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Title: In Paradise - A Novel. Vol. I.
Author: Heyse, Paul, 1830-1914
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 "In Paradise - A Novel. Vol. I." ***

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[Transcriber's note:  Page scan source:


                                No. XII.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                              IN PARADISE.

                                VOL. I.

                       VOLUMES ALREADY PUBLISHED:

I. _SAMUEL BROHL AND COMPANY_. A Novel. From the French of Victor
Cherbuliez. 1 vol., 16mo. Paper cover, 60 cents; cloth, $1.00.

II. _GERARD'S MARRIAGE_. A Novel. From the French of André Theuriet.
Paper cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

III. _SPIRITE_. A Fantasy. From the French of Théophile Gautier. Paper
cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

IV. _THE TOWER OF PERCEMONT_. From the French of George Sand. Paper
cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

V. _META HOLDENIS_. A Novel. From the French of Victor Cherbuliez.
Paper cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

VI. _ROMANCES OF THE EAST_. From the French of Comte de Gobineau. Paper
cover, 60 cents; cloth, $1.00.

VII. _RENEE AND FRANZ_ (Le Bleuet). From the French of Gustave Haller.
Paper cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

VIII. _MADAME GOSSELIN_. From the French of Louis Ulbach. Paper cover,
60 cents; cloth, $1.00.

IX. _THE GODSON OF A MARQUIS_. From the French of André Theuriet. Paper
cover, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

X. _ARIADNE_. From the French of Henry Greville. Paper cover, 50 cents;
cloth, 75 cents.

XI. _SAFAR-HADGI_; or, Russ and Turcoman. From the French of Prince
Lubomirski. Paper cover, 60 cents; cloth, $1.00.

XII. _IN PARADISE_. From the German of Paul Heyse. 2 vols. Per vol.,
paper cover, 60 cents; doth, $1.00.



                               _A NOVEL_

                           FROM THE GERMAN OF
                               PAUL HEYSE

                                 VOL. I

                                NEW YORK
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
                          549 AND 551 BROADWAY

***_It has been decided to omit from this translation the poems which
are scattered through the novel in the German. A few trifling changes
in certain passages have been made necessary by this omission; and the
translator has in two or three cases very slightly condensed the text._

                           *   *   *   *   *

                              COPYRIGHT BY
                        D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,

                              IN PARADISE.

                               _BOOK I_.

                               CHAPTER I.

It was a Sunday in the midsummer of 1869.

The air, cleared by a thunderstorm the night before, was still
tremulous with that soft, invigorating warmth which, farther south,
makes breathing such an easy matter, but which, north of the Alps,
seldom outlasts the early morning. And yet the bells, that sounded from
the Munich Frauenkirche far across the Theresienwiese, and the field
where stands the great statue of Bavaria, were already ringing for high
mass. Here, outside the city, there seemed to be no human ear to
listen. The great bronze maiden stood there in the deepest solitude,
holding her wreath above her head, and with a mazed and dreamy look, as
though she might be thinking whether this were not an opportune moment
to step down from her granite pedestal, and to wander at will through
the town, that to-day raised its towers and roofs like a city of the
dead above the bare green plain. Now and then a bird flew out of the
little grove behind the Ruhmes-halle, and fluttered about the shoulders
of the giant maiden, or rested for a moment on the mane of the lion
that sat lazily listening, pressed close to the knee of his great
mistress. But away in the city the bells rang on. The air grew drowsy
with the steadily increasing heat, with the hum and the vibration of
the distant ringing, and the strong fragrance that rose from the
meadow, which had been mown the day before. At last the bells ceased;
and now not a sound was to be heard, save that there came from a house
in one of the outer streets the sound of a flute, played by fits and
starts, as though the player stopped for breath between the passages,
or as though he forgot his notes in other thoughts.

The window, from which this singular music sounded into the summer air,
opened from the upper story of a house that stood some distance back
from the street--a house of a kind of which there are many in this
western suburb. They are generally entirely unornamented, boxlike
buildings, windowless except on the northern side, and there pierced by
great quadrangular openings, supplied with all manner of arrangements
for admitting the steadiest possible light from above. In summer one
never sees above them the little cloud of smoke that betrays a domestic
hearth, and no profane smell of cooking meets the visitor upon the
threshold--as in most other Munich houses. From the open windows floats
only a light, invisible odor of tobacco-smoke, agreeably mingled with
the invigorating fragrance of varnishes, oils, and turpentine--which
shows that here only the holy fire of art is fed, and that here, upon
silent altars (three-legged easels and sculptors' pedestals) are
offered sacrifices that cannot even shelter the priests that offer them
from the pangs of hunger.

The house of which we speak turned its windowless southern side
toward a little yard, in which lay scattered marble and sandstone
blocks of different sizes. The four studio-windows of the northern side
looked into a carefully-tended, narrow garden, that sheltered them
from all disagreeable reflected lights. Around a little, slender,
drowsily-splashing fountain in the middle bloomed a glorious wealth of
roses; and the neighboring flower-beds, filled with all kinds of
garden-stuff, were enclosed in thick borders of mignonette. Here the
smell of oil and turpentine just referred to could not penetrate,
especially as only the two upper studios were those of painters; while
in the lower story, as could be seen by the blocks of stone in the
yard, a sculptor carried on his art.

Artists--enjoying, as they do, a perpetual holiday mood over their
work--are not wont to be supporters of a regular celebration of the
Sabbath. Those who are so must be such as in the course of years
have come to devote themselves--as not a few do in a so-called
"art-city"--to the mere business-like manufacture of pictures for
"art-clubs," or of parlor statuettes; and so are privileged to take
their rest on the seventh day, among the other customs of solid
citizens. They, "thank God, no longer feel obliged" to be industrious,
and to work even on a holiday.

But the dwellers in this little house were not of such a type.

On the ground-floor all possible panes in the windows had been opened,
to let as much as possible of the glowing air stream into the sunless
room; and perhaps, too, to tempt in the fragrance of the flowers, or
the notes of the flute that sounded from the window overhead. A flock
of sparrows, that seemed accustomed to make themselves at home in the
place, availed themselves of the opportunity to whirr in and out of the
garden, to flutter, chattering and scolding, about among the ivy-vines
with which one wall of the studio was thickly covered, and to hunt
through every corner for neglected crusts of bread. With all this,
however, they seemed well-bred enough to make no other trouble but
their noise--though the busts and clay models, that stood about the
room on boards and scaffoldings, showed many traces of their visits. On
the damp cloth, in which a large group that stood in the middle of the
great room was carefully wrapped, in order to keep the fresh clay from
drying, sat an old and rather decrepit-looking sparrow, who still
looked about him with an air of considerable dignity--evidently the
chief of this wild army, to whom the pleasant coolness of his seat
seemed to make it an agreeable one. He took no part in the fluttering
and chatter of the younger company, but fixed his attention with
critical gravity upon the artist in the gray blouse, who had moved his
modeling-table close to the window, and was busy in finishing from a
living model the statue of a dancing Bacchante.

The model was a young girl, hardly eighteen years old, who stood on a
little platform opposite the sculptor, and, with her arms thrown up and
backward, held fast by a rod that hung from the ceiling--for the statue
held a tambourine in the hands flung upward with such _abandon_, and
the _pose_ was none of the most comfortable. Still, the girl had borne
it a good half hour already without complaining or asking for a rest.
Although she had to hold her head far back, with its loosened auburn
hair that fell below her waist, yet she followed with intense
curiosity--her little eyes almost closed the while, so that the long
golden-blond lashes lay upon her cheeks--every movement of the artist,
every one of his critical and comparing glances. It seemed to flatter
her beyond measure that her youthful beauty should be the subject of
such conscientious study; and in this satisfaction to her vanity she
forgot fatigue. And indeed she was of unusually slender and graceful
form; and from the rough brown calico dress that was tightly fastened
about her waist there sprung, like a fair flower from a coarse husk, a
girlish figure of as perfect whiteness and delicacy as though the poor
child had no other occupation but to care for her complexion. Her face
was not exactly beautiful; a rather flat nose with broad nostrils
projected above the large, half-opened mouth. But in the ill-formed
jaws, that gave to the face something wild and almost like an animal,
shone perfect and beautiful teeth; and a merry, innocent, childlike
smile enlivened the full lips and the otherwise rather expressionless
eyes. The complexion of her face, too, was of a brilliant, transparent
white, spotted here and there by a few little freckles, of which there
were two or three also on her neck and breast. It was comical to see
how she herself shared in the study of her own beauty, as she found
such serious attention given to it by another; and, as she saw her
girlish self treated with such respect, she seemed to forget every
trace of anything like coquetry, such as might otherwise have entered
into the matter.

"You must be tired, Zenz," said the sculptor. "Don't you want to rest

She shook her auburn hair with a laugh. "It is so cool here," she
answered without stirring. "You don't feel your own weight at all in
the open air like this--and besides, there's the sweet smell of the
mignonette in the garden. I believe I could stand this way till night."

"So much the better. I was just going to ask you if you were not cold,
and didn't want a shawl over your shoulders. I don't need them now; I
am just doing the arms."

He went seriously and quietly on with his work. In his plain face,
framed in smooth blond hair streaked with gray, the only features that
struck one at first glance were the eyes, that shone with an unusual
force and fire. When he fixed them upon a certain point, it seemed as
though they took complete possession of what they saw, and made
themselves completely master of it. And yet there could be nothing more
quiet or less inquiring in expression than these same eyes.

"Who is that playing the flute up stairs?" asked the girl. "The first
time I was here, a week ago to-day, it was perfectly still up there;
but to-day it goes tramp, tramp, every few minutes, and somebody plays,
and then it stops again for a little while."

"A friend of mine has his studio just over us," answered the sculptor;
"a battle-painter, Herr Rosenbusch. If he can't make his work go to
please him, he takes up his flute and walks up and down like that, and
plays, and buries himself in thought. And then he stops in front of his
easel and looks at his picture; and so goes on until he hits upon what
he is after. But what are you laughing at, Zenz?"

"Only at his name. Rosenbusch![1] And paints battles!--Is he a Jew?"

"I don't think so. But now if you want to rest a little while--your
neck must be perfectly stiff by this time."

She let go the rod at once, and sprang down from the bench. While he
was polishing with his modeling-tool the portion he had just finished,
she stood close by him, her arms crossed behind her with a lightness
peculiar to her figure, and looked closely at the beautiful statue,
which within the last hour had made such obvious progress. But only in
the upper half; for the active hips and limbs of the dancer, only
hidden by her long, flowing hair, were only very roughly outlined.

"Are you satisfied, child?" asked the artist. "But then I can only, at
the best, work it out in marble for you, and you are really a better
bit for a painter. That snow-white skin and flaming mane of yours--if
you had lived two thousand years ago, when they made statues of gold
and ivory, you would have been just in your proper place."

"Gold and ivory?" she repeated, thoughtfully. "Those must have been
rich people! However, I am satisfied for my part with the beautiful
white marble--like the young gentleman there behind, that you didn't

"Do you like him? It was a long while ago that I began that bust. Isn't
it fine, how the small, firm, round head springs from the broad
shoulders? It's a pity that I only sketched out the face; you would
have liked that too."

"Are you going to make my portrait too, there in the clay? I mean, so
that it will be just like me--so that my friends will say at once 'That
is Red Zenz?'"

"That depends. I could use your little nose and your small, sharp-cut
ears well enough. But you know, child, I had quite another wish; and,
if you will fulfill that, I'll make the face so that no human being
will ever dream that Red Zenz was my model. Have you thought it
over--what I asked you a week ago?"

He did not look at her as he spoke, but kept on diligently smoothing
and kneading the soft clay.

She made as though she had not heard his question, and turned on her
heel, wrapping her thick hair about her like a cloak, and went over to
a corner of the studio, where a great black Newfoundland dog, with a
white breast, was lying on a straw mat with his head between his fore
paws, and growling lightly in his sleep. The girl bent down to him and
began to scratch his head softly--of which he took no other notice than
an instant's opening of his eyes, dim with old age.

"He isn't very gallant," said the girl, laughing. "One of my girl
friends has a little terrier, and when I stroke him he is perfectly
wild with joy, and I have to look out that he doesn't lick my face and
neck and hands all over with his little pink tongue. But this fellow is
as reverend as a grandfather. What is his name?"


"Homo? What a queer name! What does it mean?"

"It is Latin, and means 'man.' Years ago the old boy showed so much
human reason, just as his master seemed on the point of losing his
head, that it was decided to rechristen him. Since then he has never
brought shame upon his name. So you see, child, in what good company
you are. If I am hardly as old as a grandfather yet, I am almost old
enough to be your father. And I thought these two sittings would have
convinced you that you were perfectly safe with me--that I shall
faithfully keep what I promised you. And that is the reason--"

"No, no, no, no!" cried she, jumping suddenly up and whirling around,
and shaking her head so violently that her hair flew about her like a
wheel of fire. "What makes you speak of that again, Herr Jansen? You
take me for a silly, thoughtless kind of girl, no doubt--and think that
in time I shan't be able to refuse you anything. But you are very much
mistaken. It is true, I don't mind doing some foolish things; and
standing about for you here like this doesn't seem to me anything wrong
or disgraceful. Why, at a ball last winter where we had made up the
flowers, and so they let us look in through the dressing-room, the fine
ladies appeared before gentlemen in a very different way from the way I
am standing and walking about here; and there were a great many
officers there--not even artists, like you, that only look artistically
at a bare neck and shoulders. But, if I will do _that_ for you, you
mustn't ask anything more. It is true, my friend, when I told her, did
not think anything of it--and she could come with me. But that is
decided--it would make me so that I never could look anybody straight
in the face again. No--no--no! I will not do it--now or ever!"

"You are right, child," interrupted the sculptor, breaking in on her
excited words and, suddenly changing the form of his speech into the
more familiar "thou." "Nobody need know of it, and, if it is
disagreeable to you, I will not speak of it again. And yet--it's a
pity! I could make the figure from a single mould, so to speak; and in
half the time that I shall have to spend now in looking about for
something that will suit."

She made no answer, but of her own accord mounted upon the bench, and
leaned back again, hanging from the rod.

"Is that right?" she asked. "Am I standing just as I did before?"

He only nodded, without looking up at her.

"What makes you cross with me?" she asked, after a while. "I cannot
help it because I am not like my friend. To be sure, she has had a
great deal more experience than I. And then she has been in love more
than once."

"Have you never had a sweetheart, Zenz?"

"No; a real sweetheart, such as one would go through the fire
for--never! My red hair didn't have very good fortune out in Salzburg,
where I have generally lived. And, besides, I was too ugly. One of them
said I had a dog's face. It has only been within the last year, when I
have suddenly shot up a little, and grown a little stouter, that the
gentlemen have sometimes run after me; and with one of them--a right
nice young fellow--I had a kind of a flirtation. But he was so silly
that he tired me; and so it hadn't gone far between us when one fine
day he fell sick and died. And it was only then that I found I couldn't
have loved him so very, very much; for I didn't even cry about him.
Since then I have taken good care not to make a fool of myself again.
Men are bad; everybody says that that knows anything. As for me, if I
liked one--if I really liked him, 'von Herzen, mit Schmerzen'--"

"Well, Zenz, what would you do?"

She was silent for a moment, and then suddenly let her arms fall close
by her sides. It seemed as though a chill ran over her soft skin; she
shook herself, and shrugged her white shoulders.

"What would I do?" she repeated, as though to herself. "Everything he
wanted! And so it is better as it is--much better."

"You are a good girl, Zenz," he muttered, nodding his head slowly.
"Come, there is my hand; shake hands, and I promise you now that there
never shall be a word again between us of what you are not willing to

                              CHAPTER II.

She was just about to lay her round, white little hand in his, which
was rough and muddy from kneading the clay, when a knock at the door
caused them both to look up and listen.

The janitor called out through the key-hole that a strange gentleman
wished to speak with Herr Jansen. When he heard that the sculptor had a
model sitting to him at the moment, he had asked the janitor to take in
his card. With this the janitor pushed the card through a narrow hole
in the door made for the purpose.

The sculptor, grumbling, went toward the threshold and picked up the
card. "Felix, Freiherr von Weiblingen." He shook his head thoughtfully.
Suddenly he uttered an exclamation of joy. Under the printed name was
written, with a pencil, "Icarus."

"A good friend of yours?" queried the girl.

He made no answer, but threw down his modeling-tool hastily, hurriedly
wiped his hands on a towel, and hastened to the door again. As he
opened it, he turned around.

"Stay here, Zenz," he said. "Amuse yourself for a while; there is a
book of pictures; and, if you should be hungry, you will find something
in the cupboard. I will lock the door behind me."

In the hall outside there was no one but the janitor, with his bent,
long-shaped head, that looked very much like the head of a horse,
especially when he spoke; then he moved his under-jaw, as though he had
a bit between his great, yellow teeth.

He was a most serviceable old fellow, who had grown gray in the service
of art, and had a more delicate judgment than many a professor. He was
a thorough expert in preparing a canvas; and occupied his leisure in
studying the chemistry of colors.

"Where are the gentlemen, Fridolin?" asked the sculptor.

"There is only one. He is walking in the yard. A very handsome young
gentleman. You can see in his face the look of the 'Baron' that is on
his card. He said--"

But the sculptor had hurried by him, and had rushed down the steps that
led into the yard. "Felix!" he cried, "is it you or your ghost?"

"I am inclined to think it is both, and a heart in addition," replied
the person addressed, grasping the hand that the sculptor held out to
him. "Come, old fellow, I can't see why we should be ashamed to fall on
each other's necks, here under God's free heaven. I have had to get on
for years without my best and dearest old Dædalus--"

He did not finish his sentence. The sculptor had pressed him so
heartily to his breast that it fairly took away his breath.

Then suddenly he loosened his grasp, and, stepping back a pace, cast a
critical glance over the slight figure of his friend.

"Still just the same," he said, as though to himself; "but we must get
those Samson-like locks under the shears. You don't know your strongest
point, my dear boy, when you bury your round head in such a thicket.
And your full beard must come off. However, all that will come with
time. Tell me what has conjured you forth out of your primeval forests
into our tame art-city?"

He grasped the young man's arm, and led him around the house into the
little garden. Both were silent, and seemed to avoid looking at one
another, as though they had begun to feel ashamed of the extravagant
affection with which they had marked their reunion.

At the extreme end of the garden was an arbor overgrown with
honeysuckle; at its entrance stood sentry two potbellied Cupids in the
_rococco_ style, with little queues and all that--both of them painted
sky-blue from head to foot.

"It's easy to see whom one is visiting," said Felix, laughing. "'His
pig-tail hangs behind him,' or have you had it cut off?" Then, without
waiting for an answer: "But tell me, old fellow, how have you had the
heart to leave your poor Icarus all these terribly long years without a
sign of life on your part? Haven't any of the six or eight letters I
have written you--the last only a year ago from Chicago--"

The sculptor had turned away and buried his face in a bunch of
full-blown roses. He turned suddenly toward his friend, and said, with
a quick, lowering glance: "A sign of life! How do you know that I
_have_ lived these terribly long years? But let us drop all that. Come
and sit down here in the arbor, and now unpack your budget. A
circumnavigator like you must have brought all manner of things with
you that are entertaining and wonderful to dusty stay-at-homes like us.
When you went away from Kiel, we did not either of us think the earth
would turn so often before we looked each other in the face again."

"What shall I tell you?" asked the young man, and his delicate brow
contracted, "If my letters reached you, you have not lost the thread of
my story. As for all the details that belong to it, you knew me well
enough in my first university days, in those old times at Kiel, to
imagine how I went on afterward in Heidelberg and Leipsic, till I got
an older head under my corps-student's cap. It is true, I soon grew
tired of the ridiculous corps business; but, for the mere sake of not
seeming to play the renegade, I kept on with the old associations even
more shamelessly than before. My three years passed away, and a fourth
beside; I was fully three-and-twenty when I went back into my dear,
dull, little home, and passed my examination to enter the civil
service. How I managed to get on so long without giving you a call,
Heaven knows! As early as the second year after our separation, I was
very near you. I had a trifling reminder of a pistol-duel with a
Russian, here in my left shoulder, and had to go to a watering-place
for my health. In Heligoland I heard that you had moved to Hamburg. I
needn't say that I designed to call upon you on my way back. But,
suddenly, a sad message called me home abruptly. My poor old father had
had an apoplectic stroke, and I found him dead. Then there was all the
dreary necessary business, and, after it all--. But why must we spoil
our first pleasant hour with all these old stories? My dear Hans, if
you had a notion how good it is to be sitting here again by your side,
to smell these roses, and imagine that my life is beginning all over
again--a new life in a better world, free from all fetters and--. But,
by-the-way, you have married, I hear? An actress, was it not? Where did
she come from? I heard in Heligoland--"

The sculptor suddenly rose. "You find me as you left me," he said, his
face darkening quickly; "what is past, let us let it rest. Come out of
the arbor; it is suffocatingly hot under those thick vines."

He went toward the little fountain, held his hands under the slender
stream, and passed them over his brow. Then, for the first time, he
turned to Felix again. His face was once more composed and bright.

"And now tell me what has brought you here, and how long you are going
to stay with me."

"As long as you will have me--for ever and ever--_in infinitum_ if you

"You are joking. Don't do that, my dear boy. I am so utterly alone
here, in spite of a plenty of good comrades with whom I can share
everything except my most intimate thoughts, that the thought of
beginning our old life again seems far too happy to me to be only made
a jest of."

"But it is my most serious earnest, dear old Hans. I am going to stay
here with you, if you have nothing against it, in your most intimate
daily companionship; and, if some day you strike your tent and wander
away somewhere else, I will go too. In one word, I have put my whole
past career behind me, and broken up all my old associations, so that I
may begin, as I said, my whole life over again, and not be anything but
what I care most to be--a free man; not make myself anything but what I
have always secretly longed to be, an artist, as good or as bad a one
as mother Nature will let me."

He poured forth these words hurriedly, and with downcast face, and as
he talked drew a light circle in the nearest flower-bed with his cane.
It was only after a pause, and when his friend made no reply, that he
raised his eyes and met, with some embarrassment, the quiet gaze fixed
upon him.

"You don't seem quite able to accept this change in my life all at
once, Hans? Others besides you have had the same feeling--the person
most concerned in it, for instance. That I have become a conceited ass,
and fancy that because I used to be extravagantly fond of modeling all
manner of absurdities in clay, and cutting caricatures of my friends in
meerschaum--this I hope you will not believe. But why I can't get
beyond the condition of a dilettante, if I only am serious about it,
and think of and do nothing else but study my A, B, C, under a good
master--I beg of you, my dear Dædalus, don't pull such a disheartening
face! Don't look so sadly at the lost youth--as I probably seem to you;
or at least smile ironically, so as to rouse my anger and wound my
_amour propre_ a little! But by the eternal gods--what is there after
all so horribly fatal in this decision? That it hasn't occurred to me
till after twenty-seven years? That is bad, I admit, but not a proof
that it is hopeless. Think of your own half-countryman, Asmus Carstens,
or of--well, I won't give you a whole chapter of artists' biographies.
And besides, when I am altogether independent and have burnt my ships
behind me--"

He stopped again. His friend's silence seemed to check his utterance.
For a time nothing was to be heard around them but the splashing of the
little fountain, and from the window above them the notes of the
battle-painter's flute, every little while dying dismally away.

Suddenly the sculptor stood still.

"And does your fiancée agree to this project?"

"My fiancée? What in the world puts that question into your head?"

"Because, although I never answered your letters, I remember them all
very well. Is it possible that you too do not remember what you wrote
me three years ago, under the seal of the deepest--"

"So I did do it then!" cried the young man with a short, abrupt laugh.
"So I did chatter, did I? I assure you, my dear Hans, I was myself
doubtful how far I had initiated you--you, the only one before whom I
ever lifted even a corner of the veil from this veiled picture. After
awhile--as you sent no congratulations--I began to persuade myself that
I had kept a quiet tongue in my head, even with you; and, in truth,
that would have been the best thing to do. Then I should have escaped
the full confession that it is hard enough for me to make--and after
all, it is perfectly superfluous. For how shall I--who am no poet, and
who am besides an interested party in the transaction--how shall I
describe the persons concerned so that you will understand how it all
came about--how it was partly the fault of both--and yet how both are
innocent, after all?

"But if you must have it, let it be so--as briefly as possible.

"I came back, then, to my native town, to pay the last honors to my
good old father. You know what an unhomelike home I had always found
it. The capital of a third-class Duodezstaat--thank your good star that
you have no idea what it means. My father before me had suffered under
the absurd despotism of this court-etiquette, this endlessly-branching,
complicated, spun-out primeval jungle of dry genealogical trees--under
these ridiculous traditions of a worm-eaten bureaucracy. He was a man
of quite another type--a sturdy, stately country noble, of the most
exclusive and most independent spirit; and since the death of my
mother--who could not of course withdraw herself so entirely from her
family connections--he had lived on our own estate, altogether apart
from 'society.' Then came his death; and I--looked upon askance even as
a boy because of my likeness to my father, and almost given up as far
as a career at court or in politics was concerned--I believe no cock
would have crowed at it, if I had once for all acknowledged that I was
my father's true heir in this respect also, and had forever turned my
back on the spot where I was cradled. But, much as I felt inclined to
do so, it fell out otherwise."

He put his hand into his pocket and took out a little memorandum-book.

"You shall have the romance in an illustrated edition," he said, with a
rather forced attempt at jesting. "See, it was this little person's
fault that I thought for a while it was really my calling to be a
useful citizen--chamberlain to his Highness--by and by master of the
hunt--court marshal--heaven knows what all. Is not that a face that
could persuade one of anything, and could turn a head that never sat
very firmly? And that is only a commonplace photograph, and three years
old; and besides, in these three years the wicked child has learned all
manner of witches' arts; and the eyes that here in the photograph look
so still and fixed--half curious, half timid, as if they were looking
at a theatre-curtain that would not go up--I can tell you, my dear boy,
they look into the world now with such a queenly confidence and dignity
that it fairly--but that is no part of our present talk. And at that
time, when the misfortune happened and I lost my heart to the child,
the little thing was hardly more than a schoolgirl, just sixteen years
old; and shy, silent and unformed as a young bird. We had known each
other since we were children--she is some sort of a cousin, seventeen
times removed--just as all good families with us are related in some
way. I had not the least idea, however, of visiting her, until her
uncle, with whom she lived--her parents died when she was very
young--until this jovial gentleman came to make me a visit of
condolence. Of course I had to return it, and it was on this occasion
that I first saw the slender, pale, large-eyed child, with her
exquisite, tight-shut red lips and her ravishing, tiny little ears.

"Soon afterward I went away again, and only after a year had
passed--after the infernal examination that I would not shirk, in spite
of my freedom, lest it should seem as though I were afraid of it--only
then, when she was seventeen years old, did I see her again. While I
was away, a recollection of her had come back to me from time to time;
suddenly, in the midst of altogether different things, I had seen
something flitting before me that resembled nothing but her slight and
somewhat spare figure, about which there was one trait that always
seemed to me especially charming--that though she was perhaps not quite
tall enough, her little form was always so haughty and erect and so
delicately and perfectly balanced on its slender pedestal. Sometimes,
too, her eyes met me in a fairly ghost-like fashion, when I was among
my comrades or alone out of doors. And yet I had never exchanged ten
words with her.

"And now, when I found her again, a year older and suddenly developed
into a young woman--no, Hans, you need not fear that I am shamelessly
going to put our whole love-story at your mercy, here in the bright
morning sunlight. Enough to say that it had fared much the same with
her, as far as my worthy self was concerned, as with me in respect to
her. We saw that we were meant for one another, as people say--without
ever thinking how much is meant by the words.

"Well! everything would have been well enough; the match seemed as
_bien assortie_ as could possibly have been wished even in such an
aristocratic and cosmopolitan capital as ours. If we had only
married at once, on the spur of the moment, we should have been just
the people--she with her seventeen years, and I with my three or
four-and-twenty--to be altogether suited to one another, and, as time
went on, to so round off the very perceptible and serious corners and
sharpnesses of our two temperaments, that finally it would have been a
thoroughly happy marriage. But, unfortunately, Irene's mother had
married at seventeen, and attributed her lifelong invalidism--for she
was a delicate creature and always remained so--to this early marriage.
When she died--still very young--she charged her husband solemnly that
he should not let their only daughter marry before she was twenty; and
the uncle, who afterward filled a father's place to my sweetheart,
considered himself absolutely bound by this inherited pledge. I must
wait patiently, therefore, for three whole years. And as he was a
bachelor, and his niece had no chaperon to call upon but a former
servant, I was required to pledge myself to avoid all companionship
with my betrothed during this long probation, and only to carry on my
courtship by letter; so that every temptation to seek to shorten the
time of waiting might be put a stop to once for all.

"You can imagine what my feelings were when the old gentleman told me
all this. To decree a three years' banishment just because we should
give him trouble--because he hated responsibility, and because he
believed, as an old hand at love-making, that this was the best way to
protect lovers against themselves! But, jovial as his manner was, he
was an uncompromising egotist where his own quiet and comfort were
concerned. And I was too stubborn and too proud to make any
supplications, and too sure of myself and my sweetheart to fear the
length of the interval; which did not seem to me at first glance so
intolerable as I often felt it afterward--in sighs and misery.

"My sweetheart, too, threw back her little head and said: 'Yes, we will
wait.'--Afterward, it is true, when it came to our last parting, she
fell out of my arms as though she were dead, and I thought she would
never open her eyes again. Even now I don't know how I succeeded, in
spite of it all, in tearing myself away.

"And this three years' separation itself! If I had only been a man of
sense--that is, if I had been another than myself--I should have
settled down somewhere in Germany, and taken up some task at which
I could have worked myself tired--to fight down my unprofitable
lover's-melancholy. Why could not I devote my three years to making
myself a perfect agriculturist, or a prominent jurist, or a politician,
or something that is of some use in the world? To make one's self so
completely master of some department of life or knowledge that one
knows every square foot of it is rather an absurd and commonplace
consolation, to be sure; but it is better, after all, than an
objectless activity, a love nourished on prison-fare, and a longing for
freedom that at last makes one look upon mere change as something

"Even then I thought of my old Dædalus. I was on the very point of
falling upon you in your studio, and, for want of a smooth, girlish
cheek to caress, of trying my hand on a soft bit of clay. Just then I
chanced upon an opportunity to go to England; there I stayed until I
was ripe for America; and he who once sets foot in the New World, and
hasn't left any very pressing business behind him in the Old, can get
rid of a few years of his life without knowing exactly how he has done
it. It is enough to tell you that I had already reached Rio, traveling
by way of San Francisco and Mexico, when I said to myself one day that
if I did not want to prolong my exile voluntarily, and so appear to my
betrothed in rather a bad light, I must take the next steamer that
sailed for Havre, in order to land at last, after all this wandering
over the wide world, in the harbor of my wedded bliss.

"I had written regularly to my betrothed every month--beautiful
diary-like love-letters--and had received with equal regularity letters
from her, which, to speak honestly, had now and then irritated me
greatly; so that we had already had (on paper) all manner of
misunderstandings, tiffs, quarrels, and reconciliations. I considered
that all this belonged of right to a well-conducted three-years'
engagement, and did not take it too much to heart when my well-bred,
rather provincial little sweetheart, who had grown up in the atmosphere
of the petty capital, occasionally gave her vagabond _fiancé_ a little
moral lesson. Perhaps I was wrong, and certainly I was foolish, always
to report my varied adventures with absolute candor. There were no very
serious matters among them; and the few cases of real human weaknesses
and sins I kept to myself--shut up in a sincerely remorseful heart. But
she found fault even with the _tone_ of my 'sketches from two
hemispheres.' Good heavens! it is easily comprehensible that the poor
child, living as she did among such absurd surroundings, could not have
much taste for a free life out in the world! Thrown entirely on
herself, watched over by a hundred eyes in a narrow, starched, formal
society--I once wrote to her that she was only so serious beyond her
years because she had had to fill, as it were, a mother's place to
herself, and be her own governess and duenna. And, besides all this,
there was her uncle's frightful example--for she could not long remain
ignorant of his habit of compensating himself for outward
respectability by private orgies at his bachelor clubs and _petits

"Only let the three years be over, I thought to myself, and we will
soon weed out the tares that have sprung up between our roses. But I
did not know the vigor of the ground in which all this bad crop had
grown up. Nor did I know how much the years between seventeen and
twenty signified in such a girl's life.

"At last, then, I arrived at home, and found--but, no!" He checked
himself abruptly, and made a sharp cut at the air with his cane. "Why
should I bore you with a detailed story of a domestic comedy that has
only a decidedly unfavorable likeness to 'Much Ado about Nothing,' and,
instead of ending with the reconciliation between Benedict and
Beatrice, finished with a ridiculous eternal separation? For isn't it
almost as laughable as lamentable that two lovers, who for three whole
years, the world over, have been extravagantly fond of one another,
should count the days till they could fall again on one another's
necks, and then should not be able to get on together for six weeks?
And all this only because--as old Goethe says--man strives for liberty,
woman for morality; and because the said moral law seems to the man a
wretched slavery, while the unhappy young woman thinks even a very
moderate freedom immoral! Ah, my dear old Hans, what did I not endure
in those six weeks!--and more especially because I was thoroughly
dissatisfied with myself. After our altogether fruitless (and therefore
all the more obstinate) discussions of these questions, in which I
poured out my bitterest scorn upon her court-etiquette, her kid-gloved
prejudices, her duenna-like code of morals, while she put my baseless
principles to shame with a maidenly pride and firmness that I could
have kissed her for--always after these discussions I used to say to
myself, in the quiet of my chamber, that I was a mad fool to upset
matters as I did. With a little diplomacy, a little delicate tact, and
patient hypocrisy, I could have thoroughly gained my end; could have
borne the stupid ban of society until my marriage; and then, when we
were alone together, could have gradually developed my little wife out
of her doll-like state of servitude, and rejoiced to see her spread her
wings in freedom.

"But it was odd: as often as I appeared before her with the best
resolves in the world--the war began again. You must not imagine that
she fairly entered the lists, challenged me, and herself brought up our
old points of conflict. But it was precisely her quiet reserve, her
obvious good intention to be cautious with the reckless scapegrace, and
to leave his reform to time--it was all this that overthrew my finest
diplomatic projects. I would begin to joke, then to chaff, then to hurl
the most fearful insults against people and customs that seemed fairly
holy to her--and so it went on, day after day, until there came one day
that fairly 'forced the bottom out of the cask'--a wretched, wretched

He paused a moment, and fixed his eyes gloomily upon the ground.

"There's no help for it!" he said, at last. "It must come out.
Once in my life I did something that humiliated me in my own eyes. I
committed a sin against my own sense of honor--a base act, for which I
never can forgive myself, although a court of honor in matters of
gallantry--chosen from among my own equals, mind you--would probably
have let me off with a slight penance, if not scot-free altogether. You
know what I think of what is called sin; there is no _absolute_ moral
code; what brands one forever is only a little spot upon another--all
according to the delicacy and sensitiveness of the skin. Even
conscience is a product of culture, and the categorical imperative is a
pure fiction. What a brutal blackguard of a soldier permits himself in
plundering a captured town, and feels his conscience untroubled, would
dishonor his officer to all eternity. But I am not going to theorize;
suffice it to say that that inner harmony with one's self, on which
everything depends, was utterly destroyed in me by this act. From the
way in which it haunted me, you can conceive how, in a moment of
weakness, I confessed the whole story to Irene's uncle, little
consolation as I could get from the absolution of so very odd a saint.
I saw _how_ little, when he utterly failed to understand how I could
take the matter so to heart, especially as it had taken place a
considerable time before my engagement. I instantly repented most
bitterly that I had confided in him; and his promise, never by a single
syllable to recur to it, reassured me but little.

"I was right. He forgot it himself; and one unhappy day he began, in
the very presence of his niece--we had just been speaking of all manner
of far more innocent adventures, and even these she would not let
pass--he began to refer to that wretched story. Something must have
come into my face that instantly gave my sweetheart an idea that this
reference meant something beyond the common. Her uncle, too, began to
stammer, and made a clumsy attempt to change the subject. That made the
matter worse. Irene stopped talking, and soon after left the room. The
uncle, good-natured as usual, cursed his own loquacity again and again;
but, naturally, that did not help things. When I saw my little one
again, she asked me to what his words referred. I was too proud to lie
to her; I confessed that I carried about with me the memory of
something that I wished to conceal from myself--how much more from her!
With that she grew silent again. But on the evening of that day, when I
was a second time alone with her, she told me that she must know the
whole. I could not have done anything that she could not forgive me;
but she felt that she could not live by my side when there was such a
secret between us.

"Perhaps a wiser man might have invented some story, and so have
avoided a greater evil. There is such a thing as a necessary lie. But I
held to the belief that every man is alone responsible for his acts;
that I should add a second sin to the first if I burdened the pure soul
of my darling with such a confidence; and so I remained unshaken,
though I knew her too well not to know how much was at stake.

"On the next morning I received her parting letter--a letter that for
the first time showed me all that I was losing.

"But I had gone too far to turn back. I answered that I would wait
until she changed her opinions; that in the mean time I should look
upon myself as bound to her; but she was, of course, entirely free.

"That was a week ago. I reflected that of course it would be necessary
to leave at once those places where she might meet me. In putting my
house in order for an indefinite absence, I came upon a package of
visiting-cards in one of my mother's cupboards that had on them the
name of her brother, my godfather, Felix von Weiblingen. It occurred to
me as a good idea that, under this name, I might for a while
(_incognito_) breathe the same air with my oldest friend, and at the
same time attain the goal of my dearest wishes--to begin a new life.
There is nothing in me of the ordinary numbered and classified type of
'man with a calling,' and, even with the best wife in the world, I
never should have been able to busy myself quietly on my estate with
bringing up children, making brandy, and fox-hunting. It is better,
then, that I should use this involuntary opportunity to dispose of
myself as I choose, in trying whether I can't really make a life of my
own. If in time she should bring herself to my way of thinking, she
would then find a _fait accompli_ that she would have to accept.

"It will be no shame to me in your eyes if I don't at once find my
spirits so entirely in order that I can go rushing into a mastery of
the fine arts by lightning express. I have reached the door of your
studio but slowly, and by very short stages--but this very slowness has
done me good. You see before you a thoroughly sensible man, who is
determined to submit to fate without a grumble. If you will only take
me into _die Mache_, it will not be long before the wings of your
faithful Icarus will grow again, to lift him above all this wretched
world of Philistinism and its foolish love-affairs."

                              CHAPTER III.

The sculptor had listened to this long confession in silence. And even
now, when Felix ended, and began to pull to pieces a sprig of
mignonette as carefully as though he were trying to count the stamens
in the little blossoms, he betrayed neither by word nor look any
opinion of what he had just heard.

"I find that you have made great progress in your old art of expressing
yourself by silence," said the young man at length, with a somewhat
forced lightness of tone. "Do you remember how I used to be able to
tell from the degree, and, so to speak, from the pitch of your silence,
just what you were thinking of my nonsense? I can tell in the same way
now: you think my decision to become an artist is a mere absurdity. You
used to tell me that I was not fit either for science or art--that I
was an _homme d'action_. But there's no help for it now: if it is a
wrong road--why, I am in it once for all and mean to follow it to the
end. So speak out, and tell me candidly whether I must look up another
master, or whether the lion will endure the company of the puppy in his
cage--as he used to before he himself was a full-grown king of the

"What shall I say to you, my dear boy?" replied the sculptor, in his
quiet, rather slow manner. "The thing is a matter of course. I need not
say to you, well as you know me, that I can hardly base any very
exalted hopes upon an art-apprentice who takes up his task somewhat as
a man might marry a woman with whom he had not been especially in love,
but who now, when his real sweetheart has given him the mitten, is a
good enough last resort; that the future career of an art adopted thus
out of spite, as it were, seems to me very doubtful. But then, too, I
know you well enough to be sure that all the Phidiases and Michael
Angelos in the world couldn't make you break your resolution, and that,
if I should lock my door against you, you would be just the fellow to
bind yourself out as an apprentice to the first of my colleagues you
might chance upon. And then--to be honest--it is such a pleasure to me
to have you back again at all, that out of pure selfishness I can't
make any objection if your energy, instead of taking hold of real life,
chooses to spend itself on a harmless bit of clay. For the rest--let us
speak of it another time--or not at all, whichever pleases you better.
In such matters we take no counsel, after all, but that of our own
souls; and if this isn't always the best for us--why, we are sovereigns
of ourselves, and have it in our own power to save or ruin ourselves
according to our natures. Here is my hand, then. You can begin
to-morrow, if you like, your apprenticeship as a kneader of clay and
chipper of stone--and your baronial ancestors can turn in their graves
at it as they please."

"Chaff away, dear old Hans!" cried the young man, joyously. "Now I'll
stake my head that I will become a famous artist just to have the laugh
on you! I will work from morning till night with a true malicious
pleasure, grinding and fretting till the dilettante skin is rubbed off
and something better appears below it. And you shall see that I have
not spent these seven years altogether in lounging. If you will run
through my sketch-books from both continents--but _apropos_, what have
you been doing in the mean while? Is it not a shame that I haven't been
able to keep track of your progress toward immortality, even by a
wretched photograph? And here I have been running on for an hour over
my own adventures, while the most glorious wonders of the world are
waiting for me over yonder!"

He strode quickly across the yard, to which they had come back while
they were talking, and entered the house.

"You will repent this haste, rash boy!" Jansen called after him, while
an odd smile played about his lips. "You will indeed wonder over much
that you see--but the wonders of the world that you dream of--they are
still in this narrow room" (he pointed to his forehead), "and even
there they are not always in the best light!"

With these words he unlocked one of the two lower doors, and let Felix
pass in.

It was a second studio, adjoining that in which he had worked during
the morning; a room precisely like the other, its walls painted in the
same stone-color, and its great square window half draped in the same
fashion. And yet no one would have believed that the same spirit ruled
here that had created the dancing Bacchante in the next atelier.

On slender pedestals stood a multitude of figures, most of them of half
life-size, such as are used for the decoration of Catholic churches,
chapels and cemeteries. Some of them were just begun, some were almost
finished works; and in all could be clearly recognized the hands of the
pupils who had their execution in charge--sometimes more and sometimes
less skillfully imitating the little original models, barely six inches
high, that stood on small shelves beside the copies. While the latter
were neatly cut in sandstone or in the cheaper marbles--and a few in
wood, decorated with all manner of painting and gilding--the little
models were in plaster, and spotted and nicked by constant use. Yet
these doll-like little madonnas, saints and apostles, and praying and
playing angels in their heavy draperies, had a certain odd and now and
then almost caricatured life-likeness--so great that not all of its
charm was lost, even in the dry copies made by the assistants. They had
something of the same element of humor that Ariosto gives to his
personages--which by no means lose in life or force because their
author has lost his own simple faith in them.

"Allow me to ask," said Felix, after looking about blankly for a
moment, "into whose room you have brought me? And is your good friend
who practises this pious art hidden somewhere close by, so that one
must be cautious in his criticisms?"

"You needn't be in the least disturbed, my dear fellow; the lord and
master of this worshipful company stands before you."

"You, yourself? Dædalus with a saint's halo! The preacher in the
wilderness of modern art actually at the foot of the cross! Before I
believe that, I shall have to take the cowl myself, and declare poor
naked Beauty to be an invention of the devil!"

The sculptor cast down his eyes for a moment.

"Yes, my dear fellow," he said, "this is what we have come to in our
art-desert. You ask me for beauty, and I offer you clothes-racks with
dolls'-heads! As long ago as when we were in Kiel, I had to learn that
the world of to-day will have nothing to do with true art. You know how
hard I found it to turn these stones of mine into bread. It was still
worse when I moved to Hamburg, and there--" he checked himself
suddenly, and turned away; "well, living is more expensive there, and I
began to be older and less easily satisfied; and, when I could no
longer support myself in the place--it was the wretched trading city's
fault, I thought--I packed up my best models and sketches and came
here, to the much-praised land of art, the 'Athens on the Iser,' of
which so much is said and sung. You will soon learn how it is here. I
won't begin as soon as you have crossed the threshold to sweep all the
disagreeable things in the house out of the corners for you. I will
only say that the Munich Philistine isn't a hair better than those on
the Jungfernstieg or in our old Holstein. After I had managed, with
great difficulty, to keep myself alive here for a year, and had hardly
earned enough in the service of pure beauty to keep life in my body, I
found that such misery was enough to make a man turn Catholic--and, as
this spectacle shows, I did turn so, half-and-half. It wasn't so easy
as it may seem to you here--to my shame! Besides a trace of conscience,
which was always reminding me that

           'Man, after all, has higher goals to seek
            Than simply feeding seven times a week;'

besides my own humiliation before myself and a few of my good
colleagues, I was hampered by a real lack of skill. It needs a good
deal to take all the manliness out of one's self, so that one can fit
himself to all the miserable complications, the twisted deformities and
tameness of our modern civilization. But it only depends, after all, on
one's capability of getting the humor out of the thing. The idea that
I, an unmitigated pagan, should establish a manufactory of images of
saints, struck me as so indescribably rich that one fine day I actually
set to work to model a Saint Sebastian, in which task my knowledge of
anatomy stood me in good stead. But, even here, I soon found that it is
only 'clothes that make the man.' It was only when I betook myself to
making draperies, trains, and sleeves, that the result took on the true
devotional air such as the public is accustomed to and desires. And,
since then, I have grown prosperous so fast that now I employ eight or
ten assistants; and, if it goes on, I shall some day bid farewell to
temporal affairs, in the odor of sanctity and as rich as----." (He
named a colleague who enjoyed a continued rush of business.)

"Yes, my dear Icarus," continued he, still more laughingly, as Felix
made no reply to these revelations, "you would not have believed it
all, I know, when in the first fire of youth we rode our proud hobbies,
and called every man a low fool who, in art or life, proved faithless
to his ideals by a straw's breadth. But the mill of every-day life rubs
off much that a man believed was bound to him as with iron--like a very
part of himself. And here you have an example, worth your deep
consideration, of that celebrated 'liberty' you think to find here. If
I allow myself the liberty of doing what I cannot give up, I must, at
the same time, make up my mind to work at absurdities with which my
heart has no sympathy. In order to be an artist, such as I wish to be,
I am compelled to make Nuremberg toys and to display them in the
market-places. But, after all--behind my own back, as it were--I
continue quietly to be my own master. Let thy troubled heart take
courage, beloved son! thy old Dædalus hasn't even yet become quite so
utterly bad as these trade-wares show him. I think you will give me
back your esteem if I lead you now out of my holy into my profane
_atelier_--out of my tailor's-shop into my paradise!"

                              CHAPTER IV.

With these words he opened the little door that separated the two
studios and passed in, followed by Felix.

"You will find an old acquaintance again," he said. "I wonder whether
friend Homo still remembers you. He has certainly had time to grow old
and dull."

The dog was still lying in front of the old sofa, on the straw mat, and
seemed to have slept quietly on, although the girl had seated herself
near him and had buried both feet in his thick coat as in a rug.
Evidently the old dog thought it not disagreeable, but rather pleasant
than otherwise, to be rubbed and trampled on by the little shoes. At
all events he uttered a comfortable growl from time to time, like a
purring cat.

To the girl herself the time had seemed very long. At first, when she
heard voices out in the garden, she had climbed upon a chair close to
the window, and, pulling her skirt over her bare shoulders that she
might not be seen by any chance passer-by, had peeped out curiously
through the roses. The strange young man, who spoke so long and
seriously with Jansen, had taken her fancy greatly, with his tall,
slender figure, his small head above the broad shoulders, and the fiery
glance of his brown eyes, that wandered absently about. She had seen
directly that he must be somebody of distinction. But, when he
disappeared with Jansen into the arbor, her post at the window grew
uncomfortable. She climbed slowly and thoughtfully down, stationed
herself before a little looking-glass on the wall, and looked
attentively at her own youthful figure, which only seemed to her
anything especially remarkable now that an artist copied from it. Only
to-day she was even less satisfied than usual with her face, and tried
whether it could not be improved if she screwed up her mouth as much
as possible, drew in her nostrils, and opened her eyes very wide. She
was vexed because she could not make herself as beautiful as the
plaster-heads that stood above her on the brackets. But suddenly she
had to laugh at the horribly distorted face she made; her old high
spirits came back; she thrust out her tongue at her reflection in the
glass, and was pleased to see how pretty and red it looked between her
glittering white teeth. Then she shook her thick red hair and went
singing, and patting her shoulders in time with the tune, up and down
the room, so that the sparrows were frightened and fluttered out at the
window. Then she stood still for a long while and looked at the casts
and clay models around her on the walls; and seemed especially
interested in the half-finished marble bust. It reminded her again of
the stranger outside in the arbor, whose head sprung just so from his
stately shoulders. Finally she tired of this also; and besides, she
began to feel a little hungry. She found in the cupboard, behind her in
the corner to which the sculptor had directed her, a few rolls and an
opened bottle of red wine. There was all sorts of rubbish besides in
the cupboard; a masquerader's costume, pieces of gold-stamped leather
tapestry, of blue and red silk and brocade, with large flowers in their
patterns, and a saint's halo, cut out of paper and painted with
beautiful golden rays--that might have done service for a _tableau
vivant_, or some other profane purpose. The idle girl seized upon this
last, fastened it on her head with the two ribbons still attached to
it, and went again before the looking-glass, where she smiled and made
faces at her own reflection. Then she took a piece of blue damask out
of the pile of things, and threw it like a cloak over her white
shoulders. Her hair flowed freely over it, so that at a distance, when
one did not see her uncovered neck, she looked like a mediæval madonna,
who had stepped out of her frame and had wandered into some merry
company. The girl thought herself very beautiful, and quite worthy of
reverence in this disguise, and secretly congratulated herself on the
surprise and admiration of the sculptor, when he should find her so
dressed. That she might await his return more comfortably, she had
seated herself on the sofa, put a glass of wine on a chair beside her,
and begun to eat a roll. She had come across a portfolio of photographs
of celebrated pictures, and had laid it open in her lap, resting her
feet on the dog's back; and so she had sat now a full half-hour,
absorbed in looking at the pictures (which she found generally very
ugly), when the little door opened and Jansen again entered the room.

At the same moment she started as though shot up by a spring--so rudely
that the old dog, giving a low howl and shaking himself, also scrambled
up from his sleep.

She had seen the young stranger enter behind the sculptor; and now she
stood in the middle of the atelier, drawing the little blue silk flag
as tightly as she could across her breast, her eyes flaming with anger,
and her whole body trembling with excitement.

"You need not be afraid, my child," said the sculptor, "this gentleman
is also an artist. Good Heavens! How magnificently you have dressed
yourself! The halo becomes you excellently. Turn round a little--"

She shook her head violently.

"Let me go! I will never come again!" she said half aloud. "You haven't
kept your word to me! Oh! it is shameful!"

"But, Zenz--"

"No, never again! You have deceived me. You know very well what you
promised me, and yet--"

"But if you would only listen! I assure you solemnly--"

Shaking her head and blushing crimson, she ran to the chair where she
had laid her waist and her straw hat, seized them hurriedly, and shot
like an arrow through the little side-door into the second studio.

The sculptor tried to follow her, but had to turn back at the bolted
door. Vexed and annoyed, he turned again to Felix, who had let the girl
pass almost unnoticed in the demonstrative recognition he received from
the dog. The powerful animal had come leaping toward him with all the
liveliness of his younger days, had rested his heavy paws on his old
friend's breast, barking hoarsely the while, and seemed unwilling to
let him go again.

"Do you really know me still, true old soul?" cried the young man,
patting the dog's great head, and looking with real emotion into the
faithful old fellow's large eyes, already grown a little dim.--"See,
Hans, with what _empressement_ he receives me! But what have I done to
vex the little girl? Is it the custom here in your blessed land of free
art for models to set themselves up as examples of propriety?"

"This is rather a peculiar case," answered Jansen, with some vexation.
"It was only after long hesitation that she did me the favor to stand
as a model at all; and I shall be hard put to it now to make the shy
thing so tame again. She has neither father nor mother--at least, so
she says. I used often to meet her on her way to an artificial-flower
factory, where she works hard to support, herself. Her figure attracted
me; and the little pert-nosed thing did not look as though her ideas
were very rigidly conventional. But she would have nothing to say to
it, although, as I look older than I am, I have made much shyer people
trust me. Finally, though, my last resort helped me here, as it had

"Your last resort?"

"Yes; the remark that, after all, the matter really was not worth so
much trouble as I had given to it; and perhaps, on the whole, she was
wise in only wishing to show her figure with the aid of dress. This was
too much for the vain little creature, and she consented to come as a
model--but no one but myself must ever enter the studio. I
thoughtlessly broke this agreement to-day in admitting you."

Felix stepped before the statue of the Bacchante.

"Unless you have greatly flattered her, you are to be congratulated on
finding so good a one," he said. "And, as far as I have been able to
see in to-day's wanderings through the town, you must have every reason
to be satisfied with most of the figures you can find here."

Jansen did not answer. He seemed to be absorbed in gazing at his
friend, who happened to be standing at the moment in a most favorable
light. Then, muttering to himself, he went over to the cupboard in
which the girl had been rummaging, searched a while in its
compartments, and at last came back to Felix, hiding behind him a great
pair of shears. The young man still stood absorbed in admiration of the

"Before we do anything else, my dear boy," said the sculptor, "you must
allow me to crop this hair of yours into a more rational shape. Sit
down there on that stool. In less than five minutes we shall have it
all arranged; and that neck of yours, that looks like the neck of the
Borghese Gladiator--the very best point about you--will be got out of
all this thicket."

At first Felix laughingly refused; but finally he submitted; and his
friend's skillful hand cropped his long hair, and trimmed his full
beard more closely.

"There!" said Jansen. "Now a man needn't be ashamed to be seen with
you. And, as a reward for this submission, I will show you something
that until now very few mortal eyes have had the privilege of seeing."

He approached the great veiled group in the middle of the studio, and
began cautiously to unwrap the damp cloths in which the work was
everywhere enveloped.

