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Title: Specimens of German Romance; Vol. II. Master Flea - Selected and Translated from Various Authors
Author: Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus
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 "Specimens of German Romance; Vol. II. Master Flea - Selected and Translated from Various Authors" ***

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Transcriber's notes:
1. Page scan source:
   http://www.archive.org/details/specimensofgerma02soanuoft

2. Footnote is at the end of the book.

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



[Illustration: Master Flea]



                               SPECIMENS

                                   OF

                            GERMAN ROMANCE.



                      SELECTED AND TRANSLATED FROM
                            VARIOUS AUTHORS.



                           IN THREE VOLUMES.

                                VOL. II.



                                LONDON:
                     PRINTED FOR GEO. B. WHITTAKER,
                            AVE-MARIA-LANE.

                               MDCCCXXVI.



                                LONDON:
                PRINTED BY THOMAS DAVISON, WHITEFRIARS.



                              MASTER FLEA.


                           *   *   *   *   *


                            First Adventure.

INTRODUCTION--Wherein the gentle reader learns as much of the life of
Mr. Peregrine Tyss as is requisite for him to know.

Presentation of Christmas-boxes at the bookbinder's, Lemmerhirt, in the
Kelbecker-street, and beginning of the First Adventure.--The two
Alinas.

Once upon a time--But what author will venture to begin his tale so
now-a-days?--Obsolete! tedious!--Such is the cry of the gentle, or
rather ungentle reader, who wishes to be plunged at once, _medias in
res_, according to the wise advice of the old Roman poet. He feels as
if some long-winded talker of a guest, who had just entered, was
spreading himself out, and clearing his voice to begin an endless
discourse, and he angrily closes the book which he had but just opened.
The present editor, indeed, of the wonderful tale of Master Flea,
thinks this beginning a very good beginning, not to say the best for
every history, on which account the most excellent story-tellers that
are, namely, nurses, old women, &c. have at all times made use of it;
but as every author writes chiefly to be read, he,--that is, the
aforesaid editor,--will not at any rate deprive the kind reader of the
pleasure of actually being his reader. He tells him therefore at once,
without more circumlocution, that this same Peregrine Tyss, of whose
strange adventures this history is to treat, had never, on any
Christmas evening, felt his heart so throb with anxious joyful
expectation, as precisely on that with which begins the narration of
his adventures.

Peregrine was in a dark chamber, next the show-room in which he was
wont to receive his Christmas-box. There he crept gently up and down,
listened a little at the door, and then seated himself quietly in a
corner, and with shut eyes inhaled the mystic odours of the marchpane
and gingerbread which streamed from the sanctuary. Then, again, there
would shoot through him a sweet mysterious thrill when, on suddenly
re-opening them, he was dazzled by the vivid beams of light which fell
through the crevices of the door, and danced hither and thither upon
the wall.

At length sounded the little silver bell,--the chamber door was flung
open, and in rushed Peregrine, amidst a whole fire-flood of variegated
Christmas lights. Quite petrified, he remained standing at the table,
on which the finest gifts were arranged in the most handsome order, and
only a loud "oh!" forced itself from his breast. Never before had the
Christmas tree borne such splendid fruits, for every sweetmeat that can
be named, and amongst them many a golden nut, many a golden apple from
the garden of the Hesperides hung upon the boughs, which bent beneath
their burthen. The provision of choicest playthings, fine leaden
soldiers, hunting trains of the same, picture-books, &c. is not to be
told. But as yet he did not venture to touch any part of the wealth
presented to him; he could only occupy himself in mastering his wonder,
and comprehending the idea of his good fortune in all this being really
his.

"O my dear parents! O my good Alina!"--so he exclaimed, with feelings
of the highest transport.

"Well, my little Peregrine," replied Alina, "have I done it well? Are
you in truth rejoiced from your heart, my child? Won't you look nearer
at these handsome things? Won't you try the new rocking-horse and the
beautiful fox?"

"A noble steed," said Peregrine, examining the bridled rocking-horse
with tears of joy--"a noble beast, of pure Arabian race;" and he
immediately mounted his proud courser; but though Peregrine might else
be a capital rider, yet this time he must have made some mistake, for
the wild Pontifer (so was the horse called) reared, and threw him off,
making him kick up his legs most piteously. Before, however, Alina, who
was frightened to death, could run to his assistance, he had got up
again and seized the bridle of the horse, who threw out behind, and
endeavoured to run away. Again he mounted, and using with strength and
skill all the arts of horsemanship, he brought the wild animal so to
his reason, that it trembled and panted, and recognized his master in
Peregrine. Upon his dismounting, Alina led the conquered horse into his
stable.

This somewhat violent riding, which had caused an outrageous noise in
the room, and indeed through the whole house, was now over, and
Peregrine seated himself at the table, that he might quietly take a
nearer view of the other splendid presents. With great delight he
devoured some of the marchpane, while he set in motion the limbs of the
different puppets, peeped into the various picture-books, mustered his
army, which he with reason deemed invincible, since not a single
soldier had a stomach in his body, and at last proceeded to the
business of the chase. To his great vexation, he discovered that there
was only a hare and fox hunt, and that the stag and wild boar chase
were altogether wanting. These, too, ought to have been there, as none
better knew than Peregrine, he himself having purchased the whole with
unspeakable care and trouble.

But, hold!--It seems highly requisite to guard the kind reader against
the awkward mistakes into which he might fall, if the author were to go
on gossiping at random, without reflecting that though he may know the
meaning of these Christmas Eve arrangements, it is not so with his
reader, who would wish to learn what he does not comprehend.

Much mistaken would he be who should imagine that Peregrine Tyss
was a child, to whom a kind mother, or some other well-affectioned
female, called in romantic fashion Alina, had been giving
Christmas-boxes----Nothing less than that!

Mr. Peregrine Tyss had got to his six-and-thirtieth year, and herein
had passed almost the best of life. Six years before, he was said to be
a handsome man; now he was with reason called a man of gentlemanly
appearance: but at all times,--then, as well as now,--it was the cry of
all, that he lived too much to himself; that he did not know life, and
was manifestly suffering under a diseased melancholy. Fathers, whose
daughters were just marriageable, thought that to get rid of this
melancholy, the good Tyss could do nothing better than marry; he had a
free choice, and had little reason to fear a negative. The opinion of
the fathers was at least correct in regard to the latter point,
insomuch as Mr. Tyss, besides being, as before said, a man of
gentlemanly appearance, possessed a considerable property, left to him
by his father, Mr. Balthasar Tyss, a very respectable merchant. Maidens
who have got beyond the heyday of love,--that is, who are at least
three or four-and-twenty years old--when such highly gifted men put the
innocent question of "Will you bless me with your hand, dearest?"
seldom do otherwise than answer, with blushing cheeks and downcast
eyes, "Speak to my parents, sir; I shall obey them--I have no will:"--
while the parents fold their hands and say, "If it is the will of
Heaven, we have nothing against it, son."

But Mr. Peregrine Tyss seemed inclined to nothing less than marriage;
for besides that he was in general averse to society, he showed more
particularly a strange idiosyncrasy towards the female race. The mere
proximity of any woman would bring the perspiration on his forehead;
and if actually accosted by a tolerably handsome girl, he would fall
into an agony that fettered his tongue, and caused a cramp-like
trembling through all his limbs. Hence, perhaps, it was that his old
servant was so ugly, that, in the neighbourhood where Mr. Peregrine
Tyss lived, she passed for a wonder in natural history. The black,
rugged, half-grey hair accorded well with the red blear eyes, and just
as well agreed the thick copper nose with the pale blue lips, in
forming the image of an aspirant to the Blocksberg[1]; so that two
centuries earlier, she would hardly have escaped the stake, instead of
being, as now, esteemed by Mr. Peregrine, and others too, for a good
sort of person. This, in fact, she was, and might therefore well be
forgiven, if she comforted her body with many a little dram in the
course of the day, or, perhaps, too often took out from her stomacher a
huge black japanned snuffbox, and fed her respectable nose very richly
with pure Oppenbacher. The kind reader has already observed that this
remarkable person is the very same Alina who managed the business of
the Christmas-boxes. Heaven knows how she came by the celebrated name
of the Queen of Golconda!

But if the fathers desired that the rich agreeable Mr. Peregrine should
lay aside his horror of women and marry without more ado, the old
bachelors, on the other hand, said that he did quite right to remain
single, as his turn of mind was not suited to matrimony. It was
unlucky, however, that at the phrase "turn of mind," not a few made a
very mysterious face; and upon close inquiry, gave it to be pretty
plainly understood, that Mr. Peregrine Tyss was at times a little
cracked. The numerous retailers of this opinion belonged chiefly to
those who are firmly convinced that on the great high way of life,
which is to be kept according to reason and prudence, the nose is the
best guide; and who would rather put on blinkers than be led aside by
any odorous shrub or blooming meadow that grows by the way. It was,
however, true that Peregrine had many things about him which people
could not comprehend.

It has been already said that his father was a rich and respectable
merchant; when to this is added that he owned a handsome house in the
Horse-market, and that in this house, in the very same chamber where
the little Peregrine had always received his Christmas-boxes, the
grown-up Peregrine was now receiving them, there is no room to doubt
that the place of the strange adventures to be narrated in this history
is the celebrated city of Frankfort on the Maine. Of his parents little
more is to be told than that they were quiet honest folks, of whom no
one could speak any thing but good. The unbounded esteem which Mr. Tyss
enjoyed upon 'Change he owed to two circumstances; he always speculated
well and safely, gaining one sum after the other; while at the same
time he never presumed, but remained modest as before, and made no
boast of his wealth, which he showed merely by his haggling about
nothing, and being indulgence itself towards insolvent debtors who had
fallen into misfortune, even though it were deservedly.

For a long time the marriage of Mr. Tyss was unfruitful, till at
length, after almost twenty years, Mrs. Tyss rejoiced her husband with
a fine lusty boy, who was our identical Master Peregrine Tyss. The
boundless joy of the elders may be imagined, and the people of
Frankfort yet talk of the splendid christening given by the old Tyss,
at which the noblest hock was filled out as if at a coronation
festival. But what added still more to the posthumous fame of Mr. Tyss
was, that he invited to this christening a couple of people who, in
their enmity, had often injured him; and not only them, but others too
whom he thought he had injured; so that the feast was really one of
peace and reconciliation.

Alas! the good man did not suspect that this same child, whose birth so
much rejoiced him, would soon be a cause of sorrow. At the very first,
the boy Peregrine showed a singular disposition. After he had cried
night and day uninterruptedly for some weeks, without their being able
to find out any bodily ailment, he became on the sudden quite quiet and
as it were stupified into a motionless insensibility: he seemed
incapable of the least impression. The little brow, which appeared to
belong to a lifeless puppet, was wrinkled neither by tears nor
laughter. His mother maintained that it was owing, on her part, to the
sight of the old book-keeper, who had for twenty years sat in the
counting-house before the great cash-book, with the same lifeless
countenance; and she wept bitter tears over the little automaton.

At last an old gossip hit upon the lucky thought of bringing Peregrine
a very motley, and, in fact, a very ugly harlequin. The child's eyes
quickened in a strange fashion, the mouth contracted to a gentle smile,
he caught at the puppet, and, the moment it was given to him, hugged it
tenderly. Then again he gazed upon the manikin with such intelligent
and speaking eyes, that it seemed as if reason and sensation had
suddenly awakened in him, and with much greater vigour than is usual
with children of his age.

"He is too wise," said the godmother; "you'll not keep him. Only look
at his eyes; he already thinks more than he ought to do."

This declaration greatly comforted the old merchant, who had in some
measure reconciled himself to the idea of having begot an idiot, after
so many years of fruitless expectation. Soon, however, he fell into a
fresh trouble; and this was, that the time had long since gone by in
which children usually begin to speak, and yet Peregrine had not
uttered a syllable. The boy would have been thought dumb, but that he
often gazed on the person who spoke to him with such attention, nay
even showed such sympathy by sad as well as by joyful looks, that there
could be no doubt not only of his hearing, but of his understanding,
every thing.

In the meantime his mother was mightily astonished at finding what the
nurse had told her confirmed. At night, when the boy lay in bed and
fancied himself unnoticed, he talked to himself single words, and even
whole sentences, and so little broken that a long practice might be
inferred from this perfection. Heaven has lent to women a certain tact
of reading human nature as its growth variously developes itself, on
which account, for the first years at least of childhood, they are the
best educators. According to this tact, Mrs. Tyss was far from letting
the boy see he was observed, or from wishing to force him to speak; she
rather contrived to bring it about by other dexterous means, that he
should of himself no longer keep concealed the beautiful talent of
speech, but should slowly, yet plainly, manifest it to the world, and
to the wonder of all. Still, however, he evinced a constant aversion to
talking, and was most pleased when they left him in quiet by himself.

Thus was Mr. Tyss freed from all anxiety on account of his want of
tongue, but it was only to fall into a much greater care afterwards.
When Peregrine had grown a boy and ought to have learnt stoutly, it
seemed as if nothing was to be driven into him without the greatest
trouble. It was with his writing and reading as it had been with his
talking; at first the matter could not be compassed at all, and then on
a sudden he did it admirably, and beyond all expectation. In the
meantime one master after another left the house, not from dislike to
the boy, but because they could not enter into his disposition.
Peregrine was still, mannerly, and industrious, and yet it was no use
thinking of any systematic learning with him; he had understanding for
that only which happened to chime in exactly with his genius; all the
rest passed over him without leaving any impression: and that which
suited his genius was the _wonderful_,--all that excited his
imagination; in that he lived and moved. So, for example, he once
received a present of a sketch of Pekin, with all its streets, houses,
&c. which occupied the entire wall of his chamber. At the sight of this
city of fables, of the singular people that seemed to crowd through its
streets, Peregrine felt as if transported by some magic sleight into
another world, in which he was to become at home. With eagerness he now
fell upon every thing that he could get hold of respecting China, the
Chinese, and Pekin; and having somewhere found the Chinese sounds
described, he laboured to pronounce them according to the description,
with a fine chanting voice; nay, he even endeavoured, by means of the
paper-scissors, to give his handsome calimanco bed-gowns the Chinese
cut as much as possible, that he might have the pleasure of walking the
streets of Pekin in the fashion. Nothing else could excite his
attention--to the great annoyance of his tutor, who just then wished to
instil into him the history of the Hanseatic League, according to the
express wish of Mr. Tyss; but the old gentleman found to his sorrow,
that Peregrine was not to be brought out of Pekin, wherefore he brought
Pekin out of the boy's chamber.

The elder Mr. Tyss had always considered it a bad omen that Peregrine,
as a little child, should prefer counters to ducats, and next should
manifest a decided abhorrence of moneybags, ledgers, and waste books.
But what seemed most singular was, that he never could hear the word
"bill of exchange" pronounced without having his teeth set on edge, and
he assured them that he felt at the sound as if some one was scratching
up and down a pane of glass with the point of a knife. Mr. Tyss,
therefore, could not help seeing that his son was spoilt for a
merchant, and however he might wish to have him treading in his
footsteps, yet he readily gave up this desire, under the idea that
Peregrine would apply himself to some decided occupation. It was a
maxim of his, that the richest man ought to have an employment, and
thereby a settled station in life; people with no occupation were an
abomination to him, and it was precisely to this _no-occupation_ that
his son was entirely devoted, with all the knowledge which he had
picked up in his own way, and which lay chaotically confounded in his
brain. This was now the greatest and most pressing anxiety of Mr. Tyss.
Peregrine wished to know nothing of the actual world, the old man lived
in that only; from which contradiction it could not but be that, the
older Peregrine grew, the worse became the discord between father and
son, to the no little sorrow of the mother: she cordially conceded to
Peregrine, who was otherwise the best of sons, his mode of life, in
mere dreams and fancies, though to her indeed unintelligible, and she
could not conceive why her husband would positively impose upon him a
decided occupation.

By the advice of tried friends, Tyss sent his son to the university of
Jena, but when, after three years, he returned, the old man exclaimed,
full of wrath and vexation, "Did I not think so? Hans the dreamer he
went away, Hans the dreamer he comes back again." And so far he was
quite right, for the student was substantially unaltered. Still he did
not give up all hope of bringing the degenerate Peregrine to reason,
thinking that if he were once forced into some employment, he might,
perhaps, change his mind in the end, and take a pleasure in it. With
this view he sent him to Hamburgh, with commissions that did not
require any particular knowledge of business, and moreover commended
him to a friend there, who was to assist him faithfully in all things.

Peregrine arrived at Hamburgh, where he gave into the hands of his
father's friend not only his letter of recommendation, but all the
papers too that related to his commissions, and immediately
disappeared, no one knew whither. Hereupon the friend wrote to Mr.
Tyss:

"I have punctually received your honoured letter of the----by the hands
of your son. The same, however, has not shown himself since, but set
off from Hamburgh immediately, without leaving any commission. In
peppers we are doing little; cotton goes off heavily; in coffee, the
middle sort only is inquired after: but on the other hand molasses
maintain their price pleasantly; and in indigo there is not much
fluctuation. I have the honour," &c.

This letter would have plunged Mr. Tyss and his spouse into no little
alarm, if by the very same post another had not arrived from the lost
son, wherein he excused himself, with the most melancholy expressions,
saying that it had been utterly impossible for him to execute the
received commissions, according to his father's wishes, and that he
found himself irresistibly attracted to foreign countries, from which
he hoped to return home in a year's time with a happier and more
cheerful disposition.

"It is well," said the old man, "that the younker should look about him
in the world; he may get shaken out of his day dreams."--And when
Peregrine's mother expressed an anxiety lest he should want money for
his long journey, and that, therefore, his carelessness was much to be
blamed in not having written to tell them where he was going, the old
gentleman replied laughing, "If the lad be in want of money, he will
the sooner get acquainted with the real world; and if he have not said
which way he is going, still he knows where his letters will find us."

It has always remained unknown which way his journey really was
directed; some maintain that he had been to the distant Indies; others
declare that he had only fancied it; thus much, however, is certain, he
must have travelled a great way, for it was not in a year's time, as he
had promised his parents, but after the lapse of full three years, that
Peregrine returned to Frankfort on foot, and in a tolerably poor
condition.

He found his father's mansion fast shut up and no one stirred within,
let him ring and knock as much as he would. At last there came by a
neighbour from 'Change, of whom he immediately inquired whether Mr.
Tyss had gone abroad? At this question the neighbour started back,
terrified, and cried, "Mr. Peregrine Tyss! Is it you? Are you come at
last? Don't you then know it?"

Enough,--Peregrine learnt that, during his absence, both parents had
died, one after the other; that the authorities had taken possession of
the inheritance, and had publicly summoned him, whose abode was
altogether unknown, to return to Frankfort and receive the property of
his father.

Peregrine continued to stand before his neighbour without the power of
utterance. For the first time the pain of life crossed his heart, and
he saw in ruins the beautiful bright world wherein, till now, he had
dwelt with so much delight. The neighbour soon perceived that he was
utterly incapable of setting about the least thing that the occasion
called for; he therefore took him to his own house, and himself
arranged every thing with all possible expedition, so that, on the very
same evening, Peregrine found himself in his paternal mansion.

Exhausted, overwhelmed by a feeling of disconsolation such as he had
not yet known, he sank into his father's great arm-chair, which was
still standing in its usual place, when a voice said, "It is well that
you have returned, dear Mr. Peregrine; ah, if you had but come sooner!"

Peregrine looked up and saw close before him the old woman, whom his
father had taken into his service chiefly because she could get no
other place, on account of her outrageous ugliness: she had been
Peregrine's nurse in his early childhood, and had not left the house
since. For a long time he stared at the woman, and at last began with a
strange smile, "Is it you, Alina? The old people live still, do they
not?" And with this he got up, went through every room, considered
every chair, every table, and every picture, and then calmly added,
"Yes, it is all just as I left it, and just so shall it remain."

From this moment Peregrine adopted the strange life which was mentioned
at the very beginning of our story. Retired from all society, he lived
with his aged attendant in the large roomy house in the deepest
solitude: subsequently he let out a couple of rooms to an old man, who
had been his father's friend, and seemed as misanthropical as himself--
reason enough why the two should agree remarkably well, for they never
saw each other.

There were four family festivals which Peregrine celebrated with
infinite solemnity; and these were the birth-days of his father and
mother, Easter, and his own day of christening. At these times Alina
had to set out a table for as many persons as his father had been wont
to invite, with the same wine and dishes which had been usually served
up on those occasions. Of course the same silver, the same plates, the
same glasses, such as had then been used, and such as they still
remained, were now brought forward, in the fashion which had prevailed
for so many years. Peregrine kept to this strictly. Was the table
ready? He sat down to it alone, ate and drank but little, listened to
the conversation of his parents, and the imaginary guests, and replied
modestly to this or that question as it was directed to him by any one
of the company. Did his mother put back her seat? he too rose with the
rest, and took his leave of each with great courtesy. Then he retired
to a distant chamber, and consigned to Alina the division of the wine
and the many untasted dishes amongst the poor; which command of her
master, the faithful soul was wont to execute most conscientiously. The
celebration of the two birth-days he began early in the morning, that,
according to the custom of his boyhood, he might carry a handsome
nosegay into the room where his parents used to breakfast, and repeat
verses which he had got by heart for the occasion. On his own day of
christening, he naturally could not sit at table, as he had not then
been long born; Alina, therefore, had to attend to every thing, that
is, to invite people to drink, and, in the general phrase, to do the
honours of the table: with this exception, every thing was the same as
at the other festivals. But in addition to these, Peregrine had yet
another holiday in the year, or rather holy evening, and that was
Christmas Eve, with its gifts, which had excited his youthful fancy
more than any other pleasure.

He himself carefully purchased the motley Christmas lights, the
playthings, the sweetmeats, just as his parents had presented them to
him in his childish years; and then the presentation took place, as the
kind reader has already seen.

"It is very vexatious," said Peregrine, after having played with them
some time--"it is very vexatious that the stag and wild boar hunt
should be missing. Where can they be? Ah, look there!"--At this moment
he perceived a little box which still remained unopened, and hastily
snatched at it, expecting to recover the missing treasure. But on
opening it he found it empty, and started back as if a sudden fright
had seized him.--"Strange!" he murmured to himself; "strange! What is
the matter with this box? It seems as if some fearful thing sprang out
upon me, that my eye was too dull to grapple with."

Alina, on being questioned, assured him that she had found the box
among the playthings, and had in vain used every exertion to open it;
hence she had imagined that it contained something particular, and that
the lid would yield only to the experienced hand of her master.

"Strange!" repeated Peregrine, "very strange!--and it was with this
chase that I had particularly pleased myself; I hope it may not bode
any evil!--But who, on a Christmas Eve, would dwell upon such fancies,
which have properly no foundation? Alina, fetch me the basket."

Alina accordingly brought a large white basket; in which, with much
care, he packed up the playthings, the sweetmeats, and the tapers, took
the basket under his arm, the great Christmas-tree on his shoulder, and
set out on his way.

It was the kind and laudable practice of Mr. Tyss to surprise some
needy family, where he knew there were children, with his whole cargo
of Christmas-boxes, just as he had purchased it, and dream himself for
a few hours into the happy times of boyhood. Then, when the children
were in the height of their joy, he would softly steal away and wander
about the streets half the night, hardly knowing what to do with
himself, from the deep emotions which straitened his breast, and
feeling his own house like a vault, in which he was buried with all his
pleasures. This time his Christmas-boxes were intended for the children
of a poor bookbinder, of the name of Lemmerhirt, who was a skilful,
industrious man, had long worked for him, and whose three children he
was well acquainted with.

The bookbinder, Lemmerhirt, lived in the top floor of a narrow house in
the Kalbecher-street; and as the winter storm howled and raged, and the
rain and snow fell with mingled violence, it may be easily imagined
that Peregrine did not get to his object without great difficulty. From
the window twinkled down a couple of miserable tapers; with no little
toil he clambered up the steep stairs, knocked at the door, and called
out, "Open! Open! Christmas sends his presents to all good children."

The bookbinder opened the door in alarm, and it was not till after some
consideration that he recognised Peregrine, who was quite covered with
snow.

"Worshipful Mr. Tyss!" he exclaimed, full of wonder--"How in the name
of Heaven do I come to such an honour on Christmas Eve?"

Worshipful Mr. Tyss, however, would not let him finish, but calling
out, "Children! Children! Alert! Christmas sends his presents"--he
took possession of the flap-table in the middle of the room, and
immediately began to pull out his presents from the basket; the great
Christmas-tree, indeed, which was dripping wet, he had been forced to
leave outside the door. Still the bookbinder could not comprehend what
it all meant; the wife, however, knew better, for she smiled at
Peregrine, with silent tears, while the children stood at a distance,
devouring with their eyes each gift as it came out of the cover, and
often unable to refrain from a loud cry of joy and wonder. At last he
had dexterously divided, and ordered the presents according to each
child's age, lighted all the tapers, and cried, "Come, come, children!
this is what Christmas sends you." They, who could yet hardly believe
that all belonged to them, now shouted aloud, and leaped, and rejoiced;
while their parents prepared to thank their benefactor. But it was
precisely this thanksgiving that Peregrine always sought to avoid, and
he therefore wished, as usual, to take himself off quietly. With this
view he had got to the door, when it suddenly opened, and in the bright
shine of the Christmas lights stood before him a young female,
splendidly attired.

It seldom turns out well, when an author undertakes to describe
narrowly to the reader the appearance of this or that beautiful
personage of his tale,--showing the shape, the growth, the carriage,
the hair, the colour of the eyes; it seems much better to give the
whole person at once, without these details. Here, too, it would be
quite enough to state that the lady, who ran against the startled
Peregrine, was uncommonly handsome and graceful, if it were not
absolutely requisite to speak of certain peculiarities which the little
creature had about her.

She was small, and, indeed, somewhat too small, but, at the same time,
neatly and elegantly proportioned. Her forehead, in other respects
handsomely formed and full of expression, acquired a something strange
and singular from the unusual size of the eyeballs, and from the dark
pencilly brows being higher placed than ordinary. The little thing was
dressed, or rather decorated, as if she had just come from a ball. A
splendid diadem glittered amongst her raven locks, rich point lace only
half veiled her bosom, a black and yellow striped dress of heavy silk
sate close upon her slender body, and fell down in folds just so low as
to let the neatest little feet be seen, in white shoes, while the
sleeves were just long enough, and the gloves just short enough, to
show the fairest part of a dazzling arm. A rich necklace, and brilliant
ear-rings, completed her attire.

It could not but be that the bookbinder was as much surprised as
Peregrine,--that the children abandoned their playthings, and stared
with open mouths at the stranger: as, however, women in general are
wont to be the least astonished at any thing unusual, and are the
quickest to collect themselves, so, on this occasion also, the
bookbinder's wife was the first that recovered speech, and asked, "In
what she could serve the lady?"

Upon this the stranger came fairly into the room, and the frightened
Peregrine would have seized the opportunity to take himself quickly
off, but she caught him by both hands, lisping out, in a little soft
voice, "Fortune, then, has favoured me! I have found you, then! O
Peregrine, my dear Peregrine, what a delightful meeting!" Herewith she
raised her right hand, so that it touched Peregrine's lips, and he was
compelled to kiss it, though, in so doing, the cold drops of
perspiration stood on his forehead. She now, indeed, let go his hands,
and he might have fled, but he felt himself spellbound, he could not
move from the place--like some poor little animal that has been
fascinated by the eye of the rattle-snake.

"Allow me," she said, "dear Peregrine, to share in this charming treat
that you have so nobly, and with such real goodness, prepared for the
children. Permit me, also, to contribute something to it!"

From a little basket which hung upon her arm, and which had not been
remarked till now, she took out all sorts of playthings, arranged them
on the table with graceful bustle, brought forward the children,
pointed out to each the present intended for him, and sported so
prettily withal, that nothing could be more delightful. The bookbinder
thought he was in a dream, but the wife laughed roguishly, fancying
that there must be some particular acquaintance between Peregrine and
the stranger.

