Edward Levi. Her
mourning attire invested her with an air of majestic gloom; but her
brilliant glance and her clear complexion prevented her black habit
from looking too sombre. She must have noticed that I was pleased with
this, for she said, "I am trying to recover my health, and avail myself
of the two greatest remedies; I have just left the ocean, and shall now
go into the woods. My mother-in-law has gone to Paris to join her
daughter, who is the wife of our minister. She has an idea that one
cannot exist, save in Paris. I shall come and see you; you and your
wife can do me much good, and I may perhaps be of some use to you. I
have never learned how to lead a life of repose. I shall now learn it;
in your house I shall find the best school, and your wife will have
patience with a sad, yet wayward pupil."

She bought an ingeniously constructed stove with all sorts of cooking
utensils belonging to it, and presented it to Carl's mother. Besides
this, she had bought all sorts of new furniture for herself, as she
intended to spend the winter at the village. She was so glad to see
Rothfuss again that she left her carriage and got into ours, so that he
might tell her of all that had happened during her absence. Her driver
had been instructed to take all her new purchases up to Joseph's house
and deliver them to her maid.

I went on towards the capital, and Annette towards the village.

On the way, Joseph told me that he had done very well by the war. The
South Germans, he told me, had been such violent partisans of Austria
because the greater portion of the proprietors in the neighborhood had
invested their money in Austrian securities.

Annette's brother had, however, in good season, called his attention to
the fact that a great change was taking place in financial affairs.
America had already successfully passed through a great war, and the
current of capital was now tending in the direction of the United
States, where its investment was both safe and profitable.

Joseph's object in visiting the city was to dispose of his American
bonds, which were then commanding a very high price.

It has always been, and will ever remain, a marvel to me how Joseph,
with all his real interest in public life, could at the same time
manage to reap a profit from the movements of capital.

I had the good fortune to travel in company with Baron Arven, who was a
member of the Upper Chamber, and was also on his way to the capital. He
seemed greatly depressed, and admitted that the realization of hopes
one could not help entertaining sometimes produced new and unforeseen
griefs.

Thus it had been, he said, with the separation of Austria from the rest
of Germany. It had long been recognized as necessary to the proper
development of our own political life, and as an advantage to Austria;
and yet, when it was brought about, it seemed more like a death that
one had felt it his duty to wish for.

From many hints that he threw out, I could not but feel assured that
the painful political dissensions had been deeply felt by the Arvens,
who were connected with the empire through so many family ties.

The Baron invited me to take up my quarters, while in the capital, in
his mansion, as his wife did not intend going there during that winter.
I declined with thanks, as I had promised Annette to make use of the
vacant dwelling that belonged to her.



                              CHAPTER XI.


The deputies were all in a state of great excitement. There is no
greater test of accord among a body of men than a sudden calamity. Just
as, with an individual, a lazy resignation will, in times of doubt and
indecision, alternate with vehement energy, and self-distrust succeed
overconfidence, so did it happen with this large assembly. All felt
that a bold operation was necessary, but who was to be the surgeon, and
whence was he to come. It was necessary to wait for the hour of danger,
and even then there was great reason to fear that when the treatment
had been decided on, our cousin on the other side of the Rhine, who had
been praised as the great saviour, might interpose his objections.

In a secret session, we were informed of the stipulations that had been
determined on by the North German Confederation in regard to a union of
German forces, in case of coming danger. We were sworn to secrecy, for
all were afraid of our neighbor in the west.

My son-in-law, the Major, left on a long furlough. I have never yet
been able to discover whether he passed his time in Paris or in Berlin.

The work and the angry debates in Parliament taxed our patience and
endurance to the utmost.

When I returned to my home, I was frightened by my wife's appearance;
her face showed the traces of great suffering. Although I took all
pains to prevent her from seeing that I noticed it, she discovered my
concern, and assured me that she was feeling quite well, but was
sometimes weak; and that all would be right again in the summer, when
she would accompany Annette to the springs. She was so active and
cheerful that I silenced my fears. She had already learned of the death
of our grandson Martin, and spoke of it with calmness.

She informed me of Martella's kind and considerate behavior. Rothfuss
had been sick again, and even now was only able, with great exertion,
to drag himself about the house. Martella took charge of all his
duties, and, what with this and her instructions from mother and
Annette, was kept quite busy; but she was never so happy and cheerful
as when full of work.

My wife took great pleasure in explaining to me what strange
counterparts Annette and Martella were.

Annette was endeavoring to free herself from the effects of overwrought
culture and to get back to simplicity. Martella, who had become
conscious of her own simplicity, was vexed thereat, and with iron
industry sought to acquire the rudiments of an education. Annette had
always lived out of herself; Martella had always lived within herself.
Annette had always tried to subject everything to critical analysis:
Martella was merely artless impressibility.

It was certainly a strange pair that my wife was teaching to keep step
with each other.

With great self-control Annette had accustomed herself to the quiet
winter life of the village. She often said that she would leave in a
few days. She seemed determined not to commit herself by any promise,
in order that she might from day to day make new resolutions. When I
told her that she was thus making both herself and us uncomfortable,
she promised to remain until I should advise her to leave. She admitted
that it was pleasant to her to be guided by another's will. She spun
assiduously, and, like a diligent child, showed me the result of her
labor.

The old spinner maintained that Annette was learning all the secrets of
her art. In spite of this, she was at times unable to control her
restless spirits. She had the snow cleared away from the pond, and went
skating on the ice, while half of the village stood around looking at
her. My sons had sometimes skated on this pond; but it was quite a
different sight to see the tall, handsome lady, with the black feather
in her hat and the closely fitting pelisse trimmed with fur. She
ordered a pair of skates for Martella, but could never induce the child
to try them.

Annette left us occasionally in order to spend a few days with Baroness
Arven. On her return it would always seem as if a wondrous change had
come over her.

One day she came back in great excitement and exclaimed:

"Oh, if I could only have faith! I think I shall have to administer
chloroform to my soul."

We could make no reply to this, and she soon again adapted herself to
the quiet tenor of our life.

I was obliged to introduce a change that gave me almost as much trouble
as my opponents in the House of Delegates had done. It was necessary to
engage some one to replace or assist Rothfuss. I could do nothing
without his consent; several whom I had proposed he had rejected, and
when I at last obtained Joseph's consent to engage Carl, Rothfuss was
scarcely pleased, although he interposed no objections.

Rothfuss always insisted that Carl, while a soldier, had behaved in the
same way as the girl who said, "Catch me: I'll hold still."

He had allowed himself to be caught. If Ernst had only been smart
enough to do likewise!

For the sake of his affection for Ernst, Carl submitted to this unjust
reproach. He was indeed a brave and daring soldier, and felt provoked
that during the whole war there had been nothing but marching hither
and thither, back and forth, without once meeting the foe.

Rothfuss and Martella had much to say to each other about Ernst, to
whom Martella clung with unshaken confidence.

Whenever the letter-carrier came, she was all anxious expectation, but
had enough self-control to conceal her feelings for my wife's sake.

My wife never mentioned Ernst's name, but ever since the day on which
news had come from him, her sleep had been restless.

When I returned from the session she said to me, "I am sure you have no
news that you are concealing from me?"

I could truthfully assure her that I had none, and after that she
seemed as tranquil as if she had been speaking of an indifferent
subject. And yet this grief preyed on her incessantly.

Annette received many letters; and, as she could have nothing to
do with any one without feeling a personal interest in him, she
would always have something to eat and drink ready for the country
letter-carrier. She soon knew all about the toil and trouble
inseparable from his work, and also inquired in regard to his family
circumstances, and assisted him as well as she could.

She ordered a sheep-skin coat for him, but he was obliged to decline
it, because in his walks over hill and dale the weight of it would have
been insupportable. She presented the skin to a poor old man; and,
indeed, tried to do good to every one in the village and neighborhood.
The oldest house in the neighborhood is yet standing down in the
valley. It is built of logs, and is known as _the hut_. The smoke fills
the whole house and forces its way out through the crevices.

Annette found this smoky atmosphere particularly grateful. She often
went down to the hut, and the people would come from the houses near by
and listen to her stories and her strange jokes. She was always in good
spirits on her return.

Annette had once encountered Rautenkron. She attempted to engage him in
conversation, but he rudely turned on his heel; and when she was
telling us of the manhater, my wife made a remark which I shall never
forget:

"This man must have come from a respected and well-to-do family, for
the child of poor parents can never become a misanthrope."

Although Annette kindly cared for the poor and did not permit herself
to be repelled by any rudeness or vulgarity on their part, she was both
severe and void of pity with the faults of those who were in better
circumstances.

Rimminger, who had taken his discharge and had married the only
daughter of the rich owner of the saw-mill, endeavored, as an old
comrade of her deceased husband, to bring about friendly relations
between Annette and his household. She kept him at a distance, however,
and expressed herself quite forcibly on the subject. She maintained
that the young wife always looked like an _ennuied_ duchess, and was
constantly trying to show that she had been educated in Paris.

My wife said that she disapproved of such personalities. Annette looked
at her with surprise and then cast her eyes to the ground.

Our days were full of work, our evenings all leisure; and Annette
called our attention to something that had never occurred to us. She
found it very strange that there were no playing-cards in our house.
She could not conceive how, living in the country, we could have
overlooked this pastime. But we had never felt the want of it.

Annette had a rich, musical voice, and would often read aloud to us.

Joseph and his wife would come and listen, while Martella would spin so
softly that one could not hear her wheel.

Rothfuss would sit on the bench near the stove, and would artfully
prevent us from noticing when he fell asleep. When the reading was
over, he was always wide-awake, and would insist on being permitted to
light the way to Joseph's house for Annette.

In her letters to Richard, my wife described our pleasant genial life;
and yet, for the first time, Richard did not visit us once during the
whole winter. He regretted that he had an extensive work in hand which
could not be laid aside, and believed that he was about to finish a
novel and important contribution to his favorite science.

Annette had procured various fugitive articles of Richard's that had
been published in scientific journals, and during the winter had read
all of his books, as well as an essay of his on the "Origin of
Language."

She once said: "I do not consider it vanity when a writer asks me,
'Have you read such and such work of mine?' How can he believe that one
faithfully listens to his words if one does not care to become
acquainted with the best that he has done--the fruit of the deepest
labors of his calmer hours?

"I read the Professor's writings, and find much in them that I cannot
understand; but he wrote them, and I read them for that reason, if for
no other. And then again, I often chance on passages which are quite
clear to me."

My wife looked at me with a significant glance, and for the first time
it occurred to me that it might be possible that Richard was in love
with Annette, and for that reason held himself aloof from her.

It was towards the end of February. There was grief among our nearest
friends. Joseph's father died. On the day that he was buried, Annette
received a letter informing her of the illness of her mother-in-law in
Paris.

I, of course, advised her to depart at once; and thus we were again
left to ourselves. We all felt the void that Annette's departure had
made, but soon after new and heavy troubles fell upon us.



                              CHAPTER XII.


Days have passed in which I did not once take my pen in hand; I could
not. Must I indeed write of this? What forces me to do so?

"Above all things, leave nothing unfinished that you have once begun,"
was a maxim of hers; and I must therefore tell of her death. When the
fogs of autumn and the frosts of winter scatter the foliage of the
trees, a branch may here and there be seen to which a few leaves are
still clinging. Why should those alone have remained?

My memory has remained true to me; but of that grief which seemed to
divide my life I have but little recollection. I constantly thought of
the saying of Carl's mother, "You are a good child: you cannot be so
cruel as to die before me." From the garret, I looked on while they
were filling up her grave. The spade shone in the sunshine. No one knew
that I was looking on. Shall I again renew the feelings that then
passed through my soul? Let it be so.

My wife was ill. She uttered no complaint, but she was feeble, and took
no interest in what was going on about her. During the day, she would
sleep for hours; and at night, when she awoke, would seem surprised by
the surrounding objects. During her sleeping hours, she may have dwelt
in quite a different region; but she never alluded to it. The physician
gave her but little medicine, and consoled us with the hope that the
return of summer, and a visit to a watering-place, with cheerful
companions, would help her.

Annette soon returned to us. She was followed by my daughter Johanna,
who had, in the meanwhile, lost her husband, and was accompanied by her
daughter Christiane. She took up her abode with us. Her only son was
living as a vicar in the Unterland.

Assisted by Balbina, Johanna took charge of our entire household. When
my wife told Martella that she had better submit to Johanna in all
things, she replied, "I shall gladly do so; this was her home before it
was mine; and I shall thus be better able to spend all of my time with
mother." My wife indeed preferred to have this stranger-child about
her; for Johanna could not help treating us in a patronizing, pitying
manner, because we were not as pious as she would have us be.

Spring returned, and my wife's health seemed to improve. I was quite
happy again. At that time, I did not understand what the prudent and
sensible physician meant, when he told me that it would be better for
me to moderate my joy.

All preparations for a journey to the springs had been made. Bertha had
promised to join us there, and bring her daughter with her.

Suddenly the physician decided that it would be better if my wife would
remain yet awhile among the surroundings she was accustomed to. He was
a young and kind-hearted man, constantly endeavoring to improve himself
by study; full of love for his calling, and beloved by all throughout
the valley. His visits now became longer than they had been. He would,
at times, acquaint me with the details of his own life, and tell me
that, although he had lost his wife while quite young, he endeavored to
console himself by the remembrance of the happy days he had passed in
her society. I listened to his words without giving them further
thought; but afterwards it became clear to me why he had spoken so
impressively on the subject.

The days passed on. I gradually accustomed myself to the thought of my
wife's illness; but when out in the fields, I would suddenly become
alarmed, and imagine that something terrible must have taken place at
the house. I would hurry home and find that all was going on as usual.

Back of my house, where the road makes a descent, the young teamsters
would crack their whips quite loudly. I observed that this startled
Gustava, and she overheard me telling Rothfuss to ask the young fellows
not to make so great a noise.

"Do not interfere with them," said she. "A man who saunters along the
road and has an instrument that is capable of making a noise, finds
pleasure in using it. Do not stop him."

I had never, before that, seen Rothfuss in tears; but when he heard
those words, he wept, and that evening he said to me, "The angels who
look down from heaven to see what we human beings on earth are doing,
must be just as she is. She is no longer human--she will not stay with
us. Pardon me: I am a stupid fellow to be talking this way. You know I
am a simpleton, and do not understand such things. She is right,
though; stupid people must always make a noise, be it with their mouths
or with their whips."

He had, however, in the meanwhile persuaded the youths not to crack
their whips.

My wife was determined that Annette and Bertha should go to the springs
without her; and, as she would listen to no refusal, they were obliged
to comply with her desire.

Several weeks had gone by, when, one evening, the physician told me
that she could last but a few days longer. I cannot describe my
feelings at that moment.

Joseph telegraphed for the children. They came.

Strangely enough, my wife was not surprised by their speedy return. She
conversed with them as if they had not been away more than an hour.

The physician said that perhaps there might still be a chance to save
my wife by injecting another's blood into her veins, and that, at all
events, the attempt should be made. Johanna immediately declared her
readiness, and though her offer was well meant, the manner in which it
was made jarred on my feelings. She said that, as a daughter, she had
the first right; but, if they did not want her blood her child must be
willing.

The physician declared that neither her blood nor that of her child
would serve the purpose.

The choice now lay between Martella and Annette, and when the physician
decided in favor of Martella, her face brightened, and she exclaimed:

"Take my blood--every drop of it--all that I have."

Some of Martella's blood was injected into my wife's veins, and during
the night, she gained in strength. But it was very sad to find that she
had almost lost her hearing, and that the only medium of pleasure yet
left her was the sense of sight.

Martha, the eldest daughter of the kreis-director, had painted a
picture of the view from our balcony, looking towards the woods down by
the stone wall, and now brought it to my wife, who was delighted with
it. The only figure was a hunter coming out of the woods.

Martha told us that she could not draw figures, and that Annette had
been kind enough to sketch the huntsman for her; and she kissed my
wife's hands on hearing her say, "I think the hunter looks like our
grandson, Julius."

It was on the 22d of July, when she said, "Have a little pine-tree
brought for me, from my woods, and placed here beside my bed."

I sent Rothfuss out to the woods; he brought a little pine, placed it
in a flower-pot, and I observed, while he was leaning over it, how his
tears dropped upon the branches.

He turned around to me and said, "I hope that will not harm the little
tree."

When I placed the tree at her bedside, she smiled and moved her left
hand among its branches, but the hand soon fell down by her side.

What wonderful powers of memory lie in a mother's heart! She would tell
us of a thousand and one little stories and sayings of Ernst, and of
his bright, clever freaks, with as much detail as if they had happened
but the moment before; but, strangely enough, she did all this without
mentioning his name. She praised his flaxen hair, and moved her hand as
if passing it through his locks.

"Do you not recollect how he once said, 'Mother, I cannot imagine how
you could have been in the world without me: of course I have never
been in the world without you'?"

She repeated the words, "without you--without me," perhaps a hundred
times during the night: and she was almost constantly humming snatches
of old songs.

In the morning, just as day was breaking, she turned around to me, and
said with a smile, "This is his birthday." And that was her last smile.
"This is Ernst's birthday."

And when the lost son returned, there was no mother to receive him.

Her silent thoughts had always been of him, but now they were deeper
than ever.

She had lost her hearing. Suddenly she exclaimed in a loud voice, "God
be praised; Richard will marry her after all!" and then--I cannot go on
with the story--I must stop.

It was eleven o'clock (I do not know why I was always looking towards
the clock that day) when she said, "Water from my spring."

Richard hurried to bring it.

What must his thoughts have been while on his way there and back!

He soon returned, bringing the water with him, but she seemed to have
forgotten that she had asked for it. When Richard lifted her up in bed,
and placed the glass to her lips, she motioned him away.

I heard a voice from without the house. A cold shudder came over me; my
hair stood on end.

It is the voice of our son Ernst!

If Ernst were to come at this time! Could he have been drawn here by a
presentiment of what is happening? And if he were here, what power
could dare take him away from us, at this moment--and how will he enter
his mother's presence?

I hurried out. It was Julius--his voice is just like Ernst's. He
brought a letter that Edward Levi had handed to him. It was from Ernst,
and was dated at Algiers.

I could not stop to read the letter. I could not remain away from the
bedside--every moment was yet a drop of blood to me, and everything
glimmered before my eyes. I hurried back to the sick-room; my wife
looked at me with strangely bright eyes.

"There is a letter here from Ernst!" I called out.

I do not know whether she understood me, but she reached for the sheet
that was in my hand, and held it with a convulsive grasp.

I lifted her head, and moved it towards the cooler side of the pillow;
she opened her eyes, and tried to raise her arms; I bent towards her
and she kissed me.

It was just striking the hour of noon, when she breathed her last.

I tottered to her room at last; it seemed to me as if I must still find
her alive; and when I was in her chair, I could not realize that I was
seated there, and that she lay so near me, while I could do nothing for
her.

I do not know how it was, but I felt awed by the very silence of the
place.

Martella said, "I have stopped the clock; it, too, shall stand still."

They had withdrawn the letter from her convulsively closed hand, and I
read it. It has since disappeared--whither, I know not. I remember only
this--that it contained news from Algiers, and that Ernst said in it
that if Martella and Richard were fond of one another, he was quite
ready to release her from any promise to him.

With the exception of Ernst and Ludwig, all of my children were
present. Many friends, too, were there. I recollect that I grasped the
hands of many of them; but what avails that? They all have their own
life left them--I have none.

All arose to attend to the funeral. They set down the coffin in front
of the house, and not far from the spring. They told me that my
grandson, the vicar, delivered an impressive address in the name of the
family. I heard nothing but the rushing of the water.

How I reached her grave, or who led me, I know not.

This alone do I know. I saw how Martella kissed the handful of earth
that she threw into the empty grave, and when I returned homeward, the
waters were still roaring in our fountain. It roars and roars.

I felt borne down as if by a load of lead. Tears were not vouchsafed
me. I could not realize that my hands could move, my eyes see--in fact
that I was still alive.

When I looked out again over the valley and towards the hills, it
suddenly seemed as if my eyes had become covered with a film, and then
all--the forest, the meadows, and the houses seemed of a blood-red
color, as if steeped in the dark glow of evening.

I closed my eyes for a long while, and when I opened them again, I saw
that the meadows and the woods were green, and everything had its
natural color.

The water flows over the weir and bubbles and rushes and sparkles
to-day, just as it did yesterday, and as it will tomorrow. How can it
be possible that all continues to live on, and she not here. Do not
tell me that nature can comfort us against real grief. Against a loss
for aye she availeth nothing.

If, in your closet, you have grieved because of insult and falsehood
and meanness, do but go out into the fields or woods. While gazing upon
the bright and kindly face of nature, or inhaling the sweet perfume of
the trees and flowers, you will soon learn to forget such troubles. How
weak is all the world's wickedness, when compared with such undying
grandeur? That which is best on earth is still yours, if these things
but preserve their sway over you. But, if your wife has been torn away
from you, neither tree, nor stream, nor the blue heavens, nor the
flowers, nor the singing birds will help you. All nature lives a life
of its own, and unto itself, and of what avail is it all, when she no
longer shares it with me?

The first thing that recalled me to myself, was hearing the old spinner
say to Carl, "Why am I yet here? She was so good and so useful, and I
am nothing but a burden to you and to the world. Why must I stay
behind? I would so gladly have gone in her stead."

The poor people were gathered all about the house, and one old woman
cried out, through her tears, "The bread she gave us was doubly
welcome, for it was given cheerfully."

I felt that my energies would never again arouse themselves. I cannot
say that the thought alarmed me; I merely felt conscious that my mental
powers were either failing or torpid. For days I could not collect my
thoughts, and led a dull, listless, inanimate life. My children were
about me, but their sympathy did not help me. Ernst's evil letter was
the only thing that had any effect on me.

I could not realize that what had once been life, was now nothing more
than a thought, a memory.

When I heard some one coming up the steps, I always thought it must be
she returning and saying, "I could not stay away; I must return to you,
you are so lonely. The children are good and kind, but we two cannot
remain apart." And then I would start with affright, when I noticed how
my thoughts had been wandering.

When I walked in the street, I felt as if I were but half of myself. As
long as she was with me I had always felt myself rich, for my home
contained her who was best of all.

No one can know what a wealth of soul had been mine; through her, and
with her, I had felt myself moving in a higher spiritual sphere. But
now I felt so broken, so bereft, as if my entire intellectual
possessions had gone to naught. The children are yet here; but they are
for themselves. My wife alone was here for me--was indeed my other
self.

Before that, when I awakened of a morning it was always a pleasure to
feel conscious of life itself; but now with every morrow I had to begin
anew and try to learn how to reconcile myself to my loss. But that is a
lesson I shall never learn. My sun had gone down; I did not care to
live any longer, because all that I experienced seemed to come in
between her and me, and I did not wish to live but in thoughts of her.

I looked at her lamp, her table, her work-basket--all these had
survived her, are still here, and will remain. The one clock was never
wound up afterward. From that day, there was but one clock heard in our
room.

I can now understand why the ancients buried the working implements
with their dead.

I looked out of the window. The neighbors' children were in the street;
their noise grated on my ears. I could not but think how she once said
to me, "Why should it annoy us? Is it anything more than the singing of
the birds? The children are like so many innocent birds."

All things remind me of her. I could sit by the window for hours and
look at the chickens running back and forth, picking up crumbs, and
watching the strutting cock.

I must have been like a little child that, for the first time, begins
to take notice of the objects that surround it.

I seemed as if awaking from darkness, as if dreaming with my eyes
open. Everything seemed new and strangely mysterious to me, although I
had nearly attained my seventieth year.

When, after many weeks, I again saw my face in the mirror, I was
surprised at the saddened, sunken features of the old man. Could that
be I!

I had gone to the neighboring village to order a gravestone. On my way
home, night overtook me. Suddenly a storm burst upon the valley. Like a
child, I counted the interval between the lightning and the thunder. At
first I could count up to thirty-two, afterwards only to seven; and
then I stopped counting. I saw the houses by the roadside, and knew who
lived in them here and there, I might have found shelter, but what
should I do in a strange house, wet to the skin as I was? I kept in the
middle of the road, on the broken stone. When I came to where the
little bridge was, I had to wade through the water.

I noticed that I was in the midst of the storm-cloud. How glorious it
would have been to die at that moment--to be struck dead by lightning!

"But my children, my children!" I uttered the words in a loud voice,
but the thunder drowned my cries.

The flashes of lightning succeeded each other so rapidly that they
blinded me; I could see nothing more. I closed my eyes and held fast to
a rock by the wayside. I had never heard such fearful roaring of the
thunder, or seen such uninterrupted flashes of lightning. I stood still
and concluded to wait there, while I thought of the many other beings
who were also exposed to this storm; and at last, I could weep. I had
not wept since her death, and now it did me good. The hail beat into my
face, already wet with tears.

Suddenly Rothfuss appears and exclaims: "Martella sends me. Oh, God be
praised! there is a good bed waiting for you at home."

Guided by Rothfuss, I reached the house. Although my family were
greatly concerned as to the effect it might have, the shock that I had
undergone had really benefited me. I slept until noon, and when I arose
I felt as if breathing a new life.

I must stop here. I cannot go on. I was obliged to learn how to begin
life anew. When one has buried his dearest love in the earth, the earth
itself becomes a changed world, and one's step upon it a different one.
I trust that I shall not be obliged hereafter to repeat my lamentations
for my own life. The first tranquillizing influence I found was in the
statue gallery, with its figures from another world, so silent, so
unchanging. We can offer them nothing, and yet they give us so much:
they are without life or color, but they represent life in its
imperishable beauty.

Rothfuss offered me a strange solace. He said, "Master, there must be
another woman somewhere in this world just as she was."

"Why?"

"I always thought that God only suffered the sun to shine because she
was here, but I see that the sun still shines, and so there must be
others like her."

Martella, however, could not realize that she was dead.

"It cannot be: it is not true: she is not dead. She is surely coming up
the steps now. How is it possible that a being can remain away from
those who love her so? I have one request to make. I wish you would
give the pretty dresses to Madame Johanna and Fraulein Christiane; a
few of the work-day clothes you can give to me, and the good woollen
dress you can give to Carl's mother. Let no one else have any of her
clothes. It would grieve me to the heart to know that a strange person
was wearing anything that she had worn. Whoever wears a dress of hers
can neither think an evil thought nor do an evil deed."

My son Ludwig wrote a letter, in which he lamented my wife's death with
all the feeling of which a son is capable, and yet spoke of death as a
wise man should. My daughter Johanna lost the letter. I think she must
have destroyed it on account of the heresies it contained.

My consolation is that I have been found worthy of the perfect love of
so pure a being; that, of itself, is worth all the troubles of life.
Let what may come hereafter, what I have experienced cannot be taken
from me.

I have had a tomb-stone placed at her grave. It has two tablets on one
are the words:

                               "HERE LIES
                      IPHIGENIA GUSTAVA WALDFRIED,
                      _Born December 15th, 1807_,
                        _Died July 23d, 1867_."

On the other, my name shall one day be placed.



                              BOOK THIRD.



                               CHAPTER I.


Life is indeed a sacred trust. I now began to feel that great and noble
duties yet claimed me.

I had become dull and listless. I had taken life as it came, resigning
my will to outer influences, just as one without appetite sits down to
a meal, merely to gain nourishment.

I had become morbidly sensitive; every effort that was made to
alleviate my sufferings and restore my accustomed spirits only served
to pain me anew.

I was now experiencing the worst effect of grief--indifference to the
world.

My path seemed to lie through dismal darkness; but at last I stepped
out into the bright light of day and into the busy haunts of men.

The village street leads into the highway; the forest-brooks flow on
until they reach the river that empties itself into the ocean.

Thus too has it been with my life.

Yielding to Joseph's earnest wishes, I had made a collection of
specimens illustrating every stage in the cultivation and growth of the
white pine. When the collection was complete, I sent it to the great
Paris Exposition.

I received a medal of honor. I did not really deserve it; it should in
justice have gone to Ernst, who had acquainted me with the results of
his careful study of the subject.

I have the diploma, and the medal bearing the effigy of Napoleon. I
looked at them but once, and then enclosed them under seal. They will
be found in the little casket that contains my discharge from the
fortress and other strange mementoes of the past.

Joseph asked me to accompany him to Paris, and would listen to no
refusal. He wanted to acquaint himself with the new methods of
kyanizing railroad ties, and insisted that he could not get along
without my aid.

I had not yet escaped from that condition in which it is well to resign
one's self to the guidance of others.

I saw Paris for the second time. My first visit was in 1832 or 1833,
and was undertaken with the object of making the acquaintance of La
Fayette. In those days we fondly believed that Paris was to save the
world.

Compared with what I now saw, all that had been done in the Parliament
that was held in the High street of our little capital seemed petty and
trifling.

Though storms were gathering, Jupiter Napoleon sat enthroned over all
Europe, and ruled the thunder and the lightning.

I saw him surrounded by all the European monarchs, and often asked
myself whether the world's life is, after all, anything but mummery.

One day, while I was sitting on a bench in the Champs Elysées, and
gazing at the lively, bustling throng that passed before me, I was
approached by a Turco, who said to me:

"Are you not Herr Waldfried?"

My heart trembled with emotion.

Was it not Ernst's voice? Before I could collect my thoughts, the
stranger had vanished in the great crowd that followed in the wake of
the Emperor, who was just passing by.

I caught another glimpse of the man with the red fez and called out to
him; but he had vanished.

Had I been awake or dreaming?

It could not have been Ernst. He would not have left me after thus
addressing me. And if it were he after all! I felt sure that he would
return; so I waited in the hope of again seeing the stranger. The
people who passed me seemed like so many shadows, and I felt as if
withdrawn from the world.

Night approached, and I was obliged to go to my lodgings. I told Joseph
of all that had happened. He stoutly maintained that I must have been
dreaming; but nevertheless went with me the next day to the Champs
Elysées where, seated on a bench, we waited for hours without seeing
any sign of the stranger.

On my journey homeward, I spent a whole week with my sister who lives
in the forest of Hagenau. She can cheer me up better than any of my
children can. Her excellent memory enabled her to remind me of many
little incidents connected with our childhood and our parental home. In
her house, I was, for the first time since my affliction, able to
indulge in a hearty laugh.

In the eyes of my brother-in-law, the medal awarded me at the
Exposition invested me with new importance; he never omitted to allude
to this mark of distinction, when introducing me to his acquaintances.
On the 15th of August, Napoleon's _fête_ day, he actually wanted me to
wear the medal on my coat. He could not understand why I would not
carry it about with me constantly, so as to make a show of my medal of
honor, notwithstanding the fact that the French consider their whole
nation as the world's legion of honor. Every individual among them
seems anxious to thrust himself forward at the expense of the rest.

My sister privately informed me that the young sergeant whom I met at
her house was a suitor for the hand of her eldest daughter, and was
only awaiting the satisfactory settlement of the proper dowry on his
future wife. He was a young man of limited information, but was very
polite and respectful towards me. He hoped to win his epaulets in an
early war with Prussia, which had been so bold as to gain Sadowa and
conclude a peace without paying France the tribute of a portion of her
territory.

The young man evidently thought himself vastly my superior, and spoke
of the future of the South German States in a patronizing and pitying
tone. As I did not think it worth while to contradict him, he fondly
thought that he was instructing me.

As a German, I found the Hagenau Forest of especial interest, from the
fact that a part of it had been presented to the town of Hagenau by the
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

I gave my brother-in-law many councils in regard to arboriculture; but,
as the new ideas entailed work, he declined making use of them. He was
very proud of his epaulets which were displayed in a little frame that
hung on the wall; but he was devoid of all love for the forest, and
indifferent to anything that helped the State without at the same time
contributing to his personal advancement.

I passed a delightful day with my brother-in-law the pastor.

I accompanied him to church, and was greatly moved to once again hear
German preaching and German hymns. The organist was one of the most
respected men of the neighborhood, and was the owner of a large forge.

I was introduced to him after the service. In the presence of others,
he was quite reserved towards me; but during the afternoon, he visited
the pastor, and, while we were seated in the arbor under the
walnut-tree, we conversed freely in regard to the dangers that, in
Alsace, menaced the last remnant of German institutions and the
Evangelical Church.

"France was happiest under Louis Philippe," said the pastor; and when
the manufacturer ventured to inveigh against the Emperor, he replied
that Napoleon was not so bad a man after all, but that the Empress was
spoiling everything; that she was a friend of the Pope, and was
endeavoring, at one and the same time, to destroy Protestantism and
increase luxury.

I returned home. Johanna superintended my household affairs, and also
the farm, with great judgment.

During the whole winter I was in delicate health, and in the following
year I was obliged to visit the springs of Tarasp. Richard accompanied
me.

I was indeed unwell, for when I rode through the Prattigau and the wild
waters of the Land-quart roared at the side of the road, it seemed to
me as if the stream were a living monster that was climbing up and
seeking to devour me.

When on Fluella, I plucked the first Alpine rose. I wept. There was no
one left to whom I could carry the flower that bloomed by the wayside.

Richard regarded me for a long while in silence, and at last said,
"Father, I know what it is that moves your soul. Let it content you
that you did so much to make her life a lovely one."

On those heights, where no plant can live, where no bird sings, where
nothing can be heard but the rushing of the snow currents, where the
fragments of rocks lay bare and bleak, and eternal snows fill the
ravines, I felt as if I were floating in eternity--released from all
that belonged to earth--and I called out her name--"Gustava!"

Ah, if one could wait until death should overtake him in this cold,
bleak region, where naught that has life can endure.

I went on, and met people who had pitched their dwellings in lofty
spots, in order to shelter and entertain tourists. My heart seemed
congealed; but I can yet remember where I was when it again thawed into
life. Neither the lofty mountains nor the mighty landscape helped me. I
sat by the roadside and saw a little bush growing from among the
rubble-stones and bearing the blue flowers called snakeweed. And it was
there that I became myself again.

But look! A bee comes flying towards the bush. She bends down into the
open blossoms; she overlooks none of them, from the top to the bottom
of the bush, but seems to find nothing, and flies off to another
flower. On the next branch she sucks for a long while from every
flower-cup.

A second bee, apparently a younger one, approaches. She, too, tries
flower after flower, and does not know that some one has been there
before her. At last, however, she seems to become aware of the fact,
and skips two or three of the blossoms until she at last finds one that
contains nourishment for her.

Here by the wayside, just as up above where human footsteps do not
reach, there grows a flower that blooms for itself, and yet bears
within it nourishment for another.

I do not know how long I may have been seated there, but when I arose I
felt that life had returned to me, and that I was in full sympathy with
all that was firmly rooted in the earth or freely moving upon its
surface.

My soul had been closed to the world, but was now again open to the air
and the sunshine of existence. From that moment, I felt the spell of
the lofty peaks and lovely scenery, and, yielding to it, at last became
absorbed in self-communion.

I was again living in unconstrained and cheerful intercourse with human
beings; and indeed I could not, at times, refrain from showing some of
the well-informed Swiss that I met how carelessly and sinfully their
countrymen were treating the forests. They complained that the
independence of the cantons and the unrestrained liberty of individuals
rendered it useless to make any attempt to protect the forests.

I made the acquaintance of many worthy men, and that, after all, is
always the greatest acquisition.

We met the widow of our cousin who had fallen at Königgratz. She was
exceedingly gay, was surrounded by a train of admirers, and flaunted in
elegant attire. She nodded to us formally and seemed to take no pride
in her citizen relatives.

I must report another occurrence.

On the very last morning, Richard had succeeded in plucking a large
bunch of edelweiss. He was coming down the mountain where the wagon was
waiting for us. Just then another wagon arrived, and in it was Annette
with her maid.

Richard offered the flowers to Annette.

"Were you thinking of me when you plucked them?" she asked.

"To be truthful, I was not."

"Thanks for the flowers--and for your honesty."

"I did not know, when plucking them, for whom they were; but I am glad
to know that now they are yours."

"Thanks; you are always candid."

We continued our journey. On the way, Richard said, "Our cousin, the
Baroness, is quite a new character; she ought to be called 'the
watering-place widow.' She travels from one watering-place to another,
wears mourning or half-mourning, is quite interesting, and always has a
crowd buzzing around her. It were a great pity if Annette were to turn
out in the same way."

I replied, "If she were to marry, which indeed, were greatly to be
desired, she would no longer be 'the watering-place widow.'"

He made no answer, but bit off the end of a cigar which he had been
holding in his hand for some time.

On our way home, we rested in the shadow of a rock on a high Alpine
peak, and there I found a symbol of what was passing between Annette
and Richard--a forget-me-not growing among nettles.



                              CHAPTER II.


I reached home refreshed and invigorated. The china-asters that she had
planted were blooming. Martella had decorated her grave with the
loveliest flowers, and maintained that the wild bees affected that spot
more than any other. Her memory gradually began to present itself to me
as overgrown with flowers.

I went to attend the winter session of the Parliament, and Martella
accompanied me. We lived with Annette--she would take no refusal, and
we were both at ease in her beautiful house.

Annette always wanted to have Martella about her, but Martella had an
unconquerable--I cannot say aversion, but, rather, dread of Annette;
for Annette had an unpleasant habit of calling attention to every
remark of Martella's, and had even quoted several of them in society.

Richard, who, as the representative of the University, had become a
member of the Upper Chamber, seemed provoked; not on account of my
having brought Martella with me, but because I had allowed myself to be
induced to stay at Annette's house.

He hinted that Annette's marked hospitality was not caused by regard
for me; and it really seemed as if she desired to see much of Richard
at her house, although he had been cold and distant, and, at times,
even scornful towards her. Nevertheless, he often visited us and
allowed Annette to draw him into all sorts of discussions.

One evening when we three were alone,--Annette had been invited to the
house of a friend,--Martella said:

"Richard, do you know what Madame Annette admires most in you?"

"No."

"Your fine teeth. She lets you use your good teeth to crack her hard
nuts."

Richard jumped up from his seat embraced Martella, and kissed her.

Martella blushed crimson and called out, "Richard, you are so polite
and yet so rude! Is that proper?"

But Richard was quite happy to know that Martella had guessed at what
had so often displeased him.

Martella, who never wanted to leave me, one day suddenly expressed a
wish to return home. Annette had on the previous evening taken her to
the theatre, where a ballet had been produced in addition to the drama.
A little child, representing a winged spirit, had descended from above,
and Martella had called out in a loud voice, "That hurts!"

All eyes were turned to Annette's box, in which Martella sat with her
eyes wide open and looking towards the stage as if oblivious of aught
else.

Annette left the theatre with her. Martella could not be induced to
utter a single word in explanation of her sudden fright. I was
surprised to find how Annette bore this mishap, in which she herself
had been subjected to the unkind glances of all the audience. "How
strange," said she; "we are all, unconsciously, slaves of ceremony.
There seems to be a tacit understanding that every member of a theatre
audience or art-gathering must either remain silent or confine himself
to one of two childish expressions--clapping the hands and hissing. And
here this child is perfectly innocent, and I thank her for having
solved another problem for me."

In the morning, Martella wanted to go home. We accompanied her to the
depot, and I telegraphed to Rothfuss to meet her at the station.

My active labors for the Fatherland had restored me. In my solitary
walks, my mind was now occupied by something besides constant thoughts
of myself.

Spring was with us again, and the wondrous power that revives the human
soul had its influence on me.

I was often invited to consultations in regard to matters affecting the
common weal, and it seemed as if my little world was extending its
area, when I made the acquaintance of many brave men, who lived in a
neighboring district, and who kept alive their hopes for the future of
our Fatherland.

During the summer holidays, Richard paid us a visit. He and Baron Arven
had stocked the forest-streams with choice varieties of fish. In some
instances they had not succeeded in getting a pure breed; there were
pikes among their fish.

He was fortunate enough with several of the streams, but was greatly
provoked to find that the farmers of the neighboring villages would not
wait until the young brood had grown, and had already begun to catch
the fish. He induced the authorities to threaten the farmers with a
fine, but on the next day found the notice floating on the stream.

He appointed a forester as watchman, and spent the night in a log cabin
hastily built near by. Once they were fortunate enough to catch the
thief.

Richard and the forester brought the culprit before the authorities,
and he was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment. While we were seated
at table, Richard expressed his satisfaction at the punishment which
had been meted out to the offender. This made Martella as angry as I
have ever seen her, and she became the more provoked when Richard
quickly took down the mirror and held it up to her, saying:

"Here, look at yourself; you are prettiest when you are angry."

"It is nothing to you, how I look!" cried Martella. "Tell such things
to your Madame Annette, but not to me."

The color left Richard's cheeks.

Annette had for several weeks been living in the neighborhood, with
Baroness Arven, and Martella had hardly finished speaking, when we
heard the clatter of horses' hoofs in front of the house. Annette and
Baron Arven came riding up the road. The Baron congratulated Richard on
having caught the first of the pirates, and Annette was in quite a
merry mood.

The Baron also brought us a piece of news that he had just received
from his brother, the forester-in-chief, to the effect that my grandson
Julius had been appointed assistant forester, and that the next
official gazette would announce the appointment.

We sent for Joseph. We were all very happy at the news, and Martella
exclaimed, "That is the position Ernst wished for. But I congratulate
Miss Martha with all my heart she will make a handsome young wife for
the town forester."

We had always avoided alluding to this connection, but now that it had
been openly mentioned, we made no concealment of our joy.



                              CHAPTER III.


Richard and the Baron rode over to the Wild Lake which they had
intended to stock. Annette accompanied them.

It was already night, but Richard had not returned; I was seated alone
at the table, and waiting for him. It had always been his habit to tell
us when he intended to remain out longer than the usual time.

Martella entered. Her cheeks were flushed, and she said, "Father, send
me away--wherever it be. I cannot remain here. It shall not be my fault
if any one is bad."

Trembling, and covering her face with her hands, she declared that
Richard had told her that Ernst was unworthy of her, even if he were
yet living, and that he would never return again. And after that he
said--it was some time before she would tell what it was, and at last
she exclaimed: "that he loves me with all his heart, and wanted to make
me his wife! He! His brother! I would rather he should tie a stone
about my neck, and throw me into the lake where his young fishes are! I
could hardly believe at first, that he had said it, and answered him:
'That is a poor joke: just think of how your mother would feel if she
knew that you would joke in this way!' and then he swore that mother
had said Ernst was untrue to me, and had for that very reason gone out
into the wide world. Can mother have said that? My eyes would start
from their sockets, before Ernst would forsake me. But let me never see
Richard again. Never! Let me go away. You can send me away, but Richard
cannot cease to be your son. Nor can I cease to be your child, but I
can go away."

It is impossible to find words for all that bubbled forth from
Martella's soul. I pacified her, and she promised to remain until the
next day.

I sat up alone to await Richard's return. He did not come until near
midnight.

He wanted to bid me a short "good-night," but I detained him. He sat
down and told me that the Baron and Annette had met Rautenkron down by
the lake, and that he had ridiculed their undertaking. He had said, and
rightly too: "Where there are no frogs, there is no stork; where there
are no flies and worms, there are no birds or fishes. In what was
called 'all-bountiful nature' one beast used the other for its blessed
meal; and, besides that, the lake was entirely frozen over every
winter, and had no outlet that was open through the whole year. If
fishes were in it, they would become suffocated for want of air."

Rautenkron had displayed much knowledge in the matter, but he would not
consent to assist them. He was delighted, moreover, that nature
contained much that was egotistic and was of no use to mankind. Thus
spoke Richard.

I was indignant. I could hardly conceive how Richard could talk about
such subjects, and not make the slightest allusion to what had happened
between him and Martella. I thought of Ernst's letter that I had
received on the day of my wife's death. No one had seen it but I; for
why should I have cared to spread the knowledge of Ernst's wickedness
in offering his betrothed to another? Could it be that an open rupture
with Annette had urged Richard to this unheard-of deed?

I endeavored to stifle my indignation, and said, "You talk of the Wild
Lake--Wild Lake, indeed; you have an unfathomable one in yourself."

He looked at me with surprise.

"What do you mean, father?"

"How can you ask? You dare to touch that which should be holy in your
eyes--the betrothed of your brother!"

"Father, did she tell you herself?" he said hesitatingly.

And I replied:

"What matters that? Until now, I had always thought that you were even
a better man than I was at your age; do not undeceive me."

I said nothing more, and that was enough.

On the following morning, Richard announced that he was about to
depart, and it cost me a great effort to induce Martella to permit him
to take leave of her. At last she came, on condition that I would
remain present while Richard bade her farewell.

Richard said:

"Martella, you have a right to be angry with me, but I am angrier at
myself than you can possibly be. I make no protestations, no oaths; but
I pledge my honor as a man, that you will nevermore hear a wrong word
or receive a wrong glance from me. Farewell."

Thus, this trouble was arranged; but it seemed as if there could be
nothing perfect in this world.

I do not know whether Johanna had been eavesdropping, or how she
happened to find it out; but, at dinner, she spitefully hinted at what
had happened, for when we were talking of the imprisoned fish poacher,
she said, "People who are without religion are capable of anything, and
the irreligious ones who catch a thief are no better than the thief
himself. They stretch forth their hands to grasp things that ought to
be sacred in their eyes."

During the whole of that winter I saw nothing of Richard, and received
but one letter from him, in which he informed me that he had been
offered an appointment at a distant university, and that, for many
reasons, he would gladly have accepted it, but that the Prince had
requested him to remain in the country. He added that he was now again
able to say that his only happiness lay in the pursuit of science.

It was a great pleasure to me to have Julius stationed in our
neighborhood. He was so pure, so fresh, and so bright, that whenever he
came to our house, his presence seemed like the odor of flowers.

I am indebted to Julius for joys which even transcend those my children
have given me, and my pride in my eldest grandson was now about to be
mingled with that I cherished for my eldest son.

My joy was fully shared by Rothfuss. He counted how many days it would
be before Ludwig arrived, and said:

"There are but seven steps yet--right foot, sleep; left foot, get up;
or, taking it the other way, the two together make one step."

The last days of waiting seemed long, even to me. Ludwig had
particularly requested that I should not go to meet him.

On the night before his arrival, I suddenly felt so oppressed that I
thought I should die.

I heard footsteps on the stairs, and, afterward, the breathing of some
one in front of my door. Assuredly, he has wished to prevent my
worrying--he is here already.

"Who is there?"

"It is I,--Rothfuss. I thought to myself that you would not be able to
sleep, and then it suddenly occurred to me that everybody says I am so
entertaining that I can put any one to sleep, and so I thought--"

Rothfuss' allusion to this peculiar art made me laugh so heartily that
I felt quite well again. After he left the room, I was obliged to laugh
again at the thought of what he had said; and then I fell asleep, and
did not awake until the bright daylight shone into my room.



                              CHAPTER IV.


                                                   _May_ 28, 1870.

"Good-morning, dear Henry," she said to herself, this day forty-six
years ago, when she awoke on the last morning she spent in her own
chamber.

"Good-morning, Gustava," said I, opening my eyes. It was the
anniversary of our wedding-day, and every year while we were together,
these were the first accents from her lips and mine--in joy and in
sorrow, always the same.

And this very morning, when awakening, I heard her quite distinctly in
my dream saying, "Good-morning, Henry." But I am alone. She has been
snatched away from me.

On this day our first-born returns from the new world. I am writing
these words in the early dawn, as it will be a long while before I
again have a chance quietly to set down my recollections. I will now
prepare myself to go forth and meet my son.

                                                     _June_, 1870.

Ludwig and Richard have gone to the capital, and I have at last quiet
and time to note down his arrival and his presence with us.

I had just finished writing the above lines, on the twenty-eighth of
May, when I heard Rothfuss drawing the chaise up from the barn to the
front of the house. He then placed the jack-screw under the frame and
took off one wheel after the other and greased the axles, singing and
whistling while at his work.

He saw me seated at the window, and called out in a joyful voice:

"One waits ever so long for the Kirchweih,[4] but it comes at last.
Martella is up already, and has been fixing up the beehives with red
ribbons; the bees, too, are to know that joy comes to this house
to-day. While busy at her work, she called out Ernst's name, as if she
could drag him here that way. But to-day we must not let ourselves
remember that any one is missing."

There it was again. No cup of joy without its drop of gall.

But the mind has great power, and one can force himself to forget
things.

It would be wrong towards my son Ludwig, if I were to mix other
feelings with joy at his return; and it is also wrong towards myself
not to permit a single pleasure to be without alloy.

My spirits were, however, not a little checked on my being reminded of
Ernst. Every nerve in me trembled, so that I began to believe that I
would not be able to survive the hour in which I should again see
Ludwig. But now the sad thought that had floated across my mental
horizon soothed my excited nerves.

Ludwig had sent me his photograph from Paris, in order that I might
recognize him at once.

He had placed the pictures of his wife and of his son in the same
package.

I read over his last two letters again.

In a letter from Paris, dated Sunday, April 24th, he wrote:

"Here I am in the midst of the hubbub in which the 'saviour of the
world' is permitting the people to vote. It is truly a demoniac art,
this power of counterfeiting the last word of truthfulness. In order
that nothing may remain uncorrupted, the ministers declare that the
question of the day is to secure tranquillity to the land for the
future, so that, both on the throne and in the cottage, the son may
peacefully succeed his father. The last lingering traces of modesty and
purity are being destroyed; the last remnant of piety is appealed to in
order to carry out the deceit.