The figure of a youth appeared, of more than mortal strength and
stature, lying stretched upon the ground in an attitude of perfect and
natural grace and beauty. Sleep seemed to have just left his eyes; for
he lay with his head a little raised, leaning upon his right arm, and
passing the left across his forehead as though to clear away the mists
of some deep dream. Before him--or behind him, as it appeared to the
spectator--knelt upon one knee a youthful female figure, bending over
him in a posture of innocent wonder. This figure was much less advanced
toward completion than that of its male companion--there being, indeed,
scarcely anything left to do on the latter excepting a little delicate
work upon the luxuriant hair and the hands and feet. And yet, though
the lines of the woman's figure were still almost in the rough, and her
beautiful form seemed only the fruit of a few days' labor, the modeling
of the whole was so broad and strong, the bend of the neck and the
posture of the arms were so expressive, that no one could fail to catch
the full force of the whole, even from the unfinished work, and to see
that the two figures were worthy of one another, and of equal birth.

Felix uttered an exclamation of delight. Then, for a full quarter of an
hour, he stood motionless before the mighty group, and seemed
altogether to forget the sculptor in his work.

At length the dog, which came beside him and began again to lick his
hand, aroused him from his reverie.

"The old-time Hans still lives!" he cried, turning to Jansen. "And more
than that--this is for the first time the complete, genuine Dædalus,
who has thoroughly learned to use his wings. Listen, old boy; it is
gradually dawning upon me that I must have been altogether mad and
absurd when I introduced myself to you as a kind of fellow-artist!"

"You shall go to the art-club to-morrow, and gather new courage when
you see some of your other colleagues," said Jansen, dryly. "However, I
am glad the thing pleases you. You remember how I used to dwell on the
germ of the idea of this work years ago. The First Man face to face
with the First Woman--hardly daring as yet to actually touch the being
who for the first time makes his human existence full and complete;
while she--more mature already, as a woman is, and having had time
while he slept to recover from her first surprise--feels herself drawn
by a strange and joyful yearning to him who is to be her lord, and to
call forth for the first time her true woman's nature. It is a subject
that stirs one to the core; it touches all that is deep and sacred in a
man's fancy; and yet it is not impossible to reproduce it with the
means our art affords. I have made more than one study of it, and yet
not satisfied myself. It was only this spring, when I realized one day,
to my horror, how this wretched business next door--this money-getting
and trying to please priests and women--was threatening to demoralize
me, that for three weeks I never set foot in my saint-factory, but
locked myself in here and expanded my soul again with this work. I know
that I am only doing it for myself and for a little group of true
friends, as restless as I am. Where could I put such a thing as that
nowadays? True Art is homeless and without a place to lay her head. A
dancing Bacchante is sure to find a lover in some rich man who will put
her in some niche in his _salon_, and think when he looks at her of the
ballet-girls who have been his associates. But Adam and Eve, before
their fall, in all their rude and vigorous strength, with the fragrance
of the fresh earth lingering, as it were, about them--they are as
useless for a decoration as they would be for the altar of a chapel.
Even their heroic proportions would pass for brutal! But, after all,
they are my old favorites; and, if they please me, to whom does it

Felix did not answer. He was again absorbed in gazing at the group.

"A good friend of mine, whose acquaintance you will soon make, by the
way," continued the sculptor, "one Schnetz, who likes to play the
Thersites, advised me to put a fusilier's uniform on Adam, and make Eve
into a sister of charity, with a medicine-glass and spoon in her hand.
Then the group would perhaps be adopted to ornament the pediment of
some hospital. His satire on the present condition of our art was so
true that I had almost a mind to try it for a joke. My first man and
woman, without an inkling of all the ills of our pestilential century,
enthroned over the door of a _lazaretto_--what do you say to that as a
piece of colossal humor?"

"Only finish it, Hans!" cried the younger man. "Dream out your dream,
and I will vouch for it that, however stupidly and sleepily men are
plodding on, this lightning-stroke of genius will dash the scales from
their eyes! Why haven't you made more progress with your Eve?"

"Because I have never yet found a model; and because I will not
botch my work by mere patching together of my own recollections,
or by the last resort of borrowing from the Venus of Milo. Ah,
my dear fellow--the fine figures you think you saw in the streets
to-day--psha! you'll soon think otherwise. The German corset-makers,
the school-room benches, and the miserable food we live on, may
possibly leave enough of dear old Nature for me to make a laughing-doll
out of, like my dancer there; but a future mother of mankind, untouched
as yet by any breath of want or degradation, and fresh from the hand of
her Creator--what do you think our professional models would say to
that--or the seamstresses or flower-girls that money or persuasion can
induce to enter the service of art? If it were a Roman, now, or a
Greek, or any untamed child of Nature who had grown up under a happier
heaven than ours! And that is what makes the ground here fairly burn
under my feet--and if they were not fettered with leaden fetters--"

He suddenly checked himself, and a dark shadow passed across his face;
but Felix shrunk from the effort to draw from him by a question any
confidence beyond what Jansen offered willingly.

At this moment the clock in a neighboring tower struck twelve; and for
a few moments the bells for mid-day service filled the pause that had
interrupted the talk of the two friends.

The sculptor began to wrap up the group again, after he had given it a
thorough sprinkling. And then, while Felix examined in silence the
other sculptures, many of which were familiar, he went to a wash-stand
in a corner, where he washed the traces of the clay from his hands and
face, and exchanged his working-blouse for a light summer-coat.

"And now," said he, as he finished his toilette--"now you shall go with
me to our high mass--one that we never miss on Sundays. At the stroke
of twelve we working-bees forsake our hives, and swarm to that great
flower-garden, the Pinakothek, to gather our store of wax and honey for
the whole week. Do you hear the door slam above us? That is my neighbor
in the upper story--a right good fellow, by the name of Maximilian
Rosenbusch, but called 'Rosebud' for short by his friends. An excellent
youngster, not in the least cut out by Nature for a desperado--but
rather inclined, on the contrary, to all the more delicate pursuits of
the muses. He is suspected of being secretly engaged on a volume of
'Poems to Spring,' and you could have heard his flute up-stairs
an hour ago. But at the same time he paints the most tremendous
battle-pieces--generally in Wallenstein or Swedish costume--battles of
the bloodiest sort, and where there is no quarter. In the studio next
to his lives a Fräulein, a thoroughly estimable woman, and by no means
a despicable artist. Among her friends she goes by the name of
Angelica, but her real name is Minna Engelken. This good creature--but
there they come now down the stairs. You can make their acquaintance at

                               CHAPTER V.

It was certainly an odd pair that they found waiting in the yard. The
battle-painter, an animated young fellow, with a clear, bright, rosy
complexion, wore an enormous gray felt hat, with a small cock's-feather
in the band; and an abundant red beard, that looked as queerly against
his pink-and-white face as though a girl had tied a false beard round
her chin, in the attempt to disguise herself as a brigand. Looking at
the face closely, there was a decidedly spirited and manly look in the
clear blue eyes, while a merry laugh lurked constantly about the mobile
mouth. Beside him, his companion--though she was apparently still under
thirty--seemed almost as though she might be his mother, there was such
a weighty seriousness and prompt decision in her movements. She had one
of those faces in which one never sees whether they are pretty or ugly;
her mouth was a little large, perhaps; her eyes were bright and full of
life, and her figure was rather short and thickset. She wore her hair
cut short under a simple Leghorn hat; but in the rest of her dress
there was nothing especially conspicuous.

Jansen introduced Felix, and a few commonplaces were exchanged. After
her first glance at him, Angelica whispered something to the sculptor
that evidently related to the stately figure of his friend, and its
likeness to the bust she had seen in his studio. Then all four strolled
along the Schwanthalerstrasse, followed by the dog, which kept close
behind Felix, and from time to time rubbed its nose against his hand.

They stopped before a pretty one-story house in the suburb, standing in
the middle of a neatly-kept garden. Rosenbusch took his flute out of
his pocket, and played the beginning of the air "Bei Männern, welche
Liebe fühlen." But nothing stirred in the house, although the upper
windows were only closed with blinds, and every note rang out far and
clear in the hot noonday air.

"Fat Rossel is either asleep or else he pretends he is, so as to shirk
our high mass again," said the painter, putting up his flute. "I think
we had better go on."

"_Andiamo!_" said Angelica, nodding. (She had once passed a year in
Italy, and certain everyday Italian phrases had a way of slipping
involuntarily from her lips every minute or two.)

The conversation, as they strolled on, was not exactly animated. Jansen
seemed to be lost in thought; long silences were a habit of his, and,
especially when there were several people about him, he could remain
for hours apparently without the least interest in what was going on.
And then, if something that was said happened to kindle a spark in him,
his eloquence seemed all the more surprising. Felix knew him well, and
made no attempt to disturb his abstracted mood. He looked about him as
he walked, and tried to recognize the streets that he had first
strolled through, long before, in one of his vacation journeys. Nor did
Rosenbusch seem to be in a particularly talkative frame of mind; and
only Angelica, who had a way of assuming a certain chaffing tone toward
him, and besides was out of humor because, as she said, she had got
"into a blind alley" with one of her pictures, kept up a fire of little
sarcasms and ridicule against her neighbor. She even adopted the
familiarity of calling him by his nickname, but not without putting a
"Herr" before it.

"Do you know, Herr Rosebud, when you're composing a picture, you ought
to repeat your poems instead of playing the flute? I know it would
inspire you a great deal more, and your neighbors would suffer less.
Now, to-day, for instance, I put some carmine on a whole group of
children I was painting, and spoiled it, just because that everlasting
_adagio_ of yours had made me so sentimental."

"Why didn't you pound on the door, then, my honored friend, as we
agreed, and then I would have 'ceased my cruel sport?'"

"If it hadn't been Sunday, and I hadn't said to myself it will soon be
twelve o'clock, and then he'll stop anyhow--. But see that sweet little
girl in the carriage--the one with the blue hat, next to the young
man--it's a bridal couple, surely! What eyes she has! And how she
laughs, and throws herself back in the carriage like a thoughtless

She had stopped in the street in her ecstasy, and impulsively imitated
the gesture of the girl who was driving by, bending back and crossing
her arms behind her head. The friends stood still and laughed.

"I must beg of you, Angelica, calm your enthusiasm," growled
Rosenbusch; "you forget that not only God and your artistic friends are
looking at you, but profane eyes also, that can't imagine what you are
driving at with your rather reckless studies of posture."

"You are right," said the little painter, casting a scared glance about
her, but somewhat relieved to find that the street was deserted. "It's
a silly habit of mine, that I have fought against from a child. My
parents gave up taking me to the theatre because they said I always
went through too many contortions over what I saw. But, when anything
excites me, I always forget my best resolutions to maintain my
composure and dignity. When you come to see my studio, baron," she
said, turning to Felix, "I hope you will bear me witness that I know
how to keep within bounds on canvas at least."

"It is comical," she continued, as no one answered, "what singular
neighbors we are. Here Rosebud, who looks so gentle and innocent, as if
he could not kill a fly, wades ankle-deep in blood every day, and isn't
happy unless, like a new Hotspur, he can kill at least fourteen
Pappenheimer cuirassiers with oil in a morning. And I--whose best
friends have to confess that the Graces didn't stand beside my
cradle--I bother myself over fragrant flower-pieces and laughing
children's faces, and then read in the reviews that I should do well to
take up subjects that have more body to them!"

So she ran on for a while, without sparing herself or her companions in
her jokes--yet without the least rudeness or old-maidish bitterness in
her talk. A certain element of womanly coquetry showed now and then in
her frank, honest speeches--an attempt to caricature herself and her
faults and follies, so that she might be taken, after all, at a little
higher value than her own exaggerations gave her credit for. But even
this was done so good-naturedly that any gallant speeches that her
companions might try to make were generally smothered in laughter.
Felix was greatly attracted by her cleverness and droll good-humor;
and, as he showed clearly how they amused him, her mood grew all the
merrier, and one jest followed another so that the long walk seemed
very short to all of them, and they stood at the door of the Pinakothek
before they realized that they had come so far.

"And here, Baron, we must bid one another good-by for the present,"
said the painter. "You must know that in this art-temple of ours we
behave like good Catholics in their churches. Each kneels before a
different altar; I before St. Huysum and Rachel Ruysch; Herr Rosebud
before his Wouvermans; Herr Jansen before Saints Peter and Paul; and
Homo stays outside, in silent converse with the stone lions on the
steps. I hope I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you in my
studio. Don't let yourself be alarmed by these two malicious gentlemen
with the idea that I shall try to capture you for a sitter. I must
paint your portrait some time, of course--it is a fate you cannot
escape; but my brush is by no means so presumptuous as these wicked men
will try to represent it. When you are a little more at home among us,
perhaps; but now--good-by!"

She nodded to the others, and disappeared into a side hall, into which
Rosenbusch also retreated, after a short stay among the old German

"We don't enforce this separation very rigidly, of course," said
Jansen, smiling. "But we have found out that when we all go together we
cannot bring ourselves into a really proper mood for study; we neither
learn nor enjoy. At best, we only get into a discussion of technical
points--problems of color and secrets of the palette, which are
especially unimportant to me, as I make no use of that kind of thing."

"But why do not you prefer to hold your Sunday solemnities before the
Medusa or the Barberini Faun?" said Felix.

"Because I know the Glyptothek by heart. And besides, I do not believe
that what we ought to look at in the works of the great masters is the
purely artistic side, if we want to profit by their study. Every one
who has passed his apprenticeship has his own ideas and prejudices and
obstinacies on those points. What we ought to get from them are
characteristics; force, refinement, and contempt for small means used
to small ends. But these I can learn just as well from a symphony of
Beethoven as from a noble building--from a gallery of paintings as from
a tragedy of Shakespeare; and then next day I can turn them to account
in my own work. And it is just these things that Rubens gives me better
than any other here--Rubens, whose works fill this whole room. As soon
as I come near him, he makes me forget all the photographic pettiness,
the fashionable rubbish and 'art-association' absurdities of our own

"Tell me yourself," he continued, pointing to the walls of the Rubens
room, "do not you too feel as though you were in your tropical
wildernesses again, where Nature hardly knows how to restrain her
overflowing vigor, and where all that moves or grows seems fairly
intoxicated with its own abounding strength? Here, no one dreams that
there is an everyday, prosaic life outside, that presses all created
things into its service--men serving the State, women mere family
beasts of burden, horses harnessed to the plough--and only suffers
untamed animals to exist in its midst when they are on show in
zoölogical gardens or fair-booths. Here the whole glorious creation
swarms unadorned and vigorous as on the seventh day after chaos; and
all that we conceal and pamper in our dapper civilization appears here
in all innocence in the open light of day. Look at this brown, lusty
peasant and this beautiful woman--these sleeping nymphs watched by the
satyrs--this glorious throng of the blessed and the damned--all this
unveiled humanity is living and acting for itself alone, and never
dreams whether prudish and pedantic fools are looking on and taking
umbrage at it. You know that nothing is really good or bad _in itself_;
it is only the power of thinking about it that makes it so. And these
creatures have never troubled themselves with thinking. They are
enjoying life fully and overflowingly--like the fat little satyr's wife
above there, nursing her twins--or they are absorbed in the sharp
struggle for existence. Look at this lion-hunt! Horace Vernet, who
wielded no unskillful brush, has painted one too. But just there you
can see the contrast between great art and petty art. Here everything
is mingled in a raging turmoil, so that there is not a hand's breadth
between--here is the very instant of highest conflict, the climax of
struggle and defense, fury and death--every muscle strained to its
utmost, and everything in such deadly yet triumphant earnest that one
trembles and yet is filled with the spirit of victory. For all true
strength is full of a certain triumphant joy. But the French picture is
like a tableau in a circus, where, in spite of all the grimacing and
posturing, there is no real struggle _à l'outrance_, And look at the
purely artistic side; here all the outlines are so melted into one
another, so lost in each other in spite of the strongest contrasts,
that they necessarily lead the eye into a network from which it cannot
escape, where it never has an opportunity to wish for anything else, or
indeed to think that anything else is possible. A skillful modern
artist, going to work with his patchwork of knowledge on the various
subjects, could not possibly produce such a work. You will always find
holes and gaps--stiff triangles and hexagons between the legs of the
horses, and the figures kept apart as nicely and neatly as though they
were going to be packed up in their cases again after it was all over."

He stood a good half hour before the lion-hunt, looking at it as though
for the first time. And then, as though tearing himself away with
difficulty, he took Felix by the arm and said, "You know I am no mere
fanatical _doctrinaire_. Nobody can have more respect for the other
great artists of the golden age. But still it always seems to me as
though I did not find, even in the greatest and most immortal of them,
a true balance between art and Nature. There is always an excess of
technical aim over unaffected seeing and feeling--an excess of 'can'
over 'must.' Even with Raphael (whom, it is true, they say one doesn't
really know until one has seen his work in Rome), I feel a too great
excess of the purely spiritual and abstract over the sensuous. And with
the glorious Titian and the Venetians, this paradisaic naturalness,
this effortless flow of beauty from an exhaustless soil, this breathing
forth of pure and unadulterated force and freedom, is only found in
their greatest moments; while this man, like the immortal gods, seems
never to have known an hour of poverty or insufficiency."

He talked on in this fashion for some time, as though to pour out his
heart before his friend. But just as they were standing before the
little picture of Rubens and his beautiful young wife in the garden,
walking beside a bed of tulips, they heard Angelica's voice behind

"I cannot help it, gentlemen; you must tear yourselves away from this
well-fed domestic happiness and these tedious box-hedges, and come with
me. I have something to show you that is quite as much a masterpiece of
its kind. Please have confidence in my artistic eye for this once, and
come quickly, before the miracle disappears again."

"What is this beautiful thing you have discovered, Fräulein?" asked
Felix, laughing, "that instantly vanishes again if one is not
immediately on the watch?"

"Something that is alive--but hardly according to your taste, as I
imagine it," answered the painter. "But our master there--"

"A beautiful woman?"

"Ah! and what a woman! I have followed her about like a young Don Juan
ever since we have been here, and looked askance at her as I stood
before the pictures. She seems to be a little near-sighted--at least
she half shuts her eyelids when she looks intently at anything; and she
looks at the upper row of pictures through a lorgnette. A blonde--and a
face, I tell you--and a figure!--just what you call _Portament_,
Jansen--the kind of thing that grows much oftener in Trastevere than
among our German oaks."

"And why don't you give _me_ credit, too, for enough taste to do this
lady justice?" asked Felix.

"Because--well, because you are a trifle young, and--thus far at
least--you are not an artist. This beauty of mine is far from being
conspicuous or attracting attention--like everything really great. I
will wager, Baron, that you find my enthusiasm exaggerated. These
polished checks and temples, and the poise of the head on the neck and
the neck on the shoulders, and the whole figure--neither too full nor
too slender--but hush! I believe she is standing over there at this
moment! Yes, it is she--the one in the raw silk, with the broad,
somewhat antiquated straw-hat set back upon her head--doesn't it look
almost like a halo? Well, Jansen? Do say something! Generally you are
so extraordinarily prompt in picking flaws in my ideals."

Jansen had paused, and had coolly turned his quiet, clear gaze upon the
lady, who stood, entirely unsuspicious of scrutiny, a few alcoves away
from them, and turned her full face toward the observing party.
Angelica had not said too much. Her figure was of rare grace and
majesty, as her light summer-dress showed its beautiful outlines
clearly against the dark background; her head, thrown back a little,
hardly moved upon the slender, graceful neck, and her hat allowed its
form to be all the more distinctly seen, as she wore her soft, light
hair simply parted, and falling in a few curls upon her shoulders. Her
face was not striking at first glance; quiet, steel-gray eyes,
concealing their brilliancy behind the slightly closed lids; a mouth
not exactly full or rosy, but of the most beautiful form and full of
character; and a chin and neck worthy of an antique statue. She seemed
so completely absorbed in the study of the gallery that she did not
look up as the friends approached her. It was only when they entered
the alcove, and Angelica began to express her wild admiration (quite
secretly, she imagined, but really loud enough to be plainly audible),
that the stranger suddenly noticed them. With a slight blush, she drew
about her shoulders the white shawl that had hung carelessly about her
waist--as though to shield her from these curious eyes--cast an annoyed
glance at the whispering painter, and left the alcove.

"See how she moves--a queenly walk!" cried Angelica, looking after her.
"But alas! I have driven her away. I like that in her, too, that she is
too refined to let herself be stared at. _Quant' è bella!_ But _do_ say
something, Jansen! Have you suddenly turned into a statue, or has the
enchantment worked too strongly?"

"You may be right, Angelica," said the sculptor, smiling. "I have met
this kind of phenomenal being here now and then; and, as they were
always strangers (for you never see a native of Munich in the
Pinakothek), looking at them was always but a fleeting joy, and I could
only gaze after them as they went. So now I have grown cautious. You
know 'a burnt child--'"

"Nonsense!" exclaimed the artist. "This divine being may be a stranger,
of course, but no one studies the pictures so closely who is looking at
them for the first and last time, only to carry out the instructions of
her Baedeker. What's to prevent our watching her again? And, even if I
lose all to-morrow forenoon over it, and let my group of children dry
into the canvas, I must study this exquisite creature once more, and at
leisure. There--there she is again! Rosebud is just passing her, and
starts back as if he had met the _Bella di Tiziano_ in person! See how
he stares after her! He has taste, after all, in spite of his old

And now the little battle-painter came hurrying up to his friends, and
began to tell them what a discovery he had made. Angelica laughed.

"You come too late, Herr von Rosebud! _I_ am the one to whom belongs
the fame of having discovered this comet! But do you know what I have
in mind, gentlemen? As none of you seem to be inclined to follow up
this adventure, I, as the least suspicious of us four, will take it
upon myself to pursue our beauty, and see if I can discover where she
lives and who she is. If she stays here but a week, she shall be
painted. I have sworn it! And whichever of you is particularly good
shall come to the last sitting; and Herr Rosebud hereby receives
permission to play her a serenade under my window. _Addio, signori!_
To-morrow you shall hear how the matter turns out."

She nodded hurriedly to the friends, and followed the stranger, who had
in the mean time passed through the rooms, and was now preparing to
leave the gallery.

"I'll wager she does it!" said Rosenbusch. "An astoundingly resolute
woman that, and absolutely not to be stopped when an enthusiasm seizes
her! This time she really has made a devilish remarkable discovery; but
you know what wonderful beauties she has tried to talk up to us
before--eh, Jansen? She has a positive mania for admiration, and, when
she is possessed by it, she is not very fastidious in her choice of
subjects. 'The sea rages, and will have its sacrifice!'"

The sculptor did not answer. He strolled along beside the others for a
while, silent and abstracted. Then he suddenly said: "Let us go! It
seems as though the art-sense had suddenly disappeared or died out in
me. Such a perfect piece of living Nature puts to shame all illusions
of color, so that even the great masters seem like bunglers beside it."

                              CHAPTER VI.

Meanwhile the beautiful unknown had slowly descended the steps of the
Pinakothek, and turned in the direction of the Obelisk, clearly
unconscious of the fact that twenty paces behind her an enthusiastic
artist was upon her track, never losing sight of her for an instant.

And, indeed, it was a rare refreshment to the eye to look upon this
beautiful figure as it passed along. If one may talk of a "silent music
of form," here everything was _legato_, while the little artist was in
a perpetual _staccato_ movement. The stranger moved as though she
stepped on an elastic ground, and seemed not to mind the walk in the
least, in spite of the oppressive mid-day heat. She looked neither to
the right nor left; in her hands, on which she wore half-gloves of
black net, she held a large green fan, which she opened now and then to
protect her face against the sun.

Her worshiper grew more enthusiastic with every moment, and gave
utterance to her feelings in muttered monologue, sprinkled, according
to her fashion, with Italian interjections.

At length she saw the subject of her admiration turn to the left, and
go into a neat house on the Briennerstrasse. Here, she knew, there were
furnished rooms to let; so the stranger must have arranged for a
considerable stay in Munich. But how to get at her? To ring at every
bell in the two stories, and ask if a beautiful woman in yellow silk
lived there, did not seem very practicable. And did she live here,
after all? Might she not be only making a visit?

The painter was just debating whether she should walk up and down
before the house like a sentry, when a window opened in the corner-room
on the ground-floor, before which lay a little garden with its tall
shrubs looking dry and dusty in the mid-day sun, and the beauty leaned
out to shut the blind. She had taken off her hat, and her hair was a
little disordered, which wonderfully added to her beauty. Without
hesitating a moment, Angelica marched through the little path past the
garden, and entered the vestibule.

Her ring was answered by a very old servant with a white,
soldierly-looking mustache, and dressed in a long, silver-buttoned
livery-coat that reached to his knees. He eyed the visitor
suspiciously, took her card, on which there was nothing but "Minna
Engelken," and came back at once, indicating by a silent nod that his
mistress would receive her.

As Angelica entered the stranger was standing in the middle of the
room, in the midst of the warm, greenish light that came through the
closed blinds. She had hastily put up her hair again, but without
special care; and now she greeted her visitor somewhat coldly, with a
scarcely perceptible nod of her exquisite head.

"First of all, I must introduce myself a little more fully than the
very obscure name on my card can have done," began the artist, without
the slightest trace of embarrassment. (She had begun immediately upon
her entrance to study the head, as though at a regular sitting.) "I am
a painter; that is the sole excuse I have for my intrusion upon you. I
met you a short time ago at the Pinakothek. It can hardly be a novelty
to you to have people stop when you go by, or even follow you. But that
a person should intrude into your very house does seem a little too
much. My honored Fräulein, or should I call you Madame?" (the stranger
shook her head slightly) "I do not know whether you, too, have a
prejudice against women-artists? If you have, I shall certainly appear
to you in a very bad light. And it is true, I must say that this
meddling with brushes and colors doesn't particularly become many of my
colleagues. Although the nine Muses are women, our sex easily get by
association with them an unwomanly touch that is not by any means to
their advantage.--Oh, please keep that position just an instant; the
three-quarters face is especially effective in this light! Yes, it is
true, Fräulein, I myself know women-artists who think it is prosaic to
put on a clean collar or darn a stocking. And yet--"

"If you would only be kind enough to tell me the motive of your

"I was just coming to that. I had really a double motive. First, to beg
your pardon if I drove you away from the gallery by my persistent
staring. You see, my dear Fräulein--oh, please bend your head a
little--so! If you could only see how capital that is--that _chiar'
oscuro_--and what glorious hair you have! I see you think I am fairly
crazy, treating you like a model in the first ten minutes! But so much
the better; you will know at once what we are coming to. I am really,
you must know, not quite responsible for my actions when I see anything
that greatly delights me; and however lacking my talents may be in the
power to produce anything beautiful from mere imagination, I have
attained a real mastery in the discovery, the enjoyment, and admiration
of true living beauty. The moment I saw you afar off--no, you must not
turn away, dear Fräulein. How can you help it, and what sin is it, if
an honest artist-soul--of your own sex, too--expresses its delight in
and admiration for your beauty? It seems petty to me, the way that many
people keep such a gift of God hidden--or pretend to. There are some
little doll-like faces, it is true, whose chief charm lies in the fact
that they always seem to be ashamed of their own prettiness. But you,
Fräulein--such a classic head--please turn for once fully round toward
the light--a pure Palma Vecchio, I tell you--"

The Fräulein could not help smiling, and, although she blushed,
permitting this singular, unrestrained, formless admiration. "I
confess," she said, "that I have been such a recluse for years, only
busied with the care of an invalid, that I have quite fallen out of
practice in listening to such flatteries and wearing the fitting
expression when I hear them. And besides, in spite of hard and sad
experience, I am still young and foolish enough not to take offense at
the pleasure you seem to take in my personal appearance. But if you
would only tell me--you spoke of a _double_ motive."

"Thank you a thousand times, dear, dear Fräulein!" cried the painter,
excitedly. "Every word you say confirms me in the opinion I formed at
the first glance--that you would be as good and amiable in character as
you were beautiful in face and figure. And you give me courage to come
out at once with my other petition: I should be the happiest person
under the sun, if I might paint your portrait.--Please don't be
alarmed," she added, hurriedly. "The agony is brief--I am no torturer.
If you have not more time to spare, I will paint you _alla prima_--at
most three or four sittings--you shall not be able to complain of me.
Of course I can't ask that you will let me have the picture; but you
will allow me to have a little sketch for a study and a souvenir?--The
great picture--"

"A large portrait, then?"

"Only a three-quarters length, but of course life-size. It would be a
sin and a shame to put such a head and such a figure on a canvas the
size of a tea-tray. But my dear, best Fräulein, tell me you will have
the heavenly goodness to visit my studio--the street and number are on
my card--and look at my things, and sit to me only if--if you yourself
take pleasure in them; for I would not for anything have you think you
were making a sacrifice for the benefit of a mere dauber."

"My dear Fräulein, I really do not know what--"

"Perhaps you haven't time at this moment? Perhaps you are an artist
yourself? The careful way in which you studied the pictures in the

"Unfortunately I have not the smallest natural talent," answered the
Fräulein, smiling; "but only a little taste and a strong yearning
toward everything beautiful and artistic; and this is the reason why I
have come to Munich--as I am quite alone in the world. It is still
uncertain how long I shall stay here. But if I can really give you
pleasure by doing so--I rely upon it, of course, that it shall be
entirely a matter between ourselves if I sit to you. And in return, you
shall initiate me into the secrets of your art, which to a lay observer
must always remain closed, no matter of how good intentions he may be,
unless he is given the right introduction."

"_Brava! bravissima!_" cried the delighted painter. "Heaven reward you a
thousand times for your great kindness; and I will see to it that you
shall not repent it. My dear, dear Fräulein, when you know me a little
more intimately you will see that you have to do with an honest woman
who has a grateful heart, and against whom no one of her friends can
utter a reproach."

In the wildest delight she took her leave of the beautiful
face--which, in spite of all this worship, had preserved a rather cool
expression--and, as though she feared the promise might possibly be
retracted on further reflection, she hurried from the room.

When she reached the street, she stood still for a moment, fairly out
of breath, tied her loosened hat-strings more firmly under her chin,
and gleefully rubbed her hands. "What eyes they'll make!" she said to
herself. "How they will envy me! But then what makes them such shy,
silly Philistines? It's true, to make such a conquest in a moment, one
must not be a man, but just such an utterly harmless old maid as I!"

                              CHAPTER VII.

The friends turned their steps toward a beer-garden on the Dultplatz,
where, at this time of day--between two and three o'clock--it was
pretty quiet in spite of its being Sunday. The noonday guests had
finished with their dinners long ago, and the afternoon concert had not
yet begun. Instead of it three sleepy fiddlers, an elderly harp-player,
and a jovial clarinet were playing on a platform in the middle of the
garden. Of these musicians the clarinet-player alone still defied the
drowsy influences of the siesta hour, attempting, by wild and desperate
runs, to rouse the nodding quartette. On the benches in the shade of
the tall ash-trees there sat a very mixed company, for in Munich the
differences between the classes is far less marked than in any of the
other large German cities; and among the rest, at the smallest tables,
were numerous pairs of lovers who, lulled into a state of dreamy
comfort by plentiful eating and drinking, rested their heads on one
another's shoulders, held each other's hands and abandoned themselves
freely to their feelings. Yet no one seemed to take offense at this; on
the contrary, it seemed to belong to the place as much as the gnats
that swarmed in the air. The three late arrivals seated themselves in
one of the most secluded corners and proceeded to do justice to the
viands which the waitress, who treated Jansen with conspicuous respect,
had put aside for them. It was anything but a sumptuous meal, but the
taste for the pleasures of the table seemed to be so little developed
in the sculptor that it never occurred to him to celebrate the reunion
with his friend by a bottle of wine. Felix knew this and overlooked it.
Still, he had hoped to find him more animated and communicative after
their long separation; and now he could not help noticing how he sat at
his side, preoccupied and speaking only in monosyllables, intent only
upon feeding Homo, who swallowed the big mouthfuls that were given him
with grave decorum.

In the mean time, there joined the group a fourth person, for whom the
battle-painter seemed to have looked from the beginning. He was a slim
young man, pale and with curly black hair, whose manner at once
announced him to be an actor. He wore, over one eye, a black silk
shade, that made his paleness still more conspicuous, and the sharp
lines above his expressive mouth gave evidence of some hardly
suppressed suffering. Rosenbusch introduced him as his neighbor, Herr
Elfinger, formerly a member of the ---- court-theatre, now a clerk in
one of the Munich banking-houses. The manner in which Jansen also
welcomed him showed that he was one of the intimates of this circle. He
bore himself with such easy cheerfulness and enlivened the conversation
in such an agreeable way that Felix felt very much drawn toward him,
and even Jansen brightened up and took part in the lively chat.

But suddenly the sculptor stood up, looked at his watch, cast a glance
over the picket fence that separated the garden from the sunny square,
and said, coloring slightly: "I must leave you now, old boy. My friends
here will bear me witness that nothing is to be done with me on Sunday
afternoons. At such times I have to go my own ways and to fulfill
certain duties, which, to-day in particular, I could only escape with
the greatest difficulty. I hope you will excuse me."

"He has to turn back into a sea monster one day in seven, like
Melusine," laughed Rosenbusch. "We are used to that."

Felix looked up in surprise. "Don't let me disturb you, old boy," he
said. "Besides, I still have to find a lodging. Where are you
quartered? Perhaps I could find a place in your neighborhood--"

"I am not going home now and I should hardly recommend the neighborhood
where I live," the sculptor interrupted, with such a frown that it put
an end to all further questioning. "You will find me in my studio again
tomorrow. Good-by for to-day and good luck to you. Come, Homo!"

He nodded to his friends without giving them his hand, pulled his hat
down over his eyes, and left the garden with his faithful dog.

They saw him stride with rapid steps across the square and approach a
two-horse _fiacre_ that stood on the other side, not far from the gate,
apparently waiting for him on the shady side of the street. Then, as he
stepped in they could plainly see that there was some one sitting
inside; there was a glimpse of a woman's bright-colored dress, and a
child's little hand thrust a sunshade out the window. Except this, all
the windows were shut, notwithstanding the great heat; and, as the
mysterious vehicle rolled rapidly away, the friends who had been
looking after it turned to one another with wonder in their eyes.

"He appears to have a family," said Felix. "Why doesn't he say anything
to anybody about it? Even to me, his oldest friend, he has never
uttered a word about his projected or perhaps actual marriage, about
which there was a rumor some six years ago. I thought the whole matter
had either fallen through or else turned out unhappily. But now he
seems, after all, not to be alone. Do you know anything about his
private circumstances?"

"Nothing whatever," answered the painter. "None of us have ever set
foot across his threshold; and, the moment any one asks where he
lodges, he grows as snappish as a bear, just as you saw him a few
minutes ago. As for women, he will have nothing to do with them, that
can be seen plainly enough from all he does. Whether, in spite of all
this, he has a household of his own, can't be discovered. He once cut
dead a prying fellow who followed him one night to see where he kept

"I think," said Elfinger, "that the pleasure we get from his society
six days in the week is so great that we might at least leave him to
himself on the seventh. But now let us help the Baron look for rooms,
and debate how we can best show him the city this evening."

When, toward midnight, Felix left the beer-cellar, where he had been
for several hours enjoying the evening air, and returned to his
lodgings--a suite of pleasant rooms overlooking flower-gardens and the
quiet streets beyond--a singular feeling of depression suddenly came
over him. He had now attained what he cared more for than for anything
else. No one could enjoy more perfect freedom than he. No one could
begin life afresh more untrammeled by social forms. Then, too, the
cheerful, lively city, with its gay life, the free and easy artists'
society into which he had entered--all this had corresponded with his
wish and expectations, and promised him compensation for many a ruined
hope. It was the only atmosphere that seemed suited to him, the only
surroundings among which he could find again, even in the Old World,
something of that unrestrained freedom that he had enjoyed so much
beyond the ocean. And when, notwithstanding all this, he went to bed
with a heavy sigh and waited long for sleep in vain--why was it?

                             CHAPTER VIII.

On the following morning, Felix brought a whole armful of his
sketch-books to Jansen. The latter seemed to look through them with
interest, and listened patiently to the accounts of the adventures, of
which many of them were hasty illustrations, but he did not utter a
single word in regard to any artistic worth which the sketches might

When the last page had been turned, and Jansen, with a quiet "hm!" had
begun to pile up the books and tablets in a little tower, Felix was
forced to ask whether he had not made some progress after all.

"Progress? Why, that depends upon the way you look at it."

"And how do you look at it, old fellow?"

"I?--Hm! I look at it from a geographical point of view."

"You are very good. I understand perfectly."

"Don't be angry, my dear fellow, but understand me rightly. I mean, on
the path of dilettantism, on which you have been wandering up to this
date, all progress must necessarily be deceptive, even though,
outwardly, you have circumnavigated the world; for, after all, all your
efforts move in a circle. I am very sorry for it, though."

"For what?"

"That you really want to take up art in earnest. You might have
remained such an enviable dilettante, for you have all the necessary
qualifications to an uncommon degree."

"And they are?"

"Self-confidence, time, and money. No, don't be angry. I am truly
serious when I say this to you, and of course it would be needless for
me to assure you that I mean well when I say it. Seriously: these
traveling sketches of yours are done so skillfully that any of the
illustrated papers might consider themselves lucky if they had such
special artists. And yet I wish, since you are determined to be an
artist, that they were not half so skillful."

"If it is nothing more than that, a remedy can easily be found. You
will soon see how much talent I have for unskillfulness, when you give
me something to model."

The sculptor shook his head gently. "It is not the hands," he said. "It
is the mind that has already attained a very respectable maturity and
facility in you; only, unfortunately, in a wrong direction. For the
truth is, my dear fellow, the very things that please you best, and
have probably most impressed unprofessional persons, the dash and
readiness, the so-called artist's touch, those are the very things that
stand most in the way of your getting back into the right track. It is
just as if, instead of learning to write in the ordinary way, one
should begin with stenography. He never in all his life will have a
good handwriting. For the spirit of dilettantism, take it for all in
all, is, like that of stenography, in the art of abbreviation; in
substituting a symbol for the _form_, just as in the other case
we substitute one for the letter, so that in the course of time
all real feelings--yes, the very want of and appreciation of the
rightly-developed natural form--are hopelessly lost. Why is it then
that the dilettanti attain their end so much more quickly than the true
artists? Because, with this system of abbreviation, they steer straight
for those results which seem to them of the most importance:
resemblance, spirit, elegance of execution. For that reason they are
often marvelously skillful in mastering the proportions of a face, for
instance, and setting it off by a few dots and strokes so that
everybody cries: 'Oh! how like! how speaking! and how quickly done!'
The true artist knows that the length of time spent in the production
is by no means a measure of excellence; and as he has not only a
general sense of proportion, but also a feeling for the true form
itself, he does not rest until he has done it full justice--until, so
to speak, he has worked outward from the very core of that the exterior
of which his eyes have already taken in and fully comprehended.
However," he went on after a short pause, during which he unwound the
wet cloths from his Bacchante, "you are at liberty to believe that all
this is merely my personal opinion and nothing more than exaggerated
estimate of what constitutes true art. In ordinary life the artist is
distinguished from the dilettante only by the fact that the former
follows the thing as a calling, and the latter only for his own
amusement. According to this, you would be an artist from the moment
you cast aside the baron, the statesman or jurist, the _homme
d'action_, that you have in you, and regularly devoted a certain number
of hours of the day to dirtying your fingers with clay. If you stick to
it persistently, it would be very hard lines indeed if, in the course
of several years, you should not possess the necessary mechanical skill
just as well as any one else. Even to become an academic professor need
not be an unattainable aim of your ambition. And if, in spite of all
that, I should still continue, in my heart, to look upon you as a born
dilettante, you could smile down upon me graciously, and heap coals of
fire upon my head by proposing me as an honorary member of your
academy. Ah! my dear boy, I tell you, if you should make a close
examination of many of our most famous great men, you would bring to
light little else than a disguised and beautiful dilettantism, made up
of humbug, elegant trappings, and perhaps a few so-called ideas. I know
painters who dash off a hand or a foot, a horse's head or an oak-tree,
with as unerring an audacity as--well, as a thorough stenographer will
bring a two hours' speech into the compass of an octavo page. But Lord
have mercy upon them, for they have long since ceased to know what they
do; and as the dear public has an even coarser sense, a still blunter
natural feeling, and even more respect for appearances--why, it's all
just as it should be, and no one can complain that he has been

For some time after this speech silence reigned in the studio. There
were heard only the fluttering of the sparrows, the heavy breathing of
Homo, for the old fellow was already enjoying his morning nap again,
and, in the saint-factory near by, the clatter and scraping and picking
of seven or eight chisels in the hands of the assistants who were hard
at work.

"Thank you, Dædalus," said Felix, at last. "Upon the whole you are
perfectly right, and I think it very kind of you to try and scare me
off so thoroughly. But, with your permission, I intend to hold to my
intentions until I have been made wise by my own experience. If, a year
from this time, you preach me the same sermon, you shall see how
penitently I will beat my breast and become converted from all my
sins. But now, first give me something to sin with. Look here, my
coat is already off, and I have nothing more to do but to roll up my

"So be it, then!" replied Jansen, with a good-natured smile. "Not as
God wills, but as you wish--here!"

He went to the large closet and took out a skull, which he laid
on a little table near the window. At the same time he wheeled a
modeling-bench out of the corner, placed it before the table, and
pointed, without speaking, to a big lump of clay that lay moist and
shiny in a tub.

"Are we to study phrenology?" laughed Felix, rather nervously, for a
suspicion began to dawn upon him.

"No, my dear fellow, but we must take pains to make as exact a copy as
possible of this round mass of bones.... We shall have plenty of time
for the flesh when we have first mastered the skeleton."

"I am to model a whole skeleton?"

"Bone for bone, down to the big toe. In this way we combine an
anatomical course with practice in modeling forms. Yes, my dear
fellow," he smilingly continued, as he perceived the horrified
expression of his pupil; "if you thought to begin your apprenticeship
with the soft, white flesh of a woman, you have greatly deceived
yourself. However, since you have already done quite enough preparatory
studying in this field--"

He suddenly broke off. On the landing, outside, they heard a pleasant
feminine voice say:

"Is this the way to Fräulein Minna Engelken's studio?"

"If you will kindly give yourself the trouble to mount a flight
higher," responded the hoarse bass of the janitor. "The door to the
right--the name is on the sign. The Fräulein has been there for the
last two hours."


At the first sound of the voice Jansen had hurried to the door; he now
opened it a little and peeped out. Then he came back to Felix, and,
with his face slightly flushed, went silently to work.

"Who was the lady?" asked Felix, though he felt no particular curiosity
on the subject.

"The stranger we saw yesterday. Strange! when I heard that unknown
voice her face suddenly came up before my eyes again."

Felix said nothing. He had gone up to the modeling-bench, had begun to
work at a great ball of clay about as large as the skull, and appeared
to be completely absorbed in his task.

But they had scarcely been working on in this way, side by side and in
silence, for more than a quarter of an hour when some one knocked
softly on the door and Rosenbusch entered, looking excited, merry, and
full of mischief.

He nodded to the friends, stepped close up to them and said, with an
air of mysterious importance: "Do you know who is up-stairs? The
lady of the Pinakothek! Angelica is painting her picture--she has
succeeded--an incredibly resolute woman that! And can keep a secret
like the devil! Now just conceive of it; I discovered her early this
morning clearing up her studio, as though the queen had given notice of
a visit. For that matter it always does look damned elegant and neat up
there--flowers in whichever direction you turn, and a hothouse
fragrance that makes you sick. But, to-day, it is a positive show-room!
'What the devil is this, Angelica?' said I; 'is to-day your birthday,
or are you going to get engaged, or are you painting a Russian
princess?'--for I had long forgotten all about the affair of yesterday.
But she, turning round the old yellow-silk cushion on the armchair so
as to present the side which had the fewest spots--she scarcely looked
at me, and said: 'Go and get to work, Herr von Rosebud'--that is what
she always calls me when she is cross--'I am not at home to you,
to-day!' In this way she morally turned me out of doors without farther
ceremony, and, I must confess, I rather like it in her; energy,
fearlessness, the courage of one's opinions, are always fine, even in a
woman. So I withdrew, wondering, and was already at work laying on my
colors when I heard some one coming up the stairs. Yes, I was right,
she was going to Angelica; and as the wall between us is not very
thick, and they did not at first take the precaution to lower their
voices, I discovered the whole mystery--that it is our beauty of
yesterday, that she is going to have her picture painted, and that her
first name is Julie. And now I appeal to you, friends and companions in
art, are we men or cowardly poltroons? Are we to suffer this vixen to
carry away such a prize from under our very noses, and to withhold such
a paragon of beauty from us under our own roof? Or shall we rush up as
one man, and, in the name of art, lay siege to the door of this
obdurate sister, and compel her, by force or persuasion, to open to

"I would advise you, Rosenbusch, to go quietly upstairs again and wreak
your martial ardor on the battle of Lützen," Jansen answered, without
the slightest approach to a smile. "But, if your excitement will not
let you work, convey your homage to the lady through the wall by means
of your flute. Perhaps they will invite you to come round and declaim
some of your verses."

"Wretched scoffer!" cried the battle-painter. "I thought to render you
a service by bringing you this news. But you are of the earth, earthy,
and are incapable of soaring to any height of enthusiasm. Well, God be
with you! I see that I am not understood down here!"

He rushed out of the door, and, sure enough, they soon afterward heard
the flute pouring out its most melting passages.

This language, however, did not seem to be understood in the next room.
Angelica's room remained tight shut, and when it was opened, a few
hours after, soft steps came down the stairs, and the listeners below
were led to conclude that the sitting was over.

In the mean while dinner-time had come, and the assistants in
the adjoining room had stopped work and left the studio. Jansen,
too--although, as a rule, he seldom made a pause before two
o'clock--now laid down his modeling-tool.

"Come," he said, "you must make your calls of ceremony upon our

They mounted the stairs, and went first into Rosenbusch's studio. As no
notice had been taken of his flute-playing, he had seated himself at
his easel again, and had set himself zealously to work to paint away
his anger. His room certainly presented a most remarkable appearance;
the walls shone, almost like those of an armory, with old arms,
halberds, muskets, and swords, relieved here and there by enormous
boots with wheel-spurs, leather collars, saddles, and singular
stirrups. An immense old kettle-drum stood on a rickety stand in front
of a worm-eaten arm-chair, and served as a table on which to pile all
sorts of odds and ends. Some cactus-plants, with great red blossoms,
stood in full bloom in the window, and among them was a delicate little
wire-cage, containing two white mice, who ran restlessly up and down,
squeaking and looking shyly at the new faces out of their little red

The battle of Lützen stood on the easel; it was quite a vigorous work,
and Felix could praise it with a good conscience. The horses,
especially, reared and plunged, full of life and spirits; and the young
baron could hardly believe it when the painter confessed that he had
never mounted a horse in his life. After they had joked and laughed
about this for a while, and Rosenbusch had delivered an earnest speech
in defense of the romantic school, he threw off the old, much-patched
Swedish trooper's jacket in which he always painted, in order, as he
said, to have the true historical inspiration, and dressed himself, in
spite of the heat, in a violet-colored velvet coat, so that he might
accompany the friends in their visit to the adjoining room.

Their knock on Angelica's door was answered by a cordial "Come in!"
Rosenbusch had not exaggerated: the studio did, in truth, resemble a
hot-house decked out for a festival, to which the sketches, and
studies, and half-finished pictures of flowers merely served as
decorations. The painter had had a window cut through the wall on the
east side at her own expense, in order that she might give her plants,
which she tended with scientific knowledge, plenty of sun whenever the
nature of her work did not require a pure north light. The plants were
truly grateful, and twined and throve so luxuriantly that the slender
stems of the palms and figs reached almost to the ceiling.

Angelica stood before her easel in an antiquated painting-jacket, her
straw hat perched on one side, her cheeks glowing from her work, and
was so busily occupied in "toning down" the background that she merely
nodded to her friends as they entered, without interrupting her work.

"She has gone!" she cried to them, "otherwise I could not have let you
in, no matter how much I had wanted to. My children, you have no
conception of what a charming person she is! If I were a man, I would
marry her or blow my brains out!"

"You are indulging in very reckless assertions," Rosenbusch interposed,
raising himself a little on his toes, and stroking his thick beard.
"Just let's see if she really is so dangerous."

Angelica stepped back from the easel.

"Gentlemen," she said, "I hope you will praise me. Either I understand
as much about painting as a roast goose, or this will be my best
picture, and a real work of art. But just look at these curves! All
large, simple, noble, such as never grow under our native heaven. My
first idea was to paint the picture _alla prima_; but in the nick of
time it occurred to me that I should be very foolish to do so. For the
longer I can study this heavenly face, the happier I shall be. Just see
this figure, Jansen. Have you often come across anything like it?"

"The lady has style," remarked Rosenbusch, assuming as cool an air as
possible. "However, she doesn't seem to be particularly young, or else
your dead coloring gives her ten years too many."

"You are a strange mortal, Herr von Rosebud," answered the painter,
angrily. "In art you rave over nothing but old leather, but in life no
school-girl's complexion is rosy and satiny enough to suit you. It is
true, my beauty here told me herself that she was already--but I won't
be such a fool as to tell a girl's secret to gentlemen. But of this I
can assure you: that twenty years from now, when certain pretty little
dolls' faces have long grown old and faded, that woman there will still
be so beautiful that people will stand still in the streets to look
after her."

"And may we be permitted to ask of what nationality she is?" inquired

"Why not? She makes no secret of the fact that she is from Saxony,
although you would never detect it from her accent; nor that her name
is Julie S., nor that she lost her old mother a year or so ago, and now
stands quite alone in the world. However, we haven't been having a mere
family gossip, but the most profound conversation on art-matters. She
is more intelligent in such things, let me tell you, than many of our
colleagues. And now you must excuse me, gentlemen, if I don't let you
interrupt me in my work, but go on and finish this background to-day,
before the colors dry in."

Up to this time Jansen had not spoken a syllable. Now he stepped up to
Angelica, gave her his hand, and said:

"If you don't spoil this, my dear friend, you will make something out
of it that will do you great honor. Adieu!"

He turned quickly away, and strode out of the studio without casting a
glance to right or left.

                              CHAPTER IX.

When his friends overtook him in the street he remained silent and
serious; while Rosenbusch praised, in the most extravagant language,
the beauty of the picture.

"If my heart were not already in such firm hands," he said, with a
sigh, "who knows what might happen! But constancy is no empty dream.
Besides, Angelica would scratch any one's eyes out who tried to play
the Romeo to her Juliet. But where are you dragging us to, Jansen?"

"We are going to see 'Fat Rossel.'"

"Then I prefer to withdraw at once to my feeding-place and to await you
there. I have made a solemn vow never again to visit that accursed
Sybarite just before meal-time. It smells so devilishly of ambergris,
_pâti de foie gras_ and East-Indian birds'-nests, so that after coming
away a man feels like a thorough vagabond over his wretched dumplings.
The devil take these lazy voluptuaries! Long live energy and

After this fierce outburst he nodded smilingly to the two others,
slouched his big hat over his left ear, and turned, whistling, into a
side street.

"Who is this 'Fat Rossel' against whom our friend Rosebud displays all
his thorns?" asked Felix.

"He isn't really so fierce as he tries to make himself out. The two are
good comrades, and would go through fire and water for one another in
case of need. This so-called 'Fat Rossel'--one Edward Rossel--is a very
rich man who isn't obliged to earn his living by painting--and for that
reason lets his great talent lie fallow. However, he has reduced his
intellectual laziness and amateur enjoyment of art to a system, and
concerning this system Rosenbusch invariably falls foul of him; for he
himself, in spite of all his 'energy,' has never produced anything of
much account. Here we are at the house."

They passed through the pretty little front garden, before which they
had halted the day previous while on their way to the Pinakothek,
entered the door of a villa-like house, and mounted a staircase covered
with soft carpets. The hall shone with polished marbles, bronze
candelabra, and beautiful flowering plants in porcelain pots, that
perfumed the whole vestibule.

When they entered the high-studded room above, that served as a
studio, but looked more like a museum of choice objects and works of
art than it did like a regular artist's workshop, there rose from a low
divan, covered with a leopard's skin, a singular figure. On a portly
but by no means clumsy body rested a stately head, in which sparkled a
pair of exceedingly bright black eyes. The face was of a very white
complexion, the beautiful hands were daintily cared for. The cut of the
features, with the close cropped silky hair, and the long black beard,
recalled the beautiful, dignified type of the high-bred Orientals. This
impression was still further heightened by a little red fez, shoved
back on the head, and a variegated Persian dressing-gown with slippers
to match, into which his bare feet were thrust, while the dressing-gown
apparently served in lieu of any other clothing.

Slowly, but with great cordiality, the painter advanced to meet his
friends, shook hands with them, and said: "I made your acquaintance
yesterday from a distance, Herr Baron--through the blinds, when that
sly dog Rosebud was trying to entice me out into the noonday heat with
his flute. But that kind of thing is against my principles. It may be
all very meritorious to eat one's bread in the sweat of one's brow. But
as for enjoying art when reeking with perspiration--never! Excuse the
costume in which I receive you. I have just been taking a douche bath
and afterward resting a quarter of an hour. In five minutes I shall be
in a condition to present my material part with propriety."

He disappeared into a side chamber, that was only separated by a
magnificent piece of Gobelin tapestry from his studio, and went on
talking with his friends while completing his toilet.

"Just take a look at my Böcklin, that I bought the day before
yesterday--over there by the window on the little easel--I am quite
happy over the possession. Well, what do you say to it, Jansen? Isn't
that something to console one's self with for a while, in the midst of
this universal poverty of art?"

It was a little forest picture, that stood in the most favorable light,
near the window; it represented a dense wood of lofty oaks and laurel
bushes, through a little cleft of which could be seen a slender strip
of the distant horizon, and in one corner a patch of blue sky. At the
feet of the shady trees a brook rippled through the luxuriant grass, on
the banks of which reclined a sleeping nymph, with her nursling at her
side, its blunt little nose pressed close against the full maternal
breast, from which it seemed to be feeding quietly. In the centre of
the picture, leaning against a luxuriant tree, stood the young father,
a slim, well-built faun, looking down well pleased upon his family, and
holding in his hand the shepherd's flute with which he had just played
his wife to sleep.

