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Title: Weird Tales, Vol. II.
Author: Hoffmann, E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), 1776-1822
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 "Weird Tales, Vol. II." ***

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Transcriber's notes:
1. This book is derived from the Web Archive,
http://www.archive.org/details/weirdtales05bealgoog.

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

3. Footnote references to volume I of this work are incorporated in the
note in order to provide easier reading.



                              WEIRD TALES



                                   BY
                           E. T. W. HOFFMANN



                   A NEW TRANSLATION FROM THE GERMAN



                       WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR



                         By J. T. BEALBY, B.A.
         FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE



                             IN TWO VOLUMES
                                VOL. II.



                                NEW YORK
                        CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
                                  1885



                                 TROW'S
                   PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY,
                                NEW YORK.



                         CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.


                                                              PAGE
THE DOGE AND DOGESS,

MASTER MARTIN THE COOPER,

MADEMOISELLE DE SCUDÉRI,

GAMBLER'S LUCK,

MASTER JOHANNES WACHT,

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES,



                          THE DOGE AND DOGESS[1]


This was the title that distinguished in the art-catalogue of the works
exhibited by the Berlin Academy of Arts in September, 1816, a picture
which came from the brush of the skilful clever Associate of the
Academy, C. Kolbe.[2] There was such a peculiar charm in the piece that
it attracted all observers. A Doge, richly and magnificently dressed,
and a Dogess at his side, as richly adorned with jewellery, are
stepping out on to a balustered balcony; _he_ is an old man, with a
grey beard and rusty red face, his features indicating a peculiar
blending of expressions, now revealing strength, now weakness, again
pride and arrogance, and again pure good-nature; _she_ is a young
woman, with a far-away look of yearning sadness and dreamy aspiration
not only in her eyes but also in her general bearing. Behind them is an
elderly lady and a man holding an open sun-shade. At one end of the
balcony is a young man blowing a conch-shaped horn, whilst in front of
it a richly decorated gondola, bearing the Venetian flag and having two
gondoliers, is rocking on the sea. In the background stretches the sea
itself studded with hundreds and hundreds of sails, whilst the towers
and palaces of magnificent Venice are seen rising out of its waves. To
the left is Saint Mark's, to the right, more in the front, San Giorgio
Maggiore. The following words were cut in the golden frame of the
picture.

            Ah! senza amare,
            Andare sul mare
            Col sposo del mare,
            Non puo consolare.

            To go on the sea
            With the spouse of the sea,
            When loveless I be,
            Is no comfort to me.

One day there arose before this picture a fruitless altercation as to
whether the artist really intended it for anything more than a mere
picture, that is, the temporary situation, sufficiently indicated by
the verse, of a decrepit old man who with all his splendour and
magnificence is unable to satisfy the desires of a heart filled with
yearning aspirations, or whether he intended to represent an actual
historical event. One after the other the visitors left the place,
tired of the discussion, so that at length there were only two men
left, both very good friends to the noble art of painting. "I can't
understand," said one of them, "how people can spoil all their
enjoyment by eternally hunting after some jejune interpretation or
explanation. Independently of the fact that I have a pretty accurate
notion of what the relations in life between this Doge and Dogess were,
I am more particularly struck by the subdued richness and power that
characterises the picture as a whole. Look at this flag with the winged
lions, how they flutter in the breeze as if they swayed the world. O
beautiful Venice!" He began to recite Turandot's[3] riddle of Lion of
the Adriatic, "_Dimmi, qual sia quella terribil fera_," &c. He had
hardly come to the end when a sonorous masculine voice broke in with
Calaf's[4] solution, "_Tu quadrupede fera_," &c. Unobserved by the
friends, a man of tall and noble appearance, his grey mantle thrown
picturesquely across his shoulder, had taken up a position behind them,
and was examining the picture with sparkling eyes. They got into
conversation, and the stranger said almost in atone of solemnity, "It
is indeed a singular mystery, how a picture often arises in the mind of
an artist, the figures of which, previously indistinguishable,
incorporate mist driving about in empty space, first seem to shape
themselves into vitality in his mind, and there seem to find their
home. Suddenly the picture connects itself with the past, or even with
the future, representing something that has really happened or that
will happen. Perhaps it was not known to Kolbe himself that the persons
he was representing in this picture are none other than the Doge Marino
Falieri[5] and his lady Annunciata."

The stranger paused, but the two friends urgently entreated him to
solve for them this riddle as he had solved that of the Lion of the
Adriatic. Whereupon he replied, "If you have patience, my inquisitive
sirs, I will at once explain the picture to you by telling you
Falieri's history. But have you patience? I shall be very
circumstantial, for I cannot speak otherwise of things which stand so
life-like before my eyes that I seem to have seen them myself. And that
may very well be the case, for all historians--amongst whom I happen to
be one--are properly a kind of talking ghost of past ages."

The friends accompanied the stranger into a retired room, when, without
further preamble, he began as follows:--

It is now a long time ago, and if I mistake not, it was in the month of
August, 1354, that the valiant Genoese captain, Paganino Doria[6] by
name, utterly routed the Venetians and took their town of Parenzo. And
his well-manned galleys were now cruising backwards and forwards in the
Lagune, close in front of Venice, like ravenous beasts of prey which,
goaded by hunger, roam restlessly up and down spying out where they may
most safely pounce upon their victims; and both people and seignory
were panic-stricken with fear. All the male population, liable to
military service, and everybody who could lift an arm, flew to their
weapons or seized an oar. The harbour of Saint Nicholas was the
gathering-place for the bands. Ships and trees were sunk, and chains
riveted to chains, to lock the harbour-mouth against the enemy. Whilst
there was heard the rattle of arms and the wild tumult of preparation,
and whilst the ponderous masses thundered down into the foaming sea, on
the Rialto the agents of the seignory were wiping the cold sweat from
their pale brows, and with troubled countenances and hoarse voices
offering almost fabulous percentage for ready money, for the straitened
republic was in want of this necessary also. Moreover, it was
determined by the inscrutable decree of Providence that just at this
period of extreme distress and anxiety, the faithful shepherd should be
taken away from his troubled flock. Completely borne down by the burden
of the public calamity, the Doge Andrea Dandolo[7] died; the people
called him the "dear good count" (_il caro contino_), because he was
always cordial and kind, and never crossed Saint Mark's Square without
speaking a word of comfort to those in need of good advice, or giving a
few sequins[8] to those who were in want of money. And as every blow is
wont to fall with double sharpness upon those who are discouraged by
misfortune, when at other times they would hardly have felt it at all,
so now, when the people heard the bells of Saint Mark's proclaim in
solemn muffled tones the death of their Duke, they were utterly undone
with sorrow and grief. Their support, their hope, was now gone, and
they would have to bend their necks to the Genoese yoke, they cried, in
despite of the fact that Dandolo's loss did not seem to have any very
counteractive effect upon the progress that was being made with all
necessary warlike preparations. The "dear good count" had loved to live
in peace and quietness, preferring to follow the wondrous courses of
the stars rather than the problematical complications of state policy;
he understood how to arrange a procession on Easter Day better than how
to lead an army.

The object now was to elect a Doge who, endowed at one and the same
time with the valour and genius of a war captain, and with skill in
statecraft, should save Venice, now tottering on her foundations, from
the threatening power of her bold and ever-bolder enemy. But when the
senators assembled there was none but what had a gloomy face, hopeless
looks, and head bent earthwards and resting on his supporting hand.
Where were they to find a man who could seize the unguided helm and
direct the bark of the state aright? At last the oldest of the
councillors, called Marino Bodoeri, lifted up his voice and said, "You
will not find him here around us, or amongst us; direct your eyes to
Avignon, upon Marino Falieri, whom we sent to congratulate Pope
Innocent[9] on his elevation to the Papal dignity; he can find better
work to do now; he's the man for us; let us choose him Doge to stem
this current of adversity. You will urge by way of objection that he is
now almost eighty years old, that his hair and beard are white as
silver, that his blithe appearance, fiery eye, and the deep red of his
nose and cheeks are to be ascribed, as his traducers maintain, to good
Cyprus wine rather than to energy of character; but heed not that.
Remember what conspicuous bravery this Marino Falieri showed as admiral
of the fleet in the Black Sea, and bear in mind the great services
which prevailed with the Procurators of Saint Mark to invest this
Falieri with the rich countship of Valdemarino." Thus highly did
Bodoeri extol Falieri's virtues; and he had a ready answer for all
objections, so that at length all voices were unanimous in electing
Falieri. Several, however, still continued to allude to his hot,
passionate temper, his ambition, and his self-will; but they were met
with the reply: "And it is exactly because all these have gone from the
old man, that we choose the _grey-beard_ Falieri and not the _youth_
Falieri." And these censuring voices were completely silenced when the
people, learning upon whom the choice had fallen, greeted it with the
loudest and most extravagant demonstrations of delight. Do we not know
that in such dangerous times, in times of such tension and unrest, any
resolution that really is a resolution is accepted as an inspiration
from Heaven? Thus it came to pass that the "dear good count" and all
his gentleness and piety were forgotten, and every one cried, "By Saint
Mark, this Marino ought long ago to have been our Doge, and then we
should not have yon arrogant Doria before our very doors." And crippled
soldiers painfully lifted up their wounded arms and cried, "That is
Falieri who beat the Morbassan[10]--the valiant captain whose
victorious banners waved in the Black Sea." Wherever a knot of people
gathered, there was one amongst them telling of Falieri's heroic deeds;
and, as though Doria were already defeated, the air rang with wild
shouts of triumph. An additional reason for this was that Nicolo
Pisani[11] who, Heaven knows why! instead of going to meet Doria with
his fleet, had coolly sailed away to Sardinia,[12] was now returned.
Doria withdrew from the Lagune; and what was really due to the approach
of Pisani's fleet was ascribed to the formidable name of Marino
Falieri. Then the people and the seignory were seized by a kind of
frantic ecstasy that such an auspicious choice had been made; and as an
uncommon way of testifying the same, it was determined to welcome the
newly elected Doge as if he were a messenger from heaven bringing
honour, victory, and abundance of riches. Twelve nobles, each
accompanied by a numerous retinue in rich dresses, had been sent by the
Seignory to Verona, where the ambassadors of the Republic were again to
announce to Falieri, on his arrival, with all due ceremony, his
elevation to the supreme office in the state. Then fifteen richly
decorated vessels of state, equipped by the Podesta[13] of Chioggia,
and under the command of his own son Taddeo Giustiniani, took the Doge
and his attendant company on board at Chiozza; and now they moved on
like the triumphal procession of a most mighty and victorious monarch
to St. Clement's, where the Bucentaur[14] was awaiting the Doge.

At this very moment, namely, when Marino Falieri was about to set foot
on board the Bucentaur,--and that was on the evening of the 3d of
October about sunset--a poor unfortunate man lay stretched at full
length on the hard marble pavement in front of the Customhouse. A few
rags of striped linen, of a colour now no longer recognisable, the
remains of what apparently had once been a sailor's dress, such as was
worn by the very poorest of the people--porters and assistant oarsmen,
hung about his lean starved body. There was not a trace of a shirt to
be seen, except the poor fellow's own skin, which peeped through his
rags almost everywhere, and was so white and delicate that the very
noblest need not have been shy or ashamed of it Accordingly, his
leanness only served to display more fully the perfect proportions
of his well-knit frame. A careful scrutiny of the unfortunate's
light-chestnut hair, now hanging all tangled and dishevelled about his
exquisitely beautiful forehead, his blue eyes dimmed with extreme
misery, his Roman nose, his fine formed lips--he seemed to be not more
than twenty years old at the most--inevitably suggested that he was of
good birth, and had by some adverse turn of fortune been thrown amongst
the meanest classes of the people.

As remarked, the youth lay in front of the pillars of the Custom-house,
his head resting on his right arm, and his eyes riveted in a vacant
stare upon the sea, without movement or change of posture. An observer
might well have fancied that he was devoid of life, or that death had
fixed him there whilst turning him into an image of stone, had not a
deep sigh escaped him from time to time, as if wrung from him by
unutterable pain. And they were in fact occasioned by the pain of his
left arm, which had apparently been seriously wounded, and was lying
stretched out on the pavement, wrapped up in bloody rags.

All labour had ceased; the hum of trade was no longer heard; all
Venice, in thousands of boats and gondolas, was gone out to meet the
much-lauded Falieri. Hence it was that the unhappy youth was sighing
away his pain in utter helplessness. But just as his weary head fell
back upon the pavement, and he seemed on the point of fainting, a
hoarse and very querulous voice cried several times in succession,
"Antonio, my dear Antonio." At length Antonio painfully raised
himself partly up; and, turning his head towards the pillars of the
Custom-house, whence the voice seemed to proceed, he replied very
faintly, and in a scarce intelligible voice, "Who is calling me? Who
has come to cast my dead body into the sea, for it will soon be all
over with me." Then a little shrivelled wrinkled crone came up panting
and coughing, hobbling along by the aid of her staff; she approached
the wounded youth, and squatting down beside him, she burst out into a
most repulsive chuckling and laughing. "You foolish child, you foolish
child," whispered the old woman, "are you going to perish here--will
you stay here to die, while a golden fortune is waiting for you? Look
yonder, look yonder at yon blazing fire in the west; there are sequins
for you! But you must eat, dear Antonio, eat and drink; for it's only
hunger which has made you fall down here on this cold pavement. Your
arm is now quite well again, yes, that it is." Antonio recognised in
the old crone the singular beggar-woman who was generally to be seen on
the steps of the Franciscan Church, chuckling to herself and laughing,
and soliciting alms from the worshippers; he himself, urged by some
inward inexplicable propensity, had often thrown her a hard-earned
penny, which he had not had to spare. "Leave me, leave me in peace, you
insane old woman," he said; "but you are right, it is hunger more than
my wound which has made me weak and miserable; for three days I have
not earned a farthing. I wanted to go over to the monastery[15] and see
if I could get a spoonful or two of the soup that is made for invalids;
but all my companions have gone; there is not one to have compassion
upon me and take me in his _barca_;[16] and now I have fallen down
here, and shall, I expect, never get up again." "Hi! hi! hi! hi!"
chuckled the old woman; "why do you begin to despair so soon? Why lose
heart so quickly? You are thirsty and hungry, but I can help you. Here
are a few fine dried fish which I bought only to-day in the Mint; here
is lemon-juice and a piece of nice white bread; eat, my son; and then
we will look at the wounded arm." And the old woman proceeded to bring
forth fish, bread, and lemon juice from the bag which hung like a hood
down her back, and also projected right above her bent head. As soon as
Antonio had moistened his parched and burning lips with the cool drink,
he felt the pangs of hunger return with double fury, and he greedily
devoured the bread and the fish.

Meanwhile the old woman was busy unwrapping the rags from his wounded
arm, and it was found that, though it was badly crushed, the wound was
progressing favourably towards healing. The old woman took a salve out
of a little box and warmed it with the breath of her mouth, and as she
rubbed it on the wound she asked, "But who then has given you such a
nasty blow, my poor boy?" Antonio was so refreshed and charged anew
with vital energy that he had raised himself completely up; his eyes
flashed, and he shook his doubled fist above his head, crying, "Oh!
that rascal Nicolo; he tried to maim me, because he envies me every
wretched penny that any generous hand bestows upon me. You know, old
dame, that I barely managed to hold body and soul together by helping
to carry bales of goods from ships and freight-boats to the _dépôt_
of the Germans, the so-called Fontego[17]--of course you know the
building"--Directly Antonio uttered the word Fontego, the old
woman began to chuckle and laugh most abominably, and to mumble,
"Fontego--Fontego--Fontego." "Have done with your insane laughing if I
am to go on with my story," added Antonio angrily. At once the old
woman grew quiet, and Antonio continued, "after a time I saved a little
bit of money, and bought a new jerkin, so that I looked quite fine; and
then I got enrolled amongst the gondoliers. As I was always in a blithe
humour, worked hard, and knew a great many good songs, I soon earned a
good deal more than the rest. This, however, awakened my comrades'
envy. They blackened my character to my master, so that he turned me
adrift; and everywhere where I went or where I stood they cried after
me, 'German cur! Cursed heretic!' Three days ago, as I was helping to
unload a boat near St. Sebastian, they fell upon me with sticks and
stones. I defended myself stoutly, but that malicious Nicolo dealt me a
blow with his oar, which grazed my head and severely injured my arm,
and knocked me on the ground. Ay, you've given me a good meal, old
woman, and I am sure I feel that your salve has done my arm a world of
good. See, I can already move it easily--now I shall be able to row
bravely again." Antonio had risen up from the ground, and was swinging
his arm violently backwards and forwards, but the old woman again fell
to chuckling and laughing loudly, whilst she hobbled round about him
in the most extraordinary fashion--dancing with short tripping steps
as it were--and she cried, "My son, my good boy, my good lad--row on
bravely--he is coming--he is coming. The gold is shining red in the
bright flames. Row on stoutly, row on; but only once more, only once
more; and then never again."

But Antonio was not paying the slightest heed to the old woman's words,
for the most splendid of spectacles was unfolding itself before his
eyes. The Bucentaur, with the Lion of the Adriatic on her fluttering
standard, was coming along from St. Clement's to the measured stroke of
the oars like a mighty winged golden swan. Surrounded by innumerable
_barcas_ and gondolas, and with her head proudly and boldly raised, she
appeared like a princess commanding a triumphing army, that had emerged
from the depths of the sea, wearing bright and gaily decked helmets.
The evening sun was sending down his fiery rays upon the sea and upon
Venice, so that everything appeared to have been plunged into a bath of
blazing fire; but whilst Antonio, completely forgetful of all his
unhappiness, was standing gazing with wonder and delight, the gleams of
the sun grew more bloody and more bloody. The wind whistled shrilly and
harshly, and a hollow threatening echo came rolling in from the open
sea outside. Down burst the storm in the midst of black clouds, and
enshrouded all in thick darkness, whilst the waves rose higher and
higher, pouring in from the thundering sea like foaming hissing
monsters, threatening to engulf everything. The gondolas and _barcas_
were driven in all directions like scattered feathers. The Bucentaur,
unable to resist the storm owing to its flat bottom, was yawing from
side to side. Instead of the jubilant notes of trumpets and cornets,
there was heard through the storm the anxious cries of those in
distress.

Antonio gazed upon the scene like one stupefied, without sense and
motion. But then there came a rattling of chains immediately in front
of him; he looked down, and saw a little canoe, which was chained to
the wall, and was being tossed up and down by the waves; and a thought
entered his mind like a flash of lightning. He leaped into the canoe,
unfastened it, seized the oar which he found in it, and pushed out
boldly and confidently into the sea, directly towards the Bucentaur.
The nearer he came to it the more distinctly could he hear shouts for
help. "Here, here, come here--save the Doge, save the Doge." It is well
known that little fisher-canoes are safer and better to manage in the
Lagune when it is stormy than are larger boats; and accordingly these
little craft were hastening from all sides to the rescue of Marino
Falieri's invaluable person. But it is an invariable principle in life
that the Eternal Power reserves every bold deed as a brilliant success
to the one specially chosen for it, and hence all others have all their
pains for nothing. And as on this occasion it was poor Antonio who was
destined to achieve the rescue of the newly elected Doge, he alone
succeeded in working his way on to the Bucentaur in his little
insignificant fisher-canoe. Old Marino Falieri, familiar with such
dangers, stepped firmly, without a moment's hesitation, from the
sumptuous but treacherous Bucentaur into poor Antonio's little craft,
which, gliding smoothly over the raging waves like a dolphin, brought
him in a few minutes to St. Mark's Square. The old man, his clothing
saturated with wet, and with large drops of sea-spray in his grey
beard, was conducted into the church, where the nobles with blanched
faces concluded the ceremonies connected with the Doge's public entry.
But the people, as well as the seignory, confounded by this unfortunate
_contretemps_, to which was also added the fact that the Doge, in the
hurry and confusion, had been led between the two columns where common
malefactors were generally executed, grew silent in the midst of their
triumph, and thus the day that had begun in festive fashion ended in
gloom and sadness.

Nobody seemed to think about the Doge's rescuer; nor did Antonio
himself think about it, for he was lying in the peristyle of the Ducal
Palace, half dead with fatigue, and fainting with the pain caused by
his wound, which had again burst open. He was therefore all the more
surprised when just before midnight a Ducal halberdier took him by the
shoulders, saying, "Come along, friend," and led him into the palace,
where he pushed him into the Duke's chamber. The old man came to meet
him with a kindly smile, and said, pointing to a couple of purses lying
on the table, "You have borne yourself bravely, my son. Here; take
these three thousand sequins, and if you want more ask for them; but
have the goodness never to come into my presence again." As he said
these last words the old man's eyes flashed with fire, and the tip of
his nose grew a darker red Antonio could not fathom the old man's mind;
he did not, however, trouble himself overmuch about it, but with some
little difficulty took up the purses, which he believed he had honestly
and rightly earned.

Next morning old Falieri, conspicuous in the splendours of his newly
acquired dignity, stood in one of the lofty bay windows of the palace,
watching the bustling scene below, where the people were busy engaged
in practising all kinds of weapons, when Bodoeri, who from the days
when he was a youth had enjoyed the intimate and unchangeable
friendship of the Doge, entered the apartment. As, however, the Doge
was quite wrapped up in himself and his dignity, and did not appear to
notice his entrance, Bodoeri clapped his hands together and cried with
a loud laugh, "Come, Falieri, what are all these sublime thoughts that
are being hatched and nourished in your mind since you first put the
Doge's bent bonnet on?" Falieri, coming to himself like one awakening
from a dream, stepped forward to meet his old friend with an air of
forced amiability. He felt that he really owed his bonnet to Bodoeri,
and the words of the latter seemed to be a reminder of the fact. But
since every obligation weighed like a burden upon Falieri's proud
ambitious spirit, and he could not dismiss the oldest member of the
Council, and his tried friend to boot, as he had dismissed poor
Antonio, he constrained himself to utter a few words of thanks, and
immediately began to speak of the measures to be adopted to meet their
enemy, who was now developing so great an activity in every direction.
Bodoeri interrupted him and said, cunningly smiling, "That, and all
else that the state demands of you, we will maturely weigh and consider
an hour or two hence in a full meeting of the Great Council. I have not
come to you thus early in order to invent a plan for defeating yon
presumptuous Doria or bringing to reason Louis[18] the Hungarian, who
is again setting his longing eyes upon our Dalmatian seaports. No,
Marino, I was thinking solely about you, and about what you perhaps
would not guess--your marriage." "How came you to think of such a thing
as _that_?" replied the Doge, greatly annoyed; and rising to his feet,
he turned his back upon Bodoeri and looked out of the window. "It's a
long time to Ascension Day. By that time I hope the enemy will be
routed, and that victory, honour, additional riches, and a wider
extension of power will have been won for the sea-born lion of the
Adriatic. The chaste bride shall find her bridegroom worthy of her."
"Pshaw! pshaw!" interrupted Bodoeri, impatiently; "you are talking
about that memorable ceremony on Ascension Day, when you will throw the
gold ring from the Bucentaur into the waves under the impression that
you are wedding the Adriatic Sea. But do you not know,--you, Marino,
you, kinsman to the sea,--of any other bride than the cold, damp,
treacherous element which you delude yourself into the belief that you
rule, and which only yesterday revolted against you in such dangerous
fashion? Marry, how can you fancy lying in the arms of such a bride of
such a wild, wayward thing? Why when you only just skimmed her lips as
you rode along in the Bucentaur she at once began to rage and storm.
Would an entire Vesuvius of fiery passion suffice to warm the icy bosom
of such a false bride as that? Continually faithless, she is wedded
time after time, nor does she receive the ring as a treasured symbol of
love, but she extorts it as a tribute from a slave? No, Marino, I was
thinking of your marriage to the most beautiful child of the earth than
can be found." "You are prating utter nonsense, utter nonsense, I tell
you, old man," murmured Falieri without turning away from the window.
"I, a grey-haired old man, eighty years of age, burdened with toil and
trouble, who have never been married, and now hardly capable of
loving"---- "Stop," cried Bodoeri, "don't slander yourself. Does not
the Winter, however rough and cold he may be, at last stretch out his
longing arms towards the beautiful goddess who comes to meet him borne
by balmy western winds? And when he presses her to his benumbed bosom,
when a gentle glow pervades his veins, where then is his ice and his
snow? You say you are eighty years old; that is true; but do you
measure old age then by years merely? Don't you carry your head as
erect and walk with as firm a step as you did forty summers ago? Or do
you perhaps feel that your strength is failing you, that you must carry
a lighter sword, that you grow faint when you walk fast, or get short
of breath when you ascend the steps of the Ducal Palace?" "No, by
Heaven, no," broke in Falieri upon his friend, as he turned away from
the window with an abrupt passionate movement and approached him, "no,
I feel no traces of age upon me." "Well then," continued Bodoeri, "take
deep draughts in your old age of all the delights of earth which are
now destined for you. Elevate the woman whom I have chosen for you to
be your Dogess; and then all the ladies of Venice will be constrained
to admit that she stands first of all in beauty and in virtue, even as
the Venetians recognise in you their captain in valour, intellect, and
power."

Bodoeri now began to sketch the picture of a beautiful woman, and in
doing so he knew how to mix his colours so cleverly, and lay them on
with so much vigour and effect, that old Falieri's eyes began to
sparkle, and his face grew redder and redder, whilst he puckered up his
mouth and smacked his lips as if he were draining sundry glasses of
fiery Syracuse. "But who is this paragon of loveliness of whom you are
speaking?" said he at last with a smirk. "I mean nobody else but my
dear niece--it's she I mean," replied Bodoeri. "What! your niece?"
interrupted Falieri. "Why, she was married to Bertuccio Nenolo when I
was Podesta of Treviso." "Oh! you are thinking about my niece
Francesca," continued Bodoeri, "but it is her sweet daughter whom I
intend for you. You know how rude, rough Nenolo was enticed to the wars
and drowned at sea. Francesca buried her pain and grief in a Roman
nunnery, and so I had little Annunciata brought up in strict seclusion
at my villa in Treviso"---- "What!" cried Falieri, again impatiently
interrupting the old man, "you mean me to raise your niece's daughter
to the dignity of Dogess? How long is it since Nenolo was married?
Annunciata must be a child--at the most only ten years old. When I was
Podesta in Treviso, Nenolo had not even thought of marrying, and
that's"---- "Twenty-five years ago," interposed Bodoeri, laughing;
"come, you are getting all at sea with your memory of the flight of
time, it goes so rapidly with you. Annunciata is a maiden of nineteen,
beautiful as the sun, modest, submissive, inexperienced in love, for
she has hardly ever seen a man. She will cling to you with childlike
affection and unassuming devotion." "I will see her, I will see her,"
exclaimed the Doge, whose eyes again beheld the picture of the
beautiful Annunciata which Bodoeri had sketched.

His desire was gratified the self-same day; for immediately he got back
to his own apartments from the meeting of the Great Council, the crafty
Bodoeri, who no doubt had many reasons for wishing to see his niece
Dogess at Falieri's side, brought the lovely Annunciata to him
secretly. Now, when old Falieri saw the angelic maiden, he was quite
taken aback by her wonderful beauty, and was scarcely able to stammer
out a few unintelligible words as he sued for her hand. Annunciata, no
doubt well instructed by Bodoeri beforehand, fell upon her knees before
the princely old man, her cheeks flushing crimson. She grasped his hand
and pressed it to her lips, softly whispering, "O sir, will you indeed
honour me by raising me to a place at your side on your princely
throne? Oh! then I will reverence you from the depths of my soul, and
will continue your faithful handmaiden as long as I have breath." Old
Falieri was beside himself with happiness and delight. As Annunciata
took his hand he felt a convulsive throb in every limb; and then his
head and all his body began to tremble and totter to such a degree that
he had to sink hurriedly into his great arm-chair. It seemed as if he
were about to refute Bodoeri's good opinion as to the strength and
toughness of his eighty summers. Bodoeri, in fact, could not keep back
the peculiar smile that darted across his lips; innocent, un*
sophisticated Annunciata observed nothing; and happily no one else was
present Finally it was resolved for some reason--either because old
Falieri felt in what an uncomfortable position he would appear in the
eyes of the people as the betrothed of a maiden of nineteen, or because
it occurred to him as a sort of presentiment that the Venetians, who
were so prone to mockery, ought not to be so directly challenged to
indulge in it, or because he deemed it better to say nothing at all
about the critical period of betrothal--at any rate, it was resolved,
with Bodoeri's consent, that the marriage should be celebrated with the
greatest secrecy, and that then some days later the Dogess should be
introduced to the seignory and the people as if she had been some time
married to Falieri, and had just arrived from Treviso, where she had
been staying during Falieri's mission to Avignon.

Let us now turn our eyes upon yon neatly dressed handsome youth who is
going up and down the Rialto with his purse of sequins in his hand,
conversing with Jews, Turks, Armenians, Greeks.[19] He turns away his
face with a frown, walks on further, stands still, turns round, and
ultimately has himself rowed by a gondolier to St. Mark's Square. There
he walks up and down with uncertain hesitating steps, his arms folded
and his eyes bent upon the ground; nor does he observe, or even have
any idea, that all the whispering and low coughing from various windows
and various richly draped balconies are love-signals which are meant
for him. Who would have easily recognised in this youth the same
Antonio who a few days before had lain on the marble pavement in front
of the Custom-house, poor, ragged, and miserable? "My dear boy! My dear
golden boy, Antonio, good day, good day!" Thus he was greeted by the
old beggar-woman, who sat on the steps leading to St. Mark's Church,
and whom he was going past without observing. Turning abruptly round,
he recognised the old woman, and, dipping his hand into his purse, took
out a handful of sequins with the intention of throwing them to her.
"Oh! keep your gold in your purse," chuckled and laughed the old woman;
"what should I do with your money? am I not rich enough? But if you
want to do me a kindness, get me a new hood made, for this which I am
now wearing is no longer any protection against wind and weather. Yes,
please get me one, my dear boy, my dear golden boy,--but keep away from
the Fontego,--keep away from the Fontego." Antonio stared into the old
woman's pale yellow face, the deep wrinkles in which twitched
convulsively in a strange awe-inspiring way. And when she clapped her
lean bony hands together so that the joints cracked, and continued her
disagreeable laugh, and went on repeating in a hoarse voice, "Keep away
from the Fontego," Antonio cried, "Can you not have done with that mad
insane nonsense, you old witch?"

As Antonio uttered this word, the old woman, as if struck by a
lightning-flash, came rolling down the high marble steps like a ball.
Antonio leapt forward and grasped her by both hands, and so prevented
her from falling heavily. "O my good lad, my good lad," said the old
crone in a low, querulous voice, "what a hideous word that was which
you uttered. Kill me rather than repeat that word to me again. Oh! you
don't know how deeply you have cut me to the heart, me--who have such a
true affection for you--no, you don't know"---- Abruptly breaking off,
she wrapped up her head in the dark brown cloth flaps which covered her
shoulders like a short mantle, and sighed and moaned as if suffering
unspeakable pain. Antonio felt his heart strangely moved; lifting up
the old woman, he carried her up into the vestibule of the church, and
set her down upon one of the marble benches which were there. "You have
been kind to me, old woman," he began, after he had liberated her head
from the ugly cloth flaps, "you have been kind to me, since it is to
you that I really owe all my prosperity; for if you had not stood by me
in the hour of need, I should long ere this have been at the bottom of
the sea, nor should I have rescued the old Doge, and received these
good sequins. But even if you had not shown that kindness to me, I yet
feel that I should have a special liking for you as long as I live, in
spite of the fact that your insane behaviour--chuckling and laughing so
horribly--strikes my heart with awe. To tell you the truth, old dame,
even when I had hard work to get a living by carrying merchandise and
rowing, I always felt as if I must work still harder that I might have
a few pence to give you." "O son of my heart, my golden Tonino," cried
the old woman, raising her shrivelled arms above her head, whilst her
staff fell rattling on the marble floor and rolled away from her, "O
Tonino mine, I know it; yes, I know it; you must cling to me with all
your soul, you may do as you will, for--but hush! hush! hush!" The old
woman stooped painfully down in order to reach her staff, but Antonio
picked it up and handed it to her.

Leaning her sharp chin on her staff, and riveting her eyes in a set
stare upon the ground, she began to speak in a reserved but hollow
voice, "Tell me, my child, have you no recollection at all of any
former time, of what you did or where you were before you found
yourself here, a poor wretch hardly able to keep body and soul
together?" With a deep sigh, Antonio took his seat beside the old crone
and then began, "Alas! mother, only too well do I know that I was born
of parents living in the most prosperous circumstances; but who they
were and how I came to leave them, of this I have not the slightest
notion, nor could I have. I remember very well a tall handsome man, who
often took me in his arms and smothered me with kisses and put sweets
in my mouth. And I can also in the same way call to mind a pleasant and
pretty lady, who used to dress and undress me and place me in a soft
little bed every night, and who in fact was very kind to me in every
way. They used to talk to me in a foreign, sonorous language, and I
also stammered several words of the same tongue after them. Whilst I
was an oarsman my jealous rivals used to say I must be of German
origin, from the colour of my hair and eyes, and from my general build.
And this I believe myself, for the language which that man spoke (he
must have been my father) was German. But the most vivid recollection
which I have of that time is that of one terrible night, when I was
awakened out of deep sleep by a fearful scream of distress. People were
running about the house; doors were being opened and banged to; I grew
terribly frightened, and began to cry loudly. Then the lady who used to
dress me and take care of me burst into the room, snatched me out of
bed, stopped my mouth, enveloped me in shawls, and ran off with me.
From that moment I can remember nothing more, until I found myself
again in a splendid house, situated in a most charming district. Then
there rises up the image of a man whom I called 'father,' a majestic
man of noble but benevolent appearance. Like all the rest in the house,
he spoke Italian.

"For several weeks I had not seen my father, when one day several
ugly-looking strangers came and kicked up a great deal of noise in the
house, rummaging about and turning out everything. When they saw me
they asked who I was, and what I was doing there? 'Don't you know I'm
Antonio, and belong to the house?' I replied; but they laughed in my
face and tore off all my fine clothes and turned me out of doors,
threatening to have me whipped if I dared to show myself again. I ran
away screaming and crying. I had not gone a hundred yards from the
house when I met an old man, whom I recognised as being one of my
foster-father's servants. 'Come along, Antonio,' he said, taking hold
of my hand, 'come along, my poor boy, that house is now closed to us
both for ever. We must both look out and see how we can earn a crust of
bread.'

"The old man brought me along with him here. He was not so poor as he
seemed to be from his mean clothing. Directly we arrived I saw him rip
up his jerkin and produce a bag of sequins; and he spent the whole day
running about on the Rialto, now acting as broker, now dealing on his
own account. I had always to be close at his heels; and whenever he had
made a bargain he had a habit of begging a trifle for the _figliuolo_
(little boy). Every one whom I looked boldly in the face was glad to
pull out a few pence, which the old man pocketed with infinite
satisfaction, affirming, as he stroked my cheeks, that he was saving it
up to buy me a new jerkin. I was very comfortable with the old man,
whom the people called Old Father Bluenose, though for what reason I
don't know. But this life did not last long. You will remember that
terrible time, old woman, when one day the earth began to tremble, and
towers and palaces were shaken to their very foundations and began to
reel and totter, and the bells to ring as if tolled by the arms of
invisible giants. Hardly seven years have passed since that day.
Fortunately I escaped along with my old man out of the house before it
fell in with a crash behind us. There was no business doing; everybody
on the Rialto seemed stunned, and everything lifeless. But this
dreadful event was only the precursor of another approaching monster,
which soon breathed out its poisonous breath over the town and the
surrounding country. It was known that the pestilence, which had first
made its way from the Levant into Sicily, was committing havoc in
Tuscany.[20] As yet Venice had been spared. One day Old Father Bluenose
was dealing with an Armenian on the Rialto; they were agreed over their
bargain, and warmly shook hands. Father Bluenose had sold the Armenian
certain good wares at a very low price, and now asked for the usual
trifle for the _figliuolo_. The stranger, a big stalwart man with a
thick curly beard (I can see him now), bent a kind look upon me, and
then kissed me, pressing a few sequins into my hand, which I hastily
pocketed. We took a gondola to St. Mark's. On the way the old man asked
me for the sequins, but for some reason or other, I don't know what
induced me to do it, I maintained that I must keep them myself, since
the Armenian had wished me to do so. The old man got angry; but whilst
he was quarrelling with me I noticed a disagreeable dirty yellow colour
spreading over his face, and that he was mixing up all sorts of
incoherent nonsense in his talk. When we reached the Square he reeled about
like a drunken man, until he fell to the ground in front of the Ducal
Palace--dead. With a loud wail I threw myself upon the corpse. The people
came running round us, but as soon as the dreaded cry 'The pestilence!
the pestilence!' was heard, they scattered and flew apart in terror. At the
same moment I was seized by a dull numbing pain, and my senses left me.

"When I awoke I found I was in a spacious room, lying on a plain
mattress, and covered with a blanket. Round about me there were fully
twenty or thirty other pale ghastly forms lying on similar mattresses.
As I learned later, certain compassionate monks, who happened to be
just coming out of St. Mark's, had, on finding signs of life in me, put
me in a gondola and got me taken over to Giudecca into the monastery
of San Giorgio Maggiore, where the Benedictines had established a
hospital. How can I describe to you, old woman, this moment of
re-awakening? The violence of the plague had completely robbed me of
all recollections of the past. Just as if the spark of life had been
suddenly dropped into a lifeless statue, I had but a momentary kind
of existence, so to speak, linked on to nothing. You may imagine
what trouble, what distress this life occasioned me in which my
consciousness seemed to swim in empty space without an anchorage. All
that the monks could tell me was that I had been found beside Father
Bluenose, whose son I was generally accounted to be. Gradually and
slowly I gathered my thoughts together, and tried to reflect upon my
previous life, but what I have told you, old dame, is all that I can
remember of it, and that consists only of certain individual
disconnected pictures. Oh! this miserable being-alone-in-the-world! I
can't be gay and happy, no matter what may happen!" "Tonino, my dear
Tonino," said the old woman, "be contented with what the present moment
gives you."

"Say no more, old woman, say no more," interrupted Antonio; "there is
still something else which embitters my life, following me about
incessantly everywhere; I know it will be the utter ruin of me in the
end. An unspeakable longing,--a consuming aspiration for something,--I
can neither say nor even conceive what it is--has taken complete
possession of my heart and mind since I awoke to renewed life in the
hospital. Whilst I was still poor and wretched, and threw myself down
at night on my hard couch, weary and worn out by the hard heavy labour
of the day, a dream used to come to me, and, fanning my hot brow with
balmy rustling breezes, shed about my heart all the inexpressible bliss
of some single happy moment, in which the Eternal Power had been
pleased to grant me in thought a glimpse of the delights of heaven, and
the memory of which was treasured up in the recesses of my soul I now
rest on soft cushions, and no labour consumes my strength: but if I
awaken out of a dream, or if in my waking hours the recollection of
that great moment returns to my mind, I feel that the lonely wretched
existence I lead is just as much an oppressive burden now as it was
then, and that it is vain for me to try and shake it off. All my
thinking and all my inquiries are fruitless; I cannot fathom what this
glorious thing is which formerly happened in my life. Its mysterious
and alas! to me, unintelligible echo, as it were, fills me with such
great happiness; but will not this happiness pass over into the most
agonising pain, and torture me to death, when I am obliged to
acknowledge that all my hope of ever finding that unknown Eden again,
nay, that even the courage to search for it, is lost? Can there indeed
remain traces of that which has vanished without leaving any sign
behind it?" Antonio ceased speaking, and a deep and painful sigh
escaped his breast.

During his narrative the old crone had behaved like one who sympathised
fully with his trouble, and felt all that he felt, and like a mirror
reflected every movement and gesture which the pain wrung from him.
"Tonino," she now began in a tearful voice, "my dear Tonino, do you
mean to tell me that you let your courage sink because the remembrance
of some glorious moment in your life has perished out of your mind? You
foolish child! You foolish child! Listen to--hi! hi! hi!" The old woman
began to chuckle and laugh in her usual disagreeable way, and to hop
about on the marble floor. Some people came; she cowered down in her
accustomed posture; they threw her alms. "Antonio--lead me away,
Antonio--away to the sea," she croaked Almost involuntarily--he could
not explain how it came about--he took her by the arm and led her
slowly across St. Mark's Square. On the way the old woman muttered
softly and solemnly, "Antonio, do you see these dark stains of blood
here on the ground? Yes, blood--much blood--much blood everywhere! But,
hi! hi! hi! Roses will spring up out of the blood--beautiful red roses
for a wreath for you--for your sweetheart. O good Lord of all, what
lovely angel of light is this, who is coming to meet you with such
grace and such a bright starry smile? Her lily-white arms are stretched
out to embrace you. O Antonio, you lucky, lucky lad! bear yourself
bravely! bear yourself bravely! And at the sweet hour of sunset
you may pluck myrtle-leaves--myrtle-leaves for the bride--for the
maiden-widow--hi! hi! hi! Myrtle-leaves plucked at the hour of sunset,
but these will not be blossoms until midnight! Do you hear the
whisperings of the night-winds? the longing moaning swell of the sea?
Row away bravely, my bold oarsman, row away bravely!" Antonio's heart
was deeply thrilled with awe as he listened to the old crone's wonderful
words, which she mumbled to herself in a very peculiar and extraordinary
way, mingled with an incessant chuckling.

They came to the pillar which bears the Lion of the Adriatic. The old
woman was going on right past it, still muttering to herself; but
Antonio, feeling very uncomfortable at the old crone's behaviour,
and being, moreover, stared at in astonishment by the passers-by,
stopped and said roughly, "Here--sit you down on these steps, old
woman, and have done with your talk; it will drive me mad. It is a
fact that you saw my sequins in the fiery images in the clouds; but,
for that very reason, what do you mean by prating about angels of
light--bride--maiden-widow--roses and myrtle-leaves? Do you want to
make a fool of me, you fearful woman, till some insane attempt hurries
me to destruction? You shall have a new hood--bread--sequins--all that
you want, but leave me alone." And he was about to make off hastily;
but the old woman caught him by the mantle, and cried in a shrill
piercing voice, "Tonino, my Tonino, do take a good look at me for once,
or else I must go to the very edge of the Square yonder and in despair
throw myself over into the sea." In order to avoid attracting more eyes
upon him than he was already doing, Antonio actually stood still.
"Tonino," went on the old woman, "sit down here beside me; my heart is
bursting, I must tell you--Oh! do sit down here beside me." Antonio sat
down on the steps, but so as to turn his back upon her; and he took out
his account-book, whose white pages bore witness to the zeal with which
he did business on the Rialto.

The old woman now whispered very low, "Tonino, when you look upon my
shrivelled features, does there not dawn upon your mind the slightest,
faintest recollection of having known me formerly a long, long time
ago?" "I have already told you, old woman," replied Antonio in the same
low tones, and without turning round, "I have already told you, that I
feel drawn towards you in a way that I can't explain to myself, but I
don't attribute it to your ugly shrivelled face. Nay, when I look at
your strange black glittering eyes and sharp nose, at your blue lips
and long chin, and bristly grey hair, and when I hear your abominable
chuckling and laughing, and your confused talk, I rather turn away from
you with disgust, and am even inclined to believe that you possess some
execrable power for attracting me to you." "O God! God! God!" whined
the old dame, a prey to unspeakable pain, "what fiendish spirit of
darkness has put such fearful thoughts into your head? O Tonino, my
darling Tonino, the woman who took such tender loving care of you when
a child, and who saved your life from the most threatening danger on
that awful night--it was I."

In the first moments of startled surprise Antonio turned round as if
shot; but then he fixed his eyes upon the old woman's hideous face and
cried angrily, "So that is the way you think you are going to befool
me, you abominable insane old crone! The few recollections which I have
retained of my childhood are fresh and lively. That kind and pretty
lady who tended me--Oh! I can see her plainly now! She had a full
bright face with some colour in it--eyes gently smiling-beautiful
dark-brown hair--dainty hands; she could hardly be thirty years old,
and you--you, an old woman of ninety!" "O all ye saints of Heaven!"
interrupted the old dame, sobbing, "all ye blessed ones, what shall I
do to make my Tonino believe in me, his faithful Margaret?" "Margaret!"
murmured Antonio, "Margaret! That name falls upon my ears like music
heard a long long time ago, and for a long long time forgotten.
But--no, it is impossible--impossible." Then the old dame went on more
calmly, dropping her eyes, and scribbling as it were with her staff on
the ground, "You are right; the tall handsome man who used to take you
in his arms and kiss you and give you sweets was your father, Tonino;
and the language in which we spoke to each other was the beautiful
sonorous German. Your father was a rich and influential merchant in
Augsburg. His young and lovely wife died in giving birth to you. Then,
since he could not settle down in the place where his dearest lay
buried, he came hither to Venice, and brought me, your nurse, with him
to take care of you. That terrible night an awful fate overtook your
father, and also threatened you. I succeeded in saving you. A noble
Venetian adopted you; I, deprived of all means of support, had to
remain in Venice.

"My father, a barber-surgeon, of whom it was said that he practised
forbidden science as well, had made me familiar from my earliest
childhood with the mysterious virtues of Nature's remedies. By him I
was taught to wander through the fields and woods, learning the
properties of many healing herbs, of many insignificant mosses, the
hours when they should be plucked and gathered, and how to mix the
juices of the various simples. But to this knowledge there was added a
very special gift, which Heaven has endowed me with for some
inscrutable purpose. I often see future events as if in a dim and
distant mirror; and almost without any conscious effort of will, I
declare in expressions which are unintelligible to myself what I have
seen; for some unknown Power compels me, and I cannot resist it. Now
when I had to stay behind in Venice, deserted of all the world, I
resolved to earn a livelihood by means of my tried skill. In a brief
time I cured the most dangerous diseases. And furthermore, as my
presence alone had a beneficial effect upon my patients, and the soft
stroking of my hand often brought them past the crisis in a few
minutes, my fame necessarily soon spread through the town, and money
came pouring in in streams. This awakened the jealousy of the
physicians, quacks who sold their pills and essences in St. Mark's
Square, on the Rialto, and in the Mint, poisoning their patients
instead of curing them. They spread abroad that I was in league with
the devil himself; and they were believed by the superstitious folk. I
was soon arrested and brought before the ecclesiastical tribunal. O my
Tonino, what horrid tortures did they inflict upon me in order to force
from me a confession of the most damnable of all alliances! I remained
firm. My hair turned white; my body withered up to a mummy; my feet and
hands were paralysed. But there was still the terrible rack left--the
cunningest invention of the foul fiend,--and it extorted from me a
confession at which I shudder even now. I was to be burnt alive; but
when the earthquake shook the foundations of the palaces and of the
great prison, the door of the underground dungeon in which I lay
confined sprang open of itself, and I staggered up out of my grave as
it were through rubbish and ruins.[21] O Tonino, you called me an old
woman of ninety; I am hardly more than fifty. This lean, emaciated
body, this hideously distorted face, this icicle-like hair, these lame
feet--no, it was not the lapse of years, it was only unspeakable
tortures which could in a few months change me thus from a strong woman
into the monstrous creature I now am. And my hideous chuckling and
laughing--this was forced from me by the last strain on the rack, at
the memory of which my hair even now stands on an end, and I feel
altogether as if I were locked in a red-hot coat of mail; and since
that time I have been constantly subject to it; it attacks me without
my being able to check it. So don't stand any longer in awe of me,
Tonino, Oh! it was indeed your heart which told you that as a little
boy you lay on my bosom." "Woman," said Antonio hoarsely, wrapped up in
his own thoughts, "woman, I feel as if I must believe you. But who was
my father? What was he called? What was the awful fate which overtook
him on that terrible night? Who was it who adopted me? And--what was
that occurrence in my life which now, like some potent magical spell
from a strange and unknown world, exercises an irresistible sway over
my soul, so that all my thoughts are dissipated into a dark night-like
sea, so to speak? When you tell me all this, you mysterious woman, then
I will believe you." "Tonino," replied the old crone, sighing, "for
your own sake I must keep silent; but the time when I may speak will
soon come. The Fontego--the Fontego--keep away from the Fontego."

"Oh!" cried Antonio angrily, "you need not begin to speak your dark
sentences again to enchant me by some devilish wile or other. My heart
is rent, you must speak, or"---- "Stop," interrupted she, "no
threats--am I not your faithful nurse, who tended you?"---- Without
waiting to hear what the old woman had got further to say, he picked
himself up and ran away swiftly. From a distance he shouted to her,
"You shall nevertheless have a new hood, and as many sequins besides as
you like."


It was in truth a remarkable spectacle, to see the old Doge Marino
Falieri and his youthful wife: he, strong enough and robust enough in
very truth, but with a grey beard, and innumerable wrinkles in his
rusty brown face, with some difficulty bearing his head erect, forming
a pathetic figure as he strode along; she, a perfect picture of grace,
with the pure gentleness of an angel in her divinely beautiful face, an
irresistible charm in her longing glances, a queenly dignity enthroned
upon her open lily-white brow, shadowed by her dark locks, a sweet
smile upon her cheeks and lips, her pretty head bent with winsome
submissiveness, her slender form moving with ease, scarce seeming to
touch the earth--a beautiful lady in fact, a native of another and a
higher world. Of course you have seen angelic forms like this,
conceived and painted by the old masters. Such was Annunciata. How then
could it be otherwise but that every one who saw her was astonished and
enraptured with her beauty, and all the fiery youths of the Seignory
were consumed with passion, measuring the old Doge with mocking looks,
and swearing in their hearts that they would be the Mars to this
Vulcan, let the consequences be what they might? Annunciata soon found
herself surrounded with admirers, to whose flattering and seductive
words she listened quietly and graciously, without thinking anything in
particular about them. The conception which her pure angelic spirit had
formed of her relation to her aged and princely husband was that she
ought to honour him as her supreme lord, and cling to him with all the
unquestioning fidelity of a submissive handmaiden. He treated her
kindly, nay tenderly; he pressed her to his ice-cold heart and called
her his darling; he heaped up all the jewels he could find upon her;
what else could she wish for from him, what other rights could she have
upon him? In this way, therefore, it was impossible for the thought of
unfaithfulness to the old man ever in any way to find lodgment in her
mind; all that lay beyond the narrow circle of these limited relations
was to this good child an unknown region, whose forbidden borders were
wrapped in dark mists, unseen and unsuspected by her. Hence all efforts
to win her love were fruitless.

But the flames of passion--of love for the beautiful Dogess--burned in
none so violently and so uncontrolled as in Michele Steno.
Notwithstanding his youth, he was invested with the important and
influential post of Member of the Council of Forty. Relying upon this
fact, as well as upon his personal beauty, he felt confident of
success. Old Marino Falieri he did not fear in the least; and, indeed,
the old man seemed to indulge less frequently in his violent outbreaks
of furious passion, and to have laid aside his rugged untamable
fierceness, since his marriage. There he sat beside his beautiful
Annunciata, spruce and prim, in the richest, gayest apparel, smirking
and smiling, challenging in the sweet glances of his grey eyes,--from
which a treacherous tear stole from time to time,--those who were
present to say if any one of them could boast of such a wife as his.
Instead of speaking in the rough arrogant tone of voice in which he had
formerly been in the habit of expressing himself, he whispered, scarce
moving his lips, addressed every one in the most amiable manner, and
granted the most absurd petitions. Who would have recognised in this
weak amorous old man the same Falieri who had in a fit of passion
buffeted the bishop[22] on Corpus Christi Day at Treviso, and who had
defeated the valiant Morbassan. This growing weakness spurred on
Michele Steno to attempt the most extravagant schemes. Annunciata did
not understand why he was constantly pursuing her with his looks and
words; she had no conception of his real purpose, but always preserved
the same gentle, calm, and friendly bearing towards him. It was just
this quiet unconscious behaviour, however, which drove him wild, which
drove him to despair almost. He determined to effect his end by
sinister means. He managed to involve Annunciata's most confidential
maid in a love intrigue, and she at last permitted him to visit her at
night. Thus he believed he had paved a way to Annunciata's unpolluted
chamber; but the Eternal Power willed that this treacherous iniquity
should recoil upon the head of its wicked author.

One night it chanced that the Doge, who had just received the ill
tidings of the battle which Nicolo Pisani had lost against Doria off
Porto Longo,[23] was unable to sleep owing to care and anxiety, and was
rambling through the passages of the Ducal Palace. Then he became aware
of a shadow stealing apparently out of Annunciata's apartments and
creeping towards the stairs. He at once rushed towards it; it was
Michele Steno leaving his mistress. A terrible thought flashed across
Falieri's mind; with the cry "Annunciata!" he threw himself upon Steno
with his drawn dagger in his hand. But Steno, who was stronger and more
agile than the old man, averted the thrust, and knocked him down with a
violent blow of his fist; then, laughing loudly and shouting,
"Annunciata! Annunciata!" he rushed downstairs. The old man picked
himself up and stole towards Annunciata's apartments, his heart on fire
with the torments of hell. All was quiet, as still as the grave. He
knocked; a strange maid opened the door--not the one who was in the
habit of sleeping near Annunciata's chamber. "What does my princely
husband command at this late and unusual hour?" asked Annunciata in a
calm and sweetly gentle tone, for she had meanwhile thrown on a light
night-robe and was now come forward. Old Falieri stared at her
speechless; then, raising both hands above his head, he cried, "No, it
is not possible, it is not possible." "What is not possible, my
princely sir?" asked Annunciata, startled at the deep solemn tones of
the old man's voice. But Falieri, without answering her question,
turned to the maid, "Why are _you_ sleeping here? why does not Luigia
sleep here as usual?" "Oh!" replied the little one, "Luigia would make
me exchange places with her to-night; she is sleeping in the ante-room
close by the stairs." "Close by the stairs!" echoed Falieri, delighted;
and he hurried away to the ante-room. At his loud knocking Luigia
opened the door; and when she saw the Doge, her master's face inflamed
with rage, and his flashing eyes, she threw herself upon her bare knees
and confessed her shame, which was set beyond all doubt by a pair of
elegant gentleman's gloves lying on the easy-chair, whilst the sweet
scent about them betrayed their dandified owner. Hotly incensed at
Steno's unheard-of impudence, the Doge wrote to him next morning,
forbidding him, on pain of banishment from the town, to approach the
Ducal Palace, or the presence of the Doge and Dogess.

Michele Steno was wild with fury at the failure of his well-planned
scheme, and at the disgrace of being thus banished from the presence of
his idol. Now when he had to see from a distance how gently and kindly
the Dogess spoke to other young men of the Seignory--that was indeed
her natural manner--his envy and the violence of his passion filled his
mind with evil thoughts. The Dogess had without doubt only scorned him
because he had been anticipated by others with better luck; and he had
the hardihood to utter his thoughts openly and publicly. Now whether it
was that old Falieri had tidings of this shameless talk, or whether he
came to look upon the occurrence of that memorable night as the warning
finger of destiny, or whether now, in spite of all his calmness and
equanimity, and his perfect confidence in the fidelity of his wife, he
saw clearly the danger of the unnatural position in which he stood in
respect to her--at any rate he became ill-tempered and morose. He was
plagued and tortured by all the fiends of jealousy, and confined
Annunciata to the inner apartments of the Ducal Palace, so that no man
ever set eyes upon her. Bodoeri took his niece's part, and soundly
rated old Falieri; but he would not hear of any change in his conduct.

All this took place shortly before Holy Thursday. On the occasion of
the popular sports which take place on this day in St. Mark's Square,
it was customary for the Dogess to take her seat beside the Doge, under
a canopy erected on the balcony which lies opposite to the Piazetti.
Bodoeri reminded the Doge of this custom, and told him that it would be
very absurd, and sure to draw down upon him the mocking laughter of
both populace and Seignory, if, in the teeth of custom and usage, he
let his perverse jealousy exclude Annunciata from this honour. "Do you
think," replied old Falieri, whose pride was immediately aroused, "do
you think I am such an idiotic old fool that I am afraid to show my
most precious jewel for fear of thievish hands, and that I could not
prevent her being stolen from me with my good sword? No, old man, you
are mistaken; to-morrow Annunciata shall go with me in solemn
procession across St. Mark's Square, that the people may see their
Dogess, and on Holy Thursday she shall receive the nosegay from the
bold sailor who comes sailing down out of the air to her." The Doge was
thinking of a very ancient custom as he said these words. On Holy
Thursday a bold fellow from amongst the people is drawn up from the sea
to the summit of the tower of St. Mark's, in a machine that resembles a
little ship and is suspended on ropes, then he shoots from the top of
the tower with the speed of an arrow down to the Square where the Doge
and Dogess are sitting, and presents a nosegay of flowers to the
Dogess, or to the Doge if he is alone.

The next day the Doge carried out his intention. Annunciata had to don
her most magnificent robes; and surrounded by the Seignory and attended
by pages and guards, she and Falieri crossed the Square when it was
swarming with people. They pushed and squeezed themselves to death
almost to see the beautiful Dogess; and he who succeeded in setting
eyes upon her thought he had taken a peep into Paradise and had beheld
the loveliest of the bright and beautiful angels. But according to
Venetian habits, in the midst of the wildest outbreaks of their frantic
admiration, here and there were heard all sorts of satiric phrases and
rhymes--and coarse enough too--aimed at old Falieri and his young wife.
Falieri, however, appeared not to notice them, but strode along as
pathetically as possible at Annunciata's side, smirking and smiling all
over his face, and free on this occasion from all jealousy, although he
must have seen the glances full of burning passion which were directed
upon his beautiful lady from all sides. Arrived before the principal
entrance to the Palace, the guards had some difficulty in driving back
the crowd, so that the Doge and Dogess might go in; but here and there
were still standing isolated knots of better-dressed citizens, who
could not very well be refused entrance into even the inner quadrangle
of the Palace. Now it happened just at the moment that the Dogess
entered the quadrangle, that a young man, who with a few others stood
under the portico, fell down suddenly upon the hard marble floor, as if
dead, with the loud scream, "O good God! good God!" The people ran
together from every side and surrounded the dead man, so that the
Dogess could not see him; yet, as the young man fell, she felt as if a
red-hot knife were suddenly thrust into her heart; she grew pale; she
reeled, and was only prevented from fainting by the smelling-bottles of
the ladies who hastened to her assistance. Old Falieri, greatly alarmed
and put out by the accident, wished the young man and his fit anywhere;
and he carried his Annunciata, who hung her pretty head on her bosom
and closed her eyes like a sick dove, himself up the steps into her own
apartments in the interior of the Palace, although it was very hard
work for him to do so.

Meanwhile the people, who had increased to crowds in the inner
quadrangle, had been spectators of a remarkable scene. They were about
to lift up the young man, whom they took to be quite dead, and carry
him away, when an ugly old beggar-woman, all in rags, came limping up
with a loud wail of grief; and punching their sides and ribs with her
sharp elbows she made a way for herself through the thick of the crowd.
When she at length saw the senseless youth, she cried, "Let him be,
fools; you stupid people, let him be; he is not dead." Then she
squatted down beside him; and taking his head in her lap she gently
rubbed and stroked his forehead, calling him by the sweetest of names.
As the people noted the old woman's ugly apish face, and the repulsive
play of its muscles, bending over the young fellow's fine handsome
face, his soft features now stiff and pale as in death, when they saw
her filthy rags fluttering about over the rich clothing the young man
wore, and her lean brownish-yellow arms and long hands trembling upon
his forehead and exposed breast--they could not in truth resist
shuddering with awe. It looked as if it were the grinning form of death
himself in whose arms the young man lay. Hence the crowd standing round
slipped away quietly one after the other, till there were only a few
left They, when the young man opened his eyes with a deep sigh, took
him up and carried him, at the old woman's request, to the Grand Canal,
where a gondola took them both on board, the old woman and the youth,
and brought them to the house which she had indicated as his dwelling.
Need it be said that the young man was Antonio, and that the old woman
was the beggar of the steps of the Franciscan Church, who wanted to
make herself out to be his nurse?

When Antonio was quite recovered from his stupefaction and perceived
the old woman at his bed-side, and knew that she had just been giving
him some strengthening drops, he said brokenly in a hoarse voice,
bending a long gloomy melancholy gaze upon her, "_You_ with me,
Margaret--that is good; what more faithful nurse could I have found
than you? Oh! forgive me, mother, that I, a doltish, senseless boy,
doubted for an instant what you discovered to me. Yes, you are _the_
Margaret who reared me, who cared for me and tended me; I knew it all
the time, but some evil spirit bewildered my thoughts. I have seen her;
it is she--it is she. Did I not tell you there was some mysterious
magical power dwelling in me, which exercised an uncontrollable
supremacy over me? It has emerged from its obscurity dazzling with
light, to effect my destruction through nameless joy. I now know
all--everything. Was not my foster-father Bertuccio Nenolo, and did he
not bring me up at his country-seat near Treviso?" "Yes, yes," replied
the old woman, "it was indeed Bertuccio Nenolo, the great sea-captain,
whom the sea devoured as he was about to adorn his temples with the
victor's wreath." "Don't interrupt me," continued Antonio; "listen
patiently to what I have to say.

"With Bertuccio Nenolo I lived in clover. I wore fine clothes; the
table was always covered when I was hungry; and after I had said my
three prayers properly I was allowed to run about the woods and fields
just as I pleased. Close beside the villa there was a little wood of
sweet pines, cool and dark, and filled with sweet scents and songs.
There one evening, when the sun began to sink, I threw me down beneath
a big tree, tired with running and jumping about, and stared up at the
blue sky. Perhaps I was stupefied by the fragrant smell of the
flowering herbs in the midst of which I lay; at any rate, my eyes
closed involuntarily, and I sank into a state of dreamy reverie, from
which I was awakened by a rustling, as if some one had struck a blow in
the grass beside me. I started up into a sitting posture; an angelic
child with heavenly eyes stood near me and looked down upon me, smiling
most sweetly and bewitchingly. 'O good boy,' she said, in a low soft
voice, 'how beautiful and calmly you sleep, and yet death, nasty death,
was so near to you.' Close beside my breast I saw a small black snake
with its head crushed; the little girl had killed the poisonous reptile
with a switch from a nut-tree, and just as it was wriggling on to my
destruction. Then a trembling of sweet awe fell upon me; I knew that
angels often came down from heaven above to rescue men in person from
the threatening attack of some evil enemy. I fell upon my knees and
raised my folded hands. 'Oh! you are surely an angel of light, sent by
God to save my life,' I cried. The pretty creature stretched out both
arms towards me and said softly, whilst a deeper flush mantled upon her
cheeks, 'No, good boy; I am not an angel, but a girl--a child like
you.' Then my feeling of awe gave place to a nameless delight, which
spread like a gentle warmth through all my limbs. I rose to my feet; we
clasped each other in our arms, our lips met, and we were speechless,
weeping, sobbing with sweet unutterable sadness.

"Then a clear silvery voice cried through the wood, 'Annunciata!
Annunciata!' 'I must go now, darling boy, mother is calling me,'
whispered the little girl. My heart was rent with unspeakable pain.
'Oh! I love you so much,' I sobbed, and the scalding tears fell from
the little girl's eyes upon my cheeks. 'I am so--so fond of you, good
boy,' she cried, pressing a last kiss upon my lips. 'Annunciata,' the
voice cried again; and the little girl disappeared behind the bushes.
Now that, Margaret, was the moment when the mighty spark of love fell
upon my soul, and it will gather strength, and, enkindling flame after
flame, will continue to burn there for ever. A few days afterwards I
was turned out of the house.

"Father Bluenose told me, since I did not cease talking about the
lovely child who had appeared to me, and whose sweet voice I thought
I heard in the rustling of the trees, in the gushing murmurs of
the springs, and in the mysterious soughing of the sea--yes, then
Father Bluenose told me that the girl could be none other than
Nenolo's daughter Annunciata, who had come to the villa with her
mother Francesca, but had left it again on the following day. O
mother--Margaret--help me. Heaven! This Annunciata--is the Dogess."
And Antonio buried his face in the pillows, weeping and sobbing with
unspeakable emotion.

"My dear Tonino," said the old woman, "rouse yourself and be a man;
come, do resist bravely this foolish emotion. Come, come, how can you
think of despairing when you are in love? For whom does the golden
flower of hope blossom if not for the lover? You do not know in the
evening what the morning may bring; what you have beheld in your dreams
comes to meet you in living form. The castle that hovered in the air
stands all at once on the earth, a substantial and splendid building.
See here, Tonino, you are not paying the least heed to my words; but my
little finger tells me, and so does somebody else as well, that the
bright standard of love is gaily waving for you out at sea. Patience,
Tonino--patience, my boy!" Thus the old woman sought to comfort poor
Antonio; and her words did really sound like sweet music. He would not
let her leave him again. The beggar-woman had disappeared from the
steps of the Franciscan Church, and in her stead people saw Signor
Antonio's housekeeper, dressed in becoming matronly style, limping
about St. Mark's Square and buying the requisite provisions for his
table.

Holy Thursday was come. It was to be celebrated on this occasion in
more magnificent fashion than it had ever been before. In the middle of
the Piazzetta of St. Mark's a high staging was erected for a special
kind of artistic fire--something perfectly new, which was to be
exhibited by a Greek--a man experienced in such matters. In the evening
old Falieri came out on the balcony along with his beautiful lady,
reflecting his pride and happiness in the magnificence of his
surroundings, and with radiant eyes challenging all who stood near to
admire and wonder. As he was about to take his seat on the chair of
state he perceived Michele Steno actually on the same balcony with him,
and saw that he had chosen a position whence he could keep his eyes
constantly fixed upon the Dogess, and must of necessity be observed by
her. Completely overmastered by furious rage, and wild with jealousy,
Falieri shouted in a loud and commanding tone that Steno was to be at
once removed from the balcony. Michele Steno raised his hand against
Falieri, but that same moment the guards appeared, and compelled him to
quit his place, which he did, foaming with rage and grinding his teeth,
and threatening revenge in the most horrible imprecations.

Meanwhile Antonio, utterly beside himself at sight of his beloved
Annunciata, had made his way out through the crowd, and was striding
backwards and forwards in the darkness of the night alone along the
edge of the sea, his heart rent by unutterable anguish. He debated
within himself whether it would not be better to extinguish the
consuming fire within him in the ice-cold waves than to be slowly
tortured to death by hopeless pain. But little was wanting, and he had
leapt into the sea; he was already standing on the last step that goes
down to the water, when a voice called to him from a little boat, "Ay,
a very good evening to you, Signor Antonio." By the reflection cast by
the illuminations of the Square, he recognised that it was merry
Pietro, one of his former comrades. He was standing in the boat, his
new cap adorned with feathers and tinsel, and his new striped jacket
gaily decorated with ribbons, whilst he held in his hand a large and
beautiful nosegay of sweet-scented flowers. "Good evening, Pietro,"
shouted Antonio back, "what grand folks are you going to row to-night
that you are decked off so fine?" "Oh!" replied Pietro, dancing till
his boat rocked; "see you, Signor Antonio, I am going to earn my three
sequins to-day; for I'm going to make the journey up to St. Mark's
Tower and then down again, to take this nosegay to the beautiful
Dogess." "But isn't that a risky and break-neck adventure, Pietro, my
friend?" asked Antonio. "Well," he replied, "there is some little
chance of breaking one's neck, especially as we go to-day right through
the middle of the artificial fire. The Greek says, to be sure, that he
has arranged everything so that the fire will not hurt a hair of
anybody's head, but"---- Pietro shrugged his shoulders.

Antonio stepped down to Pietro in the boat, and now perceived that he
stood close in front of the machine, which was fastened to a rope
coming out of the sea. Other ropes, by means of which the machine was
to be drawn up, were lost in the night. "Now listen, Pietro," began
Antonio, after a silent pause, "see here, comrade, if you could earn
ten sequins to-day without exposing your life to danger, would it not
be more agreeable to you?" "Why, of course," and Pietro burst into a
good hearty laugh. "Well then," continued Antonio, "take these ten
sequins and change clothes with me, and let me take your place, I will
go up instead of you. Do, my good friend and comrade, Pietro, let me go
up." Pietro shook his head dubiously, and weighing the money in his
hand, said, "You are very kind, Signor Antonio, to still call a poor
devil like me your comrade, and you are generous as well. The money I
should certainly like very much; but, on the other hand, to place this
nosegay in our beautiful Dogess's hand myself, to hear her sweet
voice--and after all that's really why I am ready to risk my life. Well,
since it is you, Signor Antonio, I close with your offer." They both
hastily changed their clothes; and hardly was Antonio dressed when
Pietro cried, "Quick, into the machine; the signal is given." At the
same moment the sea was lit up with the reflection of thousands of
bright flashes, and all the air along the margin of the sea rang with
loud reverberating thunders. Right through the midst of the hissing
crackling flames of the artificial fire, Antonio rose up into the air
with the speed of a hurricane, and shot down uninjured upon the
balcony, hovering in front of the Dogess. She had risen to her feet and
stepped forward; he felt her breath on his cheeks; he gave her the
nosegay. But in the unspeakable delirious delight of the moment he was
clasped as if in red-hot arms by the fiery pain of hopeless love.
Senseless, insane with longing, rapture, anguish, he grasped her hand,
and covered it with burning kisses, crying in the sharp tone of
despairing misery, "O Annunciata!" Then the machine, like a blind
instrument of fate, whisked him away from his beloved back to the sea,
where he sank down stunned, quite exhausted, into Pietro's arms, who
was waiting for him in the boat.

Meanwhile the Doge's balcony was the scene of tumult and confusion. A
small strip of paper had been found fastened to the Doge's seat,
containing in the common Venetian dialect the words:

            Il Dose Falier della bella muier,
            I altri la gode é lui la mantien.

(The Doge Falieri, the husband of the beautiful lady; others kiss her,
and he--he keeps her.)

Old Falieri burst into a violent fit of passion, and swore that the
severest punishment should overtake the man who had been guilty of this
audacious offence. As he cast his eyes about they fell upon Michele
Steno standing beneath the balcony in the Square, in the full light of
the torches; he at once commanded his guards to arrest him as the
instigator of the outrage. This command of the Doge's provoked a
universal cry of dissent; in giving way to his overmastering rage he
was offering insult to both Seignory and populace, violating the rights
of the former, and spoiling the latter's enjoyment of their holiday.
The members of the Seignory left their places; but old Marino Bodoeri
mixed among the people, actively representing the grave nature of the
outrage that had been done to the head of the state, and seeking to
direct the popular hatred upon Michele Steno. Nor had Falieri judged
wrongly; for Michele Steno, on being expelled from the Duke's balcony,
had really hurried off home, and there written the above-mentioned
slanderous words; then when all eyes were fixed upon the artificial
fire, he had fastened the strip of paper to the Doge's seat, and
withdrawn from the gallery again unobserved. He maliciously hoped it
would be a galling blow for them, for both the Doge and the Dogess, and
that the wound would rankle deeply--so deeply as to touch a vital part.
Willingly and openly he admitted the deed, and transferred all blame to
the Doge, since he had been the first to give umbrage to _him_.

The Seignory had been for some time dissatisfied with their chief, for
instead of meeting the just expectations of the state, he gave proofs
daily that the fiery warlike courage in his frozen and worn-out heart
was merely like the artificial fire which bursts with a furious rush
out of the rocket-apparatus, but immediately disappears in black
lifeless flakes, and has accomplished nothing. Moreover, since his
union with his young and beautiful wife (it had long before leaked out
that he was married to her directly after attaining to the Dogate) old
Falieri's jealousy no longer let him appear in the character of heroic
captain, but rather of _vechio Pantalone_ (old fool); hence it was that
the Seignory, nursing their swelling resentment, were more inclined to
condone Michele Steno's fault, than to see justice done to their
deeply-wounded chief. The matter was referred by the Council of Ten to
the Forty, one of the leaders of which Michele had formerly been. The
verdict was that Michele Steno had already suffered sufficiently, and a
month's banishment was quite punishment enough for the offence. This
sentence only served to feed anew and more fully old Falieri's
bitterness against a Seignory which, instead of protecting their own
head, had the impudence to punish insults that were offered to him as
they would offences of merely the most insignificant description.

As generally happens in the case of lovers, once a single ray of the
happiness of love has fallen upon them, they are surrounded for days
and weeks and months by a sort of golden veil, and dream dreams of
Paradise; and so Antonio could not recover himself from the stupefying
rapture of that happy moment; he could hardly breathe for delirious
sadness. He had been well scolded by the old woman for running such a
great risk; and she never ceased mumbling and grumbling about exposure
to unnecessary danger.

But one day she came hopping and dancing with her staff in the strange
way she had when apparently affected by some foreign magical influence.
Without heeding Antonio's words and questions, she began to chuckle
and laugh, and kindling a small fire in the stove, she put a little
pan on it, into which she poured several ingredients from many
various-coloured phials, and made a salve, which she put into a little
box; then she limped out of the house again, chuckling and laughing.
She did not return until late at night, when she sat down in the
easy-chair, panting and coughing for breath; and after she had in a
measure recovered from her great exhaustion, she at length began,
"Tonino, my boy Tonino, whom do you think I have come from? See--try if
you can guess. Whom do I come from? where have I been?" Antonio looked
at her, and a singular instinctive feeling took possession of him.
"Well now," chuckled the old woman, "I have come from her--her herself,
from the pretty dove, lovely Annunciata." "Don't drive me mad, old
woman!" shouted Antonio. "What do you say?" continued she, "I am always
thinking about you, my Tonino.

"This morning, whilst I was haggling for some fine fruit under the
peristyle of the Palace, I heard the people talking with bated breath
of the accident that had befallen the beautiful Dogess. I inquired
again and again of several people, and at last a big, uncultivated, red
haired fellow, who stood leaning against a column, yawning and chawing
lemons, said to me, 'Oh well, a young scorpion has been trying its
little teeth on the little finger of her left hand, and there's been a
drop or two of blood shed--that's all. My master, Signor Doctor
Giovanni Basseggio, is now in the palace, and he has, no doubt, before
this cut off her pretty hand, and the finger with it.' Just as the
fellow was telling me this there arose a great noise on the broad
steps, and a little man--such a tiny little man--came rolling down at
our feet, screaming and lamenting, for the guards had kicked him down
as if he had been a nine pin. The people gathered round him, laughing
heartily; the little man struggled and fought with his legs in the air
without being able to get up; but the red-haired fellow rushed forward,
snatched up the little doctor, tucked him under his arm, and ran off
with him as fast as his legs could carry him to the Canal, where he got
into a gondola with him and rowed away--the little doctor screaming and
yelling with all his might the whole time. I knew how it was; just as
Signor Basseggio was getting his knife ready to cut off the pretty
hand, the Doge had had him kicked down the steps. I also thought of
something else--quick--quick as you can--go home make a salve--and then
come back here to the Ducal Palace.

"And I stood on the great stairs with my bright little phial in my
hand. Old Falieri was just coming down; he darted a glance at me, and,
his choler rising, said, 'What does this old woman want here?' Then I
curtsied low--quite down to the ground--as well as I could, and told
him that I had a nice remedy which would very soon cure the beautiful
Dogess. When the old man heard that, he fixed a terrible keen look upon
me, and stroked his grey beard into order; then he seized me by both
shoulders and pushed me upstairs and on into the chamber, where I
nearly fell all my length. O Tonino, there was the pretty child
reclining on a couch, as pale as death, sighing and moaning with pain
and softly lamenting, 'Oh! I am poisoned in every vein.' But I at once
set to work and took off the simple doctor's silly plaster. O just
Heaven! her dear little hand--all red as red--and swollen. Well, well,
my salve cooled it--soothed it. 'That does it good; yes, that does it
good,' softly whispered the sick darling. Then Marino cried quite
delighted, 'You shall have a thousand sequins, old woman, if you save
me the Dogess;' and therewith he left the room.

"For three hours I sat there, holding her little hand in mine, stroking
and attending to it. Then the darling woman woke up out of the gentle
slumber into which she had fallen, and no longer felt any pain. After I
had made a fresh poultice, she looked at me with eyes brimming with
gladness. Then I said, 'O most noble lady, you once saved a boy's life
when you killed the little snake that was about to attack him as he
slept.' O Tonino, you should have seen the hot blood rush into her pale
face, as if a ray of the setting sun had fallen upon it--and how her
eyes flashed with the fire of joy. 'Oh! yes, old woman,' she said, 'oh!
I was quite a child then--it was at my father's country villa. Oh! he
was a dear pretty boy--I often think of him now. I don't think I have
ever had a single happy experience since that time.' Then I began to
talk about you, that you were in Venice, that your heart still beat
with the love and rapture of that moment, that, in order to gaze _once_
more in the heavenly eyes of the angel who saved you, you had faced the
risk of the dangerous aerial voyage, that you it was who had given her
the nosegay on Holy Thursday. 'O Tonino, Tonino,' she cried in an
ecstasy of delight, 'I felt it, I felt it; when he pressed my hand to
his lips, when he named my name, I could not conceive why it went so
strangely to my heart; it was indeed pleasure, but pain as well. Bring
him here, bring him to me--the pretty boy.'" As the old woman said this
Antonio threw himself upon his knees and cried like one insane, "O good
God! pray let no dire fate overtake me now--now at least until I have
seen her, have pressed her to my heart." He wanted the old woman to
take him to the Palace the very next day; but she flatly refused, since
old Falieri was in the habit of paying visits to his sick wife nearly
every hour that came.