"How glad I should be, on the other hand, to bathe my soul in the pure
waves of great harmonies. The thought that I shall enter my Fatherland
in time to assist in celebrating the Centennary of Beethoven's birth is
an inspiring and an impressive one to me."

Joseph was at Bonn, awaiting the expected guests. He was again
successful in combining high objects with business profits; he
concluded a contract to build the festival building out of trees from
the Black Forest.

I looked at Ludwig's picture, and it seemed to me, indeed, as if I were
looking at my father in his youth. All generations seemed to be
combined in one, as if there were no such thing as time.

Martella came into the room, dressed in her Sunday attire.

"Good-morning, father," said she. "To-day you will hear somebody else
say, 'Good-morning, father.'"

I could not help wondering how Martella would appear to Ludwig. She
seemed new to me. It seemed as if during the four years that she had
been with us she had become taller and more slender. She wore the
pearl-colored silk dress that had been my wife's, and had about her
throat the red coral necklace that Bertha had sent her. Her
unmanageable brown hair was arranged in the form of a coronet; and her
walk and carriage were full of grace and refinement. Her face seemed
lengthened, instead of being as round as it had once been; and her old
defiant expression had given way to one of gentleness. Indeed, since
the death of Gustava, a certain look of pain seemed to have impressed
itself on her features, her large eyes had become more lustrous, and
seemed full of unsatisfied longing.

Johanna and her daughter had also arrayed themselves in their best
clothes; at least, as far as that was possible with Johanna, for, since
the death of her husband, she had always worn mourning.

I rode off in the chaise with Rothfuss; Julius, with Johanna and her
daughter, followed us.

Martella remained in the house with Carl; and the schoolmaster's wife
had come to assist in baking and cooking.

When we reached the saw-mill, the miller said, "I have heard the news
already--this is Ludwig's day."

We drove on, and after a while Rothfuss said, "It seems to me that the
trees are stretching and straightening themselves in order to appear at
their best when our Ludwig goes by."

When we arrived at the top of the last hill, Gaudens, who was breaking
stones on the road, said: "Ludwig will have to own that the roads are
not kept better in America than here." It was strange how the news of
his return had been noised about.

At the last village before reaching the station, Funk came out of the
tavern and called out, "Rothfuss! Stop!"

Rothfuss turned towards me with an inquiring look, and I told him to
stop.

Funk now informed me that he had succeeded in inducing the members of
Ludwig's party to refrain from receiving him at the railroad station
with a festive procession. He did not wish to interfere with the family
festivities; but on the following Sunday, the friends of freedom would
take the liberty of greeting Ludwig as one who belonged to mankind.

I could only reply that I could decide nothing for my son,--that he was
free and would act for himself.

Funk went back into the tavern. We drove on. Rothfuss remarked, "That
fellow is like a salamander; when he tries to climb a rock and falls on
his back, he turns about and is on his feet again quicker than
thought."

We were much too early when we got into town, and I walked about the
streets as if I had never been there before, and as if there were
nowhere a chair on which one might rest.

It suddenly occurred to me that I ought to have sent my picture to
Ludwig, so that he might know me; I had grown a full beard since his
departure, and it would grieve me if he did not at once recognize me.

I decided at once. There was yet time enough to have my beard removed;
and when I returned, Johanna and Rothfuss were greatly astonished by
the change in my appearance. But I did not tell them my reason for
removing my beard.

I had a presentiment that Ludwig would bring Ernst with him. I note
this down, because we frequently speak of fulfilled presentiments, but
never of those which are not fulfilled.

At the depot, there were numbers of emigrants who were about to leave
the valley. I knew many of them, and they guessed at my innermost
thought; for now one, and then another, would come to me and say, "If I
learn anything about Ernst, I will write to you immediately."

The locksmith's widow was there, with her three children. The children
had bouquets in their hands, and I begged them to stand aside until the
first meeting was over.

A young stone-cutter who lived at a village in our neighborhood, and
was employed in the shops at the depot, greeted the locksmith's widow
in the most friendly manner. He held her hand in his for some time, and
she seemed pleased thereat. How strange that at such moments one can
see more than is transpiring about him! It suddenly occurred to me,
"Who knows--they may yet be a couple."

The Inspector invited me to his dwelling; I accompanied him. A short
time afterward, he returned and told me that the train had been
signalled. He led me down the steps and remained at my side. Now we
hear the whistle;--now the train is coming round the curve; now it is
slacking its speed. No one is beckoning to me from the car windows. Can
he have failed to come? Many passengers alight; but I see no sign of my
son.

Suddenly a guard calls out to me, "Herr Waldfried, you are to come this
way!" He opens the door of the car and I am lifted up into it.

I hear a voice exclaim, "Father!" and I know nothing of what happened
for some time afterward.

"Grandfather, give me your hand," says another voice. But, before that,
I am embraced by a lovely woman, who sheds tears of joy.

Leading my son with my right hand and my grandson with the left, I
walked out as if marching in triumph. My daughter-in-law was escorted
by Johanna and her daughter.

Suddenly Ludwig dropped my hand and called out, "You here, Ernst?"

"I am not your brother Ernst; I am Julius, the son of your sister
Martina."

"Where is Rothfuss?" inquired Joseph, who had also come on the train
with Ludwig.

I had already seen him. He stood aside, lighting one match after
another, and seemed to be waiting for Ludwig to come to him to get a
light for his cigar.

At last he threw the match away and called out, "Hurrah! Shout till you
burst your throats!"

They all shouted "hurrah," and when Ludwig and his son had shaken hands
with Rothfuss, and the wife had taken him by the hand, Rothfuss said,
"She has a firm hand; you have done this thing well, Ludwig."

A middle-aged man, erect in figure, and with a red mustache, was
looking after Ludwig's luggage. Ludwig now called to him, "Willem, just
leave those things and come here. Here, Rothfuss, let me recommend to
you my servant and friend, Willem. Shake hands with each other, and be
good friends."

Rothfuss extended his hand, and asked, with an air of doubt:

"He speaks German, of course--does he not?"

"Yours to command; I know nothing else."

It was on a Saturday, and the Jews of the little town were accustomed
on that day to loiter about the station. We were just about to leave,
when the Jewish teacher came up to me and said, "Herr Waldfried, the
verse in the Bible which tells of Jacob again seeing his son Joseph,
applies to you. It says, 'And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me die,
since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.'"
The words of the little old man did me much good.



                               CHAPTER V.


Funk had been unable to deny himself the pleasure of being on hand.

When we passed the garden of the "Wild Man" tavern he stood at the
fence, surrounded by several of his companions. They lifted their
foaming beer-glasses on high, and cried, "Long live Ludwig, the
republican!" Ludwig merely nodded his thanks, and then said to me:

"Father, let us get in and ride home."

The carriages were awaiting us.

I wanted my daughter-in-law to sit with me, but she insisted that
Ludwig and Wolfgang should do so, while she joined Johanna and the rest
of the party.

Rothfuss, who at other times took so great a pleasure in cracking his
whip, now sounded it but lightly.

"Rothfuss, how long have you been with us?" asked Ludwig.

"Longer than you have been in this world," was the answer.

My grandson, Wolfgang, laughed out loud, and told us that his father
had prophesied that very answer.

As we drove through the village, every one came to the windows to greet
us.

We were passing the house of the kreis-director. The family were seated
in the garden, and we were obliged to stop with them for a little
while. The roses were lovely, and the faces of our friends were bright
with kindness.

The husband, the wife, and the daughters welcomed the new-comers most
cordially, and the wife handed my daughter-in-law a bouquet of roses.

Their son was also present. He had become a lieutenant, and his
countenance seemed to combine the clear, bright expression of the
mother, with the sternness of the father.

Julius and Martha were standing a little way off, beside a blooming
rose-bush, and when I said to Ludwig, "Behold your future niece," they
were both so suffused with blushes, that they resembled the roses. My
daughter-in-law embraced Martha, and was afterward embraced by the
Privy Councillor's wife.

Ludwig urged our departure for home, and the charming woman thanked us
heartily for the short visit we had paid her. In the meantime, Rontheim
had opened a bottle of wine and filled our glasses.

Our glasses clinked; we emptied them, and started on our way; and
Rothfuss said, "The Privy Councillor did the right thing in pouring out
some wine; eating and drinking is the best half of nourishment." Ludwig
laughed heartily.

Ludwig held me by the hand while we drove along the valley road.

"The houses have been rebuilt," he said, pointing towards the right
bank of the stream. It was there that, during the uprising of 1848, he
had been in command, and where the houses had been burned to the
ground.

"We have him in a sack; if we could only keep him there for ourselves
for a couple of weeks," called out Rothfuss.

My grandson did not understand him, and I was obliged to explain how
Rothfuss always managed to catch my very thought.

I had wished to be able to have Ludwig's society for myself, and to
give no one a part of him, except of course his brothers and sisters.
From a few remarks of Ludwig's, I gathered that he was aware of my
thoughts, and the first thing he said to me was a text for all that
followed.

"I have not forgotten mother's saying, and it has often been a guide
for me: 'We have part in the world, and the world ought to have part in
us.'"

It seemed to me that Rothfuss was laughing to himself. I had been
mistaken, however, for Wolfgang, who was seated on the box with
Rothfuss, now called out, "Father, Rothfuss is crying!"

"Is there anything that such an American wouldn't notice?" replied
Rothfuss, sitting upright on the box, and cracking his whip with all
his might.

"And so the new road through the valley is finished," said Ludwig; "I
suppose Antonin built that. It would have been better, though, if they
had carried it along the other bank."

The new road had, however, only been laid out as far as the boundary
line; from there unto my dwelling, which was fully two hours distant,
there was only the old road, which was in a horrible condition.

"Father," exclaimed Wolfgang, "here are the boundary posts that you
told me of."

"Yes," said Ludwig; "this is yet old Germany. Here, there is still
separation."

I believe that I have not yet mentioned that I live near the border.
Our village is the last point in our territory, and further down the
valley is the beginning of the neighboring principality.

How strange! There was so much that we wished to speak of to one
another, and the first subject of conversation was the laying out of
the new road.

And it is well that it is so; for this helps one over the heart-throbs
that otherwise would be almost insupportable.

Ludwig had mentioned mother, and for the present she was not referred
to again.

He had a quick glance, and always thought of what might benefit the
community; and when Wolfgang expressed his delight at the wild, rushing
valley stream, Ludwig said to me, "That stream could do much more work.
There is a fortune floating there, thrown into the water, as it were,
and flowing away from our valley out into the ocean."

"To whom does water-power belong?" inquired Wolfgang.

We gave him the desired information, and this question was a happy
proof of his active, inquiring mind.

"Over yonder," said Rothfuss, "there is a miller who has his
water-power direct from the heavens." He pointed to the house of the
so-called "thunder miller," who had built his mill in such a way that
its wheel would only go after there had been a storm.

The ground for some distance before we reached the tunnel, was covered
with cherry-trees with straight trunks, the branches of which looked
like a well-arranged bouquet; and on the heights were the beech-trees
with their red buds, and one could follow the gradual development of
the foliage.

"Look, Wolfgang," said Ludwig, "you can see here how spring gradually
climbs up the mountain side."

"Father," exclaimed Wolfgang, "the people in the fields are all looking
up at us."

"They all know grandfather," replied Ludwig; and, turning to me, he
explained: "It seems strange to the boy, for the American never looks
up from his work, even if seven trains of cars rush by within ten paces
of him."

At the boundary line, Gaudens greeted us.

We halted there for a while. He came up to the carriage, stretched out
his hand, and exclaimed, "Do you know me yet?"

"Certainly I do; you are Gaudens."

"Yes, it is easy to find me; from here around the corner, down to the
Maiengrund is my district. I was in the revolution too, but I lied my
way out. Yes, Ludwig, you have wandered about a great deal in the wide
world. It is best at home, after all; isn't it? Is this your son?"

"It is."

"God bless him. And what a splendid wife you have!--What a pity about
Ernst; he has such a good heart and is such a sensible fellow, and yet
commits such wicked and foolish tricks. All I wish for is to have a
place where I might have some little extra profits from fruit and grass
by the road; nothing ripens here but pine cones."

When Wolfgang shook hands with him at parting, he said, "He has a soft
hand; he cannot swing the pickaxe as you did when you were building
your first road."

"How lovely it is here," said Wolfgang. "Here you know every one, and
every one knows you; you cannot meet a stranger."

He was right; it is so; and this makes a full life, but a hard one too.

We left the forester's house, where the forester's pretty wife, holding
a child on her arm, greeted us. Our way lay along the crest of the
mountain, and looked down into the valley, where the haystacks were
scattered about the meadow, in the hollow, and along the hillside.
Ludwig said:

"Whenever I thought of home, this view of the valley always came back
to me. I was walking here once with Ernst, while he was yet quite a
little fellow, and he said to me, 'Ludwig, look at the haystacks. Don't
they look like a scattered herd of cows on the meadow?'"

He must have noticed that his allusion to Ernst had agitated me, and he
added, "Father, we must be strong enough to think calmly of the dead
and of the lost ones."

When we passed the woods that belonged to Uncle Linker and me, Ludwig
was delighted to find how nicely they had been kept.

He then inquired about Martella, and when I said that she had a strange
aversion to America, and disliked to hear it mentioned, he replied:

"Do you not believe, father, that she has an unexplained, and perhaps
sad, past, which is in some way associated with America?" I was
startled;--the case seemed to present new and puzzling difficulties.

Ludwig was pleased with the meadow-valley where he had arranged the
trench with sluices. In very good seasons, there were four crops; but
one was always sure of at least three. The value of the meadow-farmer's
property had in this way been doubled.

Down by the saw-mill, we met Carl, who was just using the windlass to
drag a large beam from the wagon.

He turned around as we approached and saluted us, and Ludwig's wife
said, "What a handsome fellow! He is just as I have imagined all your
countrymen to be."

We alighted, and walked up the hill and on towards the village.

When Ludwig saw the churchyard, he removed his hat from his head,
remained standing for a moment in silence, and then walked on briskly.

At the steps of the house he extended his hand to his wife and said,
"Welcome to the house of my parents!"

Martella was standing on the piazza: she stood there immovable, holding
herself by the railing.

"That pretty girl there, with large staring eyes, is Ernst's betrothed,
I presume?" said Ludwig.

I said, "Yes."

We went up the steps and entered the room. Without speaking a word,
Martella offered her hand to every one of the new arrivals. She seemed
absent minded and was silent.

My daughter-in-law and Wolfgang were surprised to find that we still
had fires in our stoves.

A little pleasantry at once made us all feel at home with one another.
I told my new daughter-in-law how happily I had lived with my wife, but
that even we had been obliged to adapt ourselves to each other's ways.

From the earliest days in autumn until far into the summer, it had been
our custom to have our sitting-room heated every morning and evening.
At first it went hard with me, but after a while we accustomed
ourselves to the same outer temperature, and the nicely warmed room at
last became a great comfort to me, whenever I returned from the fields.

"I understand perfectly, and thank you for telling me of mother first
of all," said my daughter-in-law.

Martella remained silent and reserved towards the newcomers, and, for
the rest of the evening, we did not see her again. She remained in the
kitchen and instructed one of the servants to serve the meal. With the
help of the schoolmaster's wife she had prepared us a fine feast.

Wolfgang suddenly asked to see the family woods, and as it was still
broad daylight, Ludwig took him out to gratify his curiosity.

I was left alone with my daughter-in-law, and when I conducted her
through the house and showed her, above all things, the apartment with
the plaster casts, her pure and tranquil nature became revealed to me
for the first time.

When Ludwig returned, he expressed great pleasure with the fountain
that mother had ordered to be repaired at the time the new forest path
was laid out. He promised to send to the iron foundry at once, and
order a pretty column with a pipe through it.

"Mother inspired me with an affection for this spring," said he. "While
building the aqueduct, I thought of her almost every day; and along the
space where the pipes were running under ground, I planted pines, in
order that pretty woods might grow there, and the temperature of the
water always remain the same. Of all the great and impressive things I
beheld in America, one little monument impressed me most of all; it was
that to Fredrick Graff, who built the waterworks of Philadelphia."

Night approached. We were seated in the arbor, and Wolfgang exclaimed,
"The stars shine more brightly here than elsewhere."

"The dark woods make it appear so," said Ludwig. And just over the
family woods, seeming to touch the tops of the trees as if fixed there,
a star glistened and shone with a brightness that was marvellous even
to me.

Ludwig conducted himself with great self-control and moderation. He
spoke slowly and in a low voice, in order to keep down all agitation.

Long after the new-comers had retired to rest, Rothfuss and I were
still sitting in front of the house.

Rothfuss could not come to an understanding with himself. He said, "Our
Ludwig is still the same, and is changed for all; he has not grown, and
yet he is larger."

He told me that Ludwig had come out into the stable to him, and when he
had told Ludwig that the sorrel horse was the son of our gray stud, he
had taken the horse firmly by the mane and said, "Rothfuss, you have
been faithful to my father; I cannot fully recompense you for it, but
express a wish and I will do what I can for you."

Rothfuss had heard no more of what was said.

He could not help crying like a child; and now he would like to know
what he ought to wish for. He said that he wanted no one to advise him;
he must find it out himself. For a long while, neither of us spoke a
word. There was not a sound to be heard, save the bubbling of the
fountain in front of the house.

I retired to my room, but could find no rest, and sat by the window for
a long while.

It seemed to me as if an invisible and inaudible spirit was wandering
through the house and bestowing upon it peace and quiet, above all
other spots upon this earth.

Just then the watchman called the hour of midnight; the window of
Ludwig's chamber opened, and Ludwig called out, "Tobias, come and see
me to-morrow: I have something for you."

"Are you still awake?" cried I.

"Yes, father; and when I heard the watchman I knew for sure that I am
at home. Now I understand the proverb, 'He who does not wander, does
not return.' It is only among strangers that one learns to appreciate
his home.

"But now go to sleep. Good-night, father."



                              CHAPTER VI.


"The Herr Professor has arrived," were the words with which Martella
greeted me early the next morning. I must observe that Martella now
always spoke of Richard as "Herr Professor." The meeting of the
brothers was a most affectionate one.

Ludwig's wife and Richard were friends at once. She introduced herself
to him as the daughter of a professor, and Richard's impressive manner
seemed to please her greatly.

Wolfgang was greatly moved, and whispered to me:

"I can now for the first time, say the best words: 'grandfather,'
'uncle;' and"--turning quickly to Johanna--"'aunt;' to Julius I have
already said 'cousin,' and I shall soon have more cousins."

The brothers were soon involved in a most zealous discussion of the
great questions of the day. Richard warned Ludwig against permitting
the demagogues to make use of him, as their only aim was to foment
disturbance, and to abuse all existing institutions. They were wholly
without lofty or honest aims of their own. When he warned him to be on
his guard and not to permit this or that one to influence his views of
affairs in the Fatherland, Ludwig replied: "With your permission, I
shall begin with you." Richard observed that, just as time helps to
correct our judgments, in regard to past events, so does distance aid
us in criticising contemporary history. It may take ten years before we
can see the Europe of the present in the light in which it appears to
the unprejudiced American of to-day; and when he asked Ludwig whether
we might not cherish the hope that he would now remain in the old
world, Ludwig answered that, with all his love of home, he did not
believe he would be able to give up the perfect independence of
American life.

"And what do you think on the subject, my dear sister-in-law?"

"I am of the same opinion as my husband."

Richard expressed a wish that Ludwig might, at some future day, take
charge of the family estate, as there was no one else who could do it.
It seemed to me, indeed, that, in all that he said, Richard was trying
to determine Ludwig to unite his fortunes with those of the Fatherland.

Ludwig, who had come by way of France, could tell us much of the great
excitement that had been produced there by the _plebiscite_.

The brothers were agreed that the expression of the popular will had
been accompanied by fearful deceit on the part of the authorities; but
they did not agree as to the object contemplated by that deceit.

"I was often obliged," said Ludwig, "to think of our old schoolmaster,
who explained the philosophic beauty of the Latin language to us by the
fact that _volo_ has no imperative; but the author of the 'Life of
Cæsar' has shown us, by means of the _plebiscite_, that _volo_ has an
imperative."

Ludwig asserted that the majority of educated Frenchmen hated and
despised Napoleon; for all the large cities, with the exception of
Strasburg, which gave a small majority on the other side, had voted
_no_. At the same time, what they hated and despised in him was just
what they themselves were; for every individual Frenchman really
desires to be a Napoleon; and the _no_ that a portion of the army had
voted, simply meant, "We want war." Napoleon had undermined every sense
of duty, and the misfortune of France was that no one there believed in
the honesty or the unselfishness of another creature.

"I have also made the acquaintance of French emigrants in America. It
is, of course, unfair to judge of a nation by its emigrants; but I
could not help being struck by the fact that those whom I met had no
confidence in any one."

Richard, on the other hand, had a very good opinion of the French. He
told us that about the time he was working in the library at Paris, he
had travelled much through France, and had made the acquaintance of
Frenchmen of every station in life.

"The French are industrious and temperate, and a people of whom that
can be said, has a noble destiny awaiting it. They have a great desire
to please, which makes them agreeable, and gives all their work the
impress of good taste. They are fond of all that partakes of the
decorative, whether it be a glittering phrase or a badge. If that
which, from its very nature, ought to be general, could gain
distinction for them--if there could be an aristocracy in republican
virtue, I cannot help believing that the Frenchmen would be unbending
republicans."

"Yes," said Ludwig; "and they are humane, also. The vain and conceited
man is usually generous and communicative: he thinks he has so many
advantages that he is glad to bestow a share on others, and is annoyed
and almost angry if they do not care to accept his bounty; for he
considers their declining it as a want of belief in his superiority,
and is surprised to find that others do not hunger and thirst for the
things that he regards as delicacies."

The brothers became involved in all sorts of discussions, and, although
Richard was the younger of the two, he showed, in a certain patronizing
way, how pleased he was to find that the school of experience had
moderated Ludwig's views. For the brothers agreed on one point--that,
as there was no one church which could alone save mankind, so there was
no one form of government which could alone make all men free. After
all, everything depended on the honesty and the morality of the
citizen, and, for that reason, it could not be maintained that the
republican form of government was a guarantee of freedom, or that a
monarchy necessarily implied a condition of servitude.

The brothers now understood each other better than they had done in
former times.

Richard always occupied himself with general principles, while I can
only interest myself in particulars. The first question that I ask
myself is, How does the rule apply to this or that one? Richard is
different. He has no eye for isolated cases, but a far-seeing glance
where general principles are concerned. He looks upon everything from a
certain lofty historical point of view. He regards the hilly region in
which we live with the eye of an artist and a scientist, noticing the
elevations and the depressions, without giving a thought to the people
who dwell among them. He does not see the villages, much less a single
villager.

My experience with Richard solved a question which had always been a
riddle to me. He has no love for the people, and is, nevertheless, an
advocate of liberty. Until now, I could not understand how it was
possible; now it is clear to me.

Advocates of liberty are of two classes. The one class ask for it as a
logical necessity; the other are disappointed when the people, or
portions thereof, become obstinate or prove themselves unworthy of
freedom. The former have nothing to do with mankind, but simply busy
themselves with the idea of liberty, and are, for that reason, more
positive and exacting and less given to fine talk.

Formerly, Richard had been dissatisfied with all of Ludwig's actions
and opinions. He was opposed to all that was violent; but now Richard
had become the more liberal, and Ludwig the more conservative, of the
two. It was in America, where the tendency seemed towards a loosening
of all restraint, that Ludwig had for the first time learned to attach
importance to the preservation of established institutions. While they
were yet children under the instructions of Pastor Genser, who
afterward became my son-in-law, the two boys had given much of their
time to music. To listen to Richard playing the violincello and Ludwig
playing the piano, was one of the greatest pleasures that our household
afforded Gustava and myself.

Ludwig has given up music, and they can now no longer play together.
But when I heard them talking in unrestrained converse, and observed
how the one transposed the mood and the thoughts of the other into his
own key, and developed it, adding new combinations of ideas; and when I
noticed how the eye of either speaker would, from time to time, rest
upon the other with a joyful expression, it seemed yet more beautiful
and more grateful to my heart than any music could be. And withal, each
temperament preserved its own melody. Richard looked forward for some
event that would mark a turning-point in the affairs of men, or for the
advent of some great man, to utter the command, "Come, and follow me."
Ludwig added that liberation could only be brought about by one who
possessed a cool head and a firm hand, so that, without swerving a
hair's breadth to either side, he could put in the knife where it was
needed.

Richard, with more than his wonted animation, spoke joyfully of being
released from the opposition party, and when Ludwig approvingly said
that the time was now coming for Germany in which those who were
dissatisfied with its laws and institutions would not be the only free
ones, Richard again urged him to consider how hard it would be if no
one of us should take charge of the estate, and it should thus at some
day fall into the hands of strangers.

"That is no misfortune," replied Ludwig. "Our posterity may again
become poor, just as our ancestors were; all property must change hands
at some time or other. To encourage the fond desire of retaining
possession of a so called family estate, savors of aristocratic
feeling."

Richard was struck by this reply, and said: "You are more familiar with
the history of the Indians than I am; but do you recollect the reply of
the chief whom they were endeavoring to persuade to move off with those
who belonged to him, into another territory--'Give us the graves of our
ancestors to take with us?' And, Ludwig, over there is the grave of our
mother."

There was a long silence after that, and Ludwig merely replied, "You do
wrong to urge me so."

Martella had been sitting near by while the two had been carrying on
their familiar conversation. In all likelihood, she had understood but
little of what was said, for, while discussing the improvement of the
whole world, they indulged themselves in vistas of the distant future.
But Martella would look first at one and then at the other, and then at
me, nodding approval each time. And afterward, when she and I were
alone together, she said, "Father, your eyes told me how happy you
were, and you must have thought just as I did; did you not? Ah, if
Ernst only knew how his brothers are here talking with each other from
their very hearts! Indeed, if he were here he would be the most
sensible of all, for there is no one like Ernst."



                              CHAPTER VII.


Ludwig's servant entered and inquired whether he might accompany
"madame" (meaning Johanna) to church.

"You may go," replied Ludwig to the servant, who saluted in curt
military style and left the room.

Richard inquired where the man was from, for his pronunciation would
prove him a North German.

Ludwig replied, "Yes, he is a specimen of North German discipline and
reliability.

"Although he was willing to work at anything, he was almost perishing
with want when I made his acquaintance. I took him into my service, and
every order I gave was executed by him as implicitly as if he were
obeying an imperative law of nature.

"One evening I had an appointment to meet several persons at the town
hall; I took him with me, and said to him, 'Willem, wait here for me.'

"I entered and had a lengthy interview--forgot Willem, and left through
another door.

"The next morning I came back to the town hall, and there stood Willem.

"'What are you doing there?' I asked.

"'_Ik warte_.'[5] said he.

"He had waited there all night, and would probably have waited the
whole of that day, if I had not by chance come there.

"After that, we always called him 'Ik-warte.'"

We were so happy together. It was one of those moments that one wishes
might be prolonged forever, and in which one dreads to move from his
seat for fear of breaking the spell. Our happiness was, however, not to
be of long duration.

The locksmith's widow came, bringing her children with her. They
brought a pot of fine honey, and fresh garlands of daisies and violets.

Ludwig advised the children--they were two girls and a boy--above all
things not to consider themselves Americans; for if Germans would work
as they do in America, they could do just as well as the Americans.

The widow said that she would like to have a talk with Ludwig alone,
for she looked upon him as the guardian of her children. Ludwig
promised to pay her a visit at an early day.

She was about leaving when new guests arrived.

Funk called, but he had discreetly sent in advance his parade horse,
Schweitzer-Schmalz, who was attired in the national costume she was so
fond of, with large, round, silver buttons. He walked along with an air
of great importance, with his bull neck, his face shining with good
living, and his thick eyelids, from beneath which his little eyes cast
their contemptuous glances. He was followed by the village lawyer, a
man of pleasing appearance, and, indeed, a noble being who had but one
fixed idea, and that was that the world was to be protected against all
corporalism.

Funk followed after these two fit companions of his. He had not been in
my house for four years.

Schweitzer-Schmalz was the first to speak, and uttered a short, hearty,
"Welcome, Ludwig!"

For the first time, he avoided his haughty manner of treating every one
as "little fellow." The tall, commanding appearance of Ludwig awed him.

After that, the lawyer delivered a somewhat longer and quite fervent
speech, and I was obliged to beg Richard to keep quiet, for he
whispered to me, "All this so early in the morning, and without an
audience of empty bottles!"

Funk extended his hand in silence and nodded significantly, as if he
meant to say, "You know already what I mean."

Martella brought wine and glasses. It hurt me to feel that she was in
the presence of Funk, who had, years ago, so maliciously dragged her
name before the political meeting.

I had told Ludwig nothing of my rupture with Funk.

Funk inquired about several who had been their companions in revolution
and who had emigrated. Of many, Ludwig could give no information, while
of some he could give us good report, and of many others, sad news.

Ludwig disapproved of the emigration fever.

The turn that the conversation had taken did not seem to Funk's taste;
but Ludwig was able to direct it as he desired, and, addressing himself
more especially to the lawyer, he spoke of the intimate relations that
existed between our country--South Germany in particular--and America.

Owing to their innate energy, and in spite of want, misery and
ignorance of the language, the proportion who succeed in attaining
wealth, position, and honors is much larger with the first generation
of emigrants than with their children who are born in America.

Statistics had proven that, in spite of want and temptation, the first
generation offered far fewer objects for the jails than did the second.
On the other hand, the former were more largely represented in the
insane asylums.

Funk was evidently displeased, and emptied his glass at one draught.
Although he laughed, he seemed ill at ease when Schweitzer-Schmalz
said, "There you have it. I have always told you little folk may
emigrate; but the right sort of a man," he said, stroking his fat belly
at the same time, "knows where he is best off, and keeps at home."

"I believe that you are also one of the deceived ones," said Ludwig,
supplementing his remarks. "You cannot know, or, at all events, only
know it superficially, that the projectors of new railroads attempt to
help the price of their shares by encouraging emigration into the
territory traversed by their road, and that many who get gratuities by
them do not even know this."

Funk suggested that a festive gathering of people from the village and
surrounding country should take place on any Sunday that Ludwig might
fix upon. The meeting was to be in honor of his arrival. At this time
he was doubly welcome, for he would assist in dispelling the Prussian
pestilence.

"I see you are still fond of set phrases," replied Ludwig, and added:
"How strange it is since the congress of Vienna, all friends of the
Fatherland have been clamoring for a man who, with firm hand and shrewd
judgment, would, regardless of consequences, force Germany into unity;
and now that he is with us, they hurl stones at him. And do you know,
Professor, what it is that particularly pleases me in Bismarck?" he
exclaimed roguishly.

"How should I know?"

"He has fortunately one of those rare names that can be pronounced the
same in all languages."

"We had thought we should meet an old republican--an enemy of tyrants!"
exclaimed Funk.

"I have not changed in that respect," answered Ludwig. "The question
whether a republic or a monarchy should be preferred, is about the same
as if one were to ask which is better, meat or farinaceous food? All
depends upon the manner in which the food is prepared, and upon the
digestive powers of the stomach. But don't let us dispute now. I trust
we shall have a chance yet to discuss these matters more calmly."

"What day have you determined on?" inquired Funk.

Ludwig said that he desired no such compliment. He preferred to renew
his acquaintance with the people and their circumstances in a quiet,
unobtrusive manner.

The church bells began tolling, and Funk said: "Perhaps you wish to go
to church? You have probably grown religious, too?"

"Thanks for catechizing me," said Ludwig.

"Ah, I forgot to address you as 'Colonel,'" said Funk.

"That makes no difference, although my rank is that of colonel. I was
promoted at the front, and it is the greatest pride of my life that I
did my duty in the war for wiping out slavery."

I do not know whether it was shrewdness or arrogance towards his
companion or ourselves, that induced Schweitzer-Schmalz to assume his
wonderfully self-complacent air.

"Yes, Colonel," said he, "another American war would not be so
unpleasant to us after all?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"Why, that we gained one great advantage from it, or, as my student
says, 'pitch.'"

"I do not understand you."

"Yes," began Schweitzer-Schmalz, after emptying his glass, "your father
doesn't like rosin; but, for the little farmers, the pine-trees which
give rosin are just like so many milchcows. I have a piece of woodland
that I milked hard, because, so long as the war lasted, no rosin came
from America, and the price of ours went up very much."

Richard could not refrain from remarking on the wonderful connection
that made changes in one country affect the most distant portions of
the globe. And thus the visit, which had promised to be so
disagreeable, ended quite pleasantly.

Funk and his companions left, and when Richard was about to speak of
Funk's emptiness, Ludwig replied:

"You are deceived in him. He is full of what we, in America, call
'steam.' He has a restless spirit of enterprise."

My daughter-in-law and Johanna went to church together, and Ikwarte
followed after them.

The watchman came, and Ludwig gave him a considerable present.

After that, Ludwig requested me to accompany him to the statue gallery,
where he said: "Father, I have brought nothing for you; but I know that
your greatest pleasure is to do acts of beneficence; let me, therefore,
place this sum of money in your hands, so that you may distribute it
according to your best judgment. If I can do good through you, I shall
be doing good to myself; and, as mother is no longer living, I must ask
you to attend to this for me."

I doubt whether in yonder church there was one heart more piously
inclined than ours were on that day.

But it seems that nothing in life can remain perfectly pure and
undisturbed.

We were just about sitting down to dinner, when a wretched-looking
creature, called Wacker, entered. He lived in the neighboring valley,
and had once been a comrade of Ludwig's at the Polytechnic school. He
had left school at an early day, in order to take charge of a beer
brewery, and had become a drunkard. His place had been sold out, and he
now wandered about from one little tavern to another, where he would
spend the day between maudlin curses and drunken slumbers. When he
entered the house, it was only noon, and he was already intoxicated.

"Brother," he exclaimed, "give me one of your California lumps of gold;
or, if that is asking too much, see that I have free tap for one year
at the 'Lamb.' Here is my hand. If the war begins again, I will help.
Give me hand-money--throat-money--throat-money!"

He offered his hand to Ludwig, who declined it. I saw his indignation;
his glance fell on Ludwig's wife and on Wolfgang, for the latter seemed
surprised that the degraded creature should address his father in such
familiar terms. Wacker begged for a gift, but Ludwig refused it with
the words, "Get some employment, and then I will help you, but not
before."

Wacker replied in vile, abusive terms.

Ludwig instantly collared him and led him from the room.

We could hear him cursing, after he got out into the road; and then he
staggered down the hillside.

There was something cold and hard as iron in Ludwig's manner towards
all except his nearest kindred, to whom he was kind and gentle.

This interruption was a shrill dissonance in our Sunday's pleasure. We
soon forgot it, however.



                              CHAPTER VIII.

In the afternoon, Julius and his betrothed visited us, and, in a little
while, letters containing uniform messages were sent in all directions.
The Professor, my daughter-in-law, Wolfgang, Johanna and her daughter,
Julius and his intended, all wrote; for every one was to have a
separate invitation to the great family gathering on the following
Sunday. At Ludwig's request, all of our relatives were informed that he
insisted on their making the journey at his charge. Those who did not
need it should state the amount, nevertheless, and if they so wished
might give it to the poor. In this way, no one who could not afford the
expense would be prevented from undertaking the journey.

Rothfuss and Ikwarte walked off to town to mail the letters, of which
there were nearly fifty. To my sister who lived in the Hagenau forest,
I wrote in person.

Rothfuss had told Ikwarte all that he had done for Ludwig, and was not
a little surprised to receive, instead of praise, a nod of disapproval
and the reproach, "It was not right, after all." He told me of it, and
could not understand how that "up there in Prussia," they were not all
opposed to the government and glad to deceive it. He seemed to think
that Ikwarte, and all like him, were exceedingly simple.

Rothfuss was as jealous of Carl as a reigning prince of the heir
apparent. He noticed that Ikwarte was well inclined toward Carl, whose
good looks and military air were much in his favor, and he went so far
as to confide to Ikwarte that Carl had suffered himself to be taken
prisoner in order to avoid fighting.

After that Rothfuss was the sole favorite of Ikwarte, who hardly
bestowed a glance on Carl, and barely answered his questions.

A soldier who voluntarily allows himself to be captured! He could not
understand how such a man could walk erect, and on Sundays wear his
soldier's cap with the red pompon.

"He knows nothing about oxen, but he is a first-rate judge of horses,"
said Rothfuss, speaking of Ikwarte; "and he holds the plough as if he
were screwed fast to it. And he can work, too; that's certain. And he
is modest. Instead of saying 'No,' he always says, 'I am not sure;' and
instead of saying 'Yes,' he says, 'It is so.' He can't sing, nor even
_yodel_; and the greatest praise he gives any one is to say, 'He is a
steady fellow.' And when he wishes to say that you are right, he says,
'It agrees.' And he is not at all inquisitive; he never asks who any
one is."

Willem was just as sparing of words as Rothfuss was lavish of them; and
it was a droll sight to watch the two sitting together. I think that
each one considered himself the superior of the other and patronized
him accordingly. Rothfuss did it with words, Ikwarte with glances. He
evidently regarded Rothfuss as an old child; and Rothfuss, in turn,
looked upon him as a poor awkward being who had not learned how to
express himself properly. When they spoke to each other, they always
screamed at the top of their voices; each only understood about half of
what was said by the other, and they thought they might help matters by
screaming.

Rothfuss could hardly be brought to believe that Ikwarte had not
emigrated on account of his being unable to endure German oppression;
but Ikwarte was without a trace of political opinion. All that he knew
of the state was that one should serve it as a soldier and pay taxes.
Of Ludwig, he said, "My master is a man, and a man of his word at
that."

Towards his master, he had a certain feeling of implicit and dutiful
obedience; he was fond of saying, "Let everything be well grounded."

Rothfuss consoled him with the words: "Don't mind it, if they try to
tease and worry you here. If you plant a strange tree in the forest,
the stags will rub their horns against it and tear the bark, but the
tree is not harmed, after all."

Rothfuss was quite beside himself with laughter when Ikwarte asked him
what bodily infirmity had prevented my two servants, who had not been
soldiers, from entering the army. He could not understand that we still
drew lots in our neighborhood.

Ludwig had gone to the capital to make various arrangements for the
family meeting, and I remained at home working in the forest with Carl
and Ikwarte, whose clever ways and even temper greatly pleased me.



                              CHAPTER IX.


The schoolmaster's wife and Martella had decorated our steps and the
doorway with flowers and garlands, to the great delight of all of us,
and Ludwig in particular. But on the second day, Ludwig said to
Rothfuss:

"Take down the wreaths; nothing is uglier than to let flowers hang
until they wilt."

"He is right," said Rothfuss, smiling. "My mother always said that
Sunday clothes should not be worn on week days. Ludwig's mother had
good sense, and so had mine."

On the third day, Ludwig said, "Father, I shall now leave my wife and
son with you for a few days."

He sent his little trunk ahead, and, throwing his plaid over his
shoulder, took up his walk through the valley and over the mountains.
Richard, who was obliged to examine several candidates for the doctor's
degree, accompanied him.

I felt surprised that Ludwig should leave me so soon, but by noon it
was clear to me that he had acted wisely. His wife and son were much
more at their ease when they found themselves alone with me; for, with
all his kindness, there was something commanding in Ludwig's manner
which made every one feel as if under restraint while in his presence.

His wife was quiet and self-contained, and, seeing that I noticed this,
told me that she had been living on a lonely farm with her father, who
was very sparing of his words, and that she had thus acquired a habit
of silence. After her marriage and her father's death, which soon
followed it, Ludwig had been obliged, by his engagements as constructor
of water-works, to spend days and weeks away from home. It was not
until the last year, when they had moved into a city, that he was more
at home; but, even then, public affairs claimed a great share of his
time. During the war, he had been in the field with the army for at
least two years.

She had seen much trouble. She was but twelve years old when the family
emigrated to America. During the first few years, her parents employed
themselves as teachers; and when, in rapid succession, the mother and
her brother and sister died, she and her father moved to the farm.
Assisted by a couple of free negroes who helped in the field, she was
obliged to conduct the whole household. The two children she had lost
had died because medical assistance could not be obtained in time, and,
for that reason, they had moved to the city. Their eldest son had died
while Ludwig was in the army, fighting against the secessionists.

She gently hinted that it was her wish to remain in Europe, but that
she would not urge this, as she feared Ludwig would not find a large
enough field for his energy. She said that he was accustomed to
constant and varied activity, and stood very high at home.

It was with some hesitation that she asked me whether I objected to the
fact of her having only been married by civil process, and that
Wolfgang belonged to no church. I reassured her, for I felt well
satisfied that Johanna had already made persistent attempts at
conversion in this quarter. My daughter-in-law became much attached to
Joseph's wife and the school-master's. She was very fond of raising
flowers, and determined to take many different kinds of seeds back to
America with her.

While the presence of my newly found daughter was a quiet pleasure, my
grandson was an incomparable joy to me. He was at my side from morning
till night. I think he must have asked Martella to tell him what
pleased me, for he seemed to anticipate my every wish.

I showed him our own saw-mill, and also the one that belonged to the
village. He readily understood the principle of the machinery, and
seemed to have quite a store of general information.

I had a little nursery of forest-trees; it was well situated. Martella
was always my best assistant: she knew all about planting and how to
care for the plants that had been raised from the seed, and, morever,
had a watchful eye for the grubworm. Since she came to us there had not
been one of these to destroy the seed.

I now went there with Wolfgang, and his first question, on seeing the
thriving bed, was whether it were still early enough in the year to sow
seeds of forest-trees.

We had some soaked one-year-old seeds. We marked his name in the
ground, and he laid the seeds in the furrow, after the subsoil had been
trodden down so that the seeds might at once have firm soil in which to
take root. After that, we placed loose and fertile earth on top.

I explained to him our manner of working: how we mixed lime with the
barren soil of the heath, and thus produced the best and most
nourishing soil for the young shoots; how the seed should be sown after
spring had fairly set in, and how, after the tender plants had reached
the age of two years, they should be transferred to the nursery, there
to remain until their fifth year, when they were to be set out in the
place they were finally to occupy; how the new nursery should not face
directly towards the north, on account of the absence of light, and
because the plants could not then be transplanted to land exposed to
direct rays of the sun, on account of their not being accustomed to
such intense light.

"Grandfather, how long does it take, after planting the seeds, before
the plant shows itself through the soil?"

"Two, or, at the most, three weeks; it generally shows before that
time."

I shall never forget the look that Wolfgang then gave me, and it moved
my heart to think that my grandson, who was born in America, had
planted his name in German soil.

I asked Wolfgang if he did not wish to accompany me up into the woods
where my wood-cutters were at work. He took my hand in silence.

I took my gun with me, for I was on the lookout for a fox which had its
cave a short distance from the road; but it had slipped out with its
young ones. I handed my second gun to Wolfgang; we shot wild pigeons,
and my setter brought them to us, laid them down before Wolfgang, and
looked up into his face.

I must be brief, however. I have always been fortunate enough to see
something more in the forest than merely so many cords of wood. But how
weakly words describe the sunshine, the forest-breezes, the singing of
the birds, or cheerful walks through shady groves, with resting-places
on heights where the lovely valley is spread before one's eyes. It had
never been so charming as on that very day.

We met Rautenkron, and he was carrying two young does whose mother had
been driven away by a strange hound. I introduced Wolfgang to him; but
he shook his head and made no reply.

"What a sullen, gloomy man," said Wolfgang. "Can one become so in these
lovely woods, so full of sunshine and the songs of birds? But yet he
must be good, for all that; he carried the does."

I felt obliged to explain how that might have come about. The roe lures
the dogs on false scents, in order to save its young ones.

We heard sounds of a church-bell coming up from the valley, and met
Rautenkron's laborers carrying their caps in their hands; they passed
us in silence.

I explained to Wolfgang that these were Catholics, and that they were
praying.

I grasped his hand, and said, "Since you confess no especial form of
religion, it is doubly your duty, both for your own sake and for that
of freedom, always to remain brave and steadfast, so that people shall
not be able to say--"

"I know already, grandfather, what you wish to say. You can depend upon
me."

We continued our walk up the mountain, which was known as Silvertop.
From its peak one can see far over the mountain-peaks, with their
dark-green mantle, in which the ravines form majestic folds. There were
remnants of a fire at which the forest-laborers had prepared their
noonday meal. I threw a few handfuls of brushwood on the fire; the
flames arose on high. Wolfgang exclaimed: "Grandfather, it was just
like this! It was just so that I saw you in my dreams. And now I can
remember what you said. It often annoyed me to think that I had
forgotten it; the voice was powerful, and said, 'The water nourishes
the tree, and the fire destroys it; the water roars, and the fire
gently sleeps.' Thus ... and so on."

Wolfgang's eye glowed with a strange expression, and I had just opened
my lips to address him, when he vehemently motioned me away with both
hands, and, gazing into the distance, said in an impressive tone, "Yes,
I hear the sound; it came from the blazing fire."

                  Far above us,
                  In the heavens,
                  Hovers now
                  The darkening cloud.
                  Still united,
                  Soon divided;
                  Now creating,
                  Now destroying:
                  Joined divinely,
                  Fire and water
                  In its bosom,
                  Peaceful, dwell.

The youth looked about him as if in ecstasy, and then grasping my hand
in both of his, he said: "Yes, grandfather; daring my illness I saw you
standing in the forest at such a fire. You can ask father--but you
believe me, don't you?"

"Of course."

The countenance of the youth seemed illumined with joy.

We seated ourselves on a bench, and silently gazed at the distant
prospect.

At last Wolfgang spoke. "Grandfather, now I have it. In your forest
garden are your grandson trees. The seed comes from the trees that you
planted. And now I know something. I know it quite positively, but I
can keep it to myself. Father always says that one should not be too
hasty in talking of important things that one intends to do; it is best
to sleep on them first. If one is of the same mind the next morning, it
is all right. I shall tell it you tomorrow, but not to-day. My idea is
a good one, and I think it will please you as much as it does me."

We took up our path, and stopped where some woodcutters were rolling
the trunk of a tree down the mountainside; it bounded over young trees
in its way, and Wolfgang said. "Won't it crush them?"

"Oh, pshaw!" said a wood-cutter, "They'll straighten themselves again.
We have to do the same thing ourselves."

We reached the spot where my woodmen were at work. Wolfgang at once
took hold of an axe and helped them lustily. But here, too, he showed
his good judgment. He was not hasty, as novices usually are, and soon
succeeded in copying the manner of the workmen.

We kept up our walk until we reached the mountain lake. The last time I
had been in this spot was twenty years ago, with Gustava; and now it
seemed as if I were there for the first time in my life.

There lay the lake, surrounded by steep, pine-covered walls; not a
sound was heard, save at times the roaring of the trees, and the solemn
beating of the waves against the shore. The sun shone on the water, and
its ripples sparkled like so many glittering diamonds.

"Do you come here often?" asked Wolfgang.

"No; the last time I was here was with grandmother, twenty years ago."

It went hard with me to leave the lake. Who knows whether I shall live
to return there again? It will ever remain unchanged; for generation
after generation shall come here, as to a shrine, and yield itself up
to the mysterious influence of the place.

When we at last started to leave, I was often obliged to turn and look
back. I constantly felt that now it must be full of its awful beauty,
and that I had seen it for the last time.

It was towards evening when I reached the house. I had not been so
tired for a long time; for climbing forest-clad mountains, while
excited by emotions, be they ever so joyous, is apt to exhaust one. But
I was looking forward into a happy future.

When I awoke on the following morning, Wolfgang stood at my bedside,
and said: "Grandfather, it has rained during the night; our plants are
thriving beautifully. Now I can tell you--I have determined to become a
forester."

I had, on the previous day, explained to Wolfgang a beautiful provision
of nature; how, when, through accident, the growth of the main trunk of
the pine-tree is interfered with, a side branch becomes converted into
the main trunk. None of my sons had become foresters, and now Julius
and Wolfgang were side-branches that made up for it.

I believe it was fortunate that Wolfgang's resolve to become a forester
sprang from his affection for the forest, and not from his love of the
hunting.

Unfortunately, the other motive had been Ernst's. I had often warned
him, but in vain.



                              CHAPTER X.


A few days after that, I was surprised by a newspaper article, which
had been written by my son Ludwig.

I have preserved it. It read as follows:

                  "THREE QUESTIONS AND THREE ANSWERS.

"All hail to the friends of my youth, and of my Fatherland!

"Every one has a right to address three questions to me; and, as it is
not one of the pleasures of life to repeat the same thing a hundred
times, I hope I may be permitted to answer in this public manner.

"_First_: How goes it with you, and do you intend to remain with us?