Felix and Jansen were still absorbed in the contemplation of this
charming work when Rossel again appeared.

"Such a thing is refreshing, isn't it?" he said. "It is a comfort to
know that there are still men who have such beautiful dreams, and the
courage to tell them to others, no matter if advanced and sensible
humanity, which now, thank God, has outgrown its baby shoes, and every
day sets its foot down more squarely on the broad sole of realism, does
shake its head and talk about having gotten beyond such standpoints.
This man is one of the few who interest me. You have undoubtedly seen
his splendid pictures in the Schack Gallery? No? Well, since you have
only been two days in Munich, I will forgive your ignorance. I will
take you there; it will afford me the greatest pleasure to recruit a
quiet list of worshipers for my few idols."

"First of all," said Felix, smiling, "you would do me a greater favor
if you would show me something by one Edward Rossel, to whose
acquaintance my friends have led me to look forward with great

"My own immortal works!" cried the painter, threatening Jansen with his
finger. "I know who is behind all this. I know the sly cabals of my
much-esteemed friends, who seize every opportunity to parade my
unproductiveness before my eyes. I know that they mean no harm, and
give me credit for some talent; I ought to be ashamed of myself for not
sharing this good opinion and at last rousing myself to action. But it
all glances aside from the armor of my own self-knowledge. I don't deny
that I have all sorts of good qualifications for an artist, sense and
brains and some insight into the true aims of art. Unfortunately, there
is only one little thing lacking--the disposition to really produce
something. I should have been just the man to have been born a Raphael
without hands, and would have borne this fate with the greatest
complacency. But won't you light a cigar, or do you prefer a chibouque?
By the way, a little refreshment wouldn't be out of place, considering
this tropical temperature."

Without waiting for an answer, he rang a beautifully chased silver

A young servant-girl, of pretty figure and graceful manner, entered;
the painter whispered a word in her ear, whereupon the girl disappeared
and returned, five minutes after, with a silver waiter, on which stood
a wicker-work bottle and some glasses.

"I brought this wine myself from Samos," said Rossel; "You must at
least taste it and drink to our good friendship!"

"Then let me immediately sin against that friendship and ask a somewhat
indiscreet question: how is it possible for you to bury, like a dead
treasure, a talent which you yourself admit you have?"

"My dear fellow," replied the artist, coolly, "the matter is much
simpler than you suppose. My object is, like that of all men--let them
prate as much as they like about duty, virtue, or self-sacrifice--to be
as happy as possible. But happiness consists, as I believe, in nothing
else than in creating for one's self a certain state, a manner of life
or pursuit, in which one finds himself at the height of his
individuality, in the full enjoyment of his peculiar powers and gifts.
Therefore, every man has a happiness of his own; and nothing can be
more foolish than for one person to object to another's way of enjoying
himself, or to persuade or advise others to exchange their way for his.
The more any one makes himself feel, by his manner of life, that he is
a particular individual, the more Nature has attained her end in making
him, and the more contented he can be with himself and his situation.
All unhappiness arises from the fact that men try to do things for
which they are not fitted. If you give a million to a man born with a
genius for begging, you will make him an unhappy millionaire. He can no
longer exercise his talent. A virtuoso in suffering, a Stylites, or a
sister of charity, for whom you should suddenly provide a healthy and
comfortable life, would at once lose all individuality and so all
happiness. For it is undeniable that there are men who are only
conscious of their individuality when they are torturing themselves, in
the coarser or finer sense of the expression. To such, a state of
repose is an abasement, and to this class belong all truly productive
artists. To work, to produce something which shall afterward stand as a
monument of their power, appears to them the highest happiness; and
this happiness ought to be accorded to them all the more readily, from
the fact that most of them cannot live without it. Only they ought to
be just enough to look at the matter also from the opposite point of
view, where an individual only feels conscious of his powers and gifts
when in the free enjoyment of an apparently fruitless repose. When I
lie on my back and make pictures in the smoke of my cigar, or gaze upon
the works which great creative beings have produced in times gone by,
am I not, in my way, putting to good use that buried treasure within me
in which you were so good as to believe? and making of this individual,
whom his friends accuse of culpable laziness, the very thing for which
he was really fitted and intended--a perfectly harmonious and happy
man? Once in a while, indeed, the vulgar prejudice seizes even me, and
I suddenly grow tremendously active. But after the paroxysm has lasted
a week, at the longest, I suddenly see the folly of the proceeding and
throw the unfinished daub into some dark closet, among other embryos
of immortal works. Ah! my dear friend, there is so much struggling, and
pushing, and producing going on, that a quiet, inoffensive art-lover of
my disposition might well be tolerated as a salutary antidote to this
epidemic of activity."

"We will let this old apple of discord drop for to-day," interrupted
Jansen, smiling. "I won't yet give up my old bet that some fine day you
will cease to take comfort in this bed that you have stuffed with
sophisms, and will begin to seek your happiness in some other way. But
in the meanwhile you might certainly show yourself at my place again. I
should like to know what you would say to my dancing girl; and besides,
I have done all sorts of other things since you were there."

"I will come, Hans. You know how I delight to take to heart the
frightful example of industry that I see in your saint-factory. By the
way--isn't next Saturday 'Paradise?'"

"Certainly. The last before the autumn. Most of the fellows have
already begun to make their preparations for the summer vacation, and
in fourteen days we three shall probably be almost the only ones who
still hold out in the city."

They left the studio, the painter accompanying them as far as the gate
of the front yard, and taking leave of Felix with great cordiality and
the hope that he should see him often.

"What is this about 'Paradise?'" inquired the latter, when they were
alone in the street again.

"You shall soon see for yourself. We come together once a month and
attempt to delude ourselves into the idea that it is possible in the
midst of this world to throw off the hypocrisy of society, and return
once more to a state of innocence. And for a few years past we have
really been fairly successful. A little group of good fellows has been
brought together, who are all equally impressed with the worthlessness
of our social state. But, after all, the German is not a social
creature; that which constitutes the charm of such societies among the
Latins and Slavs--the delight in talking for talking's sake, a certain
delicacy in lying, and, moreover, an early-acquired and really humane
tact and consideration for one's neighbors--all this we may possibly
gain in time in some of our large cities. But for the time being it is
certainly foreign to the genius of our nation, and it is only feebly
developed. The consequence is that in this city of art, where of all
the arts that of sociability is most behindhand, one has to choose
between two evils: the conventional society entertainments, which are
chiefly devoted to eating and drinking, and where one is seldom
compensated for the constraint of cultivated _ennui_; or else
Philistinism over the beer-table. For this reason we have adopted
another plan, which, to be sure, can only be successful when all those
who take part in it are united by the same longing for freedom, and the
same respect for the freedom of their neighbors. For, when no one wraps
a cloak about him, but shows himself unrestrainedly just as he is, no
one, on the other hand, has a right to pounce maliciously on the weak
spots which his neighbor may possibly expose--and each must, upon the
whole, be so constituted that he can show himself in his true character
without being disagreeable."

                               CHAPTER X.

In the first days of his wanderings through the quaint old streets--for
he avoided, as far as possible, the new and deserted quarters of the
town--Felix felt to the full the charm of South German life; that
robust, unrestrained power of enjoyment, that perpetual holiday-mood,
whose motto is "You may do what you choose." That this cheerful state
also has its dark sides; that it is not possible, without the sacrifice
of some higher benefits, to establish an average of character and
education which makes all classes mingle easily; that the lack of a
proletariat brings with it the lack of a rich and powerful intellectual
aristocracy--all such political and social speculations never entered
our friend's head, in spite of the fact that his travels about the
world had given him a keen insight into the civilization of different
countries. In a spirit of quiet defiance, he took delight in doing here
the very things which would have been most severely frowned on in that
native town from which he had fled. He visited the dingiest restaurants
and the most modest beer-gardens, ate from an uncovered table, and
drank from the mug which he had himself washed under the water-pipe;
and it seemed as if the only thing wanting to make his happiness
complete was, that the highly aristocratic society with which he had
quarreled should happen by and see, in silent horror, how happy the
fugitive was in his self-imposed exile.

And yet, since everything inspired by pique carries with it a secret
feeling of dissatisfaction, he was after all not quite contented. Jolly
as it looked to wander about again at his own sweet will, it was, after
all, very different from what it had been years before when he first
spread his wings. In short, in his moments of reflection, when he
neither cared to forget nor to deceive himself, he was forced to admit,
with a kind of shame, that he was no longer young enough to goon
looking upon life as a brilliant adventure amid shifting scenes, and
that, in riper years, more depended upon the piece and the _rôle_ which
one played in it than upon the scenes and the spectators who sit before
the footlights.

True, he had from the first devoted himself zealously to his new
apprenticeship. But his conscience was too delicate to forget what
Jansen had said in regard to his fitness for art. Had his friend
congratulated him upon his decision, who knows but what, in spite of
all that was wanting to his happiness, he might have felt as contented
as it is possible for any man to feel in this imperfect world? But his
proud heart told him that the people who were now to be his associates
did not, in their hearts, consider him quite genuine, but looked upon
him as a singular being, who, from mere whim, had taken up with art
instead of with some other noble passion more suitable to his rank.

This unfortunate feeling was still further heightened by the fact that
his relation to the only old friend he had here, for whose society he
had passionately yearned, did not, in spite of their daily intercourse,
ripen again into the old intimacy.

When, years before, they had become acquainted with one another in
Kiel, where Felix first began the study of the law, they had soon
become inseparable. The lonely artist stood in special need of a friend
with quick perceptions, who, in those early days when his talent was
cautiously working its way to the front, could fan his courage by
taking a lively interest in his work; and Felix soon saw enough of the
senseless and tasteless life led by his fellow-students to make him
long for other society. The hours that he stole from his beer-club and
his fencing-school, in order to work with Jansen at all sorts of noble
arts, sometimes making an attempt himself with a piece of clay, and
then again spending the evening in his friend's simple little room in
confidential talk over a very frugal supper and some modest wine, were
looked back upon as the happiest of his whole youth. Even then Jansen
struck people as a very original, reserved, strong, and forceful man,
who had no needs but those which he was able to supply by his own
unaided powers. It was known that he sprang from a peasant family,
that, impelled by accidental incentives only and without any
encouragement from teachers or patrons, he had made himself an artist
by the force of his iron will. How he also succeeded in attaining, in
other fields, such an education that it was not easy for any one to
detect the want of a regular course of schooling, was scarcely less
incomprehensible. Gradually his talent began to attract some attention,
and a few orders straggled in, which enabled him to earn a scanty
living. But as he scorned to let himself be lionized in society, to be
petted by ladies and engaged for æsthetic tea parties, the first
feeling of interest soon grew cold; and with a shrug of the shoulders
people left this eccentric individual, who placed himself in such sharp
antagonism to the modern tendency of art, to himself again, and to his
pictures of naked gods and his undisguised contempt for social

It was thus that Felix found him then, and he found him but little
different now, after all these years of separation--averse to all
intercourse with men who did not stand in some relation or other to his
art, and inaccessible, so far as his inner life was concerned, even to
his few intimate acquaintances. But still the years had not passed
without leaving some traces. They had so estranged him, even from that
one person to whom he had then loved to unbosom himself, that, after
the first outburst of his old tenderness, a steady medium temperature
had set in in the relations of the two old friends, that was scarcely a
degree warmer than that between Jansen and the other members of the
little circle. During the long hours that the pupil spent working at
his master's side, there were hundreds of opportunities to talk
over old times. But the sculptor seemed to avoid all recollections
of the past. Then, they had made no secret to one another of their
love-affairs; and now Felix made several attempts to return to the
subject of his late betrothal. But, when he did this, it was as if some
dark spectre rose up before Jansen. He sought to give the conversation
a general direction with some bitter sarcasm or forced jest, and soon
relapsed into more sullen silence than before.

Felix felt how heavily this cool reserve weighed on his spirits, which
would have been none too light even without it. After the shipwreck of
his happy love, he had tried to fall back upon this friendship; and
now, though he had indeed found firm ground, it was no longer the green
island of his youth, but bare and inhospitable; and the soil, which was
then so yielding, had turned to rugged rock.

One evening, as he was walking down the Briennerstrasse, alone, and not
in the most cheerful spirits, he met the beautiful stranger, who now
visited Angelica daily, but who was jealously guarded by the latter
from all other eyes. She appeared to be returning home from a walk, and
her old servant walked a few steps behind her, carrying her shawl.
Felix bowed to her, and she distantly returned his salute. She
evidently had not recognized him. Then he saw her enter the house, and
soon afterward the corner-room on the ground-floor was lit up by the
light of a lamp. It would have been easy for him to watch her
proceedings through the low window. But he did not care at all to do
so, though he admired her beauty. For no beautiful, no charming face
could cross his path without carrying his thoughts back to his lost
love, and plunging him in a melancholy reverie.

And so it was to-day. And suddenly it struck him as so absurd and
idiotic for him to be wandering about alone in this utterly strange
city, among people who cared nothing for him, separated from her who
was his only love, that he could not help bursting out into a laugh,
only to sigh all the more sadly the next minute.

He felt the impossibility, in his present mood, of joining his friends,
who were waiting for him at a beer-cellar. Jansen was generally one of
the party. But, even if everything between them had remained just as it
was in the old times, Felix would have avoided him to-day.

When he found himself in such a mood that he could not endure his
fellow-men, he generally found that he nowhere felt so well as upon

He went to a stable in the neighborhood, and was soon cantering across
the Obeliskenplatz on a powerful horse. He rode down the beautiful
broad street, through the marble gate of the Propylæa, and outside, in
the shady avenue that leads to the Nymphenburger Villa, he gave his
horse full rein. But even here, where a fresher air blew across the
quiet fields, it was so sultry that the animal soon dropped into a
quieter gait of his own accord.

The street was not very lively. Only a few workmen were strolling home
from the town, and some soldiers came singing arm-in-arm out of a
tavern. They were walking behind a girl who was hastening to get back
to town before it grew quite dark. She was neatly dressed, of a very
pretty figure, and, according to the fashion then in vogue, wore her
hair falling loose over her shoulders. This seemed to incite the
fellows to strike up an acquaintance with her, and the short, snappish
way in which she repelled their advances only fanned their impudence
the higher. One seized her by her fluttering hair, another laughingly
attempted to get possession of her arm; and, as it chanced that the
foot-path behind the trees was quite deserted, she would have tried in
vain to shake off her tormentors had not Felix happened to gallop up
just at that moment. He shouted to the fellows in a loud voice to
instantly let the girl alone, and go to the devil. Whether they took
him for an officer in _mufti_, or were frightened by his commanding
manner, they obeyed at once, and started across the fields to the
barracks, whose massive structure towered from afar across the dark

The deliverer now took a closer look at the girl. There could be no
doubt he had seen this little nose, these white teeth, and that red
hair, once before, on that first morning in Jansen's studio. And now he
recalled her name.

"Good-evening, Fräulein Zenz," he said. "What lonely and dangerous
walks you take!"

"Dangerous!" she returned, laughing, for she had immediately recognized
him. "What is there dangerous about it? They wouldn't have eaten me. I
can take care of myself."

"But if I hadn't by good luck come up--"

"Do you suppose I couldn't have got away from those two without your
help? I can run like the wind. You couldn't catch me even on

"Well see about that, you little witch! If you don't look out--"

He bent over and began, in his turn, to try and seize hold of her hair.
But her slim little figure instantly spun round on its heels, so that
her long locks slipped out of his hand again, and then she sprang like
lightning over the narrow ditch by the side of the road, and, before he
could collect himself, was away across the broad field, where she
suddenly vanished from his sight as if by miracle.

His horse had shied at the girl's quick movement, and, for a moment,
gave his master enough to do in looking after him. Now, when he had
quieted him again, and, half laughing, half provoked, had dashed into
the meadow in pursuit of the fugitive, he could find no trace of her.
He called her name, spoke to her persuasively, and promised not to
touch her any more if she would only show herself again. It was only
after he had given up the search, and had angrily wheeled his horse
round in order to ride back into the avenue, that he heard, from behind
a heap of stones close at his side, which he had overlooked in his
zeal, a shrill giggling; and suddenly the girl sprang from the ground
and coolly marched up to him.

"Now you see that you couldn't have caught me, if I had not wanted you
to," she cried. "Now just ride quietly home; I can find my way well

"You are a regular witch--that's what you are!" he cried, laughingly.
"I see that people have more reason to be afraid of you than you of
them. But listen, Zenz, since we have chanced to meet in this way, tell
me now why you won't come to Herr Jansen's any more?"

The question seemed to be disagreeable to her. She turned sharply on
her heel, and said, defiantly, beginning to put her dishevelled hair in
order: "What is that to you? What do you know about me, anyway? I can
do as I like, I suppose."

"To be sure, Zenz. But it would be very nice of you if you would listen
to reason, and show yourself again. I am an artist, too, and would like
very much to make a sketch of you. Or, if you don't want to come to the
big studio any more, I have a very quiet lodging, and not a soul would
find it out if you came to me; you may be sure no one would do you any
harm, and I would give you a good reward--and you should choose what
you would have."

While he was speaking she had never left off shaking her head. What her
expression was he could not see, for she had sank her chin on her
breast. Now she suddenly looked up at him and said, with a little laugh
that became her charmingly, while she twisted her streaming hair into a
thick knot: "I would just like to sit on horseback once, and ride round
real fast in a circle."

"If it's nothing more than that," he laughed, "come! Don't be afraid,
but put your foot in the stirrup."

He bent down over her again, grasped her under the arm that she reached
out to him, and swung up the light little figure as if it had been a
feather; then he let her down on the saddle before him and seized the
bridle. She instantly clasped her arms tight round his body, and clung
so close to him that for a moment she almost took his breath away, "Do
you sit firmly?" he called to her. She nodded, and laughed softly to
herself. Then he set his horse in motion and began to ride round in a
circle, at first slowly, then faster and faster, and she sat before him
on the saddle without moving, and pressed her head close against his

"Is that what you like?" he cried; "or shall I stop?"

She did not answer.

"How would it be," he said, "if now I should trot back to town with
you, and not draw rein until I came to my house? You would have to come
with me, then, whether you wanted to or not, and do what I asked you.
Aren't you quite in my power now?"

He reined in the horse for a moment, as though to give her opportunity
to settle herself for a longer ride. But suddenly he felt how her arms
unclasped, and in the next instant she had slid down from the saddle,
and stood before him in the dusk, out of breath and rearranging her
light dress.

"I thank you very much." she said. "It was very jolly; but, now, that's
enough. And all the rest is nonsense, and so, good-night! If you can
catch me again you may keep me!"

In a second she had sprung away and disappeared behind the nearest
houses. Even if he had been seriously inclined to follow her, he would
never have been able to find her trail again among the gardens and
hedges that bordered the field.

A few passers-by had watched this singular performance from the avenue.
He heard all sort of jokes that he did not understand. "Thank God!" he
said to himself, "if I had allowed myself to do such a thing in my own
dear home, the whole town would be talking of nothing else to-morrow,
besides adding all sorts of exaggerations. But here--'Hier bin ich
Mensch, hier darf ich's sein!' Long live golden liberty!"

He rode back to town in merry mood. He imagined that he could still
feel the arms of the girl about his breast, and her warm breath on his
face. His blood had not been cooled by his ride, as he had hoped, and
the sharp trot to which he spurred on his horse did not help him. He
gave up the reeking horse at the riding-school, and then turned into
the Briennerstrasse, in order to sit awhile in the Court Garden, and
eat an ice and nurse his dreams.

When he came back to the house where Julie lived, he checked himself
suddenly. Who was that standing motionless by the garden fence, with
his eyes fixed on the bright parterre window? Jansen?

Felix made a wide circuit to avoid him, and stood looking at him on the
other side of the street in the shadow of the houses. For a good half
hour he saw his friend opposite continue at his post. Then the window
was closed by a heavy curtain, and, immediately after, the watcher at
the gate tore himself away and departed slowly.

Felix did not follow him. He scorned to be a spy on the secret ways of
his friend. What chance had disclosed to him gave him enough to think
about for to-day, without being able to find a solution to the riddle.

                               _BOOK II_.

                               CHAPTER I.

It was unusually still in Angelica's studio, so still that one could
plainly hear, through the thin wall that separated her from her
neighbor, the cheerful squeak of his white mice. This was always a sign
that their master was, as he expressed it, on the rampage, wielding his
brush in the thick of the battle of Lützen.

Angelica, too, was very busy. But although she usually liked to chat
over her work, to keep the people who sat to her from falling asleep,
to-day she rarely opened her lips. It was the last sitting; the last
touch, which, after all, is always a new beginning, was to be given to
the picture--every stroke of the brush decided the fate of a _nuance_,
the success or failure of an expression.

In order to work more surely, she had put on a pair of spectacles,
that can scarcely be said to have improved her appearance, and the
painting-jacket, on the left sleeve of which she was accustomed to wipe
her brush, had burst open in the ardor of her work, and, with her
lance-like maulstick and her shield-like palate, gave a certain
pugnacious aspect to her good, honest face, as if she were engaged in a
struggle for the release of the enchanted princess who sat in a chair
opposite her, and who was also unusually quiet. Whether Julie was
turning over in her mind some especially serious thought, or had, like
all people sitting to a painter, merely fallen under the influence of a
certain absent-minded melancholy, it was impossible to make out.

She was especially beautiful to-day. Instead of her raw-silk dress, she
wore a lighter stuff of transparent black, through which gleamed her
white neck. Angelica had planned this in order that all the light
might be concentrated on the face; and the arrangement of the hair,
which left the contour of the head fully visible and allowed a few
simply-braided locks to flow over the shoulders, was a special
invention of the artist. Now, in the steady light, the dead white of
her complexion, and the soft blond of her hair, shone out so gently
subdued and yet so clear, and the eyes, under the brown lashes, had,
with all their softness, such a fiery sparkle, that one could
appreciate Angelica's assertion that a thing of this sort could not be
painted--gold, pearls, and sapphires were the only materials with which
to rival this fusion of color.

It is true, the first bloom of youth was passed. A keen eye could
detect a wrinkle here and there, a certain sharpness of feature, and
the easy grace with which her noble figure moved left no doubt that she
had passed those years when a girl is always turning this way and that,
like a bird on a branch, as if always on the point of fluttering away
into the unknown, tempting, beautiful life outside, or else glancing
eagerly around to see whether a hunter or trapper is in sight.

For that matter it would have been hard to conceive that this still,
reserved, charming creature had ever committed the usual school-girl
follies. But as soon as she began to speak, and especially to laugh,
her expressive face beamed with youthful merriment, her eyes, which
were a little near-sighted, slightly closed and took on a mischievous
look, and only her firm mouth retained its expression of thoughtful
determination. "The rest of your face," said Angelica at the very
first sitting, "was given you by God; for your mouth you must thank

She had intended by this remark to lead up to a conversation about
careers and experiences; but the only answer was a meaning, yet
reserved, smile from the mouth of which she spoke. Angelica was a girl
of delicate feeling; she was naturally burning with curiosity to learn
more of the past life of her admired conquest. But, after the repulse
of her first attempts, she was much too proud to beg for a confidence
that was not proffered. For this self-denial she was to-day to be
rewarded, for Julie suddenly opened her lips, and said with a sigh:

"You are one of the happiest human beings I ever knew, Angelica."

"Hm!" replied the artist. "And why do I seem so?"

"Because you are not only free, but know how to make some use of your

"If it were only a good use! But do you really believe, dear Julie,
that my pictures of 'flower, fruit, and thorn pieces,' and my bungling
attempts to imitate God's likeness, have made me imagine that I am an
especially interesting example of my class? Dearest friend, what you
call happiness is really only the well-known 'German happiness'--a
happiness, because it is not a greater unhappiness--a happiness of

"I can well understand," continued Julie, "that a moment never comes
when one feels perfectly contented; when one, so to speak, has reached
the summit of the mountain, and looks around and says: there is nothing
higher than this, unless one steps straight into the clouds. But yet
you love your art, and I think you can busy yourself all day, your
whole life long, with anything you love--"

"If I only knew whether it loved me in return! Don't you see, there
lies the rub; a most 'devilish' rub, Herr Rosebud would say. Are
you really consecrated to art--I mean consecrated by the grace of
God--when, if it hadn't been for the merest chance in the world, you
would never have touched a brush?"

"You would never have touched a brush!"

"Certainly; but instead of it a common kitchen-spoon and similar
household utensils. Why do you look at me incredulously? Do you think I
have been all my life a plain old maid? I, too, was once seventeen
years old, and by no means ill-looking--naturally not to be compared to
what is now sitting opposite me--not a regular feature in my whole
pretty face, no form, no style, merely the ordinary _beauté du diable_.
But, if one may trust certain evidences--though my archives of sonnets,
ball-favors, and other delicate offerings of the sort are burned, to be
sure--I was as neat and attractive a young person as thousands of
others. I had plenty of mother wit, you could read in my eyes that I
had a good heart, and, besides, I was by no means poor. Why should I
have lacked suitors? No, my dear, I even had a choice; and although I
do not now understand why I preferred one particular mortal to all
others, I must have known well enough at the time. I dimly remember how
wonderfully happy, joyous, and in love I was! If all had gone on in the
beaten track, I should probably have always been as happy and as much
in love--constancy is my chief fault--even if no longer so joyous. But
this was not to be. My betrothed was drowned while bathing--just think
of it, what an absurd misfortune! I was driven into a brain fever by
the shock and grief; when I got up from it my little _beauté du diable_
had gone to the _diable_. The next few years were spent as a widowed
bride, in tears; and, when these gradually ceased to flow, I was a
plain, prematurely-faded person, with a heart to be sure that had never
yet fairly blossomed out, but about which no one troubled himself
particularly. It was at that time also that we lost our little
property, and I was obliged to take up with some pursuit or other; then
it turned out to be good luck that even as a child at school I had
wasted much time on drawing and painting. Do you believe, dear friend,
that a virtue which one makes in this way out of a necessity--no matter
how deserving it may be--can ever make a mortal thoroughly happy at

"Why not, when all kinds of happiness come with it, as has been the
case with you? You visited Italy with that kind old lady about whom you
told me such nice stories the other day; you can work at your art here
in perfect freedom, without anxiety, thanks to the legacy of your
motherly friend; you live in this beautiful city, in the society of
friends and colleagues in art by whom you are respected--is all that

"True, it is a great deal, and yet--I will whisper something in your
ear--let it be entirely between ourselves, and if I did not love you so
unreasonably that you might ask anything of me I would sooner bite off
my tongue than confess it to any living mortal--if I should become, in
the course of time, as celebrated as my namesake (whose pictures, it
must be confessed, always appear to me to be very stupid), or even
should in so far succeed as to become contented with myself as an
artist, I would give up all this exceptional good fortune for an
ordinary, humdrum happiness; a good husband, who need not even be a
remarkable combination of excellences, and a few pretty children, who,
for all I care, might be a little bit boisterous and naughty. There,
now you know all about it, and you will laugh at me because I so
naively confessed to you what we women generally hide like a sin."

"You would certainly have made a splendid housewife," said Julie,
musingly. "You are so good, so warmhearted, so unselfish; you might
have made a husband very happy. I--when I compare myself with you--but
why shouldn't we call each other '_du_?' I have had all sorts of
unpleasant experiences with women friends with whom I have used that
familiar form, and that is the reason I have been so slow about it with
you--. Stop, stop, you must leave my head on my shoulders!--you are
squeezing me to death--if I had only known it sooner! And who knows but
what if you learn to know me better--."

The artist had thrown away palette and maulstick, and had, after her
enthusiastic fashion, rushed upon the adored friend who had at last
made this return for her worship.

"If I should know you a hundred years, I'll take care to love you a
hundred times more dearly!" she cried, as, kneeling down before Julie,
she folded her hands in her lap with a droll vivacity, and gazed
reverentially through her spectacles at the beautiful face.

"No," said her friend earnestly, "you do not really know me yet. Have
you any suspicion that by my own fault I have thrown away that
happiness for which you long, because, even as my best friends said, I
was heartless?"

"Nonsense!" cried Angelica. "You heartless? Then I am a crocodile and
live on human flesh!"

Julie smiled.

"Were they right? Perhaps. I don't believe it myself. But you know it
is such a universal fashion to show one's self 'full of heart,' to
express feeling, sympathy, tenderness, even when one remains perfectly
cold, that the Cordelias will always be at a disadvantage. Even when
very young, and perhaps by inheritance from my father, who was a
strict, and on the surface a severe, old soldier, not much given to
demonstrations--even when a school-girl I felt a disgust for sweetness
and suavity, for affected sentimentality and humility--for all that
conventional amiability behind which the most cruel envy, the most icy
egotism, lurk concealed. I could never take kindly to sentimental
bosom-friendship, to compacts of the heart for life and death, that
were suddenly broken up by a ball-room rivalry, an honest reproof, or
even by pure _ennui_. My first experience in this respect was my
last. And how much sincere liking, and fidelity, and unappreciated
self-sacrifice I wasted on this child's play! From that time forth I
knew how to take better care of myself. And, in truth, it was not
difficult for me to keep guard over my heart. I lived with my old
parents, who both appeared, on the surface, dry and pedantic; but who
understood the art of making for themselves and me a rich, warm, and
beautiful life, that gave my thoughts and feelings ample nourishment. I
modeled myself after them, and spoke much the same language. I must
indeed have borne myself rather strangely, when, in the society of
young people, I expressed myself with regard to certain conventional
feelings in scornful terms which might have been pardoned to an old
soldier, but which did not become his daughter. I meant no harm with it
all. On many occasions, when others were moved to tears or enthusiasm,
I really experienced no sensation whatever, unless it were a feeling of
discomfort. But as often as anything really touched me--beautiful
music, a poem or some solemn impression of Nature, I became perfectly
dumb, and could not join in the enthusiastic prattle that went on in
the circle about me. Out of pure contempt for phrases, I assumed, in
defiance of my real feelings, to be cool and critical, and had to bear
being told that there was no getting on with me, that these secret joys
must always remain closed to me, a girl without a heart. I smiled at
this, and my smile confirmed these fine-strung souls in their belief in
my lack of feeling. As it so happened that I found none of them all
amiable enough to love in spite of these bad practices, I didn't care
in the least for my isolation. I had fared thus with my own sex, and
soon I was to find that I did not succeed much better with young men. I
was not long in observing that the stronger sex merely had other, and
by no means more amiable, weaknesses than we; above all, that they were
much vainer, and so care most for those of us who are willing to do
homage to their manly superiority. What is generally called maidenly
modesty, womanly tenderness, and virginal feeling--is it not, in ninety
cases out of a hundred, a craftily-planned artificial stratagem for
making fools of these mighty lords of creation? Here they find what
they want. Do they not meet in this pliant, yielding, dependent being
the best supplement to their dominant natures, the most touching
submission to their higher will, an accurately-toned echo of all their
most excellent wishes and thoughts? Afterward, when the purpose of the
pretty comedy has been attained, the mask is laid aside quickly enough;
we good lambs show that we, too, have a will and a mind and a power of
our own, and the beautiful delusion is rudely dissipated. As soon as I
had come to clearly recognize this, I felt the bitterest disgust for
it. Soon, however, I was forced to laugh, and to say to myself, this
farce is as old as the world! If, notwithstanding this, the proud lords
of creation still permit themselves to be deceived, they must, in one
way or another, find some advantage in it. But I could not even then
bring myself to join in the game, as I saw all the rest do. I cared
nothing for the object which made these petty means holy to all the
others. Merely to please the men in general? To do this I had no need
to exert myself especially, for I resembled my mother, who had passed
for a beauty. And to have won the _love_ of a man it would have been
necessary for him to have first taken _my_ fancy, for him to have first
become dangerous to _me_. But it never came to that. Really, I often
thought, have you a heart, or have you none, since it feels nothing at
all in the society of these gay officers, students, and artists, who
are such good dancers, have such a triumphant mien, and such faultless
white cravats, and who, with the most condescending superiority, allow
themselves to be enticed into the share by all these timid, blushing,
demure, sweet creatures, who are all the while secretly laughing in
their sleeves."

Julie paused for a while with downcast eyes. "It is strange," said she,
with a sigh, "how we happened to come upon these old stories! You must
know, my dear, they are _really_ very old--older than you think. I
shall soon be thirty-one years old! When I first began to make these
observations I was eighteen--now you can subtract for yourself. If I
had married then, I might now have had a daughter twelve years old.
Instead of that I am a well-preserved old maid, and my only admirer is
a silly painter, who has fallen in love with me merely out of a whim
for color."

"No," said Angelica, who, in the mean time, had zealously gone on with
her painting, "I won't be put aside in that way. I always did consider
the men pretty stupid, because, as you very rightly said, they allow
themselves to be caught by such clumsy tricks and artifices. But that
they should not have recognized your worth, that they should not have
cut each others' throats about you--as they did before Troy for that
Grecian witch--that is really incomprehensible to me! They cannot all
be so conceited and foolish; and, after all, there must be a few--I,
myself, have known one or two--. But please lower your chin just a

"Yes, it is true," continued Julie, "there are a few. I have even come
across one for whose sake I myself might finally have been induced to
take part in the comedy, had not all talent for that kind of thing been
denied me. What his name was, how he came to know me, cannot matter to
you. He long ago married another, and has probably forgotten all of me
but my name--if not that. I--one of us never forgets such an
experience, even when it lies dead and buried in some corner of our
hearts; for that I had a heart, as well as other people, I discovered
at that time only too plainly--I pleased him exceedingly--he took care
to let me see this on every occasion--and then he really was better by
far, and much less infected by conceit and selfishness than most of the
others; and my straight-forward way of showing myself just as I was,
without affecting any coquettish sensibility, seemed to be attractive
to him because of its very rarity. As he was rich, and my parents were
well off, there was, on the other hand, no outward hinderance in our
way. And so, although no binding words had been exchanged, we were
tacitly looked upon as a match--I think the men relinquished me to him
much more honestly than my female friends gave up this much-sought man
to me. To be sure I myself was, even in this case, at least outwardly
much cooler and more reserved than happy lovers generally. I was, at
heart, deeply attached to the man of my choice; but there was always
mixed with it a silent fear, a sort of lack of sympathy--perhaps a
prophetic impulse of my heart that warned me not to give myself up
absolutely and entirely to this love. And, one day, during a
conversation about an accident in a Brazilian mine, where fifty men had
suddenly been killed by an explosion of fire-damp, the storm burst upon
me, and I had to suffer with those distant victims. All were deeply
lamenting over the occurrence, as is the fashion. I remained silent;
and when my betrothed asked me whether the terrible accident had
absolutely petrified me, I said I could not help it, but it affected me
very little more than if I had read in some history that in some
battle, a thousand years ago, ten thousand men had perished. The misery
of this world was so near us daily and hourly, and we were, for the
most part, so culpably indifferent to it, that I could not understand
why I should all of a sudden be expected to feel so much sympathy for a
misfortune which only attracted attention because it was in the latest
newspaper; and which was, moreover, a very common one and not even
accompanied by especially horrible circumstances. I had scarcely said
this when they all fell upon me--at first, of course, in a joking way,
and my old nickname--'the heartless girl'--was raked up again; but, as
I kept quiet and rather sharply repelled the accusations of these
delicate souls, their tempers became more and more aroused, and the
most zealous sermons on philanthropy were launched at me by the very
ones who would not have given a drink of water to a sick dog, and who
would only succor a poor man if it didn't make them too much trouble.
My friend, too, had grown silent, after having at first attempted to
take my part. But, like a thorough man--for such he always remained--he
could not conceal from himself the frightful truth that I was by no
means sufficiently soft and womanly in my feelings. My combative spirit
began to trouble him more and more--I could see this clearly--but now
all my pride was enlisted against any smoothing over or suppression of
my true nature. Although I was very near bursting into tears, I kept up
my bravery, fought out my case, and had the miserable satisfaction of
appearing to bear off the victory. A dearly-purchased victory! From
this evening my lover perceptibly began to draw back, my 'best friend'
took it upon herself to enlighten him more and more concerning my
character; and since she herself possessed those very traits which were
lacking in me, and which alone, it is said, can guarantee the happiness
of marriage, nothing could be more natural than that before three weeks
were up he should become engaged to this sympathetic being, who for
thirteen years now has--. But I will say nothing bad of her. She has
certainly done _me_ a great service, for, perhaps, I might not have
made this man much happier. And, at the time, she spared me a hard
spiritual struggle. Had I been actually engaged, I might, perhaps, have
hesitated to fulfill the duties that my poor mother had a right to
demand of me. For you must know that my father died very suddenly, and
then it appeared that the mother of the heartless girl--who also passed
for a cold character--concealed a much more passionate love under an
austere exterior than most old women are accustomed to retain beyond
their silver-wedding. The death of her old husband first threw my
mother into a serious illness, and then into a half-wandering state, in
which she lived on for many years, to her torture and to mine!"

She paused; then she suddenly stood up and stepped to the artist's side
behind the easel.

"Pardon me, dear," she said, "but I think you ought to stop. Every
additional stroke of the brush that tones down or paints away anything
will make it look less like me. Look at me more carefully--am I really
that blooming creature that beams upon the world from out that canvas?
Twelve years of denial, loneliness, and living entombment, have they
left no trace upon my face? That is the way I might have looked,
perhaps, had I known happiness. They say, you know, happiness preserves
youth. But I--I am horribly old! And yet, in reality, I have not begun
to live!"

She turned hastily away and walked to the window.

Angelica laid aside her palette, went softly up to her, and threw her
arm about her agitated friend.

"Julie," said she, "when _you_ speak that way--you, who by a mere smile
could tame wild animals and drive tame men mad!"

She turned to her comforter, and the tears stood in her eyes.

"Oh, my dear," she said, "what nonsense you are talking! How often I
have envied a young peasant girl, with an ugly, stupid face, who
brought us eggs and milk, simply because she could come and go as she
liked, and moved among living beings! But I--can you conceive what it
means to have constantly at your side a being whom you cannot but love,
and yet whom you are forced to look upon as one dead, as a living
ghost; to hear the voice that once caressed you utter senseless
sounds, to see the eye that once beamed on you so warmly, strange and
dimmed--the eye, the voice, of your own mother? And this, year in and
year out--and this half-dead being only waked into anxiety and
agitation whenever I made an attempt to leave her. For, truly, when I
had borne it a year, I thought I was being crushed by it, without
feeling the satisfaction that the sacrifice of my life could be of any
possible service to this most miserable being. Yet as often as she
missed me for a longer time than the few hours daily to which she had
become accustomed, she lapsed into the most violent uneasiness, and
only became quiet again when she saw me once more. I had to reconcile
myself to the idea that I was necessary to her existence--to an
existence that I could by no possibility make happy, or enliven, or
even lighten. For so long as I was at her side she scarcely noticed me;
indeed, she often appeared not even to recognize me. And still she
could not exist without me; and in the asylum, to which she was once
carried for the sake of an experiment, she lapsed into a state so
pitiable that even 'a girl without a heart' could not but be moved by

"Horrible! And you lived with her in this way for twelve long years?"

"For twelve long years! Does it still seem to you so incomprehensible,
so 'stupid' of the men that they did not positively force themselves
upon a girl who would have brought, with a little bit of beauty and
property, this face into their house? No, dear, the men are not so
stupid, after all. Even if I had been engaged, and had loved my lover
with my whole heart, I could never have expected him to join his life
to that of a woman who was chained fast to so horrible a lot."

"But now, since you have become free--"

"Free! A fine freedom to be allowed to dance when the ball is over, to
console myself with artificial or painted flowers for the rosy time
that was neglected. I once read somewhere that happiness is like wine;
if one does not drink up the entire cask at once, but pours some of it
into bottles, some time one will have the good of it. It will have time
to ripen and become nobler, if it is of the right sort. There may be
some truth in this; but, no matter how noble it may be, the old wine
has lost its bouquet. The happiness that one hasn't enjoyed when young
has a bitter taste; and, for that matter, who guarantees that I shall
ever slake my thirst again? Many thousands never moisten their lips,
and live soberly on. Why should I fare better? Because I have more
beauty than many! That would be fine, indeed! Fate is not in the least
gallant, and draws up its decrees without regard to persons. Now, when
I stand before the glass, I always see the same well-known face that
has lost its youth. I seem to myself like a silk dress that has hung in
the closet for twelve years. When one takes it out it is still silk,
but the color has faded, the folds tear when it is touched, and when it
is shaken out fly the moths! But I have let enough of them fly out of
my head to-day. There is no use in going over old experiences. Come! we
will paint a little more, and then go and take a drive--for what is our
glorious liberty for?"

                              CHAPTER II.

In Jansen's studio, too, there was more talking than working going on
this morning.

Edward Rossel had, at last, in spite of the heat, summoned up
sufficient energy to undertake the short walk thither. A gigantic
Panama hat, over which he also held a sunshade, protected his head;
besides this he wore a summer suit of snow-white piqué, and light shoes
of yellow leather.

He was in a very good humor, praised Felix for the assiduity with which
he continued to study his skeleton, and then stepped up to the Dancing
Girl, to which Jansen had just put the finishing touches.

He stood silently before it for some time, then he drew up a chair near
it and begged Jansen to turn the stand so that he would be able to view
the work from all sides.

His friends declared that it was a pleasure to see him look at
anything. His glances seemed to fairly fasten upon the form, or rather
to take it all in; all the muscles of his face became animated, and an
intellectual tension curved his somewhat languid mouth.

"Well," asked Jansen, at last, "how does it strike you? You know I can
bear anything."

"_Est, est, est!_ What is there to be said about it, especially?
Naturally, it has gained and lost, as is always the case. The innocent
audacity, the Pompeian _abandon_, that charmed me in the little sketch
has, as a whole, suffered in the execution. You might do better,
perhaps, to disguise your respect for Nature a little more. And,
by-the-way--with all respect for this Nature--what sort of a model did
you have? Of course it is very strongly idealized?"

"Not in the least. A pure _facsimile_."

"What? This neck and breast, these shoulders, arms--"

"A conscientious copy, without any additions."

Fat Rossel stood up.

"I should have to see that to believe it," he said. "Look here,
compared with this the conventionalities of Canova are mere wretched
sugar-work. And that is what I was just going to say to you--the
Grecian element that was in the sketch is gone. In its place there are
a grace, an _esprit_, an elegance of form--and that, too, of a
spontaneous sort. Don't you find it so, my dear baron? You are a lucky
man, Hans, to have such a being run into your hands. In what garden did
this little slip grow?"

Jansen shrugged his shoulders.

"Come, out with it, old Jealousy! You need not lend her to me for any
length of time--only for one forenoon. I happen to have a composition
in mind, for which this little one--"

"You will have to run after luck more persistently than the law of your
laziness permits," added Jansen, quietly. "I myself didn't catch it by
the forelock this time without some trouble; and, although this
forelock is very thick, and shone before me in the most beautiful

"Red hair? Now no dodges will help you, Jansen, you must hand her over
to me. Something of this sort has floated before my fancy for weeks
past--something of the wood-nymph, water-nymph nature."

"Hand her over! But it isn't in my power. Friend Felix happened to drop
in, the second time she was with me. She took this so to heart that,
since then, she has disappeared, leaving no traces behind her."

"Is there virtue under this beautiful exterior? So much the better.
Nature will enjoy her natural bounds all the longer, and so virtue will
also tend to the benefit of art. Tell me where she lives--the rest
shall be my care."

He noted down the address, which was written in charcoal on the wall
near the window, and then advanced toward the large, veiled group in
the middle of the studio.

"How far have you got with the Eve?"

"Unfortunately, I can't show her to you to-day," replied Jansen,
quickly. "She is just at a stage--"

"What the devil!" laughed Fat Rossel; "this looks very dangerous! How
long is it since you have fastened your cloths down with safety pins?
Don't you want the priests to snuff around here when they wander in
from the saint-factory?"

A knock on the door relieved Jansen from the evident embarrassment of
answering. The door opened, and Angelica, in her painting-jacket and
with her brush behind her ear, just as she had come from her easel,
appeared on the threshold.

"Good-day, Herr Jansen," she said. "Ah! I am disturbing you. You have
company. I will come again later--I merely had a favor to ask."

"And you hesitate to give utterance to this request before a colleague
and old admirer?" cried Rossel, going up to the artist and gallantly
kissing her hand. "If you only knew, Fräulein Angelica how this
undeserved slight hurt my tender heart!"

"Herr Rossel," continued the artist, "you are a scoffer, and, as a
punishment for boasting of a tender heart, which you do not possess,
you shall not be given a chance to see something beautiful. I simply
wished to request Herr Jansen to come and look at my picture, for I
have just had my last sitting, and my friend has given me permission.
She knows how important his judgment is to me."

"But if I vow to be very good, and not to open my mouth--"

"You have such a deprecating way of screwing up the corners--"

"I will hold my hat before my face--only my eyes shall peep over the

"For Heaven's sake, come then! although I don't place much confidence
in your most solemn vows. I place myself under Herr Jansen's
protection; and if the Herr Baron would perhaps like to come too?"

Jansen had not spoken a word, but, with conspicuous haste had exchanged
his frock for a coat and had washed the dust from his hands.

When they entered the studio above, they found Rosenbusch already
engaged in the most enthusiastic admiration of the picture, while, at
the same time, he endeavored in his chivalrous way, to bestow at least
half of his enthusiasm upon the original.

Julie had risen and gone toward his chair. When she saw Angelica return
with a triple escort, instead of the one she expected, she seemed
slightly confused. But the next moment she greeted the gentlemen, whom
Angelica introduced to her, with easy grace.

A pause followed. Jansen had stepped before the picture, and, with the
great authority which he enjoyed in this circle, not even Edward
himself dared to say a word before he had expressed his opinion. It was
Jansen's way not to reduce his impression immediately to words. But, on
this occasion, he remained silent unusually long.

"Tell me frankly, dear friend," Angelica began at last, "that I have
once more undertaken something that deserves the palm for no other
reason than for its audacity. If you only knew what contemptuous
epithets I have heaped upon myself while I was painting! I have made
myself out so bad, have so run myself down, that Homo would not take a
piece of bread from me if he had heard me. And yet, in the midst of my
dejection, I still took such unheard-of pleasure in my daubery that, do
what I would, I could not let my courage sink. If my friend were not
present, I should be able to explain to you the reason for this. As it
is, it would seem in very bad taste if I should forthwith make her a
declaration of love in the presence of witnesses."

The sculptor still remained silent. At last he said, dryly,

"You may set your mind at rest, Angelica. Don't you know very well that
this is not only your best picture, but, moreover, a most excellent
performance, such as one only too seldom meets with nowadays?"

A deep blush of joyful embarrassment suffused the good-natured, round
face of the painter.

"Is that your candid opinion?" cried she. "Oh, my dear Jansen! if it
only is not meant as a salve for the goadings of my own conscience--"

Jansen did not answer. He was once more deeply absorbed in the
contemplation of the picture. Now and then he cast a critical glance at
the original, who stood quietly by and appeared to be thinking of other

In the mean while Edward labored zealously to efface the bad opinion
that Angelica had formed of his love for critical mockery. He praised
the work highly in detail--the drawing, the arrangement, the successful
coloring, and the simple light effects, and what he found to criticise
in the details of the technique only served to heighten the worth of
his commendation as a whole.

"But, do you know," he said, enthusiastically, "this is only one way to
do it, a very skillful and talented way, but by no means the only one.
What do you say, for instance, to dark-red velvet, a light golden chain
around the neck, a dark carnation in the hair--_à la Paris Bordone_? or
a gold brocade--I happen to have a magnificent genuine costume at home,
that was sent to me last week from Venice? or shall we have simply the
hair disheveled, a dark dress, behind it a laurel-bush--"

"And so on, with graces _in infinitum_!" laughed the painter. "You must
know, Julie, this gentleman has already painted thousands of the most
magnificent pictures--unfortunately nearly all in imagination. No, my
dear Rossel, we are obliged to you. We are only too glad to have
accomplished it in this very modest way, and to have received so
favorable a criticism. My dear friend, although she is an angel of
patience, has had quite enough to do with the fine arts for some time
to come."

"O, Angelica!" sighed Rossel with comical pathos, "you are merely
jealous: you will vouchsafe to no other person the good fortune that
has been accorded to you. Now, what if I had always been waiting for
just such a task, so that I, too, might produce something immortal?"

"You?--your laziness is all that is immortal about you!" replied the

They continued for a while to chaff and plague one another, Rosenbusch
and Felix also contributing their share. Jansen alone did not jest, and
Julie, too, took advantage of her slight acquaintance to take no
further part in the conversation than common politeness demanded.

After the men had gone, a long silence followed between the two
friends. The artist had taken up her palette again, in order that she
might, after all, make use of Rossel's hints. Suddenly she said:

"Well, how did he please you?"


"Why, of course, there can be only one in question: the one who exerted
himself least to please anybody, not even you."

"Jansen? Why, I scarcely know him!"

"One knows such men in the first quarter of an hour, when one is as old
as we two are. It is just that which distinguishes the great men and
the thorough artists from the petty and the half-way ones--one knows
the lion by his claws. Just one look, and you will believe him capable
of the most incredible and superhuman things."

"I really believe, my dear, you are in--"

"Love with him! No. I am, at all events, sensible enough not to let
anything so nonsensical as that enter my head. But, if he were to say
to me: 'I should take it as a favor, Angelica, if you would just eat
this bladder-full of flake-white for your breakfast,' or, 'if you would
try to paint with your foot, it would afford me a personal pleasure,' I
believe I should not hesitate a moment. I should think he must
undoubtedly have his reasons for it, and that I was only too stupid to
comprehend them. Don't you see, such is my immovable faith in this
unprecedented man, so impossible does it seem to me that he could do
anything small, foolish, or even commonplace. Something horrible--yes,
something monstrous and insane--I could believe him capable of, and who
knows whether he has not really done something of the sort? He has
something about him like a little Vesuvius, that stands there in the
sun peacefully enough, and yet everybody knows what is boiling inside.
His friends say of Jansen that, if the Berserker once breaks out in
him, he is a bad man to deal with. I felt this from the first, with an
unerring instinct, and I hardly dared to sneeze in his presence. Then I
chanced to meet him in the garden, near the fountain, where he was
combing his Homo, and showing himself pretty awkward at it. He struck
me then as being so helpless that I could not help laughing and
offering myself as a lady's maid for the dog, at which he showed great
delight. That broke the ice between us, and, since then, I take the
most inconceivable liberties with him, although my heart still
continues to thump if he chances to look at me in his quiet, steady
way, for a minute at a time."

Julie was silent. After some time she said, suddenly:

"It is true he has eyes such as I have never before seen in a man. One
can read in those eyes that he is not happy; all his genius cannot make
him glad. Don't you find it so, too? Wonderfully lonely eyes! Like
a man who has lived long, years in a desert, and has seen no living
soul--nothing but earth and sun. Do you know anything of his life?"

"No. He himself never speaks of it. Nor do any of the others know
what he may not have gone through before he came to Munich. That was
about five years ago. But now, if you will just sit still a moment
longer--so!--it's only for the reflection in the left eye, and the
retouching about the mouth."

Then the painting went on for another hour in silence.

                              CHAPTER III.

On the outskirts of the "English Garden" there lies, among other
pleasure-resorts of its class, the so-called "Garden of Paradise." In
the midst of a grove stands a large, stately building, at the laying of
whose corner-stone no one would have ventured to predict that it would
some day become a place of refuge for so mixed a company. Here, on
summer days, merry and thirsty folk are wont to gather round the tables
and benches, while a band plays from a covered platform. But the large
hall on the ground floor of the house is generally used for dancing,
while the lower side-wings are opened for spectators and for couples
that are resting from the waltz.

It was eleven o'clock at night, A thunderstorm, that had gathered
toward evening, had prevented the advertised garden-concert from taking
place. When the storm had scattered again after a few harmless
thunderclaps, the seats filled up very slowly; and the beer-drawer at
the open booth among the trees had plenty of time to doze between the
stray mugs that were handed in to him to be filled. For this reason the
garden had been closed earlier than usual; and when it struck eleven
the house lay as still and deserted as though there were not a living
being within.

And yet the long hall in the left wing, which was reached from the
garden by a few steps, was, if not actually as light as day, at all
events sufficiently illuminated by a dozen lamps along the wall. In the
rear, where at this time scarcely any one passed through the deserted
street, the upper, semicircular part of the windows was left open for
the sake of ventilation, while the lower part remained tightly closed.
Dark figures approached along the street, singly, or in groups of two
or three just as they chanced to come together, and entered the house
by the back door. On the side toward the English Garden everything
remained as dark and lifeless as was ever an old wall behind which
counterfeiters ply their trade in dimly-lighted cellars.

The interior of the hall was, when seen by daylight, not altogether
unornamented. The inspired hand of some house-painter had covered the
wall spaces between the windows with bold landscape conceptions _al
fresco_, where were to be seen, amid fabulous castles, cities,
river-gorges, and wooded ravines, blue wanderers strolling about in
green hats, and horsemen careering on chargers of very questionable
anatomy, followed by dogs that belonged to no known race. In the
dazzling blue sky above these outgrowths of a cheery decorator's
fantasy, sometimes through a tree-top or the slanting pinnacle of a
robber-castle, a society of carpenters' apprentices, which met here
once a week, had driven large nails that they might hang up
symmetrically their various diplomas, decorated with pictures and
mottoes, and dotted with little balls.

But, on the night of which we speak, all this splendor had disappeared
behind a thick veil of growing plants. Tall evergreen bushes stood
between the windows, and stretched their slender branches to the roof,
so that the squalid walls seemed transformed into a tropical garden. A
long, narrow table, with green, big-bellied flagons, occupied the
middle of the room, and in a corner was a cask, about the polished tap
of which hung a wreath of roses, while on a little table near by stood
baskets with white rolls and a few plates of fruit.

Only a few dozen chairs surrounded the table, and these were not more
than half occupied, when Jansen and Felix entered the room. Through the
light haze of lamplight and tobacco-smoke they could discern the pale
face of Elfinger beside the battle-painter's blooming countenance; the
fez-covered head of Edward Rossel, comfortably reclining in an American
rocking-chair and smoking a chibouque; then one and another of the
artists who had occasionally shown themselves in Jansen's studio.
Nothing like a servant was anywhere to be seen; and each, as soon as he
had emptied his glass, went himself to the cask and filled it. Some
strolled, chatting, along the green hedge up and down the hall; others
sat, absent and expectant, in their places, as though in a theatre
before the beginning of the play; and only Fat Rossel, who alone
rejoiced in a comfortable seat, seemed to blow clouds of smoke up to
the ceiling as if already in a true paradisaic frame of mind.