Several days went by; the old woman had completely cured the Dogess;
but as yet it had been quite impossible to take Antonio to see her. The
old woman soothed his impatience as well as she could, always repeating
that she was constantly talking to beautiful Annunciata about the
Antonio whose life she had saved, and who loved her so passionately.
Tormented by all the pangs of desire and yearning love, Antonio spent
his time in going about in his gondola and restlessly traversing the
squares. But his footsteps involuntarily turned time after time in the
direction of the Ducal Palace. One day he saw Pietro standing on the
bridge close to the back part of the Palace, opposite the prisons,
leaning on a gay-coloured oar, whilst a gondola, fastened to one of the
pillars, was rocking on the Canal. Although small, it had a comfortable
little deck, was adorned with tasteful carvings, and even decorated
with the Venetian flag, so that it bore some resemblance to the
Bucentaur. As soon as Pietro saw his former comrade he shouted out to
him, "Hi! Signor Antonio, the best of good greetings to you; your
sequins have brought me good luck." Antonio asked somewhat absently
what sort of good luck he meant, and learned the important intelligence
that nearly every evening Pietro had to take the Doge and Dogess in his
gondola across to Giudecca, where the Doge had a nice house not far
from San Giorgio Maggiore. Antonio stared at Pietro, and then burst out
spasmodically, "Comrade, you may earn another ten sequins and more if
you like. Let me take your place; I will row the Doge over." But Pietro
informed him that he could not think of doing so, for the Doge knew him
and would not trust himself with anybody else. At length when Antonio,
his mind excited by all the tortures of love, began to give way to
unbridled anger, and violently importune him, and to swear in an insane
and ridiculous fashion that he would leap after the gondola and drag it
down under the sea, Pietro replied laughing, "Why, Signor Antonio,
Signor Antonio, why, I declare you have quite lost yourself in the
Dogess's beautiful eyes." But he consented to allow Antonio to go with
him as his assistant in rowing; he would excuse it to old Falieri on
the ground of the weight of the boat, as well, as being himself a
little weak and unwell, and old Falieri did always think the gondola
went too slowly on this trip. Off Antonio ran, and he only just
returned to the bridge in time, dressed in coarse oarsman's clothing,
his face stained, and with a long moustache stuck above his lips, for
the Doge came down from the Palace with the Dogess, both attired most
splendidly and magnificently. "Who's that stranger fellow there?" began
the Doge angrily to Pietro; and it required all Pietro's most solemn
asseverations that he really required an assistant, before the old man
could be induced to allow Antonio to help row the gondola.

It often happens that in the midst of the wildest delirium of delight
and rapture the soul, strengthened as it were by the power of the
moment, is able to impose fetters upon itself, and to control the
flames of passion which threaten to blaze out from the heart. In a
similar way Antonio, albeit he was close beside the lovely Annunciata
and the seam of her dress touched him, was able to hide his consuming
passion by maintaining a firm and powerful hold upon his oar, and,
whilst avoiding any greater risk, by only glancing at her momentarily
now and then. Old Falieri was all smirks and smiles; he kissed and
fondled beautiful Annunciata's little white hands, and threw his arm
around her slender waist. In the middle of the channel, when St. Mark's
Square and magnificent Venice with all her proud towers and palaces lay
extended before them, old Falieri raised his head and said, gazing
proudly about him, "Now, my darling, is it not a grand thing to ride on
the sea with the lord--the husband of the sea? Yes, my darling, don't
be jealous of my bride, who is submissively bearing us on her broad
bosom. Listen to the gentle splashing of the wavelets; are they not
words of love which she is whispering to the husband who rules her?
Yes, yes, my darling, you indeed wear my ring on your finger, but she
below guards in the depths of her bosom the ring of betrothal which I
threw to her." "Oh! my princely Sir," began Annunciata, "oh! how can
this cold treacherous water be your bride? it quite makes me shiver to
think that you are married to this proud imperious element." Old
Falieri laughed till his chin and beard tottered and shook. "Don't
distress yourself, my pet," he said, "it's far better, of course, to
rest in your soft warm arms than in the ice-cold lap of my bride below
there; but it's a grand thing to ride on the sea with the lord of the
sea!" Just as the Doge was saying these words, the faint strains of
music at a distance came floating towards them. The notes of a soft
male voice, gliding along the waves of the sea, came nearer and nearer;
the words that were sung were--

                  Ah! senza amare,
                  Andare sul mare,
                  Col sposo del' mare
                  Non puo consolare.

Other voices took up the strain, and the same words were repeated again
and again in every-varying alternation, until the song died away like
the soft breath of the wind as it were. Old Falieri appeared not to pay
the slightest heed to the song; on the contrary, he was relating to the
Dogess with much prolixity the meaning and history of the solemnity
which takes place on Ascension Day when the Doge throws his ring from
the Bucentaur and is married to the sea.

He spoke of the victories of the republic, and how she had formerly
conquered Istria and Dalmatia under the rule of Peter Urseolus the
Second,[24] and how this ceremony had its origin in that conquest But
if old Falieri heeded not the song, so now his tales were lost upon the
Dogess. She sat with her mind completely wrapped up in the sweet sounds
which came floating along the sea. When the song came to an end her
eyes wore a strange far-off look, as if she were awakening from a
profound dream and striving to see and interpret the images which
sportively mocked her efforts to hold them fast. "_Senza amare, senza
amare, non puo consolare_," she whispered softly, whilst the tears
glistened like bright pearls in her heavenly eyes, and sighs escaped
her breast as it heaved and sank with the violence of her emotions.
Still smirking and smiling and talking away, the old man, with the
Dogess at his side, stepped out upon the balcony of his house near
San Giorgio Maggiore, without noticing that Annunciata stood at his
side like one in a dream, speechless, her tearful eyes fixed upon some
far-off land, whilst her heart was agitated by feelings of a singular
and mysterious character. A young man in gondolier's costume blew a
blast on a conch-shaped horn, till the sounds echoed far away over the
sea. At this signal another gondola drew near. Meanwhile an attendant
bearing a sunshade and a maid had approached the Doge and Dogess; and
thus attended they went towards the palace. The second gondola came to
shore, and from it stepped forth Marino Bodoeri and several other
persons, amongst whom were merchants, artists, nay people out of the
lowest classes of the populace even; and they followed the Doge.

Antonio could hardly wait until the following evening, since he hoped
then to have the desired message from his beloved Annunciata. At
last--at last the old woman came limping in, dropped panting into the
arm-chair, and clapped her thin bony hands together again and again,
crying. "Tonino, O Tonino! what in the world has happened to our dear
darling? When I went into her room, there she lay on the couch with her
eyes half closed, her pretty head resting on her arm, neither
slumbering nor awake, neither sick nor well. I approached her: 'Oh!
noble lady,' said I, 'what misfortune has happened to you? Does your
scarce-healed wound hurt you still?' But she looked at me, oh! with
such eyes, Antonio--I have never seen anything like them. And directly
I looked down into the humid moonlight that was in them, they withdrew
behind the dark clouds of their silken lashes. Then sighing a sigh that
came from the depths of her heart, she turned her lovely pale face to
the wall and whispered softly--so softly, but oh! so sadly! that I was
cut right to the heart, '_Amare--amare--ah! senza amare!_' I fetched a
little chair and sat down beside her, and began to talk about you. She
buried herself in the cushions; and her breathing, coming quicker and
quicker and quicker, turned to sighing. I told her candidly that you
had been in the gondola disguised, and that I would now at once without
delay take you, who were dying of love and longing, to see her. Then
she suddenly started up from the cushions, and whilst the scalding
tears streamed down her cheeks, she exclaimed vehemently, 'For God's
sake! By all the Holy Saints! no--no--I cannot see him, old woman. I
conjure you, tell him he is never--never again to come near me--never.
Tell him he is to leave Venice, to go away at once!' 'So then you will
let my poor Antonio die?' I interposed. Then she sank back upon the
cushions, apparently smarting from the most unutterable anguish, and
her voice was almost choked with tears as she sobbed out, 'Shall not I
also die the bitterest of deaths?' At this point old Falieri entered
the room, and at a sign from him I had to withdraw." "She has rejected
me--away--away into the sea!" cried Antonio, giving way to utter
despair. The old woman chuckled and laughed in her usual way, and went
on, "You simple child! you simple child! don't you see that lovely
Annunciata loves you with all the intensity, with all the agonised love
of which a woman's heart is capable? You simple boy! Late to-morrow
evening slip into the Ducal Palace; you will find me in the second
gallery on the right from the great staircase, and then we will see
what's to be done."

The following evening as Antonio, trembling with expectant happiness,
stole up the great staircase, his conscience suddenly smote him, as
though he were about to commit some great crime. He was so dazed, and
he trembled and shook so, that he was scarcely able to climb the
stairs. He had to stop and rest by leaning himself against a column
immediately in front of the gallery that had been indicated to him. All
at once he was plunged in the midst of a bright glare of torches, and
before he could move from the place old Bodoeri stood in front of him,
accompanied by some servants, who bore the torches. Bodoeri fixed his
eyes upon the young man, and then said, "Ha! you are Antonio; you have
been assigned this post, I know; come, follow me." Antonio, convinced
that his proposed interview with the Dogess was betrayed, followed, not
without trembling. But imagine his astonishment when, on entering a
remote room, Bodoeri embraced him and spoke of the importance of the
post that had been assigned to him, and which he would have to maintain
with courage and firm resolution that very night. But his amazement
increased to anxious fear and dismay when he learned that a conspiracy
had been long ripening against the Seignory, and that at the head of it
was the Doge himself. And this was the night in which, agreeably to the
resolutions come to in Falieri's house on Giudecca, the Seignory was to
fall and old Marino Falieri was to be proclaimed sovereign Duke of
Venice.

Antonio stared at Bodoeri without uttering a word; Bodoeri interpreted
the young man's silence as a refusal to take part in the execution of
the formidable conspiracy, and he cried incensed, "You cowardly fool!
You shall not leave this palace again; you shall either take up arms on
our side or die--but talk to this man first" A tall and noble figure
stepped forward from the dark background of the apartment. As soon as
Antonio saw the man's face, which he could not do until he came into
the light of the torches, and recognised it, he threw himself upon his
knees and cried, completely losing his presence of mind at seeing him
whom he never dreamt of seeing again, "O good God! my father, Bertuccio
Nenolo! my dear foster-parent." Nenolo raised the young man up, clasped
him in his arms, and said in a gentle voice, "Aye, of a verity I am
Bertuccio Nenolo, whom you perhaps thought lay buried at the bottom of
the sea, but I have only quite recently escaped from my shameful
captivity at the hands of the savage Morbassan. Yes, I am the Bertuccio
Nanolo who adopted you. And I never for a moment dreamt that the stupid
servants whom Bodoeri sent to take possession of the villa, which he
had bought of me, would turn you out of the house. You infatuated
youth! Do you hesitate to take up arms against a despotic caste whose
cruelty robbed you of a father? Ay! go down to the quadrangle of the
Fontego, and the stains which you will there see on the stone pavements
are the stains of your father's blood. The Seignory when making over to
the German merchants the _dépôt_ and exchange which you know under the
name of the Fontego, forbade all those who had offices assigned to them
to take the keys with them when they went away; they were to leave them
with the official in charge of the Fontego. Your father acted contrary
to this law, and had therefore incurred a heavy penalty. But now when
the offices were opened on your father's return, there was found
amongst his wares a chest of false Venetian coins. He vainly protested
his innocence; it was only too evident that some malicious fiend,
perhaps the official in charge himself, had smuggled in the chest in
order to ruin your father. The inexorable judges, satisfied that the
chest had been found in your father's offices, condemned him to death.
He was executed in the quadrangle of the Fontego; nor would you now be
living if faithful Margaret had not saved you. I, your father's truest
friend, adopted you; and in order that you might not betray yourself
to the Seignory, you were not told what was your father's name. But
now--now, Anthony Dalbirger,--now is the time--now, to seize your arms
and revenge upon the heads of the Seignory your father's shameful
death."

Antonio, fired by the spirit of vengeance, swore to be true to the
conspirators and to act with invincible courage. It is well known that
it was the affront put upon Bertuccio Nenolo by Dandulo when he was
appointed to superintend the naval preparations, and on the occasion of
a quarrel struck Nenolo in the face, that induced him to join with his
ambitious son-in-law in his conspiracy against the Seignory. Both
Nenolo and Bodoeri were desirous for old Falieri to assume the princely
mantle in order that they might themselves rise along with him. The
conspirators' plan was to spread abroad the news that the Genoese fleet
lay before the Lagune. Then when night came the great bell in St.
Mark's Tower was to be rung, and the town summoned to arms, under the
false pretext of defence. This was to be the signal for the
conspirators, whose numbers were considerable, and who were scattered
throughout all Venice, to occupy St. Mark's Square, make themselves
masters of the remaining principal squares of the town, murder the
leading men of the Seignory, and proclaim the Doge sovereign Duke of
Venice.

But it was not the will of Heaven that this murderous scheme should
succeed, nor that the fundamental constitution of the harassed state
should be trampled in the dust by old Falieri--a man inflamed with
pride and haughtiness. The meetings in Falieri's house on Giudecca had
not escaped the watchfulness of the Ten; but they failed altogether to
learn any reliable intelligence. But the conscience of one of the
conspirators, a fur-merchant of Pisa, Bentian by name, pricked him; he
resolved to save from destruction his friend and gossip, Nicolas
Leoni, a member of the Council of Ten. When twilight came on, he went
to him and besought him not to leave his house during the night, no
matter what occurred. Leoni's suspicion was aroused; he detained the
fur-merchant, and on pressing him closely learned the whole scheme. In
conjunction with Giovanni Gradenigo and Marco Cornaro he called the
Council of Ten together in St. Salvador's (church); and there, in less
than three hours, measures were taken calculated to stifle all the
efforts of the conspirators on the first sign of movement.

Antonio's commission was to take a body of men and go to St. Mark's
Tower, and see that the bell was tolled. Arrived there, he found the
tower occupied by a large force of Arsenal troops, who, on his
attempting to approach, charged upon him with their halberds. His own
band, seized with a sudden panic, scattered like chaff; and he himself
slipped away in the darkness of the night. But he heard the footsteps
of a man following close at his heels; he felt him lay hands upon him,
and he was just on the point of cutting his pursuer down when by means
of a sudden flash of light he recognised Pietro. "Save yourself," cried
he, "save yourself, Antonio,--here in my gondola. All is betrayed.
Bodoeri--Nenolo--are in the power of the Seignory; the doors of the
Ducal Palace are closed; the Doge is confined a prisoner in his own
apartment--watched like a criminal by his own faithless guards. Come
along--make haste--get away." Almost stupefied, Antonio suffered
himself to be dragged into the gondola. Muffled voices--the clash of
weapons--single cries for help--then with the deepest blackness of the
night there followed a breathless awful silence. Next morning the
populace, stricken with terror, beheld a fearful sight; it made every
man's blood run cold in his veins. The Council of the Ten had that very
same night passed sentence of death upon the leaders of the conspiracy
who had been seized. They were strangled, and suspended from the
balcony at the side of the Palace overlooking the Piazzetta, the one
whence the Doge was in the habit of witnessing all ceremonies,--and
where, alas! Antonio had hovered in the air before the lovely
Annunciata, and where she had received from him the nosegay of flowers.
Amongst the corpses were those of Marino Bodoeri and Bertuccio Nenolo.
Two days later old Marino Falieri was sentenced to death by the Council
of Ten, and executed on the so-called Giant Stairs of the Palace.

Antonio wandered about unconsciously, like a man in a dream; no one
laid hands upon him, for no one recognised him as having been of the
number of the conspirators. On seeing old Falieri's grey head fall, he
started up, as it were, out of his death-like trance. With a most
unearthly scream--with the shout, "Annunciata!" he rushed storming in
the Palace, and along the passages. Nobody stopped him; the guards, as
if stupefied by the terrible thing that had just taken place, only
stared after him. The old crone came to meet him, loudly lamenting and
complaining; she seized his hand and--a few steps more, and along with
her he entered Annunciata's room. There she lay, poor thing, on the
couch, as if already dead. Antonio rushed towards her and covered her
hands with burning kisses, calling her by the sweetest and tenderest
names.

Then she slowly opened her lovely heavenly eyes and saw Antonio; at
first, however, it appeared as if it cost her an effort to call him to
mind; but speedily she raised herself up, threw both her arms around
his neck, and drew him to her bosom, showering down her hot tears upon
him and kissing his cheeks--his lips. "Antonio--my Antonio--I love you,
oh! more than I can tell you--yes, yes, there _is_ a heaven on earth.
What are my father's and my uncle's and my husband's death in
comparison with the blissful joy of your love? Oh! let us flee--flee
from this scene of blood and murder." Thus spake Annunciata, her heart
rent by the bitterest anguish, as well as by the most passionate love.
Amid thousands of kisses and never-ending tears, the two lovers
mutually swore eternal fidelity; and, forgetting the fearful events of
the terrible day that was past, they turned their eyes from the earth
and looked up into the heaven which the spirit of love had unfolded to
their view. The old woman advised them to flee to Chiozza; thence
Antonio intended to travel in an opposite direction by land towards his
own native country.

His friend, Pietro, procured him a small boat and had it brought to the
bridge behind the Palace. When night came, Annunciata, enveloped in a
thick shawl, crept stealthily down the steps with her lover, attended
by old Margaret, who bore some valuable jewel caskets in her hood. They
reached the bridge unobserved, and unobserved they embarked in their
small craft. Antonio seized the oar, and away they went at a quick and
vigorous rate. The bright moonlight danced along the waves in front of
them like a gladsome messenger of love. They reached the open sea. Then
began a peculiar whistling and howling of the wind far above their
heads; black shadows came trooping up and hung themselves like a dark
veil over the bright face of the moon. The dancing moonshine, the
gladsome messenger of love, sank in the black depths of the sea amongst
its muttering thunders. The storm came on and drove the black piled-up
masses of clouds in front of it with wrathful violence. Up and down
tossed the boat. "O help us! God, help us!" screamed the old woman.
Antonio, no longer master of the oar, clasped his darling Annunciata in
his arms, whilst she, aroused by his fiery kisses, strained him to her
bosom in the intensity of her rapturous affection. "O my Antonio!"--"O
my Annunciata!" they whispered, heedless of the storm which raged and
blustered ever more furiously. Then the sea, the jealous widow of the
beheaded Doge Falieri, stretched up her foaming waves as if they were
giant arms, and seized upon the lovers, and dragged them, along with
the old woman, down, down into her fathomless depths.


As soon as the man in the mantle had thus concluded his narrative, he
jumped up quickly and left the room with strong rapid strides. The
friends followed him with their eyes, silently and very much
astonished; then they went to take another look at the picture. The old
Doge again looked down upon them with a smirk, in his ridiculous finery
and foppish vanity; but when they carefully looked into the Dogess's
face they perceived quite plainly that the shadow of some unknown
pain--a pain of which she only had a foreboding--was throned upon her
lily brow, and that dreamy aspirations of love gleamed from behind her
dark lashes, and hovered around her sweet lips. The Hostile Power
seemed to be threatening death and destruction from out the distant sea
and the vaporous clouds which enshrouded St. Mark's. They now had a
clear conception of the deeper significance of the charming picture;
but so often as they looked upon it again, all the sympathetic sorrow
which they had felt at the history of Antonio and Annunciata's love
returned upon them and filled the deepest recesses of their souls with
its pleasurable awe.


FOOTNOTES TO "THE DOGE AND DOGESS."

[Footnote 1: Written for the _Taschenbuch der Liebe und Freundschaft
gewidmet_, 1819; edited by S. Schütze, Frankfort-on-Main.]

[Footnote 2: C W. Kolbe, junr., historical and genre painter, was born
in 1781 and died in 1853.]

[Footnote 3: The story _Turandot_ has a history. Its prototype is in
the Persian poet Nizámí (1141-1203). From Gozzi it was translated into
German by Werthes; and it was from his translation that Schiller worked
up his play in November and December, 1801. The proud Turandot,
daughter of the Emperor of China, entertains such loathing of marriage
that she rejects all suitors, until on her father's threatening to
compel her to wed, she institutes a kind of version of the caskets in
the _Merchant of Venice_. Any prince may woo for her, but in a peculiar
way. He must solve three riddles in the full assembly of the court. If
he succeeds, he wins the princess; if he does not succeed, he loses his
own head. In Gozzi the three riddles are about the Year, the Sun, and
(extremely inapposite to the circumstances) the Lion of the Adriatic.
The two last Schiller replaced by riddles about the Eye and the
Plough.]

[Footnote 4: Calaf, Prince of Astrakhan, successfully solves the
riddles and wins the Princess Turandot.]

[Footnote 5: The story of this Doge's conspiracy has furnished
materials for a tragedy to Byron (1821), Casimir Delavinge (1829), and
Albert Lindner (1875). A translation of the story is given by Mr. F.
Cohen (Sir F. Palgrave) from Sanuto's _Chronicle_, in the Appendix to
the play in Byron's works.]

[Footnote 6: Paganino Dona, one of the greatest of Genoese admirals,
took and burnt Parenzo, a town on the west coast of Istria, on the 11th
of August, 1354. At this period the rivalry between the two republics,
Venice and Genoa, in their commercial relations with the East and in
the Black Sea, was especially bitter, and they were almost constantly
at war with each other.]

[Footnote 7: Andrea Dandolo (1307-1354), Doge from 1343 to 1354. During
his reign Venice actively extended her commercial conquests in the
Black Sea and the countries around the Levant, engaged part of the time
in active hostilities with the Genoese.]

[Footnote 8: The sequin was a gold coin of Venice and Tuscany, worth
about 9s. 3d. It is sometimes used as equivalent to ducat (Note, page
63, Vol. i.)]

[Footnote 9: Pope Innocent VI., Pope at Avignon, from 1352 to 1362.]

[Footnote 10: Hoffmann states that he derived his materials for this
story from Le Bret's "History of Venice,"--a book which, unfortunately,
up to the time of going to press, the translator had not been able to
obtain.]

[Footnote 11:  Nicolo Pisani, a very active naval commander in the
third war with Genoa (1350-1355), fought battles in the Bosphorus, off
Sardinia, and at Porto Longo, near Modon (Greece).]

[Footnote 12:  Sardinia was for many, many years an object of
contention between Pisa, Genoa, and the Aragonese. At this time (1354)
it belonged to the latter, but the Genoese were constantly endeavouring
to stir up the people of the island to revolt against the Aragonese;
hence we may see reason for Pisani's being in Sardinian waters.]

[Footnote 13:  Equivalent to "Governor," Chioggia was an old town
thirty miles south of Venice, at the southern extremity of the Lagune.
Chiozza = Chioggia.]

[Footnote 14: The state barge of Venice; the word means "little golden
boat." Pope Alexander III. bestowed upon the Doge Sebastian Ziani, for
his victory over Frederick Barbarossa near Parenzo on Ascension Day,
1177, a ring in token of the suzerainty of Venice over the Adriatic.
From this time dates the observance of the annual ceremony of the
Doge's marrying the Adriatic from the Bucentaur.]

[Footnote 15: San Giorgio Maggiore. Venice, as everybody knows, is not
built upon the mainland but upon islands. The two largest, whose
greatest length is from east to west, are divided by the Grand Canal,
upon which axe situated most of the palaces and important public
buildings. South of these two principal islands, and separated from
them by the Giudecca Canal, are the islands of Giudecca and San Giorgio
Maggiore close together, the latter on the east and opposite the south
entrance to the Grand Canal, beyond which are the Piazetta and St.
Mark's Square.]

[Footnote 16: This is larger than the gondola, and also more modern; it
is calculated to hold six persons, and even luggage.]

[Footnote 17: The Fondaco de' Tedeschi, erected in 1506, on the Grand
Canal. It was formerly decorated externally with paintings by Titian
and his pupils. At first it served as _dépôt_ for the wares of German
merchants (whence its name), but is now used as a custom-house.]

[Footnote 18: Louis I. the Great of Hungary (1342-1382). The Dalmatian
and Istrian sea-board formed a fruitful source of contention between
the Venetians and Hungary, Louis proving a very formidable opponent to
the Republic.]

[Footnote 19: At this epoch Venice was the mart and mediatory between
the West and the East, the commercial riches of the latter having been
opened up to the feudal civilisation of Europe, chiefly through the
Crusades. Hence the cosmopolitan character of the merchants on the
Rialto.]

[Footnote 20: In the year 1348, Venice was visited by an earthquake,
and this was followed by the plague (the Black Death). In order to
complete the roll of the republic's misfortunes in this gloomy year, it
may be added that she also lost almost the whole of her Black Sea fleet
to the Genoese.]

[Footnote 21: It may perhaps be interesting to observe that a precisely
similar occurrence forms the central feature in H. v. Kleist's
"Erdbeben in Chili" (1810), perhaps one of the best of his short
stories.]

[Footnote 22: Narrated in the translation of the Chronicle of Sanuto by
Sir Francis Palgrave in Byron's notes to "Marino Faliero."]

[Footnote 23: On the island of Sapenzia, south-west of the Morea.]

[Footnote 24: Pietro Urseolo I. was Doge from 991 to 1009; Dalmatia was
subdued in 997.]



                       _MASTER MARTIN, THE COOPER,
                         AND HIS JOURNEYMAN._[1]


Well may your heart swell in presentient sadness, indulgent reader,
when your footsteps wander through places where the splendid monuments
of Old German Art speak, like eloquent tongues, of the magnificence,
good steady industry, and sterling honesty of an illustrious age now
long since passed away. Do you not feel as if you were entering a
deserted house? The Holy Book in which the head of the household read
is still lying open on the table, and the gay rich tapestry that the
mistress of the house spun with her own hands is still hanging on the
walls; whilst round about in the bright clean cupboards are ranged all
kinds of valuable works of art, gifts received on festive occasions.
You could almost believe a member of the household will soon enter and
receive you with genuine hearty hospitality. But you will wait in vain
for those whom the eternally revolving wheel of Time has whirled away;
you may therefore surrender yourself to the sweet dream in which the
old Masters rise up before you and speak honest and weighty words that
sink deeply into your heart Then for the first time will you be able to
grasp the profound significance of their works, for you will then not
only live in, but you will also understand the age which could produce
such masters and such works. But, alas! does it not happen that, as you
stretch out your loving arms to clasp the beautiful image of your
dream, it shyly flees away on the light morning clouds before the noisy
bustle of the day, whilst you, your eyes filling with scalding tears,
gaze after the bright vision as it gradually disappears? And so, rudely
disturbed by the life that is pulsing about you, you are suddenly
wakened out of your pleasant dream, retaining only the passionate
longing that thrills your breast with its delicious awe.

Such sentiments as these, indulgent reader, have always animated the
breast of him who is about to pen these pages for you, whenever his
path has led him through the world-renowned city of Nuremberg. Now
lingering before that wonderful structure, the fountain[2]
in the market-place, now contemplating St. Sebald's shrine,[3] and the
ciborium[4] in St. Lawrence's Church, and Albert Dürer's[5] grand
pictures in the castle and in the town-house, he used to give himself
up entirely to the delicious reveries which transported him into the
midst of all the glorious splendours of the old Imperial Town. He
thought of the true-hearted words of Father Rosenblüth[6]--

            O Nuremberg, thou glorious spot,
            Thy honour's bolt was aimed aright,
            Sticks in the mark whereat wisdom shot;
            And truth in thee hath come to light.

Many a picture of the life of the worthy citizens of that period, when
art and manual industry went loyally and industriously hand in hand,
rose up brightly before his mind's eye, impressing itself upon his soul
in especially cheerful and pleasing colours. Graciously be pleased,
therefore, that he put one of these pictures before you. Perhaps, as
you gaze upon it, it may afford you gratification, perhaps it may draw
from you a good-natured smile, perhaps you may even come to feel
yourself at home in Master Martin's house, and may linger willingly
amongst his casks and tubs. Well!--Then the writer of these pages will
have effected what is the sincere and honest wish of his heart.


        _How Master Martin was elected "Candle-master" and how
                      he returned thanks therefor._

On the 1st of May, 1580, in accordance with traditionary custom and
usage, the honourable guild of coopers, or wine-cask makers, of the
free Imperial Town of Nuremberg, held with all due ceremony a meeting
of their craft. A short time previously one of the presidents, or
"Candle-masters," as they were called, had been carried to his grave;
it was therefore necessary to elect a successor. Choice fell upon
Master Martin. And in truth there was scarcely another who could be
measured against him in the building of strong and well-made casks;
none understood so well as he the management of wine in the cellar;[7]
hence he counted amongst his customers very many men of distinction,
and lived in the most prosperous circumstances--nay, almost rolled in
riches. Accordingly, after Martin had been elected, the worthy
Councillor Jacobus Paumgartner, who, in his official character of
syndic,[8] presided over the meeting, said, "You have done bravely
well, friends, to choose Master Martin as your president, for the
office could not be in better hands. He is held in high esteem by all
who know him, not only on account of his great skill, but on account of
his ripe experience in the art of keeping and managing the rich juice
of the grape. His steady industry and upright life, in spite of all the
wealth he has amassed, may serve as an example to you all. Welcome then
a thousand times, goodman Master Martin, as our honoured president."

With these words Paumgartner rose to his feet and took a few steps
forward, with open arms, expecting that Martin would come to meet him.
The latter immediately placed both his hands upon the arms of his chair
and raised himself as expeditiously as his portly person would permit
him to rise,--which was only slowly and heavily. Then just as slowly he
strode into Paumgartner's hearty embrace, which, however, he scarcely
returned. "Well," said Paumgartner, somewhat nettled at this, "well,
Master Martin, are you not altogether well pleased that we have elected
you to be our 'Candle-master'?" Master Martin, as was his wont, threw
his head back into his neck, played with his fingers upon his capacious
belly, and, opening his eyes wide and thrusting forward his under-lip
with an air of superior astuteness, let his eyes sweep round the
assembly. Then, turning to Paumgartner, he began, "Marry, my good and
worthy sir, why should I not be altogether well pleased, seeing that I
receive what is my due? Who refuses to take the reward of his honest
labour? Who turns away from his threshold the defaulting debtor when at
length he comes to pay his long standing debt? What! my good sirs," and
Martin turned to the masters who sat around, "what! my good sirs, has
it then occurred to you at last that I--I _must_ be president of our
honourable guild? What do you look for in your president? That he be
the most skilful in workmanship? Go look at my two-tun cask made
without fire,[9] my brave masterpiece, and then come and tell me if
there's one amongst you dare boast that, so far as concerns
thoroughness and finish, he has ever turned out anything like it. Do
you desire that your president possess money and goods? Come to my
house and I will throw open chests and drawers, and you shall feast
your eyes on the glitter of the sparkling gold and silver. Will you
have a president who is respected by noble and base-born alike? Only
ask our honoured gentlemen of the Council, ask the princes and noblemen
around our good town of Nuremberg, ask his Lordship, the Bishop of
Bamberg, ask what they all think of Master Martin? Oh! I--I don't think
you'll hear much said against him." At the same time Master Martin
struck his big fat belly with the greatest self-satisfaction, smiling
with his eyes half-closed. Then, as all remained silent, nothing being
heard except a dubious clearing of the throat here and there, he
continued, "Ay! ay! I see. I ought, I know very well, to thank you all
handsomely that in this election the good Lord above has at last seen
fit to enlighten your minds. Well, when I receive the price of my
labour, when my debtor repays me the borrowed money, I write at the
bottom of the bill or of the receipt my 'Paid with thanks, Thomas[10]
Martin, Master-cooper here.' Let me then thank you all from my heart,
since in electing me to be your president and 'Candle-master' you have
wiped out an old debt. As for the rest, I pledge you that I will
discharge the duties of my office with all fidelity and uprightness. In
the hour of need I will stand by the guild and by each of you to the
very best of my abilities with word and deed. I will exert the utmost
diligence to uphold the honour and fame of our celebrated handicraft,
without bating one jot of its present credit. My honoured syndic, and
all you, my good friends and masters, I invite to come and partake of
good cheer with me on the coming Sunday. Then, with blithesome hearts
and minds, let us deliberate over a glass of good Hochheimer[11] or
Johannisberger,[12] or any other choice wine in my cellar that your
palates may crave, what can be done for the furtherance of our common
weal. Once again, I say you shall be all heartily welcome."

The honest masters' countenances, which had perceptibly clouded on
hearing Master Martin's proud words, now recovered their serenity,
whilst the previous dead silence was followed by the cheerful buzz
of conversation, in which a good deal was said about Master Martin's
great deserts, and also about his choice cellar. All promised to be
present on the Sunday, and offered their hands to the newly-elected
"Candle-master," who took them and shook them warmly, also drawing a
few of the masters a little towards him, as if desirous of embracing
them. The company separated in blithe good-humour.


         _What afterwards took place in Master Martin's house._

Now it happened that Councillor Jacobus Paumgartner had to pass by
Master Martin's in order to reach his own home; and as they both stood
outside Master Martin's door, and Paumgartner was about to proceed on
his way, his friend, doffing his low bonnet, and bowing respectfully
and as low as he was able, said to him, "I should be very glad, my good
and worthy sir, if you would not disdain to step in and spend an hour
or so in my humble house. Be pleased to suffer me to derive both profit
and entertainment from your wise conversation." "Ay, ay! Master Martin,
my friend," replied Paumgartner smiling, "gladly enough will I stay a
while with you; but why do you call your house a humble house? I know
very well that there's none of the richest of our citizens who can
excel you in jewels and valuable furniture. Did you not a short time
ago complete a handsome building which makes your house one of the
ornaments of our renowned Imperial Town?[13] In respect of its interior
fittings I say nothing, for no patrician even need be ashamed of it."

Old Paumgartner was right; for on opening the door, which was brightly
polished and richly ornamented with brass-work, they stepped into a
spacious entrance hall almost resembling a state-room; the floor was
tastefully inlaid, fine pictures hung on the walls, and the cupboards
and chairs were all artistically carved. And all who came in willingly
obeyed the direction inscribed in verses, according to olden custom, on
a tablet which hung near the door:--

            Let him who will the stairs ascend
            See that his shoes be rubbed well clean.
            Or taken off were better, I ween;
            He thus avoids what might offend.
            A thoughtful man is well aware
            How he indoors himself should bear.

It had been a hot day, and now as the hour of twilight was approached
it began to be close and stuffy in the rooms, so Master Martin led his
eminent guest into the cool and spacious parlour-kitchen. For this was
the name applied at that time to a place in the houses of the rich
citizens which, although furnished as a kitchen, was never used as
such--all kinds of valuable utensils and other necessaries of
housekeeping being there set out on show. Hardly had they got inside
the door when Master Martin shouted in a loud voice, "Rose, Rose!" Then
the door was immediately opened, and Rose, Master Martin's only
daughter, came in.

I should like you, dear reader, to awaken at this moment a vivid
recollection of our great Albrecht Dürer's masterpieces; I would
wish that the glorious maidens whom we find in them, with all their
noble grace, their sweet gentleness and piety, should recur to your
mind, endowed with living form. Recall the noble and delicate figure,
the beautifully arched, lily-white forehead, the carnation flitting
like a breath of roses across the cheek, the full sweet cherry-red
lips,--recall the eyes full of pious aspirations, half-veiled by their
dark lashes, like moonlight seen through dusky foliage,--recall the
silky hair, artfully gathered into graceful plaits,--recall the divine
beauty of these maidens, and you will see lovely Rose. How else than in
this way could the narrator sketch the dear, darling child? And yet
permit me to remind you here of an admirable young artist into whose
heart a quickening ray has fallen from these beautiful old times. I
mean the German painter Cornelius,[14] in Rome. Just as Margaret looks
in Cornelius's drawings to Goethe's mighty _Faust_ when she utters the
words, "Bin weder Fräulein noch schön"[15] (I am neither a lady of
rank, nor yet beautiful), so also may Rose have looked when in the
shyness of her pure chaste heart she felt compelled to shun addresses
that smacked somewhat too much of freedom.

Rose bowed low with child-like respect before Paumgartner, and taking
his hand, pressed it to her lips. The crimson colour rushed into the
old gentleman's pale cheeks, as the sun when setting shoots up a dying
flash, suddenly converting the dark foliage into gold, so the fire of a
youth now left far behind gleamed once more in his eyes. "Ay! ay!" he
cried in a blithesome voice, "marry, my good friend Master Martin, you
are a rich and a prosperous man, but the best of all the blessings
which the good Lord has given you is your lovely daughter Rose. If the
hearts of old gentlemen like us who sit in the Town Council are so
stirred that we cannot turn away our purblind eyes from the dear child,
who can find fault with the young folks if they stop and stand like
blocks of wood, or as if spell-bound, when they meet your daughter in
the street, or see her at church, though we have a word of blame for
our clerical gentry, because on the Allerwiese,[16] or wherever else a
festival is held, they all crowd round your daughter, with their sighs,
and loving glances, and honied words, to the vexation of all other
girls? Well, well, Master Martin, you can choose you your son-in-law
amongst any of our young patricians, or wherever else you may list."

A dark frown settled on Master Martin's face; he bade his daughter
fetch some good old wine; and after she had left the room, the hot
blushes mantling thick and fast upon her cheeks, and her eyes bent upon
the floor, he turned to old Paumgartner, "Of a verity, my good sir,
Heaven has dowered my daughter with exceptional beauty, and herein too
I have been made rich; but how can you speak of it in the girl's
presence? And as for a patrician son-in-law, there'll never be anything
of that sort." "Enough, Master Martin, say no more," replied
Paumgartner, laughing. "Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth must
speak. Don't you believe, then, that when I set eyes on Rose the
sluggish blood begins to leap in my old heart also? And if I do
honestly speak out what she herself must very well know, surely there's
no very great mischief done."

Rose brought the wine and two beautiful drinking-glasses. Then Martin
pushed the heavy table, which was ornamented with some remarkable
carving, into the middle of the kitchen. Scarcely, however, had the old
gentlemen taken their places and Master Martin had filled the glasses
when a trampling of horses was heard in front of the house. It seemed
as if a horseman had pulled up, and as if his voice was heard in the
entrance-passage below. Rose hastened down and soon came back with the
intelligence that old Junker[17] Heinrich von Spangenberg was there and
wished to speak to Master Martin. "Marry!" cried Martin, "now this is
what I call a fine lucky evening, which brings me my best and oldest
customer. New orders of course, I see I shall have to 'cask' out
again"--Therewith he hastened down as fast as he was able to meet his
welcome guest.


         _How Master Martin extols his trade above all others._

The Hochheimer sparkled in the beautiful cut drinking-glasses, and
loosened the tongues and opened the hearts of the three old gentlemen.
Old Spangenberg especially, who, though advanced in years, was yet
brimming with freshness and vivacity, had many a jolly prank out of his
merry youth to relate, so that Master Martin's belly wabbled famously,
and again and again he had to brush the tears out of his eyes, caused
by his loud and hearty laughing. Herr Paumgartner, too, forgot more
than was customary with him the dignity of the Councillor, and enjoyed
right well the noble liquor and the merry conversation. But when Rose
again made her appearance with the neat housekeeper's basket under
her arm, out of which she took a tablecloth as dazzling white as
fresh-fallen snow,--when she tripped backwards and forwards busy with
household matters, laying the cloth, and placing a plentiful supply of
appetising dishes on the table,--when, with a winning smile she invited
the gentlemen not to despise what had been hurriedly prepared, but to
turn to and eat--during all this time their conversation and laughter
ceased. Neither Paumgartner nor Spangenberg averted their sparkling
eyes from the fascinating maiden, whilst Master Martin too, leaning
back in his chair, and folding his hands, watched her busy movements
with a gratified smile. Rose was withdrawing, but old Spangenberg was
on his feet in a moment, quick as a youth; he took the girl by both
shoulders and cried, again and again, as the bright tears trickled from
his eyes, "Oh you good, you sweet little angel! What a dear darling
girl you are!" then he kissed her twice--three times on the forehead,
and returned to his seat, apparently in deep thought.

Paumgartner proposed the toast of Rose's health. "Yes," began
Spangenberg, after she had gone out of the room, "yes, Master Martin,
Providence has given you a precious jewel in your daughter, whom you
cannot well over-estimate. She will yet bring you to great honour. Who
is there, let him be of what rank in life he may, who would not
willingly be your son-in-law?" "There you are," interposed Paumgartner;
"there you see, Master Martin, the noble Herr von Spangenberg is
exactly of my opinion. I already see our dear Rose a patrician's bride
with the rich jewellery of pearls[18] in her beautiful flaxen hair."
"My dear sirs," began Martin, quite testily, "why do you, my dear sirs,
keep harping upon this matter--a matter to which I have not as yet
directed my thoughts? My Rose has only just reached her eighteenth
year; it's not time for such a young thing to be looking out for a
lover. How things may turn out afterwards--well, that I leave entirely
to the will of the Lord; but this I do at any rate know, that none
shall touch my daughter's hand, be he patrician or who he may, except
the cooper who approves himself the cleverest and skilfullest master in
his trade--presuming, of course, that my daughter will have him, for
never will I constrain my dear child to do anything in the world, least
of all to make a marriage that she does not like." Spangenberg and
Paumgartner looked at each other, perfectly astonished at this
extraordinary decision of the Master's.[19] At length, after some
clearing of his throat, Spangenberg began, "So, then, your daughter is
not to wed out of her own station?" "God forbid she should," rejoined
Martin. "But," continued Spangenberg, "if now a skilled master of a
higher trade, say a goldsmith, or even a brave young artist, were to
sue for your Rose and succeeded in winning her favour more than all
other young journeymen, what then?" "I should say," replied Master
Martin, throwing his head back into his neck, "show me, my excellent
young friend, the fine two-tun cask which you have made as your
masterpiece; and if he could not do so, I should kindly open the door
for him and very politely request him to try his luck elsewhere." "Ah!
but," went on Spangenberg again, "if the young journeyman should reply,
'A little structure of that kind I cannot show you, but come with me to
the market-place and look at yon beautiful house which is sending up
its slender gable into the free open air--that's my masterpiece.'" "Ah!
my good sir, my good sir," broke in Master Martin impatiently, "why do
you give yourself all this trouble to try and make me alter my
conviction? Once and for all, my son-in-law must be of _my_ trade; for
my trade I hold to be the finest trade there is in the world. Do you
think we've nothing to do but to fix the staves into the trestles
(hoops), so that the cask may hold together? Marry, it's a fine thing
and an admirable thing that our handiwork requires a previous knowledge
of the way in which that noble blessing of Heaven, good wine, must be
kept and managed, that it may acquire strength and flavour so as to go
through all our veins and warm our blood like the true spirit of life!
And then as for the construction of the casks--if we are to turn out a
successful piece of work, must we not first draw out our plans with
compass and rule? We must be arithmeticians and geometricians of no
mean attainments, how else can we adapt the proportion and size of the
cask to the measure of its contents? Ay, sir, my heart laughs in my
body when we've bravely laboured at the staves with jointer and adze
and have gotten a brave cask in the vice; and then when my journeymen
swing their mallets and down it comes on the drivers clipp! clapp!
clipp! clapp!--that's merry music for you; and there stands your
well-made cask. And of a verity I may look a little proudly about me
when I take my marking-tool in my hand and mark the sign of my
handiwork, that is known and honoured of all respectable wine-masters,
on the bottom of the cask. You spoke of house-building, my good sir.
Well, a beautiful house is in truth a glorious piece of work, but if I
were a house-builder and went past a house I had built, and saw a dirty
fellow or good-for-nothing rascal who had got possession of it looking
down upon me from the bay-window, I should feel thoroughly ashamed,--I
should feel, purely out of vexation and annoyance, as if I should like
to pull down and destroy my own work. But nothing like that can happen
with the structures I build. Within them there comes and lives once for
all nothing but the purest spirit on earth--good wine. God prosper my
handiwork!"

"That's a fine eulogy," said Spangenberg, "and honestly and well meant.
It does you honour to think so highly of your craft; but--do not get
impatient if I keep harping upon the same string--now if a patrician
really came and sued for your daughter? When a thing is brought right
home to a man it often looks very different from what he thought it
would." "Why, i' faith," cried Master Martin somewhat vehemently, "why,
what else could I do but make a polite bow and say, 'My dear sir, if
you were a brave cooper, but as it is'"---- "Stop a bit," broke in
Spangenberg again; "but if now some fine day a handsome Junker on a
gallant horse, with a brilliant retinue dressed in magnificent silks
and satins, were to pull up before your door and ask you for Rose to
wife?" "Marry, by my faith," cried Master Martin still more vehemently
than before, "why, marry, I should run down as fast as I could and lock
and bolt the door, and I should shout 'Ride on farther! Ride on
farther! my worshipful Herr Junker; roses like mine don't blossom for
you. My wine-cellar and my money-bags would, I dare say, suit you
passing well--and you would take the girl in with the bargain; but ride
on! ride on farther.'" Old Spangenberg rose to his feet, his face hot
and red all over; then, leaning both hands on the table, he stood
looking on the floor before him. "Well," he began after a pause, "and
now the last question, Master Martin. If the Junker before your door
were my own son, if I myself stopped at your door, would you shut
it then, should you believe then that we were only come for your
wine-cellar and your money-bags?" "Not at all, not at all, my good and
honoured sir," replied Master Martin. "I would gladly throw open my
door, and everything in my house should be at your and your son's
service; but as for my Rose, I should say to you, 'If it had only
pleased Providence to make your gallant son a brave cooper, there would
be no more welcome son-in-law on earth than he; but now'---- But, my
dear good sir, why do you tease and worry me with such curious
questions? See you, our merry talk has come abruptly to an end, and
look! our glasses are all standing full. Let's put all sons-in-law and
Rose's marriage aside; here, I pledge you to the health of your son,
who is, I hear, a handsome young knight." Master Martin seized his
glass; Paumgartner followed his example, saying, "A truce to all
captious conversation, and here's a health to your gallant son."
Spangenberg touched glasses with them, and said with a forced smile,
"Of course you know I was only speaking in jest; for nothing but wild
head-strong passion could ever lead my son, who may choose him a wife
from amongst the noblest families in the land, so far to disregard his
rank and birth as to sue for your daughter. But methinks you might have
answered me in a somewhat more friendly way." "Well, but, my good sir,"
replied Master Martin, "even in jest I could only speak as I should act
if the wonderful things you are pleased to imagine were really to
happen. But you _must_ let me have my pride; for you cannot but allow
that I am the skilfullest cooper far and near, that I understand the
management of wine, that I observe strictly and truly the admirable
wine-regulations of our departed Emperor Maximilian[20] (may he rest in
peace!), that as beseems a pious man I abhor all godlessness, that I
never burn more than one small half-ounce of pure sulphur[21] in one of
my two-tun casks, which is necessary to preserve it--the which, my good
and honoured sirs, you will have abundantly remarked from the flavour
of my wine." Spangenberg resumed his seat, and tried to put on a
cheerful countenance, whilst Paumgartner introduced other topics of
conversation. But, as it so often happens, when once the strings of an
instrument have got out of tune, they are always getting more or less
warped, so that the player in vain tries to entice from them again the
full-toned chords which they gave at first, thus it was with the three
old gentlemen; no remark, no word, found a sympathetic response.
Spangenberg called for his grooms, and left Master Martin's house quite
in an ill-humour after he had entered it in gay good spirits.


                   _The old Grandmother's Prophecy._

Master Martin was rather ill at ease because his brave old customer had
gone away out of humour in this way, and he said to Paumgartner, who
had just emptied his last glass and rose to go too, "For the life of
me, I can't understand what the old gentleman meant by his talk, and
why he should have got testy about it at last." "My good friend Master
Martin," began Paumgartner, "you are a good and honest man; and a man
has verily a right to set store by the handiwork he loves and which
brings him wealth and honour; but he ought not to show it in boastful
pride, that's against all right Christian feeling. And in our
guild-meeting to-day you did not act altogether right in putting
yourself before all the other masters. It may true that you understand
more about your craft than all the rest; but that you go and cast it in
their teeth can only provoke ill-humour and black looks. And then you
must go and do it again this evening! You could not surely be so
infatuated as to look for anything else in Spangenberg's talk beyond a
jesting attempt to see to what lengths you would go in your obstinate
pride. No wonder the worthy gentleman felt greatly annoyed when you
told him you should only see common covetousness in any Junker's wooing
of your daughter. But all would have been well if, when Spangenberg
began to speak of his son, you had interposed--if you had said, 'Marry,
my good and honoured sir, if you yourself came along with your son to
sue for my daughter--why, i' faith, that would be far too high an
honour for me, and I should then have wavered in my firmest
principles.' Now, if you had spoken to him like that, what else could
old Spangenberg have done but forget his former resentment, and smile
cheerfully and in good humour as he had done before?" "Ay, scold me,"
said Master Martin, "scold me right well, I have well deserved it; but
when the old gentleman would keep talking such stupid nonsense I felt
as if I were choking, I could not make any other answer." "And then,"
went on Paumgartner, "what a ridiculous resolve to give your daughter
to nobody but a cooper! You will commit, you say, your daughter's
destiny to Providence, and yet with human shortsightedness you
anticipate the decree of the Almighty in that you obstinately determine
beforehand that your son-in-law is to come from within a certain narrow
circle. That will prove the ruin of you and your Rose, if you are not
careful Have done, Master Martin, have done with such unchristian
childish folly; leave the Almighty, who will put a right choice in your
daughter's honest heart when the right time comes--leave Him to manage
it all in his own way." "O my worthy friend," said Master Martin, quite
crest-fallen, "I now see how wrong I was not to tell you everything at
first. You think it is nothing but overrating my handiwork that has
brought me to take this unchangeable resolve of wedding Rose to none
but a master-cooper; but that is not so; there is another reason, a
more wonderful and mysterious reason. I can't let you go until you have
learned all; you shall not bear ill-will against me over-night. Sit
down, I earnestly beg you, stay a few minutes longer. See here; there's
still a bottle of that old wine left which the ill-tempered Junker has
despised; come, let's enjoy it together." Paumgartner was astonished at
Master Martin's earnest, confidential tone, which was in general
perfectly foreign to his nature; it seemed as if there was something
weighing heavy upon the man's heart that he wanted to get rid of.

And when Paumgartner had taken his seat and drunk a glass of wine,
Master Martin began as follows. "You know, my good and honoured friend,
that soon after Rose was born I lost my beloved wife; Rose's birth was
her death. At that time my old grandmother was still living, if you can
call it living when one is blind, deaf as a post, scarce able to speak,
lame in every limb, and lying in bed day after day and night after
night Rose had been christened; and the nurse sat with the child in the
room where my old grandmother lay. I was so cut up with grief, and when
I looked upon my child, so sad and yet so glad--in fact I was so
greatly shaken that I felt utterly unfitted for any kind of work, and
stood quite still and wrapped up in my own thoughts beside my old
grandmother's bed; and I counted her happy, since now all her earthly
pain was over. And as I gazed upon her face a strange smile began to
steal across it, her withered features seemed to be smoothed out, her
pale cheeks became flushed with colour. She raised herself up in bed;
she stretched out her paralysed arms, as if suddenly animated by some
supernatural power,--for she had never been able to do so at other
times. She called distinctly in a low pleasant voice, 'Rose, my darling
Rose!' The nurse got up and brought her the child, which she rocked up
and down in her arms. But then, my good sir, picture my utter
astonishment, nay, my alarm, when the old lady struck up in a clear
strong voice a song in the _Hohe fröhliche Lobweis_[22] of Herr Hans
Berchler, mine host of the Holy Ghost in Strasburg, which ran like
this--

            Maiden tender, with cheeks so red,
            Rose, listen to the words I say;
            Wouldst guard thyself from fear and ill?
            Then put thy trust in God alway;
            Let not thy tongue at aught make mock,
            Nor foolish longings feed at heart.
            A vessel fair to see he'll bring,
            In which the spicy liquid foams,
            And bright, bright angels gaily sing.
            And then in reverent mood
            Hearken to the truest love,
            Oh! hearken to the sweet love-words.

            The vessel fair with golden grace--
            Lo! him who brings it in the house
            Thou wilt reward with sweet embrace;
            And an thy lover be but true,
            Thou need'st nor wait thy father's kiss.
            The vessel fair will always bring
            All wealth and joy and peace and bliss;
            So, virgin fair, with the bright, bright eyes,
            Let aye thy little ear be ope
            To all true words. And henceforth live,
            And with God's richest blessing thrive.

"And after she had sung this song through, she laid the child gently and
carefully down upon the coverlet; and, placing her trembling withered
hand upon her forehead, she muttered something to herself, to us,
however, unintelligible; but the rapt countenance of the old lady
showed in every feature that she was praying. Then her head sank back
upon the pillows, and just as the nurse took up the child my old
grandmother took a deep breath; she was dead." "That is a wonderful
story," said Paumgartner when Master Martin ceased speaking; "but I
don't exactly see what is the connection between your old grandmother's
prophetic song and your obstinate resolve to give Rose to none but a
master-cooper." "What!" replied Master Martin, "why, what can be
plainer than that the old lady, especially inspired by the Lord at the
last moments of her life, announced in a prophetic voice what must
happen if Rose is to be happy? The lover who is to bring wealth and joy
and peace and bliss into the house with his vessel fair, who is that
but a lusty cooper who has made his vessel fair, his masterpiece with
me? In what other vessel does the spicy liquid foam, if not in the
wine-cask? And when the wine works, it bubbles and even murmurs and
splashes; that's the lovely angels chasing each other backwards and
forwards in the wine and singing their gay songs. Ay, ay, I tell you,
my old grandmother meant none other lover than a master-cooper; and it
shall be so, it shall be so." "But, my good Master Martin," said
Paumgartner, "you are interpreting the words of your old grandmother
just in your own way. Your interpretation is far from satisfactory to
my mind; and I repeat that you ought to leave all simply to the
ordering of Providence and your daughter's heart, in which I dare be
bound the right choice lies hidden away somewhere." "And I repeat,"
interrupted Martin impatiently, "that my son-in-law _shall_ be,--I am
resolved,--_shall_ be none other than a skilful cooper." Paumgartner
almost got angry at Master Martin's stubbornness; he controlled
himself, however, and, rising from his seat, said, "It's getting late,
Master Martin, let us now have done with our drinking and talking, for
neither methinks will do us any more good."

When they came out into the entrance-hall, there stood a young woman
with five little boys, the eldest scarce eight years old apparently,
and the youngest scarce six months. She was weeping and sobbing
bitterly. Rose hastened to meet the two old gentlemen and said, "Oh
father, father! Valentine is dead; there is his wife and the children."
"What! Valentine dead?" cried Master Martin, greatly startled. "Oh!
that accident! that accident! Just fancy," he continued, turning to
Paumgartner, "just fancy, my good sir, Valentine was the cleverest
journeyman I had on the premises; and he was industrious, and a good
honest man as well. Some time ago he wounded himself dangerously with
the adze in building a large cask; the wound got worse and worse; he
was seized with a violent fever, and now he has had to die of it in the
prime of life." Thereupon Master Martin approached the poor
disconsolate woman, who, bathed in tears, was lamenting that she had
nothing but misery and starvation staring her in the face. "What!" said
Master Martin, "what do you think of me then? Your husband got his
dangerous wound whilst working for me, and do you think I am going to
let you perish of want? No, you all belong to my house from now
onwards. To-morrow, or whenever you like, we'll bury your poor husband,
and then do you and your boys go to my farm outside the Ladies
Gate,[23] where my fine open workshop is, and where I work every day
with my journeymen. You can install yourself as housekeeper there to
look after things for me, and your fine boys I will educate as if they
were my own sons. And, I tell you what, I'll take your old father as
well into my house. He was a sturdy journeyman cooper once upon a time
whilst he still had muscle in his arms. And now--if he can no longer
wield the mallet, or the beetle or the beak iron, or work at the bench,
he yet can do something with croze-adze, or can hollow out staves for
me with the draw-knife. At any rate he shall come along with you and be
taken into my house." If Master Martin had not caught hold of the
woman, she would have fallen on the floor at his feet in a dead swoon,
she was so affected by grief and emotion. The eldest of the boys clung
to his doublet, whilst the two youngest, whom Rose had taken in her
arms, stretched out their tiny hands towards him, as if they had
understood it all. Old Paumgartner said, smiling and with bright tears
standing in his eyes, "Master Martin, one can't bear you any ill-will;"
and he betook himself to his own home.


          _How the two young journeymen Frederick and Reinhold
                   became acquainted with each other._

Upon a beautiful, grassy, gently-sloping hill, shaded by lofty trees,
lay a fine well-made young journeyman, whose name was Frederick. The
sun had already set, and rosy tongues of light were stretching upwards
from the furthest verge of the horizon. In the distance the famed
imperial town of Nuremberg could be plainly seen, spreading across the
valley and boldly lifting up her proud towers against the red glow of
the evening, its golden rays gilding their pinnacles. The young
journeyman was leaning his arm on his bundle, which lay beside him, and
contained his necessaries whilst on the travel, and was gazing with
looks full of longing down into the valley. Then he plucked some of the
flowers which grew among the grass within reach of him and tossed them
into the air towards the glorious sunset; afterwards he sat gazing
sadly before him, and the burning tears gathered in his eyes. At length
he raised his head, and spreading out his arms as if about to embrace
some one dear to him, he sang in a clear and very pleasant voice the
following song:--

            My eyes now rest once more
            On thee, O home, sweet home!
            My true and honest heart
            Has ne'er forgotten thee.
            O rosy glow of evening come,
            I fain would naught but roses see.
            Ye sweetest buds and flowers of love,
            Bend down and touch my heart
            With winsome sweet caresses.
            O swelling bosom, wilt thou burst?
            Yet hold in pain and sweet joy fast.
            O golden evening red!
            O beauteous ray, be my sweet messenger,
            And bear to her my sighs and tears--
            My tears and sighs on faithfully to her.
            And were I now to die,
            And roses then did ask thee--say,
            "His heart with love--it pined away."

Having sung this song, Frederick took a little piece of wax out of his
bundle, warmed it in his bosom, and began in a neat and artistic manner
to model a beautiful rose with scores of delicate petals. Whilst busy
with this work he hummed to himself some of the lines of the song he
had just sung, and so deeply absorbed was he in his occupation that he
did not observe the handsome youth who had been standing behind him for
some time and attentively watching his work.

"Marry, my friend," began now the youth, "by my troth, that is a dainty
piece of work you are making there." Frederick looked round in alarm;
but when he looked into the dark friendly eyes of the young stranger,
he felt as if he had known him for a long time. Smiling, he replied,
"Oh! my dear sir, how can you notice such trifling? it only serves me
for pastime on my journey." "Well then," went on the stranger youth,
"if you call that delicately formed flower, which is so faithful a
reproduction of Nature, trifling, you must be a skilful practised
modeller. You have afforded me a pleasant surprise in two ways. First,
I was quite touched to the heart by the song you sang so admirably to
Martin Häscher's _Zarte Buchstabenweis_; and now I cannot but admire
your artistic skill in modelling. How much farther do you intend to
travel to-day?" Frederick replied, "Yonder lies the goal of my journey
before our eyes. I am going home, to the famed imperial town of
Nuremberg. But as the sun has now been set some time, I shall pass the
night in the village below there, and then by being up and away in the
early morning I can be in Nuremberg at noon." "Marry," cried the youth,
delighted, "how finely things will fit; we are both going the same way,
for I want to go to Nuremberg. I will spend the night with you here in
the village, and then we'll proceed on our way again to-morrow. And now
let us talk a little." The youth, Reinhold by name, threw himself down
beside Frederick on the grass, and continued, "If I mistake not, you
are a skilful artist-caster, are you not? I infer it from your style of
modelling; or perhaps you are a worker in gold and silver?" Frederick
cast down his eyes sadly, and said dejectedly, "Marry, my dear sir, you
are taking me for something far better and higher than I really am.
Well, I will speak candidly; I have learned the trade of a cooper, and
am now going to work for a well-known master in Nuremberg. You will no
doubt look down upon me with contempt since, instead of being able to
mould and cast splendid statues, and such like, all I can do is to hoop
casks and tubs." Reinhold burst out laughing, and cried, "Now that I
call droll. I shall look down upon you--eh? because you are a cooper;
why man, that's what I am; I'm nothing but a cooper." Frederick opened
his eyes wide in astonishment; he did not know what to make of it, for
Reinhold's dress was in keeping with anything sooner than a journeyman
cooper's on travel. His doublet of fine black cloth, trimmed with
slashed velvet, his dainty ruff, his short broadsword, and baretta with
a long drooping feather, seemed rather to point to a prosperous
merchant; and yet again there was a strange something about the face
and form of the youth which completely negatived the idea of a
merchant. Reinhold, noticing Frederick's doubting glances, undid his
travelling-bundle and produced his cooper's apron and knife-belt,
saying, "Look here, my friend, look here. Have you any doubts now as to
my being a comrade? I perceive you are astonished at my clothing, but I
have just come from Strasburg, where the coopers go about the streets
as fine as noblemen. Certainly I did once set my heart upon something
else like you, but now to be a cooper is the topmost height of my
ambition, and I have staked many a grand hope upon it. Is it not
the same with you, comrade? But I could almost believe that a dark
cloud-shadow had been hung unawares about the brightness of your youth,
so that you are no longer able to look freely and gladly about you. The
song which you were just singing was full of pain and of the yearning
of love; but there were strains in it that seemed as if they proceeded
from my own heart, and I somehow fancy I know all that is locked up
within your breast. You may therefore all the more put confidence in
me, for shall we not then be good comrades in Nuremberg?" Reinhold
threw his arm around Frederick and looked kindly into his eyes.
Whereupon Frederick said, "The more I look at you, honest friend, the
stronger I feel drawn towards you; I clearly discern within my breast
the wonderful voice which faithfully echoes the cry that you are a
sympathetic spirit I must tell you all--not that a poor fellow like me
has any important secrets to confide to you, but simply because there
is room in the heart of the true friend for _his_ friend's pain, and
during the first moments of our new acquaintance even I acknowledge you
to be my truest friend.

"I am now a cooper, and may boast that I understand my work; but all my
thoughts have been directed to another and a nobler art since my very
childhood. I wished to become a great master in casting statues and in
silver-work, like Peter Fischer[24] or the Italian Benvenuto
Cellini;[25] and so I worked with intense ardour along with Herr
Johannes Holzschuer,[26] the well-known worker in silver in my native
town yonder. For although he did not exactly cast statues himself, he
was yet able to give me a good introduction to the art. And Herr Tobias
Martin, the master-cooper, often came to Herr Holzschuer's with his
daughter, pretty Rose. Without being consciously aware of it, I fell in
love with her. I then left home and went to Augsburg in order to learn
properly the art of casting, but this first caused my smouldering
passion to burst out into flames. I saw and heard nothing but Rose;
every exertion and all labour that did not tend to the winning of her
grew hateful to me. And so I adopted the only course that would bring
me to this goal. For Master Martin will only give his daughter to the
cooper who shall make the very best masterpiece in his house, and who
of course finds favour in his daughter's eyes as well. I deserted my
own art to learn cooperage. I am now going to Nuremberg to work for
Master Martin. But now that my home lies before me and Rose's image
rises up before my eyes, I feel overcome with anxiety and nervousness,
and my heart sinks within me. Now I see clearly how foolishly I have
acted; for I don't even know whether Rose loves me or whether she ever
will love me." Reinhold had listened to Frederick's story with
increasing attention. He now rested his head on his arm, and, shading
his eyes with his hand, asked in a hollow moody voice, "And has Rose
never given you any signs of her love?" "Nay," replied Frederick, "nay,
for when I left Nuremberg she was more a child than a maiden. No doubt
she liked me; she smiled upon me most sweetly when I never wearied
plucking flowers for her in Herr Holzschuer's garden and weaving them
into wreaths, but----" "Oh! then all hope is not yet lost," cried
Reinhold suddenly, and so vehemently and in such a disagreeably shrill
voice that Frederick was almost terrified. At the same time he leapt to
his feet, his sword rattling against his side, and as he stood upright
at his full stature the deep shadows of the night fell upon his pale
face and distorted his gentle features in a most unpleasant way, so
that Frederick cried, perfectly alarmed, "What's happened to you all at
once?" and stepping back, his foot knocked against Reinhold's bundle.
There proceeded from it the jarring of some stringed instrument, and
Reinhold cried angrily, "You ill-mannered fellow, don't break my lute
all to pieces." The instrument was fastened to the bundle; Reinhold
unbuckled it and ran his fingers wildly over the strings as if he would
break them all. But his playing soon grew soft and melodious. "Come,
brother," said he in the same gentle tone as before, "let us now go
down into the village. I've got a good means here in my hands to banish
the evil spirits who may cross our path, and who might in particular
have any dealings with me." "Why, brother," replied Frederick, "what
evil spirits will be likely to have anything to do with us on the way?
But your playing is very, very nice; please go on with it."

The golden stars were beginning to dot the dark azure sky. The night
breezes in low murmurous whispers swept lightly over the fragrant
meadows. The brooks babbled louder, and the trees rustled in the
distant woods round about Then Frederick and Reinhold went down the
slope playing and singing, and the sweet notes of their songs, so full
of noble aspirations, swelled up clear and sharp in the air, as if they
had been plumed arrows of light. Arrived at their quarters for the
night, Reinhold quickly threw aside lute and bundle and strained
Frederick to his heart; and Frederick felt on his cheeks the scalding
tears which Reinhold shed.


         _How the two young journeymen, Reinhold and Frederick,
                 were taken into Master Martin's house._

Next morning when Frederick awoke he missed his new-won friend, who had
the night before thrown himself down upon the straw pallet at his side;
and as his lute and his bundle were likewise missing, Frederick quite
concluded that Reinhold, from reasons which were unknown to him, had
left him and gone another road. But directly he stepped out of the
house Reinhold came to meet him, his bundle on his back and his lute
under his arm, and dressed altogether differently from what he had been
the day before. He had taken the feather out of his baretta, and laid
aside his sword, and had put on a plain burgher's doublet of an
unpretentious colour, instead of the fine one with the velvet
trimmings. "Now, brother," he cried, laughing merrily to his astonished
friend, "you will acknowledge me for your true comrade and faithful
work-mate now, eh? But let me tell you that for a youth in love you
have slept most soundly. Look how high the sun is. Come, let us be
going on our way." Frederick was silent and busied with his own
thoughts; he scarcely answered Reinhold's questions and scarcely heeded
his jests. Reinhold, however, was full of exuberant spirits; he ran
from side to side, shouted, and waved his baretta in the air. But he
too became more and more silent the nearer they approached the town. "I
can't go any farther, I am so full of nervousness and anxiety and sweet
sadness; let us rest a little while beneath these trees." Thus spake
Frederick just before they reached the gate; and he threw himself down
quite exhausted in the grass. Reinhold sat down beside him, and after a
while began, "I daresay you thought me extremely strange yesterday
evening, good brother mine. But as you told me about your love, and
were so very dejected, then all kinds of foolish nonsense flooded my
mind and made me quite confused, and would have made me mad in the end
if your good singing and my lute had not driven away the evil spirits.
But this morning when the first ray of sunlight awoke me, all my gaiety
of heart returned, for all nasty feelings had already left me last
evening. I ran out, and whilst wandering among the undergrowth a crowd
of fine things came into my mind: how I had found you, and how all my
heart felt drawn towards you. There also occurred to me a pretty little
story which happened some time ago when I was in Italy; I will tell it
to you, since it is a remarkable illustration of what true friendship
can do.

"It chanced that a noble prince, a warm patron and friend of the Fine
Arts, offered a very large prize for a painting, the subject of which
was definitely fixed, and which, though a splendid subject, was one
difficult to treat. Two young painters, united by the closest bond of
friendship and wont to work together, resolved to compete for the
prize. They communicated their designs to each other and had long talks
as to how they should overcome the difficulties connected with the
subject. The elder, more experienced in drawing and in arrangement and
grouping, had soon formed a conception of the picture and sketched it;
then he went to the younger, whom he found so discouraged in the very
designing that he would have given the scheme up, had not the elder
constantly encouraged him, and imparted to him good advice. But when
they began to paint, the younger, a master in colour, was able to give
his friend many a hint, which he turned to the best account; and
eventually it was found that the younger had never designed a better
picture, nor the elder coloured one better. The pieces being finished,
the two artists fell upon each other's neck; each was delighted,
enraptured, with the other's work, and each adjudged the prize, which
they both deserved, to his friend. But when, eventually, the prize was
declared to have fallen to the younger, he cried, ashamed, 'Oh! how can
I have gained the prize? What is my merit in comparison with that of my
friend? I should never have produced anything at all good without his
advice and valuable assistance.' Then said the elder, 'And did not you
too stand by me with invaluable counsel? My picture is certainly not
bad; but yours has carried off the prize as it deserved. To strive
honestly and openly towards the same goal, that is the way of true
friends; the wreath which the victor wins confers honour also upon the
vanquished. I love you now all the more that you have so bravely
striven, and in your victory I also reap fame and honour.' And the
painter was right, was he not, Frederick? Honest contention for the
same prize, without any malicious reserve, ought to unite true friends
still more and knit their hearts still closer, instead of setting them
at variance. Ought there to be any room in noble minds for petty envy
or malicious hate?" "Never, certainly not," replied Frederick. "We are
now faithful loving brothers, and shall both in a short time construct
our masterpiece in Nuremburg, a good two-tun cask, made without fire;
but Heaven forbid that I should feel the least spark of envy if yours,
dear brother Reinhold, turned out to be better than mine." "Ha! ha!
ha!" laughed Reinhold heartily, "go on with you and your masterpiece;
you'll soon manage that to the joy of all good coopers. And let me tell
you that in all that concerns calculation of size and proportion, and
drawing plans of sections of circles, you'll find I'm your man. And
then in choosing your wood you may rely fully upon me. Staves of the
holm oak felled in winter, without worm-holes, without either red or
white streaks, and without blemish, that's what we must look for; you
may trust my eyes. I will stand by you with all the help I can, in both
deed and counsel; and my own masterpiece will be none the worse for
it." "But in the name of all that's holy," broke in Frederick here,
"why are we chattering about who is to make the best masterpiece? Are
we to have any contest about the matter?--the best masterpiece--to gain
Rose! What are we thinking about? The very thought makes me giddy."
"Marry, brother," cried Reinhold, still laughing, "there was no thought
at all of Rose. You are a dreamer. Come along, let us go on if we are
to get into the town." Frederick leapt to his feet, and went on his
way, his mind in a whirl of confusion.

As they were washing and brushing off the dust of travel in the
hostelry, Reinhold said to Frederick, "To tell you the truth, I for my
part don't know for what master I shall work; I have no acquaintances
here at all; and I thought you would perhaps take me along with you to
Master Martin's, brother? Perhaps I may get taken on by him." "You
remove a heavy load from my heart," replied Frederick, "for if you will
only stay with me, it will be easier for me to conquer my anxiety and
nervousness." And so the two young apprentices trudged sturdily on to
the house of the famed cooper, Master Martin.

It happened to be the very Sunday on which Master Martin gave his feast
in honour of his election as "Candle-master;" and the two arrived just
as they were partaking of the good cheer. So it was that as Reinhold
and Frederick entered into Master Martin's house they heard the ringing
of glasses and the confused buzz and rattle of a merry company at a
feast. "Oh!" said Frederick quite cast down, "we have, it seems, come
at an unseasonable time." "Nay, I think we have come exactly at the
right time," replied Reinhold, "for Master Martin is sure to be in good
humour after a good feast, and well disposed to grant our wishes." They
caused their arrival to be announced to Master Martin, and soon he
appeared in the entrance-passage, dressed in holiday garb and with no
small amount of colour in his nose and on his cheeks. On catching sight
of Frederick he cried, "Holla! Frederick, my good lad, have you come
home again? That's fine! And so you have taken up the best of all
trades--cooperage. Herr Holzschuer cuts confounded wry faces when your
name is mentioned, and says a great artist is ruined in you, and that
you could have cast little images and espaliers as fine as those in St.
Sebald's or on Fugger's[27] house at Augsburg. But that's all nonsense;
you have done quite right to step across the way here. Welcome, lad,
welcome with all my heart." And therewith Herr Martin took him by the
shoulders and drew him to his bosom, as was his wont, thoroughly well
pleased. This kind reception by Master Martin infused new spirits into
Frederick; all his nervousness left him, so that unhesitatingly and
without constraint he was able not only to prefer his own request but
also warmly to recommend Reinhold. "Well, to tell you the truth," said
Master Martin, "you could not have come at a more fortunate time than
just now, for work keeps increasing and I am bankrupt of workmen. You
are both heartily welcome. Put your bundles down and come in; our meal
is indeed almost finished, but you can come and take your seats at the
table, and Rose shall look after you and get you something." And Master
Martin and the two journeymen went into the room. There sat the honest
masters, the worthy syndic Jacobus Paumgartner at their head, all with
hot red faces. Dessert was being served, and a better brand of wine was
sparkling in the glasses. Every master was talking about something
different from all his neighbours and in a loud voice, and yet they all
thought they understood each other; and now and again some of them
burst out in a hearty laugh without exactly knowing why. When, however.
Master Martin came back, leading the two young men by the hand, and
announced aloud that he brought two journeymen who had come to him well
provided with testimonials just at the time he wanted them, then all
grew silent, each master scrutinising the smart young fellows with a
smile of comfortable satisfaction, whilst Frederick cast his eyes down
and twisted his baretta about in his hands. Master Martin directed the
youths to places at the very bottom of the table; but these were soon
the very best of all, for Rose came and took her seat between the two,
and served them attentively both with dainty dishes and with good rich
wine. There was Rose, a most winsome picture of grace and loveliness,
seated between the two handsome youths, all in midst of the bearded old
men--it was a right pleasant sight to see; the mind instantly recalled
a bright morning cloud rising solitary above the dim dark horizon, or
beautiful spring flowers lifting up their bright heads from amidst the
uniform colourless grass. Frederick was so very happy and so very
delighted that his breath almost failed him for joy; and only now and
again did he venture to steal a glance at her who filled his heart so
fully. His eyes were fixedly bent upon his plate; how could he possibly
dream of eating the least morsel? Reinhold, on the other hand, could
not turn his sparkling, radiant eyes away from the lovely maiden. He
began to talk about his long journeys in such a wonderful way that Rose
had never heard anything like it. She seemed to see everything of which
he spoke rise up vividly before her in manifold ever-changing forms.
She was all eyes and ears; and when Reinhold, carried away by the fire
of his own words, grasped her hand and pressed it to his heart, she
didn't know where she was. "But bless me," broke off Reinhold all at
once, "why, Frederick, you are quite silent and still. Have you lost
your tongue? Come, let us drink to the weal of the lovely maiden who
has so hospitably entertained us." With a trembling hand Frederick
seized the huge drinking-glass that Reinhold had filled to the brim and
now insisted on his draining to the last drop. "Now here's long life to
our excellent master," cried Reinhold, again filling the glasses and
again compelling Frederick to empty his. Then the fiery juices of the
wine permeated his veins and stirred up his stagnant blood until it
coursed as it were triumphantly through his every limb. "Oh! I feel so
indescribably happy," he whispered, the burning blushes mounting into
his cheeks. "Oh! I have never felt so happy in all my life before."
Rose, who undoubtedly gave another interpretation to his words, smiled
upon him with incomparable gentleness. Then, quit of all his
embarrassing shyness, Frederick said, "Dear Rose, I suppose you no
longer remember me, do you?" "But, dear Frederick," replied Rose,
casting down her eyes, "how could I possibly forget you in so short a
time? When you were at Herr Holzschuer's--true, I was only a mere child
then, yet you did not disdain to play with me, and always had something
nice and pretty to talk about. And that dear little basket made of fine
silver wire that you gave me at Christmas-time, I've got it still, and
I take care of it and keep it as a precious memento." Frederick was
intoxicated with delight and tears glittered in his eyes. He tried to
speak, but there only burst from his breast, like a deep sigh, the
words, "O Rose--dear, dear Rose." "I have always really from my heart
longed to see you again," went on Rose; "but that you would become a
cooper, that I never for a moment dreamed. Oh! when I call to mind
the beautiful things that you made whilst you were with Master
Holzschuer--oh! it really is a pity that you have not stuck to your art."
"O Rose," said Frederick, "it is only for your sake that I have become
unfaithful to it." No sooner had he uttered these words than he
could have sunk into the earth for shame and confusion. He had most
thoughtlessly let the confession slip over his lips. Rose, as if divining
all, turned her face away from him; whilst he in vain struggled for words.

Then Herr Paumgartner struck the table a bang with his knife, and
announced to the company that Herr Vollrad, a worthy _Meistersinger_,[28]
would favour them with a song. Herr Vollrad at once rose to his feet,
cleared his throat, and sang such an excellent song in the _Güldne
Tonweis_[29] of Herr Vogelgesang that everybody's heart leapt with joy,
and even Frederick recovered himself from his awkward embarrassment again.
After Herr Vollrad had sung several other excellent songs to several other
excellent tunes, such as the _Süsser Ton_, the _Krummzinkenweis_, the
_Geblümte Paradiesweis_, the _Frisch Pomeranzenweis_, &c., he called
upon any one else at the table who understood anything of the sweet and
delectable art of the _Meistersinger_ also to honour them with a song. Then
Reinhold rose to his feet and said that if he might be allowed to accompany
himself on his lute in the Italian fashion he would give them a song,
keeping, however, strictly to the German tune. As nobody had any objection
he fetched his instrument, and, after a little tuneful prelude, began the
following song:--

            Where is the little fount
            Where sparkles the spicy wine?
            From forth its golden depths
            Its golden sparkles mount
            And dance 'fore the gladdened eye.
            This beautiful little fount
            Wherein the golden wine
            Sparkles--who made it,
            With thoughtful skill and fine,
            With such high art and industry,
            That praise deserve so well?
            This little fount so gay,
            Wrought with high art and fine,
            Was fashioned by one
            Who ne'er an artist was--
            But a brave young cooper he,
            His veins with rich wine glowing,
            His heart with true love singing,
            And ever lovingly--
            For that's young cooper's way
            In all the things he does.