"It goes well with me. For the first few years I spent in America, I
had hard times; but I worked my way through. I am not rich, but have
enough. I married a German, the daughter of Professor Uhlenkemp. I lost
my eldest son during the war with the South, and have another son
sixteen years of age, who belongs to no religious denomination.

"As to my remaining here, or leaving, I am for the present, unable to
answer.

"_Second_: What do you think of emigration to America?

"_Answer_: The United States afford elbow-room and freedom, and are a
good refuge for people who are willing to work hard in order to achieve
independence. But he who emigrates must make up his mind to forego many
pleasures, with which we at home are so familiarized that we do not
know that we are enjoying them; just as we do not miss the drink of
fresh, pure water, until it can no longer be had, and do not think of
the pure air while it is ours to breathe.

"_Third_: How do you find Germany?

"I find only halves of Germany; but they must and will--who knows how
soon--become a whole Germany.

"The German people have become more practical and well-to-do than they
were formerly. As far as I have been able to observe, there is an
abundance of well-directed energy; great activity in all that pertains
to the trades, to science or to art, and enough liberty to achieve what
is still needed to make a complete whole. Let all remain strong and
firm, and, without faltering, faithfully labor for the common weal.

"These are my answers; and to every one whom I meet and find true to
the Fatherland and to liberty, I shall cordially extend the hand of
fellowship.

                             "LUDWIG WALDFRIED,

                                   "Hydraulic and Civil Engineer,

                                                        "Chicago."

This explanation of Ludwig's naturally caused me some surprise. But it
was practical, at all events, although the reference to Wolfgang seemed
unnecessary, and calculated to provoke unpleasant comment.

I soon became aware of its effect, in a manner which, at first,
promised to be unpleasant, but afterward proved for the best.

Although Annette was still living in our neighborhood, I have not
mentioned her for some time. She would ride over to see us, but paid us
only short visits, and would occasionally inquire about the Professor,
as she, too, now termed Richard.

She seemed provoked at him, and probably felt resentment that the
friendship, and, perhaps, affection, which she had offered him were not
returned.

She visited the spinner and the schoolmaster's wife; she greeted
Martella and Rothfuss, but her whole manner seemed strange and
constrained. I soon knew the reason for this; for Johanna expressed her
satisfaction that Annette, who had been so worldly, had at last been
saved; "for," as she said, "safety can be found even in the Catholic
faith."

The Baroness and her clerical assistants had succeeded in drawing
Annette into their toils.

One day, Annette came to us looking pale and greatly excited. She said
that, although I had so many guests, she begged me to permit her to
stay with us for a few days. She frankly confessed that she had, now
and forever, broken with the Baroness and all her adherents. The
Baroness had endeavored to bind all who were in the faith to break off
intercourse with our family; for it is written, "woe to that man by
whom the offense cometh," and the worst offense had issued from our
house. The fact that my daughter-in-law considered herself a wife,
although her marriage had not been solemnized by a clergyman, might
have been passed over in silence; but the public proclamation of the
grandson's want of religion was exasperating.

Annette had determined to flee from such fanatical surroundings.

I told her of Wolfgang's power of self-control, and how he had held
back a resolution which illumined his whole being until he had quietly
matured it; and Annette exclaimed, "Yes; that is the best religion;
that is a holy spirit."

I was obliged to restrain her from expressing herself thus to Wolfgang.
On the following day, Ludwig returned; and this afforded her an
opportunity to unbosom herself to him. At their first meeting, he
conceived a great liking for her.

He told her of the great family gathering that was to be held.

As she was not related by ties of kindred, she did not wish to remain
with us.

But Ludwig induced her to stay; and when he and I were alone, he said,
"I cannot understand why Richard does not sue for her hand; she seems
to be made for him."

I told him that, on her deathbed, mother had said, "He will marry her
for all."

I now felt satisfied that Gustava had, in all likelihood, referred to
Annette. Ludwig felt sure of it; but, as if at the same time marking
out his own course, he said, "Father, do not let Richard notice our
feelings in this matter, or we may frighten him away."

Wolfgang's desire to become a forester met with the glad approval of
his father, who said: "It will soon turn out with the American forests
just as it does with the fishes of the sea. One cannot always be
harvesting and preying on others; it is necessary to plant and to
cultivate as well."

He requested Annette, who was very much interested in Wolfgang, and
spent much time with him, not to interfere with his wonted equanimity;
for she was constantly trying to discover how Wolfgang felt when he saw
a church-steeple, or heard the church-bells. She had just emerged from
an atmosphere which was religious to the exclusion of all other
considerations, and the youth was therefore a mysterious and marvellous
contrast to all that she had left behind her. He seemed to her the
representative being of later centuries; and she tried to discover how
things would be after our generation. She was pleased to call Wolfgang
'Emile, and reminded us of Rousseau's work of the name.

Ludwig's wife avoided Annette, who, in her impulsive way, had at once
desired to cultivate intimate relations with her. Conny, who was quiet
and reserved, had a dread of the restless fluttering of such a being as
Annette.



                              CHAPTER XI.

One evening, Martella came to me, and, with a timid manner to which I
was quite unused in her, asked me to allow her to return to Jaegerlies,
with whom she had formerly lived. She had heard that the old woman was
sick, and at the point of death. She had left her quite suddenly, and
now wanted to return; and thought it would be far better if she were
not to come back until our guests had left.

She extended her hand to me, and said, "I promise you that I will
surely return."

Her behavior puzzled me; and when I endeavored to find out why she
really wished to leave, she said that it might be a stupid feeling, but
she had a constant presentiment of some great misfortune near at hand.

I tried to persuade her that there were no grounds for this uneasy
feeling, as Ludwig, his wife, and Wolfgang all treated her as one of
the family. She persisted in her determination; and I at last reminded
her that she had promised my wife never to leave me.

"I did not think you would remind me of that," she said; "but, of
course, if you fall back on that, I shall remain here even if they try
to drive me away."

Martella might well feel anxious, for she was a living proof that our
family was incomplete; she, too, had been obliged to accustom herself
to constant sorrow, and to learn to lead a life tranquil and resigned.

Nearly all to whom invitations had been sent, promptly answered that
they would come. My sister wrote that she would bring her daughter, and
her future son-in-law; but, that, on account of his duties, her husband
would be unable to leave home. My brother-in-law, the pastor, who lived
in Alsace, was also unable to come.

With every letter that came, I felt as if I must read it to my wife.
Who could so help me to celebrate such a day, as she would have done?
The life of the best of children is really for themselves. It is only
the wife who lives entirely for and with her husband--one life
consisting of two lives inseparably united. Inseparably! They have been
separated, and a portion yet lives, leading a fragmentary existence.

I succeeded in repressing my emotions, and prepared myself for the
great joy which was yet vouchsafed me.

On his return from his short trip, Ludwig had much to tell us, giving
us quite a medley of merry and sad experiences. He had met many of his
old comrades; and, among others, had visited his most intimate friend,
a Professor at the teachers' seminary, in a town of the Oberland. The
Professor was a model of quiet unobtrusive learning.

"I am shaping my block of stone," were the Professor's words: "what
place it may occupy in the great Pantheon I do not know; but,
nevertheless, I fulfil my little task as well as I know how."

He felt quite sad to find one of his old comrades in the very position
he had occupied twenty-five years before. He might have become one of
the best of men, for he has a good wife, and fine children; but he is
the slave of drink, and is intoxicated from morning till night. Indeed,
in the country one must constantly renew his intellectual life, or
there is danger of giving way to drunkenness.

Ludwig had also visited his uncle, the Inspector of the water-works at
the Upper Rhine, under whom he had worked for a year. He regretted his
inability to attend our festival, but promised to send his son; and
Ludwig was quite pleased when he told us how his uncle had said:

"The Rhine seems as if lost, and does not know whither it should flow.
It is against nature that one bank of a stream should belong to one
country, and the opposite bank to another."

Sister Babette and her family were the first to arrive; and, shortly
after their first greeting of Ludwig and his family, they inquired for
Martella. She was delighted to find that they were so much interested
in her, and also to obtain from them some little news in relation to
Ernst's short stay with them. Even Pincher recognized the Alsatians.

The bridegroom-elect, who was now an officer of the customs, had come
in his uniform, and was quite condescending in his manner, as if he
intended, with every word, to say, "I am superior to you all, for I am
a Frenchman." And yet, in spite of this, he had the very German name of
Kräutle.

Annette did him the favor to speak French with him. He was quite
delighted, and Annette asserted that he and his bride were ashamed of
the Alsatian language; when speaking French, they evidently felt that
they appeared at their best, and to ask them to forego that pleasure
would be much the same as requiring one never to wear his Sunday
clothes.

Annette was embroidering a silk ribbon; and Richard picked up the end
of it and held it in his hands. But she generally managed to spoil the
effect of her pretty speeches, and added that people could talk French
without having ideas; but that, when speaking German, they noticed the
absence of costume, and were ashamed thereat. When she uttered these
last words, Richard dropped the ribbon he had been holding, and walked
away.

Annette was happy whenever she could express her pleasure with any one,
and Ludwig was not wrong in saying:

"She will be one of the best of wives when she is once a mother. Now
she is fluttering about, hither and thither; is herself restless, and
disturbs others."

With every hour, new guests arrived, and Martella said: "It was stupid
of me to have wanted to go away; I am needed here, where there are so
many strangers--no, not strangers--O dear Lord, so many beings who
belong to one! If mother were only living yet, she could help me love
them. O dear father, when we step over into eternity, and meet all the
beings who belong to us--so many! so many! Indeed, father, you are now
experiencing a part of eternity."

And it was so.

But I felt that age was coming on me. I could not walk about much, and
was obliged almost constantly to remain seated in my room, where they
all came to me. To see Wolfgang and Victor together, was to me joy
unutterable. My sister asserted that, when a child, I had looked just
as these two now did. I cannot imagine that I ever looked so elegant
and distinguished-looking.

After the Major joined us, the customs officer became much quieter in
his manner; for the Major had come in full uniform.

Johanna, who, since Ludwig's arrival, had become even more reserved and
austere, seemed to find the meeting with her son, the vicar, a pleasant
change. Nothing daunted by my presence, she complained to him that,
with a sister-in-law who had only been married by a civil magistrate,
and with a nephew who had not even been christened, she felt as if
living among heathens.

The vicar, who was more liberal in his views, and yet felt quite at
home in his vocation, pacified his mother, and she concluded to take
part in the family festival.

The eldest son of the inspector of the water-works came with his two
sisters, and the Major was delighted to find that this young man, my
godson, had determined to follow the sea.

Ludwig told us that a sea-captain had assured him that the naval cadets
were principally recruited from the inland provinces, while the sailors
naturally came from among the dwellers along the sea-coast.

The medical counsellor, who had formerly been director of the jail in
which Ludwig and Rothfuss had been imprisoned, but who had now retired
on a pension, was also among the guests, and Rothfuss was delighted
beyond measure to meet him again.

Baron Arven did not fail to offer his congratulations. He seemed quite
surprised to find Annette dressed in colors. He cordially greeted us
all, and constantly addressed Ludwig as "Colonel." He remained but a
short time, and had probably only visited us in order to show that it
was his desire to keep on good terms with us, and that he wished to
have nothing to do with any enmities or unpleasant feelings which other
members of his household might cherish towards us.

Ah, I thought I could have given the names of them all, but I find it
impossible. The hearty greetings of so many guests had so fatigued me,
that I slept until late on Sunday morning. When I awoke, I heard a
lovely chorus, accompanied by an harmonium; and, after that, a
quartette of female voices.

This was the first intimation we had of Conny's powerful and
sympathetic contralto voice.

The other voices I recognized at once. They were Bertha's, Annette's,
and Martha's.

If it was pleasant to see Wolfgang and Victor together, it was,
perhaps, yet more lovely to see the sympathy between Conny and Bertha;
and Martella expressed my own feelings, when she said, "Dear sister
Conny, you did not have the happiness to know mother, but Bertha is
very much like her."

When I at last joined all my kindred, there was a new surprise in store
for me. Before retiring, I had inquired about Julius. I do not know
whether you have already observed it, but he is a special favorite of
mine. He is well-off in every respect--well provided for, both
intellectually and in regard to the world's goods, though without great
riches or luxury. He is like a healthy forest-tree; without bright
blossoms, but silently thriving, nevertheless. I shall not indulge in
further praise of him, for he dislikes praise.

And now Julius came and told me that Ludwig had obtained a dispensation
for the marriage of the young people without the delay of publishing
the banns. Rontheim and his wife had at first been disinclined to
consent to such haste, but Ludwig had persistently urged them. And now
it was determined that the wedding should take place to-day, and that
his cousin, the vicar, should marry them, for Martha had insisted that
they should be married by a clergyman. Whereupon Ludwig said: "We are
certainly very tolerant towards these believers."

I had ceased to be surprised by anything.

We marched towards the church to the sound of music, the ringing of
bells, and the noise of cannon, which the mountains re-echoed. But when
we reached the spring, which, as I afterwards learned, had been
decorated by Martella, I felt a pang. Why could Gustava not have lived
to enjoy this? And then, repressing the sad thought, I let joy descend
upon me, and said to myself, "Keep thyself erect, and in health, so
that thou mayest not disturb the happiness of the many who belong to
thee."

When we reached the spring at the edge of the woods, we halted. What to
us had seemed impossible, Ludwig had already accomplished. The iron
column was already there, and around it were stone seats, and also a
high bench, where people might lay aside their burdens.

"One learns these things in America," said Ludwig. "There they do not
care for yesterday, and do not console themselves with the hope of
to-morrow: all must live in the present."

After leaving the church, where the wedding was celebrated in a simple
manner, we marched in procession to the family woods, where, by
Ludwig's orders, great tables had been erected; and on our way there he
told me how clever Ikwarte had been in the work.

I cannot find words to speak of the great table in the woods.

Before we seated ourselves, we were all obliged to remain perfectly
still for a short time. Ludwig had made arrangements to have the whole
group photographed. They all say that I look very sad in the picture;
it may be so, for I could not help thinking, "Where is Ernst now? Does
the sun that now shines on us, shine on him too?" It is especially
pleasant to see Martella and Rothfuss in the background, holding each
other's hands. Annette is also in the family picture; her eyes are
downcast, while Richard is looking towards her. Since the loss of her
husband, she had never laid aside her mourning, but to-day she wore
colors.

The Major's speech at the dinner was even better than the vicar's in
the church.

Martella's best and only treasure was Ernst's prize cup. She had placed
it before me on the table, and Annette had wound a garland of flowers
around it.

After the Major's speech, the wine-cup travelled the rounds of the
whole table.

After the clinking of glasses, and the drinking of healths, the
conversation had become loud and excited; after that, all became as
noiseless as in a church during silent prayer. It was one of those
pauses that ensue after the soul has unburdened itself, and when, for a
moment, there is nothing new to engage it.

And during that pause I could hear Annette saying to Conny, "Yes, dear
Conny, I, as a stranger, beloved and loving in return, can speak more
impartially than relatives can. I cannot describe the mother to you;
and yet I have seen her to-day, or at least her counterpart. When
Julius was standing at the altar, he had her very expression. He
resembles her more than any one--he has her eyes.

"Ah, what a pity that you did not know her! She was full of life, and
yet gentle withal; and when she spoke with you, she never looked to
right or left. She never tried to create an impression, and yet in her
presence one always felt exalted; and while her glance rested on one,
it was impossible to indulge in vile or ignoble thoughts. What to
others seemed exalted and great, was with her a matter of course. She
practised and expressed all that is highest as easily as others say
'Good-morning.' In her hands, even the common-place became invested
with beauty. She judged of people with love, and yet with freedom.

"Thus, she once said, 'I felt inclined to be angry with Baroness
Arven, because she does not understand her excellent husband; but he,
on the other hand, does not do his wife justice. She is created for
society--for interesting, witty small talk--and he desires to feed her
soul with thoughts of nature and Fatherland. Fanaticism, in every one
of its thousand shapes, endeavors to force its own convictions on
others, and this is both good and evil at the same time.'

"She said something to me which I have worn as an amulet, and it is,
after all, but a simple maxim.

"When I complained to her that it was so difficult with me to fix the
proper relation towards others, she replied:

"'Child, you do not maintain the right distance between yourself and
others. With every one, even though it be a Rothfuss, you move into
most familiar contiguity.' Her words impressed me deeply, and were of
great help to me.

"She understood herself, and that made every one else feel on sure
ground. When one felt depressed or sad, without hardly knowing why, the
mere fact that you were suffering was enough to arouse her sympathy:
and that would always cure the pain.

"But what avails it to speak of separate disconnected traits. I might
as well try to give you an idea of a glorious symphony by singing a few
bars of one of its melodies. When with her I felt in a higher world."

Thus spoke Annette. She did not seem to notice that all were silent
while she was talking.

And then Bertha and Conny arose from their seats and covered her with
their caresses.

I could not move from the spot. I saw Richard rising, but he sat down
again at once.

Ludwig turned to him and said: "Her mind and her exterior correspond.
At first she does not impress one as wondrously beautiful; but, day by
day, she grows in loveliness."

This invocation of my wife had, for the time being, invested the
festival with a certain solemn impressiveness; but soon mirth burst all
bounds, and the young couple again became the centre of joy.

Rontheim was so happy that he drank fellowship with the Major, with
Ludwig, and with Richard. A blissful feeling of brotherly affection
seemed to unite all.

Rothfuss afforded us great amusement. He wore a bouquet in his hunter's
coat, and another, with a red ribbon streaming from it, in his hat.
"Colonel," he called out to Ludwig, "may I be permitted to say one
word?"

"Have you made up your mind what to wish for?"

"No; this is something else. All I wish is that you shall say 'Yes,'
and that will do."

"What do you mean?"

"Listen. You are Colonel of the negroes--of the blacks--and there are
people who say that negroes are not human beings. Now listen! What is
it that man alone can do, and that neither horse nor ox nor stag can do
like him?"

"Why, _speak_, to be sure."

"Wrong: The beasts do speak; but we are too stupid to understand them.
No; I mean something quite different: _man alone can drink wine_. If
the negroes can drink wine, they are men just as we are. Tell me, can
negroes drink wine?"

"Yes."

"All right, then. Here's to the health of our black brethren."

He emptied his glass and was about to walk away, when Richard called
out: "Stop! I ask all to join me in drinking the health of the great
man who has solved the question of slavery, in wine. Long live our
great philosopher--Rothfuss!"

It seemed as if the cheers would never end, and Rothfuss called out,
"To-day I will get jolly drunk seven times at least--no, seven times is
not enough!"

When we at last arose from the table, I inquired for Rothfuss. I was
concerned about him, for he had been acting like a crazy man.

Ikwarte said that, although Rothfuss showed signs of having drunk too
much, he had gone up into the woods and had taken a bottle of champagne
with him.

They hunted and hunted, and at last found him. He was asleep, and the
empty bottle was lying on the ground by his side.

"Oh," he complained, "why did you wake me? I died so happy. To die
drunk is the best way, after all; now, I've got to die over again. No
matter; I'll wait for master, and then we will ride to heaven in double
harness; or, if the parson is right in what he says, to hell. It's all
the same to me; I shall stay with master."

Then he embraced Ludwig, and repeatedly said to him; "Let me go to jail
once more for you." They managed to get him home without further
trouble.



                              CHAPTER XII.


The newly married couple left; but the young people were averse to
breaking up, and kept up the dance until long after nightfall. A little
circumstance occurred which greatly excited Martella.

Julius's friends had come in their smart hunter's suits; even
Rautenkron had overcome his scruples, and attended the festival,
although he did not join us at table.

We were told that Rautenkron had always been angry that Martella was
permitted to keep her own dog, and Pincher, moreover, had a special
aversion to Rautenkron.

At the same time that Rothfuss was being looked up, a terrible barking
and yelling arose. The strange dogs had fallen upon Pincher, and it was
even said that Rautenkron had called out to his dog, "At him, Turenne!
Break his neck for him!"

When they at last succeeded in separating the dogs, Pincher was dead,
and Martella's lamentations were heart-rending. She indulged in
expressions that I would not have expected of her: "It was the only
living thing that belonged to me, and that Ernst had left me. Now I am
all alone in the wide world!"

When I spoke to her, she hastily said, "Forgive me; I am sometimes very
silly."

She could not bear the sight of the dead dog, and begged that he might
be buried in the woods.

In the meantime, Rautenkron was explaining to Wolfgang that his
ambition to become a forester was based on a false ideal; that dealing
in rags was a much prettier occupation. For then one need know nothing
of the people who once wore the rags; but that the forest people were
all cheats, and, if they could, would convert the trees into as great
cheats as they were.

We were still engaged watching the dancers, and it was a great pleasure
to see Wolfgang dance with Clotilde, the Major's daughter. Wolfgang
arranged an American dance, which was so wild that it evidently
originated with the Indians.

The young Alsatian couple also joined in the dance.

Carl had allowed Marie to dance with another one of the village lads,
and stood holding the hand of Martella, whom he had led to the dancing
floor. She said that she did not wish to dance, and that for tenfold
reasons she ought not to, especially as her betrothed was far away. But
all persuaded her. Rothfuss--who, having been aroused by the music, had
gathered himself up again, and was now seated at the table by the side
of Ikwarte--was especially anxious that she should dance.

When Martella began to dance, a great change seemed to come over her.
There was something uncanny in her features and in her eyes.

Nearly all of us left the dancing floor, and Annette requested Martella
to go with us.

"Oh, no," she exclaimed, while her eyes rolled and her lips quivered;
"I have now begun, and I cannot stop so soon. Good-night, my lady."

She remained, and all were filled with admiration of her light
movements and her wonderful _tours de force_.

"Why, you can jump about like a squirrel, and fly like a bird," said
Rothfuss.

"So I can," cried Martella. "Do you know how it is when one of the
cuckoo's brood leaves its nest in which the simple tomtits have fed it?
None of you have ever seen it, but I have. I, too, am one of the
cuckoo's brood. It flies away it flies away. Play on, fiddlers. Let us
have the cuckoo's song. Keep quiet, all of you; I will dance for you."

And then she began to dance, raising herself and bending towards the
ground again as if she really had wings; and all were delighted.

When she stopped all cried out, "Again! again!" and the Alsatian
exclaimed, "_Da-capo!_"

Ikwarte arose and said, "Miss, do not let them abuse your good-nature;
do not let them make a fool of you. There is enough of it."

"This is not your affair," exclaimed Carl, "you Prussian!--you
starveling!"

"I have nothing to say to you," answered Ikwarte; "you are not worth
answering."

Martella danced again, to the great delight of all.

But while she was dancing, one could see that it took several of the
lads to hold Carl.

When the dance was over, Carl rushed up to Ikwarte, and cried:

"You cursed Prussian! why do you think that I am not worthy of being
answered?"

"I have no respect for a man who would put himself in the way of being
captured."

"Is that it?"

"Carl, take none of the Prussian's impudence," called out Martella. "It
is the Prussians' fault that my Ernst had to go forth into misery. Pay
him up for it!"

And then followed terrible scuffling and fighting.

Ikwarte seemed, at first, unable to realize that he was actually
involved in a fight; but when he saw that matters were in earnest, he
seized Carl, and held him as firmly as in a vise. Rothfuss urged them
on, for fighting was his delight. They were at last separated, and then
Martella threw herself on the ground, tore her hair, and cried out, "It
is all my fault! It is my fault! I am ruined!"

Rothfuss succeeded in leading her away. She tried to escape from him
and to run out into the woods, saying, "Anything rather than go back
home, for I don't deserve to go there."

He succeeded, at last, in inducing her to enter the house of Carl's
mother. Accompanied by Annette and Conny, I went there to bring her
home, and was startled when I saw what a change had come over the poor
child. Nevertheless, her agitation had not disfigured her; she seemed
more lovely than ever--almost supernaturally beautiful.

"O father!" she cried. "Indeed, I have no longer the right to use those
words. I knew it; I felt a presentiment of it all, and I wanted to go
away. Why didn't you let me go? I don't belong here, and now less than
ever. The worst that could have happened to me has happened. I have
relapsed into savage folly. And yet she who is up there said, 'Do not
lose faith in yourself and in your goodness, and you can accomplish
everything.' The worst punishment is mine, for I have lost faith in
myself. I may become crazed again any moment; I no longer believe in
myself."

When Conny and Annette spoke to her in their kind way, she exclaimed,
"Every kind word of yours gives me new pain. Scold me, beat me, kick
me--I deserve such treatment, and shall find it less painful than kind
words that I do not deserve. I was so happy in thinking that I had
accomplished all, but it is not so. Now I see how much love and respect
you all had for me; and when Ernst returns I shall tell him everything.
He may scold me heartily, for I have deserved it."

We conducted her to the house, where we found Ikwarte, whose appearance
seemed the very opposite of what it usually was. He seemed as if
crushed, and continually said, "Colonel, I admit that it was highly
improper on my part, especially as it happened in a strange land."

Ludwig took it all in good part, and laughingly remarked that North and
South Germany had again been scuffling with each other. Then he
apologized for Ikwarte, by saying that he could not stand wine; that,
except when taking communion, he had not tasted a drop of wine up to
his twentieth year.

Ikwarte stood by, nodding his assent and pulling his red mustache.
After that, he went off with Rothfuss.

In the meanwhile, Martella sat crouching on the floor in a corner of
the room.

Ludwig softly said to me, "Now is the time to let Martella tell us who
and whence she is."

I thought that as the child was overmuch agitated, it might be better
to wait until the next day; but he insisted that this was the proper
time.



                              CHAPTER XIII.


Ludwig went up to Martella and said, "Martella, there is a woman in
America who knows you."

Martella jumped to her feet and, brushing her hair from her face with
both hands, asked, "How do you know that?"

"I will tell you how, when you have told your history. Will you do so?"

"I will. It is well and proper that I should. But no one shall be
present but you and father. Forgive me, kind ladies," she said,
addressing Conny and Annette in an unwonted tone. "I can only tell this
to father and to brother."

She drank a few drops of water, and then, seating herself behind the
table that was next to the wall, began:

"I can only remember as far back as my sixth year. I have no distinct
recollection of anything that happened before that time. We lived in a
city on the Rhine,--I believe it is called Mayence. There are two sorts
of soldiers there--Prussians and Austrians. The Austrians have white
coats, like the cousin who once visited us with Baron Arven. Under the
small golden mirror in my mother's room on the opposite wall, there was
quite a large glass that reached from the ceiling to the floor there
was a portrait of a handsome officer, whom I believe I have already
seen. My mother always addressed him as 'Prince,' and he laughed when
she did so. His eyes were of a light blue; I cannot recall any of his
other features. My mother would often say to me, while she pointed to
the picture, 'Martella, do not forget, this is your father. He has
great love for me, and for you too.' It was a long while before I knew
how my mother gained her living. She would sleep until near mid-day,
and would often stand on her toes, or walk on them around the room.
Then she would suddenly let herself fall to the ground, spring up again
and take long steps. Then she would place herself before the mirror,
and bow and kiss her hands to herself. Once she looked so lovely, with
a thin gauze-like robe about her body, and various kinds of gauze over
that. She looked just like a beautiful bird, and almost like the
peacock down in the garden. And I was prettily dressed also. I had
wings on my shoulders, and they had two mirrors for me, so that I might
see how I looked in front, and in the back. And I had golden shoes on,
and had to learn how to spread out my hands and then bring them
together quite slowly. With a girdle around my waist--it was golden,
and studded with diamonds--I floated in the air, and could hear the
people screaming with delight and clapping their hands; but I could not
see where I was, or how many people were there. We rode home in a
carriage--I can recollect that, but cannot remember what happened for
some time afterward. One day, my mother showed me a man who wore a
green dressing-gown and had curled hair; then she said to me: 'My
child, this is your father now--you must say "father" to him.'

"He spoke to me, but I could not understand what he said; and mother
said, 'The child is worth ten thousand florins, and can earn a great
deal of money.'

"About that time, I often heard the word 'America,' and, as I was told
to call everybody 'uncle,' I once inquired where 'Uncle America lived?'
whereupon they laughed very loud, and the man with the curled hair,
whom I had to call father, kissed me.

"There was a maid living with us, who would always say, 'You poor
child, you must go to America, among the savages. O you poor child!'

"And one morning, I heard them say that we would go to America that
day. Down by the Rhine there was a great crowd and noise, and when we
were on the vessel, some one said, 'Keep your seat here, or you will be
left behind?' And when all was confusion on shipboard, I stealthily
crept on shore, and hid myself behind some hogsheads in which the bees
were humming; they did not trouble me. I heard the ringing of the bell,
and the paddling of the wheels--but did not move. I had a little
satchel full of cakes, which I ate.

"The embroidered satchel had been presented to me by the Prince, whose
picture hung under the mirror. I still own it; it is the only memento I
have of that time. And we had a dog whose name was Pincher, and for
that reason I called my poor departed dog by the same name.

"When at last evening came, I crept out of my hiding-place, and saw a
great crowd gathered about an old woman who was sitting on the ground
and lamenting: They have purposely left me behind; they did not want to
take me with them!'

"The people told her they would help her, and would give her money that
she might follow her relatives. But she always replied, 'No, I will not
do that; they do not want me.' And they gave the old woman money and
went on their way. And when they had all gone, I said to her, 'Take me
with you; I am worth ten thousand florins.'

"Then she laughed and said, 'Indeed you are!' And then I told her that
I had secretly remained behind--that I did not want to go to America.

"She laughed again, and took me on her lap, saying: 'That is right. We
two will stay together.'

"And we wandered far and near, and she told every one that I was her
granddaughter. We received many gifts, and every one told me that I was
so pretty; and I told the old woman--her name was Jaegerlies--that I
had wings, and she said, 'I believe it: they will grow again when I am
dead.' But I am telling you silly stuff--am I not?"

"No, no; go on."

"At last we reached yonder forest, and then Jaegerlies said, 'Let us
stay here.' She had acquaintances who lived in the neighborhood, but
she had no desire to meet any one, as they always laughed at her
because her folks had left her behind when they emigrated to America.

"The gifts that we had received, had enabled us to buy cooking
utensils, coverings for our moss beds, and a goat; and of food we could
always have plenty.

"The summers were pleasant, but the winters were not so. We caught many
birds, which served as food.

"I was also sent to school, and it was quite humiliating to me to be
always told that I was a 'Jew girl.' I did not know what was meant by
Jew, but I knew, that it was intended as a term of disgrace. I am not
sure, but I think my mother was a Catholic.

"And thus I grew up and could wield the axe as well as the strongest
wood-cutter; and no one dared to lay a finger on me.

"You might blind-fold me, and I could, by my sense of smell, recognize
trees or their leaves. I carried a serpent's egg on my person; I had
found it one morning between eleven and twelve, and had pocketed it. I
had also a gift of finding wild honey, and the bees never harmed me
when I took the combs. I was once employed that way, when Ernst came up
to me. He acted as if he were about to punish me for what I had done;
but I told him that this was not breaking of the laws of the forest,
and that it was not poaching. And then he said to me, 'You are wild
honey yourself.'

"Thus Ernst found me and brought me here, where I now am. But I do not
deserve it. They say that Ernst is in Algiers, with the wild Turks.
Give me some money that I may go to him--I can find him.

"But tell me now, Ludwig, how do you know that my mother is in
America?"

"I know nothing of it; I simply guessed so, because you always have
such a fear of America."

"So you are the son of such parents--and yet can lie? Your mother in
heaven will never forgive you for that."

Ludwig was moved by this apostrophe, and asked Martella to forgive him.
She nodded assent and shook hands with him and with me, saying at the
same time: "Father, I shall do nothing more but what you tell me to do.
I shall never again act of my own free will."

"Were you always called Martella?" inquired Ludwig.

"No."

"How, then?"

"Conradine."

"Who gave you the name of Martella?"

"Jaegerlies."

"Why?"

"Because, she said, 'No one will know you by that name, and if they
seek you they cannot find you.'"

"But how did she chance on that name?"

"That you ought to have asked her. And that is enough. Good-night."

Martella walked away.

Ludwig afterward told me that he had been making inquiries over in the
valley where Jaegerlies had been living. He could not understand why we
had not done so long before. Now it might be very difficult to discover
anything, as Jaegerlies had died a few days before.

He had learned, from the neighbors, that she often spoke of America in
a mysterious and indistinct manner, and that, together with Martella's
aversion to the very mention of America, caused him to question her in
the way he had done.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


In spite of Martella's and Ikwarte's trouble, the great feast was
pleasantly remembered in our house and throughout the village. Annette
said: "Whenever I gave a large entertainment, it always grieved me to
see the many people, who had just been together so cheerful and so
lively, suddenly disappear. And it was always especially agreeable to
me when several of my more intimate friends would remain. We would then
gather together for a little quiet enjoyment, and so a smaller and more
congenial circle succeeded the larger one; for that reason, I think
some of us ought to remain here."

I saw Richard looking at Annette, and it was the first contented, happy
glance I had ever seen him direct towards her. He had intended to
leave, but now concluded to stay. It seemed as if, in spite of
themselves, they had always chanced on points on which they could not
agree, but now at last, and to their great delight, found themselves in
accord.

Annette had greatly changed. She would no longer suddenly bound from
one subject to another. Her manner had become calmer. She had learned
how to put her questions modestly and yet firmly, and also how to be
quiet.

Once she said, "Martella has told us what is the severest punishment.
It is this: to lose faith in one's self, and to learn that excitement
and weakness place us in the hands of chance or of strangers, and cause
us to express the very things that we have desired most of all to keep
within ourselves."

The festival brought painful consequences to Rothfuss, Ikwarte, and
Carl, as well as to Martella. They went about without saying a word,
and Annette, who was anxious to help, and quick to sympathize with
others, tried her best to cheer them up.

One morning, we were sitting in the garden. Richard and Conny had gone
over to the village, and Ludwig said to Annette, "We do not know how to
thank you for having given my wife so true and feeling a description of
mother."

Annette now expressed her delight with Conny, and when she asked Ludwig
how he had made her acquaintance, he said,

"If father does not object to hear the story over again, I will tell
you."

I consented, and Ludwig went on:

"The Americans have one thing in common with the old Romans; whenever
they found a city, they provide, above all things, for pure water.
There happened at the time to be a lively discussion in regard to the
building of water-works. I hoped that the contract would be assigned to
me, and travelled about for some distance through the neighboring
country, in order to find the best springs. A mountain brook whose
stream could easily be led into another, seemed to me best adapted for
the purpose.

"I followed it up to its source, and was fortunate enough to find rich
and copious springs. I had been wandering all day, when, towards
evening, I saw a log-cabin half-way down the hillside. I walked up to
it, and at last reached the house. The doors were open, and a dog, that
seemed to be the only guardian of the place, jumped towards me as if
glad to welcome me. I went into the entry and called out, but no one
answered. I opened the door, and found a cosy, pretty room.

"Mother always used to say that the walls of a room are an index of the
culture of its inmates. There were two engravings, copied from the
paintings of the great masters, an open piano, and above it a bust of
Mozart. I ventured to approach the piano. Mozart's G minor symphony lay
open on the music-desk.

"Although I had not touched an instrument for a great while, I felt a
great longing to touch the keys.

"I began to play, and felt as happy as a skilful swimmer breasting the
waves. I played on and on, forgetting where I was; and when I stopped
and looked around, I saw a fine-looking old man and a lovely, blooming
maiden standing in the doorway.

"I suppose I need not tell you more.

"I remained in the hospitable house over-night, and soon discovered
that my host was a refugee, and had been a comrade of father's.
Constance, or, as she was familiarly called, Conny, became my
betrothed, and afterwards my wife; and our son, who was born on the
anniversary of Mozart's birthday, received his name.

"Our marriage is a happy one, blest with perfect harmony in thought and
feeling.

"When I entered the army my wife merely said, 'You are doing right.'

"When my eldest son died, she was deeply afflicted, but soon resigned
herself to the thought that all must make sacrifices.

"I was not a good commander--not that I was deficient in courage or
endurance; but soldiering must be studied just like other things. My
long experience in topographical studies, was, however, of great use to
me. I had a quick eye for the advantages and the disadvantages of
positions on our side, or that of the enemy. On the other hand, the
Southerners had much better leaders than myself and many others who,
like me, had not studied the art of war.

"Now you know the most important facts; and I must stop, for I see
Conny and Richard coming."

They came, and Annette had enough self-command not to betray what she
had just heard.



                              CHAPTER XV.


Richard and Ludwig left with the intention of entering Wolfgang at the
forester's school. Richard and Annette now understood one another, and
Richard's parting words were: "I think you will do well to remain here
for some time. Your stay will be of benefit to yourself as well as to
others."

Annette made no answer, but I could not help observing how her breast
heaved with emotion.

She and Conny seemed also to be on excellent terms with each other.

Annette now understood how the intellectual life can be kept up, and
even developed, in solitude, and, as usual, she was always delighted to
find words in which to couch a new impression. She said to me, "There
are hermits of education as well as of religion, and they attain the
highest degree of development."

She often expressed her admiration of Conny's light hair, and
endeavored to persuade her that it might be dressed in a far more
effective style than the braids in which she wore it. Conny, however,
did not care to act on this suggestion of Annette's.

On his return, Ludwig told me that he would not be able to remain
through the summer, unless he had some fixed occupation. He was anxious
to carry out a plan for a new and large builder's mill. He would be
willing to superintend the erection of the building, but did not have
enough ready money to undertake the enterprise. When I told him that I
was no better off than he, Annette asked that she might be permitted to
advance the sum. I declined, but, as Ludwig at once accepted her offer,
I could make no further objection.

"Father," exclaimed Ludwig, with unwonted enthusiasm, "I firmly believe
that water-power will assist us to solve the great labor question.

"What we are about to undertake makes me, in many respects, feel both
free and happy. I hope to be able to set the two great levers of our
age--enterprise and economy--in operation. I felt the so-called social
question as a personal affront. I asked myself, 'Are you so old that
you need fear a great change? In your younger years, you felt offended
when you heard the old ones say, that is overdone, or utopian or
demagogical, or whatever it might be, but now you use these very terms
yourself.' I honestly examined myself in this, and felt obliged to act
as I have done.

"If we domesticate industry, and open new sources of profit to those
who dwell in the neighborhood, we are strengthening the best possession
we have in this woodland region--our love of home.

"Love of home is a life artery, which, if not killed, is at least
compressed by emigration.

"The old maxim advises us to remain at home and gain a living among
those whom we know best. We extend its application by enabling others
to do as we would do. We must learn how to keep up with the progress of
the age. At first, we sent rough logs down the stream, towards Holland;
now we send planks; and after this we must send them doors and
window-frames and steps."

It was a pleasure to hear him explain his plans. He was determined that
the people hereabouts should have better doors and windows, steps and
flooring, than ever before. Besides that, he would see that there
should be pretty designs for balconies. "The result of all which will
be, that both we and our countrymen will make lots of money. Actions
which are for the benefit of the general public will, if managed
rightly, turn out to the profit of the individual."

Annette wanted to know whether he would not destroy all individuality,
by attempting to provide people with ready-made houses just as they
could buy ready-made clothes.

"That is what I propose to do," exclaimed Ludwig, cheerfully. "All
should be uniform, for, after all, every one wears his coat in his own
peculiar way. And I think I can anticipate another objection you are
about to make--that the machines will disturb the landscape."

"That is my meaning exactly."

"And there are thousands who think just as you do. But mankind must
accustom themselves to new ideas. It is the question of spinning-wheel
or sewing-machine over again. Just as, in old times, the spinning-wheel
occupied the most exalted station in the household, so does the
sewing-machine now occupy the place of honor; and the spirit of beauty
and the force of custom will soon adorn the latter as it once did the
former--although that was a simple machine, while this is a complicated
one."

"Thanks," said Annette, extending her hand to Ludwig; "you are really a
citizen of the new world."

Ludwig's plan was to connect an island which lay in the valley-stream
with the mainland, by blasting out and turning in some rocks from
shore. He would thus be able to turn what had heretofore been useless,
to good account, and at the same time increase the water-power. He went
to work in true American style, and was delighted when I told him that
the raftsmen were not allowed to pass down the stream except during two
hours of the day, and that we could thus arrange our time in such a way
that they would not interfere with us. He felt pleased that the people
were no longer allowed to dilly-dally about their work, but were
obliged to make use of an appointed time. He decided that the time for
floating the rafts past the island should be fixed for the dinner hour,
when the workmen in the mill were taking their rest.

"Ah," said he at last, "I can remember the very minute when mother
explained to me what work really is. We were standing at the
blacksmith's shop when she said to me, 'Look, Ludwig, this pound of
iron is worth but a few _groschen_, but a pound of watch-springs is
worth many hundred _thalers_. This shows you what labor is.' The
recollection of that moment at the blacksmith's shop has remained alive
in my memory ever since. I can yet see the blacksmith's journeyman at
his work, forging the spikes with which the rafts were held together,
and while he was shaping one spike the other was heating in the fire. I
have always worked on the same principle."

We were visited by Annette's brother, who was just from Wildbad, and
told us that on the day previous the French Ambassador had left there
under instructions to visit the King of Prussia; and, it was further
rumored, to bring it about that no German Prince should ascend the
Spanish throne. There was great excitement everywhere, and he thought
it hazardous to invest large sums in new enterprises; especially so for
those who were near the French borders. The air seemed heavy as with an
impending storm, and no one could tell how soon the cloud might burst.

Napoleon would be obliged to justify the new lease of power that the
_plebiscite_ had given him; he would find it necessary to furnish
amusement for the French, who looked upon a war with us as a most
agreeable diversion. Anything would serve him as an excuse.

For this reason, he thought it his duty to dissuade Annette from
joining in our enterprise. He was willing, however, to advance the
required sum out of his own funds, for, after all, there must be peace
at last; and, if the undertaking should prove successful, it was his
intention to transfer either the whole or a half of his share to
Annette.

Ludwig wanted to employ none but discharged soldiers. He had no
confidence in workmen who had not served in the army; and, as the
stonecutter had been a soldier, he appointed him as chief of the
stone-masons. He engaged an older man to superintend the erection of
the building, who had been recommended as thoroughly honest; and it was
Ludwig's intention to take him back to America with him.

We learned that this man had formerly been an officer of engineers. He
had been obliged to resign, and now led a simple and industrious life,
eating and sleeping with the quarry-men. It was only when at work, that
one could notice that he was of a higher caste. But he seemed to have
no judgment of his own, and always required instructions; when he
received these he would execute them with care and precision. He was a
man of very few words, and always seemed as if seeking something which
he either could not or dared not name.

And then Ludwig sent for Wacker, the dissipated fellow who lived in the
valley beyond the mountains. He was only slightly intoxicated when he
arrived, and Ludwig said to him, "Wacker, I will give you a good
situation on one condition: you may get drunk three times; but after
the third, you will be summarily discharged. If you are agreed, all
right; and I shall only add, beware of the first time: it will not cost
you your situation, but it will make an inroad on your capital."

For a while, Wacker conducted himself properly; but he gave way at
last. He had his three drunks, and was consequently discharged.

It was now time to begin measuring and other preparations, and to
employ the laborers; for the first thing in order was to regulate the
bed of the stream.

Annette found great pleasure in watching the progress of the building.

Ludwig had ascertained where the stream had the greatest fall. He had
an instrument, by means of which one can, while on land, quickly
ascertain the descent of the current; and this, too, afforded Annette
much amusement. She was anxious to know whether the power of water was
measured by so many horse-power. In her desire for information, she was
constantly asking questions. Ludwig, being more practical than Richard,
was naturally more indulgent with Annette's questionings. Annette had,
moreover, ceased to speak as if she felt herself a privileged person;
she had become more simple and retiring in her ways.

One day when Annette exclaimed, "Ah, what a pity to make the pure water
work so!" Ludwig imitated her voice, and replied, "Ah, what a pity that
the beautiful horses must draw Madame Annette's carriage!"

Annette blushed crimson; but she controlled herself, and said, "You are
right; I spoke quite childishly."

"Oh, you angel!" cried Ludwig; "a woman who can say, 'You are right; I
have been wrong,' really is a marvel."

We received permission to carry the road farther down the mountain, and
in that way secured the best place to store our material.

There was another obstacle which we were obliged to overcome, and one
of which we had never thought. The Englishman had leased the right to
fish in the valley, from the villagers and farmers along the banks of
the stream; and he now attempted, through the courts, to enjoin us from
blasting the rocks; for just there was the best spot for trout.

Ludwig went before the court in person, and he succeeded in having the
injunction set aside.

Before that, the Englishman had been a mere stranger to us; but now he
was our enemy, and would not deign to bestow a glance on us. When any
one of us walked or drove by, he would turn his back on us.

In all this trouble, Ludwig was calm and kind; but careless work made
him so indignant that he characterized it as crime and villany. He was
dissatisfied, because, in their own home, he found that the German
workmen had two great faults--they were awkward, and wasted too much
time. In the new world, these very people would act quite differently.

Annette wanted to erect kitchens down by the banks of the stream
for the workmen. She had already discussed the matter with the
schoolmaster's wife, and the locksmith's widow was ready to assist; but
the people took no interest in the affair.

Although she had already made up her mind, the locksmith's widow
considered it her duty to consult Ludwig in regard to her marrying
again. She had chosen the young stone-mason, who was hardly as old as
she.

The wedding took place on a Sunday; and Annette busied herself
conjecturing how the three children must have felt at their mother's
marriage.

We were obliged, out of compliment, to be present at the marriage
feast; and Schweitzer-Schmalz, who was a relative of the bridegroom,
called out, at the top of his voice, that the bridegroom had not needed
to marry so soon for fear of being obliged to go to war again. The
blatant Prussian would not venture to try conclusions with France; and
if he did really attempt it, the real Germans, that is, the South
Germans, would not assist.

In a loud voice, he retailed the wisdom of the popular journals; and I
verily believe that he did it with the intention of drawing us out.

Ludwig whispered to me, "It is not worth while trying to convert this
man; events will teach him."

Although I did not believe there would be war, Ludwig looked forward to
it with great certainty, and only feared that we might neglect the
proper moment to let the whole world see that it was France that was
wantonly and impiously forcing war upon us.

We went down to the valley stream in order to see that no accident
should happen while the rocks were being blasted.

Ludwig superintended the blasting in person. With Annette and Conny, I
was stationed down the road, while Rothfuss and Martella were on the
other side, in order that all might be warned of the danger.

Suddenly there was a loud report which reverberated through the valleys
and the forests; the blasting was a complete success.

Soon after, we were assembled on the road, and even the quarry-men were
with us, when Ikwarte, accompanied by one of the forester's men, came
running up to us, out of breath, exclaiming, before he reached us:

"War has been declared!"

The forester brought me a message informing me that France had declared
war, and calling on me to repair to the meeting of the Parliament at
once.

Ludwig gave instructions that the work should be continued without
interruption, and placed the completion of the new building in charge
of the engineer. That very evening he accompanied me to the capital,
Martella going with us.

The Englishman stood by the bank, angling.

It was not until after I had left home, that I began to realize what
was in store for us.



                              BOOK FOURTH.



                              CHAPTER I.


The great crisis which we have dreaded and yet hoped for has at last
arrived. We are again obliged to contend with our hectoring neighbor,
whose lust of power goads him to trample on our rights. We must fight,
if we wish to endure; and will all Germany be united? If in this
juncture we are not as one, our ruin is assured, and will be richly
deserved.

To know that the decisive moment is at hand, and that you cannot
actively participate--that you are only a single wave in the current,
is at once an oppressive and an exalting thought.

In my mind, I go over the list of my fellow-members in the Parliament.
The decision seems to hang in doubt. Eccentricity is still rampant, and
decks itself with all sorts of revolutionary ideas.

And how is the Prince inclined? Were it better if it rested with one
man to decide whether we should have war or peace?

And there is another bitter experience that is forced upon us in
periods of doubt and indecision; namely, that fixed principles begin to
waver.

I found it a great comfort to have Ludwig with me. He was so thoroughly
in sympathy with me, and yet, at the same time, a foreigner. He had
become a citizen of the New World, in which he had lived over twenty
years, and his views were freer from prejudice than ours could be.

In spite of the declaration of war on the part of the French
government, the ravings in the French Legislative Chambers, and the
outcry in the streets of Paris, I yet encouraged a hope that war might
be averted. But Ludwig thought--and I was obliged to agree with
him--that it were both treachery and folly now, when the right was on
our side, not to accept the battle which would thus only be postponed.
For this constant waiting and watching for what others may do, is a
painful state of dependence.

Ludwig was younger; his pulse was steadier. He had already fought in
this country with undisciplined crowds, and, in the United States, had
taken part in the great war.

He said in confidence that if he had known that the decision was so
near at hand, he would have kept on better terms with Funk; because, at
that moment, the great object was to gain his allegiance and that of
his party, in which there was no lack of noble enthusiasts. Ludwig held
that, in politics, it was not alone permissible, but even necessary, to
use strategy and double-dealing.

Martella so urgently entreated me to permit her to accompany us, that,
for her sake, Ludwig's wife remained at home.

At the village down by the railway station, and at nearly every
station on the road, I was asked whether I believed there would be war,
and whether I would advise the people to drive their cattle into
out-of-the-way ravines and valleys, and to hide their household goods,
on account of the threatened invasion of the French hordes.