As Felix approached him, there arose at his side a tall, thin figure in
a hunting-blouse, with high riding-boots, and a short French pipe
between his lips. Once before, while walking in the street, Felix had
caught a hasty glimpse of this singularly-shaped face, with its
choleric complexion and its close-cropped hair, its coal-black
imperial, and a broad scar across the right temple; its owner had been
mounted on a handsome English horse, which had attracted his attention
more than the rider. This man managed his lank limbs awkwardly and
clumsily, as if he had lost his natural balance the moment that he
ceased to feel his horse between his legs. Besides, he had a way of
either continually pulling at his goatee, or of twitching the lobe of
his right ear. Felix noticed that he wore a little gold ring in his
left ear. The right one was disfigured; the earring, that had once been
worn there, seemed to have been torn out by force at some time or

"I take the liberty of introducing myself," said the lank individual,
bowing to Felix with soldierly formality. "My name is Aloys von
Schnetz, a first-lieutenant on the retired list; as a friend of the
seven liberal arts, I am allowed the honor of entering this Paradise.
Inasmuch as amphibious creatures undoubtedly existed even in the garden
of God, therefore a being like myself, who occupies a middle place, at
once an aristocrat and a proletarian, no longer a soldier, for good
reasons, and also not an artist--unfortunately for still better
reasons--may be said not to be out of place among good people, of whom
each has some pretty definite aims and powers. You, too, as Fat Rossel
has just confided to me, belong, to a certain extent, to my class,
although I hope and trust that you represent a somewhat more edifying
species. Come, take a seat here by my side. There are people who
declare that I put them out of humor. I am accused of giving myself
great pains to see the world as it is, and to call things by their
right names; sensitive natures call that cynicism, and find it
unpleasant. But you shall see it is not so bad, and here in Paradise I
try to forget, as far as possible, that we pick sour apples from the
tree of knowledge. However, I ought, like a true amphibian, to conduct
you, after so dry an introduction, into a moist element."

He set his long, Don-Quixote legs in motion toward the cask, filled two
bumpers and brought them back to Felix.

"We have become converted to wine," he said, growling it out in a half
ironical, half bitter tone; "although, strictly speaking, it is an
anachronism, as it is well known that wine was given to mankind as a
compensation for a lost Paradise. Beer, on the other hand, is entirely
an invention of the darker middle ages, to make men mere idle slaves to
the priests, and it has never yet occurred to any one to seek truth
anywhere but in wine. So, then, here's to your health, and hoping that
you may succeed better than I have in becoming one of these primitive

Felix knocked glasses with his queer new friend, and then proceeded to
observe the unknown persons who had in the mean while strolled in.
Schnetz gave him their names. Most of them had passed their first
youth. Only one boyish face, of a foreign cast, gazed dreamily with
big, black eyes into the cloud of smoke that circled up from his
cigarette. It was, Schnetz told his neighbor, that of a young Greek
painter, twenty-two years old, who was, in spite of his delicate,
almost girl-like appearance, a dangerous lady-killer. He was not really
intimately acquainted with any of them, and only Rossel's intercession
in his favor and his talent, which was by no means slight, had procured
him the entrance into this circle.

A little, bent old man, with delicate features and snow-white hair, was
the last to enter. He hung his hat and cloak on a nail, and took his
seat in the only unoccupied chair at the upper end of the table near
Jansen, who gave him a kindly welcome.

Felix was surprised at the presence of an old man amid this rising
generation. To be sure, Schnetz, too, was no longer a youth--he might
well be over forty. But in every muscle of his sinewy figure throbbed a
suppressed energy, while it was evident that the quiet, white-haired
old man, who sat at the upper end of the table, had long since left
behind him the storms and struggles of life.

"I see that you are puzzling your head about our 'creator,'" said
Schnetz, twisting his goatee. "For that matter I don't know much more
about his intimate affairs than I do about the personal experiences of
the real Deity. That he is an artist, or rather that he was once--of
that there can be no doubt. Every word that he utters, when the
conversation turns upon art, proves this. He undoubtedly belongs,
however, to a geological stratum whose fauna has died out. Nor has any
one of us ever seen one of his works, or known how or where or from
what he lives. His name is Schöpf; and when, three years ago, while
our Paradise was still in its infancy, he was introduced here by
Jansen--whom he had visited in his studio, and whose interest he had
speedily known how to enlist--we permitted ourselves the cheap joke of
twisting Schöpf into Schöpfer,[2] and at the same time of appointing
him host and chief steward of the Paradise. At that time we still
reveled in buffoonery of that sort, each of us bearing some kind of
appropriate nickname; and we continued to keep this up until at last
the cheap joke was run into the ground. But we had grown to like and
respect the old man, who showed himself such a quiet and friendly
providence that the first man could hardly have boasted of a better
one. He looks after all our business affairs, takes charge of the
society's treasury, selects our wine, and keeps an eye on the gardener
who decorates our hall. With all this we see him but once a month.
During the intervening period he vanishes. When we hold our masked
ball, at which the _daughters_ of Eve are also allowed to appear, he
makes himself useful until the first stroke of the fiddle is given, and
then he creeps off home again."

"It is hardly probable that he can be a native here, if he can play the
_rôle_ of a mysterious personage so easily."

"Don't you believe it. Here in Munich there are a large number of such
subterranean existences, whose strange ways and dodges escape
attention--ay, even common gossip--for the reason that here there is no
society, in the true sense of the word. In every other city of equal,
or even of greater size, one knows pretty well what his dear fellow-men
are about; at least this is the case in regard to the notable ones who
rise above the common level--one knows what they have to pay their
tailor with, or how much they are owing him. But this place swarms with
amphibious beings of both sexes who, when they are no longer able to
keep above water, dive down into a more or less turbid element, where
they become invisible. I myself have already had the honor of
introducing myself to you as such a dual being; not that the ground is
unsteady under my feet--I quitted the service of my own accord from
personal motives--but the dryness up there on the surface became
unbearable for me; I am one of the malcontents, of whom you see so many
here, who have slammed the door in the face of so-called good society,
partly because it is insipid, partly because it is base, and who now,
in paradisaic freedom, are trying to find their world in their friends.
But your glass is still full! Come! You must do our Jordan more honor."

"A Jordan in Paradise? My geography does not go so far as that, or
perhaps new discoveries have--"

Schnetz had just began to explain to him that this noble wine came from
the vineyard of Herr Jordan at Deidesheim, and that for this reason
they had agreed to transfer the river of the promised land into India
on their maps, when Elfinger rose and informed them that it was "his
turn" to-night, and that he had prepared something, but that first some
sketches would be exhibited.

Upon this a number of studies were passed around the table, landscape
sketches, and plans and designs of all kinds--among others the drawings
of a young architect for the building of a special hall for the
Paradise Club, which excited great applause, and called forth the most
amusing propositions as to the manner in which funds should be raised
to cover the cost of this most timely work.

In the mean while an insignificant-looking, lean man, with an
awkward manner, and wearing a threadbare coat that was buttoned
tight to conceal the absence of a waistcoat, had taken a large gray
sheet of paper from a portfolio, had fastened it with tacks to the
window-shutter, so that the lamps on the wall threw a pretty strong
light upon it, and had then stepped back in order to invite an
inspection of his work. It was a pen and ink sketch, full of figures,
the lights touched up with white, but done with so complete a disregard
of effect that the composition appeared, at the first glance, to be a
strangely-confused swarm, in which it was impossible to make out either
the details or the plan as a whole.

"Our Cornelian, Philip Emanuel Kohle!" growled Schnetz. "Another of
those unlucky erratic bowlders in the midst of the flat common of our
modern art, torn from the summit of some heaven-aspiring mountain, and
then rolled, a strange intruder, into the fertile plain of mediocrity,
where no one knows what to do with it. Let us go nearer. These outline
fanatics scorn to produce an effect at a distance."

"I have taken for my subject," explained the artist, "a poem of
Hölderlin's--you undoubtedly all know it--Hyperion's song of fate--or,
if it has escaped your recollection--I have brought the text with me."

Upon this he drew from his pocket a very dog'seared little book and
read the verses, although he knew them by heart. As he proceeded his
cheeks flushed, his eyes sparkled, and his whole meagre figure appeared
to grow in height; and when he finished there was silence for a while
in the group that was examining the drawing.

The artist still seemed to have an explanation to make, but he did not
utter it: as if, after such words of genius, any prosaic paraphrase
would be a desecration. And, indeed, the singular composition now
sufficiently explained itself.

A mountain, whose base covered the whole lower breadth of the large
sheet, rose up in jagged tiers like a tower, and ended in a smooth
plateau, on which were seen reclining, veiled in a light cloud, the
figures of gods assembled about a banquet table, while others, with
winged feet, either strolled about singly or arm-in-arm, or amused
themselves with dance and song. All seemed a dreamy, floating whirl of
forms, heightened here and there by abrupt foreshortenings of the long
limbs and by angular effects of drapery. Among these Olympian figures,
but separated by an impassable barrier of cloud and storm, could be
seen the races of mankind, in the most various and spirited groups,
suffering all the woes of mortals. Nearest the gods, and hallowed as it
were by their proximity, children were playing and lovers were
whispering; but the paths that branched off soon led to scenes of
suffering and misery, and certain symbolical figures, which were
scattered in among the human forms at the principal passes of the
mountain, made manifest the intention of the designer to represent both
the effects and power of vice and passion, while the division into
seven stages pointed to the seven deadly sins. A solemn, unbending
earnestness, and a certain loftiness in their submission to this

     "Through long years into the uncertain depths below"--

gave to this somewhat unwieldy composition a great depth of feeling
which animated even what was grotesque, and impressed upon the stronger
parts the unmistakable stamp of a great mind.

The mere number of the figures occupied the attention for a long time;
then followed all sorts of criticism, which the designer bore without
contradiction--no one knew whether from defenselessness or secret
obstinacy. For Jansen's opinion only did he watch with eagerness, who,
after his usual fashion, allowed the others to talk, while he merely
pointed now and then with an eloquent finger to some defective spot.

The only one who had remained quietly seated, and who had looked at the
sheet across the table and down the whole length of the hall, through a
little ivory opera-glass, was Edward.

At length Rosenbusch, whose high tenor had rung out in enthusiastic
expressions of praise above all the confusion of voices, turned to him.

"What!" he cried, in a hearty tone of challenge, "will not the blessed
gods rouse themselves this once from their reclining-place, and cast a
gracious look upon this work of a mortal?"

"Pardon me, my dear Rosebud," replied Fat Rossel, lowering his voice so
that he should not be heard by Kohle; "you know I like to have what is
beautiful come to me, instead of having to run painfully after it; and
the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel made the most profound impression
upon me, because a man can only enjoy it thoroughly lying on his back.
Concerning this last heaven-towering monument of thought, that my
godfather has set up"--for so he had persisted in calling him
ever since he had aptly, though ironically, christened one of his
unnamed, thoughtful drawings, and Kohle had accepted the title in sober
earnest--"concerning this I am not gymnast enough to follow his motives
up seven stories high without growing giddy. However, when you have all
finished, I will draw up a chair in front of it and go to work; or, to
tell the truth, I should prefer to do it tomorrow alone with him."

"I should be very glad, Rossel, if I might bring you the sketch
to-morrow," stammered the pale man, who had probably overheard the
scoffing words, and had blushed deeply.

"Would you really like it, godfather?" said Edward, with a shake of the
head. "No, my good friend, if my heresies have reached your ears after
all, let us come to an honorable understanding; and here in Paradise,
at all events, let us wear no cloaks. You know that all paintings that
represent thought make my head ache; that, to my mind, a single
thoughtless Venus of Titian outweighs a whole Olympus full of spiritual
motives, such as swarm about like ants over your big pound-cake of an
allegorical mountain. Yes, we are old antipodes, my dear godfather;
which fact, by-the-way, does not lessen our friendship. On the
contrary, when I see how you and your creations are losing flesh
through pure intellect, I feel a hearty compassion mingled with my
esteem. You should try a milk-cure, my good godfather, at the full
breasts of our old mother Nature; you should follow the flesh for a
year or so, instead of high ideas--"

"It is not every tree that has its bark full grown," interposed Kohle,

"True. But a tree that has no bark at all!--and, you see, that's just
how your whole style appears to me, you mighty disciple of Cornelius!
We see the complicated structure of your thoughts, we see how the sap
of your ideas circulates through it; all of which is very remarkable
and edifying, but anything rather than artistic. For ought not true art
to work upon us like a higher Nature, without putting forth much
ingenuity and subtilty, without all that complication of poetical
affinities and philosophical _finesse_? No, it should be simple and
plain, but purified by the flame of genius from all weakness, all
defects, and every kind of wretchedness. For instance, in the
contemplation of a beautiful woman, lying there so quietly, or of a
stately senator, or of an 'Adoration of the Kings,' how much does one
think about the ingenuity of the thing? Either it conveys no meaning,
or an incomprehensible one, or even an unprofitable one. And yet it
charms us, even across the whole width of the hall, merely by its
_silhouette_, or its wealth of color, or its simple and majestic
sensuous beauty, such as we seldom or never find in Nature without some
vulgar adjunct. On the other hand, take a poem in picture like the one
before us--I invariably find myself searching at the foot of the frame
to see whether the draughtsman has not added some notes that may serve
to explain the text. A printed paper answers the whole purpose quite as
well, something entitled 'The picture and its description;' and the
dear Philistine who talks about the 'arts of culture'--because he
thinks it is with his own special culture that they have to do--is only
too happy if he can imagine that he is going through some connected
process of thought while he looks at it. But _I_ say, long live the art
that leaves no room for thought! And, now, give me something to drink!"

Schnetz filled his glass for him, which he drained at one draught as if
he were exhausted by his long oration. A painful silence had ensued;
the depreciatory tone in which the words had been spoken had depressed
even those who were of Rossel's way of thinking. At length a mild and
somewhat husky voice was heard proceeding from the upper end of the
table, and they saw that old Schöpf had taken upon himself to defend
the cause of the party attacked.

"You are undoubtedly right in the main, Herr Rossel," said he. "In
the great epochs of art--among the Greeks, and the Italians of the
_cinque-cento_--mind and Nature were inseparably united. But,
unfortunately, they have quarreled since then, and it is quite as rare
to find a painter of the so-called fleshly school who knows how to give
soul to his form as it is to find a poet among draughtsmen who succeeds
perfectly in incorporating his conceptions. In fact it is a period of
extremes, of specialties, and of strife. But is not strife the father
of things? Shall we not hope that from this chaos a new and beautiful
world will crystallize? And, until then, should we not give every one a
chance who fights with honest weapons and open visor? What if there are
artists who have more to say than can be shown? Who cannot look upon
their inner life in such a spirit of tranquil beauty, but see in it a
tragedy which must work itself out in discords? And, indeed, the life
of man, as it is to-day, has passed out of the idyllic stage; on every
side we see intellect leading the van, and enjoyment and pleasure
limping after. An art that shows no traces of this, would that still be
_our_ art?"

"Let it be whatever it liked," cried Fat Rossel, leisurely rising; "it
would be my art at all events. But, naturally, that need matter little
to you. And by the way--I have not once shaken hands with you this
evening, my lord and creator. I do so now, and at the same time I thank
you for so bravely dragging my excellent godfather Kohle from out the
fray. He himself likes to keep his best thoughts in his own breast,
unless he has a chance to sketch them on a sheet of paper. And here in
Paradise no one ought to fall upon his fellow-man in the murderous
fashion that I just did. Kohle, I esteem you. You are a character, and
have the courage of your convictions, in defiance of all the lusts of
the flesh. I thank you, especially, for that poem of Hölderlin's, that
I confess I did not know, and that is very fine; how does it go?..."

He seated himself with the greatest good-nature by the side of his
"godfather," and began to go thoroughly over the sketch, and to make a
number of keen criticisms of its details. In the mean time the young
Greek had placed in position a large sketch in colors, dashed off in
bold, strong lines; and now this took its turn of criticism.

It had for its subject, as the artist explained in broken German, in a
soft, musical voice, a scene from Goethe's "Bride of Corinth." The
youth had sunk back upon his couch, and his ghostly bride had thrown
herself vampire-like upon him, "eagerly drinking in the flame of his
lips," while the mother, standing outside the door, seemed to be
listening to the suppressed voices, just ready to burst in and disturb
the pair.

Over this work also criticism held its breath for a time, though for a
very different reason. The whole picture breathed such a stifling
spirit of sultry passion that even the members of the Paradise Club,
who most certainly were not prudish, seem to feel that the bounds of
what was permissible had been overstepped.

Once more Rosenbusch was the first to speak.

"There he sits over yonder in the realm of pure spirit," he cried to
Fat Rossel, who was still studying Kohle's work, "while we here are
dealing with pure flesh. Holla! You man of the silhouette and the
beautiful decorative form, come over here and exorcise this demon!"

Edward nodded without looking round; he seemed to know the work
already, and to have no desire to express himself concerning it.

As none of the others uttered a single word, the artist finally
appealed directly to Jansen, and begged for his judgment.

"Hm!" growled the sculptor, "the work is full of talent. Only you have
christened it wrongly--or have forgotten the two veils."

"Christened it wrongly?"

"In the name of Goethe; Saint Priapus stood godfather to it."

"But--the two veils!" stammered the youth, who had cast down his eyes.

"Beauty and horror. Only read the poem. You will see how artistically
everything immodest in it is veiled by these two. And yet--a decidedly
talented work. It will find admirers fast enough."

He turned away and went quietly back to his seat. At the same instant
the young man tore the picture from the wall, and, without saying a
word, held the gilt frame in which it was enclosed over the nearest

Perhaps he had expected that some one would seize him by the arm; but
no one stirred. The flame seized eagerly upon the canvas. When a part
was consumed, the young man swung himself upon the window-sill and
hurled the burning picture through the upper part of the window, which
was open, into the dark garden below, where it fell hissing on the damp

Upon springing down again he was greeted with general applause, which
he received with a gloomy brow and compressed lips. His hasty act had
evidently given him no inward relief. Nor could even Jansen's kind
greeting succeed immediately in banishing his sinister mood. It was his
innermost nature that he had consigned to this fiery death.

Felix, upon whom this curious incident had made a deep impression, was
just on the point of going up to the youth, whom he saw standing apart
from the others and enveloping himself in a dense cloud of tobacco
smoke, when a clock in one of the church steeples near by announced,
with its twelve slow strokes, that the hour of midnight had arrived.

On the instant all conversation was hushed, the chairs were drawn up in
line; and it then occurred to Felix, for the first time, that Elfinger,
whose "turn" it was this evening, had left the hall some little time
before, in company with Rosenbusch.

The folding-doors that led into the central hall flew open, and
disclosed on the threshold, illuminated by lamps at the sides, and
standing on a framework draped in red, a puppet-theatre that occupied
almost the entire width of the space. The table was quickly pushed to
one side, and the chairs for the spectators were arranged in rows.
After everybody had taken his place, a short prelude was played
upon a flute behind the scenes; and then the curtain in front
of the little stage rose, and a puppet in a dress-coat and black
knee-breeches, carrying his hat in his hand--with the air of a director
who has an official communication to make, or of a dramatic poet who
has held himself in readiness behind the wings, to respond in case he
should possibly be called before the footlights--delivered a rhymed
prologue. In this he greeted the associates, and, after lamenting in
half-satirical, half-serious stanzas, the decline of art and of the
love of the beautiful, introduced his troop of players, of whom he
especially boasted that no modern strifes or heartburnings ever invaded
their temple, or kept them from a pure and lofty devotion to the Muses.
His speech concluded, the little man made a dignified obeisance, and
the curtain fell, to be again drawn up after a few moments, upon the
little drama that had been prepared for the amusement of the company.

It bore the title of "The Wicked Brothers," and was in reality but the
introduction to a longer play, designed to be produced upon some
future evening. In rhyming verses it set forth the history of a
musician, an artist, and a poet--three brothers who had been left at
the foundling-asylum of a little village, and had grown up to become
the curse of the region with their pranks; a very demon of evil-doing
appearing to possess them, and their parentage remaining an
impenetrable mystery to the quiet village folk. To them, after some of
the worst of their misdeeds, and just as the villagers were about to
wreak their vengeance on them, appeared no less a personage than the
devil himself, revealing to them that he was their father, and that he
had called them into being that they might work the ruin of the human
race. This said, he summoned them away with him to undertake their
mission in a larger field than this of their apprenticeship. And here
the action left them; the fantastic little piece closing at last with a
short epilogue by the same puppet who had introduced the play, his
final verses promising the Paradise associates that on some other night
they should enjoy a view of the results of this deep plot against their
kind, but hinting, nevertheless, that they should see how, in the end,
the true and beautiful should triumph, and the fell scheming of the
brothers and their father should be brought to naught.

                              CHAPTER IV.

The play came to an end amid great applause. The quaintness of the
composition, the easy flow of the words, and that mixture of gaiety and
melancholy which is always effective, excited such enthusiasm among the
spectators that the clapping would have no end, and the little puppet
who recited the epilogue was obliged to come forward again and again to
return thanks in the name of the poet.

Felix, especially, found much to admire in the little comedy, that had
apparently lost the charm of novelty for the others; especially the
extraordinary life-likeness of the little figures, scarcely two spans
high, which were carved, painted, and dressed in the most careful
manner, each in accordance with his character; the astonishing
dexterity with which they moved upon the stage, and, finally, and above
all else, the masterly art of the delivery.

The voices changed so rapidly and distinctly, the keynote to each
_rôle_ was so happily struck, and in the long speeches of the devil the
speaker developed so brilliant a power that there was probably not one
person among the audience who could repress a feeling of creeping
horror, such as one has when ghost stories are told in the dark.

When the rows had broken up again, and everybody was standing about
talking and laughing noisily, Felix took occasion to express to Schnetz
his amazement that a person of such great rhetorical talent should have
turned his back forever upon his art, and have settled down at a
clerk's desk.

"He will have all or nothing!" remarked the lieutenant. "Since he lost
one of his eyes, and deluded himself into the belief that with a glass
eye he would not be fit for the stage, he is far too proud to step down
from the high horse of the tragedian to the donkey of the public
reader. Every one knows whether he is acting to his own disadvantage
when he plays the malcontent. It is true, though, some one really ought
to prevail upon him to become the manager of a puppet-theatre. And
then, besides, it would offer a good employment for Rosenbusch, who
makes his puppets for him, and lends him a helping hand at the
exhibition. Although, to be sure, anything of that sort only affords
pleasure to a person of his stamp so long as it is an art which earns
him no bread. He has been puttering away over this farce for three
weeks at least, and letting everything else slide in consequence of it.
If it were exhibited for an entrance fee, he would soon be tired of

Elfinger now entered again, and was obliged to submit to the applause
showered upon him in his proper person, and to acknowledge the toasts
drunk in his honor. He modestly refused, however, to accept the
applause, since the thanks of the audience belonged more properly to
the author, who was not himself, but a poet known to them all, who
cherished a wish to be admitted to Paradise. It was merely with this
end in view that he had written the text for the puppets, in the hope
of introducing himself in this way to the society, and of winning their
good opinion.

His admission was immediately agreed upon by acclamation, without the
usual formalities. Kohle begged the loan of the manuscript, as he
wished to illustrate it in a series of sketches. Rossel began, after
his usual fashion, to make criticisms upon different parts, censuring
especially the imitation of Immermann's "Merlin." Elfinger defended the
poem, and the dispute had begun to run in danger of becoming heated,
when the door was thrown open and Rosenbusch rushed in in a state of
great excitement.

"Treachery!" he cried; "black, villainous treachery! Hell sends forth
its spies to ferret out the secrets of Paradise! The veil of night is
no longer sacred; profane curiosity is plucking at the curtain of our
mysteries--and, by-the-way, give me something to drink!"

All pressed around the breathless speaker, who had thrown himself into
a chair, refusing, however, in spite of the confusion of questions and
suggestions that went on about him, to give any explanation whatever
until he had moistened his thirsty throat. Not until he had done this
to the most liberal extent did he begin to relate his adventure.

After his assistance behind the scenes was no longer needed, he had
swung himself out of one of the windows of the central hall into the
cool garden, in order to refresh himself a little in the night air. So
he strolled comfortably up and down under the trees, studying the
clouds and occasionally playing a few snatches on his flute, until he
at last experienced a most remarkable thirst. As he was slowly walking
around the house, with the intention of rejoining the company by way of
the back-door, he suddenly beheld two suspicious-looking figures,
women, in long dark cloaks and with hoods or veils over their heads,
who stood at one of the windows intently peering in through a crack in
the shutters. He tried to surprise them, and catch them _in flagrante
delicto_. But, stealthily as he crept upon them, the crunching of the
gravel had betrayed him. They both immediately rushed away from the
window and fled in the direction of the gate, he after them like
lightning, all the more eagerly because he saw a carriage waiting
outside in the street. And sure enough, he succeeded in catching one of
them by the sleeve, just as she reached the lattice-gate--the stouter
one, who carried something under her cloak which hindered her in
running. The prisoner besought him, in a frightened but evidently
disguised voice, to let her go--she had done no harm, a mere chance,
and other excuses of a like sort. He, on his part, excited by anger and
indignation, and not a little by curiosity, would not let go, but
insisted upon learning their names; the cloak, that he held firmly, had
already begun to rip in a suspicious way, as if it were on the point of
tearing and remaining alone in his hands, like the affair of Joseph
reversed, when the other woman, who had in the mean while reached the
carriage, turned round again and said, in a deep voice:

"Don't be afraid, my dear, the gentleman is much too chivalrous to make
an attack on two unprotected ladies. _Venez, ma chère!_"

"These words," he continued, springing up, "made--I confess it to my
shame--so strong an impression upon me that I, ass that I was, let go
of the cloak and the woman for the purpose of taking off my hat and
making a very polite bow to the second of the wretches. They were both,
however, too much frightened to laugh at my devilish absurdity, and
spoke not another word, but slipped away from me into the carriage, and
drove off the devil knows where."

"And I stood there and could have knocked my brains out; for it
occurred to me in a second what a wonderful figure I must have cut in
the affair. But the best is still to come. What did the woman have
under her cloak? In struggling with her I had several times struck
against it, and noticed that it must be something four-cornered,
something like a picture-frame. And suddenly, as I was very sulkily
sneaking back again toward the house, it occurred to me, 'what if it
were the Bride of Corinth! Now, supposing I go and see what really
became of it.' I knew perfectly well out of which window Stephanopulos
had sent it flying. So I searched and searched--but, grope about as I
would, no trace of it could be discovered, and inasmuch as the ground
all around the place is still full of little puddles, and the flame
must undoubtedly have been immediately extinguished, you may bet ten to
one that these spying night-rovers saw it burning--perhaps indeed were
first led by it to slink into the garden; and that now they have borne
away their booty to a place of safety."

A great tumult followed upon this communication. Some of the youngest,
excited by wine, wanted to rush out on the track of the flying women,
in order that they might recover the stolen property. The wildest
proposals were heard as to how they should take revenge for this
outrage, and how they should prevent such a desecration of their mystic
rites in the future. All these noisy ones were silenced when Jansen
suddenly took up the matter, and admonished them to listen to reason.
What was done here had no cause to shun the light. The only one who was
personally affected by the matter was Stephanopulos. Since he did not
appear to be much troubled, the others might rest content.

So said, so done; and the festive feeling once more burst forth in all
its glory. The wine loosened even the heaviest tongues; every one
sought out the neighbor he liked best; and even the young Greek thawed
out so thoroughly from his ill-humor that he condescended to sing some
of the popular airs of his native land, which earned him great
applause. In the mean while Philip Emanuel Kohle went up and down the
hall, like one of the gracious genii, with head high in air and beaming
look, bearing his goblet in his hand, and drinking toasts with
everybody--to the ideal--to resignation and the gods of Greece--and
declaiming, in the intervals, verses of Hölderlin.

Schnetz also seemed to be in admirable spirits. He had seated himself
astride of the little cask in the corner, had a few sprigs of
wild-grape vine above his close-cropped head, and was delivering an
oration that no one heard.

When it struck three o'clock, Elfinger was dancing a fandango with the
architect who had recently returned from Spain, Rosenbusch playing an
accompaniment on the flute; and Fat Rossel had placed three empty
glasses before him, on which he beat time with a lead pencil. Felix,
who had also learned the dance in Mexico, relieved Elfinger after a
time, and gradually the excitement seized upon the others. Jansen alone
remained quiet, but his eyes sparkled joyously. He had erected a sort
of throne for old Schöpf upon the table, and had placed a number of
green plants around it. And there the white-haired old man sat, above
all the noise, until the wine warmed him too, and he rose, and with
charming dignity gave vent to all sorts of odd sayings and wise saws.

At four o'clock the wine in the cask ran dry. Schnetz announced this
sorrowful discovery to the dancers, singers, and speakers, with a
funereal mien and pathetic earnestness, and summoned them to pay the
last honors to the deceased. A solemn procession was formed; each
person bore a candle, a blazing piece of kindling wood or anything that
would pass for a torch; and, standing in a semicircle about the cask,
they sang a requiem, at the close of which all the lights were suddenly

And now the pale light of dawn penetrated through the windows, and
Jansen announced that the time had come for the dissolving of the
meeting, which took place according to unvarying usage--all leaving at
the same time. The abundant wine had robbed none of them of their
senses, though a few were not perfectly firm on their legs. As they
passed out, a fresh morning breeze was just springing up on the still
meadows of the English Garden. The trees shivered in the falling dew.
Arm-in-arm the friends sauntered along in the gray morning air, that
cooled their feverish foreheads, humming to themselves snatches of song
and fragments of the fandango; and last of all came Jansen and Felix,
arm-in-arm, now and then pressing closer to one another, both lost in
thought that found no words.

                               CHAPTER V.

Angelica threw down her brush. "It is strange," she said, "that
everything I do to-day is so absurd. At all events the proverb is false
to the core; the beginning is always easy, and only the completion has
its wretched trials. And then, besides, when no one else is working in
the whole house, one appears to one's self to be perfectly crazy with
diligence. Naturally, the saint-factory downstairs stands still on
Sunday. But then the others too! In Rosenbusch's room the mice are
squealing from pure hunger or _ennui_; and I have not heard Jansen's
door squeak once this morning. It is natural that they should be lazy
or have a headache after their night's revel; and they will certainly
miss the Sunday mass in the Pinakothek. Yesterday they were in


"That is the name they give to their secret society that meets every
four weeks. There must be wild goings on there; at least Rosenbusch,
who, as a general thing, cannot easily keep a secret from me, assumes a
face like the holy Vehm if I ever begin to speak about it. Oh, these
men, Julie, these men! This Maximilian Rosenbusch--I must say that I
really think he is by nature good; indeed, between ourselves, my
dearest, he would be more interesting to me if he looked a little
_less_ moral, did not play on the flute, and were really the terrible
scapegrace that he sometimes makes himself out. But there, one infects
the other, and the very name of 'Paradise!' One can easily conceive
that a pretty antediluvian tone must prevail there, somewhat highly
spiced and free and easy."

"Do they keep to themselves, or are 'ladies' also present?"

"I don't know. As a rule, they appear to amuse themselves in quite a
moral manner; but now and then, especially at carnival time, when, for
that matter, every one here in Munich carries the freedom of the mask
pretty far--"

"Does Jansen also belong to the society?"

"Of course, he cannot help doing so. But he is said to be one of the
quietest among them, according to Rosenbusch. Upon my life, I would
just like to peep through the keyhole once! 'Oh, had I a jacket and
trousers and hat!'"

"Why, Angelica, you have the true woman's-rights ideas!"

The painter drew a deep sigh.

"Julie," she said, with comical solemnity, "that is just the misfortune
of my life, that two souls dwell in this breast--a timid, old-maidish,
conservative girl's soul by the side of a very bold, dare-devil,
Bohemian artist's temperament. Tell me, did you never in your life
experience a strong desire to cut loose for once from propriety--to do
something thoroughly reckless, improper, unpermissible? Of course I
mean when one was entirely among boon companions, and no one could
reprove the other, because all were possessed of the same demon. The
men fare well in this respect. When they steal back again into the lost
Paradise, they call it a sign of genius. An unfortunate woman, though
she were ten times an artist, and as such perpetually inclined not to
be a Philistine, must never let it be seen in her manner of life that
she can do more than darn stockings!--It is true," she continued,
thoughtfully, "as for women in a body, a whole swarm of talented
women--no matter how much capacity some among them might have for such
a thing--I myself would decline such a Paradise with thanks. Now, why
is that? Does it really amount to this, that we cannot exist by
ourselves alone; that we can neither plan nor bring about anything

"Perhaps it merely arises from the fact that true friendship, real
thorough companionship, is so rare among our sex," answered Julie,
musingly. "We are just as loath to permit another to shine among
ourselves as before the men. But something has just occurred to me;
might not we take advantage of the occasion, and, as you recently
proposed, take a look at Jansen's studio?"

"And why not rather when he is there himself? He would undoubtedly be
very happy--"

"No, no!" interposed Julie, hastily, "I will not do that. I have
invariably played such a silly part in studios--because it is
impossible for me to bring myself to pay a trivial compliment--that I
have sworn never again to visit an artist surrounded by his works. You
know it is my Cordelia-like character--whenever my heart is full my
mouth refuses to overflow."

"Foolish woman!" laughed the artist, hastily wiping her brush and
preparing herself to go out. "You of the public always imagine that we
want to hear eulogies. When you lose the power of speech from
admiration, and make the most foolish and enraptured faces, I like you
a thousand times better."

Angelica called the janitor, who was busily engaged in the yard
brushing away the moths from an old piece of Gobelin tapestry that
Rosenbusch had recently bought. While he went off to fetch the key to
the studio, she whispered to her friend:

"We will not go first into the saint-factory, but pass at once into
the holy of holies! It is always painful to see how even such an
artist--one of the few great ones--must use his art to gain bread. It
is true, no human being can imagine why he really has to do it. He
needs almost nothing for himself. And, since he stands quite alone in
the world--to be sure, though, that needs yet to be proved--his saints
must bring him in a great deal of money. What he does with it, whether
he buries it as the wages of sin, walls it up, or speculates with it on
the Bourse-- But here comes our old factotum with the key. Thank you,
Fridolin. Here is something for your trouble. Drink a measure to the
health of this beautiful lady. What, she pleases you too? To be sure
you have had an opportunity to cultivate your taste, living as you do
among artists."

The flattered old man grinned, attempted to stammer a compliment, and
opened the studio door. Angelica immediately ran up to the "Dancing
Girl" and began to free her from the damp cloths wrapped about her.

"Now, place yourself here!" she cried, when the figure was entirely
exposed. "To be sure she is divine seen from any side, but viewed in
half-profile--taking in just a little of the back and the outline
standing out so clearly against the bright sky--is it not ravishing?
Does not one feel as if it were just going to spring from its pedestal
and rush through the room, dragging one with it in its mad whirl? I can
never look at this work without my old love for dancing coming back to
me in my old age, and vibrating through every limb! It is a pity that I
am such an ungraceful person, otherwise you would have to tuck up your
dress and dance a reel with me."

And she did indeed make a few very lively movements, which were
grotesque enough.

"I entreat you, Angelica, be sensible! You are, to be sure, thoroughly
at home here. But it takes away my breath! Everything is so strange to

"Isn't it so--one doesn't see anything of this sort every day? How
every part lives and breathes! One might actually believe that the
blooming young flesh must yield when one touches it; and, with all
that, so pure and magnificent and full of style, that one never thinks
of the model when looking at it."

"Is it modeled after life?"

"Do you think that this kind of thing is imagined out of thin air?"

"And girls can actually be found who allow themselves to be made use of

"More than enough, you darling innocent. To be sure--of a sort that one
of us would not touch with gloves. But Rosenbusch says that, for all
that, they are better than their reputation. He has found very
respectable creatures among them--one, indeed, who had a regular
husband and a number of children, and who went to the studios as
soberly as others go to the seamstress or the milliner. Yes, yes, my
dearest, we good children of good families have no conception of all
this. Look," she continued, turning to Felix's modeling-board, "there
is where the young baron works. He has copied the foot of the
anatomical model, and now, as a reward, he is permitted to recruit
himself over the foot of an Æginite. Not bad!--by no means without
talent! An uncommonly handsome and agreeable man, too, whom I like very
much. But--remember what I tell you--he will always remain a cavalier,
and will never in all his life become a true artist!"

She accented the word "cavalier," in the contemptuous manner in which a
sailor talks about a landsman. Then she stepped up to the large central
group of the Adam and Eve, and began cautiously to undo the covering.

"How is this?" said she. "Why he has actually fastened the group with
clothes-pins since I last saw it, a fortnight ago. Well, I think I may
be allowed to unfasten it somewhat, and, after all, he will never
notice it. What eyes you will make at it, Giulietta! _È una magia_, as
the Italians say. It is much grander, more imposing and unprecedented
than the 'Dancing Girl' over there. There! Now, just let me unwind this
towel very carefully indeed--the head of the Eve has only just been

The damp linen cloth, that enveloped the figure of the kneeling woman,
now slipped off; at the same instant Angelica, who stood behind the
group and was carefully removing the last folds from the clay figure,
heard a half-suppressed cry from the lips of her friend.

"Now, don't you see that I was right?" she cried. "It is beautiful
enough to shriek over. No respectable person can see such a thing
without uttering a few inarticulate sounds. But, for Heaven's sake!"
she cried, interrupting herself and rushing to Julie, whom she saw turn
suddenly pale and step backward, "what is the matter with you, my own
love? You are so very--speak--what has so--gracious Heaven! That!
I never would have believed it myself! Such a surprise--such an
unheard-of piece of treachery and meanness! And, with all that, so
extraordinarily well carried out! Oh, this Jansen! So that accounts for
the pins--that accounts for his not wishing to show the group to any
one for the last fortnight!"

Julie had retreated to the window and stood there, undecided what to
do, her head sunk upon her heaving breast. But the painter, in whom
enthusiasm had banished all alarm about her agitated friend, stood with
folded hands, as if absorbed in worship, before the work that was so
well known to her, and upon which, nevertheless, she gazed in utter
surprise. For since she saw it last the head of Eve, that was
then in the first rough stage of development, had assumed a firm,
carefully-executed form, and the face, sweetly bowed forward, with
which she gazed at the man just awakening from sleep, resembled,
feature for feature, the beautiful girl who now, sinking down into her
chair in an indescribable state of confusion, shame, and anger, looked
up at her own image.

And then it would have been most edifying for a third person to have
overheard how the painter, as soon as she had overcome the first shock,
now strove to enter into the spirit of her friend and storm over the
robbery of her beauty; now strove to make it clear to her that there
was nothing wrong or improper in the whole matter. Then, when she had
run on for a while in the most enraptured terms about this magnificent
work, the majesty and the charm of these forms, she suddenly became
woman enough again to find the undeniable resemblance of the features
of this beautiful Eve, in her paradisaical innocence, a very serious
thing after all. To be sure, she strove to defend the artist; no one
could help his inspirations, and the more than life-size scale removed
the work from all realistic consideration. But her burning cheeks told
her better than anything else that she was not made to be a good
devil's-advocate; and when she had played her trump card, always
keeping her back turned to the silent girl, and had declared that no
one ought to think herself too good to be so immortalized--that this
was entirely different from the case of the sister of Napoleon, whom
Canova had portrayed in marble, or that of the so-called "Venus" of
Titian, whose lover was playing the lute by her side--she suddenly
turned to Julie, threw her arms round her neck and besought her with
humble appeals and caresses not to be angry with her, that she was as
innocent of this evil deed as Rosebud's white mice; and that if she had
a suspicion that this wicked Jansen would have dared to do such a
thing, she would certainly never have invited him to her studio at the
last sitting. And, as a proof of this, she would at once hunt him up
and firmly insist--though what a pity it would be for the wonderful
work's sake--that every trace of resemblance, even the most remote, in
this airily-clad Eve to her deeply offended descendant should be

"Do so--I shall rely upon it!" said Julie, suddenly, with great
earnestness, as she rose in all her dignity and womanly majesty. "That
I must never be thrown in contact with him again, that I can never
enter this house again, you will easily understand!" And as she said
this, turning toward the door, she cast a last angry look at her

She understood it perfectly, replied the painter, meekly. She would not
have it otherwise; Jansen had acted altogether too inconsiderately, and
toward her, too, who as an old fellow-inmate of the same house was, to
a certain extent, responsible for the good behavior of the rest. But of
one thing Julie might be sure: Jansen had not been guilty of any bad
intention, or of one of those pieces of presumption that artists often
indulge in, but merely of thoughtlessness and indiscretion, and he
would undoubtedly take it very much to heart; and if she should really
remain firm in the intention of never seeing him again, a punishment
which, it is true, he had richly deserved--

While these speeches were being poured out, to all of which Julie
listened with an expression of face that it was not easy to understand,
the two friends--for Julie helped, too, with trembling hands--had
carefully wrapped up the group again, and had added to the pins from
their own stock. When they went out into the yard after having done
this, they earnestly cautioned the janitor not to open the studio
again for any one, until Herr Jansen himself had gone in again. Then
they left the house, not, as on the day before, walking familiarly
arm-in-arm, but silent and dejected, and taking leave of one another at
the very first street-corner.

Angelica determined to make an attempt to see if she could not meet the
offender in the Pinakothek, in spite of the festival of the preceding
day. Julie, who had lowered her veil as if, after this experience, she
no longer dared to look any one in the face, hastened by the shortest
way toward home, where she could, in complete solitude, collect herself
and compose her excited mind.

                              CHAPTER VI.

Buy scarcely was she alone when the excitement within her, although not
at once stilled, lost, singularly enough, all that it had had of pain
and bitterness, and such an unmistakable feeling of pleasure and
happiness filled her soul that she herself, as she was forced to admit,
felt frightened at it.

Do what she would, she could no longer feel as angry at the secret
insult that had been offered to her maiden dignity as she ought
properly to have felt. It seemed indeed as if, the moment the witness
of the misdeed was removed from her sight, all the bad aspect had
disappeared from the matter, which, after all, had only become wrong
and unpardonable when strange eyes had spied into the well-guarded
secret of a pure artist-soul. Now, when she thought about the work, how
it stood there in the deserted studio, carefully wrapped, with only the
sparrows flying about it, and guarded from every betraying ray of
light, what was there so sinful in the fact that the head of this
beautiful kneeling woman bore her own features?

This figure constantly floated before her, no matter how hard she might
try to turn her attention upon other things. And although in the work
of the artist nothing was finished but the head, her fancy saw the
finished statue, and, for the first time in her life, she looked upon
her own beauty, in her thoughts, with other eyes than her own, which
could find nothing new or especial in it. The cruel lot that had held
her apart from life in her girlish years, and the early experiences
that had given her a contemptuous, if not a hostile opinion of men, had
kept her mind isolated from all those feelings that usually agitate a
girl's soul in its spring-time. It had never occurred to her to look at
herself, as it were, through the eyes of a man, for she had never known
one for whose sake she would have thought it worth while to give
herself so much trouble. When she observed her face in the mirror, and
could not help finding it beautiful, it afforded her just as little
pleasure as if--like a female Robinson Crusoe on some island in the
ocean--she had seen her reflection in clear water, and had known by it
that she was queen of the wilderness. In the next room sat the poor
madwoman, in her arm-chair, and nodded at the beautiful daughter, whom
she was robbing of life, with an idiotic smile. Of what avail was her
beauty against this inexorable fate?

Sometimes indeed, in the spring nights, between dreaming and waking, or
when she read some beautiful moving story, it seemed to her as if the
frost that had settled about her heart were bursting, as if a secret
longing for something sweet and precious swelled her bosom, a trembling
desire for some unknown, unattainable happiness. But this feeling never
took the shape of a being who should strive to gain her love, and whom
she might love in return. At such times she dreamed of nothing better
than to have the liberty of belonging to herself, of being freed from
that horrible duty which, to be sure, had grown less hard through
custom, and which no longer awakened even a shudder, but which held her
a prisoner daily and hourly. If these chains only fell from her--would
she then be so unwise as to voluntarily submit herself to a new form of

But by this time she had enjoyed her freedom long enough to have been
sometimes forced to admit, with a quiet sigh, that the longed-for
happiness was not so overpowering that it relieved the soul of all
other desires. What she really did want she did not know. She fancied
that, if she only had a talent of some sort, it would fill this
yearning emptiness within her. Since she believed it to be too late for
her to take up music or drawing, she hit upon the idea of writing down
her thoughts and moods in free rhythmic forms of her own invention.
These were by no means the usual imitations of well-known lyric poets,
in the conventional and occasionally much-abused metres and stanzas.
What she wrote in her secret diary bore about the same relation to this
conventional poetry that the play of the wind upon an Æolian harp does
to a sonnet. But for all that it was an unspeakable comfort to her,
when she felt that she was striking melodious chords within her lonely
soul, to listen to the rise and fall of this melody of thoughts, and to
transcribe it as well as she was able. The secrecy with which she
pursued this art lent it an additional charm; and many a lonely evening
hour was thus whiled away, as quickly and happily as if it had been
spent in the company of an intimate friend, to whom she could have
poured out her innermost heart.

But now, when she had reached her home, and had hurriedly closed the
blinds that she might brood in absolute silence and solitude over what
had happened, she felt a sudden shock pass through her heart as she
reflected that during the past week her thoughts had more than once
been busy with the audacious man who had dared this theft of her
beauty--ay, that he had even entered more than once into her secret
poems. She had not given much more thought to this than to the other
subjects she had touched on in her diary: merely that she had made one
more acquaintance, and that of a man who could scarcely be said to have
an everyday face, and to whom all the others in his circle conceded the
first rank without a moment's jealousy. But was it not a singular
coincidence that, at the very time when she was attempting to describe
the impression that he had made upon her, he should be engaged in
moulding the image of her own features?

She rose thoughtfully to go to her writing-desk. She was obliged to
pass by the glass, and she stood before it for a while earnestly
contemplating her reflection, with the same sort of curiosity she would
have shown had she never seen herself before, but had just had her
attention drawn to herself by some third person. But, at the moment,
she was not at all pleased with her appearance. The face of the Eve
seemed to her fancy a thousand times more beautiful; he himself would
be forced to admit this if he should see her and compare her, face to
face, with his work. "Ten years ago," she said to herself, with a shake
of the head, "I may, perhaps, have looked like that. Oh, for the
beautiful lost years!"

For all this she began to arrange her hair in the same way that he had
arranged it in the statue, and she found this style of coiffure, in a
plain knot, charmingly becoming to her. She blushed at this, and turned
away. And now her heart beat still louder, as she drew forth from the
desk the book containing her confessions, and read over the last pages.
"I really believe I was in a fair way of falling in love with him," she
said aloud, when she had reached the end. "And he--he looked upon me as
he would upon any good model that chanced to fall in his way; studied
my face, so that he might steal it from me, and ruthlessly insulted
every womanly feeling I have. If I had been anything more to him, if he
had even taken a deep interest in me, he would never have had the heart
to make such a display of me, he would never have subjected me to such
ideas!--Oh, it is shameful! I will never, never forgive him that!"

A passionate feeling of pain, like the anger and indignation that had
overwhelmed her in the first moment of the discovery, once more flamed
within her. She threw the book into the drawer and hastily locked it
up. Then she paced up and down through her entire suite of rooms, and
struggled to calm her mood again.

But it was not so easy as she had expected. For the first time she
failed to understand the voices that were speaking in her heart, nor
could she silence them. A feeling had come over this mature, firm
nature, such as seldom takes possession of any but the young in the
time of their earliest development; that oppressing sense of delight
that is almost akin to pain, that threatens to burst the heart, and
that makes the thought of dying and passing quietly away so grateful as
if death were nothing but a gentle sinking into some unfelt deep that
is brimming over with flowers.

Her anger had suddenly passed away. She tried hard, as soon as she was
conscious of this, to picture to herself her insulter in the most
repulsive shape. Not succeeding in that, she made an attempt to be
angry with herself, to reproach herself for her womanish weakness, in
being frivolous enough to feel flattered by this robbery. But she
succeeded little better than before; one thing only stood before her
mind, that he and she were in the world together, and that they had
both thought of one another at the same moment.

The door opened softly; the old servant stepped in and announced that
Mr. Jansen wished to pay his respects.

                              CHAPTER VII.

Of course he had come to apologize. Angelica must have urged the
necessity of his doing so very strongly indeed: must have depicted to
him in pretty glowing colors the anger of her deeply insulted friend,
to judge from the fact of his knocking at her door but two hours after.
Her first thought was to refuse to see him. But then, what if he should
be disposed to treat the matter altogether too lightly; what if he
thought to appease her by some jesting or even gallant apology? Well,
she would soon let him know with whom he had to deal, and that he could
not escape so easily. Had she not been called "the girl without a
heart," and was she not at this moment without friend or protector,
forced to rely entirely upon her native dignity, which had just been so
audaciously insulted?

"If the gentleman would have the goodness--I should be very glad to see
him--very glad!"

She stood in the middle of the room as he entered. Her beautiful face
had struggled hard to assume its coldest and haughtiest expression. But
with the first look that she cast upon the visitor, the armor of ice
that she had fastened about her bosom melted away.

For, in fact, a very different man from the one she had expected stood
before her. Where was the confident smile that sought to make the
matter appear in the light of a jest, or even of an act of homage?
Where the confidence with which the famous master reckons upon
absolution for the sin of having made an unknown beauty immortal?

It was true, he did not appear quite like a penitent malefactor. Erect,
and with a scarcely perceptible inclination of the head, he saluted
her, and his eyes did not avoid hers; on the contrary, they even dwelt
upon her features with so gloomy a fire that she involuntarily lowered
her eyelids, and asked herself in secret whether she was not the guilty
one after all, since this man appeared before her so sad and

"Gnädiges Fräulein," he said, "I have given you reason to be very
angry with me. I merely come to inform you that the cause of your
displeasure is already removed. If you were willing to visit my
_atelier_ again--which, unfortunately, I must doubt--you would see in
the place where your own features confronted you this morning nothing
but a shapeless mass."

"You have--you really ought to have--"

"I have done at once what I owed to you, in order that you might not
form a wrong opinion of me. Sooner or later I should have had to do it
in any case--even though no one had urged me to it. I wish sincerely
that you would believe me when I say this--though I scarcely dare to
hope so, since you do not know me--and are perhaps still too angry with
me not to--not to believe me capable of any piece of discourtesy."

"I?--I confess--I have until now thought neither well nor ill of--"

She did not complete the sentence--she felt that she blushed, as she
tried to assure him of her complete indifference--three steps from the
drawer where her confessions were lying.

"I know it," continued he; and his dark glance wandered over the
dimly-lighted room. "I am so perfectly indifferent to you, that it
must, after all, be very easy for you to pardon something that cannot
have awakened any very strong personal feeling in your mind. One who is
entirely unknown to us cannot insult us. When he has taken back again
that with which he has wounded us, it is as if nothing had happened.
And so I might perhaps take my leave of you, gnädiges Fräulein, with
the renewed assurance of my sincere regret that I have unconsciously
offended you."

She made a scarcely perceptible motion toward the sofa, as if she would
invite him to be seated. He was much too occupied with his own thoughts
to pay any attention to it.

"Perhaps it is folly," continued he, after a pause--"perhaps more than
that--wrong, if I intrude any longer, and give you an explanation for
which you have no desire, and which will perhaps strike you
disagreeably, since it turns upon something that cannot but be a matter
of perfect indifference to you: not much more interesting than if you
should hear there had been a thunderstorm at a place forty miles away,
and that the lightning had struck a tree. Still--now that I have
acknowledged my wrong and have done all in my power to make it good
again--I owe it to myself not to permit you to take a worse view of me
than I have really deserved. When, before a court of justice, one can
put forth the plea of mental irresponsibility, it is considered the
most important of all mitigating circumstances. Now this is just the
case in which I find myself placed in regard to you. I can plead, as an
excuse for the insane thought of giving your features to my Eve, the
fact that since I first saw you I have actually been insane; that
waking or dreaming no other face floated before me except yours; that I
have gone about as if in a fever, and that I knew no better way of
dealing with my hopeless passion than by striving, shut up alone in my
workshop, to reproduce your face--and wretchedly enough did I succeed!"

He made a movement as though he were about to leave her; but once again
he remained where he was, and appeared to be struggling painfully for

"You are silent, Fräulein," he continued. "I know you think it very
strange that I should endeavor to atone for a great and almost
unpardonable act of audacity, by committing a still greater one.
Perhaps you will not believe me, or will consider me a raving madman
for betraying to you, after so short an acquaintance, a passion that
has carried me beyond all bounds of propriety and decorum. But you
would judge differently, if you knew in what dreariness and isolation
of heart I have passed the five years since I came to Munich; that not
an hour's happiness has been vouchsafed to me; that no womanly being
capable of awakening a single deeper thought has come near me. It is
true I have not thought it worth my while to seek for such
companionship. I have deluded myself with the idea that I missed
nothing, that my heart and feelings did not hunger and thirst--until
you suddenly crossed my path--and then this sudden vision of beauty and
grace, coming as it did after long loneliness, brought about an
intoxication that has completely robbed me of my senses.

"I doubt whether this explanation will be clear to you. I know nothing
more of you than your enthusiastic friend, our good Angelica, has told
us. Perhaps you may never have had any experience yourself that would
lead you to believe that a passion which bursts so suddenly upon
reasonable men could be found anywhere but in a fairy tale. Enough, I
thought I owed it to myself to tell you of this fact, merely as a
singular instance that need trouble you no farther. And now, permit me
to take my leave. I--I should really have nothing more to tell you, and
as for you--I find it no more than right that you should prefer to
reply only by silence to such singular and extraordinary disclosures."