This song pleased them all down to the ground, but none more so
than Master Martin, whose eyes sparkled with pleasure and delight.
Without heeding Vollrad, who had almost too much to say about Hans
Müller's _Stumpfe Schossweis_, which the youth had caught excellently
well,--Master Martin, without heeding him, rose from his seat, and,
lifting his _passglas_[30] above his head, called aloud, "Come here,
honest cooper and _Meistersinger_, come here and drain this glass with
me, your Master Martin." Reinhold had to do as he was bidden. Returning
to his place, he whispered into Frederick's ear, who was looking very
pensive, "Now, you must sing--sing the song you sang last night." "Are
you mad?" asked Frederick, quite angry. But Reinhold turned to the
company and said in a loud voice, "My honoured gentlemen and masters,
my dear brother Frederick here can sing far finer songs, and has a much
pleasanter voice than I have, but his throat has got full of dust from
his travels, and he will treat you to some of his songs another time,
and then to the most admirable tunes." And they all began to shower
down their praises upon Frederick, as if he had already sung. Indeed,
in the end, more than one of the masters was of opinion that his voice
was really more agreeable than journeyman Reinhold's, and Herr Vollrad
also, after he had drunk another glass, was convinced that Frederick
could use the beautiful German tunes far better than Reinhold, for the
latter had too much of the Italian style about him. And Master Martin,
throwing his head back into his neck, and giving his round belly a
hearty slap, cried, "Those are _my_ journeymen, _my_ journeymen, I tell
you--mine, master-cooper Tobias Martin's of Nuremberg." And all the
other masters nodded their heads in assent, and, sipping the last drops
out of the bottom of their tall glasses, said, "Yes, yes. Your brave,
honest journeymen, Master Martin--that they are." At length it was time
to retire to rest Master Martin led Reinhold and Frederick each into a
bright cheerful room in his own house.


       _How the third journeyman came into Master Martin's house
                   and what followed in consequence._

After the two journeymen had worked for some weeks in Master Martin's
workshop, he perceived that in all that concerned measurement with rule
and compass, and calculation, and estimation of measure and size by
eyesight, Reinhold could hardly find his match, but it was a different
thing when it came to hard work at the bench or with the adze or the
mallet. Then Reinhold soon grew tired, and the work did not progress,
no matter how great efforts he might make. On the other hand, Frederick
planed and hammered away without growing particularly tired. But
one thing they had in common with each other, and that was their
well-mannered behaviour, marked, principally at Reinhold's instance, by
much natural cheerfulness and good-natured enjoyment. Besides, even
when hard at work, they did not spare their throats, especially when
pretty Rose was present, but sang many an excellent song, their
pleasant voices harmonising well together. And whenever Frederick,
glancing shyly across at Rose, seemed to be falling into his melancholy
mood, Reinhold at once struck up a satirical song that he composed,
beginning, "The cask is not the cither, nor is the cither the cask," so
that old Herr Martin often had to let the croze-adze which he had
raised, sink again without striking and hold his big belly as it
wabbled from his internal laughter. Above all, the two journeymen, and
mainly Reinhold, had completely won their way into Martin's favour; and
it was not difficult to observe that Rose found a good many pretexts
for lingering oftener and longer in the workshop than she certainly
otherwise would have done.


One day Master Martin entered his open workshop outside the town-gate,
where work was carried on all the summer through, with his brow
weighted with thought Reinhold and Frederick were in the act of setting
up a small cask. Then Master Martin planted himself before them with
his arms crossed over his chest and said, "I can't tell you how pleased
I am with you, my good journeymen, but I am just now in a great
difficulty. They write me from the Rhine that this will be a more
prosperous wine-year than there ever has been before. A learned man
says that the comet which has been seen in the heavens will fructify
the earth with its wonderful tail, so that the glowing heat which
fabricates the precious metals down in the deepest mines will all
stream upwards and evaporate into the thirsty vines, till they prosper
and thrive and put forth multitudes of grapes, and the liquid fire with
which they are filled will be poured out into the grapes. It will be
almost three hundred years before such a favourable constellation
occurs again. So now we shall all have our hands full of work. And then
there's his Lordship the Bishop of Bamberg has written to me and
ordered a large cask. That we can't get done; and I shall have to look
about for another useful journeyman. Now I should not like to take the
first fellow I meet off the street amongst us, and yet the matter is
very urgent. If you know of a good journeyman anywhere whom you would
be willing to work with, you have only to tell me, and I will get him
here, even though it should cost me a good sum of money."

Hardly had Master Martin finished speaking when a young man, tall and
stalwart, shouted to him in a loud voice, "Hi! you there! is this
Master Martin's workshop?" "Certainly," replied Master Martin, going
towards the young man, "certainly it is; but you needn't shout so
deuced loud and lumber in like that; that's not the way to find
people." "Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the young fellow, "marry, you are Master
Martin himself, for--fat belly--stately double-chin--sparkling eyes,
and red nose--yes, that's just how he was described to me. I bid you
good hail, Master Martin." "Well, and what do you want from Master
Martin?" he asked, indignantly. The young fellow replied, "I am a
journeyman cooper, and merely wanted to ask if I could find work with
you." Marvelling that just as he was thinking about looking out for a
journeyman one should come to him like this, Master Martin drew back a
few paces and eyed the young man from head to foot. He, however, met
the scrutiny unabashed and with sparkling eyes. Noting his broad chest,
stalwart build, and powerful arms, Master Martin thought within
himself, it's just such a lusty fellow as this that I want, and he at
once asked him for his trade testimonials.[31] "I haven't them with me
just at this present moment," replied the young man, "but I will get
them in a short time; and I give you now my word of honour that I will
work well and honestly, and that must suffice you." Thereupon, without
waiting for Master Martin's reply, the young journeyman stepped into
the workshop. He threw down his baretta and bundle, took off his
doublet, put on his apron, and said, "Come, Master Martin, tell me at
once what I am to begin with." Master Martin, completely taken aback by
the young stranger's resolute vigour and promptitude, had to think a
little; then he said, "Come then, my fine fellow, and show me at once
that you are a good cooper; take this croze-adze and finish the groove
of that cask lying in the vice yonder." The stranger performed what he
had been bidden with remarkable strength, quickness, and skill; and
then he cried, laughing loudly, "Now, Master Martin, have you any
doubts now as to my being a good cooper? But," he continued, going
backwards and forwards through the shop, and examining the instruments
and tools, and supply of wood, "but though you are well supplied with
useful stores and--but what do you call this little thing of a mallet?
I suppose it's for your children to play with; and this little adze
here--why it must be for your apprentices when they first begin," and
he swung round his head the huge heavy mallet which Reinhold could not
lift and which Frederick had great difficulty in wielding; and then he
did the same with the ponderous adze with which Master Martin himself
worked. Then he rolled a couple of huge casks on one side as if they
had been light balls, and seized one of the large thick beams which had
not yet been worked at "Marry, master," he cried, "marry, this is good
sound oak; I wager it will snap like glass." And thereupon he struck
the stave against the grindstone so that it broke clean in half with a
loud crack. "Pray be so kind," said Master Martin, "pray have the
kindness, my good fellow, to kick that two-tun cask about or to pull
down the whole shop. There, you can take that balk for a mallet, and
that you may have an adze to your mind I will have Roland's sword,
which is three yards long, fetched for you from the town-house." "Ay,
do, that's just the thing," said the young man, his eyes flashing; but
the next minute he cast them down upon the ground and said, lowering
his voice, "I only thought, good master, that you wanted right strong
journeymen for your heavy work, and now I have, I see, been too
forward, too swaggering, in displaying my bodily strength. But do take
me on to work, I will faithfully do whatever you shall require of me."
Master Martin scanned the youth's features, and could not but admit
that he had never seen more nobility and at the same time more
downright honesty in any man's face. And yet, as he looked upon the
young fellow, there stole into his mind a dim recollection of some man
whom he had long esteemed and honoured, but he could not clearly call
to mind who it was. For this reason he granted the young man's request
on the spot, only enjoining upon him to produce at the earliest
opportunity the needful credible trade attestations.

Meanwhile Reinhold and Frederick had finished setting up their cask and
were now busy driving on the first hoops. Whilst doing this they were
always in the habit of striking up a song; and on this occasion they
began a good song in Adam Puschmann's _Stieglitzweis_. Then Conrad
(that was the name of the new journeyman) shouted across from the bench
where Master Martin had placed him, "By my troth, what squalling do you
call that? I could fancy I hear mice squeaking somewhere about the
shop. An you mean to sing at all, sing so that it will cheer the heart
and make the work go down well. That's how I sing a bit now and again."
And he began to bellow out a noisy hunting ditty with its hollas! and
hoy, boys! and he imitated the yelping of the hounds and the shrill
shouts of the hunters in such a clear, keen, stentorian voice that
the huge casks rang again and all the workshop echoed. Master Martin
held his hands over his ears, and Dame Martha's (Valentine's widow)
little boys, who were playing in the shop, crept timorously behind the
piled-up staves. Just at this moment Rose came in, amazed, nay,
frightened at the terrible noise; it could not be called singing
anyhow. As soon as Conrad observed her, he at once stopped, and leaving
his bench he approached her and greeted her with the most polished
grace. Then he said in a gentle voice, whilst an ardent fire gleamed in
his bright brown eyes, "Lovely lady, what a sweet rosy light shone into
this humble workman's hut when you came in! Oh! had I but perceived you
sooner, I had not outraged your tender ears with my wild hunting
ditty." Then, turning to Master Martin and the other journeymen, he
cried, "Oh! do stop your abominable knocking and rattling. As long as
this gracious lady honours us with her presence, let mallets and
drivers rest. Let us only listen to her sweet voice, and with bowed
head hearken to what she may command us, her humble servants." Reinhold
and Frederick looked at each other utterly amazed; but Master Martin
burst out laughing and said, "Well, Conrad, it is now plain that you
are the most ridiculous donkey who ever put on apron. First you come
here and want to break everything to pieces like an uncultivated giant;
then you bellow in such a way as to make our ears tingle; and, as a
fitting climax to all your foolishness, you take my little daughter
Rose for a lady of rank and act like a love-smitten Junker." Conrad
replied, coolly, "Your lovely daughter I know very well, my worthy
Master Martin; but I tell you that she is the most peerless lady who
treads the earth, and if Heaven grant it she would honour the very
noblest of Junkers by permitting him to be her Paladin in faithful
knightly love." Master Martin held his sides, and it was only by giving
vent to his laughter in hums and haws that he prevented himself from
choking. As soon as he could at all speak, he stammered, "Good, very
good, my most excellent youth; you may continue to regard my daughter
as a lady of high rank, I shall not hinder you; but, irrespective of
that, will you have the goodness to go back to your bench?"
Conrad stood as if spell-bound, his eyes cast down upon the ground; and
rubbing his forehead, he said in a low voice, "Ay, it is so," and did
as he was bidden. Rose, as she always did in the shop, sat down upon a
small cask, which Frederick placed for her, and which Reinhold
carefully dusted. At Master Martin's express desire they again struck
up the admirable song in which they had been so rudely interrupted by
Conrad's bluster; but he went on with his work at the bench, quite
still, and entirely wrapped up in his own thoughts.

When the song came to an end Master Martin said, "Heaven has endowed
you with a noble gift, my brave lads; you would not believe how highly
I value the delectable art of song. Why, once I wanted to be a
_Meistersinger_ myself, but I could not manage it, even though I tried
all I knew how. All that I gained by my efforts was ridicule and
mockery. In 'Voluntary Singing'[32] I either got into false
'appendages,' or 'double notes,' or a wrong 'measure,' or an unsuitable
'embellishment,' or started the wrong melody altogether. But you will
succeed better, and it shall be said, what the master can't do, his
journeymen can. Next Sunday after the sermon there will be a singing
contest by the _Meistersinger_ at the usual time in St. Catherine's
Church. But before the 'Principal Singing' there will be a 'Voluntary,'
in which you may both of you win praise and honour in your beautiful
art, for any stranger who can sing at all, may freely take part in
this. And, he! Conrad, my journeyman Conrad," cried Master Martin
across to the bench, "would not you also like to get into the
singing-desk and treat our good folk to your fine hunting-chorus?"
Without looking up, Conrad replied, "Mock not, good master, mock not;
everything in its place. Whilst you are being edified by the
_Meistersinger_, I shall enjoy myself in my own way on the Allerwiese."

And what Master Martin anticipated came to pass. Reinhold got into the
singing-desk and sang divers songs to divers tunes, with which all the
_Meistersingers_ were well pleased; and although they were of opinion
that the singer had not made any mistake, yet they had a slight
objection to urge against him--a sort of something foreign about his
style, but yet they could not say exactly in what it consisted. Soon
afterwards Frederick took his seat in the singing-desk; and doffing his
baretta, he stood some seconds looking silently before him; then after
sending a glance at the audience which entered lovely Rose's bosom like
a burning arrow, and caused her to fetch a deep sigh, he began such a
splendid song in Heinrich Frauenlob's[33] _Zarter Ton_, that all the
masters agreed with one accord there was none amongst them who could
surpass the young journeyman.

The singing-school came to an end towards evening, and Master Martin,
in order to finish off the day's enjoyment in proper style, betook
himself in high good-humour to the Allerwiese along with Rose. The two
journeymen, Reinhold and Frederick, were permitted to accompany them;
Rose was walking between them. Frederick, radiant with delight at the
masters' praise, and intoxicated with happiness, ventured to breathe
many a daring word in Rose's ear which she, however, casting down her
eyes in maidenly coyness, pretended not to hear. Rather she turned to
Reinhold, who, according to his wont, was running on with all sorts of
merry nonsense; nor did he hesitate to place his arm in Rose's. Whilst
even at a considerable distance from the Allerwiese they could hear
noisy shouts and cries. Arrived at the place where the young men were
amusing themselves in all kinds of games, partly chivalric, they heard
the crowd shout time after time, "Won again! won again! He's the
strongest again! Nobody can compete with him." Master Martin, on
working his way through the crowd, perceived that it was nobody else
but his journeyman Conrad who was reaping all this praise and exciting
the people to all this applause. He had beaten everybody in racing and
boxing and throwing the spear. As Martin came up, Conrad was shouting
out and inquiring if there was anybody who would have a merry bout with
him with blunt swords. This challenge several stout young patricians,
well accustomed to this species of pastime, stepped forward and
accepted. But it was not long before Conrad had again, without much
trouble or exertion, overcome all his opponents; and the applause at
his skill and strength seemed as if it would never end.

The sun had set; the last glow of evening died away, and twilight began
to creep on apace. Master Martin, with Rose and the two journeymen, had
thrown themselves down beside a babbling spring of water. Reinhold was
telling of the wonders of distant Italy, but Frederick, quiet and
happy, had his eyes fixed on pretty Rose's face. Then Conrad drew near
with slow hesitating steps, as if rather undecided in his own mind
whether he should join them or not Master Martin called to him, "Come
along, Conrad, come along, come along; you have borne yourself bravely
on the meadow; that's what I like in my journeymen, and it's what
becomes them. Don't be shy, lad; come and join us, you have my
permission." Conrad cast a withering glance at his master, who however
met it with a condescending nod; then the young journeyman said
moodily, "I am not the least bit shy of you, and I have not asked your
permission whether I may lie down here or not,--in fact, I have not
come to _you_ at all. All my opponents I have stretched in the sand in
the merry knightly sports, and all I now wanted was to ask this lovely
lady whether she would not honour me with the beautiful flowers she
wears in her bosom, as the prize of the chivalric contest." Therewith
he dropped upon one knee in front of Rose, and looked her straight and
honestly in the face with his clear brown eyes, and he begged, "O give
me those beautiful flowers, sweet Rose, as the prize of victory; you
cannot refuse me that." Rose at once took the flowers from her bosom
and gave them to him, laughing and saying, "Ay, I know well that a
brave knight like you deserves a token of honour from a lady; and so
here, you may have my withered flowers." Conrad kissed the flowers that
were given him, and then fastened them in his baretta; but Master
Martin, rising to his feet, cried, "There's another of your silly
tricks--come, let us be going home; it is getting dark." Herr Martin
strode on first; Conrad with modest courtly grace took Rose's arm;
whilst Reinhold and Frederick followed them considerably out of humour.
People who met them, stopped and turned round to look after them,
saying, "Marry, look now, look; that's the rich cooper Thomas Martin,
with his pretty little daughter and his stout journeymen. A fine set of
people I call them."


     _Of Dame Martha's conversation with Rose about the three
        journeymen, Conrad's quarrel with Master Martin._

Generally it is the morning following a holiday when young girls are
wont to enjoy all the pleasure of it, and taste it, and thoroughly
digest it; and this after celebration they seem to like far better than
the actual holiday itself. And so next morning pretty Rose sat alone in
her room with her hands folded on her lap, and her head bent slightly
forward in meditation--her spindle and embroidery meanwhile resting.
Probably she was now listening to Reinhold's and Frederick's songs, and
now watching Conrad cleverly gaining the victory over his competitors,
and now she saw him coming to her for the prize of victory; and then
she hummed a few lines of a pretty song, and then she whispered, "Do
you want my flowers?" whereat a deeper crimson suffused her cheeks, and
brighter glances made their way through her downcast eyelashes, and
soft sighs stole forth from her inmost heart. Then Dame Martha came in,
and Rose was delighted to be able to tell at full length all that had
taken place in St. Catherine's Church and on the Allerwiese. When Rose
had done speaking, Dame Martha said, smiling, "Oh! so now, dear Rose,
you will soon have to make your choice between your three handsome
lovers." "For God's sake," burst out Rose, quite frightened, and
flushing hotly all over her face, "for mercy's sake, Dame Martha, what
do you mean by that? I--three lovers!" "Don't take on so," went on Dame
Martha, "don't take on in that way, dear Rose, as if you knew nothing,
as if you could guess nothing. Why, where do you put your eyes, girl?
you must be quite blind not to see that our journeymen. Reinhold,
Frederick, and Conrad--yes, all three of them--are madly in love with
you." "What a fancy, to be sure, Dame Martha," whispered Rose, holding
her hands before her face. Then Dame Martha knelt down before her, and
threw her arm about her, saying, "Come, my pretty, bashful child, take
your hands away, and look me straight in the eyes, and then tell me you
have not long ago perceived that you fill both the heart and the mind
of each of our journeymen, deny that if you can. Nay, I tell you, you
can't do it; and it would, i' faith, be a truly wonderful thing if a
maiden's eyes did not see a thing of that sort. Why, when you go into
the shop, their eyes are off their work and flying across to you in a
minute, and they bustle and stir about with new life. And Reinhold and
Frederick begin their best songs, and even wild Conrad grows quiet and
gentle; each tries to invent some excuse to approach nearer to you, and
when you honour one of them with a sweet look or a kindly word, how his
eyes sparkle, and his face flushes! Come now, my pet, is it not nice to
have such handsome fellows all making love to you? But whether you will
choose one of the three or which it will be, that I cannot indeed say,
for you are good and kind to them all alike, and yet--and yet--but I
must not say more. Now an you come to me and said, 'O Dame Martha, give
me your advice, to which of these young men, who are all wanting me,
shall I give my hand and heart?' then I should of course answer, 'If
your heart does not speak out loudly and distinctly. It's this or it's
that, why, let them all three go.' I must say Reinhold pleases me right
well, and so does Frederick, and so does Conrad; and then again on the
other hand I have something to say against each of them. In fact, dear
Rose, when I see them working away so bravely, I always think of my
poor Valentine; and I must say that, if he could not perhaps produce
any better work, there was yet quite a different kind of swing and
style in all that he did do. You could see all his heart was in his
work; but with these young fellows it always seems to me as if they
only worked so, so--as if they had in their heads different things
altogether from their work; nay, it almost strikes me as if it were a
burden which they have voluntarily taken up, and were now bearing with
sturdy courage. Of them all I can get on best with Frederick; he's such
a faithful, affectionate fellow. He is the one who seems to belong to
us most; I understand all that he says. And then his love for you is so
still, and as shy as a good child's; he hardly dares to look at you,
and blushes if you only say a single word to him; and that's what I
like so much in the dear lad." A tear seemed to glisten in Rose's eye
as Dame Martha said this. She stood up, and turning to the window,
said, "I like Frederick very much, but you must not pass over Reinhold
contemptuously." "I never dreamt of doing so," replied Dame Martha,
"for Reinhold is by a long way the handsomest of all. And what eyes
he has! And when he looks you through and through with his bright
glances--no, it's more than you can endure. And yet there's something
so strange and peculiar in his character, it quite makes me shiver at
times, and makes me quite afraid of him. When Reinhold is working in
the shop, I should think Herr Martin, when he tells him to do this or
do that, must always feel as I should if anybody were to put a bright
pan in my kitchen all glittering with gold and precious stones, and
should bid me use it like any ordinary common pan--why, I should hardly
dare to touch it at all. He tells his stories and talks and talks, and
it all sounds like sweet music, and you are quite carried away by it,
but when I sit down to think seriously about what he has been saying, I
find I haven't understood a single word. And then when he now and again
jests in the way we do, and I think now he's just like us, then all at
once he looks so distinguished that I get really afraid of him. And yet
I can't say that he puffs himself up in the way that many of our
Junkers or patricians do; no, it's something else altogether different.
In a word, it strikes me, by my troth, as if he held intercourse with
higher spirits, as if he belonged, in fact, to another world. Conrad is
a wild overbearing fellow, and yet there is something confoundedly
distinguished about him as well; it doesn't agree with the cooper's
apron somehow. And he always acts as if nobody but he had to give
orders, and as if the others must obey him. In the short time that he
has been here he has got so far that when he bellows at Master Martin
in his loud ringing voice, his master generally does what he wishes.
But at the same time he is so good-natured and so thoroughly honest
that you can't bear ill-will against him; rather, I must say, that in
spite of his wildness, I almost like him better than I do Reinhold, for
even if he does speak fearfully grand, you can yet understand him very
well. I wager he has once been a campaigner, he may say what he likes.
That's why he knows so much about arms, and has even got something of
knights' ways about him, which doesn't suit him at all badly. Now do
tell me, Rose dear, without any ifs and ands, which of the three
journeymen you like best?" "Don't ask me such searching questions, dear
Dame Martha," answered Rose. "But of this I am quite sure, that
Reinhold does not stir up in me the same feelings that he does in you.
It's perfectly true, too, that he is altogether different from his
equals; and when he talks I could fancy I enter into a beautiful garden
full of bright and magnificent flowers and blossoms and fruits, such as
are not to be found on earth, and I like to be amongst them. Since
Reinhold has been here I see many things in a different light, and lots
of things that were once dim and formless in my mind are now so bright
and clear that I can easily distinguish them." Dame Martha rose to her
feet, and shaking her finger at Rose as she went out of the room, said,
"Ah! ah! Rose, so Reinhold is the favourite then? I didn't think it, I
didn't even dream it." Rose made answer as she accompanied her as far
as the door, "Pray, dear Dame Martha, think nothing, dream nothing, but
leave all to the future. What _it_ brings is the will of God, and to
that everybody must bow humbly and gratefully."

Meanwhile it was becoming extremely lively in Master Martin's workshop.
In order to execute all his orders he had engaged with ordinary
labourers and taken in some apprentices, and they all hammered and
knocked till the din could be heard far and wide. Reinhold had finished
his calculations and measurements for the great cask that was to be
built for the Bishop of Bamberg, whilst Frederick and Conrad had set it
up so cleverly that Master Martin's heart laughed in his body, and he
cried again and again, "Now that I call a grand piece of work; that'll
be the best little cask I've ever made--except my masterpiece." Now the
three apprentices stood driving the hoops on to the fitted staves, and
the whole place rang again with the din of their mallets. Old Valentine
was busy plying his draw-knife, and Dame Martha, her two youngest on
her knee, sat just behind Conrad, whilst the other wideawake little
rascals were shouting and making a noise, tumbling the hoops about, and
chasing each other. In fact, there was so much hubbub and so much
vigorous hard work going on that hardly anybody noticed old Herr
Johannes Holzschuer as he stepped into the shop. Master Martin went to
meet him, and politely inquired what he desired. "Why, in the first
place," said Holzschuer, "I want to have a look at my dear Frederick
again, who is working away so lustily yonder. And then, goodman Master
Martin, I want a stout cask for my wine-cellar, which I will ask you to
make for me. Why look you, that cask they are now setting up there is
exactly the sort of thing I want; you can let me have that, you've only
got to name the price." Reinhold, who had grown tired and had been
resting a few minutes down in the shop, and was now preparing to ascend
the scaffolding again, heard Holzschuer's words and said, turning his
head towards the old gentleman, "Marry, my friend Herr Holzschuer, you
need not set your heart upon this cask; we are making it for his
Lordship the Bishop of Bamberg." Master Martin, his arms folded on his
back, his left foot planted forward, his head thrown back in his neck,
blinked at the cask and said proudly, "My dear master, you might have
seen from the carefully selected wood and the great pains taken in the
work that a masterpiece like that was meant for a prince's[34] cellar.
My journeyman Reinhold has said the truth; don't set your heart on a
piece of work like that. But when the vintage is over I will get you a
plain strong little cask made, such as will be suitable for your
cellar." Old Holzschuer, incensed at Master Martin's pride, replied
that his gold pieces weighed just as much as the Bishop of Bamberg's,
and that he hoped he could get good work elsewhere for ready money.
Master Martin, although fuming with rage, controlled himself with
difficulty; he would not by any means like to offend old Herr
Holzschuer, who stood so high in the esteem both of the Council and of
all the burghers. At this moment Conrad struck mightier blows than ever
with his mallet, so that the whole shop rang and cracked; then Master
Martin's internal rage boiled over, and he shouted vehemently, "Conrad,
you blockhead, what do you mean by striking so blindly and heedlessly?
do you mean to break my cask in pieces?" "Ho! ho!" replied Conrad,
looking round defiantly at his master, "Ho! ho! my comical little
master, and why should I not?" And therewith he dealt such a terrible
blow at the cask that the strongest hoop sprang, rattling, and knocked
Reinhold down from the narrow plank on the scaffolding; and it was
further evident from the hollow echo that a stave had been broken as
well. Completely mastered by his furious anger, Master Martin snatched
out of Valentine's hand the bar he was shaving, and striding towards
the cask, dealt Conrad a good sound stroke with it on the back,
shouting, "You cursed dog!" As soon as Conrad felt the blow he wheeled
sharply round, and after standing for a moment as if bereft of his
senses, his eyes blazed up with fury, he ground his teeth, and
screamed, "Struck! struck!" Then at one bound he was down from the
scaffolding, had snatched up an adze that lay on the floor, and aimed a
powerful stroke at his master; had not Frederick pulled Martin on one
side the blow would have split his head; as it was, the adze only
grazed his arm, from which, however, the blood at once began to spurt
out. Martin, fat and helpless as he was, lost his equilibrium and fell
over the bench, at which one of the apprentices was working, into the
floor. They all threw themselves upon Conrad, who was frantic,
flourishing his bloody adze in the air, and shouting and screaming in a
terrible voice, "Let him go to hell! To hell with him!" Hurling them
all off with the strength of a giant, he was preparing to deal a second
blow at his poor master, who was gasping for breath and groaning on the
floor,--a blow that would have completely done for him--when Rose, pale
as a corpse with fright, appeared in the shop-door. As soon as Conrad
observed her he stood as if turned to a pillar of stone, the adze
suspended in the air. Then he threw the tool away from him, struck his
hands together upon his chest, and cried in a voice that went to
everybody's heart, "Oh, good God! good God! what have I done?" and away
he rushed out of the shop. No one thought of following him.

Now poor Master Martin was after some difficulty lifted up; it was
found, however, that the adze had only penetrated into the thick fleshy
part of the arm, and the wound could not therefore be called serious.
Old Herr Holzschuer, whom Martin had involved with him in his fall, was
pulled out from beneath the shavings, and Dame Martha's children, who
ceased not to scream and cry over good Father Martin, were appeased as
far as that could be done. As for Martin himself, he was quite dazed,
and said if only that devil of a bad journeyman had not spoilt his fine
cask he should not make much account of the wound.

Sedan chairs were brought for the old gentlemen, for Holzschuer also
had bruised himself rather in his fall. He hurled reproaches at a trade
in which they employed such murderous tools, and conjured Frederick to
come back to his beautiful art of casting and working in the precious
metals, and the sooner the better.

As soon as the dusk of evening began to creep up over the sky,
Frederick, and along with him Reinhold, whom the hoop had struck rather
sharply, and who felt as if every limb was benumbed, strode back into
the town in very low spirits. Then they heard a soft sighing and
groaning behind a hedge. They stood still, and a tall figure at once
rose up; they immediately recognised Conrad, and began to withdraw
timidly. But he addressed them in a tearful voice, saying, "You need
not be so frightened at me, my good comrades; of course you take me for
a devilish murderous brute, but I am not--indeed I am not so. I could
not do otherwise; I _ought_ to have struck down the fat old master, and
by rights I ought to go along with you and do it _now_, if I only
could. But no, no; it's all over. Remember me to pretty Rose, whom I
love so above all reason. Tell her I will bear her flowers on my heart
all my life long, I will adorn myself with them when I--but she will
perhaps hear of me again some day. Farewell! farewell! my good, brave
comrades." And Conrad ran away across the field without once stopping.

Reinhold said, "There is something peculiar about this young fellow; we
can't weigh or measure this deed by any ordinary standard. Perhaps the
future will unfold to us the secret that has lain heavy upon his
breast."


                _Reinhold leaves Master Martin's house._

If formerly there had been merry days in Master Martin's workshop, so
now they were proportionately dull. Reinhold, incapable of work,
remained confined to his room; Martin, his wounded arm in a sling, was
incessantly abusing the good-for-nothing stranger-apprentice, and
railing at him for the mischief he had wrought Rose, and even Dame
Martha and her children, avoided the scene of the rash savage deed, and
so Frederick's blows fell dull and melancholy enough, like a
woodcutter's in a lonely wood in winter time, for to Frederick it was
now left to finish the big cask alone, and a hard task it was.

And soon his mind and heart were possessed by a profound sadness, for
he believed he had now clear proofs of what he had for a long time
feared. He no longer had any doubt that Rose loved Reinhold. Not
only had she formerly shown many a kindness to Reinhold alone, and
to him alone given many a sweet word, but now--it was as plain as
noonday--since Reinhold could no longer come to work. Rose too no
longer thought of going out, but preferred to stay indoors, no doubt
to wait upon and take good care of her lover. On Sundays, when all the
rest set out gaily, and Master Martin, who had recovered to some extent
of his wound, invited him to walk with him and Rose to the Allerwiese,
he refused the invitation; but, burdened with trouble and the bitter
pain of disappointed love, he hastened off alone to the village and the
hill where he had first met with Reinhold. He threw himself down in the
tall grass where the flowers grew, and as he thought how that the
beautiful star of hope which had shone before him all along his
homeward path had now suddenly set in the blackness of night after he
had reached his goal, and as he thought how that this step which he had
taken was like the vain efforts of a dreamer stretching out his
yearning arms after an empty vision of air,--the tears fell from his
eyes and dropped upon the flowers, which bent their little heads as if
sorrowing for the young journeyman's great unhappiness. Without his
being exactly conscious of it, the painful sighs which escaped his
labouring breast assumed the form of words, of musical notes, and he
 sang this song:--

            My star of hope,
            Where hast thou gone?
            Alas! thy glory rises up--
            Thy glory sweet, far from me now--
            And pours its light on others down.
            Ye rustling evening breezes, rouse you,
            Blow on my breast,
            Awake all joy that kills,
            Awake all pain that brings to death,
            So that my sore and bleeding heart,
            Steeped to the core in bitter tears,
            May break in yearning comfortless.
            Why whisper ye, ye darksome trees?
            So softly and like friends together?
            And why, O golden skirts of sky.
            Look ye so kindly down on me?
            Show me my grave;
            For that is now my haven of hope,
            Where I shall calmly, softly sleep.

And as it often happens that the very greatest trouble, if only it can
find vent in tears and words, softens down into a gentle melancholy,
mild and painless, and that often a faint glimmer of hope appears then
in the soul, so it was with Frederick; when he had sung this song he
felt wonderfully strengthened and comforted The evening breezes and the
darksome trees that he had called upon in his song rustled and
whispered words of consolation; and like the sweet dreams of distant
glory or of distant happiness, golden streaks of light worked their way
up across the dusky sky. Frederick rose to his feet, and went down the
hill into the village. He almost fancied that Reinhold was walking
beside him as he did on the day they first found each other; and all
the words which Reinhold had spoken again recurred to his mind. And as
his thoughts dwelt upon Reinhold's story about the contest between the
two painters who were friends, then the scales fell from his eyes.
There was no doubt about it; Reinhold must have seen Rose before and
loved her. It was only his love for her which had brought him to
Nuremberg to Master Martin's, and by the contest between the two
painters he meant simply and solely their own--Reinhold's and
Frederick's--rival wooing of beautiful Rose. The words that Reinhold
had then spoken rang again in his ears,--"Honest contention for the
same prize, without any malicious reserve, ought to unite true friends
and knit their hearts still closer together, instead of setting them at
variance. There should never be any place in noble minds for petty envy
or malicious hatred." "Yes," exclaimed Frederick aloud, "yes, friend of
my heart, I will appeal to you without any reserve, you yourself shall
tell me if all hope for me is lost."

It was approaching noon when Frederick tapped at Reinhold's door. As
all remained still within, he pushed open the door, which was not
locked as usual, and went in. But the moment he did so he stood rooted
to the spot. Upon an easel, the glorious rays of the morning sun
falling upon it, was a splendid picture, Rose in all the pride of her
beauty and charms, and life size. The maul-stick lying on the table,
and the wet colours of the palette, showed that some one had been at
work on the picture quite recently. "O Rose, Rose!--By Heaven!" sighed
Frederick. Reinhold, who had entered behind him unperceived, clapped
him on the shoulder and asked, smiling, "Well, now, Frederick, what do
you say to my picture!" Then Frederick pressed him to his heart and
cried, "Oh you splendid fellow--you are indeed a noble artist. Yes,
it's all clear to me now. You have won the prize--for which I--poor
me!--had the hardihood to struggle. Oh! what am I in comparison with
you? And what is my art against yours? And yet I too had some fine
ideas in my head. Don't laugh at me, dear Reinhold; but, look you, I
thought what a grand thing it would be to model Rose's lovely figure
and cast it in the finest silver. But that's all childishness, whilst
you--you--Oh! how sweetly she smiles upon you, and how delightfully you
have brought out all her beauty. O Reinhold! Reinhold! you happy, happy
fellow! Ay, and it has all come about as you said long ago. We have
both striven for the prize and you have won it: you could not help but
win it, and I shall still continue to be your friend with all my heart
But I must leave this house--my home: I cannot bear it, I should die if
I were to see Rose again. Please forgive me, my dear, dear, noble
friend. To-day, this very moment, I will go--go away into the wide
world, where my trouble, my unbearable misery, is sending me." And thus
speaking, Frederick was hastening out of the apartment, but Reinhold
held him fast, saying gently, "You shall not go; for things may turn
out quite different from what you think. It is now time for me to tell
you all that I have hitherto kept silence about. That I am not a cooper
but a painter you are now well aware, and I hope a glance at this
picture will convince you that I am not to be ranked amongst the
inferior artists. Whilst still young I went to Italy, the land of art;
there I had the good fortune to be accepted as a pupil by renowned
masters, who fostered into living fire the spark which glowed within
me. Thus it came to pass that I rapidly rose into fame, that my
pictures became celebrated throughout all Italy, and the powerful Duke
of Florence[35] summoned me to his court. At that time I would not hear
a word about German art, and without having seen any of your pictures,
I talked a good deal of nonsense about the coldness, the bad drawing,
and the hardness of your Dürer and your Cranach.[36] But one day a
picture-dealer brought a small picture of the Madonna by old Albrecht
to the Duke's gallery, and it made a powerful and wonderful impression
upon me, so that I turned away completely from the voluptuousness of
Italian art, and from that very hour determined to go back to my native
Germany and study there the masterpieces upon which my heart was now
set I came to Nuremberg here, and when I beheld Rose I seemed to see
the Madonna who had so wonderfully stirred my heart, walking in bodily
form on earth. I had the same experiences as you, dear Frederick; the
bright flames of love flashed up and consumed me, mind and heart and
soul. I saw nothing, I thought of nothing, but Rose; all else had
vanished from my mind; and even art itself only retained its hold
upon me in so far as it enabled me to draw and paint Rose again and
again--hundreds of times. I would have approached the maiden in the
free Italian way; but all my attempts proved fruitless. There was no
means of securing a footing of intimacy in Master Martin's house in any
insidious way. At last I made up my mind to sue for Rose directly, when
I learned that Master Martin had determined to give his daughter only
to a good master-cooper. Straightway I formed the adventurous resolve
to go and learn the trade of cooperage in Strasburg, and then to come
and work in Master Martin's work-shop. I left all the rest to the
ordering of Providence. You know in what way I carried out my resolve;
but I must now also tell you what Master Martin said to me some days
ago. He said I should make a skilful cooper and should be a right dear
and worthy son-in-law, for he saw plainly that I was seeking to gain
Rose's favour, and that she liked me right well." "Can it then indeed
well be otherwise?" cried Frederick, painfully agitated "Yes, yes, Rose
will be _yours_; how came I, unhappy wretch that I am, ever to hope for
such happiness?" "You are forgetting, my brother," Reinhold went on to
say; "you are forgetting that Rose herself has not confirmed this,
which our cunning Master Martin no doubt is well aware of. True it is
that Rose has always shown herself kind and charming towards me, but a
loving heart betrays itself in other ways. Promise me, brother, to
remain quiet for three days longer, and to go to your work in the shop
as usual. I also could now go to work again, but since I have been busy
with, and wrapt up in this picture, I feel an indescribable disgust at
that coarse rough work out yonder. And, what is more, I can never lay
hand upon mallet again, let come what will. On the third day I will
frankly tell you how matters stand between me and Rose. If I should
really be the lucky one to whom she has given her love, then you may go
your way and make trial of the experience that time can cure the
deepest wounds." Frederick promised to await his fate.

On the third day Frederick's heart beat with fear and anxious
expectation; he had in the meantime carefully avoided meeting Rose.
Like one in a dream he crept about the workshop, and his awkwardness
gave Master Martin, no doubt, just cause for his grumbling and
scolding, which was not by any means customary with him. Moreover, the
master seemed to have encountered something that completely spoilt all
his good spirits. He talked a great deal about base tricks and
ingratitude, without clearly expressing what he meant by it. When at
length evening came, and Frederick was returning towards the town, he
saw not far from the gate a horseman coming to meet him, whom he
recognised to be Reinhold. As soon as the latter caught sight of
Frederick he cried, "Ha! ha! I meet you just as I wanted." And leaping
from his horse, he slung the rein over his arm, and grasped his
friend's hand. "Let us walk along a space beside each other," he said.
"Now I can tell you what luck I have had with my suit." Frederick
observed that Reinhold wore the same clothes which he had worn when
they first met each other, and that the horse bore a portmanteau.
Reinhold looked pale and troubled. "Good luck to you, brother," he
began somewhat wildly; "good luck to you. You can now go and hammer
away lustily at your casks; I will yield the field to you. I have just
said adieu to pretty Rose and worthy Master Martin." "What!" exclaimed
Frederick, whilst an electric thrill, as it were, shot through all his
limbs--"what! you are going away now that Master Martin is willing to
take you for his son-in-law, and Rose loves you?" Reinhold replied,
"That was only a delusion, brother, which your jealousy has led you
into. It has now come out that Rose would have had me simply to show
her dutifulness and obedience, but there's not a spark of love glowing
in her ice-cold heart. Ha! ha! I should have made a fine cooper--that I
should. Week-days scraping hoops and planing staves, Sundays walking
beside my honest wife to St. Catherine's or St. Sebald's, and in the
evening to the Allerwiese, year after year"---- "Nay, mock not," said
Frederick, interrupting Reinhold's loud laughter, "mock not at the
excellent burgher's simple, harmless life. If Rose does not really love
you, it is not her fault; you are so passionate, so wild." "You are
right," said Reinhold; "It is only the silly way I have of making as
much noise as a spoilt child when I conceive I have been hurt. You can
easily imagine that I spoke to Rose of my love and of her father's
good-will. Then the tears started from her eyes, and her hand trembled
in mine. Turning her face away, she whispered, 'I must submit to my
father's will'--that was enough for me. My peculiar resentment, dear
Frederick, will now let you see into the depths of my heart; I must
tell you that my striving to win Rose was a deception, imposed upon me
by my wandering mind. After I had finished Rose's picture my heart grew
calm; and often, strange enough, I fancied that Rose was now the
picture, and that the picture was become the real Rose. I detested my
former coarse, rude handiwork; and when I came so intimately into
contact with the incidents of common life, getting one's 'mastership'
and getting married, I felt as if I were going to be confined in a
dungeon and chained to the stocks. How indeed can the divine being whom
I carry in my heart ever be my wife? No, she shall for ever stand forth
glorious in youth, grace, and beauty, in the pictures--the
masterpieces--which my restless spirit shall create. Oh! how I long for
such things! How came I ever to turn away from my divine art? O thou
glorious land, thou home of Art, soon again will I revel amidst thy
cool and balmy airs." The friends had reached the place where the road
which Reinhold intended to take turned to the left. "Here we will
part," cried Reinhold, pressing Frederick to his heart in a long warm
embrace; then he threw himself upon horseback and galloped away.
Frederick stood watching him without uttering a word, and then,
agitated by the most unaccountable feelings, he slowly wended his way
homewards.


            _How Frederick was driven out of the workshop by
                             Master Martin._

The next day Master Martin was working away at the great cask for the
Bishop of Bamberg in moody silence, nor could Frederick, who now felt
the full bitterness of parting from Reinhold, utter a word either,
still less break out into song. At last Master Martin threw aside his
mallet, and crossing his arms, said in a muffled voice, "Well,
Reinhold's gone. He was a distinguished painter, and has only been
making a fool of me with his pretence of being a cooper. Oh! that I had
only had an inkling of it when he came into my house along with you and
bore himself so smart and clever, wouldn't I just have shown him the
door! Such an open honest face, and so much deceit and treachery in his
mind! Well, he's gone, and now you will faithfully and honestly stick
to me and my handiwork. Who knows whether you may not become something
more to me still--when you have become a skilful master and Rose will
have you--well, you understand me, and may try to win Rose's favour."
Forthwith he took up his mallet and worked away lustily again.
Frederick did not know how to account for it, but Master Martin's words
rent his breast, and a strange feeling of anxiety arose in his mind,
obscuring every glimmer of hope. After a long interval Rose made a
first appearance again in the workshop, but was very reserved, and, as
Frederick to his mortification could see, her eyes were red with
weeping. She has been weeping for him, she does love him, thus he said
within himself, and he was quite unable to raise his eyes to her whom
he loved with such an unutterable love.

The mighty cask was finished, and now Master Martin began to be blithe
and in good humour again as he regarded this very successful piece of
work. "Yes, my son," said he, clapping Frederick on the shoulder, "yes,
my son, I will keep my word: if you succeed in winning Rose's favour
and build a good sound masterpiece, you shall be my son-in-law. And
then you can also join the noble guild of the _Meistersinger_, and so
win you great honour."

Master Martin's business now increased so very greatly that he had to
engage two other journeymen, clever workmen, but rude fellows, quite
demoralised by their long wanderings. Coarse jests now echoed in the
workshop instead of the many pleasant talks of former days, and in
place of Frederick and Reinhold's agreeable singing were now heard low
and obscene ditties. Rose shunned the workshop, so that Frederick saw
her but seldom, and only for a few moments at a time. And then when he
looked at her with melancholy longing and sighed, "Oh! if I might talk
to you again, dear Rose, if you were only as friendly again as at the
time when Reinhold was still with us!" she cast down her eyes in shy
confusion and whispered "Have you something to tell me, dear
Frederick?" And Frederick stood like a statue, unable to speak a word,
and the golden opportunity was quickly past, like a flash of lightning
that darts across the dark red glow of the evening, and is gone almost
before it is observed.

Master Martin now insisted that Frederick should begin his masterpiece.
He had himself sought out the finest, purest oak wood, without the
least vein or flaw, which had been over five years in his wood-store,
and nobody was to help Frederick except old Valentine. Not only was
Frederick put more and more out of taste with his work by the rough
journeymen, but he felt a tightness in his throat as he thought that
this masterpiece was to decide over his whole life long. The same
peculiar feeling of anxiety which he had experienced when Master Martin
was praising his faithful devotion to his handiwork now grew into a
more and more distinct shape in a quite dreadful way. He now knew that
he should fail miserably and disgracefully in his work; his mind, now
once more completely taken up with his own art, was fundamentally
averse to it. He could not forget Reinhold and Rose's picture. His own
art now put on again her full glory in his eyes. Often as he was
working, the crushing sense of the unmanliness of his conduct quite
overpowered him, and, alleging that he was unwell, he ran off to St.
Sebald's Church. There he spent hours in studying Peter Fischer's
marvellous monument, and he would exclaim, as if ravished with delight,
"Oh, good God! Is there anything on earth more glorious than to
conceive and execute such a work?" And when he had to go back again to
his staves and hoops, and remembered that in this way only was Rose to
be won, he felt as if burning talons were rending his bleeding heart,
and as if he must perish in the midst of his unspeakable agony.
Reinhold often came to him in his dreams and brought him striking
designs for artistic castings, into which Rose's form was worked in
most ingenious ways, now as a flower, now as an angel, with little
wings. But there was always something wanting; he discovered that it
was Rose's heart which Reinhold had forgotten, and that he added to the
design himself. Then he thought he saw all the flowers and leaves of
the work move, singing and diffusing their sweet fragrances, and the
precious metals showed him Rose's likeness in their glittering surface.
Then he stretched out his arms longingly after his beloved, but the
likeness vanished as if in dim mist, and Rose herself, pretty Rose,
pressed him to her loving heart in an ecstasy of passionate love.

His condition with respect to the unfortunate cooperage grew worse and
worse, and more and more unbearable, and he went to his old master
Johannes Holzschuer to seek comfort and assistance. He allowed
Frederick to begin in his shop a piece of work which he, Frederick, had
thought out and for which he had for some time been saving up his
earnings, so that he could procure the necessary gold and silver. Thus
it happened that Frederick was scarcely ever at work in Martin's shop,
and his deathly pale face gave credence to his pretext that he was
suffering from a consuming illness. Months went past, and his
masterpiece, his great two-tun cask, was not advanced any further.
Master Martin was urgent upon him that he should at least do as much as
his strength would allow, and Frederick really saw himself compelled to
go to the hated cutting block again and take the adze in hand. Whilst
he was working, Master Martin drew near and examined the staves at
which he was working; and he got quite red in the face and cried, "What
do you call this? What work is this, Frederick? Has a journeyman been
preparing these staves for his 'mastership,' or a stupid apprentice who
only put his nose into the workshop three days ago? Pull yourself
together, lad: what devil has entered into you that you are making a
bungle of things like this? My good oak wood,--and this your
masterpiece! Oh! you awkward, imprudent boy!" Overmastered by the
torture and agony which raged within him, Frederick was unable to
contain himself any longer; so, throwing the adze from him he said,
"Master, it's all over; no, even though it cost me my life, though I
perish in unutterable misery, I cannot work any longer--no, I cannot
work any longer at this coarse trade. An irresistible power is drawing
me back to my own glorious art. Your daughter Rose I love unspeakably,
more than anybody else on earth can ever love her. It is only for her
sake that I ever entered upon this hateful work. I have now lost her, I
know, and shall soon die of grief for love of her; but I can't help it,
I must go back to my own glorious art, to my excellent old master,
Johannes Holzschuer, whom I so shamefully deserted." Master Martin's
eyes blazed like flashing candles. Scarce able to speak for rage, he
stammered, "What! you too! Deceit and treachery! Dupe _me_ like this!
coarse trade--cooperage! Out of my eyes, you disgraceful fellow; begone
with you!" And therewith he laid hold of poor Frederick by the
shoulders and threw him out of the shop, which the rude journeymen and
apprentices greeted with mocking laughter. But old Valentine folded his
hands, and gazing thoughtfully before him, said, "I've noticed, that I
have, the good fellow had something higher in his mind than our casks."
Dame Martha shed many tears, and her boys cried and screamed for
Frederick, who had often played kindly with them and brought them
several lots of sweets.


                             _Conclusion._

However angry Master Martin might feel towards Reinhold and Frederick,
he could not but admit to himself that along with them all joy and all
pleasure had disappeared from the workshop. Every day he was annoyed
and provoked by the new journeymen. He had to look after every little
trifle, and it cost him no end of trouble and exertion to get even the
smallest amount of work done to his mind. Quite tired out with the
cares of the day, he often sighed, "O Reinhold! O Frederick! I wish you
had not so shamefully deceived me, I wish you had been good coopers."
Things at last got so bad that he often contemplated the idea of giving
up business altogether.

As he was sitting at home one evening in one of these gloomy moods,
Herr Jacobus Paumgartner and along with him Master Johannes Holzschuer
came in quite unexpectedly. He saw at once that they were going to talk
about Frederick; and in fact Herr Paumgartner very soon turned the
conversation upon him, and Master Holzschuer at once began to say all
he could in praise of the young fellow. It was his opinion that
Frederick with his industry and his gifts would certainly not only make
an excellent goldsmith, but also a most admirable art-caster, and would
tread in Peter Fischer's footsteps. And now Herr Paumgartner began to
reproach Master Martin in no gentle terms for his unkind treatment of
his poor journeyman Frederick, and they both urged him to give Rose
to the young fellow to wife when he was become a skilful goldsmith
and caster,--that is, of course, in case she looked with favour upon
him,--for his affection for her tingled in every vein he had. Master
Martin let them have their say out, then he doffed his cap and said,
smiling, "That's right, my good sirs, I'm glad you stand up so bravely
for the journeyman who so shamefully deceived me. That, however, I will
forgive him; but don't ask that I should alter my fixed resolve for his
sake; Rose can never be anything to him." At this moment Rose entered the
room, pale and with eyes red with weeping, and she silently placed wine
and glasses on the table. "Well then," began Herr Holzschuer, "I must
let poor Frederick have his own way; he wants to leave home for ever.
He has done a beautiful piece of work at my shop, which, if you, my
good master, will allow, he will present to Rose as a keepsake; look at
it." Whereupon Master Holzschuer produced a small artistically-chased
silver cup, and handed it to Master Martin, who, a great lover of
costly vessels and such like, took it and examined it on all sides with
much satisfaction. And indeed a more splendid piece of silver work than
this little cup could hardly be seen. Delicate chains of vine-leaves
and roses were intertwined round about it, and pretty angels peeped up
out of the roses and the bursting buds, whilst within, on the gilded
bottom of the cup, were engraved angels lovingly caressing each other.
And when the clear bright wine was poured into the cup, the little
angels seemed to dance up and down as if playing prettily together. "It
is indeed an elegant piece of work," said Master Martin, "and I will
keep it if Frederick will take the double of what it is worth in good
gold pieces." Thus speaking, he filled the cup and raised it to his
lips. At this moment the door was softly opened, and Frederick stepped
in, his countenance pale and stamped with the bitter, bitter pain of
separating for ever from her he held dearest on earth. As soon as Rose
saw him she uttered a loud piercing cry, "O my dearest Frederick!" and
fell almost fainting on his breast. Master Martin set down the cup, and
on seeing Rose in Frederick's arms opened his eyes wide as if he saw a
ghost. Then he again took up the cup without speaking a word, and
looked into it; but all at once he leapt from his seat and cried in a
loud voice, "Rose, Rose, do you love Frederick?" "Oh!" whispered Rose,
"I cannot any longer conceal it, I love him as I love my own life; my
heart nearly broke when you sent him away." "Then embrace your
betrothed, Frederick; yes, yes, your betrothed, Frederick," cried
Master Martin. Paumgartner and Holzschuer looked at each other utterly
bewildered with astonishment, but Master Martin, holding the cup in his
hand, went on, "By the good God, has it not all come to pass as the old
lady prophesied?--

            'A vessel fair to see he'll bring,
            In which the spicy liquid foams.
            And bright, bright angels gaily sing.
            ... The vessel fair with golden grace,
            Lo! him who brings it in the house,
            Thou wilt reward with sweet embrace.
            And, an thy lover be but true,
            Thou need'st not wait thy father's kiss.'

"O Stupid fool I have been! Here is the vessel fair to see, the
angels--the lover--Ay! ay! gentlemen; it's all right now, all right
now; my son-in-law is found."

Whoever has had his mind ever confused by a bad dream, so that he
thought he was lying in the deep cold blackness of the grave, and
suddenly he awakens in the midst of the bright spring-tide full of
fragrance and sunshine and song, and she whom he holds dearest on earth
has come to him and has cast her arms about him, and he can look up
into the heaven of her lovely face,--whoever has at any time
experienced this will understand Frederick's feelings, will comprehend
his exceeding great happiness. Unable to speak a word, he held Rose
tightly clasped in his arms as though he would never let her leave him,
until she at length gently disengaged herself and led him to her
father. Then he found his voice, "O my dear master, is it all really
true? You will give me Rose to wife, and I may go back to my art?"
"Yes, yes," said Master Martin, "you may in truth believe it; can I do
any other since you have fulfilled my old grandmother's prophecy? You
need not now of course go on with your masterpiece." Then Frederick,
perfectly radiant with delight, smiled and said, "No, my dear master,
if it be pleasing to you I will now gladly and in good spirits finish
my big cask--my last piece of work in cooperage--and then I will go
back to the melting-furnace." "Yes, my good brave son," replied Master
Martin, his eyes sparkling with joy, "yes, finish your masterpiece, and
then we'll have the wedding."

Frederick kept his word faithfully, and finished the two-tun cask; and
all the masters declared that it would be no easy task to do a finer
piece of work, whereat Master Martin was delighted down to the ground,
and was moreover of opinion that Providence could not have found for
him a more excellent son-in-law.

At length the wedding day was come, Frederick's masterpiece stood in
the entrance hall filled with rich wine, and crowned with garlands. The
masters of the trade, with the syndic Jacobus Paumgartner at their
head, put in an appearance along with their housewives, followed by the
master goldsmiths. All was ready for the procession to begin its march
to St. Sebald's Church, where the pair were to be married, when a sound
of trumpets was heard in the street, and a neighing and stamping of
horses before Martin's house. Master Martin hastened to the bay-window.
It was Herr Heinrich von Spangenberg, in gay holiday attire, who
had pulled up in front of the house; a few paces behind him, on a
high-spirited horse, sat a young and splendid knight, his glittering
sword at his side, and high-coloured feathers in his baretta, which was
also adorned with flashing jewels. Beside the knight, Herr Martin
perceived a wondrously beautiful lady, likewise splendidly dressed,
seated on a jennet the colour of fresh-fallen snow. Pages and
attendants in brilliant coats formed a circle round about them. The
trumpet ceased, and old Herr von Spangenberg shouted up to him, "Aha!
aha! Master Martin, I have not come either for your wine cellar or for
your gold pieces, but only because it is Rose's wedding day. Will you
let me in, good master?" Master Martin remembered his own words very
well, and was a little ashamed of himself; but he hurried down to
receive the Junker. The old gentleman dismounted, and after greeting
him, entered the house. Some of the pages sprang forward, and upon
their arms the lady slipped down from her palfrey; the knight gave her
his hand and followed the old gentleman. But when Master Martin looked
at the young knight he recoiled three paces, struck his hands together,
and cried, "Good God! Conrad!" "Yes, Master Martin," said the knight,
smiling, "I am indeed your journeyman Conrad. Forgive me for the wound
I inflicted on you. But you see, my good master, that I ought properly
to have killed you; but things have now all turned out different."
Greatly confused, Master Martin replied, that it was after all better
that he had not been killed; of the little bit of a cut with the adze
he had made no account. Now when Master Martin with his new guests
entered the room where the bridal pair and the rest were assembled,
they were all agreeably surprised at the beautiful lady, who was so
exactly like the bride, even down to the minutest feature, that they
might have been taken for twin-sisters. The knight approached the bride
with courtly grace and said, "Grant, lovely Rose, that Conrad be
present here on this auspicious day. You are not now angry with the
wild thoughtless journeyman who was nigh bringing a great trouble upon
you, are you?" But as the bridegroom and the bride and Master Martin
were looking at each other in great wonder and embarrassment, old Herr
von Spangenberg said, "Well, well, I see I must help you out of your
dream. This is my son Conrad, and here is his good, true wife, named
Rose, like the lovely bride. Call our conversation to mind, Master
Martin. I had a very special reason for asking you whether you would
refuse your Rose to my son. The young puppy was madly in love with her,
and he induced me to lay aside all other considerations and make up my
mind to come and woo her on his behalf. But when I told him in what an
uncourteous way I had been dismissed, he in the most nonsensical way
stole into your house in the guise of a cooper, intending to win her
favour and then actually to run away with her. But--you cured him with
that good sound blow across his back; my best thanks for it. And now he
has found a lady of rank who most likely is, after all, _the_ Rose who
was properly in his heart from the beginning."

Meanwhile the lady had with graceful kindness greeted the bride, and
hung a valuable pearl necklace round her neck as a wedding present.
"See here, dear Rose," she then said, taking a very withered bunch of
flowers out from amongst the fresh blooming ones which she wore at her
bosom--"see here, dear Rose, these are the flowers that you once gave
my Conrad as the prize of victory; he kept them faithfully until he saw
me, then he was unfaithful to you and gave them to me; don't be angry
with me for it." Rose, her cheeks crimson, cast down her eyes in shy
confusion, saying, "Oh! noble lady, how can you say so? Could the
Junker then ever really love a poor maiden like me? You alone were his
love, and it was only because I am called Rose, and, as they say here,
something like you, that he wooed me, all the while thinking it was
you."

A second time the procession was about to set out, when a young man
entered the room, dressed in the Italian style, all in black slashed
velvet, with an elegant lace collar and rich golden chains of honour
hanging from his neck. "O Reinhold, my Reinhold!" cried Frederick,
throwing himself upon the young man's breast. The bride and Master
Martin also cried out excitedly, "Reinhold, our brave Reinhold is
come!" "Did I not tell you," said Reinhold, returning Frederick's
embrace with warmth,--"did I not tell you, my dear, dear friend, that
things might turn out gloriously for you? Let me celebrate your wedding
day with you; I have come a long way on purpose to do so; and as a
lasting memento hang up in your house the picture which I have painted
for you and brought with me." And then he called down to his two
servants, who brought in a large picture in a magnificent gold frame.
It represented Master Martin in his workshop along with his journeymen
Reinhold, Frederick, and Conrad working at the great cask, and lovely
Rose was just entering the shop. Everybody was astonished at the truth
and magnificent colouring of the piece as a work of art. "Ay," said
Frederick, smiling, "that is, I suppose, your masterpiece as cooper;
mine is below yonder in the entrance-hall; but I shall soon make
another." "I know all," replied Reinhold, "and rate you lucky. Only
stick fast to your art; it can put up with more domesticity and
such-like than mine."

At the marriage feast Frederick sat between the two Roses, and opposite
him Master Martin between Conrad and Reinhold. Then Herr Paumgartner
filled Frederick's cup up to the brim with rich wine, and drank to the
weal of Master Martin and his brave journeymen. The cup went round; and
first it was drained by the noble Junker Heinrich von Spangenberg, and
after him by all the worthy masters who sat at the table--to the weal
of Master Martin and his brave journeymen.


FOOTNOTES TO "MASTER MARTIN, THE COOPER":

[Footnote 1: Written for the Leipsic _Taschenbuch zum geselligen
Vergnügen_ for 1819.]

[Footnote 2: The "Beautiful Fountain," as it is called, is about 64 ft.
in height, and consists of three stone Gothic pyramids and many statues
(electors and heroes and prophets). It was built by Schonhover in
1355-61, and restored in 1820.]

[Footnote 3: St. Sebald's shrine in St. Sebald's Church consists of a
bronze sarcophagus and canopy of rich Gothic style. It stands about
16-1/2 ft. high, and bears admirable statues of the Twelve Apostles,
certain church-fathers and prophets, and other representations of a
semi-mythological character, together with reliefs illustrative of
episodes in the saint's life. It is regarded by many as one of the gems
of German artistic work, and is the result of thirteen years' labour
(1506-1519) by Peter Vischer and his sons.]

[Footnote 4: This ciborium or receptacle for the host is the work of
Adam Krafft, stands about 68 feet in height, and represents Christ's
Passion. The style is florid Gothic, and the material stone.]

[Footnote 5: Albrecht Dürer, born at Nuremberg in 1471, and died in
1528, contemporary with Titian and Raphael, the most truly
representative German painter as well as, perhaps, the greatest.]

[Footnote 6:  Hans Rosenblüth, _Meistersinger_ and _Wappendichter_
(Mastersinger and Herald-poet), called the _Schnepperer_ (babbler), was
a native of Nuremberg. Between 1431 and 1460 is the period of his
literary activity, when he wrote _Fastnachtspiele_ (developments of the
comic elements in Mysteries), "Odes" on Wine, Farces, &c. He marks the
transition from the poetry of chivalric life and manners to that of
burgher life and manners.]

[Footnote 7: Wine was frequently stored at this period on the cooper's
premises in huge casks, and afterwards drawn off in smaller casks and
bottled.]

[Footnote 8: In many Mediæval German towns the rulers (Burgomaster and
Councillors) were mostly self-elected, power being in the hands of a
few patrician families. A Councillor generally attended a full meeting
of a guild as a sort of "patron" or "visitor." Compare the position
which Sir Patrick Charteris occupied with respect to the good citizens
of Perth. (See Sir Walter Scott's _Fair Maid of Perth_, chap. vii., _et
passim_.)]

[Footnote 9: The well-known Great Cask of Heidelberg, built for the
Elector Palatine Ernest Theodore in 1751, is calculated to hold 49,000
gallons, and is 32 feet long and 26 feet in diameter. This is not the
only gigantic wine cask that has been made in Germany. Other monsters
are now in the cellars at Tübingen (made in 1546), Groningen (1678),
Königstein (1725), &c.]

[Footnote 10: Hoffmann calls him Tobias also lower down, and then
Thomas again.]

[Footnote 11: Hochheimer is the name of a Rhine wine that has been
celebrated since the beginning of the ninth century, and is grown in
the neighbourhood of Hochheim, a town in the district of Wiesbaden.]

[Footnote 12: Johannisberger is also grown near Wiesbaden. The
celebrated vineyard is said to cover only 39-1/2 acres.]

[Footnote 13: Nuremberg is noted for its interesting old houses with
high narrow gables turned next the street: amongst the most famous are
those belonging to the families of Nassau, Tucher, Peller, Petersen
(formerly Toppler), and those of Albrecht Dürer and of Hans Sachs, the
cobbler-poet of the 16th century.]

[Footnote 14:  Peter von Cornelius (1783-1867), founder of a great
German school of historical painting. Going to Rome in 1811, he painted
a set of seven scenes illustrative of Goethe's _Faust_, having
previously finished a set at Frankfort (on Main). Amongst his many
famous works are the Last Judgment in the Ludwig Church at Munich and
frescoes in the Glyptothek there.]

[Footnote 15: Gretchen's real words were "Bin weder Fräulein weder
schön." See the scene which follows the "Hexenküche" scene in the first
part of _Faust_.]

[Footnote 16:  A meadow or common on the outskirts of the town, which
served as a general place of recreation and amusement. Nearly every
German town has such; as the Theresa Meadow at Munich, the Canstatt
Meadow near Stuttgart, the Communal Meadow on the right bank of the
Main not far from Frankfort (see Goethe, _Wahrheit und Dichtung_, near
the beginning), &c.]

[Footnote 17: This word is generally used to designate an untitled
country nobleman, a member of an old-established noble "county" family.
In Prussia the name came to be applied to a political party. A most
interesting description of the old Prussian Junker is given in Wilibald
Alexis' (W. H. Häring's) charming novel _Die Hosen des Herrn v. Bredow_
(1846-48), in Sir Walter Scott's style.]

[Footnote 18: A string of pearls worn on the wedding-day was a
prerogative of a patrician bride.]

[Footnote 19: In the Middle Ages, in Nuremberg, and in most other
industrial towns also, the artisans and others who formed _guilds_
(each respective trade or calling having generally its guild) were
divided into three grades, masters, journeymen, and apprentices.
Admission from one of these grades into the one next above it was
subject to various more or less restrictive conditions. A man could
only become a "master" and regularly set up in business for himself
after having gone through the various stages of training in conformity
with the rules or prescriptions of his guild, after having constructed
his masterpiece to the satisfaction of a specially appointed
commission, and after fulfilling certain requirements as to age,
citizenship, and in some cases possession of a certain amount of
property. It was usual for journeymen to spend a certain time in
travelling going from one centre of their trade to another.]

[Footnote 20: From another passage (_Der Feind_, chap. i) it appears
that the reference is to a series of regulations dealing with the wine
industry, of date August 24, 1498, in the reign of Maximilian I.]

[Footnote 21: Sulphur is burnt inside the cask (care being taken that
it does not touch it) in order to keep it sweet and pure, as well as to
impart both flavour and colour to the wine.]

[Footnote 22: See note 2, p. 15. The German _Meistersinger_ always sang
without any accompaniment of musical instruments.]

[Footnote 23: This is one of the principal round towers, erected
1558-1568, in the town walls; it is situated on the south-east.]

[Footnote 24: Peter Vischer (_c._ 1455-1529), a native of Nuremberg,
one of the most distinguished of German sculptors, was chiefly engaged
in making monuments for deceased princes in various parts of Germany
and central Europe. The shrine in St. Sebald's, mentioned above, is
generally considered his masterpiece.]

[Footnote 25: Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1569) of Florence, goldsmith and
worker in metals. Mr. W. M. Rossetti rightly says that his biography,
written by himself, forms one of the most "fascinating" of books. It
has been translated into English by Thomas Roscoe, and by Goethe into
German.]

[Footnote 26:  Holzschuher was the name of an old and important family
in Nuremberg. Fifty-four years before the date of the present story,
that is in 1526, a member of the family was burgomaster of his native
town, and was painted by Dürer.]

[Footnote 27: The family of Fugger, which rose from the position of
poor weavers to be the richest merchant princes in Augsburg, decorated
their house with frescoes externally, like so many other old German
families.]

[Footnote 28: During the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries
there existed in many German towns (Nuremberg, Frankfort, Strasburg,
Ulm, Mayence, &c.) associations or guild-like corporations of burghers,
the object of which was the cultivation of song in the same systematic
way that the mechanical arts were practised. They framed strict and
well-defined codes of rules (_Tablatures_) by means of which they
tested a singer's capabilities. As the chief aims which they set
before themselves were the invention of new tunes or melodies, and
also songs (words), it resulted that they fell into the inevitable
vice of cold formalism, and banished the true spirit of poetry by
their many arbitrary rules about rhyme, measure, and melody, and the
dry business-like manner in which they worked. The guild or company
generally consisted of five distinct grades, the ultimate one being
that of master, entrance into which was only permitted to the man who
had invented a new melody or tune, and had sung it in public without
offending against any of the laws of the _Tablature_. The subjects,
which, as the singers were honest burghers, could not be taken from
topics in which chivalric life took any interest, were mostly
restricted to fables, legendary lore, and consisted very largely of
Biblical narratives and passages.]

[Footnote 29: These words are the names of various "tunes," and
signified in each case a particular metre, rhyme, melody, &c, so that
each was a brief definition of a number of individual items, so to
speak. These _Meistersinger_ technical terms (or slang?) are therefore
not translatable, nor could they be made intelligible by paraphrase,
even if the requisite information for each instance were at hand.]

[Footnote 30: A glass divided by means of marks placed at intervals
from top to bottom. It was usual for one who was invited to drink to
drink out of the challenger's glass down to the mark next below the top
of the liquid.]

[Footnote 31: These would consist of the certificate of his admission
into the ranks of the journeymen of the guild, of the certificates of
proper dismissal signed by the various masters for whom he had worked
whilst on travel, together with testimonials of good conduct from the
same masters.]

[Footnote 32: On these great singing days, generally on Sundays in the
churches, and on special occasions in the town-house, the
"performances" consisted of three parts. 1. First came a "Voluntary
Solo-Singing," in which anybody, even a stranger, might participate, no
contest being entered into, and no rewards given. 2. This was followed
by a song by all the masters in chorus, 3. Then came the "Principal
Singing," the chief "event" of the day--the actual singing contest.
Four judges were appointed to examine those who successively presented
themselves, being guided by the strict laws and regulations of the
_Tablatures_. Those who violated these laws, that is, who made
mistakes, had to leave the singing-desk; the successful ones were,
however, crowned with wreaths, and had earned the right to act
themselves as judges on future occasions.]

[Footnote 33: Heinrich von Meissen, called Frauenlob (died 1318), after
having lived at various courts in both the north and the south of
Germany, settled at Mayence and gathered together (1311) a school or
society of burgher singers.]

[Footnote 34: The word "prince" is expressed in German by two distinct
words; one, like the English word, designates a member of a royal or
reigning house; the other is used as a simple title, often official,
ranking above duke. The Bishop of Bamberg was in this latter sense a
prince of the empire.]

[Footnote 35: At this time Francesco I. (of the illustrious house of
Medici) was _Grand Duke of Tuscany_, his father Cosimo I. having
exchanged the title of Duke of Florence for that of Grand Duke of
Tuscany in 1569. Francesco did much for the encouragement of art and
science. He founded the well-known Uffizi Gallery, and it was in his
reign that the Accademia Della Crusca was instituted.]

[Footnote 36: Lucas Cranach occupies along with his contemporary
Albrecht Dürer the first place in the ranks of German painters. Born in
Upper Franconia in 1472 (died 1553), he secured the favour of the
Elector of Saxony, and manifested extraordinary activity in several
branches of painting.]



                       _MADEMOISELLE DE SCUDÉRI.
                   A TALE OF THE TIMES OF LOUIS XIV._


The little house in which lived Madeleine de Scudéri,[1] well known for
her pleasing verses, and the favour of Louis XIV. and the Marchioness
de Maintenon, was situated in the Rue St. Honorée.

One night almost at midnight--it would be about the autumn, of the year
1680--there came such a loud and violent knocking at the door of her
house that it made the whole entrance-passage ring again. Baptiste, who
in the lady's small household discharged at one and the same time the
offices of cook, footman, and porter, had with his mistress's
permission gone into the country to attend his sister's wedding; and
thus it happened that La Martinière, Mademoiselle's lady-maid was
alone, and the only person awake in the house. The knockings were
repeated. She suddenly remembered that Baptiste had gone for his
holiday, and that she and her mistress were left in the house without
any further protection. All the outrages burglaries, thefts, and
murders--which were then so common in Paris, crowded upon her mind; she
was sure it was a band of cut-throats who were making all this
disturbance outside; they must be well aware how lonely the house
stood, and if let in would perpetrate some wicked deed against her
mistress; and so she remained in her room, trembling and quaking with
fear, and cursing Baptiste and his sister's wedding as well.

Meanwhile the hammering at the door was being continued; and she
fancied she heard a voice shouting at intervals, "Oh! do open the door!
For God's sake, do open the door!" At last La Martinière's anxiety rose
to such a pitch that, taking up the lighted candle, she ran out into
the passage. There she heard quite plainly the voice of the person
knocking, "For God's sake! do open the door, please!" "Certainly,"
thought she, "that surely is not the way a robber would knock. Who
knows whether it is not some poor man being pursued and wants
protection from Mademoiselle, who is always ready to do an act of
kindness? But let us be cautious." Opening a window, she called out,
asking who was down making such a loud noise at the house-door so late
at night, awakening everybody up out of their sleep; and she
endeavoured to give her naturally deep voice as manly a tone as she
possibly could.

By the glimmer of the moon, which now broke through the dark clouds,
she could make out a tall figure, enveloped in a light-grey mantle,
having his broad-brimmed hat pulled down right over his eyes. Then she
shouted in a loud voice, so as to be heard by the man below, "Baptiste,
Claude, Pierre, get up and go and see who this good-for-nothing
vagabond is, who is trying to break into the house." But the voice from
below made answer gently, and in a tone that had a plaintive ring in
it, "Oh! La Martinière, I know quite well that it is you, my good
woman, however much you try to disguise your voice; I also know that
Baptiste has gone into the country, and that you are alone in the house
with your mistress. You may confidently undo the door for me; you need
have no fear. For I must positively speak with your mistress, and this
very minute." "Whatever are you thinking about?" replied La Martinière.
"You want to speak to Mademoiselle in the middle of the night? Don't
you know that she has been gone to bed a long time, and that for no
price would I wake her up out of her first sound sleep, which at her
time of life she has so much need of?" The person standing below said,
"But I know that your mistress has only just laid aside her new romance
_Clélie_, at which she labours so unremittingly; and she is now writing
certain verses which she intends to read to the Marchioness de
Maintenon[2] to-morrow. I implore you, Madame Martinière, have pity and
open me the door. I tell you the matter involves the saving of an
unfortunate man from ruin,--that the honour, freedom, nay, that the
life of a man is dependent upon this moment, and I _must_ speak to
Mademoiselle. Recollect how your mistress's anger would rest upon you
for ever, if she learned that you had had the hard-heartedness to turn
an unfortunate man away from her door when he came to supplicate her
assistance." "But why do you come to appeal to my mistress's compassion
at this unusual hour? Come again early in the morning," said La
Martinière. The person below replied, "Does Destiny, then, heed times
and hours when it strikes, like the fatal flash, fraught with
destruction? When there is but a single moment longer in which rescue
is still possible, ought assistance to be delayed? Open me the door;
you need have nothing to fear from a poor defenceless wretch, who is
deserted of all the world, pursued and distressed by an awful fate,
when he comes to beseech Mademoiselle to save him from threatening
danger?" La Martinière heard the man below moaning and sobbing with
anguish as he said these words, and at the same time the voice was the
voice of a young man, gentle, and gifted with the power of appealing
straight to the heart She was greatly touched; without much further
deliberation she fetched the keys.

But hardly had she got the door opened when the figure enveloped in the
mantle burst tumultuously in, and striding past Martinière into the
passage, cried wildly, "Lead me to your mistress!" In terror Martinière
lifted up the candle, and its light fell upon a young man's face,
deathly pale and fearfully agitated. Martinière almost dropped on the
floor with fright, for the man now threw open his mantle and showed the
bright hilt of a stiletto sticking out of the bosom of his doublet. His
eyes flashed fire as he fixed them upon her, crying still more wildly
than before, "Lead me to your mistress, I tell you." Martinière now
believed Mademoiselle was in the most imminent danger; and her
affection for her beloved mistress, whom she honoured, moreover, as her
good and faithful mother, burnt up stronger in her heart, enkindling a
courage which she had not conceived herself capable of showing. Hastily
pulling to the door of her chamber, which she had left standing open,
she planted herself before it, and said in a strong firm voice, "I tell
you what, your mad behaviour in the house here, corresponds but ill
with your plaintive words outside; I see clearly that I let my pity be
excited on a wrong occasion. You neither ought to, nor shall you, speak
to my mistress now. If your intentions are not evil, you need not fear
daylight; so come again to-morrow and state your business then. Now,
begone with you out of the house." The man heaved a deep and painful
sigh, and fixing Martinière with a formidable look, grasped his
stiletto. She silently commended her soul to Heaven, but manfully stood
her ground, and boldly met the man's gaze, at the same time drawing
herself closer to the door, for through it the man would have to go to
get to her mistress's chamber. "Let me go to your mistress, I tell
you!" cried the man again. "Do what you will," replied Martinière, "I
shall not stir from this place. Go on and finish your wicked deed; but
remember that you also will die a shameful death at the Place Grève,
like your atrocious partners in crime." "Ah! yes, you are right, La
Martinière," replied the man, "I do look like a villainous robber and
cut-throat, and am armed like one, but my partners have not been
executed,--no, not yet." Therewith, hurling looks of furious wrath at
the poor woman, who was almost dead with terror, he drew his stiletto.
"O God! O God!" she exclaimed, expecting her death-blow; but at
this moment there was heard a rattle of arms in the street, and the
hoof-strokes of horses. "The _Maréchaussée_![3] the _Maréchaussée_!
Help! Help!" screamed Martinière. "You abominable woman, you are
determined to ruin me. All is lost now--it's all over. But here,
here--take this. Give that to your mistress this very night--to-morrow
if you like." Whispering these words, he snatched the light from La
Martinière, extinguished it, and then forced a casket into her hands.
"By your hopes of salvation, I conjure you, give this casket to
Mademoiselle," cried the man; and he rushed out of the house.