I took great pains to explain my views; but, at the second station,
Ludwig said: "Father, you are giving yourself unnecessary trouble. The
people do not wish to learn anything. They think that you cannot know
any more about it than they do. They simply ask you idle and anxious
questions, just as they would at other times, 'What kind of weather do
you think we will have?' Father, do not pour out the deepest feelings
of your heart."

After that, I replied that one could not say much upon the subject; and
I observed that the people, were more respectful because I was so
reserved. They assumed that, as I was a delegate, I was fully informed
on all subjects, and neither dared nor desired to unbosom myself.

It was rather late, but not too late. From that day, I learned that it
is not best to open one's soul to another and reveal all that is within
it; and for that reason, it is said of me that, since the beginning of
the war, I am a changed man. In those days, I learned things that never
were suffered to pass my lips.

The first one whom we met at the capital was my son-in-law, the Major.

"What is the opinion in the army?" inquired Ludwig.

The Major looked at him steadily, and, after a pause, answered,
"Opinion? In the army there is obedience." With forced composure, he
added, "As far as I know, the army neither debates nor votes."

He turned to me and said that this time we were better prepared than
four years ago.

I asked whether the army orders had already been promulgated.

He shrugged his shoulders, and evidently did not care to divulge
anything. He told me, though, that since the evening previous, he had
been advanced to the rank of colonel, and had been placed in command of
a regiment. When I spoke of this, as indicating that the Prince had
decided for war, he lapsed into silence.

We soon parted, regretting that we could not go to his house, for
Annette had already prepared quarters for our reception.

I then went to our club-house and learned that our party was already
broken up. The Funk faction--I must give it this name, although he was
not its leader--held separate meetings.

Ludwig determined logo at once to the meeting of Funk's party, because
it was important above all things to know what was being done there.

"I believe in Lincoln's maxim," said he, "that 'it will never do to
swap horses while crossing streams.'"

In little more than an hour, he returned and told us that he had been
coldly received, although the leadership was shared with Funk by two
members who had once been among his most intimate friends. He was now,
however, able to tell that their plan was to insist on neutrality. They
did not dare to think, much less to speak, of an alliance with France.
Their intention, however, was to call together a large meeting of the
popular party, in order to exert a moral influence on Parliament, and
perhaps to overawe it.

At our meeting, we were expecting the arrival of the prime minister;
the right wing of our party sided with the ministry.

The minister did not come; but sent one of his councillors, who
informed me that the session would not be opened unless a quorum of
delegates was present.

He told us that there was great disorder among the telegraphs.

After the councillor had left, Loedinger, my old associate and
prison-mate, told me in confidence, that he expected a _coup d'etat_.
He felt that the Prince had no desire to take counsel with the country,
and had determined that his glory as a warrior should be shared by no
one.

Loedinger was one of those imaginative persons who, whenever they form
suspicions against any one, carry them to their extremest consequences.

The President, who was a member of our party, told us under the seal of
secrecy, that the reason for delaying the opening of our session was
that they might first ascertain what action the delegates in the next
state would decide upon.

We were thus held in anxious suspense.

During the night, I found it impossible to sleep; and Ludwig, who was
in the next room, called out to me: "Father, you must sleep; to-morrow
will be a trying day. Just think of it!--the Emperor of Germany--I
should say, the King of Prussia--must also sleep to-night, and he is
three years older than you are."

Yes, it was on that night, the 16th of July, that my son announced the
German Emperor to me. I could not help smiling with joy, and at last
fell asleep. And, strange to say, I dreamed that I was again at Jena,
and that the fantastic mummery of those days was being renewed. Because
I had a round head and a ruddy complexion, I was termed the "Imperial
Globe," and they maintained that, with my large stature and broad
shoulders, the imperial mantle would fit me best of all. They placed it
on me, and I was obliged forthwith to distribute offices. And suddenly,
I was no longer the Emperor, but Rothfuss, who laughed most terribly.
I, too, was obliged to laugh--and, laughing, I awoke.



                              CHAPTER II.


When I opened my eyes, Ludwig stood at my bedside and said, "You have
slept well, father, and it is well that you did. You will need all your
strength to-day; for to-day it will be--Good-morning, Germany."

I cannot describe how my son's presence helped to strengthen me. I felt
that, with his power added to mine, I was doubly prepared for all that
might happen.

There is nothing more encouraging, in troubled times, than to have a
faithful friend at one's side,--a truth which was proved to me on that
day and many a time since.

I could not help recounting my strange dream, and when I added that it
gave me incomparable joy to think that the day had at last arrived in
which one might say the hearts of all Germans throbbed in unison,
Ludwig begged me not to talk so much. He said that he could sympathize
with me, and feel what a satisfaction it must be to me, after having
fought and suffered for fifty years, at last to witness the fruition of
my hopes, even though the price paid be war and bloodshed.

He was indeed right. He responded to all my feelings; I may indeed say
that he anticipated them.

When I reached the street, the throng was such that it seemed as if all
the houses had been emptied of their inhabitants. Here and there, were
groups talking aloud, and before the printing-office of the principal
newspaper, it was almost impossible to work one's way through the
crowd.

It was there that I met an old friend, the incorruptible Mölder. In
1866 he had resigned a high position under the state, in order,
thenceforth, to devote himself to his Fatherland, and, above all, to
the cause of German unity.

"It is well that I meet you," he said; "we have war now, and have
stolen a march on the French. Here, in the capital, the majority of the
citizens are on our side, but in the country, as you well know, the
so-called popular party is to a certain extent in the majority. The
common people are not so willing to follow our advice, for they are in
the hands of the clergy and the demagogues, who, for a little while
longer, will travel together on the same road. For this reason, we have
issued the call for a mass meeting at the Turners' Hall for this
evening."

"Would it not be best for us delegates to hold aloof from it?" I
inquired.

"No; it is too late for that. You will have to speak there, and so will
your son from America. We did not care to arouse you so late last
night, and I have, therefore, on my own responsibility, signed your
name to the call. But look!"

I saw crowds standing at the street corners, and reading a large
placard, calling on all whose hearts beat with love of Germany to meet
together--and I really found my name at the foot of it.

I could not object; our actions were no longer at our own disposal.

Excited crowds filled the streets during the whole day. The whole
population seemed like one restless being in anxious suspense. It was
said that the telegraph wires had been connected with the palace, and
as the people knew nothing of this before, the information caused great
surprise. The afternoon paper brought the official news that they had
wanted the King of Prussia to address the French Emperor in an humble
letter, in which he was particularly forbidden to refer to the
relationship existing between the French Emperor and the Prince of
Hohenzollern, who had been elected King of Spain--a pleasant
preparation for what was to ensue in the evening.

I did not see the Colonel during the whole day, but his friend,
Professor Rolunt, hunted me up; and, from the manner in which he spoke
of our project, it seemed to me that my son-in-law approved of it, and
that the popular movement about to be set on foot, was not looked upon
with disfavor by the government. Moreover, the Professor had become
very cautious, and was known to stand well with government circles. He
was believed to be an anonymous contributor to the official organ.

In the evening, we repaired to the place of meeting.

Mölder arrived, and with pale and trembling lips, told us:

"It is rumored that the friends of the French will attempt to break up
the meeting. But I have called on the Turners. They are all on our
side, and your son stands as well with them as he once did."

The proceedings began.

Mölder was the first speaker. I have never seen any one more excited
than he was. His lips trembled, and he held fast to the rail with a
convulsive grasp, while he began:

"We do not desire to become Prussians; but we wish to be Germans, as we
must and shall be. Is there one among you who would dare to utter the
accursed words, 'Rather French than Prussian!' If there be one who
dares to think it, let him dare to say it."

He paused for a while, and then exclaimed:

"Is there such a one among you? Answer me! Yes or no!"

"No!" resounded from a thousand throats, and he responded with joyous
voice, "Then we are all friends." He then concluded his address,
eloquently maintaining that to attempt to remain neutral were both
treachery and folly.

A young advocate who had been defeated in the recent elections, by one
of the clerical party, followed. He spoke with that studied eloquence
which talks glibly and in nicely rounded phrases. He concluded by
demanding that the whole meeting should proceed to the palace and
request the Prince to discharge his hesitating ministry; or, at all
events, the one minister who seemed to be unpatriotically inclined.

Enthusiastic and joyous shouts of approval were showered upon him.

I saw the danger that threatened, and asked for the floor.

"There has been enough talking; it is time now for deeds!" cried a
voice in the assembly, and it seemed as if the crowd were already on
the move.

My heart stood still. We were no longer masters of our own actions.

Then Ludwig cried out, in a voice so powerful that the very walls
seemed to tremble, "If you are men, listen! My father wishes to speak."

"Hurrah for the King of the Turners! Let old Waldfried speak! Silence!
Order! Let old Waldfried speak!"

It was a long while before the shouting and the cheering ceased, and I
think I spoke the right word at the right time.

I had a right to refer to my past, and to explain to them that it would
only create disturbance and confusion to adopt such violent measures
before anything had really been decided upon. If I were the Prince, I
would not yield to their wishes until the voice of the representatives
of the people had been heard.

The temper of the meeting changed, and I received many signs of
approval.

When I had finished, there were shouts of, "We want to hear the King of
the Turners speak!"

Ludwig mounted the rostrum; but so great was the applause, that it was
several minutes before he could speak.

At last he began, in a cheerful tone, saying that we Germans were still
full of the haughty arrogance of youth, and that this very meeting was
a proof of it.

Then, with words that carried conviction to all who listened, he told
them how the events of the last year had been a blessing to the
emigrants in America; a blessing, indeed, which could not thoroughly be
appreciated by those who were yet at home. The German had been
respected, if he could call himself a Prussian; but now the time had
come when the word _German_ must be an honored name. And if, as some
maintained, the South Germans are the real Germans, let them prove it.

If the Prussians are not yet Germans, they shall, and must, and will
become so. They delivered us from the real Napoleon; they will also be
able to free us from the counterfeit one. The first was not made of
gold, but this one is mere pinchbeck.

"I have fought against negro slavery; now the battle is against the
slavery that French ambition would submit us to."

While Ludwig was speaking, the chairman handed me a little slip of
paper, on which were written the words, "Your son knows how to allow
the heated steed to cool off before tying him."

Ludwig could, indeed, direct the mood of the meeting at will.

To the great amusement of his audience, he said that he had the rare
good fortune of having been born near the boundary line, and that,
consequently, the first object he had become sensible of, were the two
brightly painted posts which stood side by side on the road; and that,
while yet a child, he had often looked up to the trees in the woods, to
see whether they knew to which of the posts they belonged.

"And when I returned, the abject life that we had been leading was
again brought to my mind. On the one side marked by the bright post,
all is Catholic, and on the other side all is Protestant, because in
those times the people were obliged to accept their so-called religion
from their masters.

"Allow me to take a comparison from my own trade. It requires many
strong posts to make the scaffolding of a building. The departed
martyrs for German unity were the scaffolding. It has been torn down,
and now we behold the building, pure and simple, firmly and regularly
built, and appropriately adorned.

"Or another simile: Have you ever observed a raft in the valley stream?
It floats along slowly and lazily, but when it reaches the weir it
hurries; and then is the time to find out whether the withes are strong
and hold the planks firmly together.

"The German logs must now pass through the weir. There is a cracking
and a straining, but they hold fast to each other, and right merrily do
they float down into the Rhine and out into the ocean.

"The bells in the neighboring state have a different tone from ours;
but if the two are in accord, the effect is so much the more beautiful.
And from this moment let all bells chime in harmony."

Ludwig had the rare faculty of introducing apt illustrations while his
audience was all aglow with enthusiasm, and thus kept the meeting in
the best of humor and ready to agree with him when he concluded by
saying: "We have been patient so long--for more than half a century:
indeed, ever since the battle of Leipzig--that we can well afford to be
patient for a few days, perhaps only a few hours longer."

The meeting which had been so excited closed with singing. It was on
that evening that I heard "Die Wacht am Rhein," for the first time. It
must, before that, have been slumbering on every lip, and had now at
last awakened.

The young advocate who had proposed the immediate removal of the
minister, whispered to me, "I thank you for having defeated my motion."

I looked at him with surprise, and he continued: "I do, indeed, thank
you. The only object was to show the friends of the French that even
though it might require extreme measures, no demand that liberalism
could make would surprise us."

That sort of worldly wisdom was not to my taste.

The chairman then put the following resolution to a vote:

That we would remain true to the articles of confederation and to the
German cause, with all our means and at every sacrifice.

They shouted their approval with one voice; and now he closed the
meeting with a few cheerful remarks, announcing that we would adjourn
to the garden, where the beer was very good, and where there would be
no more speeches except the clinking of the mugs.



                              CHAPTER III.


"Father, you had better go home; you need sleep. I will accompany you
to our quarters, but I must return again, as they all insist upon my
doing so."

Ludwig and I took our way through the streets. They were still filled
with a surging crowd, and in front of the palace the entire guard was
under arms. They had evidently made preparations against a popular
disturbance.

When I arrived at the dwelling, Ludwig left me.

Annette was still awake, and informed me, as soon as I entered, that a
member of the cabinet had been there, had left word that I should come
to the palace that evening, and that if I would mention my name at the
left entrance I would be admitted. He had also said that, no matter how
late it was when I returned, I should not fail to come. I said that
there must have been some mistake--that they probably meant my son
Richard, or Ludwig; but Annette repeated that "Father Waldfried" had
been especially mentioned.

I replied that I was so tired that I would have to leave it until the
next day, but Annette thought that such a command must be implicitly
obeyed, and believed that the Prince himself desired to speak with me.

I repaired to the palace. The whole of the left wing was illuminated.

When I gave my name to the lackey at the foot of the staircase, he
called it out, and a secretary appeared and said, in a respectful
voice; "The Prince awaits you."

I pointed to my workday dress, but was assured that that made no
matter.

I ascended the staircase. On every hand there were guards. I was
conducted into a large saloon, where the secretary left me. He soon
reappeared, holding the door open and saying, "Please enter."

I went in. The Prince advanced to meet me, and took me by the hand,
saying: "I thank you sincerely for having come. I would gladly have
allowed you to rest overnight, but these times do not permit us to
rest. Pray be seated."

It was well that I was allowed to take a seat.

The Prince must have observed that I was almost out of breath, and
said: "Do not speak; you are quite exhausted. Permit me to tell you
that, in this trying hour, I repose full confidence in you. I have, for
a long while, desired to make your acquaintance. I have known your son,
the Professor, ever since he was at the university."

He added other highly complimentary remarks.

A pause ensued, during which I noticed, on the opposite wall, a picture
of the deceased Princess, who, as I had often heard, had been a great
benefactress to the country during the famine of 1817. This picture
revived my recollections of Gustava, and I felt as if I were not alone,
but as if she were with me.

All this passed through my mind during the few moments of silence.

The Prince went on to say that he had been informed of what I had said
an hour ago at the popular meeting. It had, for several days, been his
desire to act in union with me, but that he had entertained doubts on
various points,--among others as to whether I could attach myself to
him; and that the information he had just received had at last aided
him to form his conclusion.

"Excuse the question, but are you a republican?"

"I have sworn to support the government," was my answer.

"Are you a republican in theory?"

"In theory? The days of Pericles and Scipio are reflected in the soul
of every German who has received a classical education, and, logically
considered, a republic is the only form of free government. But neither
the life of nature, nor that of human history, is absolutely logical,
for actual necessity sets aside the systems erected by abstract
reason."

"That is well, and we shall, therefore, no doubt agree on all that
follows. But let me ask you one other question: Do you candidly and
heartily desire the continued existence of my sovereign dynasty?"

"Sovereign--no; dynasty--yes."

At these words the Prince arose from his seat, and hurriedly walked
across the floor. It seemed as if he involuntarily placed a distance
between himself and me. He remained standing in a dark corner of the
room.

There was a long pause, during which nothing broke the silence except
the ticking of the little clock on his table.

Such words had never been uttered in those halls. I had done my duty;
but I distrusted the Prince. Although suspicion is foreign to my
nature, his entire behavior aroused it in me. The Prince returned,
and stood opposite me, while he rested his clenched fist on his
writing-desk. The full light was streaming on his face.

"Explain yourself more fully," he said.

"Your Highness," I replied, "what I said to you was said after full
reflection."

"I feel assured of that; but speak out fearlessly."

"I have fought, thought, and lived for this during my whole lifetime.
If we are to gain a real Fatherland, the princes must relinquish their
claim to sovereignty: that belongs only to the whole.

"The growth of the idea of German unity has been in geometrical
progression. During the period of the rotten restoration, from the
battle of Leipzig down to 1830, those who entertained it might have
been counted by hundreds, or, at most, thousands, and they were to be
found only among the cultured or learned classes. After 1830, they were
counted by hundreds of thousands, and after 1848, by millions; and
to-day the thought of German unity is alive in all who know that they
are Germans.

"One system of laws within our borders, a united army, and united
representation in foreign lands. But the league of the states, that
through joy and sorrow have achieved unity for themselves, should be
faithfully preserved. The forest is one united whole, and yet every
tree has its individual life.

"Your Highness, I live near the borders. The obstinacy of the Vienna
congress has so cut up the country that we are obliged to go out of our
state to get salt. I have fields and woods beyond the boundary post,
and this has given rise to a thousand and one annoyances. Even the
protection of the forests, on which depends the life of our landed
interests, is obstructed by the diversity of laws. The hailstorm we had
last week paid no regard to boundary posts."

From the depths of my heart, I said: "Your dynasty, you and your house,
should remain our chief; but they should be subject to the greater
commonwealth."

"Subject?" said the Prince. He evidently expected that I would withdraw
or modify the word; but I felt that I could not do so.

And then he took my hand in his and said:

"I knew that these were your thoughts; I assumed as much. But I feel
grateful that you have allowed me to hear them from your own lips. Do
you believe that the majority of my--or our--people feel as you do?"

"No, I do not believe so. That is, they do not feel so to-day, but they
will to-morrow. Deeds--deeds of sacrifice--are the most powerful
instructors; they teach men what they should think, and even find a
voice for what has been slumbering in their souls, but which--through
pride and anger, or through want of courage--they have not even dared
to think of."

"You are not an enthusiast."

"I do not believe I am one. The people love the princes from force of
habit, and will be none the less glad to love them when reflection and
reason permit them to do so."

"Have you ever had the desire to occupy a position of authority under
the government?"

"Certainly; it was my greatest desire, and I believe--"

"You ought to be President of the ministry."

I replied that I was a practical farmer, and had never been in the
government service.

"Tell me how you have become what you are," said the Prince, taking a
seat opposite me.



                              CHAPTER IV.


"I shall gladly tell you all."

"The less reserve on your part, the greater my thanks."

"I was one of those who were persecuted on account of what at that time
was called demagogism.

"The soldier who guarded me--he is now a servant in my employ--informed
me that I had been sentenced to death, and offered to change clothes
with me, in order that I might escape. I refused the offer and
remained. We were not sentenced to death, but to imprisonment for ten
years. Ten years! A long, long night stared us in the face.

"Your Highness has taken me by the hand. Your father declared that he
would never voluntarily offer his hand to me or my confederates,
although it were necessary to do so if we meant to give him a pledge of
our allegiance.

"You cannot remember the circumstance.

"After being imprisoned for five years, we were pardoned, and I and two
of my prison-mates were elected members of the Parliament.

"The Jurists objected to our assuming the privileges of citizenship.

"The House which acknowledged our election was dissolved, naturally
enough, by Metternich's order. A new one met, and, as we had in the
meanwhile been re-elected, it confirmed the validity of our election.
Your father--I fully acknowledge his many acts of benevolence--was
obliged to extend his hand to us in order that we might take the oath.

"There are no words that fitly describe the wicked man who lived in the
imperial city, and to whom the sovereign German princes were obedient
subjects. In future days it will seem incredible, that, in obedience to
orders from Vienna, the German princes ordered our youth, under heavy
penalties, to desist from improving their physical strength by
gymnastic exercises.

"Perhaps you never knew that even singing clubs were forbidden, and
that officials who had been connected with them were regarded with
suspicion.

"Is it conceivable that a government which forbids physical development
by means of gymnastics, and spiritual elevation by means of song, can
for a moment have faith in its own stability?

"I am not easily moved to hatred; but, even now, the name of that man
fills me with indignation.

"What crime had we been guilty of? Why, only this: with a youthful
confidence in solemn promises, we had simply held fast to the idea that
Germany had freed itself from the Corsican yoke in order to become a
free, united empire.

"You cannot conceive, your Highness, how many noble-hearted men were
thrown into dungeons, or driven into exile in those days. Who can
measure what noble gifts ran to waste.

"When I think of these things, a sad picture presents itself to my
mind's eye.

"Among our fellow-prisoners at the fortress, there was a young man who
had already begun to lecture at the university.

"His father was an eminent philologist, and had been removed from his
professorship for permitting himself, while lecturing, to indulge in
expressions in favor of liberty. In a material sense, he was,
fortunately, well-to-do. His family owned a large estate in the forest
country, whither he repaired, taking with him his collections of
antiques and his books.

"The son sickened while in prison, and a wasting fever undermined his
youthful strength; and, as his days were numbered, the physician at the
fortress requested the authorities to release him.

"I have positive information--as the sister of that young man afterward
became my wife--that our Prince, your father, was willing to grant the
discharge. But, before it could be carried into effect, it was
necessary to ask for Metternich's permission--and Metternich refused
it.

"The commandant of the fortress held me in great esteem, and permitted
me, on his own responsibility, to be placed in the same cell with the
sick prisoner.

"I nursed him faithfully, and watched his every movement. I shall never
care to recall the thoughts that passed through my mind during the long
days, and still longer nights, that I passed at his bedside. He was
slowly sinking; for confinement was killing him, and yet no word of
complaint ever fell from his lips.

"His father came and--could you imagine it?--was not allowed to
converse with his son except in the presence of a guard.

"Then came his sister, only fifteen years old--but of that no matter at
present.

"The noble martyr died. He was buried in the village at the foot of the
fortress.

"While these things were going on, there was dancing and dining at
Court, and Metternich was writing witty _billet-doux_.

"You, of course, have never heard of these things.

"Through the bars of our prison, we could look out into the
fortress-yard and see the coffin placed on the wagon that was to carry
it to the grave. But why should I revive the anger and sense of
disgrace that filled our hearts at that moment? And who, on the other
hand, would have the right to condemn us prisoners if, when at last
free, we should indulge in deeds of vengeance?

"Your Highness will understand that I am only telling you of these
matters so that you may have an idea of the sacrifices that were made
to bring about the result which is now to be consummated through a
struggle of life and death."

"I know it--I know it well; pray go on."

I plucked up my courage and continued: "My parents died while I was a
prisoner. When I was at last discharged, I had lost all taste for a
clerical calling. I was down in the village standing by the smithy, saw
the blazing fire and watched the heavy hammers, and I yearned for just
such hard manual labor. I begged the smith to take me as his
apprentice, and he at once handed me a hammer. I was there but a week,
when the father of the young man who had died in prison came and took
me to his estate."

"And you married his daughter?"

"Yes."

"And does she still live?"

"No; she died, as I am unfortunately forced to believe, through grief
on account of the desertion of our youngest son just before the war of
1866."

"I know it, I know it. I hear that your son is serving in the French
army in Algiers? I know," he said, interrupting himself when he saw my
painful agitation, "what grief this son has caused you. If it were in
your power to send him word, he might, if he would deliver himself up
of his own will, be received back into the army with some trifling
punishment, and might afterward by his bravery distinguish himself, and
all would be well again. But, of course, at present, communication is
impossible either through diplomatic or private channels."

I was obliged to admit that I did not know of Ernst's whereabouts.

Strange it is how a poet's words will suddenly come to one's aid.

"My son is like a different man,'" said I, with the words taken from
the history of my friend; and I was myself astonished by the tone in
which I spoke. I had enough self-command to say that our present
troubles required that all should be united, and, that we should,
therefore, not complicate them by introducing our own personal
interests; nor did I conceal the fact that I had lived down my sorrow
on account of Ernst, and had almost ceased to be haunted by the thought
of him. It pained me, nevertheless, to listen to the well-rounded,
sentences in which the Prince praised the Roman virtue that indulged my
love of country at the expense of my feelings as a father. He seemed
pleased with this conceit of his, and repeated it frequently. I felt
quite disenchanted.

Thoughts of Ernst almost made me forget where I was, or what I was
saying, until the Prince requested me to resume my story, unless I
found it too fatiguing.

I continued:

"When I think of the times before 1830, I see opposed to each other
extravagant enthusiasm and impotence, courageous virtue and cowardly
vice, chaste and devoted faith in the ideal, and mockery, ridicule, and
frivolous disbelief in all that was noble--the one side cherishing
righteousness, the other scoffing at it. In other words, on the one
side, Uhland; on the other, Metternich.

"My relations with my family, with the community in which I lived, and
even in a wider circle, were happy enough. But the thought of my
distracted Fatherland remained, and filled my heart with grief that
could not be assuaged. I lived and suffered for the general good, and
my associates did the like; but the storm-cloud was always impending
over us, and we were obliged to learn how to go about our daily work
with fresh and cheerful hearts, although danger threatened; to be
patient for the sake of the people, and to look into our own hearts for
strength.

"The best men of our Fatherland were deeply anxious to be up and doing,
but we were condemned to the worst lot of all: a life-long opposition.

"While we were languishing for healthy political action, our minds were
filled with a bitter and consuming protest against the miserable
condition of our affairs.

"It is hard when one's whole being is in conflict with his
surroundings."

I went on to tell him of the great hopes that the spring of 1848 had
inspired us with, and that I, too, had had the good fortune to be
permitted to assist in building up the great Fatherland, and to have
been in the confidence of the best men of my time. I told him of the
sad days when our so-called "Rump Parliament" was dispersed by the
soldiers, and also spoke of my son Ludwig.

"I understand that your son has become a man of great ability and force
of character, and that he distinguished himself in the war with the
slave States?" said the Prince.

I was surprised to find how well he was informed.

And then the Prince added, in an animated voice: "You are an
enthusiastic friend of Prussia?"

"I am; for in Prussia I recognize the backbone of our national
existence; she is not prepossessing, but steadfast and reliable.

"I lived at the time of the war of liberation; many who were of my age
took part in the war that saved us. Our section stood with Napoleon,
but Prussia saved Germany. She has dallied a great while before
claiming her reward for that service; but at last she receives it."

The Prince arose, and, resting both hands on his writing-table, said,
"That is the very reason I sent for you. Both they and we--both high
and low--must extinguish the memories of 1866. We have all much to
forgive, and much to learn."

And then the Prince asked me whether I believed that the majority of
the House of Delegates agreed with us?

I was obliged to express my doubts on that head.

"I have made up my mind, however," exclaimed the Prince, "whether the
delegates agree with me, or otherwise. You are an old, tried soldier.
Are you ready to ally yourself with me--no, not with me--with the
Fatherland?"

"How?"

"Call it a _coup d'etat_, if you choose--we dare not let names frighten
us--these are times in which legal forms must be disregarded. Are you
willing to accept the presidency of my cabinet, so that your fair name
may lend its lustre to my actions? You shall bear testimony to my love
of country."

"I am willing, your Highness, to sacrifice the short span of life that
is yet left me; but I am not an adept in state affairs."

"That is no matter; others will attend to that. What I require is the
moral influence of your presence. Your son-in-law, Colonel Karsten, is
willing to accept the portfolio of Secretary of War."

I informed the Prince that I would be obliged to insist on important
conditions: not from distrust of him, but of his noble associates who
had deserted us in 1848, and had used us liberals as cat's-paws.

I told him that, in my opinion, Germany would either emerge from this
war as a great power, or disappear from the roll of nations.

"We hope for the best, and we must conquer, for defeat would be
destruction."

As a first condition, I requested the Prince to give me a written
assurance that he resigned all privileges which would interfere with
German unity.

He smiled. I do not know whether it was in scorn, or whether he had not
heard my last words. He rose, placed his hand on my shoulder, and said,
"You are a good man."

I, too, was obliged to smile, and answered, "What else should I be,
your Highness?"

"Is not what you demand of me equivalent to an abdication?"

"No; it is nothing more than retiring to the position held by the
princes before domestic dissensions enabled Louis XIV. to wrest Alsace
and Lorraine from the German Empire."

It was with an air of embarrassment that the Prince said:

"Here is my hand. I have a right to do this, and desire to be the first
to hail the victorious King of Prussia as Emperor."

The Prince touched a bell, and a lackey entered, whom he told to bid
Colonel Karsten come.

My son-in-law Minister of War, and I president of the cabinet! Was it
all a dream? My eye fell on the picture of the deceased Princess, and
it seemed to resemble Gustava and to smile upon me.

The Colonel entered. He remained standing, in the erect attitude of a
soldier.

The Prince informed him, in a few words, that we agreed with each
other, and submitted a proclamation with which the Chamber was to be
dissolved, in case the majority should decide for neutrality. For the
present, this was to be kept a secret.

The Prince then withdrew.

Arm in arm with my son-in-law, I returned to my dwelling.

To think of all that had happened to me during that one day

Could this be myself? I could scarcely collect my senses.

Ludwig had not returned, and I was almost glad that it was so, for I
was not permitted to reveal what had been secretly determined on.

Martella was still awake. She came to meet me with the words:

"Father, you have heard news of Ernst. Did the Prince give you his
pardon?"

I could not conceive how the child could have had this presentiment,
and when I asked her, she told me that a brother of the porter at
Annette's house had returned from Algiers and had told her about Ernst.

I could not enter into Martella's plans. What mattered the life of a
son, or the yearning affection of a girl? I scarcely heard what she
said--my heart was filled to overflowing; there was no room left for
other cares.

One memory was revived. Years ago, the Privy Councillor had told me
that I was well thought of at court. At that time it was scarcely
probable. But could it have been true, after all?

Morning was dawning when I reached my bed. I felt that I would never
again be able to sleep, and only wished that I might live a few days
longer, so that, if nothing else was left, I might plunge myself into
the yawning abyss for the sake of my country.

It was fortunate that the session was not to begin until noon. I slept
until I was called.



                              CHAPTER V.


The Colonel came and told me that the troops were under orders.

I was startled. I shuddered at the idea of using force against our
fellow-citizens, and felt as if I could by my own strength, oppose and
conquer the demon of dissension. I felt assured that I must succeed,
and as confident as if success had already been achieved.

Ludwig accompanied me through the streets; they were even more crowded
than on the day before.

Annette and Martella had preceded us, in order to secure good seats. It
was with difficulty that we forced our way through the crowd. Ludwig
was obliged to shake hands with many whom we met, and was often greeted
by men whom he did not recognize, and who seemed annoyed that, in spite
of the changes that twenty-one years had made in them, he did not at
once address them by their names.

A company of soldiers were mounting guard before, the House of
Parliament. Ernst Rontheim, son of the Privy Councillor, was in
command. He saluted me in military fashion.

I gazed upon the vigorous youth, with his ruddy face and bright eyes,
and asked myself: "Will he this very day be forced to command his
troops to fire upon his fellow-citizens?" Did he know how full of
danger his post was? It required a great effort, on my part, to refrain
from speaking to him. At that moment, the minister of war arrived, and
the young officer called out, "Present arms!"

In the ante-chamber, and in the restaurant attached to the House, there
were many groups engaged in lively and animated discussions, in which
the speakers accompanied their remarks by forcible gesticulations.

The three members who had been fellow-prisoners o f mine at the
fortress, were still faithfully attached to me. The one whom we had
termed "The Philosopher" had distinguished himself by new theories in
political science, and the other two were eminent lawyers.

Only one of the members of the old student corps had gone over to the
radicals, but he was recognized as the most independent and the purest
of men, and was everywhere spoken of as "Cato."

The others had remained true to our colors; and one who was known as
Baribal called out "What! Bismarck? If that black devil will bring
about union, I shall sell my soul to him!"

I spoke with "Cato," when no others were by, and he frankly confessed
that he feared that this war would strengthen monarchism, and that,
therefore, he still was, and ever would be, a republican.

"We have, thus far, been forced to act against our wishes, and have
complained in secret," he said, "but if we conquer in this war, we
shall have voluntarily become subjects, and be happy in the favor of
their high mightinesses. I am not a subject, and do not wish to become
one."

He gave me a fierce look, and I felt obliged to tell him that he could
not be at his ease while receiving honors from people whom he despised.

He did not feel that war was inevitable, but was inclined to favor it,
if the German princes would promise that the constitution of the German
Empire, as proposed in the Frankfort Parliament, would be adopted in
the event of our success.

"Cato" assured me that even if we were to bring about a union, it would
be such only in name. Organic life cannot become a harmonious whole
unless there is freedom of action; and therefore, we must, first of
all, insist on guarantees for freedom.

"Why do you," said he in conclusion, "who aided and abetted the
Frankfort Parliament, never mention it?"

When I told him that this was political orthodoxy, he paid no regard to
what I said.

Funk once furtively looked towards me, and then turned to his neighbor,
with whom he conversed in a low voice.

Various members who, it was evident, desired to take the lead, were
walking up and down absorbed in thought.

I heard that telegrams had been received to the effect that France
would not consent to further delay, and insisted that all must be
absolutely neutral or else avowedly take sides.

Loedinger, my former prison-mate, approached me and said that it would
be necessary to prevent any conclusion being reached on that day, and
that we should govern ourselves by the course that the neighboring
state decided upon.

I asked him whether the party had determined on this. He said, "No,"
and told me that his only object was to bring about a postponement in
case the probable issue seemed adverse to us.

I felt that this would be impossible. I entered the chamber more
agitated than I have ever been. I had never in all my life been obliged
to conceal anything, and now I had to face my associates with a weighty
secret on my mind. I saw the ministers enter and take their seats, and
could not help thinking, "You will soon be seated there."

One minister whom we knew to be of our party came down to where I was
sitting and shook hands with me. He spoke with confidence and
hopefulness.

I noticed Funk pointing at me, and could hear the loud laughter that
followed on the part of the group that surrounded him.

The President took his seat; the ringing of the bell agitated me; the
decisive moment approached.

I looked up. Annette nodded to me. Richard was seated at her side.

I was obliged to drive out all roving thoughts, for it was now
necessary to concentrate all my energies on one object.

The proceedings began. My friend Loedinger, who had been seated at my
side, was the first speaker, and supported the motion in favor of
taking the field. He spoke with great fervor, and invoked the spirits
of those who had gone before us.

"Would that the mighty spirits of the past could descend to us this
day," were his words, while his own utterances were those of a spirit
pure and beyond reproach. When he finished his remarks, a storm of
applause followed. I grasped his hand; it was cold as ice.

Funk requested the President to preserve order in the galleries, and
said that this was not a Turners' festival.

The President reminded him that he knew his duty, and meant to perform
it, and that Funk, in his eagerness, had only anticipated him.

The next speaker was "Cato." He unearthed all the grievances that
Prussia had inflicted on the patriots. He called on the spirits of
those who had fallen during the war of 1866, and said they might well
ask those who now counselled aiding Prussia, "Are you willing to stand
side by side with those who murdered us in a fratricidal war?"

When he closed, it was evident that his words had deeply moved the
assembly.

I was the next to have the floor, and explained that, although brothers
may quarrel among themselves, they are brethren nevertheless, and that,
when an insolent neighbor endeavors to invade and destroy their home,
they must unite to defend it. Addressing my opponents, I exclaimed,
"You know full well what the decision will be, and I am loth to believe
that you desire to embarrass or disgrace it by opposition and
dissension."

Great excitement followed this remark, and prevented me from going on.
I was called to order, but the President decided that my remarks had
not been personal.

I endeavored to keep calm, and to weigh every word before uttering it.

In spite of this resolution, I forgot myself, and aroused a perfect
storm of anger, when I expressed my deepest convictions in the
following words:

"You who are seated on the other side do not believe in neutrality. Ask
yourselves whether this be an honest game that you are playing.
Neutrality is a hypocritical word which, translated into honest German,
means willingness to aid France, a Rhenish confederation, and treason
to the Fatherland!"

I was called to order and was obliged to admit that I had gone a little
too far.

The President interrupted the debate, and inquired whether the Chamber
would permit him to read a telegram which had just been received, and
was of some importance in relation to the subject under consideration.

"No! No!" "We are debating this among ourselves!" "Our deliberations
must be free and untrammelled!" "No outside parties have a right to
interfere!" cried the one side.

"Yes! Yes!" "Let us have it!" "Read it to us!" cried the others, and
all was confusion.

The President at last restored order, and then informed us that the
telegram was from the House of Parliament of the neighboring state. He
desired to know whether he might read it to the assembly. He would
permit no debate on the subject; those who were in favor of the
reading, would simply rise.

The majority arose, and Loedinger was almost trembling with emotion
when he grasped my hand and said, "Brother, the day is ours!"

The President read the telegram. It was to the effect that a small
though decided majority of the Parliament of the next state had
determined that their forces should take the field.

Then followed, both on the floor and in the galleries, a few moments of
terrible confusion and excitement.

Order was at last restored, and the President announced that the
business would now be proceeded with.

I had the floor.

"Make no speech--ask for a vote at once," said Loedinger, as I arose. I
acted on his advice.

The vote was taken; the majority was ours.

Loud shouts of joy filled the air, but I felt happier than all the
rest. I had been saved from a fearful danger.

Annette's carriage stood in a by-street, awaiting us. We rode to our
dwelling, and, when I reached there, I felt like one who, after long
and weary wandering over hill and dale, can at last sit down and
rest. And while I sat there, with myriad thoughts passing through my
brain, I could not help thinking, "The dream of my youth has repeated
itself--they only tried the mantle on me."

Shortly after that, Ludwig returned home to join his wife and to look
after his workmen.



                              CHAPTER VI.


How often we had yearned for unity of feeling, and an interchange of
sympathy with our compatriots! How sad it was to keep in our path with
the knowledge that the feelings and aspirations of those whom we met
had nothing in common with our own!

The unity of feeling had at last been brought about. Every street had
become as a hall of the great temple in which love of country testified
its readiness to sacrifice itself. Every valley resounded with the
joyful message, "Awake! Our Fatherland has arisen in its might! Hasten!
for the battle is not yet over. The soul of him who falls will live on
in the comrade who marched at his side. Now none can live for himself
alone, but for the one great cause."

After my sad bereavement, life had ceased to be aught but duty, and I
would have been ready, at any time, calmly to leave the world. But now
my only desire was to live long enough to witness the fruition of the
hopes which, during my whole life, had filled my soul.

My children and grandchildren, each in his own way, showed their love
of country.

Society at large was now like one great family, united in sentiment.

The vicar was the first of my family to visit me. He came to offer his
services as chaplain to the troops. Julius followed soon after. It had
gone hard with him to leave his wife, but he was happy to know that he
could at last serve his country. It moved me deeply when he told me of
the courage and resignation his wife had shown at parting. He was
accompanied by his brother-in-law, the lieutenant, who joyously
confessed that he was filled with hopes of glory and rapid advancement.
He drew his sword a few inches from its scabbard, and said, "This blade
has lost patience--it is all athirst."

My grandson Wolfgang returned from the forester's school.

"Grandfather, have my pine-seeds sprouted?" was his first question.

"They do not grow so fast, my child; the bed is still covered with
brushwood."

He wanted to enter the army as a volunteer, and was quite sad when we
told him that foreigners would not be accepted, and that it would,
moreover, take a good while before he could learn the drill. He could
with difficulty reconcile himself to the fact that he was not permitted
to take part in the war, and with a voice full of emotion, exclaimed,
"Although my name is growing on its soil, I am not allowed to fight for
Germany!"

Wolfgang was accompanied by Annette's nephew, the son of Offenheimer
the lawyer. He desired to offer his services as a volunteer. He was a
comrade of Wolfgang's, and a student in the agricultural department of
the forester's school. His face was marked by several scars, and
although he was not of a quarrelsome disposition, he had been in
several duels. He had served in the Young Guard, which, during the past
few years, had been recruited from the students of Gymnasiums and
polytechnic schools.

I inquired whether his father consented to his entering the service,
and he answered me in the affirmative.

Shortly afterward, his father entered the room. In a few words he told
us that he had expected this war, and then, turning to his sister, he
remarked that his son Alfred had entered the regiment which had
formerly been the Captain's, as Colonel Karsten could not take him in
his regiment. He also told me that he had fully determined, in case the
war resulted in our favor, to withdraw from practice, and to devote
himself to public affairs.

Offenheimer was an able, clear-minded man, of liberal opinions, and
free from prejudice; and yet it seemed as if this vow of his had been
made in order to assure himself of the success of our cause and the
preservation of his only son.

Annette had always observed a certain distance with her kindred, and
was, indeed, kinder to Martella than to her own nephew. But now, the
war and the unanimity of feeling which it had induced, seemed, even in
her case, to awaken new sympathies.

On the following morning, when I was preparing for my journey homeward,
a messenger came from the palace to inform me that the Prince required
my presence. And now I went, in bright daylight and with a peaceful
soul, to the same place that I had approached during the night,
ignorant of what was in store for me. I was happy to know that the
serious charge, which I was hardly fitted to undertake, had not been
imposed on me, and I was, at the same time, encouraged by the feeling
that I had shown my willingness to do all in my power.

On the staircase, I met the French ambassador, who had just received
his parting audience; and thus I saw the last French ambassador who
witnessed our dissensions.

The antechamber of the Prince's apartments was full of life and bustle.
Adjutants and orderlies were constantly coming and going.

I saw my son-in-law, but only for a few moments. He shook me by the
hand, and said, "My regiment marches through your valley; I shall see
you again at home."

I was called into the Prince's presence. His cheeks were flushed and
his eye sparkled. He took me by the hand and said: "I can only briefly
thank you. I shall never forget your fidelity and your candor.
Unfortunately, I can be of no service to you, for you need no favors;
but my heart shall ever be filled with gratitude to you."

His kind words so moved me that I was unable to utter a word in reply,
and the Prince continued: "Like you, I am forced to remain at home. It
is well and proper that princely rank does not require its possessor to
command his armies. Leaders have been selected, from whom we have a
right to look for the greatest results with the least bloodshed. Excuse
me; I regret that I cannot speak with you any longer. I shall be glad
to have you visit me soon again."

He shook hands with me again, and I was about to withdraw in silence,
when a lackey entered and said that a daughter of mine had requested to
see the Prince, and begged that she might speak with me in his
presence.

"Let her enter. You had better remain here, Herr Waldfried."



                              CHAPTER VII.


The door was opened and in rushed Martella, who threw herself on her
knees at the Prince's feet and exclaimed: "Your Highness, Prince by the
grace of God, be gracious and merciful! Give me my betrothed, my Ernst!
I shall not rise from this spot until you have restored him to me
again!"

The Prince gazed at me in surprise, and I told him that this was
Ernst's betrothed.

The Prince extended his hand to Martella. She kissed it and covered it
with tears, when he said to her:

"I shall do all that I can."

"Oh, God is gracious to you! you are all-powerful. O how happy you are
that you can do all these things! I knew it!"

The Prince said that he was occupied at the moment; that she might go,
and he would attend to all that was necessary afterwards.

"No, no!" cried Martella; "not so. I shall not leave in that way. Now
is the right time. Let the whole world wait until this is done."

"I have already informed his father that the deserter will receive but
a mild punishment, if he now returns and helps us to fight for our
Fatherland."

"Yes, yes; I believe all that; but I must have it in writing, with a
great seal under it, or else it is of no avail, and your subordinates
will not respect it.

"O Prince! the winter before the fearful war you were hunting in the
district to which my Ernst belonged, and he had much to tell me about
you; and he said that, if one considered how you had been spoiled, it
was wonderful to find our Prince so well behaved, so just and upright a
man.

"And Rothfuss said, 'In such a war as that of 1866, the Prince would
have been just as willing to desert as Ernst was, if he only could have
done so; but he could not get away.'"

The Prince gave me a look full of meaning, while a sad smile played on
his lips. Suddenly he turned to Martella and asked, "And do you know
where your lover is?"

"Yes; he is with the savages in Algiers. He, too, was a savage, but, by
this time, he must have become tamed. O Prince! give me the writing,
and what you write will be set down to your credit in heaven!"

The Prince seated himself, and then looked up from his desk and asked,
"But what will you do with this letter of pardon?"

"Let your gracious Highness leave that to me. Just you write--and
blessed be the pen and the ink and your hand--"

I implored her to remain quiet, so that the Prince could write, and she
grasped my hand with one of hers, and with her other pointed towards
the Prince's pen and moved her finger as if following its every stroke.

When the Prince bad finished writing, he lit a lamp, and Martella
exclaimed: "Oh, if Ernst were only here, that he might thank you! But
mother, who is above, knows of this already, and joins me in thanking
you."

Her vigor and beauty, her touching voice, the powerful and dazzling
brilliancy of her eyes, all seemed as if increased by an irresistible
charm.

The Prince attached the seal to the document and handed it to her with
the words, "I wish you success;" and, turning to me, added, "I am glad,
at all events, that I have been able to be of some service to you."

Martella was about to kneel to him again, but he begged her to
withdraw.

We went through the antechamber and down the steps, and, when we
reached the foot of the staircase, Martella suddenly stopped and said:
"I have something in which I can keep the letter of pardon. I still
have the embroidered satchel, but now I will put in it something better
and sweeter than the cake it once held."

When we left, the guard was just marching up to the palace, and the
band was playing "Die Wacht am Rhein." A crowd extending farther than
the eye could reach joined in the song, and Martella exclaimed, "The
whole world is singing while--" and then her clear voice helped to
swell the chorus.

No one was happier at Martella's good fortune than Annette, who, to
give vent to her joy, overwhelmed Martella with presents.

Richard rushed into the room, exclaiming, "The Crown-Prince of Prussia
has been appointed commander of the South German forces!" His face
beamed with emotion, and he triumphantly declared that this would seal
the union of North and South Germany.

Although the younger members of my family were full of ardent courage,
Richard had more determination and elasticity of spirit than any of
them. We had at one time mockingly called him "Old Negligence." But he
was no longer the man who procrastinated in all things, and who, while
conscientious withal, was nevertheless so swayed by a thousand
imaginary obstacles that it was difficult for him to make up his mind
on any subject. He told us that he had offered to accompany the
commander of our army; he had written enough of history in dead
letters, and now he was anxious to witness living history, and perhaps
to assist in making it.

Annette had ordered the servant to bring wine, and Richard exclaimed:
"O father! it has come at last. Self-reliance now fills every heart,
and that is the rock of safety for the whole nation. I see it now; a
new element has entered our German world--a feeling that we are all
one. It is not a mere conglomerate of many thousand individuals; it is
something quite new and exalted--a divine revelation--the fire of pure
patriotism. We stand in the midst of a pillar of fire; every individual
is a spark; of no value by itself, but only as a portion of the pillar
of fire."

Richard's tall and commanding form trembled with emotion.

Annette placed her hand upon her heart and exclaimed, "And I too--I
too."

She had stretched forth her hand, but suddenly cast her eyes upon the
picture of her dead husband, and buried her face in her hands.

After a short pause, she said to Richard:

"Your mother announced this to me. 'He will live to see the day,' she
said, 'on which great things will happen to the world and to you all.'
I did not understand her words then, but now I believe I understand
them."

Richard replied, "How strange it is that you should be thinking of
mother at this moment; for I was thinking of her at the same time.

"Ah, father, when mother asked for water from her spring, and I ran
through the village down into the valley, and was nothing but a child
running to fetch a draught that would cool her parched lips and,
perhaps, save her, I could not, at times, help thinking of the story
told by Apuleius--how Psyche was obliged to bring water from the rocky
springs of the Styx.

"And, father, hard and puzzling as it then was to understand how trees
and houses could exist, and that men were working in the fields, while
the breath of life was flickering and expiring--now, all is clear
to my vision. I shall go off with the army; and if I can do nothing
more, I will, at all events, endeavor to refresh the spiritual and
physical wants of the children of the Fatherland for the sake of our
mother--unity. It would be glorious and happy to die when filled with
such emotions; but it is more genuine and more brave to persevere in
small services and sacrifices."

Annette, with her hands clasped upon her breast, gazed at Richard.
Bertha entered the room at that moment, and, by her presence, brought
about a calmer and serener atmosphere than we had just been moving in.

Bertha, four years before, had been full of unrest; but now, her calm,
equable disposition manifested itself in all its beauty.

"That war," she said, "was an unnatural one, but this contest is waged
in a holy and just cause, and its consequences must therefore be calmly
accepted. And things, too, have changed with my husband; for now
fortune smiles upon him."

She told us that an association had been formed under the auspices of
the Princess, for the purpose of aiding the families of those who were
obliged to go to the war, and to prepare aid for the sick and wounded.

"I shall be one of you," exclaimed Annette. "I, too, wish to do my
share in the good work. And, Professor, I shall remember your words,
'It is braver to persevere in small services and sacrifices.'"

Richard soon left for the university town, where he had yet to make
some preparations before starting with the army. He grasped Annette's
hand, and it seemed to me as if he held it longer than usual; but he
only said, "We shall meet again."