"No," she cried suddenly, as he already had his hand upon the
door-knob; "it is not so right as you think, for one to tell all that
he has upon his heart, while the other only accepts it all, and gives
no confidence in return. To be sure, I know very well--I must attribute
much of what you have confided to me to the easily-excited fantasy of
an artist. Nevertheless, I am not so vain as not to imagine that in the
course of five years you have never encountered a face fairer and more
blooming than this of mine, that I have now borne about with me for
full thirty-one. And for that reason I am almost forced to believe that
there really is a secret bond of fate that quickly draws two human
beings together in an altogether inexplicable way. For see--" she
continued, covered with a confusion that only made her more beautiful,
as she opened the drawer of her writing-desk and drew forth her
diary--"I, too, although I perhaps knew less of you than you of me--I,
too, have often had you with me in my thoughts--and since you have
destroyed again the image that you took from me without my knowledge,
ought not I also to destroy those pages in which you are spoken of--"

She made a gesture as if she were about to tear out the pages. In an
instant he had sprung to her side and had seized firm hold of her hand.

"Julie!" he cried, as if beside himself; "is it true--is it possible?
Your thoughts were with me?--and in these pages--I beseech you, let me
have but one look--only let me see one line, so that I shall not think
that you have invented all this in order to give me comfort, and to
relieve me from my shame--"

"Shame!" she whispered. "But cannot you see that in spite of my
thirty-one years I am trembling like a child detected in some
naughtiness? Must I really read aloud to you out of this book what
you--what you might long ago have guessed from my silence--if you had
not been trembling so yourself?"

The last words died away on her lips. The book slipped from her hands
and fell on the carpet, where it lay without his bending to pick it up.

A kind of stupor had come over him. He seized both her hands and
clasped them so tightly that it pained her; but the pain did her good.
His face was so near hers that she could see every muscle in it quiver;
his eyes gleamed with a wild fire, like the gaze of a somnambulist. And
yet she had no horror of him. She would gladly have stood so forever,
and have felt her hands in his, and have encountered the power of his
fixed gaze.

It was only when she felt that her eyes were on the point of
overflowing, and feared that he might misunderstand it, that she said
softly, smilingly shaking her head: "Don't you believe me even yet?"

Then at last he released her hands, threw his arms about her yielding
figure, and pressed her wildly to his breast.

A noise was heard in the front room; the old servant apparently wished
to remind the visitor, by the rattling of plates and knives and forks,
that dinner-time was something that must be respected.

As if startled out of a dream, Jansen suddenly tore himself from
Julie's arms. "Unhappy wretch that I am!" cried he, hoarsely, covering
his face with his hands. "Oh, God! Where have I let myself be carried?"

"You have only followed where our hearts had already led!" said Julie,
with a happy smile, while her moist eyes sought his. "What is the
matter with you, best and dearest friend?" she continued, anxiously,
for he was about to seize his hat. "You are going--and now? What drives
you away from me? Who--who can part us? What have I done that you again
turn away from me? My best and dearest friend, I entreat you--"

He struggled hard to answer; a dark red flush overspread his pale face.
"Do not ask me now," he stammered; "this blessed hour--this
inconceivable happiness--no--it must--it cannot be!--Forgive--forget--"

At this moment the old servant opened the door; he cast a look at the
visitor that could hardly be interpreted as an invitation to stay
longer. Jansen stepped hastily up to the agitated and speechless girl.
"You shall hear from me soon, everything. Forgive--and may you be
forever blessed for this hour!"

He seized her hand and pressed it passionately to his lips. Then he
rushed from the room, followed by the old servant shaking his head,
while Julie gazed after him, lost in a maze of conflicting emotions.

It is true that the moment she was alone again the happiness of knowing
that her love was returned overpowered all feelings of doubt that had
been awakened within her. His mysterious behavior, his sudden flight,
his strange awakening from the sweetest realization of a hopeless
dream, ought that to make her distrust him, when it merely confirmed
what he had said of himself; that this intoxication had driven him out
of his senses? And was it not best upon the whole that this miracle
which had happened to them both should not be reduced all at once to an
affair of everyday life, but that they should part, bearing away with
them in their hearts their new-found treasure in all its fullness?
To-morrow--to-morrow he will come again, and all will be new and
wonderful once more, as it was to-day; and is that day lost which one
can spend in thoughts of one's great happiness, or that night in which
one can dream of it?

She threw back her head, as if in doing so she would shake from her the
last remaining doubts. Then she stepped to the mirror, and began to
rearrange her hair that her violent friend had completely disordered.
What would her old servant have thought had he found her in this state?
As she thought of this she smiled mysteriously at her own image, as if
it were a _confidante_ who alone knew of some great happiness that had
just fallen to her lot. Little as she ordinarily cared to look at her
own reflection, to-day she could not tear herself away from the glass;
"So, to please him, one must look as I do," she said to herself.

"I wonder whether he saw this wrinkle here, and that deep line, and all
those traces that these hateful, anxious years have left upon my face?
But it cannot be helped now; I have not cheated him, at all events, and
besides, he has eyes of his own--and such eyes!"

Then she sighed again and pressed her hand to her heart. "Who would
have dreamed it?" she said, once more walking up and down: "only
yesterday and I was so calm here--wearied and tired of life--and
to-day!--And not a soul besides us two knows anything of it! Angelica,
it is true--I wonder whether she suspects nothing?--the good soul!
Perhaps I ought to go and confess to her.--But would not that look as
if I wanted to boast to her of my happiness? And then I will wager that
she herself is secretly in love with him--who could live under the same
roof with him and resist it?--'Julie Jansen'--It sounds as though it
could never have been otherwise since the world began."

Suddenly the room felt so close and oppressive to her that she sent the
old servant to call her a droschke, that she might go out into the air
for a while. He was allowed to take a seat on the box, and in this way
they drove at a slow trot around the English Garden. The beautiful
weather, and the fact that it was Sunday, had filled all the avenues
and paths with people; all the beer-gardens were gay with music and
thronging crowds. Heretofore she had never felt at home among these
multitudes of merry people, for her solitary life with her unhappy
mother had made her unaccustomed to scenes of noise and confusion. But
to-day, she would like nothing better than to have joined the throng,
feeling that she really belonged there now; for had not she too found a
sweetheart, like all these other girls dressed in their Sunday clothes?
She ordered the carriage to stop in front of the Chinese tower, and sat
there for a long time, listening, and really moved by the music of a
band that would on any other day have provoked a smile. The people who
passed her wondered at the beautiful, solitary Fräulein, who sat, lost
in thought, gazing up at the tree tops. They did not know that the
color of the sky, up there between the two tall silver poplars,
recalled certain eyes that were ever present to the lady in the

It was already dusk when she reached home after her drive. A note was
lying on the table, that had been brought during her absence. She felt
a shock of alarm as she took it up. If it should be from him--if he had
written, instead of coming himself; and yet, although she had never
seen his handwriting, it was impossible that these lines could be his;
they were in a woman's hand. With a quieter heart she stepped to the
window, and read these words:

"A person unknown to you, whose name is of no consequence, feels it her
duty to warn you, honored Fräulein, against a man whose attentions to
you can no longer be a secret, since he is regularly to be found every
evening before your window, and to-day even went so far as to pay you a
visit. This letter is to tell you that this man has a wife, and a child
six years of age; a fact, however, which he carefully conceals from all
his acquaintances. Leaving it to you to form your own opinion of this
conduct, the writer signs herself respectfully, N. N."

Half an hour after, the bell in Julie's room was rung. The old servant
found his mistress sitting at her writing-desk, with a calm face, but
with traces of tears still on her cheeks, that she had forgotten to
wipe away. She had just sealed a letter, which she now handed to the
old man.

"See that this letter is delivered to-day, Erich, and at the studio; I
do not know where Herr Jansen lodges. Tell the janitor to hand it to
him the first thing to-morrow morning. And now, bring me something to
eat. We were cheated out of our dinner. I--I shall die of exhaustion
unless I eat something."

The anonymous note was inclosed in the letter to Jansen. Julie had
added nothing but the words:

"I shall be at home all day to-morrow. Come and give me back my faith
in mankind and my own heart.

                       "Your                          Julie."

                             CHAPTER VIII.

On this very afternoon Felix had carried out a resolution that he had
long had in mind, and had sought out the two friends, Elfinger and
Rosenbusch, in their own quarters.

They occupied two rooms in the third story of a somewhat tumble-down
house, which, situated in one of the quaint old streets of the
city, concealed its little fantastically-framed windows under a
far-projecting roof, like purblind eyes under bushy eyebrows.

Felix had often passed without ever having persuaded himself to enter
the untidy-looking vestibule, and climb the dark stairs. To-day, since
the dissipation of the previous night and the fact of its being Sunday
condemned him to idleness, he determined to fulfill at length the duty
he owed to civility. Moreover, he had begun the day before to take a
great interest in Elfinger, and wished very much to have an hour's more
intimate talk with him.

Luckily he chanced, at his first attempt, to knock at the right door,
although, on account of the absolute darkness on the upper landing, it
was impossible to make out the names; and, upon entering, he saw
Elfinger jump up hastily from a chair, where he had been sitting
apparently entirely unoccupied.

As the street, which was not especially lively even on a weekday,
reposed to-day in the most profound Sunday quiet, Felix wondered
what it could have been that had held his attention there, especially
when he noticed that the actor, who was generally so ready and
self-possessed, showed evident signs of embarrassment as he hastened
forward to welcome him, and, as if to keep him away from the window,
forced him to take a seat upon the sofa.

But he soon recovered his easy bearing again.

"You are looking at the walls," said he, "and are wondering that I
still preserve these mementoes of my stage days, these pictures of
great actors and my pretty colleagues of the fair sex, and even the
obligatory laurel-wreath, with its satin ribbons, that is never lacking
in any true actor's domicile. If my present employer should ever by
chance condescend to visit his clerk, I should, it is true, have done
far better had I hung up a bulletin of the stock boards instead of the
lithograph of Seydelmann as _Mephistophiles_. But, as I am safe up here
from all _haute finance_, I think I may be allowed, without injury to
my reputation as a sound accountant, to surround myself with all those
relics that I hold sacred, even that all-too-flaming sword over there,
that drove me from my paradise of the footlights."

He pointed to a rapier that hung on the wall opposite the sofa,
arranged with a few pistols and fencing-gloves in the form of a trophy,
underneath which hung a picture in water colors representing Elfinger
in the costume of _Hamlet_.

"Yes," he continued, with a quiet smile; "if the point of that sword
had not slipped in the hands of an unskillful _Laertes_, and entered
the eye of the unfortunate _Hamlet_, I should hardly have had the
pleasure of seeing you in my chambers just at this particular moment. I
should probably have been sitting in my dressing-room at the theatre,
painting myself to fit the character of an _Alba_ or a _Richard III._,
for this evening's performance. Whether the public has lost much by it,
I can't say. At all events, there is no doubt that I have gained."

"I am amazed that you can speak so cold-bloodedly of something that any
other man would regard as the great misfortune of his life. After the
high opinion of your talents that I was led to form by your performance
of yesterday--"

"Do not allow yourself to be deceived by a little bit of coarse humor,
my excellent friend. A man, can rid himself of any other kind of
homesickness sooner or later; but no one who has once felt himself at
home behind the footlights can ever be free from homesickness for the
stage. I must confess that I felt a real pang of envy when I took my
little troupe of yesterday out of their box, and rigged them out for
the play. Now, does not that positively border on insanity? But reason
counts for nothing in such a case. I know that I, with my average
talent, could never have attained the highest point of eminence, and
that for that reason I ought to feel nothing but gratitude toward my
friend _Laertes_ for pushing me back into that obscurity where I can
plod comfortably along on the golden, path of mediocrity. And yet all
my philosophy oozes away the moment the conversation turns upon the

"But should not this be so? and since you are justified in thinking
yourself a born actor, what reason have you for believing that the
highest distinction would have been denied you? Why should not your
fate strike you as a tragical one?"

"Because with all my good qualifications, especially for declamation, I
am not only a born actor but also a born German, which, I admit, sounds
like a very palpable paradox. But just consider our race a moment. In
spite of some rare exceptions, that stand out almost like miracles and
that merely prove the rule, it may be said to possess scarcely a single
qualification that would enable it to reach any decided greatness in
the art! Ought not the actor to be able to shed his own skin when he
slips into that of another? And when did a true German ever exist that
could put himself in another's place? When was he ever untrue to
himself?--when did he ever deny his personal virtues and faults? Don't
you see, the very thing that makes our people so respectable stands in
the way of our acting. We are not a people given to impersonation, to
posing, and to representation. We are sublime in our earnestness, and
silly in our trifling. We like best to sit still in our private corner
behind the stove, and we grow red and awkward if we have to pass
through a room where there are ten unknown men, or even as many ladies,
watching us. Only the highest problems of tragic poetry give us wings
to lift us over these chasms. When we attempt to walk with metrical
feet, which are shod with winged shoes, we get on very well. But on our
own flat every-day extremities, we stumble so wretchedly that an
ordinary Frenchman or Italian, who can neither read nor write, appears
like a prince of the blood beside us."

"I wish I were able to deny all this," said Felix. "Unfortunately we
have no real society; and where we have the germs of one, actors are as
a rule excluded from it. But though that part of your art that has to
do with the representation of human beings and a characteristic
imitation of life suffers from this, the higher branches still continue
to be our domain; and if you compare the art of tragedy among the
Italians or the French with our representations of Shakespeare and

"That is all very true," interrupted the actor; "in what is spiritual
and belongs to an inner consciousness, we can always bear comparison
with our neighbors. But only wait ten years longer and you will see
that not a soul here in Germany will ever think of going to see a
tragedy, and our classical theatre will be then just such another
puppet-show as the Théâtre Français is now. Ought we to be surprised at
this? All tragedy is aristocratic. Why should the hero leave this world
with such sublimity and grandeur if it were not that he found it too
miserable for him to feel comfortable in? But he who finds the world a
wretched place insults all those to whom it appears most charming,
because, with their low desires, they are able to take comfort in it.
And inasmuch as the good of the masses will become more and more the
watchword, as time goes on, therefore he who towers above the masses
must not be disappointed if he finds that he cannot be of much use
either in real life or behind the footlights. Tragical heroes are only
possible where social differences exist; where the ordinary man looks
on with a certain respect while a _Coriolanus_ conquers and falls,
without thinking to himself: 'It served him right. Why did he insult us
common folk?' But with our excellent, humane, democratic way of looking
at things--"

"A depressing prospect, certainly! So the longer our nation goes on
freeing itself from prejudices and conforming to true ideas of
humanity, the less hope will there be that we shall ever be able to cut
a good figure on the stage?"

"On the contrary, I think then is the time when we shall really first
begin. Self-respect is one of the most important requisites even in the
acting of a comedy. When we have once taken our place among the nations
of Europe, when we have rid ourselves of our dullness and tactlessness
in our dealings with the outside world, when we cease to be such
wretched crawlers that we will go through any humiliation for our
daily-bread's sake, and cannot conduct ourselves like gentlemen, then
you will see how quickly we shall find the art of acting infused into
our blood--we who have been for so many centuries mere zealous animals.
To be sure, in regard to tragedy it is a question whether we shall ever
succeed, in our better days, in attaining sufficient earnestness and
reverence to enable us to keep in mind the fact that, as old Goethe
says, 'awe is mankind's best quality'--"

He seemed about to talk still further of his hopes and fears; and
Felix, to whom many of these ideas were new, and to whom the speaker,
with his unselfish warmth, grew more and more attractive as he went on,
would gladly have listened half through the night. But the door was
noisily thrown open, and Rosenbusch made his appearance on his friend's
threshold arrayed in a costume the comicality of which irresistibly
swept away all these serious considerations.

He had had his red beard shaved off, leaving only a diminutive mustache
and a pair of side whiskers; his flowing hair was elegantly arranged;
he wore an old-fashioned black coat, and a tall stove-pipe hat, brushed
smooth and shining.

"You may well laugh!" cried he, knitting his brows tragically at his
friends. "If you only knew how a man felt who was yesterday in
Paradise, and to-day is forced to get himself up in such a toilet as
this, as if he were going to his execution. The executioner's minion,
who cut my hair, has just left me. Whoever wishes to have a lock of
hair of the celebrated battle-painter Maximilian Rosenbusch will find
them lying about, like useless wool, on the floor of the adjoining
room. O Delila, for whom I have suffered this! O Nanny, for whose sake
I cut my noble hair!--for whom I dress myself in this Philistine

He stopped, and now revealed to Felix that he was on the point of
taking the most painful step of his life. In the opposite house lived
the object of his desire, the muse of his songs, the beautiful daughter
of a glovemaker, with whom he had been madly in love for the last six
months, so that he could positively hold out no longer. He had received
quite enough tokens to show him that his love was returned; indeed he
had an assurance, written on rose-colored paper and exhibiting one or
two orthographical liberties, that if the parents did not say no their
little daughter would certainly say yes. In order to have this question
decided, he had been obliged to assume his present masquerading
costume, notwithstanding the fact that the carnival was still far off.
For papa glovemaker had no very exalted opinion of artists of the
ordinary type.

"Therefore, my friends, drop a tear for the departed splendors of my
noble head, and pray for my poor soul, that it may soon be released
from this purgatory and admitted to the joys of the blessed. And,
by-the-way, how is it, Elfinger? Don't you want to slip on your best
coat and come with me? Then the whole thing would be finished at one

Felix saw that the actor blushed, and cast a look of displeasure at his
loquacious friend.

"Ah! to be sure!" replied the latter, stepping in front of the glass
and winking at Felix as he passed, "you haven't slept off your headache
from last night. Hm! Another time, then. It seems to me, do you know, I
look devilish respectable, and the glovemaker's little daughter will
make no end of a good match in catching a person of my tone and style.
Look, there she sits over there at her post, the little witch, and at
the other window, completely absorbed in her work, is her pious sister.
_Sua cuique_-- Well, I won't quote any further, Elfinger, my boy! But
now, I must wend my way to the high tribunal. Will you accompany me,
friend baron? You must support me with spiritual comfort, in case I
should show signs of weakness by the way. To be sure, I have just been
working up my courage by three beautiful strophes; but a lyric of that
sort, strongly diluted with water, does not last long, and a more
spiritual elixir for the heart cannot be prepared off-hand. May Heaven
take me in its safe keeping! Amen! Well, Elfinger, you shall hear
before long how it turns out!"

Upon this he pressed his hat down firmly on his forehead, nodded to his
friend with a comical expression of misery and despair, and dragged
Felix with him from the room.

On the stairs he suddenly stood still and said, in a suppressed and
mysterious voice:

"Our friend up-stairs has the same trouble worse than I have. He is
smitten with the other one; but she is a little saint, as much of a
nun, thanks to her education with the English sisters, as my little
witch is a child of the world for the same reason. Now just conceive of
it, the more my little imp carries on--it will be hard work making a
sensible housewife of her--the more zealously does our good Fanny
confess and do penance and pray, and it really looks as if she were
seriously intent upon gaining a saint's halo. The fact is the girls
never associate with sensible people, and for that reason one of us
must sacrifice himself so that the ice will at last be broken, although
I confess it is pure madness on my part to think of marrying. You have
no idea, my dear friend, what extraordinary cobwebs gather in an old
Munich burgherhouse like this. Well, a few fresh fellows like us--I
imagine it would not take us long to bring new life into it, if we were
only once inside!"

He sighed, and appeared not to be in the most courageous mood,
notwithstanding his brave words. Felix accompanied him across the
street and saw him enter the narrow, arched door next to the glove
store, which was closed on account of its being Sunday--going in with
an assumed air of boldness, as if he were going to a dance.

Then he himself wandered aimlessly down the street. In what direction
should he turn his steps? In the whole city there was no one who would
be looking for him to-day, and the one to whom he felt most drawn was,
strangely enough, on Sunday afternoons farther out of his reach than at
any other time.

He was deliberating whether he should not hire a horse again and dash
away across the country, when companionship was unexpectedly thrown in
his way, of a kind that a man in his frame of mind could not but

                              CHAPTER IX.

His way led him along the Dultplatz, past the beer-garden in which he
had sat with his friends on his first Sunday in Munich. The music was
playing as before, but the people sat about under the lanterns, that
had just been lighted, in rather a sleepy and listless way, for the day
showed as yet no sign of growing cooler.

Near the fence that separated the garden from the street, a Dachau
peasant-family had taken possession of one of the tables, leaving only
one end free. Their extraordinary, ugly costume attracted the attention
of Felix as he went wandering by. But his gaze soon turned from their
ridiculous dress and fixed on a slim girlish figure, closely wrapped in
a dark shawl, who sat at the other end of the table, with a full glass
and an empty plate before her, at which she seemed to have been staring
for some time, with her head resting on her hands and her elbows
planted on the table, as if utterly regardless of what was going on
about her. Nothing could be seen of the face, but a little, white,
short nose; her straw hat and a veil that hung half down over the
little hands threw the rest into shadow. But the little nose, and the
thick red hair, carelessly confined by a net, left not a moment's doubt
in Felix's mind that this picture of solitary melancholy was no other
than Red Zenz.

As he stepped softly up to her, touched her familiarly on the shoulder,
and pronounced her name, she looked up with a frightened start, and,
with eyes red from weeping, gazed into the face of the unexpected
comforter, as if she took him for a ghost. But the moment she
recognized him, she hastily wiped her eyes with the back of her little
round hand, and smiled upon him with undisguised pleasure. He asked
compassionately what it was that made her so heavy-hearted, and why she
sat here all alone; and, drawing up a chair, he seated himself between
one of the horrible young peasant-girls and the melancholy little
Bacchante. Then she told him what the trouble was. "Black Pepi," her
friend, the girl with whom she had been living, had suddenly "proved
false" to her, because her (Pepi's) lover, a young surgeon, had
declared red to be the most beautiful color. He afterward apologized
for it by saying that, of course, with his profession, it was only
natural that he should prefer the color of the blood to any other. But
it had for some time past appeared to Pepi that her faithless lover
paid rather more attention to her friend than was permissible in such a
case; and so, after a very violent scene, she had not only broken off
the friendship, but had given her notice that she could no longer share
her quarters with her. Furthermore, inasmuch as Zenz was still owing
rent for several months, she had seized upon the few things she had to
hold as security, and had then driven her from the house with only the
clothes she had on at the time.

"Only see," said the girl, lifting her dark shawl; "she did not even
leave me a respectable dress: if it had not been for the shawl that the
landlady lent me, I should have been ashamed to go across the street."

And it was really so; she wore a simple sack of striped cotton under
her black covering, that she carefully wrapped about her again. But now
it began to look as though she no longer troubled herself in the least
about the adventure that had so recently made her weep. The pale
little face that she turned toward her neighbor, brightly illuminated
by the lantern, had even lost its expression of anger at this
insulting treatment and betrayal of friendship, and beamed again with
light-heartedness and irrepressible enjoyment.

"And what are you going to do, Zenz?"

"I don't know yet. I shall manage to find some place to stay at. I
could go to the Rochus garden, or the Neusigl, where I lodged when I
first came here; but the waiters there have keys to the doors, and I
have found that it is not safe there. And anywhere else, where I am not
known, they might think that I would not be able to pay for the room,
and I really have no money but a few kreutzers. I should have to pawn
the ring that I have from my poor dead mother. Well, the day is not
over yet, and I can think the matter over again."

"To be sure," continued she, after a pause, during which Felix sat, as
if in a dream, gazing at her red lips and her white teeth, that one
could have counted when she spoke, "to be sure, I might fare well
enough if I only would! So well, that that false black cat Pepi would
envy me."

"If you only would, Zenz?"

"Yes, if I were willing to be wicked!" she added, in a low tone, and
for a moment her face grew serious. But in the next instant she laughed
merrily again, as if she would laugh away the flush that had suffused
her face.

"Do you know an artist named Rossel?"

"Certainly. Edward Rossel. What of him?"

"He came to see me about a week ago. He said he had seen the figure
that Herr Jansen modeled from me, and he said, if I would come to him
and stand as a model, he would pay me three times as well for it."

"And why haven't you gone to him?"

"Hm!--because I didn't like him. I will not hire myself out in that way
for the gentlemen, so that every one will know me and say: 'Aha! that
is Red Zenz!' I am sorry enough that I stood to please Herr Jansen,
although he is such a good gentleman. But now they know my address, and
they think that is as much as to say that I will go and be a model for
any one who wants me."

"Didn't you like Herr Rossel?"

"No. Not at all. He doesn't look in the least as if he were an artist,
and wanted to study from a model. He made such big eyes--No! I sent him
off with a flea in his ear. And then he went to Pepi to get her to
persuade me. But she knows me. She went to him herself, for she thought
he would just as soon have one as another. But he only gave her a
gulden and sent her away again, saying that he had no time just then,
and that he happened to particularly want red hair. Then she flew out
again about red. I have heard though that Herr Rossel lives like a
prince, and Pepi said that if I were not a fool--at that time she was
not so down on me--I might make my fortune."

"But are you going to continue such a fool all your life long, Zenz?"

"I don't know," replied she, frankly. "Nobody is sure of herself when
she is young and has plenty of time on her hands. But I think as long
as I have my five senses about me--"

She hesitated.

"Well, Zenz?" he asked, taking one of her little hands, with its
fingers' ends roughened by work, in one of his.

"So long," she said, quietly, "I will not do such a thing to please
anyone whom I do not love."

"And how must the man look whom you could love? Only like Herr Jansen?"

She laughed. "Oh! no. He is so much older than I. I only like him in
just the same way that I might have liked my father. He must be younger
and very nice, and--"

She stopped abruptly, looked askance at him, a little coquettishly, and
said: "But what nonsense we are talking! Won't you eat and drink
something, or has the scarecrow next you there taken away all your

She glanced disapprovingly at his neighbors, who looked, with their
nodding cap-borders and strait-laced Sunday suits, for all the world
like stuffed dolls, and did not understand a word of what had been said
by the other two.

"Zenz," said Felix, without answering her; "do you know you could stop
over night in my quarters just as well as not? I have two rooms: you
could bolt the door between them if you should feel any fear of me, and
each room has a separate entrance. What do you think about it?"

"You are only joking!" she hastily replied, without the slightest
embarrassment; "you would never think of encumbering yourself with such
a poor, ugly thing as I am."

"Ugly? I don't find you at all ugly, Zenz. And if you only cared to be
a model for me, as you do for Herr Jansen--Do you know, he has kept me
for weeks studying an old skeleton and a lay figure, and I am
forgetting over such work the very sight of a human being."

She shook her head, laughed, and then said, becoming serious again:

"That was only meant in joke, of course. I am not so simple as to let
myself be talked into believing that you are really a sculptor!"

"Well, just as you like, Zenz. I won't try to persuade you to do
anything you don't like. Come, take some beer; a new cask has just been

She drank eagerly out of his glass; and then a spirited overture was
played which interrupted their conversation for a time. Even after this
they talked entirely about other things. She told him about her former
life in Salzburg, how strict her mother had been with her, how often
she had known want, and how often of a Sunday she had sat quietly in
her chamber and had wished she might be allowed, just for once, to join
the merry, gayly-dressed throng outside, that she could only look at
from a distance. No doubt her mother had really cared for her, but for
all that she let her feel that her existence was an eternal reproach
and burden to her. Of course she cried when she lost her mother, but
her grief did not last long. The pleasure of feeling herself free soon
dried her tears. Now, to be sure--all alone as she was, without a soul
in all the wide world to trouble itself whether she lived or died--now,
she sometimes felt that she would give up everything if she could only
be back again at her mother's side.

"That is always the way," concluded she, with a nod of the head that
looked droll enough in its seriousness, "one never has what one wants;
and still, people say one ought to be contented. Sometimes I wish I
were dead. And then again I feel as if I would like to promenade up and
down the live-long summer through, wear beautiful dresses, live like a
princess, and--"

"And be made love to by a prince--isn't it so?"

"Of course. Alone, one can have no happiness. What would be the use of
my princess's dresses, unless I could drive some one perfectly crazy
with them?"

He gazed so steadfastly in her eyes, that she suddenly blushed and was
silent. The strange mixture of lightheartedness and melancholy in the
poor child, of enjoyment of life and reserve, of secret love and
introspective moralizing, attracted him more and more. Then, too, the
night, the subdued light of the lanterns, and the stirring music, and
his own loneliness of heart, and his seven-and-twenty years--

"Zenz," he whispered, bending over so near to her ear that his lips
almost touched her neck, "if you would only care just a little bit for
me, why shouldn't we fare just as well as if you really were a princess
and I a prince?"

She did not answer. Her lips were parted, she breathed quickly, and her
nostrils quivered, while her eyes were tightly shut, as if it were all
a dream from which she did not wish to wake.

"We could lead a life like that in Paradise," continued he, gently
stroking with his own the two little hands that she had laid side by
side on the table. "We are both of us two stray children for whom no
one cares. If we should stay at home a year and a day, and never let
ourselves be seen, who would inquire what had become of us? All about
us people live and love and think only about themselves! Why should not
we think only of ourselves, too?"

"Go away from me!" answered she, in a low voice. "You are not in
earnest. You think about me? Not even in your dreams. How can you care
for me? Such a red-haired little monkey, as Black Pepi called me

"Your hair is very pretty. I remember yet how pretty it made you look,
when you let it hang loose over your blue cloak that morning in Herr
Jansen's studio, when you ran away so fast. And now I will hold you
tight by it. Come! I thought we were going? It begins to be cool; at
least, I see that you are trembling."

"Not from cold!" she said, in a strange tone, as she stood up and
wrapped her shawl tightly about her.

Then, without waiting for him to ask her, she took his arm and they
left the garden.

                               CHAPTER X.

She did not ask where he was leading her, and indeed spoke very little
more, and scarcely betrayed by any sign whether she was listening to
what he said, or was entirely absorbed in her own thoughts. He had
begun by telling her, with a kind of forced liveliness, about all sorts
of things that he thought would interest her; about the women in the
countries on the other side of the ocean, their way of dressing, their
songs and dances, and their ideas about love and men. As she made no
reply to it all, he at last grew silent too. For a moment he felt a
keen pang of pain, when, by the light of a street lamp, he caught sight
of his own shadow and that of the girl swaying before them on the
ground. How came he to constitute himself the knight of this poor
creature, who clung so tightly to his arm that he realized well enough
it would not be easy to shake her off again?

Six weeks ago, in another city--it was a summer night, too--in what a
different mood had he returned home from a walk, and in what different
company! But that was passed forever. Should he wander about in the
desert all his life long in sackcloth and ashes, and turn his back upon
all the happiness of existence? Who would be benefited by his
sacrifice? And yet, why could he not suppress this obstinate pain, this
remembrance of past days that sought to fill him with disgust at the
lighthearted life of this "city of pleasure?"

He would not let his life be ruined by a spectre, he would carry his
head high and sneer away all attacks of sentimentality. Laughing
defiantly, to silence the low, far-off voice in his heart, he released
his arm from the girl's, only to put it still tighter and more tenderly
about her shoulder.

"Zenz," he said, "you are a darling little sweetheart. It would be a
sin if you should not know where to lay your head. Do you see that
house over there, with the lamp burning in front? That is where I live,
and no one has a key to all the doors. How would it be if we should
play hide-and-seek there for a time, with all this tiresome world?"

He merrily lifted her up from the ground, as if he would carry her over
the street into the house; but she suddenly released herself and
pointed anxiously to two riders, who were already so close upon them
that they were forced to run to get by them.

"You little goose!" he laughed, "surely you are not afraid of two
people on horseback, and they peaceful Sunday riders--"

The word died on his lips. As the light of the lantern fell on the
faces of the two horsemen, he recognized in the one the lean profile
and the black imperial of Lieutenant Schnetz, and in the other a little
mustached gentleman, with a straw hat and a light riding-jacket.

No; it must be a mistake! How came _he_ here? He had been deceived by a
resemblance. It was only because he had so recently been thinking about
past times, that their shadow had risen up before him. What could
possibly bring the uncle of his betrothed to Munich, and in the company
of the lieutenant--he who never left his niece?

And yet--as he looked he heard him say a word or two to Schnetz, and
then there was a merry laugh.

The two rode unsuspectingly by, and long after their voices had died
away, Felix stood gazing listlessly after them in the darkness without
rousing himself from his thoughts.

It was he--Irene's uncle. But how did he come here? True, he had
distant relatives in Munich; but it was years since he had left off all
intercourse with them. Did he know, perhaps, that Felix was here in the
city? Was that why he had come, and had he perhaps brought his ward
with him? And even if it were all an accident--even the acquaintance
with Schnetz--must not he inevitably learn from the latter that the
fugitive had hidden himself here under the disguise of a sculptor's

"What is the matter?" asked the girl, at last growing impatient. "Do
you know these gentlemen?"

"Ah! Yes," he answered, suddenly recalling where he was and with whom
he was standing here in the street. With a deep sigh he brought himself
back to the _rôle_ of protector to this poor child. He stammered a
meaningless remark about the breed of the horses and about skill in
riding, and once more offered Zenz the arm he had withdrawn in his
momentary confusion.

He led her thus across the street and into the house.

When they had reached his rooms, where the windows stood open toward
the garden, he hastened to light a lamp. And then he forced himself, in
his character of host, to show the now somewhat silent and shy girl the
arrangement of his rooms, and all the curiosities that he had brought
back from his travels. On the table lay a little Damascus dagger, which
she took up and looked at curiously. He told her how a young Spanish
lady had given it to him in Mexico. And then he remembered a bottle of
sherry that was standing in his closet, and brought it and drew the

"This is all the hospitality I can offer you," said he, still very
absently, setting down a full glass before her.

She shook her head, and could not be prevailed upon even to taste the
wine. And in all that she did she had grown very shy and timid, like a
young swallow that has flown into an inhabited room, and keeps close
pressed into a corner, where you can see the frightened heart beating
under its feathered breast.

"Will you not look and see whether you can make yourself comfortable on
the sofa?"

She did not answer, and sat still in a chair by the window, her hat
still on her head, and her shawl wrapped closely about her.

"A beautiful night," she said softly, at last. "How far you can see
from here over the city! You are very happy to be able to live in such
a beautiful place."

"Well, you can share the happiness, then. Only make yourself quite at
home. Are you tired?"

"Oh, no! but please don't trouble yourself about me. If you want to go
to sleep, I will sit here and will not stir."

He came and stood beside her by the open window.

"Well, Zenz," he said, "you must not mind if I leave you alone now. The
day has been so hot, the wretched music of that band and all sorts of
other things have given me a furious headache, and I had better get to
sleep. Good-night, child! If you want anything to amuse you, here are
all manner of things--photographs and books of pictures. I will light
you another candle. And now, make yourself comfortable. You can bolt
the door from this side, and my housekeeper goes to market early in the
morning, so that you are quite safe from her. And so, good-night!"

He touched her cheek lightly. She raised her face toward him, quietly
and submissively, and looked at him half inquiringly, half afraid. Her
lips, with their white teeth, were parted--yet now without a laugh--and
her hands lay quietly folded in her lap. Yet, as he bent over her, he
only touched the hair upon her forehead lightly with his lips.

"Good-night!" he said again.

Then he went into the adjoining room, and closed the door behind him.

                              CHAPTER XI.

At the foot of his bed stood a cabinet in which he preserved all kinds
of relics, diaries, letters--mementos of his lost love. He thrust in
his hand at random, and drew out a portfolio containing all Irene's
letters, from the first unimportant notes, in which she sent him some
communication from her uncle--her uncle had an aversion to pen and ink,
and was very glad to make use of his niece as a secretary--to the
sheets on which the fate of his life stood written.

He lit a lamp and spread out before him this chronicle of the happiest
years of his youth. Thus he sat with his back to the door of the
sitting-room, now reading, and now mechanically taking up one sheet
after the other. What could they tell him that was new? And yet these
fine, slender letters reminded him of the hand that had written them.
He had never seen any other hand that had expressed so much character,
so much delicacy and firmness, so much flexibility and noble repose. He
had often teased Irene about this, by telling her that he would
undertake to decide from the appearance of her hands whether she was
glad or sad, laughing or crying. The handwriting, too, was a very
correct expression of her impulsive and self-controlled inner nature.
Now, as he picked out here and there some particular sheet and glanced
over it again, the whole past rose up so vividly before him that he
felt as if he must suffocate in the close, lonely, sad atmosphere that
surrounded him; as if he were lying in his grave, and a voice arose
from these pages and repeated to him the history of his own life, that
now lay ruined and shattered for ever more.

"Your dear, long letter from Mexico," she wrote, "I gave to uncle to
read. He is always teasing me, because I assert that the letters of two
lovers are written to be read by two pairs of eyes only. It was not
possible, he declared, that an epistle of sixteen closely-written
pages, like your last, could be a mere love-letter; no human being
could stand such a thing, and we no longer lived, thank God, in that
paradise of letter-writers--the time of Werther. So I showed him the
Mexican letter, and he gave it back to me with one of his most comical
faces. He declared he had never before come across such a lover; here
he was giving a detailed description of a charming young girl, passing
from one handsome woman to another, as if he could think of nothing
that would give greater pleasure to his far-off sweetheart. That was
certainly rather the opposite of a love-letter; but if I was content to
make the acquaintance of all these Paquitas, Chatitas, and Mariquitas,
he would not begrudge me the pleasure, and congratulated me upon my
slight disposition to jealousy, which, to be sure, was a very useful
trait for me to have in the case of a traveler of this sort.

"I laughed, and he went off to his club, shaking his head.

"But then I grew very serious, and looked into my own heart and tried
to make out why it was that I really did not feel the faintest spark of
jealousy. Perhaps because there is room for nothing in my heart but my
love for you; neither for conceit, nor fear, nor desires, nor doubt. I
have never stopped to consider _why_ it was that we two should have
loved one another. It _was_ so; I felt that even more strongly than I
did my own existence. And for that very reason it seems to me
inconceivable that it can ever be any different. For you do not love me
because I am the most beautiful, the wisest, the wittiest, or the most
lovable person that you have ever seen, but because I am _I_ the one
person, with all that I have and all that I lack, that you will never
find a second time. So, though you may find many beyond the sea who are
more charming, more attractive, more brilliant, you will never find me
again; and because I know that, I can, when evening comes, lay your
sixteen-page letter from over the ocean under my pillow, and very
quietly go to sleep and dream of you, without feeling any desire to
snatch you, with poison and dagger, from the attractions of some
olive-colored Creole.

"For I know, dearest love--vain as it may sound, and little store as I
set by my few talents and attractions--that I alone can make you happy
as no other can; not so happy that you will never have a wish
unfulfilled; that I shall appear to you at all times the crown and
jewel of all wives, and you the chosen favorite of fortune; but as
happy as it is possible for one human being to make another, so happy
will I make you and you make me; and because we can never comprehend
this, but ask ourselves each day why it should be so, therefore our
happiness shall have no end, and no phenomenon of beauty, grace, or
wit, that ever crosses your path, will be capable of disturbing this

"My old Christel would raise her eyebrows very ominously at this point,
and would repeat 'unjustified, entirely unjustified!' But I cannot help
it; as a rule I am timid and skeptical about anything good that is
promised to me. But when I think of our love, I overflow with boldness
and confidence. What harm can fortune do us? Is not our love itself
fortune? What tricks of fate ought we to fear, when we hear this fate,
the most important and the greatest of all, within us?

"You will not feel tempted to translate this letter for the benefit of
your Spanish lady friends. They would only pity you for having a
sweetheart who would write you about such serious matters. Ah! and yet
my whole heart laughs when I think that they are so serious with us!"

In a later letter, that had been addressed to Paris, she wrote:

"Yesterday, I was at court again, and to-day I thank heaven that I
managed to bear it, and that the headache which was caused by its
tiresomeness is only a moderate one. This undoubtedly proceeds from the
fact that I sat at supper next to the embassador for ----, who has been
in India, and who described to me, in great detail and for the third
time, the burning of a widow that he had once been present at. (They
say that he always tells the gentlemen a similar story about a
tiger-hunt.) For this reason it happened that I could think a great
deal about you, and when I can do that I am always happy. My darling,
have you yet learned to put a good face on a bad matter? To howl with
the wolves? To do homage to 'his serene highness your sovereign
prince,' without letting your own sovereignty come out too plainly? I
am afraid that, inasmuch as they don't dance the bolero here at the
court balls, and as the whole _tempo_ of our life is an _andante
maestoso_, you will soon grow impatient with all this again, and give
umbrage to some of the best and best-intentioned people in the world.
No one can understand your feeling better than I do; only to think that
your poor sweetheart, whom you have always teased about her good
breeding and her respect for conventional forms, is looked upon by the
society of this city as a very emancipated individual, or, at all
events, is notorious for being a _tête forte_! The reason of this is,
that I generally am quite dumb in the midst of all tiresome talk and
whispered gossip; but if the conversation happens to turn upon anything
deeper, upon affairs of real human interest and not merely upon court
events, then I express my true opinion, without troubling myself to
care whether it falls in with the court tone or not. And the good
people look on this as very pronounced, and not at all good form for a
young lady.

"But don't you see, my dearest, in this way I manage to make this whole
world of forms bearable, by holding my human part ready in reserve, and
looking upon all these absurd prejudices and narrow conventionalities
as something purely superficial and accidental, as unimportant as the
other habits and customs we have in our toilet, behavior, and our
living and dying? And although the forms of the circle in which our lot
has happened to place us are very often more tiresome and senseless
than in other stations, still existence can nowhere be entirely
formless, and at the most can only seem so to one who only looks upon
it as a traveler may look, and who, as an irresponsible spectator, does
not feel bound to submit himself to any of the constraint that is
incumbent upon the natives. Have not you yourself told me that even
among the students a severe etiquette prevails, according to which they
sing and drink, and fight duels, and make up their quarrels? If young
people, in the years of their happiest freedom, cannot amuse themselves
without submitting to the restraint of customs and conventionality, why
should you be so angry with our poor aristocracy, that endeavors to
console itself by these wretched devices for the emptiness of its

"It is only among ourselves that we need not submit to any formality!
Only when in his most intimate circle can one be a human being! And,
since it is so, I think we can easily spare the little tribute of
restraint that we have to render to our social equals.

"So do come back, and behave like a pink of propriety, my darling
scapegrace; and try and make your seven-league boots accommodate
themselves to the minuet step of our dear capital at least once in
every month or two. Then when we are alone again in our own four walls,
I will do all I can to make up to you for the _ennui_ you have
suffered; and I will gladly dance the bolero with you, if you will only
teach me how."

This letter was soon followed by their reunion. With what a feeling he
took up all the little notes, that at that time had but a few streets
to go, to bring messages about a walk, a visit for which he was to call
for her, or some incident that had made it impossible to keep an
engagement! These notes showed, now and then, traces of some more
serious misunderstanding that had taken place between the two lovers:
an appeal to be very gentle to-day, a promise not to refer by a
syllable to the dispute of the day before. He seemed to see again all
that he had once read between these lines.

And then came her last letter, the letter of parting:

"I am quite quiet now, Felix, or at least as quiet as one is when pain
has exhausted all one's strength. I write to you this very night, for
of course there can be no thought of sleep. I have again and again
thought it all over from the beginning, and have each time arrived at
the same conclusion--that I deceived myself in believing through all
these years that I was necessary to your happiness. Do not try to shake
this belief; I am sadly humbled, Felix, very wretched and miserable
because of this confession; but I am as sure that it is true, as I am
that I still live and breathe.

"I know that you still love me, perhaps quite as much as you have
always loved me. But one thing I did not know before, and I learn it
now with pain: you love something better than you do me--your freedom.

"You would be willing to sacrifice it, partly from chivalry, in order
that you might keep your promise; partly from kind-heartedness, for you
must feel how my whole life has hung on you, and how slowly these
wounds will heal. And yet, _it must be!_ How could anything that would
not make you perfectly happy ever be happiness to me?

"You shall be free again, and you may be so without any anxiety about
me. I have more strength than I seem to have. There is only one thing I
cannot bear: to see a sacrifice laid at my feet.

"Even if you were now willing to disclose your secret to me, it would
not alter my resolve. I would not have you think that I wanted to wring
anything from you, which you would not give to me of your own accord.
But that you should make a distinction between that which you share
with me, and that which belongs only to yourself ... it may seem
narrow-minded or weak or arrogant of me, but I cannot help myself, I
cannot rise above it.

"I shall never feel toward you, Felix, any differently from what I do
now; I shall never feel toward another as I do toward you. I have to
thank you for the best and dearest feelings that I have ever possessed
and experienced. No lapse of time can change this in the least--as
little as it can my resolve.

"Think kindly of me, too--without bitterness. And now
farewell!--farewell forever!                          Irene."

He knew this letter by heart, word for word, and yet he read it through
again, word for word, and when he came to the end all the pain, and
defiance, and anger against himself and against her blazed up within
him, as it had in the hour when he first read it. Her calmness, her
gentle strength, that he used to laugh at as artificial, although he
knew how free she was from all feminine tricks; her clear comprehension
and her courage in asserting it: all this humiliated him anew. Then,
indeed, he had comforted himself with the belief that a word from him,
a look, her name merely pronounced by his lips, would demolish the
barrier that she had raised up between them, as easily as one blows
down a tower of cards. He had bitterly deceived himself. Neither by
entreaties nor stratagems had he succeeded in again gaining access to
her. He had to admit, with a new feeling of humiliation, that she was
the stronger. Then at last he too had, as he believed, bound his breast
in the seven-fold bands of iron, and had turned away from her. For the
last time he wrote to her a short, proud, but not unkind letter, almost
like an ultimatum from one power to another. He had felt some hope in
regard to it for that very reason. When it remained unanswered, he
acknowledged that all was over.

His face had sunk down on the little portfolio, he had closed his
eyes and had given himself up, with a kind of ecstasy, to all these
bitter-sweet memories. The thought that there was any one near him had
passed completely out of his mind, and his dreams began to lapse deeper
and deeper into the haziness that usually precedes unconsciousness.

Suddenly he roused himself with a start. A light hand had touched his
shoulder. As he turned hurriedly, he saw Zenz standing behind him. She
hastily stepped back again as far as the threshold of the door, which
she had softly opened, and stood there in the frame thus made in the
exact attitude of Jansen's "Dancing Girl," her arms thrown back and
holding, instead of the tambourine, the little plate on which Felix had
handed her the wine. The candle-light that streamed in from the
sitting-room, and the little lamp by the side of Felix's bed, doubly
illuminated the slim, youthful figure, and its shadow flickering back
and forth heightened the weird charm. She stood there with her profile
slightly turned upward, motionless as a statue, gazing straight before
her. It was not until quite a time had elapsed, and she had begun to
feel tired, that she asked, still without turning her head, whether he
was not going to begin to sketch? He rose and took a step toward her,
and then stood still again.

"My dear child," he said, controlling himself with difficulty, "it is
too late for that. The night has grown cool--you will catch cold. Come,
I thank you very much. You are a beautiful girl, and I--am not made of
stone. Now go back and go to sleep. To-morrow--tomorrow we will

She gave a start, and he noticed with amazement that she began to
tremble violently. She gave but one timid glance at him. Suddenly, the
tears streamed from her eyes, she threw down the plate with such force
that it shivered into fragments, rushed back from the threshold into
the sitting-room and violently slammed the door behind her.

An instant after, he heard the bolt pushed to.

"For God's sake, child!" he cried, "what has come to you all of a
sudden? What have I done to offend you? Open the door, and let us have
a sensible talk together. Didn't I tell you that I had a headache? And
who ever heard of such an idea as sketching in the middle of the night?
Zenz! don't you hear? Won't you make it up again?"

All in vain. After wasting his entreaties and at last his anger, for
some time longer, on the tightly-closed door, he was finally obliged to
give it up. His blood was in a whirl; he could not conceive now how he
could have repulsed the poor creature in such cold-blooded fashion.
"Perhaps her anger will pass over, if I leave her to herself for a
while," he thought.

"I am going out to take a little walk," he cried through the key-hole.
"I must have a breath of fresh air. When I come back again, perhaps my
headache will be gone and your fit of temper, too. In the mean while,
pass away the time as pleasantly as you can."

And he really did go out into the night; but he returned again before a
quarter of an hour had passed--he was drawn back by some power that he
himself could not understand.

As he entered his sleeping-room, where the lamp was still burning
steadily, it was empty. He passed quickly through the door, which was
now unbolted, into the sitting-room. But here, too, no trace could be
found of his guest, search as he would behind the curtains and in the
dark corners. The light had not been extinguished and a bat had flown
into the room, and the exertion of hunting him out again threw him into
a perspiration. When at last he succeeded, and, exhausted by such a
variety of excitement, had sunk back upon the sofa, he found that all
the little knickknacks, which he had spread before her when they first
arrived, were still lying on the table in the same order in which he
had left them. The little dagger which his Creole friend had given him
was the only thing he missed, and he could not find it though he
searched for it everywhere.

                              _BOOK III_.

                               CHAPTER I.

There are summer nights that are not made for sleep. The moon shines
far brighter than at other times, as if a lamp were burning at its full
height in the sleeping-room instead of a mere night-light. People
strolling along, absorbed in thought and feeling the flagstones under
their feet still warm--for they have been drinking in the fierce glow
of the sun the livelong summer day--catch themselves in the act of
crossing over out of the moonlight to the shady side, just as one does
in the hot noontide. On such nights as this, sounds of life and
merriment are heard throughout the city long after the police have
sounded the hour for retiring; the couples that wander through the
streets seem unable to find their way home; young fellows march along
arm-in-arm, in long rows stretching the whole width of the road, as if
advancing to battle against some invisible enemy, singing all the while
as tenderly and sweetly as they know how, or else shrieking and yelling
like a troop of wild Indians. Here and there, where a window stands
open and a _sonata_ of Beethoven floats out into the night, they
suddenly hush their noise and listen, only to break out in a wild burst
of applause the moment the music ceases. On such a night solitary youth
lies dreaming, with open eyes, till long past midnight, of the glories
of the future; and solitary age thinks sadly how glorious the past was;
and at last they fall asleep over their musing, and slumber quietly,
until some young cock in a neighboring roost, who cannot sleep himself,
gives a glance up to heaven and begins to crow with such vigor at the
setting moon, which he mistakes for the rising sun, that the sleepers
start up again, throw off the bedclothes from their hot limbs, and
creep to the window to see whether the night is really at an end. After
this there is no more sleep for the aged; but they who are young lie
down once more and soon make up for all that they have lost.

Such was the night that followed that Sunday. Of those in whose fate
and adventures we are interested, none went to bed before midnight,
though in truth some other sprite than the charm of the sultry night
had possession of their hearts and senses. Even the good Angelica, who
to the best of our knowledge was not in love, and who rejoiced moreover
in that softest of pillows, a good conscience, sat at the open window
of her little virgin bower, in which a lamp was dimly burning, half
through the night, twining her curls and heavily sighing and dropping
into a doze, until her head would strike against the window-sash,
when she would start up and begin once more to spin her sorrowful
summer-night's thoughts. She had been at Julie's door that afternoon to
inquire what had been the upshot of this bad business. But no one was
at home. And so she was waiting impatiently for the following day.

It was later still before Julie could bring herself to go to bed. The
windows in her chamber stood open so as to let in the night-air through
the openings in the closed blinds. But with the air the magical
moonbeams streamed in too, and made a pattern on her green silk
coverlet; her thoughts were lost in its mazes, so that she could not
close her eyes. She felt as if she had never been at once so happy and
so wretched. At heart she did not doubt for a moment that everything
really was just as it stood in the baleful letter; that she would never
possess him whom she loved. His own puzzling behavior, the way in which
he had suddenly broken off and rushed out of the room, confirmed the
anonymous accusation only too well. But the thought that she loved him,
and that he returned her love, crowded out all others, and made her so
glad in the depths of her heart, that no hostile fate could crush the
rejoicing within her. So he is to "give her back her faith in her own
heart!" What a senseless phrase! When had she ever believed in anything
as she believed in the strength and truth and invincibility of this
feeling, in the feeling that it was worth while to have lived through a
long youth without love and happiness for the sake of this man, so that
now she might lavish upon him a hoarded wealth of passion?

She could not help smiling when it occurred to her how often she had
thought that she had done with the world, and could look back without
regret upon the years of youth she had lost. What had become of those
ten anxious years? Had she really lived in them or only dreamed of
them? Was she not as young and inexperienced, as thirsty for happiness
and as coy in its presence, as she had ever been in the first blooming
years of her girlhood? Yes, she felt the courage of her earliest youth,
when she still believed in miracles, bubbling up within her from an
inexhaustible spring. She made no attempt to close her eyes to what
could and would happen. But that this love, hopeless as it seemed,
would be a source of unspeakable happiness to her, that in the
sanctuary of her heart she would never cease to look upon this man as
belonging to her--all this she admitted to herself in words so plain
that, as she lay there wide awake in the moonlight, they sometimes
found utterance in a half-audible soliloquy.

Then she marveled at the suddenness with which it had all come about,
but she soon convinced herself again that this was just as it should
be. She tried hard to picture to herself the kind of wife he might
have. But she could not; it seemed to her impossible that he could ever
have loved any one but herself. She closed her eyes and tried to recall
his features to her mind. Singularly enough she met with no great
success. His eyes were all that she could distinctly call up before
her, and his voice seemed always to be close to her ear. She rose and
stepped to the window, and opened the blinds a little to see if the
night were not almost over. She herself did not know why she should
thus look forward to the morning, for there was little hope that it
would bring her anything new or good. But it would bring _him_, she
could count on that. With burning lips she drew in the mild night-air,
and listened to a love-song, which a solitary youth sang as he passed
under her window.

She understood each word, and as he ended she repeated the closing
verses softly, and sighed as she shut the blinds again. Then she lay
down and at last fell asleep.

The day had long dawned outside, but the green twilight in which she
lay caused her to dream on undisturbed. It struck seven, eight, nine,
from the clock on the Theatinerkirche. Then at last she awoke, feeling
as refreshed as if she had just emerged from bathing in the sea. It was
some time before she could think clearly of all that had happened
yesterday and would probably happen today, but as she did so a vague
fear and anxiety came over her. She hastened to dress, so that she
might go out and ask whether any letter had come. When at last she
opened the door into the parlor, her figure wrapped in a loose robe,
and her hair thrust carelessly under a pretty cap, her foot hit against
some heavy object that took up the whole breadth of the threshold. As
the blinds were closed in this room also, she did not see at first,
owing to her short-sightedness, what it was that lay in her way. But
the object immediately began to move of its own accord, and raised
itself up before her, and she felt a cold tongue on her hand and saw
that the intruder was no other than Jansen's venerable Newfoundland
dog. The start he gave her was almost instantly lost in the greater one
with which she found herself saying, "Where the dog is, the master will
not be far away." And she was right, for there, in the back part of the
room, leaning against the stove, was a dark figure with disheveled
hair, standing as immovable in its place as she herself stood in the
doorway, deprived of all power to move a limb or open her lips.