While now the parents were wondering, and the children were rejoicing,
the lady took her seat upon an old frail sofa, and drew down Mr.
Peregrine, who, in fact, scarcely knew any longer whether he actually
was this same person. She then gently lisped into his ear, "My dear,
dear Peregrine, how happy, how delighted I feel by your side!"--"But,
lady," stammered Peregrine, "honoured lady----" On a sudden, Heaven
knows how, the lips of the stranger came so close to his, that, before
he could think about kissing them, he had really done it. That by this
he lost all power of speech is easily to be imagined.

"My sweet friend," continued the lady, creeping up to Peregrine so
closely, that she almost sate in his lap--"My sweet friend, I know what
troubles you; I know what has so much afflicted your simple heart this
evening. But, take comfort. That which you lost, that which you hardly
hoped to find again,--see, I bring it to you."

With this she took out a little wooden box from her basket, and gave it
into the hands of Peregrine. In it was the hunting-set that he had
missed on the Christmas-eve table. It would be hard to describe the
strange feelings which were now thronging and jostling in his bosom.

The whole appearance of the stranger, in spite of all her grace and
loveliness, had yet something supernatural about it, which those, who
had not Peregrine's awe of woman, would yet have received with a cold
shudder through every vein; of course, therefore, a deep horror seized
the poor Peregrine, already in sufficient alarm, when he found the lady
most narrowly informed of all that he had been doing in the profoundest
solitude. Still, when he looked up, and met the glance of two bright
black eyes flashing from under the silken lids--when he felt the sweet
breath of the lovely being, and the electric warmth of her limbs--
still, with all his terror, there awoke in him the sadness of
unutterable desires, such as he had not yet known. For the first time
his whole mode of life, his trifling with the Christmas presents,
appeared to him absurd and childish, and he felt ashamed that the
stranger should know of it; but then again it seemed as if her gift was
the living proof that she understood him, as none else on earth had
understood him, and, in seeking to gratify him after this manner, had
been prompted by the most perfect delicacy of feeling. He resolved to
treasure up the dear gift for ever, never to let it go out of his own
hands; and, carried away by a feeling which totally overpowered him, he
pressed the casket to his breast with vehemence.

"Delightful!" murmured the maiden, "my gift pleases you! Oh, my dearest
Peregrine, then my dreams, my presentiments, have not deceived me!"

Mr. Tyss came somewhat to himself, so that he was able to say, with
great plainness and distinctness, "But, most respected lady, if I only
knew to whom in all the world I had the honour----"

"Cunning man," said the stranger, gently tapping his cheeks,--"to
pretend as if you did not know your faithful Alina! But it is time that
we should leave the good folks here to their own pleasures. Accompany
me, Mr. Tyss."

On hearing the name Alina, Peregrine naturally reverted to his old
attendant, and he felt exactly as if a wind-mill were going round in
his head.

The strange Alina now took the kindest and most gracious leave of the
family, while the bookbinder, from pure wonder and respect, could only
stammer out a something unintelligible; but the children made as if
they had been long acquainted with her, and the wife said, "Such a
kind, handsome man as you are, Mr. Tyss, well deserves to have so kind
and handsome a bride, who, even at this hour, assists him in doing acts
of benevolence. I congratulate you with all my heart."--The strange
lady thanked her with emotion, protesting that the day of her wedding
should also be a day of festival to them; and then, strictly refusing
all attendance, took a taper from the Christmas table to light herself
down the stairs.

It is easy to imagine the feelings of Peregrine at all this, on whose
arm she leant.--"Accompany me, Mr. Tyss,"--that is,--he thought within
himself,--down the stairs to the carriage which stands at the door, and
where the servant, or perhaps a whole set of servants, is in waiting,
for in the end it must be some mad princess, who----Heaven deliver me
with speed from this strange torture, and keep me in my right senses,
such as they are!

Mr. Tyss did not suspect that all, which had yet happened, was only the
prologue to a most wonderful adventure, and had therefore, without
knowing it, done exceedingly well in praying to Heaven for the
preservation of his senses.

No sooner had the couple reached the bottom of the stairs, than the
door was opened by invisible hands, and, when they had got out, was
shut again in the same manner. Peregrine, however, paid no attention to
this, in his astonishment at finding not the slightest appearance of
any carriage before the house, or of any servant in waiting.--"In the
name of Heaven," he cried, "where is your coach, lady?"

"Coach!" replied the stranger--"Coach! what coach? Did you think, dear
Peregrine, that my impatience, my anxiety, to find you, would allow me
to come riding here quite quietly? No; hurried on by hope and desire, I
ran about through the storm till I found you. Thank Heaven that I have
succeeded! And now lead me home; my house is not far off."

Peregrine resolutely avoided all reflection on the impossibility of the
stranger going a few steps only, tricked out as she was, and in white
silk shoes, without spoiling her whole dress in the storm, instead of
being, as now, in a state that showed not the slightest trace of
discomposure; he reconciled himself to the idea of accompanying her
still farther, and was only glad that the weather was changed. The
storm, indeed, had past, not a cloud was in the heaven, the full moon
shone down pleasantly, and only the keen air made the midnight to be
felt.

Scarcely had they gone a few steps, when the maiden began to complain
softly, and soon burst out into loud lamentations, that she was
freezing with the cold. Peregrine, whose blood glowed through his
veins, who had therefore been insensible to the weather, and never
thought of her being so lightly clad, without even a shawl or a tucker,
now on a sudden saw his folly, and would have wrapt her in his cloak.
This, however, she rejected, exclaiming piteously, "No, my dear
Peregrine, that avails me nothing: my feet!--Ah, my feet! I shall die
with the dreadful agony."

And she was about to drop, half senseless, as she cried out with a
faint voice, "Carry me, carry me, my sweet friend!"

Without more ado, Peregrine took up the light little creature in his
arms like a child, and wrapt her in his cloak. But he had not gone far
with his burthen, before the wild intoxication of desire took more and
more possession of him, and, as he hurried half way through the
streets, he covered the neck and bosom of the lovely creature, who
had nestled closely to him with burning kisses. At last he felt as
if waking with a sudden jerk out of a dream: he found himself at
a house-door, and, looking up, recognised his own house, in the
Horse-market, when, for the first time, it occurred to him that he had
not asked the maiden where she lived; he collected himself therefore
with effort, and said, "Lady--sweet, angelic creature where is your
abode?"

"Here, my dear Peregrine," she replied, lifting up her head; "here, in
this house: I am your Alina; I live with you; but get the door open
quickly."

"No----never!" cried Peregrine, in horror, and let her sink down.

"How!" exclaimed the stranger--"how! Peregrine, you would reject me?
and yet know my dreadful fate,--and yet know that, child of misfortune
as I am, I have no refuge, and must perish here miserably if you will
not take me in as usual! But perhaps you wish that I should perish? Be
it so then! Only carry me to the fountain, that my corse may not be
found before your door. Ha!--the stone dolphins may, perchance, have
more pity than you have. Woe is me!--woe is me!--The bitter cold!"

She sank down in a swoon; Peregrine was seized with despair, and
exclaiming wildly, "Let it be as it will, I cannot do otherwise--" he
lifted up the lifeless little thing, took her in his arms, and rang
violently at the bell. No sooner was the door opened than he rushed by
the servant, and instead of waiting, according to his usual custom,
till he got to the top of the stairs, and then tapping gently, he
shouted out, "Alina! Alina! light!" and, indeed, so loudly, that the
whole floor re-echoed it.

"How!--what!--what's this?--what does this mean?" exclaimed the old
woman, opening her eyes widely as Peregrine unfolded the maiden from
his cloak, and laid her with great care upon the sofa.

"Quick, Alina, quick! Fire in the grate!--salts!--punch!--beds here!"

Alina, however, did not stir from the place, but remained, staring at
the stranger, with her "How!--what!--what's this?--what does this
mean?"

Hereupon Peregrine began to tell of a countess, perhaps a princess,
whom he had met at the bookbinder's, who had fainted in the streets,
whom he had been forced to carry home; and, as Alina still remained
immoveable, he cried out, stamping with his feet, "Fire, I tell you, in
the devil's name!--tea!--salts!"

At this, the old woman's eyes glared like a cat's, and her nose was lit
up with a brighter phosphorus. She pulled out her huge black snuff-box,
opened it with a tap that sounded again, and took a mighty pinch. Then,
planting an arm in either side, she said with a scoffing tone, "Oh yes,
to be sure, a countess!--a princess! who is found at a poor
bookseller's, who faints in the street! Ho! ho! I know well where such
tricked-out madams are fetched from in the night-time. Here are fine
tricks! here's pretty behaviour! to bring a loose girl into an honest
house; and, that the measure of sin may be quite full, to invoke the
devil on a Christmas night!--and I, too, in my old days am to be
abetting! No, Mr. Tyss--you are mistaken in your person; I am not of
that sort: to-morrow I leave your service."

With this she left the room, and banged the door after her with a
violence that made all clatter again. Peregrine wrung his hands in
despair. No sign of life showed itself in the stranger; but at the
moment when, in his dreadful distress, he had found a bottle of Cologne
water, and was about to rub her temples with it, she jumped up from the
sofa quite fresh and sound, exclaiming, "At last we are alone! At last
I may explain why I followed you to the bookbinder's--why I could not
leave you to-night! Peregrine! give up to me the prisoner whom you have
confined in this room. I know that you are not at all bound to do so; I
know that it only depends upon your goodness; but I know, too, your
kind affectionate heart; therefore, my good, dear Peregrine, give him
up--give up the prisoner!"

"What prisoner?" asked Peregrine, in the greatest surprise. "Who do you
suppose is a prisoner with me?"

"Yes," continued the stranger, seizing Peregrine's hand, and pressing
it tenderly to her breast--"yes, I must confess that only a noble mind
can abandon the advantages which a lucky chance puts into his hands,
and it is true that you resign many things which it would be easy for
you to obtain if you did not give up the prisoner; but--think, that
Alina's destiny, her life, depends upon the possession of this
prisoner, that----"

"Angelic creature!" interrupted Peregrine, "if you don't wish that I
should take it all for a delirious dream, or perhaps become delirious
on the spot myself, tell me at once of whom you are speaking,--who is
this prisoner?"

"How!" replied the maiden--"I do not understand you; would you deny
that he is in your custody? Was I not present when you bought the
hunting-set?"

"Who," cried Peregrine, quite beside himself, "who is this HE? For the
first time in my life I see _you_, lady, and who are YOU? who is this
HE?"

Dissolving in grief, the stranger threw herself at Peregrine's feet,
while the tears poured down in abundant streams from her eyes: "Be
humane, be merciful--give him back to me!"--and at the same time her
exclamations were mingled with those of Peregrine, "I shall lose my
senses! I shall go mad! I shall be frantic!"

On a sudden the maiden started up. She seemed much larger than before;
her eyes flashed fire, her lips quivered, and she exclaimed, with
furious gestures, "Ha, barbarian! no human heart dwells in you! You are
inexorable! You wish my death, my destruction! You won't give him up!
No--never, never! Wretched me!--Lost! lost!"

And with this she rushed out of the room. Peregrine heard her
clattering down the stairs, while her lamentations filled the whole
house, till at last a door below was flung to with violence.



                           Second Adventure.

The Flea-tamer.--Melancholy fate of the Princess Gamaheh, in
Famagusta.--Awkwardness of the Genius, Thetel, and remarkable
microscopic experiments and recreations.--The beautiful Hollandress,
and singular adventure of the young Mr. George Pepusch, a student of
Jena.

At this time there was a man in Frankfort, who practised the strangest
art possible. He was called the flea-tamer, from having succeeded--and
certainly not without much trouble and exertion--in educating these
little creatures, and teaching them to execute all sorts of pretty
tricks. You saw with the greatest astonishment a troop of fleas upon a
slab of highly-polished marble, who drew along little cannons,
ammunition-waggons, and baggage-carts, while others leaped along by
them with muskets in their arms, cartouch-boxes on their backs, and
sabres at their sides. At the word of command from the artist, they
performed the most difficult evolutions, and all seemed fuller of life
and mirth than if they had been real soldiers; for the marching
consisted in the neatest entrechats and capers, and the faces about,
right and left, in the most graceful pirouettes. The whole troop had a
wonderful a-plomb, and the general seemed to be at the same time a most
admirable ballet-master. But even more handsome and more wonderful were
the little gold coaches, which were drawn by four, six, or eight fleas.
Coachmen and servants were little gold flies, of the smallest kind and
almost invisible; while that, which sate within, could not be well
distinguished. One was involuntarily reminded of the equipage of Queen
Mab, so admirably described by Shakspeare's Mercutio, that it is easy
to perceive she must often have travelled athwart his own nose.

But it was not till you overlooked the table with a good magnifying
glass that the art of the flea-tamer developed itself in its full
extent; for then first appeared the splendour and grace of the vessels,
the fine workmanship of the arms, the glitter and neatness of the
uniforms, all of which excited the profoundest admiration. It was quite
impossible to imagine what instruments the flea-tamer could have used
in making neatly and proportionately certain little collaterals, such
as spurs and buttons, compared to which that matter seemed to be a very
trifling task, which else had passed for a master-piece of the tailor,
namely, the fitting a flea with a pair of breeches; though, indeed, in
this the most difficult part must have been the measuring.

The flea-tamer had abundance of visitors. Throughout the whole day the
hall was never free from the curious, who were not deterred by the
high price of admission. In the evening, too, the company was numerous,
nay almost more numerous, as then even those people, who cared little
about such trickeries, came to admire a work which gave the flea-tamer
quite another character, and acquired for him the real esteem of
the philosopher. This work was a night-microscope, that, as the
sun-microscope by day, like a magic lantern, flung the object, brightly
lit up, upon a white ground, with a sharpness and distinctness which left
nothing more to be wished. Moreover, the flea-tamer carried on a
traffic with the finest microscopes that could be, and which were
readily bought at a great price.

It chanced that a young man, called George Pepusch,--the kind reader
will soon be better acquainted with him,--took a fancy to visit the
flea-tamer late in the evening. Already, upon the stairs, he heard the
clamour of a dispute, that grew louder and louder with every moment,
and at last became a perfect tempest. Just as he was about to enter,
the door of the hall was violently flung open, and the multitude rushed
out in a heap upon him, their faces pale with terror.

"The cursed wizard!--the Satan's-brood! I'll denounce him to the
supreme court!--He shall out of the city, the false juggler!"

Such were the confused cries of the multitude, as, urged by fear and
terror, they sought to get out of the house as quickly as possible.

A glance into the hall at once betrayed to the young Pepusch the cause
of this horror, which had driven away the people. All within was alive,
and a loathsome medley of the most hideous creatures filled the whole
room. The race of beetles, spiders, leeches, gnats, magnified to
excess, stretched out their probosces, crawled upon their long hairy
legs, or fluttered their long wings. A more hideous spectacle Pepusch
had never seen. He was even beginning to be sensible himself of horror,
when something rough suddenly flew in his face, and he saw himself
enveloped in a thick cloud of meal dust. His terror immediately left
him, for he at once perceived that the rough thing could be nothing
else than the round powdered wig of the flea-tamer--which, in fact, it
was.

By the time Pepusch had rubbed the powder from his eyes, the disgusting
population of insects had vanished. The flea-tamer sate in his arm-chair
quite exhausted.

"Leuwenhock!"--exclaimed Pepusch to him--"Leuwenhock, do you see now
what comes of your trickeries? You have again been forced to have
recourse to your vassals to keep the people's hands off you--Is it not
so?"

"Is it you?" said the naturalist, in a faint voice--"Is it you, good
Pepusch?--Ah! it is all over with me--clean over with me--I am a lost
man! Pepusch, I begin to believe that you really meant it well with me,
and that I have not done wisely in making light of your warnings."

Upon Pepusch's quietly asking what had happened, the flea-tamer turned
himself round with his arm-chair to the wall, held both his hands
before his face, and cried out piteously to Pepusch to take up a glass
and examine the marble slab. Already, with the naked eye, Pepusch
observed that the little soldiers, &c. lay there as if dead,--that
nothing stirred any longer. The dexterous fleas appeared also to have
taken another shape. But now, by means of the glass, Pepusch soon
discovered that not a single flea was there, but what he had taken for
them were nothing more than black pepper-corns and fruit-seeds that
stood in their uniforms.

"I know not," began the flea-tamer, quite melancholy and overwhelmed,--
"I know not what evil spirit struck me with blindness, that I did not
perceive the desertion of my army till the people were at the table and
prepared for the spectacle. You may imagine, Pepusch, how, on seeing
themselves deceived, the visitors first murmured, and then blazed out
into fury. They accused me of the vilest deceit, and, as they grew
hotter and hotter, and would no longer listen to any excuses, they were
falling upon me to take their own revenge. What could I do better, to
shun a load of blows, than immediately set the great microscope into
motion, and envelope the people in a cloud of insects, at which they
were terrified, as is natural to them?"

"But," said Pepusch, "tell me how it could possibly happen that your
well-disciplined troop, which had shown so much fidelity to you, could
so suddenly take themselves off, without your perceiving it at once?"

"Oh!" cried the flea-tamer, "O, Pepusch! HE has deserted me!--HE by
whom alone I was master--HE it is to whose treachery I ascribe all my
blindness, all my misery!"

"Have I not," said Pepusch, "have I not long ago warned you not to
place your reliance upon tricks which you cannot execute without the
possession of the MASTER? and on how ticklish a point rests that
possession, notwithstanding all your care, you have just now
experienced."

Pepusch farther gave the flea-tamer to understand, that he could not at
all comprehend how his being forced to give up these tricks could so
much disturb his life, as the invention of the microscope, and his
general dexterity in the preparation of microscopic glasses, had long
ago established him. But the flea-tamer, on the other hand, maintained,
that very different things lay hid in these subtleties, and that he
could not give them up without giving up his whole existence. Pepusch
interrupted him by asking, "Where is Dörtje Elverdink?"

"Where is she?" screamed Leuwenhock, wringing his hands--"where is
Dörtje Elverdink?--Gone!--gone into the wide world!--vanished!--But
strike me dead at once, Pepusch, for I see your wrath growing: make
short work of it with me!"

"There you see now," said Pepusch, with a gloomy look--"you see now
what comes of your folly, of your absurd proceedings. Who gave you a
right to confine the poor Dörtje like a slave, and then again, merely
for the sake of alluring people, to make a show of her like some wonder
of natural history? Why did you put a force upon her inclinations, and
not allow her to give me her hand, when you must have seen how dearly
we loved each other?--Fled, is she? Well then, she is no longer in your
power; and although I do not at this moment know where to seek for her,
yet am I convinced that I shall find her. There, Leuwenhock, put on
your wig again, and submit to your destiny; that is the best thing you
can do."

The flea-tamer arranged his wig on his bald head with his left hand,
while with his right he caught Pepusch by the arm, exclaiming--

"Pepusch, you are my real friend, for you are the only man in the whole
city of Frankfort, who know that I lie buried in the old church at
Delft, since the year seventeen hundred and twenty-five, and yet have
not betrayed it to any one,--even when you were angry with me on
account of Dörtje Elverdink. If at times I cannot exactly get it into
my head that I am actually that Anton van Leuwenhock, who lies buried
at Delft, yet again I must believe it, when I consider my works, and
reflect upon my life; and on that account it is very agreeable to me
that it is not at all spoken of. I now see, my dear Pepusch, that, in
regard to Dörtje Elverdink, I have not acted rightly, although in a
very different way from what you may well imagine--that is, I was right
in pronouncing your suit to be an idle struggle,--wrong, in not being
open with you, in not telling you the real circumstances of Dörtje
Elverdink; you would then have seen how praiseworthy it was to talk you
out of wishes, the accomplishment of which could not be other than
destructive. Pepusch, sit down by me, and hear a wonderful history."

"That I am likely to do," replied Pepusch with a malicious glance,
sitting down in an armchair, opposite the flea-tamer, who thus began:

"As you are well versed, my dear friend, in history, you know, beyond
doubt, that King Sekakis lived for many years in intimate intercourse
with the Flower-Queen, and that the beautiful Princess Gamaheh was the
fruit of this passion. But it is not so well known, nor can I tell you,
in what way the Princess Gamaheh came to Famagusta. Many maintain, and
not without reason, that the princess wished to conceal herself there
from the odious Leech-Prince, the sworn enemy of the Flower-Queen. Be
this as it may,--it happened once in Famagusta, that the princess was
walking in the cool freshness of the evening, and chanced upon a
pleasant cypress-grove. Allured by the delightful sighings of the
evening breeze, the murmurs of a brook, and the soft music of the
birds, she stretched herself upon the moss, and quickly fell into a
sound slumber. At this moment, the very enemy whom she had been so
anxious to escape lifted his head out of the marshes, beheld the
princess, and became so violently enamoured of the fair sleeper, that
he could not resist an inclination to kiss her; and, creeping forward,
he kissed her under the left ear. Now you know, friend Pepusch, that,
when the Leech-Prince sets about kissing a fair one, she is lost, for
he is the vilest bloodsucker in the world. So it happened on this
occasion: the Leech-Prince kissed the poor Gamaheh so long, that all
life left her, when he fell back gorged and intoxicated upon the moss,
and was forced to be carried home by his servants, who hastily rolled
out of their marshes. In vain the root mandragora toiled out of the
earth, and laid itself upon the wound inflicted by the treacherous
kisses of the Leech-Prince; in vain all the other flowers arose and
joined in his lamentations: she was dead. Just then it happened that
the genius, Thetel, was passing, and he too was deeply moved by
Gamaheh's beauty and her unlucky end. He took her in his arms, pressed
her to his breast, and endeavoured to breathe new life into her; but
still she awoke not from the sleep of death. Now, too, the genius
perceived the odious prince,--who was so drunk and unwieldly that his
servants had not been able to get him into his palace,--fell into a
violent rage, and threw a whole handful of rock-salt upon him, at which
he poured forth again all the purple blood which he had drawn from the
princess, and then gave up his spirit in a wretched manner, amidst the
most violent convulsions. All the flowers that stood around dipped
their vestments in this ichor, and stained them, in perpetual
remembrance of the murdered princess, with so bright a purple, that no
painter on earth can imitate it. You know, Pepusch, that the most
beautiful pinks and hyacinths grow in that cypress-grove where the
Leech-Prince kissed to death the fair Gamaheh.

"The genius, Thetel, now thought of departing, as he had much to do at
Samarcand before night, and cast a farewell look at the princess, when
he seemed as if fixed by magic to the spot, and gazed on the fair one
with deep emotion. Suddenly a thought struck him. Instead of going on
farther, he took the princess in his arms, and rose with her high into
the air; at which time two philosophers,--one of whom it should be said
was myself,--were observing the course of the stars from the gallery of
a lofty tower. They perceived high above them the genius, Thetel, with
the fair Gamaheh, and at the same moment there fell upon one,--but that
is nothing to the present matter. Both magicians had recognised the
genius, but not the princess, and exhausted themselves in all manner of
conjectures as to the meaning of this appearance, without being able to
get at any thing certain, or even probable. Soon after this the unhappy
fate of the princess became generally known in Famagusta, and now the
magicians knew how to interpret the vision of the genius with the
maiden in his arms. Both imagined that the genius must certainly have
found some means of recalling the princess into life, and resolved to
make inquiries in Samarcand, where, according to their observations, he
had manifestly directed his flight. But in Samarcand all were silent
about the princess; no one knew a word.

"Many years had passed; the two magicians had quarrelled, as it will
happen with learned men,--and the more learned the oftener,--and they
only imparted to each other their most important discoveries from the
iron force of custom--You have not forgotten, Pepusch, that I myself am
one of these magicians--Well, I was not a little surprised at a
communication from my colleague, which contained the most wonderful,
and at the same time the happiest, intelligence of the princess that
could be imagined. The matter was thus:--by means of a scientific
friend in Samarcand, my colleague had obtained the loveliest and rarest
tulips, and as perfectly fresh as if they had been just cut from the
stalk. His chief object was the microscopic examination of the interior
portions, and, in fact, of the petal. It was with this view that he was
dissecting a beautiful tulip, and discovered in the cup a strange
little kernel that struck him prodigiously; but how great was his
astonishment when, on applying his glass, he perceived that the little
kernel was nothing else than the Princess Gamaheh, who, pillowed in the
petal of the tulip, seemed to slumber softly and calmly.

"However great the distance that separated me from my colleague, yet I
set off immediately, and hastened to him. He had in the meantime put
off all operations, to allow me the pleasure of a sight first; and
perhaps, too, from the fear of spoiling something if he acted entirely
from himself. I soon convinced myself of the perfect correctness of my
colleague's observations; and, like him, firmly believed that it was
possible to snatch the princess from her sleep, and give her again her
original form. The sublime spirit, dwelling within us, soon let us find
the proper method; but as you, friend Pepusch, know very little,--in
fact nothing at all,--of our art, it would be quite superfluous to
describe to you the different operations which we went through to
attain our object. It is sufficient if I tell you that by the dexterous
use of various glasses--for the most part prepared by myself--we
succeeded not only in drawing the princess uninjured from the flower,
but in forwarding her growth, so that she soon attained her natural
dimensions. Now, indeed, life was wanting; and this depended on the
last and most difficult operations. We reflected her image by means of
one of the best solar microscopes, and loosened it dexterously from the
white wall, without the least injury. As soon as the shadow floated
freely, it shot like lightning into the glass, which broke into a
thousand shivers. The princess stood before us full of life and
freshness. We shouted for joy; but so much the greater was our horror,
on perceiving that the circulation of the blood stopped precisely there
where the Leech-Prince had fastened himself. She was just on the point
of swooning, when we perceived on the very spot behind the left ear a
little black dot, that quickly appeared and as quickly disappeared.
Immediately the stagnation of the blood ceased, the princess revived,
and our work had succeeded.

"Each of us,--that is, I and my colleague,--knew full well how
invaluable was the possession of the princess, and each struggled for
it, imagining that he had more right to it than the other. My colleague
affirmed that the tulip, in which he had found the princess, was his
property; and that he had made the first discovery, which he had
imparted to me; and that I could only be deemed an assistant, who had
no right to demand, as a reward of his labour, the work itself at which
he had assisted. I, on the other hand, brought forward my invention of
the last and most difficult process, which had restored the princess to
life, and in the execution of which my colleague had only helped;
so that, if he had any claims of propriety upon the embryo in the
flower-petal, yet the living person belonged to me. On this ground we
quarrelled for many hours, till, having screamed ourselves hoarse, we
at last came to a compromise. My colleague consigned the princess to
me, in return for which I gave him an important glass, and this very
glass is the cause of our present determined hostility. He affirms that
I have treacherously purloined it--an impudent falsehood--and although
I really know that the glass was lost in the transferring, yet I can
declare, upon my honour and conscience, that I am not the cause of it,
nor have I any idea how it could have happened. In fact, the glass is
so small, that a grain of sand is about ten times larger. See, friend
Pepusch; now I have told you all in confidence, and now you know that
Dörtje Elverdink is no other than the revivified Princess Gamaheh, and
must perceive that to such a high mysterious alliance a plain young man
like you can have no----."

"Stop!" interrupted George Pepusch, with a smile that was something
satanic:--"stop! one confidence is worth another, and, therefore,
I, on my side, will confide to you that I knew all that you have been
telling me much earlier and much better than you did. I cannot laugh
enough at your bigotry and your foolish pretensions. Know,--what you
might have known long ago if your knowledge had not been confined to
glass-grinding,--that I myself am the thistle, Zeherit, who stood where
the princess had laid her head, and of whom you have thought fit to be
silent through your whole history."

"Pepusch!" cried the flea-tamer, "are you in your senses? The thistle,
Zeherit, blooms in the distant Indies, in the beautiful valley, closed
in by lofty rocks, where at times the wisest magi of the earth are wont
to assemble: Lindhorst, the keeper of the records, can best inform you
about it. And you, whom I have seen running about half starved with
study and hunger, you pretend to be the thistle, Zeherit?"