His long face, with its large, full brown beard, bright blue eyes, and
arched forehead, seemed more beautiful than ever, and his splendid,
powerful form seemed almost heroic.

In the evening I was crossing our principal street, and met Annette
carrying several packages under her arm.

War kills one weakness which in men is insufferable, and in women
difficult to bear; namely, false pride.

In such times, who can stop to think how he may appear to others? You
are nothing more than a wonderfully small fraction of a great and
complete whole. And it is this idea which makes you great, and lifts
you above all petty thoughts.

How absurd we had grown to be. It had come to be regarded as improper
for a well-dressed man or woman to carry a package while in the street;
the dress of the ladies was so fashioned that they were obliged to use
their hands to prevent it from dragging, and thus it was impossible for
them to carry even the smallest package; but now all that was changed.

Annette told me that she and some other ladies were about to take a
course of instruction from a surgeon, in the art of dressing wounds.
She said this simply and unostentatiously.



                             CHAPTER VIII.


While Martella and I were on our way to the depot, in order to return
to our home, we were encountered by a dense and impenetrable crowd.

What could be the matter?

"The Crown-Prince of Prussia is coming."

We stopped.

The sounds of distant music were heard mingling with the joyous shouts
of thousands of voices. It was the cry with which a race welcomed its
brothers from whom it had long been estranged, and who were now
advancing to save it. How this must have stirred the heart of the
Crown-Prince!

I was so wedged in by the crowd, that I could see nothing. Martella had
ascended some steps back of me, and called me to follow her; but it was
impossible to do so.

I heard a carriage approach; the men who were in front of me spoke of
the splendid appearance, and the calm, yet determined expression of the
Prince.

"Father!" exclaimed Martella, "he looks just like him--indeed, more
like Richard."

The crowd at last scattered, and cheers were still heard in the
distance.

We started for home. The railway on the other side, which for some
distance ran into our valley, was obstructed. They were momentarily
expecting an invasion of the French, and, after that day, the other
line was only to be used for military trains.

We rode on for a part of the way, and, at the intersection, met a large
crowd of persons from the watering-places. They had suddenly been
obliged to give up the springs and the amusements that had there been
at their disposal.

The gambling banks are closed, it was said. I hoped that they might
never again be reopened.

Ludwig and his servants were there awaiting me. I also met Carl, who
had been conscripted, and with him were two of the meadow-farmer's
servants.

Carl laughed while he told us how the meadow-farmer grumbled that he
was now obliged to harness and feed his oxen himself. He cheerfully
added that Marie could do the service of two laborers.

His joyous face made it plain that before leaving home he had come to
an understanding with Marie. When he spoke of her he pressed his left
hand to his heart. I think he must have had a keepsake there.

When Carl saw Ikwarte, he went up to him and extended his hand saying:
"I forgive you. I cannot remain at enmity with any one whom I leave
behind when I go forth to battle. Forgive me, too."

Ludwig asked Ikwarte, "Willem, would you like to go?"

"I am waiting until the Colonel gives me leave."

"You have never asked my permission."

"I have waited until the Colonel would speak of it himself."

"Pray speak a few kind words to my mother, for my sake," said Carl; and
I saw the old spinner sitting on the lower step of the depot. She gazed
into vacancy as if she were dreaming with open eyes.

"This gentleman will take you home with him," said Carl to his mother.

"Then you will not take me along? I must go home--home--home," said the
old woman; and Carl told me that Rothfuss had brought the conscripts to
this spot, and was in a neighboring inn where he was feeding the
horses.

I endeavored to persuade the spinner to control her feelings. She
murmured a few words that I could not understand, and which Carl
explained to me. She had, by hard savings, gotten seven thalers
together, and wanted Carl to take them with him, because he would need
them while away; and that now she was quite inconsolable, because he
wanted to leave the money at home with her.

I took the money from her, and promised to send it to Carl whenever he
should need it, through my son-in-law the Colonel.

"And how is the great lady?" said the old spinner. "She ought to have
married my Carl--she always looked at him with so much favor; and if he
were now married, he would not have to go to war."

His mother's words were unintelligible to me, and it was with a sad
smile that Carl interpreted them.

"Why have you not told her about Marie?"

"I have done so, but she wishes to know nothing about her."

Ludwig, accompanied by Ikwarte, started towards the Rhine. He said that
he did not yet know how he could take part in the war, as he was an
American citizen; but he was resolved not to remain a quiet spectator.

Carl's parting from his mother was heart-rending. She refused to get on
our wagon, and Carl, with tears in his eyes, lifted her in his arms and
placed her there. During the greater part of our journey home, she
bewailed the loss of her son, and we drove on in silence, for we felt
so sad that we could not utter a word.

Martella was the first to speak, saying, "It is, after all, the
greatest happiness to have a mother."

I could well understand what it was that agitated her.

Up at the top of the mountain, where we always stopped to rest our
horses, there is a large and shady beech-tree, to which was fastened
the image of a saint.

While at a distance I could see a white object on the tree, and when I
drew near, I recognized it. It was the proclamation of the King of
Prussia, in which, in simple but well-considered words, he declared
that he was forced into waging this war.

Soon after that, I met Joseph, who was delighted to see me again. He
had engaged the guard of the stage-coach that passed by there every day
to fasten the "extra" papers to the tree, so that the forest laborers,
who at this point separated in order to repair to their different
villages, could know what was going on.

On the following day, the young Catholic pastor of the village had the
words of the heretical king removed from the tree on which the holy
image had been placed, and was about to lodge a complaint against
Joseph for his sacrilegious conduct. But, on the advice of a lawyer who
belonged to his own party, he desisted, and the tree, to this day, is
known as "the newspaper tree."

I crossed the boundary line and was in our own territory. The people
were busily employed in changing the bed of the stream; and the newly
married stone-mason asked me whether work would be continued during the
war. I told him that it would be, and that we intended to give
employment to the people as long as possible.

Shortly after that, I even employed the old spinner's two sons who had
been ordered out of Mühlhausen; and it was a very happy thought to do
so, as the younger of the two was an excellent cabinet-maker.

I walked on. All along the roadside I had planted pear-trees; they were
laden with fruit. Will the enemy pluck the fruit or destroy the trees?

I saw the young meadow-farmer. He was setting his water-gates, and
appeared as unconcerned as if we were living in peaceful times. When I
passed, he looked up from his work, and said, "The war does not affect
me, thank God. None of my kindred are in it."

The first house in the village belongs to the meadow-farmer. He had
relinquished the farm to his son, and was now living on a pension which
the latter had settled on him. When he saw me, he called out, "Now you
have it! The accursed Prussian is at the root of the whole affair; but
the Frenchman will give him a beating, for he has caught hold of the
wrong fellow this time."

At home all were in good spirits, and for the first time in a long
while, I found myself in some sort of sympathy with Johanna.

"It will soon be seen," she said, "whether the godless Frenchmen are as
willing to sacrifice themselves for their country as we are."

She praised the King as a God-fearing man; but to me he was simply a
righteous German.

A happy change had taken place with Johanna's daughter. She had always
been sickly, and had thought herself of no use in this world; but now
she knew nothing more of sickness. She had determined to join a society
which had just been organized by the wife of the Privy Councillor, in
order to obtain instruction in the art of nursing the sick and wounded.

I was now again in my own calm and peaceful home. Rothfuss informed
me that during my absence parties had been there to buy up oats and
hay,--we still had a good supply left from last year,--and Rothfuss had
promised the refusal of it to Kuhherschel, whom he always favored.

The old hay was sent off, and the new was brought in. In Carl's place
we engaged a Tyrolese farmer. The early barley was harvested, the
ground was ploughed over again, and the potatoes were dug up. How long
would affairs remain thus? The enemy might break in on us the very next
day, as we were very near the border. Our enemies claimed that they
were fighting in the interests of civilization, but sent Asiatic hordes
against us.

The schoolmaster's wife told us that Baroness Arven had left for
Switzerland, taking a great amount of luggage with her.

I was determined to await the enemy in my own home, and when Johanna
asked me whether she, too, could go to the city and try to be of some
use, I consented.

"But you will remain with me, Martella, for you do not fear the
French?"

"Oh, I am not afraid of them," answered Martella.

She had only answered the latter portion of my question, but I did not
think of that until afterwards.



                              CHAPTER IX.


My solitude was soon broken in upon by a visit from Baron Arven. I was
astonished to find him looking so sad. "Is there still so much of the
old Austrian officer left in him?" I asked myself. He soon relieved me
of all doubts on that head, and, in a tone which showed how he had
struggled with and conquered his grief, told me that in many things,
and especially in religious matters, he and his wife had not agreed. He
had, at last, conquered himself, and had determined to let her have her
own way; but now--he said it with apparent reluctance--the long-impending
rupture had occurred, under circumstances almost too terrible to bear.
Although he knew that, as a Czech and a Catholic, his wife hated Prussia,
he could hardly believe his ears when she said, "All saints be praised!
The French are coming! Our deliverance is at hand!" Her words had
provoked him into unpardonable vehemence of language.

He hardly dared say it, but she had actually made a French flag, with
the intention of displaying it as soon as the enemy should arrive,--an
event of which she had felt perfectly assured. He never thought that
his wife had political opinions of any kind, because mere abuse of
Prussia does not argue the presence of political convictions. He had
carefully avoided affronting her feelings as a Czech; for he well knew
how the Czechs resent the fact of their being dependent on German
culture. But he could never have believed that her hatred of Germany
could have carried her so far as to allow her to connive at the
correspondence with France, which was carried on under cover of her
address, and with complete ignorance, on her part, of its origin.

The village clergyman had been to see her, and must have given her
strange information, for she now insisted on leaving for Switzerland at
once.

"God be praised!" said I, "let her go." I told him that her intended
departure was already the topic of common talk.

The Baron, however, feared that her course might be fraught with evil
consequences to the whole neighborhood, as he thought that her fleeing
to Switzerland might awaken a panic.

To me, it seemed as if he were trying to justify his course in allowing
her to leave. I assured him that no one doubted his patriotism, and he
begged me not to divulge what he had told me.

I succeeded in reassuring him, and he seemed to recover from his
depression. He felt that I fully sympathized with him. And can anything
be sadder than to find that one's love of country is opposed and
ridiculed in his own home? The antagonism which had so long been veiled
under courteous forms, now broke forth with redoubled venom and fury.

"Your hearty sympathy does me good," said the Baron; "and I feel like a
changed being since I have unbosomed myself to you--just as if I had
withdrawn my hand from a bleeding wound, which can now flow freely."

I understood him. Grief which has been long repressed, and at last
finds vent in words, renews itself while the sufferer speaks of it.

When I mentioned this to him, he took my hand and held it in his for a
long while.

"But we must not think of our own little lives," he added; "great
questions now claim us. If France should fail of success, she is still
France; but if we meet with defeat, we shall become the prey of
others."

I learned from him, for the first time, that the opposing bishops had
handed in a protest against the promulgation of the doctrine of Papal
infallibility, and that, as the measure had been determined on, in
spite of their protest, they had left Rome.

When I told him of what had happened in the city--omitting, of course,
all mention of my interviews with the Prince--his features assumed an
expression of cheerfulness.

He was about to leave, when Martella entered, and asked, "May I show it
to the Baron?"

Before I could answer her question, she took the letter of pardon from
her satchel and spread it out on the table, at the same time saying
that Rothfuss and Ikwarte were foolish enough to think that it was of
no account, because it came from so petty a prince.

Baron Arven assured her that the paper would be of immense importance,
if Ernst could be found again.

"Now I shall not ask another person," joyfully exclaimed Martella;
"that seals it doubly--and just see how nicely it fits into my little
satchel!"

She replaced it in the satchel and rubbed her hands over the
embroidery, which represented a dog carrying a bird between his teeth.

The Baron rode off just as the letter-carrier arrived. He brought me a
letter from my sister-in-law, who lives in the forest of Hagenau. She
wrote to tell me that, on account of the war, her daughter's marriage
had been hastened, and that, as there was danger that the incendiaries
might come, she had instructed her daughter to remain at Strasburg, to
which place she had sent all her stores of linen and other valuables.
In case any of our ladies were alarmed, she would be willing, she
wrote, to place them under protection at Strasburg.

About that time, we had sorrow in our house on account of the death of
old Balbina. She had been our faithful servant for thirty years. When
we attempted to console her by saying that she would recover from her
illness, she would answer, "Don't mind me; I shall go to my good
mistress, and she will give me the best place."

It was not until after my wife's death that I learned how much she had
done for this servant, for then Balbina said to me:

"I was very wicked, but she converted me."

"Wicked? why, what could you have done?"

"I committed a theft when I had only been in the house a week. She
caught me and spoke to me in private, saying: 'Balbina, I dare not send
you off; for then you will steal from others, just as you have done
here. I must keep you with us until you conquer this habit.' And it
turned out just as she said, for during the thirty years I've lived in
this house, my hands and lips have never touched a morsel that was not
mine."

Balbina died without receiving extreme unction. She regarded her
confession to my wife as having fully absolved her.

We never interfered with the religious opinions of our servants, but
when the priest told Balbina that Protestants would not go to heaven,
she answered, "I don't want to go to any other heaven but the one where
my mistress is."

We were now on the high road towards political unity, but was not the
antagonism in religious matters greater than ever before?

Ludwig wrote to Conny, informing her that he would soon return. She
often told me that her father, had, until his dying hour, cherished a
love of the Fatherland, and that no two men had ever had more beautiful
and affectionate relations with each other than Ludwig and her father.

Their projected journey to Italy was out of the question. How could
they now find pleasure in works of art? Ludwig would not rest content
until he could, in some way, be of service to his country.

Suddenly, there was great commotion in the village and cries of "The
French are coming!" were heard.

Lerz the baker had been driving along the valley-road at full tilt, and
had called out to the people who were working in the fields, "Unhitch
your horses! the French are coming!" They took the animals from their
wagons and ploughs and hurried homeward. But it soon turned out that
the news was false.

I do not think that this was wanton spite on the part of Lerz. He
swore--although his oath was of but little value--that a farmer from
down the valley had told him that he had seen the French. The rumor had
indeed been spread far and near, but no one could tell who had started
it.



                              CHAPTER X.


What could it have been that made me feel so proud when my
fellow-citizens elected me as their delegate? I was still full of
self-love, for, when I searched in my own heart, for the real cause, it
lay in a self-complacent satisfaction in the fact of my being the
chosen representative of many others.

All this was now changed. Now none were chosen, but all were called.
The whole people had become freed from egotism, and no one was
isolated. Of course the sacrifice was not made without a pang. All
thoughts were no longer centred on one man, but were directed towards a
great invisible object which was cherished by the whole people.

Sunbeams seemed to light up every tree and house, and the whole world
seemed to have undergone a change.

And how all felt drawn towards each other; they had ceased to be
strangers--we could not have enemies in our own land.

I met Funk and could not avoid shaking hands with him and saying, "I
admit that you thought you were acting for the best, in all you have
done."

"Thanks for your good opinion," answered Funk, while he barely
returned the pressure of my hand. I made no reply. I had followed my
own convictions, and that is always well, even though others do not
approve of one's course.

I drove to town with Joseph, in order to attend the weekly market. It
had never been so numerously attended, for every one that could manage
to procure a vehicle, or get away from home, hurried to town in order
to learn what was going on in the world. And, besides that, all wanted
to assure themselves whether it would be best to sell supplies to the
dealers at present prices, or, to wait for an advance, and run the risk
of being plundered by the French in the meanwhile.

It was soon seen who believed that the Germans would succeed, and who
believed in the French. Schweitzer-Schmalz, and a large number who
followed his example, sold their hay, their oats, and their bacon.

Joseph speedily became the centre of a large crowd. He excels us all in
knowing how to adapt himself to people of every kind. His fine, large
figure and cordial manner make him a universal favorite, while his
well-known riches are not without weight.

The crowd were impatient, and complained that we had not yet heard of
any actual hostilities. He asked them:

"Have you never been in a saw-mill?"

"Certainly we have."

"Well, how do they manage there? They set the wheel and let the water
run until the log is in the proper position; then they go ahead and saw
it right through. Have a care. The Prussian, or, as we had better say,
the German, waits until the log is in the proper position, and then he
goes to work with seven saws at once."

Joseph understood the feelings of the people, and felt especial
satisfaction that Schweitzer-Schmalz seemed quite lonely and deserted
in the midst of the crowd. He simply smiled, when Schweitzer-Schmalz
said, "This little fellow. Joseph is all talk, like the Prussians."

Joseph and I called on Martha, for I had promised Julius to visit his
wife as soon as possible.

We found her and the rest of the family calm and resigned, although the
son and the son-in-law were in the field.

For the first time since I had known him, the Privy Councillor revealed
a sense of his noble birth. He dwelt on the fact that, as a member of
one of the oldest families in the land, he belonged to the order of St.
John, and that he and Baron Arven would soon enter on their duties as
members. He explained to me that it was an old order, but that a man
like myself might also become a member. I had never thought of that
before, but now it struck me forcibly.

The ladies requested me to accompany them to the courthouse, where the
Sanitary Commission was to assemble. On the steps, I met Remminger, the
so-called "peace-lieutenant."

He seemed quite agitated, and urgently requested me to accompany him to
the house of his father-in-law, where he wanted me to act as umpire. He
gave me no further information, but said that I should find out all
about it when we arrived there.

I found the family in great distress. The lieutenant, who had left
the army on account of marrying the daughter of Blank, the rich
lumber-merchant, had become quite an adept in his new calling, but had
been even more devoted to the pleasures of the chase. He had just
announced his intention to enter the army again; in justice to himself,
he could not remain a mere looker-on in the moment of danger.

Old Blank maintained that this was a breach of promise, and I saw how
the lieutenant clenched his fists when he heard that expression; but he
controlled himself and calmly explained the matter, stating, at the
same time, that he asked me to decide between them.

I knew all about Blank. He was one of those men of whom one can say
nothing evil, and nothing good. All that he asked of the world was to
be left undisturbed while attending to his business and adding to his
wealth. He was a zealous reader of the newspapers, and would smoke his
good cigar while enjoying them. It suited him best when there was lots
of news. Others might act for the state, the district, and even for the
community, so that he might read about what they had done. He could not
realize that one who belonged to his family could care to exert himself
for the general good. I saw this in every word that he uttered. I
allowed him to speak for some time without replying.

"And what is your opinion?" I said, addressing the lieutenant's wife,
who stood by the window, plucking dead leaves from the plants that were
placed there.

"Shall I call in our three children, so that you can ask them?" she
answered, in a harsh voice.

"Little children have no opinions as yet; but their parents ought to
think for them."

I asked old Blank whether he would be satisfied with my decision.

"Since you ask in that way, you are, of course, opposed to me, and for
that reason I say no."

I saw that I could be of no use, declared that I would not attempt to
decide, and left the family to settle their dispute among themselves.

When I left there, I was the more pleased to meet the Councillor
Reckingen, who lived in the town, and who had visited me shortly after
Ernst's flight. He had conquered his feeling of loneliness and grief at
the shocking death of his wife. He lived alone with his only daughter,
and had devoted all his time to her education. She was just budding
into womanhood.

This man, who had always seemed troubled and absentminded, now
approached me with a cheerful smile, and said that he had the good
fortune to be again permitted to enter on his calling; and that, as a
result, his child, who had been so constantly with him that he had
begun to be alarmed for her future, would now be obliged to accustom
herself to a life of self-reliance and activity; for the wife of the
Privy Councillor had already expressed her willingness to have his
daughter stay with her during the campaign.

We were standing by the stream, where the water rushes over the dam
with a mighty roar, and he said:

"You are like me; in great times all little troubles disappear, just as
the thundering of these falling waters drowns all other sounds."

I passed a delightful hour with the Councillor in his lovely garden,
which was carefully and tastefully kept. He had been very fortunate in
cultivating roses, and I was obliged to permit him to pluck a lovely
one for me from every bush.

"She loved roses, and cared for them above all things," were his words
while he handed me the nosegay.

According to promise, Ludwig returned, bringing Ikwarte with him. He
had written to Conny and Wolfgang to come to town. He told us that he
had caused his name, and also Wolfgang's and Ikwarte's, to be entered
with the Sanitary Corps. They wore the white band with the red cross on
their arms, and soon started in the direction of the Rhine to join the
main army.

Conny went home with me.



                              CHAPTER XI.


When we reached the saw-mill, a wood-cutter was waiting for me, and
told me that Rautenkron, the forester, urgently requested that I would
come to him at the bone-mill which lay in the adjacent Ilgen valley.

The wood-cutter told me that one could hardly recognize
Rautenkron--something horrible must have happened to him.

I found Rautenkron seated in the bone-miller's room. He said to the
miller, "Put enough bones into your kiln, old Adam, so that you may
keep away for an hour, and then go and leave us by ourselves."

The miller left.

"Take a seat," he said, in a tone to which I was unused in him; his
features and his manner seemed changed.

After a forced laugh, he thus began: "I have bought my bones back from
this man--I had sold them to him for a bottle of gentian; and it used
to amuse me to think how my noble self would, at some future time, be
converted into grass and flowers on the hillside, and perhaps furnish
food for cattle.

"But, pardon me," he said, interrupting himself; "forgive me, I beg of
you; I ought not to address you in that tone. Forget this, and listen
to me with patience. I will confide my last will to you; you have often
provoked me, but now I am glad that you are here. The thought of you
followed me in the woods, sat by me at my bedside, and has deprived me
of rest. I have always wanted to learn what your weak side was, and now
I have found it out.

"My father was a worldly-wise man. He divided mankind into two
classes--charlatans and weaklings. He maintained that in all that is
termed love, be it love of woman or love of the people, there is a
large portion of charlatanry, which at first consciously, and afterward
without our knowing it, deceives both ourselves and others. You are not
a charlatan--but you are vain.

"Do not shake your head, for it is so. Of course, vanity is not a vice;
but it is a weakness, for it shows dependence on others. You offered
your hand to Funk, because you felt too weak to have an enemy running
about in this world. Since I have made that discovery and convinced
myself on that point, you no longer worry me. You too have your share
in the misery that belongs to the species of vermin that terms itself
man. It is out at last--now I have nothing more against you. Indeed, I
cannot better prove this than by the fact of my asking you to help me.
Usually, I have not required the assistance of others, but now I need
yours; and I think that is enough to make you feel that you must aid
me."

I consented, but in my own mind I felt a dread of this man, who, in his
bitter candor, seemed much more terrible than when taciturn.

"I request, nay I demand--" he continued--"do not interrupt me; let me
speak for myself.

"Do you know who I am? For years, I have been called by a strange name.
You cannot imagine how pleasant it is to be so constantly a masker, in
the mummery known as life. I shall not, at present, mention my true
name, but you may rest assured it is an old and a noble one, and
related to that of Johannisberg.

"My father--he was indeed my father--had become reduced, and he led a
merry life, although I did not know where the means came from. At a
later day, I discovered all. He purchased a captaincy for me.
'Purchased,' he said, but it had really, so to say, been presented to
him. He had carried others' hides to market; perhaps a couple of human
skins to be tanned. His master had many of these tanners in the state
_vade mecums_ known as prisons.

"I was, as I have told you, a captain at Mayence, and my father lived
near there, at Wiesbaden. He was known as Hofrath.

"I do not know whether what people call conscience ever pricked him,
but he was always merry and fond of good living, and enjoyed it as much
as the stupidest monk might do. He would always say to me, 'Conrad,
life is a comedy; he who does not take it in that light, but looks upon
it in a serious manner, spoils his own game.'

"I thought I had much to tell you, but I have not. My story is simply
this:

"My father had a habit of asking me about my comrades,--what they were
doing, what they were thinking of, and to whom they wrote; and I
faithfully told him all I knew. You may believe me! I, too, was once
open-hearted. But, one day, two of my comrades were suddenly cashiered.
Letters of theirs had been found--not found, but sought--which, it was
said, contained treasonable expressions. All of us at the garrison were
beside ourselves with surprise, and I suspected nothing.

"Until the year 1848, our regiments had recruiting stations where
soldiers were enlisted and received a good bounty. In a Gallician
regiment which formed part of the garrison of the fortress--there were
also Italian regiments in it--a very clever young Pole had been
enlisted. He learned the drill, was a good horseman, and his captain
wished that he would study German, in order that he might become an
officer; but he did not care to do so, and said that he could not
write. One day we learned that he had deserted. They found a letter
from him, although he had said that he could not write. It was in
choice French, thanked the captain for his kind treatment, and added
that he had come and gone by the command of others, high in station.
For some days they spoke of the fact that the Russians were even more
successful than we as spies. For this man had evidently joined us only
in order to inform himself as to the disposition of the Gallicians. It
did not strike me at first, but afterward I could not but notice the
fact that they always talked to me about spies.

"A young Prince joined our regiment. He became an intimate associate of
mine, and seemed to take a special liking to me. My father seemed much
pleased with this, but gave me less money than he had formerly done. I
was obliged to borrow from the young Prince and to ask favors at his
hands. Yes, the world is wise, if one only knew it at the right time. I
found it out too late. Is it not ingenious, and does it not do all
honor to the human intellect, to discover that it is well to incur an
obligation in order to acquire more perfect confidence on the part of
those to whom we owe a debt? Although the lynx out there is ever so
cunning, it cannot do such work; that is reserved for the image of God.

"One day my father said to me--yes, my father--'Conrad, (that is my
baptismal name), 'you are now employed at the officers' quarters; the
adjutant of the post cannot be trusted; be careful that you get hold of
something that involves him; but let it be in writing. That aroused my
suspicions that something was wrong. One day, a fellow-officer said to
me, 'There is a spy in our regiment,' and all the other comrades
laughed. I challenged the one who had thus spoken to me, and--shot him.

"But I am anticipating--I must first tell you of another matter. I
always had a great desire to be a forester. I often begged my father to
permit me to leave the army, but he would not consent. And I would have
been so glad to marry and live quietly in the woods; for I had a child,
a lovely, beautiful child.

"And then, on account of the duel, I was imprisoned in the citadel. No
comrade visited me.

"When I left the prison, my child and the mother had vanished. She had
received a letter, in my handwriting--my father knew how to imitate the
writing of others--in which was contained a considerable sum, to enable
her to emigrate--and she had left. A companion of hers in the ballet,
who had been a suitor for her affection, and had, heretofore, been
rejected, had accompanied her.

"My papers had been confiscated, and I feel quite sure that it was done
at my father's instance, for he distrusted me, and wished to get me out
of harm's way.

"Among them there was also a memento of my beloved; it was a little
narrow red ribbon tied in a knot and torn off at both ends. She had
given it to me in a happy moment, and I had fastened it on a sheet of
paper and had written under it 'talisman.'

"All of my papers were returned to me, but not the ribbon. My father
had sent it in the letter to my beloved, and had, moreover, written, in
my name, 'By this sign I request you to obey the bearer of this in all
that he may require of you.'

"My father said to me: 'She whom you call your wife has left by my
orders.' Through a former friend of hers, I received a letter in which
she asked me whether I had caused the child to be taken from her;
because it had suddenly vanished about the time the vessel was
leaving."

"What ails you? What alarms you?" suddenly exclaimed Rautenkron.

I controlled myself and begged him to go on with his story.

"I left my father and led an adventurous life. Pshaw! I have even been
croupier at a gaming-table. And there I heard that my father was dead.
On the day before, I had seen him staking rouleaus of gold--he had not
recognized me.

"By chance I made the acquaintance of Baron Arven, and through him I
received the appointment of forester in his woods, after having, as
assistant-forester, learned my profession from Hartriegel.

"I bear a strange name, and shall die with it. But, before I die, I
shall put my living bones to use.

"I could not make up my mind, but now something has helped me to
decide. The engineer whom you are employing down by the new mill which
you are building is one of my victims. I recognized him at once,
although he has changed greatly. I do not know whether he remembered
me, but I almost believe that he did. He looked at me carelessly and
then turned away. It is well that I have had a look at one of my
victims. That destroyed the last traces of indolence and the desire to
hide myself from the world. I must and will live. The French are
coming. They have made all preparations to burn our woods. The little
spectacled forest Junker--you know that I dislike him; he still acts,
the proud and overbearing corps student, and, besides that, is happily
married, has a fine hearty wife and boys like young wolves. I have
always avoided him; but I met him to-day and he handed me the French
newspaper, in which it is joyfully proclaimed that our woods will soon
be in flames. When I read that, I fled. That was enough for me. I am a
good shot. If they wish me to, I can single out my man among the enemy
and bring him down at the first fire. The little forest Junker has
promised to look after my duties as forester. He said that would be the
same as helping in the war, as he could not leave home. Let him make a
virtue of it if he chooses. My woods are in safe hands, and I can go."

He now requested me to use my influence with my son-in-law, the
Colonel, and I faithfully promised that I would.

I asked him whether he had no memento of the mother and the child. He
said that he had none.

"And has the child, perhaps, a keepsake from you?"

"I can remember none. But, yes! When I saw it for the last time, I
brought it cakes in a satchel on which was embroidery representing a
dog holding a bird between his teeth."

My hair stood on end.

"What was the name of your child?"

"Conradine."

"Then all agrees--Martella is your child."

And the man seized my arm as if he would break it, and gave a cry like
a felled ox.

After a while, he regained his self-control. We hurried to the village.
On the way, he told me that he would now confess to me that he had had
a letter from Ernst. He was in Algiers; had entered the army there and
had become an officer. He had told me nothing about it, because he had
thought it was of no use. Ernst had also given him messages for his
betrothed: but he had always kept them to himself. "Spare me all
reproaches," he concluded; "I am punished bitterly enough. Oh, if they
had only been united! How shall I utter the word 'child,' and how can I
listen to the word 'father'?"

When, after leaving the saw-mill, we began to ascend the hill, he
called out in a hoarse voice: "It was here, in this spot, that she
stepped down from the wagon in the twilight. Here, by this very tree, I
heard her voice. It was that of her mother--I could not believe it at
the time. Here, by this very tree."

Rothfuss came towards us. "Have you seen her--is she with you?"

"Whom do you mean?"

"She is gone off with Lerz the baker, who has become a sutler. Oh, the
damned hound!"

"Who?"

"Martella is gone!"

Rautenkron grasped a young tree by the roadside, and broke it in two;
then he sank on his knees. We lifted him up.

"It is right thus. So it should be," he said. "Here, on this very
spot--do you remember?--I warned you when your wife went to bring her
home. Tell me, wise man, what was that? I heard something in her voice,
and did not wish to believe it. Turenne," he said, turning to his dog,
"you killed her dog. Be quiet; I told you to do it."

He followed us to the house, but did not utter a word on the way.

We went to her room. She had taken nothing with her but the embroidered
satchel, which, before that, had always hung over the mirror; and also
Ernst's prize cup. The clothes that she had inherited from my wife she
had carefully arranged and placed to one side.

We asked Rothfuss how long it was since she had disappeared.

They had been hunting for her ever since the morning of the day before,
but in vain. No sign of where she had gone could be found.

Rautenkron left the room and went out into the garden. He sat there for
a long while, holding his rifle between his knees. I begged him to
return to the house with me. He was looking on the ground, and did not
raise his head. I asked him to give me his rifle. He looked up towards
me, and, with a strange smile, said: "Don't be alarmed; I am not such a
fool as to shoot myself."

I walked away. A little while afterward, I heard a shot, and hurried
out again. Rautenkron sat there, holding his gun with both hands, but
his beautiful brown spaniel lay dead at his feet.

When he saw me, he exclaimed:

"Now I am quite alone. I had intended to give Turenne to you, but it is
better thus. The beast might have been stupid enough to long for me."

The sound of drums was heard from over the hills. The Colonel arrived
with his regiment, and all hurried out to meet him.

And the Englishman stood at the brook, angling.



                              BOOK FIFTH.



                              CHAPTER I.


Trumpets sounded, drums rolled, and songs from thousands of voices were
heard in the valley and on the hills. All was joyous commotion. Thus,
singing, does a nation take the field for its protection and salvation.

In the midst of anxiety for great things, for one's country, we ought
to be troubled by no mere personal cares. But who can avoid them? The
general sorrow is infinitely divided, and every one must bear his
share.

That my son-in-law, two grandchildren, and a faithful servant had gone
to face the dangers of the battlefield, was a sorrow like that which
many thousands besides myself had to bear. What a heavy burden is that
borne by the lonely widow down by the rock! But the knowledge that one
child is already in the whirlpool of trouble, and is dragging another
after him--that has been given to me alone. How often it occurred to me
at that time: had my wife but lived to see the uprising of our
Fatherland! It was better thus. She was spared the sight of our
youngest son enrolled in the enemy's ranks. That phrase from the Bible,
which, when thinking of her, I had so often consoled myself with,
remained true: "But for the elect those days shall be shortened." Why
had Rautenkron, after keeping his story so long to himself, now
divulged it? Had the secret become too burdensome? And why did he cast
the load on me? Enough, I had to overcome it.

The presence of my son-in-law had given me new courage, and I agreed
with Rothfuss, who said, "When the Colonel is about, every one is more
erect in his movements. Yes, he commands even when he says nothing."

I had never seen the Colonel thus. Such joviality beamed from his face
that a glance from him was strengthening and reassuring. His only fear
was that a premature peace might be concluded with the insolent
successor of the tyrant, before all was decided by battle!

Our village and the entire neighborhood were in commotion while the
regiment was quartered there. They even constructed a redoubt on
Silvertop.

My son-in-law confided to me that the redoubt was perhaps unnecessary,
but that his men would lose their good qualities if allowed to lounge
about idly; he also hoped that the news of their doings would spread
across the Rhine.

The peasants became refractory, and appointed a deputation, and among
them was their ruler, the meadow farmer. They said that they had not
forgotten how dreadfully the French had behaved in 1796, on account of
the building of a fortification in the neighborhood. But the Colonel
announced that whoever opposed any military ordinance, would be
brought before a court-martial and shot forthwith. From that moment my
son-in-law received the name of "Colonel Forthwith." Several of the
most notable farmers from the neighboring valley, earnest, patriotic
men, led by the burgomaster of Kalkenbach, wanted me to help them to an
interview with the colonel. They complained that a young lieutenant
wanted to destroy the bridges over the creek, and that he was about to
cast burning rosin and tar-barrels into the stream, without reflecting
that he thereby ran the risk of setting fire to the whole valley.

The Colonel countermanded this at once. He sent small detachments
hither and thither in all directions to build camp-fires on all the
hills, leaving often only men enough about them to keep up the fires,
which were visible from across the Rhine.

People were to be made to believe that a large army was collected here,
and he therefore notified all the towns and villages lying far beyond
our valley, of the fact that large numbers of soldiers would be
quartered there. On the houses they would chalk the number of men and
of horses that were to be provided for. To judge by appearances, it
seemed as if hundreds of thousands were at hand.

The Colonel asked Rothfuss if he knew any French sympathizers. He
evidently wished that the French should get the most alarming news from
us. Rothfuss thought that Funk would be his man; but when my son-in-law
consulted me about Funk, I dissuaded him from employing such an
instrument. Rothfuss then brought us the news that a journeyman baker
from Alsace, who had worked for Lerz, was prowling around and preparing
to return home.

The Colonel got Rothfuss to carry the news to this journeyman, that
more than a hundred thousand men were encamped in the forest. The few
pieces of artillery under his command were constantly moved from place
to place, so that all were led to suppose that he had a large number of
guns.

The Colonel had orders, in case the enemy should advance on us, to
destroy the roads; we supposed that Napoleon's plan must be to separate
North and South Germany by a sudden invasion. This was no small matter:
we were the first who would have to resist the shock of the enemy's
advance, and, so far as I could learn, I felt that the main forces of
Germany could not furnish us with immediate protection. We would be
sacrificed first, and afterwards would be helped by an offensive
movement from the Middle Rhine region.

Rautenkron received, provisionally, the uniform of a hospital steward;
for the Colonel was waiting for permission to enroll him. I was present
when he asked Rautenkron:

"Do you speak French well?"

"Perfectly."

The Colonel whispered something to him; but Rautenkron with burning
cheeks, cried:

"I can never do that; never!"

He then talked confidentially and excitedly to the Colonel; I believe
he imparted to him his real name.

The Colonel then ordered him, as he was so well acquainted with the
wooded heights, to attend to the further extension of the camp-fires on
their tops.

Conny carefully helped in attending to the wants of the numerous
garrison. The soldiers were treated in the best manner by the
villagers, all of whom were anxious to do their share in the good work.

The old meadow farmer was the only one who did not show himself. He,
who was always either at his door or window, and who stopped every
passer-by to have a chat which should drive dull care away, lay in his
little back room and declared that he was ill.

Carl's mother, on the contrary, did not stay in her house for a minute.
She would approach one group of soldiers after another, and ask each
man if he had a mother at home. And then she would begin to talk of her
Carl, how he was in the lancers, and how they could hunt through every
regiment and not find a better or a handsomer fellow. The two sons, who
were working as carpenters, had estranged themselves from their mother.
They lived down in the valley, and did not even visit her on Sundays.
They boasted in the taverns that they could sing French songs.

While all this bustle was going on, I was constantly searching for
Martella.

Rothfuss was of opinion that she had escaped in male attire; for,
wherever he asked after Lerz, the baker,--he had quickly lost all
traces of him, however,--he was told of a young man that had been in
his company, and who would never enter the room with him.

The Colonel had, of course, no time to sympathize with my concern about
Martella, and once when I spoke of her he said:

"We should be glad to be thus rid of her. Such a creature does not,
after all, belong in our family. You and mother have very likely been
wasting all your kindness on an unworthy person."

I did not agree with him. Yes, now at last I could understand many
things in Martella' s disposition that had heretofore been mysteries to
me. But I dared not talk about them, and the time to mourn for a single
grief had not arrived.



                              CHAPTER II.


On the evening of the last day of July, the Colonel returned, heated
from the effects of a long ride. A sharpshooter brought in a despatch.
He opened it, and forthwith sent his adjutant off; then he asked me to
have a good bottle of wine brought up, and to sit down beside him. He
confided to me that his detachment was getting ready to march, that he
would move off by daylight, and that he would leave but a few men
behind to attend to the campfires. I became much moved on Bertha's
account, and asked the Colonel whether he had any wishes which he
desired to have attended to.

"No," answered he, "my will is in the hands of Herr Offenheimer, the
lawyer. But the time is come for me to speak to you, dear father, of
myself. Perhaps we shall never be together again. I do not wish to
leave the world and not be really understood by you."

And so, leaning back in the large chair, he began in his peculiarly
sonorous, firm voice: "I do not like to speak of myself. I have learned
to move through life with closed lips. You are my father, and were my
comrade in a bold and hazardous undertaking. I am your pupil, although
you have shown great discretion in keeping everything from me which
might interfere with the profession I was to follow. Without your
knowing it, I developed at an early age. When crossing the prison yard
as a boy, I often saw the brother of Bertha's mother leaning against
the iron bars; The picture of this refined man, with his delicate
features, his large eye, his white brow, and light beard, haunted me in
my dreams. Do criminals look like that? I do not know whether my
childish heart put that question, but I believe it did. I stood on the
balcony as they carried his body away. I saw it placed on the wagon. At
that moment a feeling awoke in me that there are other and higher
objects in this world than princes, discipline, parole, epaulettes, and
orders.

"On that same day, I heard, for the first time, the words, _German
unity_. It became a sort of secret watchword for me; of that I am sure.
My father spoke of the noble enthusiast; the post-adjutant called him a
demagogue. I looked the word up in my Greek dictionary.

"I entered the military school. I learned about the Greek and Roman
heroes; I heard of Socrates, and always pictured him to myself like the
pale man behind the prison bars. I soon became reserved, and kept my
thoughts to myself; outwardly I was obedient and punctilious. My father
became commandant of the capital; as ensign, I was appointed as page to
our Prince. I was present at the great festivities in honor of the sons
of Louis Philippe, who were visiting our Court. I heard some one in the
crowd say they were only princes of the revolution. I studied modern
history in secret. The Opposition in our Parliament was also often
discussed. I heard some names mentioned with derision and hate--yes,
with scorn. These men were pointed out to me in the street. I did not
understand how they could thus walk the streets, since they were in
opposition to our Prince.

"The year 1848 came. The men that had been named with scorn became
ministers of state; they were entitled the saviours of the Fatherland.

"On that 6th of August, on which we did homage to the regent Archduke
John, I was as in a dream. The face of that man behind the prison bars
accompanied me everywhere. That for which he suffered and died--had it
not come? What are we soldiers? Are we nothing but the body-guard of
the Prince? Against whom are we fighting?

"Soldiering does not allow of much thinking. In the spring of 1849 we
took the field. The first order I gave was directed against the
revolutionary volunteers; the first man I killed looked wonderfully
like him who had been behind the bars. I tried to forget all this, and
succeeded. Then I met you and Bertha.

"What has happened since, you know; what went on within me I will not
bring to light.

"For a long time I have lived quietly, and have worked industriously. I
desired, above all things, to be a good soldier; to be well grounded in
my profession.

"I had asked for leave of absence to fight the Circassians; I wanted to
see real war. Leave was not granted me, but I was appointed as teacher
in the school for non-commissioned officers. I studied many things
there, and worked earnestly with my friend, Professor Rolunt.

"In 1859 I felt our alienation most bitterly. We were not allowed to
join in the Schiller festival. What would our civilization be without
our poets? Whole dynasties of princes can be wiped away, and no one
misses them; but just think of Schiller's name and works being
obliterated! And why should we soldiers not join in the festivities?
Has he not elevated our Fatherland and all of us? But he who would have
dared to give utterance to such thoughts at that time would have been
cashiered.

"In the year 1866, I had the good fortune to fight against a foreign
foe in Schleswig-Holstein, and while at the front was promoted to a
captaincy. I had a major who was, now that I consider it, merely
stupid, and who was, therefore, of most revolting military orthodoxy.
Had he not been of noble birth, he would scarcely have been made a
woodcutter. As it was, he barely managed to get himself advanced in
grade. As long as I was a lieutenant, it was easier to bear; but when I
was made a company commander, I was inwardly rebellious and had to
remain silent. Yes, you political gentlemen complain of tyranny, but we
suffer far more from it than you do. Discipline is necessary, but to
bear with such blockheads who disgrace you, and can do nothing but
curse and swear--and this fellow did not even understand his duties--is
harder than you think.

"The year 1866 came. No one, not even you, could see what was going on
within me. My misery began. What are we? Were we to have a different
commander every day? We were--now I can utter the word--prætorians,
nothing else; and Prussia is quite right in altering our military
system. We must know who our chief is. Up to now, we merely fought as
soldiers, and dared not ask what the end would be. Everything was
discipline; we partook of the Lord's Supper on account of discipline,
and as an example for the troops.

"When Annette's husband fell, I thought him lucky; I had a wife and
child, and yet wished for death. That fratricidal war was fortunately
soon over. I can see now that it was necessary for our preparation. My
feelings always revolted at the recollection of it, but now events are
at hand which will remove those memories. I shuddered when I learned
that monuments were being raised to those who had fallen in 1866. Now I
can see that they have died twice over for their Fatherland; they had
already sacrificed their hearts while living. Our profession is now at
last in entire sympathy with the nation's wishes, and it is revolting
that those who call themselves 'liberals' refuse to acknowledge the
'casus belli.'"

"Is the Prince aware of the patriotic ideas which you have kept to
yourself for so long a time?" I asked as the Colonel paused.

"No! at least I do not think so! He merely knows that I sometimes write
for our Military Journal, and that I am a good soldier. I never dreamt
that I would be appointed Minister of War. And on that night I knew
that we were simply to act as a reserve, and to be a sort of target for
the enemy's bullets. You must surely have been of the same opinion."

I could not boast of having been so wise.

But the time had not come to think of the past. The Colonel gave me a
copy of his will, which I was to deposit with the recorder. He did this
calmly, without showing the slightest emotion. A few hours later we
went to bed.



                              CHAPTER III.


The _reveille_ was sounded. The soldiers marched off, and nearly the
whole town, young and old, followed them on their way. When I saw these
merry men, and thought in how short a time so many of them would lie
down in death, I became oppressed with the thought that I had raised my
voice for war. But this feeling soon passed away. We are acting in
self-defence, and this will bring about a happy ending, for we shall no
longer have to live in dread of the insolence and presumption of our
neighbors.

The soldiers sang as they marched along, and up by the newspaper-tree
sat Carl's mother, looking at them passing by. Marie stood at her side,
but the old woman motioned her away, and when I asked her to return
home with us, she said:

"I have seen the thousands and thousands of mothers, who bore them all
in pain, and have cared for and raised them, floating in the air over
their heads. O my Carl! Have you heard nothing of him yet?"

We found it difficult to get her back to the village. Marie walked
along at her side, and said:

"Do you know what I should like to be?"

"What?"

"Do you hear the hawk that is circling in the air over the hill-top?
Alas, you cannot hear him, but you can see him. Like him, I should wish
to fly, and I would fly to Charles and back again, and tell you
everything."

The village and the country round about had been in an uproar; but now
that the troops had left, everything was wonderfully quiet. Rothfuss
was right; for if we had not seen the occasional remains of a
camp-fire, we would not have known that the soldiers had been there.
The old meadow farmer, who had been pensioned off by his son, and whom
the departure of the troops had aroused, sat at his door, and seemed to
enjoy watching the little pigs that were disporting themselves in the
gutter.

A little coach stood before him, in which lay a child that he had to
feed with milk; for his son wanted to get all he could from his father.
He thought of nothing but the increase of his property, and acted
meanly towards his father. He made him presents of the cheapest kind of
tobacco, so that he should not buy an expensive sort; but the old man
saw through the trick, and gave the tobacco money away, so that his son
should not inherit it.

I gladly avoided all intercourse with these people.

As I approached the house, the old man beckoned to me to come to him,
and, like a child, told me of his latest pleasure.

"I kept them locked up in my room as long as the soldiers were here.
Soldiers have a great liking for such tender morsels. I used to be so
myself."

I knew, of course, that he was talking about his pigs, and he added as
a sort of consolation:

"Yes, yes, Mr. Ex-Burgomaster"--he gave me my title--"yes, yes, you are
also retired at last, and squat by the stove. Yes, yes, we are old
fellows and must stick at home, while the young ones are out yonder,
fighting the enemy."

The old man kept on steadily smoking his pipe, and talked of war times,
and particularly of the Russian campaign, of which he was a survivor.
But on this day I could not listen to him, and while walking home I
began thinking, am I really fit for nothing but to observe from afar
the great deeds that are now being wrought?

Just as I was turning away from the old man, his son, the meadow
farmer, came along with a large load of hay, and said in a mocking
manner, "The French let us gather our hay; our houses will burn so much
the better when they come to set them on fire." Then he added with
malicious pleasure, "Your house is insured, but there is no insurance
on your woods." Here he laughed aloud. When troubles are on us, a man's
true nature shows itself.

After telling me his fears, he repeated them more fully to Rothfuss.
The latter shifted his pipe from one side of his mouth to the other,
and asked, "What would you give not to suffer any damage?"

"How? what do you mean?

"They won't hurt my house; my father has the cross of St. Helena. And I
have no cash. I can swear that I haven't a farthing in the house."

He spoke the truth, for he had buried his money.

"You need no money; it's something else. Do you know the story of the
dragon of Rockesberg?"

"What do you want? What do you mean?"

"Why, to quiet the dragon, they had to sacrifice a maiden."

"Those are old tales. Don't try to make a fool of me. If you want a
fool, whittle one for yourself."

"Stay! I know how you can buy yourself free. You needn't deliver your
daughter Marie to the dragon. Will you promise to give her to Carl in
case everything should turn out well?"

"Ho! he'll never come back."

"But in case he should?"

"Well--do you think that will be of any use?"

"Certainly. Such a promise will save you."

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself for being so superstitious. You
are a fool," said the meadow farmer, and went off.

The exciting events of the last few days had so entirely exhausted me
that I could not keep my eyes open in the day-time, if I sat down; and
I was so tired. I still refused to believe that I was growing old. But
I was strongly reminded of it, for I feared to die. Formerly, since I
stood alone, I thought death an easy matter; now I wanted to live long
enough to be laid in the soil of a united Fatherland.

I was much refreshed by the arrival of Julius's wife. When I awoke from
my afternoon nap and saw her standing before me, it seemed as if it
were my wife in her youth. She had a most charming presence, and the
resignation with which she bore her separation from husband and brother
gave great impressiveness to her manner. Every movement of hers had a
quiet grace. She lived in entire harmony with my daughter-in-law Conny;
and these two children, who had now become mine, petted and caressed me
with such kindness and consideration, and listened so attentively to
all I said, that I could speak to them of things which I usually kept
to myself. Martha was an adept in making remarkably beautiful bouquets
out of grasses and wild flowers, and when I entered the room in the
morning, I always found a fresh nosegay on the table. She was such a
pleasant table companion that the dishes tasted twice as good, and I
soon regained my strength.

Marie often came to visit me. Martha felt very kindly towards the girl;
besides, there was a bond of union between them, for each had her
greatest treasure in the field.