Just at this moment the other door opened, and the old servant stepped
in and turned to the man at the stove with a gesture which was half
indignant, half timid, but which said plainer than words that it had
been impossible to turn away this uncomfortably early guest; he had
made his way in by force.

"It is quite right, Erich," said his mistress, who had now completely
recovered her composure. "I will ring when I want breakfast. And,
by-the-way, I am not at home in case any one calls."

The old man retired, shrugging his shoulders, and muttering to himself.
The moment he closed the door behind him, Julie stepped quickly up to
Jansen, who stood in silence at the opposite end of the room, and
cordially extended her hand.

"Thank you for coming," she said; and from her voice it would have been
hard for any one to have believed how her heart beat as she uttered
these few words, "But sit down. We have much to say to one another."

He bowed slightly, but remained standing where he was, and appeared not
to notice that she had offered him her hand.

"Pardon this early visit," he said. "Your note did not reach me last
evening. Early this morning, when I went into the studio--"

"Have you any suspicion as to who could have written the letter?" she
interrupted, wishing to come to his aid. She had sunk down into a
chair, and the dog lay beside her on the carpet, occasionally giving a
growl of content as he felt her soft hand on his head.

"I think I know," replied Jansen, after a short pause. "I am certain
that some one in this city is dogging all my steps, very likely in the
interest of another. What was in that letter is nothing but the pure
truth; and when I went to my studio this morning, I carried a letter in
my pocket which I had written overnight, and which tells you almost the
same thing. Here it is--if you would like to read it."

She shook her head slightly.

"What for, my dear friend, if it tells me nothing new?"

"Perhaps it may. But you are right; this piece of paper cannot prove to
you the fact I most desire to have proved: that is, that I really wrote
this letter last night before I knew of any other. That is something
you can only believe from my personal assurance--and that is the reason
of my being here."

"That is the reason? Oh! my friend, as if I needed such an
assurance--as if your hasty departure yesterday had not told me that
you did not trust yourself to stay because you--because you had only
said what you did in a moment of self-forgetfulness--and yet, believe
me, that was a thoughtless word that slipped from my pen, that only an
explanation from you could give me back my faith in my own heart. I
have never lost that faith. I believe to-day, as yesterday, that my
heart knew perfectly well what it was about when it surrendered itself
to you."

"You are an angel from heaven!" he cried, his grief breaking forth;
"you seek to defend me even from myself. Yet for me with my hopeless
lot to have forced myself into your quiet life, will never cease to be
a crime. That is what I said to myself yesterday the moment I left your
door. This letter attempted to say the same thing, and informed you
also of my firm resolve never to show myself in your sight again. But
the strange hand that tugs at the chords of my ruined life, and seeks
to tear them asunder, has shattered this resolve. Now I owe you a
longer confession than could be written in a letter. For not until you
know all about me will you be able to understand that, though it was a
sin, it was still a human one, that caused me so to forget myself; and
that you need not withdraw your respect from me--though you do your
heart--and your hand."

He was silent again for a moment; she, too, said nothing. She trembled,
but she strove hard to appear calm, so that he would go on. How
willingly she would have heard her fate in two words--her "to be or not
to be!" What did she care for all the rest? But she felt that he had
more to tell her, and she would not interrupt him.

"I hardly know," he continued, "how much our friend Angelica has told
you about me. I am a peasant's son, and had to struggle through a hard
childhood; and it was a long time before I could bend my stiff
peasant's neck so that it fitted without chafing in the yoke of city
etiquette. Few men have ever gone such strange ways as I have, always
wavering between defiance and humility, audacity and shrinking, as
well in my dealings with my fellow-men as in my art. I had a mother of
the true old yeoman nobility--which is synonymous with true human
nobility--at least in our part of the country. She finally succeeded in
making a strong, silent man of my father, who had a streak of the
tyrant in him. If she had lived longer, who knows whether I should ever
have left her? But soon after her death I prevailed upon my father to
let me go to the art-school at Kiel. I did little good there. There was
a wild element among the scholars, and I was not the tamest. I always
had a great contempt--perhaps because I was ashamed of my peasant's
manners--for what we were pleased to call the Philistinism of the
worthy citizens. That I, as an artist, was permitted all sorts of
liberties that were denied to officials, scholars, and tradespeople,
pleased me greatly; and I abused my freedom without stint. But as I
moved in a very narrow circle, and seldom came in contact with any high
type of humanity, I had no great field in which to display the
profligacy of my thoughts and habits. A few wretched _liaisons_, and a
number of silly and by no means edifying scrapes, were all that came of

"Then I moved to Hamburg. There the same wild life was continued on a
somewhat larger scale. You will readily spare me the details. Now, when
I think back on that time, I have to stop and reflect whether it really
could have been _I_ who wasted his days and nights in such shameful
dissipation with such worthless companions. They were my Prince Hal
days. 'The wild oats had to be sown.' But now I thank my good star for
having led me safely, though by dubious ways, past all that kind of
crime and wrong-doing which could not have been covered by this trite

"Well, one evening, when my aching head and my gnawing rage at my own
idiocy unfitted me for anything else, I went to the theatre, and saw
for the first time an actress who was just entering on an engagement
there. The piece was a flat, sensational, social drama, in which she
took the part of the noble, generous, young wife, who plays the saving
angel to the dissipated husband. It was a moral lecture that appealed
directly to my own case; and as the sinner, even in his deepest
degradation, seemed an enviable creature as compared with me--for he
invariably fell into the arms of his guardian angel--I could not help
wishing myself in his place; and so was led to examine that angel very

"She was certainly well worth looking at. A most charming young person,
with a figure, a bearing, and a certain indolent grace in all her
movements, such as I had never seen before. In addition to all this a
childlike face, with dove-like eyes, and such an innocent, plaintive
mouth, that you would have been willing to storm the very heavens just
to bring a smile to those pretty lips. When this really appeared at the
close of the play (for the young husband reformed), it was all over
with me. As I noticed that half the audience--indeed, the entire male
part--had gone mad over her, I considered my sudden infatuation not
extraordinary; especially as I have a way of not being very slow in my
feelings of love and hate. You have had experience of that yourself."

He paused for a moment, and gave her a hasty glance. But she did not
stir, so breathlessly was she listening to him, her eyes fixed on the
head of the dog, who lay quietly sleeping at her side.

"I will spare you any account of the further course of my love affair,"
he continued. "It is enough that in eight days I gained my case by
ardor and flattery: and Lucie was my betrothed.

"The strange manner in which she bore herself in this position ought to
have warned me. To my first passionate wooing she had opposed a
prudishness and a maidenly reserve such as I had not expected to find
in an actress, especially as she let me see plainly enough that she
felt anything but indifferent toward me, and that the homage of an
artist whose reputation was then in the ascendant was exceptionally
flattering to her. But no sooner did I, somewhat taken aback by this
severe maidenly reserve, make her a proposal that aimed at nothing less
than our marriage and her retirement from the stage, than her tone
changed. She began to treat the subject with greater lightness, to
utter platitudes against marriages among artists, and in praise of the
happiness of liberty; to tease me with moods, and to attract me again
by all kinds of pretty coaxing; so that my passionate obstinacy was
urged higher and higher, until at last I forced her, half against her
will, to fix the wedding-day.

"Of course this excited the greatest amazement among my former
companions, who could scarcely believe their ears. To those with whom I
was most intimate I expatiated on the matter as an exceedingly
practical undertaking, as a truly sensible marriage. I should never
again find a being who was thus equally removed from Philistinism and
evil courses. Besides, one cannot go on sowing wild oats forever; and
it seemed to me that now, when my prospects had begun to seem quite
favorable on account of a number of orders I had received, was the most
suitable time to settle to a steadier life. This is what I said to my
most intimate friends. I said nothing to the others. One of them, our
Falstaff, who was the one most concerned at my loss, took me aside one
day and asked whether I was really in earnest about this foolish
affair. Upon my replying that I was sufficiently in earnest to forbid
any contemptuous criticism upon my conduct, even from a good friend, he
shrugged his shoulders and excused himself: he had not had the
slightest intention of offending me, but he merely wished to call my
attention to the fact that this freak of mine might cost me too dearly.
Then, when I pressed him further, he remarked that 'in his opinion
there were such things as artificial violets, and that the most genuine
thing about this creature was her acting, which, unfortunately, she
kept up in real life as well as on the stage.' And then followed a
short sketch of her adventurous career, which this well-meaning man had
collected, not without considerable trouble, from numberless inquiries
at the theatres where she had appeared.

"Of course I expressed my appreciation of his kindness in the plainest
possible words, broke with him once and for all, and ran off to my
betrothed, to whom I excitedly related the whole chronicle of what I
had heard about her way of life. The idea had never even entered my
head that she would answer me in any other way than with a burst of
burning indignation, and I had already been considering what kind words
I should make use of in order to soothe her. But she heard me through
without emotion, indeed without even blushing, so that for a moment I
was fool enough to say to myself, 'I really believe she is so innocent
that she doesn't even understand what I have been telling her.' But
when I ceased speaking, she looked me full in the face, quite unabashed
and with her most angelic expression, and said: 'This is all a lie,
except in one particular. I committed a single wrong when I was a mere
child, and that was the reason why I refused to become your wife. Do
now as you like; you know what you take when you take me.'

"This confession, which she made with her irresistible melodramatic
voice, blinded me completely; and I was more convinced than ever that
all the rest of the talk about her deceitfulness and coquetry, and her
heartless flirting with foolish young admirers, was a lie. 'No,' I
cried, folding her in my arms, 'you shall not find yourself
disappointed in me, you shall not find a narrow-minded Philistine, when
you thought you were giving yourself up to a free artist's soul. What
lies behind you shall cast no shadow over our future. If it is true
that you love me, why then--' and here I quoted, slightly changing it
to suit the occasion, a verse of poetry that I had read but a short
time before and had thought very profound. 'Was _I_ a saint before I
asked your hand? And yet I was master of my fate, and knew what I did.
No, let there be day before us and behind us night, that none may look
upon us! Only promise me that in the _future_ all your thoughts shall
belong to me alone.'

"She sobbed violently in my arms, and made me the fairest promises. I
almost believe that at that moment she did indeed mean what she said,
for there was a sound spot in her that had not yet been touched by the
worm--a longing for what was pure and good. If this had not been the
case, how would it have been possible for me to have continued in my
blindness longer than the few weeks of the honey-moon? But she herself
seemed so happy in those first months, though we lived quite by
ourselves--for I had broken with my old cronies, and had no particular
desire to form new acquaintances, whom I could only have found among
the Philistine class that I so heartily despised. Then, too, she grew
more charming with each day. Once in a while, however, I caught her
poring over her prompt-books; and then I told her bluntly, for I could
see that her eyes were red with weeping, that she longed to be back
behind the foot-lights again, that she missed the applause and grieved
because she could not any longer turn the heads of the whole parquet.
'What can you be thinking of!' she laughed. 'In my condition! Why, I
should feel like sinking through the deepest trap-door, I should be so
ashamed!' In this way she would drive away my suspicions; and when at
length her child was born, I really thought she was so taken up with
household joys and cares that she cared for nothing else.

"It is true she was not such a foolish mother as to think her child an
angel of beauty. It was a rather plain, unattractive-looking little
thing--'the father over again,' remarked the women, very justly. But
she played the _rôle_ of mother with considerable talent; and not until
a long time later, when she was sent to the sea-shore to recuperate,
did it occur to me that she parted without any particular grief from
the laughing and cooing little creature that clung so tightly to her. I
staid at home and let her go over to Heligoland by herself, in the
charge of an elderly friend of hers--an actress, but a woman bearing an
irreproachable name. I happened to have a few orders that it was
necessary to execute just as soon as possible--among others two busts
of a rich wharfinger and his wife--and as our household, small as it
was, made pretty heavy drains upon my purse, I felt that I ought not to
let these chances slip through my fingers. It was our first separation,
and I found it hard enough to bear. But, as I had to work hard and also
to fill a mother's place toward the child, the first two weeks passed
pretty quickly.

"But after that the little one began to give me a great deal of
anxiety. Teething set in, there were bad days and worse nights, and the
letters I received from my wife--in which she said she was doing
admirably and had grown quite young again--did not tend to raise my
spirits especially, for it appeared as if nothing were wanting to her
happiness, not even her husband and child.

"Heretofore I had had neither disposition nor occasion for jealousy.
Suddenly I was to learn what an abyss can be uncovered in a man's soul,
into which everything sinks that he has before believed firm and true.

"I had been sitting up late; the child was very feverish, and toward
midnight we had been obliged to call in the doctor. For the first time
I thought with bitterness about my wife, who could stay at such a
distance and nurse her own health while the little life, that should
have been dearer to her than her own, was trembling in the balance.
When the child had been quieted a little, so that I could think of
taking some rest, it was a long time before I could close my eyes,
though as a general thing I could reckon on my peasant's sleep under
all circumstances. At last it came, but with it came dreams--dreams
such as I would not have wished to the damned in hell. Always about
_her_, in ever-new costumes, playing the old play of pledged and broken
faith. Out of the last scene, where, in the very presence of her lover
and with the quietest mien in the world, she sought to demonstrate to
me her right to transfer her love from one man to another, until I
sprang forward with a cry of fury to seize her by the hair--out of this
wretched vision of hell I was awakened by the crying of my child; so
that I did not take time to wipe the cold sweat from my forehead, but
ran into the nursery quite prepared to find Death standing at the head
of the little bed. But once again it passed, and in the morning we were
both able to get a couple of hours of quiet sleep. Then, at last, I sat
down and wrote to my wife just how things stood.

"For some days before, I had not sent her any very encouraging reports.
Any other woman would have returned at once, and not have tried to
excuse herself on the ground that the water-cure ought not to be
interrupted. But she--enough! I must try and control myself when I
speak of her. After all the poor creature cannot be blamed because she
had no heart, and because my love and passion could not conjure up one
within her breast.

"But at the time I wrote in all the roughness and bitterness of my
mood, and insisted upon her immediate return. I had almost forgotten
the dreams of the night before. But a little later, when I was taking a
walk through the city, chance willed it that they should again be
recalled to my mind.

"I met a gossiping acquaintance, who had also been passing a few weeks
at the island. Heaven knows how it came about that I stopped him and
inquired about my wife. He was very much surprised to hear that she had
been there, indeed that she was there still. As in such a small place
everybody met everybody else, he could not understand how so beautiful
a woman could have escaped his notice. 'To be sure, she has lived in
great retirement,' I stammered, and he found this very natural and
praiseworthy of a charming young lady, and hoped the cure would be
successful, and so left me; while I stood there like a fool for a full
quarter of an hour, staring vacantly at the same flag-stone, and
blocking peoples' way as if I had been a stopping-post. Yet she _must_
have been there; letters had daily passed back and forth; and then,
what earthly reason could she have for trying to deceive me in this
respect? But then again: you will readily understand that this
incident, trifling as it was in itself, was well calculated to add new
fuel to the fever that was raging within me.

"I could not expect her back before the following day. How I survived
the intervening hours will always remain a mystery to me. I was
incapable of any occupation, of any connected thought or action. I had
just sufficient strength and reason left to sit by the side of the
poor, feverish child, and apply the ice-bandages, and count the hairs
on its forehead.

"Even when night came I would not leave my post. I dreaded to dream.
Then came the morning again, and noon and afternoon, and still no news.
But at length a drosky drove up, the house-door was opened, the stairs
creaked under a light step, I sprang to my feet and rushed to meet her;
just then she entered the door, and my first look in her face
strengthened all my horrible suspicions.

"Or no; it was not her face. I have no right to do this actress an
injustice; she had her face as completely under control as ever--the
innocent violet eyes, the Madonna mouth, the clear forehead--and yet it
_was_ her face that sent a shudder to my inmost heart. Was that the
mien of a mother, hastening to her child that lay at the door of death?
of a wife returning, after such anxious weeks of separation, to the
husband whom she pretended to have married for love?

"Enough! The fate of our lives was decided in the first few hours. But
I was crafty too, and played my _rôle_ bravely. That we should refrain
from all demonstrations of tenderness, while our child lay in such
danger, was so natural--she herself could find nothing wrong in this.
But on the following morning, after the night had brought a change for
the better and we were able to breathe freely once more, she said to
me--and I can see her before me now, as she knelt at a trunk and turned
over the gay contents trying to find a comfortable dress to put on, for
she had not taken off her clothes during the night--'Do you know,
Hans,' she said, looking up at me with her dove-like eyes, half
petulantly, half pleadingly, 'do you know that it isn't at all nice of
you not to have paid me a single compliment upon how well I am looking?
I left a gallant husband, and find a cold-hearted bear. Come, as a
punishment, I will let you kiss this little slipper, that I might have
put on the neck of the whole male population of the island if I had
wanted to.'

"'Lucie,' said I, 'I want first to make a request of you.'

"'About what?' asked she, innocently.

"'That you will swear to me, by the life of our child, that it is only
a devilish delusion, sprung from my jealous dreams, that makes me think
you do not come back to me what you were when you went away.'

"I had arranged this sentence word for word, just as one loads with the
greatest care a gun with which one wants to take sure aim. And I did
not miss the mark. She suddenly flushed purple, bent down her head over
the trunk, and fumbled nervously with the heap of sashes and scarfs.

"But she quickly recovered herself.

"'You have had bad dreams?' she asked, still quite unabashed. 'What did
you dream, then?'

"And I replied: 'That you had been unfaithful to me. It is nonsense; I
know that you can give me back my peace by a single word. But, unless
you speak this word--did you understand me, Lucie? By the life of our
child, who lies there barely escaped from death--I only want to hear
one word. I cannot reproach myself with any neglect of my duty toward
_you_. Do you hear me, Lucie? Why don't you answer me? Can't you bear
my look?'

"She actually succeeded in forcing herself to look at me, but there was
not the flash of innocent pride, of offended womanly honor; it was an
unsteady, flickering defiance, and the flaring up of a hostile feeling,
that I read in her eyes.

"'I have no answer to such a question,' said she, with a gesture that
carried me back to the time when she was on the stage. 'You insult me,
Hans. Let us talk about something else. I will pardon you for the
child's sake, and because of the anxiety you have been suffering.'

"I was still so under her influence that I hesitated for a moment
whether to mistrust the voice in my heart, or this serpent look. She
had risen, and was standing at the window, her face turned away and her
hand before her eyes, such a picture of insulted majesty and innocence
that I already began to curse my heat, and to accuse myself of having
done the greatest injustice and wrong that can be done to a helpless
woman. But just as I was on the point of going up to her and trying the
power of kind words, I heard my dog give a strange sort of a growl and
bark, as if he were angry and provoked; for which I could see no
reason. He did not like the woman. Either she had never known how, or
else she had never thought it worth while, to gain his favor. But
heretofore he had seemed to feel the greatest indifference toward her,
and I could not understand why her offended speech and bearing should
now enrage him. The truth is he was not paying the slightest attention
to her, but seemed to have been excited by something that he had
dragged out of the pile of things she had taken from her trunk. I
called out to him to lie down and keep quiet; he was still in a moment;
but, wagging his tail violently, he ran up to me, holding something in
his mouth which he laid on my knee. It was a man's glove.

"Can you believe it?--my first feeling at the sight of this evidence
was a wild joy and satisfaction. I was suddenly at one with myself
again, and the wretched feeling of shame that perhaps after all I had
let my suspicious heat get the better of my reason, gave place to an
icy calmness.

"'If you would only turn round,' I said, 'perhaps you would speak in a
different tone. Without knowing it or wishing it, you have brought me a
present from your journey for which I ought to thank you.'

"As she turned round, even she was not actress enough to repress a
gesture of terror.

"'I swear to you--she stammered, pale as death.

"'Very good,' I said; 'that is precisely what I have been asking you to
do. But--do you hear?--consider well what you swear and by what you
swear it. By the life of the innocent creature lying in that chamber,
by that God who visits the sins of the fathers upon the children unto
the third and fourth generation--'

"'I don't know what you mean--I--I have done no wrong and have no need
to swear. This glove, Heaven knows--'

"'Heaven does know!' I shrieked, my smouldering rage breaking out

"I reached out my hand toward her; everything reeled before my eyes; I
have no further recollection of what I said and did at that moment,
except that I was very near seizing her by her long locks, as in my
dream, and dragging her across the room and down the stairs, and
casting her out into the street. I am sure, however, that I did not
touch her, but my looks and words must have been so relentless and
unmistakable that she herself found it advisable to leave me. Half an
hour later I was alone again with my child.

"That very day I received a letter from her, full of well-turned
periods and insidious accusations. I read it without emotion. I was
like a well that has been choked forever--nothing can make its water
bubble up again. I answered this letter with a single word--'Swear!' No
second letter came; a last remnant of human feeling, sunk deep in
superstition, made it impossible for her to utter a lie that might be
revenged upon her child.

"I waited three days. Then I wrote her a note that contained no word of
reproach, but simply said that it would be impossible for me to share
my life with her longer. I told her I would provide for her as I had
done heretofore, under the single condition that she would take her
maiden name again and never make any claim upon the child. When I wrote
this--I can't help confessing my foolishness to you--something within
me said, 'She will never consent to this condition. She will come and
fall at your feet, with a full confession of her guilt, and pray you
rather to kill her than to separate her from her child.' Then--what
might I not have done then?--it makes me shudder to think of it. I
almost believe I should have pardoned her--and been wretched ever
after, with my honor wounded and my confidence shaken at the very
roots. But I had loved her too dearly for me to become master of my
weakness so quickly.

"She spared me the temptation. In a few days her answer came; she
refrained from making any explanations, which she knew would never be
satisfactory to a person so inclined to be suspicious as I was. Great
God! I suspicious--I, whom a lie would have quieted again! She accepted
what I had proposed to her, intended to return to the stage--for which
she was undoubtedly born--thanked me for all the goodness I had shown
her, hoped all would go well with me, and much more--a letter well
written, friendly, and icy cold.

"Not a syllable was said about the child!"

                              CHAPTER II.

He had thrown himself down on a lounge that stood near the door, and
his head sank on his breast. For a long time he remained in this
position apparently forgetting where he was, and to whom he had been
telling his dreary, melancholy story.

The dog rose up, and, with a singularly wistful expression in his eyes,
went to the side of his master, who now roused himself with an effort,
and made as though he would take his departure.

But Julie did not change her position, nor look at him, but merely said
in her soft voice:

"What must you have suffered!" Then, after a moment's pause, she went
on: "And you have never seen her since?"

"No. I only waited until the child had recovered sufficiently to bear
the journey. Then I broke loose from all that held me there, and came
to this city. Here I might be a new man--or so I sometimes imagined
when I did not think of the past. Yes, the doctors are right--a change
of air will work wonders. Do you suppose it was in the slightest degree
hard for me to set up my 'saint-factory?' I merely did it so that I
might be safe from all dunning letters, and might send the stipulated
and very considerable sum, every quarter, to our intermediary in
Hamburg. In this way I freed myself from importunities, and consoled
myself with the thought that a man need not scruple as to how he earns
money that is going to pay for his own shame. A fortunate man, one who
lives openly and uprightly, has a right to give himself up to that
noblest of all luxuries, the luxury of sacrificing himself to his
convictions. If I had had a wife with a pure and noble soul, then it
would have been glorious to have accepted even poverty and want in
order to remain true to my ideals, and never to have moved a finger
except in the service of true art. But as it was--a broken man, a
disgraced life--that very stolidity that helped me to bear my
fate alone, dulled my susceptibility to all that was base in my
money-getting. It was all one, after all.

"And yet, for all that, the old defiance, the old peasant's pride was
not quite dead in me even now. One day, in the midst of my work, the
thought came over me--'What is she doing now?--who is with her?' Then I
sprang to my feet as if I had been stung by an adder, and immediately
sat down and wrote to her that I thought it would be more dignified and
better for us both to cut the last wretched bond that held us together,
so that she might have full freedom. I added that I would provide for
her all the same, if she would only consent to a legal separation. I
was not ashamed to humiliate myself so far as to beg her to do this. It
seemed to me as if the happiness of my future life depended upon my
accomplishing this end.

"She kept me waiting for an answer for more than a fortnight. Then she
wrote that she could only yield to my request if I would give up the
child to her. Who dictated this answer for her, I do not know.
Certainly not her heart.

"Give the child into her hands! I would rather have caught it up like a
kitten, and thrown it into the sea! I had found a family here--good,
honest people--to whose care I could intrust it, and with whose
children it is growing up. I myself have a room under the same roof.
When I come home of an evening, I only need to open the door a little
to see the little motherless thing asleep in its bed. But on Sunday I
either stay at home in the afternoon, or take a drive or a walk with it
to some place where I am sure of not meeting any curious acquaintances,
who might ask me whose child it is. I pass in the city for unmarried.
But, for some time past, I have been led to suspect that I have an
enemy who is determined I shall not bear that character any longer.
Lucie's mother appeared here a year or two ago. Had I known this woman
before my marriage, I might perhaps have been warned not to trust those
violet eyes. She has some hidden object for being here; she follows all
my movements--I know that she wishes me ill--that letter to you
confirms it. But, perhaps, it was better so. The letter that I wrote to
you last night, who knows whether I should have had the courage to send
it to-day? And yet, every hour longer that I kept you in the dark would
have been a reproach to me. And now--"

"I have a great favor to ask of you," she suddenly interrupted.

"Julie, what could you ask that I would not joyfully--"

"I would love so dearly to see the child. Will you bring it to me? or
will you go there with me?"

He took a step toward her; now, for the first time, he ventured to look
her in the face. She rose and went forward to meet him.

"Dear friend," she said, "I must know this child. No matter how well it
may be taken care of where it is, it is and always will be motherless.
It can only find a mother again in her who loves the father more than
all else, and who would take to her heart all that belongs to him. Do
you not see that you must bring the child to me?"

"Julie!" he cried, in a tone that burst from his innermost heart, just
as when a dreamer with a loud cry shakes off the nightmare that is so
suffocating him. He staggered toward her, and tried to seize her hand;
but she drew back a step, shook her head gently, and said, with a

"Listen patiently to what I am going to say, or else it will be hard
for me to control myself and find the words. The sad story you have
just told me has given me a great deal to think of; I have not yet
clearly fixed it in my mind. But one thing is already clear to me: that
nothing in your past life can ever separate me from you. On the
contrary, I have been continually testing my feeling during your
confession, and have found that I love you now even more wholly than I
did yesterday, and that I know better _why_ I love you, if this is not
a senseless thing to say. My heart is old enough to be wise, and to
know why it loves any one, though my head is not quite so ready. And
so, my dearest friend, I now seriously declare to you, I have not the
slightest intention of ceasing to love you because so and so many years
ago you made the mistake of believing another human being to be better
than she really was. I will go still further: you shall not cease to
love me either, unless you made a second mistake yesterday, which I
confess would be much more painful to me than that first one."

She did not succeed in uttering these last words, for, overwhelmed with
joy, Jansen had seized her in his arms. He held her long in this
embrace, until at last she recovered breath enough to beg for her

"No, no," she said, as she gently freed herself, "do not do so, dear,
or I will take it all back again; for you and I are not to be spared
our time of trial. Sit down here opposite me like a sensible man, and
let go my hands and try to understand all that I have to say to you.
You see, your sweetheart is no longer young, and much too experienced
and worldly not to keep her senses about her, and think for two even at
such a time, hard as it may be. I will not retract a word of what I
just confessed--that I will not relinquish the happiness of feeling
myself to belong to you, because you are not yet free. I love you all
the more dearly for what I now know, for the delicacy with which you
have tried to spare her who has so cruelly wounded you; for the fact
that you have not sought, even at the cost of a public trial, to break
the bond that holds you together; for the affection that has grown up
within you for your child, so that you do not hesitate to sacrifice
your liberty for its sake. Whether this sacrifice is necessary we will
consider more fully. But let this be as it may, let human justice come
to our aid or not: this I know, that from this time forth I will devote
my life to you, that I could no longer belong to myself even if I
tried. Everything else seems petty beside it, and there must be some
place in the world where we shall find our happiness in one another.
But one thing must happen first; you must learn to know me thoroughly.
Do not smile and say needless things that I know beforehand. You really
do not know me as I am, or as I know you, because I have seen your art
and know your life, and more especially because I, as a woman who has
been looking at the world for thirty-one years, know human nature much
better than a man like you, who have the additional disadvantage of
being an artist, and therefore blinded by a touch of beauty. Do you not
see that in ten years I shall be an old woman, no longer like your Eve,
and then what would you think of me, unless my inner being was
necessary to your life and worthy of your love and constancy? And for
that reason you must resolve to let a barrier remain between us for a
whole year yet. You may be sure it has cost me a hard struggle to lay
such a condition on myself; we have already lost so many happy years of
youth. It seems cruel that, in addition to all this, we must have a
long engagement. But the more dearly I love you, and wretched as I
should be if you did not stand the test, the more bravely I must and
will adhere to my resolution. Then, besides, have I not to win your
child's heart, so that it will not draw back, as from a stranger, from
her whom it is to call mother?"

She gazed in his face with a look of the deepest faith and tenderness,
and reached him her hand across the table at which they were both
sitting. He grasped it so tightly that she smilingly tried to withdraw
it again.

"Perhaps you are right," said he, seriously. "At all events I think you
understand all these things far better than I do, for to tell the
truth, I am still so stunned with the thought of this happiness, that
you could make me consent to anything you asked. Good God! with what a
heart I came in that door--a doomed man, a lost wretch--and now, and

He was just on the point of starting up again--the place at her feet
which the dog had occupied seemed to have an attraction for him--when
they heard old Erich's voice in the front parlor, saying to some one,
in its driest tone, that his mistress was not at home for anybody

"Not even for me?" queried this some one. "I must hear her say so
herself before I will believe it."

"Angelica!" cried Julie. "We ought not to shut out this dear creature
from our happiness."

She sprang up and hastened out before her friend--to whom any third
person was hateful at such a moment--could make any objection.

"Don't be afraid of him!" she cried, leading the astonished Angelica
into the room triumphantly. "It is true he is a perfect Berserker, and
not a good man to quarrel with. But for that very reason you must take
my part against him. Two staid women of our age ought to have no
difficulty in controlling such a violent man. And isn't it your duty to
help me out of the trouble into which you got me yourself? Dear Jansen,
do not put on such an angry face! Tell this dear, good, astonished
friend that we are resolved, in all seriousness, never again to lose
sight of one another after having been brought together in so strange a
way, thanks to art and to this excellent artist, whom we will not leave
without her reward!"

There was nothing left for Jansen but to make the best of the matter,
and say a few friendly words to Angelica. But his whole soul was in
such commotion that he soon relapsed into a state of absentmindedness.
He listened with half an ear to what his beloved was saying to
Angelica, who did not sustain her part of the conversation very well,
and who uttered none of those bright sayings with which she was
generally so ready. That the two women friends should take up their
quarters together; that the visits of the _fiancé_ should only take
place on certain days and in her own presence; that, for the present at
least, they would not disclose the great event even to their most
intimate friends in "Paradise"--all this and more was discussed, the
burden of the conversation falling almost entirely on Julie. A certain
lightheartedness had taken possession of her, such as her friend had
never seen her show before. She insisted upon Jansen and Angelica
taking breakfast with her, and played the part of hostess most
charmingly. Jansen followed every movement she made, as if he were
attracted by a magnet; and was caught more than once returning the most
irrelevant answers.

At last, when he really had to go--it was already past noon, but no one
had taken any heed of the time--Angelica too rose in great haste.

"I will go on ahead," said she; "lovers don't go through with their
leave-takings quite as quickly as we single people."

But Julie detained her. She merely gave Jansen her hand to kiss, and
closed the door behind him. Then she fell on her friend's neck and
kissed her, her eyes overflowing with tears.

"Forgive me my happiness!" she whispered. "It is so great I am almost
afraid of it, as though I had stolen a crown!"

"What a child you are!" said the artist, bending over her and blushing.
"I told you how it would be--though really I was not so reckless as you
have been. To love this man just as one would any ordinary mortal, to
take him to your heart in this sudden fashion--well, I must say, I
admire your courage. It is true you are a perfectly charming piece of
human nature, from top to toe, and can do things other folks can't.
Now, such miserable institutions as we common people are, mere images
of God in _gouache_ or water-color--well, we have to be sensible, at
all hazards, unless we would bring down ridicule as well as injury upon
our heads. _Addio, cara! Iddio ti benedica!_" and with these words she
rushed out of the door.

                              CHAPTER III.

It was close upon midnight when Rosenbusch, with a heavy sigh, shut the
little sketch-book in which he had been scribbling verses on the empty
leaves between portraits of horses' heads and studies of costumes and
armor, and proceeded to drink off the last drops of his red Würtemberg
wine. For more than three hours he had been sitting in the same place
in the corner of a quiet little beer-house, where few of the regular
guests were to be found to-day on account of the beautiful weather
outside, and where those who were present were fully occupied with
their customary drink. It would not be very hard to divine what had led
our friend hither. First of all, the certainty of not meeting any one
whom he knew. Then, probably, an unconscious attraction in the name.
The landlord of this little wine-room bore the name of the first man,
and it is probable that one who had just been driven from Paradise felt
a strong inclination to go and console himself with another Adam over
the common fate of the race. In this object he seemed to have been
wonderfully successful, partly because of the innocent power of the red
Würtemberger, of which this desperate man had managed to empty four
Schoppen; partly because of the soothing influence of the muses.

What Rosenbusch had written in his sketch-book had been a melancholy
strain; a sad lament over the misappreciation of the world, its
hardhearted realism, its effect upon his own fate, and, finally, over
his own desperate love affair.

Any one who knew how to read poems might easily have derived from this
one the consolation that the author's life was in no immediate danger
from the stunning blows which had fallen upon it. The truth is he
belonged to those delicately-strung, romantic souls, who consider it
almost a moral duty to suffer continually from some gentle inflammation
of the heart or fantasy. But the more chronic their state becomes, the
less dangerous it is, as a general rule. Unfortunately, in the case of
our lyric poet, there was another circumstance which tended greatly to
increase the unpleasantness of his situation. Though, by temperament,
he was little inclined to passionate catastrophes, he felt, on the
other hand, a certain abstract craving for action, which made it
impossible for him to be content with looking on at life from a
distance. A certain lack of physical courage--for he was of a slender,
nervous build--made him feel it incumbent on him to exercise so much
the more moral boldness, and to carry a fancy, which another would have
quickly put aside--for it had not really taken a very strong hold on
him--to some romantic end, or to illustrate it by some adventurous
enterprise. This love of _dénouements_ had generally turned out so
badly for him that he might well have been discouraged; his friends
told the most comical stories of what he had suffered in this way. But
in spite of all this, he had just taken the most audacious step of his
life, with the deliberate intention of doing something at the same time
chivalrous and practical. He, who barely lived from hand to mouth, had
seriously appeared as a suitor in the house of a worthy citizen of the
good old Munich type, entirely incapable of taking a joke in such a
matter. Why matters had been pushed to such an extreme in this
particular case, he himself would have found it hard to say. For a long
time the affair had run the usual course; first, stolen glances were
interchanged from window to window, across the narrow alley; then came
the first tributes of homage in the shape of little notes in verse,
surreptitiously delivered, and flowery contributions to the Munich
daily paper, the _Latest News_. These effusions were accompanied by
much lurking about the streets, which eventually resulted in the
formation of the desired acquaintance, and ended in a bold confession
of love under the "dark arches" of the Marienplatz. With all her
blushing and laughing, and nods and glances, the dear child had managed
to draw the line so skillfully that she appeared to refuse his
attentions as little as she appeared to encourage them. She treated the
whole matter as a joke, as something to be laughed over, but never for
one moment to be regarded in a serious light. That the good-looking,
dashing, gallant painter found favor in the eyes of his pretty neighbor
could not be exactly denied. She even went so far once as to entreat
him to keep up his flute practice diligently. She never fell asleep so
comfortably as when he was sending forth some really heartrending
melody. For the rest she knew very well what to expect of artists, and
she had no doubt but what he had copied the beautiful poems he had
addressed to her from some book or other.

Rosenbusch felt himself rather flattered than hurt by these doubts; but
still this did not advance matters at all, and his dramatic instinct
for fresh excitement and change of action was almost in danger of
lagging a little, when it received an unexpected impulse from another
quarter. He discovered a secret that heretofore had been guarded more
carefully than his own; this was the hopeless love that his next-door
neighbor, Elfinger, entertained for the sister of his sweetheart.

He felt at once that it was incumbent upon his honor for him to do
something which should release them both from this state of unmanly
submission to their fate, and of base yearning toward the house of a
Philistine, and at the same time push the fortunes of his friend. If he
himself could once obtain free access to the house in the character of
_fiancé_ to the worldly daughter, Elfinger would have no difficulty in
becoming more intimate with her spiritually-inclined elder sister, and
would undoubtedly be able to overcome those scruples that had
heretofore prevented this singular girl from accepting any of his
letters, or even from consenting to strike up an acquaintance with him
in the open street.

Confident in this belief, he determined upon the desperate step; and,
if he could not muster up sufficient courage, after the miserable
termination of his undertaking, to return to his friend with the bad
news, let us not think any the worse of his good heart.

Yet we must confess that, as far as he himself was concerned, he
regarded this crushing conclusion to the novel as beneficial rather
than lamentable. He had done his best, had displayed uncommon courage,
and had shown the beautiful being how serious he was in his intentions;
but now he felt that he had a right to rejoice in peace over an
honorable defeat that permitted him to go on setting his heart on
everything that was lovable and unattainable. When at last he stepped
out of the wine-room into the square, where the moonlight shone full
upon the five bronze statues standing rigidly in their regular rank and
file, a feeling of infinite satisfaction stole over him; a malicious
joy that he could wander here in flesh and blood beneath the changing
moon and have as many love affairs as he liked, while these celebrated
dignitaries stood on their pedestals unable to move a muscle. He even
caught himself beginning to sing in a loud voice; but a moment after he
came to a sudden stop. He felt that it was not at all the proper thing
for him to go about bawling merry songs, considering the mournful mood
he ought by good rights to be in.

So he composed his feelings, and wended his way home in a much more
subdued manner. But when he reached his street, and saw the lights in
Elfinger's windows blinking down at him, his heart quickly sunk into
his boots again. He could not bring himself to go up at this dead hour
of the night and confess to his friend how badly the affair had turned
out. So he turned swiftly upon his heel, and, taking a roundabout way,
finally reached his studio, where he knew he could find tolerable
sleeping quarters.

The janitor opened his eyes wide when he was knocked up to open the
back-door for Herr Rosenbusch. The white mice, too, quickly sprang up
from their pleasant dreams of biscuit and Swiss cheese, and rubbed
their snouts against the wire-netting in nervous excitement; for they
recognized their master. There he stood in the moonlight, paying no
attention to them, firmly planted before the battle of Lützen. He gazed
at it for a while in silence; then he felt for the place where his
beard was usually to be found.

"You are no fool, after all!" he muttered to himself. "If you had never
painted anything but that black charger there, rearing because he has
received a bullet in his neck--_Basta! Anch' io sono pittore!_"

Then he took his flute out of its case, and marched up and down for a
while blowing an _adagio_, in order to dissipate the fumes of the red
Würtemberger. At length, when he felt tired enough, he rigged up a bed
on the floor out of a Swedish saddle, that he took for a pillow, a
saddle-blanket, said to have been used by Count Piccolomini, and a
tiger-skin which the moths had eaten until it looked like a variegated
geographical chart, but which was popularly supposed to have belonged
to Froben, the Master of the Horse. However this might be, it served to
make a softer bed for the tired body of the last of the romantic
battle-painters; and he stretched himself upon it with a sigh, looked
out once more on the moonlight night, and then fell into a deep and
dreamless sleep, such as is rarely granted to a disappointed lover.

                              CHAPTER IV.

Elfinger had been sitting up late into the night awaiting the return of
his friend, until at last he was forced to admit that there could be no
doubt but what the adventure had not ended very gloriously. He fell
asleep with a heavy heart, for his last hopes were now defeated.

The next morning he crept mournfully down to the bank, and left it
earlier than usual under some pretext or other. He hoped to find
Rosenbusch at home at last. But the little, scantily furnished, untidy
chamber of the battle-painter was still vacant.

Could he have done something desperate, left the city or even--?

In great excitement, for he loved his good comrade heartily, he mounted
the dark stairs for the second time, after the close of his evening
duties at his desk. He found on his little table an unmistakable
symbolical sign that his friend was still in the land of the living. A
large market-basket stood in the middle, provided with a long paper
label such as they put on medicine-bottles; and on it were written
these words:

                    "A REMEDY FOR BEARDLESS ARTISTS.
                              OF THE CASE.
                       FROM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF
                         THE LEATHER GLOVE."[3]

There was nothing in the basket but the sketch-book, in which the
solitary outcast had written his lamentations the night before.

The actor had not yet finished reading the last strophes when the door
opened, and Rosenbusch solemnly entered, with such an indescribably
mournful expression upon his face that it was impossible to look at him
without laughing. As soon as he saw that Elfinger was once more capable
of appreciating the humor of the situation, it was easy to perceive
that a weight was lifted from his heart. He stepped hastily up to his
friend, and, giving him both his hands, cried:

                 "Drink to the lost, O stranger,
                  And pray for his poor soul!"

the final words of his own verses.

"But come, brother," he continued, "let us rise superior to our fate,
and although our manly spirit may not forbid us to shed a tear--

"So it is all over, and there is no more hope?" interrupted Elfinger,
shutting up the sketch-book.

"Over and gone forever! unless I should change my course in my old age
and become a cattle-painter, or should crawl back into the womb so as
to be born again as a pupil of Piloty. Just conceive it, Roscius! Only
yesterday, hardly an hour before I paid my visit to papa, this brave
Theban had fallen into the hands of a good friend at the art-club, who
had stuffed him with a long account of the wonderfully flourishing
financial condition of art in our good city of Munich. A flock of
sheep, that had just been sold for eight thousand gulden, and the
vivisection of a rabbit by some Hungarian or Pole whom that magician
Piloty had developed into a celebrated man in six months, and whose
pictures are now sold for unheard-of prices before they leave the
easel, had given the two Philistines a chance to air their æsthetics,
which are as irrefutable as mathematics. Figures show this. The export
of painted canvas from this city, which has attained a gigantic height
during the last few years, even surpassing the export of tanned
leather, could not but impress even Nanny's unpoetical father. I might
have carried off the little jewel without the slightest trouble if I
could only have shown him a single cow, or some little historical
atrocity. But for battles there was 'no demand'--eternal peace lay
before us. How much did I make a year out of my old-fashioned art?
Well--I lied like a trooper, and mentioned some unheard of sum
for a man in my condition. Whereupon the monster laughed: he knew
an animal-painter who had made double that amount from a single
sheep's-head, in which, to be sure, you could distinctly perceive the
quality of the wool by looking at it through a magnifying-glass. It was
then that my temperament played me a shabby trick. I could not resist
the temptation to make a disrespectful pun[4]--one, moreover, that was
much too obvious to make it worth the while--and after this there was
no helping matters. Unfortunately we could distinctly hear a burst of
laughter, over my poor joke at papa's expense, proceeding from the
adjoining room. The author of it had apparently been unable to
withstand her maidenly curiosity, and had been listening to all that
had been said. But I--"

He checked himself suddenly. His eyes unconsciously wandered to the
windows across the street, and what he saw there caused him to forget
the end of his report.

A most charming girl made her appearance behind the window-pane, and
two little hands could be seen fastening a little straw-hat firmly on
the brown head; then the window was opened and the sky was eagerly
scanned, apparently in order to find out whether it threatened rain or
promised to be fair. At the window to the left a slim figure could also
be discerned, as it shut up some sewing in the drawer of the little
work-table, and then threw open the window so that the evening air
might benefit the flowers. But while the mischievous eyes of the
younger sister, in roving merrily about, lighted on Rosenbusch, who had
quickly stepped up to his window, and gave him a stolen glance in
passing, the second sister refrained from all such worldly arts and
immediately disappeared from the window, after having said something to
the younger which the spy opposite could not understand, in spite of
the windows being open.

"Elfinger," cried the painter, "it was a wrong conclusion after all.
The affair is not over yet by any means, and I am willing to bet that
the chapter we have just reached won't be the most tiresome one in this
great sensational romance."

He quickly dragged his astonished friend, who, in his despondency,
could not understand this sudden change of mood, out of the door and
down into the street. They stepped out of the house-door just as the
two sisters over opposite crossed the threshold of their home, both
modestly veiled, and carrying little black prayer-books in their hands.
But, before they turned down the street to the right, a bright smile
passed over the face of the younger one, which Rosenbusch noted through
her veil and knew well enough how to interpret.

"Let's wait a second," he said. "We'll give them a little start. That
little Philistine is a perfect witch! I wonder where she got it from!"

"They seem to be going to church. Is there any open so late as this?"

"You forget that this good city of Munich is called _Monachum
monachorum_. If it's too late for vespers, then it's just early enough
for a vigil. So now--march! Otherwise they will be round the corner,
and we shall lose track of them."

It was still light in the street, but Sunday evening sets in pretty
early in Munich, especially on summer days, when a hot air prevails
that is provocative of an early thirst. The two slight girlish figures
made their way through the throng in the inner town as skillfully as
lizards, now disappearing from the gaze of their faithful followers,
and now coming into view again. They turned into a rather broad but
deserted side-street, in which stood an insignificant little chapel,
scarcely to be distinguished from the row of dwelling-houses, though it
had the reputation of enjoying the special protection of the Virgin. A
slight jutting out of the decorated façade was the only thing which
indicated its whereabouts, just as a well-to-do ecclesiastical
gentleman going about in the midst of his flock shows, by the gentle
outward curve of his body, that he has dedicated his life to
contemplation, and to thanksgiving for all the good gifts of Heaven.

From the low portal of this out-of-the-way little church, which was
guarded by a plain wooden door, a dense crowd of worshipers were just
streaming forth, mostly old women and shriveled-up old men, and a few
early-converted sinners with faded faces and restless looks. No sooner
did they come out into the street than most of them gave themselves up
to the refreshing enjoyment of fresh air and cheerful conversation--two
luxuries which they had been forced to dispense with inside. Only a few
wheezing old men crept along alone, counting their beads with their
long bony fingers as they went. The pious company were far too much
occupied with themselves to pay any attention to the two sisters, who
now entered the deserted sanctum. It was dark and gloomy enough within.
A gaunt, fellow in a white surplice, who figured as sacristan, was
sleepily engaged in putting out the candles on the principal altar,
with a rod on which was fastened an extinguisher. When this was done,
he spread a covering over the altar-cloth. And now the fading daylight
found its only entrance through two arched windows, on which the
figures of the Virgin and Joseph with the Child stood out in brilliant
red and blue. Over opposite, where two red columns of porphyry
supported the organ-loft, deep darkness had already settled down, but
faintly broken by the little stumps of tapers before which a few
tireless suppliants continued to read in their little books, though the
regular service had long since come to an end. An iron stand, with
prongs and nails with the sharp ends up, also bore a number of large
and small wax-candles, which had been planted there by the devout as a
modest offering. A reddish light from this fragrant candelabrum, which
stood before one of the side shrines, fell upon the numerous crucifixes
and silver votive offerings near the altars, upon the artificial
flowers that decorated the reliquaries, and upon the dilapidated finery
of the figure of the Madonna standing at the feet of her crucified Son.
It had a singularly weird and depressing effect--the soft crackling of
the lights, the subdued mumbling from those toothless lips, the
sniffing and wheezing of the kneeling old women, and the peculiar smell
of the wax-tapers, incense and snuff, which last article seemed to be
in constant use to prevent the devotional spirit from falling into a

But all these impressions, which at first almost took away the breath
of the two friends, seemed, from long familiarity, to have lost all
power over the sisters. After sprinkling themselves with holy-water out
of a basin near one of the red columns, they stepped softly up to the
candelabrum, and each fastened her little taper to one of the sharp
points, carefully lighting it before doing so, and then returned to the
columns and knelt down in two of the back pews, one on one side and one
on the other of the middle aisle.

Both appeared to be immediately absorbed in devotional exercises, the
forehead pressed upon the open prayer-book, the little hands busied
with the beads of their rosaries. But they could hardly have had time
to repeat a paternoster before the places at their side were occupied
by two voluntary participants in their worship. On the footstool to the
right, next the startled Fanny, knelt Elfinger, while Rosenbusch had
sunk gently down on the stool on the other side, close to his more
worldly sweetheart, who appeared not to take the slightest notice of
him. The muttering, wheezing, snuff-taking old hags, who sat about here
and there, evidently took no offense at this symmetrical group, which
quietly busied itself with its own affairs; and only a round, red-faced
little priest, who was kneeling before his own taper and reading out of
a book, with his spectacles shoved high up on his forehead, seemed to
be suddenly disturbed in his perusal. The spectacles quickly slipped
down upon his nose, and his little eyes strove earnestly to pierce the
dim light that played about the two red columns.

"Are you really in earnest?" whispered Elfinger, bending down close to
the ear of his neighbor. "You really want to turn your back upon this
beautiful world and bury yourself in a convent? You, so young, so
charming, so well fitted to be happy and to make others happy."

A deep sigh was the only response he received. At the same time she
almost imperceptibly hitched her stool about half an inch farther away
from the speaker, and buried her delicate little nose still deeper in
her prayer-book.

"Fräulein Fanny," he whispered, after a pause, "what horrible thing
have you seen or experienced in the world that has made you already
weary of it? Or does the air here in this house of prayer seem to you
easier to breathe than the lovely air of heaven outside? And do you
think you will find a convent better ventilated than this place, and
filled with a better company?"

"_Ave Maria, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora_--" murmured the girl,
making the sign of the cross.

"And do you think I will be put off in this way?" whispered Rosenbusch
to his neighbor. "Oh, my adored Fanny, you do not know me! If painting
battles does not exactly make a man fat, it makes him strong, bold as a
lion, invincible. You shall see what heroic deeds I will yet
accomplish--on condition, of course, that you remain faithful and true
to me. Or do you doubt me?"

She was silent for a moment. A quick, mischievous side-glance rested on
him for an instant: "Go away!" she whispered, scarcely above her
breath. "You are only joking. It was very wrong of you to follow us
here. I still have six paternosters to repeat, and it is a positive

"It's a sin of your papa, sweet Nanny mine, to shut you up like a nun
and let you go nowhere but to church, as if a young creature needed
nothing but to be pious. When should one be merry, then, unless it is
when one is young? Come, Fräulein Nanny, if your father had not been so
angry yesterday, and I were sitting by your side--not here in the dark
corner, but in your own house on the sofa--and were whispering all
sorts of silly love-talk in your ear, and your sister, who was left to
matronize us, should find her presence absolutely necessary in the
kitchen, and--"

The round red face in the window-niche assumed a highly displeased
expression, for the two heads near the red columns had approached so
near together that their hair touched, and the softest whispering
sufficed to make itself understood. Over opposite, where the other
couple were, a space two spans broad still intervened between the two
kneeling figures. But even there not a syllable appeared to be lost.

"I know I have no right to hope for any great happiness," whispered
Elfinger. "I am a poor cripple. If you reply by saying that it is a
piece of audacity for me to hope, with my single eye, to find favor in
the most beautiful pair of eyes that ever read in a prayer-book, I find
it very natural. Yes, you will even do me a favor, Fräulein Fanny, if
you will tell me so--if you will confess to me that a man who looks
as I do can never win your heart. I would try then to come to my
senses--that is to say, to become quite hopeless. Will you do me this

Deep silence. Nevertheless she hardly seemed inclined to make such a

"You are cruel!" he continued; "I am neither to live nor die. But of
what account am I? If I could believe that _you_ would be happy--O
Fanny, I would really suppress my own feelings and call the convent a
paradise in which you lived and were content. But I shudder to think
that you may regret what you have done when it is too late; that then
even a life by the side of such an ugly, insignificant, unknown man as
I am, who loves you more than himself and would do everything for you,
and who finds his whole world in you--"

He raised his voice so loud as he said this that she looked up in
affright, and made a beseeching sign for him to calm himself. In doing
this, she involuntarily moved a little nearer to him.

"For Heaven's sake!" she stammered, "what are you doing? Pray--pray
leave me. It can never, it must never be!--never, never! A secret, that
I dare not tell to any one, not even in the--"

"In the confessional," she was about to add. Suddenly she started back,
in alarm at what she had already said, and bowed her face down upon her
book again.

"This miserable, faint-hearted, wretched world of shopkeepers!" raved
Rosenbusch, on his stool over opposite. "Can there still be bold and
manly deeds? O Nanny! if it only were as it once was, I would come
spurring up to your father's castle some fine night on my gallant
charger. You would let down a rope-ladder from the donjon-window, and
would swing yourself up behind me on my horse--and away we would go
into the wide, wide world! But nowadays--"

"Hm! nowadays we have railroads," she murmured, slyly.

"Girl!" he cried, in a sepulchral voice, "are you really in earnest?
You would--you have the courage? O dearest Nanny of my heart! If I
should elope with you, you would love me so dearly that you would
follow me to the end of the world--"

She shook her head. There was a sound like a suppressed giggle.

"Nonsense!" she said, "we need only go as far as Pasing. Then papa will
steam by us; or we can do as another couple once did. They merely went
to the top of the church of St. Peter and sat concealed there with the
warden, and their people went searching about all over the country for
them, while they sat there and laughed at them all."

"Nanny, love, you really will--oh, what a heavenly idea! To-morrow--if
you are truly in earnest--to-morrow evening at this time--"

This time she actually laughed out loud, but she held her handkerchief
before her face.

"Oh, stop!" she said, "I was only joking! It is absurd to talk of such
a thing! Mother would worry herself to death, and besides--but we must
go; Fanny has risen already."