"What a wise man you are, Leuwenhock!" said Pepusch, laughing: "Well,
think of my person what you will, but do not be absurd enough to deny
that, in the moment of the thistle Zeherit's feeling the sweet breath
of Gamaheh, he bloomed in glowing love and passion; and that, when he
touched the temples of the sleeping princess, she too dreamt sweetly of
love. Too late the Thistle perceived the Leech-Prince, whom he else had
killed with his thorns in a moment; but yet, with the help of the root,
Mandragora, he would have succeeded in recalling the princess to life,
if the stupid genius, Thetel, had not interfered with his awkward
remedies. It is true that, in his passion, the genius put his hand into
the saltbox, which he is used to carry at his girdle when he travels,
like Pantagruel, and flung a good handful at the Leech-Prince; but it
is quite false that he killed him in so doing. All the salt fell into
the marsh; not a single grain hit the prince, whom the thistle,
Zeherit, slew with his thorns; and, having thus avenged the murder of
Gamaheh, devoted himself to death. It is the genius only,--who
interfered in matters not concerning him,--that is the cause of the
princess lying so long in the sleep of flowers; the Thistle awoke much
earlier; for the death of both was but the same sleep, from which they
revived, although in other forms. You will have completed the measure
of your gross blunders, if you suppose that the Princess Gamaheh was
formed exactly as Dörtje Elverdink now is, and that it is you who
restored her to life. It happened to you, my good Leuwenhock, as it did
to the awkward servant in the remarkable story of the Three
Pomegranates; he freed two maidens from the fruit, without having first
assured himself of the means of keeping them in life, and in
consequence saw them perish miserably before his eyes. Not you, but
_he_, who has escaped from you, whose loss you so deeply feel and
lament;--he it was who completed the work, which you began so
awkwardly."

"Ha!" cried the flea-tamer, quite beside himself--"ha! 'twas so I
suspected!--But you, Pepusch, you, to whom I have shown so much
kindness, you are my worst enemy: I see it well now. Instead of
advising me, instead of assisting me in my misfortunes, you amuse me
with all manner of nonsensical stories."

"Nonsense yourself!" cried Pepusch, quite indignant: "you'll rue
your folly too late, you dreaming charlatan! I go to seek Dörtje
Elverdink--but that you may no longer mislead honest people----"

He grasped at the screw which set all the microscopic machinery in
motion----

"Take my life at the same time!" roared the flea-tamer; but at the
instant all crashed together, and he fell senseless to the ground.--

"How is it," said George Pepusch to himself, when he had got into the
street,--"how is it that one, who has the command of a nice warm
chamber and a well-stuffed bed, wanders through the streets at night in
the rain and storm?--Because he has forgotten the house key, and he is
driven moreover by love."

He could answer himself no otherwise, and indeed his whole conduct
seemed silly in his own estimation. He remembered the moment when
he saw Dörtje Elverdink for the first time. Some years before the
Flea-tamer had exhibited his arts in Berlin, and had found no slight
audiences as long as the thing was new. Soon, however, people had seen
enough of the educated and well-disciplined fleas; and even the
paraphernalia of the diminutive race began not to be thought so very
wonderful, although at first attributed almost to magic, and Leuwenhock
seemed to have fallen into total oblivion. On a sudden a report was
spread that a niece of the artist, who had not appeared before, now
attended the exhibitions--a beautiful, lovely little maiden, and withal
so strangely attired as to baffle description. The world of
fashionables, who, like leaders in a concert, are accustomed to give
the time and tune to society, now poured in; and, as in this world
every thing is in extremes, the niece excited unparalleled
astonishment. It soon became the mode to frequent the flea-tamer; he,
who had not seen his niece, could not join in the common talk; and thus
the artist was saved in his distress. As to the rest, no one could
comprehend the name "_Dörtje_;" and as at this time a celebrated
actress was displaying, in the part of the Queen of Golconda, all those
high yet soft attractions which are peculiar to the sex, they called
the fair Hollander by the royal name, Alina.

When George Pepusch came to Berlin, Leuwenhock's fair niece was the
talk of the day; and hence at the table of the hotel, where he lodged,
scarcely any thing else was spoken of but the little wonder that
delighted all the men, young and old, and even the women themselves.
Every one pressed the new-comer to place himself on the pinnacle of the
existing mode at Berlin, and see the Hollandress. Pepusch had an
irritable, melancholy temperament; in every enjoyment he found too much
of the bitter after-taste, which, indeed, comes from the Stygian brook
that runs through our whole life, and this made him gloomy and often
unjust to all about him. It may be easily supposed, that in this mood
he was little inclined to run about after pretty girls; but he went
nevertheless to the flea-tamer's, less on account of the dangerous
wonder, than to confirm his preconceived opinion that here too, as so
often in life, a strange madness was predominating. He found the
Hollandress fair, indeed, and agreeable; but in considering her, he
could not help smiling with self-satisfaction at his own sagacity, by
the help of which he had already guessed that the heads, which the
little-one had so perfectly turned, must have been tolerably crazy
before they left home.

The maiden had that light easy manner which evinces the best education;
a mistress of that delightful coquetry, which, when it offers the
finger-tips to any one, at the same time takes from him the power of
receiving them, the lovely little creature knew how to attract her
numerous visitors, as well as to restrain them within the bounds of the
strictest decorum.

None troubled themselves about the stranger, who had leisure enough to
observe all the actions of the fair one. But while he continued staring
more and more at the beautiful face, there awoke in the deepest
recesses of his mind a dark recollection, as if he had somewhere before
seen the Hollandress, although in other relations and in other attire,
and that he himself had at one time worn a very different form. In vain
he tormented himself to bring this recollection to any clearness, yet
still the idea of his having really seen the little creature before
became more and more determinate. The blood mounted into his face, when
at last some one gently jogged him, and whispered in his ear,--"The
lightning has struck you too, Mr. Philosopher, has it not?" It was his
neighbour of the ordinary, to whom he had asserted that the ecstasy
into which all had fallen was no better than madness, which would pass
away as quickly as it had arisen.

Pepusch observed, that while he had been gazing so fixedly on the
little-one, the hall had grown deserted. Now for the first time she
seemed to be aware of his presence, and greeted him with graceful
familiarity. From this time he could not get rid of her idea; he
tormented himself through a sleepless night, only to come upon the
trace of a recollection,--but in vain. The sight of the fair one, he
rightly thought, could alone bring him to it; and the next day, and all
the following days, he never omitted visiting the flea-tamer, and
staring two or three hours together at the beautiful Dörtje Elverdink.

When a man cannot get rid of the idea of a beautiful woman, who has
riveted his attention, he has already made the first step towards love;
and thus it happened that, at the very time Pepusch fancied he was only
poring upon that faint recollection, he was already in love with the
fair Hollandress.

Who would now trouble himself about the fleas, over whom Alina had
gained so splendid a victory, attracting all within her own circle? The
master himself felt that he was playing a somewhat silly part with his
insects; he, therefore, locked up the whole troop for other times, and
with much dexterity gave to his play another form, in which his niece
played the principal character. He had hit upon the happy thought of
giving evening entertainments, at a tolerably high rate of
subscription, in which, after he had exhibited a few optical illusions,
the farther amusement of the company rested with his niece. Here the
social talents of the fair one shone in full measure, and she took
advantage of the least pause in the entertainment to give a new impulse
to the party by songs, which she herself accompanied on the guitar. Her
voice was not powerful; her manner was not imposing, often even against
rule; but the sweetness and clearness of tone completely answered to
her appearance; and when from her dark eyelashes she darted the soft
glances, like gentle moonbeams, amongst the spectators, every breast
heaved, and the censure of the most confirmed pedant was silenced.

Pepusch diligently prosecuted his studies in these evening
entertainments, that is, he stared for two hours together at the
Hollandress, and then left the hall with the rest of the company. Once
he stood nearer to her than usual, and distinctly heard her saying to a
young man,--"Tell me, who is that lifeless spectre, that every evening
stares at me for hours, and then disappears without a syllable?"

Pepusch was deeply hurt, and made such a clamour in his chamber, and
acted so wildly, that no friend could have recognized him in his mad
freaks. He swore, high and low, never again to see the malicious
Hollandress; but, for all that, did not fail appearing at Leuwenhock's
on the very next evening, at the usual hour, to stare at the lovely
Dörtje more fixedly, if that were possible, than ever. It is true,
indeed, that even upon the steps he was mightily alarmed at finding
himself there, and in all haste adopted the wise resolution of keeping
quite at a distance from the fascinating creature. He even carried this
plan into effect by creeping into a corner of the hall; but the attempt
to cast down his eyes failed entirely, and, as before said, he gazed on
the Hollandress more determinedly than ever. Yet he did not know how it
happened that on a sudden Dörtje Elverdink was standing in his corner
close beside him. With a voice that was melody itself, the fair one
said, "I do not remember, sir, having seen you anywhere before our
meeting here at Berlin; and yet I find in your features, in all your
manner, so much that seems familiar. Nay, it is as if in times long
past we had been very intimate, but in a distant country and in other
relations. I entreat you, free me from this uncertainty; and, if I am
not deceived by some resemblance, let us renew the friendship, which
floats in dim recollection like some delightful dream."

George Pepusch felt strangely at this address; his breast heaved, his
forehead glowed, and a shudder ran through all his limbs as if he had
lain in a violent fever. Though this might mean nothing else than that
he was over head and ears in love, yet there was another cause for this
perturbation, which robbed him of all speech, and almost of his senses.
When Dörtje Elverdink spoke of her belief that she had known him long
before, it seemed to him as if another image was presented to his
inward mind as in a magic lantern, and he perceived a long removed
SELF, which lay far back in time. The idea, that by much meditation had
assumed a clear and firm shape, flashed up in this moment, and this was
nothing less than that Dörtje Elverdink was the Princess Gamaheh,
daughter of King Sekakis, whom he had loved in a remote period, when he
flourished as the thistle, Zeherit. It was well that he did not
communicate this fancy to other folks, as he would most probably have
been reckoned mad, and confined as such; although the fixed idea of a
partial maniac may often, perhaps, be nothing more than the illusions
of a preceding existence.

"Good God! you seem dumb, sir!" said the little-one, touching George's
breast with the prettiest finger imaginable; and from the tip of it
shot an electric spark into his heart, and he awoke from his
stupefaction. He seized her hand in a perfect ecstasy, covered it with
burning kisses, and exclaimed, "Heavenly, angelic creature!" &c. &c.
&c. The kind reader will easily imagine all that George Pepusch would
exclaim in a such a moment. It is sufficient to say, that she received
his love-protests as kindly as could be wished; and that the fateful
moment, in the corner of Leuwenhock's hall, brought forth a love affair
that first raised the good George Pepusch up to heaven, and then again
plunged him into hell. As he happened to be of a melancholy
temperament, and withal pettish and suspicious, Dörtje's conduct could
not fail of giving rise to many little jealousies. Now it was precisely
these jealousies that tickled Dörtje's malicious humour; and it was her
delight to torment the poor George Pepusch in a variety of ways: but as
every thing can be carried only to a certain point, so at last the
long-smothered resentment of the lover blazed forth. He was speaking of
that wondrous time when he, as the thistle, Zeherit, had so dearly
loved the fair Hollandress, who was then the daughter of King Sekakis,
and was reminding her, with all the fire of love, that the circumstance
of his battle with the Leech-Prince had given him the most
incontestable right to her hand. On her part, she declared that she
well remembered it, and had already felt the foreboding of it, when
Pepusch gazed on her with the thistle-glance; she spoke, too, so
sweetly of these wonderful matters, seemed so inspired with love to the
thistle, Zeherit, who had been destined to study at Jena, and then
again find the Princess Gamaheh in Berlin, that George Pepusch fancied
himself in the Eldorado of all delight. The lovers stood at the window,
and the little-one suffered her enamoured friend to wind his arm about
her. In this familiar position they caressed each other, for to that at
last came the dreamy talk about the wonders in Famagusta, when it
chanced that a handsome officer of the guards passed by in a brand-new
uniform, and familiarly greeted the little-one, whom he knew from the
evening entertainments; Dörtje had half closed her eyes and turned away
her head from the street, so that one would have thought it was
impossible for her to see the officer; but great is the magic of a fine
new uniform! The little-one,--roused, perhaps, by the clatter of the
sabre on the pavement,--opened her eyes broad and bright, twisted
herself from George's arm, flung open the window, threw a kiss to the
officer, and watched him till he had disappeared round the corner.

"Gamaheh!" shouted George Pepusch, quite beside himself--"Gamaheh! what
is this? Do you mock me? Is this the faith you have promised to your
Thistle?"

The little-one turned round upon her heel, burst into a loud laughter,
and exclaimed,--

"Go, go, George; if I am the daughter of the worthy old King Sekakis,
if you are the thistle, Zeherit, that dear officer is the genius,
Thetel, who, in fact, pleases me much better than the sad thorny
thistle."

With this she darted away through the door, while George Pepusch, as
might be expected, fell immediately into a fit of desperation, and
rushed down the steps as if he had been driven by a thousand devils.
Fate would have it, that he met a friend, in a post-chaise, who was
leaving Berlin; upon which he called out, "Halt! I go with you;"--flew
home, donned a great coat, put money in his purse, gave the key of his
room to the hostess, seated himself in the chaise, and posted off with
his friend.

Notwithstanding this hostile separation, his love to the fair
Hollandress was by no means extinguished; and just as little could he
resolve to give up the fair claims, which, as the thistle, Zeherit, he
thought he had to the hand and heart of Gamaheh. He renewed, therefore,
his pretensions, when some years afterwards he met with Leuwenhock
again at the Hague; and how zealously he followed her in Frankfort the
reader has learnt already.

George Pepusch was wandering through the streets at night, quite
inconsolable, when his attention was attracted by an unusually bright
light, that fell upon the street from a crevice in the window-shutter
in the lower room of a large house. He thought that there must be fire
in the chamber, and swung himself up by means of the iron-work to look
in. Boundless was his surprise at what he saw. A large fire blazed in
the chimney, which was opposite to the window, before which sate, or
rather lay, the little Hollandress in a broad old-fashioned armchair,
dressed out like an angel. She seemed to sleep, while a withered old
man knelt before the fire, and, with spectacles on his nose, peeped
into a kettle, in which he was probably brewing some potion. Pepusch
was trying to raise himself higher to get a better view of the group,
when he felt himself seized by the legs, and violently pulled down. A
harsh voice exclaimed--"Now only see the rascal! To the watch-house, my
master!" It was the watchman who had observed George climbing up the
window, and could not suppose otherwise than that he wanted to break
into the house. In spite of all protestations, George Pepusch was
dragged off by the watchman, to whose help the patrol had hastened; and
thus his nightly wandering ended merrily in the watch-house.



                            Third Adventure.

Appearance of a little monster.--Farther explanations respecting the
fate of the Princess Gamaheh.--Remarkable bond of friendship entered
into by Mr. Peregrine Tyss, and discovery of who the old gentleman is
that lodges in his house.--Very wonderful effects of a tolerably small
microscopic glass.--Unexpected arrest of the hero of the history.


He, who has experienced such things in one evening as Mr. Peregrine
Tyss, and who is consequently in such a state of mind, cannot possibly
sleep well. He rolled about restless on his bed, and, when he fell into
that sort of delirium which usually precedes sleep, he again held the
little creature in his arms, and felt warm glowing kisses on his lips.
Then he would start up and fancy, even when awake, that he heard the
sweet voice of Alina. He would burn with desire that she might not have
fled, and yet, again, would fear that she might return and snare him in
a net, from which he could not extricate himself. This war of contrary
feelings straightened his breast, and filled it at the same time with a
sweet pain, such as he had never felt before.

"Sleep not, Peregrine; sleep not, generous man: I must speak with you
directly,"--was lisped close by Peregrine, and still the voice went on
with "sleep not, sleep not," till at last he opened his eyes, which he
had closed only to see Alina more distinctly. By the light of the lamp
he perceived a little monster, scarce a span long, that sate upon the
white counterpane, and which at first terrified him, but in the next
moment he grasped boldly at it with his hand, to convince himself
whether he was or was not deceived by his fancy; but the little monster
had immediately disappeared without leaving a trace behind.

Though it was not requisite to give a minute description of the fair
Alina, Dörtje Elverdink, or Princess Gamaheh,--for the reader has long
ago known that these were one and the same person apparently split into
three,--it is, on the contrary, quite requisite to narrowly portray the
little monster that sate upon the counterpane, and caused so much
terror to Mr. Peregrine Tyss.

As already mentioned, the creature was scarcely a span long. In his
bird-shaped head gleamed a pair of round sparkling eyes, and from his
sparrow-beak protruded a long sharp thing like a rapier, while two
horns came out from the forehead close below the beak. The neck began
close under the head also, in the manner of a bird, but grew thicker
and thicker, so that without any interruption the former grew to a
shapeless body, almost like a hazelnut, and seemed covered with
dark-brown scales like the armadillo. But the strangest part was the
formation of the arms and legs; the two former had joints, and were
rooted in the creature's cheeks, close by the beak; immediately under
these arms was a pair of legs, and still farther on another pair, both
double-jointed like the arms. These last feet appeared to be those on
which the creature really relied; for besides that they were longer and
stronger than the others, he wore upon them very handsome golden boots
with diamond spurs.

The little monster having so completely vanished upon Peregrine's
attempt to seize it, he would have taken the whole for an illusion of
his excited fancy, if directly afterwards a thin voice had not been
audible, exclaiming,--

"Good heavens! Mr. Peregine Tyss! have I really been mistaken in you?
Yesterday you acted so nobly towards me, and, now that I want to show
my gratitude, you grasp at me with a murderous hand! But perhaps my
form displeased you, and I did wrong in showing myself to you
microscopically, that you might be sure to see me, which, as you may
well suppose, is no such easy matter; in fact, I am still sitting upon
your white counterpane, and yet you cannot perceive me. Don't take it
amiss, Peregrine; but, in truth, your optical nerves are a little too
gross for my thin form. Only promise me, however, that I shall be safe
with you, and that you will not make any hostile attempts upon me, and
I will come close to you and tell you many things, which it would be as
well that you knew now."

"In the first place," replied Mr. Tyss to the voice, "tell me, my good
unknown friend, who you are; the rest will easily follow of itself. In
the meantime I can assure you beforehand, that any thing hostile is not
at all in my disposition, and that I will continue to act nobly towards
you, though at present I cannot comprehend in what way I have evinced
my nobleness. Keep, however, your incognito, for your appearance is not
the most agreeable."

The voice, after a little hemming and coughing, continued,--"You are, I
repeat it with pleasure, a noble man, Mr. Peregrine; but not
particularly deep in science, and, above all, a little inexperienced,
or you would have recognised me at the first glance. I might boast a
little and say, that I am one of the mightiest of kings, and rule over
many, many millions; but from a natural modesty, and because, after
all, the expression, king, is not exactly correct, I will pass it
over. Amongst the people, at whose head I have the honour to be, a
republican constitution prevails. A senate, which at most can consist
of forty-five thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine members, for the
greater facility of voting, holds the place of regent; and he, who
presides over this senate, has the name of master, because, in all the
affairs of life, he must really be a master. Without farther
circumlocution, I will now confess to you that I, who now speak to you
without your seeing me, am no other than this Master Flea. That you
know my people I do not make the least doubt; for, most assuredly,
worthy sir, you have already nourished many of them with your own
blood. Hence you must needs be aware that they are animated by an
untameable love of freedom, and indeed are a set of springalds, who are
inclined to keep off any thing like solidity of form by a continual
leaping and skipping. You will easily perceive what talents must be
requisite to govern such a people, and will, therefore, feel for me a
becoming respect. Assure me of that, Mr. Peregrine, before I proceed
any farther."

For some moments it seemed to Mr. Tyss as if a great mill-wheel were
turning round in his head; but he soon became more composed, and began
to think that the appearance of the strange lady at the bookbinder's
was just as wonderful as the present one, which was, perhaps, after
all, nothing more than a natural continuation of the singular history
in which he had become involved. He therefore declared to Master Flea,
that he respected him prodigiously for his uncommon talents; and was
the more anxious to know him better, as his voice sounded very sweetly,
and there was a certain delicacy in his speech which betrayed a
delicate form of body, whereat Master Flea continued:

"I thank you much, my best Mr. Tyss, for your favourable opinion, and
hope soon to convince you that you are not mistaken in me. In the
meantime, that you may learn what service you have rendered me, it is
requisite that I should impart to you my whole history. Know, then,
that my father was the renowned----yet stay; it just occurs to me, that
the beautiful gift of patience has become remarkably rare of late
amongst readers and auditors, and that copious memoirs, once so much
admired, are now detestable: I will therefore touch lightly and
episodically that part only which is more immediately connected with my
abode with you. In knowing that I am really Master Flea, you must know
me for a man of the most extensive learning, of the most profound
experience in all branches of knowledge. But hold! You cannot measure
the degree of my information by your scale, since you are ignorant of
the wonderful world in which I and my people live. How would you feel
astonished if your mind could be opened to that world! it would seem to
you a realm of the strangest and most incomprehensible wonders, and
hence you must not feel surprised, if all which originates from that
world should seem to you like a confused fairy-tale, invented by an
idle brain. Do not, therefore, allow yourself to be confounded, but
trust my words.--See; in many things my people are far superior to you
men; for example--in all that regards the penetrating into the
mysteries of nature, in strength, dexterity,--spiritual and corporeal
dexterity. But we, too, have our passions; and with us, as with you,
these are often the sources of great disquietudes, sometimes even of
total destruction. Loved, nay adored, as I was, by my people, my
mastery might have placed me upon the pinnacle of happiness, had I not
been blinded by an unfortunate passion for a person who completely
governed me, though she never could be my wife. But our race is in
general reproached with a passion for the fair sex, that oversteps the
bounds of decorum. Supposing, however, this reproach to be true, yet,
on the other hand, every one knows----but hold--without more
circumlocution--I saw the daughter of King Sekakis, the beautiful
Gamaheh, and on the instant became so desperately enamoured of her,
that I forgot my people, myself, and lived only in the delight of
skipping about the fairest neck, the fairest bosom, and tickling the
beauty with kisses. She often caught at me with her rosy fingers,
without ever being able to seize me, and this I took for the toying of
affection. But how silly is any one in love, even when that one is
Master Flea. Suffice it to say, that the odious Leech-Prince fell upon
the poor Gamaheh, whom he kissed to death; but still I should have
succeeded in saving my beloved, if a silly boaster and an awkward ideot
had not interfered without being asked, and spoilt all. The boaster was
the Thistle, Zeherit, and the ideot was the Genius, Thetel. When,
however, the Genius rose in the air with the sleeping princess, I clung
fast to the lace about her bosom, and thus was Gamaheh's faithful
fellow-traveller, without being perceived by him. It happened that we
flew over two magi, who were observing the stars from a lofty tower.
One of them directed his glass so sharply at me, that I was almost
blinded by the shine of the magic instrument. A violent giddiness
seized me; in vain I sought to hold fast; I tumbled down helplessly
from the monstrous height, fell plump upon the nose of one of the magi,
and only my lightness, my extraordinary activity, could have saved me.

"I was still too much stunned to skip off his nose and place myself
in perfect safety, when the treacherous Leuwenhock,--he was the
magician,--caught me dexterously with his fingers, and placed me in his
microscope. Notwithstanding it was night, and he was obliged to use a
lamp, he was by far too practiced an observer, and too great an adept,
not immediately to recognise in me the Master Flea. Delighted that a
lucky chance had delivered into his hands such an important prisoner,
and resolved to draw every possible advantage from it, he flung poor me
into chains, and thus began a painful imprisonment, from which I was
yesterday freed by you. The possession of me gave the abominable
Leuwenhock full power over my vassals, whom he soon collected in swarms
about him, and with barbarian cruelty introduced amongst us that which
is called education, and which soon robbed us of all freedom, of all
enjoyment of life. In regard to scholastic studies, and the arts and
sciences in general, Leuwenhock soon discovered, to his surprise and
vexation, that we knew more than himself; the higher cultivation which
he forced upon us consisted chiefly in this:--that we were to be
something, or at least represent something. But it was precisely this
being something, this representing something, that brought with it a
multitude of wants which we had never known before, and which were now
to be satisfied with the sweat of our brow. The barbarous Leuwenhock
converted us into statesmen, soldiers, professors, and I know not what
besides. All were obliged to wear the dress of their respective ranks,
and thus arose amongst us tailors, shoemakers, hairdressers,
blacksmiths, cutlers, and a multitude of other trades, only to satisfy
an useless and destructive luxury. The worst of it was, that Leuwenhock
had nothing else in view than his own advantage in showing us
cultivated people to men, and receiving money for it. Moreover our
cultivation was set down entirely to his account, and he got the praise
which belonged to us alone. Leuwenhock well knew that in losing me he
would also lose the dominion over my people; the more closely therefore
he drew the spell which bound me to him, and so much the harder was my
imprisonment. I thought with ardent desire on the beautiful Gamaheh,
and pondered on the means of getting tidings of her fate; but what the
acutest reason could not effect, the chance of the moment itself
brought about. The friend and associate of my magician, the old
Swammerdamm, had found the princess in the petal of a tulip, and this
discovery he imparted to his friend. By means, which, my good
Peregrine, I forbear detailing to you, as you do not understand much
about these matters, he succeeded in restoring Gamaheh to her natural
shape, and bringing her back to life. In the end, however, these very
wise persons proved as awkward ideots as the Genius, Thetel, and the
Thistle, Zeherit. In their eagerness they had forgotten the most
material point, and thus it happened that in the very same moment the
princess awoke to life, she was sinking back again into death. I
alone knew the cause; love to the fair one, which now flamed in my
breast stronger than ever, gave me a giant's strength; I burst my
chains--sprang with one mighty bound upon her shoulder--a single bite
sufficed to set the freezing blood in motion--she lived. But I must
tell you, Mr. Peregrine Tyss, that this bite must be repeated if the
princess is to continue blooming in youth and beauty; otherwise she
will dwindle away in a few months to a shrivelled little old woman. On
this account, as you must see, I am quite indispensable to her; and it
is only by the fear of losing me, that I can account for the black
ingratitude with which she repaid my love. Without more ado she
delivered me up to my tormentor, who flung me into heavier chains than
ever, but to his own destruction. In spite of all the vigilance of
Leuwenhock and Gamaheh, I at last succeeded, in an unguarded hour, in
escaping from my prison. Although the heavy boots, which I had no time
to pull off, hindered me considerably in my flight, yet I got safely to
the shop of the toyman, of whom you bought your ware; but it was not
long, before, to my infinite terror, Gamaheh entered the shop. I held
myself lost; you alone could save me: I gently whispered to you my
distress, and you were good enough to open a little box for me, into
which I quickly sprang, and in which you as quickly carried me off with
you. Gamaheh sought in vain for me, and it was not till much later that
she learnt how and whither I had fled.

"As soon as I was free, Leuwenhock lost all power over my people, who
immediately slipt away, and in mockery left the tyrant peppercorns,
fruitstones, and such like, in their clothes. Again, then, my hearty
thanks, kind, noble Mr. Peregrine, for the great benefit you have done
me, and which I know as well as any one how to estimate. Permit me, as
a free man, to remain a little time with you; I can be useful to you in
many important affairs of your life beyond what you may expect. To be
sure there might be danger if you should become enamoured of the fair
one,----"

"What do you say?" interrupted Peregrine; "what do you say, Master? I,
I enamoured!"

"Even so;" continued Master Flea: "think of my terror, of my anxiety,
when you entered yesterday with the princess in your arms, glowing
with passion, and she employing every seductive art--as she well knows
how--to persuade you to surrender me. Ah, then I perceived your
nobleness in its full extent, when you remained immoveable, dexterously
feigning as if you knew nothing of my being with you, as if you did not
even understand what the princess wanted."