Martinière fell to the floor; at length she rose up with difficulty,
and groped her way back in the darkness to her own room, where she sank
down in an arm-chair completely exhausted, unable to utter a sound.
Then she heard the keys rattle, which she had left in the lock of the
street-door. The door was closed and locked, and she heard cautious,
uncertain footsteps approaching her room. She sat riveted to the chair
without power to move, expecting something terrible to happen. But her
sensations may be imagined when the door opened, and by the light of
the night-taper she recognised at the first glance that it was honest
Baptiste, looking very pale and greatly troubled. "In the name of all
the saints!" he began, "tell me, Dame Martinière, what has happened?
Oh! the anxiety and fear I have had! I don't know what it was, but
something drove me away from the wedding last evening. I couldn't help
myself; I had to come. On getting into our street, I thought. Dame
Martinière sleeps lightly, she'll be sure to hear me, thinks I, if I
tap softly and gently at the door, and will come out and let me in.
Then there comes a strong patrol on horseback as well as on foot, all
armed to the teeth, and they stop me and won't let me go on. But
luckily Desgrais the lieutenant of the _Maréchaussée_, is amongst them,
who knows me quite well; and when they put their lanterns under my
nose, he says, 'Why, Baptiste, where are you coming from at this time
o' night? You'd better stay quietly in the house and take care of it
There's some deviltry at work, and we are hoping to make a good capture
to-night.' You wouldn't believe how heavy these words fell on my heart.
Dame Martinière. And then when I put my foot on the threshold, there
comes a man, all muffled up, rushing out of the house with a drawn
dagger in his hand, and he runs over me--head over heels. The door was
open, and the keys sticking in the lock. Oh! tell me what it all
means." Martinière, relieved of her terrible fear and anxiety, related
all that had taken place.

Then she and Baptiste went out into the passage, and there they found
the candlestick lying on the floor where the stranger had thrown it as
he ran away. "It is only too certain," said Baptiste, "that our
Mademoiselle would have been robbed, ay, and even murdered, I make no
doubt. The fellow knew, as you say, that you were alone with
Mademoiselle,--why, he also knew that she was awake with her writings.
I would bet anything it was one of those cursed rogues and thieves who
force their way right into the houses, cunningly spying out everything
that may be of use to them in carrying out their infernal plans. And as
for that little casket, Dame Martinière--I think we'd better throw it
into the Seine where it's deepest. Who can answer for it that there's
not some wicked monster got designs on our good lady's life, and that
if she opens the box she won't fall down dead like old Marquis de
Tournay did, when he opened a letter that came from somebody he didn't
know?"

After a long consultation the two faithful souls made up their minds to
tell their mistress everything next morning, and also to place the
mysterious casket in her hands, for of course it could be opened with
proper precautions. After minutely weighing every circumstance
connected with the suspicious stranger's appearance, they were both of
the same opinion, namely, that there was some special mystery connected
with the matter, which they durst not attempt to control single-handed;
they must leave it to their good lady to unriddle.


Baptiste's apprehensions were well founded. Just at that time Paris was
the scene of the most abominable atrocities, and exactly at the same
period the most diabolical invention of Satan was made, to offer the
readiest means for committing these deeds.

Glaser, a German apothecary, the best chemist of his age, had busied
himself, as people of his profession were in the habit of doing, with
alchemistical experiments. He had made it the object of his endeavour
to discover the Philosopher's Stone. His coadjutor was an Italian of
the name of Exili. But this man only practised alchemy as a blind. His
real object was to learn all about the mixing and decoction and
sublimating of poisonous compounds, by which Glaser on his part hoped
to make his fortune; and at last he succeeded in fabricating that
subtle poison[4] that is without smell and without taste, that kills
either on the spot or gradually and slowly, without ever leaving the
slightest trace in the human body, and that deceives all the skill and
art of the physicians, since, not suspecting the presence of poison,
they fail not to ascribe the death to natural causes. Circumspectly as
Exili[5]  went to work, he nevertheless fell under the suspicion of
being a seller of poison, and was thrown into the Bastille. Soon
afterwards Captain Godin de Sainte Croix was confined in the same
dungeon. This man had for a long time been living in relations with the
Marchioness de Brinvillier,[6] which brought disgrace on all the
family; so at last, as the Marquis continued indifferent to his wife's
shameful conduct, her father, Dreux d'Aubray, _Civil Lieutenant_ of
Paris, compelled the guilty pair to part by means of a warrant which
was executed upon the Captain. Passionate, unprincipled, hypocritically
feigning to be pious, and yet inclined from his youth up to all kinds
of vice, jealous, revengeful even to madness, the Captain could not
have met with any more welcome information than that contained in
Exili's diabolical secret, since it would give him the power to
annihilate all his enemies. He became an eager scholar of Exili, and
soon came to be as clever as his master, so that, on being liberated
from the Bastille, he was in a position to work on unaided.

Before an abandoned woman, De Brinvillier became through Sainte Croix's
instrumentality a monster. He contrived to induce her to poison
successively her own father, with whom she was living, tending with
heartless hypocrisy his declining days, and then her two brothers, and
finally her sister,--her father out of revenge, and the others on
account of the rich family inheritance. From the histories of several
poisoners we have terrible examples how the commission of crimes of
this class becomes at last an all-absorbing passion. Often, without any
further purpose than the mere vile pleasure of the thing, just as
chemists make experiments for their own enjoyment, have poisoners
destroyed persons whose life or death must have been to them a matter
of perfect indifference.

The sudden decease of several poor people in the Hotel Dieu some time
afterwards excited the suspicion that the bread had been poisoned which
Brinvillier, in order to acquire a reputation for piety and
benevolence, used to distribute there every week. At any rate, it is
undoubtedly true that she was in the habit of serving the guests whom
she invited to her house with poisoned pigeon pie. The Chevalier de
Guet and several other persons fell victims to these hellish banquets.
Sainte Croix, his confederate La Chaussée,[7] and Brinvillier were able
for a long time to enshroud their horrid deeds behind an impenetrable
veil. But of what avail is the infamous cunning of reprobate men when
the Divine Power has decreed that punishment shall overtake the guilty
here on earth?

The poisons which Sainte Croix prepared were of so subtle a nature that
if the powder (called by the Parisians _Pondre de Succession_, or
Succession Powder) were prepared with the face exposed, a single
inhalation of it might cause instantaneous death. Sainte Croix
therefore, when engaged in its manufacture, always wore a mask made of
fine glass. One day, just as he was pouring a prepared powder into a
phial, his mask fell off, and, inhaling the fine particles of the
poison, he fell down dead on the spot. As he had died without heirs,
the officers of the law hastened to place his effects under seal.
Amongst them they found a locked box, which contained the whole of the
infernal arsenal of poisons that the abandoned wretch Sainte Croix had
had at command; they also found Brinvillier's letters, which left no
doubt as to her atrocious crimes. She fled to Liége, into a convent
there. Desgrais, an officer of the _Maréchaussée_, was sent after her.
In the disguise of a monk he arrived at the convent where she had
concealed herself, and contrived to engage the terrible woman in a love
intrigue, and finally, under the pretext of a secret meeting, to entice
her out to a lonely garden beyond the precincts of the town. Directly
she arrived at the appointed place she was surrounded by Desgrais'
satellites, whilst her monkish lover was suddenly converted into an
officer of the _Maréchaussée_, who compelled her to get into the
carriage which stood ready near the garden; and, surrounded by the
police troop, she was driven straight off to Paris. La Chaussée had
been already beheaded somewhat earlier; Brinvillier suffered the same
death, after which her body was burned and the ashes scattered to the
winds.

Now that the monster who had been able to direct his secret murderous
weapons against both friend and foe alike unpunished was out of the
world, the Parisians breathed freely once more. But it soon became
known abroad that the villain Sainte Croix's abominable art had been
handed down to certain successors. Like a malignant invisible spirit,
murder insinuated itself into the most intimate circles, even the
closest of those formed by relationship and love and friendship, and
laid a quick sure grasp upon its unfortunate victims. He who was seen
one day in the full vigour of health, tottered about the next a weak
wasting invalid, and no skill of the physician could save him from
death. Wealth, a lucrative office, a beautiful and perhaps too young a
wife--any of these was sufficient to draw down upon the possessor this
persecution unto death. The most sacred ties were severed by the
cruellest mistrust. The husband trembled at his wife, the father at his
son, the sister at the brother. The dishes remained untouched, and the
wine at the dinner, which a friend put before his friends; and there
where formerly jest and mirth had reigned supreme, savage glances were
now spying about for the masked murderer. Fathers of families were
observed buying provisions in remote districts with uneasy looks and
movements, and preparing them themselves in the first dirty cook-shop
they came to, since they feared diabolical treachery in their own
homes. And yet even the greatest and most well-considered precautions
were in many cases of no avail.

In order to put a stop to this iniquitous state of things, which
continued to gain ground and grow greater day by day, the king
appointed a special court of justice for the exclusive purpose of
inquiring into and punishing these secret crimes. This was the
so-called _Chambre Ardente_, which held its sittings not far from the
Bastille, its acting president being La Regnie.[8] For a considerable
period all his efforts, however zealously they were prosecuted,
remained fruitless; it was reserved for the crafty Desgrais to discover
the most secret haunts of the criminals. In the Faubourg St. Germain
there lived an old woman called Voisin, who made a regular business of
fortune-telling and raising departed spirits; and with the help of her
confederates Le Sage and Le Vigoureux, she managed to excite fear and
astonishment in the minds of persons who could not be called exactly
either weak or credulous. But she did more than this. A pupil of Exili,
like La Croix, she, like him, concocted the same subtle poison that
killed and left no trace behind it; and so she helped in this way
profligate sons to get early possession of their inheritance, and
depraved wives to another and younger husband. Desgrais wormed his way
into her secret; she confessed all; the _Chambre Ardente_ condemned her
to be burned alive, and the sentence was executed in the Place Grève.

Amongst her effects was found a list of all the persons who had availed
themselves of her assistance; and hence it was that not only did
execution follow upon execution, but grave suspicion fell even upon
persons of high position. Thus it was believed that Cardinal Bonzy had
obtained from La Voisin the means of bringing to an untimely end all
those persons to whom, as Archbishop of Narbonne, he was obliged to pay
annuities. So also the Duchess de Bouillon, and the Countess de
Soissons,[9] whose names were found on the list, were accused of having
had dealings with the diabolical woman; and even Francois Henri de
Montmorenci, Boudebelle, Duke of Luxemburg,[10] peer and marshal of the
kingdom, was not spared. He too was prosecuted by the terrible _Chambre
Ardente_. He voluntarily gave himself up to be imprisoned in the
Bastille, where through Louvois'[11] and La Regnie's hatred he was
confined in a cell only six feet long. Months passed before it was made
out satisfactorily that the Duke's transgression did not deserve any
blame: he had once had his horoscope cast by Le Sage.

It is certain that the President La Regnie was betrayed by his blind
zeal into acts of cruelty and arbitrary violence. The tribunal acquired
the character of an Inquisition; the most trifling suspicion was
sufficient to entail strict incarceration; and it was left to chance to
establish the innocence of a person accused of a capital crime.
Moreover, La Regnie was hideous in appearance, and of a malicious
temperament, so that he soon drew down upon himself the hatred of those
whose avenger or protector he was appointed to be. The Duchess de
Bouillon, being asked by him during her trial if she had seen the
devil, replied, "I fancy I can see him at this moment."[12]

But whilst the blood of the guilty and the suspected alike was flowing
in streams in the Place Grève, and after a time the secret poisonings
became less and less frequent, a new kind of outrage came to light, and
again filled the city with dismay. It seemed as if a band of miscreant
robbers were in league together for the purpose of getting into their
possession all the jewellery they could. No sooner was any valuable
ornament purchased than, no matter how or where kept, it vanished in an
inconceivable way. But what was still worse, any one who ventured to
wear jewellery on his person at night was robbed, and often murdered
even, either in the public street or in the dark passage of a house.
Those who escaped with their lives declared that they had been knocked
down by a blow on the head, which felled them like a lightning flash,
and that on awaking from their stupor they had found that they had been
robbed and were lying in quite a different place from that where they
had received the blow. All who were murdered, some of whom were found
nearly every morning lying either in the streets or in the houses, had
all one and the same fatal wound,--a dagger-thrust in the heart,
killing, according to the judgment of the surgeons, so instantaneously
and so surely that the victim would drop down like a stone, unable to
utter a sound. Who was there at the voluptuous court of Louis XIV. who
was not entangled in some clandestine intrigue, and stole to his
mistress at a late hour, often carrying a valuable present about him?
The robbers, as if they were in league with spirits, knew almost
exactly when anything of this sort was on foot. Often the unfortunate
did not reach the house where he expected to meet with the reward of
his passion; often he fell on the threshold, nay, at the very chamber
door of his mistress, who was horrified at finding the bloody corpse.

In vain did Argenson, the Minister of Police, order the arrest of every
person from amongst the populace against whom there was the least
suspicion; in vain did La Regnie rage and try to extort confessions; in
vain did they strengthen their watch and their patrols;--they could not
find a trace of the evil-doers. The only thing that did to a certain
extent avail was to take the precaution of going armed to the teeth and
have a torch carried before one; and yet instances were not wanting in
which the servant was annoyed by stones thrown at him, whilst at the
same moment his master was murdered and robbed. It was especially
remarkable that, in spite of all inquiries in every place where traffic
in jewellery was in any way possible, not the smallest specimen of the
stolen ornaments ever came to light, and so in this way also no clue
was found which might have been followed.

Desgrais was furious that the miscreants should thus baffle all his
cunning. The quarter of the town in which he happened to be stationed
was spared; whilst in the others, where nobody apprehended any evil,
these robberies and murders claimed their richest victims.

Desgrais hit upon the ruse of making several Desgrais one after the
other, so exactly alike in gait, posture, speech, figure, and face,
that the myrmidons of the police themselves did not know which was the
real Desgrais. Meanwhile, at the risk of his own life, he used to watch
alone in the most secret haunts and lairs of crime, and follow at a
distance first this man and then that, who at his own instance carried
some valuable jewellery about his person. These men, however, were not
attacked; and hence the robbers must be acquainted with this
contrivance also. Desgrais absolutely despaired.

One morning Desgrais came to President La Regnie pale and perturbed,
quite distracted in fact. "What's the matter? What news? Have you got a
clue?" cried the President "Oh! your excellency," began Desgrais,
stammering with rage, "oh! your excellency--last night--not far from
the Louvre--the Marquis de la Fare[13] was attacked in my presence."
"By Heaven then!" shouted La Regnie, exultant with joy, "we have them."
"But first listen to me," interrupted Desgrais with a bitter smile,
"and hear how it all came about. Well then, I was standing near the
Louvre on the watch for these devils who mock me, and my heart was on
fire with fury. Then there came a figure close past me without noticing
me, walking with unsteady steps and looking behind him. By the faint
moonlight I saw that it was Marquis de la Fare. I was not surprised to
see him; I knew where he was stealing to. But he had not gone more than
ten or twelve paces past me when a man started up right out of the
earth as it seemed and knocked him down, and stooped over him. In the
sudden surprise and on the impulse of the moment, which would else have
delivered the murderer into my hands, I was thoughtless enough to cry
out; and I was just bursting out of my hiding-place with a rush,
intending to throw myself upon him, when I got entangled in my mantle
and fell down. I saw the man hurrying away on the wings of the wind; I
made haste and picked myself up and ran after him; and as I ran I blew
my horn; from the distance came the answering whistles of the man; the
streets were all alive; there was a rattle of arms and a trampling of
horses in all directions. 'Here! here! Desgrais! Desgrais!' I shouted
till the streets echoed. By the bright moonlight I could always see the
man in front of me, doubling here and there to deceive me. We came
to the Rue Nicaise, and there his strength appeared to fail him:
I redoubled my efforts; and he only led me by fifteen paces at the
most"---- "You caught him up; you seized him; the patrol came up?"
cried La Regnie, his eyes flashing, whilst he seized Desgrais by
the arm as though he were the flying murderer. "Fifteen paces,"
continued Desgrais in a hollow voice and with difficulty drawing his
breath--"fifteen paces from me the man sprang aside into the shade and
disappeared through the wall." "Disappeared?--through the wall? Are you
mad?" cried La Regnie, taking a couple of steps backwards and striking
his hands together.

"From this moment onwards," continued Desgrais, rubbing his brow like a
man tormented by hateful thoughts, "your excellency may call me a
madman or an insane ghost-seer, but it was just as I have told you. I
was standing staring at the wall like one petrified when several men of
the patrol hurried up breathless, and along with them Marquis de la
Fare, who had picked himself up, with his drawn sword in his hand. We
lighted the torches, and sounded the wall backwards and forwards,--not
an indication of a door or a window or an opening. It was a strong
stone wall bounding a yard, and was joined on to a house in which live
people against whom there has never risen the slightest suspicion.
To-day I have again taken a careful survey of the whole place. It must
be the Devil himself who is mystifying us."

Desgrais' story became known in Paris. People's heads were full of the
sorceries and incantations and compacts with Satan of Voisin,
Vigoureuse, and the reprobate priest Le Sage; and as in the eternal
nature of us men, the leaning to the marvellous and the wonderful so
often outweighs all the authority of reason, so the public soon began
to believe simply and solely that as Desgrais in his mortification had
said, Satan himself really did protect the abominable wretches, who
must have sold their souls to him. It will readily be believed that
Desgrais' story received all sorts of ornamental additions. An account
of the adventure, with a woodcut on the title-page representing a grim
Satanic form before which the terrified Desgrais was sinking in the
earth, was printed and largely sold at the street corners. This alone
was enough to overawe the people, and even to rob the myrmidons of the
police of their courage, who now wandered about the streets at night
trembling and quaking, hung about with amulets and soaked in holy
water.

Argenson perceived that the exertions of the _Chambre Ardente_ were of
no avail, and he appealed to the king to appoint a tribunal with still
more extensive powers to deal with this new epidemic of crime, to hunt
up the evil-doers, and to punish them. The king, convinced that he had
already vested too much power in the _Chambre Ardente_ and shaken with
horror at the numberless executions which the bloodthirsty La Regnie
had decreed, flatly refused to entertain the proposed plan.

Another means was chosen to stimulate the king's interest in the
matter.

Louis was in the habit of spending the afternoon in Madame de
Maintenon's salons, and also despatching state business therewith his
ministers until a late hour at night. Here a poem was presented to him
in the name of the jeopardised lovers, complaining that, whenever
gallantry bid them honour their mistress with a present, they had
always to risk their lives on the fulfilment of the injunction. There
was always both honour and pleasure to be won in shedding their blood
for their lady in a knightly encounter; but it was quite another thing
when they had to deal with a stealthy malignant assassin, against whom
they could not arm themselves. Would Louis, the bright polar star of
all love and gallantry, cause the resplendent beams of his glory to
shine and dissipate this dark night, and so unveil the black mystery
that was concealed within it? The god-like hero, who had broken his
enemies to pieces, would now (they hoped) draw his sword glittering
with victory, and, as Hercules did against the Lernean serpent, or
Theseus the Minotaur, would fight against the threatening monster which
was gnawing away all the raptures of love, and darkening all their joy
and converting it into deep pain and grief inconsolable.

Serious as the matter was, yet the poem did not lack clever and witty
turns, especially in the description of the anxieties which the lovers
had to endure as they stole by secret ways to their mistresses, and of
how their apprehensions proved fatal to all the rapturous delights of
love and to every dainty gallant adventure before it could even develop
into blossom. If it be added that the poem was made to conclude with a
magniloquent panegyric upon Louis XIV., the king could not fail to read
it with visible signs of satisfaction. Having reached the end of it, he
turned round abruptly to Madame de Maintenon, without lifting his eyes
from the paper, and read the poem through again aloud; after which he
asked her with a gracious smile what was her opinion with respect to
the wishes of the jeopardised lovers.

De Maintenon, faithful to the serious bent of her mind, and always
preserving a certain colour of piety, replied that those who walked
along secret and forbidden paths were not worthy of any special
protection, but that the abominable criminals did call for special
measures to be taken for their destruction. The king, dissatisfied with
this wavering answer, folded up the paper, and was going back to the
Secretary of State, who was working in the next room, when on casting a
glance sideways his eye fell upon Mademoiselle de Scudéri, who was
present in the salon and had taken her seat in a small easy-chair not
far from De Maintenon. Her he now approached, whilst the pleasant smile
which at first had played about his mouth and on his cheeks, but had
then disappeared, now won the upper hand again. Standing immediately in
front of Mademoiselle, and unfolding the poem once more, he said
softly, "Our Marchioness will not countenance in any way the
gallantries of our amorous gentlemen, and give us evasive answers of a
kind that are almost quite forbidden. But you, Mademoiselle, what is
your opinion of this poetic petition?" De Scudéri rose respectfully
from her chair, whilst a passing blush flitted like the purple sunset
rays in evening across the venerable lady's pale cheeks, and she said,
bowing gently and casting down her eyes,

           "Un amant qui craint les voleurs
            N'est point digne d'amour."

(A lover who is afraid of robbers is not worthy of love.)

The king, greatly struck by the chivalric spirit breathed in these few
words, which upset the whole of the poem with its yards and yards of
tirades, cried with sparkling eyes, "By St. Denis, you are right.
Mademoiselle! Cowardice shall not be protected by any blind measures
which would affect the innocent along with the guilty; Argenson and La
Regnie must do their best as they are."


All these horrors of the day La Martinière depicted next morning in
startling colours when she related to her mistress the occurrence of
the previous night; and she handed over to her the mysterious casket in
fear and trembling. Both she and Baptiste, who stood in the corner as
pale as death, twisting and doubling up his night-cap, and hardly able
to speak in his fear and anxiety,--both begged Mademoiselle in the most
piteous terms and in the names of all the saints, to use the utmost
possible caution in opening the box. De Scudéri, weighing the locked
mystery in her hand, and subjecting it to a careful scrutiny, said
smiling, "You are both of you ghost-seers! That I am not rich, that
there are not sufficient treasures here to be worth a murder, is known
to all these abandoned assassins, who, you yourself tell me, spy out
all that there is in a house, as well as it is to me and you. You think
they have designs upon my life? Who could make capital out of the death
of an old lady of seventy-three, who never did harm to anybody in the
world except the miscreants and peace-breakers in the romances which
she writes herself, who makes middling verses which can excite nobody's
envy, who will have nothing to leave except the state dresses of an old
maid who sometimes went to court, and a dozen or two well-bound books
with gilt edges? And then you, Martinière,--you may describe the
stranger's appearance as frightful as you like, yet I cannot believe
that his intentions were evil. So then----"

La Martinière recoiled some paces, and Baptiste, uttering a stifled
"Oh!" almost sank upon his knees as Mademoiselle proceeded to press
upon a projecting steel knob; then the lid flew back with a noisy jerk.

But how astonished was she to see a pair of gold bracelets, richly set
with jewels, and a necklace to match. She took them out of the case;
and whilst she was praising the exquisite workmanship of the necklace,
Martinière was eyeing the valuable bracelets, and crying time after
time, that the vain Lady Montespan herself had no such ornaments as
these. "But what is it for? what does it all mean?" said De Scudéri.
But at this same moment she observed a small slip of paper folded
together, lying at the bottom of the casket. She hoped, and rightly, to
find in it an explanation of the mystery. She had hardly finished
reading the contents of the scrip when it fell from her trembling
hands. She sent an appealing glance towards Heaven, and then fell back
almost fainting into her chair. Terrified, Martinière sprang to her
assistance, and so also did Baptiste. "Oh! what an insult!" she
exclaimed, her voice half-choked with tears, "Oh! what a burning shame!
Must I then endure this in my old age? Have I then gone and acted with
wrong and foolish levity like some young giddy thing? O God, are words
let fall half in jest capable of being stamped with such an atrocious
interpretation? And am I, who have been faithful to virtue, and of
blameless piety from my earliest childhood until now,--am I to be
accused of the crime of making such a diabolical compact?"

Mademoiselle held her handkerchief to her eyes and wept and sobbed
bitterly, so that Martinière and Baptiste were both of them confused
and rendered helpless by embarrassed constraint, not knowing what to do
to help their mistress in her great trouble.

Martinière picked up the ominous strip of paper from the floor. Upon it
was written--

           "Un amant qui craint les voleurs
            N'est point digne d'amour.

"Your sagacious mind, honoured lady, has saved us from great
persecution. We only exercise the right of the stronger over the weak
and the cowardly in order to appropriate to ourselves treasures that
would else be disgracefully squandered. Kindly accept these jewels as a
token of our gratitude. They are the most brilliant that we have been
enabled to meet with for a long time; and yet you, honoured lady, ought
to be adorned with jewellery even still finer than this is. We trust
you will not withdraw from us your friendship and kind remembrance.

                                           "THE INVISIBLES."[14]

"Is it possible?" exclaimed De Scudéri after she had to some extent
recovered herself, "is it possible for men to carry their shameless
insolence, their godless scorn, to such lengths?" The sun shone
brightly through the dark-red silk window curtains and made the
brilliants which lay on the table beside the open casket to sparkle in
the reddish gleam. Chancing to cast her eyes upon them, De Scudéri hid
her face with abhorrence, and bade Martinière take the fearful
jewellery away at once, that very moment, for the blood of the murdered
victims was still adhering to it. Martinière at once carefully locked
the necklace and bracelets in the casket again, and thought that the
wisest plan would be to hand it over to the Minister of Police, and to
confide to him every thing connected with the appearance of the young
man who had caused them so much uneasiness, and the way in which he had
placed the casket in her hands.

De Scudéri rose to her feet and slowly paced up and down the room in
silence, as if she were only now reflecting what was to be done. She
then bade Baptiste fetch a sedan chair, while Martinière was to dress
her, for she meant to go straight to the Marchioness de Maintenon.

She had herself carried to the Marchioness's just at the hour when she
knew she should find that lady alone in her salons. The casket with the
jewellery De Scudéri also took with her.

Of course the Marchioness was greatly astonished to see Mademoiselle,
who was generally a pattern of dignity, amiability (notwithstanding her
advanced age), and gracefulness, come in with tottering steps, pale,
and excessively agitated. "By all the saints, what's happened to you?"
she cried when she saw the poor troubled lady, who, almost distracted
and hardly able to walk erect, hurried to reach the easy-chair which De
Maintenon pushed towards her. At length, having recovered her power of
speech somewhat, Mademoiselle related what a deep insult--she should
never get over it--her thoughtless jest in answer to the petition of
the jeopardised lovers had brought upon her. The Marchioness, after
learning the whole of the story by fragments, arrived at the conclusion
that De Scudéri took the strange occurrence far too much to heart, that
the mockery of depraved wretches like these could never come home to a
pious, noble mind like hers, and finally she requested to see the
ornaments.

De Scudéri gave her the open casket; and the Marchioness, on seeing the
costly jewellery, could not help uttering a loud cry of admiration. She
took out the necklace and the bracelets, and approached the window with
them, where first she let the sun play upon the stones, and then she
held them up close to her eyes in order to see better the exquisite
workmanship of the gold, and to admire the marvellous skill with which
every little link in the elaborate chain was finished. All at once the
Marchioness turned round abruptly towards Mademoiselle and cried, "I
tell you what, Mademoiselle, these bracelets and necklace must have
been made by no less a person than René Cardillac."

René Cardillac was at that time the most skilful goldsmith in Paris,
and also one of the most ingenious as well as one of the most eccentric
men of the age. Rather small than great, but broad-shouldered and with
a strong and muscular frame, Cardillac, although considerably more than
fifty, still possessed the strength and activity of youth. And his
strength, which might be said to be something above the common, was
further evidenced by his abundant curly reddish hair, and his thick-set
features and the sultry gleam upon them. Had not Cardillac been known
throughout all Paris, as one of the most honest and honourable of men,
disinterested, frank, without any reserve, always ready to help, the
very peculiar appearance of his eyes, which were small, deep-set,
green, and glittering, might have drawn upon him the suspicion of
lurking malice and viciousness.

As already said, Cardillac was the greatest master in his trade, not
only in Paris, but also perhaps of his age. Intimately acquainted with
the properties of precious stones, he knew how to treat them and set
them in such a manner that an ornament which had at first been looked
upon as wanting in lustre, proceeded out of Cardillac's shop possessing
a dazzling magnificence. Every commission he accepted with burning
avidity, and fixed a price that seemed to bear no proportion whatever
to the work to be done--so small was it. Then the work gave him no
rest; both night and day he was heard hammering in his work-shop, and
often when the thing was nearly finished he would suddenly conceive a
dislike to the form; he had doubts as to the elegance of the setting of
some or other of the jewels, of a little link--quite a sufficient
reason for throwing all into the crucible, and beginning the entire
work over again. Thus every individual piece of jewellery that he
turned out was a perfect and matchless masterpiece, utterly astounding
to the person who had given the commission.

But it was now hardly possible to get any work that was once finished
out of his hands. Under a thousand pretexts he put off the owner from
week to week, and from month to month. It was all in vain to offer him
double for the work; he would not take a single _Louis d'or_[15] more
than the price bargained for. When at last he was obliged to yield to
the insistence of his customer, he could not help betraying all the
signs of the greatest annoyance, nay, of even fury seething in his
heart. If the piece of work which he had to deliver up was something of
more than ordinary importance, especially anything of great value,
worth many thousands owing to the costliness of the jewels or the
extreme delicacy of the gold-work, he was capable of running about like
a madman, cursing himself, his labour, and all about him. But then if
any person came up behind him and shouted, "René Cardillac, would you
not like to make a beautiful necklace for my betrothed?--bracelets
for my sweet-heart," or so forth, he would suddenly stop still, and
looking at him with his little eyes, would ask, as he rubbed his
hands, "Well, what have you got?" Thereupon the other would produce a
small jewel-case, and say, "Oh! some jewels--see; they are nothing
particular, only common things, but in your hands"---- Cardillac does
not let him finish what he has to say, but snatching the case out of
his hand takes out the stones (which are in reality of but little
value) and holds them up to the light, crying enraptured, "Ho! ho!
common things, are they? Not at all! Pretty stones--magnificent stones;
only let me make them up for you. And if you're not squeamish to a
handful or two of _Louis d'or_, I can add a few more little gems, which
shall sparkle in your eyes like the great sun himself." The other says,
"I will leave it all to you, Master René, and pay you what you like."

Then, without making any difference whether his customer is a rich
citizen only or an eminent nobleman of the court, Cardillac throws his
arms impetuously round his neck and embraces him and kisses him, saying
that now he is quite happy again, and the work will be finished in a
week's time. Running off home with breathless speed and up into his
workshop, he begins to hammer away, and at the week's end has produced
a masterpiece of art But when the customer comes prepared to pay with
joy the insignificant sum demanded, and expecting to take the finished
ornament away with him, Cardillac gets testy, rude, obstinate, and hard
to deal with. "But, Master Cardillac, recollect that my wedding is
to-morrow."--"But what have I to do with your wedding? come again in a
fortnight's time." "The ornament is finished; here is your money; and I
must have it." "And I tell you that I've lots of things to alter in it,
and I shan't let you have it to-day." "And I tell you that if you won't
deliver up the ornament by fair means--of course I am willing to pay
you double for it--you shall soon see me march up with Argenson's
serviceable underlings."--"Well, then, may Satan torture you with
scores of red-hot pincers, and hang three hundredweight on the necklace
till it strangle your bride." And therewith, thrusting the jewellery
into the bridegroom's breast pocket, Cardillac seizes him by the arm
and turns him roughly out of the door, so that he goes stumbling all
down the stairs. Then Cardillac puts his head out of the window and
laughs like a demon on seeing the poor young man limp out of the house,
holding his handkerchief to his bloody nose.

But one thing there was about him that was quite inexplicable. Often,
after he had enthusiastically taken a piece of work in hand, he would
implore his customer by the Virgin and all the saints, with every sign
of deep and violent agitation, and with moving protestations, nay,
amidst tears and sobs, that he might be released from his engagement.
Several persons who were most highly esteemed of the king and the
people had vainly offered large sums of money to get the smallest piece
of work from him. He threw himself at the king's feet and besought as a
favour at his hands that he might not be asked to do any work for him.
In the same way he refused every commission from De Maintenon; he even
rejected with aversion and horror the proposal she made him to
fabricate for her a little ring with emblematic ornaments, which was to
be presented to Racine.

Accordingly De Maintenon now said, "I would wager that if I sent for
Cardillac to come here to tell me at least for whom he made these
ornaments, he would refuse to come, since he would probably fear it was
some commission; and he never will make anything for me on any account.
And yet he has, it seems, dropped something of his inflexible obstinacy
some time ago, for I hear that he now labours more industriously than
ever, and delivers up his work at once, though still not without much
inward vexation and turning away of his face." De Scudéri, who was
greatly concerned that the ornaments should, if it could possibly be
managed, come soon into the hands of the proper owner, thought they
might send express word to Master Whimsicality that they did not want
him to do any work, but only to pass his opinion upon some jewels. This
commended itself to the Marchioness. Cardillac was sent for; and, as
though he had been already on the way, after a brief interval he
stepped into the room.

On observing De Scudéri he appeared to be embarrassed; and, like one
confounded by something so utterly unexpected that he forgets the
claims of propriety such as the moment demands, he first made a low and
reverential obeisance to this venerable lady, and then only did he turn
to the Marchioness. She, pointing to the jewellery, which now lay
glittering on the dark-green table-cloth, asked him hastily if it was
of his workmanship. Hardly glancing at it, and keeping his eyes
steadily fixed upon De Maintenon, Cardillac hurriedly packed the
necklace and bracelets into the casket, which stood beside them, and
pushed it violently away from him. Then he said, whilst a forbidding
smile gleamed in his red face, "By my honour, noble lady, he would have
but a poor acquaintance with René Cardillac's workmanship who should
believe for a single moment that any other goldsmith in the world could
set a piece of jewellery like that is done. Of course it's my
handiwork." "Then tell me," continued the Marchioness, "for whom you
made these ornaments." "For myself alone," replied Cardillac. "Ah! I
dare say your ladyship finds that strange," he continued, since both
she and De Scudéri had fixed their eyes upon him astounded, the former
full of mistrust, the latter of anxious suspense as to what turn the
matter would take next; "but it is so. Merely out of love for my
beautiful handicraft I picked out all my best stones and gladly set to
work upon them, exercising more industry and care over them than I had
ever done over any stones before. A short time ago the ornaments
disappeared in some inconceivable way out of my workshop." "Thank
Heaven!" cried De Scudéri, whilst her eyes sparkled with joy, and she
jumped up from her chair as quick and nimble as a young girl; then
going up to Cardillac, she placed both her hands upon his shoulders,
and said, "Here, Master René, take your property back again, which
these rascally miscreants stole from you." And she related every detail
of how she had acquired possession of the ornaments, to all of which
Cardillac listened silently, with his eyes cast down upon the floor.
Only now and again he uttered an indistinct "Hm!--So!--Ho! ho!" now
throwing his hands behind his back, and now softly stroking his chin
and cheeks.

When De Scudéri came to the end of her story, Cardillac appeared to be
struggling with some new and striking thought which had occurred to him
during the course of it, and as though he were labouring with some
rebellious resolve that refused to conform to his wishes. He rubbed his
forehead, sighed, drew his hand across his eyes, as if to check tears
which were gushing from them. At length he seized the casket which De
Scudéri was holding out towards him, and slowly sinking upon one knee,
said, "These jewels have been decreed to you, my noble and respected
lady, by Destiny. Yes, now I know that it was you I thought about when
I was labouring at them, and that it was for you I worked. Do not
disdain to accept these ornaments, nor refuse to wear them; they are
indeed the best things I have made for a very long time." "Why, why,
Master René," replied De Scudéri, in a charming, jesting manner; "what
are you thinking about? Would it become me at my years to trick myself
out with such bright gems? And what makes you think of giving me such
an over-rich present? Nay, nay, Master René. Now if I were beautiful
like the Marchioness de Fontange,[16] and rich too, I assure you I
should not let these ornaments pass out of my hands; but what do these
withered arms want with vain show, and this covered neck with
glittering ornaments?" Meanwhile Cardillac had risen to his feet again;
and whilst persistently holding out the casket towards De Scudéri he
said, like one distracted--and his looks were wild and uneasy,--"Have
pity upon me, Mademoiselle, and take the ornaments. You don't know what
great respect I cherish in my heart for your virtue and your high good
qualities. Accept this little present as an effort on my behalf to show
my deep respect and devotion." But as De Scudéri still continued to
hesitate, De Maintenon took the casket out of Cardillac's hands,
saying, "Upon my word, Mademoiselle, you are always talking about your
great age. What have we, you and I, to do with years and their burdens?
And aren't you acting just like a shy young thing, who would only too
well like to take the sweet fruit that is offered to her if she could
only do so without stirring either hand or finger? Don't refuse to
accept from our good Master René as a free gift what scores of others
could never get, in spite of all their gold and all their prayers and
entreaties."

Whilst speaking De Maintenon had forced the casket into Mademoiselle's
hand; and now Cardillac again fell upon his knees and kissed De
Scudéri's gown and hands, sighing and gasping, weeping and sobbing;
then he jumped up and ran off like a madman, as fast as he could run,
upsetting chairs and tables in his senseless haste, and making the
glasses and porcelain tumble together with a ring and jingle and clash.

De Scudéri cried out quite terrified, "Good Heavens! what's happened to
the man?" But the Marchioness, who was now in an especially lively mood
and in such a pert humour as was in general quite foreign to her, burst
out into a silvery laugh, and said, "Now, I've got it, Mademoiselle.
Master René has fallen desperately in love with you, and according to
the established form and settled usage of all true gallantry, he is
beginning to storm your heart with rich presents." She even pushed her
raillery further, admonishing De Scudéri not to be too cruel towards
her despairing lover, until Mademoiselle, letting her natural-born
humour have play, was carried away by the bubbling stream of merry
conceits and fancies. She thought that if that was really the state of
the case, she should be at last conquered and would not be able to help
affording to the world the unprecedented example of a goldsmith's
bride, of untarnished nobility, of the age of three and seventy. De
Maintenon offered her services to weave the wedding-wreath, and to
instruct her in the duties of a good house-wife, since such a snippety
bit of a girl could not of course know much about such things.

But when at length De Scudéri rose to say adieu to the Marchioness, she
again, notwithstanding all their laughing jests, grew very grave as she
took the jewel-case in her hand, and said, "And yet, Marchioness, do
you know, I can never wear these ornaments. Whatever be their history,
they have at some time or other been in the hands of those diabolical
wretches who commit robbery and murder with all the effrontery of Satan
himself; nay, I believe they must be in an unholy league with him. I
shudder with awe at the sight of the blood which appears to adhere to
the glittering stones. And then, I must confess, I cannot help feeling
that there is something strangely uneasy and awe-inspiring about
Cardillac's behaviour. I cannot get rid of the dark presentiment that
behind all this there is lurking some fearful and terrible secret; but
when, on the other hand, I pass the whole matter with all its
circumstantial adjuncts in clear review before my mind, I cannot even
guess what the mystery consists in, nor yet how our brave honest Master
René, the pattern of a good industrious citizen, can have anything to
do with what is bad or deserving of condemnation; but of this I am
quite sure, that I shall never dare to put the ornaments on."

The Marchioness thought that this was carrying scruples too far. But
when De Scudéri asked her on her conscience what she should really do
in her (Scudéri's) place, De Maintenon replied earnestly and
decisively, "Far sooner throw the ornaments into the Seine than ever
wear them."

The scene with Master René was described by De Scudéri in charming
verses, which she read to the king on the following evening in De
Maintenon's salon. And of course it may readily be conceived that,
conquering her uncomfortable feelings and forebodings of evil, she drew
at Master René's expense a diverting picture, in bright vivacious
colours, of the goldsmith's bride of three and seventy who was of such
ancient nobility. At any rate the king laughed heartily, and swore that
Boileau Despreux had found his master; hence De Scudéri's poem was
popularly adjudged to be the wittiest that ever was written.

Several months had passed, when, as chance would have it, De Scudéri
was driving over the Pont Neuf in the Duchess de Montansier's glass
coach. The invention of this elegant class of vehicles was still so
recent that a throng of the curious always gathered round it when one
appeared in the streets. And so there was on the present occasion a
gaping crowd round De Montansier's coach on the Pont Neuf, so great as
almost to hinder the horses from getting on. All at once De Scudéri
heard a continuous fire of abuse and cursing, and perceived a man
making his way through the thick of the crowd by the help of his fists
and by punching people in the ribs. And when he came nearer she saw
that his piercing eyes were riveted upon her. His face was pale as
death and distorted by pain; and he kept his eyes riveted upon her all
the time he was energetically working his way onwards with his fists
and elbows, until he reached the door. Pulling it open with impetuous
violence, he threw a strip of paper into De Scudéri's lap, and again
dealing out and receiving blows and punches, disappeared as he had
come. Martinière, who was accompanying her mistress, uttered a scream
of terror when she saw the man appear at the coach door, and fell back
upon the cushions in a swoon. De Scudéri vainly pulled the cord and
called out to the driver; he, as if impelled by the foul Fiend, whipped
up his horses, so that they foamed at the mouth and tossed their heads,
and kicked and plunged, and finally thundered over the bridge at a
sharp trot. De Scudéri emptied her smelling-bottle over the insensible
woman, who at length opened her eyes. Trembling and shaking, she clung
convulsively to her mistress, her face pale with anxiety and terror as
she gasped out, "For the love of the Virgin, what did that terrible man
want? Oh! yes, it was he! it was he!--the very same who brought you the
casket that awful night." Mademoiselle pacified the poor woman,
assuring her that not the least mischief had been done, and that the
main thing to do just then was to see what the strip of paper
contained. She unfolded it and found these words--

"I am being plunged into the pit of destruction by an evil destiny
which you may avert. I implore you, as the son does the mother whom he
cannot leave, and with the warmest affection of a loving child, send
the necklace and bracelets which you received from me to Master René
Cardillac; any pretext will do, to get some improvement made--or to get
something altered. Your welfare, your life, depend upon it. If you have
not done so by the day after to-morrow I will force my way into your
dwelling and kill myself before your eyes."


"Well now, it is at any rate certain," said De Scudéri when she had
read it, "that this mysterious man, even if he does really belong to
the notorious band of thieves and robbers, yet has no evil designs
against me. If he had succeeded in speaking to me that night, who knows
whether I should not have learnt of some singular event or some
mysterious complication of things, respecting which I now try in vain
to form even the remotest guess. But let the matter now take what shape
it may, I shall certainly do what this note urgently requests me to do,
if for no other reason than to get rid of those ill-starred jewels,
which I always fancy are a talisman of the foul Fiend himself. And I
warrant Cardillac, true to his rooted habit, won't let it pass out of
his hands again so easily."

The very next day De Scudéri intended to go and take the jewellery to
the goldsmith's. But somehow it seemed as if all the wits and
intellects of entire Paris had conspired together to overwhelm
Mademoiselle just on this particular morning with their verses and
plays and anecdotes. No sooner had La Chapelle[17] finished reading a
tragedy, and had slyly remarked with some degree of confident assurance
that he should now certainly beat Racine, than the latter poet himself
came in, and routed him with a pathetic speech of a certain king, until
Boileau appeared to let off the rockets of his wit into this black sky
of Tragedy--in order that he might not be talked to death on the
subject of the colonnade[18] of the Louvre, for he had been penned up
in it by Dr. Perrault, the architect.

It was high noon; De Scudéri had to go to the Duchess de Montansier's;
and so the visit to Master René Cardillac's was put off until the next
day. Mademoiselle, however, was tormented by a most extraordinary
feeling of uneasiness. The young man's figure was constantly before her
eyes; and deep down in her memory there was stirring a dim recollection
that she had seen his face and features somewhere before. Her sleep,
which was of the lightest, was disturbed by troublesome dreams. She
fancied she had acted frivolously and even criminally in having delayed
to grasp the hand which the unhappy wretch, who was sinking into the
abyss of ruin, was stretching up towards her; nay, she was even haunted
by the thought that she had had it in her power to prevent a fatal
event from taking place or an enormous crime from being committed. So,
as soon as the morning was fully come, she had Martinière finish her
toilet, and drove to the goldsmith, taking the jewel-casket with her.

The people were pouring into the Rue Nicaise, to the house where
Cardillac lived, and were gathering about his door, shouting,
screaming, and creating a wild tumult of noise; and they were with
difficulty prevented by the _Maréchaussée_, who had drawn a cordon
round the house, from forcing their way in. Angry voices were crying in
a wild confused hubbub, "Tear him to pieces! pound him to dust! the
accursed murderer!" At length Desgrais appeared on the scene with a
strong body of police, who formed a passage through the heart of the
crowd. The house door flew open and a man stepped out loaded with
chains; and he was dragged away amidst the most horrible imprecations
of the furious mob.

At the moment that De Scudéri, who was half swooning from fright and
her apprehensions that something terrible had happened, was witness of
this scene, a shrill piercing scream of distress rang upon her ears.
"Go on, go on, right forward," she cried to her coachman, almost
distracted. Scattering the dense mass of people by a quick clever turn
of his horses, he pulled up immediately in front of Cardillac's door.
There De Scudéri observed Desgrais, and at his feet a young girl, as
beautiful as the day, with dishevelled hair, only half dressed, and her
countenance stamped with desperate anxiety and wild with despair. She
was clasping his knees and crying in a tone of the most terrible, the
most heart-rending anguish, "Oh! he is innocent! he is innocent." In
vain were Desgrais' efforts, as well as those of his men, to make her
leave hold and to raise her up from the floor. At last a strong brutal
fellow laid his coarse rough hands upon the poor girl and dragged her
away from Desgrais by main force, but awkwardly stumbling let her drop,
so that she rolled down the stone steps and lay in the street, without
uttering a single sound more; she appeared to be dead.

Mademoiselle could no longer contain herself. "For God's sake, what has
happened? What's all this about?" she cried as she quickly opened the
door of her coach and stepped out. The crowd respectfully made way for
the estimable lady. She, on perceiving that two or three compassionate
women had raised up the girl and set her on the steps, where they were
rubbing her forehead with aromatic waters, approached Desgrais and
repeated her question with vehemence. "A horrible thing has happened,"
said Desgrais. "René Cardillac was found this morning murdered, stabbed
to the heart with a dagger. His journeyman Olivier Brusson is the
murderer. That was he who was just led away to prison." "And the girl?"
exclaimed Mademoiselle---- "Is Madelon, Cardillac's daughter," broke in
Desgrais. "Yon abandoned wretch is her lover. And she's screaming and
crying, and protesting that Olivier is innocent, quite innocent. But
the real truth is she is cognisant of the deed, and I must have her
also taken to the _conciergerie_ (prison)."

Saying which, Desgrais cast a glance of such spiteful malicious triumph
upon the girl that De Scudéri trembled. Madelon was just beginning to
breathe again, but she still lay with her eyes closed incapable of
either sound or motion; and they did not know what to do, whether to
take her into the house or to stay with her longer until she came round
again. Mademoiselle's eyes filled with tears, and she was greatly
agitated, as she looked upon the innocent angel; Desgrais and his
myrmidons made her shudder. Downstairs came a heavy rumbling noise;
they were bringing down Cardillac's corpse. Quickly making up her mind.
De Scudéri said loudly, "I will take the girl with me; you may attend
to everything else, Desgrais." A muttered wave of applause swept
through the crowd. They lifted up the girl, whilst everybody crowded
round and hundreds of arms were proffered to assist them; like one
floating in the air the young girl was carried to the coach and placed
within it,--blessings being showered from the lips of all upon the
noble lady who had come to snatch innocence from the scaffold.

The efforts of Seron, the most celebrated physician in Paris, to bring
Madelon back to herself were at length crowned with success, for she
had lain for hours in a dead swoon, utterly unconscious. What the
physician began was completed by De Scudéri, who strove to excite
the mild rays of hope in the girl's soul, till at length relief
came to her in the form of a violent fit of tears and sobbing. She
managed to relate all that had happened, although from time to time
her heart-rending grief got the upper hand, and her voice was choked
with convulsive sobs.

About midnight she had been awakened by a light tap at her chamber
door, and heard Olivier's voice imploring her to get up at once, as her
father was dying. Though almost stunned with dismay, she started up and
opened the door, and saw Olivier with a light in his hand, pale and
dreadfully agitated, and dripping with perspiration. He led the way
into her father's workshop, with an unsteady gait, and she followed
him. There lay her father with fixed staring eyes, his throat rattling
in the agonies of death. With a loud wail she threw herself upon him,
and then first noticed his bloody shirt. Olivier softly drew her away
and set to work to wash a wound in her father's left breast with a
traumatic balsam, and to bind it up. During this operation her father's
senses came back to him; his throat ceased to rattle; and he bent,
first upon her and then upon Olivier, a glance full of feeling, took
her hand, and placed it in Olivier's, fervently pressing them together.
She and Olivier both fell upon their knees beside her father's bed; he
raised himself up with a cry of agony, but at once sank back again, and
in a deep sigh breathed his last. Then they both gave way to their
grief and sorrow, and wept aloud.

Olivier related how during a walk, on which he had been commanded by
his master to attend him, the latter had been murdered in his presence,
and how through the greatest exertions he had carried the heavy man
home, whom he did not believe to have been fatally wounded.

When morning dawned the people of the house, who had heard the
lumbering noises, and the loud weeping and lamenting during the night,
came up and found them still kneeling in helpless trouble by her
father's corpse. An alarm was raised; the _Maréchaussée_ made their way
into the house, and dragged off Olivier to prison as the murderer of
his master. Madelon added the most touching description of her beloved
Olivier's goodness, and steady industry, and faithfulness. He had
honoured his master highly, as though he had been his own father; and
the latter had fully reciprocated this affection, and had chosen
Brusson, in spite of his poverty, to be his son-in-law, since his skill
was equal to his faithfulness and the nobleness of his character. All
this the girl related with deep, true, heart-felt emotion; and she
concluded by saying that if Olivier had thrust his dagger into her
father's breast in her own presence she should take it for some
illusion caused by Satan, rather than believe that Olivier could be
capable of such a horrible wicked crime.

De Scudéri, most deeply moved by Madelon's unutterable sufferings, and
quite ready to regard poor Olivier as innocent, instituted inquiries,
and she found that all Madelon had said about the intimate terms on
which master and journeyman had lived was fully confirmed. The people
in the same house, as well as the neighbours, unanimously agreed in
commending Olivier as a pattern of goodness, morality, faithfulness,
and industry; nobody knew anything evil about him, and yet when mention
was made of his heinous deed, they all shrugged their shoulders and
thought there was something passing comprehension in it.

Olivier, on being arraigned before the _Chambre Ardente_ denied the
deed imputed to him, as Mademoiselle learned, with the most steadfast
firmness and with honest sincerity, maintaining that his master had
been attacked in the street in his presence and stabbed, that then, as
there were still signs of life in him, he had himself carried him home,
where Cardillac had soon afterwards expired. And all this too
harmonised with Madelon's account.

Again and again and again De Scudéri had the minutest details of the
terrible event repeated to her. She inquired minutely whether there had
ever been a quarrel between master and journeyman, whether Olivier was
perhaps not subject occasionally to those hasty fits of passion which
often attack even the most good-natured of men like a blind madness,
impelling the commission of deeds which appear to be done quite
independent of voluntary action. But in proportion as Madelon spoke
with increasing heartfelt warmth of the quiet domestic happiness in
which the three had lived, united by the closest ties of affection,
every shadow of suspicion against poor Olivier, now being tried for his
life, vanished away. Scrupulously weighing every point and starting
with the assumption that Olivier, in spite of all the things which
spoke so loudly for his innocence, was nevertheless Cardillac's
murderer, De Scudéri did not find any motive within the bounds of
possibility for the hideous deed; for from every point of view it would
necessarily destroy his happiness. He is poor but clever. He has
succeeded in gaining the good-will of the most renowned master of his
trade; he loves his master's daughter; his master looks upon his love
with a favourable eye; happiness and prosperity seem likely to be his
lot through life. But now suppose that, provoked in some way that God
alone may know, Olivier had been so overmastered by anger as to make a
murderous attempt upon his benefactor, his father, what diabolical
hypocrisy he must have practised to have behaved after the deed in the
way in which he really did behave. Firmly convinced of Olivier's
innocence, Mademoiselle made up her mind to save the unhappy young man
at no matter what cost.

Before appealing, however, to the king's mercy, it seemed to her that
the most advisable step to take would be to call upon La Regnie, and
direct his attention to all the circumstances that could not fail to
speak for Olivier's innocence, and so perhaps awaken in the President's
mind a feeling of interest favourable to the accused, which might then
communicate itself to the judges with beneficial results.

La Regnie received De Scudéri with all the great respect to which the
venerable lady, highly honoured as she was by the king himself, might
justly lay claim. He listened quietly to all that she had to adduce
with respect to the terrible crime, and Olivier's relations to the
victim and his daughter, and his character. Nevertheless the only proof
he gave that her words were not falling upon totally deaf ears was a
slight and well-nigh mocking smile; and in the same way he heard her
protestations and admonitions, which were frequently interrupted by
tears, that the judge was not the enemy of the accused, but must also
duly give heed to anything that spoke in his favour. When at length
Mademoiselle paused, quite exhausted, and dried the tears from her
eyes. La Regnie began, "It does honour to the excellence of your heart.
Mademoiselle, that, being moved by the tears of a young lovesick girl,
you believe everything she tells you, and none the less so that you are
incapable of conceiving the thought of such an atrocious deed; but not
so is it with the judge, who is wont to rend asunder the mask of brazen
hypocrisy. Of course I need not tell you that it is not part of my
office to unfold to every one who asks me the various stages of a
criminal trial. Mademoiselle, I do my duty and trouble myself little
about the judgment of the world. All miscreants shall tremble before
the _Chambre Ardente_, which knows no other punishment except the
scaffold and the stake. But since I do not wish you, respected lady, to
conceive of me as a monster of hard-heartedness and cruelty, suffer me
in a few words to put clearly before you the guilt of this young
reprobate, who, thank Heaven, has been overtaken by the avenging arm of
justice. Your sagacious mind will then bid you look with scorn upon
your own good kindness, which does you so much honour, but which would
never under any circumstances be fitting in me.

"Well then! René Cardillac is found in the morning stabbed to the heart
with a dagger. The only persons with him are his journeyman Olivier
Brusson and his own daughter. In Olivier's room, amongst other things,
is found a dagger covered with blood, still fresh, which dagger fits
exactly into the wound. Olivier says, 'Cardillac was cut down at night
before my eyes.' 'Somebody attempted to rob him?' 'I don't know.' 'You
say you went with him, how then were you not able to keep off the
murderer, or hold him fast, or cry out for help?' 'My master walked
fifteen, nay, fully twenty paces in front of me, and I followed him.'
'But why, in the name of wonder, at such a distance?' 'My master would
have it so.' 'But tell us then what Master Cardillac was doing out in
the streets at so late an hour?' 'That I cannot say.' 'But you have
never before known him to leave the house after nine o'clock in the
evening, have you?' Here Olivier falters; he is confused; he sighs; he
bursts into tears; he protests by all that is holy that Cardillac
really went out on the night in question, and then met with his death.
But now your particular attention, please, Mademoiselle. It has been
proved to absolute certainty that Cardillac never left the house that
night, and so, of course, Olivier's assertion that he went out with him
is an impudent lie. The house door is provided with a ponderous lock,
which on locking and unlocking makes a loud grating echoing noise;
moreover, the wings of the door squeak and creak horribly on their
hinges, so that, as we have proved by repeated experiments, the noise
is heard all the way up to the garrets. Now in the bottom story, and so
of course close to the street door, lives old Master Claude Patru and
his housekeeper, a person of nearly eighty years of age, but still
lively and nimble. Now these two people heard Cardillac come downstairs
punctually at nine o'clock that evening, according to his usual
practice, and lock and bolt the door with considerable noise, and then
go up again, where they further heard him read the evening prayers
aloud, and then, to judge by the banging of doors, go to his own
sleeping-chamber. Master Claude, like many old people, suffers from
sleeplessness; and that night too he could not close an eye. And so,
somewhere about half-past nine it seems, his old housekeeper went into
the kitchen (to get into which she had to cross the passage) for a
light, and then came and sat down at the table beside Master Claude
with an old Chronicle, out of which she read; whilst the old man,
following the train of his thoughts, first sat down in his easy-chair,
and then stood up again, and paced softly and slowly up and down the
room in order to bring on weariness and sleepiness. All remained quiet
and still until after midnight. Then they heard quick steps above them
and a heavy fall like some big weight being thrown on the floor, and
then soon after a muffled groaning. A peculiar feeling of uneasiness
and dreadful suspense took possession of them both. It was horror at
the bloody deed which had just been committed, which passed out beside
them. The bright morning came and revealed to the light what had been
begun in the hours of darkness."

"But," interrupted De Scudéri, "but by all the saints, tell me what
motive for this diabolical deed you can find in any of the
circumstances which I just now repeated to you at such length?" "Hm!"
rejoined La Regnie, "Cardillac was not poor--he had some valuable
stones in his possession." "But would not his daughter inherit
everything?" continued De Scudéri. "You are forgetting that Olivier was
to be Cardillac's son-in-law." "But perhaps he had to share or only do
the murderous deed for others," said La Regnie. "Share? do a murderous
deed for others?" asked De Scudéri, utterly astounded. "I must tell
you, Mademoiselle," continued the President, "that Olivier's blood
would long ago have been shed in the Place Grève, had not his crime
been bound up with that deeply enshrouded mystery which has hitherto
exercised such a threatening sway over all Paris. It is evident that
Olivier belongs to that accursed band of miscreants who, laughing to
scorn all the watchfulness, and efforts, and strict investigations of
the courts, have been able to carry out their plans so safely and
unpunished. Through him all shall--all must be cleared up. Cardillac's
wound is precisely similar to those borne by all the persons who have
been found murdered and robbed in the streets and houses. But the most
decisive fact is that since the time Olivier Brusson has been under
arrest all these murders and robberies have ceased The streets are now
as safe by night as they are by day. These things are proof enough that
Olivier probably was at the head of this band of assassins. As yet he
will not confess it; but there are means of making him speak against
his will." "And Madelon," exclaimed De Scudéri, "and Madelon, the
faithful, innocent dove!" "Oh!" said La Regnie, with a venomous smile,
"Oh! but who will answer to me for it that she also is not an
accomplice in the plot? What does she care about her father's death?
Her tears are only shed for this murderous rascal." "What do you say?"
screamed De Scudéri; "it cannot possibly be. Her father--this girl!"
"Oh!" went on La Regnie, "Oh, but pray recollect De Brinvillier. You
will be so good as to pardon me if I perhaps soon find myself compelled
to take your favourite from your protection, and have her cast into the
Conciergerie."

This terrible suspicion made Mademoiselle shudder. It seemed to her as
if no faithfulness, no virtue, could stand fast before this fearful
man; he seemed to espy murder and blood-guiltiness in the deepest and
most secret thoughts. She rose to go. "Be human!" was all that she
could stammer out in her distress, and she had difficulty in breathing.
Just on the point of going down the stairs, to the top of which the
President had accompanied her with ceremonious courtesy, she was
suddenly struck by a strange thought, at which she herself was
surprised. "And could I be allowed to see this unhappy Olivier
Brusson?" she asked, turning round quickly to the President. He,
however, looked at her somewhat suspiciously, but his face was soon
contracted into the forbidding smile so characteristic of him. "Of
course, honoured lady," said he, "relying upon your feelings and the
little voice within you more than upon what has taken place before our
very eyes, you will yourself prove Olivier's guilt or innocence, I
perceive. If you are not afraid to see the dark abodes of crime, and if
you think there will be nothing too revolting in looking upon pictures
of depravity in all its stages, then the doors of the Conciergerie
shall be opened to you in two hours from now. You shall have this
Olivier, whose fate excites your interest so much, presented to you."

To tell the truth, De Scudéri could by no means convince herself of the
young man's guilt. Although everything spoke against him, and no judge
in the world could have acted differently from what La Regnie did in
face of such conclusive circumstantial evidence, yet all these base
suspicions were completely outweighed by the picture of domestic
happiness which Madelon had painted for her in such warm lifelike
colours; and hence she would rather adopt the idea of some
unaccountable mystery than believe in the truth of that at which her
inmost heart revolted.

She was thinking that she would get Olivier to repeat once more all the
events of that ill-omened night and worm her way as much as possible
into any secret there might be which remained sealed to the judges,
since for their purposes it did not seem worth while to give themselves
any further trouble about the matter.

On arriving at the Conciergerie, De Scudéri was led into a large light
apartment. She had not long to wait before she heard the rattle of
chains. Olivier Brusson was brought in. But the moment he appeared in
the doorway De Scudéri sank on the floor fainting. When she recovered,
Olivier had disappeared. She demanded impetuously that she should be
taken to her carriage; she would go--go at once, that very moment, from
the apartments of wickedness and infamy. For oh! at the very first
glance she had recognised in Olivier Brusson the young man who had
thrown the note into the carriage on the Pont Neuf, and who had brought
her the casket and the jewels. Now all doubts were at an end; La
Regnie's horrible suspicion was fully confirmed. Olivier Brusson
belonged to the atrocious band of assassins; undoubtedly he murdered
his master. And Madelon? Never before had Mademoiselle been so bitterly
deceived by the deepest promptings of her heart; and now, shaken to the
very depths of her soul by the discovery of a power of evil on earth in
the existence of which she had not hitherto believed, she began to
despair of all truth. She allowed the hideous suspicion to enter her
mind that Madelon was involved in the complot, and might have had a
hand in the infamous deed of blood. As is frequently the case with the
human mind, that, once it has laid hold upon an idea, it diligently
seeks for colours, until it finds them, with which to deck out the
picture in tints ever more vivid and ever more glaring; so also De
Scudéri, on reflecting again upon all the circumstances of the deed, as
well as upon the minutest features in Madelon's behaviour, found many
things to strengthen her suspicion. And many points which hitherto she
had regarded as a proof of innocence and purity now presented
themselves as undeniable tokens of abominable wickedness and studied
hypocrisy. Madelon's heartrending expressions of trouble, and her
floods of piteous tears, might very well have been forced from her, not
so much from fear of seeing her lover perish on the scaffold, as of
falling herself by the hand of the executioner. To get rid at once of
the serpent she was nourishing in her bosom, this was the determination
with which Mademoiselle got out of her carriage.

When she entered her room, Madelon threw herself at her feet. With her
lovely eyes--none of God's angels had truer--directed heavenwards, and
with her hands folded upon her heaving bosom, she wept and wailed,
craving help and consolation. Controlling herself by a painful effort,
De Scudéri, whilst endeavouring to impart as much earnestness and
calmness as she possibly could to the tone in which she spoke, said,
"Go--go--comfort yourself with the thought that righteous punishment
will overtake yon murderer for his villainous deeds. May the Holy
Virgin forbid that you yourself come to labour under the heavy burden
of blood-guiltiness." "Oh! all hope is now lost!" cried Madelon, with a
piercing shriek, as she reeled to the floor senseless. Leaving La
Martinière to attend to the girl, Mademoiselle withdrew into another
room.

De Scudéri's heart was torn and bleeding; she felt herself at variance
with all mankind, and no longer wished to live in a world so full of
diabolical deceit! She reproached Destiny which in bitter mockery had
so many years suffered her to go on strengthening her belief in virtue,
and truth, only to destroy now in her old age the beautiful images
which had been her guiding-stars through life.

She heard Martinière lead away Madelon, who was sighing softly and
lamenting. "Alas! and she--she too--these cruel men have infatuated
her. Poor, miserable me! Poor, unhappy Olivier!" The tones of her voice
cut De Scudéri to the heart; again there stirred in the depths of her
soul a dim presentiment that there was some mystery connected with the
case, and also the belief in Olivier's innocence returned. Her mind
distracted by the most contradictory feelings, she cried, "What spirit
of darkness is it which has entangled me in this terrible affair? I am
certain it will be the death of me." At this juncture Baptiste came in,
pale and terrified, with the announcement that Desgrais was at the
door. Ever since the trial of the infamous La Voisin the appearance of
Desgrais in any house was the sure precursor of some criminal charge;
hence came Baptiste's terror, and therefore it was that Mademoiselle
asked him with a gracious smile, "What's the matter with you, Baptiste?
The name Scudéri has been found on La Voisin's list, has it not, eh?"
"For God's sake," replied Baptiste, trembling in every limb, "how can
you speak of such a thing? But Desgrais, that terrible man Desgrais,
behaves so mysteriously, and is so urgent; he seems as if he couldn't
wait a moment before seeing you." "Well, then, Baptiste," said De
Scudéri, "then bring him up at once--the man who is so terrible to you;
in me, at least, he will excite no anxiety."

"The President La Regnie has sent me to you, Mademoiselle," said
Desgrais on stepping into the room, "with a request which he would
hardly dare hope you could grant, did he not know your virtue and your
courage. But the last means of bringing to light a vile deed of blood
lie in your hands; and you have already of your own accord taken an
active part in the notorious trial which the _Chambre Ardente_, and in
fact all of us, are watching with breathless interest. Olivier Brusson
has been half a madman since he saw you. He was beginning to show signs
of compliance and a readiness to make a confession, but he now swears
again, by all the powers of Heaven, that he is perfectly innocent of
the murder of Cardillac; and yet he says he is ready to die the death
which he has deserved. You will please observe, Mademoiselle, that the
last clause evidently has reference to other crimes which weigh upon
his conscience. But vain are all our efforts to get him to utter a
single word more; even the threat of torture has been of no avail. He
begs and prays, and beseeches us to procure him an interview with you;
for to _you_, to _you_ only, will he confess all. Pray deign,
Mademoiselle, to hear Brusson's confession." "What!" exclaimed De
Scudéri indignantly, "am I to be made an instrument of by a criminal
court, am I to abuse this unhappy man's confidence to bring him to the
scaffold? No, Desgrais. However vile a murderer Brusson may be, I would
never, never deceive him in that villainous way. I don't want to know
anything about his secrets; in any case they would be locked up within
my own bosom as if they were a holy confession made to a priest"
"Perhaps," rejoined Desgrais with a subtle smile, "perhaps,
Mademoiselle, you would alter your mind after you had heard Brusson.
Did you not yourself exhort the President to be human? And he is being
so, in that he gives way to Brusson's foolish request, and thus resorts
to the last means before putting him to the rack, for which he was well
ripe some time ago." De Scudéri shuddered involuntarily. "And then,
honoured lady," continued Desgrais, "it will not be demanded of you
that you again enter those dark gloomy rooms which filled you with such
horror and aversion. Olivier shall be brought to you here in your own
house as a free man, but at night, when all excitement can be avoided.
Then, without being even listened to, though of course he would be
watched, he may without constraint make a clean confession to you. That
you personally will have nothing to fear from the wretch--for that I
will answer to you with my life. He mentions your name with the
intensest veneration. He reiterates again and again that it is nothing
but his dark destiny, which prevented him seeing you before, that has
brought his life into jeopardy in this way. Moreover, you will be at
liberty to divulge what you think well of the things which Brusson
confesses to you. And what more could we indeed compel you to do?"

De Scudéri bent her eyes upon the floor in reflection. She felt she
must obey the Higher Power which was thus demanding of her that she
should effect the disclosure of some terrible secret, and she felt,
too, as though she could not draw back out of the tangled skein into
which she had run without any conscious effort of will. Suddenly making
up her mind, she replied with dignity, "God will give me firmness and
self-command, Bring Brusson here; I will speak with him."

Just as on the previous occasion when Brusson brought the casket, there
came a knock at De Scudéri's house door at midnight. Baptiste,
forewarned of this nocturnal visit, at once opened the door. De Scudéri
felt an icy shiver run through her as she gathered from the light
footsteps and hollow murmuring voices that the guards who had brought
Brusson were taking up their stations about the passages of the house.

At length the room door was softly opened. Desgrais came in, followed
by Olivier Brusson, freed from his fetters, and dressed in his own neat
clothing. The officer bowed respectfully and said, "Here is Brusson,
honoured lady," and then left the room. Brusson fell upon his knees
before Mademoiselle, and raised his folded hands in entreaty, whilst
copious tears ran down his cheeks.

De Scudéri turned pale and looked down upon him without being able to
utter a word. Though his features were now gaunt and hollow from
trouble and anguish and pain, yet an expression of the truest
staunchest honesty shone upon his countenance. The longer Mademoiselle
allowed her eyes to rest upon his face, the more forcibly was she
reminded of some loved person, whom she could not in any way clearly
call to mind. All her feelings of shivery uncomfortableness left her;
she forgot that it was Cardillac's murderer who was kneeling before
her; she spoke in the calm pleasing tone of goodwill that was
characteristic of her, "Well, Brusson, what have you to tell me?" He,
still kneeling, heaved a sigh of unspeakable sadness, that came from
the bottom of his heart, "Oh! honoured, highly esteemed lady, can you
have lost all traces of recollection of me?" Mademoiselle scanned his
features more narrowly, and replied that she had certainly discovered
in his face a resemblance to some one she had once loved, and that it
was entirely owing to this resemblance that she had overcome her
detestation of the murderer, and was listening to him calmly.

Brusson was deeply hurt at these words; he rose hastily to his feet and
took a step, backwards, fixing his eyes gloomily on the floor. "Then
you have completely forgotten Anne Guiot?" he said moodily; "it is her
son Olivier,--the boy whom you often tossed on your lap--who now stands
before you." "Oh help me, good Heaven!" exclaimed Mademoiselle,
covering her face with both hands and sinking back upon the cushions.
And reason enough she had to be thus terribly affected. Anne Guiot, the
daughter of an impoverished burgher, had lived in De Scudéri's house
from a little girl, and had been brought up by Mademoiselle with all
the care and faithfulness which a mother expends upon her own child.
Now when she was grown up there came a modest good-looking young man,
Claude Brusson by name, and he wooed the girl. And since he was a
thoroughly clever watchmaker, who would be sure to find a very good
living in Paris, and since Anne had also grown to be truly fond of him,
De Scudéri had no scruples about giving her consent to her adopted
daughter's marriage. The young people, having set up housekeeping, led
a quiet life of domestic happiness; and the ties of affection were knit
still closer by the birth of a marvellously pretty boy, the perfect
image of his lovely mother.

De Scudéri made a complete idol of little Olivier, carrying him off
from his mother for hours and days together to caress him and to fondle
him. Hence the boy grew quite accustomed to her, and would just as
willingly be with her as with his mother. Three years passed away, when
the trade-envy of Brusson's fellow-artificers made them concert
together against him, so that his business decreased day by day, until
at last he could hardly earn enough for a bare subsistence. Along with
this he felt an ardent longing to see once more his beautiful native
city of Geneva; accordingly the small family moved thither, in spite of
De Scudéri's opposition and her promises of every possible means of
support Anne wrote two or three times to her foster-mother, and then
nothing more was heard from her; so that Mademoiselle had to take
refuge in the conclusion that the happy life they were leading in
Brusson's native town prevented their memories dwelling upon the days
that were past and gone. It was now just twenty-three years since
Brusson had left Paris along with his wife and child and had gone to
Geneva.

"Oh! horrible!" exclaimed De Scudéri when she had again recovered
herself to some extent. "Oh! horrible! are you Olivier? my Anne's son?
And now----" "Indeed, honoured lady," replied Olivier calmly and
composedly, "indeed you never could, I suppose, have any the least idea
that the boy whom you fondled with all a mother's tenderness, into
whose mouth you never tired of putting sweets and candies as you tossed
him on your lap, whom you called by the most caressing names, would,
when grown up to be a young man, one day stand before you accused of an
atrocious crime. I am not free from reproach; the _Chambre Ardente_ may
justly bring a charge against me; but by my hopes of happiness after
death, even though it be by the executioner's hand, I am innocent of
this bloody deed; the unhappy Cardillac did not perish through me, nor
through any guilty connivance on my part." So saying, Olivier began to
shake and tremble. Mademoiselle silently pointed to a low chair which
stood beside him, and he slowly sank down upon it.

"I have had plenty of time to prepare myself for my interview with
you," he began, "which I regard as the last favour to be granted me by
Heaven in token of my reconciliation with it, and I have also had time
enough to gain what calmness and composure are needful in order to
relate to you the history of my fearful and unparalleled misfortunes. I
entreat your pity, that you will listen calmly to me, however much you
may be surprised--nay, even struck with horror, by the disclosure of a
secret which I am sure you have never for a moment suspected. Oh! that
my poor father had never left Paris! As far back as my recollections of
Geneva go I remember how I felt the tears of my unhappy parents falling
upon my cheeks; and how their complaints of misery, which I did not
understand, provoked me also to tears. Later I experienced to the full
and with keen consciousness in what a state of crushing want and of
deep distress my parents lived. My father found all his hopes deceived.
He died bowed to the earth with pain, and broken with trouble,
immediately after he had succeeded in placing me as apprentice to a
goldsmith. My mother talked much about you; she said she would pour out
all her troubles to you; but then she fell a victim to that despondency
which is born of misery. That, and also a feeling of false shame, which
often preys upon a deeply wounded spirit, prevented her from taking any
decisive step. Within a few months after my father's death my mother
followed him to the grave." "Poor Anne! poor Anne!" exclaimed
Mademoiselle, quite overcome by sorrow. "All praise and thanks to the
Eternal Power of Heaven that she is gone to the better land; she will
not see her darling son, branded with shame, fall by the hand of the
executioner," cried Olivier aloud, casting his eyes upwards with a wild
unnatural look of anguish.

The police grew uneasy outside; footsteps passed to an fro. "Ho! ho!"
said Olivier, smiling bitterly, "Desgrais is waking up his myrmidons,
as though I could make my escape _here_. But to continue--I led a hard
life with my master, albeit I soon got to be the best workman, and at
last even surpassed my master himself. One day a stranger happened to
come into our shop to buy some jewellery. And when he saw a beautiful
necklace which I had made he clapped me on the shoulder in a friendly
way and said, eyeing the ornament, 'Ha! i' faith, my young friend,
that's an excellent piece of work. To tell you the truth, I don't know
who there is who could beat you, unless it were René Cardillac, who,
you know, is the first goldsmith in the world. You ought to go to him;
he would gladly take you into his workshop; for nobody but you could
help him in his artistic labours; and on the other hand he is the only
man from whom you could learn anything.' The stranger's words sank into
my heart and took deep root there. I hadn't another moment's ease in
Geneva; I felt a violent impulse to be gone. At last I contrived to get
free from my master. I came to Paris. René Cardillac received me coldly
and churlishly. I persevered in my purpose; he must give me some work,
however insignificant it might be. I got a small ring to finish. On my
taking the work to him, he fixed his keen glittering eyes upon me as if
he would read the very depths of my soul. Then he said, 'You are a good
clever journeyman; you may come to me and help me in my shop. I will
pay you well; you shall be satisfied with me.' Cardillac kept his word.
I had been several weeks with him before I saw Madelon; she was at that
time, if I mistake not, in the country, staying, with a female relative
of Cardillac's; but at length she came. O Heaven! O God! what did I
feel when I saw the sweet angel? Has any man ever loved as I do? And
now--O Madelon!"

Olivier was so distressed he could not go on. Holding both hands before
his face, he sobbed violently, But at length, fighting down with an
effort the sharp pain that shook him, he went on with his story.

"Madelon looked upon me with friendly eyes. Her visits into the
workshop grew more and more frequent. I was enraptured to perceive that
she loved me. Notwithstanding the strict watch her father kept upon us
many a stolen pressure of the hand served as a token of the mutual
understanding arrived at between us; Cardillac did not appear to notice
anything. I intended first to win his favour, and, if I could gain my
mastership, then to woo for Madelon. One day, as I was about to begin
work, Cardillac came to me, his face louring darkly with anger and
scornful contempt 'I don't want your services any longer,' he began,
'so out you go from my house this very hour; and never show yourself in
my sight again. Why I can't do with you here any longer, I have no need
to tell you. For you, you poor devil, the sweet fruit at which you are
stretching out your hand hangs too high.' I attempted to speak, but he
laid hold upon me with a powerful grasp and threw me out of doors, so
that I fell to the floor and severely wounded my head and arm. I left
the house hotly indignant and furious with the stinging pain; at last I
found a good-natured acquaintance in the remotest corner of the
Faubourg St. Martin, who received me into his garret. But I had neither
ease nor rest. Every night I used to lurk about Cardillac's house
deluding myself with the fancy that Madelon would hear my sighing and
lamenting, and that she would perhaps find a way to speak to me out of
the window unheard. All sorts of confused plans were revolving in my
brain, which I hoped to persuade her to carry out.

"Now joining Cardillac's house in the Rue Nicaise there is a high wall,
with niches and old stone figures in them, now half crumbled away. One
night I was standing close beside one of these stone images and looking
up at those windows of the house which looked out upon the court
enclosed by the wall. All at once I observed a light in Cardillac's
workshop. It was midnight; Cardillac never used to be awake at that
hour; he was always in the habit of going to rest on the stroke of
nine. My heart beat in uncertain trepidation; I began to think
something might have happened which would perhaps pave the way for me
to go back into the house once more. But soon the light vanished again.
I squeezed myself into the niche close to the stone figure; but I
started back in dismay on feeling a pressure against me, as if the
image had become instinct with life. By the dusky glimmer of the night
I perceived that the stone was slowly revolving, and a dark form
slipped out from behind it and went away down the street with light,
soft footsteps. I rushed towards the stone figure; it stood as before,
close to the wall. Almost without thinking, rather as if impelled by
some inward prompter, I stealthily followed the figure. Just beside an
image of the Virgin he turned round; the light of the street lamp
standing exactly in front of the image fell full upon his face. It was
Cardillac.

"An unaccountable feeling of apprehension--an unearthly dread fell upon
me. Like one subject to the power of magic, I had to go on--on--in the
track of the spectre-like somnambulist. For that was what I took my
master to be, notwithstanding that it was not the time of full moon,
when this visitation is wont to attack the sleeper. Finally Cardillac
disappeared into the deep shade on the side of the street. By a sort of
low involuntary cough, which, however, I knew well, I gathered that he
was standing in the entry to a house. 'What is the meaning of that?
What is he going to do?' I asked myself, utterly astounded, pressing
close against a house-wall. It was not long before a man came along
with fluttering plumes and jingling spur, singing and gaily humming an
air. Like a tiger leaping upon his prey, Cardillac burst out of his
lurking-place and threw himself upon the man, who that very same
instant fell to the ground, gasping in the agonies of death. I rushed
up with a cry of horror; Cardillac was stooping over the man, who lay
on the floor. 'Master Cardillac, what are you doing?' I shouted.
'Cursed fool!' growled Cardillac, running past me with lightning-like
speed and disappearing from sight.