She put her book up near her face, so as to pray as quickly as
possible. But he, burning with his adventurous spirit, and encouraged
by the darkness of the place, quickly whispered to her:

"And you will send me away in this fashion? Not a single stolen--oh,
Nanny dear, you would be doing a good deed--a kiss, in all honor!"

She seemed to have suddenly become deaf, so motionless did she kneel
there, with her eyes tightly closed. At last, however, she made a
movement as though she would stand up. In doing so, her little book
slipped from the slanting rack and fell between her and her chivalrous
neighbor. She stooped down hastily to pick it up, and, as he could not
help doing likewise, nothing was more natural than that their faces
should approach near enough, there in the darkness, for him to impress
a hasty kiss on the girl's round cheek. She did not even seem to be
conscious of what had occurred.

"Thank you," she whispered as she rose up again, holding the book he
had officiously handed her. "Goodnight--but you mustn't follow us!"

She said this in a tone which made it very doubtful whether she meant
it seriously. At the same time she rose from the stool and hurried to
her sister, who stood waiting for her, with downcast eyes, near the
holy-water basin.

The two slim figures reverently bent the knee before the principal
altar, sprinkled themselves again with the holy-water, and left the
little church in the same manner as they had come, deeply veiled and
carrying their prayer-books before them in their hands.

Five minutes after, Rosenbusch might have been seen stepping out of the
porch, arm-in-arm with the actor. The battle-painter threw the only
sixpence he had about him into a lame beggar's hat.

"Holy Mother!" he cried, "life is splendid, after all, in spite of

"Where shall we go?" asked his gloomy friend, whose spirits had been
completely crushed by the "secret" of his sweetheart.

"To the tower of St. Peter's, noble Roscius! I must get acquainted with
the warden this very evening, and take a look at the arrangement of the
place. One can never know what devilish queer adventures one may
encounter, when it would be very useful to have such high friends and

                               CHAPTER V.

Early on the morning following their nocturnal encounter, Felix sought
out the lieutenant; he could not rest without trying to find out
whether it was not an illusion of his senses which made him think he
saw Irene's uncle riding at his friend's side. Schnetz lived in the top
story of a dismal old house whose winding stairway was but dimly
illuminated by a faint stream of light proceeding from a dingy skylight
covered with dust and cobwebs. A woman, too refined-looking to be a
servant, and, on the other hand, too modest in her behavior to be a
housekeeper, opened the door for the strange visitor, looked at him in
a frightened and confused way, and informed him in a soft, subdued
voice that the lieutenant had gone out very early in the morning; when
he would be back she did not know. He sometimes staid away whole days
at a time; this time, besides, he had said something to her about
taking a ride into the mountains. So Felix was forced to restrain his
impatience. But he felt quite incapable of going to his work as usual.
He lounged about the streets for hours, regardless of the heat and
dust. He carefully scanned every horseman whom he met, and every
carriage from which he saw a veil waving; and a girl's head, turning
about with restless curiosity to see all that was going on, caused his
heart to beat until he had convinced himself it was not the dreaded,
and yet secretly so longed-for, face--for which he sought thus
earnestly only that it might not take him too much by surprise.

On the following day he continued his aimless wanderings, at first on
foot, through all the picture galleries, and in the afternoon in a
drosky, in which he rattled through the Au suburb, the English Garden,
and, finally, the Nymphenburg and the deer park, until his panting
horse landed him, toward evening, at one of the suburban theatres; for
there was still a bare possibility that the travelers would feel a
desire to see the "Pfarrer von Kirchfeld," which happened to be the
sensation of the hour.

All these hopes were doomed to disappointment. Half tired out and half
angry with himself, he left the theatre at the close of the first act,
and strolled back to his lodgings by the most unfrequented streets he
could find. There he found a line from Jansen, who had been alarmed at
his long absence.

"It is true," he laughed bitterly to himself, "such an old apprentice
as I am ought to know the value of his time better than to cut school
for two days. What is the good of it all, except to give one tired legs
and a heavy head? And, if I really had found her, what then? We should
have stared at one another like total strangers, and hurried out of one
another's sight."

He threw himself on the sofa, and mechanically reached out his hand for
one of the books that lay upon the table. As he did so he noticed that
he had taken up with it a fine red hair, and this recalled his thoughts
to the night when he had given up this room to Zenz.

"What a fool I was!" he muttered between his teeth. "If I had not
driven the good creature away from me, perhaps I should be in better
humor now, and would not have wasted these two days in such a senseless

Then he tried very hard to recall the figure of the poor child. But she
exercised no more power over him now than she had when she was present
in the body. At last sleep took compassion on his troubled soul.

The next morning he resigned himself with no little bitterness to his
fate, and betook himself to Jansen's workshop. He hoped that he should
be in better mood when once he had a piece of clay between his fingers.

He started back in positive alarm, therefore, when, while crossing one
of the large, deserted squares, he saw the very person whom he had
yesterday sought so diligently, coming out of a hotel door and
advancing straight upon him. The lieutenant wore his usual suit--a
close-buttoned green riding-jacket, high top-boots, and a gray hat,
with a little feather, slightly tipped toward the left ear. His dry,
yellow face, with its black imperial, had a most grim and defiant look,
but it was instantly lighted up by a polite smile when he caught sight
of his young friend of the "Paradise."

"I missed your visit day before yesterday, and have not been able to
return it yet because I have been in service again. An old acquaintance
has fallen upon me from the skies, a Baron N----" (he gave the name of
Irene's uncle). "I got acquainted with this jolly crony some years ago
in Algiers, when, just to get a smell of powder, I was fool enough to
take the field against _Messieurs les Arabes_, although they had never
done me the slightest harm in the world. The baron was trying at the
time to become a lion-hunter; but he afterward preferred to offer his
homage to the king of the desert from a respectful distance, and to
travel back to his peaceful home with a skin bought at a bazaar, and a
good store of burnooses and shawls. He was the sensible man of the two.
For my part, it was a long time before I could get rid of the ugly
remembrance that I had really done my hunting in earnest, and had
probably deprived several of those poor devils of the pleasure of
protecting their native soil against the French invaders. And now my
old tent-fellow comes upon me here like a ghost--though a very portly
and jolly one--and drags me about with him for days; in fact, I am
coming from his hotel at this very moment."

Felix involuntarily gave a glance toward the windows of the hotel. It
cost him a hard struggle to suppress all signs of his emotion.

"Does your guest live here?" he asked. "You have been visiting him so

"We were going to take a ride. But I found a note from him, in which he
informed me that I might take a holiday. His party has been invited by
one of its noble relatives to take an excursion of several days, at
which I, thank Heaven, should be quite superfluous."

"His party? Then the baron is--"

"Married? No; but almost worse than that. He has a young niece with him
who is really the cause of his having come here at all. A bad story--a
broken engagement, great surmising and gossiping about it in the little
capital--in short, the health of the Fräulein demanded a change of air,
and she insisted upon going off to Italy for a year. My old comrade,
who remained a bachelor because he feared the claws of a lioness less
than the slipper of a pretty wife--well, he simply jumped from the
frying-pan into the fire. This young niece of his rules him with her
little finger. The consequence was that the trunks immediately had to
be packed for Italy. But, while here, their noble relatives succeeded
in frightening them so about the Italian summers and the cholera, that
they have decided to wait until the worst of the season is over,
spending part of the time here in the city and part in the mountains.
You will perceive, my dear friend, what a charming prospect this is for

"Is the young Fräulein so unamiable that your 'service' is such a hard
task?" Felix remarked, with an attempt at lightness. At the same time
he looked abstractedly away from the lieutenant, as if he merely
continued the topic from politeness.

"Look here!" continued Schnetz, with his peculiar, dry chuckle. "If you
like, I'll introduce you to the young lady, and resign all my rights.
You will then have an opportunity to become acquainted with the
sweetness of such service, and will perhaps make out better than I, who
certainly have not succeeded in winning my way to favor. This proud
little person--provided, by-the-way, with a pair of eyes that are
equally well fitted to rule, to be gracious, and to condemn one
forever--has unfortunately never felt a strong hand over her. The
consequence is, she has a way of always setting up her own wishes on
every subject, among others in regard to this unfortunate engagement.
She appears to have made it so hot for the good youth who had the
courage to take up with her, that at last he couldn't stand it any
longer. It is very probable that she was sorry for this at heart, and
so at the present moment she is in a decidedly irritable and
discontented mood, and it is dangerous to touch her without gloves.
Unfortunately I neglected to use this consideration; and, as a
consequence, we stand on a most charming war-footing toward one

He struck his boot impatiently with his riding-whip, put his left arm
through his young companion's right, and, striding rapidly forward with
his long legs, growled out:

"It's enough to drive a man wild when he sees how God's images are
disfigured--whether by saints or devils, it's all the same. Either
confined by strait-lacing or by nuns' robes, or else _décolletées_ to
the very waist. Believe me, my dear fellow, as far as the education of
the women of the upper classes is concerned, we are not much farther
advanced to-day than we were in the darkest middle ages, when a brothel
stood next door to a church. At least, we, down here in our envied
South, are not; though, to be sure, this Northern blood--"

"A North German?"

"Hum! North or middle German!--upon that point she is positively
fiendish! In the very first hour of our meeting, this Fräulein asked me
what sort of society we had here--of course, the aristocratic society,
as it loves to call itself; for a mere crowd of human beings, without
the forms of etiquette, can never be regarded as human society. I
replied quietly that the so-called _good_ society here was the worst
one could possibly wish for, and that it was only in the so-called
_bad_ society that I had come across a few good comrades here and
there, with whom there was such a thing as living. Whereupon the
little princess looked at me as much as to say that she should never
have supposed, from my dress--which was anything but suited to the
_salon_--that my exclusion from polite society was otherwise than
involuntary. But I, pretending not to notice this, proceeded to explain
to her at length the reasons which caused me to be disgusted with the
_crême_ of our city; the strange odor of their _salons_--a mixture of
patchouli, incense, and the stable--their very doubtful French, and
their undoubtedly worse German; their almost sublime ignorance of all
that is generally considered to belong to education; and that _naïve_
lack of knowledge in moral matters, which is generally to be found only
in convents, and which can only be properly fostered by an
ecclesiastical society and sanctioned by sly father confessors. Your
nobles in the North, so far as I have known them--well, I needn't tell
you about the clay of which they are made. No matter what hard-mouthed
hobbies they ride in regard to affairs of church and state, they
nevertheless hold fast to _noblesse oblige_; and then, too, you are
very likely to find, in the castles of Pomerania and the Mark, the
Bible and the hymn-book side by side with Ranke's 'History of the
Popes' and Macaulay's 'History of England.' With us, on the other
hand--to be sure, though, Paul de Kock and the 'Seeress of Prevorst'
are also classics, and do not stand on the 'Index Expurgatorius.' I
notice that you are thinking to yourself how much less jolly, and more
discontented and bristling, I am to-day than I was that night in
'Paradise.' You see, my good fellow, you got acquainted with me then in
one of my holiday humors, that come over me only once a month; and,
to-day, you see my old Adam with his every-day face. If no one else has
told you this, to give you due warning about me, I must confess it
myself--since I left the service I have really had no occupation but to
scoff and grumble. It is true, we live at a time when every honest
fellow will have his hands full if he only conscientiously improves
every opportunity to do this. But you know this goes very badly with
our celebrated South German good-nature; all the worse if the one who
scolds happens to be in the right. It is because of this that I have
grown old in my lieutenancy; for I could not keep my mouth shut even
about our military shortcomings, and at last succeeded in bolting every
door to advancement so tightly against me, that I preferred to leave
the beaten track of a military career altogether. Wouldn't even the
blessed Thersites have been forced to resign if he had served as first
lieutenant under the generals Achilles or Diomedes? And yet, those
times were far simpler than ours! So, now, I go on grumbling without
hinderance, and without caring whether any notice is taken of it or
not. The wheat of the Philistines is sown too thick, and thrives too
well, for it to be hurt by the few tares that grow among it. Still, it
does me some good; in the first place, because it purges me of my gall
before it mixes with my blood and attacks my vitals; and then because
it makes me more and more hated by good society, and avoided by persons
of my own rank. You don't know what a Robinson-Crusoe-like existence I
lead; in the midst of the city I am as solitary as Saint Anthony in his
cave; yes, even more lonely, for I suffer no temptations. Won't you
take a look at my hermitage? Here we are at the door."

They had arrived at the old house with which Felix had already made
acquaintance. He felt very little disposition to mount the stairs
again. While his companion had been running on in this odd, bitter way,
his mind had been occupied by one single thought. "She is here! You
need only wish it, and you can see her to-morrow!" Nevertheless, he
could not well refuse Schnetz's polite invitation; and so he followed
him up into his fourth-story quarters.

                              CHAPTER VI.

The pale, quiet woman opened the door for them, and looked neither at
Schnetz nor his companion, but withdrew hastily to a little back-room
near the kitchen, without giving any other answer than a slow shake of
the head to her master's kind nod and inquiry whether any one had been
there. Felix was struck, even more than the first time, by the sad,
timid expression of her eyes, which had a noble form and a soft
brilliancy, while her features could never have been handsome even in
her younger days.

"You must excuse me," said Schnetz, when they had entered his room,
where he offered his visitor a cigar--he himself smoked Algerian
tobacco out of a short clay-pipe--"for not having introduced you to
Madame Thersites. You would not have gained much by it, for the spirits
of that good soul are not, unfortunately, the best in the world. She
labors under the fixed delusion that she is the great misfortune of my
life, because I quitted the service on her account; since which time I
have had hard work to keep her from quitting life itself in some moment
of depression. Yes, my dear fellow, there is a little example of the
profound sense, wisdom, and morality of our social condition. This
excellent woman, who has now borne the world with me for ten years,
comes of a family of country schoolmasters. I became acquainted with
her when I was visiting the lord of the manor; her old father had been
pensioned, her mother was dead, and she, the eldest daughter, took
entire charge of the household, educated her brothers and sisters, and
yet found time enough to do something for herself and perfect her
education. Of course she is a Protestant. Well, I began to respect her
greatly; and so one thing followed another, until I discovered that I
could not live without her. The fact that I could not give the bonds
which a lieutenant must have in order to marry, did not seem to me at
the time an insurmountable difficulty. My sweetheart thought just as I
did, that we only need wait until her second sister was old enough to
take her place in the household. As soon as this was possible, we could
live in the city. An old aunt, whose heir I expected to be, had, as she
said herself, long had her trunks packed for the journey to the other
world, and then I could easily raise the necessary sum; while the fact
that my marriage would be a _mésalliance_ especially delighted my heart
on account of my family, with whom I had long before broken off all

"But the departure of my aunt was put off from year to year; and we
resolved not to wait till our best days were past, and lived for some
four or five years in Christian and true marriage, though it had not
received ecclesiastical sanction. Our only trouble was the loss of
our four children. At last my aunt betook herself to her last
resting-place; and now, for we were again expecting a child, we made
preparations to procure an official recognition of our union, though
nothing could make it closer than it was already. But see what sublime
sentiments were all at once expressed by my good comrades!--the whole
corps knew our relations to one another in all its uprightness, and
knew me besides. The honor of the corps would suffer under it, they
said, if I married a 'person' who had had children before the official
recognition of her marriage. They wouldn't have found it in the least
offensive had I merely continued the old relations. The logic of this
_point d'honneur_ was incomprehensible to my stupid head, as well as to
my wife's. But while it merely made mine sit all the firmer on my
shoulders, so that I preferred to resign rather than to submit, it
threw my poor wife's completely off its balance. We went through the
ceremony sadly; the child, which was soon after brought into the world,
died within a few months; and since that time the poor creature has
been afflicted with the melancholy delusion that she has the ruin of my
life upon her conscience. I have tried a hundred times to make it clear
to her that I could have wished for nothing better than to be free from
the routine of military service, and devote my life to my studies.
There are certain points in military history, and also a few technical
problems and controversial questions, concerning which I sometimes have
a word or two to say in military periodicals; and so, when the wretched
campaign of '66 came, in which we had hard work to save the honor of
our arms, to say nothing of our having been delightfully fooled by
Austria, I thanked the Lord that I was not forced to march with the
rest, but had done forever with a trade which can make a man act
against his convictions. Since then, we have lived on unmolested, and I
devote my spare hours, as you see, to illustrating my prosaic existence
according to the best of my ability."

His eyes wandered over the little room, which certainly did not seem
very cheerful, and had, even on this summer day, a strangely chilling
air. It is possible that this impression was caused in part by the
peculiar decoration of the walls, that were but sparsely relieved by a
few plain articles of furniture, a black leather sofa and a carved,
worm-eaten wardrobe. Instead of framed pictures or engravings, wherever
there was a vacant spot, and even behind the stove and in the niche of
the solitary window, there were the most grotesque _silhouettes_ cut
out of black paper and pasted on the bare plaster, which had once been
painted white. They formed an extraordinary collection of figures,
taken from the most different stations of life, most of them
exhibited in ridiculous postures appropriate to their respective
occupations--pedantic scholars, students, artists, women,
ecclesiastics, and soldiers--all as if caught _in flagrante_ in their
pet weaknesses and sins, and fixed upon the wall, standing revealed in
shadowy outline. Yet an artist could not help taking delight in the
broad yet spirited strokes with which each figure was portrayed; and it
was simply the superabundance of these weird groups that covered the
walls, and had already begun to overspread the smoke-stained ceiling,
which was calculated to excite feverish dreams in a quiet brain if they
were looked at for any length of time.

"You see now why I dragged you up here," said Schnetz, throwing off his
riding-jacket and crossing his lean arms (round which flapped a pair of
coarse shirtsleeves) behind his back. "From my intercourse with artists
I have caught vanity enough to mercilessly entice inoffensive people
into my den, although the black art which I pursue appears to very
few of them to be worth the trouble of toiling up four flights of
stairs to examine. Life viewed from the wrong side--the fancies of a
misanthrope--a Thersites album, or rather nigrum--well, am I wrong in
thinking that this world of shadows is even less to your taste than an
ordinary art exhibition?

"But when you consider the matter more carefully, you will find it has
its good side. What is it that is so absolutely lacking in all modern
art, and the absence of which is the source of all other defects?
Simply this: it no longer respects the _silhouette_! In landscape and
_genre_, historical and portrait painting, yes, even in sculpture, you
find everywhere a lot of pretty little tricks of execution; delicate
shades, tones, and touches; a devilish careful, nervous, and, on the
whole, attractive piece of work, but in it all not a single great
feature; no strong decoration, no solid construction, the very shadow
of which suggests something. Give me a pair of shears and a quire of
black paper, and I will cut you out the whole history of art up to the
nineteenth century; the Sistine Madonna and Claude Lorraine as well as
Teniers and Ruysdael; Phidias and Michael Angelo as well as Bernini; so
that every one of them shall make a good showing, the _rococo_ period
included, which, after all, had something sounder at bottom than our
boasted present. Take away from the latter its finical, over-refined
tricks of color, and what is left? An incredible poverty of form, a
little brilliancy or aspiring 'idealism,' and the bare canvas. The same
thing might, it seems to me, be justly applied to our literature, and
from that to all the other manifestations of our boasted civilization.
But I, on the contrary, have from the very first devoted my attention
to the essential part, the primary form, and the really determining
outlines; and as these, unfortunately, only come out strongly in our
sins and weaknesses, I have become a _silhouette_ cutter--an art that
not only earns no bread, but even takes out of one's mouth the bread he
might otherwise have gained. Naturally, mankind will never forgive one
who shows it its dark side, and points out its excrescences and
deformities and defects; for each individual thinks he is just the one
all of whose sides the sun should especially light up."

It was fortunate for Felix, in his absent-minded state, that Schnetz
was one of those men who, when they once begin upon the great theme of
their life, upon their mission or their one idea, take no offense when
their hearer leaves them to run on alone, but play upon their single
whim in inexhaustible variations. When, after half an hour or so, Felix
interrupted Schnetz with the laughing remark that his teacher would
scold him if he came to work too late, he found that he himself had not
spoken a dozen words; and yet the lieutenant took leave of him with the
remark that he rejoiced to have discovered in him a congenial spirit,
and hoped the four flights of stairs would not be so high as to keep
him from their acquaintance later over a glass of beer and a tolerable

                              CHAPTER VII.

The weird shadow-pictures and the biting epigrams of his new friend
haunted Felix all the way down the four flights. His head was in a
whirl with them; his heart felt a keen sympathy for this extraordinary
being. "What a life!" he said to himself. "How much power is rusting
and going to decay there in the dark! And who is to blame for it?--and
I, who knows but what I--"

He pursued his soliloquy no further. As he stepped into the sunny
streets a carriage rolled quickly past, and from it fluttered a
silver-gray veil. In a moment all his thoughts were upon Irene again.
Of course it could not have been she; not to-day, at all events. But
if she should return from her excursion to-morrow and drive by like
this--what then? What would she think? That he had followed her and was
seeking an opportunity for reconciliation, after she had bidden him go?
Anything rather than such a suspicion! Even though he knew that he was
not entirely blameless, his pride was too deeply hurt, his honor was
too deeply wounded, for him to make any advances or to suffer even the
suspicion of doing so. That she was not running after him, and that she
had not the slightest idea in what direction he had turned his steps,
he did not for a moment doubt. He knew her proud spirit so well, that
he only feared one thing, and that was, that upon catching the faintest
hint of his being anywhere near her, she would throw aside all her
plans and insist upon leaving the city again; indeed, would rather face
the Italian summer and all the dangers of sickness, than give rise to
the suspicion that she felt she had been too hasty with him and wished
the unfortunate letter unwritten.

The simplest and at the same time the most chivalrous way of getting
out of the difficulty would have been for him to have gone out of her
way himself; but after brief consideration he rejected this plan as
altogether impracticable. An uncontrollable love of art was suddenly
aroused in his soul--a strong conviction as to his duty toward Jansen
and his own future; and it seemed to him so humiliating to have to
confide to his friends the reasons which induced him to run away from
school again so soon, that he hastily struck into the nearest way to
the studio, as if he felt that there was the place where he would be
safest from all vexations and temptations.

Besides, he had a whole day left in which to take serious counsel with
himself, to look at the matter from all sides, and to decide what it
was best to do.

As he entered the court he saw a carriage standing at the door of the
rear house. Although he knew it could not be hers, it gave him a sharp
start, and he beckoned to the janitor and asked him who had come to
call. "A lady, neither young nor old, with two gentlemen; and they
spoke French." It was evidently a matter of no interest to him, and so,
without devoting another thought to it, he opened the door of Jansen's
studio and went in.

The visitors were standing directly before the Adam and Eve, with their
backs to the door, and did not hear him enter. Jansen gave him a nod of
welcome, and old Homo rose slowly from his tiger-skin to rub his gray
head against Felix's hand. For a moment, therefore, he could examine
the three visitors at his leisure. In the youth with the curly black
hair he immediately recognized the young Greek he had met in
"Paradise." He was pointing to different parts of the work with
animated gestures, and seemed to be expressing to the lady his
enthusiastic admiration. The latter, holding an eye-glass close to her
eyes, stood silent and motionless before the group, to all appearances
completely carried away by it. She was dressed with simple elegance,
was rather _petite_ than tall, and her face, seen as Felix saw it, in
very slight profile, was not exactly youthful or of special beauty, but
was striking because of the whiteness of the skin and a certain
expression of force and intelligence in the slightly-parted lips.

The Slavic type could be recognized at the first glance, even before
she opened her lips, and expressed her admiration to Jansen with that
soft modulation which is so peculiar to the Poles and Russians.

The gentleman on her left took advantage of the first pause to put in
his word. He was a lean, elderly, carelessly-dressed man, who
continually swayed his long body to and fro while speaking, and raised
his eyebrows with an odd expression of importance, he, too, spoke with
a foreign accent; but it turned out, in the course of his conversation,
that he was a born German, and had merely acquired this touch of Slavic
pronunciation by long residence in Russia. He had introduced himself as
an art-collector and professor of æsthetics; and explained that, while
making a professional journey to Italy and France, he had, to his great
joy and surprise, encountered at the hotel the countess, whom he had
known before in Berlin as an ardent art-lover. Although he had never
visited Italy, he spoke of its masterpieces of sculpture with the
greatest confidence; nor did he seem to find anything in Jansen's
studio for which he had not a formula at his tongue's end.

In the mean while Stephanopulos had turned round and recognized Felix,
and had hastened to introduce him to the lady. Her keen, brown eyes
rested with evident pleasure upon the stately figure of the young man;
she asked him how long he had enjoyed the good-fortune to be the pupil
of such an artist, and wished to see some of his own productions, a
favor which Felix politely but firmly refused to grant.

"Do you fully realize," said she, in her deep, mellow voice, "what an
enviable being you are? You unite the aristocracy of blood and talent,
and the fact that you have decided in favor of sculpture sets the crown
to your happiness. What is life, what is all other happiness in life,
but an endless series of excitements? What are all other arts but oil
to the fire, fuel for the passionate soul that yearns to free itself
from the trammels of the world, and seeks repose in the ideal, and,
instead of repose, finds merely more inspired emotions? I express
myself very awkwardly--you must supply what I mean. But, really, now,
in regard to sculpture--is it not, if only because of its material,
peculiarly suggestive of moderation and repose, even in the liveliest
plays of lines and forms? Take, for instance, that Bacchante over
there--what person, no matter how light of foot and fond of dancing,
feels when he looks at it the time of the music in the tips of his
toes, as if he heard a dance played? Even the storm and whirl of the
maddest reel is controlled by the law of beauty, much as one conceives
of the idea of the unfettered air in the spirit of the Creator of the
universe. And then this unutterably grand group of the first human
beings! All disquiet and trouble, all the fates that were reserved for
mankind, repose here as if in the germ--in the bud. In the presence of
this wonderful work, one forgets all petty wishes and weaknesses! But
why haven't you finished the head of your Eve, honored master?"

A sudden blush suffused Jansen's face as he replied that he had not
quite made up his mind in regard to the type of face. He was, according
to his wont, monosyllabic and almost awkward in the presence of this
eloquent woman. But it struck Felix that his face did not darken with
suppressed disgust, as was usually the case when he received tiresome
visitors, but that he preserved the same patient, smiling mien during
the wise utterances of the professor and the rambling scintillations of
the lady. They had not met for two days. Felix had no suspicion of what
had happened in the mean time that caused his friend's eyes to sparkle
with such unwonted mildness and animation.

Meanwhile the countess was engaged in inspecting the statues that stood
about the studio. The professor had previously expressed the opinion
that the greater the genius of the man the less he was capable of duly
estimating his own labors, and that for that reason he ought to have
his own works explained to him; and, in accordance with this sentiment,
he now relieved Jansen of the trouble of acting as _cicerone_ in his
own workshop. The casts of separate limbs in dimensions larger than
life seemed to interest the lady, and the beautifully-shaped breast of
a young girl afforded the professor an opportunity to launch into a
long discourse on the form of the Venus of Milo as compared with that
of the Venus of Medici.

Suddenly the lady turned to a little female figure which stood, still
in clay, on the modeling-board near the window, and which must have
been a work of the last few days; for even Felix had never seen it
before. Although the head was not larger than a child's fist, and the
execution was, as yet, only very sketchy, it was easy to see at the
first glance that Julie's picture had floated before the eyes of the
sculptor. The beautiful figure leaned gently against the back of a
simple _fauteuil_, her right arm, from which the sleeve was pushed
back, resting on the arm of the chair, her cheek pressed against her
hand, while her left arm hung listlessly down so that the long,
exquisitely-formed fingers just touched the head of a dog that was
sleeping by her side. The eyes were half closed, just as Julie's
generally were; and, quickly as the features had been designed, an
expression of thoughtful attention, of earnest and loving sympathy, was
clearly conveyed in the face.

In this position she had sat before him while he told her his unhappy
story. Amid all the remembrances of the past his eyes had been
enchained by the charm of the present, and with that strange,
independent action of the artistic temperament, that capacity of the
senses for observing closely while the soul smarts and bleeds, he had
taken in every line of the beloved figure.

Then, when he had returned to his studio, where Felix did not make his
appearance that day, and no one else broke his solitude, he had begun,
at first with a careless hand, to form from a piece of clay the picture
that never left him, until at length he had grown serious over his
pastime, and had produced in an incredibly short time the whole
charming figure. A spirit of life, a natural grace, breathed through
the whole work, and was still further heightened by its diminutive
proportions, reminding one of the fairy-tale about the pygmy maiden who
was carried about by her happy lover in a casket.

The æsthetic professor took advantage of the occasion to hold forth
concerning sitting statues from the time of the Agrippinas down to that
of Marie Louise in Parma; about the importance of portraits in general,
and about other profound subjects of like nature. As for Stephanopulos,
he was sincerely carried away by the charm of the figure, and expressed
his admiration in enthusiastic terms.

The countess remained silent for a considerable time. Enthusiastically
as she had expressed herself concerning Jansen's other works; she
evidently found it hard to conquer a certain jealousy in regard to this
beautiful woman.

"How often did the lady sit to you?" she asked, at length.

He answered, with a peculiar smile, that he had made the sketch from

"Really? Then you are something more than a magician. You not only
conjure up spirits, but spirit and body together. To be sure, we know
what helping spirit assists artists in their works of magic--a spirit
that rules all other men, and is the servant of genius only.--Or don't
you believe, professor," said she, turning to her companion, "that
Raphael and Titian could conjure up those whom they loved before their
imaginations more vividly than they could other mortals?"

The professor delivered a few brilliant remarks about the power of
fancy, which the countess received with an absent smile; for she was
once more deeply absorbed in contemplation of the statue.

"Does she live here, and is she to be seen?" she said, suddenly
interrupting his flow of eloquence.

"I think, madame, you will give yourself useless trouble in trying to
make her acquaintance," replied Jansen, dryly. "The lady lives in a
very retired way, and I doubt--"

"Very well, very well, I understand; you are miserly with your
treasures, and want to keep the most beautiful to yourself.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to be angry with anything genius does!
Present my compliments to the charming, mysterious original, and tell
her--but who is that playing up-stairs?"

At this moment they heard Rosenbusch's flute, which had been playing a
light prelude for some time, strike up a grand _bravura_ movement with
all the power and feeling of which its owner was capable.

Jansen gave Felix a meaning look. Then he told as much about Rosenbusch
as was necessary to excite the lady's curiosity. Upon taking leave, she
gave the master and his pupil an invitation for that evening.

"You _must_ come," she said; "to be sure, I haven't much to offer you,
especially no such beautiful women as you are accustomed to. But we
shall have music--you love music, too, don't you? And, for the rest,
you must be contented with what we can do for you. I live in the hotel;
a bird of passage never has a comfortable nest. But only come to Moscow
some time; I own a few good old pictures and some sculptures there.
Will you? We will talk of this again. Well, good-by until this evening.
Here is my address, in case you should be as forgetful as geniuses and
friends of beautiful women generally are. _Au revoir!_"

She gave Jansen her card and a shake of the hand, bowed cordially to
Felix, and left the studio, followed by her two adjutants.

"Our rat-catcher has made a lucky hit again," laughed Jansen, as they
heard the strangers going up-stairs; and immediately afterward the
flute stopped in the room above. "When I have visitors, he invariably
becomes musical, in order to remind them that there are other people
living in the top story. This time I am especially grateful to him.
Upon my word, my patience and politeness were put to a hard test."

"You are right; the professor certainly was a tough morsel,"
interrupted Felix. "But, as for the lady--although I know enough of her
kind not to be deceived--still, for all that, it is a game of the sex
that one never fails to follow with interest."

"A charming game!" cried Jansen, and his face darkened. "I would rather
see the most stolid Esquimaux or Hottentot standing before my works
than one of these highly-cultured, artificially-excited devotees of
art, hungry for emotion--seeking in everything nothing but their own
gratification, and worrying a really earnest man to death by their
conceited coquetry with all that he holds most sacred. There is nothing
which will awe them into silence, or even make them forget themselves.
Just as they interest themselves in living creatures only so far as
they tend to increase their own importance, so all works of art exist
for them only so far as they can be made of use in setting off their
beloved _ego_. This same woman visited me once before, a good while
ago, and I was so rude to her that I hoped I had shaken her off
forever. But even rudeness excites these _blasé_ women of the world,
just as _Pumpernickel_ does the palate when one has been eating too
much sugar-cake. In reality, she cares as little for sculpture as for
anything else; unless, perhaps, the study of the nude interests her.
And she is here in Munich in search of very different things--trying to
gain proselytes for the new school of music."

"I can't help thinking you are rather unjust to her. The very fact that
she feels a respect for you, and even a sort of secret fear, shows that
you interest her. That is one thing I like about these women; they are
strongly attracted by anything that represents power, and is capable of
producing something."

"Yes," laughed Jansen, "until this power humbles itself to be a
foot-stool for their restless little feet; then it will be thrown
aside. No, my dear fellow, the only reason these comets are not more
particular is because they are forced to keep adding to their tails;
I'd be willing to bet that even our harmless little Rosebud will not be
thought too insignificant to be enrolled in her body-guard. But let her
do whatever she likes--what difference does it make to us? But where
have you been hiding yourself these last few days? and what is the
matter with you now? You are staring at the Russian's visiting-card as
if your senses had suddenly been spirited away to Siberia!"

"It is nothing," stammered Felix, putting down the card again. He had
read the name of the hotel on it; it happened to be the same one in
which Irene was stopping. "'Countess Nelida F----;' I assure you I
never heard the name before. Are you going to-night?"

"Possibly, unless something should happen to prevent. It is a matter
of perfect indifference to me now with what sort of people I mix,
since I--"

He hesitated. His eye glanced involuntarily toward the statuette. Then,
after a pause, he said:

"Listen: all sorts of things have happened since we last met. Don't you
notice any change in me? I thought I must have grown ten years

Felix looked at him searchingly.

"That could make no one happier than it would me, old Dædalus. And,
since we are on the subject, it has somewhat depressed me to find--I
must out with it--a different man from the friend I left ten years ago.
I always thought it must be my fault that made you so much more
reserved and distant toward me than you used to be. If you would only
be the same old fellow again--but mayn't I know what has brought this

"Not yet," answered the sculptor, seizing the hand Felix held out to
him, and pressing it with evident emotion. "I haven't got permission
yet, much as the secret burns in my breast. But, take my word for it,
my dear fellow, all will come right now. I tell you miracles and
wonders still happen; a withered staff burgeons and flourishes, and is
filled once more with green sap and white blossoms. The winter was a
little long, and no wonder that even you felt the cold."

A knock on the door interrupted him. They heard the voice of the
battle-painter outside, eagerly demanding admission.

Jansen drew the bolts which, in his disgust, he had fastened behind the
æsthetical professor, and let Rosenbusch in.

"Well!" cried he to his friend, "what do you say to this divine
creature? Hasn't she been making herself agreeable to you too? A woman
of the gods, by my life! How she hits the nail on the head with every
word, draws out the most secret thoughts of the soul, so that one has
only to keep his ears and mouth open, and always nod an affirmative!
There isn't a horseshoe in all my Battle of Lützen about which she
didn't show a profound knowledge; and if she remains in Munich any
length of time, she says she shall visit me often, so as to watch me at
my work. I am on the only true road, she said; art is action, passion,
excitement--a battle for life and death, and other things of the sort,
which she actually seemed to snatch from my mouth. A devilish smart
woman, and her traveling companion also seems to be a first-rate judge
of art. Of course you have been invited to the musical _soirée_ this
evening. She wants me to bring my flute with me; but I sha'n't be such
a fool as to expose myself before this northern Semiramis. What are you
laughing at?"

"We are only laughing at the rapid progress of this friend of art in
discovering what fits the occasion. Down here she declared that true
art was repose. A flight higher and the sight of the Battle of Lützen
caused a new light to be thrown on the subject, and she finds that art
is nothing but turmoil and excitement. Yon have effected a speedy
conversion, Rosenbusch. If it is only as permanent as speedy!"

For once the battle-painter failed to see the humor of the thing.

"All the same," he said; "I am devilish anxious to continue this
acquaintance. Why shouldn't a talented woman be many-sided? So this
evening at eight o'clock I will call for you, baron. What a pity that I
should have shaved off my beard and cropped my hair just at this time!
I should have been much more imposing with my former romantic head than
in this bald, Philistine guise. However, if the spirit is only unshorn
and free--and in any case my velvet jacket will carry me through!"

                             CHAPTER VIII.

Punctually at eight o'clock Rosenbusch made his appearance at Felix's
lodgings. He was arrayed with a gorgeousness such as he only assumed on
the most extraordinary occasions. It is true, picturesque lights played
in the folds of his violet velvet jacket, indicative of the extreme age
of its material; but those who knew that this garment, as was
authentically proved by the records, was cut from the robe of state
worn by an historical Countess of Tilly, regarded it with reverence,
especially as it was exceedingly becoming to its present red-cheeked
wearer. About his neck he had wound a spotlessly white cambric necktie,
tied in a delicate knot. His white waistcoat was, to be sure, a little
yellowed, and his black trousers were a little shiny in places; but
when he entered his friend's room with an elastic step, carrying his
tall, antiquated cylinder hat under his arm, and swinging a pair of
tolerably white kid gloves in one hand, he cut, upon the whole, such an
excellent figure that Felix felt called upon to say something
flattering concerning his toilet.

"One must maintain the honor of his station, and prove to the world
that the tailor ought to learn from the artist, and not the reverse,"
replied the painter, with great solemnity, stopping before the glass
and endeavoring to give a bolder wave to his cropped hair.

"Now you," he continued, "haven't by any means got rid of the baron
yet. Take my word for it, clothes really do make the man. One is a very
different kind of fellow in his shirt-sleeves or in a blouse, than in
one of the elegant, pinched-up monkey-jackets of the latest style.
Doesn't every one of us play a _rôle_? Now just ask Elfinger whether
the true spirit of the _rôle_ doesn't lie in the costume of the actor.
I, for example, in a coat that any Tom or Dick could wear, should feel
myself so lowered to their level that I shouldn't want to take a brush
in my hand. But dressed as I am, even in my company toilet, I can shout
_anch' io_ as lustily as far greater people. But you show no signs of
getting ready. What do you say to making a sensation by coming late?"

Felix had had time to relapse once more into his melancholy mood. He
answered that he had had disagreeable news from home, and was in no
humor for going into company. Rosenbusch must excuse him; besides, it
would make no difference to the countess whether an unknown beginner--

"What!" cried the battle-painter, "you are going to leave me to go
alone to the enchanted garden of this Armida, while all the time I have
been counting on you to save me in case of necessity! Jansen is sure to
come late in any case, even if he decides to go at all. No, my dear
fellow, you know I expend such unheard-of courage on canvas, that not
much remains to me for the _salon_. So, back to back, shoulder to
shoulder, with a friend and companion-in-arms, or I will crawl into the
first violon-cello-case I come to, and bring disgrace upon the Paradise

He forced Felix, who half laughed and half protested, to make his
toilet, and then dragged him out with him, holding tightly to his arm
even after they were in the street, as though he still feared that he
might try to give him the slip. At heart Felix was glad to be forced.
He was secretly ashamed of his fear to enter, even on a day when she
was absent, the house where his old sweetheart was living; but now all
the depression which had weighed upon him ever since he found out she
was in the city left him in the company of his merry friend, and the
latter's account of his latest adventures as rejected suitor and happy
lover put him in the most cheerful humor. He rallied the artist upon
his flighty heart, which, instead of dreading the fire like a burned
child, wanted to singe itself in this new flame; all of which
Rosenbusch received with a quiet sigh.

"The fact is," he said, "a countess like this is not so very dangerous.
It goes without saying, that in all intercourse with her one must
respect certain limits when one is a poor fool of a painter who has to
let himself be snubbed even by a glove-maker. But if, on the other
hand, a female demon like this should really take it into her head to
elope with one of my sort to Italy or Siberia, let us say--well, she
will know what she is about; and in the mean time we can let things go
as Heaven wills."

Amid talk of this sort they had reached the hotel, in the first story
of which a row of lighted windows had already shown them where the
female autocrat of all the arts was holding her court. Felix pulled his
hat down lower over his forehead, and sprang up the stairs so rapidly
that Rosenbusch was left behind breathless.

"You are an extraordinary fellow!" he cried, laughing, after he had
overtaken him at the top. "It takes a good deal of diplomacy to get you
started, but once started, you can't get there soon enough."

Felix made no reply, for just then a servant opened a side-door and
they entered a spacious _salon_, which resounded with the last notes of
one of Chopin's nocturnes, with which the hostess herself had opened
the _soirée_.

A rather mixed company was grouped about the piano, mostly young people
with long hair and pale faces, of the music-of-the-future sort; mingled
with these a few diplomatists, officers, journalists, and people
without any other profession than that of knowing everybody and being
introduced everywhere. The professor of æsthetics advanced to meet the
new arrivals with a sort of host-like cordiality, and shook hands with
them. He wore an old-fashioned blue dress-coat with gold buttons, a
yellow piqué waistcoat, white summer trousers, and a stiff, black
cravat, that compelled him to keep his chin perpetually thrown up.
Stephanopulos emerged from the crowd of enthusiastic courtiers in order
to welcome the guests, which he too did as if he felt himself quite at
home. But now the dense circle divided, and the countess herself swept
up to the new-comers.

She had made an exceedingly becoming toilet--a dark dress of light
material, that left bare her shoulders, which were still youthful in
appearance; and a Venetian point-lace veil, thrown with studied
carelessness about her head, and fastened on one side by a fresh,
dark-red rose. The dead white of her cheeks looked more blooming than
usual in the warm light of the candles, and her keen, piercing eyes and
white teeth vied with one another in brilliancy.

"I am so glad you have kept your word," she exclaimed to the young men,
giving one of her soft little hands to each of them. "I hope, too, your
talented friend and master will also find his way here; and you shall
not regret having come. To be sure, I told you beforehand you must be
contented with what your ears would let you enjoy. Still, your eyes
sha'n't go away quite unsatisfied. Come, I will show you something

She took Felix's arm, and, talking rapidly all the time, led him to the
other end of the _salon_. In a corner, on a semicircular sofa, sat
several mothers and duennas, and in the chairs on either side perhaps a
half dozen young girls, all belonging to the stage or the music-school,
engaged in earnest conversation with some young musicians about the
latest opera and the last concert. A little to one side of them a group
of elderly gentlemen could be seen gathered about a slight, youthful
figure, who sat near a little flower-stand, and who appeared to be
listening in rather an absent way to a white-haired little man, who was
giving a long disquisition on Bach's Passion-Music. Her back was turned
toward the side from which the countess approached with Felix. Now,
upon hearing the hostess's voice, she turned with much dignity.

"Allow me, _ma toute belle_, to introduce to you Baron von Weiblingen
and Herr Rosenbusch," said the countess. "The gentlemen are artists,
dear Irene; Herr Rosenbusch is a painter and musician.--You have
brought your flute, haven't you?"

The painter exhausted himself in assurances of his inability to produce
his sounds of Nature, as he called them, for any ears but his own; but
the countess had already turned to Felix again.

"Did I say too much?" she whispered, loud enough for the Fräulein to
hear her. "Isn't she charming? But your silence says enough. Happy
youth! For a woman's ears there is no sweeter music than such silence,
when she herself is the cause of it. I leave you to your enchantment;
_bonne chance!_"

She tapped his arm lightly with her black fan, nodded slyly to the
beautiful girl, and disappeared once more in the crowd about the piano.

The old gentleman, a musical amateur of the old school whom the
countess hoped to convert to the new movement, had withdrawn upon the
approach of the young men. Rosenbusch took advantage of the moment to
make his bows as gracefully as possible, and to open the conversation
by asking how the gracious Fräulein liked Munich. Then, upon turning
round to give Felix a chance to say something, he discovered to his
great surprise that the latter had withdrawn into one of the window
niches, from which he vanished a few minutes after. "What devil has got
into our young baron?" thought Rosenbusch. It seemed to him out of all
propriety to abruptly turn one's back on a charming young lady.
However, he determined to take advantage of this opportunity to show
himself in a still more favorable light, for the Fräulein pleased him.

She was very simply dressed, which fact, however, only served to
contrast her advantageously with the others, with their silks and showy
ornaments. The excursion that was to have lasted several days had been
shortened, for the old countess had been seized with an attack of
neuralgia, and Irene had scarcely reached home when she was taken
possession of by her fellow-lodger for this, as the latter had assured
her, entirely improvised _soirée_, for which there was no need to make
any great toilet. Her uncle had fled to a gentlemen's club. It was
impossible for her to refuse the invitation.

In truth, it was a matter of perfect indifference to her into what
company she went. What did she care for any strange faces since the one
which was dearest to her had become a stranger? And she had not had the
faintest suspicion that she should meet him here.

And now she stood opposite him, and the only look that was exchanged
between them showed her that he had come into her presence not less

A violin concerto, which, to Rosenbusch's great disgust, interrupted
him in an eloquent description of the pleasant summer weather in the
Bavarian mountains, gave her time to collect her thoughts and to
recover herself so far, at least, as not to betray by her manner the
emotions that were at strife within her. But what would come next--what
she ought to do--was no clearer to her now, when the last tones of the
violins were dying away, than in the first few minutes.

"My friend the baron has suddenly disappeared," Rosenbusch now began
again. "You must have got a curious impression of him; for, upon my
word, he stood before you like a painted Turk, as they say here in
Munich. I'll eat my head if I can understand why he suddenly became
such a stick. He is generally a devilish jolly fellow, and not at all
bashful in the presence of ladies."

"He is--your friend?" she asked, in an almost inaudible voice.

"We have known each other for several weeks, and you know, until one
has eaten salt with a man--in the mean time, I imagine I think more of
him than he does of your humble servant."

"Your friend--is also an artist?"

"Most certainly, Fräulein. He has devoted himself to sculpture under
the instruction of his old friend, the celebrated Jansen. How he
suddenly came to do it, no one knows. Don't you, too, think he looks
more like a cavalier? At all events there is something so romantic,
interesting, and Lord Byronish about him that I should not wonder at
all if he found tremendous favor with the women. I beg pardon, if I
have expressed myself too freely."

He grew red and plucked at his cuffs. She appeared to take no offense
at his forcible style, but merely asked again, in the most indifferent

"You think he has no talent?"

"How much talent he has, God only knows," replied his friend candidly.
"But one thing is certain, a gigantic courage and a devilish deal of
perseverance are required of one who ventures to take up with sculpture
nowadays. You wouldn't believe, Fräulein, how difficult it is--in this
profession of all others--to find the means with which to mount to
the source, in this strait-laced civilization of ours, with its
conventional prejudices. The days when three goddesses did not
think it improper to get a certificate of their beauty from a royal
goatherd--I beg a thousand pardons, I always do wax warm when I think
of our wretched art-condition, and then I blurt out whatever comes into
my head. This much is certain: if my friend has allowed himself to be
induced merely by his love of beauty to become an artist, instead of
living on his estates, he will find he has reckoned without his host
even here in Munich. There are charming girls here, to be sure;--seen
on the street as they sweep by in their coquettish costumes, with their
little hats and chignons, one might almost be tempted to sell one's
soul to the devil out of pure delight--but when one comes to examine
them by a stronger light--"

The Fräulein all at once seemed to discover that her presence was
imperatively required opposite, where the music pupils were sitting.
She rose hastily, bowed coldly to the astonished artist, and approached
one of the young ladies with the question whether she too did not find
it very warm.

Rosenbusch gazed upon her with open mouth. A suspicion dawned in his
innocent brain that perhaps his conversation had appeared rather too
free-and-easy to this young lady. He could not understand this, and
laid it to the score of her North German education. He had talked in a
similar way with his countrywomen at balls, without arousing any
special displeasure. Now he slunk pensively away from the flower-stand,
just as a promising amateur began to perform one of Bach's preludes.
Slipping quietly along, and keeping close to the wall, he succeeded in
reaching the adjoining room, which was dimly lighted, without
attracting attention. A lady's-maid had been making tea there. The
national samovar was still singing on the little table, as though
secretly accompanying the playing outside. But in the doorway stood
Felix, his gaze, piercing through all the crowd and confusion, fixed
upon one particular spot.

He started as the battle-painter's hand was laid softly on his
shoulder, and scowled angrily. Rosenbusch thought he did not wish to be
disturbed while listening to the music, and kept as still as a mouse as
long as the prelude lasted. He himself did not care for Bach. He was,
as he expressed it, too "cyclopean" for him. He preferred something
melting or merry. So he spent the time in looking about the room, and
was astonished to see on an easel near the window, in a sufficiently
good light to attract attention, that cartoon of the Bride of Corinth
which had brought so little honor to Stephanopulos in "Paradise." The
burned corner had not yet been repaired, so that the singular picture
made a still more weird impression among its elegant surroundings.

How came it here? Who could have brought it to the countess? Could it
be that the young sinner himself had lent a helping hand in getting it
for her? His name stood in the corner that had been spared by the fire.
It was possible that the honest finder, whom Rosenbusch caught _in
flagranti_ that night in the "Paradise" garden, had returned it to the
artist; that the countess had seen it in his studio, and thought that
it would be piquant to exhibit a drawing in her house which had been
condemned by the male critics on account of its lack of modesty. Oh,
these countesses!--these Russians!

The door leading to a third room was also standing open--to no less
a sanctum than the sleeping-chamber of the lady of the house. A
hanging-lamp was suspended within, whose light streamed through a
rose-colored shade, casting its dreamy rays upon the furniture, and
upon the bed hung with embroidered muslin. Near the bed, in an
arm-chair, a woman's figure reclined, motionless, so that it could only
be discerned with difficulty by a person outside. But Rosenbusch, who
was to-day in one of his reckless moods, had already advanced several
steps into the sanctum, when he suddenly saw two piercing eyes fixed
upon him. He felt as if he had encountered the glowing eyes of a cat in
the dark. Confusedly stammering an apology, he bowed to the silent
unknown, and hastily beat a retreat into the front room.

In the mean while the playing had come to an end, and the _salon_
resounded once more with a confusion of voices in all tongues and
dialects; but still Felix stood there, solitary and unapproachable, as
if no one among all who surrounded him knew how to speak his language.

"You don't seem inclined to be particularly gallant," he now heard the
cheerful voice of the battle-painter remark; "or was it merely because
you didn't want to cut me out that you refrained from engaging in any
further conversation with that splendid Fräulein? If you had looked
closer at her, you would hardly have been capable of such rather
insulting magnanimity toward my poor self. A perfectly splendid girl, I
assure you; very exclusive, intellectual and amiable; and without
wanting to flatter myself, I really believe I didn't give her a bad
impression of the Munich artists. If I were not so wholly engaged
already--But, by-the-way, have you seen what is standing over there, on
the easel? That Stephanopulos!--just look at him over there, half
sprawling over the piano--how he follows the countess with his eyes,
all the while, with a face like an _Ecce Homo_ of Mount Athos! A
devilish queer kind of fellow!"

"Did she inquire about me?" interrupted Felix, suddenly starting out of
his brooding. He passed his hand over his forehead, on which the cold
perspiration had started, and drew a long breath. Just at that moment
Irene's slender figure glided out of the _salon_ in spite of the
countess's earnest attempts to detain her.

"Inquire after you?" repeated the artist. "Of course she did. Such a
dumb cavalier, who immediately vanishes into obscurity, couldn't help
exciting a woman's curiosity."

"And what--what did you say about me?" eagerly inquired Felix.

"I excused you as well as I could, saying that you were generally much
more gallant toward ladies."

"Thank you. You are really very kind, Rosenbusch. And she--what did she
say to that?"

"Why, what could she say? She didn't appear to feel in the least
offended. Very likely she thought her beauty had rather struck you
dumb--no woman is offended at that. Don't tell me I don't understand
women! And then I talked to her about sculpture--But, upon my word,
here comes Jansen. I must go and say good-evening to him."

                              CHAPTER IX.

It was late when Jansen arrived. He had, as usual, been spending the
evening with Julie; and had then escorted Angelica home, who complained
afresh each time that she was compelled to be a restraint upon two

But Julie insisted upon being "matronized" by her during the year of
probation, and so she submitted, and knew how to conduct herself so
sensibly that the very fact of her presence gave the peculiar charm of
suppressed emotion to these happy hours. The after-glow of it still
shone upon Jansen's face as he entered the _salon_. A sudden stillness
ensued; all looked at him; but he seemed hardly to see any one but his
hostess, whom he greeted with a shake of the hand. She received him
with studied cordiality, immediately took exclusive possession of him,
and merely chided him for arriving so late by an allusion to older and
higher duties which had a prior claim upon him.

"Now don't deny it," she said, smiling. "It cost you a heroic struggle
to tear yourself away at all. It is true a man seldom finds it at all
difficult to leave one woman in order to go to another; but when he is
forced to leave a beauty in the lurch, in order to pay a little
attention to an old woman, one cannot estimate the sacrifice too

"You are mistaken, countess," he laughingly replied. "I have been
forced to tear myself away, not from _one_ but from two elderly women,
as they are fond of calling themselves--with just as little reason and
just as little seriousness as when you, countess, count yourself among
that class. But, if it had really cost me a sacrifice, you would have
deserved it of me. I know how ungratefully I conducted myself toward
you in former years. Yet you haven't treasured it up against me."

"Unfortunately there are men with whom one cannot be offended, no
matter what they do. _Ils le savent et ils en abusent_-- But what is

She suddenly broke off. Her sharp eye had seen that one of the young
ladies at the opposite end of the room had become faint, and that the
elder ones were busied over her. In a second she was at her side,
noiselessly and swiftly doing what was necessary. The insensible girl
was borne into the sleeping-chamber, and soon came to herself again.
When the countess returned, she said, in passing, to Jansen:

"The poor child! Think of practising nine hours daily, and eating
nothing all the while! What existences some people do lead!" Then to
the others: "The Fräulein feels better already. The excessive heat was
the cause of her illness. Perhaps if we should turn down the gas just
for a little while, the temperature would be somewhat more bearable."