Marie had hitherto confided in no one in the village; for it would be
contrary to the peasant's standard of honor to tell any one how she
loved, and what her father made her suffer. Her grandfather
strengthened her in her love, and when I said that the old fellow did
it merely to hurt his son's feelings, Martha declared I was wronging
him.

Martha, like my wife, embellished what she looked upon. The light of
her eyes made all things radiant with light, and as a happy young wife
she was particularly inclined to favor and give consolation in an
unhappy love affair. Forgetting all her own troubles, she gave me a
lively account of the patience and energy with which Marie worked,
while her father would go about the house, scolding and cursing,
because he now was forced to do things which his servants had formerly
attended to. Yesterday, while she was engaged in stacking some green
clover, the father called out in the direction of the shed behind the
cattle-rack. "To whom are you talking there?"

"To him."

"To whom?"

Marie shoved the clover aside, and said, "Father, look at me! Can you
not see that it is written here that Carl loves me? There is not a spot
in my face that he has not kissed. See here, father, look at this
half-ducat. We chopped one in two; Charles has the other half. There!"

Then she piled the clover up again so that her father should not see
her. He kept on cursing and swearing. She was glad, however, that she
had spoken out at last. Still, Marie was greatly embarrassed. The
little circle in which she moved was her world, and she could not bear
being talked about by the world, for preferring the son of the poorest
cottager to the son of the rich miller.

On the other hand, she took great pleasure in hearing Carl discussed.
He had always said, "I don't like it that Marie is so rich. I don't
need much. If I have enough to eat and drink and my clothes, I am
satisfied; and if I have any children, they shall be like me in this
respect. I do not care to be like the great farmers, and have money in
the funds. I do not find that they are happier, more jovial, and
healthier than their servants."

The schoolmaster also spoke of Carl: "He was my best pupil, and learnt
the most; and when, as a soldier, he received his first furlough, he
came to visit me first of all. He waited before the door until the
school was dismissed, when he accompanied me home and thanked me. Yes,
he will succeed in life."

In short, Carl has the qualities which we wish the people to possess:
he is bright, clever, and active; is not dissatisfied with his lot, and
is modest and frugal.

Martha did not merely place the flowers from the meadow before me, she
also brought blossoms from the kind hearts of our villagers; for, as
beautiful flowers grow among nettles, so can genuine feeling be found
coupled with rudeness. We had to return to our quiet life, for, in
spite of our heavy thoughts which were far away, the present demanded
our attention.

In irrigating our meadows, we were frequently forced to protect
ourselves against the tricks of the meadow farmer. The traps are set in
the evening, and at night or early in the morning they are drawn up;
for the meadows need cool water, that which the sun has warmed being
injurious.

As the meadow farmer did not sleep well, he used to go out to the ditch
and turn our water into his meadows.

Rothfuss found this out, and I caught the meadow farmer stealing the
water. He feared the French, and yet he tried to rob his neighbors.

Martha, when she heard of this, thought that his love for his meadows
might excuse this wickedness; but my daughter-in-law reproved her with
a severity which I had never observed before. She looked upon such
trespassing as being a most serious matter; for the growth of all that
belongs to us out of doors depends on public confidence.

Alas! how we cared for such little matters, while such great affairs
were being settled yonder. The French might come upon us at any moment.
But it is always thus. You stoop to pick a strawberry, and do not
notice the mountain range. Why, as I was walking through the woods I
was delighted at the prospect of a good crop of huckleberries. This is
of importance to the poor people; for the productions which those who
are better off do not care to cultivate, furnish food for the poor.

On the evening of the 1st of August, I was again on top of the
Hochspitz Mountain, where Wolfgang had been with me the last time. The
whole valley of the Rhine was bathed in the glow of the setting sun,
which filled the air like a golden stream, and beyond lay the blue
Vosges Mountains.

What is going on there? Will the French soon be here, killing and
burning as they go?

To protect the pine-tree seeds against the birds, Wolfgang had placed
brushwood over the spot on which he had sowed them. This had already
become dry, and the leaves, therefore, covered the ground from which
the young plants were starting.

On my way home I could hear the murmur of the brook below; and
everything was so still, that I could even hear the noise made by the
fountain in front of my house. Sometimes the shrill sound of the
saw-mill would be carried up to me by the breeze. The grain-fields were
in bloom; a nourishing haze lay upon them; the forest-trees were
silently growing; the sun shone so clear by day; the moon was so bright
by night. We seemed to be separated from that world in which a dreadful
slaughter was just beginning.

The next morning I looked from out my quiet home, into the far
distance. It had rained during the night. Everything was cooled off,
the sun shone brightly, and the air from the fields was most
refreshing. We had brought in our hay the day before, and the
thunder-storm during the night had nourished the meadows. It seemed as
if the myriads of refreshed plants joyfully gave token of new vigor. I
said to myself: Thus may it be with our country and our people;
perhaps, while you slept, a dreadful storm--and, let us hope, a
beneficent one--may have passed over us.

Just then Joseph brought the news: "Fighting has begun. We have been
beaten at Saarbrücken."

"None of our people are there: only Prussians are there," cried
Rothfuss.

Joseph saw how angry these words made me, and, to turn away my wrath,
he begun to tell about Funk, who was down in the tavern boasting of his
knowledge of French, and saying that he would get along with the
Frenchmen. He also had several little books for sale, from which the
ordinary French phrases could be learnt.

Funk went about in jack-boots, carrying on a heavy business in grain,
butter, and bacon with the army. Schweitzer-Schmalz had advanced him
money for the purpose. He boasted of his generosity in putting the poor
fellow on his feet, but at the same time had wisely bargained for the
lion's share of the profits.

An hour afterwards, the wife of the councillor sent word that the news
of our defeat was false.

That afternoon a message came from Hartriegel, informing us that, from
the top of a hill in his neighborhood, a great movement of the opposing
armies could be seen. I hurried up there with Joseph, Martha, and
Conny. The engineer, who had been engaged at a neighboring stone-quarry
while the troops had been stationed about us, reappeared and
accompanied us.

We stood on the top of the tower of the ruined castle and gazed over
into Alsace, where we could see the movements of the battle.

It was going on near Weissenburg, the region which was so familiar to
me. Looking on thus from a distance, with fear and trembling as we saw
the sudden flashes, the clouds of smoke, the burning villages, and
hearing, occasionally, the sound of the guns which the echo from the
hills brought us--all this oppressed me so much that Martha persuaded
me to take some wine. It went hard with me to do so, for I first had to
drown the thought of the many men yonder who might be restored to life
if we could but wet their lips.

Martha prayed; I could only think of the new epoch that was just
beginning. Happiness and victory must be the share of those who desire
their own good and that of others. One great step was already gained,
for the war had been carried into the enemy's country.

We did not return before nightfall. Joseph drove to town to bring the
latest news. The morrow came, so calm and clear. What has been the
result?

At noon a shot was fired down at the saw-mill; this was the signal that
Joseph was to give in case we had triumphed. He came and brought the
news of the glorious victory at Wörth.

"We have beaten the French on their own ground," he cried; "it _was_
their own ground, but it must be ours again. Our boys were there," he
added, after a pause. "Father! sisters! let us be prepared for
everything."

Our resolve was a timely one.



                              CHAPTER IV.


Martha, who had hitherto shown such self-possession, was now seized
with the greatest anxiety. She changed color constantly. She tried in
vain to control her feelings, but at last her anxiety as well as mine
became so great that we drove to the city. The crops were being already
gathered from such fields as lay facing the south; nearly all the
reapers were women.

While driving up the hill towards the court-house, I saw Edward Levi,
the iron merchant, turn about suddenly as he caught sight of us and go
towards his house. That was not the way he usually received us; so at
once I feared that there was some bad news awaiting us, and that he did
not wish to be the first one to tell it to us.

We halted before the court-house, but no one came to the windows; no
one came to meet us. We went upstairs into the hall. The councillor's
wife stood by the round table in the centre. She kept her hand on the
table for a moment; then advancing towards Martha, and taking her hand,
she said, "I awaited you here; I did not wish to cause you any emotion
on the stairs, much less in the street. Your brother--dear Martha--your
brother--died--an heroic death."

She said this with a firm voice; but when she had finished, she sobbed
aloud and embraced Martha. The latter sank down beside her. We raised
her; her faintness was of short duration, and her mother whispered,
"Don't be alarmed! the shock will not harm her."

"My brother!" cried Martha, "I shall never see you more; never call you
brother again. Pardon me, mother, I distress you instead of helping
you. Where is father?"

"He is gone to the battle-field with Baron Arven. He has telegraphed
that he is bringing the body with him. Ludwig, Wolfgang, and that
sturdy Ikwarte are of the greatest assistance to him."

"Where is my sister?"

"She is at work in the town-hall. That is the best, the only thing to
do--to care for others while you are bowed down with grief. As soon as
you are restored, we will go to work together. Only do not idly mourn
now! I have had your brother's room put in order; we will take charge
of some wounded man and nurse him."

Martha looked wonderingly at her mother. How was such self-control
possible! That is the blessing which long and careful culture brings,
while it, at the same time, strengthens the moral sense. Her mother was
dressed with care; she looked as she did in more peaceful days, and
displayed no emotion, deeply as her heart was torn by the loss of her
dearly beloved son. She told me that a messenger had come after
bandages and to get help for the battle-field, and that her husband had
sent word by him that the young lieutenant had been the first officer
that had fallen. He had not been rash, but had moved forward at the
head of his men with steadfast courage, had broken the ranks of the
enemy, and, while crying, "The day is ours! the day is ours!" he had
fallen with a bullet in his heart.

Martha was now restored, and a half hour after our arrival we were on
our way to the town-hall. Her sister, who was engaged in cutting out
garments, came towards us, gave Martha her hand, and repressed the
rising tears. She spoke softly to Martha: she evidently begged her not
to give vent to her grief before those who were present. Martha
accompanied her quietly to the table, and helped to spread out the
linen.

The daughter of Councillor Reckingen, who was just budding into
womanhood, and who had hitherto been a stubborn, proud girl, lording it
over every one, sat among the workers and was in entire harmony with
them, while her father had cast aside his grief and joined his comrades
in the field. She was placed specially in Christiane's charge.

The children, who were making lint in the basement, were singing the
song of "The Good Comrade"--in the hall upstairs everything was still.
Orders were given quietly, and the women and maidens passed silently to
and fro. It seemed as if some one was lying dead in the adjoining room;
but, above all this affliction and sorrow, there was a spirit which had
never before shown itself among those present. All class distinctions
had ceased, for all were united in their sympathy for their fellow-men.

Why does this spirit of friendship, this unanimity, appear only in
times of trouble and sorrow; why not in every-day life?

I felt sure that this union of hearts would remain with us and beautify
our lives, and this thought was strengthened by the remark of the lady
at whose side I sat, who said, "You see,--this activity is the
salvation of many, as you can perceive in your grand-daughter
Christiane. She is untiring, and the dissatisfied air her face used to
wear is gone. We are now all united. It will not last; but hereafter
the thought that there once was a time when the children of the poorer
and of the upper classes did not ask 'Who are you, after all?' will
greatly benefit us."

I stayed in the city. The next evening, just as it was growing dark,
the councillor arrived with his son's body. The whole town, young and
old, was collected at the railway station. The children carried wreaths
and flowers, the bells were ringing, and thus was the body taken from
the station to the churchyard. After a hymn was sung, the clergyman
delivered his address. What could he say? He explained in few words
that this was not an ordinary funeral, but that we were now parts of
one great whole, even in death.

The father, mother, and sisters cast the first clods of earth on the
young hero's coffin; the grave was then filled in and covered with
flowers.

We had buried the first one who had died for the union and independence
of our Fatherland. I was staying with the family which had thus lost
its only son. They sat at home in silence; indeed, what could be said?

The parson had added a text from the Bible, and had made some earnest
remarks thereon; yet I thought, and am sure that these stricken ones
thought as I did, that all political feeling is foreign to that holy
book. Patient endurance here, and the hope of better things beyond,
suit a nation that is kept in subjection, but not one that is gladly
battling and sacrificing itself for its existence. What an entirely
different comprehension the Greeks had of exertion carried to its
utmost limit. I remembered how, while in prison, the speech of
Pericles, delivered at the funeral rites in Athens, had illumined and
elevated my soul; and I could almost see the words, for they seemed to
have been hewn out of stone, like a finely chiselled piece of
sculpture. I found the book in the house, and read the address to the
parents and children. I had to stop frequently, for sometimes the
father and sometimes the mother would exclaim: "That is intended for
us, for to-day."

"No enemy has ever seen our entire forces," says Pericles, and so say
we.

"Bold, daring, and calm consideration of what we undertake, are united
in us. He among us who does not concern himself about matters of state,
is not regarded as a peaceable, but as a useless, man." Pericles shows
that he possesses the true religion when he cries: "You must constantly
keep before your eyes the powers of the state, and must love them. Seek
for happiness in liberty, and for liberty in your own courage."



                              CHAPTER V.


"A Prussian doesn't let go his grip from anything he holds," said
Ikwarte to the councillor, when the latter called to him not to let a
badly wounded man, who was being carefully carried by, drop. This was,
in a certain sense, a motto for us all.

Prussia has the Frenchman in her grip, and will not let him go; and our
troops have gone bravely on. The blood of the South and North German
has been shed together. Grief for the individual was assuaged by the
thought of the result which would be achieved.

The union of the German people is now indissoluble.

The councillor returned to the army.

I was greatly grieved that I could not also lend a hand, and that I was
forced to return home, there to watch and wait. But the councillor
assured me, and I dare say he was right, that I would be unable to
stand the sights of the battle-field. On the first day, he himself,
even before he knew of his son's fate, had become so crushed and dazed
that he could hardly keep his feet. Now he no longer thought of the
misery itself, but solely of the means of remedying it.

Rontheim related, to our momentary amusement, how the vicar had lost
the trunk containing his robes of office, and how he therefore had to
perform his duties without his distinctive dress: a circumstance which
worked no harm, as he was of great service at any rate. Martha took a
quantity of goods along, which she wanted either to finish up at home,
or to use as a means of instructing the children of our village. We
drove home. It seemed like a dream to me that the saw-mill was running,
that wagons loaded with wood met us, and that people were at work in
the fields. Everything goes its gait, and yonder rages the battle.

At the newspaper-tree we met Carl's mother and Marie, and she
called out to me, "Do you see the flock of hungry crows! They are
flying beyond the Rhine, to where the boys who used to sing are lying
dead--and each of them had a mother."

"Your Carl has written that he is safe and sound."

"Yes, yes, until to-morrow. Come! We'll go home."

The two boundary posts were united by means of a black, red, and gold
flag, which had been wound around them. Joseph, whom we met there, had
done it. He was greatly shocked at the sight of Martha in mourning,
although he had already heard that her brother had fallen; but all life
was now so uncertain, that he feared she might also be mourning for
Julius. She gave him a letter which her father had brought from Julius.
It was full of sadness, but at the same time he wrote with pride of his
dead brother-in-law, and expressed himself as being convinced that he
would return from the war uninjured.

The days passed by quietly. The school-master reported that the
children had become so inattentive that he did not know what to do, for
they would not study their lessons, and talked of nothing but the war.
He determined to let the children read the newspapers aloud, and copy
the reports from the seat of war.

The game-keeper who reported to Joseph told us that fewer crimes were
being committed than usual, although the taverns were constantly full.
There was a good deal of trespassing on the woods; but that was none of
his business.

Short and precise letters came from Carl, and he never forgot to
mention that he had enough to eat and drink, for he knew that such news
would gladden his mother's heart.

Martha reported that Marie and Carl's mother had stopped going to the
newspaper-tree. Marie had learned, to her astonishment, that you could
buy your own newspapers, and so she procured one daily. Living in
constant dread of her father, she subscribed for it in the name of the
schoolmaster, and receiving it every evening, she undertook the
troublesome task of reading it aloud to the old woman at night. The
worst part of it was that the latter insisted on having the lists of
the dead and wounded read to her. She did not know what she should do
in case the awful news were to come.

I live among peasants, and see a great deal of rudeness, as well as
good feeling; but the greatest affection I ever saw lay in the conduct
of Marie towards Carl's mother.

The wagons of our district were ordered to Alsace, and my wagon and
team of bays had to go along. I wanted to employ one of the workmen
engaged in regulating the course of the river to drive them, but
Rothfuss insisted on taking charge of the team himself, so I had to let
him go. He was in great spirits, and declared that he would return with
the wagon wreathed in flowers, and that Martella and Ernst would sit in
it.

Our house became still more quiet now, and when our horses were gone,
we felt as if we were cut off from the world.

The nights were so calm and peaceful, the moon shone so clear; no leaf
stirred, and even the brook ran dreamily along. And yet, at this time,
there were thousands attempting to kill each other.

Martha was often busy looking at the pages of an album through a
magnifying glass. This book contained a collection of mosses and ferns,
which Julius had arranged for her. Underneath each specimen was noted
the place from which it came and when it had been gathered; and there
were always added the words "for Martha."

We were in almost daily receipt of postal cards from Julius, and with
the same minuteness which he had shown in the album, he gave us the
day, hour, and place of writing. Sometimes a sealed letter from him
would also reach us. Martha let me read them, and only once did she
blushingly cover a postscript with her hand. Conny called my attention
to Martha; what a touching and hallowed vision she seemed to be, and
how humbly and modestly she bore her life's great secret!

While I was examining the mosses, Martha told me, with radiant face and
sparkling eyes, how she had become acquainted with Julius. She had
danced with him at a country ball, but they had seen no more of each
other.

On the next morning, as she and her sister were walking in the
"Rockenthal" and were passing through the shrubbery, they suddenly came
to a large pine-tree under which a hunter was sleeping. His dog sat at
his side, and they motioned to him to remain quiet, while they both
stood there examining the man's youthful, browned features and white
brow. Martha summoned up her courage, seized his hat and took out the
feathers, replacing them with a bunch of freshly gathered flowers.
After this bold deed, the sisters fled to the shrubbery; but the dog
barked, and the hunter awoke. He stared about him, seized his gun and
hat, apparently puzzled to find the alteration that had been made, and
uttered an energetic oath. He just caught sight of the two sisters in
their light-blue summer dresses, as they disappeared in the shrubbery.
He called after them, and they ran, until Martha stumbled over the root
of a tree and fell. "Your voice is too good to swear with," said the
sister who had remained standing, and then the young hunter pulled off
his hat, and looked confused. Recovering himself immediately, he said,
"It was not you, but your sister, who played the robber. She has the
feathers yet. I--I thank you for the exchange." Then, as Martha handed
him the feathers, and as he held his hat out towards her, he succeeded
in touching her hand with his lips. He escorted the two girls through
the woods, and starting with the joke of having caught them
trespassing, they ended by having a merry talk. He soon begged Martha
to sing, for he said that he could see that she, like him, was in the
humor of singing. So these two began to sing their favorite songs,
which, strangely enough, were the same; and when they reached the road,
both of the sisters stretched out their hands to Julius. He held
Martha's hand in his the longest, and from that moment their fate was
fixed, and became more blissful every day.

He arranged the album while they were engaged. It was filled with the
fondest memories, and even I learned much from it that was new to me.
Each tree showed me new forms of existence, and in a little while I was
able to forget, while contemplating these minute products of nature,
the great commotion that was raging so near us. A bird is perched on
the telegraph wire, while beneath it the most stirring news is passing
silently and invisibly. I often regarded the wires that were stretched
in front of my woods. Who knows the news that is flashing through them?
We were soon to hear it.



                              CHAPTER VI.

"It thunders, booms, tumbles, and crashes; the mountains are falling,
the world is coming to an end!"--thus did Carl's mother cry out in the
village street. She refused to be comforted, and when she saw Martha in
mourning, she began to shriek out: "Black! black! We shall all be
charred to death!"

We succeeded at last in calming her, and then led her home, while round
about us a noise like thunder seemed to come from the hills; although
not a cloud was visible in the sky.

We knew that Strasburg was being bombarded. The fact was, that the
sound of the cannonade struck against the rock behind the spinner's
cottage, and rolled thence along the little valleys between the hills.

This lone woman, who could scarcely hear a man's voice, could
distinctly perceive the roar of the artillery which shook her cottage.

"My boy is there, my good, my brave son," she cried, when she was told
that Strasburg was being bombarded. Then she broke out into a sort of
chant: "In Strasburg is the minster; I was in service for five years in
the Blauwolken Street; in Strasburg, in Strasburg, in Strasburg,"--it
sounded like a doleful song. We wanted to induce her to come to us;
even Marie wanted to take charge of her; but she caught hold of her
table, crying, "No, no! I shall not go from here until I am carried
out."

That evening Joseph came for me, saying, that from the top of the
stone-wall, the shells could be seen flying through the air. We
accompanied him to the spot, and could see the shells rising, then
falling and disappearing in little clouds of smoke. The stone-cutter,
who had seen service as a soldier, pointed out to us the shells that
exploded harmlessly in the air, and those which spread destruction as
they burst.

How is it with the people over there on whom this rain of fire is
falling? What are they doing at home? What do they say, and think, and
what consolation and support do they bring each other? I imagined
myself among them, living with them. And my niece was there, too. She
had thought to find protection there, and now she was in the greatest
danger. And how must my sister, yonder in the forest of Hagenau, be
wringing her hands at these sounds and sights! And we are sending death
and destruction among those to whom we want to cry, "Come to us, stay
with us." The language the cannon speak is a dreadful one.

We had to return home at last. I was so confused and shocked, that
Joseph had to lead me. I could hear the guns as I lay in bed; but after
a while sleep comes to you in spite of noise and sorrow.

Marie told me the next morning that the spinner had counted the shots
by the hour during the night. When she had reached one hundred, beyond
which she could not count, she buried her head in the pillow, crying,
"I can count no further; I cannot; it is enough!" and had then fallen
asleep. Marie asked our aid, for the spinner had said that, when
daylight came, she would stand it no longer; she would go to her son.

However, when the next day came she had forgotten her intention. She
sat in her room, spinning, and whenever she heard the sound of a gun,
would merely open her mouth, but say nothing. Not a word passed her
lips for days.

Joseph wanted to visit the besiegers, but I asked him to remain with
us, as I wanted to have one of my men about the house.

Every evening the young folks from the village would climb to
the top of the hill behind the little stone wall, and, with the
light-heartedness of youth, would enjoy themselves in spite of the
destruction that was going on before their very eyes.

My sister and her daughter surprised us. The former had visited the
camp; had luckily found Julius, and through him had obtained permission
for her daughter to leave the fortress. She had left all her property
at the mercy of the shells and of the plundering soldiers; for the
opinion of the citizens was, that the German soldiers would sack the
city. As Germans, they had been regarded with aversion by their
neighbors and acquaintances. She left us soon again, so as to be with
her husband; but her daughter, who was greatly overcome, remained with
us.

Martha and Conny nursed the young wife carefully; and Martha spoke
French to her, so as to please her.

A large detachment of captured and wounded French and Algerians came
through our valley. The people from all the villages flocked to the
high-road to see them pass. I feared that the people would show their
irritation, and jeer these unfortunates: but, as if by a tacit
agreement, every one kept aloof, and only words of sympathy were heard.
It was only when the fantastic, and sometimes terrible-looking Africans
appeared, that the dismay of the people showed itself, as they called
out, "There they are, the men that were going to burn our towns and
forests, the cannibals!"

Rothfuss, with my team of bays, was also in the procession. He halted a
moment at the saw-mill near the bridge, and gave a merry account of the
kind of load he was carrying. It consisted of wounded Turcos, and he
laid great stress on the fact that the French would have nothing in
common with these wicked apes. He had to keep on his way.

Great excitement was caused in the village when it was reported that
Carl had returned. We all accompanied his mother and Marie down the
valley, where he had halted with a squad of prisoners. Marie embraced
him before us all, and the prisoners smiled, and imitated the sound of
their smacking lips.

Carl had much to tell me, and could not find words to say all he wanted
to, particularly in praise of the Pomeranian lancers. He said they were
the right sort of fellows--as quiet and strong as the pine-trees; and
it was strange to see, when they first saw the Rhine, about which so
much had been sung and said, how, in their enthusiasm, they wanted to
ride directly into the stream.

His mother and sweetheart accompanied him for some distance on the
road, and when they turned to come back the old woman said, "Now I am
satisfied; now no one shall hear me complain; I am sure that nothing
will happen to him in this war."

We harvested our crops; we placed the green bough on the top of the new
mill down in the valley; we began to cut wood in the forest; yet still
the thunder of the bombardment of Strasburg continued.

The old meadow farmer lay at home very ill, and often said, "I shall be
buried like a soldier; they will fire over my grave."

We buried the old fellow on the morning of September 2d. He had given
orders that his St. Helena medal should be buried with him; but his son
did not see fit to let this be done. He looked upon this so-called mark
of distinction as a means of preservation, in case the French should
come after all.

While we were standing at the open grave, Joseph came riding up the
hill, his horse very much blown, and cried, "Napoleon is a prisoner!"
We all hurried to the road where Joseph, still on horseback, read the
extra aloud. It was the account of the capture of Napoleon at Sedan.

What strange coincidences occur in life! We had just buried the last
man in our village who wore on his breast the badge of the infamy of
our alliance with Napoleon; and now we had his successor and heir a
prisoner in our hands.

As if by a preconcerted signal, the young people of the village struck
up, "Die Wacht am Rhein."

Without awaiting the parson's permission--very likely he wouldn't have
given it--the church-bells were rung, and the German flag was thrown to
the breeze from the top of the church spire. We returned home as if in
a dream.

When my niece, the Alsacienne, heard the news, she shook her head, and
refused to be convinced of its truth.

She had been always accustomed to hear the lying despatches of her
countrymen.

After the Sedan campaign, we all thought that the war was ended; but
the French people, in their overweening confidence, still insisted on
retaining the first place among nations, and resented the idea of their
giving up the German provinces, of which in former days they had robbed
us.

The war went on without ceasing.



                              CHAPTER VII.


We cannot be astonished anew every day at the phenomena of existence:
how the sun rises, how the plants grow and bloom. We must accustom
ourselves to the homely changes that are being wrought; to life and
death among us, to love and hate, to union and discord.

We ended by becoming accustomed to the fact that the war was raging,
and as surely as the sun rose we expected news of another victory; for
that we should ever be beaten seemed, to judge from what had happened,
impossible.

The daily question was, "Has Strasburg surrendered yet?"

On the morning of the 29th of September, I attended the weekly market
to sell my grain. It was the crop of 1870.

Everything went on as usual; there was the same chaffering, bargaining,
and cheating, and occasionally the war was discussed.

Suddenly I heard a noise of shouting and rejoicing, and saw flags hung
out of the windows. "Strasburg has fallen," was the cry.

People called to each other, "Strasburg has fallen at last," as if some
one who had been long lost had returned at last.

Joseph brought the Alsacienne to town. We made up a store of food and
clothing for her, and accompanied by Christiane, who had been
despatched to the afflicted city by the Aid Society, she returned to
Alsace. Every one went over to Strasburg, partly from curiosity, and
partly out of pity. I refused to go.

Then came letters from Alsace for Martha and me.

I did not know the handwriting of the one for me. It turned out to be
from Baron Arven. He wrote that he had had frequent conferences with
those high in office on the importance of quieting the minds of the
Alsatians, and of coming to an understanding with them. Unfortunately
they had been forced to take sharp measures against those who were
untractable and traitorous, and now they desired to take such measures
as would stop any further sacrifices. There were other nurses required
besides those who attended the wounded, and he believed I would suit
his purpose.

The following sentence in his letter pierced my heart like a dagger:
"Your family ties make it your duty to aid the lost son to return to
his father's house."

How? Has Ernst been found, and is the preceding portion of the letter
simply written to prepare me for the shock?

I read on, and found I was mistaken. A troubled mind interprets
everything in its interest. Arven simply meant that I should aid in the
work of attaching Alsace to Germany; for he informed me that men of all
classes, who were known to have friends and relatives in Alsace, had
been requested to visit those sections of the country with which they
were acquainted, there to work in the interest of union. Those who had
been in opposition to the government were especially wanted, for the
reason that their conduct would be regarded as being founded on a pure
love for the Fatherland.

He asked me to visit the villages in the forest of Hagenau, with which
I was acquainted through my relations, and see what I could do towards
furthering the good work.

I had to laugh when he added: "Your presence and your white hair will
do much, I think, to create confidence in you."

The Baron was in the confidence of the government. It seemed,
therefore, to be decided that we should take back the provinces of
which we had been robbed. Yes, I am ready to do what I can. It is true,
I doubted my capacity; but a love of the cause and encouraging
hopefulness strengthened me. Arven's letter gave me courage. He had
never praised me to my face, but he displayed the best feeling in his
letter.

"I am going to Alsace," said I to Martha.

"Oh, that is splendid, and you can take me along."

She showed me a letter from Julius, in which he asked her to visit him
in Strasburg for a short time, until he should march off again.

He wrote: "We will meet among saddening ruins, but we shall remain
erect, and while we help rebuild the great fabric of the state, shall
also strengthen our own life-fabric."

We journeyed to Strasburg. Julius met us in Kehl. What a meeting
between the young couple!

"I have also seen Martella," Julius said. "I wanted her to enter a
hospital as nurse, but she has retained her old dislikes, and refuses
to have anything to do with the sick. She was engaged with a number of
other women in distributing supplies, but I don't know whether she is
near here now. I have been told that she has gone to Lorraine with
another detachment of the supply commission. She parted from Lerz, the
baker, after a few days. The Prince's letter of pardon has passed her
everywhere, and she is now with Ikwarte and Wolfgang, who will protect
her."

I shall not speak of the effect the appearance of the bombarded city
produced on me. I had been in Strasburg frequently, and knew many there
who could not forget the ties which bound them to Germany. Forty years
ago I was here with Buchmaier, and at that time this great broad fellow
planted himself before the Cathedral, and called out, "I say, tumble
down, or turn German."

Now it stood there, a German monument. It had been, unfortunately,
struck by our shot, but had been only slightly injured; and from far
and near one could behold this edifice, every stone and ornament of
which is German.

Martha could look on nothing but the face of her Julius, and on one
other thing--the iron cross on his breast. She asked why he had not
written about having received it; and Julius confessed that he had not
done so because a promise that was not yet binding, but which required
him to arrive at some conclusion, was connected with it.

He related that the commanding general, while fastening the cross on
his breast, had said, "You intend remaining in the service?" to which
he had not answered, but believed that he had nodded "yes," although he
was not sure.

And now he wanted to learn from Martha's lips whether he had nodded or
shaken his head.

Martha looked at me and said, "What do you say, grandfather?"

I said, of course, that this could be decided on when the war was over,
and that meanwhile Julius could consider himself a professional
soldier. I thought him too tenderhearted for a soldier, for he had said
to me, "Grandfather! the worst feature about war, is not the fighting,
but the foraging. It is heart-rending to force people to deliver up
everything, yet it must be done."

The thought that Julius would remain a soldier was painful to me, for I
had cherished the hope that, at some time or other, he would take
charge of his patrimonial estate. I could not agree with Ludwig's
American ideas, that all property should be personal. But what matters
all that at present?

I hunted up Baron Arven. Although he had written such hearty letters to
me, I found that he had again become formal and brusque. I had to learn
that in war times small matters can receive but little attention.

The Baron directed a servant to accompany me to the provisional
governor of the province. Although I had been sent for, I found myself
treated as if I were a suitor. I had to accustom myself to the
North-German manner, which regards every sacrifice you may bring as a
mere matter of duty.

The governor remembered that Arven had spoken of me. He begged me to
take a look, for the present, at the part of the country with which I
was acquainted, and then to report to him.

This interview sobered me. Was this the frame of mind in which a part
of our country was to be regained? I decided to visit my sister, and
then to return home. That evening Arven changed my resolution.



                              CHAPTER VIII.


Arven lived in the hospital, and on my arrival there I was welcomed by
a tall, fine-looking woman in a white cap and white apron. It was
Annette, and I was not a little astonished to meet her there; but even
she had no time to spare, for she said she had to return to her
patients, and that Arven was waiting for me in his room.

This was really the case. Arven gave me a hearty welcome, and said that
he had given orders that he was not to be disturbed excepting in case
something of great importance needed his attention, and that, for this
evening, he would be a thorough egotist.

When I told him how repellent the angularity and coldness of the
Prussians had appeared to me, he said that this was just what he wanted
to talk to me about.

He had been exceedingly provoked at their cold-blooded manner. He had
already determined to leave them; but after a while he had made up his
mind that this sharpness, bitterness, and decision were the forces that
made them the men they were. Obedience is with them a habit that can be
depended on. We South Germans are too soft and easygoing, and we ought
to breathe some of the salt-sea air that blows across that northern
country. This want of attention towards others, this disregard of
people's feelings, lay in the fact that they had no consideration for
themselves. The French, who, whatever they do, want to be observed and
applauded, will be beaten by these men, whose whole power rests in
their self-respect. We used to think the Prussians were braggarts; but
now we found no trace of boastfulness, and in spite of their constant
victories, they took every precaution as they advanced, and were
prepared for defeat. Yes, orders describing the manner of retreat were
issued before every battle.

He could not cease praising them, and only stopped when he added that
he thought their self-esteem was a result of Protestantism. The Baron
stopped when he had said this, and, after we had eaten and drunk to our
hearts' content, he said that, although he was a Catholic, he would
never confess to a priest again, but that he would confess to me; and
in case he should not return from the war, he would have the
satisfaction of feeling that his inner life had been laid before
another, for an hour at least.

He confessed to me that his desire had been to die in this campaign,
and it was for this reason that he had exposed himself so recklessly
when collecting the wounded. It seemed strange to him that people
should praise his courage, while he was engaged in seeking death. He
thought it would be the best thing for himself and his children, if the
great sorrows that had come upon them, and which might come again,
could be buried with him.

He then groaned aloud, saying, "I do not want to die before their
eyes."

I saw before me a life that had been most cruelly broken. The Baron had
once been in the Austrian army. He had never expected to find himself
at the head of his family, for he belonged to the younger branch.

In Bohemia he made the acquaintance of a girl belonging to a noble
family, and was subdued by her.

Feodora was tall and majestic, of a warm, sensual nature, but
cold-hearted. Persuaded by his sister, he became engaged to her; but
felt that he would have to stand alone in life, with her as his spouse.

On the day after his engagement, he suddenly awoke to a horror of what
he had done. He was visiting the large estate of her father. He walked
through the park, wrestling with the resolve to drown himself in the
pond; but he did not do so, because he considered it his duty to keep
his plighted word; and besides, the hope arose in his breast that, at
some future time, a closer sympathy would be brought about. Her beauty
fettered him; in short, the marriage was celebrated, and he lived for
thirty-one years married, but lonely. One by one, his hopes had all
been shattered. He had persuaded himself that congeniality was not
necessary to happiness.

But after awhile he discovered what it was to be united to some one,
and at the same time to be alone. The sudden death of the last of the
main line of his family placed him at the head of the house. He
resigned his position in the army, and devoted himself to agriculture.
He had no control over his children--scarcely any influence in fact,
but as his sons grew up, they espoused the cause of Germany, and would
have nothing to do with the conflict which their mother and her ghostly
advisers tried to stir up.

In the campaign of 1866, the Baron suffered unspeakably. He was
homeless in his own house. But when the present war began, and he
discovered plots that he would never have suspected, the conflict broke
out openly. The two sons joined the German army, and did not, or would
not, know of what was going on at home. I dare not speak of the
bitterness, hate, and despair that filled the soul of this naturally
good-hearted man, and appeared in the course of his story. "I had to
confess to you some time," said he finally, "and I chose the best time.

"I believe that your wife intuitively knew everything that I have told
you."

The deep misery of his life seemed again renewed when he cried, "I do
not wish to die before their eyes."

He mentioned Rautenkron, and said that their cases were similar. Their
devotion in the present great movement was not a joyful sacrifice, but
indifference and contempt for life; they wanted to die.

I was deeply pained, and also gratified, when he took my hand at last,
saying that my wife and I had kept him up in the faith that happiness
was yet to be found on earth. "And now I must make a further
confession. It was a great sacrifice on my part, considering the
comfort I enjoyed in your house, and the deep sympathy your wife showed
me, to deny myself frequent, yea, daily visits, whenever I felt like a
stranger in my house; and as one banished from home, I would ride
across the hills, and down into the valley towards you and your wife;
but when I had reached the saw-mill, I would turn back. It was better
thus. I felt that your wife knew everything. Though I was a man who had
sons in the army, I was again tossed hither and thither by youthful
feelings; but I overcame them. I think I ought to tell you this too; it
relieves me, and cannot oppress you. Of all men who were affected by
her sterling qualities, there is no one who worshipped her more
profoundly than I did," said the Baron finally, again taking my hand.

We sat there in silence for some time, and I was made happy by the
thought that her spirit was hovering over us, bringing us peace. The
Baron then arose and said, "Now I have unburdened myself, and am free.
I thank you for your share in this relief. And now, no more of this.
Now duty calls."

He again told me how much good I could accomplish, by going from
village to village, and from house to house, in the region in which I
had long been known, there to teach the Alsatians what they ought to
learn.

"You may depend on one thing," said he: "you will have bitter
experiences. You will be looked upon as a spy. But do you remember what
your wife once called you?"

I did not know what he meant.

"She called you the spy of what was good, because you always discover
the good qualities in every one. Well, be one again."

I made up my mind to cope willingly with everything, and went to my
sister's the next day.



                              CHAPTER IX.


We of the mountains had heard the cannonading; but how differently had
it affected those of the neighborhood, whose homes and whose all were
at stake. We could see the destruction that had been wrought on the
houses, but not that which had wasted the nerves of the people.
Wherever I went, I found every one feeling restless and homeless, like
the swallows that flew about, settling here and there; but only for a
moment, for their nests had been destroyed, along with the houses and
towers and fortifications.

Every one I met had a puzzled look: the alarm and fear caused by the
incredible disasters that had overwhelmed them, had dazed them, and
they seemed hurt by friendly greetings--yes, even by offers of
assistance.

My brother-in-law, the forester, a man who ordinarily bore himself
well, seemed entirely broken down. He stared at me in silence as I
entered his house, and scarcely answered my greeting with a slight nod.

My sister told me that, since the siege of Strasburg, he had suffered
from asthma, and that he constantly repeated, "General Werder's shots
have taken my breath away."

On looking at the pictures hanging on the wall, I could see plainly
what these people would have to thrust aside. The pictures on the
walls, as well as those that dwelt in their memory, were to be changed.
In our every-day life, we soon forget what the ornaments on the wall
are like. But if they are not in accord with the times, then we find
out what was once ours, but has now ceased to belong to us. On my
hinting that Germany would adopt the regained provinces with increased
affection, my brother-in-law sprang up, rolling his eyes and striking
the table with his fist, and swore that he would emigrate. My sister
then said that an oath at such a time was worthless; but he answered in
bitter scorn--he could speak nothing but French--"And if no one will
accompany me--I cannot force the trees in the forest to go along--my
dog, at least, will be my companion. What do you say, Fidele--you'll go
with me? You won't take bread from a German; you will rather starve
with me?" The dog barked and licked his master's hand.

I could see what a difficult task I had before me, but I did not give
it up. In the village, in the houses, and before the court-house,
wherever the people were gathered together, I spoke words of peace and
encouragement to them. They would listen to me as if they were forced
to do so; and once I heard a man behind me say, "The whole thing is a
lie, white hairs and all; he is some young fellow in disguise." I
seldom received a straightforward answer; the nearest approach to a
reply was, "What are we to do?" "What are we to learn." The feeling at
the bottom of all this was,--to-morrow the French will be back, and
drive the Germans away. It is impossible to conquer the French.

I then visited my brother-in-law, the parson, who lived a few miles
further on. He spoke of nothing but the excellent behavior of the
soldiers that had been quartered on them. They went to church on
Sundays and joined in the singing; and officers of high rank had
been there, too. He seemed nervous, and did not dare to express his
joy--either because he feared the maid-servant who was going in and
out, or else because he disliked to lay bare his thoughts. It was only
while walking in the woods that he unbosomed himself. I do not like to
repeat what he related, as I preferred not to believe his story. He
told me that the French government had received the assurance from the
priesthood, that the South Germans would not take the field against
France. I do not believe this, but it is the current opinion, and so I
feel forced to repeat it.

He also said that the beggars from the Catholic villages of the
vicinity had, for some time past, ceased asking for alms. They had
walked around boldly in his village, selecting the houses they intended
to occupy as soon as the Protestants had been exterminated.

Thus wickedly had religion been mixed up with this war.

"The thought of Germany," said the parson, "always seemed to me like a
silent, yea, a criminal dream. Now I see it realized in broad daylight.
We are like the prodigal son of Scripture, but the truant in Alsace is
this time not in fault, and it is that which makes his return to his
home so painful. I have often thought that the father of the prodigal
must have offended against his son, although the Scriptures do not say
so, otherwise he would not have been thus afflicted."

He was merely drawing a parallel, yet he made my heart beat with the
thought of Ernst.

The father of the prodigal son is also at fault. What had I been guilty
of?

When we returned from our walk, we were told that a French soldier, who
had served his time, had called to see me; he had not given his name,
and would return.

Who can he be? I must wait to find out. But I met a man in the village
whom I had forgotten.

The advocate Offenheimer, Annette's brother, met me, and his first
words were, "You are a great consolation to me. Come with me and give
my son an escort."

I now perceived that his only son had fallen, and that the father
desired him to be buried in the Jewish cemetery here.

As he divined my thoughts, he said, "It is true, I could not allow them
to bury my son out there with the others; but it is, perhaps, well if
there is some sign here of our having fairly and joyfully taken our
part in the fight. Perhaps it will have a mollifying effect upon our
new countrymen of the Jewish faith, who were particularly
contumacious."

I was astounded to find the man so placid. But, as if guessing my
thoughts, he said he had no more strength for complaints and tears, and
that a fact must at last be accepted.

I thought of the handsome, spirited lad, that had one time come to me
with Wolfgang. But I greatly desired to find a favorable opportunity
for addressing the Jewish inhabitants of the village. They had an
especial fear of the Germans, and were proud of French equality.

The advocate's son was buried with all the ceremonies of his church.
Two slightly wounded South German officers, who were lying in the
village, acted as the escort. They recognized in me the Colonel's
father-in-law, and had much to tell me in his praise.

"He shows that we are not inferior to the Prussians." Such appeared to
be the highest compliment they could bestow upon him.

Upon our return from the cemetery, to which the Jews here in Alsace
give the peculiar name of the "good place,"[6] the advocate leaned upon
my arm, and, as I sat next to him in the little room, after quietly
meditating for a long while, he exclaimed, "In my youth I had willingly
died for the true Fatherland; now, my son has been permitted to die for
it."

For years had I been in constant intercourse with this man; now, in his
grief and in the hour of civil commotion, I first learned to know him;
and to learn to know an upright man is to learn to love him.

I have, like suffering Odysseus, participated in the experiences of
many men; Rautenkron, the Colonel, and Arven have revealed to me their
life-secrets. Now I was to hear still another's: the history of a
step-child in his step-fatherland, who still longed for affection, for
the closest friendship, and who, though repulsed and oppressed by the
laws and his fellow-men, had not yet lost his love for them.

As Offenheimer recounted the grievances he had suffered in the schools,
and the incivilities and insults of later years, it seemed to me that I
should ask his forgiveness for all this suffering and uncharitableness,
of which, because of what we had done to him, and of what our ancestors
had done to his, we were to-day guilty. Those who style themselves
believers in the religion of love, would be much astonished at the
strength of this man's affections, who, though repulsed and scorned;
still preserved them pure. We live a whole human life and know nothing
of the inward emotions of many of our contemporaries. Offenheimer spoke
with great severity concerning the attempt to obtain recognition by
means of extravagant display, that caused many Jews to appear
unpatriotic and presumptuous. He explained this, indeed, as arising
from the necessity, imposed by the prejudice against his race, of
proving its claim to respectability, and was frank enough to refer to
the early conduct of his sister as an example.

Offenheimer then told me how happy it had made him to find his son
growing up in comparative ignorance of such persecutions--he had thus
developed naturally. He smiled sadly, as he added that he, though he
had grown physically larger and more active, had acquired a lightness
of heart which the man who is obliged to win his freedom before
enjoying it, never acquires.

"I do not mourn for my son," were his words: "he had reached the most
beautiful period of life, and it is all the same, whether a man lives
seventeen years or seventy. No man liveth to himself, and no one dieth
to himself, says the apostle; and that is true. I understand it to be
true in another sense as well. Each of us dies only to his connections
and his posterity."

It was a novelty to me to hear Holy Writ referred to as simply the
teachings of wisdom. I have since then often found educated Israelites
are not so much Jews, as simply not Christians.

Offenheimer thanked me with great tenderness for the wonders that we
had accomplished with Annette. She had been proud and selfish; now she
had become humble, and lived for others.

As I sat with him, the Rabbi of the place came and expressed his thanks
for the generous subscription that had been made in memory of the
fallen.

One word, which the priest then uttered, went straight to my heart. He
said the bereaved father would find consolation; for the Talmud
declared that the patriarch Jacob could not suppress his sufferings and
his tears for his lost son Joseph, because he felt within himself that
his son still lived. Grief for one who is dead vanishes when the corpse
becomes clay; for a living lost one, the grief endures.

Oh! my lost son Ernst!

Upon my return home, I found, awaiting me in the village, a man in a
blue blouse, with a short pipe in his mouth, and wearing his cap awry.
He approached me with a military salute, and said, "Yes, it is you."

"Who am I?"

"His father."

"Whose father?"

"Our sergeant's, Ernst Tännling."

"That is not my name."

"Of course! But he has confided to me--he took me, indeed, for a
German--that his name was Waldfried. Do you remember that I met you in
Paris during the World's Exposition. Your son deserted in 1866, and has
a bride. Have I the correct signs now?"

Alas! he had them, and again I heard that Ernst had entered the service
in Algiers, and now, probably, was in the onward movement against
Germany.

The veteran allowed me no time for reflection. He confided to me, with
great urgency and secrecy, that he could be of great service. He knew
that I had great influence, and wanted me to conduct him to some
officer of high rank; he could be of great service, but must receive
liberal pay.

I had learned much in life, but for the first time there stood before
me a man who offered me his services as a spy. He had seized my hand,
and it seemed as if his touch had soiled it.

I sought further intelligence from him concerning Ernst, but he knew
nothing more. I took him with me and handed him over to an officer that
lay here. I considered it to be my duty not to discard the dirty, but
perhaps useful, tool.

With thoughts of Ernst in my breast, with the consciousness that my
only son was in arms against the Fatherland, I was not in the mood to
unburden my heart to others; and besides, it was evidently too early.
Now, since force yet speaks, the good-will of the oppressed cannot be
won.

I turned back to my sister's, and was much delighted to meet
Hartriegel, the so-called forest professor, who had been sent by the
administration to inspect the forests.



                               CHAPTER X.


With Hartriegel and my brother-in-law, who had again in a measure
regained his composure, I roamed through the great forest district; and
this refreshed my soul, though the terrible thoughts about Ernst
accompanied me by day and by night like a restless ghost.

It was the night of the twenty-sixth of October. Hartriegel remained in
the town. I had stayed with my sister; a storm was raging that seemed
to portend the destruction of the world. Dogs howled, the cattle in the
stalls bellowed unceasingly; there seemed a fearful wailing in the
rattling of the thunder, and the turmoil and uproar of the elements. We
heard sounds like the splitting of trees, continually nearer and
nearer. We all sat together in the room, keeping watch, and my
brother-in-law exclaimed, "It is just so! The trees even will clear out
forthwith. They will not be German."

As he said this, a tree behind the house cracked and fell over on the
roof: the slates rattled, the timbers bent, and the storm now raged
through the house, which we could not forsake; for out of doors the
tempest raged so wildly, that it seemed as if everything that stood
upright would be stricken to the ground. We waited until daylight, and
at early morning a messenger arrived who came to tell me that Julius
must depart, and to ask whether I would not bring Martha home with me.
The messenger also showed us an "extra," that announced the capture of
Metz, and the capitulation of 173,000 men.

When my brother-in-law heard this, he exclaimed, "We are betrayed!"
tore down the epaulettes, and the portrait of Bazaine, under whom he
had served, from the wall, threw them on the floor, and trampled them
under his feet.

The messenger told us the roads were impassable; every where there lay
trunks of trees, and near the house a slain stag. He, a very credulous
man, had spent the night at the Oak of Saint Arbogast, and with pious
fervor praised the saint who had protected him.

After he had partaken of refreshments, he escorted my brother-in-law,
who soon came back with the dead stag.

We were separated from the world, and my sister rejoiced that she still
had something for us to eat.

At noon there came a neighboring forester with his men, and everybody
was called upon, and worked through the entire night to make the roads
again passable. Soldiers were also ordered from Hagenau to assist, and
soon I heard the singing of German songs in the woods.