"And that was precisely the truth of the matter," said Peregrine,
interrupting Master Flea anew. "You are attributing things as a merit
to me, of which I had not the slightest suspicion. In the shop where I
bought the toys, I neither saw you nor the fair damsel, who sought me
at the bookbinder's, and whom you are strangely pleased to call the
Princess Gamaheh. It was quite unknown to me, that amongst the boxes,
where I expected to find leaden soldiers, there was an empty one in
which you were lurking; and how could I possibly guess that you
were the prisoner whom the pretty child was requiring with such
impetuosity?--Don't be whimsical, Master Flea, and dream of things, of
which I had not the slightest conception."

"Ah," replied Master Flea, "you would dexterously avoid my thanks, kind
Mr. Peregrine; and this gives me, to my great consolation, a farther
lively proof of your noble way of thinking. Learn, generous man, that
all the efforts of Leuwenhock and Gamaheh to regain me are fruitless,
so long as you afford me your protection: you must voluntarily give me
up to my tormentors; all other means are to no purpose--Mr. Peregine
Tyss, you are in love!"

"Do not talk so!" exclaimed Peregrine. "Do not call by the name of love
a foolish momentary ebullition, which is already past."

Peregrine felt the colour rushing up into his cheeks and forehead, and
giving him the lie. He crept under the bed-clothes. Master Flea
continued:

"It is not to be wondered at if you were unable to resist the
surprising charms of the princess, especially as she employed many
dangerous arts to captivate you. Nor is the storm yet over. The
malicious little thing will put in practice many a trick to catch you
in her love-toils, as, indeed, every woman can, without exactly being a
Princess Gamaheh. She will try to get you so completely in her power,
that you shall only live for her and her wishes, and then--woe to me!
It will come to this question:--is your nobleness strong enough to
conquer your passion, or will you prefer yielding to Gamaheh's wishes,
and thus replunging into misery not only your little protegé, but the
whole people whom you have released from a wretched slavery?--or,
again, will you resist the allurements of a treacherous creature, and
thus confirm my happiness and that of my subjects? Oh that you would
promise me the last!--that you _could_!----"

"Master," replied Peregrine, drawing the bed-clothes away from his
face,--"dear Master, you are right: nothing is more dangerous than the
temptations of women; they are all false, all malicious; they play with
us as cats with mice, and for our tenderest exertions we reap nothing
but contempt and mockery. Hence it is that formerly a cold deathlike
perspiration used to stand upon my brow as soon as any woman-creature
approached me, and I myself believe that there must be something
peculiar about the fair Alina, or Princess Gamaheh, as you will have
it, although, with my plain human reason, I do not comprehend all that
you are saying, but rather feel as if I were in some wild dream, or
reading the Thousand and One Nights. Be all this, however, as it may,
you have put yourself under my protection, dear Master, and nothing
shall persuade me to deliver you up to your enemies; as to the
seductive maiden, I will not see her again. This I promise solemnly,
and would give my hand upon it, had you one to receive it and return
the honourable pledge."

With this Peregrine stretched out his arm far upon the bed-clothes.

"Now," exclaimed the little Invisible,--"now I am quite consoled, quite
at ease. If I have no hand to offer you, at least permit me to prick
you in the right thumb, partly to testify my extreme satisfaction, and
partly to seal our bond of friendship more assuredly."

At the same moment Peregrine felt in the thumb of his right hand a
bite, which smarted so sensibly, as to prove it could have come only
from the first Master of all the fleas.

"You bite like a little devil!" cried Peregrine.

"Take it," replied Master Flea, "as a lively token of my honourable
intentions. But it is fit that I should offer to you, as a pledge of my
gratitude, a gift which belongs to the most extraordinary productions
of art. It is nothing else than a microscope, made by a very dexterous
optician of my people, while he was in Leuwenhock's service. The
instrument will appear somewhat small to you, for, in reality, it is
about a hundred and twenty times smaller than a grain of sand; but its
use will not allow of any peculiar greatness. It is this: I place the
glass in the pupil of your left eye, and this eye immediately becomes
microscopic. As I wish to surprise you with the effect of it, I will
say no more about it for the present, and will only entreat that I may
be permitted to perform the microscopic operation whenever I see that
it will do you any important service.--And now sleep well, Mr.
Peregrine; you have need of rest."

Peregrine, in reality, fell asleep, and did not awake till full
morning, when he heard the well-known scratching of old Alina's broom;
she was sweeping out the next room. A little child, who was conscious
of some mischief, could not tremble more at his mother's rod than Mr.
Peregrine trembled in the fear of the old woman's reproaches. At length
she came in with the coffee. Peregrine glanced at her through the
bed-curtains, which he had drawn close, and was not a little surprised
at the clear sunshine which overspread the old woman's face.

"Are you still asleep, my dear Mr. Tyss?" she asked in one of the
softest tones of which her voice was capable; and Peregrine, taking
courage, answered just as softly,

"No, my dear Alina: lay the breakfast upon the table; I will get up
directly."

But, when he did really rise, it seemed to him as if the sweet breath
of the creature, who had lain in his arms, was waving through the
chamber--he felt so strangely and so anxiously. He would have given all
the world to know what had become of the mystery of his passion; for,
like this mystery itself, the fair one had appeared and vanished.

While he was in vain endeavouring to drink his coffee and eat his
toast,--every morsel of which was bitter in his mouth,--Alina entered,
and busied herself about this and that, murmuring all the time to
herself--"Strange! incredible! What things one sees! Who would have
thought it?"

Peregrine, whose heart beat so strongly that he could bear it no
longer, asked, "What is so strange, dear Alina?"

"All manner of things! all manner of things!" replied the old woman,
laughing cunningly, while she went on with her occupation of setting
the rooms to rights. Peregrine's breast was ready to burst, and he
involuntarily exclaimed, in a tone of languishing pain,--"Ah! Alina!"

"Yes, Mr. Tyss, here I am; what are your commands?" replied Alina,
spreading herself out before Peregrine, as if in expectation of his
orders.

Peregrine stared at the copper face of the old woman, and all his fears
were lost in the disgust which filled him on the sudden. He asked in a
tolerably harsh tone,--

"What has become of the strange lady who was here yesterday evening?
Did you open the door for her? Did you look to a coach for her, as I
ordered? Was she taken home?"

"Open doors!" said the old woman with an abominable grin, which she
intended for a sly laugh--"Look to a coach! taken home!--There was no
need of all this:--the fair damsel is in the house, and won't leave the
house for the present."

Peregrine started up in joyful alarm; and she now proceeded to tell him
how, when the lady was leaping down the stairs in a way that almost
stunned her, Mr. Swammer stood below, at the door of his room, with an
immense branch-candlestick in his hand. The old gentleman, with a
profusion of bows, contrary to his usual custom, invited the lady into
his apartment, and she slipt in without any hesitation, and her host
locked and bolted the door.

The conduct of the misanthropic Swammer was too strange for Alina not
to listen at the door, and peep a little through the keyhole. She then
saw him standing in the middle of the room, and talking so wisely and
pathetically to the lady, that she herself had wept, though she had not
understood a single word, he having spoken in a foreign language. She
could not think otherwise than that the old gentleman had laboured to
bring her back to the paths of virtue, for his vehemence had gradually
increased, till the damsel at last sank upon her knees and kissed his
hand with great humility: she had even wept a little. Upon this he
lifted her up very kindly, kissed her forehead,--in doing which he was
forced to stoop terribly,--and then led her to an arm-chair. He next
busied himself in making a fire, brought some spices, and, as far as
she could perceive, began to mull some wine. Unluckily the old woman
had just then taken snuff, and sneezed aloud; upon which Swammer,
stretching out his arm to the door, exclaimed with a terrible voice,
that went through the marrow of her bones, "Away with thee, listening
Satan!"--She knew not how she had got off and into her bed; but in the
morning, upon opening her eyes, she fancied she saw a spectre; for
before her stood Mr. Swammer in a handsome sable-fur, with gold
buckles, his hat on his head, his stick in his hand.

"My good Mistress Alina," he said, "I must go out on important
business, and perhaps may not return for many hours. Take care,
therefore, that there is no noise on my floor, and that no one ventures
to enter my room. A lady of rank, and--I may tell you,--a very handsome
princess, has taken refuge with me. Long ago, at the court of her
father, I was her governor; therefore she has confidence in me, and I
must and will protect her against all evil machinations. I tell you
this, Mistress Alina, that you may show the lady the respect which
belongs to her rank. With Mr. Tyss's permission she will be waited on
by you, for which attendance you will be royally rewarded, provided you
are silent, and do not betray the princess' abode to any one." So
saying, Mr. Swammer had immediately gone off.

Peregrine now asked the old woman, if it did not seem strange that the
lady, whom he could swear he met at the bookbinder's, should be a
princess, seeking refuge with old Swammer? But she protested that she
believed his words rather than her own eyes, and was therefore of
opinion that all, which had happened at the bookbinder's or in the
chamber, was either a magical illusion, or that the terror and anxiety
of the flight had led the princess into so strange an adventure. For
the rest, she would soon learn all from the lady herself.

"But," objected Peregrine, in reality only to continue the conversation
about the lady, "but where is the suspicion, the evil opinion, you had
of her yesterday?"

"Ah," replied the old woman simpering, "that is all over. One need only
look at the dear creature to be convinced she is a princess, and as
beautiful withal as ever was princess. When Swammer had gone, I could
not help looking to see what she was about, and peeping a little
through the key-hole. There she lay stretched out upon the sofa, her
angel head leaning upon her hand, so that the raven locks poured
through the little white fingers, a beautiful sight! Her dress was of
silver tissue, through which the bosom and the arms were visible, and
on her feet she had golden slippers. One had fallen off, and showed
that she wore no stockings, so that the naked foot peeped forth from
under the garments. But, my good Mr. Tyss, she is no doubt still lying
on the sofa; and if you will take the trouble of peeping through the
key-hole----"

"What do you say?" interrupted Peregrine with vehemence; "what do you
say? Shall I expose myself to her seductive sight, which might urge me
into all manner of follies?"

"Courage, Peregrine! resist the temptation!" lisped a voice close
beside him, which he instantly recognised for that of Master Flea.

The old woman laughed mysteriously, and after a few minutes' silence
said,--"I will tell you the whole matter, as it seems to me. Whether
the strange lady be a princess or not, thus much is certain, that she
is of rank and rich, and that Mr. Swammer has taken up her cause
warmly, and must have been long acquainted with her. And why did she
run after you, dear Mr. Tyss? I say, because she is desperately in love
with you, and love makes people blind and mad, and leads even
princesses into the strangest and most inconsiderate follies. A gipsy
prophesied to your late mother that you would one day be happy in a
marriage when you least expected it. Now it is coming true."

And with this the old woman began again describing how beautiful the
lady looked. It may be easily supposed that Peregrine felt overwhelmed.
At last he broke out with, "Silence, I pray you, of such things. The
lady in love with me! How silly! how absurd!"

"Umph!" said the old woman; "if that were not the case she would not
have sighed so piteously, she would not have exclaimed so lamentably,
'no, my dear Peregrine, my sweet friend, you will not, you cannot be
cruel to me. I shall see you again, and enjoy all the happiness of
heaven.'--And our old Mr. Swammer! she has quite changed him. Did
I ever use to get any thing of him but a paltry sixpence for a
Christmas-box? And now he gave me this morning a crown, with such a
kind look--no common thing with him--as a douceur beforehand for my
services to the lady. There's something in it all. I'll lay you any
thing that in the end Mr. Swammer is her ambassador to you."

And again the old woman began to speak of the grace and loveliness of
the lady with an animation that sounded strange enough in the mouth of
a withered creature like herself, till Peregrine jumped up all fire and
fury, and cried out like a madman, "Be it as it will--down, down to the
key-hole!" In vain he was warned by Master Flea, who sate in the
neckcloth of the enamoured Peregrine, and had hid himself in a fold.
Peregrine did not hear his voice, and Master Flea learnt, what he ought
to have known long before, namely, that something may be done with the
most obstinate man, but not with a lover.

The lady did, indeed, lie on the sofa, just as the old woman had
described, and Peregrine found that no mortal language was adequate to
the expression of the heavenly charms which overspread the lovely
figure. Her dress, of real silver tissue, with strange embroidery, was
quite fantastic, and might do very well for the negligee of the
princess, Gamaheh, which she had perhaps worn in Famagusta, at the very
moment of her being kissed to death by the malicious Leech-Prince. At
all events it was so beautiful, and so exceedingly strange, that the
idea of it could never have come from the head of the most genial
theatrical tailor, nor have been conceived by the sublimest milliner.

"Yes, it is she! it is the Princess Gamaheh!" murmured Peregrine,
trembling with anxiety and pleasure. But when the fair one sighed,
"Peregrine! my Peregrine!" the full madness of the passion seized
him, and it was only an unnameable anxiety, robbing him of all
self-possession, that prevented him from breaking in the door, and
throwing himself at the feet of the angel.

The friendly reader knows already how it was with the fascinations, the
celestial beauty, of the little Dörtje Elverdink. The editor, however,
may safely declare, that, after he too had peeped through the key-hole,
and seen the fair one in her fantastic dress of tissue, he can say
nothing more than that Dörtje Elverdink was a very pretty little
puppet. But as no young man can possibly be in love, for the first
time, with any but an angel, without her equal on earth, it may be
allowed also to Mr. Peregrine Tyss to look upon Dörtje Elverdink as
something celestial.

"Recollect yourself, my dear Mr. Tyss; think of your promise. You would
never see the seductive Gamaheh again, and now I could put the
microscopic glass into your eye, but without such help you must
perceive that the malicious creature has long observed you, and that
all she is doing is only deceit, to seduce you. Believe me, I mean it
well with you." So whispered Master Flea in the fold of his collar;
but, whatever doubts might arise in Mr. Peregrine's mind, he could not
tear himself away from the fascinating sight of the little one, who
knew well how to use the advantage of being supposed to fancy herself
alone; flinging herself into all manner of voluptuous attitudes, she
put the poor Peregrine quite beside himself.

He would most likely have been still fixed at the door, had it not been
for a loud ringing, and Alina's crying out that Swammer had returned.
Upon this he hurried up the stairs into his chamber, where he gave
himself up to his love-thoughts, but with these thoughts returned the
doubts which had been raised in his breast by the admonitions of Master
Flea. There was, indeed, a flea in his ear, and he fell into all manner
of disquieting meditations. He thought to himself, "Must I not believe
that this lovely creature is the Princess Gamaheh, the daughter of a
mighty king? But if this be the case, it is folly, madness, to aspire
to the possession of so exalted a personage. Then too she has begged
the surrender of a prisoner, on whom her life depends; and as this
exactly agrees with what Master Flea has said, I can hardly doubt that
all, which I would interpret into affection for me, is only a mean to
subject me to her will. And yet to leave her!--to lose her!--that is
hell! that is death!"

In these painful meditations he was disturbed by a modest knocking at
his door, and the person who entered was no other than his lodger. The
ancient Mr. Swammer, at other times a shrivelled, misanthropic,
grumbling man, seemed suddenly to have become twenty years younger. His
forehead was smooth, his eye animated, his mouth friendly: instead of
the odious black periwig he wore his natural silver hair; and in the
place of the dark gray upper-coat, he had on a sable, such as Aline had
before described him. With a cheerful and even friendly mien, by no
means usual with him, he came up to Peregrine, protesting, that he did
not wish to disturb his dear host in any occupation, but his duty as a
lodger required that he should the first thing in the morning inform
his landlord he had been under the necessity of giving refuge to a
helpless damsel, who sought to escape from the tyranny of a cruel
uncle, and would, therefore, pass some time in the house. For this he
needed the permission of his kind host, which he now requested.

Involuntarily Peregrine inquired who the lady was, without reflecting
that this in fact was the best question he could ask to get a clue to
the strange mystery.

"It is just and proper," replied Swammer, "that the landlord should
know whom he is lodging in his house. Learn then, my respected Mr.
Tyss, that the damsel, who has taken refuge with me, is no other than
the fair Hollandress, Dörtje Elverdink, niece of the celebrated
Leuwenhock, who, as you know, gives here the wonderful microscopic
exhibitions. Leuwenhock was once my friend, but I must acknowledge that
he is a hard man, and uses my god-daughter cruelly. A violent affair,
which took place yesterday, compelled the maiden to flight, and it
seems natural enough that she should seek help and refuge with me."

"Dörtje Elverdink!" said Peregrine, half
dreaming;--"Leuwenhock!--perhaps a descendant of the naturalist, Antony
Leuwenhock, who made the celebrated microscopes."

"That our Leuwenhock," replied Swammer, smiling, "is a descendant of
that celebrated man, I cannot exactly say, seeing that he is the
celebrated man himself; and it is a mere fable that he was buried about
two hundred years ago at Delft. Believe it, my dear Mr. Tyss, or else
you might doubt that I am the renowned Swammerdamm, although, for the
sake of shortness and that I may not have to answer the questions of
every curious blockhead, I call myself Swammer. Every one maintains
that I died in the year 1680, but you see, Mr. Tyss, that I stand
before you alive and hearty; and that _I_ am really _I_, I can prove
even to the dullest, from my Biblia Naturæ. You believe me, my worthy
Mr. Tyss?"

"Since a short time--" said Mr. Tyss, in a tone that showed his mental
perplexity, "since a short time I have experienced so many wonders,
that I should be in perpetual doubt, if the whole had not been a
manifest subject of the senses. But now I believe every thing, however
wild and fantastic. It may be that you are the dead John Swammerdamm,
and, therefore, as a dead-alive, know more than other common men; but
as to the flight of Dörtje Elverdink, or the Princess Gamaheh, or
however else the lady may be called, you are in a monstrous error. Hear
how the matter really happened."

Peregrine now related, quite calmly, the adventure he had with the
lady, her entrance into Lemmerhirt's room, up to her reception with Mr.
Swammer, who, when he had done, replied, "It seems to me, as if all,
that you have been pleased to relate, were nothing more than a
singular, yet very pleasant, dream. I will, however, let that be, and
request your friendship, which perhaps I may have much need of. Forget
my morose conduct, and let us be more intimate. Your father was a
shrewd man and my good friend, but in regard to science, depth of
understanding, mature judgment, and practiced insight into life, the
son goes before the father. You know not how much I esteem you, my
worthy Mr. Tyss."

"Now is the time!" whispered Master Flea, and in the same moment
Peregrine felt a slight passing pain in the pupil of his left eye. He
knew that Master Flea had placed the microscopic glass in his eye, but
he had not before had the slightest idea of its effects. Behind the
tunicle of Swammer's eyes he perceived strange nerves and branches, the
perplexed course of which he traced deep into the forehead, and could
perceive that they were Swammer's thoughts. They ran much in this
way;--"I did not expect to get off so easily here, without being better
questioned. If papa was an ignoramus, of whom I never thought any
thing, the son is still worse, with a greater infusion of childishness.
With the simplicity of an idiot, he tells me the whole adventure with
the Princess, not seeing that she must have already told me all, as my
behaviour to her of necessity presupposes an earlier intimacy. But
there is no help for it; I must speak him fair, because I want his
help. He is simple enough to believe all I say, and, in his stupid
good-nature, to make many a sacrifice to my interest, for which he will
reap no other thanks than that, when all is over, and Gamaheh mine
again, I shall laugh soundly at him behind his back."

"It seemed to me," said Swammer, coming close to Peregrine, "it seemed
to me, my dear Mr. Tyss, as if a flea were on your collar."

The thoughts ran thus:--"The deuce! that was, indeed, Master Flea! It
would be a queer piece of business if Gamaheh should be right after
all."

Peregrine stepped nimbly back, protesting that he had no dislike to
fleas.

"Then," replied Swammer, with a profound bow, "then for the present I
most respectfully take my leave, my dear Mr. Tyss."

The thoughts ran thus:--"I wish the blackwinged devil had you, idiot!"

Master Flea took the microscopic glass out of the eye of the astonished
Peregrine, and then said, "You have now, my dear sir, experienced the
wonderful effects of the glass, which has not its equal in the world,
and must perceive what a superiority it gives you over men, by laying
open before your eyes their inmost thoughts. But, if you were to use it
constantly, the perpetual knowledge of their real sentiments would
overwhelm you, for the bitter vexation, which you have just now
experienced, would be too often repeated. I will always be with you
when you leave your house, sitting either in your collar, or in some
convenient place, and if you wish to learn the thoughts of him who is
conversing with you, you have only to snap your fingers, and the glass
will be in your eye immediately."

Peregrine, seeing the manifest advantages of such a gift, was about to
pour out the warmest thanks, when two deputies from the council
entered, and announced to him that he was accused of a deep offence,
the consequence of which must be preliminary imprisonment and the
seizure of his papers.

Mr. Peregrine swore high and low that he was not conscious of the
slightest offence; but one of the deputies replied with a smile, that
perhaps in a few hours his innocence might be proved, till when,
however, he must submit to the orders of the magistrate. After this,
what was left to Mr. Tyss but to get into the coach, and suffer himself
to be carried off to prison? It may be supposed with what feelings he
passed Mr. Swammer's chamber.

Master Flea sate in the collar of the prisoner.



                           Fourth Adventure.

Unexpected meeting of two friends.--Love-despair of the Thistle,
Zeherit.--Optical duel of two magi.--Somnambulant condition of the
Princess Gamaheh.--The thoughts of the dream.--How Dörtje Elverdink
almost speaks the truth, and the Thistle, Zeherit, runs off with the
Princess Gamaheh.


The mistake of the watchman in arresting Mr. George Pepusch for a thief
was soon explained. In the mean time, however, some informalities had
been discovered in his passport, and for this reason they required that
he should produce some resident citizen of Frankfort as his bail, till
when he must be contented with his present place in prison.

Here then sate Mr. George Pepusch in a very neat room, meditating on
whom he could find in Frankfort to be his bail. He had been away so
long that he feared he must be forgotten by those who had formerly
known him well; and, as to foreign recommendations, he possessed none
whatever. He began to look out of the window in a very melancholy mood,
and cursed his fate aloud, when a window was opened close by him, and a
voice exclaimed,--"What! do I see right? Is it you, George?" Mr. Pepusch
was not a little astonished on perceiving the friend, with whom he had
been most intimate during his residence at Madras. "The deuce!" he
exclaimed, "that I should be so forgetful, so utterly stupid! I knew
that you had got safely into harbour, and in Hamburg heard strange
things of your way of living, and, when I had got here, never thought
of paying you a visit. But he who has such wonderful things in his head
as I have--Well, it is lucky that accident brought you to me! You see I
am under arrest, but you can immediately set me free, by answering for
my being really the George Pepusch, whom you knew years ago, and not a
thief nor a robber."

"Why," replied Peregrine, "I should be an excellent bail, being myself
under arrest!"

He now related at large to his friend, how since his return to
Frankfort he had found himself deprived of both his parents, and
had from that time led, amidst all the bustle of a city, a lonely
joyless life, devoted to the memory of other days. To this George
replied morosely, "Oh yes, I have heard of it, I have heard of the
fools'-tricks you play, that you may waste life in a childish dream.
You would be a hero of innocence, of childishness; and for this despise
the just claims which society has upon you. You give imaginary family
feasts, and bestow upon the poor the costly viands, the dear wines,
which you have before served up to the dead. You give yourself
Christmas-boxes, and act as if you were a child, and then present to
poor children these gifts, which are of the sort usually wasted in rich
houses upon spoiled young ones. But you do not reflect that you are
doing a scurvy benefit to the poor in tickling their gums with
delicacies, that they may doubly feel their wretchedness, when
afterwards they are compelled, by pressing hunger, to eat the vile
bits that would be rejected by many a petted lap-dog. Ha! how this
alms-giving disgusts me, when I think that what you thus waste in a day
would be sufficient to support them for months in a moderate manner.
Then too you overload them with glittering gew-gaws, when a common toy,
presented by their fathers or mothers, gives them infinitely more
pleasure. They eat themselves sick with your infernal marchpane; and
with the knowledge of your splendid gifts, which in the end must be
denied to them, you sow in their young minds the seeds of discontent
and uneasiness. You are rich, full of youth, and yet withdraw yourself
from all society, and thus frustrate the approaches of well-meaning
minds. I will believe that the death of your parents may have shaken
you, but if every one, who has suffered a real loss, were to creep into
his shell, by heavens! the whole world would be like a house of
mourning, and I would not live in it. But, my friend! do you know that
you are under the influence of the most determined egotism that ever
lurked beneath a silly misanthropy?--Go, go, Peregrine, I can no longer
esteem you, no longer be your friend, if you do not change this way of
life, and give up your abominable system of house-keeping."

Peregrine snapped his fingers, and Master Flea instantly placed the
microscopic glass in his eye. The thoughts of the angry Pepusch ran
thus,--"Is it not a pity that such a kind, understanding man should
fall into these dangerous fancies, which at last will completely
unnerve him, and deprive him of his best powers? But it is evident that
his delicate mind, which is besides inclined to melancholy, could not
endure the blow inflicted on him by the death of his parents, and he
seeks for consolation in a mode of life which borders upon madness. He
is lost if I do not save him. The more I esteem him, the harder I will
attack him, and the stronger I will paint his folly."

In these thoughts Peregrine saw that he had found his old friend
unaltered; and, after Master Flea had taken the microscopic glass out
of his eye, he said, "George, I will not contend with you as to what
you say of my mode of life, for I know you mean it well with me; but I
must tell you that it gives me real delight when I can make a day of
festival to the poor, although in this I do not think of myself, a
detestable egotism, of which at least I feel unconscious. They are the
flowers in my life, which else seems to me like a wild melancholy field
of thistles."

"What do you say of thistles?" interrupted George Pepusch hastily; "why
do you despise thistles, and place them in opposition to flowers? Are
you so little versed in natural history as not to know that the most
wonderful blossom in the world is that of the thistle, I mean the
_Cactus grandiflorus_. And again, is not the thistle, Zeherit, the most
beautiful Cactus under the sun? Peregrine, I have so long kept it from
you, or rather was forced to keep it from you, because I myself had not
the full conviction of it; but now learn, that I myself am the thistle,
Zeherit, and will never give up my claims to the hand of the daughter
of the worthy king, Sekakis, the heavenly Princess Gamaheh. I had found
her, but in the same moment the diabolical watchmen seized me, and
dragged me to prison."

"How!" cried Peregrine, half petrified with astonishment, "are you too
involved in the strangest of all histories?"

"What history?" asked Pepusch.

Peregrine did not hesitate to tell his friend, as he had before told
Mr. Swammer, all that had happened at the bookbinder's, and afterwards
at his own house. He did not even conceal the appearance of Master
Flea, although, as may be easily supposed, he kept to himself the
secret of his possessing the microscopic glass.

George's eyes burnt, he bit his lips, struck his forehead, and, when
Peregrine had ended, cried out like a maniac, "The false one! the
traitress!" Greedy, in the self-pangs of despairing love, to drain the
last drop from the poison-cup, which Peregrine had unconsciously
proffered him, he made him repeat every little trait of Dörtje's
behaviour, interrupting him with murmurs of--"In the arms! on the
breast! glowing kisses!" Then again he started away from the window,
and ran about the room with the gestures of a madman. In vain Peregrine
cried out to him to hear the rest, exclaiming that he had much that was
consolatory to say--Pepusch did not the more leave off his raving.

The door was opened, and an officer of the council announced to
Peregrine that no sufficient cause had been found for his longer
imprisonment, and he might return home.

The first use Peregrine made of his regained freedom was to offer
himself as bail for George Pepusch, testifying that he was really
George Pepusch, with whom he had lived in intimacy at Madras, and who
was known to him for a man of fortune and respectability.

Master Flea exhausted himself in very philosophic and instructive
reflections, which amounted to this, that the Thistle, Zeherit, in
spite of his rough exterior, was very kind and reasonable, but a little
too overbearing, and, fairly considered, was quite correct in his
censure of Mr. Peregrine's way of life, though somewhat too harsh
perhaps in his expressions. He too,--that is, Master Flea,--would
really advise Mr. Peregrine henceforth to go abroad in the world.