"Quite upset and hardly able to take a step, I approached the man who
had been stabbed. I knelt down beside him. 'Perhaps,' thought I, 'he
still may be saved;' but there was not the least sign of life. In my
fearful agitation I had hardly noticed that the _Maréchausée_ had
surrounded me. 'What? already another assassinated by these demons!
Hi! hi! Young man, what are you about here?--Are you one of the
band?--Away with him!' Thus they cried one after another, and they
laid hold of me. I was scarcely able to stammer out that I should never
be capable of such an abominable deed, and that they might therefore
let me go my way in peace. Then one of them turned his lamp upon my
face and said laughing, 'Why, it's Olivier Brusson, the journeyman
goldsmith, who works for our worthy honest Master René Cardillac. Ay, I
should think so!--_he_ murder people in the street--he looks like it
indeed! It's just like murderous assassins to stoop lamenting over
their victim's corpse till somebody comes and takes them into custody.
Well, how was it, youngster? Speak out boldly?' 'A man sprang out
immediately in front of me,' I said, 'and threw himself upon this man
and stabbed him, and then ran away as quick as lightning when I shouted
out. I only wanted to see if the stabbed man might still be saved.'
'No, my son,' cried one of those who had taken up the corpse; 'he's
dead enough; the dagger has gone right through the heart as usual.'
'The Devil!' said another; 'we have come too late again, as we did
yesterday.' Thereupon they went their way, taking the corpse with them.

"What my feelings were I cannot attempt to describe. I felt myself to
make sure whether I were not being mocked by some hideous dream; I
fancied I must soon wake up and wonder at the preposterous delusion.
Cardillac, the father of my Madelon, an atrocious murderer! My strength
failed me; I sank down upon the stone steps leading up to a house. The
morning light began to glimmer and was stronger and stronger; an
officer's hat decorated with feathers lay before me on the pavement. I
saw again vividly Cardillac's bloody deed, which had been perpetrated
on the spot where I sat. I ran off horrified.

"I was sitting in my garret, my thoughts in a perfect whirl, nay, I was
almost bereft of my senses, when the door opened, and René Cardillac
came in. 'For God's sake, what do you want?' I exclaimed on seeing him.
Without heeding my words, he approached close to me, smiling with
calmness and an air of affability which only increased my inward
abhorrence. Pulling up a rickety old stool and taking his seat upon it
close beside me, for I was unable to rise from the heap of straw upon
which I had thrown myself, he began, 'Well, Olivier, how are you
getting on, my poor fellow? I did indeed do an abominably rash thing
when I turned you out of the house; I miss you at every step and turn.
I have got a piece of work on hand just now which I cannot finish
without your help. How would it be if you came back to work in my shop?
Have you nothing to say? Yes, I know I have insulted you. I will not
attempt to conceal it from you that I was angry on account of your love
making to my Madelon. But since then I have ripely reflected upon the
matter, and decided that, considering your skill and industry and
faithful honesty, I could not wish for any better son-in-law than you.
So come along with me, and see if you can win Madelon to be your
bride.'

"Cardillac's words cut me to the very heart; I trembled with dread at
his wickedness; I could not utter a word. 'Do you hesitate?' he
continued in a sharp tone, piercing me through and through with his
glittering eyes; 'do you hesitate? Perhaps you can't come along with me
just to-day--perhaps you have some other business on hand! Perhaps you
mean forsooth to pay a visit to Desgrais or get yourself admitted to an
interview with D'Argenson or La Regnie. But you'd better take care,
boy, that the claws which you entice out of their sheaths to other
people's destruction don't seize upon you yourself and tear you to
pieces!' Then my swelling indignation suddenly found vent 'Let those
who are conscious of having committed atrocious crimes,' I cried,--'let
them start at the names you just named. As for me, I have no reason to
do so--I have nothing to do with them.' 'Properly speaking,' went on
Cardillac, 'properly speaking, Olivier, it is an honour to you to work
with me--with me, the most renowned master of the age, and highly
esteemed everywhere for his faithfulness and honesty, so that all
wicked calumnies would recoil upon the head of the backbiter. And as
far as concerns Madelon, I must now confess that it is she alone to
whom you owe this compliance on my part. She loves you with an
intensity which I should not have credited the delicate child with.
Directly you had gone she threw herself at my feet, clasped my knees,
and confessed amid endless tears that she could not live without you.
I thought she only fancied so, as so often happens with young and
love-sick girls; they think they shall die at once the first time a
milky-faced boy looks kindly upon them. But my Madelon did really
become ill and begin to pine away; and when I tried to talk her out of
her foolish silly notions, she only uttered your name scores of times.
What on earth could I do if I didn't want her to die away in despair?
Last evening I told her I would give my consent to her dearest wishes,
and would come and fetch you to-day. And during the night she has
blossomed up like a rose, and is now waiting for you with all the
longing impatience of love.'

"May God in heaven forgive me! I don't know myself how it came about,
but I suddenly found myself in Cardillac's house; and Madelon cried
aloud with joy, 'Olivier! my Olivier! my darling! my husband!' as she
rushed towards me and threw both her arms round my neck, pressing me
close to her bosom, till in a perfect delirium of passionate delight I
swore by the Virgin and all the saints that I would never, never leave
her."

Olivier was so deeply agitated by the recollection of this fateful
moment, that he was obliged to pause. De Scudéri, struck with horror at
this foul iniquity in a man whom she had always looked upon as a model
of virtue and honest integrity, cried, "Oh! it is horrible! So René
Cardillac belongs to the murderous band which has so long made our good
city a mere bandits' haunt?" "What do you say, Mademoiselle, to the
_band_?" said Olivier. "There has never been such a band. It was
Cardillac _alone_ who, active in wickedness, sought for his victims and
found them throughout the entire city. And it was because he acted
alone that he was enabled to carry on his operations with so much
security, and from the same cause arose the insuperable difficulty of
getting a clue to the murderer. But let me go on with my story; the
sequel will explain to you the secrets of the most atrocious but at the
same time of the most unfortunate of men.

"The situation in which I now found myself fixed at my master's may be
easily imagined. The step was taken; I could not go back. At times I
felt as though I were Cardillac's accomplice in crime; the only thing
that made me forget the inner anguish that tortured me was Madelon's
love, and it was only in her presence that I succeeded in totally
suppressing all external signs of the nameless trouble and anxiety I
had in my heart. When I was working with the old man in the shop, I
could never look him in the face; and I was hardly able to speak a
word, owing to the awful dread with which I trembled whenever near the
villain, who fulfilled all the duties of a faithful and tender father,
and of a good citizen, whilst the night veiled his monstrous iniquity.
Madelon, dutiful, pure, confiding as an angel, clung to him with
idolatrous affection. The thought often struck like a dagger to my
heart that, if justice should one day overtake the reprobate and unmask
him, she, deceived by the diabolical arts of the foul Fiend, would
assuredly die in the wildest agonies of despair. This alone would keep
my lips locked, even though it brought upon me a criminal's death.
Notwithstanding that I picked up a good deal of information from the
talk of the _Maréchaussée_ yet the motive for Cardillac's atrocities,
as well as his manner of accomplishing them, still remained riddles to
me; but I had not long to wait for the solution.

"One day Cardillac was very grave and preoccupied over his work,
instead of being in the merriest of humours, jesting and laughing as he
usually did, and so provoking my abhorrence of him. All of a sudden he
threw aside the ornament he was working at, so that the pearls and
other stones rolled across the floor, and starting to his feet he
exclaimed, 'Olivier, things can't go on in this way between us; the
footing we are now on is getting unbearable. Chance has played into
your hands the knowledge of a secret which has baffled the most
inventive cunning of Desgrais and all his myrmidons. You have seen me
at my midnight work, to which I am goaded by my evil destiny; no
resistance is ever of any avail. And your evil destiny it was which led
you to follow me, which wrapped you in an impenetrable veil and gave
you the lightness of foot which, enabled you to walk as noiselessly as
the smallest insect, so that I, who in the blackest night see as
plainly as a tiger and hear the slightest noise, the humming of midges,
far away along the streets, did not perceive you near me. Your evil
star has brought you to me, my associate. As you are now circumstanced
there can be no thought of treachery on your part, and so you may now
know all.' 'Never, never will I be your associate, you hypocritical
reprobate,' I endeavoured to cry out, but I felt a choking sensation in
my throat, caused by the dread which came upon me as Cardillac spoke.
Instead of speaking words, I only gasped out certain unintelligible
sounds. Cardillac again sat down on his bench, drying the perspiration
from his brow. He appeared to be fearfully agitated by his
recollections of the past and to have difficulty in preserving his
composure. But at length he began.

"'Learned men say a good deal about the extraordinary impressions of
which women are capable when _enceinte_, and of the singular influence
which such a vivid involuntary external impression has upon the unborn
child. I was told a surprising story about my mother. About eight
months before I was born, my mother accompanied certain other women to
see a splendid court spectacle in the Trianon.[19] There her eyes fell
upon a cavalier wearing a Spanish costume, who wore a flashing jewelled
chain round his neck, and she could not keep her eyes off it. Her whole
being was concentrated into desire to possess the glittering stones,
which she regarded as something of supernatural origin. Several years
previously, before my mother was married, the same cavalier had paid
his insidious addresses to her, but had been repulsed with indignant
scorn. My mother knew him again; but now by the gleam of the brilliant
diamonds he appeared to her to be a being of a higher race--the paragon
of beauty. He noticed my mother's looks of ardent desire. He believed
he should now be more successful than formerly. He found means to
approach her, and, yet more, to draw her away from her acquaintances to
a retired place. Then he clasped her passionately in his arms, whilst
she laid hold of the handsome chain; but in that moment the cavalier
reeled backwards, dragging my mother to the ground along with him.
Whatever was the cause--whether he had a sudden stroke, or whether it
was due to something else--enough, the man was dead. All my mother's
efforts to release herself from the stiffened arms of the corpse proved
futile. His glazed eyes, their faculty of vision now extinguished, were
fixed upon her; and she lay on the ground with the dead man. At length
her piercing screams for help reached the ears of some people passing
at a distance; they hurried up and freed her from the arms of her
ghastly lover. The horror prostrated her in a serious illness. Her
life, and mine too, was despaired of; but she recovered, and her
accouchement was more favourable than could have been expected. But the
terror of that fearful moment had left its stamp upon _me_. The evil
star of my destiny had got in the ascendant and shot down its sparks
upon me, enkindling in me a most singular but at the same time a most
pernicious passion. Even in the earliest days of my childhood there was
nothing I thought so much of as I did of flashing diamonds and
ornaments of gold. It was regarded as an ordinary childish inclination.
But the contrary was soon made manifest, for when a boy I stole all the
gold and jewellery I could anywhere lay my hands on. Like the most
experienced goldsmith I could distinguish by instinct false jewellery
from real. The latter alone proved an attraction to me; objects made of
imitated gold as well as gold coins I heeded not in the least. My
inborn propensity had, however, to give way to the excessively cruel
thrashings which I received at my father's hand.

"'I adopted the trade of a goldsmith, merely that I might be able to
handle gold and precious stones. I worked with passionate enthusiasm
and soon became the first master in the craft. But now began a period
in which my innate propensity, so long repressed, burst forth with
vehemence and grew most rapidly, imbibing nourishment from everything
about it. So soon as I had completed a piece of jewellery, and had
delivered it up to the customer, I fell into a state of unrest, of
desperate disquiet, which robbed me of sleep and health and courage for
my daily life. Day and night the person for whom I had done the work
stood before my eyes like a spectre, adorned with my jewellery, whilst
a voice whispered in my ears, "Yes, it's yours; yes it's yours. Go and
take it. What does a dead man want diamonds for?" Then I began to
practise thievish arts. As I had access to the houses of the great, I
speedily turned every opportunity to good account: no lock could baffle
my skill; and I soon had the object which I had made in my hands again.
But after a time even that did not banish my unrest. That unearthly
voice still continued to make itself heard in my ears, mocking me to
scorn, and crying, "Ho! ho! a dead man is wearing your jewellery." By
some inexplicable means, which I do not understand, I began to conceive
an unspeakable hatred of those for whom I made my ornaments. Ay, deep
down in my heart there began to stir a murderous feeling against them,
at which I myself trembled with apprehension.

"'About this time I bought this house. I had just struck a bargain with
the owner; we were sitting in this room drinking a glass of wine
together and enjoying ourselves over the settlement of our business.
Night had come; I rose to go; then the vendor of the house said, "See
here, Master René; before you go, I must make you acquainted with the
secret of the place." Therewith he unlocked that press let into the
wall there, pushed away the panels at the back, and stepped into a
little room, where, stooping down, he lifted up a trap-door. We
descended a flight of steep, narrow stairs, and came to a narrow
postern, which he unlocked, and let us out into the court-yard. Then
the old gentleman, the previous owner of the house, stepped up to the
wall and pressed an iron knob, which projected only very triflingly
from it; immediately a portion of the wall swung round, so that a man
could easily slip through the opening, and in that way gain the street.
I will show you the neat contrivance some day, Olivier; very likely it
was constructed by the cunning monks of the monastery which formerly
stood on this site, in order that they might steal in and out secretly.
It is a piece of wood, plastered with mortar and white-washed on the
outside only, and within it, on the side next the street, is fixed a
statue, also of wood, but coloured to look exactly like stone, and the
whole piece, together with the statue, moves upon concealed hinges.
Dark thoughts swept into my mind when I saw this contrivance; it
appeared to have been built with a predestined view to such deeds as
yet remained unknown to myself.

"'I had just completed a valuable ornament for a courtier, and knew
that he intended it for an opera-dancer. The ominous torture assailed
me again; the spectre dogged my footsteps; the whispering fiend was at
my ear. I took possession of my new house. I tossed sleeplessly on my
couch, bathed in perspiration, caused by the hideous torments I was
enduring. In imagination I saw the man gliding along to the dancer's
abode with my ornament. I leapt up full of fury; threw on my mantle,
went down by the secret stairs, through the wall, and into the Rue
Nicaise. He is coming along; I throw myself upon him; he screams out;
but I have seized him fast from behind, and driven my dagger right into
his heart; the ornament is mine. This done I experienced a calmness, a
satisfaction in my soul, which I had never yet experienced. The spectre
had vanished; the voice of the fiend was still. Now I knew what my evil
Destiny wanted; I had either to yield to it or to perish. And now too
you understand the secret of all my conduct, Olivier. But do not
believe, because I must do that for which there is no help, that
therefore I have entirely lost all sense of pity, of compassion, which
is said to be one of the essential properties of human nature. You know
how hard it is for me to part with a finished piece of work, and that
there are many for whom I refuse to work at all, because I do not wish
their death; and it has also happened that when I felt my spectre would
have to be exorcised on the following day by blood, I have satisfied it
with a stout blow of the fist the same day, which stretched on the
ground the owner of my jewel, and delivered the jewel itself into my
hand.'

"Having told me all this Cardillac took me into his secret vault and
granted me a sight of his jewel-cabinet; and the king himself has not
one finer. A short label was attached to each article, stating
accurately for whom it was made, when it was recovered, and whether by
theft, or by robbery from the person accompanied with violence, or by
murder. Then Cardillac said in a hollow and solemn voice, 'On your
wedding-day, Olivier, you will have to lay your hand on the image of
the crucified Christ and swear a solemn oath that after I am dead you
will reduce all these riches to dust, through means which I shall then,
before I die, disclose to you. I will not have any human creature,
and certainly neither Madelon nor you, come into possession of this
blood-bought treasure-store.' Entangled in this labyrinth of crime, and
with my heart lacerated by love and abhorrence, by rapture and horror,
I might be compared to the condemned mortal whom a lovely angel is
beckoning upwards with a gentle smile, whilst on the other hand Satan
is holding him fast in his burning talons, till the good angel's smiles
of love, in which are reflected all the bliss of the highest heaven,
become converted into the most poignant of his miseries. I thought of
flight--ay, even of suicide--but Madelon! Blame me, reproach me,
honoured lady, for my too great weakness in not fighting down by an
effort of will a passion that was fettering me to crime; but am I not
about to atone for my fault by a death of shame?

"One day Cardillac came home in uncommonly good spirits. He caressed
Madelon, greeted me with the most friendly good-will, and at dinner
drank a bottle of better wine, of a brand that he only produced on high
holidays and festivals, and he also sang and gave vent to his feelings
in exuberant manifestations of joy. When Madelon had left us I rose to
return to the workshop. 'Sit still, lad,' said Cardillac; 'we'll not
work any more to-day. Let us drink another glass together to the health
of the most estimable and most excellent lady in Paris.' After I had
joined glasses with him and had drained mine to the bottom, he went on,
'Tell me, Olivier, how do you like these verses,'

           'Un amant qui craint les voleuis
            N'est point digne d'amour.'

"Then he went on to relate the episode between you and the king in De
Maintenon's salons, adding that he had always honoured you as he never
had any other human creature, and that you were gifted with such lofty
virtue as to make his ill-omened star of Destiny grow pale, and that if
you were to wear the handsomest ornament he ever made it would never
provoke in him either an evil spectre or murderous thoughts. 'Listen
now, Olivier,' he said, 'what I have made up my mind to do. A long time
ago I received an order for a necklace and a pair of bracelets for
Henrietta of England,[20] and the stones were given me for the purpose.
The work turned out better than the best I had ever previously done;
but my heart was torn at the thought of parting from the ornaments, for
they had become my pet jewels. You are aware of the Princess's unhappy
death by sinister means. The ornaments I retained, and will now send
them to Mademoiselle de Scudéri in the name of the persecuted band of
robbers as a token of my respect and gratitude. Not only will
Mademoiselle receive an eloquent token of her triumph, but I shall also
laugh Desgrais and his associates to scorn, as they deserve to be
laughed at. You shall take her the ornaments.' As Cardillac mentioned
your name, Mademoiselle, I seemed to see a dark veil thrown aside,
revealing the fair, bright picture of my early happy childhood days in
gay and cheerful colours. A wondrous source of comfort entered my soul,
a ray of hope, before which all my dark spirits faded away. Possibly
Cardillac noted the effect which his words had upon me and interpreted
it in his own way, 'You appear to find pleasure in my plan,' he said.
'And I may as well state to you that I have been commanded to do this
by an inward monitor deep down in my heart, very different from that
which demands its holocaust of blood like some ravenous beast of prey.
I often experience very remarkable feelings; I am powerfully affected
by an inward apprehension, by fear of something terrible, the horrors
of which breathe upon me in the air from a far-distant world of the
Supernatural. I then feel even as if the crimes I commit as the blind
instrument of my ill-starred Destiny may be charged upon my immortal
soul, which has no share in them. During one such mood I vowed to make
a diamond crown for the Holy Virgin in St. Eustace's Church. But so
often as I thought seriously about setting to work upon it, I was
overwhelmed by this unaccountable apprehension, so that I gave up the
project altogether. Now I feel as if I must humbly offer an
acknowledgment at the altar of virtue and piety by sending to De
Scudéri the handsomest ornaments I have ever worked.'

"Cardillac, who was intimately acquainted with your habits and ways of
life. Mademoiselle, gave me instructions respecting the manner and the
hour--the how and the when--in which I was to deliver the ornaments,
which he locked in an elegant case, into your hands. I was completely
thrilled with delight, for Heaven itself now pointed out to me through
the miscreant Cardillac, a way by which I might rescue myself from the
hellish thraldom in which I, a sinner and outcast, was slowly
perishing; these at least were my thoughts. In express opposition to
Cardillac's will I resolved to force myself in to an interview with
you. I intended to reveal myself as Anne Brusson's son, as your own
adoptive child, and to throw myself at your feet and confess all--all.
I knew that you would have been so touched by the overwhelming misery
which would have threatened poor innocent Madelon by any disclosure
that you would have respected the secret; whilst your keen, sagacious
mind would, I felt assured, have devised some means by which
Cardillac's infamous wickedness might have been prevented without any
exposure. Pray do not ask me what shape these means would have taken; I
do not know. But that you would save Madelon and me, of that I was most
firmly convinced, as firmly as I believe in the comfort and help of the
Holy Virgin. You know how my intention was frustrated that night,
Mademoiselle. I still cherished the hope of being more successful
another time. Soon after this Cardillac seemed suddenly to lose all his
good-humour. He went about with a cloudy brow, fixed his eyes on
vacancy in front of him, murmured unintelligible words, and
gesticulated with his hands, as if warding off something hostile from
him; his mind appeared to be tormented by evil thoughts. Thus he
behaved during the course of one whole morning. Finally he sat down to
his work-table; but he soon leapt up again peevishly and looked out of
the window, saying moodily and earnestly, 'I wish after all that
Henrietta of England had worn my ornaments.' These words struck terror
to my heart. Now I knew that his warped mind was again enslaved by the
abominable spectre of murder, and that the voice of the fiend was again
ringing audibly in his ears. I saw your life was threatened by the
villainous demon of murder. If Cardillac only had his ornaments in his
hands again, you were saved.

"Every moment the danger increased. Then I met you on the Pont Neuf,
and forced my way to your carriage, and threw you that note, beseeching
you to restore the ornaments which you had received to Cardillac's
hands at once. You did not come. My distress deepened to despair when
on the following day Cardillac talked about nothing else but the
magnificent ornaments which he had seen before his eyes during the
night. I could only interpret that as having reference to your
jewellery, and I was certain that he was brooding over some fresh
murderous onslaught which he had assuredly determined to put into
execution during the coming night. I must save you, even if it cost
Cardillac's own life. So soon as he had locked himself in his own room
after evening prayers, according to his wont, I climbed out of a window
into the court-yard, slipped through the opening in the wall, and took
up my station at no great distance, hidden in the deep shade. I had not
long to wait before Cardillac appeared and stole softly up the street,
me following him. He bent his steps towards the Rue St. Honoré; my
heart trembled with apprehension. All of a sudden I lost sight of him.
I made up my mind to take post at your house-door. Then there came an
officer past me, without perceiving me, singing and gaily humming a
tune to himself, as on the occasion when chance first made me a witness
of Cardillac's bloody deeds. But that selfsame moment a dark figure
leapt forward and fell upon the officer. It was Cardillac. This murder
I would at any rate prevent. With a loud shout I reached the spot in
two or three bounds, when, not the officer, but Cardillac, fell on the
floor groaning. The officer let his dagger fall, and drawing his sword
put himself in a posture for fighting, imagining that I was the
murderer's accomplice; but when he saw that I was only concerned about
the slain man, and did not trouble myself about him, he hurried away.
Cardillac was still alive. After picking up and taking charge of the
dagger which the officer had let fall, I loaded my master upon my
shoulders and painfully hugged him home, carrying him up to the
workshop by way of the concealed stairs. The rest you know.

"You see, honoured lady, that my only crime consists in the fact that I
did not betray Madelon's father to the officers of the law, and so put
an end to his enormities. My hands are clean of any deed of blood. No
torture shall extort from me a confession of Cardillac's crimes. I will
not, in defiance of the Eternal Power, which veiled the father's
hideous bloodguiltiness from the eyes of the virtuous daughter, be
instrumental in unfolding all the misery of the past, which would now
have a far more disastrous effect upon her, nor do I wish to aid
worldly vengeance in rooting up the dead man from the earth which
covers him, nor that the executioner should now brand the mouldering
bones with dishonour. No; the beloved of my soul will weep for me as
one who has fallen innocent, and time will soften her sorrow; but how
irretrievable a shock would it be if she learnt of the fearful and
diabolical deeds of her dearly-loved father."

Olivier paused; but now a torrent of tears suddenly burst from his
eyes, and he threw himself at De Scudéri's feet imploringly. "Oh! now
you are convinced of my innocence--oh! surely you must be! have pity
upon me; tell me how my Madelon bears it." Mademoiselle summoned La
Martinière, and in a few moments more Madelon's arms were round
Olivier's neck. "Now all is well again since you are here. I knew it, I
knew this most noble-minded lady would save you," cried Madelon again
and again; and Olivier forgot his situation and all that was impending
over him, he was free and happy. It was most touching to hear the two
mutually pour out all their troubles, and relate all that they had
suffered for one another's sake; then they embraced one another anew,
and wept with joy to see each other again.

If De Scudéri had not been already convinced of Olivier's innocence she
would assuredly have been satisfied of it now as she sat watching the
two, who forgot the world and their misery and their excessive
sufferings in the happiness of their deep and genuine mutual affection.
"No," she said to herself, "it is only a pure heart which is capable of
such happy oblivion."

The bright beams of morning broke in through the window. Desgrais
knocked softly at the room door, and reminded those within that it was
time to take Olivier Brusson away, since this could not be done later
without exciting a commotion. The lovers were obliged to separate.

The dim shapeless feelings which had taken possession of De Scudéri's
mind on Olivier's first entry into the room, had now acquired form and
content--and in a fearful way. She saw the son of her dear Anne
innocently entangled in such a way that there hardly seemed any
conceivable means of saving him from a shameful death. She honoured the
young man's heroic purpose in choosing to die under an unjust burden of
guilt rather than divulge a secret that would certainly kill his
Madelon. In the whole region of possibility she could not find any
means whatever to snatch the poor fellow out of the hands of the cruel
tribunal. And yet she had a most clear conception that she ought not to
hesitate at any sacrifice to avert this monstrous perversion of justice
which was on the point of being committed. She racked her brain with a
hundred different schemes and plans, some of which bordered upon the
extravagant, but all these she rejected almost as soon as they
suggested themselves. Meanwhile the rays of hope grew fainter and
fainter, till at last she was on the verge of despair. But Madelon's
unquestioning child-like confidence, the rapturous enthusiasm with
which she spoke of her lover, who now, absolved of all guilt, would
soon clasp her in his arms as his bride, infused De Scudéri with new
hope and courage, exactly in proportion as she was the more touched by
the girl's words.

At length, for the sake of doing something. De Scudéri wrote a long
letter to La Regnie, in which she informed him that Olivier Brusson had
proved to her in the most convincing manner his perfect innocence of
Cardillac's death, and that it was only his heroic resolve to carry
with him into the grave a secret, the revelation of which would entail
disaster upon virtue and innocence, that prevented him making a
revelation to the court which would undoubtedly free him, not only from
the fearful suspicion of having murdered Cardillac, but also of having
belonged to a band of vile assassins. De Scudéri did all that burning
zeal, that ripe and spirited eloquence could effect, to soften La
Regnie's hard heart. In the course of a few hours La Regnie replied
that he was heartily glad to learn that Olivier Brusson had justified
himself so completely in the eyes of his noble and honoured
protectress. As for Olivier's heroic resolve to carry with him into the
grave a secret that had an important bearing upon the crime under
investigation, he was sorry to say that the _Chambre Ardente_ could not
respect such heroic courage, but would rather be compelled to adopt the
strongest means to break it. At the end of three days he hoped to be in
possession of this extraordinary secret, which it might be presumed
would bring wonders to light.

De Scudéri knew only too well what those means were by which the savage
La Regnie intended to break Brusson's heroic constancy. She was now
sure that the unfortunate was threatened with the rack. In her
desperate anxiety it at length occurred to her that the advice of a
doctor of the law would be useful, if only to effectuate a postponement
of the torture. The most renowned advocate in Paris at that time was
Pierre Amaud d'Andilly; and his sound knowledge and liberal mind were
only to be compared to his virtue and his sterling honesty. To him,
therefore, De Scudéri had recourse, and she told him all, so far as she
could, without violating Brusson's secret She expected that D'Andilly
would take up the cause of the innocent man with zeal, but she found
her hopes most bitterly deceived. The lawyer listened calmly to all she
had to say, and then replied in Boileau's words, smiling as he did so,
"_Le vrai peut quelque fois n'être pas vraisemblable_" (Sometimes truth
wears an improbable garb). He showed De Scudéri that there were most
noteworthy grounds for suspicion against Brusson, that La Regnie's
proceedings could neither be called cruel nor yet hurried, rather they
were perfectly within the law--nay, that he could not act otherwise
without detriment to his duties as judge. He himself did not see his
way to saving Brusson from torture, even by the cleverest defence.
Nobody but Brusson himself could avert it, either by a candid
confession or at least by a most detailed account of all the
circumstances attending Cardillac's murder, and this might then perhaps
furnish grounds for instituting fresh inquiries. "Then I will throw
myself at the king's feet and pray for mercy," said De Scudéri,
distracted, her voice half choked by tears. "For Heaven's sake, don't
do it, Mademoiselle, don't do it. I would advise you to reserve this
last resource, for if it once fail it is lost to you for ever. The king
will never pardon a criminal of this class: he would draw down upon
himself the bitterest reproaches of the people, who would believe their
lives were always in danger. Possibly Brusson, either by disclosing his
secret or by some other means, may find a way to allay the suspicions
which are working against him. Then will be the time to appeal to the
king for mercy, for he will not inquire what has been proved before the
court, but be guided by his own inner conviction." De Scudéri had no
help for it but to admit that D'Andilly with his great experience was
in the right.

Late one evening she was sitting in her own room in very great trouble,
appealing to the Virgin and the Holy Saints, and thinking whatever
should she do to save the unhappy Brusson, when La Martinière came in
to announce that Count de Miossens, colonel of the King's Guards, was
urgently desiring to speak to Mademoiselle.

"Pardon me, Mademoiselle," said Miossens, bowing with military grace,
"pardon me for intruding upon you so late, at such an inconvenient
hour. We soldiers cannot do as we like, and then a couple of words will
suffice to excuse me. It is on Olivier Brusson's account that I have
come." De Scudéri's attention was at once on the stretch as to what was
to follow, and she said, "Olivier Brusson?--that most unhappy of
mortals? What have you to do with him?" "Yes, I did indeed think,"
continued Miossens smiling, "that your _protégé's_ name would be
sufficient to procure me a favourable hearing. All the public are
convinced of Brusson's guilt. But you, I know, cling to another
opinion, which is based, to be sure, upon the protestations of the
accused, as it is said; with me, however, it is otherwise. Nobody can
be more firmly convinced that Brusson is innocent of Cardillac's death
than I am." "Oh! go on and tell me; go on, pray!" exclaimed De Scudéri,
whilst her eyes sparkled with delight. Miossens continued, speaking
with emphasis, "It was I--I who stabbed the old goldsmith not far from
your house here in the Rue St. Honors." "By the Saints!--you--you?"
exclaimed Mademoiselle. "And I swear to you, Mademoiselle," went on
Miossens, "that I am proud of the deed. For let me tell you that
Cardillac was the most abandoned and hypocritical of villains, that it
was he who committed those dreadful murders and robberies by night, and
so long escaped all traps laid for him. Somehow, I can't say how, a
strong feeling of suspicion was aroused in my mind against the old
reprobate when he brought me an ornament I had ordered and was so
visibly disturbed on giving it to me; and then he inquired particularly
for whom I wanted the ornament, and also questioned my valet in the
most artful way as to when I was in the habit of visiting a certain
lady. I had long before noticed that all the unfortunates who fell
victims to this abominable epidemic of murder and robbery bore one and
the same wound. I felt sure that the assassin had by practice grown
perfect in inflicting it, and that it must prove instantaneously fatal,
and upon this he relied implicitly. If it failed, then it would come to
a fight on equal terms. This led me to adopt a measure of precaution
which is so simple that I cannot comprehend why it did not occur to
others, who might then have safeguarded themselves against any
murderous assault that threatened them. I wore a light shirt of mail
under my tunic. Cardillac attacked me from behind. He laid hold upon me
with the strength of a giant, but the surely-aimed blow glanced aside
from the iron. That same moment I wrested myself free from his grasp,
and drove my dagger, which I held in readiness, into his heart." "And
you maintained silence?" asked De Scudéri; "you did not notify to the
tribunals what you had done?" "Permit me to remark," went on Miossens,
"permit me to remark, Mademoiselle, that such an announcement, if it
had not at once entailed disastrous results upon me, would at any rate
have involved me in a most detestable trial. Would La Regnie, who
ferrets out crime everywhere--would he have believed my unsupported
word if I had accused honest Cardillac, the pattern of piety and
virtue, of an attempted murder? What if the sword of justice had turned
its point against me?" "That would not have been possible," said De
Scudéri, "your birth--your rank"---- "Oh! remember Marshal de
Luxembourg, whose whim for having his horoscope cast by Le Sage brought
him under the suspicion of being a poisoner, and eventually into
the Bastille. No! by St. Denis! I would not risk my freedom for an
hour--not even the lappet of my ear--in the power of that madman La
Regnie, who only too well would like to have his knife at the throats
of all of us." "But do you know you are bringing innocent Brusson to
the scaffold?" "Innocent?" rejoined Miossens, "innocent? Are you
speaking of the villain Cardillac's accomplice, Mademoiselle? he who
helped him in his evil deeds? who deserves to die a hundred deaths?
No, indeed! He would meet a just end on the scaffold. I have only
disclosed to you, honoured lady, the details of the occurrence on the
presupposition that, without delivering me into the hands of the
_Chambre Ardent_, you will yet find a way to turn my secret to account
on behalf of your _protégé_."

De Scudéri was so enraptured at finding her conviction of Brusson's
innocence confirmed in such a decisive manner that she did not scruple
to tell the Count all, since he already knew of Cardillac's iniquity,
and to exhort him to accompany her to see D'Andilly. To _him_ all
should be revealed under the seal of secrecy, and he should advise them
what was to be done.

After De Scudéri had related all to D'Andilly down to the minutest
particulars, he inquired once more about several of the most
insignificant features. In particular he asked Count Miossens whether
he was perfectly satisfied that it was Cardillac who had attacked him,
and whether he would be able to identify Olivier Brusson as the man who
had carried away the corpse. De Miossens made answer, "Not only did I
very well recognise Cardillac by the bright light of the moon, but I
have also seen in La Regnie's hands the dagger with which Cardillac was
stabbed; it is mine, distinguished by the elegant workmanship of the
hilt. As I only stood one yard from the young man, and his hat had
fallen off, I distinctly saw his features, and should certainly
recognise him again."

After gazing thoughtfully before him for some minutes in silence,
D'Andilly said, "Brusson cannot possibly be saved from the hands of
justice in any ordinary and regular way. Out of consideration for
Madelon he refuses to accuse Cardillac of being the thievish assassin.
And he must continue to do so, for even if he succeeded in proving his
statements by pointing out the secret exit and the accumulated store of
stolen jewellery, he would still be liable to death as a partner in
Cardillac's guilt. And the bearings of things would not be altered if
Count Miossens were to state to the judges the real details of the
meeting with Cardillac. The only thing we can aim at securing is a
postponement of the torture. Let Count Miossens go to the
_Conciergerie_, have Olivier Brusson brought forward, and recognise in
him the man who carried away Cardillac's dead body. Then let him hurry
off to La Regnie and say, 'I saw a man stabbed in the Rue St. Honoré,
and as I stood close beside the corpse another man sprang forward and
stooped down over the dead body; but on finding signs of life in him he
lifted him on his shoulders and carried him away. This man I recognise
in Olivier Brusson.' This evidence would lead to another hearing of
Brusson and to his confrontation with Miossens. At all events the
torture would be delayed and further inquiries would be instituted.
Then will come the proper time to appeal to the king. It may be left to
your sagacity, Mademoiselle, to do this in the adroitest manner. As far
as my opinion goes, I think it would be best to disclose to him the
whole mystery. Brusson's confessions are borne out by this statement of
Count Miossens; and they may, perhaps, be still further substantiated
by secret investigations at Cardillac's own house. All this could not
afford grounds for a verdict of acquittal by the court, but it might
appeal to the king's feelings, that it is his prerogative to speak
mercy where the judge can only condemn, and so elicit a favourable
decision from His Majesty." Count Miossens followed implicitly
D'Andilly's advice; and the result was what the latter had foreseen.

But now the thing was to get at the king; and this was the most
difficult part of all to accomplish, since he believed that Brusson
alone was the formidable assassin who for so long a time had held all
Paris enthralled by fear and anxiety, and accordingly he had conceived
such an abhorrence of him that he burst into a violent fit of passion
at the slightest allusion to the notorious trial. De Maintenon,
faithful to her principle of never speaking to the king on any subject
that was disagreeable, refused to take any steps in the affair; and so
Brusson's fate rested entirely in De Scudéri's hands. After long
deliberation she formed a resolution which she carried into execution
as promptly as she had conceived it. Putting on a robe of heavy black,
silk, and hanging Cardillac's valuable necklace round her neck, and
clasping the bracelets on her arms, and throwing a black veil over her
head, she presented herself in De Maintenon's salons at a time when she
knew the king would be present there. This stately robe invested the
venerable lady's noble figure with such majesty as could not fail to
inspire respect, even in the mob of idle loungers who were wont to
collect in anterooms, laughing and jesting in frivolous and irreverent
fashion. They all shyly made way for her; and when she entered the
salon the king himself in his astonishment rose and came to meet her.
As his eyes fell upon the glitter of the costly diamonds in the
necklace and bracelets, he cried, "'Pon my soul, that's Cardillac's
jewellery!" Then, turning to De Maintenon, he added with an arch smile,
"See, Marchioness, how our fair bride mourns for her bridegroom." "Oh!
your Majesty," broke in De Scudéri, taking up the jest and carrying it
on, "would it indeed beseem a deeply sorrowful bride to adorn herself
in this splendid fashion? No, I have quite broken off with that
goldsmith, and should never think about him more, were it not that the
horrid recollection of him being carried past me after he had been
murdered so often recurs to my mind." "What do you say?" asked the
king. "What! you saw the poor devil?" De Scudéri now related in a few
words how she chanced to be near Cardillac's house just as the murder
was discovered--as yet she did not allude to Brusson's being mixed up
in the matter. She sketched Madelon's excessive grief, told what a deep
impression the angelic child made upon her, and described in what way
she had rescued the poor girl out of Desgrais' hands, amid the
approving shouts of the people. Then came the scenes with La Regnie,
with Desgrais, with Brusson--the interest deepening and intensifying
from moment to moment. The king was so carried away by the
extraordinary graphic power and burning eloquence of Mademoiselle's
narration that he did not perceive she was talking about the hateful
trial of the abominable wretch Brusson; he was quite unable to utter a
word; all he could do was to let off the excess of his emotion by an
exclamation from time to time. Ere he knew where he was--he was so
utterly confused by this unprecedented tale which he had heard that he
was unable to order his thoughts--De Scudéri was prostrate at his feet,
imploring pardon for Olivier Brusson. "What are you doing?" burst out
the king, taking her by both hands and forcing her into a chair. "What
do you mean, Mademoiselle? This is a strange way to surprise me. Oh!
it's a terrible story. Who will guarantee me that Brusson's marvellous
tale is true?" Whereupon De Scudéri replied, "Miossens' evidence--an
examination of Cardillac's house--my heart-felt conviction--and oh!
Madelon's virtuous heart, which recognised the like virtue in unhappy
Brusson's." Just as the king was on the point of making some reply he
was interrupted by a noise at the door, and turned round. Louvois, who
during this time was working in the adjoining apartment, looked in with
an expression of anxiety stamped upon his features. The king rose and
left the room, following Louvois.

The two ladies, both De Scudéri and De Maintenon, regarded this
interruption as dangerous, for having been once surprised the king
would be on his guard against falling a second time into the trap set
for him. Nevertheless after a lapse of some minutes the king came back
again; after traversing the room once or twice at a quick pace, he
planted himself immediately in front of De Scudéri and, throwing his
arms behind his back, said in almost an undertone, yet without looking
at her, "I should very much like to see your Madelon." Mademoiselle
replied, "Oh! my precious liege! what a great--great happiness your
condescension will confer upon the poor unhappy child. Oh! the little
girl only waits a sign from you to approach, to throw herself at your
feet." Then she tripped towards the door as quickly as she was able in
her heavy clothing, and called out on the outside of it that the king
would admit Madelon Cardillac; and she came back into the room weeping
and sobbing with overpowering delight and gladness.

De Scudéri had foreseen that some such favour as this might be granted
and so had brought Madelon along with her, and she was waiting with the
Marchioness' lady-in-waiting with a short petition in her hands that
had been drawn up by D'Andilly. After a few minutes she lay prostrate
at the king's feet, unable to speak a word. The throbbing blood was
driven quicker and faster through the poor girl's veins owing to
anxiety, nervous confusion, shy reverence, love, and anguish. Her
cheeks were died with a deep purple blush; her eyes shone with bright
pearly tears, which from time to time fell through her silken eyelashes
upon her beautiful lily-white bosom. The king appeared to be struck
with the surprising beauty of the angelic creature. He softly raised
her up, making a motion as if about to kiss the hand which he had
grasped. But he let it go again and regarded the lovely girl with tears
in his eyes, thus betraying how great was the emotion stirring within
him. De Maintenon softly whispered to Mademoiselle, "Isn't she exactly
like La Vallière,[21] the little thing? There's hardly a pin's
difference between them. The king luxuriates in the most pleasing
memories. Your cause is won."

Notwithstanding the low tone in which De Maintenon spoke, the king
appeared to have heard what she said. A fleeting blush passed across
his face; his eye wandered past De Maintenon; he read the petition
which Madelon had presented to him, and then said mildly and kindly, "I
am quite ready to believe, my dear child, that you are convinced of
your lover's innocence; but let us hear what the _Chambre Ardente_ has
got to say to it." With a gentle wave of the hand he dismissed the
young girl, who was weeping as if her heart would break.

To her dismay De Scudéri observed that the recollection of La Vallière,
however beneficial it had appeared to be at first, had occasioned the
king to alter his mind as soon as De Maintenon mentioned her name.
Perhaps the king felt he was being reminded in a too indelicate way of
how he was about to sacrifice strict justice to beauty, or perhaps he
was like the dreamer, when, on somebody's shouting to him, the lovely
dream-images which he was about to clasp, quickly vanish away. Perhaps
he no longer saw _his_ La Vallière before his eyes, but only thought of
S[oe]ur Louise de la Misèricorde (Louise the Sister of Mercy),--the
name La Vallière had assumed on joining the Carmelite nuns--who worried
him with her pious airs and repentance. What else could they now do but
calmly wait for the king's decision?

Meanwhile Count Miossens' deposition before the _Chambre Ardente_ had
become publicly known; and as it frequently happens that the people
rush so readily from one extreme to another, so on this occasion he
whom they had at first cursed as a most abominable murderer and had
threatened to tear to pieces, they now pitied, even before he ascended
the scaffold, as the innocent victim of barbarous justice. Now his
neighbours first began to call to mind his exemplary walk of life, his
great love for Madelon, and the faithfulness and touching submissive
affection which he had cherished for the old goldsmith. Considerable
bodies of the populace began to appear in a threatening manner before
La Regnie's palace and to cry out, "Give us Olivier Brusson; he is
innocent;" and they even stoned the windows, so that La Regnie was
obliged to seek shelter from the enraged mob with the _Maréchaussée_.

Several days passed, and Mademoiselle heard not the least intelligence
about Olivier Brusson's trial. She was quite inconsolable and went off
to Madame de Maintenon; but she assured her that the king maintained a
strict silence about the matter, and it would not be advisable to
remind him of it. Then when she went on to ask with a smile of singular
import how little La Vallière was doing, De Scudéri was convinced that
deep down in the heart of the proud lady there lurked some feeling of
vexation at this business, which might entice the susceptible king into
a region whose charm she could not understand. Mademoiselle need
therefore hope for nothing from De Maintenon.

At last, however, with D'Andilly's help, De Scudéri succeeded in
finding out that the king had had a long and private interview with
Count Miossens. Further, she learned that Bontems, the king's most
confidential valet and general agent, had been to the Conciergerie and
had an interview with Brusson, also that the same Bontems had one night
gone with several men to Cardillac's house, and there spent a
considerable time. Claude Patru, the man who inhabited the lower
storey, maintained that they were knocking about overhead all night
long, and he was sure that Olivier had been with them, for he
distinctly heard his voice. This much was, therefore, at any rate
certain, that the king himself was having the true history of the
circumstances inquired into; but the long delay before he gave his
decision was inexplicable. La Regnie would no doubt do all he possibly
could to keep his grip upon the victim who was to be taken out of his
clutches. And this annihilated every hope as soon as it began to bud.

A month had nearly passed when De Maintenon sent word to Mademoiselle
that the king wished to see her that evening in her salons.

De Scudéri's heart beat high; she knew that Brusson's case would now be
decided. She told poor Madelon so, who prayed fervently to the Virgin
and the saints that they would awaken in the king's mind a conviction
of Brusson's innocence.

Yet it appeared as though the king had completely forgotten the matter,
for in his usual way he dallied in graceful conversation with the two
ladies, and never once made any allusion to poor Brusson. At last
Bontems appeared, and approaching the king whispered certain words in
his ear, but in so low a tone that neither De Maintenon nor De Scudéri
could make anything out of them. Mademoiselle's heart quaked. Then the
king rose to his feet and approached her, saying with brimming eyes, "I
congratulate you, Mademoiselle. Your _protégé_ Olivier Brusson, is
free." The tears gushed from the old lady's eyes; unable to speak a
word, she was about to throw herself at the king's feet. But he
prevented her, saying, "Go, go, Mademoiselle. You ought to be my
advocate in Parliament and plead my causes, for, by St. Denis, there's
nobody on earth could withstand your eloquence; and yet," he continued,
"and yet when Virtue herself has taken a man under her own protection,
is he not safe from all base accusations, from the _Chambre Ardente_
and all other tribunals in the world?" De Scudéri now found words and
poured them out in a stream of glowing thanks. The king interrupted
her, by informing her that she herself would find awaiting her in her
own house still warmer thanks than he had a right to claim from her,
for probably at that moment the happy Olivier was clasping his Madelon
in his arms. "Bontems shall pay you a thousand _Louis d'or_," concluded
the king. "Give them in my name to the little girl as a dowry. Let her
marry her Brusson, who doesn't deserve such good fortune, and then let
them both be gone out of Paris, for such is my will."

La Martinière came running forward to meet her mistress, and Baptiste
behind her; the faces of both were radiant with joy; both cried
delighted, "He is here! he is free! O the dear young people!" The happy
couple threw themselves at Mademoiselle's feet. "Oh! I knew it! I knew
it!" cried Madelon. "I knew that you, that nobody but you, would save
my darling Olivier." "And O my mother," cried Olivier, "my belief in
you never wavered." They both kissed the honoured lady's hands, and
shed innumerable tears. Then they embraced each other again and again,
affirming that the exquisite happiness of that moment outweighed all
the unutterable sufferings of the days that were past; and they vowed
never to part from each other till Death himself came to part them.

A few days later they were united by the blessing of the priest. Even
though it had not been the King's wish, Brusson would not have stayed
in Paris, where everything would have reminded him of the fearful time
of Cardillac's crimes, and where, moreover, some accident might reveal
in pernicious wise his dark secret, now become known to several
persons, and so his peace of mind might be ruined for ever. Almost
immediately after the wedding he set out with his young wife for
Geneva, Mademoiselle's blessings accompanying them on the way. Richly
provided with means through Madelon's dowry, and endowed with uncommon
skill at his trade, as well as with every virtue of a good citizen, he
led there a happy life, free from care. He realised the hopes which had
deceived his father and had brought him at last to his grave.

A year after Brusson's departure there appeared a public proclamation,
signed by Harloy de Chauvalon, Archbishop of Paris, and by the
parliamentary advocate, Pierre Arnaud d'Andilly, which ran to the
effect that a penitent sinner had, under the seal of confession, handed
over to the Church a large and valuable store of jewels and gold
ornaments which he had stolen. Everybody who up to the end of the year
1680 had lost ornaments by theft, particularly by a murderous attack in
the public street, was to apply to D'Andilly, and then, if his
description of the ornament which had been stolen from him tallied
exactly with any of the pieces awaiting identification, and if further
there existed no doubt as to the legitimacy of his claim, he should
receive his property again. Many of those whose names stood on
Cardillac's list as having been, not murdered, but merely stunned by a
blow, gradually came one after the other to the parliamentary advocate,
and received, to their no little amazement, their stolen property back
again. The rest fell to the coffers of the Church of St. Eustace.


FOOTNOTES TO "MADEMOISELLE DE SCUDÉRI":

[Footnote 1: Madeleine de Scudéry (1607-1701), a native of Normandy,
went to Paris and became connected with the Hotel Rambouillet.
Afterwards, on its being broken up by the troubles of the Fronde, she
formed a literary circle of her own, their "Saturday gatherings"
becoming celebrated. Mademoiselle de Scudéry wrote some vapid and
tedious novels, amongst which were the _Clélie_ (1656), an historical
romance, to be mentioned presently in the text.]

[Footnote 2: The well-known wife of Scarron, then the successor of
Madame de Montespan in the favour of Louis XIV., and afterwards his
wife.]

[Footnote 3: A kind of mounted gensdarmes or police.]

[Footnote 4: Supposed to have been arsenic.]

[Footnote 5: These facts are all for the most part historically true.]

[Footnote 6: Marie M. d'Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers, a notorious
poisoner, executed July 16, 1676. Madame de Sévigné's _Lettres_ contain
interesting information on the events of this period. A special history
of De Brinvillier's trial was also published in the same year, 1676.]

[Footnote 7: An old servant of Sainte Croix's, whose real name was Jean
Amelin.]

[Footnote 8: Nicholas G. de la Reynie was born at Limoges in 1625; he
acquired a sort of Judge Jeffreys' reputation by his cruelties and
bloodthirstiness as president of the _Chambre Ardente_.]

[Footnote 9: These two ladies, Marie and Olympe Mancini, were sisters,
nieces of Mazarin. The latter was promoted to be head of the Queen's
household, and thus provoked the hatred of Madame de Montespan (the
King's mistress) and Louvois, through whose machinations she was
accused before the _Chambre Ardente_.]

[Footnote 10: François Henry de Montmorency, Duke of Luxembourg, was
known until 1661 by the name of Bouteville. His name stands high on the
roll of distinguished French Marshals.]

[Footnote 11:  François Michel Le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois
(1639-91), Louis XIV.'s minister at this time.]

[Footnote 12: Her real answer was, "Je le vois en ce moment; il est
fort laid et fort vilain; il est déguisé en conseiller d'état." (I see
him at this moment; he is very ugly and very hideous; he is disguised
as a state councillor.)]

[Footnote 13: The Marquis de la Fare had liaisons, first with Madame de
Rochefort, with Louvois for rival, and afterwards with Madame de la
Sablière.]

[Footnote 14: This incident is not an invention of the author's. He
states that he got it from Wagenseil's _Chronik von Nürnberg_ (1697),
the said Wagenseilius having been to Paris and paid a visit to
Mademoiselle de Scudéry herself. The answer this lady gave the king is
also historically true, according to Hoffmann, and it was spoken under
circumstances almost exactly like those represented in the text.]

[Footnote 15: The old _Louis d'Or_ of Louis XIV. = about £1, 0s. 3d.
(Cf. A _Frederick d'or_ was a gold coin worth five thalers.--Note, p.
281, vol. I.)]

[Footnote 16: One of Louis XIV.'s former mistresses--Marie de
Roussille, Duchess de Fontanges (1661-1681)--is described as being of
great beauty, but deficient in intellectual grace and charm of manner,
and as being arrogant and cold-hearted.]

[Footnote 17: Jean de la Chapelle (1655-1723) attempted to fill the gap
left in the dramatic world by Racine's retirement from play-writing,
though,--it is said, with but indifferent success.]

[Footnote 18: It was constructed after plans by this Claude Perrault in
1666-1670.]

[Footnote 19: The well-known pleasure castle erected by Louis XIV. at
Versailles for De Maintenon.]

[Footnote 20: Daughter of Charles I. and Henrietta Maria of France; she
died 29th June, 1670, believing herself to have been poisoned; and this
was currently accepted in France, though now rejected by historians as
incorrect.]

[Footnote 21: Françoise Louise, Duchess de La Vallière, a former
mistress of Louis XIV. On being supplanted in the monarch's favour by
Madame de Montespan, she entered the order of Carmelite nuns.]



                            _GAMBLER'S LUCK._


Pyrmont had a larger concourse of visitors than ever in the summer of
18--. The number of rich and illustrious strangers increased from day
to day, greatly exciting the zeal of speculators of all kinds. Hence it
was also that the owners of the faro-bank took care to pile up their
glittering gold in bigger heaps, in order that this, the bait of the
noblest game, which they, like good skilled hunters, knew how to decoy,
might preserve its efficacy.

Who does not know how fascinating an excitement gambling is,
particularly at watering-places, during the season, where every
visitor, having laid aside his ordinary habits and course of life,
deliberately gives himself up to leisure and ease and exhilarating
enjoyment? then gambling becomes an irresistible attraction. People who
at other times never touch a card are to be seen amongst the most eager
players; and besides, it is the fashion, especially in higher circles,
for every one to visit the bank in the evening and lose a little money
at play.

The only person who appeared not to heed this irresistible attraction,
and this injunction of fashion, was a young German Baron, whom we will
call Siegfried. When everybody else hurried off to the play-house, and
he was deprived of all means and all prospect of the intellectual
conversation he loved, he preferred either to give reins to the flights
of his fancy in solitary walks or to stay in his own room and take up a
book, or even indulge in poetic attempts, in writing, himself.

As Siegfried was young, independent, rich, of noble appearance and
pleasing disposition, it could not fail but that he was highly esteemed
and loved, and that he had the most decisive good-fortune with the fair
sex. And in everything that he took up or turned his attention to,
there seemed to be a singularly lucky star presiding over his actions.
Rumour spoke of many extraordinary love-intrigues which had been forced
upon him, and out of which, however ruinous they would in all
likelihood have been for many other young men, he escaped with
incredible ease and success. But whenever the conversation turned upon
him and his good fortune, the old gentlemen of his acquaintance were
especially fond of relating a story about a watch, which had happened
in the days of his early youth. For it chanced once that Siegfried,
while still under his guardian's care, had quite unexpectedly found
himself so straitened for money on a journey that he was absolutely
obliged to sell his gold watch, which was set with brilliants, merely
in order to get on his way. He had made up his mind that he would have
to throw away his valuable watch for an old song; but as there happened
to be in the hotel where he had put up at a young prince who was just
in want of such an ornament, the Baron actually received for it more
than it was really worth. More than a year passed and Siegfried had
become his own master, when he read in the newspapers in another place
that a watch was to be made the subject of a lottery. He took a ticket,
which cost a mere trifle, and won--the same gold watch set with
brilliants which he had sold. Not long afterwards he exchanged this
watch for a valuable ring. He held office for a short time under the
Prince of G----, and when he retired from his post the Prince presented
to him as a mark of his good-will the very identical gold watch set
with brilliants as before, together with a costly chain.

From this story they passed to Siegfried's obstinacy in never on any
account touching a card; why, with his strongly pronounced good-luck he
had all the more inducement to play; and they were unanimous in coming
to the conclusion that the Baron, notwithstanding all his other
conspicuous good qualities, was a miserly fellow, far too careful and
far too stingy to expose himself to the smallest possible loss. That
the Baron's conduct was in every particular the direct contrary of that
of an avaricious man had no weight with them; and as is so often the
case, when the majority have set their hearts upon tagging a
questioning 'but' on to the good name of a talented man, and are
determined to find this 'but' at any cost, even though it should be in
their own imagination, so in the present case the sneering allusion to
Siegfried's aversion to play afforded them infinite satisfaction.

Siegfried was not long in learning what was being said about him; and
since, generous and liberal as he was, there was nothing he hated and
detested more than miserliness, he made up his mind to put his
traducers to shame by ransoming himself from this foul aspersion at the
cost of a couple of hundred _Louis d'or_, or even more if need be,
however much disgusted he might feel at gambling. He presented himself
at the faro-bank with the deliberate intention of losing the large sum
which he had put in his pocket; but in play also the good luck which
stood by him in everything he undertook did not prove unfaithful. Every
card he chose won. The cabalistic calculations of seasoned old players
were shivered to atoms against the Baron's play. No matter whether he
changed his cards or continued to stake on[1] the same one, it was all
the same: he was always a winner. In the Baron they had the singular
spectacle of a punter at variance with himself because the cards fell
favourable for him; and notwithstanding that the explanation of his
behaviour was pretty patent, yet people looked at each other
significantly and gave utterance in no ambiguous terms to the opinion
that the Baron, carried along by his penchant for the marvellous, might
eventually become insane, for any player who could be dismayed at his
run of luck must surely be insane.

The very fact of having won a considerable sum of money made it
obligatory upon the Baron to go on playing until he should have carried
out his original purpose; for in all probability his large win would be
followed by a still larger loss. But people's expectations were not in
the remotest degree realised, for the Baron's striking good-luck
continued to attend him.

Without his being conscious of it, there began to be awakened in his
mind a strong liking for faro, which with all its simplicity is the
most ominous of games; and this liking continued to increase more and
more. He was no longer dissatisfied with his good-luck; gambling
fettered his attention and held him fast to the table for nights and
nights, so that he was perforce compelled to give credence to the
peculiar attraction of the game, of which his friends had formerly
spoken and which he would by no means allow to be correct, for he was
attracted to faro not by the thirst for gain, but simply and solely by
the game itself.

One night, just as the banker had finished a _taille_, the Baron
happened to raise his eyes and observed that an elderly man had taken
post directly opposite to him and had got his eyes fixed upon him in a
set, sad, earnest gaze. And as long as play lasted, every time the
Baron looked up, his eyes met the stranger's dark sad stare, until at
last he could not help being struck with a very uncomfortable and
oppressive feeling. And the stranger only left the apartment when play
came to an end for the night. The following night he again stood
opposite the Baron, staring at him with unaverted gaze, whilst his eyes
had a dark mysterious spectral look. The Baron still kept his temper.
But when on the third night the stranger appeared again and fixed his
eyes, burning with a consuming fire, upon the Baron, the latter burst
out, "Sir, I must beg you to choose some other place. You exercise a
constraining influence upon my play."

With a painful smile the stranger bowed and left the table, and the
hall too, without uttering a word.

But on the next night the stranger again stood opposite the Baron,
piercing him through and through with his dark fiery glance. Then the
Baron burst out still more angrily than on the preceding night, "If you
think it a joke, sir, to stare at me, pray choose some other time and
some other place to do so; and now have the"---- A wave of the hand
towards the door took the place of the harsh words the Baron was about
to utter. And as on the previous night, the stranger, after bowing
slightly, left the hall with the same painful smile upon his lips.

Siegfried was so excited and heated by play, by the wine which he had
taken, and also by the scene with the stranger, that he could not
sleep. Morning was already breaking, when the stranger's figure
appeared before his eyes. He observed his striking, sharp-cut features,
worn with suffering, and his sad deep-set eyes just as he had stared at
him; and he noticed his distinguished bearing, which, in spite of his
mean clothing, betrayed a man of high culture. And then the air of
painful resignation with which the stranger submitted to the harsh
words flung at him, and fought down his bitter feelings with an effort,
and left the hall! "No," cried Siegfried, "I did him wrong--great
wrong. Is it indeed at all like me to blaze up in this rude,
ill-mannered way, like an uncultivated clown, and to offer insults to
people without the least provocation?" The Baron at last arrived at the
conviction that it must have been a most oppressive feeling of the
sharp contrast between them which had made the man stare at him so;
in the moment that he was perhaps contending with the bitterest poverty,
he (the Baron) was piling up heaps and heaps of gold with all the
superciliousness of the gambler. He resolved to find out the stranger
that very morning and atone to him for his rudeness.

And as chance would have it, the very first person whom the Baron saw
strolling down the avenue was the stranger himself.

The Baron addressed him, offered the most profuse apologies for his
behaviour of the night before, and in conclusion begged the stranger's
pardon in all due form. The stranger replied that he had nothing to
pardon, since large allowances must be made for a player deeply intent
over his game, and besides, he had only himself to blame for the harsh
words he had provoked, since he had obstinately persisted in remaining
in the place where he disturbed the Baron's play.

The Baron went further; he said there were often seasons of momentary
embarrassment in life which weighed with a most galling effect upon a
man of refinement, and he plainly hinted to the stranger that he was
willing to give the money he had won, or even more still, if by that
means he could perhaps be of any assistance to him.

"Sir," replied the stranger, "you think I am in want, but that is not
indeed the case; for though poor rather than rich, I yet have enough to
satisfy my simple wants. Moreover, you will yourself perceive that as a
man of honour I could not possibly accept a large sum of money from you
as indemnification for the insult you conceive you have offered me,
even though I were not a gentleman of birth."

"I think I understand you," replied the Baron starting; "I am ready to
grant you the satisfaction you demand."

"Good God!" continued the stranger--"Good God, how unequal a contest it
would be between us two! I am certain that you think as I do about a
duel, that it is not to be treated as a piece of childish folly; nor do
you believe that a few drops of blood, which have perhaps fallen from a
scratched finger, can ever wash tarnished honour bright again. There
are many cases in which it is impossible for two particular individuals
to continue to exist together on this earth, even though the one live
in the Caucasus and the other on the Tiber; no separation is possible
so long as the hated foe can be thought of as still alive. In this case
a duel to decide which of the two is to give way to the other on this
earth is a necessity. Between us now, as I have just said, a duel would
be fought upon unequal terms, since nohow can my life be valued so
highly as yours. If I run you through, I destroy a whole world of the
finest hopes; and if I fall, then you have put an end to a miserable
existence, that is harrowed by the bitterest and most agonising
memories. But after all--and this is of course the main thing--I don't
conceive myself to have been in the remotest degree insulted. You bade
me go, and I went."

These last words the stranger spoke in a tone which nevertheless
betrayed the sting in his heart. This was enough for the Baron to again
apologise, which he did by especially dwelling upon the fact that the
stranger's glance had, he did not know why, gone straight to his heart,
till at last he could endure it no longer.

"I hope then," said the stranger, "that if my glance did really
penetrate to your heart, it aroused you to a sense of the threatening
danger on the brink of which you are hovering. With a light glad heart
and youthful ingenuousness you are standing on the edge of the abyss of
ruin; one single push and you will plunge headlong down without a hope
of rescue. In a single word, you are on the point of becoming a
confirmed and passionate gambler and ruining yourself."

The Baron assured him that he was completely mistaken. He related the
circumstances under which he had first gone to the faro-table, and
assured him that he entirely lacked the gambler's characteristic
disposition; all he wished was to lose two hundred _Louis d'or_ or so,
and when he had succeeded in this he intended to cease punting. Up to
that time, however, he had had the most conspicuous run of good-luck.

"Oh! but," cried the stranger, "oh! but it is exactly this run of
good-luck wherein lies the subtlest and most formidable temptation
of the malignant enemy. It is this run of good-luck which attends
your play, Baron,--the circumstances under which you have begun to
play,--nay, your entire behaviour whilst actually engaged in play,
which only too plainly betray how your interest in it deepens and
increases on each occasion; all--all this reminds me only too forcibly
of the awful fate of a certain unhappy man, who, in many respects like
you, began to play under circumstances similar to those which you have
described in your own case. And therefore it was that I could not
keep my eyes off you, and that I was hardly able to restrain myself
from saying in words what my glances were meant to tell you. 'Oh!
see--see--see the demons stretching out their talons to drag you down
into the pit of ruin.' Thus I should like to have called to you. I was
desirous of making your acquaintance; and I have succeeded. Let me tell
you the history of the unfortunate man whom I mentioned; you will then
perhaps be convinced that it is no idle phantom of the brain when I see
you in the most imminent danger, and warn you."

The stranger and the Baron both sat down upon a seat which stood quite
isolated, and then the stranger began as follows:--

"The same brilliant qualities which distinguish you, Herr Baron, gained
Chevalier Menars the esteem and admiration of men and made him a
favourite amongst women. In riches alone Fortune had not been so
gracious to him as she has been to you; he was almost in want; and it
was only through exercising the strictest economy that he was enabled
to appear in a state becoming his position as the scion of a
distinguished family. Since even the smallest loss would be serious for
him and upset the entire tenor of his course of life, he dare not
indulge in play; besides, he had no inclination to do so, and it was
therefore no act of self-sacrifice on his part to avoid the tables. It
is to be added that he had the most remarkable success in everything
which he took in hand, so that Chevalier Menars' good-luck became a
by-word.

"One night he suffered himself to be persuaded, contrary to his
practice, to visit a play-house. The friends whom he had accompanied
were soon deeply engaged in play.

"Without taking any interest in what was going forward, the Chevalier,
busied with thoughts of quite a different character, first strode up
and down the apartment and then stood with his eyes fixed upon the
gaming-table, where the gold continued to pour in upon the banker from
all sides. All at once an old colonel observed the Chevalier, and cried
out, 'The devil! Here we've got Chevalier Menars and his good-luck
amongst us, and yet we can win nothing, since he has declared neither
for the banker nor for the punters. But we can't have it so any longer;
he shall at once punt for me.'

"All the Baron's attempts to excuse himself on the ground of his lack
of skill and total want of experience were of no avail; the Colonel was
not to be denied; the Chevalier must take his place at the table.

"The Chevalier had exactly the same run of fortune that you have, Herr
Baron. The cards fell favourable for him, and he had soon won a
considerable sum for the Colonel, whose joy at his grand thought of
claiming the loan of Chevalier Menars' steadfast good-luck knew no
bounds.

"This good-luck, which quite astonished all the rest of those present,
made not the slightest impression upon the Chevalier; nay, somehow, in
a way inexplicable to himself, his aversion to play took deeper root,
so that on the following morning when he awoke and felt the
consequences of his exertion during the night, through which he had
been awake, in a general relaxation both mental and physical, he took a
most earnest resolve never again under any circumstances to visit a
play-house.

"And in this resolution he was still further strengthened by the old
Colonel's conduct; he had the most decided ill-luck with every card he
took up; and the blame for this run of bad-luck he, with the most
extraordinary infatuation, put upon the Chevalier's shoulders. In an
importunate manner he demanded that the Chevalier should either punt
for him or at any rate stand at his side, so as by his presence to
banish the perverse demon who always put into his hands cards which
never turned up right. Of course it is well known that there is more
absurd superstition to be found amongst gamblers than almost anywhere
else. The only way in which the Chevalier could get rid of the Colonel
was by declaring in a tone of great seriousness that he would rather
fight him than play for him, for the Colonel was no great friend of
duels. The Chevalier cursed his good-nature in having complied with the
old fool's request at first.

"Now nothing less was to be expected than that the story of the Baron's
marvellously lucky play should pass from mouth to mouth, and also that
all sorts of enigmatical mysterious circumstances should be invented
and added on to it, representing the Chevalier as a man in league with
supernatural powers. But the fact that the Chevalier in spite of his
good-luck did not touch another card, could not fail to inspire the
highest respect for his firmness of character, and so very much
increase the esteem which he already enjoyed.

"Somewhere about a year later the Chevalier was suddenly placed in a
most painful and embarrassing position owing to the non-arrival of the
small sum of money upon which he relied to defray his current expenses.
He was obliged to disclose his circumstances to his most intimate
friend, who without hesitation supplied him with what he needed, at the
same time twitting him with being the most hopelessly eccentric fellow
that ever was. 'Destiny,' said he 'gives us hints in what way and where
we ought to seek our own benefit; and we have only our own indolence to
blame if we do not heed, do not understand these hints. The Higher
Power that rules over us has whispered quite plainly in your ears, If
you want money and property go and play, else you will be poor and
needy, and never independent, as long as you live.'

"And now for the first time the thought of how wonderfully fortune had
favoured him at the faro-bank took clear and distinct shape in his
mind; and both in his dreams and when awake he heard the banker's
monotonous _gagne_, _perd_,[2] and the rattle of the gold pieces. 'Yes,
it is undoubtedly so,' he said to himself, 'a single night like that
one before would free me from my difficulties, and help me over the
painful embarrassment of being a burden to my friends; it is my duty to
follow the beckoning finger of fate.' The friends who had advised him
to try play, accompanied him to the play-house, and gave him twenty
_Louis d'or_[3] more that he might begin unconcerned.

"If the Chevalier's play had been splendid when he punted for the old
Colonel, it was indeed doubly so now. Blindly and without choice he
drew the cards he staked upon, but the invisible hand of that Higher
Power which is intimately related to Chance, or rather actually is what
we call Chance, seemed to be regulating his play. At the end of the
evening he had won a thousand _Louis d'or_.

"Next morning he awoke with a kind of dazed feeling. The gold pieces he
had won lay scattered about beside him on the table. At the first
moment he fancied he was dreaming; he rubbed his eyes; he grasped the
table and pulled it nearer towards him. But when he began to reflect
upon what had happened, when he buried his fingers amongst the gold
pieces, when he counted them with gratified satisfaction, and even
counted them through again, then delight in the base mammon shot for
the first time like a pernicious poisonous breath through his every
nerve and fibre, then it was all over with the purity of sentiment
which he had so long preserved intact. He could hardly wait for night
to come that he might go to the faro-table again. His good-luck
continued constant, so that after a few weeks, during which he played
nearly every night, he had won a considerable sum.

"Now there are two sorts of players. Play simply as such affords to
many an indescribable and mysterious pleasure, totally irrespective of
gain. The strange complications of chance occur with the most
surprising waywardness; the government of the Higher Power becomes
conspicuously evident; and this it is which stirs up our spirit to move
its wings and see if it cannot soar upwards into the mysterious
kingdom, the fateful workshop of this Power, in order to surprise it at
its labours.

"I once knew a man who spent many days and nights alone in his room,
keeping a bank and punting against himself; this man was, according to
my way of thinking, a genuine player. Others have nothing but gain
before their eyes, and look upon play as a means to getting rich
speedily. This class the Chevalier joined, thus once more establishing
the truth of the saying that the real deeper inclination for play must
lie in the individual nature--must be born in it. And for this reason
he soon found the sphere of activity to which the punter is confined
too narrow. With the very large sum of money that he had won by
gambling he established a bank of his own; and in this enterprise
fortune favoured him to such an extent that within a short time his
bank was the richest in all Paris. And agreeably to the nature of the
case, the largest proportion of players flocked to him, the richest and
luckiest banker.

"The heartless, demoralising life of a gambler soon blotted out all
those advantages, as well mental as physical, which had formerly
secured to the Chevalier people's affection and esteem. He ceased to be
a faithful friend, a cheerful, easy guest in society, a chivalrous and
gallant admirer of the fair sex. Extinguished was all his taste for
science and art, and gone all striving to advance along the road to
sound knowledge. Upon his deathly pale countenance, and in his gloomy
eyes, where a dim, restless fire gleamed, was to be read the full
expression of the extremely baneful passion in whose toils he was
entangled. It was not fondness for play, no, it was the most abominable
avarice which had been enkindled in his soul by Satan himself. In a
single word, he was the most finished specimen of a faro-banker that
may be seen anywhere.

"One night Fortune was less favourable to the Chevalier than usual,
although he suffered no loss of any consequence. Then a little thin old
man, meanly clad, and almost repulsive to look at, approached the
table, drew a card with a trembling hand, and placed a gold piece upon
it. Several of the players looked up at the old man at first greatly
astonished, but after that they treated him with provoking contempt.
Nevertheless his face never moved a muscle, far less did he utter a
single word of complaint.

"The old man lost; he lost one stake after another; but the higher his
losses rose the more pleased the other players got. And at last, when
the new-comer, who continued to double his stake every time, placed
five hundred _Louis d'or_ at once upon a card and this the very next
moment turned up on the losing side, one of the other players cried
with a laugh, 'Good-luck, Signor Vertua, good-luck! Don't lose heart.
Go on staking; you look to me as if you would finish with breaking the
bank through your immense winnings.' The old man shot a basilisk-like
look upon the mocker and hurried away, but only to return at the end of
half an hour with his pockets full of gold. In the last _taille_ he
was, however, obliged to cease playing, since he had again lost all the
money he had brought back with him.

"This scornful and contemptuous treatment of the old man had
excessively annoyed the Chevalier, for in spite of all his abominable
practices, he yet insisted on certain rules of good behaviour being
observed at his table. And so on the conclusion of the game, when
Signor Vertua had taken his departure, the Chevalier felt he had
sufficient grounds to speak a serious word or two to the mocker, as
well as to one or two other players whose contemptuous treatment of the
old man had been most conspicuous, and whom the Chevalier had bidden
stay behind for this purpose.

"'Ah! but, Chevalier,' cried one of them, 'you don't know old Francesco
Vertua, or else you would have no fault to find with us and our
behaviour towards him; you would rather approve of it. For let me tell
you that this Vertua, a Neapolitan by birth, who has been fifteen years
in Paris, is the meanest, dirtiest, most pestilent miser and usurer who
can be found anywhere. He is a stranger to every human feeling; if he
saw his own brother writhing at his feet in the agonies of death, it
would be an utter waste of pains to try to entice a single _Louis d'or_
from him, even if it were to save his brother's life. He has a heavy
burden of curses and imprecations to bear, which have been showered
down upon him by a multitude of men, nay, by entire families, who have
been plunged into the deepest distress through his diabolical
speculations. He is hated like poison by all who know him; everybody
wishes that vengeance may overtake him for all the evil that he has
done, and that it may put an end to his career of iniquity. He has
never played before, at least since he has been in Paris; and so from
all this you need not wonder at our being so greatly astounded when the
old skin-flint appeared at your table. And for the same reasons we
were, of course, pleased at the old fellow's serious losses, for it
would have been hard, very hard, if the old rascal had been favoured by
Fortune. It is only too certain. Chevalier, that the old fool has been
deluded by the riches of your bank. He came intending to pluck you and
has lost his own feathers. But yet it completely puzzles me how Vertua
could act thus in a way so opposite to the true character of a miser,
and could bring himself to play so high. Ah! well--you'll see he will
not come again; we are now quit of him.'

"But this opinion proved to be far from correct, for on the very next
night Vertua presented himself at the Chevalier's bank again, and
staked and lost much more heavily than on the night preceding. But he
preserved a calm demeanour through it all; he even smiled at times with
a sort of bitter irony, as though foreseeing how soon things would be
totally changed. But during each of the succeeding nights the old man's
losses increased like a glacier at a greater and greater rate, till at
last it was calculated that he had paid over thirty thousand _Louis
d'or_ to the bank. Finally he entered the hall one evening, long after
play had begun, with a deathly pale face and troubled looks, and took
up his post at some distance from the table, his eyes riveted in a set
stare upon the cards which the Chevalier successively drew. At last,
just as the Chevalier had shuffled the cards, had had them cut and was
about to begin the _taille_, the old man cried in such a harsh grating
voice, 'Stop!' that everybody looked round well-nigh dismayed. Then,
forcing his way to the table close up to the Chevalier, he said in his
ear, speaking in a hoarse voice, 'Chevalier, my house in the Rue St.
Honoré, together with all the furniture and all the gold and silver and
all the jewels I possess, are valued at eighty thousand francs, will
you accept the stake?' 'Very good,' replied the Chevalier coldly,
without looking round at the old man; and he began the _taille_.

"'The queen,' said Vertua; and at the next draw the queen had lost. The
old man reeled back from the table and leaned against the wall
motionless and paralysed, like a rigid stone statue. Nobody troubled
himself any further about him.

"Play was over for the night; the players were dispersing; the
Chevalier and his croupiers[4] were packing away in the strong box the
gold he had won. Then old Vertua staggered like a ghost out of the
corner towards the Chevalier and addressed him in a hoarse, hollow
voice, 'Yet a word with you, Chevalier,--only a single word.'

"'Well, what is it?' replied the Chevalier, withdrawing the key from
the lock of the strong box and measuring the old man from head to foot
with a look of contempt.

"'I have lost all my property at your bank, Chevalier,' went on the old
man; 'I have nothing, nothing left I don't know where I shall lay my
head tomorrow, nor how I shall appease my hunger. You are my last
resource, Chevalier; lend me the tenth part of the sum I have lost to
you that I may begin my business over again, and so work my way up out
of the distressed state I now am in.'

"'Whatever are you thinking about,' rejoined the Chevalier, 'whatever
are you thinking about, Signor Vertua? Don't you know that a
faro-banker never dare lend of his winnings? That's against the old
rule, and I am not going to violate it.'

"'You are right,' went on Vertua again. 'You are right, Chevalier. My
request was senseless--extravagant--the tenth part! No, lend me the
twentieth part.' 'I tell you,' replied the Chevalier impatiently, 'that
I won't lend a farthing of my winnings.'

"'True, true,' said Vertua, his face growing paler and paler and his
gaze becoming more and more set and staring, 'true, you ought not to
lend anything--I never used to do. But give some alms to a beggar--give
him a hundred _Louis d'or_ of the riches which blind Fortune has thrown
in your hands to-day.'

"'Of a verity you know how to torment people, Signor Vertua,' burst out
the Chevalier angrily. 'I tell you you won't get so much as a hundred,
nor fifty, nor twenty, no, not so much as a single _Louis d'or_ from
me. I should be mad to make you even the smallest advance, so as to
help you begin your shameful trade over again. Fate has stamped you in
the dust like a poisonous reptile, and it would simply be villainy for
me to aid you in recovering yourself. Go and perish as you deserve.'

"Pressing both hands over his face, Vertua sank on the floor with a
muffled groan. The Chevalier ordered his servant to take the strong-box
down to his carriage, and then cried in a loud voice, 'When will you
hand over to me your house and effects, Signor Vertua?'

"Vertua hastily picked himself up from the ground and said in a firm
voice, 'Now, at once--this moment, Chevalier; come with me.'

"'Good,' replied the Chevalier, 'you may ride with me as far as your
house, which you shall leave tomorrow for good.'