The next morning Joseph arrived with his companion. He had been ordered
by the chief forester to buy wood here, and had now decided, since it
was so conveniently arranged, to purchase the greater portion of the
windfall. What terrified us, awakened in him a speculation.

"In the forest of Hagenau," said he, "there's also oak wood for
Ludwig's mill."

It was, and remained so; everything served as a stepping-stone to
Joseph.

He gave us further particulars of the capture of Metz, and of the march
towards Paris. At the name of Paris, my brother-in-law's face became
flushed and excited. "That you will never get, never!" he said; "the
world will go to pieces, first! But Metz, indeed! And 173,000 men!
believe in nothing after this!"

I told Joseph of Ernst; I must impart it to some one. But Joseph
urgently implored me to eradicate every thought of the lost one from my
breast.

I went to Strasburg, but the governor there had nothing to tell me. I
was so weak that I longed for home again; there I hoped to regain my
strength. I journeyed homewards with Martha.

At the last railway station I met a large force of Tyrolese woodsmen
that, upon Joseph's order, had been sent to work for him in Alsace, and
as I neared home, I saw, here and there, clearings in the woods. The
tempest had also raged here, and the newspapers brought the
intelligence that over the whole continent great devastation had been
occasioned by it.



                              CHAPTER XI.

We had much to do to set up trees that had been prostrated by the wind;
for dead trees, because of their harboring all sorts of noxious
insects, imperil the existence of a whole forest.

There came good letters from Julius, Richard, and the vicar, and we saw
war life from three quite different aspects. Bertha sent us letters
from the Colonel. He wrote but briefly. He must have been suffering
great hardships, especially in the protracted rains; but he wrote,
"when one feels inspired, he can endure much."

They tell me of the noble courage of the olden time. When man fights
with man, he receives invigorating impulse from the personal struggle.
But to stand under a shower of fire, then advance on the enemy and be
struck by far-carrying bullets, without firing a shot until one is at
the right distance--all that is much more.

Away off, the cannon thundered; we at home heard nothing but the
measured beat of the thrasher, and that lasted a long while, for we
lacked men at home.

When it rained and snowed, and we sat sheltered in the room, we
naturally fell to thinking of those who, for nights and weeks, fought
on the now thoroughly drenched soil, and for their brief rest had no
couch but the wet or icy earth.

Ludwig wrote from Hamburg that he was about going to America. He was to
make the journey with the secret approval and authority of an officer
of high rank, in order to prevent the transmission of arms and
ammunition to our foes.

How much war demands of human nature!

Snow had fallen; it snowed again and again, and we knew that what here
was snow, up there was cold rain.

I sat in the large arm-chair, and read the gazette. Here stands in few
words, in peaceful paragraphs, what up there is blood and mangling of
human bodies. It is indeed grand and sublime how the French, after the
annihilation of their forces, again quickly gather together, and
venture everything. A nation cannot surrender, and a nation that is so
consciously proud and all-powerful cannot easily acknowledge, "I am
conquered, and am wrong."

They would not give us security for our boundary, and so the fighting
and the devastation must still go on.

While I thus sat quietly thinking, a telegram from the cabinet of the
Prince was brought to me; I must forthwith hasten to the capital, and
upon my arrival at the palace should cause myself to be immediately
announced, be it night or day.

What could be the matter? why was I so urgently summoned? Was it on
Ernst's account? or Richard's, or the Colonel's? It seemed to me a
great injustice that not a word of explanation accompanied the message,
yet I equipped myself immediately for my departure. The stonecutter
conducted me to the railway station. Joseph was not there; he had gone
on to Lorraine. I was not familiar with his business enterprises.

That--it was indeed, strange--kept my thoughts busy during the journey,
and yet was I much oppressed by suspense as to the reason of my being
called away. But happily the human mind can engage itself with new
problems, and thus, for a while at least, forget the care and vexation
that lie near at hand.

I reached the capital, and found it as I had expected. What was snow
with us in the mountains, was here a penetrating rain.

On my way to the palace, I passed a brilliantly lighted theatre, and
heard from within the sounds of music. Ah, that men should sing and
juggle at such a time! But is not life a mighty aggregation of many
incongruous individual activities?

I reached the castle; the great entrance hall was lighted up and
thoroughly warmed; I was obliged to wait a long time. When, at last, I
saw the Prince, I found him unusually distressed or disturbed. He began
by observing how different times were when we last had met; he said how
deeply it pained him that so much blood must be shed--so much noble
blood. He said this with deep emotion, and finally added, he had faith
in me as a man of stout heart; I had so nobly borne so much suffering,
that he had courage to tell me that the Colonel had been wounded by a
shot through the breast. He was still living, but quite unconscious,
when the bearer of the news left, and perhaps we had already a dead one
to mourn.

I could not utter a word; what was there to say?

The Prince continued to speak of his grief at the shedding of so much
blood, and expressed his dissatisfaction that his countrymen should
have placed themselves in alliance with foreigners.

I had no time nor mind for such discussions. I asked if the news had
been sent to my daughter. He appeared disturbed by my question, and
somewhat unwillingly answered, "I considered that a father's right and
duty."

He added, that this evening a sanitary commission would depart, with
whom I and the Colonel's wife could go to the front.

I know not what suggested the thought, but suddenly it occurred to me:
The Prince would never make a minister of you; you were only a clever
story-teller, who drove away the recollections of his own sufferings by
the recital of your life-history. And of that was I thinking all the
while I was talking to the Prince of other things.

The demeanor of the Prince towards me seemed cold and distant. He
called after me without extending his hand, "Adieu, Herr Waldfried!"

Formerly, I had been called "dear Waldfried;" yes, at times, "dear
friend."

I mention this here, although it first struck me like a waking dream,
during the journey. I was glad to be independent, and to be relieved
from rendering homage to princes, and troubling myself as to whether I
was addressed in one way or another. Although in my inmost heart I
believe in a constitutional monarchy, I tell you, keep yourself free,
and be dependent on no stranger's favor, or else you will be the most
degraded of slaves.

But now I must tell of my sad journey; and I think of the saying of the
Colonel's: Human nature in its elevated moods can endure much.

I came to Bertha's house. My heart beat wildly at the thought of the
news I should bring to her. But as I ascended the steps, Professor
Rolunt, the Colonel's friend, approached me, and said, "After the first
dreadful shock, you were your daughter's first thought. She has asked
for you."

"And so she knows of it?"

"Yes! I have told her, and we are off in an hour."

"We!"

"Yes! I go with her; and keep up Bertha's spirits. Should the worst
have happened, we must bear it all."

I went to Bertha. Speechless, she threw herself upon my neck, clasped
me to her bosom, and wept and sobbed; nor could I utter one word.

"Father!" she said, at last, "you will remain here with the
children--or will you take them home with you?"

"No, I will go with you. Don't refuse me. Don't let us waste useless
words. I will go with you."

We departed in the evening. We rested in beds, upon which soon should
lie the sorely wounded. But, indeed, we, too, bore painful wounds in
our hearts.



                              CHAPTER XII.


It was well that Rolunt accompanied us; for I had not the strength to
support Bertha in this wearisome journey, and to distract and lead her
away from her quiet, noiseless brooding, and her counting the minutes
as they slowly passed.

The Professor had continually something to tell us, either of the
points that we hurriedly passed, or of the sanitary aids who were with
us. He told us of this and that one who had been a spoiled child--the
pet of some fond mother--and now was suffering great hardships. This
was the second supply train that he had accompanied; he had been the
chief of the first one, and had much that was moving to tell us of the
self-sacrificing conduct of the non-combatants. The employés of the
post-office and the railroads were specially endeared to him, and he
related wonderful instances of their activity and endurance.

Bertha scarcely uttered a word; for the most part she only quietly held
my hand. At times, she said, "Ah! the locomotive might be urged to move
faster; it seems to me that it goes much too slowly."

The Professor assured her that we should esteem ourselves lucky to
reach our destination. Who knows how soon we should hear, "Halt, we go
no further."

Once Bertha arose; her face had in it something mysterious and strange,
and she cried out, "Father, hold me!"

"What is the matter? What is it?"

"I think I must escape from myself. I will not live if he is dead. Oh!
pardon me," she again exclaimed, sinking back into her seat, "I cannot
endure the torment of my thoughts. How is it possible--how can it agree
with any order in human affairs, that a piece of lead can destroy a
full, rich, noble, human life!"

She gazed at me with a peculiarly alarming expression; it was as if
pale, pulsating strands were tightly drawn under the surface of her
skin. Then she seized my hand and said, "Pardon me for inflicting all
this upon you. I dare not now waste my strength in suffering; it is
sinful, it is selfish, and it is terrible to wish for death. All my
strength belongs to him. I will no longer complain, and will no longer
give up to despair. Oh! if I could only sleep! One can give to another
the sleep of death, but--I will be very quiet; indeed, I will not think
any more."

She leaned back and closed her eyes.

While Bertha appeared to sleep, I told Rolunt of the last interview
with the Prince. He explained matters to me. He said the Prince had
believed that I knew all, and merely feigned ignorance for his sake. It
was no secret that the Prince was beside himself with rage, because the
general commanding had telegraphed the news not only to him, but also
to the Prussian embassy. The latter made no secret of it, and the
Prince saw in this an attempt to obtain popularity and favor at his
expense. He hated the ambassador, as a legalized superintendent over
him, who left him daily conscious that he no longer possessed his
former sovereignty.

It was fortunate that the Professor had prepared us; for--I cannot give
the name of our halting place--we suddenly came to a stop. We had to
wait an entire day, and it was only a day's journey to where the
Colonel lay.

Rolunt tried negotiations here and there; he had become hoarse from
much talking. At last he came to us with a cheerful countenance. A
shrewd, energetic man, he had succeeded in obtaining a wagon, and we
travelled through the country. During the entire night we drove over
torn-up roads. In the distance we saw burning villages. How many
hundreds of peaceful homes were there destroyed. We turned our eyes
from the sight. We went through villages riddled with shot and shell,
and through others, in which here and there a light shone, and where we
halted to feed the horses, we were observed with ugly, threatening
glances. But the country was safe; for it was everywhere occupied by
detachments of our troops.

We reached the village where the Colonel was reported to be lying. We
inquired here and there, but found him not: he must be in the next
village. Thither we now journeyed.

We met an artillery corps, and had to move into a field and await its
passing. This took a terribly long while. They mocked us and cried at
us in sport as they passed, and we were almost beside ourselves with
impatience. And still we sat there protected from the drizzling rain,
while our soldiers were steaming like horses.

Rolunt got out. He asked the officers of the column after the Colonel.
They knew nothing of him; they had only just arrived from a long march.

At last we were permitted to proceed.

At the entrance of the next village, Bertha recognized a soldier of her
husband's regiment.

"Is your Colonel living?" she asked.

"Yes, yesterday he was still alive."

"And to-day?"

"Don't know. Haven't heard anything about him."

I felt confident that he was yet living. I could not think that the
strong, powerful man could be dead, and my hopefulness helped to
support Bertha. We reached the house from which the white flag with the
red cross was floating. I commanded my daughter to remain seated in the
wagon, and to inquire of no one until I returned. She gave me her
promise, but she could not keep her word, and it was indeed requiring
too much of her. She saw her husband's servant, and called to him, and
the lad said, "The Colonel is living, but--"

"But what?"

"He is very low."

We entered the house, and the first one we met was Annette.

"Be composed, Bertha! he lives. I came here immediately on receiving
the intelligence of his being wounded, that I might do all that was
possible for him," she said. She embraced her friend, and added, that
we could not see him: he could not bear the shock.

The Professor begged that he, at least, might be admitted. Annette
called the doctor, and he gave permission to the Professor to see the
wounded man.

Annette remained with us, and said, "The bullet has not yet been
found." The shot had entered the breast just above the heart, only
escaping it by a hair's-breadth.

The Colonel led his regiment independently and separated from the
Prussians, and it was a piece of jealousy, and the ambition to
distinguish himself, that caused him to press forward so recklessly and
thrust himself in danger's way. He had to march over a plain, to take a
battery planted on a height, and it was there that he was struck.

When he had fallen, and saw death before him, he exclaimed, "The Romans
were right; it is glorious to die for one's country. I want no other
grave; let me be buried with my soldiers." Then for a long while he was
unconscious.

After a little while Rolunt came to us, and said that the Colonel was
unable to speak, but by his glances had shown that he recognized him.

Bertha begged for the dress of a nurse, so that she could at least
venture into the sick-room. She promised not to go near her sick
husband. But the doctor emphatically forbade it. There was no certainty
that the wounded man would not recognize her, if only by her step or
carriage. He almost feared that the sick man might suspect something
from the presence of the Professor; for he opened and shut his eyes so
quickly. And so we had to wait and listen, and were condemned to
inactivity.

We met still another friend: Baron Arven. He had forgotten his own
griefs, was restlessly active and appeared wondrously rejuvenated. In
an hour he had to go to another hospital, and transferred to us his
quarters, in which we could rest.

Bertha said she could not sleep; but consented to lie down and rest
herself, in order to gather strength for what might be in store for
her. She lay down and was soon fast asleep. She often moved
convulsively, as if troubled with fearful dreams, but still continued
to slumber. I at last also fell asleep. Towards morning, I was awakened
by a loud voice:

"I must see him; I have found him."

Is not that the voice of Rothfuss? Yes, it was.

Bertha also awoke, and asked, "Where are we? Has the train stopped?" I
explained to her where we were. With difficulty, she collected herself.
She went directly with us to the house where the Colonel lay, and
remained with Annette. She heard that the Colonel had also slept, and
Annette, who had sat with him, remarked, he had lightly whispered,
"Bertha;" he must suspect that she is here.

Rothfuss took me aside and said, "We have him and her also."

"Yes, the Colonel and Bertha."

"No, no! Ernst and Martella. 'The Lord God is the best child's nurse
for wild lads,' my mother has often said."

I felt as if reason had forsaken me.



                              CHAPTER XIII.


Only gradually did I clearly comprehend all that had happened to me.

I can no longer count the shots, nor specify whence or by whom they
were discharged against me, and how it was that I remained unharmed.
But I have passed through it all, and must also permit you to
experience it.

Rothfuss related to me, very composedly, that he had done Carl
injustice; one might be imprisoned, although innocent, and it happened
to him with horse and wagon. He and the bays had been captured by the
wild Turcos, and he had almost fancied himself in hell while with those
savages, who did not even know how to talk intelligibly.

"Sir! they would have shot me for a spy. They placed me against the
wall. And there I stand and they aim at me. I take a last look at the
sky and the trees, something dims my sight, and I think to myself, if
it were only over! Then some one calls out, 'Halt!' And I think I
recognize the voice. He talks gibberish, of which I do not comprehend a
word, but they don't shoot. He orders me to be tied tighter. And there
I lie in a miserable stall and can't stir. And then comes some one
sneaking along, and whispers, 'Keep yourself quiet, Rothfuss.' And who
do you think it is? Our Ernst. And then we cried together, like little
children, and Ernst said, 'Keep yourself quiet! What I have been
through, couldn't be told in a thousand years. Now come with me!' And
for a long while there we were, creeping along the ground like frogs,
until we reached the horses, which were fastened outside. To unloose
them, spring upon them, and gallop away, took but a moment. The French
fired at us, but they didn't hit us, and away we went until we reached
our lines, and there Ernst said to me, 'You once passed for my brother
Ludwig; now do as much for me! Give me your clothes!'"

Rothfuss had to give him his blue blouse. Then Ernst transferred his
horse to him, and said, "Leave me now! we will soon meet again."

Rothfuss was about relating how he had found Martella, when she
entered. She had become very thin, but otherwise unchanged; was gayly
attired, and cried out as she perceived me: "Oh! father, happily met
again! To-day is Ernst's wedding-day, and my Sunday, my greatest
holiday, my ascension-day."

She offered no excuse for having run away; she made no mention of her
recent experiences, and as I could not avoid telling her what pain and
anxiety she had occasioned me, she exclaimed, "I know it better than
you can tell me; but indulge me for to-day: to-morrow, when I have
Ernst by the hand, we will set everything straight. He rescued Carl,
who would have bled to death, if he had not found him.

"Ernst carried him; yes, he is strong; he brought him all the way here.
His face, his hands, his clothes, were all full of blood. But that
doesn't hurt; it can all be washed off. Everything can be washed away
if one is sound within; and now everything, everything will be washed
away.

"Now I heard that Ernst had come to the regiment in which Carl was. He
introduced himself as a German with the name of Frohn." Martella added,
"That is the name of a comrade, who on the voyage threw himself in
despair into the sea."

Ernst had declared that he would not fight against his countrymen, but
with them against the French. What proofs of loyalty he was submitted
to have never been made known to me. He was uniformed and placed at a
post of danger, where a strict watch could be kept upon him. He
conducted himself bravely, and when Carl was struck, he rescued him at
the risk of his own life. But he was never recognized, and none but
Carl, Martella, and Rothfuss knew who he was.

They had, during the night, heard of my arrival, and Ernst had stood
guard before the house for hours. Martella had shown him the letter of
pardon; but he exclaimed that he wished no pardon, and would not
examine the letter.

Martella begged him to show himself to me. But he said, "I know of how
many nights of rest I have robbed my father; I will not now disturb his
slumbers, and will for the first time appear before him, and clasp his
knees, when by I have done something to show him what I am at heart.
When I come out of the battle, I will go to my father: then I can look
him in the face."

"Right, right," said Martella; "if you go into the fight with such
thoughts, you will surely come out of it safe and sound, and your
mother in heaven will stretch her hands in blessings over you."

"My mother in heaven? Is she dead?"

"Didn't you know it? Alas! already over three years; she died upon your
birth-day."

"On my birth-day!" He said this, and was then for a long time silent.
Then again he said, "I think I dare not kiss you again to-day."

"Your mother loved you to her latest breath, and she kissed me just
before she died."

"He sighed heavily and then kissed me," said Martella, "Only once
again; for the last time. No, not for the last time! he must live!"

Just as Ernst had again gone away, there came the order to march
immediately without baggage. The people never knew beforehand when
there was to be a battle; but such a command naturally gave rise to
anticipations of a fight.

As Martella turned away, while Ernst prepared for his departure, she
heard the voice of Rothfuss, who told the baker Lerz that his bays were
ruined, but that he had received two fine Burgundians in exchange.



                              CHAPTER XIV.


It was now highly important to find Ernst. We left the house before
day-break; Bertha was still sleeping.

I permitted Martella and Rothfuss to conduct me to the hospital in
which the Colonel was lying. I was scarcely conscious where I was, or
whither I was going; I felt as if there was a heavy burden upon my
shoulders, and could not help looking to the right and left, as if
something was threatening me. But I could endure it and could proceed
without assistance.

Rolunt seemed to have expected me. He said the Colonel was in about the
same condition, neither better nor worse. I bade him send one of the
female attendants to Bertha; I could not tell him who it was I sought.

When we left the house, my grandson, the vicar, approached me.
"Grandfather, I know all," said he, "but at such a time one can bear
manifold troubles. I also endure them; I have just come from my sad
duties at a deathbed."

I told him that we were seeking Ernst, and we thought he might be with
those with whom, just before the march, he had held a brief divine
service. We went with him. The day began to dawn.

The graceful figure of Martella seemed to hover in the gray twilight,
and as she turned and looked upon me, it seemed to me that the
extraordinary depth of the sockets of her eyes was greater than ever.
There was something sadly brilliant in her glance, and it seemed
directed to a distance.

Before the village, on a plain in front of a small hill, the regiments
were formed in deep squares, presenting masses that looked like church
walls.

We searched around. Martella went to the left, Rothfuss to the right.
They came back; they had not found Ernst, and yet he must be there.
Martella stood quietly near me; only once did she look up at me, and
her eye was piercingly brilliant. She folded her hands together
convulsively, apparently, also, to conceal her trepidation.

A chorale was performed by the band, in which all the troops present
joined, while the heavens reddened as the vicar, with steady steps,
descended the hill, and wended his way towards us. Every one held his
breath; perhaps Ernst is down there among them.

The vicar spoke with a clear voice. He had pleased by his written
words, but when he spoke, it was still better and more inspiring.

"See here!" he exclaimed. "I have come here without any Bible. Holy is
the Book of Revelation, thrice holy. With it the world has learned to
comprehend itself and God, and will gather instruction from it to all
eternity.

"I carry it in my heart, and from my heart I call out to you in the
words of the Apostle Paul (Romans xiv. 7): 'For none of us liveth to
himself, and no man dieth to himself.' That should be in your soul, in
your memory, should your soul be in a struggle, and, if it must be so,
in death. Thou art not for thyself in this world, and goest not for
thyself from this world. Thou art called, thou art mustered for the
great universal battle for the holy kingdom of the spirit, of honor, of
freedom, of unity.

"Just imagine, ye who have achieved the victory and must again win it,
how it would be if all these things were reversed.

"The spirit of darkness hovers in the air like millions of black
ravens, hiding the sun and blighting everything that hath life. Through
the streets of thy native villages rage the wild hordes of Asia, and
murder, robbery, outrage, and fire prevail everywhere.

"Thou who mournest thy brother, or thy fallen comrade, thou that liest
wounded, forget thy pain. Open thine eyes! Through thee, through thy
comrades, the light of the world is rescued: knowledge, justice,
decency, honor, integrity. I say it to you and you may say it to each
other; for thus has God willed it.

"And thou who still holdest the weapon in thy firm grasp, be of
cheerful heart! The saints hover over the banners that you shall
victoriously bring home; and when the bloody, cruel, terrible work is
done, then you will permit no other pride to possess you, than that you
were summoned to labor for the kingdom of freedom and unity, for the
kingdom of the spirit, in which there is no enemy to be conquered, but
in which each shall be a moving temple of the Holy Spirit. Keep
yourselves firm: for none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to
himself. Amen!"

A quiet prayer was offered up; then the regiments moved into column,
and the whole army set itself in motion.

The vicar came to me, and for a long while held me by the hand. We
uttered no word. Then he followed the army, and I went with Rothfuss
and Martella back to the hospital.



                              CHAPTER XV.


We met Annette, whose presence had greatly improved Bertha's spirits.

Annette took us into an out-of-the-way room, and there said, "I have
for a long time called you father from mere sentiment. You allowed me,
but now I dare to do so because it is my right."

She gave me a letter from Richard, from head quarters, and the letter
was addressed, "My beloved bride."

Annette kissed my trembling hands, and she kissed me again and again,
when I told her that my wife in her dying hour had called out, "Richard
will marry her after all."

Annette added that they did not intend to get married until peace was
concluded.

"Of course," said Bertha, as if addressing me, "you will understand
that we can give no expression to our joy just now."

Annette, indeed, did not permit us to linger long over this joyful
message. She said that her patients now claimed all her time, and only
while we were descending the steps, she once stopped and quietly
related to us how her old custom of pouring out her feelings with every
new experience had suddenly opened the hearts that had so long been as
if sealed towards each other. She had said to Richard, who recently
passed through here, "So long as men are well, they are all alike. When
they are wounded or sick, each one displays the traits that are
peculiar to him." Then Richard replied, "You speak from my mother's
soul;" and on that day they were betrothed.

"Now I no more need," said Annette, as we went on, "to chloroform my
soul with religion. I have learned to apply the real chloroform, and in
helping others we help ourselves also."

Annette invited us to go with her to the patients; she might thereby
make the tedious hours of watching more easy for Bertha. She first
conducted us to a handsome young man with a full, blond beard, whose
thigh had been fractured. Her mere appearance seemed to revive the sick
man.

It was a pathetic look with which he gazed upon her, and stretched his
thin hand towards her.

Annette introduced him to us as an artist of great repute, and,
assuming a merry tone of voice, she said, "He has painted me in other
colors. He does not like the dull and sombre black; indeed, the
silver-gray dress with the white apron is much more cheerful. And why
should we not be cheerful?"

The face of the young man brightened, and Annette bade Bertha to read
something to him. In going the rounds, she made us acquainted with a
wounded German officer, who never ceased heaping extravagant praises
upon his nurse. Annette bade me to come quickly to a man from my
village, for whom I could perhaps do something, and, with a trembling
voice, mentioned Carl's name to me.

We approached his bed. He gazed upon me with staring eyes, and cried,
in heart-rending tones, "Mother, mother!" I spoke to him; I asked him
if he knew me. But he continually exclaimed, "Mother, mother, mother!"

The surgeon came and bade us leave the patient. Then he said to
Annette, "Have a screen placed here. This young man may die at any
moment, and the others should neither see nor know of it."

Just as the screen was put in its place, the door opened, and a voice
was heard, "My child! my child! Carl! my child! Carl!"

"Mother, mother!" cried the wounded man, and he raised himself up, and
mother and son were folded in each other's arms. Then Carl cried out,
"Marie! you too! you too, there! Come!"

He then fell back.

The surgeon then approached and said, "He is extremely weak, and in a
critical condition!" Restoratives were applied and he opened his eyes.

After a while he said, "How did you know that I--"

"Be quiet! don't speak so much! Don't exert yourself too much. Your
eyes have already told me everything. And now, yes, it was the vicar,
Waldfried's grandson, who wrote me where you were."

"I am hungry. Give me something to eat!"

"I have brought you one of our hens; I brought it all the way from
home," said the old woman.

"I must eat, I must eat!" exclaimed Carl. His strength, wasted and
exhausted through loss of blood, appeared to return, and he seemed
rescued by the magic of love.

His mother ought to have left him, but she would not obey the surgeon.
She obeyed me, however. When she saw Bertha, she cried out, "My son,
my Carl, my child lives! Bertha! I tell you, your husband who lies
there--Bertha, your husband is saved too: he will be saved."

"Bertha!" We heard a call from the adjoining room; it was the voice of
the colonel.

Bertha almost swooned; I caught her in my arms. She collected herself
and hurried towards the door; it was closed. Annette called to us from
within, that we should wait quietly, for it was a critical moment.

What anxious moments were those, while we stood at the door listening
to the movements and groans within.

After a while, the surgeon hastily opened the door, and said, "Now go
away softly! There has been a hemorrhage, and the ball has come with
it. There is now a chance of his recovery, but I must insist on perfect
quiet!"

Bertha sank to the floor, while she placed her finger on her lips, and
motioned me to be silent. They say that we were only waiting a quarter
of an hour. But oh! how long it seemed! Then the surgeon opened the
door again, and, seeing Bertha on the floor, said, "You may go in now
and shake hands with the Colonel, but do not say anything to him, as he
is not allowed to speak for the present."

Bertha went in. She reached her hand to her husband. He moved his eyes
in recognition; then the surgeon motioned us to depart.

We went away. From afar, we could hear the rattle of musketry and the
roar of artillery, and the reports constantly became louder and more
frequent.



                              CHAPTER XVI.


Evening was approaching, when the surgeon sent us word that his patient
had been sleeping. He had awakened and asked for Bertha and me.

We went to him. He could only recognize us by glances, and a wonderful
smile overspread his features. He turned his eyes to the surgeon, who
understood him, and said, "Yes, your wife may sit here for a quarter of
an hour. But you must both be perfectly quiet."

And so we sat there speechless, and heard the din of battle gradually
cease; only occasional shots were now fired.

I was called to the front of the house. Martella and Rothfuss stood
before me. Martella, breathless, told me that Ernst's company had again
been in the fight, many were missing, and, among them, Ernst; he ought
to be hunted up.

Rothfuss desired that I should stay behind; but Martella exclaimed,
seizing my arm, "What do you mean? Father goes with us!"

She had made a wreath to take to Ernst, and she held it in her
trembling hands. She carried Ernst's prize-cup and a bottle of wine in
a basket on her arm.

We went through the village towards the hill. Four men approached with
a litter.

"Ernst! Ernst!" cried Martella.

The two men stopped, and one asked, "Who's there? Who calls?" It was
Ikwarte's voice.

"Set it down!" commanded the other. "Isn't that Martella?" It was
Wolfgang who spoke.

We stepped nearer. They carried a man who had been shot in the leg. The
man raised his head, and said, "That is his father." It was the son of
the owner of the saw-mill down in the valley. "He commissioned me to
carry his love to you. He made himself known to me."

"Where is he? Is he dead?"

"He must be lying up there. Oh! he has done great things."

"What has he done? Where is he?" anxiously inquired Martella. "Speak!
be quick! listen, father!"

The wounded man raised himself with difficulty and spoke:

"We stood within range of the enemy's batteries. Shot after shot tore
through our ranks. Many were falling. Everybody sheltered himself.
Ernst stood upright, and said in a clear voice, 'Stand firm! Face the
bullets! That's the way to be brave.' Finally, we advanced, when a
lieutenant was shot in the forehead; our sergeant stepped into his
place, and he also fell. Then Ernst took command, and marched along by
the drummer. Bang! then the drummer was shot. Ernst unloosened the drum
from his body, and drummed for us. He beat a powerful flourish, and
cried out, 'Give it to them!' Then there came a shell, and I lay on the
ground and saw nothing more. When I came to myself, I still heard
drumming. But all at once there was a report, a cry--and the drumming
ceased."

Martella tore up the wreath; but she quickly seized the grasses and
flowers and held them with a convulsive grasp.

"Away! away! we must find him!" she exclaimed. "We must find him! He is
living!"

Ikwarte and Wolfgang hastened with the wounded man into a neighboring
house. Not far off, a wagon stopped. They returned with it, and
Wolfgang and Martella sat in it with me. So we drove on through the
entire night. Ikwarte knew where the miller's son was sheltered. We
were silent; only Martella murmured to herself, "Keep up, Ernst; keep
up! We are coming! Oh! mother in heaven, look down upon him!"

We were obliged to get out--the road crossed the fields. I went a
little distance, but could go no farther. Both of the faithful servants
begged that Wolfgang would stay with me. We sat down by the roadside,
and noticed a moving object quite near us. It was a wounded horse, that
raised its head, and then, with a rattle in its throat, fell back dead.

We heard Martella, across the field, calling, "Ernst! Ernst! my Ernst!
where are you! Ernst! we are here, your father and I!" Then we heard
nothing more.

A chill seized me. The ground was damp, and Wolfgang insisted that I
should sit upon the dead horse, whose body was still warm. We quietly
waited. In the heavens the clouds were scudding by, and here and there
the stars sparkled. In the village a clock commenced striking. Wolfgang
counted aloud: it struck eleven.

Now some one approached; my name was called. It was Ikwarte.

"We have found him," he joyfully exclaimed. "Come quickly!"

"Is he living?"

"Yes."

Accompanied by Ikwarte and Wolfgang, I went along. Oh! I cannot tell
the horrors I then saw and heard.

"There, by the torch, there he is!"

My knees shook under me. Then a man came again towards us, and cried
out, "Grandfather, come! There is yet time!"

It was my grandson, the vicar. We reached the place. There lay Martella
on the ground bending over a figure. Rothfuss stood by her with the
torch, and Martella cried, "Ernst, wake up! Your father is here!"

I kneeled down by him. I saw his face. His eyes were closed, but his
breast rose and fell quickly.

"Ernst! my beloved child! my long-lost child! Ernst! your father calls
you! Your mother calls you from eternity! Ernst, you shall live! you
have repented; you have atoned! Ernst, Ernst! my son, my son!"

He opened his eyes and moved his hand towards me. I seized it; it was
stiff.

"Father, forgive!" he moaned. "Martella, pardon! Oh! mother--father!"

He breathed his last breath. I just saw Martella throw herself upon
him, with an agonizing cry; then I saw and heard nothing more.



                              BOOK SIXTH.



                               CHAPTER I.


"Stand firm! Face the bullets!" With these words, Ernst had encouraged
his men to the last. My own experience illustrated them.

For a considerable time, I did not know what had happened, either to me
or to those about me. I only knew that I lay behind a white curtain
with blue flowers, and could not keep my eyes open for any length of
time. The flowers assumed all sorts of odd shapes, and the fantastic
figures seemed to be ever changing and rushing towards me.

I think I was not really sick, only inexpressibly weak; and the fatigue
and exhaustion prevented me from directing my thoughts at will. I was
childishly grateful for everything. I looked at the wood in the door
and rejoiced that it was firm; I heard the fire in the stove and was
delighted that it warmed me; I was grateful to the bed that supported
me, so that I did not need to do it myself.

I remember that Bertha and Annette would occasionally visit me; but my
grandson Wolfgang stayed with me nearly all the time. Through the
hardships of war and constant exposure, Wolfgang had almost ripened
into manhood. He had become stronger and stouter than of old, and his
voice was now more manly.

"I am so glad, grandfather, to hear you call me by my own name again;
you always used to call me Ernst," said Wolfgang one day, and from that
hour I felt that the heavy clouds were slowly clearing away; and when
they had disappeared, I saw everything around me distinctly, and by
degrees I remembered what had happened.

"Is Ernst--buried?"

"Yes, grandfather."

I now asked Wolfgang to inform me what had occurred while I was
unconscious, and what had become of Martella.

"Grandfather," said Wolfgang, "I must tell you the truth. Martella is
no longer separated from Ernst. She has reached the goal."

I felt as if the clouds were again gathering before my eyes, but,
through the mists, I met Gustava's lustrous eyes, saying, "She was true
till death."

Wolfgang took my hand in his, and the youth's firm grasp gave me
renewed strength. I begged him to tell me all, and he began:

"We brought you down to Aunt Annette, who, foreboding evil, had met us
half-way. It then suddenly occurred to us that in our dreadful
excitement and anxiety about you, no one had taken care of Martella,
and that she had not followed us. Rothfuss said he was completely worn
out, and must stay with his master. Ikwarte has nerves and muscles of
steel. I felt as if my eyes burnt in their sockets; never before
had I been so tired; but I returned with him, nevertheless, to the
battle-field, half dead with sleep and fatigue." Wolfgang shivered,
stopped awhile, and then continued: "We knew the place where Ernst lay,
and soon found him. The moon lit up his face wonderfully. Beside him
lay Martella, motionless; she clung to him in a close embrace, cheek to
cheek, hand in hand. Is she dead, too? It were best! I bent down to
her; she breathed heavily. I called her name. How she stared at me
wildly and vacantly! Then she motioned us to be quiet, and whispered,
'He will soon be warm again; soon, very soon.' I tried to persuade her
to follow us; she answered, 'O Wolfgang! you are so good; bring some
wild honey. Oh, wait, Ernst! your nephew is coming with wild honey, and
here I have your cup, your hunting cup.' I tried to persuade her, and
she answered, 'Oh, you have mother's voice. Mother, tell him, oh, tell
him to rise again.' She threw herself beside the corpse, and when I
cried, 'Martella, get up; come with us,' she answered, 'You see he
cannot move now, but I will follow you; you have my mother's voice.'
She did not then seem to remember the dead. She went with me and let me
lead her by the hand; but suddenly she tore away and returned, crying,
'They leave him lying alone on the cold ground, in the dark night.'

"She broke down. We tried to administer some restorative, but her mouth
was firmly closed, and her breast was heaving violently. At last
Ikwarte succeeded in administering the draught. We brought her to a
ruined house in the vicinity. The doors had all been taken off--I had
helped at the work myself; they had done service as litters.

"We placed Martella on a seat by the hearth, and I succeeded in
gathering some wood and starting a fire. 'Oh, how good! Oh, how warm!'
said she to the flickering flames. Her teeth chattered. We hoped that,
after she was well warmed, she would be able to go farther with us. She
sat there quietly, her elbows resting on her knees, her face covered
with both her hands.

"'Wolfgang, keep me with you,' she said suddenly. 'Be good to me; you
are his brother's child; keep me with you--do not leave me. Tell me how
many years it is since he died? O Ernst, you are so happy that I cannot
weep. Why are you glad? Oh, if I could but weep! You have been away so
long, and why do you not return? What shall I do in this world without
you! Mother, Ernst is with you; you do not need him; send him to me--he
is mine. I have nothing more in this world. My dog is dead, too. My
little red stockings--oh, I was so happy. Martella is lost. Hunt for
her in the woods where the wild honey grows. Do you hear the cuckoo?
Cuckoo!'

"She stared vacantly into the flames; then she cried: 'My eyes burn
like fire! I cannot weep. O Ernst! Ernst!'

"She tore the satchel from her girdle, tore the letter of pardon into
fragments, and cried: 'Everything shall burn just as my eyes do. Come
here, your Highness, and see how your handwriting burns.'

"Dawn was breaking. Through the open door, we saw some men approaching
with a litter.

"'Here is Herr Rautenkron,' said Ikwarte. Martella rushed out and saw
the men carrying Ernst's body. She rushed towards them, sank beside the
litter and cried: 'My Ernst! You are not dead!'

"A fearful shriek, which rang out far over the barren fields, was
forced from her tortured breast. She clasped her hand to her heart
while a flood of tears streamed over her cheeks. Suddenly she broke
down and sank on the body of Ernst. A physician, who had come with the
men, laid his hand on her heart. It was still: he listened for her
breathing; it had ceased.

"'My child! my child!' cried Rautenkron; she heard nothing more."

So ended Wolfgang's story. His firm hand clasped mine, and I felt as if
that alone held me there among the living.

"And what became of Rautenkron?" I was able to ask after a long
interval.

"He had suddenly become an old man, with hollow cheeks and lustreless
eyes. He sat on the ground, stared at the corpse, and did not speak a
word. It rained in torrents. Every one endeavored to induce Rautenkron
to seek the shelter of the hut, but he did not answer. At last he
arose, pulled the hood of his cloak over his head, lit a cigar, and
said to me, 'Stay here; I shall come back presently.' After a while, he
returned with axe and spade. Alone, he dug the grave in which Ernst and
Martella were laid."

Wolfgang paused, and I remembered the sacred verses from the lament of
David for Jonathan:

                 "In death they were not divided."

"Where is Rautenkron?" I asked at last.

"When the grave was filled up, he disappeared. Later, we learned his
fate. You remember that our men had taken the city near by and occupied
it; but the French had so strengthened the castle which commanded it,
that it seemed impossible to drive them out. Rautenkron volunteered to
discover the mines which doubtless were under it. No one knows how he
gained an entrance, but on the following day the powder-magazines in
the cellars of the castle exploded and destroyed part of the castle,
which was then stormed. Great numbers of the enemy were killed. Careful
search was made for Rautenkron, but no trace of him was discovered, and
as, up to this time, nothing has been heard of him, it seems sure that
he was buried beneath the ruins."



                              CHAPTER II.


Bertha informed me that the Colonel was out of danger, and was staying
in the city during his convalescence. The physician thought he would be
able to lead his regiment within a few weeks. The old spinner had
returned homewards with Carl. He had been taken to the hospital of our
capital.

"And Anton, of the saw-mill--is he dead?"

"Father, I am telling you the whole truth; but I beg of you, do not
seek to learn all these things to-day. Take care of yourself, for our
sakes."

I was soon again able to be up, and Bertha could not say enough in
praise of the kindness and sympathy of the French people, in whose
house I lay.

The housewife now wanted to speak to me, too.

She came, and was quite delighted to receive my heartfelt thanks.

A few days later, I was permitted to visit the Colonel, and the first
words he uttered were, "Bertha, now I firmly believe in my recovery.
You wear your hair in curls again."

He informed me that he had considered it an ill omen, when Bertha had
worn her hair plain. Now that he was out of danger, the curls and
happiness were back again.

Then he recounted everything, from the first moment of his being
wounded, when he seemed to realize what death is. It seemed like a
stroke of lightning; then all was night and utter darkness. His
adjutant stepped to his couch, grasped his hand, kissed it, and wept
over it. He felt the kisses and the tears, but was unable to give a
sign of consciousness, either by a pressure of the hand or by a word;
within him, all was life, like a subterranean stream.

I did not long have the pleasure of listening to the reminiscences of
the convalescent Colonel. I longed to return home. When the next train
started for Germany, it was in charge of Professor Rolunt, who had
nursed the Colonel like a brother; they yielded to my entreaties, and,
in a well-heated car, I journeyed homewards.

Wolfgang accompanied me to the State capital, and then, in company with
Christiane, returned with a load of medicines and delicacies to the
theatre of war.

I felt as if I could not get thoroughly well again except at home, and
so it proved. When I inhaled the air of our forest-covered mountains,
it gave me new life.

The Privy Councillor's wife insisted on my resting at her house for a
few days, and by the careful nursing of our physician as well as his
confident manner, which of itself was a remedy, I soon gained fresh
vigor. It did me good to hear Lady Von Rontheim entwine the memories of
our fallen sons. She informed me, briefly and clearly, of what had
happened during my illness; for now, when I could again read and
understand the papers, I noticed many lapses in my knowledge of events.

While I was living in the little town, Ludwig came. I did not
comprehend how I could have omitted to inquire about him; and now he
brought with him a refreshing breeze from another hemisphere. As he had
previously informed me by letter, he had journeyed to England and then
to America, to prevent shipments of arms for the French. He had not had
much success, although he offered, through the newspapers, a large
reward for any information regarding such shipments.

I felt pained when he said, "We Germans have no friends abroad, because
we have not hitherto presented to the world an imposing front. During
the last half-century, the German nation was like a man who has the
consciousness of honest intentions, and who counts on the recognition
of them by others. But neither an individual nor a people obtains
recognition gratuitously. They must wrest it from the world; and the
best and the easiest way is not to wait for it, but to put your
shoulder to the wheel. Now the nations speak in another key; but they
would all have rejoiced if the brilliant Frenchman had overpowered us."

This pained me, and I did not wish to believe it. Ludwig proved to me
that, in England and America, some of the more far-sighted favored our
cause, and that the governments could have easily prevented the
shipment of arms and much useless carnage, had they seriously desired
it. He considered it infinitely better that we did not need to ask, as
we had hitherto done, "What do other nations think of us? How are they
inclined towards us?" but that in future others would have to ask,
"What do the Germans think of us? How are they inclined?" Ludwig, while
abroad, had, with delight, perceived the general curiosity and
amazement, in regard to the newly discovered wonder-land--Germany. He
declared that we had no idea of the effect our wonderful achievements
had had upon the people of all lands. He had everywhere announced the
German Emperor, before he even was proclaimed at home.

We at home scarcely know how much we have gained in the esteem of
others, and how gigantically our future looms up before the eyes of
astonished mankind. They see a thousand different effects flow from
this new birth; and I believe they are in the right.

Conny came to town, and, with her and Ludwig, I returned home.



                              CHAPTER III.


When I rode along the forest road, I saw Gaudens at his work. He wore a
soldier-cap, and whistled "Die Wacht am Rhein," while clearing up the
ditch beside the footpath.

The valley stream was frozen tight, the trees were heavily laden with
snow. Ludwig reported that he had purchased machines in America and
England for our mill. With the aid of these, the winter would, in
future, not prevent operations. Finished work could be set up, except
when the orders were to ship the articles in separate parts. It seemed
as if he contemplated remaining with us, as he had settled up much of
his business in America. Besides, on his way home, he had taken some
large contracts from building associations. When I expressed surprise
at the varied fields of his activity, he said, "Father, I have
remembered this from what I have learned of music; you may play a
different air with each hand, and still both must be in harmony. My
right hand plays the melody 'personal advantage,' my left, the melody
'public weal;' sometimes they change about, too. I have built
water-works, that were for the good of many; but they were good for me,
too, and I do not think that without this I would have built them so
cheerfully. Just now a great mania for building prevails among the
people, and we shall be able to give employment to many good laborers
who have been driven out of France."

We came to the saw-mill near the bridge. Here, on the same day that the
news arrived of Anton's death, a workman had lost three of his ringers
by the circular saw. Ludwig went to the man and engaged him as sorter
of the different kinds of timber.

The saw-mill was stopped, and all the shutters were closed. Here we met
Joseph, who informed us that since the death of his son, the owner of
the mill had lost all energy and pleasure in his business. He had
removed to a daughter of his in the opposite valley, and wanted to sell
the property. "You must buy this, and work for us," cried Ludwig.

Joseph answered sadly that he could not; he said he was in danger of
losing everything. He had invested almost his entire property in wood
in the Hagenau forest, and if Bourbaki and his army should force their
way through, all would be lost over there as well as here.

These were certainly very gloomy prospects, and we could not get any
comfort at home; we daily expected the advance of Bourbaki's army, and
it was said that preparations were being made to lay the whole country
waste.

My sister wrote that in Alsace it was the general belief that there
would now be a change. Bourbaki would strike down Germany. Her husband
had hung up the pictures and epaulettes again; but with this proviso,
that if the French would not deliver them this time, he would have
nothing further to do with them, and would become a forester in
Germany.

Bertha had returned to the capital, and wrote that the Colonel, with
whom Rothfuss had remained, was again at the head of his regiment in
the division that opposed Bourbaki's advance towards the Rhine.

At home, I found another cause for deep emotion; it was a letter for me
from Ernst. It had been forwarded from the field by the army post. The
paper showed the traces of many tears. I was so much overcome, every
time I read the letter, that my children took it away from me; but I
asked them to return it, and here it is:


"DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER:--See me prostrate at your feet; what I desired
to do a thousand times, and again and again postponed, I must now
finish.

"I know that, both for you and for me, my deeds have filled many days
and nights--nay, whole years--with sadness. I cannot express in words
what I have thought and felt while on the march in the hot sun, or at
night when I looked up to the stars that shone also on my paternal
home. And, oh! how, when on the march and parched with thirst, I longed
for a drop of water from our fountain. I write with burning tears, but
they cannot blot out the past, nor recall a single wasted hour. Lost!
lost! I repent, I suffer deeply. You often told me, mother, 'You must
curb your spirit.' I could not succeed in my peaceful home, although I
had so many to help me you, father, Martella, my brothers and sisters.
From afar, the sound of ardent prayer swells into an eager wail for
redemption. I have wasted all. Am I a sacrifice to my country's misery?
And now comes the most dreadful consequence of my misdeeds. We have
received orders to take ship to fight against Germany. No, not against
Germany. The old misery is here again with redoubled force. An officer
has confided to me, that several of the lesser German states had called
upon France to release them from the tyranny of Prussia.

"I had loaded my gun and pointed it at my head, but, thinking of you, I
fired into the air.

"Is it my guilt, or am I but a drop in the stream that overflows its
bed?

"O my parents! He who leaves his country is suspended in mid-air, and
has no ground to stand upon. It is well that the end is near; but I
wish you to know that my soul is with you at home. At this moment, I
feel your hands on my head, blessing me.

"May Martella remain forever true! I can say nothing to her. Oh,
Richard was in the right. How dared I, who was nothing for myself, bind
another life to mine?

"I thank you a thousand times for all the kindness, all the love you
bestowed upon me who am unworthy of it, and upon Martella who deserves
it.

"I beg forgiveness of my brothers and sisters for the wrongs I have
done them.

"Do not mourn for me; I shall find the way to atonement. Console and
comfort yourselves with the thought of one who will remember you till
death.

                                                    "ERNST."



                              CHAPTER IV.


"Father, I did not hitherto wish to speak of it, but now I must tell
you," said Ludwig, one day.

"For God's sake, what can have happened?"

"Nothing bad, quite the contrary; I am resolved to remain here. I did
not wish to tell you until peace was restored, but I think that this is
the time when the news will do you most good."

I deemed it my duty to advise him to delay before making up his mind,
but he replied, "I have considered everything. Whatever a man may
achieve in this world, be it ever so great or important, if he has not
done his whole duty to his parents, all else is vain. I remain with
you, and to public duties I will devote as much of my life as can be
spared from you."

Thus spoke my son, whose roving life in America we thought had made him
harsh and cold.

I inquired whether he had already consulted his wife. He replied that
there was no doubt of her consent, because she would simply and gladly
consent as soon as he should tell her that it was for the best.

Conny at once consented. She mentioned that her father had always
prophesied that she would some time return to Europe. She now felt
particularly happy, because, if it should turn out that a German
confederation with an emperor at its head would be established, the
ideal of her father's life, and for the sake of which he went into
exile, would be realized.

While our eyes were wandering from the warlike past to a peaceful
future, we were thrilled over and over again by the thought that our
army stood like a gigantic wall in the path of the advancing Bourbaki.

Ludwig told me that, in connection with some friends, he intended to
start a new building association for the public benefit. He had found
the starting point with some former friends from the gymnasium. Their
object was to locate some grand industrial establishments in the
country, in order to avert the threatened overcrowding of the large
cities, by giving profitable employment to the dwellers in the rural
districts. He intended to transfer his mill to the company, and also to
enlarge it.

Martha, who had remained with her mother in the city, sent us a letter
from Julius. He wrote about the great sortie from Paris, and what heavy
sacrifices it had cost us. He was very happy to have been able to give
proofs of his valor, and he had received the Iron Cross of the first
class on the field of battle.

Madam Von Rontheim begged me to hold myself in readiness to return to
the city within a few days.

It was towards evening when the sounds of great rejoicing were heard in
the village. All flocked together, and we heard loud cries, "Rothfuss
is here again!" Rothfuss came with two horses harnessed to his vehicle,
and two following in the rear.

"I bring four captured Frenchmen," he cried: "I have bought them
honestly. Of course I paid only for their hides. They are not much more
than skin and bone anyway, but in a week I shall feed four new horses
into their skins. When they taste the fodder from our mountain forests,
they will think, 'What a fine country Germany is; there they feed
horses on sweet herbs.'"