"Believe me," he said, "it will bring you many advantages to leave your
solitude. You need no longer fear seeming shy and confused, as, with
the mysterious glass in your eye, you command the thoughts of men, and
it is, therefore, impossible that you should not always maintain the
right tact. How firmly and calmly may you stand before the highest,
while their inward souls lie open to your eyes. Therefore, move freely
in the world; your blood will circulate more lightly, all melancholy
brooding will cease, and, which is the best of all, motley ideas and
thoughts will arise in your brain, the image of the fair Gamaheh will
lose its brightness, and you will soon be better able to keep your word
with me."

Peregrine felt that both George Pepusch and Master Flea meant him well,
and he resolved to follow their wise advice. But when he heard the
sweet voice of his beautiful beloved, he could not think how it was
possible for him to leave the house, which had become a paradise to
him.

At length he brought himself to visit a public promenade. Master Flea
had fixed the glass in his eye, and taken up a place in his collar,
where he gently rocked himself to and fro at his ease.

"Have I at last the pleasure of seeing my good friend Mr. Tyss again?
You make yourself scarce, my dear sir, and we have all been longing for
you. Let us go into a coffeehouse, and take a glass of wine together. I
am truly rejoiced to see you."

It was thus that he was addressed by a young man, whom he had seen
scarcely two or three times. The thoughts ran thus;--"Is the stupid
misanthrope visible again? But I must flatter him, that I may soon
borrow money of him. He'll not surely be possessed by the devil, and
accept my invitation; I have not a halfpenny in my pocket, and no
innkeeper will trust me any longer."

Two well-dressed girls now crossed him. They were sisters, distantly
related to him.

"Ah, cousin!" cried one of them, laughing, "do we meet you at last? It
is not well done to lock yourself up so that one can never get a sight
of you. You do not know how fond mamma is of you, because you are such
a sensible man. Promise me to come soon. There, kiss my hand." The
thoughts ran thus;--"How! what is this? what has come to our cousin? I
wanted to make him blush and stammer, and formerly he used to run away
from every girl; but now he stands and eyes me so strangely, and kisses
my hand without the least shyness. If he should be in love with me?
That would be a fine thing! My mother says that he is somewhat stupid,
but what does that signify? I will have him: a stupid man, when he is
rich, as my cousin is, is the very best." The sister had merely lisped,
with downcast eyes and blushing cheeks, "Come to us shortly, dear
cousin." The thoughts ran thus:--"Our cousin is a very handsome man,
and I do not understand why mamma calls him silly, and can't endure
him. If he should come to our house, he will fall in love with me, for
I am the prettiest girl in all Frankfort. I will have him, because I
want a rich man, that I may sleep till twelve o'clock in the day, and
wear dearer shawls than my sister."

A physician, in passing, perceived Peregrine, stopped his carriage, and
called out, "Good morning, my dear sir; you look uncommonly well;
heaven keep you so! But, if any thing should happen, think of me, the
old friend of your late father: such sound constitutions as yours I can
soon set to rights. Adieu." The thoughts ran thus:--"I believe the
fellow is constantly well out of pure avarice; but he looks tolerably
pale now, and seems at last to have something the matter with him.
Well; only let him once come under my hands, and he shall not soon get
up from his bed again; he shall undergo a sound penance for his
obstinate health."

Immediately after this, an old merchant cried out to him, "My best
greetings to you, worthy Mr. Tyss; see how I am forced to run and
bustle, and plague myself with business. You have done wisely in
withdrawing from it, though with your quicksightedness you could not
fail of doubling your father's fortune." The thoughts were thus:--"If
the fool would only meddle with business, he would speculate away his
whole fortune in a short time, and that would be a real delight. His
old papa, whose joy was in ruining other people that wished to help
themselves by a little bankruptcy, would turn himself about in his
grave."

Many more such cutting contrasts between words and thoughts occurred to
Peregrine. He always directed his answers rather by what people meant
than by what they said, and, as he penetrated into their inmost
intents, they themselves were puzzled what to think of him. At last he
felt wearied, snapped his fingers, and immediately the glass vanished
from the pupil of his left eye.

On returning to his house he was surprised by a strange spectacle. A
man stood in the middle of the passage, looking steadfastly through a
strangely-formed glass at Mr. Swammer's door. Upon this door sun-bright
circles played in rainbow colours, and then met in one fiery point,
that seemed to pierce through the wood. As this took place a deep
sighing was heard, broken by cries of pain, which came, as it appeared,
from the room. To his horror, Peregrine fancied that he distinguished
Gamaheh's voice.

"What do you want? what are you doing here?" he exclaimed to the man,
who really seemed to be practising diabolic arts, the rainbow circles
growing with every moment quicker and brighter, the centre-point
piercing more keenly, and the cries sounding more painfully from the
chamber.

"Oh!" exclaimed the stranger, closing his glass, and hastily putting it
into his pocket,--"Oh! the landlord. Your pardon, my dear sir, that I
am operating here without your permission; I did indeed pay you a visit
to request it, but Alina told me you had gone out, and the business
here would admit of no delay."

"What business?" said Peregrine, pretty harshly; "what business is it
that will admit of no delay?"

"Don't you know," replied the stranger with an odious grin, "don't you
know that my ill-advised niece, Dörtje Elverdink, has run away? You
were arrested, though with great injustice, as her seducer, on which
score I will with great pleasure testify your perfect innocence, if it
should be requisite. It is not to you, but to Swammerdamm, once my
friend, and now my enemy, that the faithless Dörtje has fled. She is in
that chamber--I know it--and alone, since Swammerdamm has gone out. I
cannot get in, as the door is barred and bolted, and I am too mild to
employ force; but I have taken the liberty to torment her a little with
my optical glass, that she may know I am her lord and master in spite
of her imaginary princess-ship."

"You are the devil!" exclaimed Peregrine, in the highest
indignation,--"you are the devil! but not lord and master of the
beautiful Gamaheh. Out of my house! Practise your devil's tricks where
you will, but here you will fail with them, I can promise you."

"Don't put yourself in a passion," replied Leuwenhock; "don't put
yourself in a passion, my dear Mr. Tyss; I am an innocent man, who mean
nothing but good. It is a little monster, a little basilisk, that sits
in yonder room, in the shape of a lovely woman. If the abode with my
insignificance displeased her, she might have fled; but the traitress
should not have robbed me of my most precious treasure, the best friend
of my soul, without whom I am nothing. She should not have run away
with Master Flea. You will not understand what I mean, worthy sir,
but----"

Here Master Flea, who had planted himself in a secure place, could not
refrain from bursting out into a fine mocking laugh.

"Ha!" cried Leuwenhock, struck with a sudden terror, "ha! what was
that? Can it be possible? Here, on this spot? Permit me, my dear sir--"

Thus saying, Leuwenhock stretched out his hand, and snatched at
Peregrine's collar, who dexterously avoided his grasp, and, seizing him
with a strong arm, dragged him towards the door, to fling him out
without farther ado. But just as he had reached the door, it was opened
from without, and in rushed George Pepusch, followed by Swammerdamm.

No sooner did Leuwenhock perceive his enemy Swammerdamm, than he burst
from Peregrine with the utmost exertion of his last strength, and
planted himself with his back against the door of the mysterious
chamber, where the fair one was imprisoned. Swammerdamm, seeing this,
took a little telescope from his pocket, drew it out at full length,
and fell upon his adversary, exclaiming, "Draw, scoundrel, if you have
courage!"

Leuwenhock had quickly a similar instrument in his hand, drew it out as
the other had done, and cried, "Come on; I am ready, and you shall soon
feel my prowess."

Each now put his glass to his eye, and fell furiously upon the other
with sharp, murderous glances, now lengthening and now shortening his
weapon by drawing the tubes in and out. There were feints, parries,
thrusts, in short, all the tricks of the fencing-school, and with every
moment they seemed to grow more angry. Whenever one was hit he cried
out aloud, sprang into the air, cut the most wonderful capers, made the
most beautiful entrechats, and turned pirouettes, as well as the best
pas-de-seul dancer on the Parisian stage, till his adversary fixed him
fast with the shortened telescope. When the other was hit he did
precisely the same, and in this way they went on interchangeably with
the most violent springs, the maddest gestures, and the most furious
cries. The perspiration dropped from their brows, the blood-red eyes
seemed starting from their heads, and as there appeared no other cause
for their St. Vitus' dance than their looking at each other through
their glasses, they might have been taken for maniacs, just escaped
from the mad-house. For the rest, it was a very pretty sight.

Swammerdamm at last succeeded in driving Leuwenhock from his post by
the door,--which he had maintained with obstinate bravery,--and thus
carrying on the war in the remoter parts of the ground. George Pepusch
saw the opportunity, pressed against the unoccupied door, that was
neither barred nor bolted, and slipped into the chamber, but in the
next moment he rushed out, exclaiming, "She has fled!--fled!" and then
hurried out of the house with the rapidity of lightning.

Both Leuwenhock and Swammerdamm were seriously wounded, for both hopped
and danced about after a mad fashion, and with their howlings and
cryings made a music to it that seemed like the shrieks of the damned
in hell. Peregrine knew not how to set about separating them, and thus
ending a contest, which was as ludicrous as it was terrific. At last
the combatants perceived that the door stood wide open, forgot their
duel and their pains, put their destructive weapons into their pockets,
and rushed into the chamber.

Mr. Tyss took it grievously to heart that the fair one had fled from
his house, and wished the abominable Leuwenhock at the devil, when the
voice of Alina was heard upon the stairs. She was laughing aloud, and
muttered between, "What strange things one does see! Wonderful!
incredible!"

"What?" cried Peregrine dejectedly, "what wonder has happened now?"

"Oh, my dear Mr. Tyss!" exclaimed the old woman, "only come up stairs
directly, and go into your chamber."

And she opened the room-door with a cunning titter. On entering, O
wonder! O joy! the little Dörtje Elverdink tripped up to him, in her
dress of tissue, as he had before seen her at Mr. Swammer's.

"At length I see you again!" lisped the little one, and contrived to
nestle up so closely to Peregrine, that he could not help embracing her
most tenderly in spite of all his good resolutions. His senses seemed
ecstacied by love and joy.

It has often happened to a man that in the height of his transports he
has hit his nose somewhat roughly, and, being suddenly awakened out of
his heaven by the earthly pain, has tumbled down again into the vulgar
world. Just so it chanced with our Mr. Tyss. In stooping down to kiss
Dörtje's sweet mouth, he gave his nose, of goodly dimensions, a hard
blow against the diadem of shining brilliants, which the little one
wore in her raven locks. The pain of the blow upon the sharp points of
the stone brought him sufficiently to himself to perceive the diadem.
The diadem reminded him of the Princess Gamaheh, and with this
recollection recurred all that Master Flea had told him of the little
syren. He bethought himself that a Princess, the daughter of a mighty
king, could not possibly care about his love, and therefore all her
pretended affection must be a mere trick, by which the dissembler hoped
to regain possession of Master Flea. With this consideration a cold
ice-stream seemed to rush through his veins, which, if it did not quite
extinguish, at least damped, the love-flames.

Peregrine gently freed himself from the arms of the little one, who had
lovingly embraced him, and said with downcast eyes, "Oh, heavens! you
are the daughter of the mighty King Sekakis, the beautiful Gamaheh.
Your pardon, princess, if a feeling, which I could not master, hurried
me into folly, into madness. But yourself, lady,--"

"What are you saying, my fair friend?" interrupted Dörtje Elverdink; "I
the daughter of a mighty king? I a princess? I am your Alina, who will
love you to distraction, if you,--but how is this?--Alina, the queen of
Golconda? she is already with you; I have spoken with her--a good kind
woman, but she has grown old, and is no longer so handsome as in the
time of her marriage with the French general. Woe is me! I am not the
right one; I never ruled in Golconda. Woe is me!"

The little one had closed her eyes, and began to totter. Peregrine
conveyed her to a sofa.

"Gamaheh!" she went on, speaking in a state of somnambulism, "Gamaheh,
do you say? Gamaheh, the daughter of King Sekakis? Yes, I recollect, in
Famagusta!--I was indeed a beautiful tulip--Yet no, even then I felt
desire and love in my breast.--Still, still on that point!"

She was silent, and seemed to be falling into a perfect slumber.
Peregrine undertook the perilous enterprise of placing her in a more
convenient position, but, as he gently embraced her, a concealed pin
prickled him sharply in the finger. According to his custom he snapt
his fingers, and Master Flea, taking it for the concerted signal,
immediately placed the microscopic glass in his eye.

Now, as usual, Peregrine saw behind the tunicle of the eyes the strange
interweaving of nerves and veins, which pierced deep into the brain.
But with these were twined bright silver threads, a hundred times
thinner than the thinnest spider's web, and it was these very threads
that confused him, for they seemed to be endless, branching out into a
something, indistinguishable even by the microscopic eye; perhaps they
were thoughts of a sublimer kind, the others of a sort more easily
comprehended. Then he observed flowers, strangely blended, which took
the shape of men, then again men, who dissolved as it were into the
earth, and peeped forth again as stones and metals. Amongst these all
manner of beasts were in motion, who underwent innumerable changes, and
spoke strange languages. No one appearance answered to the other, and
in the plaintive sounds of sorrow that filled the air, there was a
dissonance, corresponding with that of the images. But it was this very
dissonance that ennobled still more the deep fundamental harmony, which
broke out triumphantly, and united all that seemed irreconcileable.

"Do not puzzle yourself," whispered Master Flea, "do not puzzle
yourself, my good Peregrine; those which you see, are the images of a
dream. Even if any thing more should lurk behind them, now is not the
time for farther inquiry. Only call the little deceiver by her real
name, and then sift her as much as you please."

As the lady had many names, it must have been difficult, one would have
thought, for Peregrine to hit upon the right, but, without the least
reflection, he exclaimed, "Dörtje Elverdink! dear, charming girl; was
it no deceit? Is it possible that you can love me?"

Immediately the little one awoke from her dreamy state, opened her eye,
and said with burning glance, "What a doubt, my Peregrine! Could a
maiden do as I have done, unless her breast were filled with the most
glowing passion? Peregrine, I love you more than any one, and, if you
will be mine, I am yours with my whole soul, and remain with you
because I cannot leave you, and not merely to escape from the tyranny
of my uncle."

The silver threads had disappeared, and the thoughts, properly
arranged, ran thus:--"How is this? At first I feigned a passion for him
only to regain Master Flea for myself and Leuwenhock; and now I
actually am fond of him. I have caught myself in my own snares. I think
no more of Master Flea, and would like to be his, who seems lovelier to
me than any man I have ever seen."

It may be easily supposed what effect these thoughts produced in
Peregrine's breast. He fell on his knees before the fair one, covered
her hand with a thousand burning kisses, called her his joy, his
heaven, his whole happiness.

"Well!" lisped the maiden, drawing him gently to her side, "well, my
love, you certainly will not deny a request, on the fulfilment of which
depends the repose, nay, the very existence of your beloved."

"Demand," replied Peregrine, tenderly embracing her, "demand any thing,
my life,--any thing you will; your slightest wish is my command.
Nothing in the world is so dear to me that I would not with pleasure
sacrifice it to you and your affection."

"Woe is me!" lisped Master Flea; "who could have imagined that the
little traitress would have conquered? I am lost!"

"Hear then," replied Gamaheh, after having returned with equal fire the
glowing kisses, which Peregrine imprinted on her lips, "hear then; I
know how the--"

The door burst open, and in rushed George Pepusch.

"Zeherit!" cried the little one in despair, and fell back on the sofa,
senseless.

The Thistle, Zeherit, flew to the princess, took her in his arms, and
ran off with the speed of lightning.

For this time Master Flea was saved.



                            Fifth Adventure.

Thoughts of poetical young enthusiasts and female
blue-stockings.--Peregrine's reflections upon his life, and Master
Flea's learning and understanding.--Singular virtue and firmness of Mr.
Tyss.--Unexpected conclusion of an event that threatened tragically.


With the speed of lightning,--as the reader has already learnt at the
conclusion of the fourth adventure,--George Pepusch snatched the fair
one from the arms of the enamoured Peregrine, and left him behind
petrified with astonishment and terror. When at length the latter came
to his recollection, and would have followed his robber-friend, all was
still and desolate in the house. Upon his repeated calling, the old
Alina came pattering up the stairs from one of the farthest rooms, and
declared that she had not observed any, the slightest, part of the
whole business.

Peregrine was nigh going mad at the loss of Dörtje, but Master Flea
began to console him in a tone that must have inspired the most
desperate with confidence: "You are not yet quite certain, my dear Mr.
Peregrine, whether the fair Dörtje Elverdink has really left your
house. As well as I can judge of such things, she is not far off; I
seem to feel her nearness. But, if you will follow my friendly counsel,
you will leave her to her fate. Trust me, she is as capricious as the
wind; it may be, as you have said, that she now is really fond of you,
but how long will it be before she plunges you into such misery, that
you will be in danger from it of losing your reason, like the Thistle,
Zeherit? I say again, give up your lonely way of life. You will be the
better for it. How many women have you known, that you should take
Dörtje for the handsomest of her sex? What maiden have you approached
with love, that you should believe that Dörtje alone can love you? Go
to, Peregrine; experience will show you better. You are a well-made,
handsome man, and I should not be so keen-sighted, as Master Flea
really is, if I could not see beforehand that love would smile upon you
in a very different way from what you may expect."

Peregrine had already broken the ice by going abroad in public places,
and it was therefore the less difficult for him to visit societies,
from which he had formerly withdrawn himself. In this Master Flea
rendered him excellent service with his microscopic glass, and he is
said during this time to have kept a day-book, and to have made notes
of the most remarkable and pleasant contradictions between words and
thoughts, as they daily occurred to him. Perhaps the editor of this
strange tale, called Master Flea, may find some future opportunity of
bringing to light many worthy impartments from this same day-book; here
it would only stop the current of the history, and, therefore, would
not be welcome to the reader. So much, however, may be said, that many
of the phrases with the corresponding thoughts seemed to be stereotyped
as it were; as for example,--"Favour me with your advice;"--the thought
being, "He is fool enough to think I ask his advice in a matter that I
have long since resolved upon, and that tickles him." "I have the most
perfect confidence in you;"--the thought being, "I knew long ago that
you were a scoundrel," &c. c. It should also be mentioned that many
folks mightily puzzled Peregrine with his microscopic observations.
These were the young men, who fell into raptures upon every thing, and
poured themselves forth in a torrent of splendid phrases. Amongst these
the most remarkable were the young poets, who were boiling over with
imagination and genius, and were particularly adored by the ladies. To
these were associated the blue-stockings, who were as familiar with
metaphysics as the less learned part of their sex with scandal, and
could talk like any parson in his pulpit. If it seemed strange to
Peregrine that the silver threads should twine together out of
Gamaheh's brain into an undistinguishable something, he was not a
little astonished at what he saw in the heads of those above mentioned.
He saw indeed the strange weaving of nerves and veins, but remarked at
the same time, that when the owners of them spoke most learnedly on art
and science, they did not penetrate the brain, but were reflected
outwards, so that all recognition of the thoughts was out of the
question. He imparted his observation to Master Flea, who usually sate
in a fold of his neckcloth, and Master Flea was of opinion, that what
Peregrine took for thoughts were in reality none, but merely words,
which in vain endeavoured to become thoughts.

If Mr. Tyss began now to amuse himself in society, his faithful
companion also laid aside much of his gravity, and exhibited himself as
a knavish little voluptuary, an amiable _roué_. He could not see the
fair neck or the white bosom of any beauty, without slipping out of his
hiding-place with the first opportunity, and springing on the inviting
spot, where he very dexterously contrived to elude the attacks of
pursuing fingers. This man[oe]uvre combined a double interest. In the
first place, he found a pleasure in it for the thing itself; and then,
he hoped, by drawing Peregrine's attention to the fair ones, to cast
Dörtje's image into shadow. This, however, seemed to be a fruitless
labour, for none of all the ladies, whom he now approached without the
least timidity, seemed to him so fair and lovely as his little
princess. The great cause however of his continued constancy was, that
in none he found the words and thoughts so united in his favour as with
her. He was convinced that he could never leave her, and this he
repeated incessantly. Master Flea was in no little alarm.

One day Peregrine remarked that the old Alina laughed very cunningly,
took snuff more frequently than usual, muttered strangely, in short,
acted altogether like one who is big with a secret and would fain be
disburthened of it. To every thing she replied, "Yes, one can't tell
that!--one must wait!" whether these words were suited to the occasion
or not, till at last Peregrine, full of impatience, exclaimed, "Speak
it out at once; tell me what is the matter, without creeping around me
with those mysterious looks."

"Ah!" cried the old woman, clasping her withered hands together, "ah!
the dear little thing! the sweet little puppet!"

"Whom do you mean?" asked Peregrine angrily.

"Ah!" said the old woman, smirking, "ah! whom should I mean but our
princess, below here with Mr. Swammer,--your bride, Mr. Tyss?"

"Woman!" cried Mr. Tyss, "unlucky woman, she is here!--in the
house!--and you do not tell me till now?"

"Where,"--replied the old woman, without in the least losing her
composure,--"where should the princess be but here, where she has found
her mother?"

"How!" cried Peregrine--"what is it you say, Alina?"

"Yes," rejoined the old woman, drawing herself up--"yes, Alina is my
right name, and who knows what else may come to light, in a short time,
before your nuptials?"

Peregrine entreated her, by all the angels and devils, to go on; but,
without paying the least attention to his hurry, she seated herself
snugly in the arm-chair, drew out her snuffbox, took a prodigious
pinch, and demonstrated to Peregrine very circumstantially, that there
was no worse failing than impatience.

"Calmness, my son, calmness, is above all things requisite, or
otherwise you run the risk of losing all in the moment that you think
you have gained it. Before you get a word out of me, you must first
promise to seat yourself there, quite quietly like a pretty-behaved
child, and for the life of you not to interrupt me in my story."

Nothing was left to Peregrine but to obey the old woman, who, when he
had seated himself, related things that were strange enough to hear.

According to the old woman's tale, the two gentlemen, namely,
Swammerdamm and Leuwenhock, had another tough struggle in the chamber,
and for a time kept up a terrible clatter. Then again all had become
quite still, when a heavy moaning had made her fancy that one of the
two was mortally wounded; but on peeping through the keyhole she
perceived something quite different from what she had expected.
Swammerdamm and Leuwenhock had seized George Pepusch, and stroaked and
squeezed him with their fists, so that he grew thinner and thinner;
during which operation he had uttered the moans heard by the old woman.
At last, when he had grown as thin as a thistle-stem, they had tried to
squeeze him through the keyhole, and the poor Pepusch was hanging with
half his body out, when she ran away in terror. Soon afterwards she
heard a loud laughing, and saw Pepusch in his natural form, quietly led
out of the house by the two magicians, while at the room-door stood
Dörtje and beckoned her in. The little one wished to dress herself, and
needed her assistance.

The old woman could not talk enough of the great heap of clothes which
the princess brought out of a variety of chests and showed to her, each
of which had appeared richer than the other. She declared that none but
an Indian princess could possess such jewels as the little one; her
eyes still ached with the glitter. She then went on to say how, during
the dressing, she had talked of this and that, of the late Mr. Tyss, on
the delightful life they had formerly led in the house, and at last the
conversation had fallen upon her deceased relations.

"You know, my dear Mr. Tyss, that nothing is more valued by me than my
late cousin, the calico-printer's wife. She was in Maintz, and, I
believe, even in the Indies, and could speak French and sing. If I owe
to my cousin the unchristian name of Alina, I will forgive her that in
the grave, since it is from her alone that I have learnt polite manners
and the art of speaking elegantly. As I was talking much of my cousin,
the little princess asked after my father, my grandfather, and so on,
higher and higher up the family. I opened my heart to her, told her
that my mother had been almost as handsome as myself, except that I go
beyond her in regard to the nose, which I derive from my father, and
which is after the shape that has been usual in the family since the
memory of man. Then I came to speak of the country-wake, when I waltzed
with Serjeant Drumstick, and wore the skyblue stockings with red
clocks. Ah, dear God! we are all weak, sinful creatures! But oh! Mr.
Tyss, you should have seen how the little princess, who at first had
laughed and tittered, that it was a pleasure to hear her, now grew more
and more quiet, and gazed on me with such odd looks, that I began to be
terribly alarmed.--And then think, Mr. Tyss, on a sudden, before I
could prevent it, she lies on her knees before me, and will positively
kiss my hand, exclaiming, 'Yes, it is you! Now I recognise you! It is
yourself!'--and when, quite astonished, I asked what it all meant,----"

Here the old woman stopt, and, when Peregrine pressed her to go on, she
with great gravity and precision took a mighty pinch of snuff, and
said,

"You'll know in good time, my son, what farther happened. Every thing
has its time and hour."

He was now more urgent than ever with the old woman to proceed, when
she burst out into a roaring fit of laughter; upon which he admonished
her, with a very sour face, that his room was not exactly the place for
her to play off such fooleries. But the old woman, planting her hands
in her sides, seemed ready to burst. The burning red of her brow
changed to an agreeable mahogany, and Peregrine was upon the point of
flinging a glass of water into the old woman's face, when she recovered
her breath and speech at the same time.

"I can't help laughing," she said, "I can't help laughing at the
foolish little thing. No; such love is no longer on earth. Only think,
Mr. Tyss,----"

Here she broke out into a fresh fit of laughter, and Peregrine's
patience was well nigh exhausted. At last, with much difficulty, he got
out of her that the little princess had taken up the whimsical notion
of Mr. Tyss being positively determined to marry the old woman, and had
compelled her solemnly to promise to reject his hand.

It seemed to Peregrine as if he were mixed up in a scene of witchery,
and he felt so strangely, that even the honest old Alina appeared to
him a supernatural kind of being, from whom he could not fly with
sufficient speed. But she still detained him, having something to
communicate in all haste, that concerned the little princess.

"It is now certain," she said confidentially,--"it is now certain, my
dear Mr. Tyss, that the bright star of fortune has arisen, but it is
your business to keep it favourable. When I protested to the little one
that you were desperately smitten with her, and far from any idea of
marrying me, she replied, that she could not be convinced of it and
give you her hand till you had complied with a wish that had long sate
near her heart. She says, that she had a pretty little negro boy in her
service who had fled from her; I have, indeed, denied it, but she
maintains that the boy is so little he might live in a nutshell.

"Nothing will ever come of this," exclaimed Peregrine violently, well
knowing what the old woman was driving at, and rushed out of the room,
and then out of the house, with great vehemence.

It is an established custom, that when the hero of a tale is under any
violent agitation, he should run out into a forest, or, at least, into
some lonely wood; and the custom is good, because it really prevails in
life. Hence it could not be otherwise with Mr. Tyss, than that he ran
from his house without stopping, till he had left the city behind him
and reached a remote wood. Moreover, as in a romantic history no wood
must be without rustling leaves, sighing breezes, murmuring brooks, &c.
&c. it is to be supposed that Peregrine found all these things in his
place of refuge. Upon a mossy stone, the lower half of which lay in a
bright brook, Peregrine sate down with a firm resolution to reflect on
his strange adventures, and, if possible, find the Ariadne clue which
might show the way out of this labyrinth of mysteries. The murmurs of
the leaves, returning at equal intervals, the monotonous babbling of
the waters, the constant clap, clap of a distant mill, soon formed a
ground which regulated the thoughts so that they no longer rushed
wildly together without time or rhythmus, but became an intelligible
melody. Thus, after sitting some time on this pleasant spot, he got to
reflect calmly.

"In reality," he said to himself, "a fantastic tale-writer could not
have invented wilder events than I have actually gone through in the
short space of a few days. Beauty, love itself visits the lonely
mysogunist, and a look, a word, is sufficient to fan, in his breast,
the flames which he had dreaded without knowing them. But the time, the
place, the whole appearance of the strange syren are so mysterious,
that it seems to be the result of magic;--And then it is not long
before a despised little insect evinces knowledge, understanding, nay,
even a sort of supernatural power. And this creature talks of things,
which to common minds are incomprehensible, in a way as if it all were
nothing more than the familiar to-day and yesterday of usual life, as
it appears repeated for the thousandth time.