"All the way neither of them spoke a single word, neither Vertua nor
the Chevalier. Arrived in front of the house in the Rue St. Honoré,
Vertua pulled the bell; an old woman opened the door, and on perceiving
it was Vertua cried, 'Oh! good heavens, Signor Vertua, is that you at
last? Angela is half dead with anxiety on your account.'

"'Silence,' replied Vertua. 'God grant she has not heard this unlucky
bell! She is not to know that I have come.' And therewith he took the
lighted candle out of the old woman's hand, for she appeared to be
quite stunned, and lighted the Chevalier up to his own room.

"'I am prepared for the worst,' said Vertua. 'You hate, you despise me,
Chevalier. You have ruined me, to your own and other people's joy; but
you do not know me. Let me tell you then that I was once a gambler like
you, that capricious Fortune was as favourable to me as she is to you,
that I travelled through half Europe, stopping everywhere where high
play and the hope of large gains enticed me, that the piles of gold
continually increased in my bank as they do in yours. I had a true and
beautiful wife, whom I neglected, and she was miserable in the midst of
all her magnificence and wealth. It happened once, when I had set up my
bank in Genoa, that a young Roman lost all his rich patrimony at my
bank. He besought me to lend him money, as I did you to-day, sufficient
at least to enable him to travel back to Rome. I refused with a laugh
of mocking scorn, and in the insane fury of despair he thrust the
stiletto which he wore right into my breast. At great pains the
surgeons succeeded in saving me; but it was a wearying painful time
whilst I lay on the bed of sickness. Then my wife tended me, comforted
me, and kept up my courage when I was ready to sink under my
sufferings; and as I grew towards recovery a feeling began to glimmer
within me which I had never experienced before, and it waxed ever
stronger and stronger. A gambler becomes an alien to all human emotion,
and hence I had not known what was the meaning of a wife's love and
faithful attachment. The debt of what I owed my wife burned itself into
my ungrateful heart, and also the sense of the villainous conduct to
which I had sacrificed her. All those whose life's happiness, whose
entire existence, I had ruined with heartless indifference were like
tormenting spirits of vengeance, and I heard their hoarse hollow voices
echoing from the grave, upbraiding me with all the guilt and
criminality, the seed of which I had planted in their bosoms. It was
only my wife who was able to drive away the unutterable distress and
horror that then came upon me. I made a vow never to touch a card more.
I lived in retirement; I rent asunder all the ties which held me fast
to my former mode of life; I withstood the enticements of my croupiers,
when they came and said they could not do without me and my good-luck.
I bought a small country villa not far from Rome, and thither, as soon
as I was recovered of my illness, I fled for refuge along with my wife.
Oh! only one single year did I enjoy a calmness, a happiness, a
peaceful content, such as I had never dreamt of! My wife bore me a
daughter, and died a few weeks later. I was in despair; I railed at
Heaven and again cursed myself and my reprobate life, for which Heaven
was now exacting vengeance upon me by depriving me of my wife--she who
had saved me from ruin, who was the only creature who afforded me hope
and consolation. I was driven away from my country villa hither to
Paris, like the criminal who fears the horrors of solitude. Angela grew
up the lovely image of her mother; my heart was wholly wrapt up in her;
for her sake I felt called upon not so much to obtain a large fortune
for her as to increase what I had already got. It is the truth that I
lent money at a high rate of interest; but it is a foul calumny to
accuse me of deceitful usury. And who are these my accusers?
Thoughtless, frivolous people who worry me to death until I lend them
money, which they immediately go and squander like a thing of no worth,
and then get in a rage if I demand inexorable punctuality in repayment
of the money which does not indeed belong to me,--no, but to my
daughter, for I merely look upon myself as her steward. It's not long
since I saved a young man from disgrace and ruin by advancing him a
considerable sum. As I knew he was terribly poor, I never mentioned a
syllable about repayment until I knew he had got together a rich
property. Then I applied to him for settlement of his debt Would you
believe it, Chevalier? the dishonourable knave, who owed all he had to
me, tried to deny the debt, and on being compelled by the court to pay
me, reproached me with being a villainous miser? I could tell you more
such like cases; and these things have made me hard and insensible to
emotion when I have to deal with folly and baseness. Nay, more--I could
tell you of the many bitter tears I have wiped away, and of the many
prayers which have gone up to Heaven for me and my Angela, but you
would only regard it as empty boasting, and pay not the slightest heed
to it, for you are a gambler. I thought I had satisfied the resentment
of Heaven; it was but a delusion, for Satan has been permitted to
lead me astray in a more disastrous way than before. I heard of your
good-luck. Chevalier. Every day I heard that this man and that had
staked and staked at your bank until he became a beggar. Then the
thought came into my mind that I was destined to try my gambler's luck,
which had never hitherto deserted me, against yours, that the power was
given me to put a stop to your practices; and this thought, which could
only have been engendered by some extraordinary madness, left me no
rest, no peace. Hence I came to your bank; and my terrible infatuation
did not leave me until all my property--all my Angela's property--was
yours. And now the end has come. I presume you will allow my daughter
to take her clothing with her?'

"'Your daughter's wardrobe does not concern me,' replied the Chevalier.
'You may also take your beds and other necessary household utensils,
and such like; for what could I do with all the old lumber? But see to
it that nothing of value of the things which now belong to me get mixed
up with it.'

"Old Vertua stared at the Chevalier a second or two utterly speechless;
then a flood of tears burst from his eyes, and he sank upon his knees
in front of the Chevalier, perfectly upset with trouble and despair,
and raised his hands crying, 'Chevalier, have you still a spark of
human feeling left in your breast? Be merciful, merciful. It is not I,
but my daughter, my Angela, my innocent angelic child, whom you are
plunging into ruin. Oh! be merciful to _her_; lend _her_, _her_, my
Angela, the twentieth part of the property you have deprived her of.
Oh! I know you will listen to my entreaty! O Angela! my daughter!' And
therewith the old man sobbed and lamented and moaned, calling upon his
child by name in the most heart-rending tones.

"'I am getting tired of this absurd theatrical scene,' said the
Chevalier indifferently but impatiently; but at this moment the
door flew open and in burst a girl in a white night-dress, her
hair dishevelled, her face pale as death,--burst in and ran to
old Vertua, raised him up, took him in her arms, and cried, 'O
father! O father! I have heard all, I know all! Have you really lost
everything--everything, really? Have you not your Angela? What need
have we of money and property? Will not Angela sustain you and tend
you? O father, don't humiliate yourself a moment longer before this
despicable monster. It is not _we_, but _he_, who is poor and miserable
in the midst of his contemptible riches; for see, he stands there
deserted in his awful hopeless loneliness; there is not a heart in all
the wide world to cling lovingly to his breast, to open out to him when
he despairs of his own life, of himself. Come, father. Leave this house
with me. Come, let us make haste and be gone, that this fearful man may
not exult over your trouble.'

"Vertua sank half fainting into an easy-chair. Angela knelt down before
him, took his hands, kissed them, fondled them, enumerated with
childish loquacity all the talents, all the accomplishments, which she
was mistress of, and by the aid of which she would earn a comfortable
living for her father; she besought him from the midst of burning tears
to put aside all his trouble and distress, since her life would now
first acquire true significance, when she had to sew, embroider, sing,
and play her guitar, not for mere pleasure, but for her father's sake.

"Who, however hardened a sinner, could have remained insensible at the
sight of Angela, thus radiant in her divine beauty, comforting her old
father with sweet soft words, whilst the purest affection, the most
childlike goodness, beamed from her eyes, evidently coming from the
very depths of her heart?

"Quite otherwise was it with the Chevalier. A perfect Gehenna of
torment and of the stinging of conscience was awakened within him.
Angela appeared to him to be the avenging angel of God, before whose
splendour the misty veil of his wicked infatuation melted away, so that
he saw with horror the repulsive nakedness of his own miserable soul.
Yet right through the midst of the flames of this infernal pit that was
blazing in the Chevalier's heart passed a divine and pure ray, whose
emanations of light were the sweetest rapture, the very bliss of
heaven; but the shining of this ray only made his unutterable torments
the more terrible to bear.

"The Chevalier had never been in love. The moment in which he saw
Angela was the moment in which he was to experience the most ardent
passion, and also at the same time the crushing pain of utter
hopelessness. For no man who had appeared before the pure angel-child,
lovely Angela, in the way the Chevalier had done, could dream of hope.
He attempted to speak, but his tongue seemed to be numbed by cramp. At
last, controlling himself with an effort, he stammered with trembling
voice, 'Signor Vertua, listen to me. I have not won anything from
you--nothing at all. There is my strong box; it is yours,--nay, I
must pay you yet more than there is there. I am your debtor. There,
take it, take it!'

"'O my daughter!' cried Vertua. But Angela rose to her feet, approached
the Chevalier, and flashed a proud look upon him, saying earnestly and
composedly, *'Chevalier, allow me to tell you that there is something
higher than money and goods; there are sentiments to which you are a
stranger, which, whilst sustaining our souls with the comfort of
Heaven, bid us reject your gift, your favour, with contempt. Keep your
mammon, which is burdened with the curse that pursues you, you
heartless, depraved gambler.'

"'Yes,' cried the Chevalier in a fearful voice, his eyes flashing
wildly, for he was perfectly beside himself, 'yes, accursed,--accursed
will I be--down into the depths of damnation may I be hurled if ever
again this hand touches a card. And if you then send me from you,
Angela, then it will be you who will bring irreparable ruin upon me.
Oh! you don't know--you don't understand me. You can't help but call me
insane; but you will feel it--you will know all, when you see me
stretched at your feet with my brains scattered. Angela! It's now a
question of life or death! Farewell!'

"Therewith the Chevalier rushed off in a state of perfect despair.
Vertua saw through him completely; he knew what change had come over
him; he endeavoured to make his lovely Angela understand that certain
circumstances might arise which would make it necessary to accept the
Chevalier's present Angela trembled with dread lest she should
understand her father. She did not conceive how it would ever be
possible to meet the Chevalier on any other terms save those of
contempt. Destiny, which often ripens into shape deep down in the human
heart, without the mind being aware of it, permitted that to take place
which had never been thought of, never been dreamed of.

"The Chevalier was like a man suddenly wakened up out of a fearful
dream; he saw himself standing on the brink of the abyss of ruin, and
stretched out his arms in vain towards the bright shining figure which
had appeared to him, not, however, to save him--no--but to remind him
of his damnation.

"To the astonishment of all Paris, Chevalier Menars' bank disappeared
from the gambling-house; nobody ever saw him again; and hence the most
diverse and extraordinary rumours were current, each of them more false
than the rest. The Chevalier shunned all society; his love found
expression in the deepest and most unconquerable despondency. It
happened, however, that old Vertua and his daughter one day suddenly
crossed his path in one of the dark and lonely alleys of the garden of
Malmaison.[5]

"Angela, who thought she could never look upon the Chevalier without
contempt and abhorrence, felt strangely moved on seeing him so deathly
pale, terribly shaken with trouble, hardly daring in his shy respect to
raise his eyes. She knew quite well that ever since that ill-omened
night he had altogether relinquished gambling and effected a complete
revolution in his habits of life. She, she alone had brought all this
about, she had saved the Chevalier from ruin--could anything be more
flattering to her woman's vanity? Hence it was that, after Vertua had
exchanged the usual complimentary remarks with the Chevalier, Angela
asked in a tone of gentle and sympathetic pity, 'What is the matter
with you, Chevalier Menars? You are looking very ill and full of
trouble. I am sure you ought to consult a physician.'

"It is easy to imagine how Angela's words fell like a comforting ray of
hope upon the Chevalier's heart. From that moment he was not like the
same man. He lifted up his head; he was able to speak in those tones,
full of the real inward nature of the man, with which he had formerly
won all hearts. Vertua exhorted him to come and take possession of the
house he had won.

"'Yes, Signor Vertua,' cried the Chevalier with animation, 'yes, that I
will do. I will call upon you tomorrow; but let us carefully weigh and
discuss all the conditions of the transfer, even though it should last
some months.'

"'Be it so then, Chevalier,' replied Vertua, smiling. 'I fancy that
there will arise a good many things to be discussed, of which we at the
present moment have no idea.' The Chevalier, being thus comforted at
heart, could not fail to develop again all the charms of manner which
had once been so peculiarly his own before he was led astray by his
insane, pernicious passion for gambling. His visits at old Vertua's
grew more and more frequent; Angela conceived a warmer and warmer
liking for the man whose safeguarding angel she had been, until finally
she thought she loved him with all her heart; and she promised him her
hand, to the great joy of old Vertua, who at last felt that the
settlement respecting the property he had lost to the Chevalier could
now be concluded.

"One day Angela, Chevalier Menars' happy betrothed, sat at her window
wrapped up in varied thoughts of the delights and happiness of love,
such as young girls when betrothed are wont to dwell upon. A regiment
of _chasseurs_ passed by to the merry sound of the trumpet, bound for a
campaign in Spain. As Angela was regarding with sympathetic interest
the poor men who were doomed to death in the wicked war, a young man
wheeled his horse quickly to one side and looked up at her, and she
sank back in her chair fainting.

"Oh! the _chasseur_ who was riding to meet a bloody death was none
other than young Duvernet, their neighbour's son, with whom she had
grown up, who had run in and out of the house nearly every day, and had
only kept away since the Chevalier had begun to visit them.

"In the young man's glance, which was charged with reproaches having
all the bitterness of death in them, Angela became conscious for the
first time, not only that he loved her unspeakably, but also how
boundless was the love which she herself felt for him. Hitherto she had
not been conscious of it; she had been infatuated, fascinated by the
glitter which gathered ever more thickly about the Chevalier. She now
understood, and for the first time, the youth's labouring sighs and
quiet unpretending homage; and now too she also understood her own
embarrassed heart for the first time, knew what had caused the
fluttering sensation in her breast when Duvernet had come, and when she
had heard his voice.

"'It is too late! I have lost him!' was the voice that spoke in
Angela's soul. She had courage enough to beat down the feelings of
wretchedness which threatened to distract her heart; and for that
reason--namely, that she possessed the courage--she succeeded.

"Nevertheless it did not escape the Chevalier's acute perception that
something had happened to powerfully affect Angela; but he possessed
sufficient delicacy of feeling not to seek for a solution of the
mystery, which it was evident she desired to conceal from him. He
contented himself with depriving any dangerous rival of his power by
expediting the marriage; and he made all arrangements for its
celebration with such fine tact, and such a sympathetic appreciation of
his fair bride's situation and sentiments, that she saw in them a new
proof of the good and amiable qualities of her husband.

"The Chevalier's behaviour towards Angela showed him attentive to her
slightest wish, and exhibited that sincere esteem which springs from
the purest affection; hence her memory of Duvernet soon vanished
entirely from her mind. The first cloud that dimmed the bright heaven
of her happiness was the illness and death of old Vertua.

"Since the night when he had lost all his fortune at the Chevalier's
bank he had never touched a card, but during the last moments of his
life play seemed to have taken complete possession of his soul. Whilst
the priest who had come to administer to him the consolation of the
Church ere he died, was speaking to him of heavenly things, he lay with
his eyes closed, murmuring between his teeth, '_perd_, _gagne_,' whilst
his trembling half-dead hands went through the motions of dealing
through a _taille_, of drawing the cards. Both Angela and the Chevalier
bent over him and spoke to him in the tenderest manner, but it was of
no use; he no longer seemed to know them, nor even to be aware of their
presence. With a deep-drawn sigh '_gagne_,' he breathed his last.

"In the midst of her distressing grief Angela could not get rid of an
uncomfortable feeling of awe at the way in which the old man had died.
She again saw in vivid shape the picture of that terrible night when
she had first seen the Chevalier as a most hardened and reprobate
gambler; and the fearful thought entered her mind that he might again,
in scornful mockery of her, cast aside his mask of goodness and appear
in his original fiendish character, and begin to pursue his old course
of life once more.

"And only too soon was Angela's dreaded foreboding to become reality.
However great the awe which fell upon the Chevalier at old Francesco
Vertua's death-scene, when the old man, despising the consolation of
the Church, though in the last agonies of death, had not been able to
turn his thoughts from his former sinful life--however great was the
awe that then fell upon the Chevalier, yet his mind was thereby led,
though how he could not explain, to dwell more keenly upon play than
ever before, so that every night in his dreams he sat at the faro-bank
and heaped up riches anew.

"In proportion as Angela's behaviour became more constrained, in
consequence of her recollection of the character in which she had first
seen the Chevalier, and as it became more and more impossible for her
to continue to meet him upon the old affectionate, confidential footing
upon which they had hitherto lived, so exactly in the same degree
distrust of Angela crept into the Chevalier's mind, since he ascribed
her constraint to the secret which had once disturbed her peace of mind
and which had not been revealed to him. From this distrust were born
displeasure and unpleasantness, and these he expressed in various ways
which hurt Angela's feelings. By a singular cross-action of spiritual
influence Angela's recollections of the unhappy Duvemet began to recur
to her mind with fresher force, and along with these the intolerable
consciousness of her ruined love,--the loveliest blossom that had
budded in her youthful heart. The strained relations between the pair
continued to increase until things got to such a pitch that the
Chevalier grew disgusted with his simple mode of life, thought it dull,
and was smitten with a powerful longing to enjoy the life of the world
again. His star of ill omen began to acquire the ascendancy. The change
which had been inaugurated by displeasure and great unpleasantness was
completed by an abandoned wretch who had formerly been croupier in the
Chevalier's faro-bank. He succeeded by means of the most artful
insinuations and conversations in making the Chevalier look upon his
present walk of life as childish and ridiculous. The Chevalier could
not understand at last how, for a woman's sake, he ever came to leave a
world which appeared to him to contain all that made life of any worth.

"It was not long ere Chevalier Menars' rich bank was flourishing more
magnificently than ever. His good-luck had not left him; victim after
victim came and fell; he amassed heaps of riches. But Angela's
happiness--it was ruined--ruined in fearful fashion; it was to be
compared to a short fair dream. The Chevalier treated her with
indifference, nay even with contempt. Often, for weeks and months
together, she never saw him once; the household arrangements were
placed in the hands of a steward; the servants were being constantly
changed to suit the Chevalier's whims; so that Angela, a stranger in
her own house, knew not where to turn for comfort. Often during her
sleepless nights the Chevalier's carriage stopped before the door, the
heavy strong-box was carried upstairs, the Chevalier flung out a
few harsh monosyllabic words of command, and then the doors of his
distant room were sent to with a bang--all this she heard, and a
flood of bitter tears started from her eyes. In a state of the most
heart-rending anguish she called upon Duvernet time after time, and
implored Providence to put an end to her miserable life of trouble and
suffering.

"One day a young man of good family, after losing all his fortune at
the Chevalier s bank, sent a bullet through his brain in the gambling-
house, and in the very same room even in which the bank was
established, so that the players were sprinkled by the blood and
scattered brains, and started up aghast. The Chevalier alone preserved
his indifference; and, as all were preparing to leave the apartment, he
asked whether it was in accordance with their rules and custom to leave
the bank before the appointed hour on account of a fool who had had no
conduct in his play.

"The occurrence created a great sensation. The most experienced and
hardened gamblers were indignant at the Chevalier's unexampled
behaviour. The voice of the public was raised against him. The bank was
closed by the police. He was, moreover, accused of false play; and his
unprecedented good-luck tended to establish the truth of the charge. He
was unable to clear himself. The fine he was compelled to pay deprived
him of a considerable part of his riches. He found himself disgraced
and looked upon with contempt; then he went back to the arms of the
wife he had ill-used, and she willingly received him, the penitent,
since the remembrance of how her own father had turned aside from the
demoralising life of a gambler allowed a glimmer of hope to rise, that
the Chevalier's conversion might this time, now that he was older,
really have some stamina in it.

"The Chevalier left Paris along with his wife, and went to Genoa,
Angela's birthplace. Here he led a very retired life at first. But all
endeavours to restore the footing of quiet domesticity with Angela,
which his evil genius had destroyed, were in vain. It was not long
before his deep-rooted discontent awoke anew and drove him out of the
house in a state of uneasy, unsettled restlessness. His evil reputation
had followed him from Paris to Genoa; he dare not venture to establish
a bank, although he was being goaded to do so by a power he could
hardly resist.

"At that time the richest bank in Genoa was kept by a French colonel,
who had been invalided owing to serious wounds. His heart burning with
envy and fierce hatred, the Chevalier appeared at the Colonel's table,
expecting that his usual good fortune would stand by him, and that he
should soon ruin his rival. The Colonel greeted him in a merry humour,
such as was in general not customary with him, and said that now the
play would really be worth indulging in since they had got Chevalier
Menars and his good-luck to join them, for now would come the struggle
which alone made the game interesting.

"And in fact during the first _taille_ the cards fell favourable to the
Chevalier as they always had done. But when, relying upon his
invincible luck, he at last cried '_Va banquet_,'[6] he lost a very
considerable sum at one stroke.

"The Colonel, at other times preserving the same even temperament
whether winning or losing, now swept the money towards him with the
most demonstrative signs of extreme delight. From this moment fortune
turned away from the Chevalier utterly and completely. He played every
night, and every night he lost, until his property had melted away to a
few thousand ducats,[7] which he still had in securities.

"The Chevalier had spent the whole day in running about to get his
securities converted into ready money, and did not reach home until
late in the evening. So soon as it was fully night, he was about to
leave the house with his last gold pieces in his pocket, when Angela,
who suspected pretty much how matters stood, stepped in his path and
threw herself at his feet, whilst a flood of tears gushed from her
eyes, beseeching him by the Virgin and all the saints to abandon his
wicked purpose, and not to plunge her in want and misery.

"He raised her up and strained her to his heart with painful passionate
intensity, saying in a hoarse voice, 'Angela, my dear sweet Angela! It
can't be helped now, indeed it must be so; I must go on with it, for I
can't let it alone. But to-morrow--to-morrow all your troubles shall
be over, for by the Eternal Destiny that rules over us I swear that
to-day shall be the last time I will play. Quiet yourself, my dear good
child--go and sleep--dream of happy days to come, of a better life that
is in store for you; that will bring good-luck.' Herewith he kissed his
wife and hurried off before she could stop him.

"Two _tailles_, and the Chevalier had lost all--all. He stood beside
the Colonel, staring upon the faro-table in moody senselessness.

"'Are you not punting any more, Chevalier?' said the Colonel, shuffling
the cards for a new _taille_, 'I have lost all,' replied the Chevalier,
forcing himself with an effort to be calm.

"'Have you really nothing left?' asked the Colonel at the next
_taille_.

"'I am a beggar,' cried the Chevalier, his voice trembling with rage
and mortification; and he continued to stare fiercely upon the table
without observing that the players were gaining more and more
advantages over the banker.

"The Colonel went on playing quietly. But whilst shuffling the cards
for the following _taille_, he said in a low voice, without looking at
the Chevalier, 'But you have a beautiful wife.'

"'What do you mean by that?' burst out the Chevalier angrily. The
Colonel drew his cards without making any answer.

"'Ten thousand ducats or--Angela!' said the Colonel, half turning round
whilst the cards were being cut.

"'You are mad!' exclaimed the Chevalier, who now began to observe on
coming more to himself that the Colonel continually lost and lost
again.

"'Twenty thousand ducats against Angela!' said the Colonel in a low
voice, pausing for a moment in his shuffling of the cards.

"The Chevalier did not reply. The Colonel went on playing, and almost
all the cards fell to the players' side.

"'Taken!' whispered the Chevalier in the Colonel's ear, as the new
_taille_ began, and he pushed the queen on the table.

"In the next draw the queen had lost. The Chevalier drew back from the
table, grinding his teeth, and in despair stood leaning in a window,
his face deathly pale.

"Play was over. 'Well, and what's to be done now?' were the Colonel's
mocking words as he stepped up to the Chevalier.

"'Ah!' cried the Chevalier, quite beside himself, 'you have made me a
beggar, but you must be insane to imagine that you could win my wife.
Are we on the islands? is my wife a slave, exposed as a mere _thing_ to
the brutal arbitrariness of a reprobate man, that he may trade with
her, gamble with her? But it is true! You would have had to pay twenty
thousand ducats if the queen had won, and so I have lost all right to
raise a protest if my wife is willing to leave me to follow you. Come
along with me, and despair when you see how my wife will repel you with
detestation when you propose to her that she shall follow you as your
shameless mistress.'

"'You will be the one to despair,' replied the Colonel, with a mocking,
scornful laugh; 'you will be the one to despair, Chevalier, when Angela
turns with abhorrence from you--you, the abandoned sinner, who have
made her life miserable--and flies into my arms in rapture and delight;
you will be the one to despair when you learn that we have been united
by the blessing of the Church, and that our dearest wishes are crowned
with happiness. You call me insane. Ho! ho! All I wanted to win was the
right to claim her, for of Angela herself I am sure. Ho! ho! Chevalier,
let me inform you that your wife loves _me_--_me_, with unspeakable
love: let me inform you that I am that Duvernet, the neighbour's son,
who was brought up along with Angela, bound to her by ties of the most
ardent affection--he whom you drove away by means of your diabolical
devices. Ah! it was not until I had to go away to the wars that Angela
became conscious to herself of what I was to her; I know all. It was
too late. The Spirit of Evil suggested to me the idea that I might ruin
you in play, and so I took to gambling--followed you to Genoa,--and now
I have succeeded. Away now to your wife.'

"The Chevalier was almost annihilated, like one upon whose head had
fallen the most disastrous blows of fortune. Now he saw to the bottom
of that mysterious secret, now he saw for the first time the full
extent of the misfortune which he had brought upon poor Angela.
'Angela, my wife, shall decide,' he said hoarsely, and followed the
Colonel, who was hurrying off at full speed.

"On reaching the house the Colonel laid his hand upon the latch of
Angela's chamber; but the Chevalier pushed him back, saying, 'My wife
is asleep. Do you want to rouse her up out of her sweet sleep?'

"'Hm!' replied the Colonel. 'Has Angela ever enjoyed sweet sleep since
you brought all this nameless misery upon her?' Again the Colonel
attempted to enter the chamber; but the Chevalier threw himself at his
feet and screamed, frantic with despair, 'Be merciful. Let me keep my
wife; you have made me a beggar, but let me keep my wife.'

"'That's how old Vertua lay at your feet, you miscreant dead to all
feeling, and could not move your stony heart; may Heaven's vengeance
overtake you for it.' Thus spoke the Colonel; and he again strode
towards Angela's chamber.

"The Chevalier sprang towards the door, tore it open, rushed to the bed
in which his wife lay, and drew back the curtains, crying, 'Angela!
Angela!' Bending over her, he grasped her hand; but all at once he
shook and trembled in mortal anguish and cried in a thundering voice,
'Look! look! you have won my wife's corpse.'

"Perfectly horrified, the Colonel approached the bed; no sign of
life!--Angela was dead--dead.

"Then the Colonel doubled his fist and shook it heavenwards, and rushed
out of the room uttering a fearful cry. Nothing more was ever heard of
him."


This was the end of the stranger's tale; and the Baron was so shaken
that before he could say anything the stranger had hastily risen from
the seat and gone away.

A few days later the stranger was found in his room suffering from
apoplexy of the nerves. He never opened his mouth up to the moment of
his death, which ensued after the lapse of a few hours. His papers
proved that, though he called himself Baudasson simply, he was no less
a person than the unhappy Chevalier Menars himself.

The Baron recognised it as a warning from Heaven, that Chevalier Menars
had been led across his path to save him just as he was approaching the
brink of the precipice; he vowed that he would withstand all the
seductions of the gambler's deceptive luck.

Up till now he has faithfully kept his word.


FOOTNOTES TO "GAMBLER'S LUCK":

[Footnote 1: In faro the keeper of the bank plays against all the rest
of the players (who are called _punters_). He has a full pack; they
have but a single complete suit. The punters may stake what they please
upon any card they please, except in so far as rules may have been made
to the contrary by the banker. After the cards have been cut, the
banker proceeds to take off the two top cards one after the other,
placing the first at his right hand, and the second at his left, each
with the face uppermost. Any punter who has staked a card which bears
exactly the same number of "peeps" as the card turned up on the
banker's right hand loses the stake to the latter; but if it bears the
same number of "peeps" as the card on the banker's left, it is the
banker who has to pay the punter a sum equal to the value of his stake.
The twenty-six drawings which a full pack allows the banker to make are
called a _taille_.

This general sketch will help to make the text intelligible for the
most part without going into minor technicalities of the game.]

[Footnote 2: The words "win," "lose," with which the banker places the
two cards on the table, the first to his right for himself, the second
on his left for the punter.]

[Footnote 3: The new _Louis d'or_ were worth somewhat less than the old
coins of the time of Louis XIV. and Louis XV. (See note, p. 175.)]

[Footnote 4: The banker's assistants, who shuffle cards for him, change
cheques, notes, and make themselves generally useful.]

[Footnote 5: Malmaison is a chateau and park situated about six miles
W. of Paris. It once belonged to Richelieu; and there the Empress
Josephine lived, and there she died on the 13th May, 1814.]

[Footnote 6: "_Va bout_" or "_Va banque_" meant a challenge to the bank
to the full amount of the highest limit of play, and if the punter won
he virtually broke the bank.]

[Footnote 7: The first silver ducat is believed to have been struck in
1140 by Roger II., Norman king of Sicily; and ducats have been struck
constantly since the twelfth century, especially at Venice (see _Merchant
of Venice_). They have varied considerably both in weight and fineness, and
consequently in value, at different times and places. Ducats have been
struck in both gold and silver. The early Venetian silver ducat was worth
about five shillings. The name is said, according to one account, to have
been derived from the last word of the Latin legend found on the earliest
Venetian gold coins:--_Sit tibi, Christe, datus, quem tu regis, ducatus_
(duchy); according to another account it is taken from "_il ducato_," the
name generally applied to the duchy of Apulia. (Note, page 98, Vol. I.)]



                       _MASTER JOHANNES WACHT._[1]


At the time when people in the beautiful and pleasant town of Bamberg
lived, according to the well-known saying, well, _i.e._, under the
crook, namely in the end of the previous century, there was also one
inhabitant, a man belonging to the burgher class, who might be called
in every respect both singular and eminent His name was Johannes Wacht,
and his trade was that of a carpenter.

Nature, in weighing and definitely determining her children's
destinies, pursues her own dark inscrutable path; and all that is
claimed by convenience, and by the opinions and considerations which
prevail in man's narrow existence, as determining factors in settling
the true tendency of every man's self. Nature regards as nothing more
than the pert play of deluded children imagining themselves to be wise.
But short-sighted man often finds an insuperable irony in the
contradiction between the conviction of his own mind and the mysterious
ordering of this inscrutable Power, who first nourished and fed him at
her maternal bosom and then deserted him; and this irony fills him with
terror and awe, since it threatens to annihilate his own self.

The mother of Life does not choose for her favourites either the
palaces of the great or the state-apartments of princes. And so she
made our Johannes, who, as the kindly reader will soon learn, might be
called one of her most richly endowed favourites, first see the light
of the world on a wretched heap of straw, in the workshop of an
impoverished master turner in Augsburg. His mother died of want and
from suffering soon after the child's birth, and his father followed
her after the lapse of a few months.

The town government had to take charge of the helpless boy; and when
the Council's master carpenter, a well-to-do, respectable man, who
found in the child's face, notwithstanding that it was pinched with
hunger, certain traits which pleased him,--when he would not suffer the
boy to be lodged in a public institution, but took him into his own
house, in order to bring him up along with his own children, then there
dawned upon Johannes his first genial ray of sunshine, heralding a
happier lot in the future.

In an incredibly short space of time the boy's frame developed, so that
it was difficult to believe that the little insignificant creature in
the cradle had really been the shapeless colourless chrysalis out of
which this pretty, living, golden-locked boy had proceeded, like a
beautiful butterfly. But--what seemed of more importance--along with
this pleasing grace of physical form the boy soon displayed such
eminent intellectual faculties as astonished both his foster-father and
his teachers. Johannes grew up in a workshop which sent forth some of
the best and highest work that mechanical skill was able to produce,
since the master carpenter to the Council was constantly engaged upon
the most important buildings. No wonder, therefore, that the child's
mind, which caught up everything with such keen clear perception,
should be excited thereby, and should feel all his heart drawn towards
a trade the deeper significance of which, in so far as it was concerned
with the material creation of great and bold ideas, he dimly felt deep
down in his soul. The joy that this bent of the orphan's mind
occasioned his foster-father may well be conceived; and hence he felt
persuaded to teach the boy all practical matters himself with great
care and attention, and furthermore, when he had grown into a youth, to
have him instructed by the cleverest masters in all the higher branches
of knowledge connected with the trade, both theoretical and practical,
such as, for instance, drawing, architecture, mechanics, &c.

Our Johannes was four and twenty years of age when the old master
carpenter died; and even at that time his foster-son was a thoroughly
experienced and skilful journeyman in all branches of his craft, whose
equal could not be found far and near. At this period Johannes set out,
along with his true and faithful comrade Engelbrecht, on the usual
journeyman's[2] travels.

Herewith you know, indulgent reader, all that it is needful to know
about the youth of our worthy Wacht; and it only remains to tell you in
a few words how it was that he came to settle in Bamberg and how he
became master there.

After being on the travel for a pretty long time he happened to arrive
at Bamberg on his way home along with his comrade Engelbrecht; and
there they found the Bishop's palace undergoing thorough repair, and
particularly on that side of it where the walls rose up to a great
height out of a very narrow alley or court. Here an entirely new roof
was to be put up, of very great and very heavy beams; and they wanted a
machine, which, whilst taking up the least possible room, would possess
sufficient concentration of power to raise the heavy weights up to the
required height. The Prince-bishop's builder, who knew how to calculate
to a nicety how Trajan's Column in Rome had been made to stand, and
also knew the hundred or more mistakes that had been made which he
should never have laid himself open to the reproach of committing, had
indeed constructed a machine--a sort of crane--which was very nice to
look at, and was praised by everybody as a masterpiece of mechanical
skill; but when the men tried to set the thing agoing, it turned out
that the Herr builder had calculated upon downright Samsons and
Herculeses. The wheels creaked and squeaked horribly; the huge beams
which were hooked on to the crane did not budge an inch; the men
declared, whilst shaking the sweat from their brows, that they would
much sooner carry ships' mainmasts up steep stairs than strain
themselves in this way, and waste all their best strength in vain over
such a machine; and there matters remained.

Standing at some distance, Wacht and Engelbrecht looked on at what they
were doing, or rather, not doing; and it is possible that Wacht may
have smiled just a little at the builder's want of knowledge.

A grey-headed old foreman, recognising the strangers' handicraft from
their clothing, stepped up to them without more ado, and asked Wacht if
he understood how to manage the machine any better since he looked so
cunning about it. "Ah, well!" replied Wacht, without being in the least
disconcerted, "ah well; it's a doubtful point whether I know better,
for every fool thinks he understands everything better than anybody
else; but I can't help wondering that in this part of the country you
don't seem to be acquainted with a certain simple contrivance, which
would easily perform all that the Herr Builder yonder is vainly
tormenting his men to accomplish."

The young man's bold answer nettled the grey-haired old foreman not a
little; he turned away muttering to himself; and very soon it was known
to them all that a young stranger, a carpenter's journeyman, had
laughed the builder together with his machine to scorn, and boasted
that he was acquainted with a more serviceable contrivance. As is
usually the case, nobody paid any heed to it; but the worthy builder as
well as the honourable guild of carpenters in Bamberg were of opinion
that the stranger had not, it was to be presumed, devoured up all the
wisdom of the world, nor would he presume to dictate to and teach old
and experienced masters. "Now do you see, Johannes," said Engelbrecht
to his comrade, "now do you see how your rash boldness has again
provoked against you the people whom we must meet as comrades of the
craft?"

"Who can, who may look on quietly," replied Johannes, whilst his eyes
flashed, "when the poor labourers--I'm sure they're to be pitied--are
tormented so and made to work beyond all reason, and that all to no
purpose. And who knows whether my rash boldness may not, after all,
have beneficial consequences?" And it really turned out to be so.

One single individual, of such pre-eminent intellectual capacity that
no gleam of knowledge, however fugitive it might be, ever escaped his
keen penetration, attached a quite different importance to the youth's
words from what the rest did, for the builder had reported them to him
as the presumptuous saying of a young fledgling carpenter. This man was
the Prince-bishop himself. He had the young man summoned to his
presence, that he might inquire further into the import of his words,
and was not a little astonished both at his appearance and at his
general bearing and character. My kindly reader ought to know what this
astonishment was due to, and now is the time to tell him something more
about Johannes Wacht's exterior and Johannes Wacht's mind and thoughts.

As far as his face and figure were concerned, he might justly be called
a remarkably handsome young fellow, and yet his noble features and
majestic stature did not attain to full perfection until after he had
reached a riper manhood. Æsthetic canons of the cathedral credited
Johannes with having the head of an old Roman; a younger member of the
same fraternity, who even in the severest winter was in the habit of
going about dressed in black silk, and who had read Schiller's
_Fiesko_, maintained, on the contrary, that Johannes Wacht was
Verrina[3] in the flesh.

But the mysterious charm by means of which many highly-gifted men are
enabled to win at once the confidence of those whom they approach does
not consist in beauty and grace of external form alone. We in a certain
sense feel their superiority; yet this feeling is by no means an
oppressive feeling as might be imagined; but, whilst elevating the
spirit, it also excites a certain kind of mental comfort that does us
an incalculable amount of good. All the factors of the physical and
intellectual organism are united into a whole by the most perfect
harmony, so that the contact with the superior soul is like a pure
strain of music; it suffers no discord. This harmony creates that
inimitable deportment, that--one might almost say--comfort in
the slightest movements, through which the consciousness of true
human dignity is proclaimed. This deportment can be taught by no
dancing-master, by no Prince's tutor; and well and rightly does it
deserve its proper name of the distinguished deportment, since it is
stamped as such by Nature herself. Here need only be added that Master
Wacht, unflinchingly constant in generosity, truth, and faithfulness to
his burgher standing, became as the years went on ever more a man of
the people. He developed all the virtues, but at the same time all the
unconquerable prejudices, which are generally wont to form the
unfavourable sides of such men's characters. My kindly reader will soon
learn of what these prejudices consisted.

I have now perhaps sufficiently explained why it was that the young
man's appearance made such an uncommon impression upon the respected
Prince-bishop. For a long time he observed the stalwart young workman
in silence, but with visible satisfaction; then he questioned him about
his previous life. Johannes answered all his questions candidly and
modestly, and finally explained to the Prince with convincing
clearness, that the master-builder's machine, though perhaps fitted for
other purposes, would in the present case never effect what it was
intended to do.

In reply to the Prince's inquiry whether he could indeed trust himself
to specify a machine that would be more suitable for the purpose,
namely, to raise the heavy weights, the young man replied that all he
required to construct such a machine was a single day, and the help of
his comrade Engelbrecht and a few skilful and willing labourers.

It may be conceived with what malicious and mischievous inward joy, and
with what impatience the master-builder, and all who were connected
with him, looked forward to the morrow, when the forward stranger would
be sent off home covered with shame and ridicule. But things turned out
different from what these good-hearted people had expected, or indeed
had wished.

Three capsterns suitably situated and so arranged as to exert an effect
one upon another, and each only manned by eight labourers, elevated the
heavy beams up to the giddy level of the roof with so much ease that
they appeared to dance in the air. From this moment the brave clever
craftsman could date the foundation of his reputation in Bamberg. The
Prince urged him seriously to stay in that town and secure his
mastership; towards the attainment of this end he would lend him all
the assistance he possibly could. Wacht, however, hesitated,
notwithstanding that he was very well pleased with the pleasant and
cheap town of Bamberg. The fact that several important buildings were
just then in course of erection put a heavy weight into the scale for
staying; but the final turn to the balance was given by a circumstance
which is very often wont to decide matters in life; namely, Johannes
Wacht found again quite unexpectedly in Bamberg the beautiful virtuous
maiden whom he had seen several years previously in Erlangen, and into
whose friendly blue eyes he had then peeped a little too much. In a few
words, Johannes Wacht became master, married the virtuous maiden of
Erlangen, and soon contrived through industry and skill to purchase a
pretty house on the Kaulberg,[4] which had a large tract of garden
ground stretching away back up the hill, and there he settled down for
life.

But upon whom does the friendly star of good fortune shine unchangeably
with the same degree of splendour at all times? Providence had decreed
that our honest Johannes should be submitted to a trial under which
perhaps any other man, with less firmness of spirit, would have sunk.
The first fruit of this very happy marriage was a son, an excellent
youth, who appeared to be walking steadfastly in his father's
footsteps. He was eighteen years of age when one night a large fire
broke out not far from Wacht's house. Father and son hurried to the
spot, agreeably to their calling, to help in extinguishing the flames.
Along with other carpenters the son boldly clambered up to the roof in
order to cut away its burning framework, as far as could be done. His
father, who had remained below, as he always did, to direct the
demolition of walls, &c., and to superintend the work of extinction,
looked up and seeing the imminent danger shouted, "Johannes! men! come
down! come down!" Too late--with a fearful crash the wall fell in; the
son lay struck to death in the flames, which leapt up crackling louder
as if in horrid triumph.

But this terrible blow was not the only one which was to fall upon poor
Johannes. An inconsiderate maid-servant burst with a frantic cry of
distress into her mistress' room, who was only partly convalescent from
a distracting nervous disorder, and was in great uneasiness and anxiety
about the fire, the dark-red reflection of which was flickering on the
walls of her chamber. "Your son, your Johannes, is killed; the wall has
buried him and his comrades in the middle of the flames," screamed the
girl. As though stung with sharp, sudden pain, her mistress raised
herself up in the bed; but breathing out a deep sigh, she sank back
upon the cushions again. She was struck with paralysis of the nerves;
she was dead.

"Now let us see," said the citizens, "how Master Wacht will bear his
great trouble. He has often enough preached to us that a man ought not
to succumb to the greatest misfortune, but ought to bear his head erect
and strive with the strength which the Creator has planted in every
man's breast to withstand the misery that threatens him, so long as the
contrary is not evidently decreed in the Eternal counsels. Let us see
now what sort of an example he will give us."

They were not a little astonished when, although the master himself was
not seen in the workshop, yet his journeymen's activity continued
without interruption, so that work never stood still for a single
moment, but went on just as if the master had not experienced any
trouble.

With steadfast courage and firm step, and with his face shining with
all the consolation and all the hope that sprang from his belief--the
true religion rooted deep down in his breast--he had followed the
corpses of his wife and son; and on the noon of the same day after the
funeral, which had taken place in the morning, he said to Engelbrecht,
"Engelbrecht, it is now necessary for me to be alone with my grief,
which is almost breaking my heart, in order that I may become
acquainted with it and strengthen myself against it. You, brother, my
honest, industrious foreman, will know what to do for a week; for that
space I am going to shut myself up in my own chamber."

And indeed for a whole week Master Wacht never left his room. The maid
frequently brought down his food again untouched; and they often heard
in the passage his low, sad cry, cutting them to the quick, "O my wife!
O my Johannes!"

Many of Wacht's acquaintances were of opinion that he ought not by any
means to be left in this solitary state; by brooding constantly over
his grief his mind might become unsettled Engelbrecht, however, met
them with the reply, "Let him alone; you don't know my Johannes. Since
Providence, in its inscrutable purposes, has sent him this hard trial,
it has also given him strength to overcome it, and all earthly
consolation would only outrage his feelings. I know in what manner he
is working his way out of his deep grief." These last words Engelbrecht
uttered with a well-nigh cunning look upon his face; but he would not
give any further information as to what he meant. Wacht's acquaintances
had to content themselves, and leave the unfortunate man in peace.

A week was passed, and early the next morning, which was a bright
summer morning, at five o'clock Master Wacht came out unexpectedly into
the workyard amongst his journeymen, who were all hard at work. Their
axes and saws stopped, whilst they greeted him with a half-sorrowful
cry, "Master Wacht! Our good Master Wacht!"

With a cheerful face, upon which the traces of the struggle against
grief which he had gone through had deepened the expression of sterling
good-nature and given it a most touching character, he stepped amongst
his faithful workpeople and told them how the goodness of Heaven had
sent down the spirit of mercy and consolation upon him, and that he was
now filled with strength and courage to go on and discharge the duties
of his calling. He betook himself to the building in the middle of the
yard, which served for the storage of the tools at night, and for
keeping the plans and memoranda of work, &c. Englebrecht, the
journeymen, the apprentices, followed him in a string. On entering,
Johannes stood rooted to the spot.

His poor boy's axe, which was identified by certain distinctive marks,
had been found with half-charred handle under the ruins of the house
that had been burnt down. His companions had fastened it high up on the
wall directly opposite the door, and, in a rather rude attempt at art,
had painted round it a wreath of roses and cypress-branches; and
underneath the wreath they had placed their beloved comrade's name,
together with the year of his birth and the date of the ill-omened
night when he had met such a violent death.

"Poor Hans!"[5] exclaimed Master Wacht on perceiving this touching
monument of the true faithful spirits, whilst a flood of tears gushed
from his eyes. "Poor Hans! the last time you wielded that tool was for
the welfare of your brothers; but now you are resting in your grave,
and will never more stand by my side and use your earnest industry in
helping to forward a good piece of work."

Then Master Wacht went round the circle and gave each journeyman and
each apprentice a good honest shake of the hand, saying, "Think of
him." Then they all went back to their work, except Engelbrecht, whom
Wacht bid stay with him.

"See here, my old comrade," cried Wacht, "what extraordinary means the
Eternal Power has chosen to help me to overcome my great trouble.
During the days when I was almost heart-broken with grief for my wife
and child, whom I have lost in such a terrible way, there came into my
mind the idea of a highly artistic and complicated trussed girder,
which I had been thinking about for a long time without ever being able
to see my way to the thing clearly. Look here."

Therewith Master Wacht unrolled the drawing at which he had worked
during the past week, and Engelbrecht was greatly astonished at the
boldness and originality of the invention no less than at its
exceptional neatness in the finished state. The mechanical part of the
contrivance was so skilfully and cleverly arranged that even
Engelbrecht, with all his great experience, could not comprehend it at
once; but the greater therefore was his glad admiration when Master
Wacht explained to him the whole construction down to the minutest
details, and he had convinced himself that the putting of the plan into
execution could not fail to be successful.

At this time Wacht's household consisted of only two daughters besides
himself; but it was very soon to be increased.

Albeit a clever and industrious workman, Master Engelbrecht had never
been able to advance so far as that lowest grade of affluence which had
been the reward of Wacht's very earliest undertakings. He had to
contend with the worst enemy of life, against which no human power is
of any avail; it not only threatened to destroy him, but really did
destroy him--namely, consumption. He died, leaving a wife and two boys
almost in want. His wife went back to her own home; and Master Wacht
would willingly have taken both boys into his own house, but this could
only be arranged in the case of the elder, who was called Sebastian. He
was a strong intelligent lad, and having an inclination to follow his
father's trade, promised to make a good clever carpenter. He had,
however, a certain refractoriness of disposition, which at times seemed
to border closely upon badness, as well as being somewhat rude in his
manners, and even often wild and untamable; but these ill qualities
Wacht hoped to conquer by wise training. The younger boy, Jonathan by
name, was exactly the opposite of his elder brother; he was a very
pretty little boy, but rather fragile, his blue eyes laughing with
gentleness and kind-heartedness. This boy had been adopted during his
father's lifetime by Herr Theophilus Eichheimer, a worthy doctor of
law, as well as the first and oldest advocate in the place. Noticing
the boy's remarkably good parts, as well as his most decided bent for
knowledge, he had taken him to train him for a lawyer.

And here one of those unconquerable prejudices of our Wacht came to
light which have been already spoken of above, namely, he was perfectly
convinced in his own mind that everything understood under the name of
law was nothing else but so many phrases artificially hammered out
and put together by lawyers, with the sole purpose of perplexing the
true feeling of right which had been planted in every virtuous man's
breast. Since he could not exactly shut his eyes to the necessity for
law-courts, he discharged all his hatred upon the advocates, whom as a
class he conceived to be, if not altogether miserable deceivers, yet at
any rate such contemptible men that they practised usury in shameful
fashion with all that was most holy and venerable in the world. It will
be seen presently how Wacht, who in all other relations of life was an
intelligent and clear-sighted man, resembled in this particular the
coarsest-minded amongst the lowest of the people. The further prejudice
that he would not admit there was any piety or virtue amongst the
adherents of the Roman Catholic Church, and that he trusted no
Catholic, might perhaps be pardoned him, since he had imbibed the
principles of a well-nigh fanatical Protestantism in Augsburg. It may
be conceived, therefore, how it cut Master Wacht to the heart to see
the son of his most faithful friend entering upon a career that he so
bitterly detested.

The will of the deceased, however, was in his eyes sacred; and it was,
moreover, at any rate certain that Jonathan with his weakly body could
not be trained up to any handicraft that made any very large demand
upon physical strength. Besides, when old Herr Theophilus Eichheimer
talked to the master about the divine gift of knowledge, at the same
time praising little Jonathan as a good intelligent boy, Wacht for the
moment forgot the advocate, and law, and his own prejudice as well. He
fastened all his hopes upon the belief that Jonathan, who bore his
father's virtues in his heart, would give up his profession when he
arrived at riper years, and was able to perceive all the disgrace that
attached to it.

Though Jonathan was a good, quiet boy, fond of studying in-doors,
Sebastian was all the oftener and all the deeper engaged in all kinds
of wild foolish pranks. But since in respect to his handiwork he
followed in his father's footsteps, and no fault could ever be found
with his industry or with the neatness of his work, Master Wacht
ascribed his at times too outrageous tricks to the unrefined untamed
fire of youth, and he forgave the young fellow, observing that he would
be sure to sow his wild oats when on his travels.

These travels Sebastian soon set out upon; and Master Wacht heard
nothing more from him until Sebastian, on attaining his majority, wrote
from Vienna, begging for his little patrimonial inheritance, which
Master Wacht sent to him correct to the last farthing, receiving in
return a receipt for it drawn up by one of the Vienna courts.

Just the same sort of difference in character as distinguished the
Engelbrechts was noticeable also between Wacht's two daughters, of whom
the elder was called Rettel[6] and the younger Nanni.

It may here be hastily remarked in passing, that, according to the
taste generally prevalent in Bamberg, the Christian name Nanni is the
prettiest and finest a girl can well have. And so, kindly reader, if
you ever ask a pretty child in Bamberg, "What is your name, my little
angel?" the little thing will be sure to cast down her eyes in shy
confusion and tug at her black silk apron, and whisper in friendly
fashion with a slight blush upon her cheeks, "'N! 'N! Nanni, y'r
honour."

Rettel, Wacht's elder daughter, was a fat little thing, with red rosy
cheeks and right friendly black eyes, with which she looked boldly into
the face of the sunshine of life, as it had dawned upon her, without
blinking. In respect of her education and her character she had not
risen a hair's breadth above the sphere of the handicraftsman. She
gossiped with her female relatives and friends, and liked dressing
herself, though in gay colours and without taste; but her own peculiar
element, wherein she "lived and moved, and had her being," was the
kitchen. Nobody's hare-ragout and geese giblets, not even those of the
most experienced cook far and near, ever turned out so tasty as hers;
in the preparation of sauces she was a perfect adept; vegetables, such
as savoy and cauliflower, were dressed by Rettel's cunning hand in a
way that could not be beaten, since she knew in a moment through a
subtle unfailing instinct when there was too much or too little
dripping; and her short cakes put in the shade the most successful
productions of a similar kind at the most sumptuous of church
feasts.[7]

Father Wacht was very well satisfied with his daughter's cooking; and
he once hazarded the opinion that the Prince-bishop could not have more
delicious vermicelli noodles[8] on his table than those which Rettel
made. This remark sank so deeply into the good girl's pleased heart,
that she was preparing to send a huge dish of the said vermicelli
noodles up to the Prince-bishop, and that too on a fast day.
Fortunately Master Wacht got scent of the plan in time, and amidst
hearty laughter prevented the bold idea from being put into execution.

Not only was stout little Rettel a clever housekeeper, a perfect cook,
and at the same time a pattern of good nature and childish affection
and fidelity, but like a well-trained child she also loved her father
very tenderly.

Now characters of Wacht's class, in spite of their earnestness, often
display a certain ironical waggishness which comes into play on easy
provocation, and lends an agreeable charm to life, just as the deep
brook greets with its silver curling waves the light breeze that skims
its surface.

It could not fail but that good Rettel's ways and doings frequently
provoked this sly humour; and so the relations between Wacht and his
daughter were invested with a curiously modified charm of colour. The
indulgent reader will come across instances later on; for the present
it may suffice to mention one such here, which certainly deserves
to be called entertaining. In Master Wacht's house there was a quiet,
good-looking young man, who held a post in the Prince's exchequer
office and drew a very good income. In straightforward German fashion
he sued the father for the hand of his elder daughter, and Master
Wacht, if he would not do an injustice to the young man as well as to
his Rettel, could not help but grant him permission to visit the house,
that he might have opportunities to try and win the girl's affections.
Rettel, informed of the man's purpose, received him with very friendly
looks, in which might be read at times, "At our wedding, dear, I shall
bake the cake myself."

Master Wacht, however, was not altogether well pleased with his
daughter's growing liking for the Herr Administrator of the Prince's
revenues, since the Herr Administrator himself didn't seem to him to be
all that he should be. In the first place, the man was as a matter of
course a Roman Catholic, and in the second place Wacht thought he
perceived in him on nearer acquaintance a certain sneaking
dissimulation of manner, which pointed to a mind ill at ease. He would
willingly have got the undesirable suitor out of the house again if he
could have done so without hurting Rettel's feelings. Master Wacht
observed him closely, and knew how to make shrewd and cunning use of
his observations. He perceived that the Herr Administrator did not set
much store by well-cooked dishes, but swallowed down everything in the
same indiscriminate fashion, and that, moreover, in a disagreeably
repulsive way. One Sunday, when the Herr Administrator was dining at
Master Wacht's, as he usually did on that day, the latter began to heap
up praises and commendations upon every dish which busy Rettel caused
to be served up; and not only did he call upon the Herr Administrator
to join him in his encomiums, but he also asked him pointedly what he
thought of various ways of dressing dishes. The Herr Administrator
replied somewhat dryly that he was a temperate and abstemious man,
accustomed from his youth up to the greatest frugality. At noon, for
dinner, he was satisfied with a spoonful or two of soup and a little
piece of beef, but the latter must be cooked hard, since so cooked a
smaller quantity sufficed to satisfy the hunger, and there was no need
to overload the stomach with large pieces. For his evening meal he
generally managed upon a saucer of good egg and butter beaten up
together and a very small glass of liquor; moreover, the only other
refreshment he allowed himself was a glass of extra beer at six o'clock
in the evening, taken if possible in the good fresh air. It may be
imagined what looks Rettelchen fixed upon the unfortunate
administrator. And yet the worst was still to come. Bavarian puffy
noodles were next served, and they were swollen up to such a big, big
size that they seemed to be the masterpiece of the table. The frugal
Herr Administrator took his knife and with the most cool-blooded
indifference cut the noodle which was passed to him into many pieces.
Rettel rushed out of the room with a loud cry of despair.

I must inform the reader who does not know the secret of eating
Bavarian puffy noodles that when eaten they must be cleverly pulled to
pieces, since when cut they lose all taste and bring disgrace upon the
professional pride of the cook who made them.

From that moment Rettel looked upon the frugal Herr Administrator as
the most abominable man under the face of the sun. Master Wacht did not
contradict her in any way; and so the reckless iconoclast in the
province of cookery lost his bride for ever.

Though the chequered figure of little Rettel has cost almost too many
words, yet a very few strokes will suffice to put clearly before my
reader's eyes the face, figure, and character of pretty, graceful
Nanni.

It is only in South Germany, particularly in Franconia, and almost
exclusively in the burgher classes, that you can meet with such elegant
and delicate figures, such good and pleasing angelic little faces,
where there is a sweet heavenly yearning in the blue eyes and a divine
smile upon the rosy lips, as Nanni's; from them we at once see that the
old painters had not far to seek the originals of their Madonnas. Of
exactly the same type in figure, face, and character was the Erlangen
maiden whom Master Wacht had married; and Nanni was a most faithful
copy of her mother. With respect to her genuine tender womanliness and
with respect to that beneficial culture which is nothing but true tact
under all conditions of life, her mother was the exact counterpart of
what Master Wacht was with respect to his distinguishing qualities as
man. Perhaps the daughter was less serious and firm than her mother,
but on the other hand she was the perfection of maidenly sweetness; and
the only fault that could be found with her was that her womanly
tenderness of feeling and a sensitiveness which, as a consequence of
her weakened organisation, was easily provoked to a tearful and
unhealthy degree, made her too delicate and fragile for the realities
of life.

Master Wacht could not look at the dear child without emotion, and he
loved her in a way that is seldom found in the case of strong
characters like his. It is possible that he may have always spoiled her
a little; and it will soon be shown in what way her tenderness so often
received that special material and encouragement which made it often
degenerate into sickly sentimentality.

Nanni loved to dress with extreme simplicity, but in the finest stuffs
and according to cuts which rose above the limits of her station in
life. Wacht, however, let her do as she liked, since when dressed
according to her own taste the dear child looked so very pretty and
engaging.

I must now hasten to destroy an idea which perhaps might arise in
the mind of any reader who should happen to have been in Bamberg
several years ago, and so would call to mind the hideous and tasteless
head-dress with which at that time even the prettiest maidens were wont
to disfigure their faces--the flat hood fitting close to the head and
not allowing the smallest little lock of hair to be seen, a black and
not over-broad ribbon crossing close over the forehead, and meeting
behind low down on the neck in an outrageously ugly bow. This ribbon
afterwards continued to increase in width until it reached the
preposterous breadth of nearly half an ell; hence it had to be
specially ordered in the manufactory and strengthened inside with stiff
card-board, so that it projected above the head like a steeple-hat;
just above the hollow of the neck they wore a bow, which owing to its
breadth stuck out far beyond the shoulders, and resembled the outspread
wings of an eagle; and along the temples and about the ears tiny curls
crept out from beneath the hood. And strange to say, many a fine
Bamberg beauty looked quite charming in this head-covering.

It formed a very picturesque sight to stand behind a funeral procession
and watch it set itself in motion. It is the custom in Bamberg for the
burghers to be invited to attend the funeral procession of a deceased
person by the so-called "death-woman," who in a croaking voice and in
the name of the deceased screams out her invitation in the street, in
front of the house of the persons she is inviting; as, for instance,
"Herr so-and-so, or Frau so-and-so, beg you to pay them the last
honours." The good gossips and the young maidens, who in general seldom
get out into the open air, fail not to put in an appearance in great
numbers; and when the troop of women sets itself in motion and the wind
catches the immense ends of the bows, it can be likened to nothing else
but a huge flock of black ravens or eagles suddenly startled and just
beginning their rustling flight.

The indulgent reader is therefore requested not to picture pretty Nanni
in any other head-dress except a neat little Erlangen hood.

However objectionable it was to Master Wacht that Jonathan was to
belong to a class which he hated, he did not by any means make the boy,
or later the youth, feel the consequences of his displeasure. Rather he
was always very pleased to see the good quiet Jonathan look in after
his day's work was done, to spend the evening with his daughters and
old Barbara. But then Jonathan also wrote the finest hand that could
be seen anywhere; and it afforded Master Wacht no little joy, for
he was uncommonly fond of good handwriting, when his Nanni, whose
writing-master Jonathan had installed himself to be, began gradually
after a time to write the same elegant hand as her master.

In the evening Master Wacht himself was either busy in his own
work-room, or, as was often the case, he visited a beer-house, where
he met with his fellow-craftsmen and the gentlemen of the council, and
in his way enlivened the company with his own rare wit. Meanwhile in
the house at home Barbara busily kept her distaff on the whirl and
whizz, whilst Rettel balanced the house-keeping accounts, or thought
out the preparation of new and hitherto unheard-of dishes, or related
again to the old woman, mingled with a good deal of loud laughter, what
she had learned in confidence from her various gossips in the town.

And the youth Jonathan? He sat at the table with Nanni; and she also
wrote and drew, of course under his guidance. And yet to sit writing
and drawing the whole evening through is a downright tiring piece of
business; hence it was no unfrequent occurrence for Jonathan to draw
some neatly-bound book out of his pocket and read it to pretty,
sensitive Nanni in a low softly-whispering tone.

Through old Eichheimer's influence Jonathan had won the patronage of
the minor canon, who designated Master Wacht a real Verrina. The canon,
Count von Kösel, a man of genius, lived and revelled in Goethe's and
Schiller's works, which were just at that time beginning to rise like
bright streaming meteors, overtopping all others, above the horizon of
the literary sky. He thought, and rightly, that he discerned a similar
tendency in his attorney's young clerk, and took a special delight not
only in lending him the works in question, but in reading them in
common with him, and so helping him to thoroughly digest them.

But Jonathan won his way to the Count's heart in an especial way,
because he expressed a very favourable opinion of the verses which the
Count patched together out of high-sounding phrases in the sweat of his
own brow, and because he was, to the Count's unspeakable satisfaction,
edified and touched by them to the proper pitch. Nevertheless it is a
fact that Jonathan's taste in æsthetic matters was really greatly
improved by his intercourse with the intellectual, though somewhat
euphuistic, Count.

My kind reader now knows what class of books Jonathan used to take out
of his pocket and read to pretty Nanni, and can form a just conception
of the way in which this kind of writings would inevitably excite a
girl mentally organised as Nanni was. "O star of the gloaming eve!"
Would not Nanni's tears flow when her attractive writing-master began
in this low and solemn fashion?

It is a fact of common experience that young people who are in the
habit of singing tender love-duets together very easily put themselves
in the places of the fictitious characters of the song, and come to
look upon the duets in question as giving both the melody and the text
for the whole of life; so also the youth who reads a love romance to a
maiden very readily becomes the hero of the story, whilst the girl
dreams herself into the role of the heroine. In the case of such fitly
adapted spirits as Jonathan and Nanni such incitement as this even was
not required to provoke them to love each other. They were one heart
and one soul; the maiden and the youth were, so to speak, but one
brightly burning flame of love, pure and inextinguishable. Of his
daughter's tender passion Father Wacht had not the slightest inkling;
but he was soon to learn all.

Through unwearied industry and genuine talent Jonathan succeeded in a
brief space of time in completing his legal studies and qualifying for
admission to the grade of advocate; and, as a matter of fact, his
admission soon followed. He intended one Sunday to surprise Master
Wacht with this glad news, which established him upon a secure footing
for life. But imagine how he trembled with dismay when Wacht bent his
eyes upon him, blazing with anger; he had never seen him look so
passionately wrathful. "What!" cried Wacht, in a tone that made the
walls ring again, "what! you miserable good-for-nothing fellow! Nature
has neglected your body, but richly endowed you with splendid
intellectual gifts, and these you are intending to abuse in a shameless
way, like a bad crafty knave, and so putting your knife at your own
mother's throat? You mean to say you are going to traffic in justice as
in some cheap paltry ware in the public market, and weigh it out with
false scales to the poor peasants and the oppressed burgher, who in
vain utter their plaintive cries before the soft-cushioned seat of the
inexorable judge, and going to get yourself paid with blood-stained
pence which the poor man hands to you whilst bathed in tears? Will you
fill your brains with lying laws of man's contriving, and practise
knavish tricks and schemes, and make a lucrative business of it to
fatten yourself upon? Is all your father's virtue, tell me, vanished
from your heart? Your father--your name is Engelbrecht--no! when I hear
you called so I will not believe that it is the name of my comrade, who
was a pattern of virtue and honesty, but I must believe that it is
Satan, who in the apish mockery of Hell is shouting the name across his
grave, and so beguiling men to take the young lying lawyer's cub for
the real son of that excellent carpenter Gottfried Engelbrecht. Begone!
you are no longer my foster-son! You are a serpent whom I will pluck
from my bosom, whom I will disown"----

At this point Nanni rushed in and threw herself at Master Wacht's feet
with a piercing heart-rending cry of distress. "Father!" she cried,
completely overcome by her incontrollable anguish and unbridled
despair, "father, if you disown him, you will disown me also--me, your
own favourite daughter; he is mine, my Jonathan; I can never, never
part with him in this world."

The poor child fell down in a swoon and struck her head against the
closet-door, so that the drops of blood trickled down her delicate
white forehead. Barbara and Rettel ran in and carried the insensible
girl to the sofa. Jonathan stood like a statue, as if thunderstruck,
incapable of the slightest movement. It would be difficult to describe
the inner emotions which revealed themselves on Wacht's countenance.
His face, instead of being flushed with the redness of anger, was now
pale as a corpse's; there only remained a dark fire gleaming in his
fixed set eyes; the cold perspiration of death appeared to be standing
on his forehead. After gazing unchangeably before him for some minutes
without speaking, he relieved his labouring breast by saying in a
significant tone, "So that was it!" then he strode slowly towards the
door, where he again stood still, and turning half round towards the
women, cried, "Dont' spare _eau de Cologne_, and this foolery will soon
be over."

Shortly afterwards the Master was seen to leave the house at a quick
pace and bend his steps towards the hills. It may be conceived in what
great trouble and distress the family was plunged. Rettel and Barbara
could not for the life of them imagine what terrible thing had
happened; but when the Master did not return to dinner, but stayed out
till late at night--a thing he had never done before--they were greatly
agitated with anxiety and fear. At length they heard him coming, heard
him open the street-door, bang it violently to, ascend the stairs with
strong firm footsteps, and lock himself in his own chamber.

Poor Nanni soon recovered herself again and wept quietly to herself.
But Jonathan did not stop short of wild outbreaks of inconsolable
despair, and several times spoke of shooting himself. It is a fortunate
thing that pistols are articles which do not necessarily belong to the
furniture of sentimental young lawyers; or at least, if they are to be
found amongst their effects, they generally have no lock or else won't
go off.

After he had run through certain streets like a madman, Jonathan's
course led him instinctively to his noble patron, to whom he lamented
all his unheard-of misery in outbreaks of the most violent passion. It
need hardly be added, it is so self-evident a thing, that the young
love-smitten advocate was, according to his own desperate assertions,
the first and only individual in all the wide world whom such a
terrible fate had befallen, wherefore he reproached destiny and all the
powers of enmity as having conspired together against him.

The canon listened to him calmly and with a certain share of interest;
but nevertheless he did not appear to appreciate the full extent of the
trouble which the young lawyer imagined he felt "My dear young friend,"
said the canon, taking the advocate by the hand in a friendly way, and
leading him to a seat, "my dear young friend, hitherto I have looked
upon our carpenter Herr Johannes Wacht as a great man in his way, but I
now perceive that he is also a very great fool. Great fools are like
jibbing horses; it's hard to make them move; but once they have been
got to move, they trot merrily along the way they are wanted to go. In
spite of the old man's senseless anger you ought not by any means to
give up your beautiful Nanni in consequence of the unpleasant scene of
today. But before proceeding to talk further about your love-affair,
which is indeed very charming and romantic, let us turn to and discuss
a little breakfast. It was noon when you went to old Wacht, and I don't
dine until four o'clock in Seehof."[9]

A very appetising breakfast indeed was served up on the little table at
which they both sat--the canon and the advocate--Bayonne hams,
garnished round about with slices of Portuguese onions, a cold larded
partridge of the red kind and a foreigner to boot, truffles cooked in
red wine, a dish of Strasburg _pâtés de foie gras_, finally a plate of
genuine Strachino[10] and another with butter, as yellow and shining as
lilies of the valley.

The indulgent reader who loves such dainty butter, and ever goes to
Bamberg, will be pleased at getting there the finest and best, but will
also at the same time be annoyed when he learns that the inhabitants,
from mistaken notions of housekeeping, melt it down to a grease, which
generally tastes rancid and spoils all the food.

Besides, good dry champagne was sending up its pearly sparkles in a
beautifully-cut crystal decanter. The canon had not unloosed the napkin
from his neck, but had let it stay where it was when he had received
the young lawyer; and, after the footman had quickly supplied a second
cover, he proceeded to place the choicest morsels before the despairing
lover and to pour out wine for him; and then he set to work heartily
himself. Some one once had the hardihood to maintain that the stomach
is equivalent to all the other physical and intellectual parts of man
put together. That is a profane and abominable doctrine; but this much
is certain, that the stomach is like a despotic tyrant or ironical
mystifier, and often carries through its own will. And this was the
case in the present instance. For instinctively, without being clearly
conscious of what he was about, the young lawyer had in a few minutes
devoured a huge piece of Bayonne ham, created terrible devastation
amongst the Portuguese garniture, put out of sight half a partridge, no
inconsiderable quantity of trufles, and also more Strasburg _pâtés_
than was exactly becoming in a young advocate full of trouble.
Moreover, they both relished the champagne so much that the footman
soon had to fill up the crystal decanter a second time.

The advocate felt a pleasant and beneficial degree of warmth penetrate
his vitals, and all he experienced of his trouble was a singular sort
of shiver, which exactly resembled electric shocks, causing pain but
doing good. He proved himself susceptible to the consolations of his
patron, who, after comfortably sipping up his last glass of wine and
elegantly wiping his mouth, settled himself into position and began as
follows:--

"In the first place, my dear good friend, you must not be so foolish as
to imagine that you are the only man on earth to whom a father has
refused the hand of his daughter. But that's nothing to do with the
present case. As I have already told you, the old fool's reason for
hating you is so preposterously absurd that it cannot last long; and
whether it appear to you at this moment nonsensical or not, I can
hardly bear the thought of all ending in a tame commonplace wedding, so
that the whole thing may be summed up in the few words,--Peter has
wooed Grete,[11] and Peter and Grete are man and wife.

"The situation is, however, so far new and grand in that it is merely
hatred against a class to which the beloved foster-son belongs that can
furnish the sole lever for setting a new and special tragic development
in motion; but to the real matter at issue! You are a poet, my friend,
and that alters everything. Your love, your trouble, ought to appear in
your eyes as something magnificent, in the full splendours of the
sacred art of poesy. You will hear the strains of the lyre struck by
the muse who is nearest akin to you, and in the divine gush of
inspiration you will receive the winged words in which to express your
love and your unhappiness. As a poet you might be called at this moment
the happiest man on the earth, since, your heart having been really
wounded as deep as it can be wounded, your heart's blood is now gushing
out. You require, therefore, no artificial incitement to allure you to
a poetic mood; and mark my words, this period of trouble will enable
you to produce something great and admirable.

"I must draw your attention to the fact that in these first moments of
your unhappiness there will be mingled with it a peculiar and very
unpleasant feeling which cannot be woven into any poetry; but it is a
feeling which soon vanishes away. Let me make you understand. For
example, after the unfortunate lover has had a good sound drubbing from
the enraged father, and has been kicked out of the house, and the
outraged mamma has locked the young lady in her chamber, and repelled
the attempted storming on the part of the desperate lover by the armed
domestics of the house, and when plebeian fists have even entertained
no shyness of the very finest cloth" (here the canon sighed somewhat),
"then this fermented prose of miserable vulgarity must evaporate in
order that the pure poetic unhappiness of love may settle as sediment
You have been fearfully scolded, my dear young friend, this was the
bitter prose that had to be surmounted; you have surmounted it, and so
now give yourself up entirely to poetry. Here--here are Petrarch's
_Sonnets_ and Ovid's _Elegies_; take them, read them, write yourself,
and come and read to me what you have written. Perhaps in the meantime
I also may experience a disappointment in love, of which I am not
altogether deprived of hopes, since I shall in all likelihood fall in
love with a stranger lady who has stopped at the 'White Lamb' in the
Steinweg,[12] and whom Count Nesselstädt maintains to be a paragon of
beauty and grace, albeit he has only caught a fugitive glimpse of her
at the window. Then, my friend, like the Dioscuri, we will travel the
same bright path of poetry and disappointed love. Note, my good fellow,
what a great advantage my station in life gives me, for every affection
which I conceive, being a longing and hoping which can never be
gratified, rises to tragic intensity. But now, my friend, out, out,
away into the woods as you ought to."

It would doubtless be very wearisome to my kind reader, if not
unbearable, were I to describe here at length, in detail and with all
sorts of over-choice and exquisite words and phrases, all that Jonathan
and Nanni did in their trouble. Such things may be found in any
indifferent romance; and it is often amusing enough to see into what
postures the struggling author throws himself, merely in order to
appear original. On the other hand, it seems to be of great importance
to follow Master Wacht on his walks, or rather in his mental
journeyings.

It must appear very remarkable that a man of such strong self-reliant
spirit as Master Wacht, who had borne with unshaken courage and
unbending steadfastness the most terrible misfortunes that had befallen
him, and that would have crushed many less stouthearted spirits, could
be thus put beside himself with passion at an occurrence which any
other father of a family would have regarded as an ordinary event and
one easy to remedy, and would in fact have set about remedying it in
some way or other, good or bad. Of course the indulgent reader is well
aware that this behaviour of Wacht's must be traced to some good
psychological reason. The thought that poor Nanni's love for innocent
Jonathan was a misfortune which would exercise a pernicious influence
upon the whole course of his subsequent life was only due to the
perverse discord in Wacht's soul. But the very fact that this discord
was able to go on making itself heard in the otherwise harmonical
character of this thoroughly noble man, embraced the impossibility of
smothering it or reducing it completely to silence.

Wacht had made his acquaintance with the feminine character in one who
possessed it in a simple but also at the same time grand and noble
form. His own wife had enabled him to see into the depths of the real
woman's nature, as in a bright mirror-like lake. He saw in her the true
heroine who fought with weapons that were constantly unconquerable. His
orphan wife had forfeited the inheritance of an immensely rich aunt,
she had forfeited the love of all her relatives, and she had opposed
with unshaken courage the persistent efforts of the Church, which
embittered her life with many a hard trial, when, though herself
trained up in the Catholic religion, she had married the Protestant
Wacht, and shortly before had gone over to this faith in Augsburg,
impelled thereto by the pure enthusiasm of conviction. All this now
passed through Master Wacht's mind; and as he thought upon the
sentiments he had felt when he led the maiden to the altar, the warm
tears ran down his cheeks. Nanni was her mother over again; Wacht loved
the child with an intensity of affection that was quite unparalleled,
and this fact was of itself more than enough to make him reject as
abominable, nay, as fiendishly cruel, any attempt to separate the
lovers that appeared in the remotest degree to savour of violence.
When, on the other hand, he reflected upon the whole course of
Jonathan's previous life, he was obliged to admit that all the virtues
of a good, industrious, and modest youth could not easily be so happily
united in another as they were in Jonathan, albeit his handsome
expressive face bore the impress of traits which were perhaps a little
too soft, and almost effeminate, and his diminutive and weak but
elegant bodily frame bespoke a tender intellectual spirit. When he
reflected further that the two children had always been together, and
how evident had been their mutual liking for each other, he was really
puzzled to understand how it was that he had not expected beforehand
what had now really happened, and so could have taken precautions in
time. Now it was too late.

He was urged on through the hills by a mood of mind which set his whole
being in a turmoil of distraction; such a state as this he had hitherto
never experienced, and he was inclined to take it for a seduction of
Satan, since several thoughts arose in his mind which in the very next
minute he could not help regarding as diabolical. He could not recover
his self-composure, still less form any decisive plan of action. The
sun was beginning to set when he reached the village of Buch;[13]
turning into the hotel, he ordered something good to eat and a bottle
of excellent beer from the rock.[14]

"Ah! a very fine evening! Ah! what a remarkable occurrence to see our
good Master Wacht here in beautiful Buch, on this glorious Sunday
evening. To tell you the truth, I can hardly believe my eyes. Your
respected family is, I presume, somewhere else in the country." Thus
was Master Wacht addressed by some one with a shrill, squeaking voice.
The man who thus interrupted his meditations was no less a personage
than Herr Pickard Leberfink, a decorator and gilder by trade, and one
of the drollest men in the world.

Leberfink's exterior struck everybody's eye as something eccentric and
extraordinary. He was of small size, thick and stumpy, with a body too
long, and with short bowed legs; his face was not at all ugly, but
good-natured, with round red little cheeks and small grey eyes that
were by no means wanting in vivacity. Pursuant to an old obsolete
French fashion, he was elaborately curled and powdered every day;
but it was on Sundays that his costume was especially striking. For
then he wore, to take one example, a striped silk coat of a lilac and
canary-yellow colour with immense silver-plated buttons, a waistcoat
embroidered in gay tints, satin hose of a brilliant green, white and
light-blue silk stockings, delicately striped, and shining black
polished shoes, upon which glittered large buckles set with precious
stones. If to this we add that his gait was the elegant gait of a
dancing master, that he had a certain cat-like suppleness of body, and
that his little legs had a strange knack of knocking the heels together
on fitting occasions,--for instance, when leaping across a gutter,--it
could not fail but that the little decorator got himself singled out
everywhere as an extraordinary creature. With other aspects of his
character my kindly reader will make an acquaintance presently.

Master Wacht was not altogether displeased at having his painful
meditations interrupted in this way. Herr, or better Monsieur Pickard
Leberfink, decorator and gilder, was a great fop, but at the same
time the most honest and faithful soul in the world; he was a very
liberal-minded man, was generous to the poor, and always ready to serve
his friends. He only practised his calling now and again, merely out of
love for it, since he had no need of business. He was rich; his father
had left him some landed property, having a magnificent rock-cellar,
which was only separated from Master Wacht's premises by a large
garden. Master Wacht was fond of the droll little Leberfink on account
of his downright genuineness, and also because he was a member of the
small Protestant community which was permitted to exercise the rites of
its faith in Bamberg. With conspicuous alacrity and willingness
Leberfink accepted Wacht's invitation to join him at his table, and
drink another bottle of beer from the rock along with him. He began the
conversation by saying that for a long time he had been wanting to call
upon Master Wacht at his own house, since he had two things he wished
to talk to him about, one of which was almost making his heart burst.
Wacht made answer, he thought Leberfink knew him, and must be aware
that anybody who had anything to say to him, no matter what it was,
might speak out his thoughts frankly. Leberfink now imparted to the
Master in confidence that the wine-dealer who owned the beautiful
garden, with the massive pavilion, which lay between their two
properties, had privately offered to sell it to him. He thought he
recollected having heard Wacht once express a wish how very much he
should like to own this garden; if now the opportunity was come to
satisfy this wish, he (Leberfink) offered his services as negotiator,
and expressed his willingness to settle everything for him.