Several of the young people hastened to execute this hint. When the
gas-lights were extinguished, the candles on the piano and a lamp
on the mantel over the fireplace gave only a subdued light, so the
clear night sky, with its moon and stars, shed its lustre through the
wide-opened windows. In this twilight, every one seemed to feel happy
and at ease. A young person, who had previously been entreated to sing
in vain, now mustered up sufficient courage, and her sweet, sympathetic
contralto voice sounded charmingly in the breathless stillness. Jansen
had seated himself in a corner of the sofa in the adjoining room; it
did him good to sit there in the dim light, with half-closed eyes,
watching the play of the shadows as they passed before him, drinking in
the soft tones and thinking all the while upon his happiness. He spoke
with no one. Rosenbusch had at first taken a seat by his side; but as
he had received only monosyllabic answers, he had soon withdrawn again.
Felix had disappeared without taking leave; he could not longer
suppress all that he felt. And now the scene in the _salon_ grew
livelier and more fantastic. No one thought any longer of playing an
entire piece of music. The instrument merely served to illustrate this
or that assertion, as it came up in the course of the confused
conversation; now a few chords were struck, now the hoarse voice of
some composer hummed an air in order to explain some passage; the
younger guests had separated into little groups, and were apparently
engaged in other conversation than that relating to art. In the midst
of all was heard from time to time the high, thin voice of the
professor, who was continually in search of new victims for his
eloquence, and buttonholed now one person and now another. This
intellectual exertion exhausted him all the less from the fact that he
consumed an incredible quantity of the refreshments which were handed
about. After having emptied a whole basket of cakes, he devoted himself
persistently to the ices, and, finally, when, toward midnight, the
champagne was brought in, he seized a whole bottle out of the waiter's
hands and placed it with his glass in a little niche behind a pillar.
As he did so the countess honored him with a cold, almost contemptuous
glance, and her lips curled slightly. The expression enhanced the
beauty of her face exceedingly. Then, too, the dim light that now
prevailed in the room lent her a strange charm. She looked very much
younger, and her eyes flashed sparks that were still capable of
kindling fire. Stephanopulos devoured her with his eyes, and was
continually seeking a chance to approach her. But she always passed
without noticing him; nor did she sit down by Jansen again. It was easy
to see that her mind was fixed upon something which took her thoughts
away from all that was going on about her.

As it struck midnight, it so chanced that there was a momentary hush in
the conversation. The æsthetical professor advanced into the middle of
the _salon_, holding a full glass in his hand, and said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to propose a toast to our honored
mistress, in whose name we are here assembled. I do not mean by this
the gracious lady, so sincerely honored by us all, whose guests we are.
I have praised her too often not to be willing to resign, for once, to
her younger guests this privilege of an old friend. My toast is offered
to a mistress even greater than she--to the sublime art of Music, the
art of arts, whose supremacy is becoming more and more acknowledged and
exalted, without envy by her sisters. May she, the mightiest of all
the powers which move the world--thrice glorious and thrice holy
Music--live, flourish, and prevail to the end of time!"

Enthusiastic applause followed these words, but even the clinking of
the glasses, and the shouts of the different voices, were drowned by a
loud flourish which a young musician improvised upon the piano. The
professor, who had emptied his bumper at a draught and instantly filled
it again, now stepped, with a complacent smile, into the cabinet where
Jansen sat, thoughtfully holding his half-filled glass, from which he
had scarcely sipped, as if he were counting the rising pearls within

"My honored master," he heard a voice say at his side, "we have not yet
touched glasses with one another."

He quietly looked up at the speaker.

"Do you care very much to have your resolution passed by a strictly
unanimous vote?"

"My resolution?"

"I mean your exaltation of music above all other arts. If it was merely
a polite phrase to catch the applause of the musicians and the devotees
of music, I have nothing to say against it. It is always expedient to
howl with the wolves. But in case you expressed your real opinion, and
ask me now, on my conscience and between ourselves, whether I share it,
you must permit me to draw back my glass in silence, and, if I drink,
to think my own thoughts in so doing."

"Do what you can't help doing, _carissimo_!" replied the professor,
with a thoughtful nod of the head. "I know very well that you worship
other gods, and only esteem you the more for having the true artist's
courage to be one-sided. To your health!"

Jansen held his glass in the same position, and did not seem in the
least inclined to approach it to that of the professor.

"I am very sorry to sink in your estimation," he said, "but I am really
not quite so one-sided as you think. I not only love music, but it is
fairly necessary to my existence; and if I am deprived of it for any
length of time, my spirit is as ill as my body would be if it were
forced to go without its bath."

"A strange comparison!"

"And yet, perhaps, it is more appropriate than it would seem at first.
Doesn't a bath stimulate and excite, calm, or quicken the blood, wash
away the grime of everyday life from the limbs, and soothe all manner
of pain? But it stills neither hunger nor thirst, and he who bathes too
often feels his nervous strength relaxed, his blood over-excited, and
his organs toned down to a voluptuous languor. Isn't it just so with
music? It is possible our thanks are due to her alone that mankind has
gradually lost its bestiality, and grown nearer the likeness of God.
But this is equally certain, that men who now carry this enjoyment to
excess sink gradually into a vegetating dream-life, and that if a time
should come when music should really be exalted as the highest art, the
highest problems of humanity would remain unsolved, and the very marrow
of mankind would be forceless and feeble.--I know well," he continued,
without noticing that the people in the _salon_ were listening to his
monologue, and that groups of listeners had approached the door--"I
know well that these are heresies which one cannot utter in certain
circles without being stoned a little. Nor would I care to discuss the
question with a musician, for he would scarcely understand what I
really mean. The effect of this art 'of thinking in tones' is gradually
to dissolve all that is solid in the brain into a softened mass, and
only the great, truly creative talents can preserve the capacity and
disposition for other intellectual interests. That the highest masters
of every art stand on an equality with one another, I need not say. As
to the others, the expression which some one used in regard to lyric
poets maybe justly used toward them--'They are like geese whose livers
have been fattened; excellent livers, but sick geese.' How can the
balance of the intellectual powers be preserved, when any one sits nine
hours a day at an instrument and continually practises the same
exercises? And for that reason I should be careful how I tried to
convince a musician of the error of his fanaticism. But to you, who are
an æsthetic by profession--"

He chanced to let his eyes wander toward the door, and broke off
suddenly. He noticed now, for the first time, before what an audience
he had been speaking. The professor observed his surprise, and grinned

"You are talking to your own destruction, my dear sir," he said,
raising his voice. "You might just as well declare in a mosque that
Allah was not Allah, and Mohammed was not his prophet, as to assert to
this crowd of enthusiastic youths that there is anything more divine
than music, or that devotion to it, its service and its cultivation,
could ever be pushed too far. Entrench yourself behind your blocks of
marble, so that we may grant you peace on favorable terms. What would
you say if some one declared that whoever uses his mallet nine hours of
the day must, in the course of time, lose his sense of hearing and
sight, that his intellectual power would finally become deadened and
petrified, and that his soul would get to be as dusty and muddy as the
blouse he wears when he hammers his stones?"

A unanimous shout of bravos arose from the group standing nearest him,
and a murmur of satisfaction ran through the _salon_.

The countess, who now for the first time became aware of the dialogue,
was seen hastily approaching, with the intention of averting the
threatened storm by a timely word. But Jansen had already risen to his
feet, and stood confronting the professor with the most unruffled

"What would I say?" he cried, loud enough to be understood by all. "I
would say that in every art there are artists and mechanics, and that
the latter know as little of the god whom they serve as the sexton who
sweeps out the church and hands about the contribution-box. Of all the
arts there is but one which does not know the dust of the workshop,
that has no underlings and assistants, or, at the worst, merely
charlatans who fancy themselves masters; and even these know nothing of
that kind of mechanical readiness which murders the soul and deadens
thought. For that reason it is the highest and most divine of the arts,
before which the others bow, and which they ought to worship as their
mistress and goddess. To you, who are in the habit of lecturing upon
æsthetics, I should be ashamed to explain myself more fully by saying
that I refer to poetry, were it not that in your toast you offered an
insult to the majesty of this, the highest muse, which I can only
excuse upon the supposition that you have strayed from the temple of
the true divinity, and wandered by mistake into a mosque."

With these words he raised his glass, held it before the flame of the
lamp and slowly drank it off. A deathlike silence followed; the
professor, who was apparently on the point of making a rather
irritating reply, was restrained by a meaning look from the countess.
She herself had looked at the sculptor while he spoke, with a peculiar,
searching, flashing look, and merely threatened him playfully with her
finger as he now advanced toward her as if to take leave.

"Stay," she whispered to him, "I have a word to speak with you."

Then she turned to the others, and invited them to be seated again and
not to think of breaking up so soon. But her most cordial words and
demeanor could not banish a certain uncomfortable feeling that had
taken possession of the company. No one could be induced to take a
place at the piano, and a court musician, who still had a violin sonata
_in petto_, shut up his instrument-case with conspicuous noise and took
his leave of the countess, bestowing upon Jansen as he passed a look
full of meaning. The others followed his example, and, finally, even
the professor, who took his defeat most easily, entered upon his
retreat after addressing a few jesting remarks to his opponent.
Rosenbusch, who would probably otherwise have waited for Jansen, had
offered his services in escorting home the young Fräulein who had
fainted earlier in the evening.

The artist and the countess now stood alone confronting one another, in
the dimly-lighted room. From the street below they could hear the
departing guests as they went away, laughing, talking, and singing.

"I beg for a mild punishment, countess," began Jansen, smiling. "Of
course you have only detained me in order to exact a penance in the
absence of witnesses. I thank you for this kind intention, although, to
be honest, I rather favor a public execution if the head really must
come off!"

"You are very, very wicked!" she answered, slowly shaking her head as
if she were deeply in earnest in what she said. "You fear neither God
nor man, least of all that which seems to many the most terrible--the
anger of a woman. And, for that reason, I shall not succeed in
punishing you for your sins as you have deserved."

"No," he said. "I submit voluntarily to any penance you may put upon
me. How I wish that by so doing I could rid myself of my old fault of
thinking aloud without first looking around to see who may be

She walked up and down the room with folded arms, gazing thoughtfully
before her.

"Why should we disguise ourselves?" she said, after a pause. "It is not
worth the trouble to deceive the thoughtless masses, and we cannot fool
the wise few. Let us drop our masks, dear friend. I think exactly as
you do, only perhaps I feel it even more keenly because I am a woman.
For me, too, music is merely a bath. But I enjoy it more passionately
because a woman, who is much more restricted than you men, is more
grateful for every opportunity to cast off all her chains and fetters,
and plunge her soul in a great excited and exciting element. To me such
an element is music; of course not all music--not that shallow kind
that merely bubbles and murmurs pleasantly, yet scarcely rises to my
knees, but that fathomless music whose billows break over my head. To
me Sebastian Bach is like a shoreless sea, 'and it is sweet to plunge
into its depths.' But do not let us talk of the petty souls, the
bunglers and the underlings! With you great men--you yourself have said
as much--does the material make such a great difference? When you see a
work of Phidias, does not your whole being sink as if into divinely
cool waters? And that is the main thing in the end. The few moments in
life that satisfy our innermost desires are, after all, those only in
which we almost believe we are dying. Enjoyment of art, enthusiasm, a
great deed, a passion--in the main they all have the same ending. Or do
not you agree, dear friend?"

He indicated his assent by a gesture, though he had only caught a few
stray words. This woman interested him so little that his thoughts,
even when he was at her side, secretly flew away to her whose image
filled his heart.

She took his silence as a sign that she had made a deep impression upon

"You see," she continued, "it is a satisfaction to me to tell you this.
It is so seldom one finds people capable of comprehending one, and from
whom one need have no secrets. It is a privilege of all sovereign
natures that they dare to confess all to one another--the highest as
well as the lowest thoughts--for, even when we confess our weakness, we
are ennobled by the boldness and daring with which we do it. Oh, my
dear friend! if you knew how hard a woman has to struggle to attain
that freedom which you men claim as a birthright! For how long a time
do we throw away the best years of our life because of false shame, and
a thousand other considerations! It is only since I acknowledged it as
a moral duty toward my own nature to possess myself of anything toward
which I felt drawn, to dare anything which was not beyond my powers, to
say anything for which I could find a sympathetic listener--it is only
since that time that I can say I have learned to respect myself. But I
forget; it does not follow that these confessions interest you, no
matter how much sympathy you may feel for them. I am, doubtless, not
the first woman who has given you similar confidences. The world in
which you live is used to seeing fall the veils and coverings with
which we drape ourselves in the prudish society of ordinary mortals.
Nor would I, perhaps, have detained you here with me merely to talk to
you of such feelings and thoughts, if I had not besides something very
particular at heart, a great, great favor--"

She had thrown herself down on a sofa and rested there in a careless,
picturesque attitude, her arms thrown back gracefully behind her head.
Her face was pale as marble, and her lips were slightly parted--but not
with a smile.

"A favor?" he asked, absently. "You know, countess, I was prepared to
receive a penance. How much sooner--"

"Who knows whether the granting of this favor will not seem to you a
penance, and none of the lightest either!" she hastily interrupted. "In
a word, will you make my portrait?"

"Your portrait?"

"Yes; a portrait-statue, sitting or standing, as you like. I confess to
you that the thought first came to me this morning. I can't get that
beautiful portrait of your charming friend out of my head, though I am
not so conceited as to wish to compare myself with this unknown woman,
especially in your eyes. I have a special reason for wanting it; I know
a foolish man who still finds me young and pretty enough to want my
portrait--particularly if it were done by such a master--a friend, from
whom I have been separated often and long, and whom I should make very
happy if I could send him my effigy as a compensation."

While she delivered this excited speech, Jansen had let his eyes rest
on her, without betraying by any sign whether he was disposed to grant
her the favor or not. She blushed under this cool, searching look, and
cast down her eyes.

"He is beginning to study me already," she thought. "But you mustn't
think," she continued, "that I am altogether too modest in my request.
He, for whom this master-work is intended, would be ready to pay its
weight in gold for even the most hasty sketch from your hand. But it
appears as if the undertaking had no great charm for you? Tell me
frankly; in any case, we will still remain good friends."

"Countess," he began, for the first time this evening betraying some
confusion, "you are really too good--"

"No! You are trying to escape me--now, don't deny it. Perhaps I know
the reason which makes you unfavorable to my request. You have delicate
duties that you must regard. If your friend should discover that you
had shown the same favor to me as to her--I don't know her, but, for
all that, it might be possible, and certainly pardonable, for her to be
a little jealous! Am I not right? Isn't it that which makes you

He was silent for a moment. Then, still in an absent way and as if
speaking to himself, he said, quietly:

"Jealous? She would certainly have no cause to be."

The unfortunate expression had scarcely passed his lips when a hot
and cold shudder passed over him, and he suddenly became conscious
what a deadly insult he had uttered. He looked at her in alarm; he saw
that all the blood had fled from her cheeks, leaving even her lips a
deathly white. But immediately, before he could even recover sufficient
self-possession to soften the impression of his words, she forced a
pleasant laugh, hastily rose from the sofa and stepped up to him with
both her hands extended.

"Thank you, my friend," she said, in her easiest tone; "you are not
particularly gallant, but something better and rarer--you are candid.
You are right; unless a woman is able to set the whole female sex wild
with envy and jealousy, like your beautiful unknown friend, she is not
a worthy subject for your art. I really ought to be old enough to see
that myself. But, as I said, you are partly to blame for my having hit
on such a foolish idea--the portrait of that beautiful woman had turned
my head. But now it is in its right place again, and I thank you for
your speedy cure. _Prenez que je n'aie rien dit._ That my tardy wish,
which perhaps would have been an impudent one even in earlier days,
remains our secret, I expect from your chivalry. So--your hand upon
it--and _soyons amis!_ And now, good-night. Though I am in no danger of
awakening jealousy, I am not old enough yet to be secure from malicious
gossip, and--you have already staid longer than is proper."

In the most painful confusion he attempted to stammer out a few
palliating words. But she would not listen to them, and, amid all sorts
of pretty speeches and jests, almost hustled him by main force out of
the door, which she immediately locked behind him.

No sooner did she find herself alone than her features became
transformed; the smile on her lips faded into a grimace, and a
threatening scowl appeared on her smooth forehead. She brushed from her
eyelashes the tears of angry humiliation which she had held back too
long already, and drew a long, deep breath, as if to save her heart
from suffocation. Thus she stood, near the threshold, her little hands
clinched tight, gazing motionless at the door through which the man who
had insulted her had passed out. If a passionate wish possessed the
magic power to kill, Jansen would probably have never left her house

She heard steps in the adjoining cabinet. She looked up, passed her
hands across her eyes and seized a glass of water, which she emptied at
a single draught. She was herself again. An elderly woman entered
cautiously, dressed simply and entirely in black, but with a care which
betrayed long practice in the arts of the toilet. Moreover, her manner
of speaking and carrying herself showed, at the first glance, that she
had once been at home behind the foot-lights. She was apparently well
on in the forties; but her real face was concealed under a coating of
paint, very skillfully laid on, and her soft, regular features made no
disagreeable impression.

"You are still here, my dear?" cried the countess, scarcely attempting
to conceal a feeling of displeasure. "I thought you had long ago felt
bored at your self-chosen part and gone away."

"I have passed an unspeakably pleasurable evening, my dear countess,
and wanted to thank you for it. Since I lost my voice and left the
stage, I scarcely remember to have heard so much good music in so few
hours. Manna in the desert, my dear countess!--manna in the desert! But
how lucky it was that I listened to the concert, as I did, in my dark
box over there! It is true that he, before whom I particularly wished
to avoid appearing, might not have noticed me. Since his new _liaison_
he seems to be blind for everything else, and the many years since we
last met have done their best to make it hard for him to recognize me.
But imagine, countess, that young painter--the same one who got in my
way that night when we discovered the burning picture--strayed by
chance into your bedroom! Fortunately, he hastily retired again. But
it was a bright moonlight night the first time. Who knows whether he
did not recognize me again, especially as the picture in the cabinet

"Certainly," nodded the countess, "you are right. Who knows?"

She had not heard a word the other had spoken.

"Oh, my honored patroness!" continued the latter, "if I could only tell
you how it infuriated me again to see him--the hard and cruel man who
made my poor daughter's life so wretched--enter the room with such a
proud, arrogant air, and receive homage everywhere; to hear his voice,
and his aggressive speeches that seemed meant to throw down the glove
to the whole company--oh, you cannot tell how I hate him! But has not a
mother a right to hate the enemy of her daughter?--all the more when
this daughter is so foolish as still to love the man who cast her out
of his house, and even begrudged her the consolation of weeping over
her wrongs on the neck of her own child?"

She pressed her handkerchief to her eyes in a theatrical manner, as if
her grief had overpowered her.

The countess gave her a cold look.

"Don't play comedy before me, my dear," she said, sharply. "According
to all that I have heard of your daughter, I don't imagine she is
inconsolable. What reasons have you for thinking she still loves him?"

"I know her heart, countess. She is too proud to mourn and weep. But
would she not ask her mother to come and live with her, were it not
that then she would be obliged to give up ever hearing any news of
the child? If she only knew what it cost me to be a spy, so that I
can write to her now and then how it fares with her hardhearted
husband--the poor, innocent child! And yet, gracious countess, if I
could ever succeed in tying the broken bond again, in freeing this
ungrateful, inconstant man from this snare of unworthy passion, in
leading him back again to his rightful wife--"

Her voice appeared to be choked with tears. The countess made a
movement of impatience.

"Enough!" she said. "It is late, and I am very tired. Still, it is
true, something must be done. This man's great talent will go to rack
and ruin amid false surroundings and vulgar love affairs, unless some
one brings him back into the right path. Come to me again to-morrow
forenoon, my dear. We will talk further on the subject then. Adieu!"

She nodded to the singer in an absent way. The latter bowed low before
her, and started in haste to leave the room. As she was crossing the
threshold she heard her name called.

"Don't you think me very unbecomingly dressed today, dear Johanna? It
seems to me I appear very old and haggard in this Venetian coiffure.
For that matter, I really ought to have put off the _soirée_
altogether; I could hardly keep on my feet, I had such a headache."

"You have this advantage over us, that even suffering makes you appear
more beautiful. From my place in my invisible box, I caught words that
would prove to you how great injustice you do yourself."

"Flatterer!" laughed the countess, bitterly. "Go away I--do go away! At
all events you can't contradict the evidence of my own eyes."

After the singer had gone, Nelida remained for a time standing on the
same spot where the former had taken leave of her. She murmured a few
words in her mother tongue, and then said in German:

"He wants to do penance, does he? He shall!--he shall!--he shall!"

She stepped in front of the mirror above the fireplace, before which a
lamp, nearly out, burned with a weak, red flame. The candles on the
piano were burned down almost to the socket. In this dim light her
cheeks looked still more wan, her eyes more sunken, and the scowl on
her forehead as if it could nevermore be smoothed away.

"Is it really too late for happiness?" she said aloud, in a hollow

She shuddered, for the night wind swept coldly through the room. Slowly
she took the rose from her hair and let it fall to the ground, so that
the leaves were strewed over the carpet; then she unwound the veil from
her head, took out the comb and shook her hair down over her shoulders.
As she did so the blood returned to her cheeks, her eyes sparkled, and
she began to be pleased with herself once more. "_Il y a pourtant
quelques beaux restes!_" she said to herself. Then, with sunken head,
she strode across the _salon_, talking half aloud to herself, and
stepped up to the open piano. She struck the keys with her open hand so
that they gave forth a loud, harsh discord. She laughed scornfully at
this. "He will do penance, will he? He shall!--he shall!--he shall!"
and, once more folding her arms across her breast, she stepped into the
cabinet and stood still before the young Greek's cartoon. She knew the
picture by heart. And yet she stood before it as lost in contemplation
as though she saw it for the first time.

Suddenly she felt a hot breath upon her neck. She shuddered slightly
and looked round.

Stephanopulos stood behind her.

"Are you crazy?" whispered Nelida. "What are you doing here? Leave me
this moment! My maid is coming!"

"She is asleep," whispered the youth. "I told her you would not need
her. Do you reproach me, countess?--me, who only live in your
smiles--to whom a glance of your eyes is heaven or hell!"

"Hush!" she said, leaving him her hand which he had seized. "You are
talking nonsense, my friend. But you have a good voice, and, besides,
one cannot be angry with you. _Vous êtes un enfant!_"

                               CHAPTER X.

On the morning following the _soirée_, the lieutenant sat in the second
story of the same hotel, in the little _salon_ which lay between
Irene's bedroom and her uncle's. Although he was continually
complaining about his wretched vassalage to friendship, he had,
nevertheless, presented himself again in good season in order to
receive the watchword for the day. Inasmuch as he had not the faintest
regular occupation, this pretext for passing away the hours was, in
reality, heartily welcome to him. More than this, Irene's strangely
resigned and yet self-reliant character, her repellent manner and
almost bluntness, joined as they were with all the charm of youth,
attracted him more than he knew or cared to admit.

The Fräulein was still invisible when Schnetz arrived. He found the
uncle seated at breakfast, and was forced to listen to his account of
his experiences of the excursion, and of his evening at the club. The
baron may possibly have been a good dozen years older than the
lieutenant, whom he still continued to treat in his frank and jovial
manner, just as he had formerly treated the young fellow who, in
Africa, had felt flattered to be kindly taken under the wing of his
more experienced countryman and initiated into the mysteries of
lion-hunting and other noble pastimes. Sixteen years had passed since
then. The baron's hair had grown thin, the little rakish mustache on
his upper lip had turned gray, his nervous, thick-set figure had
rounded out, and, seen from behind, looked almost venerable; while
the long, lank figure of his younger comrade had grown even more
spindle-shanked, his face more like parchment, and his movements
clumsier than before. For all that the baron let his eyes rest with
fatherly satisfaction upon the officer, whom he still called "Schnetz,
my dear boy," and patted him encouragingly on the shoulder; all of
which Schnetz, who would have grimly resented any such familiarity from
any one else, received with great patience from him.

"_Bonjour, mon vieux!_" cried the baron, with both cheeks full, when
Schnetz entered. "My little highness is still resting from the fatigues
of a musical entertainment given by a Russian lady here in the hotel.
Come, light a cigar. No?--don't be afraid! On neutral ground smoking is
allowed. That is the only thing which I, the best guarded of guardians,
ever succeeded in carrying through against my ward's wishes. Positively
I have regretted a hundred times that I didn't marry, and bring a few
lively boys into the world. If they had tyrannized over me, I should
know well enough for what sins I had to suffer. Now don't wink for me
to speak lower. She is accustomed to hear these sighs of agony from me.
She knows that her slave lets his hands and feet be put in chains,
but not his tongue. To be sure," he continued, concluding this
lamentation--which he had pronounced with far too jolly an air for it
to excite serious sympathy--"to be sure, my dear Schnetz, my yoke was
never so bearable as it is here in your blessed Munich: before all
else, because you have lent your shoulder to the wheel, and I have a
substitute in you such as I have wished for in vain at my own house,
when my severe little niece has led the old lion-hunter about by her
apron-string like a meek lamb."

Then he related how he had made the most charming acquaintances at the
club yesterday, and what a cordial tone he had found there.

"You South Germans are really a fine race of men!" he cried, excitedly.
"Everybody is so open, so true-hearted, in his _négligé_, just as God
made him. You don't have to feel about a long time until you get
through all the padding, and reach something like a human core; but
whatever there is in you appears on the surface, and, if it doesn't
please, it can't be helped. For that reason, of course, one sometimes
comes across a slight roughness, which, however, only does you honor."

Schnetz puckered his mouth to an ironical grimace.

"Allow me, _chère_ papa, to remark that you over-estimate us," he said,
dryly. "That which you take to be our honest, natural skin is only a
flesh-colored material under which the real epidermis lies concealed as
securely and as secretly as the nut under its shell. We do well to
throw aside our cloaks, because, with us, we do not show ourselves as
we are when we do so. Of course, between ourselves we know perfectly
well how matters stand, and that we can't make an X into a Y. Believe
me, were it not for the drop of Frankish blood that I got from my
mother, I should not be so _naïf_ as to blurt out our national secret
to you. I would leave you to quietly find out for yourself whether, at
the end of a year--yes, or even at the end of ten or twenty years--you
would have advanced any further in the friendships made yesterday than
you did in the first hour; whether you would have succeeded even in
penetrating the padding and putting your hand upon a real human heart
of flesh and blood. I--much pains as I have taken--never succeeded in
doing this. It is true, I myself was so exceedingly ill-humored as to
consider it my duty to speak the truth to those whom I consider my
friends. But that is something one must guard against doing here as
carefully as against stealing silver spoons. Why has a man a back,
unless it is that his friends may abuse him behind it?"

"I know you, _mon vieux_," cried the baron. "When you haven't a pair of
shears and some black paper at hand, you cut your caricatures out of
the air with your sharp tongue. But I won't allow this jaundiced art of
yours to put me out of humor with this beautiful city and its good
people. I grumbled sadly when my little highness insisted upon
traveling, and taking up her residence further south. Now, nothing
could afford me greater pleasure than her whim to settle down here in
Munich, of all places, and if she only would decide not to go away from
here again at all--"

The entrance of Irene interrupted him. She looked paler than on the day
before, and greeted the gentlemen with heavy eyes and a languid
movement of her little head, which generally sat so spiritedly and so
erect upon her shoulders.

"Dear uncle," she said, "you would do me a great favor if you would
consent to take me away from here--into the country, no matter where,
if only away from this house. I have passed a night such as I hope I
may never pass again, and didn't get a wink of sleep until this
morning. You came home too late, and sleep too soundly, to have been
disturbed long by the concert and the noise below us. But I--though I
got away from the countess's just as early as possible--the music and
the noise of the conversation reached my ears through the open windows.
It will be just the same every night, for this lady is eternal unrest
personified; and her circle expands into the infinite, since she not
only patronizes music but all the other arts as well. So, if you love
me, uncle, and don't want me to have a brain fever, see that we leave
this house! Don't you too think, Herr von Schnetz, that nothing is left
for me but rapid flight?"

Schnetz looked at his friend, from whose jovial face all the sunshine
had departed. But he took good care not to come to his aid.

"My dearest child," the baron now ventured to remonstrate in a
conciliatory voice, "the idea of rushing off in this wild fashion,
after telling our friends only yesterday that it would be much nicer to
take up our headquarters here in the town, and to make excursions from
here to all points of the compass--"

She did not let him finish his speech.

"Feel how hot my hand is!" she said, pressing two little fingers
against his forehead; "that is fever; and you know how people have
warned us against the Munich climate. Didn't aunt tell us yesterday
that even she intended to fly to the nearest mountains very soon? And
besides, I should never think of asking you to shut yourself up with me
in a mountain hut. I know very well, uncle, that you can't get on
without the city for any length of time. I don't wish to go any further
than the lake where we were yesterday; from there you can be back in
Munich again in an hour, if you find you cannot stand it any longer.
Don't you think this will be the most sensible thing for all parties,
Herr von Schnetz?"

"_Ce que femme veut, Dieu le veut!_" replied the lieutenant, bowing,
with the most serious face in the world. It did not escape his keen
eye that this young highness had been battling with some trouble
of the heart during the night, and had not yet recovered her usual
self-possession. While she was speaking, her eyes wandered about in an
odd way, now toward the window, now toward the door, as if she trembled
in fear of some surprise. She pleased him better, however, in this
state of excitement than in her usual cool self-possession; he felt a
curious sympathy for her beautiful youth, that had no friend and
adviser to consult, except an old bachelor whose susceptibilities were
none of the most delicate.

"In Heaven's name, then!" sighed the latter, casting a droll look
upward, "I submit to higher guidance, and acknowledge with gratitude
the consideration you have shown toward my poor person in your project.
Schnetz will find his way out to us, I suppose--after all a horse can
always be found or sent for; there will most likely be a pistol-gallery
at hand; and, if all other sports should leave me in the lurch, I can
still become an angler on the lake--that most insipid of all pastimes,
which I have heretofore regarded with quiet horror from a distance.
When shall we be off? Not before this evening, of course?"

"With the next train, uncle. We have only half an hour to spare. Fritz
is already at work packing your things, for he had heard from Betty
that my trunk was ready. All you will have to do will be to make your
own toilet."

The baron broke into a shout of laughter.

"What do you say to that, Schnetz? Abd-el-Kader himself might learn a
lesson from this rapidity in breaking camp. Child, child! And my new
acquaintances of last night--the stag-party that was arranged for
to-morrow--Count Werdenfels, whose collection of weapons I was to go
and see--"

"You can send them your excuses by letter from Starnberg, dear uncle.
And truly I would not hurry so if there were any other way of avoiding
taking leave in person of our fellow-guest down stairs. But, if we go
off at once, these two lines, which the waiter will give her as soon as
we are gone, will be sufficient."

She produced a visiting-card, on which she had already written a word
of farewell.

"The note already written, too! _La letterina eccola qua!_" cried the
baron. "Child, your genius for command is so sublime that subordination
under your flag becomes a pleasure, and blind submission a matter of
honor. In five minutes I will be ready for the journey."

With comical gallantry he kissed the girl's hand, who had listened to
all his jests in a preoccupied and serious way, gave his friend a look
that seemed to say: "I yield to force!" and rushed out of the room.

Schnetz was left alone with the Fräulein. A feeling that was almost
fatherly in its tenderness passed over him as he looked at the serious
young face.

"Perhaps," he thought, "it needs but a first word, a light touch, and
this young heart that is full to the brim will overflow and be

But, before he could even open his lips, she said suddenly:

"I do hope Starnberg is not such a great resort for artists as the
other places in the Bavarian mountains, of which my cousins have told

He looked at her in amazement.

"You hope so, Fräulein? And what possible reason can you have for not
wishing it to be such a place? Artists are, as a rule, among the most
harmless of God's creatures, and can hardly be said to disfigure a fine
region with their umbrellas and camp-stools."

"And yet, last evening, I made the acquaintance of one of these artists
at the countess's below. The tone which he adopted--"

"Do you recollect his name?"

"No; but perhaps you know him--a young man in a violet velvet jacket."

Schnetz gave a loud laugh.

"Why do you laugh?"

"I beg a thousand pardons, Fräulein--it really is not a matter to be
laughed at. This honest fellow--our secret poet--I know him down to the
very folds in his historical velvet jacket. What, in the name of
wonder, were the thorns that this Rosebud presented for you to scratch
your delicate skin upon?"

"I must submit to let you think me a prudish fool, who takes offense at
every light word, Herr von Schnetz," said she, with some asperity. "I
do not care to repeat the conversation of your friend. If he is one of
the most inoffensive of men, I would rather avoid a place where one is
forced to meet people of his stamp at every step."

She turned away and stepped to the window.

"My dearest Fräulein," she now heard Schnetz's voice say behind her,
"you are ill, seriously ill; I don't know whether in body; but
certainly there is a wounded spot somewhere in your mental

She turned round upon him quickly.

"I must confess, Herr von Schnetz," she said, with her proudest look,
"I really do not understand--"

"A sick person is very often unconscious that anything is wrong with
him," continued Schnetz, unmoved, pulling at his imperial. "But it is
impossible that you could have seen this picture of the most innocent
of all mortals in such distortion, unless your eye had been clouded by
illness. My dear Fräulein--no, don't look at me so ungraciously; you
cannot deceive me by so doing; and at the risk of incurring your
direful wrath, I don't see why you shouldn't listen to an honest word
from a fatherly friend. I do not know whether you have many other
friends; but, as far as I know, there is no one here who takes a more
cordial interest in you than my not particularly attractive self--no
one in whom you could more safely confide. Dearest Fräulein, if you
would only consent to open that proud little mouth and tell me whether
I can help you; whether what you experienced last night--for it is
impossible that it is friend Rosenbusch who has suddenly given you such
a distaste for your stay in this city--"

"Thank you," she said, interrupting him suddenly; "I believe you mean
kindly toward me. Here is my hand on it; and, if I ever need counsel or
help, you shall be the first and only man to whom I will turn. But you
are mistaken if you think I--I--"

She suddenly checked herself, her eyes filled with heavy drops, and her
voice failed her; but she controlled herself, and smiled upon him so
kindly that he could not help admiring the brave young heart.

"All the better," he said. "I am too well bred to doubt the word of a
lady. And the assurance you give me is so precious--"

"Here is my hand on it! Here's to our true friendship, Herr von
Schnetz, and-- Of course I don't need to ask you not to say anything to
uncle; he undoubtedly means well with me, but he knows so little--less
than you who saw me for the first time only a week ago."

She put her finger to her lips and looked listeningly toward the door,
behind which the baron's footsteps could now be heard. Schnetz had only
time, while cordially pressing the hand she offered him, to nod to her
that the pact just concluded should remain her secret, when her uncle
stepped in again in complete traveling costume, and began to urge on
the preparations for departure as zealously as he had before protested
against the flight.

Schnetz got into the carriage with them, in order to accompany the
uncle and niece to the station. The curtains were drawn down on the
first floor of the hotel. The countess was still sleeping. As far as
she was concerned, Irene would have had no need to pull down her veil
over her face before she got into the carriage. But from behind it her
eyes wandered restlessly hither and thither, across the square and
through the streets; for she feared that he from whom she was fleeing
might have taken up his post somewhere in the vicinity, in order to
keep watch upon her movements.

He was nowhere to be seen. She noticed, on the other hand, a beautiful
blonde lady who happened to be crossing the square just at that moment,
accompanied by a rather insignificant-looking female companion and a
male escort, and who had to stand still in order to let the carriage
pass. Schnetz did not recognize them until they had gone by, but then
he waved his hat excitedly by way of greeting, and gazed after them for
some time longer.

"Who was that you were bowing to?" asked Irene.

"Take a good look at that man, my dear Fräulein. He is only a sculptor,
not yet as celebrated as he deserves to be, and by birth the son of a
peasant. But I have never known a man of more genuine nobility, and he
alone would make the bad society in which I delight to move the very
best in the world. Of the two ladies one is a painter, a very good
person and not a bad artist by any means, while the beautiful one on
Jansen's left--"


"Do you know the name? Perhaps you have already seen some of his

She stammered out a confused answer, and leaned far out of the carriage
as if she wanted to take another look at the party. All her blood had
mounted to her cheeks.

So that was he with whom Felix now passed his days, that friend of his
youth whose presence and society made up for all lost happiness!

A secret jealousy, which she was ashamed to admit even to herself,
arose within her. Luckily for her the carriage drew up a few minutes
after before the entrance of the station; and in the confusion of
getting out and taking leave of their faithful companion, she was able
to recover herself so far as to throw back her veil once more and to
exact from Schnetz, with the merriest mien in the world, a promise that
he would come out to the lake and visit them very, very soon.

The whistle of the locomotive had long died away, and our friend stood
in the middle of the square, like a post, with his eyes fixed on the

"_Tonnerre de Dieu!_" he growled at length, as a clumsy peasant ran
against him and roused him from his reverie. "It is curious how our
feelings toward people change. Only yesterday these two were in my
way, and I would have given a good deal to have been released from my
woman-service. And now I feel wretchedly bored without the little
highness, and as if I were of no use to anybody. If I were not an old
fellow and past all child's-play, and had not such a good wife, I
almost believe--_Tonnerre de Dieu!_"

And slowly, humming a French soldiers' song between his teeth, he
wended his way home, which to-day, for the first time, appeared to him
as sad and solitary as it really was.

                              CHAPTER XI.

In the mean while Jansen and his two companions had gone on their way,
too much occupied with their own thoughts to think about the company in
which Schnetz had driven by. They were not, indeed, taking an ordinary
morning walk, for it had no less an object in view than to make a child
acquainted with its new mother for the first time--yes, even more than
this. The evening before Julie had expressed her ardent wish to take
the child under her own care at once; the plan to take an apartment
with Angelica had been given up again, for this good soul could not
bring herself to leave the people with whom she was staying, who lived
in great part from what she paid them. So Julie had plenty of room;
and, though she said nothing about it, no doubt the consideration that
the presence of the child would do much to lighten the trial year, both
for herself and her lover, had a great deal to do in determining her.
Since everything that made the bond between them stronger could not but
be very welcome to Jansen, it was decided to put the plan into
execution on the very next day.

But though Jansen had welcomed and urged the idea most eagerly, he
became more and more doubtful, as the hour for putting it into
execution drew near, whether he should succeed without some trouble in
removing the child from the associations to which it was accustomed,
and placing it amid entirely new relations. Julie felt no less nervous;
what had seemed to her the evening before to be easy and self-evident,
appeared to her now in broad daylight as an audacious undertaking that
made her heart beat more anxiously the nearer they approached to their
goal. What if the child should not take to her? What if she, try as
hard as she would, should not be able to take it to her heart at
once?--or should not be able to learn the art of managing it rightly?

The thought made her silent, and she involuntarily walked more slowly.
Jansen, too, slackened his pace, so that the good Angelica, who walked
along with them quite cheerful and free from care, was obliged to stand
still every few minutes in order to wait for the stragglers.

But she did not lose her good-nature. On the contrary, it seemed as
though the happiness of her adored friend, the share in it which fell
to her as the patron saint of the secret union, and, by no means least,
the authority which her position as protectress gave her over her
honored master, tended to excite her humor in an unusual degree, so
that she delivered the drollest speeches entirely on her own account,
whenever the other two abused too flagrantly the privilege of being
tiresome--a privilege that belongs by right to all lovers.

"Children," she cried, standing still again and fanning her heated face
with her handkerchief, "this is the first time in my life that I ever
'played the elephant' to a pair of secret lovers, but I swear by the
ball on the tower of that Protestant church never to do so again,
unless I am provided with an equipage at the very least! That you are
not very entertaining I find to be quite in order, and at all events
much better than if you should perpetually speak in sonnets, like
_Romeo_ and _Juliet_--which I find highly absurd even on the stage. But
to creep along at your side through this Sahara-like glare, while you
walk at a snail's-pace, since you no longer feel external heat because
of the flames within, is more than an elderly girl of my complexion can
stand. So we will jump into the next droschke, where I can close my
eyes and ponder why it is that love, which is after all such a
pleasurable invention, generally makes the most sensible people

Jansen's home lay in one of the old lanes between the city and the Au
suburb. Any one wandering along here by the side of the babbling brook,
a small tributary of the Isar, and seeing the low cottages with their
little front gardens and courtyards, and picturesque gables, might
easily imagine himself transported far away from the city and set down
in one of the country towns of the middle ages, so quiet and deserted
are the streets and ways, and so freely does every one pursue his
occupation under the eye of his neighbor, washing his linen and his
salad at the same well and sitting in his shirt-sleeves before his
door. The house of our friend stood a little back, in a sort of
blind-alley, so that you could not drive up to the door. It belonged to
an honest and hard-working man who had formerly been a teacher in one
of the provincial industrial schools, and who was now employed as an
engineer by different railways. As his work obliged him to travel
during many months of the year, he had invited his wife's mother to
come and live with him and give company and assistance to his little
wife--a cheery, practical woman from the Palatinate, sound to the core
both in body and soul. The mother was an excellent old woman, who,
although rather deaf, knew so well how to get on with the children that
the little ones desired no better company than their grandmamma, who
read all their little wishes in their eyes.

She was sitting in her accustomed place in the deep window-niche, with
her youngest grandchild, who was barely two years old, on her knee, and
her five-year-old foster-child on a stool at her feet, when the door
opened and her daughter, the sculptor, and the two ladies, walked in.
Jansen was an especial favorite of hers, and his child held as warm a
place in her heart as her own grandchildren. And so it was natural,
when, without any preparation or notice, these two strange Fräuleins,
of whom one was striking beautiful, were introduced to her as relations
of the sculptor who wanted to see little Frances, that she had a
feeling there was something wrong about the matter; especially as one
of the strange ladies, the beautiful one, immediately took up the
little girl, who made great eyes at her, kissed and caressed her, and
took out all sorts of sweetmeats and toys from her pocket, with which
she tried to gain the child's friendship. Jansen sat near her, silent,
his face wearing a peculiar expression. For the first time his child
struck him as not looking so pretty or to so much advantage as he could
have wished. It had, to be sure, feature for feature the face of its
father, and fortunately his clear, flashing eyes as well; and in
addition to this a head of dark-brown hair and black eyebrows, which
made the eyes appear still more brilliant. Moreover, it evidently took
a strong fancy to the beautiful "aunt," who brought it such nice
things, and it behaved altogether with great propriety considering its
few years. But, for all that, a certain uneasiness weighed upon all the
people in the little room, as they sat together on the sofa or round
the table. Neither Jansen nor Julie had considered how they should
properly clothe their project in words, since their relation to one
another heretofore had borne none of the usual names, and it might not
be so easy to explain to these simple-minded women what was meant by
the engagement of a married man, and the maternal rights of his "bride"
to his child.

It is very possible they had both counted on the aid of their good
"elephant," who, as a general thing, was never at a loss for a word on
either serious or pleasant occasions. But Angelica also seemed to have
left her humor outside, when she entered this peaceful little chamber.
She only had sufficient tact to admire the other children, and to
devote herself especially to the little two-year nestling, whom she
pronounced to be "a charming little rascal, with true Rubens coloring."

Thus a good half hour passed away; every subject was exhausted which
could possibly be broached on a first visit, and still the main topic
had not been touched upon. Then at last the little housewife, who had
now and then exchanged a meaning look with the old woman in the window
corner, came to the aid of her old friend and lodger by rising and
requesting him to step into the adjoining room with her for a moment,
as she had something to say to him that would be of no interest to the

So she led him into her absent husband's study, shut and locked the
door behind her, and, the moment she was alone with him, plunged into
the heart of the matter.

"Dear friend," she said, in her rapid Palatinate dialect, dropping all
the _n_'s at the ends of her words, and introducing a number of those
pretty turns of speech that flow so charmingly from the lips of pretty
Palatinate women, "now just tell me straightforwardly what all this
means. Do you seriously suppose you can pull the wool over my eyes, or
that I sha'n't see that this charming woman is your sweetheart or
something of that sort, and not a mere cousin in the seventeenth
degree? Now, I most certainly have nothing against it if you admire a
beautiful Fräulein; that is your privilege as an artist, and besides
you are no old beau with silver locks; and this woman could almost
steal my own heart away if I were a man. But there is something behind
it all in this case, and you need not try to convince me of the
contrary; and this fondling and fussing over the child has some reason.
Didn't she ask whether little Frances would like to come with her and
see all the pretty things she had in her house? Now, I know well
enough, dear Jansen, that if it were any ordinary attachment she would
have no wish to entice to her a child who would perpetually remind her
admirer of his earlier relations."

"You have guessed the secret, my good woman," answered Jansen, as he
pressed her hand with a feeling of relief. "You are as wise as the day
is long, and would steal the most secret plans from the bosom of a much
more skillful diplomatist than I am. And who has a better right than
you, dear friend, to know all that concerns our dear child, whom you
have always cared for with the faithfulness of a mother? But now listen
to me quietly. It is truly a strange story, and the right way through
the maze is not so clear. But, if you only knew that wonderful being as
well as I do--"

And then he began to tell the history of the last few weeks to the
woman, who listened with great attention to all he said; and closed by
saying that he did not like under these circumstances to dissuade Julie
from taking the child to live with her, especially when, in beginning
to care for that which was dearer to him than all else except herself,
she would be giving him a new proof of how earnestly she desired his

He had grown so earnest over his story that, when he came to an end,
nothing seemed more natural and right to him than this opinion. He was,
therefore, very much amazed when the little woman said to him, with a
doubtful expression, and speaking, against her wont, very slowly and

"You mustn't be offended with me, dear friend, but if you did this you
would make the most foolish mistake it would be possible for you to
make in your position and at your age. There! Now you know it, and
though it may not sound very polite, it is my opinion nevertheless, and
most certainly my mother's also; and, if you have not the heart to tell
it, I myself will say it to the beautiful Fräulein's face, with all the
love and esteem of which she may be in every respect worthy. What? I am
to give up the child to a single woman with whom its father is in love?
To a beautiful lady who never has learned how such a little plant as
this should be watered, or trained when it shows signs of growing
crooked, or how much air and sunshine it needs?"

"Of course we should get an experienced nurse," he ventured meekly to

The excitable little woman, who had become quite red in the face in her
zeal, gave him a side glance full of pity and reproach.

"So," she said, "a nurse! So you think, I suppose, that this ought to
make me quite contented? No; and though you are the own father of the
child ten times over and I only the foster-mother, still for all that I
will take the liberty of telling you that you don't know anything about
it, and only talk as you do because you are blindly in love. Oh, my
good friend, do you think then that, because I have no right to say: 'I
will not allow it--I will not give up the child that I have long loved
as dearly as my own,' therefore I would not fight hand and foot if
anything should befall her that would be as dangerous to her as
if you should give her brandy to drink? Yes, you may stare at me as
much as you like, it is as I say! A child belongs only amid pure
relations--don't be angry at the expression. What will you say to
little Frances when she asks whether the beautiful lady with whom she
lives is her papa's wife, because he always kisses and caresses her
when he comes and goes, just as her foster-mother's husband used to do
with his wife, only perhaps even more tenderly? Do you imagine the dear
little thing hasn't eyes in her head, and very wise thoughts behind
them? And no matter with what propriety you may act, there is something
not quite right about the whole matter. Your Fräulein sweetheart has
her head full of other things than what the child needs, and won't sit
and talk and play and learn with her all day long, like grandmamma and
our other children. Think the matter over again, and then put the plan
out of your mind. Don't you remember you have often said to me that you
would be glad if you only knew some way in which to repay me for my
love and care for your child, and I always laughed at you for talking
such nonsense? But to-day I do not laugh at all--to-day I tell you very
seriously, if you really think you owe me anything, then pay me by
saying that you will not take the child away from me, but will leave
her here where she is happy."

She extended both her hands to him, which he seized and pressed
heartily, though still with averted face.

"My best friend," he said, "you mean so well by our child--"

"And by her father, too!" she eagerly continued; "and even by her
father's beautiful friend, with whom I have no need to eat salt in
order to believe all the good you have said of her. But, for that very
reason and because we are on this subject, do make a hearty resolve,
dear Jansen, and procure the divorce now at any price and as soon as
possible. You see, I am but a simple woman and have not seen much of
the world, but still I have seen enough to know that even with the best
intentions everything can't go exactly according to rule; and if you
artists sometimes overstep the bounds rather more than is necessary,
still you are not one of the kind who would do such a thing merely out
of wantonness. And I know, too, why you haven't wanted things to be any
different heretofore. But now--believe me, now you owe it to three
beings to provide a pure atmosphere in which you can begin a new life.
And, though you shake your head even now, as much as to say it is
impossible, believe me--"

The door was suddenly thrown open, and little Frances came jumping in,
holding a candied fruit in her hand, of which she had taken a bite, and
which she insisted upon the little foster-mother's tasting too. Jansen
took the dear little creature in his arms, pressed her passionately to
his breast, and kissed her bright eyes. Then he gave her back to the
little wife and said, in a voice choked with emotion:

"There, you have her again! God reward you for your kindness and good
sense. We will finish our talk some other time."

He stepped into the room again where his two friends had been waiting,
their conversation confined to a rather tiresome attempt to make
themselves understood by the deaf old woman. Julie read in Jansen's
eyes that his interview had not met with the desired success; but, hard
as it was for her to relinquish her plan and not to take the child with
her at once, she refrained from all hasty objections, and rested
content with the promise that little Frances should soon visit her.

It was only after they were in the carriage that Jansen informed her of
the objections raised by the little woman. Julie listened in silence,
with downcast eyes and burning cheeks. Angelica, on the contrary,
attempted, in her droll way, to protest against this project, to
which she, as the protecting genius of the two foolish lovers, had
given her consent, being considered so very wild and impracticable.
By imperceptible degrees, however, she passed from scolding the
capricious little woman to praising her, maintaining that she, as a
portrait-painter, was a sufficiently good judge of human nature to
know at once what sort of a character lay behind any face. And,
consequently, she could not help admitting that, if the dear child was
not to be with Julie, there was no place in the world where it would be
better cared for than in this house.

Julie persisted in her silence. Her heart had grown heavy; she began,
for the first time, to have a presentiment that her great happiness was
not to be all sunshine, that storms were lowering on the horizon which
the first gust of wind might roll across the sky, and cause to break
upon the heads of herself and her lover.


[Footnote 1: Rosebush.]

[Footnote 2: Schöpfer--creator--a pun somewhat less irreverent to
German than it would sound to English ears.]

[Footnote 3: The Germans say "to get the basket," as we say "to get the

[Footnote 4: Of course a play on _Schafskopf_ (sheep's-head), the
German phrase for a stupid fool.--_Translator_.]

                             END OF VOL. I.

                       SAMUEL BROHL AND COMPANY.

                  From the French of VICTOR CHERBUUEZ.

                  _Paper_, 60 _Cents_; _Cloth_, $1.00.

                               *   *   *

                       _From the New York World._

"The book is one of the best of even Cherbuliez's novels. No one needs
to be told that this is high praise.... Nowhere has the ideal
adventurer been portrayed with more skill, more art, more genius even,
than Cherbuliez has portrayed him in this novel."

                   _From the New York Evening Post._

"The story illustrates anew what has been illustrated a thousand times,
namely, that in the art of story-telling the French are masters, whose
skill we English-speaking folk can never learn. It is not as novelists
that they excel us, for there are English novels enough to contradict
that; but as deft-handed story-tellers and deft-handed playwrights the
French are much superior to any other race."

                      _From the London Examiner._

"M. Cherbuliez is a very clever novelist, certainly one of the
cleverest of the second rank of living French novelists. A new novel
from his pen is always something to be looked forward to with pleasure;
and if of late his novels have not been so remarkable as formerly, they
are always exceedingly readable. But 'Samuel Brohl et Cie' is more
than merely readable; it is as good in its way as anything that M.
Cherbuliez has ever done."

                      _From the New York Express._

"The Appletons have commenced the publication of a 'Collection of
Foreign Authors,' which is destined, we think, to be a success, and
which certainly will be a success if its forthcoming volumes are as
good as its first one, which is entitled 'Samuel Brohl & Company,' and
is by that adroit story-teller, Victor Cherbuliez. We do not intend to
give away the plot of this remarkable novel, which is a marvel of
ingenuity from beginning to end."

                     _From the Philadelphia Item._

"'Samuel Brohl & Company' is a powerful work, possessing a strong,
skillfully-constructed plot, and is admirably elaborated in all its

                           GÉRARD'S MARRIAGE:

                                A NOVEL.

                   From the French of ANDRÉ THEURIET.

                               *   *   *


                               *   *   *

             16mo. Paper covers, 50 cents; cloth, 75 cents.

                           *   *   *   *   *

As exquisite in its form, color, and delicacy, as a choice piece of
Sèvres porcelain."--_Literary World_.

"This lovely idyl of French provincial life introduces to the notice of
American readers Theuriet, one of the most quietly enjoyable among
modern French novelists, and one who holds rank among the highest for
his portraiture of the charms of country landscapes, and the sweet
peace and happiness clustering around country-life."--_Providence

"Its chief merit lies in the admirable skill with which it is told, the
skill in apt narration, which seems to be a birthright of all
Frenchmen, and which men of other races never fail to admire, and never
succeed in imitating."--_New York Evening Post_.

"There is much charm in the narrative, the characters are vigorously
sketched, the descriptive portions, especially of out-door life, are
picturesque and animated, and the whole is distinguished by grace and
delicacy."--_Boston Gazette_.

"'Gérard's Marriage' is as exquisite of its kind as Tennyson's
'Princess,' and its moral is that of the old song, 'Love will find out
the way.'"--_New York Express_.

"The use of these simple materials is so artistic, and the story
is so deftly told, that the book is delightful from beginning to
end."--_Detroit Post_.

"The story is pleasant, the characters drawn with that light, firm
touch, peculiar to a Frenchman; the colloquy, if not brilliant, always
to the purpose, and about the whole there plays a poetic light that is
not the less charming because it is so wholly French."--_New York

"André Theuriet excels in the painting of rural scenes, and the
skillful management of romantic comedy."--_Chicago Inter-Ocean_.

"The story is told, particularly the trials of the lovers, with great
vivacity and brilliancy, in which particulars the French seem to excel
all other nations."--_Boston Commonwealth_.

"Affords a charming illustration of the exceeding elegance, refinement,
and delicacy, that mark the romances of André Theuriet, one of the most
graceful and popular French novelists of the present time."--
_Providence Journal_.

                           *   *   *   *   *

                New York: D. APPLETON & CO., Publishers.

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