"Have I come too near the fly-wheel, that dark unknown powers are
driving, and has it caught me in its whirlings? Would not one believe,
that the reason must be lost with such things, when they cross the path
of life? And yet I find myself quite well, withal: nay, it no longer
seems strange to me that a Flea-king should have sought my protection,
and, in requital have entrusted me with a mystery that opens to me the
secrets of thought, and thus sets me above the deceptions of life. But
whither will or can all this lead? How, if under this singular mask of
a flea, an evil demon lurked, who sought to lure me into destruction,
who aimed to rob me of all the happiness that might bloom to me in the
possession of Dörtje? Were it not better to get rid at once of the
little monster?"

"That was a very pitiful idea, Mr. Tyss!" exclaimed Master Flea,
interrupting Peregrine's soliloquy. "Do you imagine that the mystery I
have entrusted to you is a trifle? Should not this gift pass for the
most decided proof of my sincere friendship? Shame on you for being
suspicious! You are surprised at the reason, the mind, of a little
despised insect; and that proves,--don't be offended,--the narrowness
of your education in science. I wish, in regard to the thinking
instinctive soul of animals, you had read the Greek Philo, or, at
least, the treatise of Hieronymus Rorarius, '_quod animalia bruta
ratione utantur melius homine_; or his oration '_Pro muribus_;'--or
that you knew what Lipsius and the great Leibnitz thought of the mental
power of beasts, or that you were aware what the profound Rabbi
Maimonides has said about their souls; you would not then take me for a
demon on account of my understanding, or measure the spiritual
faculties by the proportions of the body. I suppose, at last, you will
come to the shrewd opinion of the Spanish physician, Gomez Pereira, who
could find nothing more in animals than mere artificial machines,
without thought or freedom of will, moving arbitrarily and
automatically. Yet, no; I cannot deem you so absurd, and am convinced
that you have long ago learnt better through my humble person.
Moreover, I do not well understand what you call wonders, or in what
way you are able to divide, into the wonderful and natural, the
appearances of our being, which, in reality, are ourselves, as we and
they mutually condition each other. Do not, therefore, wonder at any
thing because it has not yet occurred to you, or because you fancy you
do not see the connexion of cause and effect; that only proves the
natural or diseased obtuseness of your sight, which injures your
perception. But,--do not take it amiss, Mr. Peregrine,--the drollest
part of the business is, that you want to split yourself into two
parts, one of which recognises and willingly believes the so-called
wonders; the other, on the contrary, is mightily astonished at this
recognition and belief. Has it ever occurred to you, that you believe
in the images of dreams?"

"I!" exclaimed Peregrine--"My dear fellow, how can you talk of dreams,
which are only the result of some disorder in our corporeal or
intellectual structure?"

At these words Master Flea burst into a laugh, as fine as it was
mocking, and then said to Mr. Tyss, who was not a little confounded,

"My poor friend, is your understanding so little enlightened, that you
do not see the folly of such opinions? Since the time that Chaos
melted together into plastic matter,--it may be a tolerably long time
ago,--the spirit of the universe has formed all shapes out of this
existing material, and from this come also dreams and their images.
These images are sketches of what has been, or probably of what is yet
to be, which the soul rapidly puts together for its amusement, when the
tyrant, called body, has released it from its slavish servitude. But
here is neither time nor place to refute you, and bring you to a better
conviction; perhaps, too, it would be of no use whatever to you: one
thing only I should like to explain."

"Dear master," cried Peregrine, "speak, or be silent, as you think
proper; do what to you seems best; for I plainly perceive that, however
small you may be, you have deep knowledge and sound understanding. You
compel from me unconditional confidence, although I do not quite
comprehend your figurative modes of speech."

"Learn then," resumed Master Flea, "that you are very strangely
implicated in the history of the Princess Gamaheh. Swammerdamm and
Leuwenhock, the Thistle, Zeherit, and the Leech-Prince, as well as the
Genius, Thetel, are all striving after the princess; and even I myself
must confess that, alas! my old passion is reviving, and I could be
fool enough to share my sovereignty with the false fair-one. But
you,--you, Mr. Peregrine, are the principal person, and, without your
consent, Gamaheh can belong to no one. If you wish to understand the
more particular connexion of the whole, which I myself do not know, you
must speak to Leuwenhock about it; he has found it out, and will
certainly let out much, if you will take the pains, and know how to
question him."

Master Flea was about to continue, when a man leapt from the bushes in
boiling passion, and flew upon Peregrine.

"Ha!" cried George Pepusch, with frantic gestures,--for it was
he,--"Ha! faithless, treacherous friend! have I found you?--found you
in the fateful hour? Up then! pierce this breast, or fall by my hand."

With this he drew a brace of pistols from his pocket, pressed one into
Peregrine's hand, and took his ground with the other, crying, "Shoot,
coward! shoot!"

Peregrine placed himself, but declared that nothing should induce him
to the incurable madness of entering into a duel with his only friend,
without even a suspicion of the cause. At all events he would in no
case be the first to begin a murderous attack.

At this Pepusch burst into a wild laugh, and in the same moment the
ball went through Peregrine's hat. The latter remained staring at his
friend, in profound silence, without picking up the hat, which had
fallen to the ground, when Pepusch advanced a few steps towards him,
and murmured in a hollow voice, "shoot!"--Peregrine fired his pistol in
the air.

With the voice and gestures of a madman, Pepusch now flung himself upon
his friend's breast, and cried out, in heart-rending tones,--"She is
dying! dying for you, unlucky one! Quick!--save her! You can do
it--save her for yourself, and let me perish in my despair!"

Pepusch ran off so fast that Peregrine had lost sight of him on the
instant; and now a fearful foreboding came over him, that his friend's
mad behaviour must have been occasioned by something terrible which had
happened to the little-one: whereupon he hastened back to the city.

On entering his house, he was met by the old woman, loudly lamenting
that the poor princess was on the sudden taken violently ill, and was
dying. Mr. Swammer himself had gone after the most celebrated physician
in Frankfort.

With the feelings of death at his heart, he crept into Mr. Swammer's
room that was opened to him by the old woman. There lay the little-one
upon a sofa, pale and stiff like a corse; and it was not till he knelt
down and bent over her that he perceived her gentle breathing. No
sooner had he touched her icy hand, than a painful smile played about
her lips, and she lisped,--

"Is it you, my sweet friend? Have you come to see her once again, who
loves you so unspeakably,--who dies, alas! because she cannot breathe
without you?"

Dissolving in sorrow, Peregrine poured himself forth in protestations
of the tenderest love, and repeated, that nothing in the world was so
dear to him that he would not sacrifice it to her. Out of words grew
kisses, but in these kisses again words, like the breathings of love,
were distinguishable.

"You know, my Peregrine, how much I love you. I can be yours; you,
mine,--I can recover on the spot--you will see me bloom again in my
youthful splendour, like a flower refreshed by the morning dew, and
joyfully lifting up his drooping head--but--give me up the prisoner, my
dear, beloved Peregrine, or else you will see me perish, before your
eyes, in unutterable death-pangs.----Peregrine--I can no more--it is
all over!"

With this she sank back upon the cushions, from which she had half
raised herself; her bosom heaved tumultuously up and down, as if, in
the death-pangs; her lips grew bluer, and her eyes seemed to break.

In wild anguish Peregrine caught at his neckcloth, from which Master
Flea now leapt, of his own accord, upon the white neck of the
little-one, exclaiming, in a tone of the deepest grief--"I am lost I!"

Peregrine stretched out his hand to catch the Master, but suddenly it
seemed as if some invisible power held back his arm; and far other
thoughts ran through his head than those which till now had occupied
it.

"How!" thought he--"because you are a frail man, and influenced by a
mad passion, will you therefore betray him, to whom you have promised
your protection? Will you therefore plunge a free, harmless people into
eternal slavery, and utterly ruin the friend whose thoughts and words
agree?--No--no--recollect yourself, Peregrine!--Rather die than be a
traitor!"

"Give--up--the prisoner--I am dying!" stammered the little one, with
failing voice.

"No!" cried Peregrine, while in despair he caught her in his
arms--"No! never! But let me die with you!"

And now a fine, penetrating harmony was heard, as if little silver
bells were struck. Dörtje, with fresh roses on her lips and cheeks,
started up suddenly from the sofa, and, breaking into a convulsive
laughter, skipt about the chamber. She seemed to have been bit by the
tarantula.

Peregrine gazed in terror on the strange spectacle, and the same did
the physician, who stood at the door quite petrified, keeping out Mr.
Swammer, who had followed him.



                            Sixth Adventure.

Strange behaviour of strolling jugglers in a tavern, together
with a tolerable buffeting.--Tragical history of a tailor at
Sachsenhausen.--How George Pepusch astonished some honest folks.--The
horoscope.--Pleasant battle of some well-known people in Leuwenhock's
apartments.


All the passers-by stopt, stretched out their necks and peeped through
the window into the coffee-room. With every moment the crowd grew
greater, the pressure more violent, and the noise louder. All this was
occasioned by two strangers, who, besides that their form, their dress,
their whole manner had something extraordinary about it, that was
repulsive and ridiculous at the same time, played off many wonderful
tricks, such as had never been seen before. The one, an old man, of a
dirty, disagreeable appearance, was dressed in a surtout of shining
stuff. Sometimes he made himself thin and long, sometimes he would
shrink himself up to a short fat fellow, winding about all the
time like a worm. The other, with powdered hair, motly silk coat,
under-dress of the same, large silver buckles, and altogether
resembling a petit-maitre of the last half of the foregoing century,
repeatedly flew up to the ceiling, and then gently let himself down
again, while, with a cheerful voice, he trilled discordant songs in a
language altogether unknown.

According to the host's declaration, they had both come in--one a short
time after the other--like orderly people, and had called for wine.
Then they had gazed more and more keenly on each other, and entered
into conversation; and although the language of it was unintelligible
to all the guests, yet their tone and manner showed they were engaged
in a dispute, which grew warmer and warmer. On a sudden they had taken
their present form and began these mad tricks, which continually
attracted more spectators.

"The man, who flies up and down so admirably," exclaimed one of the
spectators, "is the clock-maker, Degen, of Vienna--he who invented the
flying machine, with which he is constantly contriving to tumble down
upon his nose."

"No," replied another; "that is not the clock-maker. I should rather
fancy that it was the Little Tailor of Sachsenhausen, if I did not know
that the poor thing was burnt."

I know not whether my readers are acquainted with the Little Tailor of
Sachsenhausen? Here it is.



            _History of the Little Tailor of Sachsenhausen._

It happened that a pious little tailor, at Sachsenhausen, was coming
out of church one Sunday with his wife, in all his best attire. The air
was raw, the little tailor had taken nothing over night but a soft
boiled egg and a few pickled gerkins, and in the morning a cup of
coffee. Moreover he had been singing most vehemently in the church, and
hence he began to feel in a piteous plight, and to long for a dram. As
he had worked hard through the week, and had been particularly kind to
his better-half, making her a very pretty gown out of the pieces
cabbaged from his customers, she consented to his going into the
apothecary's and getting himself a dram, which he did accordingly. The
awkward apprentice, who was alone in the shop, made a mistake, and took
down a bottle which, instead of a dram, contained inflammable gas,
wherewith balloons are filled. Of this the apprentice poured out a full
glass, and the tailor, putting it at once to his mouth, swallowed off
the gas as an agreeable reviver. It made him, however, feel very
strangely,--as if he had got a pair of wings on his shoulders, or as if
some one were playing at foot-ball with him; for he felt himself
compelled to jump up and down in the shop, and with every moment the
impetus increased.

"Eh! Gemini! Gemini!" he cried,--"what a nimble dancer I have grown!"

The apothecary's apprentice stood with his mouth gaping wide from pure
wonder, when it chanced that some one opened the door so hastily, that
the opposite window flew open also. A strong current of air poured in,
caught up the little tailor, and away he sailed through the window,
since when he has not been seen; but it happened some time after, that
the people of Sachsenhausen observed in the air a fire-ball, which
lighted the whole country with its brightness, and then, being
extinguished, fell to earth. All were eager to know what had dropt, and
ran to the place, but found nothing more than a little heap of ashes,
but with this the tongue of a shoe-buckle, a little piece of yellow
satin with flowers, and a something black, which, to look at, was like
the horn-top of a walking stick. All were in deep council how such
things could fall down from heaven in a fire-ball, when the wife of the
departed tailor came up, and, on seeing these things, wrung her hands,
took on most piteously, and cried out, "Ah, woe! that is my husband's
buckle!--Ah, woe! that is my husband's Sunday waistcoat!--Ah, woe! that
is my husband's cane-top!"--A very learned man, however, has declared
that the cane-top was no cane-top, but a meteoric ball, or an abortive
globe.

Thus was made known to the people of Sachsenhausen and to all the
world, that the poor little tailor, to whom the apothecary's apprentice
had given inflammable gas instead of a dram, was burnt in the air, and
had fallen to earth, as a meteoric ball, or an abortive globe.

      _End of the History of the Little Tailor of Sadisenhausen._

                           *   *   *   *   *

The taverner was at length impatient that the odd guest did not cease
making himself now larger now smaller, without paying him any
attention, and held the flask of Burgundy, which he had ordered, close
to his nose. The stranger caught fast hold of it immediately, and did
not let go till he had drained the last drop: then he sank, as if
fainting, into an armchair, and could scarcely move himself.

The guests observed with astonishment that he swelled more and more
during the drinking, and now appeared quite thick and shapeless. The
fly-work of the other seemed also to be at a stand; he was about to sit
down, panting and breathless, but, perceiving how his adversary lay
there, half dead, he flew suddenly upon him, and began to belabour him
soundly with his fists. The host, however, pulled him off, and declared
that he would turn him out of the house, if he did not keep quiet. If
they both wished to show their juggler's tricks, they were welcome to
do so, but without quarrelling and fighting like blackguards.

The flying gentleman seemed to take it somewhat ill that the host
should suppose he was a juggler. He protested that he was nothing less
than a vagabond, who went about playing off legerdemain tricks; he had
formerly been ballet-master to a celebrated king, but now practised in
private as an amateur, and was called, as his functions required he
should be, Legénie. If, in his just indignation at the abominable
fellow there, he had sprung somewhat higher than was fitting, that was
his own business, and concerned no one else.

The host on his part opined, that all this did not justify any
fisty-cuffs; to which the amateur replied, that mine host did not know
the malicious fellow, or he would willingly allow his back to be
drubbed black and blue. He had formerly been a French custom-house
officer, and now gained a livelihood by blood-letting, cupping, and
shaving, and was called Monsieur Leech, a nuisance to every body, by
his awkwardness, stupidity, and gluttony. It was not enough that the
scoundrel, wherever he met him, whisked away the wine from his very
lips, as he had done just now, but he was plotting to carry off his
bride, whom he intended to carry home from Frankfort.

The Douanier had heard all that the Amateur advanced, and, glancing at
him with his little malicious eyes, said to the host, "Don't believe a
syllable that the gallows-bird there is chattering. An admirable
ballet-master, truly! who with his elephant feet crushes the legs of
the fair dancers, and with his pirouette knocks a tooth out of the
manager's jaw at the wing. And his verses, too! they have as awkward
feet as himself, and tumble here and there, like drunkards, treading
the thoughts to pap. Because he flutters heavily in the air at times,
like a drowsy gander, the conceited peacock fancies he is to have the
fair-one for his bride."

At this the indignant Amateur cried out, "thou, Satan's worm, thou
shalt feel the gander's beak," and would have fallen upon the Douanier
again, when the host seized him from behind, with strong arm, and,
amidst the rejoicing of the assembled crowd, flung him out of the
window.

No sooner was the Amateur gone than Monsieur Leech resumed the plain
solid form, in which he had entered. The people, without, took him for
quite another person than the juggler, who had played such strange
tricks, and quietly dispersed. The Douanier thanked mine host in the
most obliging terms for his aid against the Amateur, and, to prove his
gratitude, offered to shave him for nothing, and more pleasantly than
ever he had been shaved in his life before. The host felt his beard,
and, it seeming to him at the moment as if the hairs were terribly
long, he accepted Mr. Leech's offer, who accordingly set about it, at
first, with a light, dexterous hand, but on a sudden he cut his nose so
shrewdly, that the blood streamed down. The host, deeming this to be
nothing else than malice, seized the Douanier, who flew as nimbly out
of the door as the Amateur through the window. Immediately after there
arose a loud tumult without, and, scarcely allowing himself time to
stop the bleeding of his nose with lint, he flew out to see what devil
was raising this new uproar. There, to his no little astonishment, he
saw a young man, who with one hand grasped the Amateur, and with the
other the Douanier, and with rolling eyes exclaimed, "Ha! Satan's
brood! you shall not cross my way, you shall not rob me of Gamaheh!"
while his prisoners intermixed their cries of, "A madman! Save--save
us, host--he mistakes us--he will murder us--"

"Eh!" cried the host, "what are you about, my good Mr. Pepusch? Have
you been offended by these strange people? Perhaps you are mistaken in
them. This is the ballet-master, Monsieur Legénie, and this the
Douanier, Monsieur Leech."

"Ballet-master Legénie! Douanier Leech!" repeated Pepusch, in a hollow
voice.

He seemed as if waking out of a dream, and trying to recollect himself.
In the mean time two honest citizens, of his acquaintance, came out of
the inn, who joined in persuading him to be quiet, and let the fellows
go about their business.

Again Pepusch exclaimed, "Ballet-master Legénie! Douanier Leech!" and
let his arms drop powerless by his side. With the speed of wind, the
released prisoners were off, and it seemed to many in the street as if
the Amateur fled over the roofs of the neighbouring houses, and the
barber was lost in the puddle that had collected itself between the
stones before the door.

The two citizens invited the distracted Pepusch to come in and drink a
glass of old hock with them, an offer which he readily accepted, and
seemed to enjoy the generous wine, though he sate silent and
abstracted, and answered not a word to all that could be said to him.
At last, however, his features brightened up, and he said, very kindly,
"You did well, my friends, in hindering me from killing, on the spot,
those wretches, who were in my power. But you know not what dangerous
creatures lurk beneath their masks."

Pepusch paused, and it may be easily supposed with what eagerness the
citizens waited for what he had to discover. The host also had
approached them, and all three poked their heads together, with their
arms crossed upon the table, and held in their breath, that they might
not lose a syllable from Peregrine's mouth.

"See, my good people," he continued solemnly, "see; he, whom you call
the Balletmaster, Legénie, is no other than the evil, awkward genius,
Thetel; the other, whom you take for the Douanier, Leech, is the
hateful bloodsucker, the Leech-Prince. Both are in love with the
Princess, Gamaheh, who, as you know, is the daughter of the mighty
king, Sekakis, and are here to make her false to the Thistle, Zeherit.
This is the greatest folly that ever entered into a foolish brain, for,
besides the Thistle, Zeherit, there is but one person in the world to
whom she can belong, and this person would perhaps vainly enter into
the contest with Zeherit. For soon the Thistle will bloom at midnight
in full splendour and strength, and in the death of love dawns the
morning of a higher life. Now, I myself am the Thistle, Zeherit, and,
therefore, my good friends, you cannot blame me if I am indignant with
those traitors, and altogether take the whole affair much to heart."

The three listeners opened their eyes wide, and stared, speechlessly,
at Pepusch, with open mouths. They had tumbled out of the clouds, as
people say, and their heads were humming with the fall. But Pepusch
emptied a bumper, and, turning to the host, said, "Yes, yes, mine host;
you will soon see that I shall bloom as the _Cactus grandiflorus_, and
the whole country round will be impregnated with its perfume. You may
believe me, friends."

The host could utter nothing but an exclamation of stupid
surprise--"Eh! that would be the deuce!" The two citizens exchanged
mysterious glances, and one, taking George's hand, said with a doubtful
smile, "You seem to be somewhat disquieted, my good Mr. Pepusch; how,
if you were to take a glass of water, and--"

"Not a drop!" exclaimed Peregrine, interrupting the well-meant counsel;
"not a drop! Has water ever been poured upon boiling oil without
increasing the fury of the flames?--I am disquieted, you say? In truth
that may well be the case; how the devil can I be otherwise, after
having exchanged shots with my bosom friend, and then sending a bullet
through my own brain?--Here, into your hands I deliver up the murderous
weapons, now that all is over."

Pepusch drew a brace of pistols from his pocket, whereat the host
started back; the citizens snatched at them, but, no sooner had they
fairly hold of them, than they burst out into immoderate laughter. The
pistols were of wood, a plaything from the Christmas fair.

Pepusch seemed to pay no attention to what was going on about him; he
sate in deep thought, and continually cried out, "If I could but find
him! if I could but find him!"

The host took courage, and modestly asked, "Whom do you mean, my good
Mr. Pepusch? Whom can you not find?"

"Know you," said Pepusch solemnly, and fixing the host with a keen
gaze,--"know you any one to be compared, in might and wondrous power,
with the king Sekakis; then name his name and I will kiss your feet.
But for the rest, I would ask you if you know any one who is acquainted
with Mr. Peregrine Tyss, and can tell me where I may meet him at this
present moment?"

To this the host replied, smirking amiably, "Here I can serve you,
respected Mr. Pepusch, and inform you, that he was with me an hour ago,
taking a glass of wine. He was very thoughtful, and when I asked 'What
news on 'Change?' he suddenly cried out, 'Yes, sweet Gamaheh! I have
renounced you! Be happy in my George's arms!' Upon this a thin curious
voice said, 'Let us now go to Leuwenhock's, and peep into the
horoscope.' Immediately Mr. Tyss emptied his glass, and they went away
together--that is, Mr. Tyss and the voice without a body. Probably they
have gone to Leuwenhock's, who is lamenting that his well-disciplined
fleas have, one and all, deserted him."

The words were scarcely out of the host's mouth than George started up
in a fury, and, seizing him by the throat, cried out, "Scoundrel, what
do you say? Renounced? renounced her?--Gamaheh!--Peregrine!--Sekakis!"

The host's story, however, was perfectly correct. He had heard Master
Flea, who was summoning Peregrine, in his fine silver tones, to go to
the microscopist, Leuwenhock, for what purpose the reader knows
already. Peregrine had really gone thither, and was received by
Leuwenhock with that soft odious friendliness, and that humility of
compliment, which announce the burthensome and reluctant recognition of
superiority. But, as Mr. Tyss had the microscopic glass in the pupil of
his eye, all this complimenting and subservience availed Antony von
Leuwenhock nothing in the world; on the contrary, Peregrine only the
more discovered the hatred which filled the heart of the microscopist.
While he protested how much he felt honoured and rejoiced by Mr. Tyss's
visit, the thoughts ran thus:--"I wish that the devil had plunged you
ten thousand fathoms deep in the abyss! But I must feign friendship and
submission towards you, as the cursed constellation has placed me under
your dominion, and my whole being in some sort depends upon you. But
perhaps I may be able to outwit you, for, in spite of your high
descent, you are a simple fool. You fancy that Dörtje Elverdink loves
you, and will perhaps marry her. Only come to me about it, and you fall
into my hands, in spite of the power that dwells within you without
your knowing it, and I will employ every thing to ruin you, and gain
possession of Dörtje and Master Flea."

Peregrine naturally regulated his conduct by these thoughts, and took
good care not to say a syllable about Dörtje Elverdink, and pretended
that he came to see Leuwenhock's collection of natural rarities.

While now Leuwenhock opened the great drawers, Master Flea whispered
very gently in Peregine's ear, that his (Peregrine's) horoscope was
lying on the table by the window. Here he saw all manner of lines, that
mysteriously crossed each other, and many other wonderful signs; but as
he was entirely deficient in astronomical knowledge, all remained
confused and dark to him, look as keenly as he would. Yet it seemed
strange to him, that, in the bright red point, in the middle of the
table on which the horoscope was drawn, he plainly recognised himself.
The longer he looked at this point, the more it gained the shape of a
heart, and the more brightly it reddened. Still it only sparkled as
through a web, with which it was overspread.

Peregrine plainly saw that Leuwenhock wanted to draw off his attention
from the horoscope, and as he ran no risk of being deceived, very
rationally resolved to question his friendly enemy at once, and without
any circumlocution, as to the meaning of the mysterious table.
Leuwenhock assured him, with a malicious smile, that nothing would give
him greater pleasure than the explaining to his respected friend the
signs upon the table, which he himself had drawn, according to his
slight knowledge in such matters.

The thoughts ran thus:--"Hoho! are you after that, my wise sir? In
truth Master Flea has not advised you ill. I myself am to explain the
table, and help you to the understanding of the magic might that dwells
in your worthy person! I might invent some lies for you, but of what
use would it be, for, if I were to tell you the truth, you would not
understand a syllable, but would remain stupid as ever? From pure
convenience, therefore, and not to put myself to the trouble of
invention, I will tell you so much of the signs of the table as seems
good to me."

Peregrine knew now that, if he was not to learn all, at least he would
not be deceived with falsehoods.

Leuwenhock placed the tablet on something like an easel, which he
brought forward from a corner of the room, and both seating themselves
before it, considered it for a time in silence. At length Leuwenhock
began with much solemnity:

"You, perhaps, do not suspect that those lines, those characters on the
table, which you are so attentively considering, are your own
horoscope, drawn by myself, with mysterious astrologic art, under the
favourable influence of the stars.--How came you to such a presumptuous
idea? what could make you wish to unravel the web of my fate, to read
my destiny?--so might you ask, my friend, and with perfect justice, if
I were not able to show you my inward call thereto. I know not whether
you have heard of the celebrated rabbi, Isaac Ben Harravad. Among other
profound knowledge, he had the strange gift of reading by men's faces
whether the soul had previously inhabited another body, or whether it
was to be considered quite fresh and new. I was yet very young when the
rabbi died of an indigestion, brought on by eating of a dish highly
seasoned with garlic. The Jews ran away with the body so quickly, that
the deceased had not time to collect and carry off all his knowledge,
which the illness had scattered. Laughing heirs divided the property,
but I had fished off that wonderful seer-gift, in the very moment that
the Angel of Death had set his sword upon the rabbi's breast. In this
way the wonderful faculty has come to me, and I, like the rabbi, Isaac
Ben Harravad, can read in the faces of men, whether the soul has before
occupied another body or not. Your brow, Mr. Tyss, when I saw it the
first time, excited the strangest thoughts and doubts. I was certain of
the previous existence of your soul long ago, and yet the form, prior
to your present life, remained a perfect mystery. I was forced to have
recourse to the stars, and draw your horoscope, to solve the
difficulty."

"Well!" exclaimed Peregrine;--"and have you discovered anything, Mr.
Leuwenhock?"

"Certainly!" replied Leuwenhock, assuming a still more solemn
tone--"certainly! I have discovered that the physical principle, which
now animates the agreeable body of my very worthy friend, Mr. Peregrine
Tyss, existed long ago, although only as a thought or consciousness of
a shape. Look here; consider attentively the red point in the centre of
the table. That is not only yourself, but the point is the form, of
which your physical principle once could not be conscious. As a
sparkling carbuncle, you then lay in a deep mine of the earth; but
stretched over you, on the green surface of the ground, slept the
beautiful Gamaheh; and her form also passed away in unconsciousness.
Strange lines and foreign constellations cross your life from the point
of time when the thought first put on a form, and became Mr. Peregrine
Tyss. You are in possession of a talisman without knowing it, and this
talisman is that very red carbuncle; it may be that King Sekakis wore
it as a precious jewel in his crown, or, perhaps, in some measure, was
the carbuncle itself; enough,--you possess it now; but a certain event
must take place if its slumbering power is to be awakened; and with
this waking of the power of your talisman will be decided the fate of
an unhappy creature, who hitherto has led a shadowy life between fear
and changing hope.--Alas! it was only a shadowy life that the sweet
Gamaheh could gain by the profoundest magic, as the operative talisman
was stolen from us. You alone have killed her, you alone can breathe
fresh life into her, when the carbuncle glows again in your breast."