It was a fact that Master Wacht had for some time entertained a desire
to enlarge his property by the addition of a good garden, and
especially so since Nanni was always longing for the beautiful shrubs
and trees which gave out such a luxurious abundance of sweet scents in
this very garden. Moreover, it seemed to him now as if Fortune were
graciously smiling upon him, and just at the time when poor Nanni had
experienced such bitter trouble, an opportunity for affording her
pleasure should present itself so unexpectedly. The Master at once
settled all the needful particulars with the obliging decorator, who
promised that on the following Sunday Wacht should be able to stroll
through the garden as its owner. "Come now," cried Master Wacht, "come
now, friend Leberfink, out with it--what is it that is making your
heart burst?"

Then Herr Pickard Leberfink fell to sighing in the most pitiable
manner; and he pulled the most extraordinary faces, and ran on with
such a string of gibberish that nobody could make either head or tail
of it. Master Wacht, however, knew what to make of it, for he shook his
head, saying, "Ah! that may be contrived;" and he smiled to himself at
the wonderful sympathy of their related spirits.

This meeting with Leberfink had certainly done Master Wacht good; he
believed he had conceived a plan by virtue of which he should manage
not only to stand against, but even to overcome, the severest and most
terrible misfortune which, according to his infatuated way of thinking,
had come upon him. The only thing that can declare the verdict of the
tribunal within him is the course of action he adopted; and perhaps,
kindly reader, this tribunal faltered for the first time. Here is the
place to offer a brief remark, which, perhaps, would not very well lend
itself for insertion later. As so frequently happens in such cases, old
Barbara had interfered in the matter, and been very urgent in her
accusations of the loving pair to Master Wacht, making it a special
charge against them that they had always read worldly books together.
The Master caused her to bring two or three of the books which Nanni
had. One was a work of Goethe's; unfortunately it is not known which
work it was. After turning over the leaves, he gave it back to Barbara,
that she might restore it to the place whence she had secretly taken
it. Not a single word about Nanni's reading ever escaped him; once
only, when some seasonable occasion presented at dinner, did he say,
"There is a remarkable mind rising up amongst us Germans; God grant him
success! My days are over; such things are not for my age, nor yet for
my calling; but you--Jonathan? I envy you many things that will come to
light in the days to come." Jonathan understood Wacht's oracular words
the more easily, since some days previously he had discovered by chance
_Götz von Berlichingen_[15] lying on the Master's work-table, half
covered by other papers. Wacht's great mind, whilst acknowledging the
uncommon genius of the new writer, had also perceived the impossibility
of beginning a new flight himself.

Next day poor Nanni hung her head like a sick dove. "What's the matter
with my dear child?" asked Master Wacht in the tender sympathetic tone
that was so peculiarly his own, and with which he knew how to stir
everybody's heart, "what's the matter with my dear child? are you ill?
I can't believe it. You don't get out into the fresh air sufficiently.
See here now; I have a long time been wishing you would for once in a
way bring me my tea out to the workshop. Do so to-day; we may expect a
most beautiful evening. You will come, won't you, Nanni, my darling?
You will butter me some rolls yourself--that will make them ever so
good." Therewith Master Wacht took the dear girl in his arms and
stroked her brown curls back from her forehead, and he kissed her and
pressed her to his heart, and tenderly caressed her,--treating her, in
fact, in the most affectionate way that he knew how; and he was well
aware of the irresistible charm of his manner at such times. A flood of
tears gushed from Nanni's eyes, and with some difficulty all she could
get out was, "Father! father!" "Well, well!" said Wacht, and a strain
of embarrassment might have been detected in his voice, "all may yet
turn out well."

A week passed; naturally enough Jonathan had not shown himself, and the
Master had not mentioned him with a single syllable. On Sunday, when
the soup was standing smoking on the table, and the family were about
to take their seats for dinner. Master Wacht asked gaily, "And where is
our Jonathan?" Rettel, with a view to sparing poor Nanni, replied in an
undertone, "Father, don't you know then what's taken place? Wouldn't
Jonathan of course be shy of showing himself here in your presence?"
"Oh the monkey!" said Wacht, laughing; "let Christian run over at once
and fetch him."

It need hardly be said that the young advocate failed not to put in an
appearance immediately, nor that during the first moments after his
arrival a dark oppressive thunder-cloud, as it were, hovered over them
all. At length, however, Master Wacht's unconstrained good spirits,
seconded by Leberfink's droll sallies, succeeded in calling forth a
tone of conversation which, if it could not be called exactly merry,
yet managed to maintain the balance of concord pretty evenly. After
dinner Master Wacht said, "Let us get a little fresh air and stroll out
to my workyard." And they did so.

Monsieur Pickard Leberfink deliberately kept close to Rettelchen's
side, who was a pattern of friendliness towards him, since the polite
decorator had exhausted himself in praising her dishes, and had
confessed that never so long as he had lived, not even when dining with
the ecclesiastics in Banz,[16] had he enjoyed a more delicious meal. As
Master Wacht now hurried on at a quick pace right across the middle of
the workyard, with a large bundle of keys in his hand, the young lawyer
was unintentionally brought close to Nanni. But all that the lovers
ventured upon were stolen sighs and low soft-breathed love-plaints.

Master Wacht came to a halt in front of a fine newly-made door, which
had been constructed in the wall parting his workyard from the
merchant's garden. He unlocked the door and stepped in, inviting his
family to follow him. They, none of them, knew exactly what to make of
the old gentleman, except Herr Pickard Leberfink, who never laid aside
his sly smile, or ceased his soft giggle. In the midst of the beautiful
garden there was a very spacious pavilion; this too Master Wacht
opened, and stepping in remained standing in its centre; from every one
of its windows one obtained a different romantic view. "Yes," said
Master Wacht in a voice that bore witness to a heart well pleased with
itself, "here I am in my own property; this beautiful garden is mine. I
was obliged to buy it, not so much to augment my own place or increase
the value of my property, no! but because I knew that a certain darling
little thing longed so for these shrubs and trees, and for these
beautiful sweet-smelling flower-beds."

Then Nanni threw herself upon the old gentleman's breast and cried, "O
father! father! You will break my heart with your kindness, with your
goodness; do have pity"---- "There, there, say no more," Master Wacht
interrupted his suffering child, "be a good girl, and all may be
brought right in some marvellous way. You can find a great deal of
comfort in this little paradise"---- "Oh! yes, yes, yes," exclaimed
Nanni in a burst of enthusiasm, "O ye trees, ye shrubs, ye flowers, ye
distant hills, you beautiful fleeting evening clouds--my spirit lives
wholly in you all; I shall come to myself again when your sweet voices
comfort me." Therewith Nanni ran out of the open door of the pavilion
into the garden like a startled young roe; and Jonathan, the lawyer,
delayed not to follow her at his fastest speed, for no power would then
have been able to keep him back. Monsieur Pickard Leberfink requested
permission to show Rettelchen round the new property.

Meanwhile old Wacht had beer and tobacco brought to a spot under the
trees, close at the brow of the hill, whence he could look down into
the valley; and there he sat in a right glad and comfortable humour,
puffing the blue clouds of genuine Holland into the air. No doubt my
kindly reader is wondering greatly at this frame of mind in Master
Wacht, and is at a loss to explain to himself how a mood like this was
at all possible to a temperament like Wacht's. He had arrived, not so
much at any determined plan as at the conviction that the Eternal Power
could not possibly let him live to experience such a very terrible
misfortune as that of seeing his favourite child united to a lawyer;
that is, to Satan himself. "Something will happen," he said to himself;
"something must happen, by which either this unhappy affair will be
broken off or Jonathan snatched from the pit of destruction. It would
be rash temerity, nay, perhaps a ruinous piece of mischief, producing
the exact contrary of what was wished, if with my feeble hand I were to
attempt to control the fly-wheel of Destiny."

It is hard to credit what miserable, nay, often what absurd reasons a
man will hunt up in order to represent the approaching misfortune as
avertable. So there were moments in which Wacht built his hopes upon
the arrival of wild Sebastian, whom he pictured to himself as a
stalwart young fellow in the full flush and pride of youth, just on the
point of attaining to manhood, and that he would bring about a change
of direction in the drifting of circumstances, and make things
different from what they then were. The very common, and alas! often
too true idea came into his head, that woman is too greatly impressed
by strong and striking manliness not to be conquered by it at last.

When the sun began to go down, Monsieur Pickard Leberfink invited the
family to go into his garden, which adjoined their own, and take a
little refreshment. Beside Wacht's new possession the noble decorator
and gilder's garden formed a most ridiculous and extraordinary
contrast. Whilst almost too small in size, so that the only thing it
could perhaps boast in its favour was the good height at which it was
situated, it was laid out in Dutch style, the trees and hedges clipped
with the shears in the most scrupulous and pedantic fashion. The
slender stems of the fruit-trees standing in the flower-beds looked
very pretty in their coats of light blue and rose tints, and pale
yellow, and other colours. Leberfink had varnished them, and so
beautified Nature. Moreover they saw in the trees the apples of the
Hesperides.[17]

But yet several further surprises were in store. Leberfink bade the
girls pluck themselves a nosegay each; but on gathering the flowers
they perceived to their amazement that both stalks and leaves were
gilded. It was also very remarkable that all the leaves which Rettel
took into her hands were shaped like hearts.

The refreshment upon which Leberfink regaled his guests consisted of
the choicest confectionery, the finest sweetmeats, and old Rhine wine
and Muscatel. Rettel was quite beside herself over the confectionery,
observing with special emphasis that such sweetmeats, which were for
the most part splendidly silvered and gilded, were not, she knew made
in Bamberg. Then Monsieur Pickard Leberfink assured her privately, with
a most amorous smirk, that he himself knew a little about baking cakes
and sweets, and that he was the happy maker of all these delicious
dainties. Rettel almost fell upon her knees before him in reverence and
astonishment; and yet the greatest surprise, was still in store for
her.

In the deepening dusk Monsieur Pickard Leberfink very cleverly
contrived to entice little Rettel into a small arbour. No sooner was he
alone with her than he recklessly plumped himself down upon both knees
in the wet grass, notwithstanding that he was wearing his brilliant
green satin hose; and, amidst many strange and unintelligible sounds of
distress--not very dissimilar to the midnight elegies of the tom-cat
Hinz[18]--he presented her with an immense nosegay of flowers, in the
middle of which was the finest full-blown rose that could be found
anywhere. Rettel did what everybody does who has a nosegay given to
him; she raised it to her nose; but in the selfsame moment she felt a
sharp prick. In her alarm she was about to throw the nosegay away. But
see what charming wonder had revealed itself in the meantime! A
beautifully varnished little cupid had leapt up out of the heart of the
rose and was holding out a burning heart with both hands towards
Rettel. From his mouth depended a small strip of paper on which were
written the words, "Voilà le c[oe]ur de Monsieur Pickard Leberfink, que
je vous offre" (Here I offer you the heart of Monsieur Pickard
Leberfink).

"Good gracious!" exclaimed Rettel, very much alarmed. "Good gracious!
what are you doing, my good Herr Leberfink? Don't kneel down in front
of me as if I were a princess. You will make marks on your beautiful
satin--in the wet grass, and you will catch cold yourself; but elder
tea and white sugar candy are good remedies."

"No!" exclaimed the desperate lover--"No, O Margaret, Pickard
Leberfink, who loves you with all his heart, will not rise from the wet
grass until you promise to be his"---- "You want to marry me?" asked
Rettel. "Well then, up you get at once. Speak to my father, darling
Leberfink, and drink one or two cups of elder tea this evening."

Why should the reader be longer wearied with Leberfink's and Rettel's
folly? They were made for each other, and were betrothed, at which
Father Wacht was right glad in his own teasing, humorous way.

A certain degree of life was introduced into Wacht's house by Rettel's
betrothal; and even the disconsolate lovers had more freedom, since
they were less observed. But something of a quite special character was
to happen to put an abrupt end to this quiet and comfortable condition
in which they were all living. The young lawyer seemed particularly
preoccupied, and his thoughts busy with some affair or another that
absorbed all his energies; his visits at Wacht's house even began to be
less frequent, and he often stayed away in the evening--a thing he had
never been wont to do previously. "What can be the matter with our
Jonathan? He is completely preoccupied; he's quite another fellow from
what he used to be," said Master Wacht, although he knew very well what
was the cause, or rather the event, which was exercising such a visible
influence upon the young lawyer, at least to all outward appearance. To
tell the truth, he looked upon this event as the dispensation of
Providence through which he should perhaps escape the great misfortune
by which he believed himself threatened, and which he felt would
completely upset all the happiness of his life.

Some few months previously a young and unknown lady had arrived in
Bamberg, and under circumstances which could only be called singular
and mysterious. She was staying at the "White Lamb." All the servants
she had with her were an old grey-haired manservant and an old
lady's-maid. Very various were the opinions current about her. Many
maintained she was a distinguished and immensely rich Hungarian
countess, who, owing to matrimonial dissensions, was compelled to take
up her residence in solitary retirement in Bamberg for a time. Others,
on the contrary, set her down as an ordinary forsaken Dido, and yet
others as an itinerant singer, who would soon throw off her veil of
nobility and announce herself as about to give a concert,--possibly she
had no recommendations to the Prince-bishop. At any rate the majority
were unanimous in making up their minds to regard the stranger, who,
according to the statements of the few persons who had seen her, was of
exceptional beauty, as an extremely ambiguous person.

It had been noticed that the stranger lady's old man-servant had
followed the young lawyer about a long time, until one day he caught
him at the spring in the market-place, which is ornamented with an
image of Neptune (whom the honest folk of Bamberg are generally in the
habit of calling the Fork-man); and there the old man stood talking to
Jonathan a long, long time. Spirits alive to all that goes forward, who
can never meet anybody without asking eagerly, "Wherever has he been?
Wherever is he going? Whatever is he doing?" and so on, had made out
that the young advocate very often visited the beautiful unknown, in
fact almost every day and at night-time, when he spent several hours
with her. It was soon the talk of the town that the lawyer Jonathan
Engelbrecht had got entangled in the dangerous toils of the young
unknown adventuress.

It would have been, both then and always, entirely contrary to Master
Wacht's character to make use of this apparent erring conduct of the
young advocate as a weapon against poor Nanni. He left it to Dame
Barbara and her whole following of gossips to keep Nanni informed of
all particulars; from them she would learn every item of intelligence,
and that, he made no doubt, with a due amplification of all the
details. The crisis of the whole affair was reached when one day the
young lawyer suddenly set off on a journey along with the lady, nobody
knew whither. "That's the way frivolity goes on; the forward young
gentleman will lose his business," said the knowing ones. But this was
not the case; for not a little to the astonishment of the public, old
Eichheimer himself attended to his foster-son's business with the most
painstaking care; he seemed to be initiated into the secret about the
lady and to approve of all the steps taken by his foster-son.

Master Wacht never spoke a word about the matter, and once when poor
Nanni could no longer hide her trouble, but moaned in a low tone, her
voice half-choked with tears, "Why has Jonathan left us?" Master Wacht
replied in an off-handed way, "Ay, that's just what lawyers do. Who
knows what sort of an intrigue Jonathan has got entangled in with the
stranger, thinking it will bring him money, and be to his advantage?"
Then, however, Herr Pickard Leberfink was wont to take Jonathan's side,
and to assert that he for his part was convinced the stranger could be
nothing less than a princess, who had had recourse to the already
world-renowned young advocate in an extremely delicate law-suit And
therewith he also unearthed so many stories about lawyers who, through
especial sagacity and especial penetration and skill, had unravelled
the most complicated difficulties, and brought to light the most
closely hidden things, till Master Wacht begged him for goodness' sake
to hold his tongue, since he was feeling quite ill and sick; Nanni, on
the contrary, derived inward comfort from all Leberfink's remarkable
stories, and she plucked up her hopes again. With her trouble, however,
there was united a perceptible mixture of annoyance and anger, and
particularly at the moments when it seemed to her utterly impossible
that Jonathan could have been untrue to her. From this it might be
inferred that Jonathan had not sought to exculpate himself, but had
obstinately maintained silence about his adventure.

After some months had elapsed the young lawyer came back to Bamberg in
the highest good spirits; and Master Wacht, on seeing the bright glad
light in Nanni's eyes when she looked at him, could not well do
otherwise than conclude that Jonathan had fully justified his conduct
to her. Doubtless it would not be disagreeable to the indulgent reader
to have the history of what had taken place between the stranger lady
and the young lawyer inserted here as an episodical _novella_.

Count Z----, a Hungarian, owner of more than a million, married from
pure affection a miserably poor girl, who drew down upon her head the
hatred of his family, not only because her own family was enshrouded in
complete obscurity, but also because the only valuable treasures she
possessed were her divine virtue, beauty, and grace. The Count promised
his wife that at his death he would settle all his property upon her by
will.

Once when he returned to Vienna into the arms of his wife, after having
been summoned from Paris to St. Petersburg on diplomatic business, he
related to her that he had been attacked by a severe illness in a
little town, the name of which he had quite forgotten; there he had
seized the opportunity whilst recovering from his illness to draw up a
will in her favour and deposit it with the court. Some miles farther on
the road he must have been seized with a new and doubly virulent attack
of his grave nervous complaint, so that the name of the place where he
had made his will and that of the court where he had deposited it had
completely slipped his memory; moreover, he had lost the document of
receipt from the court acknowledging the deposition of the testament.
As so often happens in similar cases the Count postponed the making of
a new will from day to day, until he was overtaken by death. Then his
relatives did not neglect to lay claim to all the property he left
behind him, so that the poor Countess saw her too rich inheritance
melted down to the insignificant sum represented by certain valuable
presents she had received from the Count, and which his relatives could
not deprive her of. Many different notifications bearing upon the
features of the case were found amongst the Count's papers; but since
such statements, that a will was in existence, could not take the place
of the will itself, they proved not to be of the slightest advantage to
the Countess. She had consulted many learned lawyers about her
unfortunate situation, and had finally come to Bamberg to have recourse
to old Eichheimer; but he had directed her to young Engelbrecht, who,
being less busy and equipped with excellent intellectual acuteness and
great love for his profession, would perhaps be able to get a clue to
the unfortunate will or furnish some other circumstantial proof of its
actual existence.

The young advocate set to work by requesting permission of the
competent authorities to submit the Count's papers in the castle to
another searching investigation. He himself went thither along with the
Countess; and in the presence of the officials of the court he found in
a cupboard of nut-wood, that had hitherto escaped observation, an old
portfolio, in which, though they did not find the Count's document of
receipt relating to the deposition of the will, they yet discovered a
paper which could not fail to be of the utmost importance for the young
advocate's purpose. For this paper contained an accurate description of
all the circumstances, even the minutest details, under which the Count
had made a will in favour of his wife and deposited it in the keeping
of a court. The Count's diplomatic journey from Paris to Petersburg had
brought him to Königsberg in Prussia. Here he chanced to come across
some East Prussian noblemen, whom he had previously met with whilst on
a visit to Italy. In spite of the express rate at which the Count was
travelling, he nevertheless suffered himself to be persuaded to make a
short excursion into East Prussia, particularly as the big hunts had
begun, and the Count was a passionate sportsman. He named the towns
Wehlau, Allenburg, Friedland, &c., as places where he had been. Then he
set out to go straight forwards directly to the Russian frontier,
without returning to Königsberg.

In a little town, whose wretched appearance the Count could hardly find
words to describe, he was suddenly prostrated by a nervous disorder,
which for several days quite deprived him of consciousness. Fortunately
there was a young and right clever doctor in the place, who opposed a
stout resistance to the disease, so that the Count not only recovered
consciousness but also his health, so far that after a few days he was
in a position to continue his journey. But his heart was oppressed with
the fear that a second attack on the road might kill him, and so plunge
his wife in a condition of the most straitened poverty. Not a little to
his astonishment he learned from the doctor that the place, in spite of
its small size and wretched appearance, was the seat of a Prussian
provincial court, and that he could there have his will registered with
all due formality, as soon as he could succeed in establishing his
identity. This, however, was a most formidable difficulty, for who knew
the Count in this district? But wonderful are the doings of Accident!
Just as the Count got out of his carriage in front of the inn of the
little town, there stood in the doorway a grey-haired old invalid,
almost eighty years old, who dwelt in a neighbouring village and earned
a living by plaiting willow baskets, and who only seldom came into the
town. In his youth he had served in the Austrian army, and for fifteen
successive years had been groom to the Count's father. At the first
glance he remembered his master's son; and he and his wife acted as
fully legitimated vouchers of the Count's identity, and not to their
detriment, as may well be conceived.

The young advocate at once saw that all depended upon the locality and
its exact correspondence with the Count's statements, if he wanted to
glean further details and find a clue to the place where the Count had
been ill and made his testament. He set off with the Countess for East
Prussia. There by examination of the post-books he was desirous of
making out, if possible, the route of travel pursued by the Count. But
after a good deal of wasted effort, he only managed to discover that
the Count had taken post-horses from Eylau to Allenburg. Beyond
Allenburg every trace was lost; nevertheless he satisfied himself that
the Count had certainly travelled through Prussian Lithuania, and of
this he was still further convinced on finding registered at Tilsit
that the Count had arrived there and departed thence by extra post.
Beyond this point again all traces were lost. Accordingly it seemed to
the young advocate that they must seek for the solution of the
difficulty in the short stretch of country between Allenburg and
Tilsit.

Quite dispirited and full of anxious care he arrived one rainy evening
at the small country town of Insterburg, accompanied by the Countess.
On entering the wretched apartments in the inn, he became conscious
that a strange kind of expectant feeling was taking possession of him.
He felt so like being at home in them, as if he had even been there
before, or as if the place had been most accurately described to him.
The Countess withdrew to her apartments. The young advocate tossed
restlessly on his bed. When the morning sun shone in brightly through
the window, his eyes fell upon the paper in one corner of the room. He
noticed that a large patch of the blue colour with which the room was
but lightly washed had fallen off, showing the disagreeable glaring
yellow that formed the ground colour, and upon it he observed that all
kinds of hideous faces in the New Zealand style had been painted to
serve as pleasing arabesques. Perfectly beside himself with joy and
delight, the young lawyer sprang out of bed. He was in the room in
which Count Z---- had made the all-important will. The description
agreed too exactly; there could not be any doubt about the matter.

But why now weary the reader with all the minor details of the things
that now took place one after the other? Suffice it to say that
Insterburg was then, as it still is, the seat of a Prussian superior
tribunal, at that time called an Imperial Court. The young advocate at
once waited upon the president with the Countess. By means of the
papers which she had brought with her, and which were drawn up in due
authenticated form, the Countess established her own identity in the
most satisfactory manner; and the will was publicly declared to be
perfectly genuine. Hence the Countess, who had left her own country in
great distress and poverty, now returned in the full possession of all
the rights of which a hostile destiny had attempted to deprive her.

In Nanni's eyes the advocate appeared like a hero from heaven, who had
victoriously protected deserted innocence against the wickedness of the
world. Leberfink also poured out all his great admiration of the young
lawyer's acuteness and energy in exaggerated encomiums. Master Wacht,
too, praised Jonathan's industry, and this trait he emphasised; and yet
the boy had really done nothing but what it was his duty to do; still
he somehow fancied that things might have been managed in a much
shorter way. "This event I regard," said Jonathan, "as a star of real
good fortune, which has risen upon the path of my career almost before
I have started upon it The case has created a great deal of sensation.
All the Hungarian magnates are excited about it. My name has become
known. And what is a long way the best of all, the Countess was so
liberal as to honour me with ten thousand Brabant thalers."[19]

During the course of the young advocate's narration, the muscles of
Master Wacht's face began to move in a remarkable way, till at last his
countenance wore an expression of the greatest indignation. "What!"
he at length shouted in a lion-like voice, whilst his eyes flashed
fire--"What! did I not tell you? You have made a sale of justice. The
Countess, in order to get her lawful inheritance out of the hands of
her rascally relations, has had to pay money, to sacrifice to Mammon.
Faugh! faugh! be ashamed of yourself." All the sensible protestations
of the young advocate, as well as of the rest of the persons who
happened to be present, were not of the slightest avail. For a second
it seemed as if their representations would gain a hearing, when it was
stated that no one had ever given a present with more willing pleasure
than the Countess had done on the sudden conclusion of her case, and
that, as good Leberfink very well knew, the young advocate had only
himself to blame that his honorarium had not turned out to be more in
amount as well as more on a level with the magnitude of the lady's
gain; nevertheless Master Wacht stuck to his own opinion, and they
heard from him in his own obstinate fashion the familiar words, "So
soon as you begin to talk about justice, you and everybody else in the
world ought to hold your tongues about money. It is true," he went on
more calmly after a pause, "there are several circumstances connected
with this history which might very well excuse you, and yet at the same
time lead you astray into base selfishness; but have the kindness to
hold your tongue about the Countess, and the will, and the ten thousand
thalers, if you please. I should indeed be fancying many a time that
you didn't altogether belong to your place at my table there."

"You are very hard--very unjust towards me, father," said the young
advocate, his voice trembling with sadness. Nanni's tears flowed
quietly; Leberfink, like an experienced man of the world, hastened to
turn the conversation upon the new gildings in St. Gangolph's.[20]

It may readily be conceived in what strained relations the members of
Wacht's family now lived. Where was their unconstrained conversation,
their bright good spirits, where their cheerfulness? A deadly vexation
was slowly gnawing at Wacht's heart, and it stood plainly written upon
his countenance.

Meanwhile they received not the least scrap of intelligence from
Sebastian Engelbrecht, and so the last feeble ray of hope that Master
Wacht had seen glimmering appeared about to fade. Master Wacht's
foreman, Andreas by name, was a plain, honest, faithful fellow, who
clung to his master with an affection that could not be matched
anywhere. "Master," said he one morning as they were measuring beams
together--"Master, I can't bear it any longer; it breaks my heart to
see you suffer so. Fräulein Nanni--poor Herr Jonathan!" Quickly
throwing away the measuring lines, Master Wacht stepped up to him and
took him by the breast, saying, "Man, if you are able to tear out of
this heart the convictions as to what is true and right which have been
engraven upon it by the Eternal Power in letters of fire, then what you
are thinking about may come to pass." Andreas, who was not the man to
enter upon a dispute with his master upon these sort of terms,
scratched himself behind his ear, and replied with an embarrassed
smirk, "Then if a certain distinguished gentleman were to pay a morning
visit to the workshop, I suppose it would produce no particular
effect?" Master Wacht perceived in a moment that a storm was brewing
against him, and that it was in all probability being directed by Count
von Kösel.

Just as the clock struck nine Nanni appeared in the workshop, followed
by old Barbara with the breakfast. The Master was not well pleased to
see his daughter, since it was out of rule; and he saw the programme of
the concerted attack already peeping out. Nor was it long before the
minor canon really made his appearance, as smart and prim and proper as
a pet doll. Close at his heels followed Monsieur Pickard Leberfink,
decorator and gilder, clad in all sorts of gay colours, so that he
looked not unlike a spring-chafer. Wacht pretended to be highly
delighted with the visit, the cause of which he at once insinuated to
be that the minor canon very likely wanted to see his newest models.
The truth is, Master Wacht felt very shy at the possibility of having
to listen to the canon's long-winded sermons, which he would deliver
himself of uselessly if he attempted to shake his (Wacht's) resolution
with respect to Nanni and Jonathan. Accident came to his rescue; for
just as the canon, the young lawyer, and the varnisher were standing
together, and the first-named was beginning to approach the most
intimate relations of life in the most elegantly turned phrases, fat
Hans shouted out "Wood here!" and big Peter on the other side pushed
the wood across to him so roughly that it caught the canon a violent
blow on the shoulder and sent him reeling against Monsieur Pickard; he
in his turn stumbled against the young advocate, and in a trice the
whole three had disappeared. For just behind them was a huge piled-up
heap of chips and saw-dust and so on. The unfortunates were buried
under this heap, so that all that could be seen of them were four black
legs and two buff-coloured ones; the latter were the gala stockings of
Herr Pickard Leberfink, decorator and gilder. It couldn't possibly be
helped; the journeymen and apprentices burst out into a ringing peal of
laughter, notwithstanding that Master Wacht bade them be still and look
grave.

Of them all the canon cut the worst figure, since the saw-dust had got
into the folds of his robe and even into the elegant curls which
adorned his head. He fled as if upon the wings of the wind, covered
with shame, and the young advocate hard after him. Monsieur Pickard
Leberfink was the only one who preserved his good humour and took the
thing in merry part, notwithstanding that it might be regarded as
certain he would never be able to wear the buff-coloured stockings
again, since the saw-dust had proved especially injurious to them and
had quite destroyed the "clock." Thus the storm which was to have been
adventured against Wacht was baffled by a ridiculous incident. But the
Master did not dream what terrible thing was to happen to him before
the day was over.

Master Wacht had finished dinner and was just going downstairs in order
to betake himself to his workyard, when he heard a loud, rough voice
shouting in front of the house, "Hi, there! This is where that knavish
old rascal, Carpenter Wacht, lives, isn't it?" A voice in the street
made answer, "There is no knavish old rascal living here; this is the
house of our respected fellow-citizen Herr Johannes Wacht, the
carpenter." In the same moment the street-door was forced open with a
violent bang, and a big strong fellow of wild appearance stood before
the master. His black hair stuck up like bristles through his ragged
soldier's cap, and in scores of places his tattered tunic was unable to
conceal his loathsome skin, browned with filth and exposure to rough
weather. The fellow wore soldier's shoes on his feet, and the blue
weals on his ankles showed the traces of the chains he had been
fettered with. "Ho, ho!" cried the fellow, "I bet you don't know me.
You don't know Sebastian Engelbrecht, whom you've cheated out of his
property--not you." With all the imposing dignity of his majestic form,
Master Wacht took a step towards the man, mechanically advancing the
cane he held in his hand. Then the wild fellow seemed to be almost
thunderstruck; he recoiled a few paces, and then raised his doubled
fists shouting, "Ho, ho! I know where my property is, and I'll go and
help myself to it, in spite of you, you old sinner." And he ran off
down the Kaulberg like an arrow from a bow, followed by the crowd.

Master Wacht stood in the passage like a statue for several seconds.
But when Nanni cried in alarm, "Good heavens! father, that was
Sebastian," he went into the room, more reeling than walking, and sank
down exhausted in an arm-chair; then, holding both hands before his
face, he cried in a heart-rending voice, "By the eternal mercy of God,
that is Sebastian Engelbrecht."

There arose a tumult in the street, the crowd poured down the Kaulberg,
and voices in the far distance could be heard shouting "Murder!
murder!" A prey to the most terrible apprehensions, the Master, ran
down to Jonathan's dwelling, situated immediately at the foot of the
Kaulberg. A dense mass of people were pushing and crowding together in
front of him; in their midst he perceived Sebastian struggling like a
wild animal against the watch, who had just thrown him upon the ground,
where they overpowered him and bound him hand and foot, and led him
away. "O God! O God! Sebastian has slain his brother," lamented the
people, who came crowding out of the house. Master Wacht forced his way
through and found poor Jonathan in the hands of the doctors, who were
exerting themselves to call him back to life. As he had received three
powerful blows upon the head, dealt with all the strength of a strong
man, the worst was to be feared.

As generally happens under such circumstances, Nanni learnt immediately
the whole history of the affair from her kind-hearted friends, and at
once rushed off to her lover's dwelling, where she arrived just as the
young lawyer, thanks to the lavish use of naphtha, opened his eyes
again, and the doctors were talking about trepanning. What further took
place may be conceived. Nanni was inconsolable; Rettel, notwithstanding
her betrothal, was sunk in grief; and Monsieur Pickard Leberfink
exclaimed, whilst tears of sorrow ran down his cheeks, "God be merciful
to the man upon whose pate a carpenter's fist falls." The loss of young
Herr Jonathan would be irreparable. At any rate the varnish on his
coffin should be of unsurpassed brightness and blackness; and the
silvering of the skulls and other nice ornaments should baffle all
comparison.

It appeared that Sebastian had escaped out of the hands of a troop of
Bavarian soldiers, whilst they were conducting a band of vagabonds
through the district of Bamberg, and he had found his way into the town
in order to carry out a mad project which he had for a long time been
brooding over in his mind. His career was not that of an abandoned,
vicious criminal; it afforded rather an example of those supremely
frivolous-minded men, who, despite the very admirable qualities with
which Nature has endowed them, give way to every temptation to evil,
and finally sinking to the lowest depths of vice, perish in shame and
misery. In Saxony he had fallen into the hands of a petti-fogging
lawyer, who had made him believe that Master Wacht, when sending him
his patrimonial inheritance, had paid him very much short, and kept
back the remainder for the benefit of his brother Jonathan, to whom he
had promised to give his favourite daughter Nanni to wife. Very likely
the old deceiver had concocted this story out of various utterances of
Sebastian himself. The kindly reader already knows by what violent
means Sebastian set to work to secure his own rights. Immediately after
leaving Master Wacht he had burst into Jonathan's room, where the
latter happened to be sitting at his study table, ordering some
accounts and counting the piles of money which lay heaped up before
him. His clerk sat in the other corner of the room. "Ah! you villain!"
screamed Sebastian in a fury, "there you are sitting over your mammon.
Are you counting what you have robbed me of? Give me here what yon old
rascal has stolen from me and bestowed upon you. You poor, weak thing!
You greedy clutching devil--you!" And when Sebastian strode close up to
him, Jonathan instinctively stretched out both hands to ward him off,
crying aloud, "Brother! for God's sake, brother!" But Sebastian replied
by dealing him several stunning blows on the head with his double fist,
so that Jonathan sank down fainting. Sebastian hastily seized upon some
of the rolls of gold and was making off with them--in which naturally
enough he did not succeed.

Fortunately it turned out that none of Jonathan's wounds, which
outwardly wore the appearance of large bumps, had occasioned any
serious concussion of the brain, and hence none of them could be
esteemed as likely to prove dangerous. After a lapse of two months,
when Sebastian was taken away to the convict prison, where he was to
atone for his attempt at murder by a heavy punishment, the young lawyer
felt himself quite well again.

This terrible occurrence exerted such a shattering effect upon Master
Wacht that a consuming surly peevishness was the consequence of it.
This time the stout strong oak was shaken from its topmost branch to
its deepest root. Often when his mind was thought to be busy with quite
different matters, he was heard to murmur in a low tone, "Sebastian--a
fratricide! That's how you reward me?" and then he seemed to come to
himself like one awakening out of a nasty dream. The only thing that
kept him from breaking down was the hardest and most assiduous labour.
But who can fathom the unsearchable depths in which the secret links of
feeling are so strangely forged together as they were in Master Wacht's
soul? His abhorrence of Sebastian and his wicked deed faded out of his
mind, whilst the picture of his own life, ruined by Jonathan's love for
Nanni, deepened in colour and vividness as the days went by. This frame
of mind Master Wacht betrayed in many short exclamations--"So then your
brother is condemned to hard labour and to work in chains!--That's
where he has been brought by his attempted crime against you--It's a
fine thing for a brother to be the cause of making his own brother a
convict--shouldn't like to be in the first brother's place--but lawyers
think differently; they want justice, that is, they want to play with a
lay figure and dress it up and give it whatever name they please."

Such like bitter, and even incomprehensible reproaches, the young
advocate was obliged to hear from Master Wacht, and to hear them only
too often. Any attempt at rebutting these charges would have been
fruitless. Accordingly Jonathan made no reply; only often when his
heart was almost distracted by the old man's fatal delusion, which was
ruining all his happiness, he broke out in his exceeding great pain,
"Father, father, you are unjust towards me, exasperatingly unjust."

One day when the family were assembled at the decorator Leberfink's,
and Jonathan also was present, Master Wacht began to tell how somebody
had been saying that Sebastian Engelbrecht, although apprehended as a
criminal, could yet make good by action at law his claim against Master
Wacht, who had been his guardian. Then, smiling venomously and turning
to Jonathan, he went on, "That would be a pretty case for a young
advocate. I thought you might take up the suit; you might play a part
in it yourself; perhaps I have cheated you as well?" This made the
young lawyer start to his feet; his eyes flashed, his bosom heaved; he
seemed all of a sudden to be quite a different man; stretching his hand
towards Heaven he cried, "No, you shall no longer be my father; you
must be insane to sacrifice without scruple the peace and happiness of
the most loving of children to a ridiculous prejudice. You will never
see me again; I will go and at once accept the offer which the American
consul made to me to-day; I will go to America." "Yes," replied Wacht
filled with rage and anger, "ay, away out of my eyes, brother of the
fratricide, who've sold your soul to Satan." Casting upon Nanni, who
was half fainting, a look full of hopeless love and anguish and
despair, the young advocate hurriedly left the garden.

It was remarked earlier in the course of this story when the young
lawyer threatened to shoot himself _à la_ Werther,[21] what a good
thing it was that the indispensable pistol was in very many cases not
within reach. And here it will be just as useful to remark that the
young advocate was not able, to his own good be it said, to embark
there and then on the Regnitz and sail straight away to Philadelphia.
Hence it was that his threat to leave Bamberg and his darling Nanni for
ever remained still unfulfilled, even when at last, after two years
more had elapsed, the wedding-day of Herr Leberfink, decorator and
gilder, was come. Leberfink would have been inconsolable at this unjust
postponement of his happiness, although the delay was almost a matter
of necessity after the terrible events which had fallen blow after blow
in Wacht's house, had it not afforded him an opportunity to decorate
over again in deep red and appropriate gold the ornamental work in his
parlour, which had before been gay with nice light-blue and silver, for
he had picked up from Rettelchen that a red table, red chairs, and so
on, would be more in accordance with her taste.

When the happy decorator insisted upon seeing the young lawyer at his
wedding. Master Wacht had not offered a moment's opposition; and the
young lawyer--he was pleased to come. It may be imagined with what
feelings the two young people saw each other again, for since that
terrible moment when Jonathan had left the garden they had literally
not set eyes upon each other. The assembly was large; but not a single
person with whom they were on a friendly footing fathomed their pain.

Just as they were on the point of setting out for church. Master Wacht
received a thick letter; he had read no more than a few lines when he
became violently agitated and rushed off out of the room, not a little
to the consternation of the rest, who at once suspected some fresh
misfortune. Shortly afterwards Master Wacht called the young advocate
out. When they were alone together in the Master's own room, the
latter, vainly endeavouring to conceal his excessive agitation, began,
"I've got the most extraordinary news of your brother; here is a letter
from the governor of the prison relating fully all the circumstances of
what has taken place. As you cannot know them all, I must begin at the
beginning and tell you everything right to the end so as to make
credible to you what is incredible; but time presses." So saying,
Master Wacht fixed a keen glance upon the advocate's face, so that he
blushed and cast down his eyes in confusion. "Yes, yes," went on Master
Wacht, raising his voice, "you don't know how great a remorse took
possession of your brother a very few hours after he was put in prison;
there is hardly anybody whose heart has been more torn by it. You don't
know how his attempt at murder and theft has prostrated him. You don't
know how that in mad despair he prayed Heaven day and night either to
kill him or to save him that he might henceforth by the exercise of the
strictest virtue wash himself pure from bloodguiltiness. You don't know
how that on the occasion of building a large wing to the prison, in
which the convicts were employed as labourers, your brother so
distinguished himself as a clever and well-instructed carpenter that he
soon filled the post of foreman of the workmen, without anybody's
noticing how it came about so. You don't know how his quiet good
behaviour, and his modesty, combined with the decision of his
regenerate mind, made everybody his friend. All this you do not know,
and so I am telling it you. But to go on. The Prince-bishop has
pardoned your brother; he has become a master. But how could all this
be done without a supply of money?" "I know," said the young advocate
in a low voice, "I know that you, my good father, have sent money to
the prison authorities every month, in order that they might keep my
brother separate from the other prisoners and find him better
accommodation and better food. Later on you sent him materials for his
trade"---- Then Master Wacht stepped close up to the young advocate,
took him by both arms, and said in a voice that vacillated in a way
that cannot be described between delight, sadness, and pain, "But would
that alone have helped Sebastian to honour again, to freedom, and his
civil rights, and to property, however strongly his fundamental
virtuous qualities had sprung up again? An unknown philanthropist, who
must take an especially warm interest in Sebastian's fate, has
deposited ten thousand 'large' thalers with the court, to"---- Master
Wacht could not speak any further owing to his violent emotion; he drew
the young advocate impetuously to his heart, crying, though he could
only get out his words with difficulty, "Advocate, help me to penetrate
to the deep import of law such as lives in your breast, and that I may
stand before the Eternal Bar of justice as you will one day stand
before it.--And yet," he continued after a pause of some seconds,
releasing the young lawyer, "and yet, my dear Jonathan, if Sebastian
now comes back as a good and industrious citizen and reminds me of my
pledged word, and Nanni"---- "Then I will bear my trouble till it kills
me," said the young advocate; "I will flee to America." "Stay here,"
cried Master Wacht in an enthusiastic burst of joy and delight, "stay
here, son of my heart! Sebastian is going to marry a girl whom he
formerly deceived and deserted. Nanni is yours."

Once more the Master threw his arms around Jonathan's neck, saying, "My
lad, I feel like a schoolboy before you, and should like to beg your
pardon for all the blame I have put upon you, and all the injustice I
have done you. But let us say no more; other people are waiting for
us." Therewith Master Wacht took hold of the young lawyer and pulled
him along into the room where the wedding guests were assembled; there
he placed himself and Jonathan in the midst of the company, and said,
raising his voice and speaking in a solemn tone, "Before we proceed to
celebrate the sacred rite I invite you all, my honest friends, ladies
and gentlemen, and you too, my virtuous maidens and young men, six
weeks hence to a similar festival in my house; for here I introduce to
you Herr Jonathan Engelbrecht, the advocate, to whom I herewith
solemnly betroth my youngest daughter, Nanni." The lovers sank into
each other's arms. A breath of the profoundest astonishment passed
over the whole assembly; but good old Andreas, holding his little
three-cornered carpenter's cap before his breast, said softly, "A man's
heart is a wonderful thing; but true, honest faith overcomes the base
and even sinful resoluteness of a hardened spirit; and all things turn
out at last for the best, just as the good God wishes them to do."


FOOTNOTES TO "MASTER JOHANNES WACHT":

[Footnote 1: Included in a collection of stories entitled _Geschichten,
Märchen, und Sagen_, Von Fr. H. v. d. Hagen, E. T. A. Hoffmann, und H.
Steffens; Breslau, 1823.]

[Footnote 2: See Footnote 19 above, for "Master Martin, The Cooper."]

[Footnote 3: The stern inexorable Republican patriot, who kills even
his friend Fiesco when the latter refuses to throw aside the purple
dignity he had assumed. See Schiller's _Fiesko_, act v., last scene
(cf. I. 10-13; III. 1).]

[Footnote 4: A long hilly street in Bamberg.]

[Footnote 5: Pet name for Johannes, the name of Wacht's son.]

[Footnote 6: _Rettel_ and _Rettelchen_ (little Rettel) are pet names
for Margaret.]

[Footnote 7: The anniversary of the consecration of the church is made
the occasion of a great and general festive holiday in many parts of
Germany, particularly in the south.]

[Footnote 8: "Noodles" are long strips of rolled-out paste, made up and
cooked in various ways.]

[Footnote 9: Seehof or Marquardsburg, situated to the north-east of
Bamberg, was formerly a bishop's castle, and was rebuilt by Marquard
Sebastian Schenk of Stauffenberg in 1688.]

[Footnote 10: Stracchino, a kind of cheese made in North Italy,
especially in Brescia, Milan, and Bergamo.]

[Footnote 11: A pet name for Gretchen (Margaret), frequently used also
as equivalent to "sweetheart," "lass," just as we might say, "Every
Johnny has his Jeannie."]

[Footnote 12: A long winding suburb of Bamberg.]

[Footnote 13: Or Bug, as it is generally spelled, a pleasure resort on
the Regnitz, about half an hour distant from Bamberg. Hoffmann was in
the habit of visiting it almost daily when he lived at Bamberg.]

[Footnote 14: In the days before ice was preserved on such an extensive
scale by the German brewers as it is at the present time, beer was kept
in excavations in rock, wherever a suitable place could be found; this
made it deliciously cool and fresh.]

[Footnote 15: Goethe's well-known work.]

[Footnote 16: A once rich and celebrated Benedictine abbey between
Bamberg and Coburg, founded in the eleventh century, and frequently
destroyed and sacked in war.]

[Footnote 17: That is, they were golden, or gilded.]

[Footnote 18: Hinze is Tieck's _Gestiefelter Kater_ (Puss in Boots).
The reference is perhaps to act ii. scene 2, where Hinze goes out to
catch rabbits, &c., and hears the nightingale singing, the humour of
the scene lying in the quick alternation of the human poetic sentiments
and the native instincts of the cat.]

[Footnote 19: So named from the place where they were struck. See note,
p. 281, Vol. I., viz.--Imperial thalers varied in value at different
times, but estimating their value at three shillings, the sum here
mentioned would be equivalent to about £22,500. A _Frederick d'or_ was
a gold coin worth five thalers.]

[Footnote 20: A church situated at the beginning of the Steinweg.]

[Footnote 21: It need scarcely be said this refers to the excessively
sentimental hero of Goethe's _Leiden des jungen Werthers_.]



                         _BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE._[1]


Like many others whose pens have been employed in authorship, the
subject of this notice, Ernst Theodor Wilhelm[2] Hoffmann, led a very
chequered life, the various facts and incidents of which throw a good
deal of light upon his writings.

Hoffmann was born at Königsberg in Prussia on the 24th January,
1776.[3] His parents were very ill-assorted, and led such an unhappy
life that they parted in young Ernst's third year. His father, who was
in the legal profession, was a man of considerable talent and of acute
intellect, but irregular and wild in his habits and given to
reprehensible practices. His mother, on the contrary, the daughter of
Consistorialrath Dörffer, had been trained up on the strictest moral
principles, and to habits of orderliness and propriety; and to her
regard for outward conformity to old-established forms and conventional
routine was added a weak and ailing condition of body, which made her
for the most part a confirmed invalid. When, in 1782, the elder
Hoffmann was promoted to the dignity of judge and transferred to a
criminal court at Insterburg (Prussia), Ernst was taken into the house
of his maternal grandmother; and his father appears never to have
troubled himself further either about him or his elder brother, who
afterwards took to evil ways. The brothers in all probability never met
again, though an unfinished letter, dated 10th July, 1817, found
amongst Hoffmann's papers after his death, was evidently written to his
brother in reply to one received from him requesting pecuniary
assistance.

In his grandmother's house young Hoffmann spent his boyhood and youth.
The members of the household were four, the grandmother, her son, her
two daughters, of whom one was the boy's invalid mother. The old lady,
owing to her great age, was also virtually an invalid; so that both she
and her daughter scarcely ever left their room, and hence their
influence upon young Ernst's education and training was practically
nil. His uncle, however, after an abortive attempt to follow the law,
had settled down to a quiet vegetative sort of existence, which he
regulated strictly according to fixed rules and methodical procedure;
and these he imposed more or less upon the household. Justizrath Otto
(or Ottchen, as his mother continued to call him to her life's end),
though acting as a dead weight upon his high-spirited, quick-witted
nephew's intellectual development, by his efforts to mould him to his
own course of life and his own unpliant habits of thought, nevertheless
planted certain seeds in the boy's mind which proved of permanent
service to him throughout all his subsequent career. To this precise
and order-loving uncle he owed his first thorough grounding in the
elements of music, and also his persevering industry and sense of
method and precision. As uncle and nephew shared the same sitting-room
and the same sleeping-chamber, and as the former would never suffer any
departure from the established routine of things, the boy Ernst began
not only to look forward to the one afternoon a week when Otto went out
to make his calls, but also to study narrowly his uncle's habits, and
to play upon his weaknesses and turn them to his own advantage, so that
by the time he was twelve years old he was quite an adept at mystifying
the staid old gentleman. His aunt, an unmarried lady, was cheerful,
witty, and full of pleasant gaiety; she was the only one who understood
and appreciated her clever nephew; indeed she was so fond of him, and
humoured him to such an extent, that she is said to have spoiled him.
It was to her he poured out all his childish troubles and all his
boyish confidences and weaknesses. Her love he repaid with faithful
affection, and he has memorialised it in a touching way in the
character of "Tante Füsschen" in _Kater Murr_ (Pt. I.), where also
other biographical details of this period may be read. Of his poor
mother, feeble in body and in mind alike, Hoffmann only spoke
unwillingly, but always with deep respect mingled with sadness.

Two other persons must be mentioned as having exercised a lasting
influence upon his early life. One of these was an old great-uncle,
Justizrath Vöthöry, brother of both his grandmothers, and a gentleman
of Hungarian origin. This excellent man was retired from all business,
with the exception that he continued to act as justiciary for the
estates of certain well-tried friends. He used to visit the various
properties at stated seasons of the year, and was always a welcome
guest; for this "hero of olden times in dressing-gown and slippers," as
Wilibald Alexis called him, was the V---- who figures so genially
in _Das Majorat_ ("The Entail"). The old gentleman once took his
great-nephew with him on one of these trips, and to it we are indebted
for this master-piece of Hoffmann. The other person who gave a bent to
young Ernst's mind was Dr. Wannowski, the head of the German Reformed
School in Königsberg, where the boy was sent in his sixth or seventh
year. Wannowski, who possessed the faculty of awakening slumbering
talent in his pupils, and attracting them to himself, enjoyed the
friendship and intercourse of Kant, Hippel (the elder), Scheffner,
Hamann, and others, and might perhaps lay claim to be called a Prussian
Dr. Arnold, owing to the many illustrious pupils he turned out.

During the first seven years of his school-days, young Hoffmann was in
nowise distinguished above his school-fellows either for industry or
for quickness of parts. But when he reached his thirteenth or
fourteenth year, his taste for both music and painting was awakened.
His liking for these two arts was so genuine and sincere, and
consequently his progress in them so rapid, that he came to be looked
upon as a child-wonder. He would sit down at a piano and play
improvisations and other compositions of his own creation, to the
astonishment of all who heard him, for his performances, though
somewhat fantastic, were not wanting in talent and originality, and his
diminutive stature made him appear some years younger than he really
was. In drawing he early showed a decided inclination for caricature,
and in this his quickness of perception and accuracy in reproduction
proved of permanent service to him. Later he endeavoured to improve
himself both in theory and in practice in higher styles also: in the
former by diligent study of Winckelmann, and in the latter by copying
the models of the art treasures of Herculaneum preserved in the Royal
Library.

In his eleventh year Hoffmann made the acquaintance of Theodor von
Hippel, nephew of T. G. Hippel, author of _Die Lebensläufe in
aufsteigender Linie_, a boy one month older than himself. The
acquaintance ripened into a warm fast friendship when the two boys
recognised each other again at the same school, and they continued
faithful devoted friends until the day of Hoffmann's death. What tended
principally to knit them together was the similarity and yet difference
in their bringing up and family relations. Both grew up without the
society of brothers or sisters or playfellows; but whilst Hoffmann was
a son of the town, Hippel's early days had been spent in the country.
In another respect, too, they presented a striking contrast in
behaviour; Hoffmann's chief delight was to mystify and tease his uncle
Otto, but Hippel was most scrupulous in paying to all the proper meed
of respect which he conceived he owed them. Once when Hippel reproached
his friend about his behaviour towards his uncle, young Hoffmann
replied, "But think what relatives fate has blessed me with! If I only
had a father and an uncle like yours such things would never come into
my head." This saying is significant for the understanding of the early
stages of Hoffmann's intellectual development.

The bonds of inclination and natural liking were drawn still closer by
an idea of uncle Otto's. It was arranged that young Hippel should spend
the Wednesday afternoons (when the Justizrath went out to make his
round of visits amongst his acquaintances), along with his friend in
studying together, principally the classics. And Saturday afternoons
were also to be devoted to the same duties whenever practicable. But,
as might very well be expected, the classics soon gave way to other
books, such as Rousseau's _Confessions_ and Wiegleb's _Natürliche
Magie_;[4] and these in turn were forced to yield to such pastimes as
music, drawing, mummeries, boyish games, masquerades, and even more
pretentious adventures out in the garden, such as mimic chivalric
contests, construction of underground passages, &c. The boys also
discovered common ground in their desire to cultivate their minds by
poetry and other reading. The last two years at school were most
beneficial and productive in shaping Hoffmann's mind; he acquired a
taste for classics and excited the attention of his teachers by his
artistic talents, his graphic powers of representation being noticeable
even at this early age. During this time also he cultivated the
acquaintance of the painter Matuszewski, whom he introduces by name in
his tale _Der Artushof_ ("Arthur's Hall").

When sixteen or seventeen years old Hoffmann conceived his first boyish
affection, which only deserves mention as giving occasion to a frequent
utterance of his at this time, that illustrates one of the most
striking sides of his character. It appears that the young lady who was
the object of his fancied passion either refused to notice his homage
or else laughed it to scorn, for he remarked to his friend with great
warmth of feeling, "Since I can't interest her with a pleasing
exterior, I wish I were a perfect image of ugliness, so that I might
strike her attention, and so make her at least look at me."

The beginning of Hoffmann's university career--he matriculated at
Königsberg on 27th March, 1792--offers nothing of special interest. He
decided to study jurisprudence. In making this decision he was
doubtless influenced by the family connections and the traditional
calling of the male members of the family. As already remarked, his
father, his uncle, and his great-uncle had all followed the profession
of law, and he had another uncle Dörffer in the same profession, who
occupied a position of some influence at Glogau in Silesia. But it is
also certain that he was determined to this decision--it cannot be
called choice--from the desire to make himself independent of the
family in Königsberg as soon as he could contrive to do so, in order
that he might free himself from the shackles and galling unpleasantness
of the untoward relations in life to which he was there subject. But he
was devoted heart and soul to art--to music and painting. As the
studies of the two friends, Hoffmann and Hippel, were different, they
necessarily did not see so much of each other as previously; but once a
week during the winter months they devoted a night to mutual
outpourings of the things that were in them--the aspirations, hopes,
dreams, and plans for the future, &c., such as imaginative youths are
wont to cherish and indulge in. These meetings were strictly confined
to their two selves; no third was admitted. Their rules were one bottle
of wine for the whole evening, and the conversation to be carried on in
rhymed verses; and Hoffmann we find looking back upon these hours with
glad remembrance even in the full flush of his manhood and fame: even
on his last sad birthday, a few months before his death, he dwells upon
them with fond delight.

Whilst, however, devoting himself enthusiastically to the pursuit of
art, he did not neglect his more serious studies. He made good and
steady progress in the knowledge of law; and he also gave lessons in
music. It was whilst officiating in this latter capacity that his heart
was stirred by its first serious passion--a passion which left an
indelible impress upon all his future life. He fell in love with a
charming girl, who had a fine taste and true sentiment in art matters,
but who was separated from her admirer by an impassable barrier of
rank; but although her social position was far above Hoffmann's, yet
she returned warmly his pure and ardent affection. Hoffmann, however,
never disguised from himself the hopelessness of his love; and the fact
that it was so hopeless embittered all the rest of his time in
Königsberg, until he left it in June, 1796, for a legal appointment at
Great Glogau in Silesia.

As these years seem to have been mainly instrumental in
forming his character and shaping its outlines and giving depth and
strength to its chief features, it is desirable to dwell for a moment
upon the principal currents which at this time poured their influences
upon him. By nature of a genial and gay temperament, gifted with an
acute perception, which he had further trained in sharpness and
accuracy, endowed with no small share of talent and with an ardent love
for art, ambitious, vain in some respects, full of high spirits, and
with a keen sense of humour, and not devoid of originality, he was
daily chafed and galled in the depressing atmosphere of his home
relations. He felt how illogical was the rigid methodicity, how
unreasonable the arbitrary routine, how absurd the restrictions and
restraints of his uncle's household regulations; he was eager to be
quit of them, to turn his back upon them; he was anxious to find a
congenial field for his powers-~a field where he could turn his
accomplishments and genius to good account. The only way in which he
could hope to do so at present, at least for some years to come, was by
pursuing a legal career, and law he had no inclination for. He says, in
a letter to Hippel, dated 25th Nov., 1795, "If it depended upon myself
alone I should be a musical composer, and I have hopes that I could do
something great in that line; as for the one I have now chosen, I shall
be a bungler in it as long as I live." He gradually came to live upon a
strained and barely tolerable footing with his uncle, since as he grew
older his tricks and ironical behaviour towards little Otto assumed a
more pronounced character, and stirred up in the old gentleman's mind
feelings of suspicion against his unmanageable nephew. In these
circumstances we may easily discern the germs of a dissatisfaction not
only with his lot in life but also with himself.

Next came the fact of his hopeless love which has just been mentioned.
And another and no less potent cause which tended to deepen and
intensify this spirit of inward dissatisfaction was the delay that
occurred between his passing his entrance examination into the legal
profession in July, 1795, and his appointment to a definite post of
active duty in June, 1796. To be compelled to wear out his independent,
ambitious heart in forced inactivity must have been galling in the
extreme, especially when it is remembered how eagerly he was longing to
shake himself free from the relations amidst which he had grown up, and
his no less earnest desire to get beyond the reach of the passion, or
at any rate the object of the passion, that was gnawing at his very
heart-strings. To an energetic spirit, longing for a useful sphere of
activity, hardly anything can be more fruitful as a source of
unhappiness than enforced idleness. And this sentiment Hoffmann gives
frequent utterance to in his letters at this period.

During these same months he cultivated his mind by the perusal of the
works of such writers as Jean Paul, Schiller, and Goethe, the intellectual
giants upon whom the eyes of Germany were at that time fixed in wonder.
But this course of reading, instead of counteracting, rather encouraged
a native leaning towards poetic dreaming and sentimentality. In a letter
to Hippel, dated 10th Jan., 1796, he even says, "I cannot possibly demand
that she [the lady he loved] should love me to the same unmeasured extent
of passionate devotion that has turned my head--and this torments me....
I can never leave her; she might weep for me for twenty-four hours and
then forget me--I should _never forget her_." There was yet another cause
or series of causes which co-operated with those mentioned above to
increase the distracted and agitated condition of his heart. It has been
already stated more than once that he was a diligent student of music and
painting. These formed his recreation from the severe and dry study of
law-books; but to these two arts he now added the fascination of
literary composition, and wrote two novels, which he entitled _Cornaro_
and _Der Geheimnissvolle_. The former was rejected by a publisher, who
had at first held out some hopes of being able to accept it, on the
ground that its author was unknown. Besides this, the productions of
his brush failed to sell. Hence fresh sources of disappointment and
vexation.

Through all this, however, even in his darkest moods and most desperate
moments, he was upheld by the feelings and sentiments associated with
his friendship for his unshaken friend Hippel. To him he poured out all
his troubles in a series of letters,[5] which gave a most graphic
account of his mental condition at this period. He led a very retired
life, hardly seeing anybody; he calls himself an anchorite, and states
he was living apart from all the world, seeking to find food for
contemplation and reflection in his own self. He also fostered, perhaps
unconscious to himself, high poetic aspirations, and also those
extravagant dreams of friendship which were so fashionable in the days
of "Posa" and "Werther" and Wieland; "his heart was never more
susceptible to what is good," and "his bosom never swelled with nobler
thoughts," he says in one of his letters. Then he goes on to describe
the "flat, stale, and unprofitable" surroundings in the midst of which
he was confined. "Round about me here it is icy cold, as in Nova
Zembla, whilst I am burning and being consumed by the fiery breath
within me," he says in another place. The violence of his inner
conflict, of his heart-torture and unhappiness, finds vent in a wild
burst in the letter before quoted of 10th Jan., 1796 (and also in
others). He says:--


"Many a time I think it's all over with me, and if it were not for my
uncle's little musical evenings. I don't know what really would become
of me.... Let me stay here and eat my heart out.... Nothing can be made
of me, that you will see quite well.... I am ruined for everything; I
have been cheated in everything, and in a most exasperating way." ...
Again, "If I thought it possible that this frantic imp, my fancy, at
which I laugh right sardonically in my calmer moments, could ever
strain the fibres of my brain or could touch the feelers of my
emotional power, I should wish to cry with Shakespeare's Falstaff, 'I
would it were bedtime, and all well;'" ... and "I am accused by the
Santa Hermandad of my own conscience." And in another letter he unbares
the root of all his troubles in the exclamation, "Oh! that I had a
mother like you."


Tearing himself away from his lady-love with a violent wrench, Hoffmann
left Königsberg in a sort of "dazed or intoxicated state," his heart
bleeding with the anguish of parting. He arrived at Glogau on 15th
June, and met with a very friendly reception from his uncle and his
uncle's family, which consisted of his wife and a son and two
daughters. But though they appear to have exerted themselves to make
the unhappy youth comfortable, his heart and mind were too much
occupied with the dear one he had left behind for him to derive full
benefit from their kind and well-meant attentions. In the first letter
he wrote to his friend from his new home he says, "As Hamlet advised
his mother, I have thrown away the worser part of my heart to live the
purer with the other half.... Am I happy, you ask? I was never more
unhappy." In other letters, written some months later, he writes, "I am
tired of railing against Destiny and myself.... There are moments in
which I despair of all that is good, in which I feel it has been
enjoined upon me to work against everything that makes a vaunt of
specious happiness." But he took no manful and resolute steps to battle
against his unhappy state; he continued to correspond with the lady of
his affections, to gaze upon her portrait, to write to his friend about
her, and to dwell upon the past, the hours he had spent in her society.
His relatives, though treating him with all kindness, would seem to
have endeavoured to reason him out of his passion, since after he had
been some months in Glogau, he complains that those who had at first
been all love and sympathy were now cold and reserved towards him; he
was misunderstood; he was tormented with _ennui_, and looked with
contempt (partly amused and partly bitter) upon the childish follies
and fopperies, the trifling and dandling with serious feelings and
affections, of the folks amongst whom he lived, who spent their time in
"hunting after flies and _bonmots_." During these months, however, and
during the course of the two years he spent in Silesia, he penetrated
deeper into the secret constitution of his own nature than he ever did
before or after: we find him confessing to his hot passionate
disposition and his quickness to take offence, and making mention of
the change that had taken place in him since the days of his early
friendship with Hippel--he was become hypochondriacal, dissatisfied
with himself, ready to kick against destiny, and prone to assume a
defiant attitude towards her and to blame her and call her to account
for her treatment of him; then again he was melancholy and sad and
sentimental, using in his letters expressions built up after Jean
Paul's style, and indulging in gushing protestations of unalterable
friendship. But then this was the age of exaggerated friendships. His
humour and joviality did not, however, altogether desert him; he made
himself a welcome guest of an evening, and carried out amusing pranks
with his merry cousins.

In the spring of 1797 Hoffmann accompanied his uncle on a journey to
Königsberg, where he again saw the young girl he loved, but only to
open up again all the anguish of the wounds that had never yet fully
healed. On his return to Glogau things continued much as they were
previous to his visit to his native town.

Of his two favourite arts, painting seems to have occupied him more
than music just at this period. Probably this was due to the influence
of the painter Molinari, whose acquaintance he made before he had been
six months in Glogau; and besides this man, whom he styles a "child of
misfortune" like himself, he also enjoyed the society of Holbein,
dramatic poet and actor; of Julius von Voss, a well-known writer; and
of the Countess Lichtenau, formerly favourite of Frederick William II.
of Prussia, but at that time a sort of prisoner in the garrison at
Glogau.[6] The serious study of law he also prosecuted most
assiduously, and to such good purpose that in June, 1798, he was
able to surmount successfully his second or "referendary" examination.
But for this earnest and persevering labour there was a special
incitement--a particular cause. However contradictory it may sound, he
was already engaged in another love affair; this time with the lady who
afterwards became his wife, Maria Thekla Michaelina Rorer, of Polish
extraction. The beginning of his intimacy with her dates, strange to
say, from the early part of the year 1797, just previous to his journey
to Königsberg with his uncle. Soon after passing his "referendary"
examination, he was moved to the Supreme Court at Berlin, as a
consequence of the promotion of his uncle to be _geheimer
Obertribunalsrath_ in the capital. But before proceeding to Berlin to
take up his residence there, Hoffmann made a tour through the Silesian
mountains, partly with an eccentric friend of his uncle's and partly
alone, finishing up the trip by an inspection of the art treasures of
Dresden, where he was specially struck with works by Correggio and
Battoni (mentioned in _Der Sandmann_, &c.) and Raphael. One very
remarkable incident which happened to him during this trip must not be
passed over in silence. He was induced to play at faro at a certain
place where he stopped, and though he was perfectly unskilled in the
game, yet he had such an extraordinary run of good luck, that he rose
from the table with what was for him a small fortune. Next morning
the event made so deep and powerful an impression upon his excitable
temperament--his mind was so awed by the magnitude of his
winnings--that he vowed never to touch a card again so long as he lived;
and this vow he faithfully kept. In the tale _Spielerglück_ ("Gambler's
Luck") we find the incident recorded in the experiences of Baron
Siegfried; and in the third volume of the _Serapionsbrüder_ (Part VI.)
he relates some of the very amusing eccentricities of his travelling
companion, which are too long to be given here.

We next find Hoffmann in Berlin, where, whilst the impressions which he
had brought back with him from his excursion were still fresh upon his
mind, he began to revel in the enjoyment of the picture-galleries and
other opportunities for cultivating his taste in art. Here he saw
really how little his own skill in painting was developed; he threw
away colours, and took up drawing again like a beginner. His position
in a professional regard now took a more favourable turn. Freiherr
von Schleinitz, the first president of the court to which Hoffmann
was attached, was a friend of Hippel's; and both he and the genial
good-hearted second president Von Kircheisen noticed and encouraged his
talents. In consequence, he laboured at his duties and studies with
such zeal that he succeeded in passing his third and last examination,
the so-called _examen rigorosum_, and so qualifying for the position of
judge in the highest courts of Prussia, in the summer of 1799. He was
recommended for an appointment as councillor in a provincial supreme
court; but before proceeding to the dignity of councillor it was
obligatory upon him to serve a probationary year as _assessor_. He was
accordingly sent down to the newly-acquired Polish provinces (South
Prussia, as they were called), to the town of Posen, where work was
plentiful and talented and energetic workers were in demand. Before
leaving the capital he had the pleasure of seeing his friend Hippel,
who spent two happy months with him, living the past over again,
visiting Potsdam, Dessau, Leipsic, Dresden, &c., and discussing the
journey to Italy, which through all his life Hoffmann continued to
dream of as an ideal plan to be some time consummated, but which
unfortunately never was consummated. Hippel accompanied his friend to
Posen.

The Polish provinces were fraught with great danger for any young man
who was not possessed of exceptional firmness and sound moral
principles. For a young lawyer, the work was severe and exacting, but
the emoluments were large. Time, however, failed to allow of
cultivating the higher sources of enjoyment; hence all hastened to make
the most of it by throwing themselves into the lower. Drinking was a
habit of the country; and the drink that was drunk was of the strongest
kinds, the fiery wines of Hungary and strong liquors. There reigned
also a deplorable laxity of morals; and the graceful Polish women were
very seductive. That Hoffmann followed the example of his colleagues,
and plunged into the giddy whirlpool of miscalled pleasure, will
perhaps appear natural when we take into consideration the sources of
discontent that had for some time been fermenting in his spirit. Having
been submitted to the trammels of unreasonable constraint, it need not
be wondered at that his passionate restless nature should be enticed by
the temptations to which he was now so suddenly and unreservedly
exposed, that he forgot all his higher strivings and cast his better
purposes to the winds, and drank greedily of the pleasures of life
which his newly-won freedom brought in so easy and seductive a form
within his reach. He candidly states, "for some months a conflict of
feelings, principles, &c., which are directly contradictory the one to
the other, has been raging within me; I wished to stifle all
recollection, and become what schoolmasters, preachers, uncles, and
aunts call profligate." There was none in the circles which he
frequented to encourage him in his desire to reach out after better
things, to live himself into "the poetry of life," as Hitzig expresses
it; and hence he fell into the mire of demoralisation, and his fall was
the greater since he set about it with deliberate intent.

He was at length so far carried away by the delirious whirl into which
he had been caught as to engage in a piece of wanton folly that threw
him back upon his career by some years, just as he was about to plant
his foot securely upon the path leading to the summits of his
profession. Beguiled by his striking talent for caricature, he designed
and executed a series of sketches, satirising in an exquisitely witty
and humorous style various situations and characters and well-known
relations of Posen society. The inscriptions appended to the
caricatures were not less skilfully done than were the caricatures
themselves. No rank of society was spared, and hardly any person of
consequence in the town. One of his friends, who afterwards became his
brother-in-law, distributed the leaves at a masked ball in the disguise
of an Italian hawker of pictures, cleverly contriving to place each
individual sketch in the hands of the person to whom it would most
likely be most welcome. Hence for several minutes universal glee at the
excellent jest! But when they came to compare notes, _i.e._, the
presents they had received, the merriment gave way to hot indignation.
The author of the outrage was very speedily guessed at, since there was
only one person in Posen with proved ability enough to wield the pencil
so as to produce such striking likenesses--unfortunate Hoffmann! That
very same night it is said that a man of high rank, General von
Zastrow, deeply incensed at several of the pieces in which he himself
played a ridiculous _rôle_, sent off an express courier to Berlin with
a report of the whole affair. The consequence of the thoughtless trick
was that Hoffmann's patent as councillor to the government at Posen,
which lay all ready for signing, was exchanged for one appointing him
to the town of Plock (on the R. Vistula). Thither he went early in
1802, accompanied by his wife, whose maiden name was "Rorer, or rather
Trzczynska, a Poless by birth, daughter of the former town-councillor
T. of Posen, twenty-two years old, of medium stature and good figure,
with dark-brown hair and dark blue eyes," as he himself describes her.
He had taken the step of marriage in face of the earnest dissuasion of
his uncle Otto, in the last months of his residence in Posen. But
previous to this, late in the autumn of 1801, he had paid another visit
to Königsberg, meeting on his return journey his friend Hippel; and
together they saw Elbing and Dantzic. To this latter visit we owe the
story of _Der Artushof_ ("Arthur's Hall"), published in 1817. Hippel, be
it remarked, was disagreeably struck by the change in his friend:
Hoffmann gave himself up to an unhealthy degree, to wild and
extravagant gaiety, and disclosed a liking for what was low and lewd.

In Plock Hoffmann spent two years. This was a quiet, stagnant place,
where, according to his own account, he "was buried alive," and "walked
in a morass covered with low thorny shrubs which lacerated his feet;"
he "thought of Yorick and the imprisoned starling;" and he should have
given way to despair had not the bitter experiences which he was made
to drain to the lees been sweetened by the affection of his dear good
wife, who gave him strength for the present and encouraged him to hope
for the future. Owing to the external circumstances in the midst of
which he was fixed, he again turned his attention seriously to music
and painting, and also to authorship. He wrote short essays, composed
masses, vespers, and sonatas, and translated Italian canzonets, &c.
_Scherz, List, und Rache_, a _Singspiel_ of Goethe's, he had already
set to music in Posen. During these two years he led a more strictly
domestic life, and spent more of his time out of the hours of official
duty in his own house, than he ever did afterwards. Here also, as
almost everywhere throughout his life he was zealous and industrious in
discharging the duties of his position. At length, just as he was
beginning to settle down and feel contented with his lot in Plock, his
friends in Berlin succeeded in securing his removal (1804) to a better
and more congenial sphere of activity in Warsaw. After once more
visiting Königsberg in February, 1804, and then spending several days
with Hippel on his estate at Leistenau (province Marienwerder, East
Prussia), he eventually proceeded to his new post in Poland in the
spring of that same year.

One illustrative and very characteristic anecdote of this period
deserves mention. In a letter to Hippel, dated "Plock, 3rd October,
1803," Hoffmann writes, "My uncle in Berlin will never do much more to
recommend me, for he has become 'a grave man,' as Mercutio says in
Shakespeare;[7] he died on the night of 24-25th September of
inflammation of the lungs." But in his diary of October 1 he writes, in
allusion to the same sad event, "My tears did not flow, nor did fear
and grief draw from me any loud lamentations; but the image of the man
whom I loved and honoured is constantly before my eyes; it never leaves
me. The whole day through my mind has been in a tumult; my nerves are
so excited that the least little noise makes me start." Thus he could
jest in the midst of pain; and it is a type of the man's character.

Warsaw, in notable contrast to other places in the Polish provinces,
possessed many things calculated to excite and engage the attention of
an active mind, of a mind so eager for knowledge and so keenly alive to
all that was especially interesting and extraordinary as was
Hoffmann's. The new scene of his labours cannot be better described
than in the words of Hitzig and of Hoffmann himself. The former says
the city had


"Streets of magnificent breadth, consisting of palaces in the finest
Italian style and of wooden huts which threaten every moment to tumble
together about the ears of their indwellers; in these edifices Asiatic
sumptuousness most closely mingled with Greenland filth; a populace
incessantly on the stir, forming, as in a procession of maskers, the
most startling contrasts--long-bearded Jews, and monks clad in the garb
of every order, closely veiled nuns of the strictest rules and
unapproachable reserve, and troops of young Polesses dressed in the
gayest-coloured silk mantles conversing to each other across the
spacious squares, venerable old Polish gentlemen with moustaches,
caftan, _pass_ (girdle), sabre, and yellow or red boots, the coming
generation in the most matchless of Parisian fashions, Turks and
Greeks, Russians, Italians, and Frenchmen in a constantly varying
crowd; besides this an almost inconceivably tolerant police, who
never interfered to prevent any popular enjoyment, so that the
streets and squares were always swarming with 'punch-and-judy' shows,
dancing-bears, camels, and apes, whilst the occupants of the most
elegant equipage equally with the common porter stopped to stare at
them open-mouthed; further, a theatre conducted in the national
language, a thoroughly good French troupe, an Italian opera, German
comedians, who were at least ready to undertake almost anything,
'routs' of a quite original but extremely attractive kind, and resorts
of pilgrims in the immediate vicinity of the town--was there not
something for an eye like Hoffmann's to see and for a hand like
Hoffmann's to sketch?"[8]


Thus far Hitzig. Hoffmann writes on May 14, 1804:--

"Yesterday ... I resolved to enjoy myself; I threw away my deeds and
sat down to the piano to compose a sonata, but soon found myself in the
situation of Hogarth's _Musicien enragé_ (Wrathful Musician).
Immediately underneath my window there arose certain differences
between three women selling meal, two wheelbarrow-men, and one sailor;
each of the parties pleaded its cause with a good deal of violent
demonstration before the tribunal of the hunchback, who stands with a
stall under the door-way below. Whilst this was going on the bells of
the parish church, of the Bennonites, and of the Dominican church (all
close to me) began to clang; in the churchyard of the last named (right
opposite to me) the hopeful catechumens were hammering away on two old
kettle-drums, with which all the dogs of the neighbourhood, spurred by
the strong powers of instinct, joined with a chorus of barkings and
howlings--at that moment too Wambach and his musical band of
Janissaries trotted gaily past to the merry strains of their own
music--meeting them out of [another] street came a herd of swine. A
tremendous friction in the middle of the street--seven swine were
ridden over! Terrific squealing!--Oh!--oh! a _tutti_ invented for the
torture of the damned! Here I threw aside my pen and paper, pulled on
my top-boots, and ran away out of the wild mad tumult through the
Cracow suburb--through the 'new world'--down the hill. A sacred Grove
received me in its shade; I was in Lazienki.[9] Ay, truly, the pleasant
palace swims upon the mirror-like lake like a virgin swan. Zephyrs come
wafted through the blossoming trees loaded with voluptuous delight. How
pleasant to stroll through the thickly foliaged walks! That is the
place for an amiable Epicurean to live in. What! why this man with
the white nose galloping[10] along here through the dark-leaved trees
must be the 'Commendatore' in _Don Juan_. Ah! John Sobieski! _Pink
fecit--male fecit_. Oh! what a state of things! He is riding over
writhing prostrate slaves, who are stretching up their withered arms
to the rearing horse--an ugly sight! What! is it possible? Great
Sobieski--as a Roman with _wonçi_[11] has girt a Polish sabre about his
waist, and it is made--of wood--ridiculous!... You ask me, my dear
friend, how I like Warsaw. A motley world! too noisy--too wild--too
harum-scarum--everything topsy-turvey! Where can I find time to write,
to sketch, to compose music? The king ought to give up Lasienki to me;
_there_ one could live nicely, if you like!"[12]


The first few months of his residence in this "new world," as it
appeared to immigrants from the "old land" of Prussia, Hoffmann spent
in familiarising himself with the novelty and strangeness of the place,
in wondering at and admiring the motley scenes which daily met his
view; and doubtless his acute perceptive faculties gleaned a valuable
harvest of notes for use on future occasions, both for his pencil and
his pen. About the end of June he formed the acquaintance of J. E.
Hitzig, who came down to Warsaw with the rank of _assessor_ in the
administrative college in which Hoffmann held that of councillor. The
crust of formal courtesy and commonplaces was broken through by
Hitzig's pithy answer, to a question asking his opinion about some
newly-arrived colleague, that he was "a man in buckram." The borrowed
words of Falstaff banished Hoffmann's reserve, and caused his sombre
face to light up with joy and his tongue to pour out a brilliant gush
of talk. This new-made friend, who had previously (1800, 1801) lived in
Warsaw, where he began his career, introduced Hoffmann into a pleasant
and intellectual set of men, amongst whom was Zacharias Werner, author
of _Söhne des Thales_, _Das Kreuz an der Ostsee_,[13] &c. Hitzig had
spent the interval from 1801 in Berlin, where he had kept fully abreast
of the newest productions in literature and art, whilst Hoffmann had
been living, partly a rude and riotous life, and partly a solitary and
monkish one, at Posen and Plock. Hence the one had plenty to
communicate and the other great eagerness to listen, especially as the
little he had begun to hear roused anew his slumbering better feelings,
and whetted with a keen edge his native desire for self-improvement
through art and literature.