Rothfuss also brought the great news that our German troops had pushed
Bourbaki and his men to the wall; just as might have been done in a
tavern fight.

We did not quite understand what he really meant. Then Joseph brought
the newspaper. Alsace was free; and his joy over the victory was
enhanced by the certainty that his timber in the Hagenau forest was now
all safe.

We read about the three days' battle before Belfort; and as long as
valor and endurance are remembered, history will have a glorious page
to unfold there.

My daughter Johanna came down to enjoy a few days' rest with us. In
spite of the great hardships she had undergone, she had become
stronger, and looked more cheerful. She wanted to deliver her good news
in person. Her daughter had become engaged to a man who had lost his
right arm. Christiane had nursed him faithfully, and fallen in love
with him, and Johanna is right in saying, "She will always love him the
more because of her having to take care of him; she is just the wife
for an invalid."

On the very next day, we had a triumphal entry in our village. Carl was
well again, but carried his left arm in a sling. Rothfuss harnessed his
four "Bourbakis" (they were lean as yet, but lively) and drove Carl and
his mother, four-in-hand. Down at the saw-mill, Marie mounted beside
Carl and rode along into the village.

Rothfuss stopped before the house of the meadow-farmer. Nobody was to
be seen there, but all cried, "Hurrah for the meadow-farmer!"

"You must say the old farmer," commanded Rothfuss, "because Carl is now
the young meadow farmer. Come out, old fellow; Napoleon had to
abdicate, too. Give up your flail to Carl, the conqueror."

At last the door opened. The old meadow farmer came out and welcomed
Carl. It seemed as if the cheering would never end. Carl becomes the
meadow farmer! After this everything is possible.

"Have you any news of my faithful nurse, the Captain's wife?" asked
Carl, when he entered our room; and the old woman, who had not heard a
word, also asked, "How is the worthy lady?"

Just then, as it happened, a letter arrived from her.



                               CHAPTER V.


Annette wrote:

"What happiness it is to write to you! This is the first time that I
address you as your real and true daughter. Do you remember how ill you
took it when I once called you Patriarch? You were right, because
bandying sharp speeches was a great fault of mine. Too much of the
intellectual was my misfortune and that of all of us. Now I am nothing
but a quiet ant, crawling up a tree and bearing my tiny mite; to be one
ant amongst a thousand is now my only ambition. I do not wish to be
anything for myself. I must give you an extract from Richard's letter.
What is dearest and most beautiful in it, I cannot, of course, repeat
to you. He writes:


"'Hitherto, our happiness consisted in the general belief that every
one was a nobody, unless he was something quite apart, because the
people as a whole were held in but little esteem. Germany was like the
educated Jew, who is always intent on hearing from others, "How do they
regard me?" "What do they think of me?" You yourself,'--but here he
begins praising me--enough of that.

"'It gave me great pleasure to have Johanna with us in the hospital for
a few days, which enabled us, by working together, to gain a better
appreciation of each other. She has gathered experience and insight
from other sources than myself, and she insists that nature is better
than what we call principle. We can afford to let the latter pass, here
and there. She acknowledges that unbelievers, as she calls us, are
capable of virtuous actions. This war has taught all of us not to ask
for dogmas, but for deeds.

"'I am scarcely able to-day, to write a letter in my own name. It was
general mail-day, and I sat for hours at the bedside of the sick,
writing word for word as they dictated. I am glad to have learnt enough
French to be able to write for the officer whom you may remember. How
manifold are the relations of life with which I have become
familiarized! There is much wonderful beauty hidden in the world, and
every people and every station in life has its share.

"'I had to add postscripts to two letters announcing the death of those
in whose name they were written. One was the son of honored parents,
and the other was himself the head of a family, and leaves four
children.

"'_Midnight_.--I could not write further. Now all is hushed; and I do
not wish to sleep before fulfilling my duty towards you. I find it
hateful, when in full health, to say, "I cannot," and, therefore,
continue writing. I feel as if mother were sitting beside me and
saying, "Tell my husband everything. The best remedy against fear is to
know the whole truth." But I must inform you about Martella.

"'_The next day_.--Last night, while I was writing the last sentence,
Wolfgang came. He informed me that he had told you all. I may then
speak of ourselves again.'

"Richard has written me: 'Remember that you once told me you would go
through the wide world with me. That may now come to pass. Through
varied labors which have given entire satisfaction, I have received an
offer of employment in the foreign service, and it may happen that we
shall have to begin our married life in the new world. I leave my quiet
study, or rather I shall not return to it. I may be able to influence
the living present, and you, my good and lovely wife, shall win
admiration and respect in the highest circles. I am proud to place you
in life's highest stations, and for this reason I joyfully surrender my
solitary, peaceful studies and long-cherished plans of scientific
investigation.'

"How I replied to Richard you will see by these lines, which I copy for
you without conventional modesty; they are from a second letter, in
answer to mine:


"'A thousand times, I kiss your hands and press you to my heart. You
are my good genius. Pardon every unpleasant thought which, in the
erring past, I may have harbored against you. Even then, despite
myself, my mother knew you better than I did; her blessing rests upon
your head. You have liberated me and brought me back to myself; I
receive all willingly from your hands.

"'How clever and how pointed are your accounts of the nothings of
diplomatic life which you noticed in Paris at the house of your
sister-in-law, the wife of our ambassador.

"'Pardon me that I was just a little jealous of the title of nobility,
and that I thought you might regret having to change it for a plain
civilian name. I thank you for scolding me so merrily about it; but I
reproach myself very seriously that I could entertain such a thought
for a single instant.

"'How much you are in the right! I dare not abandon my innermost
convictions. Your Christian admonition has gone right to my heart: yes,
I would have been doing violence to my soul.

"'Now all is bright and free within and around me. It is settled. I
shall keep on the straight line marked out for me; I am born and bred a
man of letters. _You_ see clearly what I could not confess to you or
myself. For your sake the glitter of life allured, and attracted me. I
fondly imagined your queenly form moving among those the world call
noblest; but you, my lovely wife, are greater, purer, and freer than I
am. You do not wish to shine; you will live for me, and I am to live
for my ideal. It is decided; I am fortified against all temptation. I
shall remain true to my calling, to you, and to myself.'

                           *   *   *   *   *

"I have told you all. I hope the time is not far off when this horrible
war, this killing and dying, will be but as a shadowy dream in our
memories. There must be peace at last, and peace will bring home to you

                                   "Your happy daughter,

                                               "ANNETTE."



                              CHAPTER VI.


The very same day, a messenger arrived from the Counciller's wife, to
call me, and I drove to the city with Joseph and Ludwig. From afar, we
heard the booming of cannon, and at the new saw-mill the lumber
merchant Schwarzenberg, an ever-faithful patriot, told me: "We have an
Emperor; he has been proclaimed at Versailles." This was as it should
be. Our great achievements in war were consecrated by the establishment
of the German Empire.

Ludwig was dissatisfied because the celebration was held on a Prussian
anniversary. He had to acknowledge, however, that the history of
Prussia now glided into that of Germany, and that it was not improper
thus to exalt a family festival.

O fortunate posterity! you can never know or appreciate our feelings
during those days. We had long cherished these aspirations for our
country, for a United Germany; the less we could hope for their
realization, the deeper they lay in our hearts. Patriotism was like
religious martrydom. Our country did not return our love. On the
contrary, it was requited by hate and persecution from those high in
station, and by neglect and ridicule from the lowly. And, in spite of
all, for more than fifty years we stood firm and true, without hope of
reward.

In the city, the bells were ringing and all the houses were decorated
with flags. The Councillor's wife received us on the stairs and said,
"Welcome, great-grandfather! Martha has given birth to a son."

How can I express the emotions that filled my heart! My country
united under a powerful, victorious chief, and on the same day a
great-grandchild born to me. How can I deserve such unspeakable bliss!

I was allowed to speak to Martha for a minute, and to take my
great-grandson in my arms. He opened his eyes, and Martha cried, "He
has his grandmother's eyes. When at Strasburg, Julius asked that his
name should be Erwin."

The Councillor's wife ordered her to be quiet, adding: "You can now be
perfectly happy; the conflict is over, and your husband returns full of
honors. You are blessed indeed, and we are blessed through you. Sleep
now; when you really want to sleep, you can do so."

I had to leave the room; and, after a while, the new grandmother came
to tell me that Martha was sleeping quietly.

I remained in the city. The grandfather came for a day, and told me
that he agreed with Julius, who, as he had so greatly distinguished
himself, wished to remain in the military service.

My eyes have looked upon the third generation; I was also to see the
dream of my youth realized in the establishment of the German Empire,
and my family had fairly done their share towards it. But our joys are
never unalloyed. No tree in the forest has an uninterrupted growth. A
raven comes, rests on its top, and bends and blights the tender
sapling.

Yes, a raven of misfortune came. A letter from Annette reported, in a
few hasty words, that Richard had disappeared, and that he had probably
fallen into the hands of the _franc tireurs_. There was still some hope
of his life. She had started out with Wolfgang to hunt him up.
Wolfgang, being an American citizen, could get through the lines. She
asked us to move heaven and earth to save Richard. In a postscript, she
reminded me of the wounded French officer whom she was nursing when I
searched for the Colonel. How wonderful! every good deed meets its
reward. The officer had given her a pass, from which she promised
herself the best results.

Ludwig was not for a moment alarmed by the danger into which his only
son had ventured. He had full confidence in Wolfgang's discretion, and
his words were full of assurance that he would not be found wanting.

I believe that this confidence was genuine, but I also believe that he
tried, for my sake, to mitigate the shock which the news about Richard
had given me.

It puzzled me how Richard, who did not belong to the combatants, could
be captured by the enemy; but Ludwig stopped all brooding over it by
saying: "Father, will you accompany me to the capital? I wish to see
our ambassador; he must give me all possible assistance."

In the capital, all the bells were ringing, and at the railroad station
"extras" were announced with the Emperor's proclamation. In the midst
of a group of people in the street stood a man reading the words of the
Emperor. I knew him; it was Loedinger. His voice trembled; and when he
had finished, and the joyful crowd marched through the streets, he saw
me and embraced me heartily.

"What have we lived to see?" he cried. "Now we can die in peace. But
what is the matter with you? Why do you not cheer with us?"

I told him, in a few words, of the capture of my son, and the worst
fears which it justified.

Ludwig went at once to his ambassador, and I to the palace to see the
Prince, who would doubtless use his influence for the rescue of my son.
In the palace, there was great commotion. They said that no message
could be taken to the Prince now, as he was presiding at a session of
the Privy Council. I had to wait a long while. In the streets, the
rejoicing went on; it could be faintly heard from afar. The whole city
was illuminated.

At last I was told that the Prince could not see me today; I must leave
my petition with the chief of the Cabinet. He was a relative of my
son-in-law, and was favorably inclined towards me. He said that from
there no effective steps could be taken; that it was the business of
the Imperial government, and that I should address myself to the
Prussian ambassador, to whom he gave me a few lines. I felt like a
beggar who is sent from house to house.

At the Prussian Embassy, I was informed that the American Minister was
attending a conference, and that there was a stranger with him.

I was called in, and found Ludwig with the two ambassadors. All
necessary steps had already been agreed upon, and dispatches were at
once forwarded to Versailles.

We drove to the station in the American Minister's coach, and Ludwig
started for France, at once.

I went to Bertha, and, in spite of the new trouble that poured in upon
me, I felt somewhat relieved when with my daughter and her children.
Victor looked splendidly in his cadet uniform. Bertha met me with
outstretched arms, saying, "Father, we shall soon have peace, and he is
now almost a general."

It was not the least part of my sorrow that I had to inform Bertha of
our deep anxiety for Richard. In the gladness of her heart, she
ascribed it all to the exaggerated fears of Annette. The human heart is
selfish; in moments of great happiness it wants to hear nothing of the
sorrows of others, and refuses to believe them.

I was compelled to mar the joy of the proud, loving wife; and when
Bertha too was filled with alarm, she pitied Annette even more than her
brother. She thought it particularly hard that Annette, who was so good
and self-sacrificing, should again and again be overwhelmed with
sorrow. She believed that Richard had loved Annette before the death of
her husband, and that his repentance and severity towards himself
caused him to be so bitter to her. He struggled with his love for the
woman on whom his eyes had rested with admiration at a time when such
admiration was sinful.

On the other hand her natural good humor and buoyancy of spirits made
her confident that Richard would surely soon be saved. Richard always
was a lucky fellow. She remembered, from childhood, that once while I
was coming down the river on a raft with my raftsmen, Richard stood on
shore, and, crying "Father!" rushed out into the stream till the water
came up to his chin. Balbina ran to the rescue, and, when he was safely
ashore he laughed heartily. He had not been conscious of danger or
fear.

While Bertha recalled all this, I became more tranquil, and when she
expressed her confident hope that we would not live to see another war,
I heartily agreed with her.



                              CHAPTER VII.


It was well that I had come up to the capital, for Parliament had been
convoked, in order to consider the new constitution, or rather, the
question of giving in our adhesion to the North German Confederation.

I scarcely heard the speeches, and did not have the strength to take
the floor myself.

When a vote was at last reached, it went hard with me to vote "aye." In
spite of my joy that there was now a United Germany, I had labored too
long for the establishment of German landed rights, to content myself
without their being embodied in laws.

I was deeply moved by a remark of my old and faithful colleague,
Loedinger: "I fear that in the new German constitution, it will only be
too evident that the movement which brought it about, was not initiated
by the people."

We heard from Annette and Wolfgang, who wrote that they had at last
obtained a clue to aid them in the search for Richard. He had, for a
long time, been dragged about the country, and had then been sent to
the Isles d'Hyéres.

Now, for the first time, I learned the details of his capture. Richard
had crossed our lines into the enemy's country, being tempted to do so
by a desire to investigate certain points of local history. He was
arrested by the _franc tireurs_, who took him for a spy and wanted to
shoot him. It was only through the interference of a man who was able
to read Richard's journal that he was saved from instant death.

This was all they had been able to discover, up to the arrival of
Ludwig, who sent Wolfgang home, and continued the search with Annette.

They were often led astray, and shown prisoners whom they did not know.
They would have liked to console and encourage them by the news of the
progress of our victorious armies and the certainty of a speedy peace,
but they dared not risk it.

Ludwig added to his letter minute directions concerning the mill.

We were now perfectly safe in pushing the enterprise forward, as
Bourbaki's forces had been driven into Switzerland and disarmed.

I could not content myself at the capital, and journeyed homewards. On
the way, I met Baron Arven, who had returned from the field seriously
ill, and who hoped to regain his health at home. I accompanied him, and
found some pleasure in bearing him company in his deserted mansion--his
wife was in Rome, both his sons still in the field. "I shall die at
home after all," was his invariable answer whenever we attempted to
console him. Our excellent physician prepared me for the worst. I was
with Arven in his last hour, and was present when his remains were
deposited in the family vault.

Joseph came to take me home.

In war times, one's feelings at last become familiarized with death
scenes.

I soon again was called upon to take a part in public life.

The election campaign opened. Remminger, who had returned from the
field to get cured of severe rheumatism, brought me the paper which
represented our party. In it, he was recommended as delegate to the
Reichstag from our district, as a man of merit, and of experience in
military matters. I did not begrudge him the honor, nor the office. It
gave his life a greater value, though I did not know that he ever took
any part in political matters, or even showed any desire in that
direction.

I thought it remarkable that in the article, particular stress was laid
on the fact, that he was a friend and former comrade of my son-in-law,
who had so greatly distinguished himself in the three days' battle
against Bourbaki.

What motive could there have been for referring to that fact? However,
if it could be of any use to the man, I was content.

He asked me whether I had had any hand in the publication of the
article. He had never thought of taking part in politics, but if the
place were offered him, he would not shirk the duty. I heard that the
article was supposed to have emanated either from Joseph or myself.

We inquired at the office, and were informed that the nomination had
been sent in with the stamp of our nearest post-office, and with a
rather indistinct signature, which might well be Joseph's.

Joseph asserted that Funk was the author. I did not believe it, because
the entire article did not contain a single superlative. He never
could, even while writing, restrain his peculiar talent for screaming.

Great thoughts stirred the hearts of men, but littleness, cunning, and
mischief-making had not ceased either. But what matters it? A tree
grows all the same, whether ants and beetles crawl upon it or not.

A second article shortly afterward appeared in the country papers, in
which it was said that military despotism had unmasked its batteries.
But the people were awake; the people, who did not pray to the god
whose name is Success; but were true to their own eternal aims and
ideas. The clamor of victory must not drown the cries for liberty. We
still had approved champions in our midst; our district still owned an
independent man of large landed property; he should be deputy; they
should be made to see at Berlin what plain, strong men tilled our land.

Joseph asserted that the papers of the popular party wanted to draw me
to their side. There were inquiries in the journals from different
quarters as to who was meant by "the firm man of solid worth," until he
was named at last. It was Schweitzer-Schmalz. As usual, it was claimed
that South Germany was the only real Germany, just as peasants were
said to be the only genuine people. To-day, the peasants; to-morrow,
perhaps the so-called laborer. The red waistcoat of Schweitzer-Schmalz
was to do service as the popular flag.

Joseph was filled with anger and disgust, and I urged him to accept the
nomination himself. He had much influence, and there were few other men
in the district so well thought of as he.

I can say much in Joseph's favor; he wishes to see the state honestly
served; but he also likes to attend to his business. Just then, Joseph
had indeed a heavy load to carry. He had brought a large squad of
foresters from the Tyrol, and had to provide several new teams.

We heard that Schweitzer-Schmalz had, at first, declined the proffered
offer; but when he found the election was not to cost him any money,
only some little condescension towards the poorer people, a few casks
of beer, and, more than all else, strong language against military
dictation, he declared his readiness. He was plain spoken, and yet
cunning enough to declare, at the valley tavern, that, if he should be
defeated it would be more of an honor than a disgrace to him. People
would then always say, "Here is the man who ought to have been our
deputy at the Reichstag. He is a man of the right sort."

The movement continued. It was a sorrowful spectacle for me, to see how
the domestic enemies of the Empire inscribed our Frankfort Constitution
on their flag, and cried that it must be accepted without debate. What
should be done in case it was not accepted, they would not say; they
knew as well as we did, that the adoption of the constitution of 1848
was an impossibility. But they wanted to start an opposition, and to
surround it with a halo of glory.

On the last day of February, we received the news that the
preliminaries of peace were agreed upon, and our German Emperor
announced, "We have arrived at the end of the glorious but bloody war
which was so wantonly and wickedly forced upon us."

We who lived on the borders were delighted beyond measure to know that
Alsace-Lorraine had been brought home to us again; and when I was
speaking with my folks about it, Rothfuss remarked:

"Now I know how it worked. Those who live along the Rhine, from Basle
downward, felt the way you do, when you lie abed in winter time and
have too narrow a blanket. Whenever you move, you are uncovered and get
cold. Now we have a good double bed; now we can stretch ourselves, and,
over there, stand the Vosges mountains; that is a good solid wall; no
draft gets through that."



                              CHAPTER VIII.


The ides of March had returned as they had twenty-three years before,
but how different now! We stood on a basis of real power, which had
been wrested in battle from our restless neighbor.

The armistice with the enemy without was concluded, but at the polls we
had to struggle against adversaries within.

The best men of our district came and explained to me how false a game
was being played. "They are electioneering for Schweitzer-Schmalz, who
would not be so bad a man, but, at the last moment, they mean to drop
him and transfer the votes to Funk, who has acquired a considerable
fortune by the war."

The men urged me, and Schwarzenberg, the lumber merchant, was not the
least among them, to allow myself to be put up as a candidate, both as
a matter of right and duty. He claimed that I, who had assisted at the
vexatious and fruitless labors at Frankfort, should have the
nomination. Only in that way, could the defeat of the Funk party be
assured.

I told them what trouble I had, and that I was too old, and unequal to
the duties the office would impose upon me.

Then the burgomaster of Kaltenbach, a quiet, worthy man, reminded me
that I had often said one should drown domestic griefs in active labors
for the Fatherland. He bade me consider what would become of us
Germans, if we should fail to secure true unity.

Those who had fallen in France, would, in that case, be disgraced and
dishonored by the result.

I could not yield, in spite of all that was said; and Joseph asked me,
"If Richard is saved, will you consent?"

"I do not make vows!"

"I did not mean it in that way; but would your mind be sufficiently at
ease?"

I asked for time to consider the matter.

There was to be a meeting of electors on the next evening. I was alone,
buried in thought; but soon a true and encouraging companion arrived.
It was a letter, the handwriting of which I did not recognize; but when
I had broken the seal and read the signature, I seemed to hear the
voice of sincerity itself--it was a letter from Doctor Wilhelmi, of
Berlin.

Ludwig had already informed me that Wilhelmi had returned years ago,
and I had heard of his labors with genuine delight. I had often wished
to send him a word of cheer, but had not found the opportunity. Now he
wrote:


"All hail! thus do I salute you in your forest home. And now let me
tell you all about ourselves. My wife and other ladies are at work day
and night at the railroad depots, providing the troops, and
particularly the sick and wounded ones, with refreshments. One day, a
large body of prisoners arrived in charge of one of your country
people. My wife observed this as soon as he opened his mouth, and asked
him about you. The man had been servant to a sullen and ill-natured
forester in your neighborhood, and you may imagine how glad we were to
hear of you. For years I have often read your name, and often intended
to write to you; now, a messenger had come to us from you.

"We provided him with quarters. He is really becoming spoiled by our
friends, for the Berlin folks find the Suabian dialect 'charming,
delightful,' and your countryman is a rogue.

"He outherods Herod; speaks the dialect more emphatically than ever
Suabian did before, and, when his bravery is praised (he has received
many orders) is condescending enough to confess, 'We did not do
everything; the Prussians too behaved quite decently.'

"'Quite decently,' is the highest compliment your countrymen ever
bestow on any one. When the man gets home he will tell you that the
Berlinese are all angels. I sincerely trust that you, too, will soon
make their acquaintance.

"How are your children? above all, the daughter who was with you in
Strasburg years ago.

"I hear that Ludwig is with you. Tell him to remain; we need men like
him.

"What has become of the handsome boy, Arndt's favorite, who was with us
in Frankfort? And what of the young student who came to visit us there?

"Write to me, or, what would be better still, come here soon. We need
old masons to build up the new state."

His wife had added a postscript saying: "When you come to Berlin, you
must stay with us."


Joseph thought the best way to keep Ludwig at home would be to elect
him a member of the Reichstag. He had made inquiries of an attorney in
the little neighboring town, and had been told that Ludwig had not
resided long enough in Germany to be eligible; but that as these were
extraordinary times, the Reichstag would probably admit him.

The matter was brought before the election committee, but was not
carried, as we should not be so sure of our voters if we had to go
before the county a second time. The country people could with
difficulty be induced to lose a work-day; the high pitch of patriotic
sentiment that now obtained might not last long.

I accepted the nomination.

I have nothing to report in regard to the election campaign, except
this; it was the first time we had been obliged to fight the new
clerical party.

I do not like to speak of clerical machinations. France was conquered,
and France was the last stay of the Papal power. Our victories had
enabled the King of Italy to enter Rome. There was now an attempt to
set on foot a carefully disguised opposition in our own country. A
prebendary belonging to the diocese, travelled through our district,
and held secret conferences with the pastors, to induce them to
influence votes for a champion who had made himself notorious, by the
strong language he had used.

Joseph finds out everything, and thus he soon learned that the lower
clergy leaned towards the patriotic side, but that they would not risk
open opposition. And, apropos of that, an amusing story was in
circulation.

The prebendary asked the sleek and wily pastor of Rottenhoch, "And how
do matters stand in your village? What are you able and willing to do?"

"Whatever the Right Reverend Bishop commands, shall be done."

The Right Reverend turned and twisted as best he might: but the priest
could not be made to understand that his superiors desired to avoid
giving explicit orders; and the others, who saw that the attempts to
secure his compliance always elicited the same reply, bit their tongues
to keep from laughing outright.

It was the first Sunday after Easter, on a bright spring day, when my
friends came to take me to the meeting of the voters.

Rothfuss went with Carl, the young meadow-farmer, and said, "Yes, Carl,
you are lucky; you begin in your young days. This is the first chance I
have ever had to tell our man what he should say to the Emperor for me.
But it is a good thing after all; and mind what I tell you--before the
election we will only take one drink; not a drop more."

At the same time, he swore at the workmen at the mill, who had allowed
themselves to be influenced by Funk. He declared that they were even
capable of voting against me. Carl said that, as far as his two
brothers were concerned, it was true. They had been expelled from
Alsace, had received employment in Ludwig's mill, and now publicly said
that they would give their votes to Funk.

At the meeting, it happened just as Joseph had predicted.
Schweitzer-Schmalz stepped forward and declared that a man like himself
could not leave his large estate and go to Berlin; they should,
therefore, give the votes intended for him, to that intrepid man of the
people--Funk.

But now something happened that took us all by surprise. Funk mounted
the rostrum. He laid it down that a constitution without fundamental
rights was a farce, and it cut me to the quick when he dared to add,
"We uphold the old German flag--the sacred flag of freedom--immaculate,
and shall not desert our colors."

In conclusion, he said. "I implore you not to call on me now. The time
will come when they must call us to save our liberties; that time has
not yet arrived.

"For the present, we will leave the pseudo-Prussian to the undisturbed
enjoyment of the national beggars' broth filled with imperial
dumplings, which is being served up in the famous spiked helmet.

"I thank you," he cried, when the yelling which followed this speech
had somewhat abated, "for the votes with which you honor me. I esteem
them highly, but we must wait. So let us bide our time."

Joseph prevented me from answering. He mounted the stand, and said that
Herr Funk deserved all possible praise for his shrewdness. He knew that
he could not be successful, and had therefore declined, in order to try
his chances at some future time. "Herr Funk waits; we, too, can wait."

I was elected by a large majority; and the walk homeward, surrounded by
my electors, was one of the happiest hours of my life. It was even more
joyful than when, twenty-three years earlier, I was elected a delegate
to Frankfort. I forgot my anxiety about Richard.

When I took leave of Rothfuss at the railway station, he held me by the
hand, a long while, and said: "Oh master, if it was only not so far to
Berlin, you should have taken me along, anyhow. Keep yourself well,
right well; and don't drink any water; Willem says there is good wine
to be had at Berlin, too."

A tear glistened in his eye, and the leave-taking from this faithful
companion moved me deeply. He had never before been so anxious and
concerned about me.

Many friends told me, "This new labor will wear you out."

Be it so, I am here to be of use.



                              CHAPTER IX.


THE old Burschenschafter[7]! Yes, treasured in secret and worn like an
amulet of magic power, for the sake of which we suffered, are the
colors of the new confederation. At first, the thought pained me; but
perhaps it is all for the best. The Empire which is now being
established, is not quite the one of which we sang and dreamed, or for
the love of which we were thrown into dungeons. But it is full of a new
and vigorous life, and instead of the golden glitter of poesy, we have
the simple white of prose.

I am not of a combative disposition, and have always longed for a
condition of affairs to which I could heartily assent. And now my
greatest happiness is to know that I am no longer condemned to what I
had feared would prove a life-long opposition to the powers that be.

The newly elected members had their rendezvous at the railroad
junction. A majority were faithful to the Empire. The few who belonged
to the progressives, or to the ultramontanes, were loud in their
protestation of love for our newly-cemented union.

My friend Loedinger, that true old soul, was also elected. He studied
with me at Jena, was with me in prison, and, for many years, sat near
me in the Parliament. "We two have by this time become quite used to
each other," were his words, as he took the seat next to me. And, as if
by previous agreement, we were always together during the whole
journey.

The days were fresh and spring-like, and, although our hearts were
filled with solemn thoughts, nothing but jokes were heard. Next to
Baribal, the gayest was Professor Rolunt, who, before he entered the
military service, had studied in Berlin, and had here received the
so-called finishing touch. On the way, there was much cheerful
discussion of the peculiarities that distinguish various sections of
our country and the fanaticism with which every district believes that
its customs and modes of expression alone represent the real German
mind.

Offenheimer, the lawyer, who had also been elected a member of the
Reichstag, spoke quite forcibly on this subject, by demonstrating that
we South Germans believed ours to be the veritable language of the
soul. When there is a prejudice to combat, Offenheimer always is
particularly eloquent. He knows Berlin, and lives here with relatives
of his.

Cato Debold, the inveterate South German, thought it hard that the
rough North German manner should now gain the supremacy. When he saw
the first windmills, he scoffed at North German windbags; and when the
Professor added that in North Germany there were no running springs,
but only pumps, he was quite happy, and vaunted the number of springs
we possessed at home.

Rolunt allowed him to finish his harangue, and then replied that the
North Germans, finding themselves without fast flowing streams, had
made an invisible power, the winds, work for them; and that pump water
was as refreshing as that from fountains.

But, against that, Debold showed that the portion of Germany, that lay
on the other side of the Thuringian Mountains had, through being
divided into small farms, become quite different, and far advanced in
comparison with the North. And in municipal liberty, we also stand far
ahead of North Germany; and shall we now submit to have that encroached
upon?

"That will regulate itself. The others will become more agreeable, and
we will get sharper," said the Professor.

At many stations we heard the people say: "Here are the South German
Representatives."

Our reception was not so stormy and excited as the one accorded us
twenty-three years before when we went to Frankfort. The public mood
was now calm and earnest.

On the road, one of the members said, "If your Richard had returned, he
would doubtless have been elected." Ah! when one has a sorrow, he
expects others to have some consideration, and not touch upon it, even
though it be in the way of kindness.

At Gotha, where many new delegates joined us, we all received bouquets,
and the principal of the gymnasium cleverly said that we should adorn
ourselves with wedding favors, as we were going to the wedding of North
and South Germany.

At Eisenach, my granddaughter Christiane and her affianced awaited me.
He was still walking on crutches, but hoped to lay them aside in a few
months, and to depend upon his wife's arm for support. Christiane had
become quite youthful in appearance. She fairly beamed with happiness,
as she looked now at me, and now at her betrothed.

The others continued on their journey, but Loedinger and I remained
behind to visit a hallowed shrine. I spent the evening with Christiane
and her betrothed. I promised to attend the wedding on my return from
the Reichstag.

At early dawn, Loedinger and I ascended the Wartburg. We knew that each
other's thoughts wandered back to the companions who, more than half a
century ago, had come here, filled with the enthusiasm of youth. An
invisible band of warriors marched at our side.

Silently, we walked through the halls of the castle. When we looked out
over the country, far and wide, Loedinger grasped my hand and said: "It
is hard, after all, that our flag, with its sacred colors, does not
float here in the morning breeze. They should have left us that. There
is great danger in the fact that it is now the banner of the
opposition, and is raised by the hands of those who are against us and
the unity we have labored so hard to win."

While trying to console him, I consoled myself, and the ardor of youth
seemed to return to us.

Descending the mountain, we sang our old student songs, and felt young
again.

Yes, this mountain is the altar of all that is great and pure and
beautiful in our united Fatherland.

When we passed Weimar, where the creators of the unity of German
thought had dwelt and labored, Loedinger said, "We might well cry out:
'Hearken, ye heroes of the mind, your words have become deeds.'"

Doctor Wilhelmi and his wife received me at the railroad depot.

Friend Wilhelmi, once a handsome, slender man, has grown stout, but the
sound of his hearty, musical voice, the warm and kindly glance, the
grasp of his hand, are all unchanged.

Loedinger was lodged with a friend of his, who lived in the
neighborhood, and I soon felt at home with my old friends. The best
people of the city, yes of the whole country, made their house a
rendezvous. I have here made the acquaintance of a great number of men
of distinguished merit. We are well supplied in that respect.

I also made the nearer acquaintance of some of those sharp Prussians. I
felt at first as if they were setting my teeth on edge. But, after
awhile, I recognized their good traits.

Doctor Wilhelmi still has an album of the members of the Frankfort
Reichstag. We renewed our memories of olden days while looking at the
pictures, and supplemented each other's information with what we knew
of this or that old friend.

In every word that Wilhelmi speaks, I recognize his lofty ideality; but
life in America has made him more practical than he once was.

The hospitality of the Greeks is vaunted. We possess it in a new shape;
for a whole city considers itself our host.

I had to tell my friend Wilhelmi of my troubles; of my grief for Ernst,
of my deep anxiety about Richard, and the thought struck me: "Must the
old friend, whom we meet after long absence, have his heart saddened by
the recital of our woes."



                              CHAPTER X.


I make no mention of the proceedings of the Reichstag; you can read all
about them in the newspapers.

I did not once take the floor.

In committee, I protested energetically, when we understood that some
of the states were to be rewarded for their share in our triumph, by
having certain portions of Alsace assigned to them. This plan was
barely alluded to in the public meetings, and I am inclined to think
that the rumor was merely a piece of diplomatic finesse.

I cannot avoid repeating the words addressed to me by the Emperor, when
I was presented at the palace. "I have a son and you have a grandson in
the field, and they have, both of them, proved their courage."

His voice betokened sincerity; his countenance was kind and gentle.

I was surprised; even if the Emperor had informed himself beforehand,
it was so kind of him to speak thus of Julius.

In replying I told him that, during the absence of my grandson in the
field, a son had been born to him.

The Emperor congratulated me. He took me by the hand! For a second, I
held the palm of my beloved Emperor in warm, living embrace. He must
have felt my glance following him when he walked away. For the great
and glorious monarch turned again and nodded to me.



                (THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY.)

The festivities have been gloriously ushered in. The bells were
ringing, and the streets were alive with a gay and bustling throng.

I roamed about alone, admiring all that was beautiful and enjoyable in
the streets that had been transformed by the beautiful festal
decorations. A bit of Olympian life had descended upon our homes.

We sometimes persuade ourselves that we have often thought of, or
wished for, something that suddenly comes to pass: the rapidity with
which our ideas succeed each other is apt to deceive us. But I am sure
that while looking at the Academy of Arts, decorated as it was with the
portraits of heroes, I involuntarily thought, "If I only had one of my
own family with me now; I am so lonely in this surging crowd."

All at once, I heard a clear, ringing voice exclaim, "Good evening,
grandfather."

My grandson Julius stands before me, sunburnt, and with several orders
glistening on his breast. He belongs to the combined South German Corps
that is detailed here to take part in the triumphal entry. His quarters
are in a neighboring village, and he must return early.

Julius asked me whom his son resembled, and when I told him that little
Erwin had the eyes of his grandmother, his face was radiant with joy.

Taking his arm in mine, I went as far as the city gate with him. I had
to tell him all about Richard, but my pride in this noble, happy
grandson, in a great measure thrust aside my grief for my son.



                              CHAPTER XI.
                             (_June 18th._)


And now I write of the great day, the greatest known to me and to all
men living.

It was the morning of the triumphal entry. I went out early and
wandered through the joyous streets. I saw, beneath the chain of gay
triumphal arches, the long row of conquered cannon, and, behind them,
the seats for the wounded, the convalescents and their nurses. Music
resounded from all the side streets. It was the great jubilant
heart-throb of a whole people.

For a long time, I sat on a chair, which had been placed there for some
invalid. My heart was so full when I thought that I had lived to see
this day; and, amidst this high swelling tide of joy, I could not help
looking into my own heart, and asking myself how I had met the duties
that life imposed upon me.

Were I to die now--this very day--I have served the truth to the best
of my ability; I have intentionally offended no one, and have loved
mankind and my country with all my soul. I was often weak, but my
weakness has harmed no one but myself.

As this was passing through my mind, I had to stop suddenly. My friend
Wilhelmi said to me in the heartiest manner, and without sarcasm, "You
have within you an overflowing fountain of sentimentality." It is true;
it has brought me much sorrow, but it has afforded my soul many pure
and tranquil experiences, and I said to myself, "This is not the time
for tender sensibility. To be strong is now the word. Look at the
Emperor! What must this man who, to-day, bears the impress and the
majesty of great historical memories, feel in his innermost soul; and
yet he stands erect and firm." And as I thought this, I, too, walked
along more firmly than before.

I went to the stand which had been erected for the deputies. It was, as
yet, almost empty; gradually, it filled up. My early walk, my deep
emotions, and, more than all, the heat and strained expectation had
thoroughly fatigued me.

Then came my friend Wilhelmi. He motioned to me from afar and waved his
hat. "Waldfried, I bring you glorious news!" he cried. "Just read this;
you had gone out so early; we hunted everywhere, but could not find
you. A telegram for you has arrived; your children are coming."

"My children!"

"Yes. Richard and Ludwig and their wives, and your grandson Wolfgang."

I read the telegram; there it was--they were all coming. Richard was
saved. At Bertha's house, he was married to Annette.

Wilhelmi saw me turning pale, and called to a stately Rhenish deputy
behind us, one who had brought some good wine of his own raising:
"Westerwalder, give us a glass of your best Rüdesheimer."

O how the drink refreshed me! Then Wilhelmi continued: "I have more to
tell you, for now you are strong enough to bear the joyful news. Your
children are already here. The telegram had been delayed, and they
arrived half an hour in advance of it. They could not push through to
this place, and so they went to the house of one of Annette's
relations, with whom Offenheimer lives. That is what I am to tell you.
After the procession we will meet them there."

Wilhelmi had to tell me, first of all, how my children looked. He said
that Richard still bore traces of his recent sufferings, but that his
eyes would brighten and his whole face light up, whenever he looked at
his wife. Wilhelmi regretted that he did not have a son to bring him
such a daughter-in-law.

He evidently wanted to cheer me up, for he bade me review in memory the
triumphal march of my joys,--my children, my grandchildren, my sons and
daughters-in-law, and my great-grandson.

During the last words of Wilhelmi, we heard from afar, a noise as of
the roaring sea--a wave of history came rolling onward.

Cannon thundered, bells rang, and on came the great procession; and
when the French flags were carried by and fluttered in the gentle
breeze, I felt that I had seen the world wing itself for a new flight.

From among the South German troops, a young officer nodded to me. It
was Julius. My grandson was among the marching conquerors.

The Emperor comes, and with him, all the heroes. The Emperor steps to
the statue of his father, and the old man so greatly exalted by
fortune, now becomes an humble son, and lays the captured flags at the
feet of his father.



                              CHAPTER XII.


Led by Wilhelmi, I went to the house of our friends. Ikwarte stood in
the door; he saluted me silently. I asked him whether my family were
above.

"Yes, sir."

As we go up the stairs, we hear, behind us, hasty footsteps and a
clattering sabre. It is Julius, his helmet adorned with a wreath of oak
leaves.

"Grandfather, have you seen them?"

"Whom?"

"Martha and Erwin."

"Are they here, too?"

"Julius" is called from above, and, the next moment, he is in Martha's
arms. Then he embraces his father.

"Come in; he sleeps," said Martha. "Come in all, fathers three."

We walked through a glass-covered entry, then across a wide floor to
the quietly-situated back-building, where the noise of the street could
not penetrate.

In the silent room, Julius knelt beside the cradle. Gently he raised
the curtain; the boy awoke, and, for the first time, the eyes of father
and son met.

"Erwin, my son!" cried Julius, and kissed the child, who stared at him,
and tried to clutch his eyes with his hands.

Martha, too, knelt beside the cradle. She laid her hand on the
husband's forehead, and said, "And at this head hostile bullets were
aimed!"

"Oh don't let us give way to our feelings," said Julius, rising.

Martha took the wreath from her husband's helmet, and wanted to
place it on my head. I seized it and laid it on the cradle of my
great-grandson. After that, we left the young couple, and hunted up the
other returned wanderers.

Our hosts resigned their house to us, and saved us from all restraint
by kindly keeping themselves in the background.

Richard and Annette, Ludwig, Conny, and Wolfgang, by turns clasped me
in their arms. O how many good, true hearts beat against mine to-day!
How many lives I could call my own!

Richard was still somewhat pale. Annette was radiant with glorious
beauty, and her modest, gentle demeanor was the more attractive because
she had the appearance of one born to command.

When the first emotions awakened by the overwhelming fulness of my joy
had subsided, I had a wonderful vision. I saw great tables loaded with
meat and drink and fragrant flowers, and from the streets resounded
cheering and song. One of those wonderful visions, or phantasms, as
you may call it, that supplement our life and withdraw us from the
actual world, seized me. The beaming faces, the brilliant lights
reflected again and again in the mirrors and the wine-glasses, the
sumptuous table, and the lovely flowers,--methought I had seen them
all before.--I felt as if in the midst of one of those wonderful,
color-steeped groups of Paul Veronese, and, like soft music, or an
apparition gently gliding through the air, memories of Gustava filled
my soul.

"You seem so happy," said Annette; and I could only tell her this: "The
dreams of former days, and the loftiest impressions that our souls have
taken up from art, are now our actual life; our highest ideal has been
attained."

Joseph informed me that the army corps consisting of the troops from
our State, would make its entry into our capital under the Crown
Prince, who had commanded it during the war, and that the Colonel, who
was now a General, would take part in the ceremony. Bertha expected
that we would all be with her on that day of honor.

Richard told us of his experiences while with the French, and we could
not help asking ourselves: "Shall we ever be at peace with these
neighbors of ours?"

"I have learned to know the French," said Richard, "and suffered much
at their hands. The people amused themselves by insulting me while I
was being led through the streets; I had to march in chains for a whole
day; and still, through all the ravings of this sanguine people, I
could see its mighty soul."

At these words, Offenheimer rushed up to Richard, and, embracing him,
said, "A wounded enemy is an enemy no longer, and thus we have ceased
to be enemies of suffering France."

He begged Richard to tell him more, and so he continued: "In spite of
their impassioned feelings, and of the fact, utterly incomprehensible
to them, that we were impolite enough not to let them whip us, there is
a real elevation of soul in them, although it is obscured by their
theatrical phrases. But their belief in themselves is something grand.
They cling to it, even now, when they are sorely beaten. I am confident
that the French will, in time, become honestly tolerant, and not in the
sham sense that makes its professors say: 'You, poor fellow, have a
false belief, but I do not attack it.' The French have a beautiful
faith in themselves, but they must acquire faith in others, and not
consider themselves the whole of humanity."

Nations have much the same ideas as individuals. After a silent combat,
they can scarcely believe that it arose from a trifling cause, and now
the French will not remember what a trivial pretext they had for this
war.

The Chinese self-sufficiency of the French, who believed themselves to
be the sole representatives of civilization, is now broken down. Their
morbid desire for revenge can only be temporary. The people, deeply
wounded in its vanity, and swindled out of its love of truth by
sycophantic word-mongers, will come to reason.

Wilhelmi based great hopes on the projected university of Strasburg. It
was to form an intellectual bond of union. With great warmth of
feeling, he demonstrated that it was typical of the real character of
our people, that, first of all, an institution of learning was
established in the newly recovered province.

Then Ludwig rose, and with an enthusiasm in which all the fervor of his
youth broke forth, again said: "And something more is in store for us,
and, for that reason, I wish to remain an American citizen. You,
Wilhelmi, and I have learned to know America. We love our old home, but
we also love the New World, which is the land to initiate great
thoughts, the land in which humanity, through untrammelled liberty,
cannot but reach great results. It is pitiful and, at the same time,
sad, that the American who has made money, and wishes to do something
for the public good, knows of nothing better than to build a church.

"My idea--and I have distinguished friends who agree with me--is
to establish, as our celebration of the centennial of American
independence, a German University in America; an International
High-School. I need not point out to you, how great a significance such
an institution would possess for the New World, as well as for the Old.
After our German students have studied for a year at the American
Athens, how much wider their range of vision will be, and how much
greater their knowledge of the world! In this way, a cable of quite a
different kind would be laid; an intellectual electric current, binding
the Old World to the New."

Richard took Ludwig's hand, and congratulated him on having conceived
this grand idea.

"Thus should it be," he cried; "let Germany be fully and entirely its
own, and then send the messengers of its intellectual life to all the
world. The ancients carried their gods of marble and bronze, wherever
they went; we carry divine thoughts over the whole inhabited globe."

Offenheimer whispered something to Richard, who pressed his hand
gratefully.

I sat there quietly and felt unutterably happy, because my children
possessed new ideals so different from our own. Their clear, organizing
minds stretched into the far distance, and their schemes embraced the
welfare of all mankind.

When in Strasburg, I felt deeply pained that such men as Ludwig and
Wilhelmi should be driven into exile. Not always does our life give an
answer to such questions. I received one now.

We were interrupted by Ikwarte, who begged to be excused. He had
noticed his brother among the marching soldiers. He was sergeant and
had received the Iron Cross; he had recognized him, and called out to
him from the procession. Ikwarte now asked permission to go and seek
his brother.

Ludwig granted it of course. We were all pleased with Ikwarte's firm
sense of duty, to which even his brotherly love had to yield.

As Ikwarte was leaving the room, Julius entered with his wife. She
carried my great-grandson on her arm.

For a while, every one turned to them. Then Ludwig began:

"It is well that you have come, Julius! We are here among friends; are
you ready to answer a question regarding your future?"

In a quiet tone, Julius answered, he would first have to know what it
was all about.

Smiling, Ludwig said: "Allow me to tell you that I am a Colonel."

Julius bowed, and Ludwig continued: "How grand it was that the American
officers, at the end of their war, returned to civil life, while here
in Germany a standing army draws our best energies away from productive
labor."

Quietly but not without confidence, Julius replied: "It seems to me
that Uncle Ludwig is still thinking of the revolutionary times, of the
long forgotten stone age of German history. There is no separation now
between soldier and citizen, and it is very questionable whether any
one has the right to call us soldiers unproductive laborers. Our work
creates a race of men who give firmness and character to our political
life. What the schools are unable to finish, we perfect. To cultivate
the great forest of men, is a higher aim than to reclaim a forest of
trees."

"Oh," interrupted Wolfgang, and Julius turned to him and said: "Dear
Wolfgang, I do not think meanly of that either; it is also a part of
the work that society has before it. But each one must choose his post
and guard it faithfully."

Ludwig insisted to the contrary, and squarely put it to Julius that he
should leave the army, and take charge of his grandfather's estate. He
could, if his country called him, always return to his duty. He hinted,
and not very delicately, that one should not allow one's self to be
seduced by the outward glitter of the soldier's life.

Without any irritation, but in determined language, Julius declared
that he fully recognized how great a spectacle it was to see a
victorious army return home in triumph, and lay down its arms; that it
would have been desirable that the conclusion of peace should produce
the disarmament of Europe. Such a disarmament, however, is only
possible in America, where there is but one powerful nation. In
conclusion, he eulogized the high mission of the soldier's life as a
school for men.

Ludwig rose and said: "Here is my hand; I am converted. Father, I have
now decided. I shall accept the estate."

I do not know how it came to pass, but Martha had laid my
great-grandson in my arms, and when the boy raised his eyes to mine, I
felt as if I was looking forward into the future.

You, my child, rested beside a mother's heart during the battles; you
slept during the triumphant march, and now, around you, great words and
thoughts wander forth into the world. When, at some future time, you
shall learn how your father fought and suffered for home and country,
may it sound to you like a fable from the old, dark days, that, long
ago, we had to fight the monsters who despised the people. Stand firm
and pure in the new life of nations, amongst whom the battle will only
be for the possession of the noblest treasures of the intellectual
world.


                                               AT HOME, _July_ 22.

I did not find my comrade Rothfuss. He died full of happiness and
peace. On the last morning, he said to Johanna: "The German Empire is
not the right thing after all. One must die in it, just as before. Our
Emperor should order a different state of things, but never mind. 'He
who is wet to the skin, need not dread the rain.' If I could only lie
down in my grave for my master, as I once had myself locked up for
Ludwig."

My grandson the vicar, who is chaplain at the neighboring fortress, was
with him in his last hours.

Ludwig has taken the family estate for his son Wolfgang; not, as is
customary, at the family valuation, but at its full market value.

I shall resign my post.

                           *   *   *   *   *

So far, the memoirs up to the evening before the anniversary of
Gustava's death. They were written in the afternoon, with a firm hand.
After that, he walked out into the forest. Carl, who was in the fields,
saw him drinking from the Gustava fountain, and rejoiced to see the
master walking so sturdily.

He was found in the woods he had planted, beneath a white pine tree,
stretched out in death. His face was toward the earth, and rested on
the wild thyme.

The second tablet of the grave-stone bears the following inscription:

                              HERE RESTS,
                   IN THE SOIL OF OUR UNITED COUNTRY,
                          HEINRICH WALDFRIED,
                        BORN MAY THE 10TH, 1800;
                        DIED JULY THE 22D, 1871.



FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Throughout, the translator will, according to the German
custom, use the word "bride" to designate a woman who is only
betrothed.]

[Footnote 2: This name means: Lizzy, the huntress.]

[Footnote 3: Director or governor of the district or department.]

[Footnote 4: Feast commemorative of the dedication of a church.]

[Footnote 5: I am waiting (dialect).]

[Footnote 6: _Guten Ort._]

[Footnote 7: A member of the Burschenschaft, the name of an association
of the students of Germany, formed in 1815, and having for its object
the political regeneration of their Fatherland.]



                                THE END.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Waldfried - A Novel" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home