"And can you," interrupted Peregrine, "can you explain what that event
is which is to awake the power of the talisman?"

The microscopist stared with open eyes at Peregrine, like a person who
is suddenly surprised into confusion, and who does not know what to
say. The thoughts ran thus: "If I had but held my tongue about the
talisman which the unlucky rascal carries within him, and which gives
him so much power over us that we must all dance to his pipe!--and now
I am to tell him the event on which depends the awaking the strength of
his talisman! Shall I confess to him that I don't know myself, that all
my art fails to loosen the knot in which the lines meet?--nay, that
when I consider the planetary centre of the horoscope, I feel most
piteously, and my own learned head seems to me no better than a painted
block for periwigs? Far from me be any such confession that would lower
me, and put arms into his hands against myself. I will fasten something
upon the ideot who fancies himself so wise,--something that shall make
his blood run cold, and take from him all farther inclination of
teazing me."

"My dearest sir," said the Flea-tamer, putting on a very important
face,--"my dearest Mr. Tyss, don't ask me to speak of this event. You
know that the horoscope does indeed plainly and perfectly instruct us
as to the existence of certain circumstances; but,--such is the wisdom
of Eternal Might,--the event of threatening dangers always remains dark
and doubtful. I esteem you too highly as an excellent kind-hearted man
to put you into disquiet and anxiety before the time; otherwise I
should at least tell you so much, that the event which is to give you
the consciousness of power, would in the same moment destroy your
present form of being with the most horrible agonies of hell. But no!
on that too I will be silent; and now not another word of the
horoscope. Do not, however, fret yourself, although the affair looks
bad enough, and I, with all my knowledge, can hardly see any chance of
a favourable issue to the adventure. Perhaps you may be saved from this
peril by some unexpected constellation, which is now beyond the reach
of observation."

Peregrine was astonished at this deceit, yet still the whole state of
the thing, the peculiar situation in which Leuwenhock stood without
suspecting it, appeared to him so exceedingly pleasant, that he could
not help breaking out into a loud fit of laughter. The microscopist,
somewhat surprised at this, asked, "What are you laughing at so
vehemently, my dear Mr. Tyss?"

"You do wisely," replied Peregrine, still laughing,--"you do very
wisely in keeping secret, out of pure kindness, this threatening event;
for besides that you are too much my friend to put me into fear and
terror, you have yet another excellent reason for your silence, which
is nothing else than that you do not know a syllable about the matter.
In vain was all your labour to unriddle that knot; your whole astrology
goes but to little; and, if Master Flea had not fallen upon your nose,
all your arts would have helped you little."

Leuwenhock's brow was red with rage; he clenched his fist, gnashed his
teeth, and trembled so violently with agitation, that he would have
tumbled from his seat, if Peregrine had not held him as firmly by the
arm as George Pepusch grasped the unlucky taverner by the throat, who
at length succeeded in saving himself by a dexterous side-spring.
Hereupon George rushed out and entered Leuwenhock's room just as
Peregrine was holding him fast upon his seat, while he muttered
furiously between his teeth, "Cursed Swammerdamm! is it _you_ that have
done this?"

No sooner did Peregrine perceive his friend than he let go of the
microscopist, and, going up to him, asked anxiously if that strange
frenzy were over which had so dangerously possessed him. Pepusch seemed
softened almost to tears, and protested that he had not in all his life
committed so many follies as in the course of that one day. Amongst
these not the least was, that after he had sent a ball through his head
in the forest, he had gone into a tavern,--where he did not know,--had
talked to people of strange things, and murderously set upon the host,
because, from his broken speech, he gathered that which was the very
happiest thing that could befall him. All his paroxysms would now soon
have reached the highest pitch, for the bystanders had taken his words
for insanity, and he had to fear, instead of reaping the fruit of the
happiest event, that he would be confined in a madhouse. With this he
explained what the host had let drop concerning Peregrine's conduct and
declarations, and asked, with downcast eyes, whether such an act of
self-denial, in favour of an unhappy friend, was probable, or even
possible, in the present day, when heroism had vanished from the earth.

At these declarations from his companion, Peregrine revived in his
inmost heart. He protested with warmth, that for his part he was far
removed from doing any thing that might in the least annoy his tried
friend; that he solemnly renounced all pretensions to the heart and
hand of the fair Dörtje Elverdink, and willingly gave up a paradise,
though it had, indeed, opened upon him most seductively.

"And it was you," said Pepusch, rushing into his friend's arms,--"it
was you that I would have murdered, and, because I did not believe you,
I therefore shot myself. Oh, the madness of a mind ill at ease!"

"I pray you," said Peregrine, "I pray you come to your senses. You
speak of having shot yourself, and yet stand fresh and sound before me.
How do these things agree?"

"You are right," replied Pepusch, "it seems as if I could not speak to
you so rationally as I really do, if I had actually sent a ball through
my brain. The people, too, maintain that my pistols were not
particularly dangerous, nor, indeed, of iron, but of wood--in fact mere
toys--and so neither the duel nor the suicide could have been any thing
more than a pleasant mockery. We must have changed our parts; and I
have begun to mystify myself and play the child at the moment you have
left the world of dream to enter into real life. But be this as it may,
it is requisite that I should be certain of your generosity and my
fortune, and then the clouds will dissipate which trouble my sight, or
perhaps deceive me with the illusions of the _Fata Morgana_. Come, my
Peregrine, accompany me to the fair Dörtje Elverdink."

Pepusch took his friend's arm, and was hastening off with him; but
their intended walk was spared, for the door opened, and in tripped
Dörtje Elverdink, lovely as an angel, and behind her the old Swammer.
Leuwenhock, who had so long remained dumb, casting angry looks first at
Pepusch and then at Peregrine, seemed, upon seeing the old Swammerdamm,
as if struck by an electric shock. He stretched his clenched hands
towards him, and cried out in a voice hoarse with rage--"Ha! do you
come to mock me, you old deceitful monster? But you shall not succeed.
Defend yourself: your last hour has struck."

Swammerdamm started a few steps back, and as Leuwenhock was ready to
fall upon him with his telescope, drew the like arms for his defence.
The duel, which had begun at Peregrine's, seemed about to be renewed.
George Pepusch threw himself between the combatants, and while with his
left hand he beat down a murderous glance of Leuwenhock's, which would
have stretched his adversary to the earth, with the left he turned
aside the weapon of Swammerdamm, so that he could not injure
Leuwenhock. He then declared that he would not allow of any battle
between them, till he thoroughly knew the cause of their dissension.
Peregrine found this protest so reasonable, that he did not hesitate to
throw himself between the champions with a similar declaration. To this
the combatants were forced to yield. Swammerdamm, moreover, asserted,
that he had not at all come with hostile intentions, but merely to
enter into some composition with Leuwenhock, and thus to end a feud
which had so long divided two similarly-created principles, whose
united researches only could exhaust the deepest springs of knowledge.
With this he looked smilingly at Peregrine, into whose arms Dörtje had
fled, and expressed a wish that he would mediate.

Leuwenhock, on the other hand, admitted that Dörtje was, indeed, the
apple of contention, but that he had just now discovered a new trick of
his unworthy colleague. It was not only that, to revive his unjust
pretensions to Dörtje, he denied the possession of a certain microscope
which he had received on a certain occasion as a quittance; but the
more to torment him,--Leuwenhock,--he had given it to another. In
answer to all this, Swammerdamm swore, high and low, that he had never
received the microscope, and had great reason to believe that
Leuwenhock had shamefully purloined it.

"The fools!"--softly whispered Master Flea to Peregrine--"the fools!
they are talking of the microscope which is in your eye. You know that
I was present at the treaty of peace concluded between them about the
possession of the princess, and, when Swammerdamm was flinging into the
pupil of his left eye the microscopic glass which he had, in fact,
received from Leuwenhock, I snapped it up, because it was not
Leuwenhock's, but my lawful property. Tell them plainly at once, that
you have the jewel."

Upon this Peregrine made no hesitation in declaring that he was in
possession of the microscopic glass which Swammerdamm should have
received, but did not receive, from Leuwenhock; and moreover that the
union was not yet settled, and neither Leuwenhock nor Swammerdamm had
at present the unconditional right to look on Dörtje Elverdink as his
foster-daughter.

After much argument, it was agreed by the disputants that Mr. Tyss
should marry Dörtje Elverdink, who tenderly loved him; and then, after
seven months, should decide which of the two microscopists was the most
desirable father-in-law.

However beautiful Dörtje appeared in a dress so admirable that it might
seem to have been fashioned by the Loves, and whatever burning looks of
passion she might cast at Peregrine, yet he still thought of his protegé
as well as of his friend, and remained true to his plighted word,
declaring again that he renounced Dörtje's hand. The microscopists were
not a little astonished, when Peregrine announced George Pepusch for the
man who had the justest claims to the princess, and that he, at all events,
had no right to interfere with her choice.

With tears in her eyes the maiden staggered towards Peregrine, who
caught her in his arms as she was sinking senseless to the earth.
"Ingrate!"--she sighed--"you break my heart in thrusting me from
you.--But you will have it.--Take, then, my parting kiss, and let me
die!"

Peregrine bent down to her, but when his mouth touched her mouth, she
bit his lips so violently that the blood started, at the same time
exclaiming merrily,--"Monster! it is so one must punish you!--Be
reasonable, be civil, and take me, let the other cry out as he will."

During this the two microscopists had fallen together by the ears
again, heaven knows wherefore; while George Pepusch flung himself quite
disconsolately at Gamaheh's feet, and cried out in a voice that sounded
wretched enough for any lover,--

"Oh, Gamaheh! is then your passion quite extinguished? Do you no more
remember the glorious times in Famagusta?--no more the pleasant days in
Berlin?--no more----"

"You are a fool!" interrupted the little-one, laughing; "you are a
fool, George, with your Gamahehs, your Thistle, Zeherit, and all the
other nonsense that you must once have dreamed. I did like you, do like
you, and will have you,--although the tall one yonder pleases me
better,--if you solemnly promise, nay swear, to bend all your mind
to----"

Here she softly whispered something to Pepusch, and Peregrine thought
he collected that Master Flea was the subject of it. In the meantime
the dispute between the microscopists had grown hotter and hotter; they
had again recourse to their weapons, and Peregrine was busy in trying
to sooth their wrath, when the company was again augmented. The door
was burst open amidst a strange screaming and croaking, and in rushed
the Amateur, Monsieur Legénie, and the barber, Leech. With wild,
furious gestures they flew upon the princess, and the barber had
already caught her by the shoulder, when Pepusch thrust away the odious
assailant with irresistible might, wound about his whole flexible body,
and squeezed it together in such a manner that he shot up into the air,
quite thin and long, roaring aloud with pain all the time.

While this was going on with the barber, the two microscopists had
reconciled themselves in an instant on the appearance of the common
enemy, and made a united attack on the Amateur with much success. It
availed him nothing that, when he was sufficiently drubbed below, he
rose up to the cieling; for Leuwenhock and Swammerdamm had both seized
short thick sticks, and whenever the Amateur descended, they drove him
up again by blows, dexterously applied to that part of the body which
best can bear them. It was a pretty game of racket, at which the
Amateur, by compulsion indeed, played the most fatiguing, and at the
same time the most ungracious part, namely, that of the ball.

This war seemed to inspire the little-one with the greatest terror; she
clung to Peregrine, and entreated him to bear her away from such an
abominable uproar. This he could the less refuse, as there seemed to be
no need of him on the field of battle; and he therefore carried her
home, that is, into the apartments of his lodger. But no sooner had she
got there and found herself alone with Peregrine, than she employed all
the arts of the most refined coquetry to allure him into her snares.
However firmly he bore in mind that all this was merely falsehood, and
aimed at bringing his protegé into captivity, yet such a dizziness of
the senses seized him, that he did not even think of the microscopic
glass, which might have served him as an active antidote. Master Flea
was again in danger; he was, however, saved this time by Mr. Swammer,
who entered with George Pepusch. The former appeared to be exceedingly
delighted, but the latter had wrath and jealousy in his burning
glances. Peregrine left the room, and with wounded heart he strolled
through the streets of Frankfort. He went through the gate and onwards,
till he reached the very spot where the strange adventure had happened
with his friend, Pepusch. Here he again thought over his wonderful
destiny; the image of Gamaheh appeared to him lovelier than ever; the
blood rolled more quickly in his veins, his pulse beat more violently,
and his breast seemed ready to burst with feverish desire. He felt only
too painfully the greatness of the sacrifice which he had just made,
and with which he fancied that he had lost all the happiness of life.

The night had drawn in when he returned to the city. Without being
aware of it, perhaps from an unconscious dread of going back to his own
house, he wandered through many by lanes, and at last into the
Kalbecher-street. A man, with a knapsack on his back, asked him if the
bookbinder, Lemmerhirt, did not live there? and on looking up,
Peregrine saw that he was actually standing before the narrow dwelling;
the windows of the industrious binder, who worked through the night,
were shining brightly and loftily, and the door was opened to the man
with a knapsack, who entered immediately.

Peregrine now recollected, with vexation, that, in the tumult of the
last few weeks, he had forgotten to pay the bookbinder for several jobs
that he had executed for him; he resolved to go and settle all the very
next morning.



                           Seventh Adventure.

Hostile snares of the allied Microscopists, and their continued
stupidity.--New temptations of Mr. Peregrine Tyss, and new perils of
Master Flea.--Rose Lemmerhirt.--The decisive dream, and conclusion of
the tale.


Although we are wholly deficient in any certain information respecting
the result of the battle in Leuwenhock's chamber, yet we cannot suppose
otherwise than that the microscopists, with the help of George Pepusch,
had obtained a complete victory over the hostile confederates: it had
else been impossible that the old Swammer had returned so friendly and
contented as he really did. With the same glad face, Swammer, or rather
Mr. John Swammerdamm, came the following morning to Peregrine, who was
still in bed and earnestly conversing with his protegé, Master Flea.
Upon seeing this visitor, Peregrine did not fail putting the
microscopic glass into the pupil of his eye.

After many long and tedious excuses for his early visit, Swammerdamm at
last took his place on the bed, positively refusing to let Peregrine
rise and put on his dressing-gown. In the strangest phrases he thanked
his landlord for the great civilities he had experienced, which, it
seems, consisted in his having been received as a lodger, and also
in that Mr. Tyss had allowed his household to be increased by the
addition of a young female, who was sometimes too loud and vivacious.
But the greatest favour shown by Mr. Peregrine, and not without some
self-sacrifice, was in his having effected a reconciliation between him
(Swammerdamm) and his old friend, Antony von Leuwenhock.--In fact, as
Swammerdamm went on to say, both hearts had inclined to each other at
the moment when they were attacked by the Amateur and the barber and
had to protect Dörtje Elverdink from those monsters. The serious
reconciliation of the microscopists had soon after followed.

Leuwenhock had perceived, as well as Swammerdamm, the paramount
influence which Peregrine had over both of them; and the first use,
which they made of their renewed friendship, was, to consider in unison
the strange horoscope of Mr. Tyss, and, as far as possible, to
interpret it.

"What my friend, Leuwenhock, could not do alone," continued the
microscopist, "was effected by our united powers, and thus this was the
second experiment which, in spite of all the obstacles opposed to us,
we undertook with the most splendid results."

"The short-sighted fool!" lisped Master Flea, who sate upon the pillow,
close to Peregrine's ear. "He still fancies that the Princess, Gamaheh,
was restored to life by him. A pretty life, indeed, is that, to which
the awkwardness of the two microscopists has condemned the poor thing!"

"My dear friend," continued Swammerdamm, who had the less heard Master
Flea, as he had just then begun to sneeze loudly, "my dear friend, you
are particularly chosen by the spirit of the creation, a pet-child of
nature, for you possess the most wonderful talisman, or, to speak more
correctly and scientifically, the most splendid Tsilmenaja, or
Tilsemoht, that was ever fed by the dew of heaven, and has sprung from
the lap of earth. It is an honour to my art that I, and not Leuwenhock,
have discovered that this lucky talisman sleeps for a time till a
certain constellation enters, which finds its centre-point in your
worthy person. With yourself, my dear friend, something must, and will,
happen, which in the moment the power of the talisman awakes, may make
that waking known to you. Let Leuwenhock have told you what he will, it
must all be false; for, in regard to that point, he knew nothing at
all, until I opened his eyes. Perhaps he tried to frighten you, my dear
friend, with some terrible catastrophe, for I know he likes to terrify
people without reason.--But trust to me, Mr. Tyss, who have the highest
respect for you, and swear it to you most solemnly, you have nothing to
fear. I should like, however, to learn, whether you do not as yet feel
the presence of the talisman, and what you think of the matter
altogether."

At these last words Swammerdamm eyed his host as keenly as if he would
pierce his deepest thoughts; but of course he did not succeed so well
in that as Peregrine with his microscopic glass, by means of which the
latter learnt that it was not so much the united war with the Amateur
and the Barber, as the mysterious horoscope, that had brought about the
reconciliation of the microscopists. It was the possession of the
mighty talisman that both were striving after. In regard to the
mysterious lines in the horoscope of Peregrine, Swammerdamm remained in
as vexatious ignorance as Leuwenhock; but he fancied the clue must lie
within Peregrine, which would lead to the discovery of the mystery.
This clue he now sought to fish out of the novice, and then rob him of
the inestimable treasure before he knew its value. He was convinced
this talisman was equal to that of the wise Solomon, since, like that,
it gave him who possessed it the perfect dominion over the kingdom of
spirits.

Peregrine paid like with like, himself mystifying Swammerdamm, who
thought to mystify him. He contrived to answer so dexterously, in such
figurative speeches, that the microscopist feared the initiation had
already begun, and that soon the mystery would be revealed which
neither he nor Leuwenhock had been able to unravel.

Swammerdamm cast down his eyes, hemmed, and stammered a few
unintelligible words; he was really in a bad plight, and his thoughts
were all in confusion.

"The devil! What's this? Is this Peregrine, who speaks to me? Am I the
learned Swammerdamm or an ass?"

In despair he at last collected himself, and began,

"But to come to something else, most respected Mr. Tyss, and, as it
seems to me, something much more agreeable."--

According to what Swammer now went on to say, both he and Leuwenhock
had perceived, with great pleasure, the strong inclination which Dörtje
Elverdink had conceived for him. If they had both formerly been of a
different opinion, each believing that Dörtje should stay with himself,
and not think of love and marriage, yet they had now both come to a
better conviction. They fancied that they read in Peregrine's
horoscope, he positively must take Dörtje Elverdink for his wife, as
the greatest advantage in all the conjunctures of his life, and, as
neither doubted for a moment that he was equally enamoured of her, they
had looked upon the matter as fully settled. Swammerdamm, moreover, was
of opinion that Peregrine was the only one who, without any trouble,
could beat his rivals out of the field; and that the most dangerous
opponents, namely, the Amateur and the Barber, could avail nothing
against him.

Peregrine found, from Swammerdamm's thoughts, that both the
microscopists actually imagined they had read in his horoscope the
inevitable necessity of his marriage with Dörtje. It was to this
supposed necessity only they yielded, thinking to draw the greatest
gain from the apparent loss of the little-one, namely, by getting
possession of Mr. Tyss and his talisman. But it may be easily supposed
how little faith he must have in the science of the two microscopists,
when neither of them was able to solve the centre-point of the
horoscope. He did not, therefore, at all yield to that pretended
conjunction, which conditioned the necessity of his marriage with
Gamaheh, and found no difficulty whatever in declaring positively, that
he renounced her hand in favour of his best friend, George Pepusch, who
had older and better claims to the fair one, and that he would not
break his word upon any condition.

Swammerdamm raised his green eyes, which he had so long cast down,
stared vehemently at Peregrine, and grinned with the cunning of a fox,
as he said, if the friendship between him and Pepusch were the only
scruple which kept him from giving free scope to his feelings, this
obstacle existed no longer: Pepusch had perceived, although slightly
touched with madness, his marriage with Dörtje was against the stars,
and nothing could come from it but misery and destruction. He had
therefore resigned all his pretensions, declaring only that, with his
life, he would protect Gamaheh,--who could belong to no one but his
bosom-friend, Tyss,--against the awkward dolt of an Amateur and the
bloodthirsty Barber.

A cold shudder ran through Peregrine, when he perceived, from
Swammerdamm's thoughts, that all was true which he had spoken.
Overpowered by the strangest and the most opposite feelings, he sank
back upon his pillow and closed his eyes. The microscopist pressed him
to come down himself, and hear from Dörtje's mouth, from George's, the
present state of things, and then took his leave with as much ceremony
as he had entered.

Master Flea, who sate the whole time quietly on the pillow, suddenly
leaped up to the top of Peregrine's nightcap. There he raised himself
up on his long hind-legs, wrung his hands, stretched them imploringly
to Heaven, and cried out in a voice half stifled with tears,

"Woe to poor me! I already thought myself safe, and now comes the most
dangerous trial. What avail me the courage, the constancy of my noble
patron?--I surrender myself! All is over."

"Why," said Mr. Tyss, in a faint voice--"why do you lament so on my
nightcap, my dear master? Do you fancy that you alone have to complain?
that I myself am not in the unhappiest situation in the world? for my
whole mind seems broken up, and I neither know what to do, nor which
way to turn my thoughts. But do not fancy, my dear master, I am foolish
enough to venture near the rock upon which all my resolutions might be
shipwrecked. I shall take care not to follow Swammerdamm's invitation,
and to avoid seeing the alluring Dörtje Elverdink."

"In reality," said Master Flea, after he had taken his old post, upon
the pillow, by Peregrine's ear,--"in reality I am not sure that I ought
not to advise you to go at once to Swammerdamm's, however destructive
it may appear to myself. It seems to me as if all the lines of your
horoscope were running quicker and quicker together, and you yourself
were upon the point of entering the red centre.--Well, let the dark
destiny have decreed what it will, I plainly perceive even a Master
Flea cannot escape such a conclusion, and it is as simple as useless to
expect my safety from you. Go then, take her hand, deliver me to
slavery, and, that all may happen as the stars will it, without any
interference, make no use of the microscopic glass."

"Formerly," said Peregrine,--"formerly, Master Flea, your heart seemed
stout, your mind firm, and now you have grown so fainthearted!--You may
be as wise as you will, but you have no good idea of human resolution,
and, at all events, rate it too meanly.--Once more--I will not break my
word to you, and that you may perceive how fixed my determination is,
of not seeing the little-one again, I will now rise and betake myself,
as I did yesterday, to the bookbinder's."

"Oh Peregrine!" cried Master Flea, "the will of man is a frail thing; a
passing air will break it. How immense is the abyss lying between what
man wills and what really happens! Many a life is only a constant
_willing_, and many a one, from pure volition, at last does not know
what he will. You _will_ not see Dörtje Elverdink, and yet who will
answer for it that you do not see her in the very moment of your
declaring such a resolution?"

Strange enough, the very thing really happened which Master Flea had
prophesied.

Peregrine arose, dressed himself, and, faithful to his intention, would
have gone to the bookbinder. In passing Swammerdamm's chamber, the door
was wide open, and,--he knew not how it happened,--he stood, leaning on
Swammerdamm's arm, close before Dörtje Elverdink, who sent him a
hundred kisses, and with her silver voice cried out, joyfully, "Good
morning, my dear Peregrine!"--George Pepusch, too, was there, looking
out of the window and whistling. He now flung the window to with
violence, and turned round.

"Ha!" he exclaimed as if he had just then seen Peregrine--"ha! look!
You come to see your bride. That's all in order, and any third person
would only be in the way. I too will take myself off; but let me first
tell you, my good friend, Peregrine, that George Pepusch scorns every
gift which a compassionate friend would fling to him as if he were a
beggar. Cursed be every sacrifice! I will have nothing to thank you
for. Take the beautiful Gamaheh, who so warmly loves you; but take care
the Thistle, Zeherit, do not take root, and burst the walls of your
house."

George's voice and manner bordered upon brutality; and Peregrine was
filled with vexation, when he saw how much his whole conduct was
mistaken. Without concealing his disgust, he said,

"It never has entered into my head to cross you in your path, but the
madness of jealousy speaks out of you, or you would see how innocent I
am of all you have been brooding in your own soul. Do not ask of me to
kill the snake, which you have been nourishing in your breast for your
own torment; learn too, I gave _you_ no alms, I made _you_ no
sacrifice, in giving up the fair-one, and with her, perhaps, the
greatest blessing of my life. Other and higher duties, an irrevocable
promise, compelled me to it."

Pepusch, in the wildest wrath, raised his clenched hand against his
friend, when Gamaheh sprang between them, and, catching Peregrine's
arm, exclaimed,

"Let the foolish Thistle go; he has nothing but nonsense in his brain,
and, as is the way with thistles, is surly and obstinate without well
knowing what he means. You are mine, and remain mine,--mine own dearest
Peregrine."

Thus saying, the little-one drew Peregrine upon the sofa, and, without
farther ceremony, seated herself upon his knees. Pepusch, after having
sufficiently gnawed his nails, ran wildly out of the door.

Dressed again in the fairy dress of tissue, she appeared as lovely as
ever. Peregrine felt himself streamed through by the electric warmth of
her body, and yet, amidst it all, a cold mysterious shudder thrilled
through him like the breathing of death. For the first time he thought
that he saw something singular and lifeless deeply seated in her eyes,
while the tone of her voice, nay even the rustling of her dress,
betrayed a strange being, who was never to be trusted. It fell heavily
upon his heart, that, when she had spoken her real thoughts, she had
been in this same silver tissue; he knew not why he should fancy any
thing menacing in it, and yet the idea of this dress was intimately
blended with that of the supernatural, as a dream unites the most
heterogeneous things, and all passes for absurd, the deeper connexion
of which we are unable to comprehend.

Far from wounding the fair-one with a suspicion which was perhaps
false, Peregrine violently suppressed his feelings, and only waited for
a favourable opportunity of freeing himself and escaping from the snake
of Paradise. At last Dörtje said,

"How is it, my sweet friend, you seem so cold and insensible to-day?
What have you got in your head, my life?"

"I have a headache," replied Peregrine, as indifferently as he was
able.--"Headache!--whims!--megrims!--nothing else, my sweet child. I
must go into the open air, and all will be over in a few minutes.
Besides, I am called away by a particular business."

"It is all invention!" exclaimed Gamaheh, starting up hastily.--"But
you are a malicious monkey, that must be tamed."

Peregrine was glad when he found himself in the open street; but as to
Master Flea, he was quite extravagant in his joy, tittering and
laughing incessantly in Peregrine's neckcloth, and clapping together
his fore-paws till they rang again. This merriment of his little
protegé was somewhat troublesome to Mr. Tyss, as it disturbed him in
his meditations, and he begged of him to be quiet, for many grave
people had already glanced at him with looks of reproach, fancying it
was he who tittered and laughed, and played such foolish pranks in the
open streets.

"Fool that I was!" exclaimed Master Flea, persisting in the ebullitions
of his extravagant joy--"Fool that I was to doubt of the victory where
no battle was needed. Why, you had conquered in the moment, when even
the death of your beloved could not shake your resolution. Let me
shout, let me rejoice, for all must deceive me, if a bright morning-sun
do not soon arise, which will clear up every mystery."

On Peregrine's knocking at the bookbinder's, a soft female voice cried,
"Come in!"--He opened the door, and a young girl, who was alone in the
room, came forward, and asked him in a friendly manner what he wanted.
She was about eighteen years old, rather tall than short, and slim,
with the finest proportions. Her hair was of a bright chestnut colour,
her eyes were of a deep blue, and her skin seemed to be a blended web
of lilies and roses. But more than all this were the purity and
innocence that sate upon her brow, and showed themselves in all her
actions.