In the following year, 1805, one of the Prussian administrative
officials, an enthusiast in music, conceived the idea of establishing a
club or society for the purpose of amusement and mutual instruction in
his favourite art, and for the purpose also of training singers of both
sexes. Hoffmann's interest was enlisted in the scheme; and things
proceeded at an energetic rate, the first concert being successful
beyond expectation. With this encouragement the society was induced to
go to work on a larger and more pretentious scale. The Miniszeki
Palace, injured by fire, was bought for the seat of the new academy;
and then Hoffmann threw himself into the plans of the society with all
his soul, working indefatigably in preparing architectural designs, and
later in decorating the halls and corridors. During all the mild days
of the spring of 1806 he was never to be met with at home. If not in
the government office, he was invariably to be found perched up on a
high scaffolding in the new musical Ressource, painter's jacket on and
surrounded by a crowd of colour-pots, amongst which was sure to be a
bottle of Hungarian or Italian wine; there he painted and thence he
conversed with his friends below. If, on occasion, parties requiring
the services of Councillor Hoffmann came to look for him at the new
Ressource, whither they had been directed from his own house, they were
greatly surprised to see him drop nimbly to the floor from before an
elaborate wall-painting of ancient Egyptian gods, mixed up with
caricature figures and animal-like fragments of modems (his friends
with tails, wings, etc.), hastily wash his hands, trot along in front
of them to his place of business, and in a brief space of time turn out
some complicated legal instrument with which it would defy the sharpest
critic to find anything amiss.

So absorbed was he in this work, and in that of directing at the
evening performances and composing music for them, that he hardly knew
anything of the dark thunder-cloud of war that was gathering in the
West until the news of the fateful battle of Jena came; but upon these
music enthusiasts in Warsaw even this intelligence made no perceptible
impression. Their concerts and practisings and meetings went on
uninterruptedly just as before, until one fine day the advanced guard
of the Russian army rode into the streets of the former Polish capital.
Soon after the Russian general had taken up his quarters in Praga,
close to Warsaw, there appeared on the other side of the town the
pioneers of the great army of Napoleon. The Prussians and Russians
withdrew from the town. Milhaud arrived with the main body of Murat's
forces; in Napoleon's name the Prussian Government was dissolved, and
its officials were superseded by native Poles. Hence Hoffmann was left
without employment. He and his colleagues divided the contents of the
treasury between them to prevent its falling into the hands of the
French; this secured them from want for the present. Careless about the
future, and revelling in the luxury of untrammelled freedom, Hoffmann
was now perfectly happy. The excitement was like rich wine to his
brilliant fancy; he never had enough of it. He spent all the livelong
day in running about seeing and hearing the many remarkable things to
be both seen and heard. And the little, restless, energetic man was
like quicksilver; he was everywhere. He specially loved to frequent the
theatres, where, before the curtain rose, conversations might be heard
carried on in ten or a dozen living tongues at once. Pushing his way
through the motley throng, he penetrated to every part of the house,
busy gathering all sorts of rich observations, and storing up a most
varied assortment of experiences; and nothing escaped his falcon eye or
remained unnoticed by his keen perception. Many and exquisite were the
humorous anecdotes he picked up, the gestures he copied, the tricks and
eccentricities he caught, the extraordinary characters he understood
and fathomed at a glance; and these experiences he afterwards retailed
to his friends, to their unbounded delight.

But amid all the tumult of the French occupation of the city, the
evenings at the Musical Ressource still went on the same as ever.
Hoffmann indeed, in order to escape the burdens of billeting as well as
from motives of economy, took up his residence in one of the attics of
the Ressource, where, though somewhat straitened for accommodation (for
he had his wife, a niece aged about twelve, and a little baby daughter
with him), he was as happy and contented as he well could be. He had
the rich library of the Ressource at command, and his own piano stood
in one of its rooms; and "that was all he wanted to make him forget the
French and the future." Early in 1807, he took advantage of a
favourable opportunity and sent his wife and the two children to her
friends in Posen; Hitzig also, and his family, and most other friends,
left Warsaw in March of that year: thus Hoffmann was left almost alone.
Soon afterwards he was attacked by a grave nervous disorder, but
successfully nursed through it by the one or two friends who still
remained in the city. On recovering, he wished to go to Vienna, with
the view of beginning an artistic career, and was only prevented from
carrying out his design by want of money to defray the expenses of the
journey. He was in great distress, and even began to despond, until
finally in the summer he contrived to get to Posen, and thence to
Berlin, where he arrived some time in July.

In Berlin, however, his prospects did not improve. He failed to find
employment for his talents: nobody could be got to purchase his
sketches or sit to him for a portrait; an attempt to interest Iffland,
the actor and dramatist, in him failed; and no publisher could be found
for his musical productions. Everything he was willing to do came to
nothing. Then came other misfortunes. His ready-money, consisting of
six _Louis d'or_, was stolen from him; news reached him of the death of
his dearly-loved daughter Cecily when two years old, and of the illness
of his wife. He was on the point of despair, when it suddenly occurred
to him to advertise for the post of musical director in a theatre. This
had the desired effect of eventually securing him the post he wished,
in the theatre at Bamberg which was conducted under the auspices of
Count von Soden; but the engagement was not to commence until October,
1808. The intervening months were months of hard struggle for Hoffmann;
he says he was almost in the extremities of want, and should have
lacked the bare necessaries of life had he not succeeded in disposing
of some minor productions in music and painting for a couple of _Louis
d'or_ received in advance. In the summer of 1808, he at last fetched
his wife from Posen, and then repaired to Bamberg (1st September).

To these years in Warsaw and Berlin belong three operas and other minor
musical pieces (including music for Werner's tragedy _Das Kreuz an der
Ostsee_), several productions of his pencil and brush, but no literary
works. Here at the end of what may be termed the first act in E. T. W.
Hoffmann's chequered life we may pause a moment And the pause we may
turn to account by quoting a description of his personal appearance and
some peculiarities of habit.


"Hoffmann was very short of stature, of yellowish complexion; and he
had dark, almost black hair, growing down low upon his forehead, gray
eyes which had nothing remarkable about them when they were at rest,
but which assumed an uncommonly humorous and cunning expression when he
blinked them, as he often did. His nose was thin and of the Roman type,
and his mouth tightly closed.

"Notwithstanding his agility, his body seemed to be capable of
endurance, for in contrast with his size his breast was high and his
shoulders broad.

"During the earlier part of his life his dress was sufficiently
elegant, without falling into foppery. The only thing he set great and
special store by was his whiskers, which he carefully cut so as to form
a point against the corners of his mouth....

"What particularly struck the eye in his exterior was his extraordinary
vivacity of movement, which rose to the highest pitch when he began
to narrate anything. His manners at receiving and parting from
people--repeated quick short bendings of the neck without moving the
head--had a good deal that appeared to partake of the nature of
caricature, and might very readily have been taken for irony had not
the impression made by his singular gestures on such occasions been
softened by his cordial warmth of manner.

"He spoke with incredible quickness and in a somewhat hoarse voice, so
that he was always very difficult to understand, especially during the
last years of his life, when he had lost some of his front teeth. When
relating he always spoke in quite short sentences; but when the
conversation turned upon art matters and he got enthusiastic--against
which, however, he seemed to guard himself--he employed long and
finely rounded periods. If he were reading any of his own compositions
aloud--whether literary or official--he hurried over the unimportant
parts at such a rate that his listeners had hard work to follow him;
but those places which are called 'strong touches' in a picture he
emphasised with almost comic pathos; he screwed up his mouth as he
read, and looked round to see if his listeners caught the points, so
that he often upset both his own and their equilibrium. Owing to this
habit he was conscious that he did not read well, and was always
uncommonly pleased if anybody else would relieve him of the task; this,
however, was a ticklish thing to do, especially in the case of MSS.
copy, for every word read falsely or every hesitating glance upon a
word to make sure what it was went like a knife to his heart, and this
effect he could not conceal. As a singer he was a fine powerful
tenor."[14]


To Bamberg Hoffmann went with high hopes of being able to realise the
dreams of his life; but his fond expectations were doomed to the
bitterest disappointment. His post he barely retained two months. The
theatre circumstances were on an exact par with those described in
_Wilhelm Meister_ (_videatur_ the name Melina, &c.). Hoffmann's style
of directing gave offence to the Bamberg public on the very first
evening; Count von Soden had placed the management of the theatre in
the hands of a certain Cuno, whose affairs were so embarrassed that he
never, or only seldom, paid his officials, and finally became insolvent
in February, 1809. The disappointed director, embittered against the
public by his failure to recommend himself to them, supported himself
and his wife by composing the incidental music for the various pieces
given at the theatre, at a small monthly salary (of which he received
but little), and by giving music lessons in many of the best families
of the town. But the war approaching that district of Germany caused
many of these families to leave the place; and Hoffmann began to be in
embarrassed circumstances. Then he wrote an extremely droll letter to
Rochlitz, the editor of the _Musicalische Zeitung_ at Leipsic, was
taken on as a contributor, and continued to work for this magazine all
the time he was in Bamberg--producing mostly reviews and criticisms of
musical works, and writing fugitive pieces of musical interest. He also
composed several pieces of music of various descriptions independently
of those which he wrote for the theatre. Nor was his brush idle, for he
received several commissions for large family pictures. Thus things
went on until the summer of 1809, when a brighter cloud dawned upon him
for a time. One fine summer evening he made the acquaintance of Kunz, a
bookseller, publisher, and wine-dealer, at the pleasure-resort of Bug
(close to Bamberg) in a characteristic manner. Kunz, an honest, jovial,
good-natured giant, not lacking humour and gifted with a remarkable
talent for mimicry and imitation, became little Hoffmann's fast
friend--nay, his only real friend--during the whole of the time the
latter remained in Bamberg. They were almost inseparable, associated
in all amusements and diversions: they spent many long winter evenings
together in pouring out their hearts and experiences to each other in
mutual confidences, and many long summer evenings at the "Rose," where
according to German custom a throng of visitors gathered to spend the
hours between closing business and going to bed. In July, 1810,
Holbein, Hoffmann's Glogau friend, came to undertake the management of
the Bamberg theatre. This, of course, could not fail to be of advantage
to Hoffmann, who, though he did not resume his post of musical
director, yet received a permanent engagement to act in a multitude of
departments: he was musical composer, architect, scene-painter, part
comptroller of the financial arrangements, and director of the
repertoire, &c. Under Holbein's management the theatre rose to a
flourishing level; classic operas and good plays[15] were introduced
with success, to which the versatile talents of Hoffmann largely
contributed. In the evenings the choice spirits of Bamberg, mostly of
theatrical and artistic connection, used to assemble in the "Rose,"
where Hoffmann was the soul of the party, his genius, wit, irony, and
drollery being inexhaustible. Whilst sending out flashes of sarcastic
wit or gleams of exquisite humour, he would clench a droll or clever
description by quickly embodying his thoughts and words in impromptu
sketches, which were handed round to the company. Music and singing,
often by the actors and actresses, also added to the entertainment of
the evening. Mine host of the "Rose" saw his company increased by some
scores of visitors when it was known that the inimitable sharp-eyed
little music-director was going to be present; and he used to send
across (Hoffmann lived the other side of the street only) during the
day to inquire if he intended being there in the evening. But on the
whole, Hoffmann was more generally feared than loved, or even
respected, by the main body of the townsfolk. His vanity was openly
displayed; he must lead the conversation, and everybody else must fall
in with his humour and his whim, or they might expect some marked
rudeness from his bitter tongue; and the fellow had a confoundedly
sharp tongue, and no less sharp a pen and pencil. The most wonderful
things were said about him in the town, and to those not intimate with
him or who did not know him personally, he was a man to be gazed at
from a distance; it was hardly safe to seek his acquaintance, although
his talk was said to be something extraordinary, and his gestures and
grimaces irresistibly diverting, yet he could also launch stinging
barbs and on occasion utter insulting sarcasms. In fact the outside
public were wont to regard him as invested with a nimbus of wonder, or
even as a sort of dæmonic being. Though these evenings were beyond all
conception gay and festive, Hoffmann seldom drank to excess. Of course
he drank a good deal: he had acquired the habit, as remarked, at Posen,
but he was not a common drinker, who drinks for the drink's sake. It
was the exhilaration it gave to his spirits and the fire it gave to his
mind and brilliant parts that he found attractive in the habit.[16]
Excursions were also made into the country, particularly to Bug; and
here, as at Warsaw, the restless "quicksilver" man was everywhere.

In March, 1811, he was fortunate to be introduced to Von Weber the
musician, whose regard for his musical talents continued undiminished
until his death; and in the same month Hoffmann paid a visit to Jean
Paul at Bayreuth, and had from him a fairly cordial reception. Towards
the end of the year came the intelligence that his uncle Otto Dörffer
of Königsberg had died, leaving him heir to his property. But the sum
Hoffmann received barely sufficed, if indeed it did suffice, to pay his
debts. These had been accumulated first by Hoffmann's own want of
prudence--when he had money in his purse he spent it merrily without a
thought about the morrow--and secondly, by the frequent illness of his
wife, the simple, homely, unassuming, good-natured creature with whom
he always lived on happy terms in spite of his own unpardonable
vagaries. Curiously enough, he used to labour under the odd delusion
that she was gifted with keen critical taste and was an intellectual
woman, though this was far from being the truth, according to the
express evidence of his bosom-friend Kunz.

Amongst Hoffmann's pupils was a young girl of sixteen, Julia M----;
this was his favourite pupil. For her he came to conceive an
overmastering passion; but whether it was more of the imagination or of
the heart it would appear difficult to decide with absolute certainty.
He did not know himself; "he preferred to remain a riddle to himself, a
riddle which he always dreaded to have solved;" and he demanded from
his friend Kunz that he should look upon him as a "sacred inexplicable
hieroglyph." The girl, who was pretty and amiable, of good
understanding, and of child-like deportment towards her music-master,
never for a single moment dreamt of such a thing as his passion for
her, and so of course she never consciously encouraged it in any way.
She did not even show any signs of possessing a dreamy or poetic
temperament, or seem to be inclined to sentimentality, so that
Hoffmann's extraordinary infatuation can only be explained as a "fixed
insanity." At any rate, it powerfully affected his mind, and left an
indelible trace upon him almost down to his dying day. The day on which
her betrothal to a stupid, weak-minded man, a man in all respects
unworthy of her, was celebrated at the pleasure-resort of Pommersfelden
(four hours from Bamberg), was one which shook Hoffmann's storm-tossed
soul to its profoundest depths. He had hated himself for his weakness,
and yet could not or would not manfully resolve to break through it.
Now he was compelled to do so, and in a way that was galling to the
utmost degree. Her marriage turned out an unhappy one; and eight years
later, that is two years before his death, hearing she was in great
trouble, he sent many kind messages to her through a mutual friend.
These relations are detailed with striking truth and fidelity in the
_Nachricht von den neusten Schicksalen des Hundes Berganza_, published
in the _Fantasiestücke in Callot's Manier_ (1814-15). Perhaps, if we
sufficiently compare the descriptions which he gives of various
heroines in his tales (all of which were written after this time),[17]
and bear in mind the common characteristic running through them all,
namely, that he puts them before us more as individual pictures than as
developments of character, giving us purely objective sketches of
them after the manner of a painter--if we compare these descriptions
with what we know of Hoffmann's mind and character, his restless,
brilliant imagination, and the taint of sensuousness that helped to
mar its purity, his keen eye for beauty in form and colour, his strong
talent for seeing the things with which he came in contact through
an unmistakable veil of either love or hatred, we may perhaps hazard
the opinion, without risk of going far wrong, that it was his
imagination--the imagination that made up such a large part of the
man--that was principally concerned in this remarkable passion; if his
heart was also touched, as it would undoubtedly appear to have been,
the road to it must no less undoubtedly have been found through his
imagination.

Early in 1812 Hoffmann was invited to a banquet at the monastery of the
Capuchins; and the visit made an extraordinary impression upon him. All
during dinner he could not keep his eyes off a gray-haired old monk
with a fine antique head, genuine Italian face, strong-marked features,
and long snow-white beard. On being introduced to Father Cyrillus he
asked him innumerable questions about the secrets of monastic life,
especially about those things of which "we profane have only dim
guesses, no clear conceptions." They got into a poetic and exalted
frame of mind, and rose just as it was getting dusk to inspect the
chapel and crypt, and other objects of interest. In the crypt Hoffmann
was powerfully agitated: he reverently doffed his hat, his wine-heated
face became terribly pale, and he visibly showed that he was held in
the thraldom of supernatural awe. When Father Cyrillus went on to point
out the spot where his own mortal remains should rest, and to indulge
in certain pious exhortations to them (Hoffmann and Kunz) to shed a
tear upon his grave if they should come there again in after years,
Hoffmann lost control of himself; he stood like a marble pillar, his
face and eyes set, his hair standing on end, unable to utter a
word.[18] Then making a gesture upwards he hurried out of the crypt
with hasty uncertain steps. The impressions made upon him by this
visit, and the observations he gathered, he employed in the _Elixiere
des Teufels_ and _Kater Murr_ (pt. II.), the meeting between
_Kapellmeister_ Kreisler and Father Hilarius, as well as the
description of the monastery and its situation in the latter, being
invested with a fine poetic flavour.

The scene in the crypt points to another side of Hoffmann's character,
or rather personality, which hitherto has not been alluded to. In fact,
it does not seem, as far as can be gathered from the biographical
sources, that it began to be strongly developed until the Bamberg
period. We have seen how that early in life he conceived a decided
antipathy to the prosaic and the commonplace, and his career up to this
point furnishes abundant evidence that he hated with a genuine hatred
to keep in the ruts of custom and conventionality, as if bound to do so
because such was prescribed by custom and conventionality. His
sentiments he never concealed, and his actions harmonised, almost without
exception, strictly with his sentiments; for one of his most striking and
instructive characteristics was the remarkable fearlessness which he
displayed no less in his actual conduct than in his habits of thought.
Affectation was far from him; thorough genuineness was stamped upon all
he did, showing unmistakably that it came direct from the man himself.
In fact it might be said, with special significance, that his inner and
his outer life--the in other cases invisible life of the soul and the
visible life in action--were perfectly correlated, if not one and
indivisibly the same. Being then thus honest with himself,[19] and
detesting as he did all that was commonplace and wearying, fiat and stale
and dull, it is no wonder that he should tend to fall into the opposite
extreme, and should delight in the unusual, the singular, the
extraordinary. Further, when we remember his fine imaginative powers,
his inimitable humour, his vanity, his poetic cast of mind, his bitterness
against the public for not appreciating his musical talents, and his
consequent fits of fierce defiance and satiric gloom, there is still less
cause for wonder when we find this propensity for seeking the uncommon
and the marvellous deepening and developing in time into an unconquerable
penchant for what was grotesque and eccentric, for what was fantastic,
unnatural, ghostly, and horrible. He loved to occupy his fancy most with
the extremes of human action, and to dive down into the most secret and
unexplored recesses of human nature to bring back thence some wild
startling trait that scarce any other imagination save his own would
have discovered. If he ever studied human nature at all, it was along
the border-lands of rationality; those misty shadowy states, such
as insanity, monomania, and hypochondriacal somnambulism, where the
soul hardly knows itself and loses touch of reality and almost of
self-consciousness. These and the like mysterious states of being
exercised a strange fascination upon his spirit. He was constantly
pursued by the idea that some secret and dreadful calamity would happen
to him, and his mind was often haunted by images of awful form and by
"doubles" of himself and others. He even believed he saw visions with
his own bodily eyes, and no expostulations of his friends could drive
this belief out of his head. Not only when he was engaged in writing,
but even in the midst of an ordinary conversation, at supper, or whilst
drinking a social glass of wine or rum, he would suddenly exclaim, "See
there--there--that ugly little pigmy--see what capers he cuts. Pray
don't incommode yourself, my little man. You are at liberty to listen
to us as much as you please. Will you not approach nearer? You are
welcome." (Here, and occasionally, he would accompany his words with
violent muscular contortions of the face.) "Pray what will you take?
Oh! don't go, my good little fellow." All this, or similar disconnected
phrases, he used to utter with his eyes fixed and riveted upon the
place where he affirmed he saw the vision; and if his word was doubted
or he was laughed at as a stupid foolish man, he would knit his brows
and with great earnestness reiterate his assertions and appeal to his
wife to support him, saying, "I often see them, don't I, Mischa"
(Misza, Mischa, short form for the Polish name Michaelina)?

This side of Hoffmann's individuality is not only one of the most
characteristic of him, it is necessary to grasp it in order to
understand his written works. These remarks will also serve to make
more intelligible the sensation aroused in Hoffmann the evening he was
at the Capuchin monastery. It is in the _Elixiere des Teufels_ that
these noteworthy traits find in most respects their fullest expression.

To return to the historical narrative. The story _Meister Martin_ and
the unfinished _Der Feind_ owe their origin to a visit which Hoffmann
paid to Erlangen and Nuremberg in March, 1812. In the same year he also
devoted some attention to sport, and learned to use a sportsman's
rifle; but his imagination was always swifter than his rifle-charge. A
_sitting_ sparrow he did at length contrive to hit, but a flying one,
or a hare, or even a deer, he never could succeed in knocking over,
that is to say the real animals. Clods of earth and tufts of grass
which his imagination conjured into game he could sometimes hit, but no
living animal would ever be likely to approach near him, for his quick
restless movements and mercurial gestures were a standing impediment to
any game ever coming within shot of him unless actually driven close
past his "stand," and then his excitement either made him fire too soon
or else miss. Nevertheless, he enjoyed these sporting excursions, in
his own eccentric fashion, immensely.[20]

During the summer Hoffmann took up his residence for four weeks in the
picturesque ruins of the castle of Altenburg, in the immediate
neighbourhood of Bamberg, where, whilst living a hermit's life in
company with his spouse, he painted one of the towers with frescoes
illustrative of incidents in the life of Count Adalbert von Babenberg,
whose residence the castle had formerly been. But he also occupied
himself with literary schemes; it was in this retreat that he wrote
certain sketches designed to form parts of a work which long occupied
his mind, but which never came to anything, namely, the _Lichte Stunden
eines wahnsinnigen Musikers_ (Rational Intervals of a Crack-brained
Musician). In this he purposed to develop his opinions on the theory of
music and the principles of harmony. The fragments were afterwards
revised and appeared as the _Kreisleriana_ in the _Fantasiestücke_.

In the next month, July, his star of adversity was again to be in the
ascendant. Holbein severed his connection with the theatre, and
Hoffmann lost his fixed income. Things grew darker and darker for him,
until he was almost reduced to actual want; at any rate he came to be
in very embarrassed circumstances. Singular to say, however, under all
this cloud of adversity he maintained a shining face and a light heart
behind it. This was peculiar to him; Rochlitz says "he belonged to the
large class of men who can bear ill fortune better than good fortune."
During this time of distress, which was a repetition of his dark days
in Berlin in 1807-8, he displayed a remarkable activity in his usual
pursuits. His criticism of _Don Juan_, and exposition of the problem of
Mozart's great opera, for which Hoffmann cherished a profound and
almost extravagant admiration, owes its origin to this period.[21] An
anecdote in relation to this will also illustrate his true passionate
admiration of art. Kunz lost a child, for which he grieved sadly; two
days afterwards Hoffmann advised him to go with him to see _Don Juan_
at night, declaring it would assuage his grief and soothe and comfort
his heart. Of course Kunz looked upon the idea as preposterous.
Nevertheless Hoffmann would not be denied; he exerted all his arts of
persuasion to induce his friend to go. At last Kunz did go; on the way
to the theatre Hoffmann discoursed of the opera in such a sensible,
acute, and touching way, and so poetically and with especial reference
to his friend's loss, and afterwards in the theatre he expressed his
sympathy in such kind and delicate lines, whilst tears of genuine
feeling stood in his eyes, that his friend was obliged to admit, "This
music of the spheres, which I had heard at least a dozen times before,
exerted a greater power over me than all the dictates of reason or the
consolations of friends."

In February, 1813, the struggling ex-director received an altogether
unexpected letter from Joseph Seconda, offering him the post of
music-director to his opera company at Dresden; and on April 21,
1813, Hoffmann's residence in Bamberg, which may be regarded as the
turning-point in his life, came to an end. Four days later he arrived
at his destination without encountering any very serious adventure on
the road, although it swarmed most of the way with scouting Bashkirs,
Cossacks, Prussian hussars, and Russian dragoons, and was thickly lined
with heavy guns and munition-waggons,--massing for the battle of Lützen
(May 2). On arriving at Dresden Hoffmann found quite unexpectedly his
friend Hippel, and with him spent several right happy days. Then he was
summoned by Seconda to join him at Leipsic, for Seconda seems to have
spent his time between this town and Dresden. But the journey was
postponed until May 20th, owing to the proximity of the contending
forces and the consequent unsettled state of the country. In the
intervals several sharp skirmishes between the Russians and French took
place in and close around Dresden. As might be expected, Hoffmann could
not check his irrepressible desire to be in the thick of the
excitement; on May 9th he was standing close beside one of the town
gates when a ball struck against a wall near him and in the rebound hit
him on the shin; he quietly stooped down and picked up the flattened
"coin," and preserved it as a memento, "being quite satisfied with that
one memento, unselfishly not asking for any more," as he wrote. Even
during these troubled restless days he worked at the _Fantasiestücke_.
On the way to Leipsic happened a startling occurrence, which probably
served as the prototype for the catastrophe at the end of _Das Majorat_
(The Entail). The coach was upset and a newly married Countess was
taken up dead; Hoffmann's own wife also received a severe wound on the
head. Seconda's troupe only remained in Leipsic a few weeks longer;
permission was given him to play in the Court theatre at Dresden; hence
on 24th June we find Hoffmann on his way back to Dresden, and deriving
in his characteristic fashion much amusement from a waggon heavily
laden with theatrical appurtenances, living and non-living, something
in the style of the carriage scene in _Die Fermate_.

The return, however, was a return into the very hottest scene of the
struggle between the Allies and Napoleon. On August 26th and 27th the
fight raged furiously around the walls of Dresden; the quarter in which
Hoffmann was living was shelled; the people in the house "bivouaced"
under the stone stairs, trembling with fear and anxiety. Hoffmann,
however, could not bear to hide away, so he slipped out by a back door
and went to join one of his theatrical friends. Looking out of his
window they watched the damage done by the shells, and saw one burst in
the market-place below, crushing a soldier's head, tearing open the
body of a passing citizen, and seriously wounding three other people
not far away. Keller the actor, in his start of apprehension, let his
glass fall out of his hand; "I," says Hoffmann, "drank mine empty and
cried, 'What is life? Not able to bear a little bit of hot iron? Poor
weak human nature! God give me calmness and courage in the midst of
danger! We can get over it all better so.'" Then he returned to the
anxious party under the steps, taking them wine and rum--the latter was
Hoffmann's favourite drink. His presence brought the unfailing good
spirits and humour which hardly ever deserted him, even under the
darkest cloud of adversity. On the 29th he visited the battle-field and
saw its cruel sights and its horrors. But other horrors were in store
for the inhabitants of the city; for the next few weeks Dresden was
besieged, and her citizens suffered from famine and pestilence and all
the other usual terrible concomitants of a siege.

Hoffmann's literary activity through all these weeks of turmoil was
something astonishing. Whilst the thunders of cannon were making "the
ground to tremble and the windows to shake," and the shells were
bursting around him and the sharp crack and dull ping of bullets were
incessantly striking upon his ear, this extraordinary man sat
unconcerned amidst it all, absorbed in literary or musical composition,
either writing his _Goldener Topf_ (or _Der Dichter und der Componist_
or _Der Magnetiseur_) or working out his opera _Undine_, which was
begun in Bamberg in 1812. Even when suffering from the dysentery which
raged in the place, his intellectual activity went on without being
impaired. In a letter to Kunz of date Sept 8th of this year he writes,
"I am, as you will observe, unwearied in cultivating the fine arts, and
if to-morrow or the day after I am not blown into the air by a Prussian
or Russian or Austrian shell, you will find me fat and well-favoured
from art enjoyments of every sort."

It was through Kunz's intervention that the Introduction prefixed to
the _Fantasiestücke_ was obtained from Jean Paul, and that against
Hoffmann's own wish, for all introductions except those which stand as
_prolegomena_ before a scientific work he hated--when a well-known
writer prefixed an introduction before the work of an unknown as a sort
of attestation, it seemed to him like "an incendiary letter which the
young author takes into his hand in order to go and beg for applause
with it." Another short passage from one of his letters to Kunz of this
same summer may here be quoted as illustrating a trait in his
character:--


"So far about business; and now the earnest request that you will keep
in mind and constantly before your eyes who and what I am, and let
our business even be inspired with that spirit of cheerfulness and
good-humour which always marked our intercourse with each other, and
even in money matters prevented the dead, stiff, frosty mercantile
style from coming to the surface. I am sure it was quite foreign to
both of us, and could only excite in us such fear as we feel when set
upon by an angry 'wauwau,' at which afterwards we can only laugh to
each other."


This unwillingness, nay almost repugnance to look at things from their
serious side, was quite characteristic of him. "But these are _odiosa_"
was a frequent phrase in his mouth.

On 9th December Seconda and his opera company once more repaired to
Leipsic, and Hoffmann of course along with them. There on New Year's
Day he was struck down by a severe attack of inflammation in the chest,
aggravated by gout, in consequence of a violent cold caught in
the theatre; the case was so severe and grave that his life was at
times in danger. "Podagrists are generally visited by an especial
humour--brilliant fancies; this comforts me; I experience the truth of
it, since often when I feel the sharpest pangs I write _con amore_," he
states in a letter to Kunz (24th March). And during his illness one of
his friends "found him in one of the meanest rooms in one of the
meanest inns, sitting on a wretched bed, but ill protected against the
cold, and with his feet drawn up by gout." A board was lying in front
of him, and he appeared to be busy doing something upon it. "God
bless me!" exclaimed his friend, "whatever are you doing?" "Making
caricatures," replied Hoffmann laughing--"caricatures of the cursed
Frenchman; I am inventing them, drawing them, and colouring them." He
also wrote about this time the _Vision auf dem Schlachtfelde bei
Dresden_ and other pieces, and finished his _Undine_; further, whilst
in this distressing condition, he began the _Elixiere des Teufels_, the
first volume of which was completed in less than a month. This work he
intended to be an illustration, or illustrative exposition of his own
notions, of "a man who even at his birth was an object of contention
between the powers divine and demoniacal, and his tortuous wonderful
life was intended to exhibit in a clear and distinct light those secret
and mysterious combinations between the human spirit and all those
Higher Principles which are concealed in all Nature, and only flash out
now and again--and these flashes we call chance." That he succeeded in
his purpose cannot be maintained. His own individuality was too strong
for him: he failed to handle his subject from a sufficiently
independent standpoint. He was not the artist creating a work that
was quite outside himself; he was rather the silk-worm spinning his
entangling threads round about himself. The book can scarcely be
read without shuddering; the dark maze of humane motion and human
weakness--a mingling of poetry, sentimentality, rollicking humour, wild
remorse, stern gloom, blind delusion, dark insanity, over all which is
thrown a veil steeped in the fantastic and the horrible--all this
detracts from the artistic merits of the work, but invests it with a
corresponding proportion of interest as a revealer of some of the
deepest secrets and hidden phases of the human soul, if one only has
the courage to wade through it. The dreamy mystifications and the wild
insanity and mystic passion of Brother Medardus are not unrelieved by
scenes and characters which bear the stamp of bright poetic beauty
and rich comic humour (_e.g._, the character of the Abbess of the
Cistercian convent, the _jäger_, the description of the monastery, the
scenes with Mr. Ewson and Belcampo _alias_ Schönfeld).

For some reason which cannot be quite made out for certain, either in
consequence of his continued illness or because of a quarrel with
Seconda, Hoffmann found himself once more adrift in the world without
an anchor to hold fast by in February, 1814. In striking contrast with
his treatment by the Bamberg public, his talents as director whilst
with Seconda's company were fully and adequately appreciated, both by
the artistes and the orchestra, as well as by the general public. This
may have been due to two causes; first, the actors and actresses were
not embarrassed by his directing from the pianoforte instead of with
the violin as those in Bamberg were, and in the second place his
criticisms and essays on musical subjects in Rochlitz's _Musicalische
Zeitung_ had gained him a certain reputation as an authority in musical
matters. After having refused the offer of a post as music-director in
his native city of Königsberg in February (1814), he was agreeably
surprised by Hippel's promise to secure his return into official life.
Accordingly towards the end of September in that same year he set out
for Berlin.

Here ends what may be termed the second act of this very unsettled,
eventful life. That this wandering aside from the career he first
started upon--viz., that of law and public life to tread the thorny
precarious path of art was fraught with greater consequences than can
be estimated upon the unfortunate man's character, will be evident from
what has been already stated. These dark years were those mainly
instrumental in stifling the good germs that had once been in him, and
yet more did they result in encouraging and bringing out prominently
all his less praiseworthy qualities. As his works and his life are so
intimately interwoven, and as his works were nearly all written
subsequent to this disastrous period, it seemed desirable to dwell
somewhat upon the events and circumstances of the earlier part of his
life. With the view of showing that Hoffmann himself fully understood
the nature and tendency of his existence in Bamberg, the following
passages are quoted from a letter written to Dr. Speyer in that town in
July, 1813:--


"I felt in my own mind perfectly convinced that I must get out of
Bamberg as soon as possible if I was not to be ruined altogether. Call
vividly to mind what my life in Bamberg was from the first moment of my
arrival, and you will allow that everything co-operated like an hostile
demoniacal power to thrust me forcibly from the path I had chosen, or
rather from art, to which I had devoted my entire existence, my very
self with all my activities and energies. My position under Cuno, and
even all those unbargained-for duties which were thrown upon me by
Holbein, notwithstanding their many seductive attractions, but above
all those scenes with----which I shall never forget and never overcome,
the old man's miserable stupid platitudes, which yet in another respect
had a pernicious influence, those wretched, terrible scenes with----and
last of all with----, whom I always thought a parvenu ill-bred imp,--in
a word, everything that went against all effort and doing and work in
the higher life, in which a man raises himself on alert wing above the
stinking morass of his miserable crust-begging life, engendered within
me an inward dissension--an inward strife, which much sooner than any
external commotion around me would have caused me to perish. Every
harsh and undeserved indignity I had to suffer only increased my secret
rancour, and whilst accustoming myself more and more to wine as a
stimulant and so stirring up the fire to make it bum more merrily, I
heeded not that this was the only way by which good could come out of
the ruinous evil. In these few words, in this brief statement, I hope
you will find the key to many things which may have appeared to you
contradictory, if not enigmatical But _transeant cum ceteris._"[22]


Again, it can scarcely be doubted that we have a description of his own
state when he writes in the _Elixiere_ (Part II.), "I am what I appear
to be, and do not appear as what I really am; to myself an unsolvable
riddle, I am at variance with my own self."

The change of residence to Berlin did little to improve Hoffmann's
circumstances. During the first ten months he was, according to the
conditions imposed, labouring to make himself acquainted with the
changes that had taken place in legal procedure, and to fit himself for
entering the service of the state again and resuming his interrupted
career; but he received no compensation for his pains; he had to
support himself as best he could by the fruits of his pen. On July 1,
1815, he was appointed to a clerkship in the department of the Minister
of Justice, which post he exchanged on 1st May, 1816, for that of
Councillor in the Supreme Court, being also restored to all his rights
of seniority as though no break had ever taken place in his official
career. The duties attaching to this office he continued to discharge
with his accustomed diligence and skill until promoted in the autumn of
1821 to be a member of the Senate of Higher Appeal in the same court.
Notwithstanding his sad and disappointing experiences, and the
tempestuous times of his "martyr years" at Bamberg, he was not yet
disgusted with the life of an artist. His hopes were not yet alienated
from the calling that hovered before his mind as an ideal for so many
years. Whilst battling, with somewhat less of reckless high spirits and
humour, against the embarrassments and pecuniary difficulties which he
had to encounter during these ten months, he was also dreaming of an
appointment as _Kapellmeister_ (orchestral director) or as musical
composer to a theatre. He says upon this point in a letter to Hippel,
of date March 12, 1815, "I cannot anyhow cease to interest myself in
art; and had I not to care for a dearly beloved wife, and were it not
my duty to try and procure her a comfortable life after what she has
gone through with me, I would rather become a music schoolmaster again
than let myself be stamped in the juristic fulling-mill."[23] After
more than one disappointment in his efforts to secure permanent and
remunerative employment, in which efforts he was assisted by his
influential friend Hippel, he became a clerk, as already stated, in the
department of the Minister of Justice.

In his social relations Hoffmann was more fortunate. He now enjoyed the
close companionship of Hitzig again, and through Hitzig was introduced
into a select circle which counted amongst its members such men as
Fouqué (author of _Undine_), Chamisso (of _Peter Schlemihl_ fame),
Contessa, Koreff, Tieck, Bernhardi, Devrient, and others. The harassing
tumultuous days he had passed through during the last eight years had
now begun to make him gentler and more modest; his character was more
tempered, and his behaviour more subdued. His good-nature too took such
a prominent place in the qualities he displayed that Hitzig's children
were quite delighted with their father's newly arrived friend; for them
Hoffmann wrote the pleasant little fairy tale _Nussknacker und
Mäusekönig_ (Nutcracker and the King of the Mice). Before the end of
1815 he had finished the second part of the _Elixiere des Teufels_, to
which he himself attached no value, since its connection with the first
part was broken; its author's ideas had got into another track;
feelings and circumstances were changed. Still less than Schiller with
_Don Carlos_. did Hoffmann succeed in making an artificial junction
between the two parts of his work atone for its breach of artistic
unity; he even said later of the first part, "I ought not to have had
it printed." Besides this second part of the _Elixiere_, he also wrote
the concluding pieces of the _Fantasiestücke_, namely, _Die Abenteuer
der Sylvesternacht_, which owes its existence to Chamisso's _Peter
Schlemihl_ and to Chamisso himself, who is portrayed in the work; and
also _Die Correspondenz des Kapellmeisters Kreisler mit dem Baron
Wallborn_, that is Hoffmann himself and Baron von Fouqué. With the
latter Hoffmann spent a happy fortnight in 1815 at his seat of
Nennhausen near Rathenow; Hitzig was also of the party. In August of
the following year the opera _Undine_ was put upon the stage. Though
Fouqué's libretto did not pass without some adverse criticism, all
voices were unanimous in praise of the music. Von Weber the musician
especially expressed himself warmly in admiration of it, affirming that
it was "one of the most talented productions of recent times;" and he
especially singled out for attention its truth, its smooth-flowing
melodies, and its instrumentation; it was "in truth _one_ gush" of
music. The opera was repeated more than a score of times, when
unfortunately the theatre was burnt down, and Hoffmann, who lived
immediately adjoining it, was almost burnt out of house and home at
the same time.

Through the success of this opera as well as through that of his
_Fantasiestücke_, Hoffmann found himself celebrated. He was invited as
the hero of the evening to the fashionable tea circles of Berlin, where
ignorant or half-educated _dilettanti_ affected an interest in art
matters, that was over-strained and wanting in sincerity when it was
not ridiculous. For what was there the man could not do? He wrote books
about which all Germany was talking, he could improvise on the
pianoforte, compose operas, sketch caricatures, and streams of wit
gushed from him so soon as he opened his mouth. The homage showered
upon him at these gatherings flattered Hoffmann's vanity for a time,
but he soon saw the motives for which he was asked to be present--to
amuse the guests with his wit, to accompany the daughter or lady of the
house on the piano, to discuss art matters in a becoming way now with
an old grandmother, now with a grave professor, to tell diverting
anecdotes, to tickle the lazy minds of those who listened with some
spicy satire upon their enemies--in fact to be made a useful show of.
Quickly fathoming these motives, Hoffmann proved himself readily equal
to the occasion: as soon as he began to get bored, which very
frequently was the case, he made the most hideous grimaces, and when he
saw the company were preparing to draw something from him by way of
criticism which they could carry further and perhaps repeat again as
springing from their own acute judgment, he began to talk the most
arrant nonsense he could think of, or to fire off some of his stinging
sarcasms steeped in the bitterness of gall, till there were none but
blank and embarrassed faces around him--everybody thinking the man was
mad; but he went away delighted at the consternation he had been
instrumental in causing. The givers of fashionable teas soon ceased to
invite Hoffmann to their entertainments, but they had already
sufficiently sown the seeds of fresh mischief in him.

To have more money in his pockets than he just required for the
immediate wants of the moment was always fatal to him, and no less so
was the excitement attendant upon the giddy whirl of pleasure and
social popularity, or what stood for such. These were rocks of danger
upon which he always struck. The former led him to indulge in his
reprehensible habit of drinking, and the latter soon made him upset all
the systems of order and regulation. Day he turned into night and night
into day. He shunned for the most part the society of Hitzig and his
circle of friends, with their stimulating discussions that cultivated
the mind whilst unfolding and developing the feelings, and frequented a
low wine-shop and the common coarse company that was to be met with
there. Hence during nearly all the rest of his life, that is, from 1816
to 1821, he spent his mornings in the discharge of his official duties
at the Supreme Court (two mornings a week, Monday and Thursday), or in
writing; the afternoons he generally slept, or in summer took a walk;
and the evenings and nights always found him in the wine-shop of his
choice; and he never liked to leave it until morning came, nor did any
other engagements prevent him from putting in an appearance at his
habitual haunt, even though it were past midnight before he were free.
As already remarked, however, it was not to sit and drink like a sot
that he gave way to this degrading habit, but to get himself "exalted"
as he called it, and then when he was duly "exalted" came the firework
display of wit and glowing fancy, going on hour after hour without rest
or interruption for the space of five or six hours at once. If his
tongue was not the medium through which he discharged the creations of
his teeming imagination, his eagle eye was spying out all that was
ridiculous or strikingly extraordinary, or even what was possessed of a
touch of pathos or deep feeling, or he employed his hand in sketching
and drawing inimitable caricatures. He never sat idle and silent, and
drank steadily and stolidly as so many confirmed drinkers do. Hitzig,
who was deeply grieved at this downward course of his friend and at the
estrangement it had brought about between them, contrived to draw him
away from his demoralising companions of the wine-shop for at least one
night a week. On that evening there was a small gathering at Hoffmann's
house, moderation being strictly enjoined as one of the chief
regulations of the meeting. This small circle, which consisted of
Hoffmann, Hitzig, Contessa, and Koreff,[24] and an occasional friend or
two whom one of them introduced, called itself "The Serapion Brethren,"
this title being adopted from the fact that the first meeting was held
on the night of the anniversary of that saint, according to Frau
Hoffmann's Polish almanac. It is interesting to remark that amongst
these occasional guests figures the great Danish poet Oehlenschläger in
the year 1816. In a letter written to Hoffmann on March 26th, 1821,
recommending a young fellow-countryman to him, Oehlenschläger says,
"Dip him also a little in the magic sea of your humour, respected
friend, and teach him how a man can be a philosopher and seer of the
world under the ironical mantle of the mad-house, and what is more an
amiable man as well;" and he subscribes himself, "A. Oehlenschläger,
Serapion Brother."

In 1817 was published the collection of tales called _Die Nachtstücke_,
embracing _Der Sandmann_ (The Sand-man) and _Das Majorat_ (The Entail),
which reproduce personages and experiences belonging to the years in
Königsberg; _Die Jesuitenkirche_ and _Das steinerne Herz_, going back
to his life in Glogau; _Das Gelübde_, built upon a story related by his
wife as connected with her native town of Posen; _Das Sanctus_, which was
suggested by an incident in Berlin soon after Hoffmann's arrival there;
and _das öde Haus_, this last due to the way in which he was
incessantly haunted by the appearance of a closed house in the _Unter
den Linden_. These were mostly written in 1816 and 1817; and to them he
added _Ignas Denner_, which possesses some merit, but is of too gloomy
and darkly unpleasant a cast to be attractive to English readers; it
was written during the first days in Dresden, just after his
emancipation from the Bamberg thraldom. Whilst in it he gives free rein
to sombre melancholy, and dips his pen in "midnight blackness," in
_Berganza_, written about the same time, he has poured out the cynical
bitterness and scathing scorn which was then undoubtedly gnawing at his
heart. _Der Sandmann_, though embodying reminiscences of its author's
youth, also contains material derived from an incident which took place
during a visit of Hoffmann's to Fouqué's country-seat near Ratenow, and
Nathanael was recognised by Fouqué as meant for himself. _Das Majorat_
is, as already stated, a lasting memorial to his old great-uncle,
Vöthöry; the moral backbone of the story--the evil destiny attaching to
the successors of a man whose ambition aimed at founding a powerful
family by an act of injustice to his youngest son--reminds the
reader forcibly of the purpose that runs through Hawthorne's _House
with the Seven Gables_. Of the in many respects admirable story _Das
Gelübde_--it is to be regretted that it is marred by the dangerous
nature of the subject;[25] it is else poetically treated and invested
with a spirit of weird mysticism that would have made it rank higher
than what it does. The others in the collection are of lesser merit.

The next year 1818 saw no important work from Hoffmann's pen; but in
1819 appeared _Die seltsame Leiden eines Theaterdirekters_, a book
written in the form of a dialogue, which was due to the example of his
favourite, Diderot's "Rameau's Nephew" (by Goethe), and which conveys a
tolerably faithful account of Hoffmann's experiences in the capacity
indicated whilst in the town on the Regnitz, and indeed is useful as
illustrating the condition of the German stage generally at that
period. This was followed by a kind of fairy tale, _Klein Zaches
genannt Zinnober_; as this book was generally believed to be a local
satire upon persons and circumstances well known, it entailed many
severe strictures and much unpleasantness upon its writer. The truth
about it seems to be this: the idea--that of a sort of ugly kobold of
the Handy Andy type--was suggested by a sudden fancy during an attack
of fever, and in a moment of semi-delirium. On recovering his health
again, Hoffmann set to work in his impetuous and hasty way, and worked
out the idea in probably less than a fortnight. Similarly his _Meister
Floh_, one of the last and weakest caricatures he wrote, was likely to
have entailed disagreeable consequences upon him, had not his last
illness come before any authoritative steps could be taken. For he had
made use of incidents which came to his knowledge in the official
discharge of his duties, and which were of such a character that they
ought to have been guarded as inviolable secrets; and he further
employed certain phrases which he took from confidential papers that
likewise came into his hands in consequence of his public position. In
extenuation of his fault, or perhaps in explanation of it, be it
remarked that his conduct does not appear to have been actuated by
premeditated or deliberate malice, but to have sprung solely from his
recklessness and want of prudence: the ridiculous appealed to his sense
of humour so irresistibly that nothing was sacred against it, and so
nothing was safe from it.

In the summer of 1819 Hoffmann was ordered by his physician to visit
the Silesian baths; and he derived excellent benefit from the
prescription, coming home stronger and in a more healthful frame of
mind than his friends had seen him for a long time. Soon after his
return he was appointed on the commission selected to inquire into
those secret societies and other suspicious political organisations
which were particularly active about this time (_Burschenschaften_,
_Landsmannschaften_ in their political aspect). Towards the end of the
year he published the first two volumes of the _Serapionsbrüder_, the
third volume following in 1820 and the fourth in 1821. These volumes
contain all his tales that had appeared in various magazines and serial
publications, together with others now first published, and are linked
together by a running commentary, or rather they are set into it as
into a framework; the Serapion Society are represented as meeting at
stated intervals, when one or more of the members relate a tale. The
discussions which precede and follow the tales are full of sage remarks
about art and art-matters and other ripe practical wisdom, and contain
perhaps more matured thought than anything else that proceeded from
Hoffmann's pen. Of these numerous stories the best have been selected
for translation in these two volumes, namely, _Der Artushof_ (Arthur's
Hall), _Die Fermate_ (The Fermata), _Doge und Dogaresse_ (Doge and
Dogess), _Meister Martin der Küfner und seine Gesellen_ (Master Martin
the Cooper and his Journey men ), _Das Fräulein von Scudéri_
(Mademoiselle de Scudéri), _Spieler Glück_ (Gambler's Luck), and
_Signor Formica_. The remaining twelve tales call for no special
mention, except perhaps _Nussknacker_, which has been already alluded
to, _Das fremde Kind_, a curious mixture of reality and fairyland, and
_Der Zusammenhang der Dinge_, which is not devoid of interest. Several
of the things in this collection suggest comparison with Poe's writings
for weirdness and bizarre imaginative power, though of course there are
wide differences between the styles of the two writers.

In March, 1820, came a letter of good wishes from Beethoven, whose
music Hoffmann greatly admired; hence the letter was a source of much
real pleasure to him. Spontini, the well-known writer of operas, came
to Berlin in the summer of the same year and was received by Hoffmann
with every mark of respect. It was indeed maintained that the composer
of _Undine_ showed an unworthy servility in the way in which he
publicly acknowledged Spontini's talent. Whether this is true would
appear doubtful; servility was not one of the author's failings, though
vanity was. By Spontini's ministering to his vanity Hoffmann may have
been provoked to return him the compliment in his own coin, but it is
hardly likely that he went so far as to flatter against his own
conviction or against his better judgment. Of his longer and more
ambitious works the one which he ranked highest in merit was
_Lebensansichten des Katers Murr, nebst Biographie des Kapellmeisters
Johannes Kreisler_, the first volume of which appeared in 1820 and the
second in 1822. In respect of literary form and execution, as well as
of artistic worth, this is undoubtedly Hoffmann's most finished
production (_i.e._ of his longer works). It contains a good deal of
genial, keen, and subtle satire, conveyed in the doings of Murr the
tom-cat; and it is also a useful source for early biographical details,
both of facts and of mental development and opinions, contained in the
"waste-paper leaves" (treating of Kreisler), inserted at frequent
intervals between those which carry on the life and adventures of Murr.
The third volume, which was all ready and completed in the author's
head, and only wanted writing down, never came to the birth. The first
two volumes present to us a personification of Hoffmann's humoristic
self, and the third was to culminate in Kreisler's insanity, a result
brought about by the disappointments and baffling experiences he
encountered in life--Hoffmann's own career, that is; and the whole was
to conclude with the _Lichte Stunden eines wahnsinnigen Musikers_,--a
work which had been occupying his mind ever since he was in Bamberg,
and which had not yet been executed. In 1821 was published one of his
weakest things, a fairy tale, _Prinzessin Brambilla_, which is greatly
wanting in clearness of conception, though he himself ranked it highly.

The excesses in which Hoffmann had for so long indulged brought at
last, as may easily be conceived, their own inevitable retribution. The
first herald of the approaching physical troubles was the death
(November 30, 1821) of the sagacious cat who was the real hero of
_Kater Murr_. Hoffmann was much cut up by the death of his favourite,
which he described to Hitzig with truly touching pathos.[26] Soon after
this he was suddenly stricken down by disease--_tabes dorsalis_; his
body gradually died, beginning at the feet and moving up to the brain,
a process which lasted several weeks. But from the autumn of 1821 to
April, 1822, he was cheered by the daily visits of the beloved friend
of his youth, Hippel, who had come up to Berlin for that space of time.
Hoffmann celebrated his 46th birthday with this true friend, and with
Hitzig and others less dear. Hoffmann and Hippel were dwelling fondly
upon the days of their youth and reviving old recollections, when
mention was made of death and dying. Hitzig remarked in substance that
"life was not the highest of all goods;" this caused the suffering
Hoffmann to reply with passionate emphasis, such as he did not give way
to on any other occasion during the course of the evening, "No, no--let
me live, live--let me only live, no matter in what condition." "There
was something awful," says Hitzig, "in the way in which these words
burst from his lips." And his wish was fulfilled in terrible wise; one
limb after the other failed to perform its office; his feet and hands
and certain parts of his inner organism became quite dead. On the day
before he died he was virtually a corpse as far as his neck; and so he
was full of hope that he should soon be well again, since he "felt no
more pain then." Even in this truly pitiable and helpless condition his
imagination continued to pour forth a stream of the most whimsical and
humorous fancies, and his cheerfulness was even greater than in the
days of sound health. Hippel's departure in April was a hard blow to
him. About four weeks before his death he underwent the sharp operation
of being burned on each side of the spine with red-hot irons. When
Hitzig entered the room after the terrible operation was over, Hoffmann
cried, "Can you smell the flavour of roast meat?" and he said that
whilst the doctors were burning him, the thought entered his mind that
the "Minister of Police was having him leaded lest he should slip out
as contraband;"--he was shrivelled up to a mummy almost, so that, owing
to his small size as well, a woman could carry him in her arms. Though
his body was thus a perfect wreck, his mental powers were as brilliant
and keen as ever; and when his hands proved useless to him, he engaged
the services of an amanuensis and went on dictating until almost the
very hour of his death. In fact, the last thing he spoke about was a
direction for his writer to read to him the passages where he had
broken off in _Der Feind_; then he turned his face to the wall; the
fatal rattle was heard in his throat; and all Hoffmann's earthly
troubles were over (June 25, 1822).

It is very remarkable that the works dictated by this extraordinary man
on his deathbed show an almost total departure from the style of most
of his previous tales. He no longer records his own experiences,--the
events and occurrences, the sentiments and thoughts, that were
peculiarly his own,--but he writes from a purely objective standpoint,
and _creates_. Of most of his other works it may be said that they are
_he_; but of these it can only be said they are _his_ in the sense that
they owed their origin to him. _Meister Johannes Wacht_, one of these,
is translated in Vol. II. The scene is laid in Bamberg, and the
characters of the story were also said to be faithful portraits of
actual people in Bamberg; yet we look in vain to find anything like
Hoffmann himself in it. _Des Vetters Eckfenster_, though hardly a tale,
is yet one of the best things Hoffmann has written. Those who know
Émile Souvestre's _Un Philosophe sous les Toits_ would find in this
thing of Hoffmann's dying days something to their taste; it is a
running commentary on personages seen in the market from the writer's
own window, and each little scene brings before us a true and lifelike
character in a few weighty and well-chosen words. _Die Genesung_, a
mere sketch, arose out of the dying man's pathetic longing to see the
green of the woods and the meadows. _Der Feind_, a fragment full of
promise, is a tale of old Nuremberg of the days of Albrecht Dürer, who
figures in it. Before being deprived of the use of his hands he had
written several other short tales, amongst which may be mentioned _Die
Doppeltgänger_, as being a favourite theme with Hoffmann, and _Der
Elementargeist_, a weird, entrancing story. In _Die Räuber_ he gives us
a weak version of Schiller's celebrated work.

In Hoffmann we have an instance of a man who nearly all his life long
failed to get himself placed amid the circumstances in the midst of
which it was his one burning wish to be placed. He never found his
right calling. He is a man ruined by circumstances (_zerfahren_). He
was not wanting in warm natural feeling, as is proved by his close and
faithful friendships with Hippel, Hitzig, and Kunz; and more than one
instance of spontaneous kindness and of winning amiability are
preserved by his biographer.[27] In youth his mind and heart were full
of noble thoughts and aspirations, and he was sincerely desirous to
educate himself up to better things. We see it in "May it never happen
to me that my heart is not readily receptive of every communication
from without, as well as for every feeling within, for the head must
never injure the heart, nor must the heart ever run away with the head,
that is my idea of culture," and "an excitable heart and a restless
nature will never let us be quite happy, but will have a beneficial
influence upon our education, upon our striving after greater
perfection." His poetic temperament, and such like poetic tendencies,
found no responsive sympathy amongst his relatives. Being thrust back
upon himself and then having his feelings centred, when at length they
did meet with sympathetic appreciation, in such a way as could only
bring disappointment and unhappiness, he was early made a fit
instrument for circumstances to play upon, and sorely was he buffeted
by them through all the years from going to Posen right down until the
day of his death. But this result must also be traced partly to the
want of a parent's loving, watchful eye. In those years which are the
most important for moulding a boy's character he was practically left
to go his own way. True, his uncle Otto held him down to habits of
industry and order; but he did nothing to encourage the boy's better
and higher nature, or guide it sympathetically along the paths where it
was striving to find its own way. Hoffmann had no high idea of the
moral dignity of man, and at times even seemed to have but little
conception of it. The relations upon which he lived with his uncle Otto
and the history of his own father prevented this sense of moral worth
from being planted in his mind. The germ which bore fruit in his love
for extremes, for what was extraordinary and quite out of the common
beaten track of life, was probably engendered in the following way. Not
finding the sympathy he needed in his efforts after a better life, he
turned in upon himself and began to despise the petty details of
everyday existence; and several passages in his letters clearly go to
show that his unhappiness and discontent were largely due to the fact
of his overlooking the real enjoyment to be derived from the small
occurrences and events of every day, which rightly viewed are capable
of affording such a large fund of real contentment. In a letter to
Hippel early in 1815, he himself states, "For my shattered life I have
really only myself to blame; I ought to have shown more resolution and
less levity in my earlier years. When a youth, when a boy, I ought to
have devoted myself entirely to Art and never to have thought of anything
else. But of course something also was due to perverse education." It
must not be supposed, however, from the above that he was deficient in
firmness or strength of will. The perseverance with which he worked
through his early examinations, as well as the energy and zeal he brought
to bear upon his official duties, contradict such supposition. Specific
instances might also be quoted did space permit; it will be enough to
recall his resolve never to gamble. It is stated that he avowed his
intention to amend his ways if he recovered from his last fatal
illness. The real key to his wayward character lies in the fact just
alluded to, that he had no conception of the supreme importance of
moral worth. This was the backbone wanting in his character; and for
this reason we fail to detect any steady sterling course of action
through all the vicissitudes of his life. If he had a ruling motive it
was capricious humour; at any rate it swayed him more than anything
else. On one day he would laugh at what had annoyed him on the day
preceding, or be delighted to-day at what he had greeted yesterday with
irony. Nobody knew better than himself how he was tyrannised over by
his changeable moods. "My capricious humour (_Laune_) is the first
weather-prophet I know, and if I had the good-will and were bored I
could make an almanac," is one of his expressions; and another runs,
"You know that my capricious humour is often _Maître de Flaisir_."
Besides being thus the creature of caprice, he was also impulsive,
impetuous, and wont to act with impassioned haste. These qualities were
revealed in his restless vivacious eyes, in his movements and gestures,
and even broke out in extraordinary grimaces, as already remarked. And
just in the same fervid eager way he often seized upon an idea or a
pleasing fancy, till it took complete possession of him; he could not
rid himself of it. With this was combined his remarkable quickness of
perception and comprehension; a single gesture or phrase was often
sufficient to enable him to grasp a character. What he hated above all
things was dulness--_ennui_; this never failed to provoke his keenest
irony and bitterest sarcasms. In his last years he even became cynical
and rugged and vulgar, in which we may of course trace the influence of
his tavern associates. It is to his credit that he did not sink into
Byronic misanthropy and bitter self-lacerating scorn, or even into
Heine's irreverence and persiflage.

An old German poet says, "Seht das Loos der Menschheit--Heute Freude,
Morgen Leid;"[28] but with Hoffmann joy and pain were frequently more
closely allied than this even: whilst the jest was on his lips the
sting would be in his heart. In this, as well as in several other
features of his stormy career, he did indeed resemble his countryman
Heine. One of the necessities of his nature was human society--not
simply society, however, but people who could appreciate him, who could
fall in with his moods, and either follow intelligently when he led, or
lend him a stimulating and helping hand to keep the ball of wit and
jollity rolling. An illustration of this is found in the fact that he
"did not love the society of women. If he could not mystify them, or
draw them into the circle of his fantasies, or discover in them any
decided talent for comicality, he preferred the society of men."
Amongst women, however, after those of the class just named, he was
most interested in young and pretty girls, being attracted by the charm
of their fresh beauty, not by the charm of their mind. Learned women he
hated.

Hoffmann was, as already observed, the child of extremes. These were
revealed not only in his life and action, but also in his writings; for
his writings are the man. Indeed German critics have said that his
works, particularly the _Fantasiestücke_, are "lyrics in prose." What
they mean by this phrase is chiefly that the things he wrote exhibit
subjective phrases of his nature, and are disconnected, or rather not
connected, not balanced parts of a systematic whole. This is true so
far as it is true that Hoffmann never did complete a long work, except
the _Elixiere_, and this work, as there has been occasion to point out,
consists of two disjointed parts. One of the things that strike us most
in reading his books is the peculiar mixture of the real and the
unreal, of matters appertaining to actual life and of fantasies born
only of the imagination. Very often the imagination would be called by
most people a diseased imagination; but it is not always so, sometimes
it is the poet's imagination. Hence, from this blending or close
alternation of reality with what is not of the earth--hence came his
love for fairy tales, tales in which we meet with kobolds, imps,
witches, little monsters of all kinds--the spirits and apparitions in
fact which used to haunt his excited fancy in such a strange way.
Several of these are poetic creatures, whom he handles in a light,
graceful, and pleasing style (_Goldener Topf_, _Nussknacker_, _Das
fremde Kind_, &c.); others, on the other hand, are drawn in horrible
and unearthly colours and awaken the sentiments of awe and dread. What
he loved especially to dwell upon was the "night side of natural
science," the puzzling relations between the psychic and the physical
principles both in man and in Nature. Hence such states as
somnambulism, magnetism, dreams, dark forebodings of the terrible,
inhuman passions, and such things as automata and vampyres, had for him
an insuperable attraction. Insanity was a mystery that haunted his
thoughts for years: it figures largely in _Die Elixiere_ and _Der
Sandmann_; and in the third part of _Kater Murr_ it was his intention
to represent Kreisler's battle with adverse circumstances as
culminating in insanity. Handling these, and states and situations
equally hideous, fantastic, and grotesque, with extraordinary clearness
and precision both of thought and of language, considering the often
misty nature of the subjects he treats of, and pouring upon the vivid
pictures he conjures up the brightness of his wit and the exuberant
gaiety and grace of his fancy, he succeeds in creating scenes,
situations, and characters which seem verily instinct with real life.
This end was attained principally by the true genius he displayed in
perception, apprehension, and description. His graphic descriptive
power is that which mainly procured him his wide-reaching fame during
his own lifetime, not only in Germany but also in France, and is that
which principally gives to his works whatever permanent value they may
possess. With a painter's eye he grasps a character or a scene by a few
of its more prominent and essential features, and with a painter's hand
and eye he sketches them in a few telling strokes. The reader must not
look to find in Hoffmann any clever or subtle analysis of the deeper
motives that work towards the development of character; all that
Hoffmann can give him will be talented _pictures_. He himself lays down
his canon of literary spirit in the introduction to the first volume of
the _Serapionsbrüder_--


"Vain are an author's efforts to bring us to believe in what he does
not believe in himself, in what he cannot believe in, since he has not
made it his own by _seeing_ it (_erschauen_). What else are the
characters of such an author, who, to borrow the old phrase, is no true
seer, but deceitful marionettes, painfully glued together out of alien
materials?... At least let each one of us [the Brethren] strive
earnestly and truly to grasp the image that has arisen in his mind in
all its features, its colours, its lights and its shades, and then when
he feels himself really enkindled by them let him proceed to embody
them in an external description."


Hoffmann has mostly succeeded in acting up to his canon and has written
in its spirit; and in so far true genius cannot be denied him. And
he possessed in no less eminent a degree the true art of the born
story-teller. The interest seldom if ever flags; and the curious
anomalies of men and of men-creatures (_Mensch-Thiere_), whom he
mingles amongst his winning heroines and his delightful satiric
characters, oftener than not quite enthrall the mind or afford it true
enjoyment as the case may be, and this they do in spite of the fact
that, owing to their own nature, they frequently stand outside the
ordinary sphere of human sympathies. Of course it may readily be
conceived that the danger which he was liable to fall into was want of
clearness in conception and sentiment, but he has avoided this rock for
the most part with wonderful skill. One of his latest productions,
_Prinzessin Brambilla_, is the one where this fault is most markedly
conspicuous; nor is the _Elixiere_ free from it.

German critics have not failed to notice the sweet grace and winning
loveliness which hover about the characters of most of his heroines.
They are nearly all presented in colours impregnated with real poetic
beauty; see, for instance, Seraphina (_Das Majorat_), Annunciata
(_Doge_), Madelon and Mdlle. de Scudéry (_Scudéri_), Rose (_Meister
Martin_), Cecily (_Berganza_), and others.

Carlyle, whose brief and for the most part truthful essay upon Hoffmann
(in vol. ii. of his _German Romance_, 1829) appears to have been based
largely upon others' opinions rather than upon first-hand acquaintance
with his author, says that in him "there are the materials of a
glorious poet, but no poet has been fashioned out of them." And when we
seek for poetic elements in Hoffmann's works, we are not altogether
disappointed. We have just stated that his heroines are creations of a
poet's fancy; and in the scene between Father Hilarius and Kreisler in
_Kater Murr_, and in the passages and characters already alluded to in
_Die Elixiere_, in the sunny cheerful _Märchen_--_Der goldene Topf_
(which Hoffmann calls his "poetic masterpiece"), in _Das Gelübde_,
_Nussknacker_, &c., we enter the world of higher imagination. Again,
whilst in _Doge und Dogaresse_ we are arrested by the poetic charm of
the island life of the Lagune in the golden days of Venice's splendour,
in _Meister Martin_ we are no less, perhaps still more impressed by the
rich romantic beauty of life in the old mediæval town of Nuremberg. In
_Die Scudéri_ we are made acquainted with the cold glittering court of
Louis XIV. through the lovable character of Mdlle. de Scudéry; and
whilst on the one hand following with deep interest the fate of Brusson
and his love, on the other we are led to contrast the subtilty of the
plot with the fine analytic power of Poe in The _Murders in the Rue
Morgue_. When visiting with Hoffmann the weird castle of _Das Majorat_,
we are made to hear the cold shrill blasts of the Baltic whistling past
our ears, and to feel the storm and the sea-spray dashing in our faces.
These four tales are unquestionably the best that Hoffmann has written;
to them must be added _Meister Wachte_, on account of its excellent
characterisation of the hero. In striking contrast with the majority of
the things he has written, these five tales show him when he is most
objective; in them he has wielded his powers with more wise restraint
than in any of the others, and introduced less of his strange fantastic
caricatures. Next after these tales must be named, though on a lower
level, and simply because they best illustrate his peculiar genius, the
two books of _Kater Murr_, the fairy tale _Der goldene Topf_, and _Des
Vetters Eckfenster_, In the works here named we have the best fruits of
Hoffmann's pen. And if instead of asking in the mistaken spirit of
competition which is now so much in vogue. What is Hoffmann's position
in literature? we ask rather, Has he written anything that deserves to
be read? we shall have already had our answer. The works here singled
out are worthy of being preserved and read; and of them _Das Majorat_
and _Meister Martin_ are perhaps entitled to be called the best, though
some German critics have mentioned _Meister Wacht_ along with the
former as having a claim to the first rank.

It is now time to take a glance at Hoffmann's satiric power. This was
launched principally against two classes of society; the one is that of
which his uncle Otto was a type, the man who is unreasonably obstinate
in defence of the conventionalities of life, and no less so in their
steady observance: the second class was that whose representatives
aroused Hoffmann's ire so greatly at Bamberg and Berlin "tea-circles,"
or "tea-sings"--those who coquetted with art in an unworthy or
frivolous manner. Against this latter class his irony and satiric wrath
were especially fierce, as may be read in _Berganza_, _Die Irrungen_,
the _Kreisleriana_, _Kater Murr_, _Signor Formica_, &c. Perhaps the
most amusing, for quiet humour, of the former class is _Die Brautwahl_.
The force of his satiric power lay in the skilful use of sudden
contrast. Hence it plays more frequently upon or near the surface, and
lacks the depth and pathos of true humour; but it is idle to expect
from a man what he hasn't got.

In so far as this author had any serious philosophical belief, it would
appear to have been that man was a slave of Chance, or Fate, or
Destiny, or whatever it may be called. Sometimes he is the plaything of
circumstances; sometimes a defenceless victim under "Fate's brazen
hand," or of "that Eternal Power which rules over us." The real
significance of life is summoned up in the statement that it is a
struggle between contending powers of good and evil, against both of
which man is equally helpless. He believed that whenever any good fell
to a man's lot there was always some evil lurking in ambush behind it,
or, to borrow his own expressive phrase, "the Devil must put his tail
upon everything." His further views are here quoted from _Der
Magnetiseur_:--


"We are knitted with all things without us, with all Nature, in such
close ties, both psychic and physical, that the severance from them
would, if it were indeed possible, destroy our own existence. Our
so-called intensive life is conditioned by the extensive; the former is
only a reflex of the latter, in which the figures and images received,
as if reflected in a concave mirror, often appear in changed relations
that are wonderful and singularly strange, notwithstanding that these
caricatures again And their real originals in life. I boldly maintain,
that no man has ever thought or dreamt anything the elements of which
were not to be found in Nature; nohow can he get out of her."


Was this the cause or the result of the visions he used to see?

From his conception of strife between good and evil as interpreting the
significance of existence arose that dissonance which lies at the root
of nearly all his most characteristic works--that sense of want, that
failure to find final satisfaction which may be only too readily
detected. For the conflict within himself he knew no real mediatory: he
was baffled to discover a higher category in which to unite the
conflicting principles. Religion he never willingly talked about; hence
it could not give him the satisfaction he lacked. He thought he found
it in Art, however; since for Art he battled with all the strength of
his genius, and in the sacred mission of Art he believed with all his
soul. He has many enthusiastic bursts on the subject, agreeing in some
respects with the views laid down by Schiller in his _Aesthetische
Erziehung des Menschen_:--


"They alone are true artists who devote themselves with undivided love
and enthusiasm to their goddess; to them alone is true Art revealed....
There is no Art which is not sacred.... The sacred purpose of all Art
is apprehension of Nature in that deepest sense of the word which
enkindles in the soul an ardent striving after the higher life.... I do
not ask about the artistes life; but his work must be pure, in the
highest degree respectable, and if possible religious. It has no need,
therefore, to have any so-called moral tendency; nay, it ought not to
have such. The truly beautiful is itself moral, only in another
form.... Art is eternally clear. The mists of ignorance are as inimical
to her as the life-destroying carbonic acid gas of immorality. Art is
the highest perfection of human power. Heart and Understanding are her
common parents."


Music was his favourite art. It first taught him to feel; and not only
was it his unfailing solace in hours of trouble, but it brought him
messages of deeper import: it disclosed to him glimpses of another
world--it was the "language of heaven." Here again a passage from his
own works expresses his opinions upon this point better than any other
pen can express them:--


"No art, I believe, affords such strong evidence of the spiritual in
man as music, and there is no art that requires so exclusively means
that are--purely intellectual and ætherial. The intuition of what is
Highest and Holiest--of the Intelligent Power which enkindles the spark
of life in all Nature--is audibly expressed in musical sound; hence
music and song are the utterance of the fullest perfection of
existence--praise of the Creator! Agreeably to its real essential
nature, therefore, music is religious cultus; and its origin is to be
sought for and found, simply and solely, in religion, in the
Church."[29]


Treating of Hoffmann's position with respect to music, Wilibald Alexis
says, "We do not know any other man who has expressed in words such a
real true enthusiasm for an art [as Hoffmann for music]; and
specialists assure us that few have thoroughly grasped the nature of
music so admirably."

As far as a foreigner may presume to judge of Hoffmann's language and
literary style, it would appear to be chiefly distinguished by strong
grace, ease, naturalness, and nervous vigour. German critics
acknowledge its charms, calling it a model of clearness and masterly
skill and elegance. Perhaps its beauties are best seen, that is in a
more chastened form, in _Kater Murr_. Repetitions, however, and
exaggerations in description of sentiment tend, at times, to mar the
reader's pleasure. Signs of haste, too, are not wanting, as Carlyle
pointed out. This was chiefly due to the very large number of
commissions he received from publishers and others, who keenly competed
for the productions of his pen. At the date of his death he had as many
commissions on hand as would, if he accepted them all, have kept him
fully employed for several years.

To those who love a good story, well told, the five specially mentioned
may be recommended; and for those who desire to explore the dark
by-paths (_Irrwege_) of the human spirit, to penetrate to some of its
rarest comers, and to know all its ins and outs, as well as for those
who aim at studying German literature, Hoffmann is a writer who ought
to be read at greater length.

                                                   THE TRANSLATOR.


FOOTNOTES TO "BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICE":

[Footnote 1: The chief sources for this biographical notice have been
_E. T. A. Hoffmann's Leben und Nachlass, von J. G. Hitzig, herausg. von
Micheline Hoffmann, geb. Rorer_, 5 vols., Stuttgart, 1839;
_Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben_, von Z. Funck [C. Kunz], Leipsic, 1836;
and various minor essays and papers.]

[Footnote 2: Later in life he adopted the name of "Amadeus" instead of
"Wilhelm," out of admiration for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the great
musician (see _Erinng._, pp. 77-80).]

[Footnote 3: Another account (see H. Döring's article "Hoffmann," in
Ersch und Gruber's _Allgem. Encyk._) states 21st Jan., 1778. The date
in the text is the one, however, that is generally accepted, and now
without question; it is the one confirmed by Hoffmann himself (cf.
Letter 15 in _Leben_).]

[Footnote 4: These two books, together with Schubert's _Symbolik des
Traums_, were favourites with him throughout life. In his youth he was
a most diligent student of the new literature of his native country;
English he also read to a large extent, Shakespearian quotations being
very frequent in his letters; and we find the names of Sterne, Swift,
Smollett, &c. Later in life he hardly read anything unless it were
exceptionally good, and then only when recommended to do so by his
friends. Political papers he never read, and scarcely ever criticisms
on his own works.]

[Footnote 5: That is, after Hippel had completed his academic career,
and left Königsberg.]

[Footnote 6: That is, after the king's death in 1797. She afterwards
married the Holbein here mentioned.]

[Footnote 7: _Romeo and Juliet_, iii. 9.]

[Footnote 8: _Leben_, iii. pp. 231-233.]

[Footnote 9: A suburb or park of Warsaw, beneath the tall beeches of
which Hoffmann loved to lie dreaming, or sketch from Nature.]

[Footnote 10: An equestrian statue of John Sobieski, the deliverer of
Vienna from the Turks.]

[Footnote 11: Polish for "moustaches."]

[Footnote 12: _Leben_, iii. pp. 251-254.]

[Footnote 13:  A very comic incident, of which Hoffmann himself was the
hero, took place on the occasion of Werner's reading his new tragedy
_Das Kreuz an der Ostsee_ to a select circle of friends. Unfortunately
it cannot be compressed into sufficiently short space to be quoted
here. Hoffmann relates it in _Die Serapionsbrüder_, vol. iv., after
_Signor Formica_.]

[Footnote 14: _Leben_, v. pp. 18-20; cf. also _Erinnerungen_ p. 1, &c.,
where Kunz details the circumstances under which he was introduced to
Hoffmann.]

[Footnote 15: Several of Calderon's, mainly at Hoffmann's suggestion
and by his assistance; the "Worship of the Cross" was particularly
successful in the Catholic town of Bamberg.]

[Footnote 16: Kunz tells us how they used to go down into the cellar,
sit astride of the cask, and drink, and _sich des heitern Lebens
freuen_ with genial and sprightly sallies; and his picture has no faint
smack of Auerbach's Keller (_Faust_). See _Leben_, v. p. 177, note.]

[Footnote 17: Compare Nanni in_ Meister Wacht_, Clara in _Der
Sandmann_, Rose in _Meister Martin_, Cecily in _Berganza_, &c.]

[Footnote 18: See _Erinnerungen_, pp. 60 _sq._]

[Footnote 19: See _Leben_, iv. p. 95, v. p. 27; _Erinnerungen_, pp.
28-31.]

[Footnote 20: These adventures are described in one of the most
humorous chapters (iv.) of the _Erinnerungen_.]

[Footnote 21: It is treated of in _Don Juan_ and in _Die Fremdenloge_,
in the _Fantasiestücke_. A recent critic has declared that this essay
will always have value in connection with the stage-representation of
the problem of Don Juan (cf. _Die Gegenwart_, 24th May, 1884).]

[Footnote 22: _Leben_, vol. iv. pp. 58, 59.]

[Footnote 23: _Leben_, vol. iv. p. 140.]

[Footnote 24: Contessa and Koreff are strikingly portrayed in the
_Serapionsbrüder_ (vol. ii.), the former as "Sylvester," the latter as
"Vincenz."]

[Footnote 25: The sexual relations are handled in a mystical, sensuous
way; something of the same kind of treatment occurs again in _Das
Elementargeist_.]

[Footnote 26: _Leben_, vol. iv. pp. 118-120.]

[Footnote 27: _Leben_, iii. pp. 120-123; iv. p. 60.]

[Footnote 28: "Behold the lot of mankind--joy to-day, to-morrow grief,"
Walther von Eschenbach's _Parzival_, ii. 103, ll. 23, 24.]

[Footnote 29: _Serapionsbrüder_, vol. ii., Introduction to part iv.]





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