When Peregrine gazed on the gentle beauty, it seemed to him as if he
had been hitherto lying in bonds, which a benevolent power had
loosened, and the angel of light stood before him. But his enamoured
gaze had confounded the maiden: she blushed deeply, and, casting down
her eyes, repeated more gently than at first, "What does the gentleman
want?" With difficulty Peregrine stammered out, "Pray, does the
bookbinder Lemmerhirt live here?" Upon her replying that he did, but
that he was now gone out upon business, Peregrine talked confusedly of
bindings which he had ordered, of books which Lemmerhirt was to procure
for him, till at last he came somewhat more to himself, and spoke of a
splendid copy of Ariosto, which was to have been bound in red morocco
with golden filleting. At this, it was as if a sudden electric spark
had shot through the maiden; she clasped her hands, and, with tears in
her eyes, exclaimed, "Then you are Mr. Tyss?" At the same time she made
a motion as if she would have seized his hand, but suddenly drew back,
and a deep sigh seemed to relieve her full breast. A sweet smile beamed
on her face, like the lovely glow of morning, and she poured forth
thanks and blessings to Peregrine for his having been the benefactor of
her father and mother, and not only for this,--no--for his generosity,
his kindness, the manner of his making presents to the children, and
spreading joy and happiness amongst them. She quickly cleared her
father's arm-chair of the books, bound and unbound, with which it was
loaded, wheeled it forward, and pressed him to be seated, and then
presented to him the splendid Ariosto with sparkling eyes, well knowing
that this masterpiece of bookbinding would meet with Peregrine's
approbation.

Mr. Tyss took a few pieces of gold from his pocket, which, the maiden
seeing, hastily assured him that she did not know the price of the
work, and, therefore, could not take any payment; perhaps he would be
pleased to wait a few minutes for her father's return. It seemed to
Peregrine as if the unworthy metal melted into one lump in his hand,
and he pocketed the gold again, much faster than he had brought it out.
Upon his seating himself mechanically in the broad arm-chair, the
maiden reached after her own seat, and from instinctive politeness he
jumped up to fetch it, when, instead of the chair, he caught hold of
her hand, and, on gently pressing the treasure, he thought he felt a
scarcely perceptible return.

"Puss, puss, what are you doing?" suddenly cried Rose, breaking from
him, and picking up a skein of thread, which the cat held between her
fore-paws, beginning a most mystical web.

Peregrine was in a perfect tumult, and the words "Oh, princess!"
escaped him without his knowing how it happened. The maiden looked at
him in alarm, and he cried out in the softest and most melancholy tone,
"My dearest young lady!" Rose blushed, and said with maiden
bashfulness, "My parents call me Rose; pray, do the same, my dear Mr.
Tyss, for I too am one of the children, to whom you have shown so much
kindness, and by whom you are so highly honoured."

"Rose!" cried Peregrine, in a transport. He could have thrown himself
at her feet, and it was only with difficulty that he restrained
himself.

Rose now related--as she quietly went on with her work--how the war had
reduced her parents to distress, and how since that time she had lived
with an aunt in a neighbouring village, till a few weeks ago, when upon
the death of the old lady, she had returned home.

Peregrine heard only the sweet voice of Rose, without understanding the
words too well, and was not perfectly convinced of his being awake,
till Lemmerhirt entered the room, and gave him a hearty welcome. Soon
after the wife followed with the children, and as thoughts and feelings
are strangely blended in the mind of man, it happened now that
Peregrine, even in the midst of all his ecstasy, suddenly recollected
how the sullen Pepusch had blamed his presents to this very family. He
was particularly delighted to find that none of the children had made
themselves ill by his gifts, and the pride with which they pointed to a
glass case, where the toys were shining, proved that they looked upon
them as something extraordinary, never perhaps to recur. The Thistle,
in his ill-humour, was quite mistaken.

"Oh, Pepusch!" said Peregrine to himself, "no pure beam of love
penetrates thy distempered mind."--In this Peregrine again meant
something more than toys and sugar-plums.

Lemmerhirt approached Peregrine, and began to talk in an under-tone of
his Rose, elevating her, in the fulness of his heart, into a perfect
miracle. But what gave him the most delight was, that Rose had an
inclination for the noble art of bookbinding, and in the few weeks that
she had been with him had made uncommon advances in the decorative
parts, so that she was already much more dexterous than many an oaf of
an apprentice, who wasted gold and morocco for years, and set the
letters all awry, making them look like so many drunken peasants,
staggering out of an ale-house. In the exuberance of his delight, he
whispered to Peregrine quite confidentially, "It must out, Mr. Tyss, I
can't help it.--Do you know, that it was my Rose who gilded the
Ariosto?"

Upon hearing this, Peregrine hastily snatched up the book, as if
securing it before he was robbed of it by an enemy. Lemmerhirt took
this for a sign that Peregrine wished to go, and begged of him to stay
a few minutes longer, and this it was that reminded him at last of the
necessity of tearing himself away. He hastily paid his bill, and set
off home, dragging along the heavy quartos, as if they had been some
treasure.

On entering his house he was met by the old Alina, who pointed to
Swammerdamm's chamber with looks of fear and anxiety. The door was
open, and he saw Dörtje Elverdink, sitting in an arm-chair, quite
stiff, with a face drawn up, as if it belonged to a corpse, already
laid in the grave. Just so stiff, so corpse-like sate before her
Pepusch, Swammerdamm, and Leuwenhock. The old woman exclaimed, "Is not
that a strange, ghastly spectacle? In this manner the three unhappy
beings have sate the whole day long, and eat nothing, and drink
nothing, and speak nothing, and scarcely fetch their breath."

Peregrine at first felt a slight degree of terror at this strange
spectacle, but, as he ascended the stairs, the spectral image was
completely swallowed up by the sea of pleasure, in which the delighted
Peregrine swam, since his seeing Rose. Wishes, dreams, hopes, were
agitating his mind, which he longed to unburthen to some friend; but
what friend had Peregrine besides the honest Master Flea? And to him he
wished to open his whole heart, to tell him all about Rose,--all in
fact that cannot very well be told. But he might call and coax as long
as he pleased,--no Master Flea would show himself; he was up and away:
at last, in the folds of his neckcloth, where Master Flea had been wont
to lodge upon his going abroad, Peregrine found, after a more careful
search, a tiny box, whereon was written:


"In this is the microscopic glass. If you look steadfastly into the box
with your left eye, the glass will immediately be in its pupil; when
you want to be freed from the instrument, you have only to gently
squeeze the pupil, holding your eye over the box, and the glass will
drop into it. I am busy in your service, and risk no little by it, but
for so kind a protector I would hazard any thing, as

                        "Your most devoted servant,

                                          "MASTER FLEA."


Now here would be an excellent opportunity for a genuine romance-writer
to expatiate on the difference between lust and love, and, having
handled it sufficiently in theory, to illustrate it practically in the
person of Mr. Tyss. Much might be said of sensual desires, of the curse
of the primal sin, and of the heavenly Promethean spark, which in love
inflames that true community of spirit of the two sexes, which forms
the actual necessary dualism of nature. Should now the aforesaid
Promethean spark--but the reader will perhaps be glad to escape the
rest of this dissertation, though he may rest assured there is much in
it, whereby he might have been edified, had he been so inclined.

It must be evident to all, that Peregrine only felt desire for Dörtje
Elverdink, but that, when he saw Rose Lemmerhirt, the real heavenly
love blazed in his bosom. Little thanks, however, would be due to the
editor of this most wonderful of all wonderful tales, if, adhering to
the stiff, formal pace of renowned romancers, he could not forbear in
this place exciting the weariness essentially requisite to a legitimate
romance.--No; let us go to the point at once: sighs, lamentations,
joys, pains, kisses, blisses, are all united in the focus of the
moment, when the lovely Rose, with the crimson of maiden modesty
upon her cheeks, confesses to the enraptured Peregrine that she
loves him--that she cannot express how much, how immeasurably she loves
him,--that she lives in him only,--that he is her only thought, her
only joy.

But the crafty demon is wont to thrust his dark claws into the sunniest
moments of life,--nay, to utterly obscure that sunshine by the shadow
of his baleful presence. Thus it happened that evil doubts arose in
Peregrine, and his breast was filled with suspicions. A voice seemed to
whisper to him, "How! Dörtje Elverdink confessed her love, and yet it
was mere selfishness, animated by which, she sought to tempt you into
breaking your faith and becoming a traitor to your best friend, poor
Master Flea! You are rich; they say too that a certain frankness and
good-nature, by many called weakness, may procure you the doubtful love
of men and even of women, and she, who now confesses a passion for
you,"--He hastily snatched at the fate-fraught box, and was on the
point of opening it to place the microscopic glass in the pupil of his
eye, and thus reading the thoughts of Rose, but he looked up, and the
pure blue of her bright eyes seemed to be reflected on his inmost soul.
Rose saw and wondered at his emotion.

He felt as if a sudden flash of lightning had quivered through him, and
the feeling of his own unworthiness overwhelmed him.

"How!" said he to himself,--"would you with sinful presumption
penetrate into the sanctuary of this angel? Would you read thoughts,
which have nothing in common with the wretched actions of minds
entangled in earthly considerations? Would you mock the spirit of love
himself, and try him with the accursed arts of dangerous and
supernatural powers?"

He hastily put up the box, with a feeling as if he had committed some
sin that could never be atoned, and, dissolved in sadness, flung
himself at the feet of the terrified Rose, exclaiming, that he was a
wretched sinner, unworthy of the love of so innocent, so pure a being.

Rose, who could not conceive what dark spirit had come over Peregrine,
sank down to him, embraced him, and murmured with tears, "For God's
sake, my dear Peregrine, what is the matter with you? What evil enemy
has placed himself between us? Oh, come--come, and sit down quietly by
me."

Incapable of any voluntary motion, Peregrine suffered himself to be
raised by Rose in silence. It was well that the frail old sofa was
loaded, as usual, with books and the tools for binding, so that Rose
had many things to clear away to make room for Mr. Tyss. By this he
gained time to recover himself, and his first wild passion subsided
into a milder feeling. But if before he had looked like a most
disconsolate sinner, upon whom a sentence of condemnation had been
irrevocably pronounced, he now wore a somewhat silly appearance. This,
however, in such circumstances, is a favourable prognostic.

When now both were seated on the aforesaid frail sofa, Rose began, with
downcast eyes, and a half bashful smile,--"I can guess what has
affected you so, dear Peregrine, and will own that they have told me
many strange things of the singular inhabitants of your house. The
neighbours,--you know what neighbours are, how they talk and talk,
without knowing why or wherefore,--these evil-minded neighbours have
told me of a strange lady in your house, whom many take for a princess,
and whom you brought home yourself on Christmas eve. They say that the
old Mr. Swammer has, indeed, received her as his niece, but that she
pursues you with strange arts and temptations. This, however, is by no
means the worst; only think, my dear Peregrine, my old cousin just
opposite with the sharp nose, who sends over such friendly greetings
when she sees you here, she has tried to put all manner of bad things
into my head about you. Notwithstanding her friendly greetings, she has
always warned me against you, and maintained that nothing less than
sorcery was carried on in your house, and that the little Dörtje is an
imp in disguise, who, to seduce you, goes about in a human form, and,
indeed, in a very beautiful one. But, Peregrine, my dear Peregrine,
look at me; is there any thing like doubt upon my face? I trust you, I
trust the hopes of happiness to come upon us, when a firm band has
united us for ever. Let the dark spirits have determined what they will
in regard to you, their power is fruitless against pure love and
unchanging constancy. What will, what can, disturb a love like ours? It
is the talisman, before which the nightly images all fly."

At this moment Rose appeared to Peregrine like a higher being, and each
of her words like the consolations of Heaven. An indescribable feeling
of the purest delight streamed through him, like the sweet mild breath
of spring. He was no longer the sinner, the impious presumer, which he
had before held himself; he began to think with joy that he was worthy
of the love of the innocent Rose.

The bookbinder, Lemmerhirt, now returned with his family from a walk.

The hearts of Rose and Peregrine were overflowing, and it was not till
late that he quitted, as an accepted bridegroom, the narrow abode of
the bookbinder, whose joy exalted him to heaven, while the old woman,
from pure delight, sobbed rather more than was necessary.

All the authentic records, from which this wonderful history has been
taken, agree in one point,--and the chronicle of centuries confirms
it,--that in the night when Mr. Peregrine Tyss returned home as a happy
lover, the full moon shone very brightly; it seems therefore natural
enough, that, instead of going to rest, he seated himself at the open
window, to stare at the moon, and think of his beloved, according to
the usual custom of gentlemen, more particularly if they happen to be
somewhat romantic--when under the influence of the tender passion.

But, however it may lower Mr. Peregrine Tyss with the ladies, it must
not be concealed that, in spite of all his enthusiasm, he gaped twice,
and so loudly, that a drunkard in the streets below called out to him,
"Holla! you there with the white nightcap, don't swallow me." This of
course was a sufficient cause for his dashing down the window so
violently, that the frame rattled again. It is even affirmed that, in
so doing, he cried out loud enough, "Impudent scoundrel!" But this
cannot be relied upon, as it by no means accords with his general
suavity of disposition. Enough; he shut the window, and went to bed.
The necessity for sleep, however, seemed to be superseded by that
immoderate gaping. Thoughts upon thoughts crossed his brain, and with
peculiar vividness came before his eyes the surmounted danger, when a
darker power would have tempted him to the use of the microscopic
glass; and now it became plain to him that Master Flea's mysterious
present, however well intended, was yet in all respects a gift from
hell.

"How!" said Peregrine to himself,--"for a man to read the most hidden
thoughts of his brothers! Does not this fateful gift bring upon him the
dreadful destiny of the Wandering Jew, who wandered through the
motliest crowds of life, as through a desert, without joy, without
hope, without pain, in dull indifference, which is the caput mortuum of
despair? Always trusting anew and always most bitterly deceived, how
can it be otherwise than that distrust, hatred, jealousy,
vindictiveness, would nestle firmly in the soul, destroying every trace
of that human principle, which shows itself in benevolence and gentle
confidence. No, your friendly face, your smooth words, shall not
deceive me;--you, who in your inmost heart are concealing perhaps
unmerited hate against me: I will hold you for my friend, I will do you
as much good as I can, I will open my soul to you, because it gratifies
me, and the bitter feeling of the moment, if you should deceive me,
is little in comparison with the joys of a past dream. Even too the
real friends, who truly mean you well--how changeable is the mind of
man!--may not an evil coincidence of circumstances, a misinclination
growing out of the whims of chance, create transitory hatred in the
bosom of the dearest friends? The unlucky glass shows the thoughts,
distrust immediately occupies the mind, and in unjust wrath I push from
me the real friend, and this poison goes on, eating deeper and deeper
into the roots of life, till I am at variance with every thing, even
with myself.--No; it is rank impiety to wish for an equality with the
Eternal Power, who sees through the heart of man, because he is its
master. Away, away with the unlucky gift!"

He caught up the little box, which held the magic glass, and was on the
point of dashing it against the floor with all his might, when suddenly
Master Flea stood before him on the counterpane: he was in his
microscopic form, and looked extremely graceful and handsome, in a
glittering scale-breastplate, and highly-polished golden boots.

"Hold!" he cried; "hold, most respected friend; do not commit an
absurdity. You would sooner annihilate a sun-moat than fling this
little indestructible glass but a foot from you, while I am near. For
the rest, though you were not aware of it, I was sitting, as usual, in
the folds of your neckcloth, when you were at the honest bookbinder's,
and therefore heard and saw all that passed. Just so I have been a
party to your present edifying soliloquy, and have learnt several
things from it. In the first place, you have shown the purity of your
mind in all its glory, whence I infer that the decisive moment is fast
approaching. Then too I have found that, in regard to the microscopic
glass, I was in a great error. Believe me, my honoured friend, although
I have not the pleasure to be a man, as you are, but only a flea--no
simple one, indeed, but a graduate,--still I thoroughly understand
human beings, amongst whom I so constantly live. Most frequently their
actions appear to me very ridiculous, and even childish.--Do not take
it ill, my friend; I speak it only as Master Flea. You are right; it
would be a bad thing, and could not possibly lead to any good, if a man
were able to spy thus, without ceremony, into the brains of his
neighbours; still to the careless, lively, flea this quality of the
microscopic glass is not in the least dangerous.

"Most honoured friend, and, as fortune soon will have it, most happy
friend,--you know that my people are of a reckless, merry disposition,
and one might say that they consisted of mere youthful springalds. With
this I can, for my part, boast of a peculiar sort of wisdom, which in
general is wanting to you children of men;--that is, I never do any
thing out of season. To bite is the principal business of my life, but
I always bite in the right time and right place; lay that to your
heart, my worthy friend.

"I will now back from your hands, and faithfully preserve the gift,
intended for you, and which neither that preparation of a man, called
Swammerdamm, nor Leuwenhock, who wears himself out with petty envy,
could possess. And now, my honoured Mr. Tyss, resign yourself to
slumber. You will soon fall into a dreamy delirium, in which the great
moment will reveal itself. At the right time I shall be with you
again."

Master Flea disappeared, and the brilliance, which he had spread, faded
away in the darkness of the chamber, the curtains of which were closely
drawn.

It fell out as Master Flea had said.

Peregrine fancied that he was lying on the banks of a murmuring
wood-stream, and heard the sighing of the wind, the whispering of the
leaves, and the humming of a thousand insects that buzzed about him.
Then it seemed as if strange voices were audible, plainer and still
plainer, so that, at last, Peregrine thought he could make out words.
But it was only a confused and stunning hubbub that reached his ear.

At length these words were pronounced by a solemn, hollow voice, that
sounded clearer and clearer,--

"Unhappy king, Sekakis, thou who didst despise the intelligence of
nature, who, blinded by the evil spells of a crafty demon, didst look
upon the false Teraphim, instead of the real spirit!

"In that fate-fraught spot at Famagusta, buried in the deep mine of the
earth, lay the talisman; but, when you destroyed yourself, there was no
principle to rekindle its frozen powers. In vain you sacrificed your
daughter, the beautiful Gamaheh; in vain was the amorous despair of the
Thistle, Zeherit; but at the same time impotent and inoperative was the
blood-thirst of the Leech-Prince. Even the awkward Genius, Thetel, was
obliged to let go his sweet prey, for so mighty still, O king, Sekakis,
was thy half-extinct idea, that thou couldst return the lost one to the
primal element, from which she sprang.

"And ye, insane anatomists of nature, that ever the unhappy one should
have fallen into your hands, when you discovered her in the petal of a
tulip! That you should have tormented her with your detestable
experiments, presuming, in your childish arrogance, that you could
effect that by your wretched arts, which could only happen by the power
of that sleeping talisman.

"And you, Master Flea, even to you it was not granted to pierce the
mystery, for thy clear sight had not yet the power to penetrate the
depths of earth, and see the frozen carbuncle.

"The stars now crossed each other in strange motions, and fearful
constellations produced the wonderful, the inscrutable to the purblind
sight of man. But still no starry conflict awoke the carbuncle; for the
human mind was not born that could cherish it--but at last--

"_The wonder is fulfilled, the moment is come._"

A bright shine flickered by Peregrine; he awoke out of his
stupefaction, and, to his no little surprise, perceived Master Flea,
who, in his microscopic form, but clad in a splendid drapery, and
holding a blazing torch in his forepaws, busily skipped, up and down
the chamber, and trilled forth the finest tones imaginable.

Peregrine strove to rouse himself from sleep, when suddenly a thousand
fiery flashes quivered through the room, that in a short time seemed to
be filled by one single glowing ball of fire. Then a mild aromatic
breeze waved through the wild blaze, which soon died away into the
softest moonlight.

Peregrine now found himself on a splendid throne, in the rich garments
of an Indian king, the sparkling diadem upon his head, the emblematic
lotus-flower in his hand instead of a sceptre. The throne stood in the
midst of a hall, so large, the eye could not take in its extent; and
its thousand columns were slim cedars, aspiring to the heavens. Between
them, roses and the most odorous flowers of every kind lifted up their
heads from amidst a dark foliage, as if longing for the pure bright
azure, that glittered through the twined branches of the cedars, and
seemed to look down upon them with the eyes of love.

Peregrine recognized himself; he felt that the carbuncle, rekindled
into life, was glowing in his own breast.

In the farthest background the Genius, Thetel, was labouring to rise
into the air, but never was able to reach half the height of the
cedars, and fell back again to earth. Here the odious Leech-Prince was
crawling with abominable contortions, now blowing himself out, and then
again extending himself, and groaning out, all the time,--"Gamaheh!
Still mine!"

In the middle of the hall, upon colossal microscopes, sate Leuwenhock
and Swammerdamm, making most piteous faces, and reproachfully calling
out to each other,--"See now! that was the point in the horoscope, the
meaning of which you could not interpret. The talisman is lost to us
for ever!"

Close upon the steps of the throne Dörtje Elverdink and George Pepusch
seemed not so much to sleep as to be in a deep swoon.

Peregrine,--or, as we may now call him, King Sekakis,--flung back the
regal mantle that covered his breast, and, from within, the carbuncle
shot forth dazzling beams, like Heaven's fire, through the immense
hall.

The Genius, Thetel, again tried to rise, but he fell away, with a
hollow groan, into innumerable colourless flocks, which, driven by the
wind, were lost in the bushes.

With the most horrible cries of agony, the Leech-Prince shrunk up, and
vanished into the earth, while an indignant roar was heard, as if she
reluctantly received into her bosom the odious fugitive. Leuwenhock and
Swammerdamm had sunk down from the microscopes into themselves, and it
was plain, from their sighs and groans, that they were undergoing a
severe punishment.

But Dörtje Elverdink and George Pepusch,--or, as we should now call
them, Princess Gamaheh and the Thistle, Zeherit,--had awakened from
their swoon, and knelt before the king. Their eyes were cast to earth,
as if unable to bear the burning splendour of the carbuncle.

Peregrine addressed them all with solemnity:

"Thou, who shouldst deceive men as the Genius, Thetel, thou wert
compounded, by the evil demon, of clay and feathers, and therefore the
beaming of love destroyed thee, empty phantom, and thou wert reduced to
thy original nothing.

"And thou too, blood-thirsty monster of the night, thou wast forced to
fly from the fire of the carbuncle into the bosom of the earth.

"But you, poor dupes, unhappy Swammerdamm, wretched Leuwenhock, your
whole life was one incessant error. You sought to inquire into Nature,
without suspecting the import of her inward being. You were
presumptuous enough to wish to penetrate into her workshop and watch
her secret labours, imagining that you could, without punishment, look
into the fearful mysteries of those depths, which are inscrutable to
the human eye. Your hearts remained cold and insensible; the real love
has never warmed your bosom. You imagined that you read the holy
wonders of nature, with pious admiration, but, in endeavouring to find
out the condition of those wonders, even in their inmost core, yourself
destroyed that pious feeling, and the knowledge, after which you
strove, was a phantom merely, that has deceived you, like prying,
inquisitive children.

"Fools! For you the beams of the carbuncle no longer have hope or
consolation."

"Ha! ha! There is hope, there is consolation; the old one betakes
herself to the old ones; there's love! there's truth! there's
tenderness! And the old one is now really a queen, and takes her little
Swammerdamm and her little Leuwenhock into her kingdom, and there they
are princes, and wind gold thread and silver thread, and do many other
useful things."

So spoke the old Alina, who suddenly stood between the two
microscopists, clad in a strange dress, which nearly resembled the
costume of the Queen of Golconda in the opera. But Leuwenhock and
Swammerdamm had so shrunk up, that they seemed to be scarcely a span
high, and the Queen of Golconda, putting her puppets into two ivory
cradles, rocked and nursed them, and sang to them,--Lullaby, lullaby,
baby mine, &c.

During this the Princess Gamaheh and the Thistle, Zeherit, were still
kneeling on the steps of the throne. Peregrine spoke:

"Yes, beloved pair, the error is past, which disturbed your lives.
Come, dear ones, to my breast. The beam of the carbuncle will penetrate
your hearts, and you will enjoy the blessedness of Heaven."

With a cry of joy and hope, the lovers started up, and Peregrine
pressed them strongly to his glowing heart. When he released them, they
fell, transported, into each others arms; the corpse-like paleness had
vanished from their brows, and the freshness of youth bloomed on their
cheeks and sparkled in their eyes.

Master Flea, who had hitherto stood by the throne with all the gravity
of a guard of honour, suddenly resumed his natural shape, and with a
vigorous spring he leaped upon Dörtje's neck, crying out, in a shrill
voice, "Old love never changes."

But, oh wonder! in the same moment, Rose lay upon Peregrine's breast,
in all her youthful beauty, beaming with the purest love, like a cherub
from Heaven.

And now the branches of the cedars rustled, the flowers lifted their
heads more loftily, soft melodies poured from the bushes, and the
thousand voices of delight rose from earth, and air, and water.

                           *   *   *   *   *

Mr. Peregrine Tyss had purchased a handsome villa, in the vicinity of
the city, and here, on the same day, was to be celebrated the double
marriage of himself with Rose, and his friend George Pepusch with the
little Dörtje Elverdink.

The kind reader will excuse my entering into the details of the nuptial
feast and ceremonies. For my part I am willing to leave it to my fair
readers to settle the dress of the two brides according to their own
fancy. It is only to be observed, that Peregrine and his beautiful Rose
were all simple delight, while George and Dörtje, on the contrary, were
meditative, and with mutual gaze seemed to have thought, eyes, and ears
for each other only.

                           *   *   *   *   *

It was midnight, when suddenly the balsamic odours of the
large-blossomed thistle spread through the whole garden.

Peregrine awoke from sleep. He fancied that he heard the plaintive
melody of hopeless desire, and a strange foreboding got possession of
him. It seemed to him as if a friend were violently torn from him.

The next morning the second bridal pair was missing, namely, George
Pepusch and Dörtje Elverdink; what added not a little to the general
astonishment was, that they had not at all entered the bridal chamber.

In this moment of doubt, the gardener came and exclaimed, "He did not
know what to think of it, but a strange wonder had happened in the
garden. Throughout the whole night he had dreamt of the blooming
_Cactus grandiflorus_, and not till now discovered the cause of
it.--They should only come and see!"--

Peregrine and Rose went into the garden. In the middle of a clump of
flowers a lofty thistle had shot up, which drooped its withering
blossom beneath the morning sun; about this a variegated tulip wound
itself, and that also had died a vegetable death.

"Oh, my foreboding!" cried Peregrine, while his voice trembled with
sadness. "Oh, my foreboding! it has not deceived me. The beams of the
carbuncle, which have kindled me to the highest life, have given death
to thee, thou sweet pair, united by the strange discords of opposing
powers. The mystery is revealed; the highest moment of gratified desire
was also the moment of thy death."

Rose too seemed to have a foreboding of the wonder; she bent over the
poor perished tulip, and shed a stream of tears.

"You are quite right," said Master Flea, who suddenly appeared in his
microscopic form on the top of the thistle--"you are quite right, my
dear Mr. Peregrine. It is all as you have said, and I have lost my
beloved for ever."

Rose was at first somewhat frightened at the little creature, but
seeing that he gazed on her with such friendly, intelligent eyes, and
Peregrine spoke so familiarly with him, she took heart, looked boldly
on his graceful tiny form, and gained so much the more confidence in
him as Peregrine whispered to her, "this is my kind Master Flea."

"My good Peregrine," said Master Flea very tenderly,--"my dear lady, I
must now leave you, and return to my people; yet I shall always be your
devoted friend, and you shall constantly experience my presence in a
way that will be agreeable to you. Farewell! heartily farewell to both
of you. And all good fortune be with you."

During this, he had resumed his natural form, and vanished without
leaving a single trace behind.

Here the records suddenly break off, and the wonderful history of
Master Flea comes to a joyous and wished-for--_end_.


FOOTNOTES:
[Footnote 1: The Blocksberg, or Brocken, is the name of the highest
part of the Hartz mountains, where the German witches celebrate their
saturnalia.--TR.]



                            END OF VOL. II.





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